Look what I got up to guys!!!!
So I decided to take some time out from beating myself up, the constant rumination and worrying about what girl my ex-boyfriend is shagging and the next time he will parade her around the gym (Oooh, the shade) and go do something FUN!
You know me, I am all about the fun – after I have laid down some serious realness of course.
I was in London a few weeks ago, on the tube, trying to act really cool like I belonged there with the rest of the Londoners with their Coach handbags and their Ray Bans and I saw that there was an event on over the weekend in Olympia called Stylist Live from Stylist Magazine.
For those of you who don’t know, Stylist Magazine is a free weekly magazine for women that was launched in October 2009 and has been going strong ever since. This event was held over three days and had various stalls from companies ranging from hair, beauty, jewellery to designing your own t-shirt and making your own perfume. I was wondering whether I should go and before the mini “hater” inside of me piped up; I shut her up, LOUDLY, and said: “No we are going!” I was pretty proud of myself for doing that until I realised I actually said those words out loud on a jam-packed escalator on the Northern Line…but don’t worry not that many people gave me that awkward stare, it’s London…people have seen worse I am sure.
So fast forward to the morning of the event, I was SUPER pumped and couldn’t wait. I felt I was dressed quite preppy like with my little bobble hat and dress on and I even managed to put on some makeup! I was feeling myself. That lasted until I got onto the train. Now, when I feel particularly stressed my BPD flares up and I noticed that I was starting to get a bit panicky when I realised what train I was getting on. In an effort to save money (and geographically speaking, it made more sense) I decided to get on the London Victoria train (as opposed to the London St. Pancras train) This train is, how shall we sat, not the cleanest and that is a big problem for me. Fuck being politically correct – it IS disgusting and it FREAKED ME OUT. All of a sudden, I felt like there were bugs crawling all over my body, I became itchy and felt like I couldn’t breathe. Luckily for me, I had brought my I-Pod along for the journey (self care list to the rescue) and put on some tunes to help me zone out and thank god it worked. Onwards and upwards I went. Mental Illness, 0 – Me kicking it’s ASS, 1
Now I have to take a short break out of talking all about me here and say a MASSIVE thank you to one of my best friends, Sudipa, who invited me along to said event. She has the patience of a saint and has never once made me feel bad or incapable because of my disability. I don’t even need to tell her if I am freaking out because she seems to sense it and tries her very best to help me to be comfortable. She has always been there when I needed her and is very good at talking me out of what has sometimes been a very violent and painful episode. I am very blessed to have friends who make me feel like me – Shrina, as opposed to Shrina with BPD, who can be flaky and paranoid some times. So a major thank you to Sudipa and the rest of my gurls ❤
Sudipa met me at Victoria, linked arms with me and took me around the tube to get to our destination. We had a lot of fun getting lost (Sudipa, you call yourself a Londoner!!) but we did manage to get there in one piece, cold as fuuuuck but in one piece. We rocked up to the event and….
IT. LOOKED. AMAZING!
The first thing that hit me was the massive Stylist sign you could pose with (Kim Kardashian eat your heart out) and then as you walked in there was a huge board with all the covers of the past issues of Stylist Magazine. It was a real testament to the photographers and contributors to the magazine.
My spatial awareness is pretty good – chuck me into any Westfields or Ikea carpark and I will be able to find my car in at least 10 minutes – BUT the way this event was laid out was a bit crazy. Don’t get me wrong, it was visually STUNNING but practically speaking, I felt like I was Bambi when he (BAMBI WAS A HE! WHO KNEW?!) took his first steps on ice. That being said, I was so engaged by all the stalls that I was happy (for once) not to have a direction. I loved that there was a mish mash of stands around, ranging from well known companies to start-up businesses. I was a bit of a magpie so I was mainly attracted to all the shiny things but I really loved the ideas some of these business were promoting such as making your own fragrance and t-shirts. The fashion show was amazing to watch and I seriously felt like Anna Wintour at that point. IF Anna Wintour was somewhat broke, Indian and demoted to the fourth row.
What I enjoyed MOST about some of the stands is they were catering towards empowering women. There was a stand that was all about positive affirmations and I felt that there was a sense of belonging and lifting each other up within the event itself, it made me feel proud to be in attendance with other fabulous individuals.
There was one thing about this event that I was particularly looking forward to and that was the talk about mental health in the workplace. I have always struggled with my mental health (Can you tell?!) but it was even worse when I was working. It is still a very taboo subject and isn’t dealt with in a compassionate way. Most of the time, in my experience, it was dealt with by not dealing with it. So listening to this talk was of fundamental importance to me. It was led by an award-winning author and blogger, Claire Eastham. She spoke very openly about her experience of having a mental breakdown brought on by her job. She made some points which really resonated with me such as the argument that in this day and age we are taught to always go above and beyond when working, always to do more than what is expected of you because if you weren’t doing more you were automatically assumed as doing less or being lazy. She explained how this constant battle inevitably lead to her break down. Listening to her story made me realise that sometimes a breakdown is needed to put you on the path you were meant to be on. Without her going through this hideous time in her life she wouldn’t be here helping others through telling her story, she wouldn’t have her award-winning book or blog and she wouldn’t have been standing on a stage at a Stylist Event encouraging me to write this post.
She actually was the catalyst to help me “come out” to the higher ups at my workplace. I realised that she was right, I can say no and I can ask for help and NOT be ashamed. Through her words she has given me the strength to stand up and do something before it got too late. She really is, to me, a modern-day hero.
Having watched Claire and reflected on her journey and her words, I have realised that this is what I eventually would love to do. I want to tell my story, all the good bits and the very very bad bits and hopefully help others to see that they are not alone and they can achieve whatever dreams they may have. I am still trying to get there and I know it will take time but one day, very soon, I will be standing on that stage behind a microphone inspiring hundreds of others just like Claire did with me.
Keep an eye out for me, people. I am making my way…