Friday, 15 January 2016

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I am flying to Sri Lanka on Sunday.

Even writing that doesn't make it seem real because truth is, I've not really thought about it. I've gone through the motions; I've collected a pile of things which will be packed tomorrow, I have my tickets and passport ready. I am ready.

But I know why I'm not acknowledging it and it's because I'm actually scared sh*tless.

Excited, yes. Nervous, yes. Terrified, yes.

I know.. it's normal to be anxious because flying half way across the world alone, for 12 weeks is scary. I know I'm not the only person who would be anxious and I'll be fine when I get there. I've done it before and I loved it so this time will be no different, I'm sure. But that doesn't help me right now, because y'know? Fear is a bitch.

I think the biggest difference is, that this time, I'm a different person. All I had to stupidly worry about last time, was the food. This time, that's not even crossed my mind - part of experiencing a new culture is all about the food, it's part of the fun. But because that fear isn't there anymore, 'normal' fears are. The flight, missing home, missing loved ones, what am I going to do when I get back.. it's all there, floating around in my brain.

However, I am writing this to mostly remind myself that life begins at the end of your comfort zone. This next 12 weeks will be an incredible experience and before I know it, I'll be flying back to Birmingham. My best friend said to me yesterday, what you're doing is like then you're on stage performing. You almost do it for the anxiety, the excitement and the buzz. It's part of the experience and you just have to acknowledge and embrace it. She's right.

I have the most amazing opportunity ahead of me, and I won't waste it. Sure, it's scary but life shouldn't be easy. If everything were easy, nothing would be rewarding or worth doing because we'd get no satisfaction from anything. So, I'm going to stop beating myself up feeling terrified or emotional because I'm human and it's allowed.

I'm going to feel the fear, and do it anyway.
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Good for them, not for me

Monday, 11 January 2016

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I've been recovered long enough now to know not to watch adverts or indulge too much on social media during January because all we see is New Year, New Me. More specifically, diet and gym company advertisements - but you know, it's fine now because they don't bother me. They don't tempt me to join in and I know that 99% of people who have been sucked in, will probably have given up by now.

But that's not what I'm here to write about. Actually, it's the complaints I see from the eating disorder community that worry me the most. I no longer really speak to people (apart from the odd few) who are or who have been ill, mostly because a) now that I'm better I have nothing in common with that person, b) I don't really want to be talking about it all with people who are still ill and c) it's kind of all a bit dull and boring to me now.

BUT I've still seen people posting about how it's inconsiderate of people to post about their weight loss, their new diet attempt or new gym work out.

It may seem controversial, but that's life I'm afraid. For years now, we've lived in a society where fad diets are all the range. It's unfortunate and as much as I don't like it, it's just how it is. Maybe one day, I'll look back on this post and find that we've evolved to have a much calmer, nourishing focused outlook on food, but as of this moment (although it is getting better!), we don't.

As part of recovery, I'm afraid to say that we have to accept living in today's western culture. We have to accept that there will always be someone posting about their new diet or 2 stone weight loss and that is OK. They aren't trying to offend you. In fact, anything anyone ever says will offend someone or some small minority group. You know, if we get a hair cut and shout about it, we could upset someone with trichotillomania; women moan about their monthly cycle and we upset someone who is infertile; we post about our new 10 day juice fast and we upset those with anorexia.

Of course, I don't believe the media should encourage so much dieting and change amongst us all during January, but that's an accepted tradition now. We don't have to engage in it - that's OUR choice. But I do think that maybe we need to realise that instead of arguing with those who are innocently posting, it's actually us that needs to learn to accept the world for what it currently is and find a much more positive way of living in it.
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Trusting your intuition

Friday, 8 January 2016

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For the most part, I am someone who solves problems logically. Weighing up the pros and cons, finding new solutions over time to ensure the best possible outcome. However, sometimes you can't always be so practical. Sometimes there are situations where you are stood at a three way crossroads; you head says one thing, your heart tells you another, and your gut instinct is telling you something else.

I used to think that intuition was something we all just like to believe in. A bit like heaven and life after death; it's a poetic comfort for us all. To believe there is life after death makes the whole process a lot more comforting and easier for both ourselves and our loved ones. I don't know what I believe regarding life after death, but I do know that I struggled to believe that we can receive different messages from different body parts. Does it not sound like utter nonsense when you think about it?

But then, how do you explain that feeling when something just feels wrong, especially when everything else about it seems so right?

I'm very lucky. I have those friends who agree with everything I say, which for the most part is what you want because it's reassuring to think you're doing the right thing. I also have those who tell me what they think, which again is also great because a little counter argument never hurt anyone. But then, I have this one incredible friend who rarely gives an opinion; she just asks me what I think. She tells me to trust myself and how I feel. 

And usually, we always already knew what to do. Our gut instinct is rarely wrong because that is our own sense kicking in. The one that is there to guide and protect us from danger, even if your brain is tricking you or your heart is blinding you. There is a reason as to why something feels wrong and it shouldn't be ignored. You can over analyse, talk yourself into thinking everything will be fine if you ignore your intuition but I doubt that vibe will go away.

So I guess I can now say that there is a lot to be said for trusting your intuition. We shouldn't doubt ourselves, we know ourselves more than anyone else.
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Coffee, friendship & writing

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

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On Monday, I took myself off to Manchester for the day to meet a very good friend of mine. It's weird that I write that, because we've only briefly met once at a concert, yet I feel like I've known her for years. It's even stranger to think that Monday was our official first meeting because we have been chatting/skyping for years. I think it just works so well because we are in fact, very similar people and therefore know exactly how to challenge and reassure each other.

We spoke all day long, whilst of course, enjoying good coffee and sushi. There is something amazing about this friend of mine though, because she manages to question me on everything I need questioning about. I am very good at putting all of those I don't know thoughts to the back of my mind, locking them away and throwing away the keys - which in essence is a terrible idea. One thing that has made me think is how I don't write any more. When I was ill, I used to write everyday without fail. I have a draw full of diaries that I'm too scared to touch for the fear of remembering all of those dark moments. I made a deal with myself that I'd eventually have to stop writing because if I always wrote about being ill then I'd essentially always be ill.

I wrote a handwritten diary and I wrote on this blog, both of which have stopped really. I produce work/content on here now which is writing but it's not writing like I used to, and I miss it. My problem though, as I explained to my friend, is that when I come to write I find that I have nothing to say. The irony being that I have a busy life, so I really have so much to write about. The difference between now and then though, is that now I am happy and I'm content with my life. It's so much easier to write when you are moaning or ranting about something because that's how writing helps. It's a therapeutic exercise which allows you to let off some steam or just gather your thoughts in one place. But what happens when you don't need to do that?

I love blogging but I am beginning to find it all a little too materialistic. Don't get me wrong, I love using blogs like magazines; to see what's in the shops or what's fashionable right now, but I much prefer reading about personal stories. I care more for the person who is writing than I do for a wish list or piece of clothing.

If opportunities come along, then sure I may take them, but for now this blog is returning to what it once was. A place for me to write and to follow my life.

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All The Bright Places

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

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All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
Despite saying in my most previous book post that I'd hardly been reading at all, I have managed to read this book in a matter of days. This book has been described as the fault in our stars meets eleanor & park, both of which I loved so I knew I'd love this book instantly too.

Theodore Finch and Violet Markey meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school. The two characters are from completely different social circles; Finch is the school freak, known for his unpredictable nature, and Violet is one of the 'cool' crowd. Finch is obsessed with the idea of death, always researching new ways to die whilst Violet wants to escape the grief she's experiencing as a result of her sisters death. Both are on the ledge, thinking about jumping off, but after a brief conversation they decide to live. It appears that Finch saves Violet, but as Finch is the school 'freak', word gets around that Violet saved Finch which turns her into a bit of a hero.

In their next U.S Geography class together, Finch picks Violet as his class project partner. Their task is to discover the wonders of their home state, Indiana, and write a report on what they've explored and found. Although Violet is initially annoyed about having to work with Finch, the two of them become close, eventually falling in love with each other. Violet is the only person Finch can truly be himself around and Violet begins to come out of her shell, experiencing life again rather than hiding away.

But as Violet begins to grow, Finch's world becomes smaller and smaller. With the label of Bipolar becoming a real possibility for him, Finch disappears leaving only a few clues as to where he might be. Violet gets help from her parents, Finch's parents and school counsellors, but as he is emailing home once a week, Finch isn't declared missing. Months pass without Violet hearing a thing, until she suddenly receives messages from him, quoting Virginia Woolf, and ultimately letting Violet know where he is.

Violet does go on to find Finch, but the state he's left in when is he found is something I leave for you to find out for yourself. Don't want to spoil it for those of you who do decide to read it! The book is YA but the story is compellingly beautiful, and easy to read which is want I love from a book really.

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Sunday, 3 January 2016

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January 3rd, 2016 - the first blog post of the year.

I'm sat here thinking about how everyone around me is full of fresh ideas, imaginative posts and goals they want to achieve, yet I'm here staring at my screen willing myself to write about something interesting and nothing is coming to mind. I have no scheduled posts and even though that bothers me slightly, I'm telling myself it's OK.

The rain is pouring on the window and the Christmas decorations have been taken down meaning the festive season is officially over and I can't help but feel a little deflated by how it's all happened to quickly. Time must be our number one enemy, I think. We spend some of our time wishing our lives away, longing for a dark period to be over, or counting down to an event or moment and yet for most of us, we always want more hours in the day and moan about how quickly time is flying. I think it's something we'll never really get to grips with.

Despite being completely worn out, the past 6 months really do seem to have flown because last night was my final shift as a health care assistant. A very bittersweet moment for me, and one worth documenting. It's difficult to explain the relationship I had with the job but ultimately, it broke my heart to say goodbye to people who may not have long to live, and I felt truly privileged to have been able to play a small part in their lives when they needed it most. Time can be the greatest healer but in this instance, it is the only thing against these individuals.

It is, however, time to start a new chapter. I don't know where life is taking me right now but I do know that it's important to enjoy the journey rather than focussing on the destination. I often question whether there is ever really is a destination because life doesn't end when you've reached where you thought you wanted to be. It carries on and takes you some place new; maybe expected, maybe not.

Only time will tell.
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