Having my own blog has always been a distant dream. I figured it to be something that grown ups do, organised people with neat and scrupulously tidy lives. But, after some gentle nudging from my friends I have decided to commit to one at last. I’m certainly not organised or very grown up and shall be winging this entire process.
In October I started studying an MA in Travel & Nature writing at Bath Spa university which made me think I should get some of my writing out into the world at some point. Prior to starting this course I was one of those writers that never actually wrote anything; this journey into my creative talents has been as petrifying as it is fulfilling. But, all things being said, there’s no point in being a writer if you can’t mess around with it, and that’s what we’re going to do here.
Time for a little context?
“Congrats, it’s a black sheep.” I have spent a lot of time being a black sheep in my life: in school, in my family, in workplaces and social situations too. Being obviously different from others around you is not an easy thing to come to terms with, especially in a society that encourages you to follow. And as you read this you may think “but Billie, society pushes us to be ourselves and be different.”, and while you’re not wrong, you’re definitely not right either.
A small portion of what we see on social media and out in the real world encourages people to be unique – but behind the scenes is a barrage of humans hiding behind outdated societal ideals that remind us that there is a limit to individual expression, and if you are to practice it then it must fall within the guidelines.
I was quiet for a long time and frightened of taking up space. During school I focused on being silent and agreeable to avoid the attention of rowdy bullyboys in my year. At university I went out of my way to fit in with people I didn’t understand. After graduation I lived in Scotland for two years and went about my life by letting my (now ex) girlfriend make all my choices and shape me as a person. It sounds worse than it is; when she met me I had no personality and she taught me the foundations of how to be myself.
There’s nothing that does the trick for self-acceptance and identity that finding yourself suddenly in the centre of the most loving, empowering and supportive friendship group ever known. Each one of us are real people and we are loud and strange and wild. They have shown me what it means to embrace the black sheep and to accept everything weird that comes with it. I work at a speciality coffee house in my hometown of Milton Keynes which seems to act as an alternate reality created to bring certain people together. It’s where I met almost all of my friends and where, I hope, I will meet many more.
Not all of my posts will be about being different, but the introduction is relevant because so much of my life has been affected by my shift in perspective, and my new way of looking at things has made life unpredictable and exciting. As of now there isn’t any structure to what I intend to do here – but know that I’m not shy and even when I am inevitably opinionated all I want is for everyone to have a little fun with it, just like I do.