My name is Sarah Blackwood. Some of you may know me as the singer from a band called Dubstar, or latterly as ClientB, my post Dubstar alter ego. Most of you probably don't!
I became a personal trainer after a long journey struggling with low self-esteem and poor body image fuelled a frustration to drink until I blacked out most evenings.
The entertainment industry seems to excuse this behaviour; in fact it thrives on the myth of rock n roll excess, the wilder the better. It makes a good story. I don't want to sound like a bleating victim; I chose to take maximum advantage and indulged at every opportunity. The idea of being elegantly wasted was tremendously appealing and as anyone who ever encountered me full on Chardonnay-fuelled can testify, elegant was not the first word that sprung to mind.
I drank to cover the fact that I felt like a fraud in the music industry. I felt there were far better singers, far better looking girls, and the fact that I wasn't as gifted or prolific in the songwriting department as the Dubstar boys just compounded my worrying I was cheating our fans for not being the "real deal".
I struggled in social situations, always had, from being a geeky, incredibly awkward teenager but particularly whilst teetering on the cusp of the public eye with Dubstar. With hindsight, it was possibly a good thing for my sanity that things didn't go interstellar crazy for us, because feeling the way I did, I just wasn't strong enough for public scrutiny. I found it a blessing in Client that most of the reviews and articles were in another language... it was very liberating not being able to read your own press! But seeing unexpected pictures of yourself on the internet was the flip side to the band/record label approved airbrushed images we controlled and presented and I took every double chinned photo to heart.
I struggled to be charismatic and interesting at glamorous parties, always uncomfortable in my own skin, compounded with the feeling of "why the hell did I wear this", and completing the look with a nice warm fleece (always feeling the cold, unfortunately never the stylish epitome of cool).
I always felt like an outsider. Even when it was cool to be an outsider I was still a wallflower on the outer edges longing to fit somewhere. I used to say I wasn't a proper artist until I had an bottom like gorgeous, golden hot-panted Kylie... and I never did, mainly because I was determined not to conform to skinny heroin chic that The Face magazine had made so popular in the 90s. I was never going to be the sort of girl that ate salad in Pizza Express. Food and alcohol were my drugs of choice....So determined was I not to conform, that the night before an important TV or video shoot, I would usually be found in the local curry house: drinking flaming Sambucca and scoffing peshwari naans... and pint after pint of Cobra lager.
It was hardly surprising I found myself in rehab, grateful for hitting rock bottom and having the chance to change myself. It was hard facing the very things I had been running from, (mainly myself) but feeling empowered from exercise kept me on an upward curve. Exercise became a positive force in my life, opposing the dark hole that alcohol pulled me into and I realised it was time to stop hiding in its destructive comfort and push myself to start accepting and living.
Every day is still a struggle to some degree or another, not to slip, or to let it manifest in other ways; from cross-addiction (which is anything used as an outlet for destructive, compulsive behaviour; some examples being over-exercising and emotional eating...or not eating at all).... to avoidance behaviours: not wanting to leave the house and sitting there debilitated, tied in emotional knots from chronic-over thinking. Some days can be a joy, some a trial but hey, it's called life and I take a lot of comfort knowing it's the same for a lot of other people too. It really is, in the immortal words of Mr Martin Gore from Depeche Mode, all about "Get (ing) the balance right".
So this blog is about my experiences, my learning curve, my challenge to try to get that balance right every single day, every new day...