• Kayleigh Campbell

Speaking in public & taking a break in the North.

I’ve never been a confident public speaker. Ever the introvert, I avoid public speaking where possible. I suffer with anxiety and I physically show my anxiousness when speaking in front of others – shaky voice, red face, quick speech. In primary school and early years of high school I was a confident person; over the years my self-esteem became worse and I became less outgoing. I can’t pinpoint the reason for this, but like many of my other mental health issues, I attribute it to my former toxic relationship.

In the past year, I have overcome my struggles with anxiety and depression, something I thought I would never do. Finding my partner, Joe, has been a big help as he showed me true kindness when I needed it the most and we have a very healthy, happy relationship. Starting my job at Leeds University Union made me feel instantly happier; though Apple was life-changing for me, it wasn’t meant to be my career and after three years, it was time to move on. I felt a new sense of energy and love working at the university. Having my daughter Eliza gave me a whole new sense of love and focus, something which gets better each day. Of course I still have my moments of stress (house-buying!) and down days, but generally, I feel the best I have felt in a very long time.

Poetry has become a big part of my life and focus. I truly, truly enjoyed my MA and can’t wait to start my PhD. I want to do my PhD so I can develop as a writer and so I can hopefully begin a career as an academic. I’ve had several acceptances now and feel wonderful about that, but I also recently did an open-mic night at The Lawrence Batley Theatre. A couple of months ago I did a postgraduate conference which I was very nervous about, going back to the start of this post. But, I got through it. And, I got such lovely feedback. Despite this, I was still so nervous about the open-mic night. Standing up in front of strangers reading my poems into a microphone sounded like hell, but again I got through it and actually felt really confident as soon as I started speaking. Once it was done I obviously felt such relief, but I was also really proud of myself. Following this, I’m going to start attending a regular open-mic night held at Queenie’s Coffee Shop at The LBT. I’m very motivated about my writing and I feel sharing my poems in this way can only be a good thing!

As our move in date for the new house has been pushed back a little, Joe and I decided to utilise his week off work well. So, other than the open-mic night we went to a craft fair in Sheffield which was lovely. We enjoyed pizza, brownies and bought a new art print for our new kitchen. I really enjoy craft fairs as I love all that kind of stuff, but I also love seeing creative independent businesses thrive. A world full of corporations would be both boring and sad, so long live craft fairs and so on! I went to see Mahalia on Monday night at The Wardrobe in Leeds with my friend Nick. We usually go to a gig for his birthday and as always, I had a great time. Nick makes me laugh pretty much everyday so I always feel uplifted when I see him, plus the venue was very Hygge which of course I live for!

Today we drove to Northumberland. Firstly we stopped in Alnwick for an hour which is a quaint, oldly-worldly place. My favourite part was definitely Barter’s Books – a truly delightful secondhand bookshop. It has serious Harry Potter vibes and was just beautiful. I of course bought some new poetry, A Gap in the Railings by John Lynch and a cool mug, which is tall with a black cat and books on it, what more could one want! We are actually staying in Longframlington, in an absolutely beautiful cottage called Swallowtails Cottage. It is my dream home; white wooden beams, exposed stone, ornaments everywhere. We are just so happy to be away, just the three of us. Tomorrow, we are going exploring in Bamburgh, which I’m looking forward to very much.

Angel of the North, leads to grey skies, mighty clouds. Crisp air fills my lungs.

A goodnight Haiku 🙂


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