I went on a date. It sucked. But that’s okay. 

It’s been a while since I’ve been in a proper relationship. For the majority of that time I have had quite a low expectation of myself. I have always had a low sense of self worth. 

Even when I have been in a relationship. I have always doubted its authenticity. Do they actually really like me? Am I just the easy option? Will they leave when something better comes along? I have needed constant reassurance. And ironically it’s this need for reassurance that can put the most pressure onto a relationship. The last thing my last long term partner said tonne is: “do you know how emasculating it is to not be able to convince you that I do love you?”

That was a slap in the face to me. I had no idea how in my neediness I was hurting him. It made me want to realise that I should believe people when they say nice things. Maybe I do deserve positive things. 

It’s easier said than done. I know I have some redeeming qualities. But I also couldn’t name them. I worry I’m too boring. I don’t have anything interesting. I’m too fat. I’m not pretty enough. I have mental health issues. The list goes on with all the bad points. 

I had a mental break down last year. I couldn’t leave the house. I couldn’t even talk to people I knew. I was suicidal. All of these negative points were so resounding in my mind. They were factual. It took me nearly six months to go to my gp and ask for help. The help I received was amazing. There was some medicated help but most importantly I went to counselling sessions. 

I’m not going to go through the ins and outs. All you need to know is I found it a very hard but very interesting experience. We explored why I have such low worth and how to overcome that. I know feel changed and different. It’s not an overnight change. There’s a lot of practice and a lot of learning. I see myself and I react to situations in a very different way now. 

I have started dating again. Last year I would have rather of died than spoke to some one. Six months I would have arranged to meet up with some one and then become so anxious and panicked I would probably cancel. But this time I went. 

We’d spoken a while about all sorts. So we met up for a few drinks and it was nice. Drinks were nice and the conversation was pleasant. But there was no real connection there was no spark or anything. 

And instead of worrying and over analysing everything and being convinced it was because I was boring or too fat or too full on. I realised that sometimes it’s just not meant to be. And that is perfectly ok. 

Dear Ashley

Dear Ashley,

It has been approximately eight years since I last saw you. I doubt I would even recognise you if I was to walk by you in the street as I only have a very vague memory of what you look like anymore. The only distinguishable features you had were a scar just under your piercing blue eyes. However, these details are irrelevant as it is your words and your actions that I remember you for.

Throughout secondary school there have always been different groups, two of these groups are ‘the bullies’ and the other: ‘the bullied.’ You, Ashley, were one of the bullies. The reasons varied from being as vague as being ‘different’ to being as specific as being overweight. I just happened to be both of those. From the very first day of year seven, you started so subtly, the occasional name call here and a crude remark there. As I had been raised with a ‘put up and shut up’ mentality, I brushed off most of the remarks and in some strange way reasoned that it couldn’t be that bad otherwise he would not be speaking to me at all.

As the weeks of term passed by the more confident and intimidating you became. The attacks changed from verbal only to becoming increasingly physical. However, I give you your due; you weren’t stupid, always careful to strike away from the school grounds so you could not be seen and you were always careful to strike body parts that would be covered by a school uniform. I knew what you were doing was wrong and I knew I should tell someone but I just couldn’t. Was it shame? Fear? I don’t know why, it just felt easier to ignore it and just hope one day you would leave me alone. As you probably knew I was more into academia than the social aspects of school, maths being a particular favourite of mine. To get me through each attack I began focusing on the numbers. I would count each punch, slap, pinch and kick. I recall the most in one go being forty seven.

This carried on throughout year seven and well into the first term of year eight and had reached the point where the majority of my upper arms and legs were completely black and blue, all of which I had managed to hide without arousing any suspicions. That was until we came back after the Christmas holidays and had a new PE teacher who no longer allowed us to lock ourselves in a toilet cubicle to get changed. I refused to get changed for as long as I possibly could, I feigned every plausible illness I could think of. I didn’t want to admit the truth, but she started asking if I was being hit at home and that it might be necessary to report anything to the police. Well the truth just came spilling out; I had no control over what I was saying. I was sent to the head teacher’s office to make full statements about what I had said.

I was never informed about what happened next. I do not know what you were told or even if you were told anything at all. A few weeks passed by and I did not see or hear from you, so I assumed that maybe they had said something to you, and you had changed. During these weeks, my own self esteem increased and I finally felt able to go out without constantly looking over my shoulder, so I decided to go to the park with my friend and her dog. I never did get there though did I? To get to the park I could either walk past your house, or walk the long way round which was an extra two miles. Maybe against better judgement I decided to walk past your house. I hadn’t factored that you may have actually seen me. You followed me down the road matching my pace as I hastily quickened my walk. You caught up with me, grabbed my hair and pulled me down onto the pavement, kicked me in the side and then bent down, pinched my nose and then held me by my throat, long enough for me to wake up in hospital with distinct red handprints around my neck.

During my time in hospital, I told myself that this was enough; I was putting an end to it. I was not going to allow you to hurt me again. From now on I was going to be in control. It didn’t matter what I used to gain control, needles, scissors, razor blades all that mattered was if I deserved to be in pain I might as well be the one to administer it myself. Each night I made sure there were exactly forty seven new incisions, again cleverly in places that could be well hidden.

This carried on for a few years, long after I last saw you as you were removed from the school. With support of friends, family and medical therapists I have overcome my fear of you and no longer give in to the lure of self inflicted control. In fact, I have become a much better person, I am much more confident than you would have ever imagined and I am determined to leave a positive mark on every one I come across. I absolutely refuse to ever have any one who feels the same way to be made to endure the same hurt and ignorance as I once had to. I am one of the lucky ones. Thankfully I have moved on with my life, and I am making the most of what I have. And the reason I am positive? I hear you now have a little girl, please show her how she should be treated and don’t ever let her fall victim to the hands of her younger father.  

Falling in and out of love with nostalgia.

We all have memories, some may be more defined than others and able to recall with ease. Some may be a bit more of a strain to remember and may not reoccur until somebody else
reminds us of the event. Usually the stronger the memory the more intense the emotion was felt at the time. Usually it is straight forward to understand our reactive emotions: happy, sad, upset, angry, excitable and so on.

For the most part those emotions are justified. It is ok to feel relaxed and elated whilst having a laugh with friends. On the other hand it is ok to feel hurt and upset when something bad happens such as an injury or news of illness. But what happens when the circumstances and context change? Admittedly this scenario is usually down to a change in relationship status. [Read a break up]

Why I will not eat my favourite chocolate.

Firstly, I will admit: I am a chocoholic. I love chocolate, always have and always will. I am not a pernickety chocolate fan and I can easily enjoy a thirty pence supermarket cheapie bar just as well as a New York exclusive Godiva. However, my favourite chocolate in the world is a Cadbury’s Twirl. I used to happily get through a few bars a day and I could genuinely feel the intense chocolate hit through my veins. A few years ago I was seeing someone who would buy me them and just whenever I see the shiny purple wrapper I am immediately reminded of him. At one time the two fingered chocolate covered crumbly piece of amazement used to comfort me and make me feel close to him despite being over 300 miles away.

And everything was fabulous. Until we split. Since splitting there has been so many things that remind me of him and The Cadbury’s Twirl is one of them. So although I am fairly confident that Cadbury’s did not change their recipe or manufacturing process, the taste and feeling of the standard two fingered treat just was not the same. It was sickly and would stick in my throat, like a bitter pill and impossible to swallow. Sometimes I will see one in the shop and I think maybe I should get one after all they used to make me happy, but the melancholy of being reminded of what was can be overbearing.

So which emotion should be deemed correct? It seems neither would be correct, but both are acceptable. It is ok to remember both fondly in anger. It’s a case of which one you want to portray whilst keeping face when you pick up your phone after half a bottle of tequila……….

Piss Takes and Pregnancy Tests

FaceyB is being over run with pictures such as 
ImageImage
 
and every time we see one we know exactly who they’re referring to.
 
Throughout life we always have a best friend. At primary school it was who you shared toys with, the one you played mommies and babies with and whose hair you would make into plaits. Throughout secondary school you discovered boys, make up, drinking and generally perfected the art of ‘doing nothing.’
 
Over the years there may be a few people who you call your best friend, but you know there has always been that one person who you have that unbreakable connection with. I found mine in year 10 and quite accidentally. She, another friend and I was discussing plans for a night out and we couldn’t work out the logistics of us all getting back inline with when we all needed to. “Well why don’t you just stop at mine?” I asked. I didn’t even know who she was and had never even spoke to her before. (Crazy logic of being a teenager) Nevertheless, she did and from then on we pretty much spent all our time together. We were always at each others houses.. or so we led others to believe. We went to the pub together, drank in fields together, went on epic adventures and went through relationships and breakups together.
 
We shared everything from secrets, clothes, advice (it didn’t matter that the advice was laughing at each other and just saying ‘you’re fucked’ ) and always had each others backs. Inf act we were that close we were 100% convinced our mothers were secretly friends and spying on us. In fact this sums us up:
Image
 
 
A few years later and an alcohol fueled argument we fell out and did not speak for ages, yet I still missed her. A while later we got talking again and although we don’t see each other as often as anymore and we both have other besties (mine being the gays) we both know we will be there for each other.
 
After all could you really ask your male friends to check body parts for illness, understand the need of been kicked out of a shared bed to go buy tampons, understand why it’s ok to break ‘i will never try…’ promises. And what man can you compare sex stories to whilst doing a pregnancy test (or seven) with you just for moral support? The one that will sit by your side as we pick holes in other peoples lives who have wronged us, whilst knowing full well our own lives are just as tragic. And who but your best friend can your only insult be ‘shut up’ and your biggest defense be ‘don’t judge’ ?
 
For all the ups and down’s we have had and whether we go a hour or months without seeing you. It doesn’t matter cause you mean everything to me. Sentiments over, WERE GOING CAFE.

 

Washing powder and lemon juice.

Self grooming and appearance is something we all have views on. Some *say* that they’re not bothered about it and I can see their sentiment. Yes personality is more important but theres still something about making an effort that make you feel good.

The importance of what you look like pretty much determines your social status once you hit secondary school and if you didn’t ‘do’ you were pretty much a tramp.

But who teaches you these things? My family was never really beauty conscious and I’d never really met any of my friends parents so we pretty much relied on teen mags and ta dahhh Google!!!

So we learnt the art of plucking eyebrows, shaving legs, painting nails and the art of blow drying properly by reading and testing it out on each other with a determination to precision (of which of it could be bottled and sold would make a fortune) and we all pretty much got the hang of it.

Needless to say, we all have our favourite areas to focus on, some their tans, some their make up and other their hair. My favourite to faff with was my hair. (As a disclaimer: I do not mean into any kind of style or cut I purely mean colour.) I love blonde hair, pink hair, black hair and every colour hair. However, I get bored really easy and can never afford to have it professionally done, besides there is something comforting about the stench of peroxide, the achievement of DIY and looking back at the mismatch of the colour patchwork on the hair towel built up over the last 11 years.

The first time I dyed my hair I was about 12 years old and went from platinum blonde to ‘electric pink’ which my mom did for me whilst sitting in the garden, and ever since I have been every colour since. (When asked at a much later date why on earth she did it, my moms reply was simply: if I didn’t you would have.)

There had only been one time in the last 11 years when I have had my natural colour through, and that was after cutting my hair really short (grade 2) twice so I could finally go bleach blonde and not have to worry about two tone ginger bits!

I rocked the blonde for about 9 months (the longest I have ever been one colour) until I got bored again, booked and appointment at the college hairdressers to go ginger (yes I do embrace the ginger as and when it suits) which I loved. I was actually in love with this colour but alas I was told it was permanent, but exactly 4 washes later and it was virtually gone.

So now I have decided to go back to my natural blondey brown hair but I don’t want to cut all my hair off again, so what to do? Obviously the only thing to do is turn to google. It is shocking how many people claim to be experts and the advice ranged from ‘get over it’ to ‘mix bleach and vinegar’ neither of these seemed suitable so I decided to go with a mixture of washing powder and lemon juice mixed into a paste and left on for a minimum of two hours. Yes I questioned my sanity and did say a quick prayer that all my hair didn’t fall out. But it worked my hair is lighter and back to blonde in some places.

So the moral of the story is do not me afraid to try, and yes advice might be a bit bizarre but there will e some one that knows.

Saving The World

From a young age, maybe around two or three, I attended church right through until I was about nineteen…. Well until I was just far too hungover and usually the other side of town waking up on some ones settee wondering where on earth I was and sending a quick prayer that I had not done anything I would later regret. This fact surprises most people mainly due to a) my music tastes, b) my support and love for LGBT people and issues and c) I have never preached.

From the age of thirteen I properly discovered rock music, Queen, Rammstein, Aerosmith and most importantly at the time Marilyn Manson. I sported the black lipstick, the piercings and bright pink/black/blue/purple/red/orange hair to go with the ‘look.’

rock n roll

However, I still went to church and I was still accepted into the church community. Why, because I still believed in the Christian ideals. I don’t believe the world was created in six days and Jesus made wine into water, but I do believe that we should all try and be good people and to help others as and when we can.

cake stallCharity. Anything to do with charity, raising funds, raising awareness, helping out, volunteering and I want to be a part of it. I cannot help myself and I feel like such a letdown if I cannot help in some way.  I have organised and taken part in sponsored silences, sponsored walks, bunjee jumps, cake stalls, fayres and fetes all to raise money for different causes. My latest thing is to sign up for a half marathon to raise money for The British Heart Foundation which was done on a whim as an incentive to get fit. All I had to do was pledge to raise a minimum of £400 (if you would like to help out http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/MissRaeGNR )  As well as fundraising for a charity school abroad (will give more details of this in another post)collection tins

Now in a conversation around charity working and volunteering, I was asked the question ‘Why do all that, it’s not like you can save the world?’

Well the answer was truthfully ‘because I like helping.’ I know I am not going to change the world or discover world peace, but even if I help just one life or a process to help others help others than that’s my accomplishment. Am I doing it to back up brownie points to get into heaven? No, besides any I do gain will be counteracted by the drinking, cursing and my regular indulgence in the seven deadly sins, (Lust chocolate, greed over chocolate and sloth do nothing about it)

Luke 21:1-4

The Widow’s Offering

21 As Jesus looked up, he saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. “Truly I tell you,” he said, “this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”

Being a Soulmate

Theodora Goss

I’ve been thinking about the idea of a soulmate, because I’ve seen friends who are in relationships, and friends who are not in relationships but searching for romantic partners. The idea of a soulmate is central to our idea of relationships now, isn’t it? That’s what we are all searching for, a soul mate, a partner who shares something with us that is of the soul, that goes to the core of who we are. I’ve seen friends who are convinced they are with their soulmates, and friends who are trying to find theirs . . .

And it seems to me that we’re thinking about the concept in the wrong way.

The goal shouldn’t be to find a soulmate. It should be to actually be a soulmate. And I think a soulmate is not necessarily a romantic partner. It’s anyone with whom you have a deep connection, and…

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