Saturday, 9 December 2017

Why is it so easy to lose yourself?

This is perhaps a weird 'title' & topic to be the choice for ones returning to the world of blogging, something I have long considered, pondered over & desperately wanted to be back doing, but have found a plethora of feelings have prevented it - namely feelings of inadequacy, of not being 'right', of not being authentic to myself or any number of other things & they in part come down to losing me, or at least big parts of me. But sometimes the first step although hard is important, so here we are - back, risking . . . who knows what, regaining a space to just ponder & starting with the question of 

Why is it so easy to lose yourself?

This is something I have been thinking about a lot lately, how easy it is to lose ourselves, the essence of 'us' the thing that makes us well 'us' & why it happens, how to stop it & the fact that I think it is greatly damaging to our souls, eventually perhaps if we constantly lose ourselves it will get harder to get it back?!

I am blessed to have the most fantastically varied group of people I would truly classify as my true, close friends, the ones who genuinely understand me, care about my heart & who are non-judgemental, who I am free to be myself with - in all many of variations of myself that often crop up. We are at times loud, at times distant (life has a tendency to get in the way), at times in each others pockets, sometimes we debate or have heavy conversations, sometimes we do nothing but drink gin/tea/wine/gin/coffee, sometimes we share baths, or ideas, or play vicious games of cards or boardgames, or help each other tidy, but there is usually chat involved, lately a lot of that chat has been incredibly thought provoking. All bases have been covered; relationships, sex, periods, friends, life, work, mental health, illnesses, studying, hopes, marriage, guys, social media, so on & so forth, & out of this I have definitely been aided in realising that I have been losing bits of me more & more & not just to my demons, my battles & illnesses/disorders, but to a number of other things & it's definitely left me with a bit of a pit feeling in my gut, a strange lethargy in my soul & on the upside a bit of a dogged determination to damn well get it back. 

So I thought I'd look at areas I think get in the way or have been for me personally, how I hope to address it & lets see if over time, I remain consistent here & can say "Woo I got my 'me' back"

So where do I think it's easy for me to be influenced & to lose myself?

Social Media - both a blessing & a curse. Let's not deny how much time any person on average spends on some form or other of social media; Twitter, Instagram, blogs, Facebook, Snapchat . . . . the world is your time zapping oyster. I am no different, I hold my hands up there, I spend a lot of time on one form of it or another at any given time; granted from the hours of 8:30am-5:15pm monday-friday, a large percentage of that is in the world of work. When you are dealing with social media in the office that too takes up a chunk of time, but I can't deny it's hard to combine the two - my Linkedin has bare minimum hints of me, actual me, it is all the daily world of the company I work for, I do find that incredibly hard & it's something I have to think about in regards to how much that impacts me. Away from the work side of things I have found that not only does it kill colossal chunks of time from every day, & with it weeks & months, but social media should perhaps be approached tentatively when having a delicate or fragile day. 

The reality is that it is not reality, or at least a large chunk of it is not, it is the glossy side, the perfect pictures, the bits the world wants to portray & it does influence you. Let's not deny the seemingly unending perfect figures, tanned skins, incredible wardrobes, flawless complexions, holiday filled lives (& at this time of year perfect loved up couples) that get tossed at you from every angle. Friends will always seems to be having more fun, doing more than you, earning more, loving more, so on & so forth . . . chances are they also have similar down moments & fears & I like to think that despite what they post the numerous stunning people that fill our online world woke up with the same hormone induced minefield of a spot laden chin that I happened to wake up with this morning. 

It's not at all bad, I am in no way finger pointing, hell I still love it, but it becomes very very easy to shut the apps, look in the mirror, want to cry & curl up under a duvet with a sign above your head reading "Leave me the fuck alone, I am nothing, inadequate, ugly, fat, flawed, not successful, so behind on this magical mystery tour known as life, please let me sit here & rot in my own inadequate puddle, because I couldn't even get the temperature of my fucking bathwater right, truly for your own good move on & absorb the incredibles that exist, I am a nothing". Boom & there it is without knowing it chances are you have absorbed enough without noticing to find you have lost a bit of yourself to the world of self doubt & comparisons. 

Yet we both know, whilst waiting for the kettle to boil you'll probably be back on that wagon, skimming through oodles of photos, updates & stories & don't get me started on the often ghastly world of online dating/dating apps . . . that we shall leave for another post! 

So how does one address it?

I think, for a starting point has to be in monitoring why I follow who I follow on Instagram (as an example), being mindful of the amount of time I spend either adding to my account (asking if there is a purpose, a reason, a vibe) or scrolling & liking those of others. Is it an account that in someway shape or form leaves me happy, inspired, pleased, pondering or more - do I actually rate that person in anyway? Are they someone I know for real? Or are they a well known blogger, face, person, company that actually fits with me - the core of me, what I rate or don't rate. Why would I follow Donald Trump for instance when actually I am so against his ethos. So a bit of a cleanse, or a question is a good starting point. 

I also think be it Twitter or Snapchat, or whatever, looking at why I use what I use. I know less pictures get posted on my personal Facebook than my Instagram account, I know Snapchat I often use for no real reason but also to stay in touch at times with a friend who is on the other side of the world with mostly weather / tan comparisons & pointless pictures. I also know I love quote collections & inspirations from Instagram & that Pinterest is a big favourite to literally save any number of things I may one day want to cook/try/create etc (let's not deny 90% of us ladies have a secret board for if we ever get to get married). 

As is addressing the Linkedin situation. To feel more like me, I have to include more of me, be it predominantly used for my day job or not; the reality for me is that my destiny is yet to be fulfilled, my life yet to be completed even vaguely & the career & life paths I go on need to feel like me, this is the office I sit in for now, but I can still have aspects that fit with me - my essence & my soul & bloody hell it takes up enough of my hours in a week that it should feel more like me. This though will be approached slowly. 

I think the essence really with social media is that of being mindful - of who & what I value, what I let influence me, and what I in turn also potentially influence others with, in whatever way shape or form, the importance there I think is congruence. 

People - well doesn't this feel like a risky minefield to put out there. But bare with me on this, as truth be told we as a society, as a species, are very rarely hermits, people impact us daily, they are involved in our lives from the moment we get up until the moment we go to bed & sometimes they also manage to invade our dreams. Good or bad people have a massive sway on our souls, the energy around us & how we view ourselves, our lives & more. 

As I said earlier I am very blessed by having an incredible core group of people I know would be my 'village' if I built one & actually that village I am lucky enough to say would include my family in all their 'bat shit craziness'. It would be one hell of a village, definitely with all bases probably covered but outside of your 'village' there are hundreds of other encounters on a daily basis & they can't half zap at your mojo in one way or another. Be it mentally, with triggers for mental illness, or with regards your self worth & esteem - everyone who has every been made to feel like a human 'flesh light' or commodity for someone getting their rocks off, or discovering you are one of a few that a particular guy might be getting intimate with, or someone not knowing that no means no, will know that feeling, or how disheartening a bad date can be, or a meeting with a friend for a catch up when it's all about them, or feels like wasted money/time/similar, or finding you feel unimportant, dismissed or undervalued, or even that your ideas, hopes, dreams, passions are somehow not good enough - you will find it makes you go to bed heavy, or makes you try to change the 'shape' of you (sometimes literally) to fit with what you think they need you to be, or what is socially acceptable. I have definitely bought items of clothing because I've been influenced by others. 

Then there are the times that people around you seem to be ungrateful of things they have that you do not & you'd kill to have them, but they don't seem to get that, or get how lucky they might be, I imagine they think that of others too. At least on some levels I hope they do. Or the 'competitors' that exist, the ones who will always 'one up' someone over literally everything, including illness & tragedy... I for instance mentioned a friend getting her transplant, how thrilled I was & worried & how everything was crossed, how sick she had been, & someone actually replied with "my daughter had a cold at the weekend & my blood pressure is two points higher than normal" ... we all know people like that. Or the people who don't understand personal space & I don't mean physical, but mental too - you know the ones who are on your case all the time. Often in well meaning manners. 

How does one deal with people when your village is full & they are negative?

This one I think is harder, but I think boxes, mental boxes. There are some work friends who are genuine friends, who you will share things with, for the rest of them? Leave them at the office at 5:30pm every day & at weekends, their shit is their shit, you may well know what could hit you come the next working day, but outside of that it can be a box & in that time, oh I don't know try to count to ten, a lot. 

Try to forgive & accept the people who have what they don't seem to realise or be thankful to having, somewhere maybe they have their own shit, people usually do. 

Boundaries - set them, & if not for them for yourself, do you have the energy for that person on that given day? No? Then don't use it. Save it, bolster it & give it to them when you can. It is not your job to be their battery or charging cable, least of all if it is to your detriment. 

Love those you love & love them completely, in their flaws, their neediness, their quirks, find those that do that for you too & when you have it put the fucking phone down, be in the moment in their company, be mindful of that time, because it might be the last time one day. Have angry games of Jenga just because, play pooh sticks, create memories or just be silent in presences of those who allow it.  Those are the people that will help you to make sure you don't lose you further, but broaden your brain, your opinions, your wisdom. 

I guess ask yourself do they suck energy or boost experiences? Be mindful with reality & real people as you would with social media. 

Time - this is something I have noticed you get less of as you age. Especially when you add in work hours, suddenly you find you have very little time left to yourself, weekends go past way too fast & you have a house to tidy, laundry to do, people to see, & it all just leaves you will a form of constant exhaustion, too many phone notifications & noises & you find your list of things you wanted to do for yourself has gone ignored. This here is definitely a pretty sure way that you will lose aspects of yourself, because you stop doing the things you love and the things that are important to you. Suddenly chores have overtaken enjoyment - alas once you leave the magic parental cocoon you have to fend for yourself so in less you want to live in a squat you have to attend to these things, bills need paying & groceries buying & before you know it, you previous longings for blogging have gone flying out of the nearest window & it's a year before you sit on the floor with a cup of tea & try once more, time becomes especially elusive at this time of year. 

 I think the key with time is making it - forcing yourself to make it. 

Make lists, create plans, take days for yourself - just yourself, get on a train to a random town with nobody, buy a coffee & doodle, read a good book. Consider what you want, whats important to you, spend time with good people, turn your phone off or at least put flight mode on then nobody can get to you, sit in a field, chill with a baby, shut your eyes, dream, listen to music, do nothing but do the nothing YOU want to do & eventually maybe just maybe things will start to make you remember who you are, the essence of you. 

Then there are the obvious things; good books, proper food, health, walks, feeding both your soul physically & mentally & dear god cull - regularly, stuff, clothes, bad negative people, just try to realign things so that you can have a chance to remember who you are. 

Well there we are - pen (well fingers) to paper (to keys) & we have broken the seal & considered coming back to this little corner of the world. This time with lists at the ready, plans for consistency & just a hope that this will help aid the resurfacing of myself, for myself. 

Friday, 28 October 2016

Birthday Wish List


A week tomorrow I turn 31, an age that doesn't exactly fill me with excitement, but one I hope in whatever way will be a good one. So coveting Friday moment, it's a wish list based around birthday's, my birthday wish list.

The issue with have with that is that I hate asking for things outright especially if they are pricey, but at the same time if they are not excessively pricey as you age you tend to get them for yourself. . . aw the dilemmas of ageing, but if I was asking, or thinking about things I would really love to receive, experience or get a week from tomorrow this would be some of them.

So standards with me that will always go down well;

* ASOS/Topshop/Etsy/Not On The High Street/Similar vouchers

* Flowers, Succulents & Cacti

* Something made with love or seen because somehow it reminded someone of me

* Niece time/cuddles

* A good day with fantastic company, ample cuddles, laughter & just love filled

And if I was wish listing? I guess the below . . .

These perfumes;

Valentino Valentina, Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb, Chloé Femme

These books;

The Secret Lives of Colour, Event, The Little Book of Hygge

How To Hygge, Crystal Healing & The Human Energy Field, Rumi Selected Poems, Fahrenheit 451

These recipe books;

Eat Beautiful, Gather, The Rawsome Vegan Cookbook

Whole Bowls, Simple, Salad Samurai, Green Kitchen Smoothies

These kitchen bits;

Raclette Set, Slate mat set with coasters, Whole fruit/veg juicer.

These boardgames;

Backgammon, Articulate, Mancala

But mostly?

Good company, people who 'get me' & let me be me, the promise of a year of who knows what up ahead, cuddles, a kiss or two will always go down well & just simple pleasures that create memories.

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Hump Day; Loves, Loathes & Lust.

Another week has zoomed past at rather a rapid rate of knots, where on earth is 2016 darting off to in such a hurry? That being said, I'd be more than happy to see aspects of this year's behind as it leaves, that aside it means it's time for another round up/off of the last week, the highs, lows, in-betweens, the smiles, the tears & the longings.


* Edamame, Iceberg Lettuce, Garlic, Broccoli & Jalapeños; it would seem my seemingly compulsive & long standing obsessions with green vegetables remains & garlic will always be a strong favourite, it also helps when attempting to aid the repelling & deterring of colds! 

* Fantastic books; I am someone who if I can bury myself in another persons incredible words I will do so, be it fact or fiction, I will happily absorb, swallow & indulge in fantastic books, in various moments, all the time, at any time, especially if they make you think, make you consider things differently or take you away for a moment, there is something to be said for a fantastic book. 

* Fresh sheets; who doesn't love fresh sheets? I love the smells, the crispness, the hint of cold, the fact that until it has been slept on or in bedding seems far more 'puffy', buoyant and inviting. Add to this that I always make my bed in the morning & do love throws, pillows & cushions & the indulgence of that & a short, white, waffle, bath robe after a candle bubble bath, incense & music will always be a fantastic booster & feel like a wonderous, seemingly indulgent, personal luxury.  

* Succulents & Cacti; it is in part something that fits so fantastically with the idea of hygge, but I love nature, I love plants, I love having that bit of outside inside & so will always adore adding to a collection, at the moment my house possesses 10 different succulents & cacti, but I have no doubts that I will continue adding to that collection; there is still space in my living room, kitchen/breakfast room, guest bathroom & definitely in my room. I also have yet to kill one, that will always make them a winner in my books, this is the girl who managed to kill a spider-plant (apparently you can't kill them - I beg to differ) & they fit with every season of the year & some can have amazing uses; Aloe Vera for instance. 

* Getting sweaty; this possibly sounds weird, but basically a bit of a stretch or work out session will I think always make people feel fantastic, pretty good boost to endorphins, immune system and it's nice to be reminded of the muscles you have that lie dormant during office hours. It's that moment where you peel off your slightly sticky work out wear as the bathroom fills with steam & you know you are hot, sweaty & a little accomplished.


* That ghastly few days before pay day; when you might fancy samphire, but it's more expensive than cabbage, or you are having to say no to spontaneous drinks, or you have to remember to pick up your thermos before work because otherwise shit you are one caffeine dose down & might well be less than nice to those closest to you in proximity. It's also hard when you need stamps for snail mail or you find the perfect 'something' to send in a care package, or to add to a christmas gift, but you can't get it just yet & that's always when clothing you love gets reduced & is still in your size! Come pay day, reduced it might be, your size will have run away however. 

* Dead ensuite light; bit of a pain in the arse, still yet to be mended by an electrician, one of these days it might well go wrong & my make shift bedside lamp as ensuite light may not go as well as it has been. So far no electrocution moments, be thankful for that! 

* Bad news & feeling useless; I love intensely those who mean things to me, so it's hard when bad news comes, especially when it's of the 'terminal' variety & there is nothing you can do to mend it, rectify it or make it better for them. That's so incredibly hard. Yes I can continue to love them, send snail mail, give time, tea, cuddles, but sometimes when those you are love are faced with terminal, (when you have the reality of losing then) or other incredibly hard things it's just so far out of your control that you are not sure your time is enough - alas it is all we can give at times. 

* When people surprise you in the worst ways; there are times when people can surprise you by the levels of selfishness, inconsiderate abilities & just cruelness or nastiness, it's very easy to see the world & those in it with rose tinted glasses, sometimes we are forced to face them with the glasses removed, I have had that a few times this week & in one example it was just torturous, but has given me some motivation, oomf & perspective in certain areas that quite possibly needed it. 

* Feeling heinously fat, wobbly & just not all that good in yourself; nobody likes days that are 'fat days', but I have been having a large number of them, that makes getting dressed far more tricky, that makes you want an entire new wardrobe, or to be able to wear your pjs to the office. Sometimes our inner critics are more cruel then anything else we will experience. 

So what would be on your lists for the past week?

Monday, 24 October 2016

It's not all bad.

A large percentage of my work day consists of being online, with that comes the unfortunate reality that you will be inundated with news updates & rarely are they good breaking stories, but alas the breaking news tends to be of the awful variety, the good news it just not 'newsworthy' or particularly gripping I guess, one reason I like 'The Week', they always have a section called 'It's not all bad' that is 3 tiny stories of the positive variety.

But I like to find to silver linings, something I have done for possibly all of my life, especially within my life when things have felt particularly tough, so when given the opportunity to do that in a news capacity you can guarantee I'll savour every moment & come back to it often. This might be why on some levels I love the gentle nudgings & whimsy that I think come with The Simple Things magazine & Oh Comely magazine; random things put together from life, culture, adverts, fashion, all sorts & more. Although please don't get me wrong I will happily spend hours pouring over fashion magazines.

So let me introduce you to the world that is Positive News.

I like the positive traits, the fact that most of the stories are not widely written about & that mostly the positive is thought provoking & aspects of the not so good - for instance an article written about miscarriage; the positive spin? It's the unheard voice of the male experience & grief of miscarriage. Or what about the story of an all female village? The bad? They are survivors of domestic abuse, the good? They survived, are surviving and have made a safe community of women only, and it has a plethora of categories; Society, Economics, Lifestyle, Science, Environment & Perspective, chances are no matter what your particular key news interest is, you will be able to find something that interests you & gives you a bit of 'good news' for your day, good & probably less widely published. There's (in my mind at least) definitely something to be said for that.

Let's start our week with the promise of a coffee break internet corner of the not so negative.

Friday, 21 October 2016

Lingerie Longings

It's a Friday, so it's time for a bit of lusting before frivolity; probably involving a glass of something (or 2) & a good dose of boardgames thrown in to the mix with my moon child of a friend & housemate, we shall see, but in the mean time let's lust!

For most people who know me one of my favourite guilty pleasures is that of matching undies, I love lingerie, whether they get shared & seen by another or not, it's like I start the day with something just for me & I love it. So I thought I'd allow today to purely be a bit of a lingerie longings session . . . chances are come pay day I will be having a bit of a spending moment on some of these items.

So let's jump off to ASOS first (always a place for my spending).

Glamorous Lace & Stripe Band Set, Free People Hold The Line Set, Ann Summers Sadie Set & Ann Summers Willa Set in black (also comes in other colours, yes also lusting after them).

Bluebella Esme Set, Ultimo Taylor Lace Set, ASOS Sky Satin & Lace Set, Ann Summers Celia Set & Pimkie Lace Set.

ASOS Serina Eyelash Set (in black, the red is also stunning), ASOS Delta Embroidered Set (in blue, also a beautiful girlie blush one), ASOS Emma Lace Set & Lepel London Sophia Set. 

Okay next stop, Topshop, also do cute sets & I'm all about the sets (in less going bra free - which thanks to being small chested is a luxury I can totally indulge in & then it's all about cute knickers)

Geo Lace Balcony Bra & Thong, Pretty Lace Crop Bralet & Thong & Non-padded Peony Bra & Knickers.

Doreanna TriangleBra & Brazilian Knickers - Mustard & Pink Versions, Floral Lace Triangle Bra & Mini Knickers & Strappy Lace Underwire Bra & Knickers.

Geomesh Triangle Bra & Thong, Lace Triangle Bra & Brazilian Knickers & Triangle Bra & Thong. 

I might end it here otherwise I will never stop, but there is some of the lingerie I am currently lusting after, what are you lusting after? Do you indulge in pretty undies just for you, irrespective of if someone else gets to see them? 

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Hump Day; Loves & Loathes.

This week is going by at quite a rate of knots, perhaps a good thing, who knows, but I thought I'd do an old favourite of mine, a hump day round off of loves, loathes & lusts of the last week.

Loves . . .

* Interesting books, walking whilst reading, taking time off to stick my head deep into another persons words not the internal whirrings of my own head & the exciting world of potential book clubs, combined with having 'beauty & the beast library scene' moments upon finding a truly beautiful, massive Waterstones in another city. Books at the moment are proving a fantastic indulgence, escape & so much more.

* Pen & pad moments, lots of emptying my head, random doodles & similar; I think it's good for you to have moments to just empty yourself in whatever way, pictures, doodles, words, poetry, whatever & it's something I do a lot in various places, with various pens and in various forms. It's for nobody else really but me, I collect quotes etc.

* Pointless train hopping, escape days; no matter how much I love my city & my friends & family sometimes you need an actual escape, so I booked two days off from work, today & tomorrow & I have spent today train hopping; 7 trains and 2 coaches later & I'm home doing this but it's been so lovely exploring other cities, people watching without knowing or having chance of knowing the people & indulging in other cathedrals & just getting away & if it manages to include beautiful places, music, stunning book shops & a good dose of coffee it makes me even happier & is somewhat soul refreshing.

* Coffee; this is somewhat running a large percentage of my energy levels at the moment but I also have favourite places to get it from, rituals, habits & it is a bit of an indulgence of mine & that first cup of coffee in the morning, or more that first sip of the first cup tends to lead to a somewhat blissful inhalation & just like 'lets go, we can do today' vibe within me.

* Oil pulling; weirdly satisfying, leads to a very clean feeling mouth (especially after mouthwash & teeth cleaning) & it's part of my routine for winding down for the evening, 15-20 mins of oil swilling whilst I get undressed, take my days face off & moisturise. The benefits are also many & varied so I'd highly recommend it.

* Flu busters, hot shots, Charcoal & lemon shots,  similar bugs at bay busters; I have seemingly been surrounded by an insane amount of germs over the last 4 weeks in one form or another; either work colleagues are walking around looking like cartoon drawings of colds (bless them), or there are ear infections, or a housemate with a cold that lead to conjunctivitis that moved on to tonsillitis & I am not thrilled, but also I'm okay with my once a year illness, so I have been tossing down flu busters & hot shots from Rawberry (drinking shots of fire but they work), sucking manuka honey & lemon lozenges & swallowing echinacea & guzzling grapefruits & satsumas like my life depends on it & so far . . . so far all good.

* Auntie Lulu time; I had a good dosage of this over the weekend with my niece being at my mothers & it being my lovely sister - in - laws birthday & of course we had cuddles, silly moments, beauty & the beast indulgences & my pursuit in teaching her the skill of doing eskimo kisses & turkey noises is working. Sometimes we can't always be sensible & babies/toddlers/children are one of the best excuses not to be.

* Favourite magazine indulgences; 2 of my favourite magazines are Oh Comely & The Simple Things, but are just eclectic, beautiful magazines & outside of my love for fashion, I do adore these 2 so when I get a chance to toss myself into them I do, especially if whilst train hopping & even better when one includes both an article on Hygge but also on doodling with ink spots.

Loathes . . .

* Cancelled plans; I am very aware that life happens & sometimes it leads to plans changing, but when it seems to occur a lot in one week it's a little irritating, more so when it happens a mere few moments before you were meant to see someone or similar. Oh well, deep breaths & all that.

* That spot that is lingering . . . let's be honest spots are never fun, least of all when you are well & truly out of the teenage years, but when you get one that threatens to appear but doesn't, not really, so it can't be dealt with & it just lingers on you - not ideal, least of all when in the middle of your chin!

* Wisdom teeth of doom; long story but the removal surgery that was meant to occur didn't so once more I am back to referral stage & they are not happy teeth, all 4 of them are currently getting more angry, ganging up on me in general & causing varying levels of pain throughout the day. Ultimately the sooner they get ripped out of my poor gums the better. Overcrowded mouths are not fun, it also means the years of braces I had were fruitless as stubborn, barging wisdom teeth have moved all of the straightness away.

* No light in my ensuite bathroom; this is a bit of an irritation it has to be said, candlelight baths with music is one lovely indulgence when a choice & not a necessity & surprisingly candles & showers just don't make friends all that well with each other. So far the world of the electrician is proving to be an incredibly elusive one. Clocks go back next week so, yeah I really will be living in darkness, so sooner rather than later would be just fabby thanks.

If you were to list your loves & loathes for the last week (hump day to hump day) what would be on your list?

Friday, 14 October 2016

Taking stock . . .

A terrible habit of mine - reading whilst walking - but I am fantastically practised at. 

So back in the day, when I came here, gosh what a gap it has been (for a myriad of reasons), Fridays were for 'Wish Lists' & I have no doubt that that will mostly resume being the case, but for now, after such a hiatus I wanted to instead have a look at 'taking stock of life', why we do it and how we do it. If that is we do ever do it.

For whatever reasons & I have no doubt there are far more then I will end up listing, I have been doing a fair amount of soul searching & taking a bit of a stock check over life, some aspects have been thrust upon me by pure realisations that certain traits of others or actions towards me, or similar, are just not okay with the core of me. On other levels it's been finding myself in O/P treatment once more & having to adjust to that & work out how I intend to make it worthwhile & with longer affects then previously, or even how I came to find myself in the place where I needed that (& the myriad of linked appointments) once more. But for whatever the key reasons it's been tossing around in my mind a lot, that I need adjustments & to work out what's actually important. Am I okay still being a commodity to others as & when they need me? Am I okay being silent when perhaps I should be anything but? What is actually important?

It's been reality cathartic (ish) giving this thought when I know I have time, inclination & safety to do so. Working out where to start was less easy, but I love lists so they have featured a fair amount and sometimes there wasn't a specific starting point, thoughts bombed in & I scribbled them on a number of scraps of paper. Sometimes it's the best way - a starting block. This may or may not help you to work out if your life needs a readjustment or some consideration or where perhaps to start in considering it (please bear in mind I am not this fantastic zen being, anything but, but we all have to try & start somewhere to becoming whoever it is we want to be & what we want our lives to hold).

So firstly why have I been considering this?

1.  Realising that I let a number of things slide that ultimately make me incredibly uncomfortable, uneasy, unhappy and with it unwell; from actions people take/how they live their lives,  peoples behaviour, treating me like a doormat or a commodity, so on & so forth.

2.  That moment my age hit me incredibly hard around the face; in less than a month I turn the terrifying age of 31 & there are a number of things that I think need addressing, considering & re-evaluating prior to that point.

3.  Having someone I greatly respect & admire tell me how many times I apologise & say 'I'm sorry'.

4.  Ending up back in O/P treatment & spiralling with my mental health at a tremendous rate of knots.

5.  My utterly scrumptious, rapidly growing, developing, learning & just mind boggling 18 month old niece; do I want her thinking how I live at present is the way forward? That being timid & a pushover is worthwhile? Hell no. I want her to be proud of her auntie for being a number of things, none of which equate to weak or submissive or down trodden, that is not an example I want to set her.

6.  Questioning who I want to be & realising I am none of those things & looking at the people I most admire, love & just am flawed by on a pretty much daily basis and the reasons why they flaw me, whilst also considering those I have lost & wondering what the hell they would think of me now, of who I am, of how I lost core aspects of me & why I let it happen and then also considering what would I leave behind if I went to sleep tonight & didn't wake up? How would I be remembered? Would I be remembered? What do I want to leave behind me?

There are more but onwards & upwards for now . . .

So then what? Then came lists & spider diagrams & thought processes to answer the above (& those unlisted) & the outcome goes a little like this;

1.  Lies, being used, drink-driving, ignorance, arrogance, selfishness, self-entitled behaviour, being dismissed for something 'better', being asked to lie to others & for others, knowing you will always be the bottom of the heap for some people, being talked over/interrupted, people being disrespectful; to others, to me, to others property etc, childishness, when people are cruel, when people can't accept they are wrong, ending up as the butt of peoples jokes or the thing they get out & humiliate to make themselves feel better, really drunk women/women that curse worse than squaddies, idleness, broken promises, poor manners, when people don't take responsibility or don't know how to say I'm sorry, (there are more but now seems like a good stopping point).

2. What do I really want? What direction do I want my life to go in? Who do I want to be? How do I get better & really get better? What is genuinely & completely important to me & who? What would I like to achieve before I am 32? What am I running out of time for?

3.  How many times? For what reasons? For being me, for existing, for speaking, requiring assistance, taking up someones time, wanting to matter to someone, cancelling plans, making a cup of coffee that is not the exact colour of brown someone takes it in, having to use the toilet, for others mess/washing up/mannerisms, for not wanting to be drunk/get drunk/have an extra glass, for not remembering someones dogs 7th birthday if he was born a year earlier, not instantly texting someone back, for being tired, for not driving, for not wanting a date, for wanting a date, for reading a book, for not watching tv, for what I wear, for what matters to me, for my interests, for my eating habits, for not wanting to live with students, for needing a cuddle, for ending up in tears, for being hurt, for not being someone better, for being the size I am, for being my height, for walking, for the way I speak & my mannerisms, basically for being here.

Why? Why do I do that? How have I let people make me apologise ultimately for my very existence? It is not just an 'English thing'. How do I rectify that & why do I apologise for others? I am slightly tempted to actually tally how many times I apologise in a day & how many times I hear others do it.

4.  Yeah . . . this is a story for another time, but it's something I address daily, or try to in whatever ways necessary or within my capabilities (strength to fight myself) on any given day & at any given time & alas it is something that has required me to once more be in O/P treatment & under a team of people to keep me ticking along & 'safe', but in turn it is something that is greatly exacerbated or aided by life around me & those within it. You'd be amazed at just how much easier things can be, less scary, daunting, lonely with just a text message or a cuddle.

5.   At teeny tiny baby point she wouldn't have noticed a damn thing, other perhaps than the reality that 'Auntie Lulu' held her, adored her, made odd noises, changed her, that kind of thing, but now at 18 months old she is this amazing little ball of energy, of watching eyes, of repeated words & every bit of her I am utterly smitten with. I worry more perhaps about what she thinks of me then what my boss thinks of me, I want to be the auntie she not only loves but can admire, can learn from, cry to, trust & be proud of. I don't want her thinking I'm just her 'sick, weak, walked over' auntie Lulu, I want her to somehow learn from me that you can be interesting & interested without doing the same things as everyone else, that strong doesn't mean bullish, that you shouldn't be a commodity to anyone or let people stand all over you, to know that beauty & frivolity can mean spider hunting, eskimo kisses, turkey noises, cuddles & blowing fairies.

and 6.  This was the one that led to an insane amount of lists & similar & heaven help us, further questions, but I'll summarise where possible & of course do so with a semblance of categorisation.
So ... Who do I want to be?
Loving, interesting, with a degree of wit, abundantly more care free, successful (in whatever way I translate success to be), in control of my own head & mental health, fit & healthy, happy, reliable, wanted, loved, compassionate, always learning or thinking at least, strong, brave, competitive in the good variety, quirky, bohemian, loyal, trustworthy, worthwhile, compassionate, varied, a mummy (one day I really hope), creative, congruent, qualified (I still intend to get there with my qualifications), someone worth loving not using & numerous others, but mostly I want to be me & happy me, the best version of me.
How would I be remembered now if it all ended tonight? I'm not sure, nor do I really want to know, but in my head, with the way things have been, how far I am from who I want to me, I don't imagine I would be remembered for much, or at least not attributes I would want to be remembered for. I imagine these to be; weak, endlessly apologetic, a mess, unaccomplished, worthless, easily used, dismissible, unimportant, flawed, scarred, a disappointment. Those are not things I want to leave behind, I'd want people to have warm memories of me, good ones, funny ones & be able say that in whatever way I was true to me, I mattered & I left behind . . . x, y & z & that I would be missed.

So where does that leave me in taking stock? With a plethora of lists ultimately, perhaps the beginnings of an action plan, but a beginning none the less & one that can be extended, tweaked, & altered - because that's the funny thing about life, we can do that.  At this moment in time I intend to start small, start within my capabilities, not with things outside of my power - alas we have no control over others (wouldn't it be dull if we did) but we can all start somewhere when it comes to taking stock of our lives & what we value.

For me right now? That means finding ways to fall in love with life again, not with me, but with life, eventually it might seep into liking myself, try things, learn things, attempt things, fail at things (something I do not accept well) & build upon the values & essence that make up my core, my centre. What am I not okay with? Maybe those things need slowly addressing, what makes me happy? Where are my simple pleasures? Start small, indulge, create & see what happens. So finally I am back here; typing, writing, creating, doing something for me, because I enjoy it!

Slowly doing something with the lists & stock checks on my life.

How often do we stock check? How often should we?