Goals

Adulthood... one year in!

As my first year of being 30 comes to an end, I thought I'd reflect upon my first step into real adulthood. Was it any different? Did I grow? Progress? Learn anything? Does my future look bright? Is it orange?

You could say this has been an interesting year. I spent the first few months in LA, truly living in a bit of a bubble. The experience was the best of my life and it changed me incessantly. I came back, changed my job (well got a real job sort of), not before spending two weeks working in a hair salon with the most camp, most flamboyant Evisu jean wearing, receptionist, who told me the salon was not a 'top knot' friendly salon and then proceeded to do impressions of willy hungry men he had met at old school garage raves.

That particular job nearly sucked my soul and starved me of my top knot love, so I began working in a bar that consisted of two customers a day and a pair of the most small minded, ignorant men that said such eye opening statements... 'what's the point of chasing your dream, get a job, buy a house and do what we all do' followed by the other insightful mentions that 'the media is not to blame for (women's) insecurities with their body image, but we ourselves (women) are in fact our own worst enemies, we are a conniving,  competitive species hell bent on being the brightest flower with the brightest petals so we can win the muscle, to procreate, thus causing our own demise into eating disorders and the like'

Luckily the place went into liquidation before I bread crumbed someone's penis and dipped it into a boiling pot of old, dirty oil.

By this point half the year had gone by. I was half way through my first year of "the year that was going to be my year" I'd told my agent not to put me up for any acting jobs because truly, I didn't know what I wanted any more. I didn't know who I was without acting and I didn't know if I could survive without the possibility that life could just change dramatically, or if I'd survive without thinking I was on the path I'd always thought I was meant to be on.

When you come back from the land of opportunity you feel full of hope and enthusiasm. You then spend two months with irrational 'top knot phobe' men or guys with no more than one brain cell between them and the enthusiastic, excitement dies down and you coast for a little while figuring what next.

What next?

I'm a good coaster. I've been good at waiting for life to happen, for something to change without me doing much to steer it in another direction. Hence the trip to LA to try and shock me out of my comfort zone. But it's not long before your patterns catch up with you and you're at home tired from a days work watching an episode of First Dates, scrolling through Instagram replaying those words that shook things up in the first place.

Stop dreaming, start doing.

None of the above sounds very exciting. It's not the stuff IG filtered squares are made of. It's not the life I imagined when I balled my eyes out to my mum aged 24 telling her that I just knew, I was going to be a successful actress, I just knew it in my bones.

It's not that I stopped believing it, I just feel like I stopped wanting it. Or was that a figment is my imagination protecting me from the real thought, that maybe I didn't believe it was possible at all?

People talk about having a mid life crises. That you get to middle age and you start questioning what it was all about, the decisions you made, were they the right ones and should you have done it differently? Maybe our generation have these moments earlier. Because we are adorned with option after option. We see lives that look appealing to live, daily, and we heart it, comment on it, repost it, tag it... the whole world has been made 'obtainable' our dreams have been made acheivable, because our thumb brushes over it scrolling through what our lives could be like if we just... sort of... cropped and filtered it slightly.

I've been contemplating buying a Red Ferrari or starting flamenco classes and then you get reminded of what a horrendous state the world is in, and how humanity can burst your egotistical bubble and you ask yourself the question.

Am I living the life I want to? Am I doing all of the things I want to be doing? Would I be happy if this was all I ever did or all I ever was? Was who I was enough? And what does success really mean?I have a beautifully, lovely life, with lovely friends and a wonderful family. I am grateful beyond belief. What I do for a living, isn't who I am and I can accept that I can live in the moment and stop wanting or needing more (sun/money/plans/gap in between my thighs)

What is it that we are all chasing and wanting and needing? What is success and happiness and do they interconnect?

The Metro did an article on "Where are they now?" (Stars of Harry potter) and they had taken from my blog, that I had given up acting and become a personal trainer. My ego went into over drive. Hearing someone say out loud that I had given up on my dream, hit a nerve so deep that I felt numb. I didnt want to be that person. Even if I wasn't sure if it was my dream or not, I didnt want to be the one that had given up on her dreams. Its those people that never make it. All you have to do is just hang on in there.

Right?

A few months ago, prior to the article, I had gotten myself a new agent. One that I liked, one that was good, one that I wasn't scared to call and a new chapter begun. All the whilst gaining a growing client base of PT clients and finding my feet with what I really want to do with my life, in my life, for my life.

Some people may say I have too many fingers in too many pies (as a client liked to point out) "Oooo you want to do a lot don't you?" And for a slight moment I felt ashamed. How dare I. How silly of me to be so obnoxious to want to do more than one thing, or to attempt to try more than what is to be considered the norm. How ridiculous to think that I would try and take on all of the things I want to tackle.

What an obscene, absurd idea.

Turns out, after a realisation face plants you out of nowhere and old age (alright I'm not that old) makes you reassess what it is you really want, you come to the conclusion that perhaps you want it all. That maybe you want to be your own boss, you want to write a book, you want to facilitate young women workshops on self love and confidence, you want to train clients, and share the journey with other people and hopefully relate to their own, you want to help encourage healthier choices and write a fitness programme that will help get them their fitness goals, and more than anything I want it to be OK that I don't know how the hell I'm going to get there, that I am shit scared, cacking my pants; that it might not all turn out, in anyway that I may hope. Sometimes I have bad days and question my journey and other days I feel like Beyonce. I am fearful and vulnerable and we ask ourselves the question, are we progressing? At the right speed in the right direction? Can I trust the process, the path, the journey Im on. Will I survive it? Embrace it? Be, all, in it. Because what if I fail and suck at all the things I want to try. What if I try and none of them amount to 'success' whatever that success looks like on paper? And if not apparent in bright bold ink... what if I don't end up just plain and simply, happy? What if I don't doubletap a huge bright red heart on my own life feed, because I was too busy double tapping other peoples.

So as I reflect upon my adulthood as if I have all the time in the world and yet none at all, I take a deep breath and swallow the same fears I always had, accept now I'm not afraid to say them out loud, I'm not ashamed to say, I'm not sure if I will get all of the things I would like, but I am very, very up for trying.

30 days until I am over 31... lets go.

Personal-ly training

 Dance moves in Ibiza...

Dance moves in Ibiza...

So I haven't written a post, or finished one even for soooo long. I have a good reason, I swear. I started a new job a month ago. Honestly it was a nerve racking decision. Between my acting and writing I have been so used to bar work, waitressing and temp jobs, which despite their boring, tedious nature, there was slight security in them. Always someone to rely on for hours. Regularity. So the leap to taking my own responsibility for hours and clients did and still does give me the nervous poos. But I am happy to say I am enjoying it. Every second I'm with a client it feels good to get them doing stuff they don't normally do and pushing them further than they usually go.

That's just one side of it. The other side is harder. For the clients themselves and for me. The nutrition side. The day to day part of it all. In some ways it's easy to come down and do your hardcore sessions in the week. Get showered and go about your day. I do my job and then technically I'm done. Although for me it doesn't feel that simple. I don't want people to come to me and work their butts off, but not discuss the nitty gritty. Why they want the results they want and how really they can achieve them and in what realistic time. 

Despite being a super star dieter, I finally came to my senses and realised the error of my ways. The quick fix for an immediate results-diet for three months, look good for one whole week before it all piled back on. The belief that I could quickly get down to the weight I wanted and once there maintain it. It's unfathomable and unrealistic. 

The hardest part is trying to 'unlearn' what we have been taught. The idea of what breakfast is, what snacks are, what food is for. I mean it's tough. I'm a foody. Food for me is better than s... oo many other things. So when a client says to me, they had some profiteroles because, well, how could you not? I get it. I am in full agreement. Eat those balls of sweet, creamy, soft goo coated in a sweet bready type coating. I don't want to make people feel like they are restricted, that they have to now deprive themselves of delicious things, but I do want to show them that there is a difference between eating those things daily, and picking to eat them, occasionally. There is a difference between eating because you want it, and eating it just because you think you shouldn't, that there is a difference between what is nourishing for your body and what is nourishing for your soul. 

Scoffing a chocolate bar on the way to work mindlessly, is not nourishing for your mind... you didn't even clock what you were eating. The pleasure lasts for twenty seconds, if that, and then the guilt sets in. Why not save the treat of non nutritious food (Good for the soul, not so good for your waist line) to a time when you can really sit and enjoy it. Dinner with friends, a trip to the cinema, a Sunday in front of a good film under the duvet, where you can take a bite of your muffin and savour the moment and the dough of sweetness swishing around your mouth for more than just that quick on the go unsatisfactory moment. 

But there is nothing worse than sounding like you are preaching. Sounding like you think you find it easy. That the choice to make better choices is as easy as picking which big knickers to wear today, the grey ones or the beige ones? NO. I know it's not easy... It has taken me a reallllly long time for it to sink in. A potential client said to me in a heart to heart today, that she was just one of the unlucky ones. That I was lucky to have the body I have and she was doomed, so may as well not try. I can honestly say it broke my heart. How do you explain that, (Side note: it doesn't feel like luck when you bust your gut in the gym and change your eating habits of chocolate bars every night to kale juice every morning)But really, How do you explain that she can work for a healthy body. That she needs to love herself enough to want to take good care of herself. That she is just as 'lucky' as me or anyone else, to just be here, wanting to make a change. 

The biggest, meanest battle of them all. The body image, mind trap. What is it you really want? Why is it you really want that body? Will you be happy when you get it? Seeing other peoples qualms with their own image has opened my eyes to my own. You see it from a whole new view and a light bulb goes off. You hear yourself repeatedly,"you won't see change unless you put in the work. You won't lose fat if you stay stressed, don't sleep, starve and then binge. You don't need to worry about what the scale says. You need to eat, you need to be kind to yourself, you need to drink water, don't restrict anything completely. You need to be consistant, give it time, make it a lifestyle and not a short term fix. You need to love yourself enough to nourish you mind, body and soul and most of all, you cannot compare your body or your progress to anyone elses and you cannot worry about what anyone else thinks..."

FOOK everyone else... Noone freaking cares. They are all concerned with their own stuff as we are ours. I want to work on myself. I want to exercise, so that I FEEL like a Spice Girl or Beyonce or Lena Dunham or Bette Middler. So that I feel like all those women I find enchanting, fascinating, powerful and sexy as hell. If I am round the pool in Ibiza and my boob falls out my bikini whilst I dance badly to some Ibiza tuuuunes, I shant worry if onlookers will approve of said saggy boob or not. I shall carry on with my two step and tuck that baby right back in, and by the time I have done that, said onlooker will be scratching his ball bag, flexing his guns and chatting himself up in his reflection in the pool. 

So it turns out, personal training is personally training me to look at things differently, with more empathetic eyes... So throw out the scales, eat those profiteroles, pull up those snazzy Mr Motivator cycling shorts and do some dead-lifts-for you and only you. And get a glimpse in the mirror whilst your looking bad arse with some dumbbells, take a mental snap shot and bottle that feeling right up... 

 Checking to see if I still have feet?

Checking to see if I still have feet?

Harry Potter and the Douche bag in the bar...

 My awkward face as the douche bag has his funny banter...

My awkward face as the douche bag has his funny banter...

So,  when you're lucky enough to say you were in a major movie franchise; that you got to be on the the cover of Vanity Fair aged sixteen and you had lunch with the likes of Daniel Radcliffe and Alan Rickman. The fact that you were directed by the same guy that directed Robin Williams and another who went on to win an Oscar for Gravity; you partied with the guy that played Willow for Christ sake and you even got to have a scene with Kenneth Branagh... you look back and kick yourself that you took it all for granted. That history was made, you were a part of it and you never really cottoned on. 

I never really understood the magnitude of being part of such a massive movie.  It was my first propper role, but I dint get to do too much. I flew on a broomstick a lot, sat in the great hall even more and then twiddled my thumbs in a trailer even more. I was fifteen when I got the part of Angelina Johnson by doing cart wheel sand rolly polleys in the audition. Chris Columbus pointed at a few of us and said... 'You're my Quidditch team' I'd never read Harry Potter and I had no idea what that meant and that it was going to be what it ended up being. Even after I had finished filming the third film I had no idea it was what it was.    

When I look back, I wonder how different things would be if I had been able to do the forth film. There were rumours (when I say rumours I mean one forum on IMDB) floating about that I had been sacked. For looking too young, looking too short, getting too old to continue playing Angelina. It would be far more interesting to say I had been fired for throwing a TV out of the window of the Marriot hotel where we stayed on location. But as it turned out, I was offered the forth film whilst I was shooting a kids TV series, The Mysti show. It clashed, and that was that. They replaced me with Chelsea from eastenders and the rest is history.  

You do not anticipate, after being part of such a popular film, the lovely comments you get when people find out you were in it. The fan mail that you receive, the doors it opened in terms of auditions, the things people ask you to sign (an orange) and the questions people ask time and time again. How much did you get paid? Was Daniel nice? Did you have any lines? 

And you stand in a bar that you currently work in to pay the rent, whilst you still go after your goals, whilst you continue to dream big, and someone says 'Oh wow you were in Harry Potter... acting went well then?' and they laugh at their funny funny banter. They are funny. So very funny. Of course. They have just said something that noone has ever said before, that is so terribly, did I mention, funny. 

You stand grinning a massive grin. You make an even funnier joke back about spending all of your money on Star Wars memorabilia and jumpers for your pet snake(I did not) and you walk away slightly off kilter. They can't understand? Why you couldn't retire after three films or why you aren't stroking your tiger (insert rude joke here) whilst bathing in a bath of hundred dollar bills. They can't understand why you are working in a bar! You can't understand how you are either. It's not that you object to hard work, or boring work (well, OK, you sort of do) but you do what you have to do, but there is something that jabs at your ego, because of course you wish it had lead to more movies, more TV shows, more boxes ticked.

So when I get home, feeling uneasy and get into my onesie and into bed, I expect that I get that massive, tight lump in my throat. The one that feels like a golf ball and I let my face screw up like a cats bum hole and cry deep, hard tears. You let yourself because it's OK to admit that you don't want that to be your claim to fame, your one chance at a break. It's OK to admit that you are shitting yourself that all the dreams you have, be it acting or writing, or being a Spice Girl, won't come true. It's OK to wonder, what if the universe isn't on your side? What if things don't go in your favour? What if you don't progress, learn, inspire, grow? I have that moment of doubt. Am I meant to dream big? What if you dream big and nothing happens except life passes you by and you have spent all of your time dreaming big and you miss it completely? Should I just change my path in favour of a nine to five and a good pay cheque every month? What am I meant to do? You're allowed to have a moment and ask all of these questions because you're human. So after I share all these fears with the one person that gets it and knows me, I blow my nose (a few times) take deep breaths and then snuggle in bed and sleep. 

The next morning when listening to some answers from an interview I did with Becky Walsh. (Someone who helped me get over my fear and just get on with the things I wanted to do) I asked her if she had always dreamed big. She said she ended up choosing logical, practical paths rather than always dreaming bigger. She then mentioned how she used to live with Simpon Pegg and Nick Frost and how Simon always talked about the fact that he would write a sit-com one day and put Nick Frost in it. Becky said she always had a slight doubt. 'Would it really happen?' She mentions how years later she was at the bus stop and a bus rode past with Simon and Nicks massive faces on it advertising 'Paul.' She says it was and still is the biggest reminder to 'dream big' always

I am inclined to believe that working in a bar, aged thirty, isn't a sign of stepping back, but of the fact that you're still hanging on in there, chipping away, taking small steps at a time. Following goals that aren't the mainstream,  means that it might take a little longer. It's OK that your working a Wednesday night and want to shove a fork in the customers nostrils.

If nothing else you can say that age sixteen you got to fly on a broomstick in the Gryffindor team and be a part of something so surreal that you have to pinch yourself (or check your IMDB) to make sure it really did happen. 

Why not you? Why not you to live the life you always imagined.