How to stay creative in a world of comparison

I would like to think I am always a supporter of my friends and their endeavours;

I attend events, buy tickets for shows, I purchase the ‘zines, I wander exhibitions, I listen to creations.

First and foremost, I want to thank everyone for the support on my latest project. The love for ‘The Longer My Hair Grows’ exceeded my expectations, and is continuing to do so. There have been nights of teary groove sessions and it’s due to those people who have ordered my book – even as far as asking for signed copies – that has allowed me to taste the dream that I so very much crave.  I feel like a writer now more than I ever have – and this is only the beginning.

However, within the last few days of celebratory excitement, I have noticed those who have said next-to-nothing. Those being friends who are also artists, and whom I thought would respond with overwhelming leaps of love for my achievements – but didn’t.

Which brings me to this blog. So, whilst trying to relieve this blog of any narcissistic undertones, let’s chat.

How do I deal with competition or fellow creatives who aren’t so happy about my achievements? Well, I just don’t give two shits.

d97c2c8b-fb47-49b8-b210-c10584651fe51.jpg

I live my ‘writer’s life’ in a very, I guess you could say, realistic manner.         Par example:

“I will publish a novel, but I don’t expect it to be my only income.”

“I will – one day – go on a book tour, but that may not include America.”

“I will gain more followers for the work I write on social media, but I will never rock the world.”

I keep myself on the ground, because I know to be successful requires hard work and self-belief, and not fairy-tale destiny crap. You have to start somewhere; the more you focus on your craft, the more authentic and original your work will be – ultimately, that is what is going to invite fandom. Yes, I sometimes fall into the trap of looking at other’s published books only to tell myself I’ll never be that good, but I don’t stay in that mindset very long. I remind myself that comparison won’t make me a better writer, writing will. So, I write. 

“If I waited for perfection, I would never write a word.”

 Margaret Atwood

Stay focused on what you’re doing whilst supporting others. And remember, you most definitely will never get better if your ideal of perfection changes with person to person. I think the only competition there should be when it comes to creating is with yourself; with your previous work, and the need to hone in on the skill.

d97c2c8b-fb47-49b8-b210-c10584651fe52.jpg

Instead of comparing yourself to another artist, ask them for critique.

Screen Shot 2017-08-10 at 12.37.31 copy 2


My debut collection of poems, ‘The Longer My Hair Grows’, available now. Click here. 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Stick To The Status Quo? | The Self Series

Welcome to Episode 5 in The Self Series. This is the series where I give some thought to common said quotes in today’s society. This time it’s all about the status quo.

What is the status quo?

Status quo is a Latin word literally meaning ‘the state in which’. In today’s society, the label status quo is typically used to generalise what is deemed ‘normal’ in society.

21706425_10213770483486726_295875863_o

I have a discussion for us today based around my personal take on the saying “Stick to the status quo” – and before you ask, yes, I was a huge High School Musical fan as a kid.

So, what is my take? I see the status quo as more of a comfort zone; sticking to the status quo being the attitude of playing it safe rather than only societal norms. If we talk about the status quo in this way, this would be our own choice – right? We individually decide whether or not to stay comfortable.  If you ask me, life is all about taking risks and encouraging ourselves to get out there and make the most of things. Life is also about encouraging everybody around us to do the same.

21706425_10213770483486726_295875863_o

Quite often when it comes to something new, our bodies inject our minds with a little thing called fear. We can’t blame our bodies for this feeling, because ultimately it’s a survival instinct, but sometimes we mistake worry for fear; we escalate the anxiousness of failure to a level of fear that makes things seem impossible. Well, I’m here to tell you to feel the fear and do it anyway. This seems to be an overall theme in my blogs, but hear me out once again. If I asked you to join me on a skydiving quest tomorrow, what would you say? I know your body would probably start to feel a little more tense, and some part of your insides would do a little dive to the pit of your stomach, but after putting that aside what would YOU say??

I’d hope you’d say yes. After all, experiences such as this aren’t an everyday thing. I’m sure your first instinct would be to say no. Our bodies weren’t designed to fall from the sky, 15,000km above the earths tectonic plates, at speeds unknown to the raw human body – but hey? What’s the worst that could happen? I mean, ideally it’s probably not best to ponder this thought right before you jump – but seriously, you’d never do anything if you didn’t live with risk.

“Feel the fear and do it anyway.” – Susan Jeffers

I have in fact jumped from a plane. When I was about 16, one of my brothers and I joked about skydiving on a family holiday. Emphasis on the word joke. The next morning, as we were in our holiday cabin comfortable in our bunk beds, my parents came in with an aura of adrenaline and asked us, “How about it? Want to skydive today?”. I can tell you now, I still remember that feeling of absolute terror and how quickly my stomach clenched. It had only been a thought, something to laugh about, yet now it was so close to becoming reality. Eventually after our parents encouragement, me and my older brother committed to jump from a plane.

It was one of the most amazing things I have ever done. It was also one of the most terrifying and fear-filled adventures I’ve taken part in.

When I find myself filled with fear; from accepting a new job role, to travelling abroad solo, I tell myself what’s the worst that can happen? I tell myself to feel the fear, and do it anyway because you only live once. More often than not, after we take these risks, we feel a sense of relief and accomplishment.

21706425_10213770483486726_295875863_o

We’ve discussed taking risks, and now I want to bring us directly back to the status quo and the idea of self-expression. I was doing some research for this article, and I came across this quote from none other than Dr Seuss:

“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”

As a child, I loved the books of Dr Seuss because they were so different to anything else I read. I loved the unique illustrations, the crazy storylines and the characters being so different to anything I knew in real life.

This quote from Dr Seuss is the definition of a perfect life. We can’t conform to the ideals of society; we can’t live our lives in response to someone else’s standards. If someone dislikes us for who we uniquely are, do they really matter? Should we really let their idea of a ‘right’ life distinguish how we live ours? NO! And if someone lives a true, self-actualized and self-empowered life, they’re not going to mind how we live ours. Be unique, and only live for yourself.

21706425_10213770483486726_295875863_o

When someone says things such as stick to the status quo to me, I can’t help but think it over. Remember: that feeling – after conquering a fear or something with an uncertain outcome – is what we should all live for. Be who you are, be true to your thoughts and your feelings.

Don’t believe the status quo to be anything other than encouragement to be different and adventurous.

Travel Log: Copenhagen

Monday 6:50

With an early start this morning, I ventured out into the crisp morning air. The only sound coming from birds – a fresh perspective on a city life.  Today I am off to Copenhagen, Denmark. It’s a city I’ve never been to, yet experienced vicariously through those having borrowed my guide book. I’m currently sat in a café in Gatwick Airport waiting for my avocado on toast; one of very few vegan options I could find. I’m surprisingly awake for having woken up at 4am, perhaps it’s the excitement of spending the rest of my day in a new city.  Or perhaps it’s the 4-shot Soya cappuccino I just finished. This trip is very unplanned for me; I got my Danish krone at the airport, I have no idea how I’m getting from Copenhagen airport to the hostel, nor what my plan is for the return home tomorrow. I suppose time will tell.

10:18

I must be more than halfway to Copenhagen by now. The sky is the clearest of blue, allowing the sun to glisten perhaps too brightly off the plane’s wing through my window. I somehow always get a window seat, and I couldn’t complain less. It’s an interesting thing to be so close to nothing; so far away from everything you’re used to being near. Buildings insignificant and the rushing lives of those in the streets of London invisible. I feel calm, and I feel un-rushed in my impatient descend on Copenhagen. I’d like to think, as I look out at the world below me, if my plane were to fall that it would be caught in the soft grips of the clouds blanketing the earth.  The clouds – they bring us rain, food for the soil under our feet – they also separate London from the world beyond. We stop looking up after a while because we are so used to seeing the grey barrier above our heads; we get so accustom to looking down at our feet, knowing our direction, our daily path. It’s nice to be above the clouds, to feel as if there is nothing stopping me from seeing new things. I am amongst the unreachable. With the unexpected wifi on board, I feel confident in my plan once I land. I know I will take the metro, a 3-zone ticket bought with either coins or credit card, and I will get off at Hovedbanegården otherwise known as Copenhagen Central Station. From there I will walk to my hostel, check in, and carry on with aimless wandering. According to the flight tracker, we are 24 minutes from Copenhagen. The descend has begun, I am now gently leaning forward with the plane; gravity pulling me towards yet another destination to tick off the map.

17:49

My feet are ready to fall off. I got to Copenhagen Central Station just after midday and spent 20 minutes lapping the perimeter trying to find my hostel; suddenly earning a major appreciation for my Citymapper app in London. I found my hostel and then went back out in search of anything that defines Copenhagen as a city. I still feel near anxious being here. Not because of it’s size or population mass, just the fact of I know nothing about it. I always prepare my holidays, map out places I want to see, where I want to eat, I teach myself the language basics; this time I came in blind. After wandering in the heat and eventually discovering what seemed to be a busy part, I opted for a canal tour. A smooth sail into tourist mode. This was beautiful and somewhat informative. More than anything it gave me my bearings and sites to aim for by foot. The hour tour finished where it began, and so did my ventures. Saw beautiful buildings, did some window shopping, but more so just absorbing everything foreign. I followed it up with more wandering until now – Urban Bar, coffee in hand. As much as I am tired, I am also eager to see more and make the most of this 48-hour trip. I am headed to Tivoli Gardens this evening.

Tuesday 12:36

I am currently located in what seems to be the Danish version of Subway – iBagel. It’s pretty good, eggplant salad topped off with a beautiful dollop of humous (of course). I woke up this morning refreshed and ready to tackle another day of touristing. My first stop had to be food, and eventually I found my desired breakfast destination: 42Raw – a café that has surrendered it’s services to the plant-based community. An acai bowl and my new addiction, The Passage by Justin Cronin, made for a beautiful start to the day. Peaking above the city, reaching for the heavens, are spires scattered around the city. All distinctly different, I’ve been finding them an easier alternative to the maps within my guidebook. As 10:30 came around, I aimed high and true, and climbed 95m up Vol Frelsers Kirke. A beautiful old church which presented me with a stunning view of the city. Since my descend back down to earth, I have wandered; seen the Nationalmuseet, Christiansborg Slot, and Det Kongelige Bibliotek. It’s warm, I’m sun kissed veering burnt, but I feel calm and happy. My flight home to London is at 18:55, and according to the Central Station clock on the opposite of the square it’s now 12:57. I have plenty of time to continue this relaxing getaway.

I’ve done a bit of Rome-ing around.

Currently it is 16:10 and I am in the internet ‘cafe’ of my Roman hostel. I arrived in Rome on Monday roughly midday and since I landed on Italian soil, I have experienced a lot. Rather than posting weeks after like I normally would with a holiday such as this, I thought I would take a break from the heat and walking around to sum up my week – I leave tomorrow afternoon.

When I first got to Rome, the excitement that I thought would overwhelm me never came. I walked around that first afternoon convinced there was something wrong with me – I was in Rome and I was barely excited! I guess I had no idea what I was expecting. But over the course of the week, I have fallen in love with Rome as much as I did Barcelona when I was there last August.

The first night after roaming until my feet were aching, I sat under the Colosseum on fallen down marble pillars and just absorbed it. I was sitting under THE Colosseum and when it hit me I couldn’t wait to return the following morning to venture within it’s walls. My second day in Rome was full of everything that Ancient Rome could offer me – a Colosseum audio tour, Palatine Hill, and the Roman Forum; I was standing within the ruins of a city that Julius Caeser built; I walked down the streets that Romulus founded; the history was overwhelming. This part of my trip was definitely a highlight and it one of those things you just have to see when you’re visiting Rome.

A major highlight of the last 5 days I’ve spent in Rome has been the Trevi Fountain. The fountain made famous by film is beyond beautiful. I could have sat there all day if it wasn’t for all the tourists and the men trying to talk me into buying a Polaroid. The first time I came across the magnificent water feature was per chance on my first day of roaming. I didn’t really click what it was until I checked my guidebook and realized that it was the famous fountain I’d seen in the Mary-Kate and Ashley film I’d watched as a kid. I read the history and stepped down and turned my back to the fountain, and whist closing my eyes I threw €1 over my shoulder.  You will return to Rome. Good thing I didn’t throw two, cause afterwards I read that two coins means you’ll meet an Italian man, and the third means you’ll marry them – thanks, but no thanks. The second and third time I went to the fountain was with the intention of finding a highly recommended gelateria. I can honestly say that Il Gelato di San Crispino is the best gelato I have ever had – and this week I’ve had a fair amount, shh. As I ate the creamy honey, chocolate and caffé flavoured goodness in front of the fountain, I felt on top of the world.

Besides the beautiful tourist attractions – Vatican Museum, St Peter’s Basilica (highly recommend paying to climb up the Dome), Borghese Gallery, Pantheon etc – at 11.30pm on Wednesday evening I booked a spontaneous tour to Pompei. The next morning at 7am I arrived at Piazza del Popolo and departed with a bus load of people. The tour guides were amazing and had us laughing before we’d left Rome. The 3 hour bus ride to Napoli and the Ancient City of Pompei was full of Roman legend, culture and history of Italia. In Napoli we visited the National Archaelogical Museum which houses all the artifacts such as household items, paintings, and mosaics extracted from Pompei itself. This was amazing and made me extremely excited to see the Ancient City. After eating Neapolitan pizza for lunch (which is different to Roman pizza) and a history lesson on the food of Italy, we arrived at the long awaited city of ruins. I went into Pompei expecting a few ruins and was astonished at how much more there is to see. When they say a city, they mean a city; main streets, back streets, homes, mansions, graffiti, brothels, takeaway shops, restaurants, bathing house, amphitheatres etc etc. It was amazing, but heartbreaking at the same time. The clear day allowed us to see the looming Mt Vesuvius behind the city – constantly reminding us that a lot of people died there. It really is something I feel lucky to have seen and experienced with the local tour informing us of every small detail they’ve discovered. I recommend seeing it in your lifetime. After the drive home, stopping off on the way to taste test Limoncello, I returned back to Rome so energized and informed of everything Rome and Italy have to offer.

Today, my last full day in Rome, I took my tour guides advice and did nothing but meander. I tried Roman cuisine on the back cobble-stoned roads; paid perhaps a bit too much for a personally embossed Italian-made leather (refillable) notebook; I had the best cups of coffee; I soaked up the warm ‘winter’ sun in Piazzas.

Today I fell in love with Rome. Tomorrow I leave Roma, Italia and I’m not happy about it.

365 Days

This blog comes to you on a Thursday because today, the 28th January 2016, marks the one year anniversary of my move to London.

WP_20150114_005This time last year I was at Wellington Airport in New Zealand doing my best to put on a brave face and laugh off the pot of emotion that was my stomach. As the time till I had to board counted down, and as the gate call echoed throughout the airport, I was instantly overwhelmed. Even sitting here right now in one of my favourite cafes, I suddenly have a stomach full of butterflies just thinking about it. I got asked a lot before I left if I was excited; if I was nervous, but it wasn’t until that moment of having to go through security that my move became a reality; it completely sank in that within the hour I would be saying goodbye to my family, my friends, and my home of 18 years.994729_10208050194363073_7553208956738201222_n-2

There was a movie moment amongst the tears and hugs. My best-friend Hayley had been travelling around the South Island and her flight was due to arrive at the same time that my gate opened. It was getting nearer to having to go through security, and she still hadn’t arrived yet, but I insisted that I waited. My Mum was telling me that I would just have to go when I saw her at the opposite end of the waiting area – I dropped my bags and ran. As I ran, and as she ran towards me, we both had tears streaming down our faces. I was leaving my sister, closest friend, and a face that held memories from 5 years. No Spotify, now is not the time to play Yellow by Coldplay. Skip.

After saying the long awaited goodbye to Hayley, and finalising my farewell with hugs from my family, I walked away from the tearing faces behind me. I remember the lady at security looking at my red eyes and splotchy cheeks just talking at me because she knew if I went to speak I’d be an incontrollable mess. I think I was the only one in the waiting lounge in such a state. I put myself in the corner, crying my eyes out, attempting to drown out my thoughts with Cold Chisel playing deafeningly loud in my ears. Stepping on the plane I remember vividly telling myself repeatedly something my Dad repeated to me in the months leading up to my departure. It became my moving mantra, and it’s still something I tell myself often.

“There is no better feeling than getting on a plane and having no idea what is ahead of you.”

11891053_10207190203623842_8634745430585137083_nAs I travelled further away from New Zealand, and nearer to England, my sadness turned into impatient excitement; now that the hard part was over, I couldn’t wait to set foot in the city that would be my new home. I arrived at 12.30pm and I was out looking around the city until 10pm that night, with a grin so big I’m sure my parents could see it in NZ.

To think that this time last year I knew nothing about London, yet now I could give you directions to most places – bus numbers included.

365 days ago my home was New Zealand.

365 days ago I arrived in London and while wearing 5 layers I still went about silently complaining about how cold I was.

365 days ago I was terrified of stepping inside an Underground.  I had the biggest fear of going the wrong way. Even after staring at the directional signs – for what seemed like minutes on end – I convinced myself I would end up on the opposite side of London. I was scared of buses even more so; I didn’t use a bus until about my third month here.

365 days ago I knew no one in London. Today I am surrounded by people I can’t begin to describe how thankful I am to have. 365 days ago these people were strangers, today they’re amongst the most important people in my life.

PicMonkey Collage for blog.jpg

 

365 days ago I’d only dreamt of seeing places like Big Ben and the London Eye – now they’re on my doorstep. Not only have I seen these iconic places, I’ve been to Wales, road tripped around the south of England 11138083_878059408906967_4155009662216348277_nand visited Barcelona. I’m going to Rome in 3 days, and in June this year I’m going to Santorini; I’m sure there will be more too. Amongst my friends I’ve also been labelled the documenter/the photographer/the Instagram-er; what can I say? Memories are beautiful, but photos can often say so much more.

365 days ago I moved to London because I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. Sometimes you need to look at your life from a different perspective – what a better way than from the other side of the world? Today, I am a person with my passions rediscovered. I start university in 4 days studying something I love so much it feels like leisure. Not to mention I live in Europe, talk about opportunity.

365 days ago I was unsure of my purpose, who I was, and where I wanted to be in the years to come. This last year has been a year of realising what I love, who I want to surround myself with, and adventuring outside my comfort zone and beyond. Moving to London has been a scary but invigorating experience that has allowed me to grow in many ways.

365 days later, I live in London, my new home, and this has been the best year of my life (so far).

Thank you to everyone who has made this year so special. I love every single one of you. Thank you to my parents who have always encouraged me to live for myself.

img_1865

 

Lots of love, Kiwi Girl x

…living in London.

 

Survival Instincts

From a young age you always hear the phrase ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’, and more often than not people will say this to you as a piece of ‘much required’ wisdom.  As much as I accept this phrase about not holding prejudice based on someone’s outward appearance, I do slightly disagree.

Judgment is an inherent quality that our brain feeds with experience. We have established this instinct for survival; the judgments we make are what permit, or prohibit, things to get close to the core of our lives. Moving to a new country, I found myself surrounded with the unknown in things as simple as a phone shop. I spent the first month making choices purely based off harsh judgment and gut feeling.  There were the initial times of pharmaceutical and grocery shopping, I would walk an extra block to shop at a chain-store over a cheapened corner shop. When I was flat hunting, as simply as talking to a person over the phone, I would judge the landlord on the language they used, and immediately accept or decline the idea. For all I know these are the simple judgements that have extended my life, or have caused me to miss out on opportunities.

So what happens when you take a leap of faith and do leave things up to chance? Once I was settled within a house, had a group of friends, and had all standard life requirements organised, I went through a phase of doing spontaneous adventures; going outside of my comfort zone with relation to cafes, experiences and stores. I think the key point here is that because I was successfully living, not only attempting to adapt and survive to this new environment, I didn’t need that safety net of judging everything as heavily as I once had. I remember phone calls home, discussing this exact topic with my parents.  There comes a point where after the judging and hard work has been done, you do need to loosen the reigns of planning, and live life day by day, decision by decision. Sometimes there are positive consequences to veering away from that planned path of judging things critically. This way of living, or leaving life to serendipity, is what makes for a more rounded life. You come across things you may have never knew existed, you may meet people who are destined to be in your life, or find a new passion.

Judgement is something that is I believe to be socially acceptable when you feel that your life or well-being is at risk. I think that we need to make decisions for ourselves based off our intuitions and personal judgements; ultimately we have to live with our own decisions and choices, so we need to be satisfied with them. Nevertheless, don’t forget to give things a chance; we need judgement to survive, but we need spontaneity to live.

YOUR life.

Sometimes living the life I lead, I come across small situations that cause me to get anxious; make me want to leave; remind me of how much I miss the comforts of home and family. It’s so easy for people to say “Your parents must be so proud”, “You’re so brave”, which I guess in some respects are both true, but the majority of the people who hear about my story say,

“but you’re so young”

This small quote reacts with me different ways every time I get it pushed into my ears. For starters, people who say this to me, when has age ever been a restriction? (Obviously apart from all those law restricted purchases). Have you heard about the 77-year-old Supergran who runs 100km ultra-marathons for the pleasure of it? Laura Dekker? She became the youngest person to circumnavigate the globe single-handed, at the age of 16 (Not to mention, a kiwi, you go girl), and let’s not forget about the people like my Grandmother, who moved across the world, via boat not plane, at younger ages than I, in the war times, alone. People get so wound up in ages that they forget to even ask why they’re doing what they’re doing. Yes people ask me about my travels, but the majority of the people are so quick to judging me on my age, or where I’m living; as if a zone puts a stamp on my success.

My second response to this quote is for me to want to pull into myself and not speak to anyone at all. This might seem ridiculous, attention-seeking, or pathetic to a lot of people, but for me it’s the only way that I can regain my thoughts. You don’t realise how hard it is to be away from people, until you actually are. I’ve been in London for just over 5 months, and it’s just about this time that I have fallen comfortable into a routine; of work and no play; I’m beginning to miss my oldest of best-friends at home, and in waves of gut-wrenching sadness I miss my family; hugs from Mum and Dad, but more importantly I do sometimes begin to lose sight of why I’m really here. Losing sight is what makes you want to just give up and go home.

Last night, I had a very similar break down. It was not exactly because of being named young, it was more a build up of small remarks, tones, and attitudes from the past week. I had had enough, and walking home staring up at the full, glowing moon above the London horizon of brick, I had a sudden urge. A sudden longing to leave London, go back to New Zealand, lay all over my parents on the couch like I used to, and just feel truly at home again. I posted a photo to my instagram (@paigebolland) and my Dad,  being the superhero that he is, swooped in to save the day. My Dad, and of course my Mama Bear as well, has always known what to say and when to say it. Now I know my moving here was hard for them, but they always said things that cut the doubts out of my mind, and re-convinced me that what I was doing was incredible; a once in a lifetime opportunity, and that I had to do it. So last night, when I felt like giving up, Dad saw the photo with the venting quote underneath, and messaged me.

“Understand kiwi girl, keep your chin up”

Small, but enough to make me smile just like that.

“Harder than it should be sometimes, but it is the big picture the focus is on”

This, being in the state I was in, I replied to questioning what the actual big picture was anymore. To which he responded,

“YOUR life”

He made me remember than I’m here for my own adventures, and that sometimes to get there you do have to put up with people who are jealous; have smaller dreams; less motivation; people who will do anything to hold you back. Yes living here is hands down THE hardest thing I have ever had to do, but it is also the craziest, most beautiful, difficult adventure.

This is MY life, and if you step in my way, I’ll build a ten mile high tower above that so called “big person” you think you are and sky dive off the roof miles past you.

– Thanks Dad x