It’s so exciting to have you here on my new website. I’ve been wanting to create a space like this for literally years. If you follow me on socials, you’ll know that I love to share my thoughts. I have always loved to write, whether songs, books, or short reflections, (even tweets occasionally). I’m no Tolkien or Caroll that’s for sure, the grammar police pull me over every week. But something in my heart really beats for written communication. There is only so much you can do with a caption. The benefit of having this blog is that I can really dive in deep with you on things that matter to me.

So what can you expect on the blog? Well, my favourite sort of communication is the vulnerable kind. I know it seems a bit unhinged telling the world your deepest fears, biggest mistakes, drawing big red arrows that point toward the chinks in your armour. It’s like leaving an open window for the thieves in some respects, (and drawing them a map of where to find the valuables). But unhinged or not, I love it.

When I talk in a public setting about my mental health or relationship struggles for instance, people often ask ‘how can you be so vulnerable?’. The truth is, it really empowers me to be open with others. Being real is addictive once you get into the swing of it, because it creates connection and familiarity. Honesty helps us to relate with others, because our weaknesses bring us closer.

I started writing songs when I was 13. Musically, I found it easy not to overthink. But when it came to the words & the story, I really didn’t know how to bare my soul. I didn’t know how to share personal truth. I wrote the odd ‘heart-break’ ballad, but I wasn’t able to find the language for my battle with teenage depression for instance. Depression felt so shameful to me at that age, I wouldn’t go near it with a melody. But things changed when I met Jesus.

At age twenty I started my journey of faith and looking back, it was that transition which completely changed my approach to songwriting. The experience of ‘getting saved’ taught me the importance of humility and the power of vulnerability, two essential qualities for good communication. I’ll unpack…

I needed to be humbled at the age of twenty. Not that I was particularly self-confident or vain, far from it. But I was prideful. I was afraid to appear foolish by asking for help, going to the front of a church for prayer or anything like that. I was deeply, mortally afraid of humiliation. I was petrified of the judgment of strangers and wanted to control what people thought of me as much as possible. As a result I was stuck. I was fixed in a pattern of self-destructive behaviours, because I didn’t want to admit I was falling apart. And I wasn’t improving or moving forward with my dreams, because I found looking at my weaknesses unbearable.

The truth is, my barriers were fully up. I was living life in self-preservation mode because for two years I had fought daily to the point of tears with someone close to me. My relationship was a toxic one and I had become acclimatised to aggression and fear as a daily occurrence. When you’re in fight-or-flight mode the last thing you want to be, is vulnerable. There is no place for it in your life. So pride becomes a chest plate you wear for protection.

I don’t know what pushed me out of the boat that night in a little church in Sheffield. But for some reason during a small gathering, I found myself saying something which amounted to ‘sorry’ and ‘help. I asked Jesus for help – silently in the presence of a couple dozen worshipping strangers. And it uncorked a bottle.

In the months that followed I did a lot of crying, a lot of emptying myself. I said a lot of ‘sorry’ and asked for a lot of ‘help’. ‘Sorry’ cleared the air in my heart and I felt shame subside. ‘Help’, caused help to come and things to get better. I did a lot of personal therapy and had lots of very open conversations with the people around me. I talked about the mistakes I’d made and the things I’d messed up. I talked about my pain and my worry, even the weird worries that are harder to share. And I found myself becoming stronger. I started to write new, vulnerable songs. I’d been so liberated by getting real before God, that I wanted to invite others in. I started to put melody to the messiness and it was the most unifying thing I’d ever encountered. Because others began to connect with my story and I knew I wasn’t alone.

You really can’t compete with the power of vulnerability. When your heart is on your sleeve, it can be scary, but it is truly potent. Being vulnerable resembles the discomfort of removing a ‘bandaid’ (aka a plaster). It’s daunting at first, but actually once you go there, its not that bad at all. You’ve gotten rid of the wrinkled, grubby, protective layer you were carrying around. And rather than limping along, aware of your own struggle, you’re letting people see the sensitive, brand new baby skin beneath. It’s scary but it feels kinda good.

My biggest Goal…

In spite of some really good progress, I still have a way to go. I have more to learn about being my authentic self. I still moderate my personality in certain settings. I still pick myself apart from time to time. And whilst it’s good to change social registers in some respects, it should never come at the expense of your peace. We shouldn’t camouflage who we are to make others more comfortable, or to blend in with the crowd.

So I have a goal I want to share with you. Studies show that one of the keys to happiness is setting achievable goals and sticking to them. It gives us a sense of direction, purpose and well-being. In the spirit of honesty, I want to share my biggest goal with you…

My one, big, personal goal is to be completely myself in all settings and with all people. I want to feel completely at ease wherever I go. I know I have made strides in this, but I still have work to do. Part of the reason I get nervous before I perform is the underlying fear that people will misunderstand me. I need to let that go.

This is a new season for me. I’m about to release a new album. I’m beginning my artist relationship with a record label. I’m venturing into the waters of worship music. There are plenty of reasons to feel uncomfortable. There will be lots of temptations to morph into something/someone I’m not. My goal is to stay me, and be me even better in this new season. I don’t need to wear a mask or change my narrative. This is it. This is real, ‘And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul?’Mark 8:36. It has never been and will never be worth it.

So that’s my goal. I want to stay real. Stay me. Do it all better. Hopefully this blog will create space for me to work some of that out with you. Let’s do this!

Philippa X