Getting Personal: 2019 learnings

In November I asked people on Instagram whether they wanted to see more personal articles or creative chats – I was surprised by the response. It filled me with encouragement as we all as panic that over 70% of people voted for more personal articles. All I could think was, why? 

Getting personal

Until recently, I have held a fear of getting personal. I created Burnt Orange City as a platform to promote artists – wanting to show the reality of an artist’s life; from a place of honesty and openness to inspire others. I am a strong advocate that in order to build a community, we must communicate and connect with each other on a deeper level; with an understanding that despite the challenges and complexities life hurls at you, there will always be others there to listen and relate. 

This was and always has been my aim. But, recently I realised: why do I have to choose? Between sharing the stories of others vs my story. So, I decided to write an article expressing some hard-hitting realisations I had whilst travelling in ‘Taking yourself with you’, which despite taking me a while to hit publish, was one of the most cathartic things I’ve ever done. 

Sharing is caring

We are now experiencing a global epidemic in the form of getting personal, and sharing our lives with others. Social media has been a driving force in this; giving every one of us a platform to share, express and voice. It has invited us into another world; a world we have at our fingertips. I often wonder why we feel the need share. Perhaps it comes from our innate need to establish connection in order to enrich our lives; to feel acknowledged and understood; and to feel secure in a world of constant change. Whatever our reasons are, and aside from modern technology, I believe we share in order to feel a part of something bigger; to feel included, connected and happier. 

In my recent creative chat with artist Anna Macdonald, Anna asked me whether I have anything that fills me with joy when I do it. A few things rolled off my tongue instantly; writing, acting (something I have always loved but have never properly pursued). But once I thought a bit deeper I realised that this – yes this right here, is what really lights me up: connecting with people on a deeper level that isn’t just surface.

We all have our own art forms, even if some of us claim to be none creative-types. We all have something that we’ve created; that we’ve nurtured, shared with another. It could be art, it could be knowledge, it could be your own story. But it is this emotional transaction which bonds us. Because let’s face it, life would be pretty lonely if we didn’t connect. And that’s what Burnt Orange City is for me: my art form.  

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Works in progress

So here they are in writing, some of my personal learnings from 2019 – with the intention of maintaining a curious mind and pushing myself to learn more and grow more in the new year. I am sharing this with you in the hope that some of you can relate and connect with my words and lessons. Should you be feeling confused or lost in life, I want you to remember: we are all works in progress, constantly changing and growing.  

It’s ok to not be “fine”

There are times when we need to paint on that smile: when others need us, when we need to get something done, but I’ve learnt to never paint it on at the extent of losing yourself and forgetting about your own happiness. 

Slow down and don’t forget to take a breath!

My family often comment on how I dart around constantly, when there is no need to! I think it comes from my desire to accomplish so many things in my lifetime, to the point that I wind up overwhelmed by my own thoughts – does anyone else have this? So, a new years’ resolution is definitely to slow down more, but, to also question the importance and necessity of the things I want to do and accomplish. And ask myself what success means to me.

Vulnerability = courage  

Up until this year, I hadn’t fully acknowledged the strength in vulnerability. Brave, scary – yes, but I wasn’t aware of the extent to which vulnerability leads to growth. From the beginning of time, humans have held a fear of judgement from others. On some level, most of us care what others think and that is natural. But it’s important that we tune in and ask how we feel about ourselves first, because that determines everything. Vulnerability means doing just that: voluntarily laying down on an operating table and looking at our own complexities with a magnifying glass. Refraining from self-criticism and instead seeing our so called “flaws” as parts of ourselves we can improve on. 

Vulnerability doesn’t need to come in the form of writing an article like this and publishing it publicly, it can solely come from thinking about the different aspects that make up who you are and learning how to accept them. It can come from having that difficult conversation with a relative you’ve been too scared to have; or from confessing to a stranger that you need help and guidance. 

Echoing a line from ‘Taking yourself with you’ – we’re all a work in progress. Let’s make next year whatever we want it to be, and try not to feel a pressure to succeed or be someone we feel we should be. Let’s live authentically and own our power. Let’s be courageous in our vulnerability. 

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