Friday, 19 February 2016

#IRLPanel


thursday nights usually consist of me either sitting on a spin bike dreaming of donuts, or me sat in my room watching parks and recreation. in short, my brain is usually asleep and i'm just powering through to friday. but this week was different. i made my way into London for the first IRL Panel, hosted by the wonderful Emma Gannon and Laura Williams. Needless to say, my brain was awake this Thursday.

the panel was held at the ultra cool Twitter offices, and the room was buzzing full of incredible women. women from every sort of industry, who just wanted to be surrounded by like-minded people. we were instantly greeted by Laura (aka SuperlativelyLJ), who urged us to network and enjoy the prosecco post-event. that we did, before taking front row seats for the conversation.

the theme was permission. 

permission in the world of work, love, friends, even permission to be yourself... all bases were covered. it was inspirational to hear Emma and Laura speak, and their obvious friendship was clear on stage as they boasted about the others incredible achievements. they were also joined by fashion babe Freddie Harrel, digital and all round good egg Heather Taylor Portmann and finally queen of words Bridget Minamore. 

the whole panel event was a flurry of quotes that i want to take through my entire life. i nodded furiously as i agreed with everything said,  and realised that i'm not crazy - there's a whole world of us out there thinking EXACTLY the same things. i've listed below some of the most tweet-able quotes from the evening, and the ones that resonated with me the most:

feminine traits should be seen as strengths in the work place.
excuse me, preach! i'm lucky i work in an office full of strong, intelligent women, but i can imagine in a 'male dominated' workplace it can be difficult to assert your feminine traits in a positive manager all the time. the point was raised that if men want a raise, they get a raise. if women want a raise, they wait. this is so true. we need to see ourselves as worth every penny.

we are not consistent. approach yourself as a broad canvas of characters.
this is something i really relate to. one day i feel like i'm all sweetness and light, but an hour later i can easily turn and be a hideous, moody creature who should hide away eating crisps. i can't ever figure out why i can't just be normal, and be the person everyone thinks i am. well, news flash - i'm not that person. i'm not any person. i'm a whole bunch of people. we are villages, and the sooner we accept it's ok to be inconsistent, the better. 

thinking everyone is thinking about you is limiting.
well. this knocked me for six. it's refreshing to hear this honesty. i am a self confessed worrier. i worry about EVERYTHING. how someone took something i said, if i did this right, if they didn't like this... and tbh, no one is ever thinking of you as much as you are. this isn't to say people don't care about you, but the problems are much bigger in your own head. give yourself permission to take a step back from the situation, and a reality check. 

we are all limitless, but we don't know how to use our superpowers yet.
i love this. to me, this statement says that i should give myself permission to go out there and seize every opportunity i can, because i can do it. i have the ability to be/do whatever i want. but, if things fall or crumble, we need to accept that this is ok. we don't know everything, we don't need to know everything - experience is key in achieving what you want to achieve. mistakes are good. 

the evening continued with schmoozing and genuine appreciation, with everyone wanting to learn more about their fellow IRL attendees, and i felt so happy to have people tweeting me asking where i was, and wanting to meet me. it was refreshing to not feel like you had to recite your A Levels, Degree topic and where you went to school with everyone... no one-up-manship, just people asking questions.

i feel this is the start of something very special. one day, when lena dunham is begging for a spot on the panel and it's hosted in the o2 arena, i hope to there with another front row seat, and able to whisper 'i was there'.

until next time xo


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