My wonderfully pessimistic predictions were unfortunately and gloriously spot-on. When I went to uni for the first time, I was terribly naive. I quickly fell into a happy routine with a big group of friends, which I guess in some respects was kind of lucky. In reality, it took me too long to realise how destructive that was. I didn't fall in with the 'wrong crowd' exactly, I just fell into the crowd which was completely wrong for me. In a terrifyingly short amount of time I lost myself entirely. I forgot I cared about art, poetry, jazz music and literature, I lost my desire to adventure, investigate and be educated. I lost my silver. All I cared for was achieving barely passable grades, going out clubbing and getting with the fittest member of the rugby team. I shudder when I remember what became of me over that year. But still, like those horrendous X Factor auditions, I believe it needed to happen for me to be who I am now.
The extraordinary events, in fact, had nothing to do with my time at the university itself - quite the fact that made me seriously consider dropping out toward the end of the year. So, here goes. The first event happened in May 2012....
Years ago, I met my step-cousin for the first time at a family Christmas gathering. Her name was Sarah and she was an avid writer and theatre lover - naturally we got on like a house on fire. She said she'd been in London during the day researching for this new novel she'd started. Years on, in April 2012, I was talking to my Dad when he mentioned that after all these years, Sarah's book had been published. I couldn't believe it, all those years ago it'd seemed like a moderately interesting project at best, now here she was, a published writer in my family! Then, my Dad said something which really caught my attention, "They're looking to make it into a film you know.."
In true Katie style, I snapped up her book asap, read the shit out of it and got straight online to email her. After an exchange of a few grateful and reminiscing emails, I stopped, poised at my keyboard and thought for a moment. I could just ask her about the movie. I could just put my fingers to the keys and just ask her... what did I have to lose? So my fingers began, "I know this is going to seem a little upfront and possibly a bit presumptuous, Sarah, but... I have such great dreams..." and just like that, I flat out just asked her if I can be in her movie.
I felt a little bit of a naughty thrill when I sent it - what a rebelliously bold thing for me to do! But I figured, if you don't ask in life, you don't get. I've sat back my whole life, expecting my dreams to just somehow happen around me, and look where that's got me. That was the first time I made the conscious decision to start fighting for what I want. But I knew it wasn't going to be easy, so I forced myself to retain a certain sense of pessimistic realism, and to not even expect a response, and it slipped my mind for a while. A few weeks later, I logged into my emails and saw a response from Sarah. With anticipation, I opened it...
"When I met you that Christmas, the thing I remember most is the way in which you talked with such passion about the things you cared about. The most notable for me was how you talked about the theatre. I know what it feels like to have your dream come true, it's just happened for me. And for me now to be in that position to do that for you... well I'd be honoured." and with it, she said she'd find out the dates of the casting for the directors, and get me an audition at least.
I felt like running round and screaming down the street. I'd taken a chance, thrown down a wild card in case fate was on my side... and it'd paid off. At the end of the email she'd attached an invitation for me to attend her novel launch, which was held in the Jean Paul Gaultier flagship store in Chelsea. I think I genuinely trembled for about two straight hours.
Before this post gets wildly out of control with me going into pointless digression, I shall make a point to say I'm going to attempt to paraphrase the ensuing events because I could rattle on about this forever.
So, I went to the book launch with my friend Sam. That was when I got my first deliciously addictive taste of what it feels like to 'make it'. The store was absolutely stunning, filled with champagne, high class socialites, fur coats and people calling each other darling. As soon as I stepped in and a pretty little thing took my coat, a photographer emerged from the crowd with a glaring flashbulb and took my photo and my name. I blown away, absolutely fascinated by everyone and everything that was going on around me, absorbing every inch of my surroundings so I wouldn't forget what it felt like. The room was so full of silver, I could feel it like a mist in the air.
"Pretty impressive, huh?" an American voice said behind me. I turned to find a small middle-aged Asian man in a tuxedo standing next to me with a copy of the novel tucked under his arm. I smiled and remarked about how incredible it all was. "Did you get your photo taken by the way?" He asked. I smiled saying that I had and asked if he knew what the photos was for. He laughed and replied "They're for Epicurean Life Magazine. I should know, I own it."
I think I shall end on that note before this post gets boringly long. But stayed tuned. There is so, so much more to come. (I myself didn't quite realise just how much I had to say!)
|(In red) Sam and I in Epicurean Life Magazine.|