Letters From Lockdown 100: Imogen Brighty-Potts

To The Hysteria Collective team, readers, contributors and supporters,

I haven’t done anything like this, to you all before. So bare with me…

First off, hi!

I’m Imy (Imogen when I am being a grown up). In case we haven’t met, I am 22, a MA Journalism student, a freelance journalist and copywriter and I use she/her pronouns. I am a queer woman with a love of Gilmore Girls, coffee and drinking too much wine.

I started The Hysteria Collective during my third year at Southampton University, and put simply, I wanted to create a place to put the words, feelings and art I was creating. I felt like I saw all of these creatives and journalists publishing work and being amazing and I didn’t know where I fit in, or how I could be like them because it felt like a world that I just didn’t have a place in. I knew I couldn’t be the only one who felt like this – with a Google Drive full of poetry, scripts, angry opinion pieces and short stories – and so, I decided to create a platform where women, trans and non-binary people could share their work without fear of judgement or rejection.

I always felt judged when I shared my poetry, mostly because I felt like it wasn’t good enough, or worth reading because there was no one there to say ‘hey, you’re good, share your words’. And so, I started saying it to myself, and to my friends and I guess, here I am, saying it to you.

The Hysteria Collective has given me so much.

It has given me the opportunity to start a business with my best friend. It has helped me meet new friends. It has allowed me to bring together a whole group of like-minded people and to share the words I have wanted to say for so long. It has given me confidence, friendship, and even love. I never thought I would be confident enough to write poetry about things that scare me, things I love and things I have been through. It allowed me to see that journalism is the career path for me, and that if I put my mind to it, and keep chipping away and working hard, I can create something brilliant and worthwhile.

What started as a little project in a very busy summer, with huge A3 sheets of paper with website designs and page ideas and me messaging everyone creative that I know. Not many people know this but I designed the whole website and social media situation while I was up at the Edinburgh Fringe and the night we actually launched, 00:00 on the first of September 2019, I was in the pub and pressed go with a pint of Strongbow in hand.

Now, look at us.

Through this hell of a year, you have been here for me, for routine, understanding, creativity and fun. You have been a constant source of joy and light.

Gosh, this sounds like a love letter doesn’t it?

And I guess in a lot of ways it is…

One of the first conversations I had with my now partner was about her joining The Hysteria Collective, and I now look back on the poetry we were both publishing at the time and it was all about each other.

I fell in love with her, I fell in love with the incredible things my friends can do, I fell in love with creating and learning; I fell in love with words again.

The Hysteria Collective really gave me a purpose, and I love seeing other people grow as writers and creators and I love welcoming new people into this strange little (not so little, really) family that we have created. People of all ages have come together to share a little bit of who they are. That’s pretty special, in my eyes.

To everyone who is a part of it, in any capacity: thank you so much.

Whether you are one of my deputy editors, a sub editor, an ambassador, a long term writer, a reader or someone who just stumbled upon our website today… thank you for giving me your time and for giving us, this, a chance.

Love always,

Imy Brighty-Potts

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