Motorway Epiphanies


I love to drive. I love to get into my car and drive miles on end to Uptown Girl by Billy Joel or a good, motivational podcast. I love the feeling of independence that jumping behind the wheel brings and the fact that I can take myself anywhere in the spur of a moment.
I’ve had many an epiphany when driving, driving alone always tends to fire up the old brain.
I’ve been inspired so intensely – by a random thought or a song or whatever – that I’ve parked up the car at a service station and journalled furiously into the notes section on my phone.
I’ve had two and half hour conversations with friends over my hands-free, putting the world to rites, and I’ve had tunes pop into my head that I’ve scrappily recorded as voicenotes before running home to my piano and creating some kinda song out of them.
Fuck, once I was driving into London late one evening listening to a SuperSoul episode with Maya Angelou. She quoted ‘I come as one, but I stand as ten thousand’ – talking of ancestors – and I spontaneously combusted into tears because at that moment, I suddenly felt overwhelmingly connected to my late Grandad. I never got to meet my Grandad (he died five years before I was born) but, right there and then, it was as if he was sat in the passenger seat next to me.

Some pretty magical moments have happened in my car.

So after spending five months out of the country, close to death in Chinese taxis on a few occasions and subject to a minor Uber crash in Cape Town on another occasion, I jumped in my car again and hit the motorway.

And sure enough, I had a moment and stopped the car at Woodall Services for a bathroom break and to write it down (italics are the jottings).


‘Going through a time of self-preservation and protecting one’s self at the moment, after a particularly intense period in life. Survival mode – acting upon instinct just to get through each day because I’m feeling completely burnt out in every way: physically, emotionally, mentally, socially…’


It says something that, over Christmas, I completely lost touch with how to be at a party, socialising with people who I’ve known and loved for years. I’m the biggest extrovert I know, constantly living with the fear of missing out and I usually FUCKING LOVE a party. But I found myself just not knowing what to do, say or how to feel remotely like myself.

I’ve felt fucking knackered and, in all honesty, so far from who I deem to be ‘myself’.

Now it’s understandable why as I’m processing a lot at the moment – digesting a truly unique period of my messy-as-hell-life so far. I’d just got back from touring China playing an incredible, but intense, woman in an incredible, but intense, show. Finishing a job always cuts me up because I fucking love what I do, but this one felt particularly special and, in return, particularly difficult to leave behind – not to mention living in a different country for five months on top. I mean, I forgot what a comfort zone felt like but, as always, was completely grateful for the experience I got to have, doing what I love whilst travelling new corners of the world.
But this got me thinking of how I have dealt with the unstable reality that is my life, the life of a jobbing Actor, in the past and the anxiety that has gradually crept in to accompany it. Upon learning and acknowledging, a few years ago, that life wasn’t going to be as simple and easy as I once dreamt of as a young and naive teenager, I – like a lot of other twenty-something millennials – embarked on a journey of ‘self-help’.

You take on the burden of self-improvement, read 27 self help books, study the law of attraction and come to the commonly talked about conclusion that what you give off is what you get etc.
You think that this means, in order to heal and to get the good job, the great love and all of the money in the world – you have to work on yourself to be the most talented badass bitch you’ve met and you have to shed the 2 stone you’ve gained from being plain fucking miserable – and skint – from emotionally eating your way through the JustEat menu. You have to cut out the chocolate, tell the toxic people in your life to do one and say No to shit that doesn’t honour who you are whilst simultaneously having to work your arse off doing jobs you hate, with people you feel don’t know or respect you, in order to stay afloat… otherwise you end up drowning in debt and eating supernoodles.

Basically, you have to do a lot of things that are either supposedly meant to help you ‘love yourself’ – as society sees it – whilst doing the shit that is deemed ‘necessary’ to survive, which can be completely soul-destroying and counterproductive to the self-help, quick-fix shit that’s telling you to love yourself. Basically basically basically… what a shit cycle.’

This excerpt from Matt Haig’s Reasons to Stay Alive sprung to mind:

“THE WORLD IS increasingly designed to depress us. Happiness isn’t very good for the economy. If we were happy with what we had, why would we need more? How do you sell an anti-ageing moisturiser? You make someone worry about ageing. How do you get people to vote for a political party? You make them worry about immigration. How do you get them to buy insurance? By making them worry about everything. How do you get them to have plastic surgery? By highlighting their physical flaws. How do you get them to watch a TV show? By making them worry about missing out. How do you get them to buy a new smartphone? By making them feel like they are being left behind. To be calm becomes a kind of revolutionary act. To be happy with your own non-upgraded existence. To be comfortable with our messy, human selves, would not be good for business.”

― Matt Haig, Reasons to Stay Alive

Lord above.

‘One day, you realise that doing all of the above still hasn’t ‘fixed’ you. None of the above has made you the best version of yourself. You are still here, in the same place you were five years ago, so unhappy and unsatisfied with yourself that you believe depriving yourself of opportunities that could potentially be so good for you is the best option, ‘until you figure your shit out and feel more whole’.

What does that even fucking mean? ‘Figure your shit out’. ‘Make yourself whole’.
Why am I telling myself that I need to ‘work on myself’ constantly? Why am I so unkind to myself? Seeing flaws as brick walls rather than quirks to be embraced and dealt with, with care. Would I do this to my friends? No, I wouldn’t.
I am my own worst critic.
I’ve convinced myself somewhere along the line that, to put it bluntly, I am undeserving of happiness and wow, that sucks. I can be an arsehole at times but I don’t think I deserve to beat myself up as brutally as that, jesus.


I’ve no idea of the specifics that have created that narrative in my mind, probably to do with lots of past traumatic experiences, but I’ll tell you one thing: I didn’t like it.
Why couldn’t I just accept myself? Accepting shit makes it easier. I’ve learnt to accept smaller aspects of my life for what they: anxiety attacks in the moment, rejection, being pigeon-holed occasionally (the list goes on)…
…so why can’t I just at least try and accept myself?

Although I’m gradually getting better at it and I’m constantly working on it, being kind to myself is the only antidote, an active way I can change this narrative. Being kind to myself AS I AM RIGHT NOW and not how I intend to be when I’ve lost two stone and ‘balanced my chakras’.


I am starting to realise that one of the greatest forms of self-love is self-acceptance
and I ain’t gonna find that in a book or by listening to a podcast.

And I believe that day; in the car-park of Woodall Services with a busy head, a scraggy hair do and tired eyes, I made my first of many steps towards being more accepting of myself and I know I’ve got a fair few steps to go.

Stepping back into the gym, after that festive season, is gonna have to be one of ’em like!

BEING STRONG & STABLE – without the kitten heels.

Good morning and a Happy New Year to y’all.

I woke up this morning with this urge to write, something I’ve not felt in quite some time.

I felt the sun on the drawn curtains, trying it’s best to break through and light up my room. I felt the energy buzzing from it; the fizzy optimism, the hope and excitement at the possibility of new adventures to come, the burning need to jump out of bed to see what the world has to offer today.

The last time I felt this feeling was probably at the beginning of 2018, on the first day of my last job. Pure adrenalin-fuelled excitement. Pure heartfelt love for my existence. Pure authenticity; clarity of what I have to offer to the world if I venture outside my front door… love, creativity, ideas, encouragement, positivity.

I felt… myself.

2018 had started well. I was about to embark on this venture that was going to be a pretty big deal for me professionally. The dream job. After a pretty sucky 2017, bar a few incredible additions to my friendship circle and the funniest ‘job’ (I say job, it didn’t feel like one) in Dubai, I was so ready for it to kick off. All of my problems would be solved: I wouldn’t be skint, I’d be originating a cracking part in a brand new production and I’d get to travel about and see new places. The dream job. Happiness, fulfilment, satisfaction… mint.

The year progressed. We travelled from city to city… Birmingham… Edinburgh… Liverpool… Cardiff… the weeks rolled on by and as they did, I began to come to the realisation of one very important thing.

I wasn’t happy.

Not in a missed the bus, left my purse at home, tripped over and banged my knee kind of way.

Something wasn’t quite right.

I was completely uninspired. I’d sit and try to write and no words would come. I didn’t want to watch anything, I wasn’t particularly interested in hunting for new music to listen to and I couldn’t focus long enough to read anything that had any level of depth.

I started to feel panicky in social situations, insecure and unworthy and shit. Like I didn’t belong, or something. I was surrounded by people, friends, but felt a familiar pang of loneliness and isolation. A lone wolf. Uncomfortable and empty.

I felt like someone had skipped along and blown my candle out.

For a long time, I didn’t want to admit to myself that I was going through a little bit of a thing – don’t really know what else to call it. I was so confused. I’d always gotten on with everyone I encountered, why didn’t people get me anymore? It felt fucking shit and it made me unbearably insecure and hyper-aware of every little thing I did.

I was aware that I was in a great job, playing a leading part amongst a very talented bunch of humans and I was STILL unhappy.


Not BECAUSE of the job but DESPITE the job (yes I’m SHOUTING, for DRAMATIC effect).


Christ, THE GUILT that ensued from the thought of all of that was horrific. Feeling guilty and ungrateful on top of feeling unhappy – not fun, let me tell you.

I put a moany tweet up during this time, about how hard weekly touring was/how knackered I was and signed it off with ‘don’t get me wrong, I love my job – I’m just knackered’ or something. A really kind person latched on to the fact that I’d done that, felt I had to justify myself, and responded with


‘You are 700000% allowed to find your job hard and feel simultaneously grateful for it, the fact other people would love your job doesn’t mean your feelings about it shouldn’t be spoken about. Such a shame you have to put a disclaimer on it otherwise people would complain.’

@EmmaLouiseBetty THANKS GAL, you made me feel a lot better about myself when I felt pretty damn shitty and goodness, are you correct!

Carrying on:

It was only when having a (paraphrased below) conversation with a cast mate late one night after a night out (big love to you V!) that I realised there was a deeper issue that I needed to address.

‘People just don’t get me, I don’t understand,’ I’d said.
‘Yeah but do you get you?’ my mate responded.
‘What do you mean?’ I replied.
‘Who is the real you? When you say people don’t get you, what is ‘you’?’ she said.

I’d thought about the response. She was absolutely right.

I was possibly having a little bit of an identity crisis and that wasn’t the show’s problem, that wasn’t my cast mates’ problem – that was my problem.

Now now now, I write this in a good space and won’t dwell upon the bad stuff for too long as it’s a processed thing of the past. The point of me writing today, with all of this in mind, is to share what I am going to do about it. I’ve already read one blog post this year, by my good pal Emma, chatting about life as a ‘resting’ actress and highlighting just what that entails – the 28348739 ordinary jobs we take on, not being paid on time sometimes (though from my Twitter feed atm, it seems it’s happening quite a lot) from work we’ve done, sacrificing the social life to work stupid hours… all that business.

I feel extremely fortunate to do what I love for a career, like… I fully love it from my head to my toes. I’m not even going to try and justify that and frankly, I don’t need to. I’m fully aware of what choosing to do this as a career entails, fully aware of the ups and downs. But it dawned on me last year, and has only become even more apparent as the months have rolled on since, that pinning my happiness on my work is no longer an option.

When my next job comes, I’ll be fine. I’ll save my money and I’ll be sensible and I’ll be happier,’ I’d said to myself, laid awake in my bed at 2am unable to sleep before having to get up at 6am for an early shift in a coffee shop. ‘It’s 2am and I’m miserable that I’m having to drag myself out of bed to get to my shift, to work 800 hours so that I can afford to live in this stupidly expensive city but have no life aside from that. But hey, when I start my new job and get out of this shit-hole, I’m going to be fine. That will amount to happiness because I won’t feel worked down to the ground.

These are the thoughts that crossed my mind in 2017. I pinned my happiness on my career, especially as I was about to embark on a really big, exciting step up to a leading role. And because HEY, a leading role equals success… right?

Oh, how different I feel now. The minute I stepped into that lovely, artistically-juicy environment once more and realised ‘OH FUCK, THIS DOES NOT FIX THE SHIT UNDER THE SURFACE THAT I’VE BEEN SWEEPING UNDER THE RUG’… I knew I had a lot of work to do.

An actor’s life can be far from stable. But alas, I have discovered… there is more to life than an actor’s life. I put too much on my work, I expect too much. I have a lot of my own insecurities to deal with that my work cannot fix and y’know, that’s cool man. That’s kind of exciting I reckon.

Now, I can hear some of ya out there shouting ‘GET THERE QUICKER SON, I found that out 10 years ago – nowt spesh!’ and if you are, humour me. I am aware that we all reach moments in life when priorities shift, perspectives change and epiphanies are had. We each have these moments when they are truly needed for us, as individuals. We’re not in some kinda race here – I say this as I sometimes need to remind myself to stop comparing one’s own journey to others.

Well, it seems that I may have reached this moment, at the ripe old age of 27 (how the F I made it to 27, I don’t know. Still life in the old gal yet!)

I’ve had the epiphany and I’m gonna shout it loud and clear, for the people in the back and just to cement it even more so in my brain:

Pinning my happiness on my work is NO LONGER AN OPTION.

My happiness can only be manifested from one thing alone – myself.

And so begins a New Year in doing what I can to ensure that if and when I happen to be out of work, I can be happy. At the risk of sounding like the kitten heel extraordinaire Terry May… I want to be strong and stable and work is not the fix for that. I’m on a quest to build me a good, solid  foundation, so that work can be my lovely kitchen extension that I enjoy spending time in on evenings with friends and I realise now, that it all starts with looking inwards.

I’m taking back the power.

Much more, with this all taken into account… I feel myself again.

15 tweets that made me feel less alone.

So I’ve not written in a while because, essentially, I’m dealing with a life thing and can’t write to share atm.
I’ve sat this evening in a pile of my own emotional shit, feeling relatively blue and giving myself a hard time about it – extremely frustrated with one’s self. Now, I’m learning to be kinder to myself when it comes to this but it’s something I’m having to learn to do and it’s a work in progress kinda thing.
So I did maybe the worst thing I could possibly do in this situation, I took to social media.
BUT. During some tough, ‘messy head’ times recently, I’ve been hugely inspired/entertained by some fantastic women. So hey, I found these tweets that I’ve spotted over the last few months and put them all in one post and I hope that if you’re out there reading this, feeling blue just like me and not sure how or what to do to get yourself out of it, aside from down a tin of G&T and gorge on some crap food whilst watching all 10 seasons of Friends, well hey… you’re not alone. There’s good people out there and hey, sometimes they feel the way you do. And they have a fuck load of faith in the Universe and you. And they’re out there, sharing their truths and guess what, you have every right to do that to.
Thanks for lifting me up when I needed it gals!
Hope I can do the same for you one day ❤️
J x
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Before you go to bed tonight, my girls…doesn’t matter who you are and what you’re like. you’ve got BDE* and that’s a fact. Don’t let ANYONE step on ya. Night. **(BDE is big dick energy)

This is a shoutout to all my ladies who muddle through work (on and off the stage) with the period pain/brain/bloat. I was wading through FOG during tonights show. My brain & body were NOT playing ball. So, Ladies, just a reminder. YOU ARE AMAZING for handling this once a month!