Chapter 21: Putting Yourself Out There

The past two years have been bananas.

The first year I grew a person.

And the second year I grew as a person.

But not in the way you’d expect.

Becoming a parent is fairly synonymous with becoming immeasurably more selfless, patient and tired than you ever though possible.

That’s pretty much a given (unless you suck a little bit as a human).

For me, the unexpected growth came because I wanted needed something that was just for myself.

ENTER STAGE LEFT: Kate Takes Thirty

From watching Parks and Rec, to writing about it

When I was in my early 20s, binge watching seven seasons of Parks and Recreation over a Christmas holiday wasn’t indulgent, it was frankly impressive.

But when you become a parent, the game doth change, and time becomes the ultimate luxury – both for treasuring moments with your little people (“They grow up so fast!” – everyone, ever), and for treasuring moments with yourself.

What did this look like for me?

Starting a blog.

And one that by it’s very definition, enabled and encouraged me to try lots of different things – like starting improv classes, a public Instagram (@katetakesthirty, get about it) and a podcast – oh, and I ran a half-marathon.

Ridiculous!

And nerve-wracking!

Particularly the bit about putting my face, voice, and writing on the interwebs for people to see and hear and judge, and aggghhhhhhh

But then I remember, WWRHD?

What would Rachel Hollis Do?

She would say:

“YES, SISTER!”

“You dreams don’t work unless you do.”

“Are you humble enough to suck for as long as it takes to get better?”

“What other people think about you is none of your business.”

And other such inspiring, bad ass things.

So I sucked it up, and went for it.

I’ve even started approaching lifestyle news sites to see if they want a piece of this action to take me on as a contributing writer.

I’ve tried three so far, two have knocked me back, and one is still pending.

But again, WWRHD?

She would keep trying until someone says yes, and remind me of the classic J.K Rowling “never give up” anecdote for authors about how Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was turned down 12 times by publishers before Bloomsbury said yes to the dress.

Or she’d start her own news site, cause she’s a gangster like that.

And dang it, so am I.

Just cause you’re a gangster

It goes without saying – but Rachel Hollis, J.K Rowling and I don’t have the monopoly on bad assery.

You too can be a gangster and go after your dreams whole-heartedly.

It’s hard. Heck, every time I produce something there’s a gnawing thought at the back of my mind telling me it’s probably terrible and no one will want to read/listen to it.

But then I think: Nah, boo. You do you.

People will enjoy it or they won’t. The most important thing is that you enjoy making it.

A. Because life’s miserable if you spend it trying to be someone you’re not, to impress people you don’t even like or know.

And B. Because people are smart, and they can tell when you’re being disingenuous.

My advice?

Be a gangster.

Believe in yourself. Find what you want to do, and keep doing it.

Like our girl Rach says, you will probably suck at the start. Lord knows my first podcast episode is solidly “ok, and pretty averagely alright”.

But you keep going. You keep grinding. And you keep smiling.

Because sooner or later that commitment and enthusiasm is going to breed growth and opportunity.

Don’t give up now!

The best is yet to come.

If money was no object, what work would you do for free? If you’re not sure what your dream job is, that’s a good question to start with.

Or if you know what your dream is, tell meeee! Feel free to comment below or hit up my DMs on the gram. I love hearing from you guys.

Kate x

Chapter 19: We started a podcast

I did a Rachel Hollis exercise with some friends recently where you visualise what the best version of yourself would be like.

What do you do for a job? What do you dress like? How are your relationships? What are your priorities? How do you feel? How much sleep do you get? What do you eat …? 

And then after imagining all of this – seeing it like a movie in your head – you quickly write it all down on a piece of paper, using “I” statements and as much detail as you can.

I really recommend giving it a go.

It’s a ridiculously helpful way of focusing in on what you actually want your life to be like, and then being big and brave and going for it.

Here are some of the things on my list:

  1. I am a famous writer
  2. I am a present, loving mum
  3. I eat fresh healthy food and regularly work out, and I feel amazing
  4. I set my own work hours
  5. I am confident and completely myself
  6. I influence people to believe in themselves and live their best lives, and to be kind.
  7. I make the world laugh.

Then we had to each look at our lists, and come up with a goal – just one – that would help us get closer to this bomb version of ourselves.

Get it, girl

My Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG, if you please) is to create a platform of smart, silly, fun, encouraging content.

Like what Leandra Medine has done with Man Repeller.

But more Kate-ish.

Which is difficult. And daunting. And exciting. And entirely achievable.

Kate, Media Mogul

I love podcasts. They bring me untold amounts of joy – like, Making a Murderer.

Kidding. I ain’t about that True Crime life. I live almost exclusively in the comedy section. See below.

Kate’s Top 5 Fave Podcasts:

  1. Jules and Sarah the Podcast
  2. Rise Podcast
  3. Fletch Vaughan and Megan
  4. Wobble
  5. Sports?

So when I was thinking about what I wanted to be a part of my platform, podcasts were FOR SURE on the list.

So I made one. Like a gangster.

I enlisted my husband Taka as Producer and Co-Host, and on Thursday night we sat at the kitchen table and chatted into a surprisingly phallic microphone about everything from our car being totalled by an ambulance, to the Netflix show Taka’s mum is currently obsessed with.

It was really fun, and we hope it makes you smile.

If you want to have a listen, we are now officially iTunes approved so you can find us there by searching Kate Takes Thirty (I’ve renamed it The Kate and Taka Show, but it’s just taking a little while to sync!), or listen online at https://thekateandtakashow.simplecast.fm/.

If you listen, please screenshot it and post it to your stories and tag or DM me at @katetakesthirty on Instagram! I. WILL. DIE.

You can also follow Taka at @takakauri.

Thanks so much for your support, guys. We will frankly be bloody beside ourselves if more people than just my mum listen (both because she’s supportive, and also because I talk about her confusion with “that’s what she said” … it’s a little rude …).

You are the best of all humans.

Lots of love,

Kate x

Footnote: Making Friends as an Adult

And I use the term “adult” very loosely.

Lord only knows my maturity levels are questionable.

What a Girl Wants

I was listening to an audio chapter of Girl, Wash Your Face recently where the author Rachel Hollis said the question she gets asked most at her Rise women’s events is – how do I make friends?

Which broke my heart a little bit.

Because I know what that’s like.

I have distinct memories of being at primary school and my two cooler friends (let’s calls them Kelly and Beyoncé) running away and hiding from me while I was in the bathroom.

I was Michelle.

And it was crap.

Hey, Soul Sister

Thankfully, I did end up making some awesome friends at school and uni, but other than my hilarious pal Vin, I was a relatively late bloomer when it came to making soul sister-level besties.

I was 19 when I first started going to church, and it was there I met my now-best friends and the wild, funny, clever women (and some solidly epic dudes) that make up my wolf pack.

But after this pretty intense period of getting to know lots of new people, I went on a bit of a friend-making hiatus.

My dance card was full.

Until, recently.

F•R•I•E•N•D•S

In the past couple of years I’ve made A LOT of friends!

First there was gorgeous Renee at my old new job.

Then the hilarious Mamae and Jacqui through my new-new job.

Then Janis, Haley, Nat, Leah, Cara, Sam and Liza from my antenatal group mum gang.

And then more recently Erin and Amelia through Improv.

I am awash with cool chicks to hang with!

And I couldn’t help but wonder (like a Carrie Bradshaw voice over) – why?

Why do I suddenly have so many cool new chums?

And then it hit me.

The answer of how to make friends as an adult.

You have to do something different

In every single one of the above new-friend scenarios, I was doing something outside of my normal day-to-day Kate-ing.

I started a new job (twice).

Interviewed a random, wonderful woman for my work podcast.

Had a baby (grow a new friend?)

And started improv classes.

All things outside of my normal routine.

All things that pushed me out of my comfort zone.

Feeling like Michelle?

If, like me in the primary school toilets, you’re feeling like a bit of a Michelle (kinda lonely and on the outer) – I really encourage you to try something different.

Or indeed, this four step process that I have just created …

Step 1: Work out what you like

Think about what you enjoy: sports, dancing, reading, fitness, comedy, music … and find a club or community group that runs something you can join.

For instance: a netball club, church connect group, dance class, book club, community bootcamp, improv class, or choir …

So. Many. Options!

Just have a Google.

Step 2: Sign up!

Take a deep breath and go full Nike and

You have far more to gain that you have to lose.

Step 3: Back yourself and be nice

There are so many different types of people on this earth, no matter how weird or niche you think you are, there will be someone else out there who will get your jokes and think you’re great.

You just gotta find your tribe. Put yourself out there. And be nice.

You might not find a bezzie pal in the first club you join, but by deliberately positioning your heart and mind to be open and welcoming to new friends – that’s exactly what you’ll attract.

(Literally the definition of “manifesting”?)

Or as no one’s put it, ever:

Let your openness be the light bulb of friendship to draw in your new moth homies.

Step 4: Have faith

Don’t force it. You don’t need to get weird and intense because you want that half-heart BFF bracelet.

Just see who you click with. Ask them to hang. Be interested. And have faith that everything will work out.

Friendships take time to grow.

Be patient and enjoy the process.

You are unique and wonderful, and anyone would be lucky to have you as a friend.

Side note: Looking for love?

These steps are also pretty comparable to how we used to meet dudes back in the olden pre-Tinder days.

Just a thought.

Do you find it difficult making friends? What’s worked for you? Can I get an Amen for the Michelle’s in the house!

Kate x

Chapter 10: Reading

Until this week, I hadn’t read a book in a year.

Which, for someone with a degree in English Literature, is basically sacrilege.

(Ps. I also have a degree in Psychology and Management, but we didn’t come here to talk about how very smart I am. We came here for lols and encouragement, and some A-Grade ridiculous stories.)

It’s all coming back, to me

One of my Thirty Before Thirty goals was to rediscover the absolute bloody joy of reading.

I had a bit of hormonal anxiety (fun!) before little man was born, which combined with a fierce imagination, made for some dramatic times up in my head.

So to help, I steered clear of reading or watching anything that added to the drama above my ears.

But then after a while, the hormones chilled (Thank. God).

And Z was born.

And I didn’t sleep anymore.

And my mental capacity was #basic.

And Christmas Netflix movies became my jam (how good was The Christmas Prince, though).

And I just never really got back into books.

Until, now.

To Guernsey, with love

Last weekend, my mum gave me The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society to borrow.

She said: “It’s very you”.

So I started reading it on Sunday.

And then I finished it on Thursday.

It was amazing.

I was also bloody thrilled to discover that they made a movie of it in 2017, starring the divine Lily James. She’s one of my faves, but I hadn’t watched it yet because I thought the name was weird.

What a fool.

I’m going to have a couch date with myself on Saturday and watch it. Because I know how to party.

Book Club

For those of you who are interested, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is set at the end of WW2, and tells the story of the German occupation of Guernsey (an island in the English Channel) through an ensemble cast of gorgeous, witty, clever characters.

The book is written entirely in letters and notes (the format reminded me a bit of Love, Rosie), and the main character Juliet is to die for.

She’s the sort of character you wish was real just so you could be friends.

“You know how I love talking about books, and you know how I adore receiving compliments.” – Annie Barrows, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

I know those feels.

It has everything: Strong female protagonists (along with Juliet, Elizabeth is the second, silent central figure of the book). Realistic, quirky, loveable characters. A setting that teaches you something. A love story. And all of the lols.

I don’t know if you can tell, but I’m a pretty big fan.

It reminded me a bit of The Girl You Left Behind, the lesser-known novel by Jojo Moyes (of Me Before You fame) half-set in German occupied France – which I also really liked.

Kate’s Goodreads

In honour of rediscovering my love of literature, I thought I’d share my all time favourite books/series/authors, and why I luuurve them so damn much.

Best Nonfiction Comedy

Mindy Kaling’s Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me (And Other Concerns)

This 👏🏼 Book 👏🏼 Is 👏🏼 Everything

I had a real “Books By Female Comedians” stage (Miranda Hart’s Love Peggy gets an honourable mention in this category), but this book is the best of the bunch BY FAR.

I think I’ve re-read it twice … maybe three times …

So funny. So inspiring. So great.

Best Series for Tweens That I Read as a Grown Ass Woman

The Georgia Nicolson series. With such titles as Startled by His Furry Shorts and It’s ok, I’m Wearing Really Big Knickers, you know you’re in for a good time.

Pure, ridiculous, teen hilarity.

I was genuinely heartbroken when their author Louise Rennison passed away in 2016. But she gave the world the Disco Inferno Dance and Dave the Laugh, and for that I will always be grateful.

I could have literally snogged until the cows came home. And when they came home I would have shouted, “WHAT HAVE TOU COWS COME HOME FOR?! CAN’T YOU SEE I’M SNOGGING, YOU STUPID HERBIVORES???” – Georgia Nicolson

Favourite Writer

I love Zoë Foster-Blake.

I just feel like we’d be friends. And I love her novels, Air Kisses and Playing the Field.

Her blog is also bomb. Get amongst it.

Best Sob-Inducer

Me Before You is gorgeous. And harrowing. And hilarious. And everything.

I also really loved Emilia Clarke’s (my all time girl crush) portrayal of Lou in the film.

Who, now I think about it, actually has some similar traits to Juliet in Guernsey

Quickest Read

I read Divergent in a day.

O b s e s s e d.

Although I felt the series got a serious case of the “er … where are we going with this plot …?!”, Divergent was sublime.

Book three (Allegiant) was ridiculous.

Best Christian Book*

I really enjoyed Jesus is ___ by Judah Smith.

He managed to be funny and inspiring and informative all at the same time, and I loved it.

Also, anything by Joyce Meyer, the First Lady of Female Preachers.

Bow down.

*Other than the Bible, which is a pretty good book …

Best Inspo

Girl, Wash Your Face is amazing. I’ve only just started it, so I’m well and truly jumping the gun by putting it on this list, but I don’t care. It’s amazing.

The author, Rachel Hollis, also has an amazing podcast called Rise which I thoroughly recommend.

Best Classic Prose

I will tell you a secret … I only ever finished one book during my English degree.

I know.

And that one book was Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre.

I am only now realising how sexist I am … All my fave books have female leads.

Literally. All. Of. Them.

I guess …

What’s you’re all time favourite book? Do you have any recommendations for me? I feel like you all solidly know “My Type” now.

Kate x