Who do I love? Who am I?

These are questions I didn’t realise I was asking myself, and for a long time, I think the answer came from others rather than deep within. But when I truly think about it, I think my younger self would have confidently said, Shania Twain. I just didn’t consider what this meant.

‘A Moment’ by Holly Warburton

I think I have always admired women. I’ve always found them captivating, in a way that media didn’t capture at the time. Of course, I was a fan of Britney Spears and her music videos which I used to watch on repeat, but this always felt disingenuous. I felt as if ‘attraction’ was sprawled across these perspectives of women in bold writing, screaming for the audience to pay attention to how a woman looks. I was paying attention, do not get me wrong. There is a difference when a woman makes a choice to express her individuality in whatever way comfortable, and when those around her take over.

I had a few memorable introductions to beautiful women throughout my childhood to the likes of Halle Berry as Cat Woman, Catherine Zeta-Jones in Chicago and Jennifer Anniston in… well pretty much everything I watched at the time – I swear she has never had a break. These early crushes were smothered in the media’s perceptions of what ‘sexy’ meant and told other women that this is who you should aim to be. This was certainly confusing as a child/teen. Do I want to be with these women? Or do I want to be like these women? I found these women most attractive when they were shining their talents or sometimes their flaws. Feminity, for me, didn’t show itself on the glamorised and glossy front page, but instead in the words written beneath. Or at that point the excitement from a girl wanting to braid my hair.

I didn’t understand then, but this was my first encounter with how the love for women has been sexualised and encaptured through the male lens, leading me to believe that loving a woman meant something very different. How was I supposed to understand how I looked at women when the view I had was warped and inauthentic, built by others and not by women like me? This has of course changed and I implore you to watch ‘Portrait of a Lady on Fire‘ to see the female gaze in all its glory.

Identity questions filled my head from a young age, I was quite concerned with knowing who I am. Maybe I watched Eat, Pray, Love too early in life? Either way, I was obsessed with learning more. I was a regular horoscope checker, an avid future job hunter and worst of all, a frequent teen magazine quiz taker. Those terrible yes or no quizzes with the latest teen boy ‘heartthrob’ and dream house result were my routes to reassurance. I always hoped for Zac Efron. I was very strict with my answers, and when I doubted my honesty, I would drag my finger back to the previous question to try again. I took this very seriously. And yet, I did not end up with Zac Efron. I ended up with an auburn-haired singer/songwriter who bites their fingernails and thinks having a cup of tea and a hot meal is socially acceptable. They also happen not to be a man. But I’ve never been happier.

So how did I get here? There was no lightbulb moment. There wasn’t a dramatic coming out story. I was privileged enough to have a safe and accepting story, but one that is fairly boring. I came out to my friends in my first year of university, identifying as Bisexual after an open conversation about all things sexuality. I felt as if I had put on a new layer, it felt comforting but a new weight to play with. I started to explore my sexuality before coming out to my parents the following year by text message. Again, very dull! But this kind breath of dullness felt in itself as it should. Coming out doesn’t really need to be a thing and I hope it becomes a completely mundane openness over time.

Over the next year, my new layer started to itch. I changed my look a couple of times, educated myself on LGBTQ+ and I found the Lesbian Masterdoc (you can read more about this here). I really started to understand myself and understood that the comfiest layer and label I found was Gay/Lesbian. Reminder: labels are not important and if you are a person who is new to this community, there is no rush or a necessity in labelling yourself. Some find comfort in doing so, and others don’t. I also want to make it apparent that Bisexuality is not a stepping stone, I may have changed my label but that does not render this identity in its validity.

The realisation truly happened once I found similar people to me and discovered a whole other world of people, some that have been right in front of me. I was empowered instead of ashamed, and this truly helped me find myself, quiz or no quiz. These questions are not a simple yes or no. Although, most ‘Am I gay?’ quizzes happened to be quite accurate in my case. It was a complicated affair for me, but when you meet the right person, everything sort of falls into place. I describe the moment as very much out of my control, a force like gravity and I just knew.

I’m incredibly proud of how I identify, but this doesn’t mean it is always easy. I’ve had the dirty looks, the muttered comments and what I have always described as polite homophobia: “I’m all for it, just not, you know… in front of me.” Navigating life as a same-sex couple has had its moments. Thinking towards the future, I know there will be an extra expense for family planning known as the ‘Gay tax’ despite NHS involvement as well as educating myself on my rights when thinking of purchasing my home. The world is growing and evolving and I know there are positive movements for change. Just recently, Scotland has become the first country to include LGBT inclusive education within the curriculum. I work for a company that does seek to make a difference and has been incredibly supportive of who I am. But I have also left jobs in the past because of the environment and discomfort and mostly the loneliness for expressing who I am. Tits for tat, excuse the pun. Either way, I’m happy and proud to walk down the street living my truth… just sometimes I might have to drop the hand I’m holding to avoid altercations and of course hail a bus if I’m alone and a policeman approaches. Mustn’t forget this tip!

Even this post is something I hesitate to share, and there’s guilt towards myself that comes with this. Younger Hattie never had a second thought on someone being different, and as most children do, embraced everything with open arms. So I suppose, she would press the publish button. I’ll give her permission to do so now.

Looking forward to our next chat,



Growing Pains: Where have I been?

It’s official. My degree, written on parchment paper, has come through the door and I am officially a graduate. I should be excited for all the next adventures waiting… But, why do I feel like my university is dumping me? It’s like they’ve sent my things in the post with a passive aggressive congratulations and be on your way. I know it would always come to an end and on some late night study sessions I wished it had come sooner. I had the most amazing four years at university, even with a few bumps along the way…. strike action and winter storm bumps and a global pandemic kind of bump. It’s fair to say, it wasn’t easy. But it was still one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

This is actually my dissertation photo. I’m yet to get a graduation photo!

Graduating in absentia is lonely, however. It’s a click of button to end your final seminar and another click to submit your final piece of work. Then it’s all come to the end. No hat, no cloak. Just like that! Conversations start changing from assignment chitter, to where’s your life going chatter. This shit is scary. Nobody really prepares you for this stage of life. Whether you have studied or not, everyone goes through it. Change starts to appear in all areas of life. Some of the things I’ve noticed over the past year would be: increasing activity on Right Move, the desire to watch children’s films, heavier anxiety about finance and stability, and even physical changes in my body. I have heard of the ‘Second Puberty‘; I mean what kind of fresh hell is that? My spotty and over-emotional teenage years were over… I thought so anyway. But no, your body and hormones all change again in your 20s. Your physical capabilities change too, not to mention after a pandemic. Stairs tire me now, I look for comfort in my shoes and underwear. Is this just me? Am I entirely boring now? I haven’t even mentioned the mood swings: from enraged postoffice experiences, to sobbing over infestations of fruit flies. The pressure is all consuming.

I’m not sure what the common thought is after graduating. Maybe there isn’t one. I’ve seen some people fall into their industry job, others taking on apprenticeships or training positions. I’ve seen some go back to studying, gathering even more knowledge. And some have moved away, grabbing their things and finding somewhere abroad to start their next chapter. These thoughts and next steps have crossed my mind, sometimes sitting long enough for me to investigate and even submit applications. I applied for a masters, got offered a scholarship and right up until a month beforehand, I pulled out! I felt I was applying from a place of fear rather than a place of genuine passion. Maybe even applying for the university year I felt I had missed out on due to the pandemic. I just want the gown!

To be completely honest, my mind rested on one thing: money. I promise not in a material gain way, although it is nice to earn more! Instead, it is more due to university being very expensive and if I wanted to take future risks with my jobs and the creative industry, I need security first. It’s pretty boring and not very glam. It’s not exactly what I had pictured after graduating. Finding a job right now has its own challenges. Back in May this year, it had been reported by the BBC that “about 1 in 20 people want a job but cannot find one.” I managed to find a job relatively quickly back in April, however it was certainly not successful. I felt well prepared in getting a job, but did not have the slightest clue on what to do if it didn’t work out. That’s a hurdle I feel everyone will need to jump at some point. I stumbled across mine, learning that I wanted a job with a very small commute and one that made me feel comfortable to be who I am. After a lot of job applications and some very long weeks of guilt, I finally found a job I am happy in. It gives me everything I need right now and that’s all that’s important. Plus the commute is from my bed to my at home office, about 15 steps if you’re counting! If you’re searching for a job just now or if you’re unhappy in the one you’re in, I am really sorry as I know just how stressful this is. I know a lot of it is without our control so my advice is limited, but I would suggest keeping a job hunting logbook or spreadsheet! I’d also suggest sharing your struggles with friends and family, this can certainly help with the isolated feeling that comes with finding, or being without, a job.

While working full-time, I have since discovered different pathways and passions I thought had taken a back-seat or some that I never thought would come to me in the first place. I have discovered that I really enjoy helping people, especially giving advice or listening to puzzled brains. I am especially passionate about the health and wellbeing of women, particularly survivors of abuse. This prompted me to take on a counselling course in my spare time (when I have some!) So my studying hasn’t completely disappeared, which I like. It feels familiar to me and I think I’ll always want to learn.

Illustration by the very talented Alessandro Gottardo

Growing up is tough. Growing pains are not just physical but I believe you can experience them emotionally too. It takes a lot of effort to imagine all the routes and pathways you want to do and then try to pick one. I think for some it is clear as day and their pathway has plenty of signs for direction. Others, maybe like me, have several that all look pretty good but maybe with some wacky signs instead. I think this was the problem. I feel like I have to pick one, when in reality, I want a bit of everything. I want to be creative within the film industry, I want to buy a lovely house and become a mother, I want to help people and make a difference and I want to run my own business. Despite the growing pains, I’m a little taller now to know that these paths probably all lead to the same place. I can peer among the trees to know this.

So maybe it’s time we create our own paths. With our own signposts. We’ll get there in the end. Eventually.

I’m back and ready to write again, I hope this post explains a little where my head has been. I’m curious to know, when did you experience emotional growing pains? When did you start feeling like a ‘true adult’?

Looking forward to our next chat,


Coming Home to Yourself

Illustration Credit: Xuan Lon Xuan

Over lockdown if you happen to be out of work at the moment and your to-do list is slowly being reduced to tasks like brushing your hair, you may end up in the same boat as myself; riding waves of overthinking and overcoming emotional spirals. With so much more time on our hands, I think brains are seizing the opportunity to conjure up long lost memories, trauma and wonderful questions such as: Is this really what I want? Looking at our lives from within our isolated bubbles and, more often or not, relying on our own perceptions is causing quite the emotional turmoil for some. Within this some, I stand, hand raised and admitting ‘I’m struggling also’. Distractions are limited and accessibility to the usual coping mechanisms scarce. It’s a very uncomfortable feeling to look at your life in such an examined way, looking inside ourselves through an unusual and unplanned situation. It throws everything up in the air.

While waiting to come down, we catch ourselves asking questions about what we want, how to make the most of this time and are we happy. Some pretty deep questions, adding pressure to our daily lives. This pressure for me began as I noticed things starting to close again in the Autumn. Shops began to close, emails came in explaining the plans of action for closure, every second headline reading ‘Lockdown: Round Two’. When change struck the first time in Spring 2020, I remember telling myself to remain positive and use this time to rest. It was relatively new and I grabbed the extra time with both hands, walks were adventurous and I used my spare time to indulge in cooking and catching up on the latest shows. However, the second national lockdown placed a feeling I could not describe at the time. One that clung to the corners of my smile, adding an extra weight to lift. The motivation and positivity much harder to conjure up. Instead of seizing the change, I surrendered and sunk into my bed each morning with a ‘What’s the point?’

This feeling was suffocating, dark and unkind to my brain. It caused me to do mental gymnastics every day of what to do, to be active or not, to be social or not, to do work or not. Each task felt so much harder to complete. After a while, coming into the New Year and the harsh nature of a third national lockdown caused myself to retreat. I lost myself.

When we speak of losing ourselves, I think it’s important to look into what that exactly means. First, when do we know ourselves? Usually I know who I am most when asked for advice, or when explaining why I chose to do something. For example, when asked why I chose to study film, I speak of the complete adoration since I was young for the screen and how images could make you feel. I’d tell people of that amazing feeling when leaving the cinema, that feeling for me bubbles up and I could talk for hours. This passion has stayed with me, showed itself in various ways but has always remained. Alternatively, a friend may tell me of an injustice they have experienced and I suddenly fire up with passion, love and loyalty. These moments I have never felt more grounded, my feet never more comfortable in my shoes. Yet, 2021 has brought the most uncertainty the world has faced in a long time. My shoes may be on the ground, but I have no clue where exactly my feet are and my reminders have never felt so far away. This sense of loss appears and I begin to retreat.

Some tell-tale signs of losing yourself may be:

  • Becoming less sociable and secluded
  • Lack of motivation
  • Sleeping changes such as sleeping too much, or restless nights
  • Overthinking and increased anxiety
  • Imposter’s Syndrome
  • Increased need to compare and fear of inadequacy
  • Feeling lonely
  • Impulsive decisions including change in appearance

So how do we come back home? Excellent question and one I’ve been asking myself a hell of a lot. When mindlessly watching rom-coms recently, one film with a glowingly blonde pregnant woman spoke of nesting. For those who haven’t experienced this, nesting within pregnancy is a term best described as the process where the pregnant women may have the sudden urge to redecorate and prepare for their baby’s arrival. Well, I’m certainly not expecting and don’t suggest to start making major life decisions when not ourselves, but I do suggest making your own nest. My partner compared me to a bird when I explained this trapped feeling, they described Covid much like a cage which clipped my wings and kept me from the freedom we had before government restrictions. So we still can’t leave our cages, but that doesn’t mean they have to look like a cage. Investing in small decorations, motivational quotes, a new brightly coloured cushion or even creating a new Spotify playlist can help with reminding you of what makes your space, your space. We have looked at the same four walls an awful lot right now, some wee changes may shake things up and encourage you to remember what you love. Framed pictures of your loved ones is a great idea for your home-sick heart. This starts to build a bridge of your physical environment to your mental connection. Humans need reminders of who we are and it helps if we can visualise them. A Pinterest mood board, or for the more crafty a physical one, can inspire new aspirations and goals you may forgotten amongst the doom-scrolling.

Speaking of doom-scrolling, negative news can completely take a toll over your mental state. Mix that with the unattainable expectations pasted over Instagram of toned bodies and productive queens, you’ve got yourself the comparison goblin whispering: “You’re not doing enough.” Shut that goblin up! Social media is one of very little available ways to connect with people just now, so a detox isn’t the most achievable. Try muting news notifications, instead maybe try to dedicate a time for a catch up with broadcasts. Install an app such as Forest or Cleverest which provides productive timers encouraging keeping away from your phone. I’ve started using this for an hour a day, either spent reading or focussing on uni work. A clearer mind will have more space to hold positivity and to remind yourself of little hobbies. I know, I don’t exactly love that word. It somehow holds a lot of pressure, demanding us to be able to reply with acrobatics or wakeboarding. Things we enjoy doing, that help pass the time and give light to our day. Much longer than the word ‘hobbies’ but you get the point. Rediscovering old hobbies can help in the journey to finding ourselves. Try and embrace your inner child and take up finger-painting or dancing in the kitchen or living room. Scientifically, Psychologists have found shaking our bodies to be incredible mood boosters. If you’re like me and are more introverted: writing, reading, drawing or even becoming a pen-pal are some hobbies to get involved in.

Lastly, creating a goal that is achievable just now in uncertain times can provide that spring of motivation a lot of us are searching for. Goals could include small tasks like a weekly workout, a daily walk, taking more photos, improving baking skills, or signing up for an online course. It may be emotional goals like journaling every night or creating more honest boundaries with friends or colleagues. It is important to note that this goal works with you. Everyone may be in the same boat, but we all respond differently with different abilities. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Just pushing forward and waking up each day is enough. Be gentle and be curious about this new change, in the world and in ourselves.

Losing ourselves isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes it’s the shift of something bigger, it may even lead to some fresh revelations. Don’t be scared of the in-between. It can allow for growth and indicate to the things that mean the most to us.

I’ve grabbed my ticket home. It’s bloody terrifying to find your feet but they are there. Maybe just a new pair of shoes this time.

Looking forward to our next chat,



23 Things I have Learnt

Fun fact! I am an Aquarius. If you’re not into the spellbinding and elaborate world of Astrology, then you may roll your eyes over star signs and their meanings. However, I’ve always been interested in horoscopes and how the night sky could indeed affect our personalities so I enjoyed learning more about the traits of an Aquarius. From what I have managed to decipher, Aquarius women are particularly independent, a little bit weird, think outside the box and tend to hate being told what to do. It’s fair to say, I identify with these common traits and would pride myself especially on being a little weird. I’ve always struggled to fit in one box -– why would you when there’s so many to choose from?!

Illustration by VETVY

My birthday rests on the 9th February, I have always liked the month but it is not always ideal in what you can do to celebrate. This is mainly due to slushy cold weather and the lack of holidays – when I was in high-school my birthday would also be accompanied with the clash of mock exams. But this year is different, since it will be a lockdown birthday. Interestingly, I am quite relieved to be spending my birthday in isolation this year. Hear me out – I had just missed the first national lockdown last year and managed to spend my birthday in a bar. I know, seems a far away dream now. But my friends unfortunately have all had to spend their birthdays in lockdown with very little options at hand. So, we’re fair now!

I will be turning the youthful age of 23, still very much apart of the early twenties category. If you were to ask littler Hattie about people who were 23, I think her view would be very different to what I am currently doing with my life. She’d probably confidently tell you that if she was 23 she would be married, with a big family, lots of money and a cat. I have none of these things, most 23 year olds don’t have these things. I have realised that most of your twenties is a tug-of-war between letting go and panicking about the future. A wonderfully chaotic combination!

Although I am very much yet to start the adventure of adulthood as I finish my degree this year, I have still learnt a lot in these past 23 years. So I thought I would share with you these nuggets of somewhat helpful lessons and advice.

  1. Don’t bother with high-heels on a night-out. Honestly you’ll be wasting plasters and limiting your dance moves.
  2. Nobody knows what they are doing. Even the ones who pretend they do!
  3. Sexuality and gender are on spectrums. Educate yourself as much as you can and explore!
  4. Comparison can be the beginning of any mental spiral. Honour and love your differences.
  5. Money is not everything, debt is normal. It is okay to not be as stable as you want to be financially, worrying about your bank brings a whole lot of stress and not very much change.
  6. To cope with money stress, it is useful to keep and make monthly budgets.
  7. Not everyone is going to like you, and that’s okay. (In all honesty, I’m still trying to accept this one!)
  8. Meal plan for your week! It will save pennies and indecision dilemmas.
  9. You don’t always owe an explanation for your actions. Sometimes it’s enough to just say your action.
  10. Being creative takes effort and work, this can take time to master and it’s okay to have slumps.
  11. Write your bibliography as you go! There are apps, websites and all sorts to make this easier. Do not spend half of your degree doing it manually, at the last minute, without any page numbers!!! (Completely calling myself out here…)
  12. Call, email, write or message your loved ones. You don’t know your last message.
  13. Grief can strike at any point, there will be good days and there will be moments you’ll be hit with a loss without any preparation.
  14. Healing is not linear.
  15. Keep an album of your favourite photos. This will help on your low days.
  16. Invest in a comfy dressing gown. (A favourite for lockdown fashion!)
  17. Admitting you got it wrong goes a long way and will earn respect.
  18. Drink water, seriously, drink water. Reminding apps and a groovy water bottle helps.
  19. Weight fluctuates, stretch marks will appear and it is all normal and bloody beautiful.
  20. Some friends will come into your life like seasons, not everyone is meant to stay.
  21. If you spend more time crying over your partner, rather than laughing with them, something is not right.
  22. Keep a pound in your car or favourite jacket pocket for a trolley.
  23. Listen to your body; you know your body best.

This list will most likely get longer and longer over the years and something exchanged or added on. My version of 30 year old me now will probably be very different to the real deal. But that’s far away… In a land called Denial.

I’d love to read your advice and tips you may have collated over the years. Have a wee natter down in the comments, I’ll be reading and adding some to my own list!

Looking forward to our next chat,


Welcome and Hello

Since I can remember, I have always wanted to write. Whether it would be diary entries, letters, books, fan-fiction to multiple start-ups but never finished blogs. Writing for me is incredibly therapeutic, ironically something I have always struggled with. With mashed-up phrases and my woes with phonetics, I’ve never found the written word easy to master. It took me a long time to learn how to read, and an unhealthy amount of time to learn how to read inside my head! It’s safe to say that this skill gave great relief for my mother and teachers. But this struggle never dulled my motivation to learn. I’m naturally competitive and I loved stories so much I put all the time I could find into learning how to read, to then how to write stories of my own.

What a look!

This work paid off as currently I’m in my final year of a Bachelor Honours degree in Film and Media, in the middle of writing my own book and now creator of a brand spanking new blog!

During my quest to understand my colourful brain and its unique ways of learning, I also found that I have the habit to pick up many hobbies… for about an hour before it falls into the ever-expanding pile of could-have-beens. I’m afraid I don’t have the attention span or the memory capacity to hold information like learning a musical instrument or crafting up something magnificent. Instead, I soak up moments and hold onto whatever I can find that brings joy. Usually this is found nearby in great films, wonderfully deep conversations with friends and good food. I love, however, the freedom of writing. The ability to at some point pick up where I left off and know no one would be waiting.

So why a blog? Well, I love to chat and I have usually got a lot to say so I thought something like this would suit me well. I’m very good at creating a cosy corner for myself and for friends to relax and sink into a good natter, so why not a virtual version! I’m excited to see what I can ramble about and hopefully create a space for all of us to come together; to chat or even just to listen (read?!).

I’m sure you’ll get to know me quite quickly, I tend to overshare. Looking forward to our chats soon.