There’s a lot to feel grateful for right now. I’m grateful for the roof over my head, the food on my table and the husband who adorns my side. I’m grateful for my body even with it’s chronic illnesses, my mind – even if it is torturous at times, my family (who I miss so much) and my life as I know it. I’m grateful to our emergency services, the front line workers, anyone keeping this country afloat. I’m grateful to be alive – and yes, even more so at this time.
I probably should have re-started this blog with a hello, before I got into being a bit deep, eh?
I guess that’s just me. I’ve never really been one to skirt around the truth, to fluff up and bullshit my way through life. I’ve never not been an empath. I’m about to turn thirty-one, and I’ve never been so sure of myself. Sure, I’m vulnerable – just like you. I had finally succumbed to the demons that issue rent in my brain and actually gone to therapy properly this year – but the universe had other plans for my personal progress on that front. I too, am struggling with this situation and mourning the loss of life within my ‘bubble’ of existence. But if I am anything, I am always forever grateful.
I think it’s really important to reintroduce yourself when you start a fresh page. Not to dwell on the past however, but to remind both reader and writer who you are, what you stand for – and more importantly – how far you’ve come. So, for clarity – hello. I’m Zoe. I live just outside of East London (the just is the part I cling onto when I miss the familiar rumble of the Piccadilly line shaking my bedroom) and in 2018 I got married to my best friend, George. We live in a sort of half up half down split level adequately sized two bed maisonette which we purchased in 2018. You could say it was a pretty hectic year, yup. We adopted a rescue dog in January who we renamed Buckley – funnily enough his original name in Cyprus was actually ‘Rocket’, that of which is our married surname – and he’s been the glue that’s moulded this family home during this very strange time.
I started writing a blog back in 2010, mostly because I absolutely hated my job, university course, awful old mouldy flat above a restaurant in Clapham and my general lack of money as a student – as a form of escapism. By blogging about things as banal as MAC eyeshadows, I felt a disconnect with the crushing disappointment that was my life, up at 6am for my 7am shift in a job where I could never afford all the MAC eyeshadows I wanted. Never stopped me dreaming though. I generally struggled with money for so long that I got so used to lusting after things on the internet, knowing I may never own them. I mean, I still do that now. But I got lucky. I started a blog at the right time and suddenly brands I loved – like MAC – knew my name, and wanted to talk to me. I’ve never got over that.
I guess writing it out on paper makes it real, and I’ve never really confronted myself head on about how proud, how grateful, how happy I am for my past self writing a blog and opening this little positive can of worms that changed my life forever. But I am. I really am. I know it can be easy to look at bloggers with fancy things in fancy houses and think, damn it must be easy for those influencers all being rich. But I’m not rich, I never have been rich and I’m not one of those people who did this as a sort of frivolity vanity project. I come from a small family home, where we were taught to work for everything we wanted. I worked my first job aged 15, clearing tables in a cafe. I got paid absolutely pennies. Whenever I wanted anything, I had to work for it. I had to work hard for it. For a long time in my mid-twenties, I often made the choice between buying enough ‘proper’ dinner (read: not just garlic bread) for the week, or buying a travelcard to go into London and network for my up and coming blog. You don’t wanna know how many times I just ate garlic bread. But I did it because I had fire in my belly. I had the drive to want to make a better life for myself. I never wanted to sit and let circumstance happen around me.
And that leads me to now. The gratefulness I have for everything in my life at this point – mostly from the grind I put in previously. I guess the long hours, terrible jobs, nights spent in tears of exhaustion when I was younger were just prep for emergencies like this. They always say you should save for a rainy day – but I don’t actually believe that. I think you should work, spend, work, live. You should really, live. Live every single day. Use that nice bag, don’t save that dress for best. Pop on that lipstick that cost too much but you knew you had to have it on a whim in the Selfridges Beauty Hall that one time. Book that plane ticket. Actually – maybe hold on that last one for now..
Because really if this has taught us anything, it’s that life waits for no one. But if I can tell you anything, is that being grateful for everything you have every day makes a substantial difference. I’m not saying that those born into a life of privilege aren’t grateful – I know plenty who are. But being very poor, depressed, living in a mice-infested property in the bad part of London with no money to afford proper dinner teaches you a life lesson you will never forget. So, I guess with that in mind – I’m Zoe. I don’t bullshit about anything. I won’t sell you lies for cheap ads. I won’t ever sell you something I’d never use myself. I’ll never make you feel bad about yourself. I’m just an average 30-something, with a wanderlust tendency, her head in the clouds and her sink still full of the hair dye she probably should have grown out of by now. What I do know is I don’t live my life worrying about what others think of me. I often think I don’t really belong in this ‘influencer’ bubble, but I just kinda ended up right in the middle of it.
On my desk sits a mantra that I’ve looked at every day for the last four years. It says simply:
Expect nothing, appreciate everything.
I think that just about sums me up. Welcome to my new blog, it’s a pleasure to have you.