My sister

Do you know that you are beautiful?
That your light shines from the inside out
That you inspire and guide people
You are my muse, without a doubt

Do you know that you are kind?
That you have so much to give
That you are effortlessly selfless
That you embody the life we all should live

Do you know that you are funny?
That you bring smiles to those who are upset
That you fill rooms with laughter
That your impression is impossible to forget

Do you know you are brave?
That you can face any problem life throws
That you are full of courage, love and life
And it beams out from your head to your toes

Do you know how proud I am of you?
You are the bestest friend I could ask for
I hope you now know and understand that
You are all these things and so much more

 

 

 

 

 

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Goodbye sadness

Today I have decided to let go
To acknowledge the past and carry on
Now I have proceesed all the bad times
Where im going is better than where i’m from

I will not apologise for my depression
I will not try to forget
But I will use the lessons I have learnt
To become the best version of myself yet

I will turn tears into lessons
Heartbreak into grit
Pain into motivation
So I know I’ll never quit

I say goodbye to my sadness
I’ll wear happiness as my new crown
For the greatest lesson you’ll ever learn
Is how to get up when you’ve been knocked down

Bumble Bee

I think there is a Bumble Bee stuck in my chest
It flys around my rib cage and won’t let me rest

It desperately desires to escape, it craves to be free
Feeling deficient of sunlight and I can’t help but agree

It remembers what it was like in its prime
But it’s memories and reality no longer align

It is slowly but surely losing the will to fly
But knows the only way out is to let go and die

 

 

 

 

Fear.

Today I am going to write about something very personal and of a very sensitive nature.

This post was inspired by watching the first three episodes of “Jessica Jones” on Netflix. If you haven’t seen it, the premise is that JJ is a PI and has super natural strength. Like most main characters, she has a troubled past. Only hers seem to hit a nerve as she was once abducted by a man who had a super natural power to control her mind and her actions even though she really didn’t want to do any of those things.

Watching this made me think of my past, and of the men that have had this power over me. For the record, I don’t think that this kind of manipulation is confined to male behaviour. It just so happens that my personal experience involves men.

The first time this happened to me I was 14. I attended my family church’s youth meetings/events. I was quite mature for most 14 year olds having already fully developed curves etc, whilst most of my friends wouldnt need to buy bras for another year or so. One of the youth leaders stood out to me, the only thing I knew about him was that he was really clever and that he hung around with the popular kids, and although I am ashamed to admitt it, I had a slight crush on him.

I can’t remember exactly how it happened, but I know that some how he added me on Skype and we began talking online. Over a few months he gained my trust and I shared with him things I would never had talked about face-to-face but some how online, he made me feel safe and it felt good to share my troubles with someone who appeared to have my best interest at heart and he was 3 years older than me so he knew more about the world. Eventually he started to flirt with me, and being 14 I didn’t know any better. He then started to twist my words and make me feel guilty about not agreeing to go on a date with him. But at that point he had me, I had become dependent on our conversations and although we argued about dating etc. he always managed to reel me back in changing the conversation topic, biding his time untill the next time he broched the topic of a date. This went on for a few months, and eventually I tried to not speak to him online, but he would send messages to make me feel guilty and I always ended up oversharing with him. The day I realised how wrong it was I was confiding in a female youth leader (face-to-face) and although I didn’t share any of the deep personal things I had shared with this guy, I admitted to her how vulrable he had made me feel.

She then told me how he had done the same thing to her and a few of her friends. I think that was the first time his spell was truely broken, alongside my heart.

The second time this happened to me I was four years older, 18 and working at a bar at the airport. It was the first job I actually enjoyed. Even though I stopped going to church, I was enjoying the social aspect as well as the customer service element of the job. Then a new team leader joined and nothing was ever the same. At first he appeared charismatic and an opportunity for career development. He taught me new things and gave me “special treatment” he soon became my work friend. He would schedule our breaks together so that he could join me and spend some quality time getting to know me. He would message me on my days off to see how I was doing. Then he started to pick me up and drop me home after shift. He made my life a lot easier and I wasn’t complaining.

He then started to push the boundaries. On a night out he took advantage of how drunk I was, and kissed me. He then got into a fight over another guy who was giving me some unwanted attention and I stayed behind from the rest of the group to make sure he was ok. Looking back I’m not sure if that was just a move to get me alone or what it was. He then started to play the “lets see how many times I can unhook Beth’s bra strap (over her clothes) at the most inappropriate moments” game. And would take me down to the cellar to “teach me how to change a barrell” whilst taking the opportuity to try to kiss me.

One afternoon I was walking home from the train station after having a few drinks with my best work friend at the time. As always he was texting me, only this time he managed to catch me when I was too tipsy to be on my guard. I told him where I had been and that I was heading home. Ten minutes later his car pulled up and he told me to get in so he would drop me home claiming it was “unsafe” for a women to walk home at that time of night. But then he drove past my house and kept driving. I asked where he was taking me but he wouldn’t answer.

He took me to an abanded car park at the back of the train station, no one was around and it was getting dark. We talked for about an hour. He told me he knew I was a virgin and that I should trust him to solve that “problem”. I said that I wasn’t interested and he persisted. Thats when he ran his hand up my thigh and told me it was natural to be nervous.

I’ve never been more scared than I was in that moment. I had heard and read stories about rape but I never thought it would happen to me. So I got out the car and I ran. I never saw him again. Long story short, I eventually told my manager, he got fired and I quit.

Four years later, I still fear running into either of these men. I still have nightmares involving them. I hate that I allow them to have that power over me. I was one of the lucky ones, no actual crime was commited that night. Yet I still have a voice in my head that tells me both incidents were my fault.

The reason I wrote this blog is to try and release the power they still have over me. I told myself that if I am ready to tell my story to the world, it means I am ready to forgive myself and gain back some of that power I lost.

If you, or someone you know has gone through anything like this before, or are currently going through it now, I urge you to speak up. No matter how much you tell yourself its your fault. Please tell someone you trust whats going on, before its too late.

 

26 reasons to get a National Trust membership before you turn 26.

Ok I am going to take a small break from my seven habits series to let you know about something I have come to love and respect over the last two years. My National Trust membership. You may think that these are just for the retired or for family holiday activities but as a young adult I think they are seriously underrated and heres why:

1. It’s cheap

At the time of writing this post its £32.40 a year for a National Trust membership if you are under 26. Thats roughly the same price as a decent pair of jeans. If you can afford to go to the cinema and go clubing more than twice a year – you can more that afford a NT membership.

2. It’s good for your physical health

I have walked, sailed, ran, cycled all using my national trust membership. From walking from one site to another, to doing mapped out walks, attending sailing classes, or taking part in organised runs around beautiful sites and landmarks there is some form of excercise for everyone.

3.  It’s wayyyy cheaper than a gym membership.

Combining points 1+2=3.
And if you use it fully you can get the same health benefits and so much more.

4. It’s a charity

Its never too early to start giving to charity. Whever your 18 or 98 it’s always a good idea to set something aside for a charity. Giving is a good habit to get into. And lets face it there are not many chairties that give you 25 other reasons to give!

5. It makes you explore places you’d never think too

If you look on the map there are over 500 places in the UK to visit. Whether its in your local area or somewhere on you are visiting on holiday, there will be some place hidden and enchanting waiting for you to discover.

6. You learn a lot about history

Learning about where we have come from is the best (and in some opinions the only) way to know where we are going. When you look at the past you can see; the mistakes, the victories, the harships people have had to overcome. There are place cards dotted around in most of the NT places and/or volenteers eager to chat to you and fill in the blanks.

7. It’s a good place for first dates/any dates

In a time where cinema and food makes up most of couples date nights, why not shake things up a bit? Get some culture and some peace and quiet to get to know your date/other half, you can even take your own picnic if you are feeling particularly romantic.

8. It’s encourages you to get outdoors

Two words – Viatmin D.

9. You appreciate your luxuries a lot more

Stepping back into the past realising that 500 years ago people only had books and instuments (if they were rich enough) to entertain themselves makes me feel much more apriciative of my laptop and TV when I get back home.

10. It’s good for your mental health

Going out on the weekends or evenings rather than sitting in front of the telly has been really good for my mental health. Seeing beautiful places, being outside, its a no brainer really.

11. Excercise for your imagination

If you are a Jane Austin fan or have read any book set in Old England, then you can imagine what it would be like to live in their shoes. I like to imagine myself as Elizabeth Bennett from Pride and Prejudice “taking a turn” around the rooms. Dig deep and find your inner child, you will have so much more fun I promise.

12.  There’s something for everyone

Whether it’s a treasure hunt for your nephews and nieces, a romantic picnic, a solo stroll, or tea shop for your nan there truely is something for everyone of every age range.

13. It’s inspirational

Even if you know nothing about gardening, seeing all the beautiful flowers and home grown vegetables never fails to inspire me growing my own one day.

14. You become apart of history

The money from your membership goes straight into the maintanaice of history. You are making sure that these places will still be around in hundereds of years so that your great grandchildren can visit the same places you have.

15. You meet extraordinary people

Like most volunteers, NT volunteers are incredible people. They all have a story to tell and love sharing their infinate knowledge of their special places with you.

16.  You can get lost in the history and get a feel for what it was like back in the day

Its a nice way to forget all the worries and stresses of the day/week and just emerse yourself in the history and culture these special places provide.

17. Food, heart warming comfort good prepared freshly on the day

As a foodie, this was the icing on the cake for me. Literally. I have throughly enjoyed every meal/indulgence I have had at every National Trust place. You need to get there early to get the best pick of sandwhiches though!

18. You always feel welcome

Whether you are on your own, or with a large group. There is always a happy volenteer (or two) to welcome you and make you feel at home.

19. Even if you go to the same place twice there’s always something new to learn

They are always adding new exhibitions or renivating new sections of the houses/parks so that you can keep visiting the same place and never get bored!

20. New experiences.

Fancy a go at Sailing, bowl making or rock climbing? There are so many new things to try. Just keep an eye on the website and book!

21. Most places are open all year round

Even if you have no spare time in the day, they do evening outdoor films during summer

22. You become apart of a community

23. Shopping

NT gift shops offers everything from NT monopoly (yes I have it…) to hand made goods. Grab a gift for a friend or yourself on your way out or just browse through the beautifully selected NT merchendise.

24. Free parking

This is especially useful when you are visiting areas like Devon/Cornwall or the Lake district where parking can cost up to £10 a day, you can have the freedom and luxery of being able to come and go as you please not having to worry about making it back in time to avoid a pesky fine.

25. The App

Although they are in the business of protecting hisotrical places, it doesn’t mean they are a business of the past. The app enables you to locate nearby places using GPS, so even if you don’t have a signal you can still find somwhere to go.

26. Take time to invest in youself

I like to have my “me” time, NT style. The amazing places never fail to inspire a blog post, a new photograph, a poem or a reflection on my current situation. If you are a creative of any kind, or want to develop your creativity there’s really no excuse not too get this membership. You need look no further for your muse.

Do you have a NT membership? Whats your favourite benefit? Let me know in the comments below!

7 Habits (Part 2 continued)

In my last post, I set some serious goals for myself. That’s well and good but I know that if I don’t have a plan to reach these goals they will never become a reality. A goal without a plan is like a recipe without the ingredients, you can read and re-read that recipe but until you go out and get what you need, you are never going to be able to enjoy your meal. So here are my ingredients:

  • To be fluent in Spanish, having spent a year living in a Spanish speaking country

Ok, so the first step is to learn Spanish, having watched a few TED talks I gather you can learn any language within 6 months. I am going to be realistic and say that I am going to be learning a lot over the next three years, so I am going to give myself a five-year deadline to be fluent in Spanish.

To do this I am going to use an app called Duo Lingo (if you are learning a language and don’t use this I seriously suggest you download it now) on a daily basis. This takes 5 minutes, but will help me pick up on vocab.

I will also take a Spanish Class at university. This will help with my grammar.

In my third year, I have the option to study/work abroad – I will choose to do this either in Spain or Latin America. I realise that going to a country for a year doesn’t guarantee that I will learn the language. Just like throwing someone in a pool who can’t swim, will most likely drown. Before I go I will need basic-intermediate level of Spanish to be able to survive. Whilst I am there I will make as many friends as I can by becoming apart of the local church community. This should help with my pronunciation and listening skills.

Once I have graduated I plan to go back to a Spanish speaking country to do a year or two Teaching English as a foreign language. This way, I will build my confidence by living independently in a Spanish speaking country.

  • To be grade 6 piano

I got my grade 5 piano 8 years ago. It feels like forever ago but it is s a skill I don’t want to forget it completely.

This will involve paying for lessons initially. So I will need to build up a stable steady income in order for me to pay for these.

To start with I will continue to practice what I know, purchase some grade books and re-teach myself how to read music.

I am also going to join a musical society at university where I can practice and have fun at the same time.

  • To have made new friends

Having friends isn’t something I have control over. However, to have more potential friends I can be more friendly/sociable.

As I am starting university in exactly a months time (at the time of writing this) I intend to join as many societies as possible.

I am also planning to spend my weekends doing sociable things such as doing Park run on a Saturday morning with friends and going to church on Sundays.

I will go out for the occasional drink with class mates, but 9/10 I will get the last train home (11:30 pm) meaning that I can’t spend too much money on alcohol.

  • To be more confident

I guess that this is a fake it till you make it kinda thing!

  • To know myself and be proactive in my approach to life

My blog will be a big part of this. The more efficient I am at processing my thoughts and feelings, the quicker I will get to know myself.

  • To be able to control my own happiness

This will mean not letting my emotions rule my actions. Doing healthy things when I don’t feel like it and not doing destructive things when I feel like it. This will be a difficult road but one that I need to go down if I want to control my own happiness. I want to be able to wake up every morning and decide that it’s going to be a good day no matter what happens.

  • To have backpacked around parts of Europe

This is one of my desires involving travel. It will take money and planning, something that I will dedicate time to either during my summer holidays or once I’ve graduated.

  • To have spent a year volunteering abroad

Again a desire that involves travelling but also a desire to live selflessly for at least a year. I will apply for a place either during my summer breaks or once I’ve graduated. My aim is to give myself an attitude of gratitude. Having climbed the cooperate ladder for the last three years I understand how easy it is to get lost in wanting the next best thing. I have also learnt that having the latest iPhone or a 5* holiday doesn’t bring you happiness. In the long term, it has made me greedy and selfish. Sure I must deserve to treat myself, I’ve earnt it working those long hours, right? Wrong. Self-love should be unconditional, and you shouldn’t need to splash your cash to show that you love yourself or that you are worth something.

I am going to give a year of my life to help those in need to help embed in my brain that I have it so good here. Also that no matter where I am on the corporate ladder, or what my bank says, I do not need those things to bring me joy.

  • To earn a passive income

I touched briefly on why I want to earn a passive income in my last post. How I am going to do this, will be an entirely new blog post.

  • To run a marathon in under 8 hours

Another one for a seperate blog post! But here on some thoughts on why I need to achieve this.

There are two reasons for this goal. The first is obvious, to get fit. I am carrying about 2 extra stone of weight that I don’t need and it doesn’t bring me joy. It needs to go and go for good. Running is something I have enjoyed in the past, and although I am not the quickest, its something that I can push myself to do. It’s also the cheapest way to get fit. Rather than spending money on sports equipment, or fitness classes all I need is a pair of trainers and off I go.

The second reason is to teach myself grit. To help learn some of the lessons I know I need to teach myself. How to get out of bed when I am physically and emotionally drained, how to keep pushing myself, how to set a plan and stick to it rain or shine. If I can run a marathon, me the girl who is sick, me the girl who is physically weak, me the girl who is mentally weak, maybe just maybe I don’t have to be that girl anymore.

 

7 Habits (Part 2)

Habit no.2 challenges us to “Start with the end in mind”. Through this section Covey asks the reader to picture themselves at their own funeral and asks what the speakers would say about your character. He also asks what you would want them to say.

He makes a great point that you can work really hard climbing up the ladder, to realise at the end its leant up against the wrong house.

Personally, I would want people to say that I was fun, creative, ambitious but down to earth. I then questioned if I can be all of those things? I have a long road ahead of me to become the person I want to be but if I don’t start now I’m only going to end up further and further away from my end goal. It’s about making small but consistant steps towards your goal. This first step is so important because untill you’ve set down on paper where you want to be, you can’t begin to start on your target.

In 10 years time i’ll be 32. By that time I’d like to be in a serious relationship and starting to “settle down” and to have kids. I’d like to be earning a passive income so that I have time flexibility and freedom. I would like to be fit and healthy with a stable diet and enough body strength to be able to do a pull-up (this might not seem like a massive target, but for someone who never even managed the monkey bars as a kid, this would be a massive achievement for me).

In 5 years time I’ll be 27, by this time I would have graduated and would be working towards having a passive income.

I’d also like…

  • To be fluent in Spanish, having spent a year living in a Spanish speaking country
  • To be grade 6 piano
  • To have made new friends that I can count on and love
  • To be more confident
  • To know myself and be proactive in my aproach to life
  • To be able to control my own happiness
  • To have backpacked around parts of Europe
  • To have spent a year volenteering abroad
  • To run a marathon in under 8 hours

Given my current physical and mental state, these are all pretty big goals. If I don’t meet them all then so be it, but I’m going to work on each and everyone as if I will.

Do you set yourself 5/10 year plans? What would you like people to say about you at your funeral? Are you already living out your plan? Let me know below!

7 Habits of Highly Effective People p1

As I have been unable to work during the last six months, I have had a lot of reading time. One of the more recent books i’ve indluged in is “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” by Steven Covey. If you havn’t read this book, stop reading this post right now and order it on amazon or wherever you get your books from, I promise it will change your world. I’m only 100pg in and it has already blown my mind.

The first “habit” is proactiveness. Taking responseabilty over our problems. Instead of blaming circumstances, other people or bad luck if we take ownership over our issues we have the power to see the obstacle in our way and still choose to be happy and live a fulfilled life. Who’da thought it!? My obstacle has been my illness. So the first step I need to do is acknowledge that it is out of my control, but then focus my energy on something that I can control. The new focus I have chosen will be my diet/lifestyle choices. This way I hope to influence my health in a positive way and instead of wasting energy on something I can’t change switch it to this that I can change.

Do you have an obstacle that impacts your happiness? What could you do to react/respond differently to your obstacle? Let me know in the comments below 🙂

From the start

I told you from the start I was broken
I warned you of my state
I told you I wasn’t worth your time
Before we went on our first date

I told you that I would mess this up
That I would throw it all away
So that’s why I was so surprised
When you decided you wanted to stay

I let you love me back to life
Whilst I put my broken pieces together
And even though I didn’t understand why
I  knew you would love me forever

And then my life turned upside down
Leaving nothing left, but you
My health, my family and home had gone
But you remained my glue

So when you asked me if I agreed
If I also thought we should part
My answer was yes, I’m not good enough for you
And I’ve known it from the start

No longer here

Mirror mirror on the wall
Where has that girl gone?
The kind, healthy and beautiful girl
The brave, strong, powerful one

I used to see her looking back
Telling me that there’s nothing to fear
But these days all I see is black
And I know that girl is no longer here