London is swallowing me whole: but I’m ok with it

By Cal Morris

Photography by @fart_lyfe

“I don’t know what the fuck I’m doing,” I suddenly blurt out to my best friend as we lounge in a creative space, sipping a single origin flat white. I wasn’t always like this; hailing from the good ol’ north, I moved to London with some phat dreams and high expectations. But it wasn’t as simple as that. Studying whilst juggling a job, social life and finances has been the biggest car crash that has happened to me thus far. “Why did you move then?” my northern friends begrudgingly hiss at me whenever I’m back home. “You kind of have to be there to get it” is my usual response, not wanting to enter the abyss of an emotional breakdown.

London is an utterly bewildering place to move to. There’s this moment of realisation of the fact that everyone in your social circles, the cafés you hang around in and the bars you get smashed in all want the same thing: success. But to get a job you need experience and to gain experience you need a job and the whole cycle starts again. Especially in the creative industries. I constantly find myself at a loss on how to go about cracking the industry. But it’s not what you know, it’s who. How do you stumble your way through a climate of equally successful human beings? This realisation, combined with crippling financial instability (along with a fragile state of mind) all coagulate into the hot mess that is myself.

                                                             "LONDON IS AN UTTERLY BEWILDERING PLACE TO MOVE TO"

                                                             "LONDON IS AN UTTERLY BEWILDERING PLACE TO MOVE TO"

Part of me constantly has to remind myself that I am 20 years old, and it’s okay to not be doing anything right now. But the thought that ravages my mind is the immobilising pressure of spending a fortune just moving here, living here, and not indulging myself in the city as much as I physically can. My mind wanders in London; the streets overflowing with energy, the bars always rammed, the ashtrays always full from past conversations over a lazy cigarette. This complex city distracts and motivates me at the same time, which is a confusing feeling to process.

“So what are you gonna do about it?” I ask myself this question roughly 57 times a day, and I still have yet to come up with a definitive answer. The solution I can grasp right now, working in hospitality and struggling with money and all those other complications, is to constantly say yes. To everything and anything. “Experience” comes in the most unlikely of places, you just have to be willing to go searching for it.