THE HUMP MONTH

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Welcome to July.

The season of sunshine, school holidays, Wimbledon, Pimms and badly dressed Brits.

But most importantly? We have reached the midway point of the year.

Yes, people, we are six months deep into 2016 and normally, at this time of year, when the days are longer, the sun has (sort of) come out to play and holiday season is fast approaching, I would reflect on the new year’s resolutions I made in a post-Christmas haze of bubbles, glitter, balls dropping and Big Ben chiming and give them a quick jump start before we head into the second half of the show.

But this year feels different. The UK is in such a state of disarray and unrest that I feel more deflated than ever before and as though I’m still slogging through the mud at Worthy Farm, in the rain, without a coat, even though I arrived back to concrete and home comforts five days ago.

But why?

Because I live in a blue country where the two viable options for our future prime minister have been, at one point or another, Boris fucking Johnson or Michael ‘Spawn of Satan’ Gove and this scares me. I find myself living in a country where the only political party who supports the working people is crumbling before my very eyes. I live in a UK that is becoming less tolerant and, in small pockets, more racist and in the city that I know and love so well, we are still berating women for feeding their children in public, while football fans watch on, tops off, in beer gardens. I am living in a world where innocent people are being killed, while gun laws are still being not only upheld, but justified, by men and where ruining someone’s life by raping them is rewarded with a six month prison sentence. As bombs going off around the globe fails to shock me anymore, I find myself starting to wonder: where did it all go wrong?

At 27, I guess I am young, yes, and I have been told on numerous occasions that I am ‘too idealistic’ or that I ‘just don’t get it’, but the fact is, I actually do. I know fine well that we are in dire straits and that ‘our’ decision to leave the European Union is a bad one. I know that for good to happen, we have to pull together. I know, from history, that change is possible, it just takes time and effort, of which I am more than willing to put in. And, even though at times it might seem impossible or exhausting to do so, I refuse to change who I am, what I believe and I will continue to march on with an open mind and a liberal, loving heart, in spite of these strange and confusing times.

So, this July, instead of looking backwards to see whether I have achieved what I set out to at the start of the year, I want everyone to join me in looking forward with one goal: to provide light – in any capacity you can think of – in these dark times so that we can begin to sort this mess out. If this comes in the form of a peaceful protest, then raise that banner high. If you can and wish to provide aid to our fellow humans in Calais, then I will donate to your cause. Hug more, talk more and never give up hope for a brighter future because, if we don’t, then who else will?

I feel as though we, as a nation, have reached rock bottom and you know what they say happens when you get there, don’t you?

Stay hopeful, young ones. We’ve got this.

The only way is up.

The Clear Out

I never usually buy into the whole ‘New Year-New Me’ mantra, but this year feels different.

2011 brought with it some massive highs such as graduating from university but it also decided to drag me through some tremulous lows; the main culprit being a lengthy break-up with the perfect guy. And although I don’t actually believe that I can create a whole new me, and I probably wouldn’t want to given half a chance, I can improve me. So, I took to my closet, my chest full of treasures, my boxes of university crap and even braved the monster under the bed to get to organising the dusty boxes from days gone by.

Although the whole experience was admittedly rather cathartic, I have to say that amidst the cringe worthy glittery sequin numbers from teenage discos and joy on uncovering old Spice Girls CDs, the main things I discovered were both enjoyable and painful memories: most of which I would rather lock in my brain, rather than my bedroom. So what I thought was going to be a day full of liberating groans, actually turned out to be a weepy, yet powerful few days. Throwing away old bank statements, ticket stubs from pointless dates and sifting through cards from ex boyfriends meant that I got to choose what memories I keep from now on, as I realised that without these little reminders, I probably would never have even remembered ice-skating that December with some twat from the year below and that I once wore denim-on-denim: No matter how hard people try to tell me, it is not, and never will be, a good look.

However, aside from all the doom and gloom, there was a plus side to clearing out my room. I found hundreds of hilarious photographs of me and my girlfriends, reminding me why we’re still the best of friends. I found tons of clothes I would have once thrown away that I now love and will definitely be rocking this weekend. The love letters from ex-boyfriends, although saddening, reminded me that although after every break-up you feel like you will never find that with someone again, you always do (or at least something similar). But my most important find of all was my fourteen-year-old attempt at a diary. This little pink Paper Chase number exposed the insecurities of my younger self, and at a time where I am still deciding what to do with my life, surprisingly gave me some great advice. Scrawled throughout were cut-outs from magazines, brochures about journalism from LCF and Brown and all my ‘In ten years time I will be…’ statements read ‘Editor for VOGUE’. Although this would mean I’d have to climb the ladder from unemployed to editor within the next two years (an impossible feat), I can give it a good whack. And as I dwelt on my future for a while, I began to notice what lay before me: my past. And I then started to realise that where I am now, is a consequence of everything in this room. I realised that everything I do now, will one day be a memory, stacked away in a cardboard box. So I’d better make the next year or so great to ensure the next clear-out is just as worthwhile.

So if you’re wishing away 2011 and feel like wiping the slate clean, I would recommend having a bit of a clear out. But be warned: prepare yourself with a box of tissues, lots of tea and a cracking playlist to pump-it’s going to take a while.

So two days, three sacks of clothes, two bags of recycling and a dust-cold later, I am done.

Let’s just hope it looks this spotless come February.

I guarantee it won’t.