I think this might be the most personal blog post yet, so prepare for some indulgent introspection and a hint of venting! Deep and meaningful contemplation aside, I hope it will be of some help to any of you reading this who might also be going through a rough patch.
May has been a big old month, and seems to have dragged on so long that I can’t quite believe it’s June – thank the lord for clean slates and fresh starts. Aside from personal thought, I have been buried in a huge pile of academic thought – behold, the wonder of exam season. The last time I was at university, I didn’t make it to summer exams, so I went in this year as a university exam virgin, and came out slightly scarred. Even though it was first year and I only had to get 40%, it’s incredible the amount of pressure and stress university exams can bring you. It was fascinating to watch people trapes to and from the library, surviving off a bacon sandwich and pint of beer a day, and then having a total volcanic eruption of stress, falling apart at the last minute and buckling to peer pressure, going out for a blinder the night before an exam – to give us some credit, students have a miraculous amount of stamina. Although I thought it might never end, I did finally finish exams and in turn my whole first year of university. Given that so many talk about uni as being ‘the best three years of your life’, to a lot of people this won’t sound like a massive achievement… I mean all you have to do is turn up to one lecture a term, scrape a pass and down the odd dirty pint, right? For me however, finishing a whole year at university was a big achievement. I think what I am slowly realising, as I cruise into my twenties, is that I wasn’t your average teenager. I have been through too much to hold onto that beautiful innocent naivety of childhood and I am far too wrapped up in my own thoughts and perfectionist nature to indulge in that wonderfully carefree attitude so many of my friends and peers are capable of. I’m not boring, but I am pretty excellent at distracting myself from having fun with things I feel I ought to be doing… aka, saving the world one pair of pants at a time. If I am being completely honest, which I hope I can be in a world of fake news, I would say that I used The Pants Project as an excuse to hide away a bit this year. I had come from a term of university in Leeds that quite frankly broke me, and then a mere few months later, I launched myself into the whole ‘unaaayyy/fresherzzz’ environment all over again. I was vulnerable, scared, undefined by my musical talents (something I felt I had always been defined by), and still feeling pretty fragile. This is not supposed to sound really dramatic and regretful, and as though I sat festering in my room all year, slaving away at The Pants Project, frantically writing and rewriting essays to get that sweet sweet first… I did have a lot of fun here and there, and I met some lovely people (you know who you are). The long and short of my point is, I used The Pants Project and my academic work as an excuse to hide from life. I’m never going to be the life and soul of the party – that’s just not who I am – but I have realised there is a need for balance in my life. I need to learn that the most important moment is now… life passes us by so quickly, and we’re all so busy all the time that I would hate to look back on my younger years and only remember answering emails.
Before you freak out and wonder where your Tash Bishop daily Instagram rants are going, and whether you need to start sourcing your own purposeful power pants, do not worry – The Pants Project is a huge part of me, it’s gotten me through a lot and it means a great deal that I am able to help people who have been, or are, or will be in similar situations to me. The Pants Project is going nowhere; it’s just going to settle into my life instead of bury it. This notion is what I hope will be helpful to those of you reading this: work is not everything, life is everything. We have so little time on this magical planet, it’s not worth slaving away day after day if we don’t get to live in it, on it, with it… and I mean really live in it. We owe it not only to ourselves but to the thousands of people who passed away in May far too early, from those killed in Manchester, to those in Kabul, and everyone in between who left this earth too soon, for one reason or another – I bet they wish they had more time to live life.
I have had some tough days to get through recently, a mixture of sadness and confusion, frantically trying to unscramble a messy mind. Whilst being incredibly proud of the project we’ve created and worked at all together, I am aware that I have let it consume me and I am terrified of letting life pass me by whilst I’m busy obsessing over knickers. Pants are not the be all and end all, but it’s pretty impossible to get through life without them. The morning after one of my worst days, my mum left me this poem on the breakfast table before work and I thought I would insert it for anyone else feeling particularly rocky at the mo:
After A While by Veronica A. Shoffstall
After a while you learn
the subtle difference between
holding a hand and chaining a soul
and you learn
that love doesn’t mean leaning
and company doesn’t always mean security.
And you begin to learn
that kisses aren’t contracts
and presents aren’t promises
and you begin to accept your defeats
with your head up and your eyes ahead
with the grace of woman, not the grief of a child
and you learn
to build all your roads on today
because tomorrow’s ground is
too uncertain for plans
and futures have a way of falling down
After a while you learn
that even sunshine burns
if you get too much
so you plant your own garden
and decorate your own soul
instead of waiting for someone
to bring you flowers.
And you learn that you really can endure
you really are strong
you really do have worth
and you learn
and you learn
with every goodbye, you learn
with every failure,
So now that I have poured my heart out and probably bored you all to death, I can get on with telling you what we’ve been working on! Firstly, we have a HUGE summer online collection of undies coming very soon (keep your eyes peeled on our insta for updates!) as well as a collaboration with the amazing Baltisoul Magazine as they launch their first printed issue, and Clementina lingerie who are supplying us with stunning power pants. Secondly, we are working with a fertility arts project in the US, and will be asking via Instagram for anyone willing to contribute their story of infertility to the project, so if that is something you would like to be a part of, please do get in touch but more details to come! Thirdly, this one is a bit of a stinker because I can’t say much about it yet, but I am working on getting a SUPER exciting video project off the ground that I know you will all love and I hope you will all find it as inspiring to watch as I have felt working on it. Finally, I have also been busy writing some articles for various magazines which will be coming out as they are published, so look out for those!
That’s all folks, it’s been an exhausting month for me full of tears, relief, catching my breath, sorting through my overflowing email inbox and many unforgotten lovely sunny days. Make sure to follow us on Instagram at @wearethepantsproject for updates on this pants party revolution!
P.S. Not even kidding, “Reach for The Stars” came on the radio as I finished writing this. That is a cosmic sign if ever I saw one!