Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Homecoming


There’s a sweet little irony in only realising where you were going wrong in something, once you come to the end. A kind of long-awaited clarity where, with a deep 'Ohhh', the reason for all that was senseless suddenly makes complete sense. A certain kind of epiphany, I like to think, you only achieve when it's time

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

On Writing Whatever You Want, Whenever You Can


I suppose it never really occurred to me that 2016 wasn't supposed to be my best year.

Maybe I'm an optimist, or perhaps it's something a little darker; a constant one-upmanship we are driven by daily as if our past selves are our present selves' competitors. Because what's the point in moving if you're not moving forward, right? It's funny how we read back to ourselves a narrative that's a millisecond ahead of our daily lives, trying to piece together what it all means so we might, too, be able to discern meaningful shapes in the mist of a foggy future.  

I'd forgotten it was simpler than that.

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Why We're Too Scared to Admit When We're Vulnerable


"We like recovery stories to move quickly through the dark so we can get to the sweeping redemptive ending."

- Brené Brown, Rising Strong

A curious quirk about the nature of blogging, I've come to realise, is that the story never ends. 

As writers, social mediacs, online diary keepers, one day we begin to write our story and we never stop. We start from what we perceive to be the beginning, or perhaps languish in regaling the tales of our childhoods and our former selves which all contributed in some way to make up who we are now, the person behind the fingertips above the keyboard. And while some may quit, give up or just forget they ever started telling it, that story doesn't end until we do. 

Monday, 11 July 2016

Book Review: Ctrl, Alt; Delete - Emma Gannon


'I learned that you cannot speak on other people's behalf, but you can share your own truth and listen to other people's. Because there are a lot of young women who need to be listened to.'
- Emma Gannon, Ctrl, Alt; Delete

It's a mild Thursday afternoon. I'm sat alone in a rattling train carriage speeding through a countryside smudged with streaks of amber and olive, and in a passionate flourish I suddenly snap the book shut on the table before me. How, my mind asks, more statement than question. How can she possibly know that?

Monday, 20 June 2016

12 Powerful Quotes from 'The Art of Asking'


Okay, I really need to tell you about The Art of Asking, because I'm pretty sure it's changed my life forever. 

I picked this up about a year ago after being recommended, and totally adoring, Amanda Palmer's TED Talk of the same name. In 14 minutes, she offered a beautiful and powerfully thought-provoking range of stories, thoughts and ideas of how artists and creators can navigate successfully in the digital age, and I was hooked, buying the book instantly. But only now have I managed to work through my mammoth reading list to get to it, and it feels like absolute serendipity at how well timed it seemed to be. 

In short, this book has blown my mind. 

Saturday, 11 June 2016

Why 'Just Be Yourself' is the Worst Advice Ever


Self-discovery is one of the most unique aspects of intelligent life. 

Some dedicate their lives to it, some use it to fuel their art, some have even made a fortune telling their own story of it.

It's always baffled me that we are born with a dedicated thought-organ, able to decipher complex logical, mathematical, and critical issues, yet fundamentally unable to understand itself. That, thinking about your brain is almost a paradox. That, a system designed to home consciousness, knowledge, awareness and intelligence... doesn't know how or why. 

Saturday, 4 June 2016

Where I've Been


Oh boy. To put it simply, this has been a sore month. 

I didn't even realise I'd been more or less radio silent online until someone bought it to my attention on Twitter. I probably would've gone an entire month in silence if I'd not been required to publish the post from Lanzarote. But I'm really glad I did that. Sometimes the stuff we really don't want to do ends up being the best thing we could've done. 

Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Ten Bloggers Sent to a Desert Island


You know, when I received the email in my inbox, before I even opened it, I actually took a screenshot ready to post some 'relatable lols' about how PR emails always look like they're inviting you somewhere, 'til you open it and it's just some let down infographic or another.

That's why tugging my suitcase across the marble floor of Birmingham International two weeks later felt more than *a little* surreal. I never ever would have dreamt it could actually be real. And for perhaps the millionth time in my life, as I flashed a nervous grin and handed over my passport at the Thomas Cook Airlines check-in desk, I wondered what on earth I was actually doing there, and why in god's name out of every single person on the internet, I'd been chosen.

Friday, 13 May 2016

The Filler Episodes of Life



I cannot tell you the relief I feel to watch this thick layer of frost begin to thaw and trickle over each and every inch of my warming skin. 



I've been in hibernation for months now, numb, subdued, and trying to work out where to go from here when the future is an enigma, the present a frustration, and the only thing that ever seemed to be remarkable, my past. 

How are you ever meant to follow the most incredible thing you've ever done?

Sunday, 24 April 2016

6 People Who Make My Internet A Better Place


I think I become disenfranchised by social media on a weekly basis. I swear if I vocalised every time inner me threw up her arms and said 'That's it, I'm out, I'm deleting all my accounts!' my entire content feed would just be a steady stream of nothing else.

It just seems to take little more than perhaps 5 minutes of scrolling through Twitter or Instagram these days before seeing something that makes me eye-roll, cringe or simply despair. And I don't like being that person, because it's not always the bad news that makes me do it.

But I've slowly grown to learn that it's not necessarily 'the internet's fault, it's the internet I have chosen to view, and I think sometimes we forget that it's actually our choice who we follow and the content we see. This year I've taken an affirmative step in clearing out the crap and focusing on the stuff that make me smile, makes me hopeful and makes me inspired. And these are 6 people I am so glad exist, who just make the internet a better place.

Friday, 15 April 2016

That's Me In The Spotlight, Losing My Ambition


A few days ago I met up with an old beloved university friend, the boy that sat next to me the day I typed my first ever word of this blog over three years ago. I hadn't seen him in a long time, and even longer before that, as we'd both lived in different countries and met many faces since. 

We ate Vietnamese food and shared some beers, but after a while he looked me deep in the eye, with a crinkle of concern between his eyebrows, and said; "What's happened to you, Katie?"

Usually I'd protest vehemently with the ferocity of someone having their authenticity questioned, but I knew exactly what he was referring to without even having to ask, and I remained silent for a moment before shrugging and replying, "It's been a long time."

And then he looked at me in a way that made me mad, because he silently told me that the person I was before, was better. That to him, I had changed for the worse.

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

One Night in Copenhagen Airport


I'd waited in the departures hall for 2 hours already, terrified of missing my flight after the Irish girl I'd met over the weekend had explained the series of disastrous events which had lead to her missing hers. 

All the gates for the next 20 flights had been listed already, and the blank gap next to mine glared menacingly empty as the clock fast approached take off time. I was exhausted, shifting my weight from foot to foot as a rising anxiety began to creep from my stomach. 

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

More Than Just Fertility - Talking Ageism With Jo Cruse



Truly nothing excites me more in life, than observing another human being - perhaps across the room,  perhaps on a stage, perhaps half-obscured and wrapped up in conversations with other people - but someone who is simply dazzles.


Not long ago, I wrote about 'The Quarter Club',  a female-empowering event I attended with Emma recently,  and there was one person in particular there who shone like a beacon for me. Not only from the speech she made, but the unapologetic fearlessness with which she confessed to having screwed up her whole life... but bounced back from it. I knew I simply had to hear more from her, so as the evening drew to a close, I propelled myself across the room toward her to insist we meet for coffee. Because there was one thing in particular that I felt compelled to discuss with her, and felt sure there was no-one on earth who could ease my worries like she could.

Why is it, that a woman feels so much pressure to have all her shit together by 30? Why do we feel that once we hit 20, we're on a ticking clock to make it - whatever that means to us - or we've failed forever? Why are we told to be afraid of the big 3-0, as if after that, we women have no use, value, or purpose?

Monday, 7 March 2016

Top 10 Most Life-Changing Quotes from 'Vivienne Westwood'

"I guess my greatest inspirations at the moment are anything to do with pop culture of the 60's and 70's," I replied to kind folks of the Willoughby Book Club when they asked what kind of books I'm into. "Especially musical memoirs. I loved Clothes, Music, Boys by Viv Albertine for the reveries of punk rock London, and LOVED Just Kids by Patti Smith for the wistful nostalgia of love and art in New York City."

A week later, a hefty, beautifully wrapped green parcel was dropped through my letterbox. I unwrapped it with curious glee to find a hand-written inscription reading 'This book belongs to Katie Oldham' inside possibly the greatest gift I'd ever received.

"Well," I said holding up my new copy of Vivienne Westwood's memoir. "Looks like they've absolutely bloody nailed it."

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

The One Where She Finally Realises It's Not All About Her


I could sit down and explain all of the epiphanies and inspirations which have instigated what I'm about to say and do, but I'll leave you with just this one:

'My duty is to understand. To understand the world. This is our exchange for the luck of being alive.

In the pursuit of ideas you will start to think, and that will change your life. And if you change your life, you change the world.'

- Vivienne Westwood

 *

Friday, 19 February 2016

Why I Had To Stop Being The Good Luck Girl


A few weeks ago, I wrote about the signs the universe gives you when you're doing the right thing.

And sometimes you can be completely drenched in fateful circumstance which some would call 'a streak of good luck'. But the thing about good luck is, it's exhilarating, invigorating... but completely disarming. It is a double-edged sword, blessing you with opportunity, whilst simultaneously stripping you of the belief that you’re in control. 

Because what do you do when your entire life seems to be one long thread of chance good luck?

When you are the Good Luck Girl, how can you believe anything happens by accident?

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

The Problem With Loneliness


The problem with loneliness, is that no-one likes to hear that they're not enough. 

You can't tell a friend, because they'll feel instantly inadequate. 

You can't tell a stranger, for they'll fear it's contagious. 

Friday, 12 February 2016

Learning To Smile On The Internet


The internet has known my face for nearly a decade now, but it was only a few weeks ago that I uploaded what I believe is the first ever picture of me smiling.

I actually remember my first ever internet 'profile picture'.

It was on MSN, when I must've been in about Year 8, and I have no idea where I got it from but I had this cartoon-like illustration of a girl in ripped fishnet tights and biker boots sat crying on a bench, with the words 'Where The Pretty Girls Go' written in a banner above her head. Which seems like a pretty badass move for a 13 year-old girl, but I'm almost entirely certain I'd just google image searched 'pretty girl cartoon', so.

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

I Need To Tell You About Areeba


Lately, I've been spending a lot of time thinking about the impact that young people online can have, and are having, on the world. I've had the three words 'New Human Movement' written on a post-it note stuck on my notebook for weeks, and I can't help but feel a subtle, rising power creeping from the blogosphere and beginning to seriously change the world.

Lately, I've been spending a lot of time thinking about Areeba. 

And boy, oh boy, do I need to tell you about her. 

Friday, 5 February 2016

An Evening with The Quarter Club


I have this theory, right, that the universe thinks about you all the time. 

She thinks about you, but she never made a plan for you - Her favourite people are those who make plans for themselves. And she becomes very, very fond of those who don't let those plans die. And when you’re doing good, when you’re on the right path and in the right place doing the right thing… she’ll smile and drop you a considerable amount of not-so-subtle hints to let you know it. 

And every now and then you’ll experience such an intense series of the signs, that you know the universe is actively manipulating reality right in front of you, aligning particular scenes before you and orchestrating certain people to cross your path. 

That’s what I think fate is. 

And that’s something I experienced a few weeks ago, in a little brick-walled bar beneath Waterloo train station. 

Sunday, 17 January 2016

The Return To New York City


Despite the noise, there was a silence in me as the A train finally rattled into view, the surprisingly pure and chilly air pinching my cheeks.

People clamoured around us as we sat, still, suitcases between our knees, plunging into darkness and light, darkness, light as unmemorable stations came and passed in a blur. After changing to the F train and finally rising from our subterranean corridor, it was as though a ringing in my ears echoed through my entire body, even when we surfaced and inadvertently stepped right into an elaborate and incredibly expensive-looking movie shoot, having to awkwardly weave between lighting rigs, camera tracks, and frustrated techies yammering into headsets. My surprise and joy at that only seemed to tickle a shallow part of me.

Saturday, 2 January 2016

Hello Sixteen

I've given up being cynical about celebrating the arbitrary increments in which we measure time. It's tiring always being that guy.

Yeah, having to be forcibly aware of every single person's 'New Year, New Me' crap is dull as hell, but it's harmless really.  Besides, why disregard any opportunity to reassess who you are, what you are and why you are? My mind forces me to do that every damn day anyway, so why stop now, right?