When I was thirteen years old, I read my first blog post. If I remember correctly, it was written by Carrie Santana da Silva, a lifestyle blogger who has curated and cherished her blog, Wish Wish Wish, for twelve years. What I definitely do remember is being captured by the colours, elegance, and aesthetic of Carrie's blog and others like hers. I knew that one day, I wanted to blog too.
I had a very privileged upbringing. I went to a private school for the vast majority of my life, I never had to worry about food being on the table, and I knew love from a young age. Yet growing up was also chaotic and as a result, as many do, I had to grow up quickly. Writing became my way of articulating this chaos, and with my fingertips still glued to the tantalizing glow of lifestyle blogs, A Bright Tomorrow was born.
Hidden behind a fog of busier and better blogs, A Bright Tomorrow was a speck of dust amidst the noise of the internet. But still, I wrote - about anything and everything. And whilst my nan was the only person who read my blog posts, someone was reading them. Vocalising my thoughts in this new era of technological self-expression was addictive.
Soon, people began to catch on about A Bright Tomorrow and a string of embarrassing interviews started to appear on YouTube. In fact, I believe they're still lurking on the internet somewhere, and that with enough digging you can unearth badly edited videos of me attempting to interview local musicians and artists.
Yet, regardless of the self-humiliation, these interviews started to get me places, albeit small places in the scheme of things. By the time I was eighteen I had interviewed some relatively big bands across Yorkshire and the Midlands, presented two weekly radio shows across Solihull and Birmingham; and made connections with presenters and artists I never thought I'd meet. I felt myself soaring.
And then the pandemic hit. Just as we know too well, life irrevocably changed. I'm not going to dwell on why, as we all experienced the suffocating social isolation, brain fog and fear, but I will explain how: I entered the pandemic as a relatively happy and successful teenager with a boyfriend and left it depressed, anxious, a couple of pounds heavier - and gay.
I didn't know who I was. All I knew was that I was angry, frustrated and utterly confused. It's a feeling we all experience at some stage or at many stages in our lives, but no matter how many people tell you that they understand how you feel, the journey remains a deafeningly lonely one. I had gone from a high-achieving young woman bursting with life and hope, to a girl who struggled to get out of bed.
Over the next two years at university, I and many other students in the same boat tried to cram in a year of lost life. I forced myself to go out, drink, to make friends with people that I should never have spoken to again after our first conversation. I panic-scrolled on tinder and joined recreational football with the sole intention of meeting other women-loving women. In fear of losing my grip on the snowballing success of A Bright Tomorrow, I foolishly attempted to create a magazine and even organised meetings with designers. In reality, I was a bad leader to my small team of writers, neglected my mental health and studies, and failed to admit to myself that the passion I once had for blogging, was no longer there.
By my second year of university, A Bright Tomorrow was finished. It wasn't even my second or third thought - it was completely off my radar. Instead, I was focusing all my strength and energy on getting better. I started therapy and finally dragged myself to the GP where I was prescribed medication for anxiety and depression. I started to make genuine friends and became more involved in university life. After a while, I began to eat three meals a day again, I moved flat, and the daily grind became more bearable.
I'm writing this at 2 am on the sofa of an Airbnb apartment. My girlfriend is asleep next door and given the fact that I need to be up in five hours to walk a 14-mile hike, I should be asleep with her. But 2 am thoughts are the most remarkable and in the hazy heat of Tel Aviv, I've had an epiphany. I miss the simplicity of blogging; I miss the simplicity of life.
My girlfriend is Jewish and has relatives in Israel, so a trip to the country was inevitable. We've spent the first week of our month-long trip eating, laughing, reading, and walking. I've cooked and played cards, sat silently, watched birds, and studied Russian after a year-long sabbatical. For the first time in a long time, I feel genuinely happy.
It's been a long time - years in fact - since I have felt capable enough to simply exist without overthinking. A Bright Tomorrow started as a project that made me happy, but it warped into something I thought it needed to be in order to live up to unrealistic expectations of myself. Ultimately, somewhere along the line I lost myself, and only now am I feeling confident again in who I am and in what A Bright Tomorrow could be.
My girlfriend took the photo of me above before we went out for dinner last night. When I saw it I noticed the happiness; it felt like a photo I wanted to share. I felt the same rush to blog as my thirteen-year-old self did seven years ago.
It's easy in life to do what you think you ought to do, to be who you think you ought to be. Over the years, I've changed, I've grown and my relationship with writing is different. I know that for most, A Bright Tomorrow is just another voice in the void, but my friends know just how much this blog has given me. I now want to breathe life back into it, but without the pressure, without the chaos. I just want to write.
And so, welcome (back) to A Bright Tomorrow: the blog for the slightly hectic, slightly confused, and totally perfectly imperfect. A Bright Tomorrow is a lifestyle blog, but I also want it to be a community where we can learn and grow together. This is a place where we can do nothing more complicated than discussing life in all its chaos, uncertainty and beauty - something that humans have discussed since the dawn of time and will never get bored of discussing.
Join me as I blog about anything and everything from travel, politics, culture, the environment, and wellbeing. For those of you less likely to want to read a blog post, I will also be recording regular podcast episodes, often with special guests from all different backgrounds so that we can tackle life together.
If you've stuck around this long, thank you. And if you're new here, I'm excited to get to know you. Together, life doesn't have to be so overwhelming. Together, we can make a difference.