Life is Hectic

Sometimes, things happen in my life that make me sit up and ask myself, “Is this really happening?” I’ve had some pretty surreal experiences happen to me over the last year, where my life feels a little bit unreal. It’s hectic, to say the least!

There are memories that I look back on which fill me with joy. Most of those recent ones come from Vienna, where I screamed with laughter around my friends. Walking down the streets, holding onto each other at one point and getting so many things wrong almost made me feel like life couldn’t truly get this hilariously good. I came back to England and the cold shock of ‘reality’ made me pause. To be honest, I don’t quite know what’s happening.

I was approached on Tuesday by a representative of a company, asking me whether I wanted to audition for something. I have to be vague as I can’t actually say what it is. However, when I looked up what was required I almost screamed. This was kind of unfortunate as I was in the middle of a crowded place and so shouting would have drawn too much attention. It’s the kind of thing I never thought could happen, from an industry which I never thought I’d be properly involved in. It’s doubtful that big things will come from it but I want and need that experience. I just hope it can increase my confidence.

Acting has been going well: I’ve been offered jobs and because of my crippling insecurity, it’s been surprising because I honestly thought I was shit. I’ve been in contact with my agent too (and God, that’s weird to say) and I don’t feel like an utter failure. Though I haven’t been to any further auditions, things are looking up, especially as my attitude to everything is slowly improving as my mental health isn’t as unstable as it was before.

On Tuesday night, my heart crashing with emotion, I finally got closure from a situation that had been running round in my head for 8 months. It was the most freeing I’d ever felt and at one point I actually screamed, “I CANNOT BELIEVE I AM HAVING THIS CONVERSATION!” The person in question was amazing about it (I honestly don’t know how I thought it could be any different) and the honesty was refreshing. As it was a huge part of my life and I didn’t want to talk about it on the blog until I got closure, I need to dedicate a whole other blog post to it. Maybe then, I can finally start to process it all.

Friendships have been going so well too, ever since I crawled out of the pit of A-Levels. It’s been surprising to me that I can still be a good friend, that I can still be an interesting person to talk to. Not only have I gained closure as I said above but I’ve also had some pretty honest conversations with some friends about how my actions in the past affected them but also, how they affected me. Very recently, I’ve become friends with Connor and there are some people who you click with immediately and after a day of knowing them, you just know that they’re going to be a part of your life: he’s incredibly kind and inspires me so much; it shocked me that I could still form those connections and not feel like a fraud for having them.

Today, I’m going to a sort of induction at the college for the visually impaired that I’m attending next year. There will be so many people there and in a way, I’m really excited but also fucking terrified. I’m desperately scared that people will hate me and that I’ll make the worst impression but this is a huge new chapter of my life that I want to experience as fully as I can.I don’t know where any of this will go. But really, I’m excited. I’m excited to see what life, with all its crazy turns and “WHAT IS HAPPENING” moments, will show me.

Have you had any weird things happening recently?

From Elm ๐Ÿ™‚

How Acting Changed my Life

***Minor details have been changed for anonymity purposes***

From mid November to early December – nearly a month – I didn’t go to school. I wasn’t at home either, barely did any schoolwork, yet in doing so I created memories that will stay with me forever. I came to some difficult realisations about the future, namely that I had pushed myself to be what everyone else expected me to be. Now that I can’t be that any more, I’m almost in freefall but I wouldn’t change that for the world.

Where was I? I can’t tell you much, apart from that I was filming a small thing for something that might appear late next year. Instead of focusing too much on those details, I want to talk about how it changed my life in the best way possible. Not just temporarily but how it forced me to realise that I’ve shoved myself into a little box because of the expectations of myself and others for far too long. Those expectations have now changed and I think I may finally know what I feel.

I stayed in a city far away from the one I live in, with a train journey lasting just over 2 and a half hours. For the longest time, I’d fought with family over going by myself and finally, I was allowed to take that journey, the longest I had ever done. In total, I did it four times, sitting with my thoughts for company, reading, heart beating hard with a mix of anticipation and fear at what I knew would be an unforgettable journey. I was right.

Collectively for around a fortnight and a half, I stayed in a hotel that was 15 minutes’ drive from the place we were filming, with a chaperone because I was below the age of 18 at the time. I had my own room, could lay my stuff out how I wanted; it was exhilarating to come back to the hotel after having had dinner and to feel utterly in control of that space. The chaperone I had was amazing: she helped me to see life differently, to understand that there are far more options than the one you thought you’d do a year ago. Over dinner – where we went out pretty much every night when my schedule allowed – and breakfast in the mornings, we talked about life and anything we could think of. Walking through shops and streets, I laughed so hard that I nearly fell over at one point. The experience wouldn’t have been the same without her because I felt secure when returning back from set, knowing I had someone who I could count on to help if I got confused and just a friend who I could chat to.

Each morning of a day I filmed, I got up, had breakfast and – depending on my call time – relaxed or got ready straight away. My sleeping patterns got messed up. Often, I had 12-hour days at odd times and so I was exhausted but it was a rewarding kind of exhausting. Receiving a Callsheet was always interesting because you were never quite sure what you were doing each day, if something overran from the day before. So many times, I asked stupid questions about abbreviations but it just meant I learned, all the time.

Now, onto the filming itself. I can’t describe anything in detail really but it was exhilarating. Between takes, I howled with laughter with the other actors. The first time I properly met one of them, an hour later we were joking around like we’d known each other for months. I wasn’t afraid of truly expressing myself, breaking free of the ‘vulnerable’ stereotype, my insecurities being natural and able to be talked about. Waiting between sections of filming wasn’t difficult either: I had too many cups of tea for it to be healthy and one of the Runners – people who do jobs around set and help the actors if they need something – spoke to me constantly. I can safely say that the people made it worthwhile.

I wish I could tell you specific memories I have but I’m not allowed to reveal anything about the filming. However, highlights include shivering so hard in the cold, talking to an actor about mental health and our lives for almost an hour, learning about so many new things, chatting to the costume and makeup people and starting to use terminology that you wouldn’t understand if you weren’t in that industry. Coming back into the warmth when you were freezing felt as if your fingers were about to fall off and I took to mumbling lines under my breath and whenever I was running lines with the other actors, we’d sometimes just say the first line and run from then. I felt so comfortable around them; it didn’t matter that I looked young, that I had a disability, that I hadn’t done this much before. I felt utterly at home, able to absolutely sob with laughter and I didn’t care how I looked. It brought back my humanity and each time I came back to the hotel, I’d talk to my chaperone about how the day went and her enthusiasm for it all made me so happy.

I went for drinks after one of the days filming with some of the cast and crew. There, one of the main producers talked to me and told me I was wonderful, that I shouldn’t give up, that I should continue doing this. I beamed, heart soaring as I realised – maybe, just maybe he was right. After speaking to the director, one of the loveliest people, I started feeling a fire light deep within me. It was glorious and I got confidence I’ve never felt before or since, bolstering me like I was worth something more than I ever thought. I went back to the hotel – something I jokingly referred to as ‘home’ with my chaperone – and cried out of shock. They were happy tears, tears of gratitude and an overload of emotion.

The day I left the set for the last time, I cried so hard for hours. It felt as if I was leaving something behind and I felt horribly empty when I remembered that there would be no more Callsheets for this time, no more accidentally walking into walls and having to re-take whilst laughing, no more chatting to the director and the rest of the cast about my disability and them not caring that I was blind, just caring that I was myself. The train journey back was one of the most difficult I’ve had as it felt as if my heart was breaking: I missed it and still miss it, the simple companionship and jokes I had with people, the waiting that never seemed to be boring because I knew I was being useful. I was needed, part of it, like I’ve not really felt before.

Going to school made me feel small, powerless and so, so wrong. I’d thought, over the Christmas holidays, and realised that I really don’t know what to do about my future. It threw me: my lack of work done was piling up; I felt panicked all the time at the thought of this continuing, on and on. That snapped me back to a sort of reality. Before filming, it felt normal to feel this awful all the time and to have no respite. Now I compare myself to when I was happy to now, when I’ve reverted to feeling worried constantly. I shouldn’t have to feel like this all the time. I shouldn’t have to do a degree that will just exacerbate this.

What do I do, then? Do I still do my degree in English Lit and Creative Writing, regardless of how unhappy it makes me? Or do I look at drama schools in the year I’m taking out next year? It shocks me to note that this uncertainty, instead of making me feel terror, makes me feel less trapped. I’m less limited now. In a way, I can be more in control.

This will come as a shock to, well, everyone. It already has. Throughout my secondary education, I never went into drama; I never expressed an interest because I never thought I was good enough. This will be a surprise; I’ll have teachers and parents telling me I’m being hasty, that I should be sensible. However, in this, I’m doing the sensible thing for me.

I want to do what makes me happy, to do what feels right. I don’t want to feel as wrong as I have; feeling so terrified and unhappy about the future and believing that to be healthy is harmful. I’m having a huge re-think but maybe that was necessary to make me remember that my views for the future are not the only path I could take.

There are always options. It’s far better to be happy and to feel confident in yourself than to go along with what people tell you you should do.

I don’t want this to be the end. I don’t want to go, “That’s it,” and force myself to be content with a future that has never felt wholly “me”. I don’t want to be told I’m being a child about this, that I should just do the degree because it’ll give me a good future.

I want to make a future for myself, not anyone else’s version of my future. I will create amazing memories and the ones I made last month and the month before, though fading a little, have made a lasting impression on me. They’ve shown me that I won’t just fit into a little box.

A lot of changes are happening in my head. I’m behind in my schoolwork, desperately stressed, losing control of some of the things in my life and breaking away from the things teachers want me to be and from the studious person I once was. However, I was only that because I needed to be. It was the only thing I thought I had. I’ve been proven wrong. I’m still insecure, worried I’m running too far and too fast but for once, thinking about this doesn’t make me feel like I’m climbing a mountain that never ends. Maybe, I can be happy.

Not maybe. Definitely.

Have you ever had a complete turnaround about what you want to do in the future?

Love from Elm ๐Ÿ™‚

The Dragon’s Loyalty Award!

I LOVE you guys so much, because I got an award, and HOW?!!

The lovely Parisian Pages – who I still refer to as Moonlight – nominated me for this. She is such a lovely and sweet person and if you haven’t followed her, do so along with the blogs I’ll be nominating cause I love them all.

The Rules (adapted a teeny bit because I can’t copy and paste skills yes)
1. Display the award on the blog. GUYS, how do you do this?!
2. Celebrate your win by writing a post about it, and link to your nominator.
3. Nominate 6 deserving bloggers for this award.
4. Link to your awardees – nominees? What’s the right word?
5. Write 7 interesting facts about yourself. (I’M NOT INTERESTING)

The ‘interesting’ facts

1. When I was about 5, I had this… I think it was like a chair with a cover and it span round, and I used to pretend I was going on a journey to space and under the sea with one of my friends. Whatever happened to that chair? Think I broke it.

2. I can’t open either eye properly- I can only really open the left eye if I try, but normally, they’re half-closed which makes me look tired all the time.

3. I was in a film. A LITTLE film, okay?! It’s… I…

4. I was in Call the Midwife. For 2 seconds. And you couldn’t see me but shh.

5. My tollerance for spice is legendary, in that it’s basically nonexistent. By that, I mean I CRY WHEN I EAT THE BAREST HINT OF SPICE. My mother’s Malaysian so in THEORY, I should be used to it because she eats spicy stuff, but I grew up, well, NOT eating that. WHOOPS.

6. The first crush I got on a girl was on my friend Pine who was homophobic at the time, and I didn’t even realise it was a crush. Thank god that ended. That’s REALLY AWKWARD OH NO

7. When people tickle me, I go completely crazy and start laughing hysterically. YUP, I’m clever.

AND my nominees, together with a description of them – ish.

Dziey – a really awesome blogger who leaves FANTASTIC comments.

L – a good, real life friend of mine who’s blog is great.

Selfie – someone I genuinely consider an inspiration and who has always helped me through the bad times.

Georgie – I found her recently and I think she’s great; her posts make me so happy.

Jerrod – a really sweet guy who’s comments make my day.

Sam – possibly my oldest blogging friend who I actually became friends with on my old blog, and who’s posts are the best thing you will ever read.

I hope you liked that! Also, has anyone got any recommendations of new blogs? As in, bloggers that’ve just started? Or, ARE you one?

From Elm ๐Ÿ™‚

I Didn’t Stutter! – Part 2

GUYS! I GOT A CALLBACK!

Alright. Before you read this, take a look at part 1.

You know that audition? I got a callback. I GOT A OH my god.

Er. I found out. a week ago but… Kinda was distracted by stuff and… I’M SORRY!

I went for the second audition today. Central London, again – and on the way there, I was frantically running over my script. And swearing. In fact I swore so much that I was terrified I might swear in the actual thing. After several explosions of “FUCK! SHIT! NO SHIT DAMN BLOODY HELL!” I think my dad was either irritated or amused. Probably the latter – I’m a right bundle of laughs, after all. HAHAHAHA. Yeah right.

You know what?

I DIDN’T mess up! I know – shocking, right? After all, I was panicking so much before I went in that I almost hyperventalated. GAH!

I went in the room. We started with the script – a woman was running the auditions this time. She put me so much at ease that I forgot I was nervous. Usually I’m terrified.

The script actually went so well. I was horrified that I didn’t screw up – but she said I did well, which boosted my confidence so much that you wouldn’t believe it. I didn’t.

And then came the part where I bragged about myself – sorry, I meant talked. I said the usual shit: “Er yeah, I have a CD and I write songs and I like to write and yeah.” Except I laughed. A lot. OH GOD!

I know I won’t get the part, but there’s an insane part of my brain that just hopes. I have a CHANCE, and I guess that’s all I need to feel better.

All in all? Successful day ๐Ÿ™‚ I needed it.

It was an amazing experience. If I don’t get the part, I’m just so happy that I managed to do the audition, and I’m so glad that I managed to scrape together the confidence to stand up there and talk and be myself.

I feel like such a high-and-mighty twat. BOW DOWN TO ME, PEASANTS!

From the great, all-powerful, narcissistic, moronic Elmitron

I Didn’t Stutter!

I want to crawl into a hole and sleep for a decade.

If you didn’t read the post about my audition, take a look or you won’t understand what the hell I’m blathering on about.

I will NOT recount the boring-as-arse train journey there for that specific reason.

So we got there. An hour early. And because my dad is an exercise fanatic, we walked around for half an hour, and went to a cafe until we had to go to the place (which was a building, and the auditions were held in a basement)

Thank god I knew no one there. Actually, I lie – there was a guy named Jack there. I’d met him in another audition for a two-second part in Call the Midwife. Jack acts in Bad Education, and before he went into the room, we had a short conversation which consisted mainly of me fretting and running over the script with my dad (and shouting at my dad because he was being a right arse)

Ah… The script. Remember ow I said I had no idea what I was supposed to be doing? Well… I received the script 20 minutes before I went into the room, and had to run over it frantically before I could do anythin. That wasn’t their fault, it was probably me just being disorganised.

I went into the room after Jack went out – I got  the nerve to ask him how it wnt, which was surprising because I CAN’T SOCIALISE. I basically told my dad to bugger off so I wouldn’t be embarrassed if he was there.

The audition went okay, I think. They told me to talk about myself, and I rambled on like a twat about my songwriting and my CD (where I went into a recording studio URGH self promotion). I had to do it in a sort of presenting style, which was kinda terrifying. I half-stuttered and floundered a little, but it wasn’t too bad.

Then the script, and then I talked about my blindness. Oh god. To be honest, I couldn’t give a bugger about the disability, but it was just a bit weird talking about it.

I know I won’t get the part, but it was an amazing experience. And even if I don’t, they still have me down as auditioning for something.

By the way, thank you guys SO much or all your encouragement! It means so much.

Blurgh. I want sleep…. 

Er and the yeah that’s why and I’m a um well actually you see it’s…

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

I genuinely think I’m going to explode with nerves. I mean it. You’ll get an Elm-shaped crater where I was. (haha, Elm shaped oh my god)

Gah. CALM. Peace and calm and serenity and all that…

Tomorrow, I’m going up (down?) to London to audition for some acting – no, PRESENTING – job.

Woah, slow down! Just to warn you, this is going to make me sound like an absolute, arrogant, self-centred twat. Basically, about 3 and a half years ago (nearly 4) I was involved in a film called Imagine. ‘Twas about blind people, so obviously I got the part…

Oh no, that sounded worse than I thought. “Look at ME, PEASANTS, I was in a film and you weren’t, nyahahahaha, I’m sooo great!” Dear God.

It was a great experience, and I made a few friends. Also, it was hectic and I distinctly remember several catch phrases… Let’s not go into that.

When I was 11, I was a confident little shit, and so after the film I signed up to this agency called Visable (that’s it’s name, isn’t it?!)

It’s only now that I’ve been convinced to do some work. The conversation with my dad went a bit like this:

“There’s a presenting job on the website!”

“WHAT?! Huh? What?”

“Well, it’s tomorrow… Do you want to do it?”

“Tomorrow… WHAT? What do you mean, tomorrow? Oh god I don’t know, I don’t know, just give me a second to think!”

I was convinced to do it. How, I don’t know. I know I’m being arrogant and picky – it’s an amazing opportunity – but I am terrified.

The problem? I can’t speak without stuttering. Yeah, sure, with friends I’m fine, but stick me in a room with people, tell me to talk, and I can’t.

Has anyone got any tips?! I have a bad feeling I’ll fuck up and say something wrong. I don’t even know what I’m supposed to be doing! What if I mumble?

Okay, okay, okay! Stop freaking ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooh dear god

Sorry for spamming with the O’s… I’m scared!

What if I-

Aaaaaaargh!

Help meh! I’m not even joking; the bloody thrice damned thing is TOMORROW, and I’m shit at acting, and I can’t string a sentence together, and WHY did I agree to this!

Okay. I’ll just wing it. I hope I don’t cry, or something, when I get there. I’m 15. I’m mature. I CAN DO THIS!

Elm, professional actor, speaker and presenter, signing out.

HA!