I simply don't know what to say.
I'm numb. I can't do anything without my thoughts going back to this terrifying reality. My beautiful hometown of Manchester was bombed.
It pains me to write this. I didn't think I was going to, but I have SO many words, so many thoughts that I'm struggling to comprehend, so I had to write. Writing is the only thing that allows my mind to be free, heck, I may not ever share this, but I just have to write, through eyes full of tears, I just have to say something about the most incredible place in the world, Manchester.
I didn't know that your heart could break multiple times in one day. I didn't realise that your heart could break multiple times for people you didn't know. And I didn't know that your heart could break for a whole city. I've never felt anything like this, sadness deep within the pit of me. Fear for my city and this beautiful country and pain for the families and friends of those affected.
Today, Wednesday 24th May, news about who those 22 beautiful people who were cruelly taken away is beginning to hit, we're hearing names, seeing faces of those who have been taken away in such a terrible way and I cannot shake the tears, the emptiness, the goosebumps, the heart ache.
Whilst none of them affected me directly the pain I feel is no less. I cry every time I hear of murder, of terrorism in any part of the world and in the press, I cry for those who left for work, for a concert, for those that never got the chance to return home. But when this happens somewhere so close to home, and quite literally just 10 minutes away from my home, our home, mine and George's and my families home, it really is like nothing else I've ever felt.
I'm struggling to do anything but cry right now. I have a to-do list as long as my arm but none of it seems important, relevant or indeed worthy at this time. I've cancelled meetings and photo shoots, I've postponed videos, blog posts and sponsored content, none of that matters right now and currently, I can't see when it will seem like it matters again.
I know it will one day. It has to, these monsters cannot win and will not win. Our city of Manchester and our strong and courageous country will fight back, with love, the way we have seen from Manchester this week.
Whilst this is the saddest thing I've ever experienced in my life, here in Manchester, I've never felt more proud of this city than I do right now. The press we have seen about the good natured people of Manchester, the selfless acts of kindness, the love and the unity, has blown me away. It's something I've always known and loved about Manchester, how strong and united we are, but this week I'm more proud and in love with my city than ever before.
It's been hard to see those around me, on social media, continue with business as usual, and I have to say I've unfollowed a few people who I deemed "thoughtless" "self centred" and down right "rude" this week, but I don't blame them (and have since re-followed them). I know the world won't stop turning and I know we need to keep on keeping on, that everyone has there own way of dealing with things, but it doesn't work that way for me, and many others around me.
I attended the vigil in Manchester last night (23rd May) with my dad. I was nervous and scared to be walking the streets of Manchester, even that felt disrespectful, but what I saw at Alberts Square, in front of our beautiful town hall, completely and utterly knocked me for six. Thousands of proud Mancunians united together. We stood together, as one, as a united front against terrorism, against these ghastly, inhuman monsters that cruelly take from us. We stood, a mass of different ages, different races and religions listening to all that is great about Manchester, not that we didn't know it already, but this poem, from Tony Walsh offered some light in the darkness that I would urge you all the listen to.
Manchester really is a truly incredible city full of truly unbelievable people and I am so totally proud to be one of them. I'm also SO proud and completely humbled by all of your beautiful emails, comments and private messages offering your thoughts and love for me, my loved ones and for my city. I didn't realise how impactful my love of Manchester had been for so many of you; Allowing you to fall in love with my city without having set foot in it, that makes me insanely proud to my core, so thank you SO much for sharing your thoughts with me, it offered some light in such a dark time.
And it is, Manchester is the best city in the word, it's full of the most incredible, kind, thoughtful and hilarious people, it's full of some of the most beautiful of architecture, has created some of the best music of all time, we have two of the best football clubs in the world, we're home to Emmeline Pankhurst, we invented the computer, the atomic theory and the first ever canal. We're a city of history, of heritage and we're SO proud of that. Nothing and nobody will ever break us, albeit they try, and we will cry and we will mourn, but we'll listen to the words of Tony Walsh, of Morrissey, of the Gallagher Brothers and we'll keep on keeping on as Primal Scream once said.
I've sat, for the past two days scrolling Twitter and countless news websites, with the news on the television behind me prowling for updates, a woman obsessed with knowing everything that has happened and trying to understand why, but of course, there are no words, there are no answers to the question of "why", it is something we will never be able to comprehend.
Children and parents, young people, WHY THEM!? It's a question I will have forever more, along with everyone around the world, why did you pick such vulnerable people? It's evil in it's highest form and it's something we will never truly get over.
This scrolling with an aim lark is doing me no good, I've broken down four times already today and it's only 1130am, but I can't stop. I wish I had an office to go to, a place to go where I could sit and talk about my feelings to my colleagues, but instead I'm alone with just my keyboard. And thats why I'm writing this today.
It's a little bit later now, 14:29 to be precise. I had to stop writing as it all got a bit too much.
I've since had chance to calm down but still find myself moping around the flat. Clothes and fashion just seem so irrelevant right now. I've busied myself tidying and listening to the best of Manchester bands, a playlist I made and have since added to. There's not been a moment today, where a helicopter hasn't circled above our flat, it's frightening really, but also highly reassuring. Operation Temperer is well and truly underway and it's scary but as I've said, there is some reassurance in the increase of security.
I've cancelled today's video, which has been taken well so far. However someone has advised to not let this affect my schedule and whilst I understand that, it's simply too soon for me right now and I bet for many others out there. Hauls, OOTD's and new handbags can wait a few more days, thats for sure.
I can't think of anything but what has happened. Whenever I think I'm doing okay, something pops up on the news or on Twitter to remind me and set me back a few steps. It's funny how I feel like I'm being overdramatic, I feel guilty for feeling this way when so many people have been affected tens, thousands of times worse than I. But as I've said, we all deal with things differently and despite moping, I have plans to help in other ways.
One of the many things that keeps replaying in my mind is how many times, as a child, I went to the MEN Arena for concerts, whether it was Steps or Spice Girls or in later years Justin Timberlake and McFly, where my parents, like those affected this week, would wait in the foyer area to take us home. The MEN Arena is part of many a Mancunian's history and it's so heartbreaking that those memories are now plagued with pain.
Since writing the above, I've been to London, which really helped. I was able to busy myself in other ways but never without Manchester in my heart and my phone in my hand, relentlessly checking the news for updates.
Friday was hard and I embarrassingly but understandably wanted to get extremely drunk in order to not feel or think anything anymore. But when I attended The Courtneeners show on Saturday night, I finally felt peace. 50,000 people turned up to the show of which Cabbage, Blossoms, The Charlatans and of course The Courteeners performed, it was overwhelming to see such a united front. Thousands of people who weren't scared, who didn't cancel plans, who turned up, who danced, sang along to Manchester favourites and who loved one another. It was exactly what I needed and I am SO glad I went along with my mum and my sister. It was a beautiful night to be part of Manchester and whilst we still cried for those who have lost, we stood together, sang our hearts out and showed terrorism the middle finger, and boy did it feel great.
Whilst I don't think I'll ever get over what has happened to our city and there will always be pain in my heart for those who have lost, I'm feeling stronger, I'm feeling proud of my city and I'm feeling determined to make a difference, to help in anyway I can, watch this space.
Manchester I love you. And I love you all, my readers, viewers and my friends for being so supportive during this awful time.
Fuck you terrorism, you won't break us.