Rebuilding

You ever see those funny triangle diagrams floating around on the Internet, where each side is labelled with something we aspire for in life, like ‘good job’ or ‘social life’ or something similarly cliche, and then it’s captioned something like ‘you can only have two, what do you choose’?

These viral posts tend to have their comment sections full of people saying how much they relate to the ideas suggested by it, that we can’t ever seem to really have it all, but I never subscribed to that belief myself.

I always thought that I could have it all. I was *that* person who prided herself on working full time AND maintaining a blog AND being able to go to the gym every morning and while I’ve never really had much of a social life, that was mainly down to the fact that I never lived near to any of my friends, but I still found the time to go and see them and we still talked every day, but I also lived with my boyfriend and I saw my family every weekend.

Reading that, you’d think that I did have it all; it sure as hell sounds like it. But behind all that, there are some shortcomings: I still lived with my parents (not that I ever really minded that), and I worked in a job that didn’t truly make me happy, and that wasn’t a career for me.

Fast forward to today. I now own a home with said boyfriend, we have a puppy and I am living my self-employed dream. The social life aspect hasn’t really changed, although I am a little bit closer to some friends now so I do get to see them more often. This is all wonderful, and I am truly happy for all of this, but some of the walls of that triangle (or more like a hexagon) are crumbling. It would only take you a few minutes of scrolling back through my blog to see that I’ve gone from posting 5-6 times a week to going over 3 weeks without writing anything. I now live 250 miles away from the family that I adore, and as for going to the gym every morning, I can’t actually remember the last time I got in a workout.

I don’t want to seem like I’m complaining, because my life is incredible in so many ways, but each one of these things is an aspect of who I am, and I feel like by losing these things I am losing sight of who I am, and I’m now becoming one of those people retweeting that triangle diagrams saying ‘I feel attacked’. I don’t want to believe that these silly little sketches are true, I want to go back to feeling that little bit smug thinking that really I do have it all.

My life has changed a lot in the past 6 months, and I guess if anything I was naive to think that it would all be easy, because nothing about it has been, but what’s the fun in things being easy, right? There’s no shame in being vulnerable, but I’m ready to start rebuilding these aspects of my life, and rediscovering the person that I used to, and want to be.

She’s in here somewhere, just under a nice little layer of comfort podge, y’know, from avoiding going to the gym for too long, but she’ll be back, just you wait.

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Doing Nothing

In recent months, I’ve noticed an interesting shift in myself. Obviously there’s been so much change in my life in the last few months, and I know that that’s exactly the reason why, but this has felt like such a significant change that I haven’t really known what to do about it.

That change? I’ve learnt to enjoy doing nothing.

I know it seems totally harmless, and probably a little strange too, but pretty much since I was 16, I’ve always filled my time with as many things as I possibly could, and for the last few years even more so. For the last (almost) five years, I’ve been blogging alongside working full time, as well as running my various small businesses, so when I wasn’t working, I was working for myself or writing. Days off were never really days off, but I was cool with that. In order to fit everything into my days, I would be up at 5.30am most mornings, and I had no problem with that at all because I was doing it for me.

Since we moved, all that has changed. As I’ve taken my small business full time, I haven’t needed to cram everything into every hour of the day because I now spend my 9-5 doing all the work I used to fit into evenings and weekends. Suddenly I have all the free time I used to complain about not having – but would always fill with stuff even when I did get it – and the thing is, I’ve started to like it. This might seem totally ridiculous to some, but its such a new thing to me that its thrown me a little.

While it may not seem like a problem, its starting to become one, as the motivation and drive that used to push me to do everything I loved is ebbing away. I now LOVE having lie-ins, so I don’t get up and go to the gym in the morning. I now spend my evenings watching rubbish on TV and scrolling through Instagram videos for longer than I care to say. Its wonderful and frustrating at the same time, because there’s still something in my head that feels like this is wasted time when I should be doing something else, but I also don’t really have that much else to do. Its like I want to be doing more but at the same time I really love the nothingness, so there’s a constant conflict in my head.

Am I being crazy? Well probably – only I would feel guilty for enjoying myself! I know that I still have so many things to adapt to, what with turning my life upside down a little bit, but everything takes time and as Winnie the Pooh said in Christopher Robin: doing nothing often leads to the best kind of something.

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10 Things Before 10am

Something that I, and many others, I expect, am more than often guilty of is focusing on all the things that I haven’t done or achieved, rather than celebrating all the things that I have done.

And d’you know what? It’s draining.

Whether it’s thinking about work or tasks that I haven’t done, or things in my life that I’ve left to achieve, it leaves a constant nagging feeling of negativity hanging over me, and quite honestly I’ve had enough of it.

So the other week I had quite a productive morning, and naturally as the millennial that I am, I tweeted about all the things that I had managed to do before 10am. I didn’t think anything of it at the time, but then this week I found myself mentally taking stock of things I had done that morning and I had somewhat of an epiphany – I achieve so many more things than I don’t, I’ve just conditioned myself to overlook them all.

So I figured it’s time for a reconditioning, and that’s where the title of this post comes from. Every day, no matter how productive, or seemingly unproductive, my morning has been, I take a few minutes to stop and think of ten things that I have done or achieved. Sure, sometimes this list might be padded out with things like getting dressed, brushing my hair or drinking a glass of water, but all of these things count as successes, we just don’t tend to see them that way.

Today’s 10 for me are:

  1. Going for a 5 mile run
  2. Hitting 10,000 steps
  3. Washing my face properly with nice skincare products
  4. Eating a healthy breakfast
  5. Finishing up 2 skirt orders
  6. Scheduling my tweets for the day
  7. Writing this blog post
  8. Planned my meals for the day
  9. Brushed my hair
  10. Moisturised

Now obviously I’m not saying that you have to name ten things, or have to do it at 10am, that’s just what works for me and my schedule, but it’s just so nice to focus on something positive rather than letting that cloud of negativity float about.

I’m working a lot on creating a more positive mind-frame for myself, so watch this space!

Things I Am When I’m Not A Disney Fan

Because its what I talk about 90% of the time, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Disney is all I really care about. Truth is, though, there are actually a lot of other fandoms that I belong to, and while I might not always talk about them as much, many of them mean as much to me as Disney does.

I have loved Lord of the Rings since the first film came out. I was only 7 when the first movie came out (2001), so no, I hadn’t read all the books before seeing the films, but I have read them all now. The movies were a HUGE part of my childhood, and once we had them on DVD, me and my sister would watch them at least once a month, if not most weekends – all extended versions, for any other fans who care about these things. As well as the story itself, we became obsessed with all of the behind the scenes features on the DVDs (there are two discs worth for each film), which we’ve watched way more times than is probably considered normal.

The last Lord of the Rings film, Return of the King, was actually the first film I ever cried at. I was 9 years old at the time, and I wasn’t crying because the end of the film was sad, I was crying because I was sad that it was the last Lord of the Rings film, and there wouldn’t be any more movies; this was way before any of The Hobbit films had been announced.

I also LOVE musicals. Its probably the only thing that makes me wish I lived in London because I could quite easily go to a show every night. I saw a lot of musicals as a young kid because my parents have always been musical fans, but it wasn’t until I was about 11/12 that I really got into them. I’m super lucky to have seen a lot of musicals on West End, and even a handful on Broadway, and my all time favourite musical is Rent, with other favourites including Avenue Q (which is actually the musical I’ve seen the most times), Wicked and Spamalot. I’ve also seen a lot of the classics, like Phantom of the Opera, Les Mis, and I even saw Cats when I was very young.

And even though I’ve actually seen more musicals than I can even remember sometimes, I’ve still got a list as long as my arm of more shows that I would love to see, with the top of the list being Legally Blonde and Hamilton.

I’m also a Potterhead, I love building Lego and doing sudokus and I’m a sucker for a crime/detective show on TV (I’m patiently awaiting the return of Death in Paradise). Disney is a huge part of my life, but I am more than just a Disney fan.

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Tackling Self Doubt

I think you’d have to be pretty damn confident to not ever suffer from just a smidgen of self doubt every now and then. Or this just might be how I, a severe lacker of confidence, feels about the matter. You tell me. Anyway..

Self doubt is that little voice in your head that pops up from time to time and tries to knock you down a peg or two (or a hundred) whenever you’re feeling good about yourself, or an aspect of your life; for me, the subjects that hit me hardest are related to my blog or my businesses. In fact, I’m so used to these little episodes now that at the same time as totally sucking, I know that they’re just a phase that will inevitably pass, but I’ve also started to develop my own little coping tactics for when that sinking feeling starts to take over.

Firstly, I vent

Self doubt is absolutely no good bottled up, so I tweet about it, or stick something on my Instagram story. It might look attention seeking to some, y’know, the whole ‘I feel like I’m rubbish at everything I do’ sorta thing, but I honestly am not fishing for any compliments when I do this, its just better out than in. Sometimes I don’t even vent publicly, and its a message to a friend, or a quick chat with someone, just to get it off my chest and out of my head, where otherwise I know it will fester into an endless pit of suckiness.

Then I take time out

Because a lot of my self doubt is about my small business, if I’m having a bit of a time of it, I step away, and its the same with my blog. Forcing something out doesn’t often lead to the best results, and sometimes stepping away gives you a chance to miss what you love, which motivates you to get back to it after a little bit of time. This doesn’t even have to be a vast amount of time; it can be as small as 10 minutes to go and get a drink or check your phone.

Next, I remind myself I am awesome

I don’t often compliment myself, but its always when I’m struck with self doubt that I find myself being nice to myself. Its a bit cliche but I give myself a proper pep talk and really hype myself up, but not to the point that I’m big headed, just enough to kick myself back into gear again and then I let my actions do the talking again.

And then I back it up with proof

Often, I need more than just the hype to really see my worth again, but I think that’s just because I’m a proof-liking person. So I pull up my Etsy sales, or my blog stats, or I look back at something to show how far I’ve come, and suddenly all the words I’ve been telling myself to make me feel better are actual truths, not just motivational rubbish.

Then, I can get back and smash it

I always like to come back fighting, so I get back to things with all guns blazing. Sometimes that means I have to fake a little bit of confidence, but as the old saying goes, you’ve gotta fake it ’til you make it, right?

And remember, just because you doubt yourself, doesn’t mean anyone else doubts you.

Self doubt is just that – yourself. These feelings can come and go and come back again over and over, but I bet through all this you’ve got your own little cheer squad who believe in you no matter what you think of yourself. These people will be your rock through these moments. Believe what they tell you.

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To My Former Best Friends

They say the average friendship has a lifespan of about 7 years, and while this seems like quite an upsetting figure, I’ve come to accept it.

What this fact doesn’t really seem to consider, however, is that just because a friendship ends, it doesn’t mean there’s nothing left behind. Some friendships end for the wrong reasons, leaving sadness or bitterness in their wake, while others just fade away, leaving happy memories and nostalgia, and I really think that no matter what causes a friendship to become a thing of the past, that person will have always played a really important part of your life, and there will never be any truly hard feelings left behind, especially when it comes to the best friends.

To my childhood best friend..

I don’t even remember how we became friends. We met at school and things must have just clicked. We did so many things together, both in and out of school, and we were inseparable. I felt us start to drift when you moved schools, and I didn’t get to see you every day. You made other friends, and even though we still saw each other most weeks, I just knew that these friends were a bigger part in your life than I was. It was ok. You were destined for popularity, and I just wasn’t, and when we made it back to sharing a classroom again in secondary school, I just decided to stop clinging on. We were still classmates until we were 16, but all the years of friendship seemed to be forgotten, or at least we made it seem that way.

I still think of all those years with happy memories. We made a girl band, we knew each others families, and for so many years we came as a pair. Nothing changes that, and I really just hope that you’re happy.

To my teenage best friend..

You were the first person that I thought would be in the running for my maid of honour whenever I got married. We met through mutual friends, and although we were part of a larger group, we gravitated towards each other and there was just no stopping us. We went through boy troubles together, so many school exams, first nights out and so much more. But we were two very different people, we always were. I always thought that was why we worked, but over time our differences took over. I think we both tried to stay friends after we finished sixth form, but when we only saw each other a handful of times in that first year, I think we both stopped trying.

I saw you the other day. In fact, I think we’re working in the same building, and I think you saw me too. I don’t know if you didn’t recognise me or just didn’t want to say anything, but either is ok. I have so much to thank you for, you were my rock for so many years and I have accepted that our friendship faded out. I think it was best for both of us, but I still think of you often, and honestly with you all the happiness in the world.

To my first ‘adult’ best friend..

I thought you were a little crazy when I first met you, but I quickly got past that, or at least I liked the crazy. We made quite the pair. Despite being adults, the friendship was very similar to my younger friendships – we dealt with the boy problems, work problems and everything else along the way. You cut my hair in return for baked goods, and taught me how important it is to fill in my eyebrows. I never minded that you started going out with my ex. It had been so long since we’d been a couple and you were much better suited for him anyway. But I warned you what he could be like, and every time you came crying to me about it, I couldn’t help but think I told you so, and then you’d just run back to him anyway.

I let you drift out of my life because it was easier for me. You stopped showing any real interest in my life, and only wanted to come to me with your problems, or to make a competition out of things. I don’t like the term toxic but I felt like you weren’t in it for me anymore and it was draining the fun out of it. You don’t need me anyway, you’re headstrong and independent and it makes you stronger than I think you realise sometimes.

We had so much fun, and I’m sad it had to come to an end but it did. You seem happier now anyway, and I hope that continues for you.

My best friends now are very different to the ones that have left my life. I feel like I’ve got it right now, and have friends in my life who are gonna make it past the 7 year mark. I am happy, and I hope that my old friends have found friends who make them feel the same way that I do now.

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Just Because

I can’t imagine that there’s anyone who hasn’t been told at least once in their life, and most likely by their mother, that ‘just because *this person* did that, doesn’t mean you have to. If they jumped of a cliff, would you follow?’ while you rolled your eyes because it really wasn’t a big deal.

These were always things that we wanted to do; places we wanted to go or styles we wanted to copy, not things that we felt obliged to do, but as you get older, everything suddenly becomes more about what you feel like you should be doing, rather than what you actually want to do. Sure, some of these things are things that we think we should be doing for good reasons, but then there’s also a good number of things that might not always be good for us, and these are the things that we should maybe give a miss, at least every now and then.

Just because other people stay late at work, it doesn’t mean you have to

When I started my new job, I thought that just because the guy who sat next to me came in an hour before me, and often stayed past when I left, it meant that I wasn’t doing my job well enough, and frankly that’s just not true. So long as I come into work, do the hours I’m contracted to do and complete all the work that needs to be done, that’s good enough. If others want to come in early, stay late or take on extra work, that’s on them, but I did enough of that in my previous jobs and now I like that I’m able to walk away when 5 o’clock hits and not have a care in the world.

Just because you’ve made plans, it doesn’t mean you can’t cancel them if you’re not feeling it

If you’re tired, having a bad mental health day or for whatever reason you don’t feel up to it, you shouldn’t feel bad about cancelling plans. People might not always understand it, but that doesn’t matter. Put yourself first.

But as well as the things you shouldn’t be doing just because you thin you should, there are also things that you can do even though you didn’t do what other people did..

Just because you didn’t go to university, it doesn’t mean you can’t get to the same place as someone who did

I’ve actually just started working with a girl I went to school with. She went to university, and got her job through a graduate scheme. I went straight into work after sixth form, and after gaining skills and working hard, I am just one level below her, and with another year of experience and study support through work, I could move up into the same position she works in with a university degree. Sometimes there’s more than one path.

Just because you haven’t got a huge following, it doesn’t mean you don’t a good following

You could have a million followers, but if one a few hundred actually bother to support you, then you might just be better off having a few hundred followers who cheer you on at every possible moment. I mean, the Instagram algorithm is screwing us all over anyway..

There are however many billion people in the world and every single one of us is unique, so just because one or two people make you stop and think you’re missing out on something or doing something wrong, do you think that’s right?

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