Another cup of Anxietea

Lovelies! I sincerely hope you have your beverage of choice at hand; a cup of tea, maybe an Earl Grey or perhaps a hot chocolate with marshmallows as it’s now beginning to feel cosy and autumnal.

Now whenever I take any kind of break from blogging, even if it’s just for a week I tend to apologise profusely and will sit at home wondering why I didn’t post that week… However today is a day close to a lot of our hearts (especially at the moment), World Mental Health Day. The truth is m’dears lately my absence has been due to my fluctuating mental health and I’m not embarrassed to say it; I’ve always tried to do my best not to bring the dreaded C word into the sanctuary that is my website but I think it’s absolutely fair to say that there’s a lot going on in people’s lives right now brought on by this, including my own.

Back in 2018, when my mental health truly began to affect my life “It’s ok, not to be ok” were words that I felt I needed to hear on a daily basis. Having someone to hold my hand and look me in the eye (whenever I could muster the strength to give someone eye contact, that is) tell me that it’s absolutely ok to feel the way I do and to know my feelings were valid, this may seem so simple to do and say these things and it is! When your mind feels like mush and is constantly going through so much turmoil, I can say hand on heart that it’s the littlest things that can honestly have the biggest impact on someone who is deeply struggling.

But no matter what you might be battling through, you never have to apologise and especially right now, in this moment. It’s ok.

Carrie Fisher (someone I’ve idolised for a very long time) never once shied away from the fact she suffered with mental health issues, she wore it proudly like a t-shirt and I always found this immensely courageous. It made me feel like I have never have to be ashamed or apologise, that I have struggles now and have had major struggles in the past. When you go through something that affects your mental health the way it does it’s truly life changing and it will always be a part of your story.

I had to learn and accept that my anxiety does not define who I am and allow it to be a part of the person I wanted to become, but to try and not give it the opportunity to take over my life anymore.

For me, reading Carrie Fisher’s extraordinary book Wishful Drinking was one of the most cathartic experiences I’d ever had reading an autobiography, when I’d initially read it back in 2015 it hadn’t really hit me that for most of my life I’d already been face to face with a series of mental health issues. But when things eventually came to a head for me a few years later I was brought back to that book and her immense words. In some of my darkest days, if I wasn’t brave enough to speak out to anyone I knew I could pop into that book and talk to Carrie. She was there. To quote one of her many immortal lines she tells us, “In my opinion, living with manic depression takes a tremendous amount of balls”, yes Carrie it does! I eventually got to tell her just before she passed exactly what this book means to me and how her words made such an impression; that even the thought of not getting out of bed or showering was ok, because at some point in this journey I would get through what I’m going through and it would be ok.

Darling people, if you know someone who is struggling please just be your lovely caring self and offer your support. Don’t think too hard about what to say to them; if you have no idea what to say and I understand it’s difficult being on this side of things too just message them and offer to talk, or even call them and please respect their boundaries. If it’s yourself that’s struggling and you’re reading this, I know that it’s extremely hard to reach out initially about how your feeling and it can all feel like a bit of a blur or an outer body experience, but please reach out to someone around you or contact your GP for a chat.

You are loved.

My messages are always wide open, I’m here to talk and I’m with you. It’s going to be ok.

A Momentous Occasion

Happy Sunday lovelies- now hold on to your cup of tea, this post is going to be a mushy one.

Today I’m sending love and appreciation to all the mum’s, mam’s, mummy’s, mama’s, step-mum’s, grandma’s, granny’s, nan’s and nana’s out there.

To the mother’s that we are still lucky to have here with us and those that are sadly not with us anymore, you are constantly in our thoughts.

The ladies that are celebrating their first mother’s day and the ladies who are about to join motherhood!

Not forgetting all the wonderful dads out there who are also mum.

While we should celebrate these beautiful people every day, this day in particular is dedicated to you.

My mumsy is a truly magnificent person. She’s one of those who will not stand to see anyone stuck and has a duty of care towards everyone she meets; honestly her willingness to go above and beyond for people knows no bounds!

I think it’s fair to say that she’s been there for me through times where I’ve been at my lowest, even miles apart she’s helped me get through countless panic attacks just by being on the phone (she even sent me the loveliest care package, paper bags with inspirational messages written on them!) Through teenage bullying, job losses, rejection, anxiety, going to university, moving out of my family home, feeling like a failure and a whole lot more rejection! She’s been my rock through it all and I honestly cannot thank her enough for putting up with me (aka this theatrical, dramatic emotional mess).

But through all of the hardships, we’ve also had some pretty amazing successes! One of my favourites would be seeing Fleetwood Mac together (I know, right?) This dream finally came true in 2013 and singing Don’t Stop hand in hand with my mama I will cherish for years (upon years) to come. Then last year I experienced not only my first cruise but we had our first mother/daughter holiday exploring Scandinavia, ticking a few things off my imaginary list of things I’ve been desperate to do! We got to be ladies who lunch for an entire week and I absolutely loved it (can we start planning the next one yet?)

I know I’m waffling right now, but I have so much to thank her for (and if she’s reading this, I’m going to assume she’s already started welling up by now… Sorry!)

Even now, in my thirties, my mum has never once doubted my ability to follow my dreams no matter how wild and ‘out there’ they seem. She has always allowed me the freedom to express myself and to be a creative free spirit, which is why I sing at the top of my lungs, dance my heart out and wear exactly what I want to. She’s always championed me for being unique and different.

I owe her so much.

M’dears If you can’t be with the ones you love right now, whether it’s due to forces out of your control or (like my mum) unfortunately don’t live around the corner, if you haven’t already send a card, text, call, facetime, skype, even carrier pigeon! But if you miss somewhere dearly and they’re not with us anymore, you can always tell me what you’re what’s on your mind today and what you miss most about them- I’ll be more than happy to listen.

But please, tell them how grateful you are that they’re/were in your lives and that you love them.

Happy Mother’s Day x

Smoke & Mirrorcles

Well m’dears after a not so great week with a big cup of anxietea I got the absolute pleasure of witnessing one of the greatest performances I’ll see for years to come!

Sasha Velour is truly one of a kind when it comes to performance and the art of drag.

Her theatrical masterpiece Smoke and Mirrors is filled to the brim with innovative lip-syncs, inspirational conversations – where you feel as though she is talking directly to you and only you and wondrous storytelling that truly does take your breath away.

Like so many others from all over the stratosphere Sasha has been positively my favourite queen since her rise to fame from winning season 9 of Ru Paul’s Drag Race. The way she expressed herself through her costumes and uncanny portrayal of Marlene Dietrich on the shows Snatch Game challenge – I knew (again like so many others) she was not only going to win… But she was going to walk sashay away a star!

And that she most certainly is!

Her first lip-sync for Smoke and Mirrors really set the tone for the entire show and my goodness! After one performance I was already floored, not actually on the floor because that’d be gross. She created a performance around one of my all-time favourite Sia songs Cellophane. A song which isn’t released, so it well and truly caught me by surprise! A combination of screens and cleverly timed projections allows her to turn a one-woman show into almost a five women show starring just her. Can you say genius? If not, I can. GENIUS!!

Sasha made it no secret that she’s a dab hand when it comes to photoshop, but seeing someone create an entire show around what they can do with an adobe product. It just shows that the limits are endless! Especially when it comes to creating a show!

Watching her as she bared her heart and soul on stage filled me with elation! Performing a magic trick by sawing a version herself in half, to then appear in the costume that the other version of herself was wearing and seeing the joy in her face as she gathers her thoughts before performing one of the most iconic songs in herstory Come Rain or Come Shine by the immortal Judy Garland; in the same theatre where she once performed that very song. She not only did this with such style but she reminds us that she has exceptional comic timing too, all this whilst accompanied by perfectly timed puddles and storm clouds!

I think it’s safe to say that Judy Garland would have been immensely proud.  

I myself felt spoiled rotten! I was treated to an evening of Barbra, Bassey and that iconic Whitney Houston performance! Yes, it was emotional thank you for asking! (if you know, you know)

Yet amidst all this splendour she takes to the microphone to connect with us. Talking about battling with her own demons, struggling with depression and anxiety and how she found strength through her identity and performance (if you think this all really hit home with me, you betcha’ it did). Opening up about her wonderful mother the extraordinary Mama Velour, a woman who taught Sasha that “life is better when you express your gender with a little fluidity” and her beautiful bald head is homage to her. Mama Velour may sadly not be with us anymore, but her presence was definitely in the room with Sasha!  

The whole experience is therapeutic and stirs within your soul. I’m surprised that my partner hasn’t asked me to stop talking about it yet, to say it left a lasting impression on me is an understatement.  

She graciously thanked each and every one of us for being there and for supporting queer arts and the community, but it’s us who should be thanking you Sasha!

Drag is art and I’m so glad it’s bigger than ever before.    

Sadly due to the corona virus her tour has had to be postponed, however when she returns to conquer Europe please buy tickets! Go; support her, her wonderful show and more importantly queer arts!

As she said, “this is drag. All you need is a little drama.”  

Sasha Velour Image: Photography Copyright Jeff Eason (Source: Billboard)

Catch-up & A Coffee, with a side of NYC

Hello lovelies!

I’m so glad to be back (for good this time, like Take That…) Now do make sure you’re comfy and have just made a cup of tea, coffee, hot chocolate (go on, treat yourself)!

So we met again dearies! We’ve been here many times before haven’t we? Now normally I would go on a tangent (a long winded one, I might add) apologising for my absence. However, if any of you have seen my Instagram page/stories from the past month you’ll probably have a good idea why I’ve been a bit M.I.A. But those darlings that don’t know please let me share with you my wonderful news!

On our recent getaway to our favourite place in the entire world New York City, on a visit to the quaint and quirky Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow, my wonderful partner Lee got down on one knee and proposed. Of course I said YES! It was absolutely beautiful; he picked the perfect spot that most definitely encapsulates us as a couple; somewhere that we’ll both share forever and we couldn’t be happier.

As you can fully imagine, I’ve been in a whirlwind ever since! I get to be a bride! (cue constant daydreaming…)

Before I get completely carried away and begin hyperventilating from all the excitement, I’m going to delve into our New York trip a little more over my next few blogs. Honestly I have so much to tell you all!

But for today I just wanted to have a little general catch-up with you.

So it’ll be my birthday in a week’s time and I’ll be 31. It may (or may not) surprise you but It’s not really something I’ve thought much about this year. I suppose it’s just one of those times where I’m kind of embracing it with open arms and seeing what happens in the year to come. Last year brought me face to face with a lot of realisations about myself, who I was and just how strong I’m capable of being (although I hadn’t realised most of this until early this year). I’m so different today from the person I was 6 months ago, I’m now a lot more aware of how certain things affect my mental state and can assess situations I find uncomfortable much more quickly and I’ve learnt how to deal with them much more effectively. But yet I’m still realising that a lot of the time I need to be my own cheerleader. This I’ve always found incredibly difficult and it’s always something I’ve known I need to work on. I just suck at it basically. I’m not one to champion myself and constantly wait for the approval of others, whenever I received feedback from tutors at university I got this note every single time and it’s one of the notes they gave me that they’re actually right about.

I’ve been trying not to bog myself down too much about it and luckily thanks to a visit to see my fantastical mum, many chats with my partner and the lovely Daffny (A Vintage Nerd), who reached out to me. I’ve since realised I’m not being stupid in the slightest and basically come to the conclusion that I need to give myself a bit more self-love.

Sounds simple when you put it like that, doesn’t it?

Although in the midst of all of this, I did have something truly wonderful happen the other week!

I was attending a drag competition a friend of mine was been competing in (their name is Anna Toni; they did absolutely incredible and made everyone including myself very proud). But before the competition began I was waiting at the cloakroom (this story has a point, bear with me) and as I hand in my coat I strike up a conversation with one of the lovelies behind the counter. They ask me if I’ve ever made youtube videos, in which I tell them that it was a while ago now but yes I used too but in a rash decision deleted all my content due to anxiety last year and refused to put myself on camera since. Turns out they knew exactly who I was and actually watched my videos (WHAT!) To that dear person, I just want to say the biggest thank you! You still have no idea quite how much your kindness made my day.

Since that moment, I have been thinking about the prospect of vlogging again… Maybe not everything, but certain events or conventions… Hmm maybe, even if it’s just for myself!

But do tell me, how are you all? What’s been happening in your lives lately?

If you’ve been having a bit of a rough week, please remember “be enough for yourself first, the rest of the world can wait”.