I’ve made no secret of the fact that my mental health has been a bit up and down of late. One of the things I struggle with most is isolation. I moved back to Manchester several years ago after attending university in Birmingham, and had few friends in the area despite growing up not too far away. I then fell into an extremely insular relationship that ended badly, and briefly moved back in with my Mother. Six months later I was in a much happier relationship and back in Manchester, and my new boyfriend came with a whole group of friends who readily accepted me. As wonderful as that was, and as delighted as I am to be able to consider some of them my friends as much as his, having my own friends and my own life is incredibly important.
I’ve never really had the classic female group of friends. In high school I was a peripheral member of such a group, frequently outcast because I wasn’t interested in the same things as they were and was often outspoken (okay, I admit it, I was kind of a stuck up probably deserved it). At university I had a small, mixed-gender group of friends that fell apart pretty quickly and I now only speak to one of them – the best one to be honest, and the one I went to New Zealand with. As much as I value the friends I have, having a group of girls I can hang out with is something I’ve always wanted.
Considering I only really started using Instagram in the last year, I’ve been surprised to find that I’ve made more friends through it than I would have thought possible. I’ve met fantastic women who, astonishingly, seem to actually want to be friends with me. Considering my track record, I’m always surprised when anyone genuinely shows interest in me and my life. Whenever there’s a group I tend to fall back on my old self-deprecating ways, a habit I’m trying hard to break, but, let me tell ya, meeting incredible women you’ve only admired from afar is terrifying.
The photos in this post are from a shoot coordinated by some amazing women who you should definitely check out. It was styled by Eilis, shot by Scarlett, the make up was by Angie and I’m not entirely sure what Charley’s job title would have been but she was basically the one running around making everything happen. The models are myself (obviously), Charley, Chloe, Casey, Eilis and India.
I’m really enjoying making an effort to get to know people, and amazingly these girls still seem to care about me when I have to take a couple of days off for the sake of my mental health. I really want to focus on forging friendships this year as well as making sure I make time for myself. I really feel like hanging out with women who respect themselves and others really inspires me to respect myself. It also helps that they’re all incredibly creative and spending time with them really helps me to be as well. There’s that saying nowadays, “empowered women empower women”. All I can say is that, in this case, it’s true.