9 January 2023

The Turnstile


Have you ever had one of the moments when you have a sudden realisation that you, or your life (or both) has suddenley changed?

I was reminded of one such moment today and honestly, it is moment that I will treasure forever.  I even know the date that it happened.  Thursday, 4th October 2013.  Nearly ten years ago.  Such a small moment, but huge at the same time.

Firstly, let me give you some back story.  As I have not written on this blog for over a year, I am writing as if I am starting afresh.  So let me tell you about me.

Before I started down the gender critical path and found my true voice, I used to have another blog.  This blog was started as a plus size fashion blog.  The aim was to bring my wardrobe out of the depths of black that it had sunk into and for me to find some confidence.

I started out slowly, posting photographs of outfits that I bought, terrified with every post as if someone was going to reach through the screen and tear my tiny, but growing confidence, to shreds.  I wanted so much to feel better about who I was as a person, feel more confident and dress better.  I saw other girls doing it and wanted to do the same.

I started to get to know other bloggers and a few brands sent me some clothes (which was the most unbelievable thing that had ever happened to me).  Imagine, a clothing brand emailing you and asking you to pick out some clothes to review, and keep!!

I started to get a good readership and my confidence, not only in the way that I dressed but also, and more importantly, in myself, started to change.  I grew, not in size, but as a person.  I could feel myself changing as I forced myself to do more things, go out to places I would not have, speak to more people and challenge myself.

So comes to the day in question.  I had been asked by a brand to travel down to London to a dinner and reveal of a clothing line.  The thought of travelling to London on my own and doing all of that was absolutely terrifying to me so of course, I said no.

But then, the brand came back to me and offered not only to pay my rail fare, but also book a hotel for me.  All I had to do was go.  I couldn't turn down such an opportunity which would be great for my blog and I knew would a turning point for myself.

I remember my best friend telling me that I would be a different person when I came back.  I didn't really understand what she meant at the time.  But she was right.

I never travelled alone, or did anything outside of the house on my own so believe me when I say that I was terrified on that train journey down to London from Preston Station.  I had planned out the tubes I would need to get to get to my hotel and figured that I would take each step at a time and try not to have a panic attack at Euston Station when I decided that I was lost.

I managed, after negotiating around an Ecaduarian embassy in the middle of the street I was staying, to find my hotel.  I got dressed and went to the launch which was amazing and quite unreal to me.  I was there as "blogger press" alongside actual fashion journalists, other bloggers and also prizewinners who had entered a competition to be there. 

We were given a three course meal with wine up to our eyeballs and then were shown the clothes.  We were encouraging to try on and take any photographs we wanted, as well as, again to my shock; allowed to keep anything that we wanted.

I honestly felt like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman, except a shorter, dumpier, not so beautiful version.  I felt amazing none the less.

The moment I realised that I had changed was on my journey back to Preston.  I had navigated my way through the tubes and had arrived at Euston.  Travelling down to London I had worn all black, black boots, black coat.  Travelling back I had decided to wear some of my new gifts along with what I had brought with me.  A black dress yes, but with colourful flower detail.  A bright red coat.  Mary Jane heels.

I did not really think about the outfit when I put it on that morning.  In truth, I had never worn anything like it before.  Colours and prints, together.  Heels when travelling.  

So to the moment.  I was coming throught the turnstile at Euston and I caught sight of myself in a mirror.  I didn't recognise myself at first.  I saw the outfit, liked it, then realised that it was me.  But more than the outfit, it was the expression on my face.  No worry.  No self conciousness.  Happy.  I looked so happy.  I looked like a different person.

I was a different person.  I had grown so much in 24 hours.  Although I still had far on my confidence journey to go, this was the biggest leap I had ever taken.  I just wish that someone could have taken a photo of me right then, that outfit and that expression.  That feeling.

It was one I will always remember and I will always cherish.  Because it was the first time that I realised that the pieces of me that I kept inside, the person that I wanted to be, was showing on the outside.

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