Newcastle Photographer and Content Creator, Mandy Charlton, Always on a quest for adventure, often seen on buses, trains and planes. On a quest to be happier and healthier. Lives in Newcastle with her 3 cats, Iris, Maggie and Arthur. Loves good vibes, musicals and cakes. Full time professional wedding photographer in the north east of england alongside content creator on Tiktok, Instagram and Facebook

Sunday, September 11, 2022

Finding Joy in a Joyless World

Mandy Charlton, Finding Joy in a Joyless World, photographer, blogger, newcastle upon tyne

This week has been odd and heavy and full, the death of The Queen was something, I think we all knew would happen but still, none of us was quite prepared for it.  Abigail and I had gone out into town to try some new cocktail bars and we were having a splendid time until the news alert popped up.  We quickly decided that it wasn't appropriate to stay out drinking alcohol and came home for a big mug of tea and to watch the news.

I watched those rolling news reports for way too long until I made a decision that if I didn't switch off it would impact my mental health and while I didn't record my pockets of joy on Facebook on Thursday night as a sign of respect, I resumed posting them on Friday, again, I think finding little pockets of joy is crucial even on the darkest of days.  In fact, I think it's even more important to find the little pockets of joy on the days which are darker.  In the darkness, we must find the light.

This next week or so will be strange, BBC has back-to-back news reports combined with tributes and programmes about The Queen, the new King Charles the Third, comedy is banned from the BBC and their radio shows are not allowed to play bouncy music.  Whilst I partially agree we should be utterly respectful, I also think we still need joyful moments.  I would suggest switching off the TV and listening to your own music which makes you happy.  If you at all, like me, have any kind of mental health issue, this is even more important.  Please also remember that people who have lost those they love could be emotionally triggered, this is a time to check on your friends.

As I write this today, I also remember that it is 9/11, the day the twin towers fell. The biggest terrorist attack the world has ever seen. I had just found out that I was pregnant with Abigail two days before and as I arrived at my Granny's after picking up Iain from school we turned on the TV to see the second tower being flown into, I wondered what kind of a world I was bringing my children into and I remember feeling shell shocked.

I have lived through very many major historical events and honestly, I'm quite ready to live in a quiet world where nothing happens, I don't however think I am going to get my wish anytime soon.  I'm lucky to be a wedding photographer because no matter how bad things get I can escape for a while and be surrounded by joy.  Yesterday's wedding at The Grand Hotel in Gosforth was a prime example of that.  All of the TVs in the hotel were showing news about the death of The Queen and during the speeches, one of the guests paid tribute to The Queen as well as toasting God Save The King.  It felt the right thing to do but overall the day was filled with fun and laughter, joy and love and I came home feeling happier than I had all week, thankful to be surrounded by such wonderful emotions, at least for a little time.

I'm lucky to have 2 joyful businesses, at Philomena's Boutique, I prepare boxes of joy for all occasions and with Mandy Charlton Photography I get to tell the story of so many couples and families.  Surrounding yourself with joy doesn't mean you aren't being respectful, it means you are choosing to protect your mental health.  Turning off the TV is okay, being angry about the disruption to your life is okay, and feeling sad but not knowing quite why it's all okay.  You are allowed to feel your feelings whatever your feelings are.

This next week will be difficult so it's okay to walk away, you can even pretend nothing is happening if that's what you have to do, don't let anyone make you feel guilt about the way you choose to live or exist or get through the heavy times.  You are human, you are unique and that means, no two of us deal with things in the same way.


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