Thursday, 29 January 2015

The Pressure to Succeed

Succeeding in something is one of the most rewarding things in life. 

When you finally achieve something that you have worked your arse off for. 

When you get to that moment where you can look back at your journey towards this pivotal moment and think "Yes it was all worth it".

Whatever you do in life, you always want to be successful. 

But I think one of the worst things that people have to deal with, is the pressure to succeed. 

The pressure to succeed doesn't regulate itself to a single form. There are many ways that you can feel pressured to succeed. 

For example, 
you might feel pressure from your parents. 
You might feel pressure from your friends. 
You might even feel pressure to succeed so you can post it on any form of social media to prove to strangers how successful you are.

But something that I struggle with, is the pressure to succeed that I lay upon myself

I don't hide the fact that I am an extremely motivated and driven person. When I decided to lose weight, I made sure I damn well did it.  However I think a lot of my motivation comes from the pressure to succeed that I put upon myself. 

It's a very strange complex and to be honest I don't fully understand why I do it. 

But take the career in the performing arts as an example.

I feel like I not only have to achieve success because I feel i'm incapable of doing anything else without feeling empty inside, but I also feel that if I don't succeed I am letting everyone who has ever had any belief in me down. 

I have had countless conversations with the people who support me the most about my fear of failure and they all say the same thing:

"We just want you to be happy in whatever you do. We will be proud of you no matter what it is you are successful in."

But how can I look them in the eye and truly belive that if I were to give up on my dreams, that they would be happy with it.

I know deep down, what they are saying is true. But I can't comprehend how they could even begin to fathom thinking about it. 

I would feel destroyed if I knew that I had wasted someones belief in me. 

And so ultimately, because there are so many people around me who are wishing me nothing but good will, I find myself putting pressure on myself to succeed. 
Not only for me, but for them too.

It's like, I have too many people living viacriously through me that it is too late to give up.

And i'm not saying I want to give up, because I never will. But it is almost impossible to not feel like you have to achieve greatness because someone believes in you

I am beyond grateful for anyone giving me even the slightest bit of belief, but it comes at a cost.

If you can hold your hands up honestly and say that you do belive in me, 
I can promise that I won't fail because I won't let your belief be wasted. It means too much to me to let it go.

I sometimes feel like I am the only person who deals with a pressure to succeed that they have crafted themselves. 

I know that in whatever I choose to do, the people who love me will support me. 

But as long as someone somewhere has even the slightest glimmer of belief that I can achieve my dreams, I will not give up and I will not let you down. 


Saturday, 24 January 2015

Letter to my former self

A single moment, a single breath, a single thought that ignites a storm of emotions to surge through your body so fast that you can't keep up with yourself. 

All it takes is one trigger.

A familiar smell.
A song.
A taste.

It can be anything. 
The smallest spark can ignite the largest fire. 

And that's exactly what happened to me recently. 

I was driving down a road that a couple of year ago I used to drive every single day on the way to college. 

As I was driving this road, something about it just triggered the most sensational experience of an emotinal rush that I couldn't quite understand. 

And it got me thinking about my life. 

All the people I have met.
All the choices I have made.
All the paths I have chosen to walk down. 
All the conmections I have made and broken. 

So I have decided to write an open letter to my younger self in the hopes that maybe someone somewhere who is struggling with the things I have struggled with, can find comfort in knowing they are not alone. Because if there is one thing I wish I knew growing up, is that you're not the only one feeling the way you feel. 

So here goes. 

Dear Harry,

I know you're more than likely going to ignore this letter because you like to think you know everything, but I want you to just hear me out for a couple of minutes. 

The battles you are facing in your head at this moment in time do not need to be battles. If anything, you are fighting a losing battle because you won't be able to change something you were born with. It is intergrated so deeply into who you are that it is criminal to not embrace it. 

Your family and your closest friends don't care.
It's who you are and they love you for it. 
I know it's hard. I know the sheer thought of uttering that phrase makes you feel physically sick and the fear runs so deep to your core that you will lose sleep over it. 
But you have a choice.
You can either keep pretending, keep putting on this facade of a straight man thinking you are fooling everyone and live your life. All the while being completely dissatisfied and never fully happy. To then look back on your life, the one shot you have on this beautiful planet and think "My whole life was a lie".

Or you can just take a leap of faith and realise that the safety net of love that is willing to catch you is unbreakable. 

Don't worry about what others will think of you.
You've been obnoxiously ridiculed for most of your life about being gay and I know you're trying so hard to prove everyone wrong, but just let go.

I know that is one of your biggest worries. That you don't want to prove the people who are disgracefully throwing the term "gay" around as an insult as right. But as soon as you realise the beauty in accepting inner peace, the better your life becomes. 

Gay is not a synonym for stupid.
So don't think that by being gay, you are any less of a human being than anyone else. 

It'll take some time, but sooner or later you will take that leap of faith. 

And the most beautiful thing about it, is that a certain someone is there to hold your hand as you fall. 

Yes Harry, you meet someone and you are both madly in love. He makes you feel whole. 

He will be there for you for some of the most difficult trials and tribulations you have ever faced. But he is there. 

The champagne bottle method you have of dealing with things, packing them all in and keeping everything to yourself until the cork explodes off, becomes less of an issue. 

It might seem to you that whatever social happenings are occuring at school are the most important thing in the world, but truly they are not. 

You are surrounded by people who love and care for you and you need to treasure that whilst you can because in time, a lot of those relationships will be shattered beyond repair. You might think that playing the "i don't cares" attitude is the right thing, but occasionally you will get moments of longing, where you wonder how things might have been if you'd swallowed your pride. Suprisingly, sometimes you do actually do that and you extend your feelings of retribution, but don't be hurt when sometimes things are just too broken to ever be fixed again. So treasure your time with these people because one day, they won't be there anymore. 

In time, you will realise that caring about what others think of you as a person, is the most detrimental thing you can do. This doesn't mean that you can have an "I don't give a fuck about you" way of thinking. You need to be loving and caring to others and accept their love and care back. But to people who try to shit on your parade, give no time for them.

You will never please everyone. 
Someone will always wish you the worst. 
But, in all honesty, they really don't matter. 

I wish I could sit down with you and tell you what you need to know to make it through what is coming to you. But going into it blind was the best thing that has ever happened to me. 

You will grow into someone you will be proud to be. 

It's going to take a while.
And you're going to listen to a lot of lady gaga music to help you through it (who by the way, is a ridiculously large part of our lives) but it will all work out.

Keep your dreams alive because it's got me places I never thought I would get. But, I know you, we never let our dreams die. 

Stay strong.
It gets better.

- Harry. 

Sunday, 11 January 2015

I bought a golden ticket.

I bought a golden ticket. 

One of the perks of being at a performing arts college in the centre of London, is the ability to have a wide plethora of west end shows right on your doorstep, eagerly waiting for your mind, body and soul to be encapsulated into the worlds they create on stage. 

Recently, I had the pleasure of going to see "Charlie And The Chocolate Factory" at The Theatre Royal Drury Lane. 

Before I even begin the point I am trying to make, let me firstly say that this show was insane. The technical aspect to this show was absolutely mind-blowing. The five principal roles of Charlie Bucket, Augustus Gloop, Violet Beauregarde, Veruca Salt and Mike Teavee, were bought to life by five extremely talented young peformers. The ensemble cast created a world that was so encapsulating you could almost sink your teeth into it. All of this combined into a mixing pot of utter sensory bliss made the show something that you couldn't take you eyes off. 

Having said that, this post isn't about me posting a critical analysis of the show, nor is it about me expressing my sheer delight towards it. 

What I want to express in this post is just how much inspiration you can draw as a performer, singer, dancer, actor, banker, social worker, psychiatrist, literally any profession, from a west-end show. 

The main feeling that was evoked in me throughout the entire performance was a feeling of pure adrenaline articualiting itself into "Yes, this is what I want. This is where I need to be and I will not stop until I have clawed my way on to that stage."

Overall, i'm a pretty determined person and much like veruca salt, anything I want I will go about getting one way or another.

 But recently I have been having thoughts of self-doubt, deflatedness and overall just an uninspired energy towards what i'm doing at the moment. It has played on my mind for quite a while now and I still can't put a finger on the definitive answer behind it.

However, after walking out of that theatre, the sheer electrifying feeling of pure elation and determination to succeed in my dreams is intoxicating. 

All it has taken is to see people doing exactly what I want to do, to make me want to do it even more. 

And I think in any profession you are either in, or aspiring to be in, if you a transported to a world of sheer wonder where infectious melodies and lyrics are just one of the ways to communicate, I challenge you to not feel inspired or uplifted to take that feeling into everyday life.

For the feeling that I got after walking out of that theatre, the ticket was most certainly a golden ticket. 

I don't want this feeling to stop and I will fight to hold on to this burning drive for aslong as it takes to get to where I want to be. 

I bought a golden ticket and I fully intend to be the lucky kid who wins the prize.


Monday, 5 January 2015

Second Position

2014 was an incredible year for me.

Like I have said before I had some incredible highs, a pinch of lows, but overall I will look back at 2014 with a full heart. The 21st to the 22nd year that I spent walking this earth was one that I will always remember. 

But, time has to continue, no matter how much we may not want it too or no matter how much we might want it to slow down.

And now, at the very beginning of 2015 I am faced with what could be a particularly difficult year for me.

Before finishing university, as you know, before finishing my third year I had already auditioned for The Urdang Academy and I had successfully achieved a place to commence my course last September. So I was more than ready to finish university.

And to be completely honest, so far I have had the time of my life. I have never been so pushed in my life and my first term was incredible.

But, all good things must come to an end.

Starting on the 5th of January 2015, I am commencing my final term at The Urdang Academy. I have complete and utter mixed emotions about this fact.

On one hand, I am devastated that my time at this place could potentially be over providing that I am unsuccessful in achieving a place on a three year course. The people who I have been on this journey with so far, I feel, are going to be friends for life. Yes, we might not have known each other for a particularly long time, but sometimes unbreakable bonds can form in the shortest amount of time.

However, on the other hand, i'm ready.

As part of our course, it is a requirement to audition for a place on a three year course at four other leading performing arts colleges. And to put it bluntly, if

a) I don't get a place 
b) I get a place but have to fund the course myself

there is no-chance that I will be going.

Honestly....i'm okay with that.

I know it'll probably not be the opinion that most people will have, but I feel that after a year of extreme and intense training in what this industry is looking for, I stand a chance. I stand a chance of getting where I want to be.

It's a dog eat dog world out there and i'm hungry

So, even though this is a little bit of a sad beginning to a new chapter of my life, I am optimistic about it.

Optimistic, terrified, nervous, overwhelmed, to be honest a complete cocktail of different emotions.

But somewhat ready.

Ready to commence a new, exciting beginning to hopefully another fantastic year.

Your life is what you make of it. Make it count.


Thursday, 1 January 2015

New Year, Same Checklist.

So, here it is, 2015.

"New Year, New Me"


That saying is something that really annoys me at this time of year. 

I think so many people nowadays quite like the sentiment of what it means, but never actually follow it through. 

Why would you realise some-way during a year that you need to make a change in your life and then wait until the beginning of a new year until you decide to actively make a change?

Instead of this "New Years Resolution" and "New Year, New Me" crap, there is something else that I will be doing at the beginning of 2015.

In my third year of university, whilst working with some incredibly talented people on a group project, we decided that in order to get some inspiration for a piece of contemporary performance work that we were creating, we would simply write about our lives.

What I wrote down is still something that I think about today.

For some reason I wrote about the "Satisfaction of my life".

It was something that had been playing on my mind for quite a while and I couldn't quite articulate what I wanted to say until that day.

And it went something like this:

"When I look at my life, I can see the positives in their masses. I was born into a loving family. We grew up in a nice house, we got most things we wanted, we went on expensive holidays, we had warm beds, clothes, food and water, everything we could ever want and more. We were blessed. We were fortunate. I wasn't born with any physical deformities, I don't have any learning difficulties, I am fit and healthy. There nothing particularly wrong with me. I was blessed with a mind capable of getting me into university. I was blessed with the opportunity to be educated throughout my life and get to where I wanted to be. And whilst at university I met someone exceedingly special to me. I am undeniably lucky to have found someone whole I whole heartedly in mind, body and I have found someone who not only am I fortunate enough to experience these feelings towards, but who reciprocates these feelings back to me. So many people walk this earth not knowing what I mean. So many people walk this earth with no opportunity to feel the feelings that I feel. So many don't know what it is like to fall in love and to have someone fall in love with you. So many people aren't fortunate enough to get to have what I have.

So why is it, that with all of this in my life, do I feel dissatisfied?

I feel guilty even uttering it, but it's true, I am dissatisfied. I don't feel complete yet.

It sounds like i'm spoilt. It sounds like i'm arrogant. It sounds like i'm completely ungrateful for the things I have, and maybe I am, but the honest truth of it all is that no matter what I have in my life right now, I want more.

If someone were to compile a checklist of "Things to achieve in life" I feel like I confidently tick a few boxes. However the fact that not all the boxes would be ticked, is why I feel dissatisfied.

For example:

Things to achieve in life

  1. Fall in love
  2. Be healthy
  3. Be wealthy 
  4. Have a family
  5. Achieve your dreams
  6. Get the dream job
  7. Keep friendships that are important to you
  8. To be able to laugh more than you cry
  9. To live without regrets
  10. To be Happy

And I can honestly say, that I could tick maximum three of those points. 

The most important point to me, is number 10. But in order to be able to tick number 10, I need to be able to tick the rest and the fact that I can't, is why I feel dissatisfied and guilty."

"If you put on paper a checklist of what you wanted out of life, how many could you tick off?"

And I think this is the most important thing I am going to remember whilst going into 2015. 

Working my absolute hardest to be able to tick off at the very least one of these things. If I can tick off one more thing from my list, I'll know that I am striving towards my goal of ticking off number 10.

Maybe 2015 is the perfect year to start work on your checklist too?