I write this, having spoken numerous speeches and graduating from University. That all sounds rather busy in-between working a 9-5 job and going to the gym 4 times a week doesn’t it? I know. I wanted to use these great candid portrait shots my photographer took and tell you about those speeches I gave because it’s something I would never have usually documented but since speaking in front of 1000 a people in a week I feel a post is pretty expected now. I also have been asked numerous times what I said so below are some candid photos alongside what I said to ex teachers, students and parents.15% I knew and the remaining haven’t a clue.
I was asked by two former teachers at my school’s; school being a plural there because I attended two schools; one for mainstream academic study and the other for ALEVEL’S. Both experiences were a blast and developed me immensely as a person. These teachers watched me develop from shy quiet anxious girl to a bubbly, opinionated and quirky woman. I love giving speeches in front of lots of people. I’ve always been clear that I would much prefer to give lots of speeches, presentations and job interviews than going on a casual date with a chap. I find the professional Ev comfort zone to be so much more comfortable than trying to impress a male. In trying to impress the opposite sex I usually say ‘I like Steps and Bollywood music’ and the chap usually is concerned…
Wow this feels rather like one of those dreams I had where I was stood in front of a microphone ready to do a Kylie Minogue tribute performance…I can promise you that I won’t give that performance but I am going to tell you a story…
I am going to paint you a picture of a girl in the year 2009, who is, at this moment in time feeling alone, hating her appearance because the morons that surround her, call her ugly betty. The morons mock her for her; lipstick choice, her style of spectacles and her attitude to education. This girl is hating life because a few select teachers around her, have told her that the chances leaving school with anything above a U grade will be lower than Flo-Rida’s apple bottom jeans and she will not go to university or go into anything academic. She sits in a corner biting her hand as a release from anxiety that is slowly destroying her confidence and her attitude to life. Regularly this girl has panic attacks or faints, faints for no particular reason other than a wave of anxiety has taken over every inch of her body. She has no eyebrows because she has pulled every strand of hair out again because anxiety got the better of her. This girl is 13. This girl’s name is Evan. This girl is me.
10 years into the future we can tell little Ev that the teachers who told her parents she was never going to go anywhere are now punching themselves. I now have 5A*’s, 3B’s and a C GCSE’s to my name. The girls who mocked her, for her fashion and style are now constantly messaging, liking photos and complimenting her choices. You sit there and ask what I did? You know what I did, I picked myself up, picked up the pieces and put them together. I knew what I wanted. I knew I wanted more than what was currently at stake. I started to seek help for my mental health which made me a much stronger person and I am forever grateful for, even to this day. I put more time and more energy into school. I revised, I sought extra help and I got a confidence kick. I did this how? I stopped worrying what people thought of me. I realised, did it matter what people thought? Because at the end of the day, if its good enough for me that is all that matters.
I’m not going to lie and say that from the age of 13 to now, my life has been blissful and I’ve got everything I set out for, because I haven’t. Life as it does, has put obstacles in my way that have made me change directions and seek new pathways. For example when I was in sixth form I thought and had drummed it into my head I wanted to move away and go to a top ranking University. At the time I thought I wanted this; looking back, I think, I did this for the recognition amongst my peers rather than what I truly wanted. I was predicted all A*’s for A Level and with a couple of family deaths and personal crises it went to pot. I walked away with 3C’S and 1B. Teachers who taught or knew me at this time will know that at the time you would have thought my world had crashed. I hadn’t made it into my first or second choice and I had ended up in clearing. Clearing was the best thing to happen because I ended up at the University of Kent. I didn’t leave my canine and my family who are my biggest supporters. I remember my Mum in particular telling me that, if this top University didn’t want me after my results I needed to prove what they were missing. I feel like now, 3 years later that I have done just that. I may not have attended a Russell Group University but what is now my life?
I now have a 2:1 degree in English and American Literature. I believe the same degree I would have received at the top ranking University but without the personal growth or friendships. 2:1’s don’t seem like much now since every man and his dog get that qualification but I am rather happy to have a worthwhile grade for a worthwhile subject. I have achieved what I set out for when I begun University. When I started I wanted to leave with a 2:1 and an experience I could be proud of and that is what I got; I made a bunch of friends who made me even sassier.
I found and got a job 1 month after finishing my degree and have begun to use my blogging as a side line creative outlet. Using my blog as a means to be vane in front of a camera and showcase particular outfits. BONUS! I don’t ever see me becoming Zoella or Tanya Burr as much as I would love it to, I just don’t have the backing they did in the early days. However if they do want to get in touch, you know where to find me.
What do I want now? My biggest dream is to be living in London, the dream of living in Notting Hill slowly becoming a distant fantasy looking at rent and cost of living, however. I then want to be running a political campaign. I want to use my role as campaign manager now to be running the next Prime Minister’s campaign because I can tell you now where their campaign people went wrong last time. I want people to say ‘we need Ev on the job to get through this’. I might be ambitious but life is too short to be complacent with what you have, you have to want more in life. I want the career, not the job. I’m career driven and nobody is going to stop me from getting what I want. If you take anything from my ramble today, you should remember the following. As Rick Astley sings, you should never give up. If the going gets tough and you get a poor grade don’t give up. I have realised that things happen for a reason, whether they are bad or good they happen for a reason. Everything shapes us and crap happens but that crap happens for a reason unfortunately and we have to accept such things.
I have realised, as I write this concluding paragraph that this has become of a touching closing chapter of an autobiography which it wasn’t. Instead this was, a simple way of giving you an insight into my speeches I have given the last few weeks to former peers and faculty or as I call it kicking ass.
It has taken me around 9 years to fully accept who I am, what I want and where I want to end up. I can say now that I am Evan Kendall Francis; the small, sassy, young girl who has that thing for red lipstick.