Awesome People Of 2014

Sitting here on this very cliché but lovely Sunday amongst the afternoon film-watching, late leisurely breakfast-making and wearing thick socks, I dipped into the Sunday papers to find similar 2014 round-ups in each one. The ALS Ice Bucket challenge features heavily, as does the Elle DeGeneres “Oscar selfie”, as does reaching “peak Chiltern Firehouse”. Lots of trends, things and buzzwords happened in 2014, as with every year. But I wanted to do a different “round-up” and decided not to do things, or news stories, or hashtags; but people. People that did or said something this year that stuck with me.

So here are a list of names that I wanted to shout YOU’RE AWESOME to in their faces (and on some occasions, I did exactly that):

Jenny Slate

I had the brilliant opportunity to see Jenny Slate and her fellow writers of Obvious Child at the Southbank this year, following a preview screening of the film. I wrote a blog post about how much I adored the film HERE (included full link to save repetition) – but in short I was so happy to have discovered a female comedian talking about abortion in a new way and a woman who was unafraid to break boundaries and start potentially awkward conversations.

Katie Oldham (aka Scarphelia)

I discovered Katie’s blog Scarphelia this year and it was so refreshing to find a fellow blogger who’s blog was mostly an archive of her writing. She’s not afraid to be sassy and write about things that probably thought of as being a bit ‘deep’. I like fearless writers. Not that there’s anything wrong with fashion/beauty blogs but I always just get over excited when I find a blogger who predominately just writes. She’s also a bloody good singer which you can find over on her YouTube channel. So all in all, a new person to fangirl over.

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Laura Jane Williams aka Superlatively Rude

Laura has become such a good friend this year and for that I am grateful. She is one of many people this year who I’ve sort of fallen in love with over the Internet, and after having some really great meet-ups, including grown-up sleepovers with other legends such as Megan and Alex, we’ve become proper pals who need to check-in on each other. Plus – she did my first YouTube video with me (my channel then died a slow silent death as I didn’t film any others. But we don’t talk about that.)

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Bruce Daisley

Bruce is the MD of Twitter but aside from that, he’s a really great guy who is just “in the know”. He’s always in the loop of what’s going on in the world, be it on the Internet, new trends, music, podcasts, general cool cultural stuff. This makes him a really great person to know and to have good interesting chats with.

Zoe Sugg

ZOELLA-ELLA-ELLA. Zoe Sugg’s name has made it into the mainstream press this year (finally the old school media has clocked on!) but I’ve been a fan for years and it’s been quite the the rollercoaster ride watching her career take off like a rocket over the last few months. 2014 has definitely been Zoe’s year with lots of exciting ventures taking off including a beauty range and a book deal. The great thing about Zoe is she isn’t going to change for anyone. She is who she is, and with 6 million (and growing) fans who love her for exactly that, the press are in no position to shift many people’s opinions. She’s a one of a kind.

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John Green

I really really like John Green – his books, his YouTube channel, his points of view, his humility. His book The Fault in Our Stars blew my mind with how creative, emotional and complex the storyline was. The film also stayed with me when watching it on a flight home from South Korea earlier this year; I thought about it for days and days afterwards. He is a natural storyteller and someone I admire hugely.

Lena Dunham

Meeting Lena this year was amazing and special and lovely. She was even better than I’d hoped for IRL. I will always look to Lena as someone who helped a lot of girls growing up to embrace themselves, warts and all.

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Hannah Ferguson

Hannah aka “Agent Fergie” is so so good at what she does. Anyone that is the bomb at what they do are an inspiration in general. Hannah’s a book agent who has a YouTube channel where she answers questions and makes everything seem more transparent in the industry and the process of how books are created, start to finish. And she’s a lovely person which helps. I’ve really appreciated some of her advice this year and know she’s only going to become more and more recognised in the industry.

Emma Jane Unsworth

Animals was one of my favourite books of the year. Emma Jane Unsworth is not only an amazing writer/author but she’s also amazing at discovering things before they are “a thing”. Whenever I finally stumble across a new book, or a new project, Emma’s already written the blurb, or already on the panel. I can’t wait to see what she gets up to in 2015.

Who are yours? tweet me @girllostincity xox

Why it’s not uncool to talk about “big life questions”

It’s no secret that I have always been a massive fan of Cheryl Strayed. I wrote a blog post here where I gushed about how much I loved her book “Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life From Dear Sugar, which is a compilation of some of her best Dear Sugar conversations.

Basically it’s the best of Dear Sugar in one place. Dear Sugar is a very famous agony aunt/advice column on the Rumpus.net – and it’s fantastic. Some good news I discovered this week is that Dear Sugar is back, in the form of a podcast. It features Cheryl Strayed and Steve Almond (columnist at the Rumpus) talking about life, love, loss – and just general life advice that makes anyone feel a little bit more human when they tune in. However you are feeling, or whatever stage in your life you’re at, the podcast succeeds in adding a bit of perspective and depth to every day life. I obviously love this sort of shit. Being the sort of person that always wants to go a little bit deeper – surface level stuff bores me. Shitty small talk and brushing over things isn’t my vibe. (I blogged about how I want to ban small talk here).

It’s quite heavy stuff, from people who are not OK – be it relationships, depression, loss, bereavement, family problems. The letters are filled with desperation and Cheryl answers them honestly, giving away a piece of her own heartache along the way. She doesn’t pat them on the back and tell them they’ll be fine, she rolls up her sleeves and does her best to suggest a way forward in their lives.

In other Cheryl Strayed news (I’m having a themed week) I saw WILD this week. Cheryl Strayed’s memoir of the same name made into a blockbuster starring Reese Witherspoon. It was dark, funny, though-provoking, inspiring. Made me think – why do people hardly ever go a little bit beneath the surface? It is because it’s embarrassing to ask about bigger, more vulnerable things? It’s uncool to mention death, or fear? The memoir/film literally screams: how do you get over the shit things in life? How do you re-build yourself? What is this (life) all about? 

Talking about advice-giving and problem sharing, this brings me onto why I support and admire my two friends Laura (Superlatively Rude) and Megs (Wonderful U) because they do that. They talk about life’s big questions. They aren’t afraid to talk about stuff that could potentially leave them feeling vulnerable. Their videos (the joint venture is called Superlatively Wonderful, see what they did there) has the exact opposite effect of feeling vulnerable, it’s a strengthening exericse. It’s old school agony aunt vibes but set in a modern context through a modern platform. A YouTube series answering life’s big questions? Yes please.

Here are a round-up of some of their videos. I love watching them, and not just because their my mates.

You Don’t Have To Be Broken To Be Interesting

Twenty Things We’ve Learned In Our Twenties

What To Do When You Feel Lost

How Not To Settle

Keep up the good work gals. I bloody love ya.

About Blogging And Respecting Other People’s Decisions

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It’s hard isn’t it, to watch someone do something that you would do differently.

“Ooh I wouldn’t have done it that way”.

“If it was me, I would have said [insert here] instead.”

“Why do people *do* that?”

That’s the thing isn’t it? We’re all different. We don’t always get other people’s decisions. I have friends that think I’m nuts to choose to live in London. I think they’re nuts for not moving to London. Some people think double denim is a good look. Others think texting a boy who treats them badly is a good idea. We also hardly ever know the full picture, so judging someone’s decisions seems a bit pointless really, doesn’t it? Plus the world would be so completely dull if we all agreed on everything all the time.

A few weeks ago, I took offence at someone’s opinion of bloggers, gently critiquing people who put themselves out there on a daily basis. This person didn’t mean to cause offence, she just thought “oh no, I wouldn’t ever do that” (fair enough).

The main questions she was struggling to get her head around was: Why do people blog so much? Why do people share their story so much? Why do people OVER-SHARE so much?

I get it, it’s annoying for some people. Private people don’t get it. And god, I respect that. Some people cannot think of anything worse than “tweeting what they had for breakfast” or posting photos of their day out, or telling strangers how they feel. The “100 days of happiness” campaign (posting happy stuff in your life for 100 continuous days) probably made their eyes roll out of their heads. However, that’s their choice, that’s their opinion. And it’s OK if they think blogging is lame.

I’m fine with that.

But I quite wanted to point out that people (and yes I’m talking about myself here) don’t necessary choose aspects of their personality – an urge to share is something you have – or you don’t.

For some people it isn’t a choice.

For some people, sharing a little fragment of their life isn’t as attention-seeking or narcissistic as it might seem – it’s actually part of their DNA, a natural urge that makes them want to share their little stories with people in order to function, to make sense of their thoughts. They need the daily connections, as much as they need a drink of water. It’s healthy.

Megan from Wonderful You summed this up nicely last night: “Some people share things on the internet, I’m one of them. It’s not for acceptance or attention – it’s my therapy.” As well Laura from Superlatively Rude said: “That’s why I write. Not to make others feel less alone. I write to feel less alone myself.”

Some people need to tell stories.

But the truth is that only a select few people will want to hear them – and that’s OK too.