Whilst 'a year and forty seven days' may seem like a pretty inconspicuous amount of time to most people. To me, that year and forty seven days is exactly the amount of time since I wrote my first blog. Since I began masquerading as a 'blogger'. That blog which I titled 'A New Stage' and posted on the 10th June 2017 is still something I think about often. It's a brilliant documentation of where I was at that point in time and more importantly, where I WANTED to go. And what is quite remarkable is looking back and thinking of 'June 2017' Beth and what she might think of 'July 2018' Beth and what she's managed to achieve in the past year and despite there definitely being highs and lows, I can honestly say, I think she'd be pretty chuffed with how it's all worked out.
So I thought it would be interesting to look back to that blog, linked here for reference, and have a look at my 'three objectives' and what I wanted to do with this last gap year and give this blog a little update on where my life is headed.
I wanted to travel.
This is an easy one to tick off the list as a success as the reason for the surplus of 'forty seven days' to this 'blog anniversary' post is due to my whereabouts on the 10th June this year. I've just arrived home from the absolute trip of a lifetime (which as a phrase, pisses me off slightly because it implies that I will never have a trip like this AGAIN which I am absolutely NOT ok with) and it's taken the majority of this year to save up for. Me and my boyfriend Jacob travelled across the States and Canada for five weeks, setting off in May and honestly had the most incredible experience. We absolutely made the most of all the amazing places we got to visit which ranged from beautiful Banff out in the Canadian Rockies to bustling New York City. The trip we planned ourselves was entirely tailored to us and though we were pretty ambitious with our plans, everything worked out wonderfully and all our hard work paid off. We also visited Barcelona in September and Dublin in January for a few days and got to experience more cultures a little closer to home before the big leap to our amazing adventure this summer.
Mark my words though, I WILL live in Canada someday. The mesmerising diversity and tranquility of the place is so ridiculously attractive for all aspects of life and I absolutely fell head over the heels in love with the place, just like Jacob did when he travelled there two years ago and promised to take me back when we met. So, it's a given that I'm satisfied with my fulfilment of the first objective. We got AROUND this year and had the best time doing it. However it's worth noting though, that to achieve the funds for such adventures, a lot of my time this year was taken up with a lot of hard graft to get out there but I am quite proud of that and absolutely ok with it.
I wanted to perform.
This is a weird one as when I first looked back on this blog last week, my mind went a bit blank. As upon immediate reflection, this past year has not been filled with as much theatre and performance opportunities as I may have hoped for or at least as much as pervious years have been. However I was then reminded of the shifts and changes that have occurred in that time and realised that despite clearly addressing the fact that I was still so NOT READY for drama school back in June last year, that must have changed pretty drastically over last summer as I’ve since spent the following months with my head firmly stuck in audition mode and then I remembered that I also had my first professional theatre job playing Maid Marian in the York Barbican pantomime over Christmas so really it’s not been as bad as I first thought!
So drama school.
How did that go then? Well after having literally ten days between the twenty one day pantomime run and my first audition in London, I spent the majority of my time, once comfortable in my, often two or three show day, routine learning my lines to ‘Hermione’s trial speech from Shakespeare’s ‘The Winter’s Tale’. What followed were several bitter first round rejections. I was lucky this year to have several other friends auditioning which is kind of a blessing and a curse as though there are added pressures with that, with most of us going for a similar selection of schools, some getting further than others etc, during these periods of time it’s accepted that you often become a brittle shell of your former yourself; constantly regurgitating speeches, desperately trying to remain hopeful despite frequent dismissal, probably a lot of self doubt and questioning why me/why NOT me, and generally just being unable to think/ talk of little else. In these times, it’s nice to have people who are on the same page and going through the same shit and my GOD am I grateful for all the gorgeous friends I have ranted/cried/laughed with over the past year. I’m sure you absolutely know who you are and know how much I love you.
So after all this, given the fact I applied way back in October, come April I finally started getting somewhere. After managing to get through the recall stages at both London’s Guildhall School of Music and Drama and the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts and what I calculated to be about five separate trips down to London and three to Liverpool, whilst at the same time frantically working my butt off for our trip, I found out in May I had been successful in gaining a place at LIPA. A school I absolutely fell for the minute I first set foot into the building. A school focused on maximising the versatility of their performers with the ethos of providing fantastic training to 'Performers and those who make Performance Possible', something I entirely have respect for as being surrounded by undergraduates in all aspects of the industry can only be beneficial and it's just ridiculously cool.
Yep, I’m going to bloody drama school! And regarding what I rambled on about back in my first blog last year, I have never felt more ready and I am so ridiculously grateful for what I have learned about the industry but mostly just LIFE in the past two years since I left school and I still strongly recommend taking that time before further eduction because now I know that come September, I am so ready to give it my ALL. It's a comforting to finally have some clarity of what the next stage of my life will look like and have a clear goal for the next three years. For now, I have a path and I'm very much looking forward to seeing where that leads.
I wanted to achieve.
Well after the brutal audition process, there’s a funny story from the final recall day at LIPA where I was actually sent home by accident and obviously was GUTTED and then received a phone call ten minutes later asking me where I was for my interview- as you can imagine it was NOT funny at the time but in retrospect, maybe. After all that, attaining my place was probably what I regard as my biggest achievement this year. However since I wasn’t really even considering that when I made these objectives last year, I wanted to review all the other little things I set out to achieve over the past twelve months.
Some of the things I mentioned in my last blog, I have achieved, like finally watching all six seasons of Game of Thrones and working on my photography. Some of them I haven’t like finishing writing my play or working on my dance but thats ok because I can just add those to the list for this year’s objectives!
Some of the things I have done this year though weren’t even an idea last June. I have started my own little business. Well two actually. One actually is photography so thats another tick. The other is ‘Magical Memories’, my princess entertainment business, which really is as much fun as it sounds. I started working for a cracking fella named Josh Benson who later became a good friend of mine a couple of years ago, occasionally being Elsa at kid’s parties for him and I loved it. When Josh moved to London to make his west end debut, I asked him if he wouldn’t mind if I started my own and to my delight, he’s helped me every step of the way. He’s a mint guy that Josh Benson. But it’s coming up to a year now and I’m currently holding auditions to expand the business in York and also over to Liverpool. I’m about to spend August with my own princess carriage at Wensleydale Railway and have already secured gigs as far as December this year and though I still definitely have a lot to learn and a long way to go with my little venture, I’m so proud of myself and all my fantastic princesses I’ve had the pleasure of having work for me so far. It is something I’d very much like to nurture for the future as a sideline income when I pursue acting full time after training.
My photography has definitely improved too as I now frequently shoot with fellow Yorkshire actors, dancers and bloggers and have established another tiny little source of income to support myself throughout and beyond my years at LIPA.
Another thing I’m proud of is this blog. In particular my series ‘Deeds Not Words’; Women Who Inspire in the Arts and Politics’. Through the orchestration of the series that I feel I haven’t even yet scraped the tip of the iceberg with yet, I have already had the pleasure of meeting and interviewing so many fantastic women who have taught me a lot about the industry and I’m made some fantastic friends along the way. My main objective for next year however is slightly contradictory as though I would like to make a resolution to be more frequent with posting and create a consistent writing platform, I also need to learn not to put so much pressure on myself. With so many projects going on simultaneously I often get stuck in my own head a little and get upset if I don’t achieve everything all at once.
So the final thing I’m proud of and my final objective for improving even further this coming year is the understanding of my own mental health and the things that help me, help myself. I’ve had some pretty bad days in the past twelve months, despite all the good days, but I do feel a lot more aware of my own state of mind than I did on the 10th June last year. Back then I would often get annoyed with myself if I’d have a lapse of productivity and then spiral into being a giant useless blob and just retreat from everything and everyone for a few days. However since then I have learned to forgive myself a little if I have a day where I just don’t feel like doing anything. Though it can be difficult to switch off when you work for yourself and are constantly thinking up new projects etc, sometimes you just gotta watch Netflix for a day or paint a picture or just fucking sleep for 16 hours straight. Sometimes that’s just as important and its honestly vital to let yourself have that time to just do nothing. No matter how long your ‘To Do’ list gets, what has to be the number one priority is your health and happiness.
And there are so many things that make me happy outside of all that. I have the most incredible people in my life that honestly make me smile every single day. Some brilliant friends I couldn't live without. A family who supports me every step of the way and the most wonderful dude in my life I could ever wish for. My thirteen year old crush somehow became the most important person in my life and what’s cool is he also made me extremely proud by getting in to LIPA too, he's a drummer, (COOL, I KNOW) and we get to live out this crazy fantasy life for the next three years and live together in our own little place in our favourite city.
So that’s it really.
I really didn’t mean for this to just be me blowing my own trumpet for three pages but sometimes a little reflection and giving yourself a pat on the back isn’t a bad thing. Give it a try yourself sometime.
And now here I am, as usual in a little coffee shop, tapping away, in a weird lapse of time in between the big ‘once in a lifetime’ trip and moving in with my gorgeous boyfriend to start our new life in Liverpool.