13 April 2019

Happiness or Happy Less

 I started this blog to document my pursuit of happiness.

To show my journey from simply existing, to living my best life. I'm 2 months in and thankfully, my lack of patience hasn't deluded me into thinking, I'd have all of the answers by now. In fact, despite not feeling my absolute best self at the moment, there has definitely been some valuable lessons learnt over the past 10 weeks.

1) Self Love - I never truly understood how much I actually should love myself. I mean if we were talking about masturbation, I love myself a hell of a lot on a regular basis. But actually loving me....I didn't realise how necessary it is. Loving myself enough to say No, more often. Loving myself enough to figure out and do what makes me happy. Loving myself enough to live my best life. I have my flaws like anybody else, but all in all I'm a pretty fucking amazing person - Negative thought patterns, that have been embedded over the past couple of decades, have caused me to catch a little amnesia about that fact. This has lead to bad decisions, putting up with shit in past relationships and not looking out for my best interest at all times. In short, I haven't had my own back, enough. Thankfully, I'm now aware of this and having that awareness has set me on the right path to reversing it. There are a couple of key areas I need to embrace as part of this journey. Starting with acceptance & effort.

Acceptance - Body Image, Anxiety & depression. Effort - Confidence. 

I've been in a battle over my looks, since as far back as I can remember. I’ve got a great set of legs and beautiful face, but have always wanted a flatter tummy and bigger boobs. Rather than celebrate the things I do like about myself, I've spent years concentrating on the things I don't. We all have areas that we find fault with, but there's a difference between finding fault with and stopping yourself from loving all of yourself. I have let perfection, distract me from what's important.  Yes, I want bigger boobs and a flatter tummy! But I've got legs for days and smile, that even I sometimes stare at. So it's time for me to shift my focus, to my sexy ass self as a whole, rather than only fixating on areas I want improved. To be fair a padded bra and some sit ups, wouldn't hurt the situation. 

My anxiety and depression are a definite inconvenience - I'm not even going to lie, they strike at the least favorable times. I used to think it only happened when I was feeling down. Then that shit started dropping even when I was happy. Piss take!! But, the mind fuck twins are also the reason behind a lot of my fight. They've made me into a warrior at times when I wasn't ready for war. They have thrown me into the deep and said "Sink or Swim?" Yes, at times, they give me a dose of  "I'm sad and I don't know why" like some narcissistic doctor, but that has also enabled me to be more understanding and compassionate to others who suffer.

My confidence have taken a knock. I know people that know me may say "Well she always smiling" or "She's very outgoing, so how could she possibly not be confident" To that I'd say, I have 50% of the confidence I need and I project the rest. Fake it, till you make it. Being single for 6 years, has slowly created little dents in my confidence. Calm down feminists, I'm well aware that confidence has to come from within! But not being in a relationship for so long, has played it's part in the decline of my confidence. It's made me question, is it me? Am I the reason I've been on my own for so long? Am I not lovable? I do believe that the right person is out there. However, it doesn't stop the little snippets of doubt that sometimes pop up. The catch 22 is, you have to be confident in yourself, before you can add anyone else into the picture. The great news is, at least I'm halfway there.

2)Blogging is the Best - I absolutely love it 💖 There is soooooooo much I still need to learn and I still get a little panic button go off in my head, when I hear widget or plugins or SEO, but it's the best decision I've ever made for my life.  I love the purpose it's given me. I love the commitment I've made to it. I love engaging with the blogging community. I love that I have an outlet that involves writing. I love that it's introduced me to, looking into writing more than my blog. I love that its got me considering the ways I can help the Mental Health Community. But most importantly, I love that I jumped out of my comfort zone and did it. I created something and despite all fears put it out into the world. I’ve had a great response, which smile that's causing my jaw to ache. Even though I’m still in the beginner category, regarding followers of my blog & social media, I still feel so blessed with the support and response I've had so far. Some of my posts, have had 150 views and that makes me so proud. I have written something that people have read and even give positive comments on.

3) Goals - I’ve been setting goals of all sizes. Big ones for the future, little weekly ones. I've been setting goals as a way of, giving myself something to work towards and focus on. I make sure they're written down on my white board, or in my notebook that I carry with me, as a constant reminder, to get shit done. Start with small ones - like wake up 10 mins earlier every day. Creating goals, is helping me to hold myself accountable, whilst also teaching me to A) be grateful for achieving the smaller things as well as the big, B) To not be so hard on myself.  I've been smashing the goals I've set at an 80% success rate. Yes 100% would be amazing. But I need NOT beat myself up for that 20% . I tend to be quite hard on myself, for having even the smallest slips, so this is a good way to remind me, that I don't need to be a drill sergeant 100% of the time. My goals are set to help me up my game, not to make me feel like a failure about not being perfect all of the time.

4) Time - On one hand we say ”Slow down, take your time” and then on the other hand we say "Time waits for no man, you better get move on” Confused.com should use that as there slogan. At my age, the only thing I risk running out of time for, is babies. And yes, it would be sad if the clock struck me out on this one. But everything else I have time for.  I know we never know, when our last breath will be taken and we should be living life, like each day Is our last. But I don't think that means simply rushing through. We should be enjoying everything we can from it. Don't just work to pay bills. Don't just workout to only ever eat salad. There has to be some kind of enjoyment in life. Learn to enjoy spending time on your own. But don't forget to spend time with loved ones. Be focused, ambitious and driven, but don't get tunnel vision and forget to actually live the life your working so hard to create. Unless any of you know Marty Mcfly and Doc brown, you haven't got access to a delorean to go back and make up for lost time. So try and make the most of it now.

5) It's okay not to be okay - Cue Jessie J. I spend more time worrying about how to make sure I'm okay, so that I'm not a burden to anyone or to make sure I can be at work and do my job. When really I should be saying my two favourite words "Fuck it" I'm gonna have bad days, everybody is. I shouldn't be spending time arguing with myself about how to  push through them as quickly as possible, to suit the rest of the world. As long as I'm not going around punching people in the jaw, fuck how they feel about me having a bad day. Me spending time worrying about others people reactions, isn't helping me. If anything its making me worse. Feeling guilty for not being on top form, is crazy and yet so many of us do it. Because being selfish is second nature to many.

Knowing what I now know, about myself is a priceless gift. (Obviously, I'm still going to actually buy myself something because I like gifts) Having learnt the above, makes starting this journey all the more worthwhile. Baby steps will need to be taken, for the enormous leaps I plan on taking. If you've been following my blog from day 1 (which most of you won't because I was too scared to tell everyone until like day 20) or can count, you will know that this is my 30th post. For me that is my first major  milestone and proud doesn't even feel like a big enough word to describe how I feel about it. I may not be living my best life yet, but I've just written my 30th post, so you can be damn sure I'm on my way. 

Have a great day, remember you are a unicorn and don't let anybody shit on your rainbow💗

06 April 2019

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

There are many choices to be made in life. 

Big ones, small ones. Important ones, trivial ones. Life changing ones and insignificant ones.

Some are easier to make than others. Red or purple lipstick? Skirt or trousers? Krispy Kreme donut or Waitrose lemon yum yum? - this one has caused me some high levels of conflict at times, so I normally just end up buying both. Some are a little more challenging. Do I move to another country or stay put? Is this the person I want to spend the rest of my life with? Should I start my own business?

For some, decision making is a simple task. Look at the options and choose the one you want. Of course, this doesn't necessarily apply to all situations. There will always be scenarios, where the option you want, may not be the best thing for you, In which case, you'll have to dedicate more time to deliberation. I've been known, to take longer to make decisions than most - I tend to overthink things, which I'm now aware is a massive contributor to the anxiety and depression I've been known to suffer with. Having a million and one thoughts, going on at the same time, makes for a chaotic mind and a chaotic mind, struggles to focus. Now add trying to make a decision (of any size) into the mix and you have a brain of bedlam. The smallest choice can feel like it adds the weight of the world onto your shoulders. 

Now, I'm not saying that its impossible, to make a decision when my mind is all over the place. Just like I'm not saying that its easy to decide when my focus is on point. I'm simply addressing the struggle that can occur with decision making. Take my current dilemma for instance. I've been in my current job for a year now and I'm feeling like my unhappy levels are higher than my blood alcohol levels on a good night out. In spite of it not being the worst job I've ever had, there are quite a few situations, that occur almost daily, that make me question, if I'm wasting my time and adding more of a negative strain to my life than I need to be. There is also a sense of boredom that's been slowly creeping its way in for a while now. So, the ideal solution would be to leave. Problem solved right? Wrong? As soon as that solution popped into my head, the following questions came tumbling in.....

  • Do I definitely want to leave this company? - I've only been here a year
  • Is this an emotional decision or a logical one?
  • Is going to another IT company going to make me any happier?
Then came
  • Turning up everyday, to deal with this role and all it entails makes me unhappy. It has done for some time now. How much longer can I continue?
  • I don't feel that I gain anything from this role, apart from working with some great people and a steady wage. 
  • I'm concerned that the changes, management have promised to deliver will not materialize. 
I knew debating these pro's and con's would keep my mind involved in a mental game of tennis. What I didn't foresee, was the next Q and A session my mind engaged in

  • Do I enjoy working in IT anymore?
  • Now that I have started my blog and am loving writing, what would be the point of going for another IT role?
  • Would staying with my current company, doing a job I already know, whilst trying to build up my blog - be the most sensible option?
  • I'm unhappy were I currently work, so wouldn't it be wiser to go somewhere else? I can get so bogged down from negative emotions, that come from my current role, that I can struggle to keep motivated with the other aspects in my life.

Throughout my working life, I've steered towards jobs, that I could easily learn to do, just so that I had a steady pay check. They were not always jobs I was massively interested in, although, I did enjoy some of them and have gained some great friendships from them. None of them were jobs that were a least, a step in the right direction, of what I wanted to do. I had to learn to look after myself  from an early age. Ensuring I was making my own money, so that I didn't have to depend on anyone was my main priority. So, it didn't leave a great deal of room for finding my "dream job or career". I never even really took the time to consider what that may actually be. However, since, starting my blog, it has given me something I love doing (so much so, I drafted this post at work...shhhh). I would love to be able to blog or write as a career, but until I've gained some more experience, built up my blog and become more established, I still have bills to pay, places to travel to and books to buy. So I need to hold down a 9-5.

It's funny because, I started battling with all of the above questions a couple of weeks ago, racking my brain for all of the answers straight away - and they weren't coming. It would appear that the universe, wanted me to understand the gift of time. Time to mull over all of the questions that kept popping up. Time to think through the options and my thoughts on them. Time to consider the pro's and cons and slowly piece together my answer. 

Being a writer is the life I am going to end up in! I would normally say "want to end up in" but I'm putting it out into the universe, that because this is what I want, its what i'm going to have. Whether I manage 2 mins or 200 mins, I will do something daily, to get me to that goal. I don't just want to see my dreams when i'm sleeping. I know that it will not happen overnight. I also know that as long as I keep working at it, it will happen. But in the meantime, I need to figure out my day to day.

A company has contacted me about a role that has become available with them. I'm not going to say too much about that at this point, as I don't want to jinx it. However, after considering all of the above notions, I feel the best step I could take, is to meet with them to gain a better understanding of the requirements. I need to know if its something that I'm interested in. Only then will I be able to make the crucial decision....Should I stay or should I go?

Have a great day, remember you are a unicorn and don't let anybody shit on your rainbow 💖

31 March 2019

Flying Solo

One of the scariest words in the English language is "Alone"

Is this because the term alone, is so heavily associated to loneliness? The perception seems to be that if we are alone, then we are lonely. When in reality, even if you are surrounded by people, you can still feel like you are alone. 

I have been delving into this more recently. I suffered with crippling loneliness for a long period of time. People assume that because I have a great family, an amazing circle of friends and pretty much have a smile tattooed to my face, that I couldn't possibly suffer with loneliness. But the actuality is, stuffing my face late at night to fill a void I wasn't aware I had, happened. Emotional & stress eating have been my biggest lesson into how I'm feeling. Up until recently, I'd spent the last few years drowning my feelings, in late night chocolate, cheesecake and crisp binges. 

I'm not totally out of that mindset yet, but I'm aware of it now and am working through it. The downsides to emotional eating are A) Not actually working through your feelings B) Weight gain. Now I know that working though my feelings, is the more important of the two, psychologically. However, It's the weight gain that hits me the hardest. I become unhappy with the way I look, leading to me becoming more isolated, therefore leading to feeling lonelier. Its like fat bastard said in Austin Powers...

                " I eat because I'm unhappy and I'm unhappy because I eat"

It truly is a vicious circle. One that can be broken, if you start to question why you're doing it. So that's what I did. Based on when, I was filling up on junk food, I was able to pinpoint that it was at mainly at times when I felt the loneliest. Times where I was at home, on my own, when all I wanted was to be out about in the world. I felt like I was missing out, because I didn't have anyone around, at the drop of a hat to socialize with. It took a few months of  mulling this over,  for the dimmer switch to start turning clockwise to brighten up that light bulb that had just gone off in my head. I wanted to turn it back anti-clockwise, because the thought that was occurring was a scary one....."How about you start doing stuff on your own?" Now as with all positive thoughts, there are a swarm of negative thoughts that can accompany them. People will think I'm a weirdo if I'm out on my own? I will be lonelier if I'm out surrounded by couples/groups? Whats if someone kidnaps me because I'm by yourself? (This one is more of a me thought. Honestly, with a right hook like mine, it shouldn't be a problem, but with films like Taken and Saw out there - you have to think about these things) So once I had navigated through the rational concerns, I knew what had to be done.

Now,  just because I had worked through those thoughts, it didn't make taking that first step any easier.  I knew how to be on my own......in the comfort of my own house, but to be in public, was a little different. Yes, we all have times of being on our own whilst in public, but that's usually attributed to meeting up with someone else. I had to get my head around leaving my house, to go and do an activity, knowing that no one else was joining me. So I started with baby steps (as I've mentioned in previous posts). 

Going to the cinema - an activity where you're in the dark and not going to be talking to anyone anyway. I will say its easier to do this earlier in the day. Less people around and if your lucky you get the whole screen to yourself. But definitely something I will be trying in the late evening, because why shouldn't I. Why should I feel restricted, to going at times where people wont see me on my own. People travel by themselves all of the time, they don't book morning flights so that less people see them alone on the plane.

So after my first few cinema trips, I did coffee - which actually really wasn't such a big deal for me, because I love to read. So why wouldn't I grab a chair in a coffee shop and get my read on. The most intimidating steps were lunch and dinner. I'm so used to eating with other people and having conversations - I felt a little nervous. But then,  I eat lunch at least 4 days a week, by myself catching up on my TV shows out of choice. So why was this any different? The truth is, its not. I merely needed to apply the theory of, if it doesn't bother me at work, it shouldn't bother me anywhere else. 

Here's the craziest part of this experiment....at least 5 out of 10 outings have resulted with me engaged in conversation with random people. (I know, stranger danger, but as previously stated I know what a throat punch is and am not afraid to use it).  I just end up starting or becoming apart of random conversations with people.  Now I get that, that could be easier for me than it is for others, because  I'm like BT and think its good to talk. But even if you are not a chatty Cathy, you never know where something as simple as a smile could take you. A single repartee could lead to you making a new friend. It could lead to a conversation, that reminds you that even though you came out with the intention of being by yourself, you still interacted with someone and sometimes that small interaction, can be the hammer to smash off another padlock to the cage of loneliness you are living in. On the other hand sometimes its just a day out to remind yourself, that every now and then, you should love spending some time by yourself. You never know when your life could change. 

I've been feeling a little overwhelmed recently, thankfully due to positive things going on. It feels like I'm juggling a lot, which has distracted my focus and calm. The awareness of this came from my eating habits becoming a little erratic. Its like my tummy shot a cannonball up to my tongue, with a post it attached reading " We know you like the taste, but spare a thought for the waist" So yesterday I woke up with one purpose. Spend some time, out by myself, to calm down. Here's how I did it...

1) Walk the Walk - Now I usually do this my by myself anyone. It gives me time to work through my thoughts, whilst getting in a bit of exercise. It was also a really sunny morning - giving me that little extra boost of serotonin. 

2) Nails - This was not meant to be on today's agenda , but one of them chipped and being as OCD as I am, it was a no brainer about getting it repaired. 

3) Starbucks & A Book - I am at that peak point in my current book - Mrs Fletcher by Tom Perrotta, where all I want to do is keep reading. Thankfully upon grabbing my short oat milk latte, there was a sofa available in the garden area of Starbucks, where sat I engrossed for 2 hours. 

4) Dinner - As I'd only had scrambled eggs and toast after my walk, I was more than slightly peckish by now. Seeing as Pizza express have brought back their Pollo Milanese - Breaded chicken with rockets and sun-dried tomatoes, this quickly became my nominated dinner location. Don't ask silly questions, of course I had the dough balls (I burned 650 calories that morning, it wasn't even a debate) and a cheeky glass off prosecco to go with it. Although that one was pizza's express fault. Their ice machine was broken so I couldn't have a sparkling water with ice and lemon. lol. I continued to read whilst eating and even though the restaurant started to fill up with people, I didn't feel like the odd one out. I was comfortable being on my own. 

5) Jazz Music - I had a a few things to take care of at home. The usual, seasoning meat, washing & ironing clothes, changing bed linens, getting my bag ready for work - weekly mundane tasks which I  started find to be more enjoyable if I have music or a podcast going in the background. I have been collecting a lot of Jazz play lists on YouTube, so I loaded a new one up and skipped my ass through my tasks. 

I was planning on watching a film in bed, but I fell asleep before I had even decided what to watch. I made a point of staying in bed this morning and watching the A-team , rather than jumping up and rushing though the day. Its the little reminders that we need to give ourselves that will have the most impact on our progress. I'm feeling calmer, I have more focus and feeling a lot more confident about dealing with this week. 

Have a great day, remember you are a unicorn and don't let anybody shit on your rainbow💖