Here’s a strong start to a blog post:
I need to teach myself that I’m a valid human being.
And how are you?
It’s been an odd time for my brain. Things have mostly been so good. I don’t know. Last year (last year! It’s 2015, guys!) was simultaneously amazing and mindblowing, and socially lonely. It’s strange that the two can coexist. I’ve ended up with some of the absolute best stories of my life, but I spent a big chunk of the in-between time feeling bitter/guilty/angry/awkward because of the dissolution of an unhealthy friendship. It wreaked havoc on my self-esteem. It’s going to be better now, though. 2015 is going to be largely focused on positivity, and on liking myself. And, let’s be honest, on getting a whole lot of those amazing/mindblowing stories. C’mon, 2015, let’s do this!
You know, I’ve noticed recently that I’m really bad at talking about myself when asked. I’ve had job interviews (we’ll get to that), and seen people I haven’t for a while, and struggled to answer their fairly simple questions. “Tell me about yourself.” I don’t know!!! “What’s new?” Everything?? So I’ve decided (in the desperate attempt to write a blog post with some sort of structure when I haven’t updated this thing in about five months) that I’ll delve into those questions. Maybe I’ll emerge a better person! But probably I won’t.
Tell me about yourself.
- My name is Leslie.
- I’m 28 years old.
- I’m 6’3″ and I have rainbow hair (black and rainbow at the moment). I don’t know who I would’ve been if I hadn’t been tall. It seems to me that if I’m going to stand out anyway, I might as well give people something to look at. And I adore attention, so long as it’s on my own terms.
- I’m Canadian, from Ottawa.
- I moved to London in 2013 because it seemed to me the best place I could possibly ever be in my life. I still feel that way. Almost nothing in life annoys me more than that skeptical “why?” that the statement of my love for London often prompts. I love it because it has everything, and because everything is possible. Because I daydreamed about moving here and what wonders would await me and my real life has outdone my daydreams.
- My mother is a banker and my father is an artist.
- My brother and sister-in-law moved to Vancouver the year before I moved to London.
- I went to college for theatre arts.
- I live in Tufnell Park. I adore it.
- I have an obsessive personality, but not an overly addictive one.
- My self-esteem is much better than it once was (I used to absolutely hate myself, and got exhausted of feeling that way and so stopped my brain from telling me negative things about myself until it stopped thinking as many), but it still comes and goes.
- I feel as though I’m only just starting to realise how deep-rooted my insecurities are, and I’m trying to get over them gradually.
- In spite of whatever weird ways I think of myself, I very much believe in my ability to accomplish great things. My Twitter profile just reads “If she says she can do it then she can do it; she don’t make false claims” which is from Queen Bitch by David Bowie, and which I truly feel is an accurate description of me.
- I have at some point become very afraid of being vulnerable.
- I have body image issues.
- I lost a lot of weight a few years ago, and taught myself to really enjoy fruit and vegetables, and can tell the difference between how I feel when I eat well and eat badly in a way I previously couldn’t.
- I walk a lot, I guess. My friend and I walked home from Central London last night because we couldn’t be bothered to take the bus. We were both in excellent moods, and had an endless stream of conversational topics. It was really good.
- I love swimming. I should swim more.
- I blamed my low moods of a few months ago largely on the fact I’d been off my thyroid medication for a long, long time because the prescription had run out (I’m also terrible for procrastination, and lazy about things I should not be lazy about). Eventually I went to my local GP, down the road from my flat (things I shouldn’t be lazy about) and got a blood test. Turns out it’s just borderline underactive and doesn’t require medication. This can be viewed one of two ways: either what constitutes a thyroid issue in the UK is different than it is in Canada (likely), or I’m so excellent at life that I managed to recover from a thing for which I was told I’d need to take medication for the rest of my life. Obviously I prefer to believe the latter. Just better, innit?
- When people I admire say nice things about me, it means more than I can possibly say. A friend of mine recently introduced me to a friend of his, pointed at both of us and went “both stone cold legends” and I smile when I think about it. Months back, another friend told me (and I have mentioned this before) that I don’t realise how awesome I am. I’ve become better at accepting compliments, but not internalising them.
- That’s another thing to work on.
- No, I really am afraid of being vulnerable. Let’s get out of my brains.
- I love comedy. A lot. Before I moved to London I made the effort a couple of times to travel to the Just For Laughs festival in Montreal and to see any comedians I liked who’d tour to Ottawa, but I never thought much of it. I spent a lot of time watching comedy TV shows, and got hugely into panel shows. Then I moved here and a lot of the people I’d seen on said panel shows were suddenly real people I could go see, and (it turns out) speak to. So I did. And going to comedy shows so often made me realise that I badly wanted to do comedy myself, something I had once said in passing to my best friend that I might try out.
- I’ve done standup three times now. Actually, four if you include the time I had to do a set in Grade 12 Drama.
- I have three tattoos. I had none before I moved to London.
- My new year’s resolutions, as they stand, are things like “embrace your radness” (because I’m a serious person who speaks well), “don’t succumb to negativity”, and “be honest about how you feel”. And, you know what? I feel pretty good about them.
… is that enough? I could keep going forever, and still probably not be able to present you with a full image of who I am because I have moments where I genuinely don’t feel like I know. Is that normal? I think it’s normal. Also, if you’re reading this then chances are you already know me. Maybe you’re slightly worried at the moment. Don’t be! I clearly had some stuff I needed to work through!!
~therapeutic blog tiiiimes~
So, that having been said, let’s move on to…
What’s new? (lots, because I haven’t posted in five months!)
- At the beginning of September I did my third standup set. It was in the basement of a pub near Angel station, making it my first London set (and only one so far). The one specification for doing the gig was that each act had to bring someone to watch them, to build an audience. I mentioned it to a few people in passing, but it came to the actual day and I couldn’t find anyone to come with me. I texted in saying I supposed I couldn’t do the gig but the organisers were amazing and said to come along anyway. I was scribbling notes down in my living room and mentioned my evening’s plans to my flatmate Kotryna, and I was very surprised when she enthusiastically told me she’d happily come along and so would my other flatmate, her boyfriend Simon. Then I was there. Then the person on before me pronounced my name right and I was onstage. Then I did my five minutes and they went really well and I was buzzing off it and wondering when I could do my next gig. And I haven’t since, but I’m going to soon!
- A couple of weeks after said third standup set, my hero (shush, you know who I mean…!) was headlining Old Rope, which was very exciting. Even more exciting was him approaching me afterwards to say hello (the stories I have from last year, guys, I swear). And then the always-amazing Tiff appeared in our conversation and informed him of how I’d started doing standup. And, you know what? He cared. He asked me about it. He encouraged me. I ended up getting flustered and thanking him a lot. It was ridiculous and incredible.
- At the end of September my friend Lisa and I had the glorious opportunity to finally see a band I’ve absolutely loved since I was 18. A band who’d already broken up by the time I got into their music. A band I was rightly never going to see. The Libertines. It was absurd and emotional and surreal and wonderful and I loved every minute of it.
- October 13th was my 28th birthday. My previous birthday had been emotionally strange, living so far away from home, so I decided quite a bit in advance how I was going to make this birthday special: I was going to get a tattoo I’d been wanting to get for ages. I went to Kirsty, who did my first tattoo in 2013, and I’m unbelievably glad I did. It’s perfect, and I love it with all my heart. Below is the lineart and the finished product.
- At the end of July my flatmates Matt and Liz moved out, at which point the aforementioned Simon and Kotryna moved in. In mid-October Ritchie, who’d lived in the flat for about five years, moved to Ireland, and Matt (a different Matt!) and Indigo moved in. It’s a really nice balance. We’ve played board games as a flat, had a pre-Christmas celebration as a flat, and we all get on really well. All five of us living here are from different countries: England (Simon); Lithuania (Kotryna); Australia (Matt); New Zealand (Indigo); & Canada (I dunno, someone). It’s just really good is all I’m saying.
- I know you love to know about my hair-related adventures (don’t you lie to me, blog reader!) so I should tell you this: I dyed a lot of my hair black back in November. But why, Leslie? Because it was ridiculously over processed and I wanted to give it a chance to maybe recover! But don’t even worry, because I wouldn’t go rainbowless. It’s in there. See? SEE? Oh, also: I’m currently growing my hair until I get tired of doing that and get it cut short again. But maybe at some point my hair will be longer but still really cool and we’ll all just have to wait and see, won’t we? Yes. We will.
- In early November, my friend Kate moved to London from Perth, Western Australia (and my glorious friend Libby, who used to live in London, came to visit for a month). Kate and I met initially via Twitter because of common friends and common interests, and over the few months between that meeting and her moving here we became very close and talked frequently, me sharing stories of all the amazing things that were happening and her anticipating her move. It was amazing when she finally made it here, and we’ve had lots of tremendous adventures already. (That last link is one of my favourite things: a photo of me n’ Kate featured on the Instagram of one of the people we most admire, as if that’s a reasonable thing to have happened.)
- Coming up on Christmas, London was even more gorgeous than normal. And I was so excited about Christmas, too, because…
- I went back to Ottawa for two weeks! It was wonderful seeing so many people I love so, so dearly. I didn’t realise how badly I needed a bit of a break until I was there. I was going to outline the highlights, but there were a lot. I just really enjoyed it. And it was amazing to visit Dominion City Brewing Co., where my best friend Nidal works, and try their Earl Grey Marmalade Saison. Get on it if you haven’t, Ottawa folk!
- Shortly before I left for Ottawa, my Scooby’s boss Lisa and I went for Christmas drinks, during which time she let me know that there was a good chance that the cafe wouldn’t make it through to 2015. Although this was a sad thing to hear, it wasn’t particularly surprising since I had a decent idea of how much (or little) money we were making, and I just decided I’d enjoy it for as long as it lasted. But, sure enough, while I was home I got an email from Lisa confirming her fears. I was sad about it, but the distance made it easier to deal with; London life never feels quite real when I’m away from it. So, in this sort of limbo between my lives, I set to looking for another coffee shop job, and had arranged a couple of interviews before even returning. By the end of the day following my return to London I was pretty certain I’d gotten a job at a coffee stand at Selfridges. And hey, I did training for it yesterday morning, so…!
- And, speaking of potential success, next week I’m doing a gig I’ve had booked for months (late January was their earliest availability back in September or so), and I’m very excited and a bit nervous.
And I’m very excited about everything, and one of those things is that my really really wonderful friend Laura (who’s been living in India for the past few months and keeping an excellent blog about it) is coming to visit for ten days in slightly under a month. Yesssss!
So yeah! That’s my life. It is, as it has some silly tendency to be, pretty darn good! And I hope your life is, too.