The why of it all.

There’s a (somewhat) strong voice in my head that until recently I identified as the voice of good reason. I recently realised that the voice is, in fact, my mother’s.

Maybe I’m slow on the uptake on this. Haven’t films been using this technique for decades? Either way,  I honest to god just noticed this, and now I’m mad.

It’s the voice that goes: ‘Oh, maybe you should just stay home tonight, it won’t be that fun anyway.’ Or: ‘You need to get a good eight hours sleep before work tonight, otherwise you will fuck up your job and also your life.’ Or even worse: ‘That’s not a good path for you. You’re simply not smart/motivated/hard-working/good enough.’

Don’t get me wrong, I love my Mum. And she loves me. And she will still love me even if I turn out to be transgender/gay/Tory/bartender-for-the-rest-of-my-life. But she tunes into her common sense far more than is necessary. I mean, what did common sense ever achieve? Apart from a good night’s sleep.

It happened the other day. I emailed her to say I was thinking about going back to uni to study Journalism, and what did she think? The answer I got back was: ‘I don’t know, I think to succeed in Journalism you have to really want it, and if you did, you would have studied it the first time round at uni.’

Hang on, WHAT? That is the same voice that made me NOT study it the first time round. Instead, I picked advertising, because it paid more, I was more likely to get a job, and let’s face it, coming up with a few slogans is pretty fun.

The entire time throughout my degree, EVERY SINGLE TIME my lecturers discussed the ‘real’ world of advertising, all I felt was a paralysing fear that I was heading in the wrong direction. All I could think was, I’d neck myself if that was the rest of my (professional) life.

In one class, we had to write a letter to our future selves, a year from that day. Most people wrote congratulating themselves on finishing their degree, and landing (insert job) at (insert agency). I wrote, ‘Now you live in London. That’s freaking awesome. Also, you’ve seen a bit of Europe, which I’m sure was pretty fun. Let me know how it goes.’

So I moved to London. It’s one of the scariest things I’ve ever done. I travelled round Europe, catching last minute trains and deciding spur of the moment it was time to see another city. I got a job in a bar, and became a part of my local little corner. And now? Now I want to realise my dream of becoming a Journalist. And maybe (one day) earning more than minimum wage.

So this is it. I will do everything in my power to achieve this. And mostly, that’s for me. But suddenly I have a slightly more motivating factor.

It’s to prove my mother wrong.


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