i’ve officially been A Graduate (*vom*) for two whole months, and things have definitely not gone as planned. wide eyed and naive, eighteen year old me, full of hope and optimism about my dazzling career to come, would be horrified to hear that just a few days ago i was hunched over on the floor of a changing room, picking up a presumably used tissue. oh the glamour of a minimum wage, maximum boredom contract.
of course i should probably be careful about which aspects of my new job i choose to share online, as i don’t want to reveal too much and risk getting myself and others in trouble. the dilemma of how much to share is something i’ve been contemplating during my many, many hours of unemployment and seemingly endless trips to the job centre this summer. to post or not to post: that is the question. while i’m sure old billy shakespeare didn’t lose sleep over his instagram aesthetic or his ever-decreasing follower count, i certainly have in the three years since i created my account.
having reached the stage where i genuinely feel like instagram is ruining my life, i now limit myself to just a few minutes a day in which i power through my stories and go on a mass-liking spree before logging quickly out. in a heightened state of loneliness – reflected in the first draft of this post which I wrote at 3am; i feel like my emotions are always more intense during the middle of the night – i can’t help but compare my life to the people i follow, despite knowing that they too are projecting a false image by only posting positive instances from their lives. i’m fully aware that it’s not just me who feels like this – a quick google search of “social media” and “depression” combined reveals the negative impact sites like instagram are having on our collective psyche, and yet i still find myself drowning under a wave of self-loathing as i look through my feed at 2am. i feel like part of the problem though, as i too only post when things are good. for the most part, i lurk without revealing my innermost thoughts – that’s what twitter is for – though perhaps this is better than sharing my every negative thought – of which there are many – as popular youtuber dodie clark discovered when she faced a recent backlash of people who accused her of glamorising mental illness on instagram, no less (her responses can be watched here and here).
it feels like my perception of what’s “real” has been seriously skewed in the last few weeks/months/years, with constructed reality shows like made in chelsea and keeping up with the kardashians dominating popular culture, though somewhat shamefully I’ve been enjoying their latest spin-off, life of kylie which, as the name suggests, gives viewers a deeper look at the youngest kardashian-jenner. it’s been funny and depressing in equal measure because despite having millions in the bank, kylie too seems to struggle with loneliness as she struggles to work out which friends are really there for her and which ones are just there for the fame. it’s hard to know who’s being genuine when we all hide behind the beloved dog filter; now available on instagram, though i’ve yet to use it myself for fear of being deemed basic, or the latest phrase, “bedgy”.
as much as i’d love to just delete my accounts, my crippling sense of FOMO and desire to keep up with what my uni friends are doing now that we’re not spending three nights a week in the nearest bar keep me logged in and aimlessly scrolling; i dread to think how many hours of my life have been spent on instagram. add to that the fact that it’s s basically become a more aesthetically pleasing version of linkedin, reflecting their (*double vom*) “personal brand” is now the primary concern of bloggers the world over, and even i feel the need to restrict the number of drunk selfies or self depreciating rants i post online for fear of a future employer finding that as opposed to my portfolio which showcases some of the work i’ve done over the last few years.
speaking of youtubers and bloggers, i’ve found myself becoming increasingly irritated with their complaints about what a hard job they have - try working sixteen hours each weekend and dealing with rude customers while trying to get your journalism career off the ground (though seeing my first article for manchester confidentials on their website was a good feeling). of course their workload – and mine – are nothing when compared to those who work tirelessly as doctors and police officers. sitting in front of a camera putting on eye shadow and travelling the world on trips paid for by whichever brand is sponsoring you to say a few words about their latest product just isn’t the same as performing life-saving surgery or solving a murder case.
i’m only just discovering how exhausting it is to work after three years of watching the real housewives of cheshire hungover in bed and attending a maximum of two seminars a week; it’s safe to say university does not prepare one for the harsh reality of Adult Life. as predicted, i find myself missing it because despite the stress, things did seem easier just a few months ago when i was putting together my final project and deciding what to wear for graduation. (side note: my certificate arrived a few weeks ago and after looking at it (bitterly, as i still feel i deserved a first and was only three marks off an A) for a total of two seconds, i put it in my desk drawer where it will remain, untouched for another three years.)
adjusting to being back at home after three years in/near london hasn’t been easy either. during my time away i had experiences i never thought possible coming from a tiny place in the north; from being in an actual music video to interviewing a designer whose dress was worn by lady gaga. it’s silly of me to complain because the whole point of me moving away was so i could have these experiences, but as naive as i was back then i never for a second contemplated the idea that i would find myself wanting to move back home at the end of it all. without sounding like a snob, now that i've seen what’s possible in london, it makes it harder to be back home because i’m fully aware that experiences like that are a lot less likely to happen in manchester.
for now i’m determined to make it work and hope that my experience at the confidentials will lead to something amazing, but if not then i fear i may end up contradicting my belief that you don’t need to be in london to Make It™ and start looking at jobs there if i’m to seriously become A Writer or reach the coveted “editorial position” seventeen year old me discussed in my personal statement. i realise that i need to give myself more credit though, as moving away and surviving uni is an achievement in itself, and i’m only 21 (nearly 22!) and still have time to figure out what the hell i’m doing. seeing my favourite vice writer announce the news that he’s releasing a book next year shows me that it is possible, as he too comes from a small town in the midlands.
i’m also hoping my motivation to update this blog more often will return, as i’ve got a notebook full of ideas but lack the energy to write and feel like it’s all been done before. i’ve had this feeling before though, and am certain it will pass eventually because writing is something i feel the need to do, and it’s all i’ve ever wanted ever since i was a kid and used to write and illustrate my own “books”. somehow this blog is two years old today and maintaining it has now become a priority of mine as i realise just how male-dominated the world of music journalism is. one piece of writing that particularly irked me was this review of harry styles’ latest album, in which the (male) writer said that “some people should calm down a bit in their efforts to convince the public that it’s all right to listen to music made by a one-time manufactured pop idol" - catch me trying to do the exact opposite and get people to take pop music seriously.
it’s clear that men like him have no emotional connection to the music of harry or one direction, and consider bob fucking dylan the pinnacle of Real Music, and i want my blog to be the exact opposite. i want to continue to combine my personal experiences with my love of pop music, because as my beloved matty healy said in this interview (which i've watched so many times i practically know every word), if something isn’t personal to me, there’s no point in writing it. this post from witchsong – whom i sorely miss – continues to remind me why i write; turning shitty experiences into stories other people can hopefully relate to. if i had such power, i would ban all middle aged men from writing about pop music. the majority of this music is made by and for women, and i want more writing like this. i want to hear about how melodrama fixed a young girl’s broken heart, how halsey’s bisexual anthem helped that same girl accept herself, and how one direction’s incredible fan base made her feel at home when no-one else did.
so to conclude; the blog will continue to be updated as frequently as my mental health allows, and the mission remains the same; share with anyone who’ll listen the transformative power of screaming along to bonnie tyler as dawn breaks, and legitimising the experiences of the young women and girls that pop music was made for.