i'm olivia, and i'm an oversharer

November 13, 2018

alternative title: why you maybe haven't seen me online 

I've got a problem, one that shouldn't exist. One that does exist, and I think I like it. Every single time I click 'new post', or visit the Blogger website, I feel the thoughts of my brain shut off. It's as simple as that. It's as if my mind is a tap whose circuits have been cut, as if the under utilised sensible side of my fingertips think that the days of oversharing are over, that life should be quiet again. 

And I agree with that niggling feeling that lingers on my fingertips, that has to explain why I've avoided Instagram like the plague, that explains why my socials aren't filled with impact. That niggling feeling takes me back to being fourteen again, and a fan of the pseudonym. I agree with me. Sometimes. 

I think of the blog post Katie Oldham wrote a long time ago quite often; I think about the internet, about existence, the art of being fake. I think of what I used to say on the internet, and why I don't say it anymore. Why do I feel as though nobody has the right to know my inner thoughts? Why do I feel bad for thinking that? It's a dystopian novel that's turned into the lives of everybody I know; turned into the Instagram story, the Facebook story, the ever turned on generation.

I know what I want to write about, and write I do. Pages and pages of notes, of word documents that lie untouched in hidden drives and folders. I read them back, sometimes. Hearing the process past Olivia went through is interesting, is unique to me. These are stories, dreams and thoughts of a past day. And they're mine, but they may as well be a character in a novel due to the inevitable art of growing up. And that's okay.

When I was a child, I said my words would become an autobiography. In some ways, this blog became the basis of that, and I'm happy for its existence, its memory. The notebooks that scatter my room are a continuation of this autobiography, ready to be unleashed when I feel ready. 

Nobody needs to know what I'm eating at lunchtime, or what I'm doing on a Thursday night. Not even notebooks, not Instagram, not the world. It took me a long time of thinking, and doing, and practice to accept this - and now I have.

I'm Olivia - and I'm an oversharer. In real life.

One day, the internet might catch up with me. When I've had an incredible day, you might see a picture on my feeds, but I'm not taking time away from those who matter in the real world to update those who aren't there. And that's okay. 

Oversharing online is over, and the world won't know if my life is quiet or loud, unless the world is sat or laughing or dancing with me. And I think that's what I want to say, albeit disjointed. Maybe my brain hasn't shut off after all.

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York, UK

I'm graduating uni!?!

July 06, 2018

The story of the past 3 years, and why you should never give up.

In September 2015, I began a three year course reading Bsc Business and Management at the University of York. I was going to do an apprenticeship, but after picking up some pretty decent results in my A Levels, I thought I could face the challenge of a degree pathway that Google and thousands of those horrible student surveys described as 'fulfilling' and 'educational'. 

I chose a degree in York because it wasn't London, because the management school was fab, but also because I could commute from home and save that $$$$$$. To be honest, I didn't think I could even get in to uni, with one teacher at my school telling me that with the grades she expected me to get, there was "no way I was going to university". Jokes on her, I guess, because this week I found out something pretty great. 

This week I found out I am graduating with a first class honours degree. Pretty decent for a girl who had her target grades thrown across the room as I wouldn't be getting them, right? 

But university wasn't plain sailing. It wasn't even sailing at all for quite a while, stuck on the rocks praying that my attempt at higher education didn't end up like the Titanic. I didn't want to sink, but I nearly gave up. Nearly. Did I sit in the student support office with the 'withdrawal from studies' forms all ready and signed? Yes. Did I hand them in? No. (mostly because I'd already paid for my first year tuition). But student loan repayments aside, I didn't leave university and I'm damn proud of that.

Because otherwise I wouldn't have been able to make my dreams come true. 

This week, I reflected on the things that made my university experience great, and somehow made me employable. Here's some of those thoughts: 

I moved to freaking DISNEY WORLD to work and play and make magic in the most beautiful and surreal place on Earth for three months, and thanked my lucky stars every day. I met the greatest girls ever, my little 8102 flat, my Denny's Divas, who have all moved onto great things all across the world, and I could fill many a blog post with praise about their many talents and skills. The Once Upon a Toy merch crew. The VIP CEPs, especially Amy who is a star and the biggest trooper I've ever met for surviving the J bus everyday, just every single person I met over there who helped to make my dreams come true. I miss it daily. 

I signed up to societies, to write for online newspapers, I fangirled over Taylor Swift in SwiftSoc, I managed to talk and discuss things with important people without being overcome by stage fright doing all those ~academic representation~ things you hear about but usually ignore. About three weeks ago, I stood on a stage and didn't make a fool out of myself at the Excellence Awards, and I didn't have wine to calm me down beforehand. I couldn't have done that without my degree. 

Of course, I couldn't miss out on the greatest uni pals I've ever met. Bronte, Alice, George, Jack, Vicky, Beth, Jess, Jo, Shannon, Evie - hi! To everyone else, this would be pretty boring if it was just a list and I HATE missing people out but hi to you too! Days sat in the Piazza and considering (and later eating) burritos would not have been the same without you all, and I'm gonna miss cocktails and Jack getting overly drunk and Alice bossing it with her volunteering hoodie every single day, love ya xx

And now I've got a grad job, and a start date, and I'm moving on from my part-time job in Costa where I've learnt more about coffee than I perhaps know about statistics (and that's an achievement). To think, in my three years at uni, I'd have three jobs in the space of seven months, then move into making (and finally drinking) coffee for nearly two years. Long live the up-selling of a medium OPS double chocolate cookie mocha frostino with cream from Spring 2017, I will never forget trying to pronounce you properly in a rush xx

I think I just want to say that if you're at uni, and if you're struggling, or if you don't feel good enough to stay where you are, or feel inferior to somebody else.. you're flaming special and you should think of yourself that way. Throw yourself into activities. Challenge your faults. Speak out when something is wrong, and don't settle for girl world politics. If you want to move abroad, do so. If you want to drop out, and it's the right decision, do it. Life (and uni) isn't plain sailing, but I made it to land, and the Titanic incident didn't happen. Believe in urself and buy that tacky Urban Outfitters mug that tells yourself so. I think that's what I want to say. It is what I want to say.

So... things will be posted more often here now the exciting rush of student debt (and discounts!) are over, at least I hope so. If you want to read more about my ramblings, follow me @xoliviamae on Twitter for frequent updates, I talk about Jennifer Lawrence and Dance Moms a lot, and would love to talk about them more. Did you know that Jlaw's middle name is Shrader? 

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A coffee for your thoughts

January 26, 2018

I don't post often on here, and for good reason. It's been almost six years since I started blogging, exploring the online medium of displaying your words for the world to see. I started out as a music lover; a Popjustice wannabe; an undiscovered, slightly too pop obsessed 14 year old who went under a pseudonym to avoid detection from the inevitable teasing writing publicly at that age would procure. I developed xoliviamae a few years later, the blog in which my social media handles all derive from and my first real foray into online promotion and influencer marketing. The outfit poses are cringe worthy and the back links are dead, but xoliviamae formed the basis of what my career, in a way, could become as I grew older. Since rebranding and developing Olivia Curls in 2014, I've had opportunities I never saw possible. I've written internationally, I've found my face on national television, I've starred in a television advert. 

And then I started uni. 

This is the first ~rebrand~ of Olivia Curls since starting my degree, and I finally know why. 

Uni takes up a lot of time. Life takes up a lot of time, and a lack of time usually correlates with a lack of creation. This is where the math side of my mind pops with 'correlation does not mean causation', yet in this case, it does. If we're playing the blame game, university wins hands down. And I'm so glad it did. I'm so glad I had the opportunity to make mistakes outside of the gleam of teenage media; I'm so thankful I took time to discover where a semi colon should be used and where it's unnecessary. Perfection isn't what I'm after, it's commitment. Commitment and strength and strategy and an overwhelming wisp of creativity. And a voice, my voice. I'm glad I took time out to work on my degree, because I'm coming back stronger. A little voice in what is now a huge pond, but stronger.

So sit down with a coffee, pull up a chair. I'm here for the now, I'm here to create and think and edit and learn. There may be a bit more tweaking code wise on my side, but this is Olivia Curls 2.0. Hope you can join me. 

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