Escape routes

It seems like a lifetime since this photo was taken…

Tomorrow I leave Embercombe after the most life-changing, challenging, saddest, silliest, hardest, most beautiful 10 months of my life. It seems momentous to be leaving, but I am not scared. I have no plan other than to cross the channel in my little van and see what happens… but I am not scared.

This year has truly been one of the most incredible of my life. The year I started living. Stopped letting problems define me. Stopped being broken. Started facing myself. Moved but stopped running. I have conquered fears and endless mind-fucks; faced hard, hard truths and started to take on struggles. I have learnt what it is to be me, to stop apologising for myself, to be brave, to relish what I love, to be happy in my own skin, to follow my dreams.

I don’t wish to be a condescending prick and I don’t think I’m enough of a big deal to offer anyone advice, so I’m going to offer my old self some and maybe it will be helpful for someone else.

Start taking risks. They don’t have to be big, take the smallest bit of courage you can muster and use it to surge you forward.

Stop wasting time. You’re never going to get that 4 hours worth of Come Dine with Me repeats you watched last Sunday back. Nor are you going look back and be thankful you spent 8 staring blankly at that never-ending inane pantomime of idiots, you know, the video of the man falling up an escalator, the one of the cat jumping onto a shelf after seeing a cucumber, the one of the monkey riding a pig, the baby wearing sunglasses; you’re not even enjoying it now. Or the 3 you spent looking for a dress that will make you look like a baked bean; you will wear it once and spill your drinks on it/ fall and rip it/ throw up all over it. Or the parade of clunky nonsense you’re scrolling through on your news feed right now, you’re not interested in what that guy you once knew 10 years ago had for tea yesterday.


Stop looking for escape routes. Stop constantly cleaning, stop constantly checking, stop constantly tidying, stop over-thinking, stop over-doing, stop perfecting, stop panicking, stop regretting that thing you did, that thing you didn’t do, stop worrying about what people think, stop looking for validation in others, stop worrying about privilege, that you’re not doing enough, stop hoarding, stop worrying about food, about what you look like, stop worrying about things that change, stop worrying about things you can’t change, stop trying to stop things changing, stop worrying about germs being transferred from one thing to another, about that thing you said to that person last Tuesday, about people leaving, about people leaving, about people leaving, about people leaving.

Stop rolling spliffs. Constantly. Stop it. They might taste nice but they are turning you into a piece of vague, uninspiring, non-verbal matter. You don’t even like being stoned.

I know stopping seems impossible now, but every small step gets you closer.

Stop waiting for your life to change. Stop waiting for someone else to tell you to do it. Stop waiting for someone else.

Stop. Go outside. Make a fire and cook on it. Paddle in a stream. Climb to the top of a tree and stare at the sky. Make something. Go to the sea. Lie on some grass. Listen to the wind in the trees. Sing at the top of your voice. Dance like a prick. Remember what you love. Remember your dreams and follow them for you and no other reason. Write, write, write. Busk! Sleep out under the stars and wake up and see how big the world is outside of your mind.

Because it’s fucking massive. It’s your time and you are frittering it away. It’s your time and it can be whatever you want it to be.