Can you give us a brief introduction of who you are? Have you previously heard of Dream On Youth?
My name is Kathleen Tandy, but all of my friends call me Kate. I’m 21 and live in Nottingham in England. I am currently in my third year at Sheffield Hallam University, where I am studying Creative Writing BA Hons and absolutely loving it. I also run my own blog called “holakathleen” where I talk about a number of things – beauty, fashion, lifestyle, social issues and little things that are happening within my life.
I took a break from blogging for about a year and have only recently decided to start uploading again on a brand new canvas. I have currently been actively blogging for about four or five months now and it is something I very much enjoy doing. It works well running it alongside all the university work I am doing at the moment and all the projects I have lined up for the future.
I had never heard of Dream On Youth until I was approached by Fida Islaih on Instagram as she wanted to write a feature on me. After looking at the website and reading the “About” page, it is fantastic that the platform is being used to spread positivity and kindness, something I advocate very much across all of my social media accounts.
What does self-worth mean to you?
Everyone struggles with self-worth – me included! Self-worth, to me, is loving yourself. It’s about embracing the things that are beautiful about oneself, and working and developing them. Everyone has a talent, something they love or are passionate about, and exploring that and building on these passions is what brings about self-worth. The ability to love yourself completely and not be ruled by the flaws and insecurities we all have. It’s also about respecting yourself, checking in with yourself every now and then, and saying, “Hey, I’m doing ok, I’m feeling good about myself and let’s celebrate that.”
I know you are a strong believer in your faith. How did it find its way to you?
Being a Christian is something I am very proud of and a role that does define me as a person. When I was a little girl, my parents would push me to go to Sunday school and church and I grew to absolutely detest going. I completely neglected Christianity and focused on things that went against all of it; I rebelled to a certain extent.
However, over the years, I found there was a part of me missing, and that materialism and earthly possessions couldn’t fill it. So last year, one Sunday morning, I attended Trent Vineyard church in Nottingham and found God again. It was such a fulfilling moment. I find being in a community of people that support, love, and cherish one another is fundamental to my own happiness and my self-worth.
How can you tell if you have a toxic friendship and how did you go about it?
When you’re with friends you should feel safe, calm, and happy. I felt none of those things with a number of people I had surrounded myself with. I felt anxious, rejected, and lonely and those feeling consume you until you become bitter and jealous. I knew it was time to just let it go. There is no anger or ill feeling. People change all the time, through different stages of their life. I found myself morphing into the person I wanted to be, someone who pursues their passions and isn’t afraid to speak out, and who gets involved with all the things I love about myself. A number of the friends I kept didn’t fit into that, as they themselves were changing and going in a direction I felt was not right for me. I knew I had to break myself off, take some time for myself, and think about what I wanted to do. I came to the conclusion that while I was spending time worrying about the people in question, I had neglected the friendships that made me a better person and made me happy. Since I have spent time with positive, kind people, I have seen an immediate change in my mental and emotional health. I have never been happier than I currently am now.
You are currently studying creative writing. What do you enjoy writing about?
Poetry is my first love. I love writing poems about everything and anything and will often find myself sat on the train home from Sheffield or outside in my garden just jotting down words, phrases or stanzas of poetry. I breathe it, seriously. I guess it’s an escapism, a place to be honest with myself and surrender my emotions to the pages.
I also love writing short stories, scripts, and I am currently working on a novel, so who knows! Writing has this ethereal quality that enables you to reflect and feel tranquil in times when maybe life is passing by so quickly, you don’t have time to stop and think!
What is your favorite tea?
Can I just say how much I love this question! Tea is my thing! I drink tea when I write all my blogs – it’s kind of a tag line now! I have different teas for different occasions. Green tea is my favorite in the mornings and evenings as it refreshes me and helps me relax as I am beginning and ending my day. Also, it helps me sleep better! I like Earl Grey tea if it’s warm outside – it is very hydrating! My all time favorite though, which will sound so cliché, is English Breakfast tea. It’s the bees knees. Milk, two sugars! Just how I like it. It’s the little things that make me so happy!
Photo Credit: Kathleen Tandy
Fida Islaih is a poet using her words to empower others. Aside from writing, Islaih works with writers to bring out the best in their pieces. She is an avid reader and cat lady. You can find her on any social with @poetfida.