Hi everyone and happy Monday!
This morning started as every morning does, I wake up, reach for my phone and have a look on Instagram. Except this morning was slightly different as my Instagram feed was full of angry and upset bloggers / influencers /people in the public eye, what ever you want to call these people. Those of you who haven't a clue what I am talking about, don't worry I am trying to make sense of it in my own head as some of the bloggers have been a little bit cryptic as to why they are so angry, well that was up until now.
Since the start of this year it seems that alot of people have had enough of Irish bloggers and influencers. It seems people feel like these people in the public eye portray a perfect and fabulous lifestyle, which some people feel this 'false' portrayal puts a lot of pressure on 'normal' people to have a perfect life. Let's clear up one thing first, no one has 'the perfect life' because 'the perfect life' does not exist. Everyone at one stage in their life is going to face problems and dark times, whether that is financially, career wise, with family and friends, relationships illnesses, weight problems etc., the list goes on. No one is immune to all of these problems, not even some of the A list celebrities that we see on the red carpet in Hollywood because let's face it, if they were perfect would cut throat journalists of the world be watching their every move like a hawk eagerly awaiting for something to happen so that they can cover it first? No they wouldn't!!
That's another problem, for some reason we like to see people fail or step out of line, we like the gossip and the giggling of other's misfortunes to some degree, you can deny it all you want,but deep down we all know we are somewhat guilty of that. We always like to point out the bad things, for instance if a celebrity has put on weight, if a blogger's latest picture on Instagram and Facebook was too photo-shopped, if a presenter sounded funny, it all sounds petty and ridiculous, that's because it is and more importantly it's wrong, so why do we continue to do it?
In my opinion I think many do it out of fighting their own insecurities, out of feeling like they aren't enough, that they aren't thin enough, aren't curvy enough, aren't pretty enough and lastly out of the pressure that social media can put on people to get the 'perfect' selfie, to portray your 'best self' to the world. Although I have felt all of the above and still do quite often, it still does not make it right to set up accounts on social media to essentially troll people and encourage people to hate them. It seems that people think by bashing other people and criticizing others that they will feel better about themselves. News flash, no matter how much you give out about someone or try to embarrass them you still won't feel better, the only thing you are doing is making that person feel worse about themselves and promoting bullying, is that what you really want? The only person who can change how you feel is YOU, and no amount of hate will ever change that.
With that said, do I understand the frustration that people have regarding bloggers and influencers, absolutely! As many of you already know, I sort of fell into following bloggers when I was really depressed a few years back. I was so down and so lost, that I looked to bloggers for inspiration on what to wear and what way to do my makeup which helped me to slowly get back on my feet. I had absolutely zero confidence, however by following these blogs, I rediscovered my love and passion for all things beauty and fashion related. I was able to express myself through my clothes which was something that really helped release some of my anxiety and depression. That being said, in the last 12 months, the blogging world has definitely changed and you can't look at any of the bloggers posts without seeing #sp, #ad and/ or paid partnership with ... , it's very frustrating especially for people like me who started following these people due to their honesty and were essentially inspired by them to start my own blog. I am not stupid, and of course I have always seen the business side to it, but at the end of the day, it seems that some bloggers have totally forgotten why they originally started their blogs and are getting lost in the sponsorship end of it all.
With that said, I think we need to stop just focusing on the duty of the bloggers and influencers to be honest with their followers, as a lot of what is wrong with this particular industry at the minute is the companies who are paying these people in the public eye to promote their brands. Of course paid sponsorship has always happened, however people are now more savvy and in a world where lying has become a natural thing even from some people in positions of power, I feel that many people originally liked bloggers and turned to them for advice as they were honest and put their true opinions out there. However now it seems that one day they are saying how all they do is eat takeaways and then the next they have a paid sponsorship with a fitness brand or a health brand, and that is why so many people are frustrated, however as I have mentioned we all need to remember it is the responsibility of the companies too to pick bloggers and influencers who are true to their brand and stand for what the brand stands for, not just picking someone due to their following.
At the end of the day, these influencers need to make a living some how and I totally get that but pick a deal with a brand that you truly believe in, not only because it pays the bills. I know that is easy to say as I don't rely on my blog to pay the rent, however I do bare it all online and that is what is so annoying. I haven't a huge following and for a long time I thought about pushing blogging to one side because I felt I couldn't compete with these huge blogs and I have also tried many a time to change my blog to be like the big blogs, but it didn't work because at the end of the day it wasn't me. This is me. What I have written lately and what I have planned for the future is and will be all true to me, to who I am and what I believe in. Yes it is frustrating that I put a lot of work into the blog and into something like the event and it was extremely hard to get many of the bloggers support or involved, bar the lovely Sarah's Struggle to Slim and of course the fabulous raffle prize from Pippa O' Connor, however at the end of the day I am happy with my blog and where I am at now because not only do I love writing I also love to help people, and from the feedback I get from you guys I do help at least some of you, so in my eyes I am right on track with where I want to be.
Despite the frustration however, it is still not nice to bash people in public and even talk about their marriages, children, relationships etc., because at the end of the day if you are acting out like that, why should people put themselves out there for the world to see? Would you like it if someone tried to tear your marriage/ relationship apart on social media? I didn't think so.
Last year I held my first charity event for Pieta House because at the end of the day I want to help people who have been in the same/ similar position as I have been in, so that would be my advice for the bloggers and influencers who are now caught between a rock and a hard place. By all means try to stop bullying but do it in a way that it helps others and not just the blogging world. Get involved with a charity in a way where you are helping those who follow you not because you are being paid for it but because you are passionate about it, because trust me, there is no better feeling in the world than helping others and doing something just because you want to. It can be so easy to lose yourself and to forget why you started something, so go back to your first ever blog post. Yes it will be cringy but read it and in that you will see why you started this journey and more so why people started following you.
On the other hand, we as readers and followers need to remember that these bloggers and influencers are all still human!! They may be separated by a screen and a filter at times but they are still very much real and have real feelings. There is no point in slating them and bad mouthing them as you are just as bad, if not worse, than them for doing so. The blogging and influencing industry is a modern day version to what happened years ago with actors and actresses. Although it is relatively new, the concept is quite old school, it just is more prominent in today's world due to social media. Although we seem to be surrounded by it, we are still trying to adapt and adjust to it. So instead of giving out and blaming each side, let's try to work together, learn together and find a happy medium together!
So that is it for now, something quite different than usual but I felt I wouldn't be doing what I set out to do if I just watched it all happen without saying anything. Just remember, we are all human, we all have feelings. Next time you go to write something, stop and think " would I like it if anyone said that to me?"
Love as always,
WOW where do I even start! First off, I am so sorry it has taken me over a week to write up about the event, I could sit here and make up excuses but the truth is is that once the event was over I was absolutely exhausted! I totally miscalculated just how much of my time and energy I had put into both the lead up to and on the day of the event, that I was totally wiped out all last week once everything was done. Every time I thought I had enough energy to write a blog post or even post something on Facebook, I just couldn't. Not only that, I am STILL getting through the lovely messages you guys have sent me over the last few weeks, and last week I was just on cloud 9! Some of you have been on this journey with me for the last 2/ 3 years, and your continuous support is what gets me through the most difficult times so THANK YOU!!
Those of you who were at the Ladies' Day Event in aid of Pieta house on Sunday 26th, thank you so so so much for not only coming but for your generosity! At the start of the day I told you all that my target for the day was to raise €1500 for Pieta House. This wasn't just a made up figure, in fact that is roughly how much it costs Pieta House to put someone through their system. Although I was determined to hit that figure, I was still doubtful as it is a lot of money. Despite how much my family love to throw parties (and let's face it, mam and dad are the king and queen of parties,) I really didn't have any idea how the event would go. I have never ever hosted an event like the Ladies' day before and to be totally honest at the start I really did not know what I was getting myself into, I hadn't a clue where to start or what was involved but as the months flew by and the day crept on top of me, things started coming together and to say the day was a success is a complete understatement! However, despite how much hard work myself and my family had put into it, I really did not know what to expect in relation to how much we would raise, but between tickets, donations, raffle tickets and the ' Guess how many jelly beans are in the jar?' game, we totally smashed the figure with the FINAL count being:€2336!! I know for some people, like big corporate groups, that may not sound like a lot (once again self doubt creeps in) but it is a heck of a lot of money, and the way I see it is that all of the money will go towards helping not one but nearly two people and could even save someone's life, which in my opinion is absolutely priceless!!!
The day after the event, I'd say I had all of your hearts broke as every hour or so we had a different total raised however if there is one thing that I have learned through this whole process is that people can be so generous, even after the event money was donated!! So a huge thank you to those of you who went, those of you who bought raffle tickets and indeed those of you who donated both money and raffle prizes, without all of you who contributed in some way shape or form, raising that sort of money would not have been possible, so give yourselves a pat on the back!! Every single prize that was donated for the raffle was an absolute hit and we had so many prizes that we actually had more on the day that we weren't counting on, as I said above, people are so generous especially when it's for a good cause!
For those of you who couldn't make the day or who haven't a clue what I am on about, it was a day full of hair, beauty, music, incredible speakers, afternoon tea! Unfortunately, I was running around like a headless chicken and so were my family so I didn't get as many pictures at the start of the day as I would have liked, but the room was completely transformed and looked incredible, the fact that Boomers started putting their Christmas decorations up totally added to it. I can't take any credit for the room, as I spent the morning directing people fro a stool while getting my make up done!!It was the work of my mam, dad, Katie, Mark and a few helpers! Each table had a frame with a cute quote, a jar full of sweets and a fabulous candle from Celtic Mist Candles! The frames and jars were the work of my fabulous mother, whom without I honestly don't know how the day would have turned out as she really worked her bum off coming up to the event as well as on the day, as I said she knows how to throw a party!! As well as gorgeous tables, my family surprised my with HOPE Balloons, which really completed the look of the room, and to be honest it was in that moment when I saw the balloons on that stage that it hit me as to what was actually happening!! I just stood there and thought "I have done it. This is an event I am hosting. I actually have gotten to this point!" For just a split second, I has flash backs to about two years ago when I was jobless, unsure of what was next for me and if I would ever be able to live a 'normal' life again, and there I was about to go on stage and tell people my story, some friends, some family and to my surprise a few unfamiliar faces, which made me realise what I had just achieved even more so.
Despite the fact that the room looked amazing, our line up for the day was incredible and the afternoon looked delicious, I was still so scared that no one would show up. I can't describe how I felt all morning. I was so nervous that the incredibly talented (and lovely) make up artist, Emily Morris had taken on the job as my therapist for the morning, calming me down while making me look human after weeks of no sleep! Doors opened at one, and all week my mam and dad kept saying no one will be there at one, well weren't they wrong as by half one we were looking for more tables! The fact that people not only turned up but were in the most amazing form, was just the icing on the day. From start to finish, there was a party vibe to the day. Everyone high spirits and yes we were there to raise money for a fantastic charity, but most of all we were all a group of ladies looking for a day full of beauty, pampering and fun, and that is exactly what everyone I got!! Our nail tech Lauren did not stop, from 3 hours straight she was treating people to a gel manicure, she was booked up with 20 minutes of being there! We were so lucky to have 4 make up artists from the Sharleen Collins Make up Academy there for the 1st half of the afternoon giving their tips and tricks for everyone as well as applying full faces of makeup for those who wanted it. We were so lucky to have the incredible Emily Morris do not one but TWO demos or some key looks for this Party season. Emily is extremely talented and one of the kindest people I have ever met, so it was a privilege to have her join us for the day! Not only did we have a hair demo by the fabulous Lisa from Insane Manes in which she showed us how to get the perfect curl from Christmas, we were also very lucky to have two other talented hairdressers for the day. the night before I received a text from a really good friend of mine, Becky Bollard to ask if I would like her and NIamh O'Connor to come on the day and do people's hair, and they were an absolute hit! You guys loved them, so a huge thank you to them for offering their services and coming on short notice!
As well as demos we had live music by the extremely talented Rachel Greene ( she is not a relation, that was the top question of the day!). Her voice is so unique and it was a real honour to have her perform during the afternoon tea! We also were extremely lucky to have the boys from Stolen City close up the day, and what an ending! They were incredible, as always. A HUGE shout out to Sean from Stolen CIty has he helped with the sound all day and I really had his heart broke!!
Last but by certainly no means least, the day would not have been complete if it wasn't for the two speakers that we had, my cousin Derek Lynch and (now a good friend of mine) Sarah Boland from the blog Sarah's Struggle to Slim. The reason why I asked these two people to speak was because they both know what it is like to struggle mentally, but from two completely different things. They both spoke from the heart and did not hold back one bot. Both speakers had the crowd in tears, but also by the end of their talks had everyone in the room feeling inspired and encouraged to become a better version of themselves. Although I am a chatter box, I can't begin to tell you how hard it is to get up on a stage in front of a big crowd and talk about yourself, honestly, it is the hardest thing in the world. I only spoke for about 0 minutes about my struggle and i broke down, but those two, they stayed strong and I can't tell you how much they both inspired me. The reason why I loved having two completely different guest speakers was to show you that every person's struggle with mental health is different, and everyone's mental health is affected by different hings but just because they are different, it does not make any one person's struggle more or less important or difficult. To top off this incredible day we also had a surprise talk by Dean Bollard, one of Sarah's trainers, who told us all the benefits of exercising on your mental health and I for one was totally inspired to grab my runners for a walk instead of cake when I am stressed from now on!
I could go on and on about the day, but to be honest it really wouldn't capture how incredible the day was. The energy from every single person in that room was electric, and as I said it felt like a party, and that's because it was. It was a victory party for every single person who has ever felt so low as if their life could not go on, but they kept going. It was a celebration for those who have fought through this illness that is depression, anxiety etc., and have come out of it the other side. It was a victory for those families, like my own who were constantly on alter as they feared their loved one was a danger to themselves. Most of all it was a day of remembering those who unfortunately did not feel as if they had the strength to go on and a day to prevent more people from feeling like that.
Before the day was out, I had so many people asking was this going to be a yearly thing and the question is YES!!!! My mam is going to say ( and has already said) "are you mad with the wedding in September?, but the truth is that the feeling of handing over that money to Pieta House was incredible. To think that we helped someone, like me, to get through a system that saved my life is an unbelievable thing. It is not very often that I praise myself, but I am extremely proud if myself. Not only did I kick Mental Health's ass this money is also going to help someone else do just that, and THAT is the best feeling in the world! We have been thinking about the day and what we would change. I definitely want to keep it as a ladies' day, because the atmosphere that day was incredible, the excitement of ladies getting together whether they were family or friends, they had the day to them selves free from any duties, to just enjoy themselves, and that is something I definitely want to keep! However, I want to constantly change these things up so it means that those of you who came this year will still be interested to come next year and we will have new surprises for you guys! As the first event has come and gone, I have a better idea of how to do things so from the 1st January, I will be working on the next one and constantly keeping you up to date on the future plans! Of course it is way too early to reveal dates or anything but fingers crossed, we are aiming for November 2018!
So guys, that is a very very BRIEF description on the event, if i was to go into more detail. we would be here til next Christmas!! As I said there were so many people involved and I have mentioned all involved over the past few days on social media so a huge thank you to every single one of you who helped in some way. I would also like to say a huge thank you to Boomers Bar who not only allowed us to host the event there, they couldn't have done any more to help us on the day so a huge thanks to them and of course to my family who as always, were my absolute rock on the day. Last but not least, I want to say a huge thanks to you. Yes YOU, the person reading this. It is because of you that I had the strength and courage to host an event like this. It is because of you, that on my darkest days I give myself a gentle push to get out of the bed because I think to myself, "what if it was someone who reads my posts who was struggling, what would I say to them?" It is thanks to you, that I have developed a passion for helping others, for sharing my story and most of all it is because of your support and love that I am the person that I am today, so thank YOU!!!
Love as always,
Hi guys and happy Friday!
I hope you are all well and are looking forward to the weekend. I can't believe how quickly this month has gone by, like hello how is it Halloween on Tuesday?!?! Never mind the month flying by, this year has just gone so quickly I can't believe we are coming into the final months of this year. To be honest, it wasn't until we started counting the days down until the wedding that I realised just how quick 2017 has gone by.
I think the main reason why it has flown by is because between both of our families there has been something on almost every couple of weeks, it has been a busy yet very exciting year. Last weekend was the first weekend in so long that we didn't have anything major on and it was so nice to just be able to be, to not have to juggle ten things at once or having to rush home from work to go and get ready for something, it was nice just to take each minute as it came and not having to plan the entire weekend hour by hour.
Although we weren't extremely busy or had anything in particular to do, I was absolutely drained by Sunday night! I suppose it didn't help that I wasn't ( and still am not) well, that does make you feel like someone has sucked the life out of you slightly, but I wasn't just physically tired, I was mentally exhausted. It sounds extremely dramatic and over the top, but it is the truth. I was so mentally knackered, that I could feel my anxiety and emotions heighten at the smallest things. Yes it is a good thing that I could identify why I was slightly more irritable than usual and why I cried on the way home from work listening to Kodaline (I know their songs are good but seriously I looked like something out of a Bridget Jones Diary movie, except sadly there was no ice cream!), but it still bothered me that I was like that.
Sometimes life gets in the way and it is hard to control absolutely everything, meaning that from time to time we have absolutely no time to ourselves. Although we have the power to say no to things and to put ourselves first from time to time, at times there are certain family occasions, work commits and various other things that demand our attention, however it is taking too much on at once which is the problem, it is learning when and how to say no to both the people around you and even yourself at times. For me, it wasn't until I stopped last week and had two minutes to myself that I realised just how much I had taken on and how little time I was giving myself. All of my little tools that I use day to day for a happier and healthier mind just went out the window. Things like using my Buddhify app,using my bed time spray. drinking chamomile tea, exercising, writing, reading, blogging etc., were just pushed to the side as I was so overwhelmed with everything that was going on. Despite the fact that I coped quite well without these tools, it was once everything had calmed down that I suffered due to a lack of using the above tricks and tools.
Although they are all simple things that can be incorporated in daily life, I know when I get busy or feel overwhelmed by everything I fall back into bad habits and neglect everything that I have learned over the past few years. Even things like eating too much sugar and drinking too much coffee and more alcohol make their way back in. When I drink alcohol, it can take anything from 2 to 4 days before I feel the effect of it, meaning I am just a ball of anxiety days later, something which when you have so much going on that you can completely forget and just live in the moment, which of course is fine from time to time, but I also have to remember to take a step back from everything, and force myself to go back to basics.
The reason why I am sharing this is to show you all that no one is perfect, that of course life gets in the way and can sometimes undo all of the hard work that we have previously put in, and this goes for everything like weight loss, exercise, work, writing and indeed your mental health. Don't be hard on yourself, if you over do it and feel a bit down or anxious because of it, just recognise it for what it is, just a slight step backwards but once you take time to get back to yourself and pace yourself, you will be back on track in no time.
With that, enjoy yourselves this weekend, be careful and most of all eat lots of goodies!
Love as always,
Hi Guys and happy Saturday!
I hope you all had a good week and are having an even better weekend! I'm off tomorrow, so I have the Friday feeling today and I can honestly say that the end of the week felt like a lifetime away.
The week hasn't been what can be called a steady one, it's had lots of highs, visiting the hotel for our wedding, having a daddy daughter day with dad and a view WOW moments in work. However, on the other hand it also hasn't been shy on some low moments too, one or two bad days in work, low moods and lots of tears. I have always said how scary it is how quickly we forget the good moments the second something negative happens, for intelligent and (usually) caring species, we really are not kind to ourselves!
I don't know about you, but for me as soon as there are any signs of anything going wrong or my moods being low, I automatically jump to conclusions and 9 times out of ten, allow the situation to explode in my mind, making things seem much worse than they actually are. For example, this week my emotions were a little bit of a toddler, completely unpredictable with absolutely no clear or reasonable explanation. One minute I was crying on Mark's shoulder, the next I was laughing so hard that my abs (yes I was shocked they were there too!) were in agony. One evening after a quite successful day in work, as soon as I walked in the door, I just felt a wave of sadness take over me and as quick as a click of the fingers I burst into tears. I honestly couldn't and still can't tell you why. Lately I have been getting better at pin pointing I am feeling a certain emotion, and I have been finding CBT extremely helpful in allowing me to just let an emotion happen, sit with it and not let it effect my day. However, this particular evening, I just couldn't seem to find what was causing me to be so upset ( and crazy, sorry Mark!). Then it hit me like a ton of bricks, it's just hormones!! Nothing serious, nothing out of the ordinary just regular HORMONES!!! As soon as I realised that, I started to laugh to myself, proving just how (even more) crazy they can make you.
Just two months ago, as soon as I was feeling like that I would have feared that I was going backwards, as if one bad day automatically mean't that I was right back to the beginning of my journey. Some may think that it is the drama queen in me, which there's no denying the fact that I definitely claim first prize for that, however it is just about knowing yourself and growing up, As kids we were always asked are you ok? The answer was always either yes or no, the question "Are you happy or sad?" also gives you the impression that you can only ever be one or the other, that there is no in between. For me as a kid, I was always in search for the the magic key to constant happiness, and I am ashamed to say that it has taken 24 years for me to realise that there is no such thing, we are not robots, we have feelings which can range from extremely happy, extremely sad and ANYTHING in between. The world would be a boring place if it was as black and white as just being happy or sad. Unfortunately though, this isn't explained to children (well at least it wasn't during my school years in my day!), and as you all know, our younger years are our most important as it is what shapes us as people, our views, opinions and personalities.
It sounds like common sense, of course we all have a range of emotions, however we all strive to be always happy, which is impossible! However, it doesn't mean that we have to go around being sad all of the time either, no! It means that we have to be ok with all emotions and feelings and not letting our feelings take over as they are just that, feelings, and feelings come and go. You have to be ok with the good, the bad and indeed, the in between. For instance, the other evening when I was feeling a little bit (ok a LOT) emosh, I had to stop myself from jumping to conclusions, before I knew it I had myself back to the doctors, on higher medication and jobless! The whole point is this, one bad day doesn't mean that the days that follow are going to be bad. You need to see a feeling for what it is, recognise why you are feeling like that but don't judge it. Let the feeling live for a bit but don't act on it, just sit with it and then watch it leave just as quick as it came. By not acting on it, you are not giving the feeling power over you, you are not letting it fester and develop into something bigger.
Once again, I know this all seems like common sense but as one wise man once said " Common sense is not so common", and I have to say I agree with Voltaire. Sometimes it is the things that seem so simple that can take us a long time to get our heads around. For me reading up on and practicing CBT has made this a lot easier to understand and indeed has made life a lot easier. The fact I was able to stop myself from having, what would have been an unnecessary breakdown fueled purely on fear and utter panic, really showed me how far I have come, however I am not saying that I stop myself from all negative thoughts, but let's just say I am finally learning to take the good with the bad, and indeed everything else in between.
So to finish up, the week was one with some really high moments, some low moments and moments which were quite ordinary, making the week overall a good one.
Talk to you all soon.
Love as always,
Today is the day I have been waiting for for so long to tell you what I have been working on and the main reason why I have been so busy all summer! The day is finally here, and to be honest, I'm finding it so difficult to type properly so apologies for the extremely bad spelling ( even worse than usual)!!
Those of you who have been following the blog since the beginning will know that my journey , like thousands of people in Ireland, has not been a walk in the park. Between dealing with my depression, anxiety , emotionally unstable personality disorder and indeed normal everyday life, it has not been an easy ride, however, I am one of the lucky ones. I found a way to move on, I learned how to deal with my mental health issues and I have picked up tricks along the way which allow me to live life to the fullest. However, I didn't always think that it was possible to live a 'normal' life, truth be told, I didn't think I could carry on living, I couldn't see a future for me and it scares me now to think that. I am extremely lucky that I have the best support system around me, and I always say it to Mark that I truly believe we met when we did for a reason, he was a key part in making my story, one of success.
However, although Mark and my family have been my absolute rock throughout the past 5 years, there is another key player in this success story and this is of course Pieta house. Pieta House is a non- profit organisation who everyday work towards the prevention of suicide and self harm. They opened their doors in 2006 and still continue to do incredible work not just in Dublin but throughout the country. Despite the amazing therapy and support they provide not only to the individuals themselves who are going through extremely difficult times, last year Pieta Hosue stepped in to provide the suicide bereavement services that had been previously offered by Console, most of Pieta House's funds come from donations and indeed fundraising. Despite the fact that they host events throughout the year including the incredibly powerful Darkness into Light walk, Pieta House really need all the help that they can get as the more funding they have the more life saving work they can do, because that is essentially what they do, they save lives and I am an example of that!
Those of you have who been following me for a while now will know that I have been to Pieta House twice, once for the full course of counselling sessions and the second time for three sessions. Ever since my time at Pieta House I have always said how I want to give back to this fantastic service. I never knew how until earlier on this year when I went to a So Sue Me Beauty and Fashion workshop with Ciara, which of course was hosted by the fabulous Suzanne Jackson- O'Connor. It was an incredible day as I'm sure you can imagine, however it wasn't until the end of the day when we went up to meet the woman herself and get a picture with her that I had a light bulb moment. She was extremely nice to us both, and didn't rush her conversations with anyone, so when it was our turn myself and Ciara mentioned that I have a small blog on mental health. I told her that two days before we went to her workshop that I was ready to stop blogging. I didn't feel good enough, I didn't feel like just under 500 followers was good enough. It was when I heard her own story, how she never gave up when I felt so inspired to keep going. Her answer was what I really needed, she told me to never ever give up in something you truly believe in and care about. That day my love for blogging was sparked up again and although I haven't blogged as much as I would have liked in the past six months or so, I have been working on something else since that day, something which Sue herself, inspired me to do.
When I was at my lowest point, I found happiness and indeed inner peace in beauty and fashion. It sounds so silly, but when I was extremely low it was the beauty and fashion bloggers that picked me up and to be honest, it was keeping up with trends and finding myself through those two industries that gave me the courage to keep going. It was people like Sue, and many others, who encouraged me everyday to get up and start each day fresh, whether it was by putting on makeup but staying in the house or getting dressed up nice to just go to the shop across the road, those little things allowed me to get better each day.
So after spending the day surrounded by beauty and fashion at the workshop, that's when I finally came up with the best idea to give back to Pieta house; a Ladie's Day filled with beauty, music, fun, afternoon tea and of course some talks on mental health! It has been a lot of work to organise but I have enjoyed every single minute of it and it has killed me to not tell you all about it, but the day is FINALLY here!! This has been the main reason why I have been so quiet blogging wise, but I wasn't slacking!
So who, what, where and when? It is a Ladie's Day, Sunday the 26th November in the function room in Boomers Bar, Knockmitten, Clondalkin. It's a day full of Beauty tips and tricks with a make up demo by the fantastic girls from Sharleen Collins Academy, a hair demo by the amazing Lisa from Insane Manes and one or two beauty extras added in on the day. I am also delighted to announce that the beautiful Sarah Boland from Sarah's Struggle to Slim blog (link below), will be joining us and chatting about her own journey regarding weight loss and if this journey has impacted her mental health as well as other talks on mental health including my own tips and tricks to dealing with your anxiety, depression etc. as well as a background into the amazing work that Pieta House do and my own experiences with them.
The day will also consist of music by the extremely talented Rachel Greene, Billy Gannon and the evening will be finished up by a performance from the brilliant Stolen City ( link below ). The day will also include a delicious afternoon tea which is very kindly sponsored by Centra Greenpark (www.facebook.com/centragreenpark/) and Boomers Bar (https://www.facebook.com/boomersclondalkin/) ! We will also have a raffle with some amazing prizes including an incredible €500 voucher for Sharleen Collins Academy, beauty hampers, Viking Splash tickets, Croke Park skyline tickets and much much more on the day! Prizes will be given also for the best Facebook and Instagram posts on the day, as well as other competitions on the day, details to follow closer to the event. All of this for just €15!!!!
Doors are to open at 1pm with the event starting at 1.30 pm until late evening! It's going to be a great day to spend with those ladies closest to you and with Christmas just a month later, we will be getting you party season ready with our beauty demos! Due to the nature of the event, there are limited tickets so ladies head down to either Boomers Bar Clondalkin, Centra Green Park or contact myself and get your hands on a ticket (designed by the extremely talented NIamh Balfe!) for what is going to be an amazing day for an even better cause! If you can't make the event but would like to help, as tickets are limited, we have other ways that you can contribute i.e raffle tickets, sponsorship etc., more on this to follow soon! The poster above, which was also designed by the amazing Niamh Balfe, has all of the details that you need to know, but if you have any questions on the event or on how to get involved, you can contact me via Facebook, Instagram or email!
So guys there you have it! Below are pictures of some of the people you will see on the day and the links to their pages/ websites! That's my news and boy is it a biggie! I am so excited and grateful to the many people involved, as I really couldn't do this without all of your help! Yes it is going to be a day of fun and giggles but more of all it is for a life saving charity, a charity whom without their help I honestly wouldn't be here, as is the same with thousands of others in Ireland. It is gong to be an amazing day and I honestly can't wait to spend it with you all! I really can't contain my excitement so I'm going to say goodbye for now and rool on 26th November!!!
Love as always,
HI everyone and happy Wednesday!
I hope you are all having a good week so far, we are half way there, weekend here we come! Although I posted last week saying I'm back, I have been notability quiet and the reason is that I was too busy sunning myself in the 30 degree heat in Portugal. To be honest, before I went away I had every intention of blogging while away, I had even written posts and had them ready to go, however, when I went to publish them, the blog posts weren't relevant to me or represented my views as such anymore. As each day passed, the more relaxed I became, which I know is the reason why we go away, to relax and try to escape the craziness of our everyday lives. However, the last three years or so, any time I went away especially on a sun holiday, I just physically could not sit still for more than five minutes, so it was so nice this time around to not want to do anything but just sit back, relax and enjoy thinking about nothing and not worrying about anything.
Although I enjoyed sitting back and watching the world go by, I decided that I would try to work on 'me' while I was away, and by that I don't only mean working on my tan but on trying to sort out my big mush! This wasn't something I decided before I went away that I was going to do, it was on the first day that I started to think about the past 6 months and at how crazy busy they have been. I felt like I was watching a movie, I was sitting back with the popcorn viewing the ups and (many) downs of the past few months. As the film was coming to an end, it was only then when I realised just how much has happened this year. I also noticed how as each scene played out, the more I fell out of my new found self, i.e. I lost touch with who I had become in recent months, I fell out of mindfulness practice and I stopped putting my mental health first, I fell back into old bad habits which ended up in a very physically and emotionally drained version of myself.
All summer I was clinging onto the smell of sun cream, the heat of the sun and the light sea breeze, my sister vacay was the only thing keeping me going. In all honestly, I felt so lost and so out of control this summer that I never thought the 1st of September would come quick enough, however despite that, it wasn't until the rolling credits of my movie were playing that I realised just how much I was struggling, that was also the moment that I decided enough was enough. I wasn't going to let myself get back into that tiring and, what could be, a very dark place. That's when I started reading A Mindfulness Guide For The Frazzled, by Ruby Wax ( a review coming soon!), listened to my Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for dummies cd and pulled out the Buddihify App on my phone, it was time to get back to basics, to try to retrain myself into the things, that for some time, were like second nature to me. The new found ways of coping that for a long time were my lifeline.
Since coming home however, living the calm and balance lifestyle I enjoyed on holidays has been almost impossible. Within two days, I quickly realised that it wasn't going to be as easy has I had originally thought, all of the sudden I was overcome with fear and even tears, I was afraid that I wouldn't be able to cope with the stress of everyday life, I was afraid that I was going backwards and that the chilled vibes I experienced on holidays were non existent at home. It's scary how quickly your mind can just jump to negative thinking and bad habits in about ten seconds, and this really freaked me out. I started to fear that no matter how much I practiced mindfulness or read books on this practice that I would never find the ( not to sound cheesy) inner peace that I have been in search for. My thoughts started to sprint around my head, like a race dog making it's way around the track. All of the negative thoughts multiplying by the second, not giving me a chance to make sense of any of them. Within two minutes, I let those negative thoughts block out all of the positivity I had found while away, and indeed any logic in my head. It wasn't until I was in counselling on Monday when I realised that living a stressful and busy life is EXACTLY why concepts like Mindfulness and CBT were developed, to make hectic lifestyles a little bit easier to deal with. If life was always like a holiday, well then we wouldn't need these things and to be honest, life would be quite boring. It's when you develop the ability to step away from a stressful situation, take a deep breathe and not let the stress and your emotions, in that moment have a huge impact on you, that even the stressful moments in life start to become enjoyable.
So after all of that, what does it mean to be 24? To be honest, the next year is going to be the most stressful yet most important and magical years of my life. Despite the fact that so many incredible moments are going to happen, I know that those moments will also come with some not so easy times, however I am determined to not let those handful of down moments take away from the incredibly high moments that the next year has to offer. I feel like turning 24 has finally allowed me to have that light bulb moment that I have been waiting for. I now know that it is possible to go through stressful times without being in a constant state of upset, angry and indeed stress, but it is up to me to make sure I don't allow the slightly difficult times to build up and take over my space in my head. SO the plan for this year.... it's simple, just be the best version of me that I can be, oh and most importantly, live in the moment!
Love as always,
Well hello everyone!!
It's been a very very long time since my last post, I actually can't remember when was the last time I posted! It's been so long that people have been asking if I have stopped blogging, and the answer is a definite NO!! The truth is is that this summer has been so monumental for me in so many ways. Although it has brought about amazing so many changes for me, it has also been a very tough and testing few months. Although i have and still intend to write about how I get through both the ups and downs in my life, one thing that has really shook me is my Nana falling ill, which although it breaks my heart every time i think about how she was in comparison to how she is now, I'm not the only one who is effected by her being poorly, therefore it isn't my lace to talk about the situation. All I will say is that it has been a very difficult few months trying to adjust to lots of change regarding my Nana, a change which is taking us all some time to get used to. However, each day is a new day, she has some bad days but she has her good days too, and it's these days that we as a family are trying to enjoy every single minute. That's all I will say about the situation for now, I just wanted you guys to know that I haven't been quiet because I wasn't bothered, it was simply because the things that were causing me anxiety and pain weren't only my situations to deal with, but I am trying to deal with them the best I can.
Although the past few months have proven to be some of the most difficult we as a family have dealt with, they have also been some of the most exciting times we have experienced, especially for myself and Mark. As you guys probably seen, we have moved into our own little home. Although we have been engaged for over 18 months and are planning our wedding, it took us some time to find a place that was not only affordable but that we could really imagine as ours. To say it is an exciting time is a huge understatement, however with huge change comes high stress and anxiety levels. It wasn't just the move itself that I found stressful, it's been the daily things like going to work while cooking, cleaning and making time to enjoy it all at the same time, it's the things that we both 100% took for granted when we were living with our parents that we almost expect to be done and forget to do. The first week was like a holiday, the next week was hard to adjust and this week was a lot easier to deal with.
Although we are both so happy and we really feel like home already, my anxiety the past few days has been creeping back in. Although it isn't extremely bad, I know myself when it is creeping back into my life. At first I presumed it was because I wasn't at home and despite how much we really wanted to move out and start our own life together, I miss mam, dad and Katie. However, it was only the other night when mam came over for tea and chats, when I realised that I was feeling anxious because everything is new and I almost didn't know how I should be or what the hell I was doing. In every house, each person, without realising has their place and role in it so to speak. For 23 years i lived in the same house, with the same people and without realising, I had my own place and role. Despite the fact that I am so happy to be moving on with my life, for a minute i doubted myself. It was all new to me, I didn't know how I should be or what I should do. Things that I knew how to do, I started to doubt myself. I freaked out and panicked, but when mam was over and we were sitting down and catching up, I felt so relaxed, content and comfortable, I knew I was exactly where I need to be right now. I realised that for once that anxious feeling isn't so bad, if anything it's a mixture of nerves and excitement.
For once, instead of fighting the anxiety, I am going to embrace it and try to channel it into each day. As well as that, I have fallen back into bad habits and fallen out of the good ones that I have picked up over the past few years, instead of beating myself up about it, I am just going to take each days as it comes, and try to find the right balance between my old life, my new life and living in the moment. It's not going to happen over night, but I'm not in any rush, it will all one day come together, and for once i truly believe that!
SO guys, that's all from me for now. I know it's short and sweet, I just wanted to touch base with you all and let you know that I am BACKKK and I'm certainly not going anywhere! ON that note, happy Friday and we will talk real soon, I promise not to wait as long to blog ext time!
Love as always,
Lately, this question has been playing on my mind. I'm usually not a competitive person, well not extremely competitive. I think it is healthy to have a hint of competitiveness along with a hint of the green eyed monster fro time to time, as long as it encourages you to be the best version of you that you can be. However, recently I've faced a few challenges that have required me to show just how competitive I am and have made me wonder what does it truly mean to win something? Is it a big medal? An expensive car? The latest designer handbag? A 1st place trophy?
Some people would probably say, well it depends what you are competing for? Is it a sports competition? Is it a happy life? Is it a healthy life? What if it is all of the above? What if you are trying your best to succeed in every aspect of your life, both professional and personal? Is it even possible to achieve this balance? Up until today, I really thought that the answer was no. I have had many hobbies in the past, karate, piano, guitar, swimming, dancing etc. What is the one thing which all of those things have in common? The answer is simple, they are all in the past, most of which I haven't participated in in years, however the one or two hobbies I do now and again are just that, something I pick back up now and again, nothing stable, sure where would I have the time? Time. That's always our excuse isn't it? Time. A good excuse at that. As the very wonderful yet blunt mother of mine says on a daily basis, you need at least 36 hours in a day to get everything done, and I'm sure she is only talking about the mundane day to day tasks which have to be done, not the fun yet essential things like doing something for you, which most of us, once we hit our "adult years" ( for some people it's 18 for others it's 30!), we almost dismiss the concept of having a hobby as adult life takes over and sure, why would you go to a guitar lesson for an hour when you could have the dinner on and the two bathrooms cleaned in that time? Some would say that the latter is the correct answer, as when you hit a certain chapter of your life, you have to put certain things first. What about putting yourself first? Your own needs and wants, your own desires and indeed spending some time on the thing or things that make you happy. It always comes back to not having enough time, however we tend to forget that we all have the same amount of hours in the day, some of us just know how to manage it to suit both our needs and wants.
Technically as I'm writing it's the 7th of July, well 7 minutes into the day. Not a sound in the house (well except a few snores from a certain person's room, hint hint sis!), however there is this feeling of excitement and nerves which is just floating in the air. Although the two emotions, excitement and nervous almost contradict one another, the atmosphere is quite soothing, for the first time in a long time, it feels like everything is ok, like everyone went to bed feeling settled yet eager for the next day to start. The energy is almost like a familiar song playing in the distance, you can here the beat but can't make out the words, you know you recognise the tune but need to be closer to the source of the music to truly identify the song the is playing.
The emotions and energy in the house last night were the song which I recognise but I don't truly understand why it was here or where it was coming from. The rhythm entered my body and almost forced me to find where the tune was coming from. I listened closely to the beat, allowing my heart to listen and my feet to take me to the direction where this tune is coming from. It took me to the top of my stairs, however my back was to the staircase and I faced the first door on the landing. My hand was almost forced to reach out and push open to see where this energy was coming from and just like that, there she was, my little (taller) sister, snoring her brains out. It was almost like you could see a colourful mist surrounding her, she was oozing with excitement and indeed nerves, and just like that the 20 year old vanished from my eyes, and I was transported back about 14 years ago to a sweaty hall on a cool Autumn Tuesday evening. There she is, Katie running out of her usual drama class hall, however this time, it was different. She was smiling from ear to ear, the excitement almost lifting her from the ground. She has just completed her first Irish dancing class, something which she has begged mam and dad to let her do for a very long time, something which they tried on numerous occasions to talk her out of it, little did they know that where she did drama class hosted an Irish dancing class in the exact hall during the week. Something which they really tried to avoid, only took one class to impact all of our lives for 14 years.
I don't know why Katie fell in love with dancing so much, I really don't know because she wasn't a natural. I really don't mean that in a bad way, but seriously, for a woman who can solve the most complicated maths equations known to man she really doesn't have natural rhythm, well at least she didn't at the beginning. Some girls and boys are natural dancers, just like someone who is naturally good at school or at sports, they don't know why or how they just have this gift, something which Katie for years really focused on the fact that she didn't have, she wasn't a natural dancer, however no matter how many times she was told this, she never ever gave up.
Don't get me wrong, like any relationship in life, Katie and her love of dancing had many many ups and downs. There was many a time where Katie threatened to give up because she couldn't get a step, or the times where she sulked off the stage and hid in a corner because she didn't feel like she got the result she deserved, and whether she deserved first place or last place isn't the point, the point is this, no matter how tough things got or how down in herself she felt, she never ever gave up. For some people this may seem a little dramatic, and it may be difficult for some people to get their heads around, but those people don't realise the love, blood, sweat and indeed tears that goes into dancing. Just like any sport which Irish dancing is, and believe you me if you saw Katie's calf muscles you would agree, it is like a full time job. They train at least 3 times a week, they have to work out on top of that and healthy eating is crucial, meaning Katie has had many an affair with a 3 in 1 curry and diet coke! It is something that although I begged my mam and dad for years to let me try, looking back now I wouldn't have the commitment nor the endurance for something so tough because believe you me it isn't for the faint hearted. Like everything else in life, dancers face quite a lot of knock backs in regards to no placing as high as they would like to. As well as that, they face a lot of injuries, both in training and even on the stage during a competition, something which Katie unfortunately is all too familiar with. She has had many injuries over the last 14 years, but it was never the injury itself that affected her, it was always the struggle afterwards, training and fighting to get back into shape and to get back the fitness levels that are required, while learning new steps and catching up on the other dancers who have been carrying on on center stage while Katie was watching from the side lines with an injury.
When people meet my blonde partner in crime, they see an incredibly out going, out spoken and indeed beautiful human being, both inside and out. She walks with her head held high in a confident manner and never shy's away from the opportunity to make new friends. Rewind 14 years ago when she starting dancing, she always walked in and out of the dance class with her head to the ground, minding her own business, and struggling to make friends. No she has just completed her second year of her Teacher's degree, with an overall first and is the most popular girl I know, watching her work the competition room today is a real proud moment for me.
I remember her first day of primary school, we were in the same school but on two different yards. I remember as the first lunch bell rang I ran to the yard line to see if I could catch a glimpse of her, to see if she was ok. She wasn't crying or upset, I was because I knew how shy and quiet she was, I didn't want her to be alone. Although she said she was ok, I now know that she wasn't, she was quite nervous, however now you could put Katie in the middle of the world and never worry about her, and that is all down to dancing. It has been the thing that has allowed Katie to grow and become the incredible person she is.
Although we have are fights and by the end of this wedding I will be shocked if neither of us kill each other, she really is an inspiration to me. Seeing how far she has come, both in her dancing ability and personally makes me so proud of her. I have learned so much from her, some of which being never ever give up. If you love something and work at it, it really doesn't matter what the outcome is, as long as you enjoy what you do and do what it takes to improve your skills or/ability is all that matters. When I have had my down day, I mean my really really low days where I have felt enough is enough, she is honestly the person I look to for strength, she says it as it is and sometimes I hate her for it but it is also what I absolutely adore about her, she is quite to the point and sometimes a bit harsh, but don't underestimate just how much this girl has been through. She has a certain level of strength and composure which at 23 I still don't have and I truly believe it comes mainly from her experience as a top Irish dance Competitor.
She always said that she would never leave dancing until she won her Open Championship. For those of you who haven't a clue what that means, it is the highest level of competition you can get to. She has always maintained that she wasn't going to leave before she got her chance on top of the podium, something which I truly believe she is capable of. That's why when she came to me last week and said that today would be her last day competing as a solo dancer, I was completely shocked. It's not that she is leaving because she feels she will never win, because believe you me she is more than capable of doing it, I am clearly not an expert but there is nothing better than watching her perform in her hard shoes, it's absolutely breathtaking. Of course I wouldn't really have a clue if the steps are all perfect or if her feet are pointing enough, but her face lights up, it's her happy place and she truly shines. So why give it up? Although she may be finished competing, she is planning to do her teachers exam to pass on her own skills and knowledge to others, and between her own studies, work and indeed her own life, she has been struggling both mentally and physically to fit it all in, Katie has never done anything if she can't put 150% into it, and by her recent exam results, it's clear she has been putting her all into college and of course dancing, but there is only so many hours in the day. She has had an exceptional year, dancing wise, and I think it's the perfect time to start her next chapter. However, no matter how much she has to do or how much she felt like she couldn't physically fit everything in, for 14 years she has done a pretty good job at keeping everything up, and to be honest, that really motivates me to put my all into my work, blogging, studies etc. Sometimes I feel working part time is too much, and yes we are all different with how we deal with things, however looking at Katie almost pushes me that little bit extra, because no matter what personal battles Katie has faced regarding dancing, and there has been a few over the years, she never never NEVER gave up. She always believed in herself and indeed her passion for dancing. Last year she got a new dancing dress. I was very touched that she got Bambelela on the back of it. Some of you know that I have that tattooed on my foot, it translates to never give up. Yes it was a meaning for her too but it really touched me as I was going through a difficult time. Little did we know when she was designing the dress that it was her last one, how fitting?
Over the past 5 years our family has hit many low times, some of which due to my mental health. I can't help feel guilty as I know my health has taking up a lot of my mam and dad's time, and at times it even threatened to take away from some big milestones in Katie's life. Well sis, this is for you. This weekend is yours, no one elses, but yours. I hope you enjoy yourself, no matter what the results are because let's face it, you and mam will be one big tear drop this evening! All that matters is that when you put those hard shoes on and go on the stage for one last time, you just enjoy every single second of it. You have worked hard and have become the most beautoful dancer and person, we are all so proud of you sis, you have no idea how much.
So to answer my question, what does it truly mean to be a winner? It means to have worked hard at something, enjoyed every minute of it even when it seemed impossible and most of all you have become a stronger and better person for it, so Katie you are my winner.
Love as always,
I hope you're all having a good week so far! As some of you may know, I was away for a weekend in the fabulous Newcastle in the UK celebrating Mark's birthday! As we are saving for the wedding and getting our own place, we decided not to go on a big holiday together this year. There are a lot of family celebrations coming up this year so we decided to try to just focus on saving as much as possible. As easy as that sounds, it hasn't exactly been an easy couple of months for us including my Mental Health among other things, so when it came to his birthday I decided that it was time for a little city break, just the two of us and it was just what the doctor ordered! We had an amazing time, discovering the city, relaxing and slightly spoiling ourselves with fancy restaurants and of course shopping, but sure you have to treat yourself now and again right?
Although I was looking forward to the break, the week leading up to it was quite a tough week for me personally and between one thing and another, I just felt like I had so much to do with such little time, which led to my stress level being a solid 15 out of 10! Once we got to the airport, I started to relax and by the time we were leaving Newcastle, I was quite relaxed and have been since. However, despite the fact that I was enjoying myself and starting to feel relaxed, I couldn't help but feel really low in myself regarding my body and image. No matter what I was wearing, no matter how much effort I put into my hair and makeup, each night I just felt awful. The funny thing was that once I was ready to go out, I felt well however as soon as a photo was taken I felt disgusting. There's no other word to describe how I felt because in every photo of myself that I was shown, from my head right down to my toes there wasn't one thing that I saw that I actually liked. It was the opposite, I picked out all of the things that I didn't like, which was a lot.
As each night passed, Mark got very very annoyed with my. Not only was he angry that I was treating him almost like a photographer, but he was frustrated that after taking 40 photos of the exact same outfit and pose, that I still was upset, none of them were nice in my eyes. He kept saying that there was nothing wrong with the photos, that they were all perfect and that he didn't know what I wanted him to do because all he was doing was taking a picture of me, that's what I looked like. This made me even more upset because I really didn't like what I saw in the pictures, and to think that they show exactly what I look like, what the world sees, well I just felt disgusting.
Since I was a kid, I always had low self esteem and barely any love for myself. I've always been on some sort of 'diet' to try to get a 'better' body. I've always put pressure on myself to try to look a certain way. I've always been jealous of my friends who are a smaller size than I am. The way I look, or more to the point the way I don't look, has always been a problem for me, especially in recent years with selfies and filters, the amount of pressure on everyone to take the "perfect picture" is multiplied by 100! I know for some people the thought of taking the perfect picture seems ridiculous, however it is something that I know it can really effect someone. When I'm on social media looking through posts, I often find myself comparing myself to others resulting in me feeling not good enough. No matter what I have tried in the past, I haven't been able to shake these negative feelings about myself, if anything I made myself feel even worse.
After Newcastle, I decided that enough was enough, it's not healthy to constantly talk down about yourself or hate yourself. Of course this isn't something that will change overnight, there isn't a switch that you can flick and you will instantly love yourself. I'm on my own journey of finding myself and discovering who I am, which is really difficult to do if you are constantly comparing yourself to others. So I've decided to take each day as it comes and to tackle each of my insecurities one at a time. The first is how I feel about my appearance. I have decided to set myself a 40 Day Selfie Challenge; I am beautiful selfie challenge, which you can all join in. The challenge is to take a picture of yourself, no filters, just one picture, whether you are dressed up or just out of work. You have to pick one thing you like about yourself in this picture. I have already started my challenge and posted a few of them. I'm not going to lie, I am finding it difficult to do, but each day I take a picture and each day I have found something I like. You guys don't have to share your selfies on line however if you do don't forget to tag me and use the hashtags #40dayselfiechallenge #Iambeautifulselfie #holdonthepainends , I'd love to see them!
As I mentioned above, it is a difficult thing to do especially at the start of the challenge because for me, I would usually take 40 selfies to get one half decent one. The idea behind this challenge is to realise your that it is ok to like yourself, it doesn't make you vain, however I truly believe that the more you start to respect and be kind to yourself,life in general starts to become that little bit easier.
I posted my first few selfies, however I didn't want to keep posting them up everyday because I started this challenge for me, I want to keep some of them private. Although I took them every day, I wanted to put some up together so you can see that the way you see yourself can change every day, with each selfie, but that doesn't mean we have to be cruel to ourselves. If we even find one good thing in ourselves and in every day, it becomes easier to be yourself and to be truly happy.
So guys, there's a few of my selfies which you haven't seen. I am still doing the challenge, and I will post a selfie now and again! Feel free to join in, it's never too late to start your journey to self acceptance and above all self love!
Love as always,
I hope you're all well and that your week is going well so far. Once again, I'd like to take this opportunity to say that my thoughts and prayers are with everyone in Manchester.
The last few months for me have been good, well very good. I have achieved goals which this time last year I never thought I would be close to achieving by now. I have also had close friends and family telling me that I look great, I'm glowing and that it's great to have me back, all of which is so nice to hear. I suppose on the outside looking in it looks like everything has come together nicely and I have finally reached a place where everything is ok. The only problem with this is that although that may be how it looks on the outside, the inside is a totally different story.
Truth be told, things haven't been right for the past 4/ 5 months, and as each day passes, everything just seems to become worse. As I have mentioned a few times here, my anxiety recently has been at a 9 level constantly, 10 being unbearable. I haven't been able to sleep, especially the night before I'm in work because I am terrified I won't wake up on time. I'm anxious going into work because I'm afraid that I won't meet up to what is expected of me. Sometimes I'm even anxious when I'm getting the bus or luas, something which previously took me a long long time to learn to deal with. I'm anxious that I'm going to forget something, like meeting up with someone or forget to do something because I feel so swamped lately that I don't even know what day it is half of the time. Most of all I'm anxious when I'm talking to Mark, my family and my close friends because I am afraid of dropping this happy persona, that everything is ok. If I show them exactly how I am feeling, well the look of hurt, pain and worry on their faces is something which I haven't been able to face, until recently.
A few weeks ago, I realised that it wasn't just my anxiety that was at an all time high, I started to have bad dreams and thoughts, the kind of ones that led me to Pieta House all those years ago. Although these thoughts aren't constant, the fact that they have returned absolutely terrifies me. I fought so long and hard to not feel worthless, to not feel that the world would be better off without me, so when they pushed their way back into my head it really upset me. I just didn't know if I could face it all again, if physically and mentally I was strong enough to fight it all again. When I confided in my loved ones that I felt I should go back to counselling a few weeks ago, the reaction I got made me realise that they don't feel strong enough either to face it all again. So I just kept it all to myself, until I couldn't no longer and I found myself driving to my best friend's house on two weeks ago, where I threw myself on the sofa, a box of tissues in one had and a cup of tea (with no milk- She didn't realise she had no milk, "and I was doing so well Emz", she knows how to make me laugh even in the darkest moments!) crying and releasing all of my emotions and feelings. Enough was enough, I couldn't hold it all in anymore.
Since that Friday it has been a weird few days. When my friend drove me home after our tea, that was the most difficult moment I had faced in a long time, telling my family what had been going on. Just as I thought, their first reaction was that they couldn't face this again, but after the initial shock, we sat down over another cuppa (this time with milk!) and for the first time in months I was 100% truthful as to how I was feeling. I explained that although the thoughts had resurfaced themselves, that they were no where near as bad as they were last time. After everything that has happened, I am so self aware, so I know when things aren't right from an early stage, and that's exactly what is happening now, I caught it on time.
Once I explained everything, everyone around me has been absolutely amazing. I really don't want you to think that I don't have the best people around me because I truely do. I couldn't ask for better parents, sister, Fiance and friends, their initial reaction was simply one filled with fear and indeed their own anxieties, because we have been down this road so many times before, they can only relate to our past experiences, however the thing is, that this time I am a lot more self aware and every single one of us are better equipped to deal with it. As well as their own fears and anxieties taking over, they were disappointed but not disappointed in me, they were disappointed for me. They feel like I have been doing so well and things have been changing for the better, which they have and I am still doing well, I just have to take a step back and get back to doing what's best for me, something which I lost for a while.
Although it was amazing hearing everyone's comment's that I was back to myself and glowing, it was almost like an added pressure. I knew that on the inside things weren't exactly 100%, but I didn't have the heart to admit that and let everyone down.I feel like I am almost two people, there's the happy Emma, the one who is almost like an act. Although I am happy with many aspects of my life, there are parts of it and times were I'm not happy, it is impossible for someone to be happy all of the time, however the people around me worry if I seem low or quiet, it's because they care so much. So in order to protect them, this "happy Emma", over compensates by being extra funny, extra bubbly and to be honest it's exhausting. This Emma is also the one who goes to work to give that "Disney performance" and don't get me wrong I'm enjoying my new job, I just think I jumped into 5 tours a day, 5 days a week a bit too soon so much so that it's exhausting keeping up this act in both work and at home.
The other Emma, is like a lost puppy. She doesn't know how to be, how she should be. It's like she feels like she has to be the complete opposite from the extremely outgoing persona, which often then leads to quite a low and even depressed second persona. It's like a constant battle between the two and the struggle to conform to what everyone thinks I should be like to how I am actually feeling is almost happening 24/7. The best way to describe this is to use my favourite character of all time, Smurfette. Last week, myself and my godchild went to see the new Smurfs Movie. those of you who know me well know my love (and obsession) with smurfs, the night I met Mark I was dressed up for Halloween as a Smurf, enough said! I'm not going to give away the story line but the film focuses on Smurfette. As she was not a 'real smurf' as she was created by the evil wizard, she doesn't feel like she fits in as a smurf. Every other smurf is named after their personality, but she isn't so the question is who is Smurfette? Throughout the film she tries to find out who she is while trying to be who everyone around her wants to be.
We went to see this movie just two days after I spoke to my family, so everything was still very raw and it sounds so silly but I did cry (like a baby) during the movie. I know it's essentially a children's movie but the story behind it felt real for me. At that moment, and every still now, I am unsure of who I am and just like Smurfette in the movie, I feel like I have to try to fit into this one persona, someone who everyone else wants me to be or believes I am, but at the same time, I am still unsure of who I am. For a while I was so focused on making everyone else happy that I just pushed my own needs and wants to the side, and have lost myself. Don't get me wrong, I obviously know that the movie wasn't real, but it's the easiest way for me to explain what's been going on for me, how I've been feeling. Isn't it funny how no matter how old we are, when we are sad, low or sick we relate back to things in our childhood like our favourite cartoons, characters etc.? They are still a source of comfort for us, no matter what our age.
So that's where I'm at at the minute. I'll update you all on what I'm ding and what steps I'm taking to try and get myself back on track in the next few days, I just wanted to keep you all updated!
Lots of love as always,
What is this page?
This page is to keep you all up to date on where I am on my journey, what I am up to and general chat!