JKG | jkgphotography.co.uk
Location: Fitzrovia, London
Right now I'm chilling on the sofa, weekly vlogs on in the background, hand attached to a packet of mini eggs and I'm watching the snowy world go by outside.
Monday's however don't usually go like this. Monday's are usually my hardest working day of the week. I'm up, dressed and ready before 9am and by now, I would've already filmed a few videos, edited one, wrote a few posts and tackled my inbox.
I like to start the week as I mean to go. Strong, productive and full of energy. Unlike most, I generally enjoy Monday's and try to make the most of the time.
But this Monday is different. At the end of last week and over the weekend I had a severe allergic reaction to hair dye. My face has blown up like elephant man, and my eyes and nose are so swollen, I don't even recognise myself. I feel fine, just a little drowsy from my medication, but goodness gracious me, I don't look my best right now. I resemble a chipmunk and if I don't laugh, I might just cry haha.
Due to the absolute state that is my face, all my work, shoots and plans for the next 5-7 days have been cancelled. So I have found myself with a lot of time on my hands - something I'm not really used to.
So starting my week outside of my usual routine has got me thinking about something that's been at the back of my mind for a while...
What is my worth and who am I without my career?
As a child, I starred in Harry Potter, The Bill and Family Affairs to name but a few, as well as performing in The West End for 7 years. I've always known I've wanted to be someone, and achieve all the things. Then in my early 20s, I began working in a children's home and after a year I was a team leader and well on my way to becoming a senior (the position underneath deputy manager). I loved my job, I loved my career but there was always something inside of me that believed it wasn't my destiny. Then Youtube and blogging really kicked off and I decided to merge all the tools I had learned from my own life and from working with kids in care, into my online world. Helping people felt right and natural, and then in 2017 I found my purpose - sharing my journey with healing, in the hopes other people go on a healing journey of their own.
So without sounding like a wanker, for as long as I can remember I've always had some sort of success, (my definition of success can I just add).
Even with depression, even when I felt lost, even when I felt worthless, my career has always been there and has always been something I could rely on. It has been the one constant, and admittedly it is something I use as a distraction at times, but working also makes me genuinely very very happy - it always has done. I am a bloody workaholic because I love what I do and it gives me a sense of purpose, something to get out of bed for - especially when its snowing like it is right now lol!
But as of late, with emotional and spiritual growth and time to reflect, I feel like I need to chat about why I tie my self worth into my career so much? What is it that I fear that causes me to put work before everything else? Why do I rely on my work to make me feel like I'm someone? And why do I feel so lost when I'm not throwing myself into projects, filming and meetings?
Firstly, I think its an aspect of control and being comfortable. My career has always felt like it is something I have had power over - even when the rest of my life felt so erratic and all over the place. "If I work hard and be kind then good things will happen" - the mantra I used to live by. My career is something that has somehow become a part of my identity and I think that's a good thing and a bad thing. On the one hand, it means I will always work hard and earn whatever I achieve, on the other hand if I can't work (which is the position I am in now), I feel bored, uninspired and like I'm wasting time.
Maybe I have an addiction to chasing success? Because I honestly sometimes feel like nothing will ever be enough. Although I'm celebrating everything I do more and more, there is still something inside of me that says 'its not good enough though, you still need to work hard, get up earlier, try even harder, do more of that, push yourself blah blah blah'.
I genuinely like the feeling of being so busy that I feel a little bit stressed and I thrive on productivity and GETTING SHIT DONE. I like slaying life, I like putting content out on a regular basis and having feedback from you guys like 'YASSS GRACE I LOVE THIS'.
Secondly, I think its because my career has always had my back and working hard has enabled me to do things that were once a distant dream. If I don't work hard will all my achievements disappear? If I don't work hard will my life crumble around me and people will forget who I am? Probably not, but I'm so used to having to work hard for everything with being working class, plus size and a woman of colour - I literally don't know anything else.
I'm not proud to say that in the past I have absolutely put my career before everything else. In hindsight its because it was my safety net in a world where I felt pretty unsafe - but that doesn't make it ok. Being a go getter and a girl boss became such an integral part to my sense of self that it was borderline unhealthy. Last year was my year of realising stuff (cheers Kylie) and the more I practiced self care, the more I decided that my self worth cannot be pinned on how productive I am. I'm worth much more than that.
So now with a fucked up face that has stopped me right in my tracks from shooting outfits, filming videos and attending an ASOS denim workshop tomorrow that I was bloody looking forward to lol, I am forced to slow down. I am forced to just sit and be and stop pushing myself to my limits. Although I sleep enough and I make time to eat, see my friends and spend time alone, I still chase success and don't feel happy when I'm not here there and everywhere. I don't feel like me when I'm not busy working on lots of different things and gearing up for 'an exciting announcement'. I clearly have some more work to do on validation and self worth because I don't want to continue being so busy making a living, that I forget to make a life!
Shop The Post
Floral Top | ASOS similar linked (exact top available here in petite only)
Vinyl Jacket | ASOS
Green Trousers | ASOS
Sunglasses | ASOS
Patent Boots | River Island
Gucci Soho Bag
So what is my worth without my career? Well I know that because of who I am as a person, I will always hold some sort of success merit to parts of my self worth. Its in my DNA, I'm a Virgo lol, I like working hard and doing what I do makes me happy. If it didn't make me happy, I wouldn't do it. However I am more than aware now that my career doesn't make me more or less of a person, and what I do and do not achieve isn't the be all and end all of my purpose.
Who I am isn't defined by my career, my career is defined by who I am.
I am whole without it and I hope to really believe that one day.