Recently, I was involved in a photography project and exhibit. I say recently, but realistically the exhibit was months ago and the photo shoot was over a year ago but changing contracts, moving house and planning and doing a road trip across Canada for three weeks has meant that I am a little behind on; reflection, blog posts and editing.
It was a project that single-handedly managed to change the way I think about myself and who I am as a person. Growing up; I was always the actress, the drama queen, the one with vibrant energy for life and a deep curiosity with the world. Always coming up with creative ideas, odd plans and laughing in hilarity. Learning my passions and skill sets as an adult, I realised I enjoyed pursuing several things; writing creatively for both features and fiction, workshop facilitation and applied theatre, presenting and producing interesting documentaries and entertainment programmes, whether that be for radio or TV. I learnt that I am passionate about exploring the world and adrenaline filled extreme sports, bizarre challenges, humanitarian rights, arts and culture, music and festivals. It’s taken me a long time to recognise my interests and passions and realise that I enjoy doing all of them.
So imagine if you’ve finally come to terms with your interests and passions, with your diverse skill set and enthusiasm with the world, and then you are told that you are in fact “too much?” You’ve been told to dim your light so others won’t be intimidated by your energy. You’ve been told that you have “too many jobs” for a simple man to understand and follow you. You’ve been told you are “too loud” and enthusiastic about life for the unhappy and unfulfilled people that surround you. You’ve been told that your “too wild” to find a man.
Hold on. You can’t tell me what I am too much of or are too little. You have no right to tell me who I am and who I am not. I am the only person who can decide who I want to be and how I want to live my life.
It’s taken me a dozen trips to various countries, countless nights out, numerous jobs and half a dozen relationships to figure out who I am (and honestly it still is a learning curve) but I am finally recognising my self worth, my self value, who I am and who I am destined to be. Last summer, I collaborated with Diana Patient from the Too Much of a Person project, a project that photographs and interviews 100 women and non-binary people on when they have been told they are “too much”, in what ever way they have been told. I was nervous for the photo shoot. I felt uncomfortable and awkward and the practicalities of actually being involved in a photo shoot back then, was my worst nightmare. I had always been pulling silly faces in pictures, not recognising my worth as an individual and hiding behind a mask.
I began to pour my heart out to Diana, highlighting a most recent relationship I had come out of where I had changed my entire energy and self to fit into someone else’s energy. I had dimmed my light and betrayed my own soul to please someone else, which honestly, didn’t please them. I wasn’t authentic to myself. Diana made me recognise that my “too much” was in fact a superpower. Fast forward a year and I attended the exhibit Diana and the incredible team had tirelessly worked hard to put together at the Omved Gardens in London. I stepped inside the haven of nature; pictures dangled from above of proud, strong, vulnerable and insecure people, all telling their story. Stories of abuse, harassment, ridicule, shame, honesty, sex, careers, love, relationships and life surrounded me and I felt empowered and inspired to be a part of them. I saw my face glance back at me hanging off the wall and I felt privileged to have gone on this incredible journey with these other people, learning about myself and loving myself.
I now know that I am part of a group of women who are special. Elite in our own special way. You might see us from time to time, the obnoxiously loud lady on the tube laughing her head off, the woman wandering in brightly coloured clothes down Oxford street dancing to her own music, the CEO in the board room telling her staff what she thinks and strategizing plans. The lady balancing looking after the children, running her own award winning podcast and writing a book on the side.
All these women share something incredible in common, we are all too much. And you know what? We just don’t care.