Curls Fills a Gap

We were definitely made to amaze each other. If I were to come away from this year with one thing to say about it, I would say that pretty much sums it up. That, and wow we spend an awful lot of money on food.

What a grown adult should look like.

I have my last day of work this coming Monday and ceremoniously, my ‘Gap Year’ comes to a close. 365 days of adult training wheels guiding my way while I tried to figure out what I was going to do with my life so to speak. I had plans to go on trips to places that I hadn’t been, be in a bunch of shows, fall in love, eat better, go to the gym, write a book or even just have something to show for the time out.






And let me tell you, it messed with my head, seeing all of this time passing and me just working the same routine every day, not feeling any different. All while watching everything that I had loved about my life over the last 18 years vanish from who I was. I questioned everything. Here’s what I know: I still love music, I still love Disney, I still love fashion and vintage stuff and stories and even though they are a pain in the booty, I still love my curls. I still love God, even though I’m in a funny grey-area at the moment which I never knew was sort of normal for lots of people.

Now there are some other funny little add-ons which make for wonderful additions to the My-Little-Flora starter pack. Like how I can actually put on makeup without looking like Ronald Mcdonald with a built in wig. Or how I can successfully drive myself to the movies (provided that it’s a showing that finishes before 10pm). The fact that I finally made the commitment to getting my ears pierced is a huge achievement (and I look freaking gorgeous). But try this one on for size- after 5 years of false-starts, I finally started Ballet lessons, and I’m half decent (when you don’t film me).

What MY version of grown adult sometimes looks like.

There are some not-so-good changes that I’m working on turning back around, like how often and unnecessarily I swear a hecking lot. Or the way that my patience wears very thin when I meet someone who seems to have forgotten to put on their manners that morning. I could definitely watch less television too (Stranger Things, you have ruined me). I’ve been in a bit of a slump all round. You see, it became so hard to say goodbye so many times to lots of people that it became even harder to catch up with the people who were still around until I became this little hermit thing that only surfaced for the words “food” and “Zac Efron Musical.” Sooo yes, I could definitely change a few things.

But now I have sort of figured my life out and I know what I want to do. Incoming cheesy cliché, look away if you have low tolerance for thought-provoking one-liners that can often be found at the end of a Nicholas Sparks novel. Here she goes…

What I want most, regardless of what I end up doing, is to show people the love.

I got so caught up in streamlining myself that I totally forgot to love my neighbour. I forgot that this life actually doesn’t owe me anything and that no-one else actually owes me anything. When it clicked, all I wanted to do was make things right. I learned to forgive old hurts, and new ones. I learned to listen to people while ignoring whether I thought they were wrong or right. I just really listened. I worked hecking hard. I watched others work just as hard as me, and even harder. It was humbling. And you have all amazed me. Every single one of you. YOU ARE AMAZING.

So advice time from an un-qualified 19 year old with a questionable taste in music

5. You are ENOUGH. Tell yourself, tell others, tell your dog, cat, goldfish, lizard that they are enough. You are enough for this world, don’t streamline yourself. Help yourself to be better, help others to be better but always remember that YOU ARE ENOUGH just as you are. Just be beautiful you. That means so much to those around you.

4. DO the brave thing. People always say that I’m brave because I do all of this out-there stuff that others are too scared to do and I do it without fear. I’m calling absolute bull-poop on this one. Bravery is being afraid and doing the scary thing anyway. To this day, I cannot count a single time when I have been hurt by doing a brave thing. If I can do it, you ABSOLUTELY CAN! DO THE BRAVE THING

3. Work hecking hard. You will appreciate yourself more if you do, others will appreciate you more if you do and soon enough you’ll find that it doesn’t really feel like hard work anymore. It doesn’t matter what you work hard at (as long as it is for positive growth), just throw your best at it. One of the greatest things you will learn is that the world owes us nothing and once you know that, something just clicks and all you want to do is work hard to make the world a better place. It feels great.

2. Don’t give up on your dreams, they mean something. I struggled for a year on whether or not I was going to pursue my dream of performing in musicals, and that was after 18 years of agonising over the same thing before that. I thought that what I was trying to do was risky and that it didn’t mean anything to anyone, that I wasn’t going to do anything to benefit society except play about on a stage for money. How was I going to show people that love inside of me if I was too busy buying into the world of entertainment? But then I read this really cool quote by Zachary Levi.

“My job on my set, I believe, is to first just love people and gain that trust with people where they know that I really do love them and care about their well-being, so that when they are running into problems, they will hopefully, at some point, come to me and ask me, ‘What is your peace all about? What is your comfort all about? Where do you get your love? Where do you get your talents?’ And I can turn to them and say without blinking, ‘Jesus Christ'” -Zachary Levi, “Q&A With Zachary Levi”. Relevant Magazine. Retrieved October 13, 2009.

And that’s just it really. Your dreams matter, whether you think you can do them or not, YOU SHOULD DO THEM. You can always do meaningful work, no matter what your job is. The world needs Actors, plumbers, doctors, retail workers, vets, soldiers, fathers, mothers, PEOPLE who care.

1. Love something. Whatever you do, make sure that you love someone, try to love even just a little part of everyone you know. That’s what we were meant to do. Love each other and love what we do. Love the life that we live. The minute you love something, it may just surprise you and love you back. I can’t explain why this one is so important. There isn’t really one reason as to why we should all do this. It’s just some fundamental thing that if you’re not already doing, you should really look into.

Life doesn’t rock all of the time. Sometimes life sucks and we just don’t want to hear about it. But alas, rain or shine life goes on. Everyone at some point in their life will have a gap year of sorts. You maybe didn’t need to know all about mine but here we are so there. I’m going to make a conscious effort to tuck my curls behind my ears so that I can hear all about yours.

Maybe the next time someone asks me “how was your gap year?” I can say;

“I am totally full”



Bare Bones

There is so much silence when you try to do things on your own. And so it’s been very quiet around here for a while.

Now usually, I would spin some words about how I’m going to come back fighting and I would tell you how you haven’t seen the last of me and that Curls is going to Kick-butt but really, I’ve been a bit of a dumb-dumb. So here’s something different.

No promises of fixing things, no expectations of what lies ahead. Instead, this


In this state of Undress
Stripped of all my confidence and clarity
I’m down to the bear bones of me
and I’m crying
Do not be far from me
Do not be distant
Do not put yourself away from me
Under those waves that carved my exposed self
I cried in silence
That I could doubt the hands that sculpted the stars
For heaven’s sake
What was I ever trying to do without you
That I should turn my cheek from grace to sweet the Earth shatters
And in all that time that I should say
“I am alone”
Cementing my distrust in you
And still you find me and call me home
A lamb in the woods
A deer on the mountainside
A flower in the thorny dirt
A child of dishonour
You call me
And that, is the truth about you
Your name is the sweetest sound
Your face the finest picture and you- the author of eternity
You call me
You call me
You call me
You call me
Raised up
You call me yours
You call me yours
You call me  yours
And you are great
You call me yours
You are powerful
You call me yours
You are the king of kings
You call me yours
You are the light of the world
And you call me yours
And though I will never be any of those things
You make me more than I could ever let myself be
And you are what I need
You are my home


Salt Water Skin

Salt water skin breathes in a little differently
Like the sand runs to meet the tide
It kisses scars and makes the sunburn smoulder
Though it seems a thing so small to be admired
It takes my mind…

And to be honest, folks, I’m stumped because for the last few months, this is what it’s been like. So many unfinished works, poems, songs, crafts, ideas, thoughts, emails ugggghhhh.  So you know how people say that art comes from a place of deep hurt or hardship?

WELL then I GUESS “People” are RIGHT! If I’m honest, friends, I’ve been a bit of a selfish A**hole as of late. The worst part is, that I’ve got no particular excuse, I’ve actually had a pretty good run for the past wee while. And you know what? My friends, family and even complete strangers have been so completely loving and kind to this shrimp of a human-being. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not looking for any kind of sympathy here, I’m just setting the record straight.

I’m a person who wants to do right by others, to love others as Jesus loved. Though it’s my goal to reach people in a way that really positively impacts them, I’m really just not moving far enough. All that I’ve been saying is that I’ve been too busy to do remarkable things because I’m here or there or all over the place (really just hermit-ing in my room stewing over really stupid stuff). For GOODNESS SAKE Flora, wake up, This IS ‘The Remarkable.’

I mean, just this week, two complete strangers on two separate occasions stopped to talk with me. No hidden agendas, no obligations, just a plain moment of communication. And it was so nice. It got me thinking, while I’ve been so caught up in the silence, I’ve been pushing lots of good things away.

It’s so simple to check in with someone and just see where they are at. To say “Hey man, how are you?” You’d be surprised in fact how easy it is. Not every moment has to be filled with a line as endearing as the love confessions in a Nicholas Sparks movie (although, thank you to Mr Sparks for Noah Calhoun’s 365 letters, a standard which I will hold my man to (just kidding (sorry for the extra brackets))). All you’ve got to do is answer the message that is sent to you instead of leaving them on “seen.” Alternatively say “Sorry friend, I haven’t got a lot of time to catch up at the moment but I’d love to see you at insert time and place here”. Or hey, if you’ve actually been looking for someone to talk to but have been too busy, then maybe that’s a good opening to share with people.

What I’m saying is, that the hermit life is not a glamorous one. It’s a freakin’ lonely one. So this is kind of a public apology for being a bit vacant and a check-in to let you know that I’m working on not being such a ‘you-know-what.’ Don’t misread me either, while I hope that some of you find some encouragement through this more vocal post, I know that not everyone is where I am. So if you’ve got to do a little more self love and care before you can share that love then you do that. Please, please, please look after yourself. And if you’re on the opposite end of the scale and you’re burning both ends of the candle trying to look after everyone and meet the impossible expectations (Noah Calhoun’s 365 letters *cough cough*), then please, please, please, look after yourself before you go on. The world needs people who care.

I’ve not forgotten what it is that I set out to do, I just think that on my way to making room for growth this year, I actually didn’t even notice I was growing. So there it is, short and sweet until I can get back on my proverbial poetry feet again. But you know what’s  beautiful about short things? They’ve got lots of room to grow.

My curls are growing with every opening of my heart, how are yours looking?

– Curlsmeetsworld


Concrete Wall

I can give you nothing but a concrete wall
A dragonfly dying on the staircase of our glass house
Something completely useless and intangible
And what would that give you
Some kind of peace
Some kind of restitution from the answers I gave you several years ago.
Nothing you could ever want
And yet you want it
A wilted rose in a torn coat pocket
A pair of wellington boots with splits up the seams
A book missing its last page
Something utterly pointless
You seek me
But all you really seek is retribution
Knowing that you won’t get what you want
You pursue the symphony of silence
Because that’s all I have to give you
Partial completeness
A Sunday full of dread for Monday
A sun-warped record in a dusty case
You don’t hear or see any of it
You only hear yourself
Telling me that I am all you’ve ever wanted
And I can’t hear a thing
For I am on the steps of our glasshouse
A sleeping Dragonfly in my hand
One palm against the concrete wall
Listening to the symphony of silence
Waiting for you to go


Curls Meets the Quiet Courage

I remember very vividly, being 4 years old and standing in the conservatory of our home in Blandford England. I stared at my tiny toes and suddenly thought about the me I would be at 18 years of age.

I pictured a tall girl (what a joke) with this crazy orange-red, curly hair and she was tall and slim and she had a big smile. She was almost like a big sister version of myself. Then, that me was in this very cool green skirt-dress outfit (like the one from the Lizzie Maguire movie, because that was cool in those days) and I had a microphone headset and I was on a stage somewhere and don’t ask me how, but I know I wasn’t singing pop songs.

It now comes to this. The night before my audition for becoming that girl. But this time, there is no green dress or microphone, there is only a choice. I won’t become my big, bouncy, big sister self that way, I will become her because I am taking a step, a risk, rather, to start the life that I have always wanted.

Tomorrow, I audition for a music theatre course (very allusive description because I don’t feel it’s important to disclose until I know the outcome). A dream that I had not realised that I wanted so badly until I worked my way out of the horrible cob-webs of anxiety and insecurity and self-doubt. And there it was, my dream that I had held for 14 years and I knew that regardless of what it wanted of me, I couldn’t leave it behind.

You may be thinking “Yes but Flora, being in a school that teaches arts doesn’t mean you will make it all the way.” Or you may even be thinking “But what happens if you don’t get in?” Well that’s just it. It doesn’t matter if I don’t get in, it doesn’t matter if it takes me a few tries before I get my break, the very fact that I am trying means that I am not letting myself down. Tiny, four-year-old Flora would be looking up at me now and she would think I am awesome (even if I am a little shorter than she expected), simply because I am making my dream a reality. I am not letting her down.

I’m so nervous and terrified and I’ve got to be honest, I don’t know if I have prepared myself for rejection (because it is always a possibility). Although, it’s a little easier not to worry about those things and about how much I don’t know and how much I need to catch up on, when I think about tiny Flora and how much she wants this.

I truly believe that this is where I am meant to be going, I have my reasons for going there and I have my reasons for taking a while to get there and I have my reasons for not being apologetic about those reasons. But if you are reading this, then you are most likely one of those reasons that is allowing me to go on. The turn around of Courage that I have experienced in even just the last two years is what has made me believe that I can do this. That I can see my name in the programme of a west-end show. It’s the way you have said “you can” and “you were made for this” and “I believe in you” and “never stop singing” and I could write a novel with the beautiful things that you have all said. It’s the hours that my tutors in music, singing, dance, acting, history, art, literature (less so science). It’s the way you have shown me how to be a team player, the way you have loved me and said that you love me. It’s all of my friends and family, my church family, my work family. If I get this, then it’s because you said that I could.

And Dad, if you are reading this, it is oh so definitely you. You are 75% of the driving force behind why I am able to do this. It’s because you said “I’ve figured it out, you’re going to do music theatre,” when I was too afraid. It’s because you make me want to cry when I look at you while I’m singing (mostly because you are crying when you look at me sing). It’s because you have always said that I can and I know that you will always do your best to make sure that I know that I can. I wouldn’t know half of what I know about what I want if you hadn’t helped me get there. Thank you Dad.

So here I am, the night before what will be the pinnacle of my year. Am I scared? Absolutely. Am I ready? As ready as I’ll ever be? Do I need to stop worrying? most probably. Will there be other chances if this one doesn’t work out? It’s more than likely. Am I going to leave you with some cliché lyrics from music theatre repertoire? You bet I am!

“Somewhere over the rainbow, skies are blue, and the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true”

Okay then. Let’s go make those dreams come true.



Curls Meets Plan B



“And the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true” (photo by Jack Penman Photography)

“So you want to be an actress, that’s a very competitive field, you know that right? You have to be the best of the best to make it.”

If you are a creative, like me, you would have heard this more than a few times from more than a few people. Your heart probably crumbled at the delivery of the words too.

So it’s time for curls to come clean.

I am freaking terrified. See the thing about being good at performing arts (or any kind of arts for that matter) is that it’s not really something you decide that you’re going to be good at, you just intrinsically are. Now don’t misunderstand me, I’m not saying that people don’t work hard for their talent, the end game of this article is actually to convince you of the nobility of creatives and their inherent craft. All I’m saying is that while some can eventually learn an art, it’s not always that calculated and therefore it can mean a bit more to someone when you start throwing logic at a creative’s fragile confidence.

Here is the real truth, creatives are bloody scared. That’s right, contrary to popular opinion that we performers are all extroverts with child-like faith and absolute confidence in our ability, we secretly have no idea what we are doing and we don’t really understand why we are the way we are. Some creatives will tell you that they remember the exact moment they realised they were talented, their teacher heard them singing and said they had a good voice. They received a distinction in a dance exam or they got the lead in the school play. Some will even throw out the line that they could “sing before they could talk.” Others will say that they could “dance before they could walk” and the rest will tell you that they were “reciting Shakespeare before they learned their ABCs.” It’s all a lie. It’s a justification to make us comfortable with what we don’t understand; “Why us?”

We don’t know why or how we were the ones lucky enough to be blessed with our gifts and most of the time we’re not sure where we are going with them. But the last thing that we want to hear is that we don’t have a chance. To many, the path is simple- study something you are good at, get a degree and then get a stable job which will earn as much money as is possible to do in your chosen profession. The rest of the time is filled in with the excitement like the vacations, the family, the social life. This makes non-creatives feel safe, this is what they feel they can be good at. For creatives however, being good at what we do is not what makes us feel safe, oh no, if anything it has nearly the opposite effect. Doing what we are good at is what makes us feel most alive. It’s not as simple as doing it for the money or any delusions of stability.

So what does this mean? We most likely already know how tough it is to make it in the industry. We’ve only been told from day one that while our talent is beautiful and that we should share it with as many people as we can, not everyone will make it to where they want to be. So maybe it would be best to try ‘plan B.’ Here’s where I have a problem with that logic. If no-one tried to get to where they wanted to be (because they were too busy trying plan B), then there would be no-one there. Are you following? Read that sentence again. Now think, would you tell a studying nurse, teacher, apprentice electrician, plumber, or aspiring business owner that they should probably just back up on what they’re doing because there’s a chance it’s not going to work out. It’s not a helpful statement. It’s like saying, “well yes, you are good at walking but sometimes you can trip over and skim your knees so maybe you shouldn’t do that.” We are programmed to do what we do, we literally could not choose this if we tried.

I don’t want to degrade any efforts of supportive insight that some may be trying to impart on those they love. All I am saying is that I have never heard of anyone saying “Wow, I am really pleased that I didn’t chase my dream of becoming a proffessional performer.” We’ve got to stop telling people that they might not be good enough. They already know that. But the probability is that if they want it enough, (and they’ll know because it will keep them up at night) they will be working hard for it. Hard work should be encouraged right? So we need to stop telling people that it’s too late for them.

There are wonderful things that happen in the world of performing arts and there is far more to the story than what creatives may think they have already figured out. My favourite success stories are of the two current Christines performing in The Phantom of the Opera on Broadway and the West End at the moment. Celinde Schoenmaker of the London production at Her Majesty’s Theatre had decided she was going to be a pilot until she had enough courage to turn around at age 19 and decide she was going to study Music theatre. She has now performed two leading roles in two of the West End’s most acclaimed and longest running productions. Celinde performed the role of Christine in the 30th anniversary production of Phantom with Sierra Boggess and Michael Crawford. Ali Ewoldt of the Broadway production graduated from Yale university with a BA in psychology but still chose to pursue her creative path. She became the first Asian-American actress to play the role of Christine on Broadway, making history.

Beautiful things happen when people believe in themselves. It is going to be so much better when we all learn to believe in them too. By all means, encourage people to work hard for what they want, but please, please, please, stop telling people that they don’t have a chance. For some, it can mean the difference of someone saying, “You are talented but there are lots of other talented people too” or “You are really talented, and there are lots of other talented people, but I believe you can do this.”  The words “you” and “can” are like indirectly saying “I love you” to someone who is in need of courage.

So yeah, you’re right, it’s a tough industry. We know the facts, we know what the industry is looking for. We are working hard to get there. And you know what, we’d really appreciate your support.

– Curlsmeetsworld



I wake with stardust on my shoulder and wish the smallest part of me to fly

But it’s too late, time has slipped through my ribs like a silk scarf and it clenches round my lungs

I now recall

My hand in yours was a pebble in a river

Your thumb swept across my knuckles like watercolour paint

You remember as I do, how that whole room could shrink away and leave us in that beautiful music

With love that blind, how could I have learned to walk without tripping?

If I had known this was to be a rhapsody then I would have tucked my soul back up my sleeve

But this, the smallest part of me, is yours

And like the lines on my face, the lines on that paper are rendered deep in my skin

I am cloaked in velvet promises that weigh heavily on my 14 year old eyes

And none of them are with me anymore

Why did you stare at me so fixedly?