Finding Positivity Online

Do you find yourself losing positivity on hard days?

Me too.

Are you annoyed by unrealistic optimism?

Me too.

There’s a balance. There always has to be balance. I am a positive person. I suffer with depression. Believe it or not these two parts of me are equally important and co-exist. I see the best in people, I use kindness, I get excited by positive people. However, I have days when negativity seems to take over.  It wraps it’s ugly little hands around me and clings for dear life. These days are hard, these days are dark and I struggle still to pull myself out of them.

But I have managed to make a shift in mindset. This mindset stays with me always now. Even when I hear my inner critic start to scream, I chose to listen to the quieter voice instead. It’s a kinder voice, but it’s more gentle. You have to REALLY listen. There’s ways to hand this voice the microphone … There’s ways to make it speak more clearly. There’s people who encourage that voice, there’s people who recognise that the other voice, the negative one, is a liar. These are the people to stick with. These are the people that support you. If there are none of those people around, that’s okay, because I think it starts with you anyway. Start loving yourself, saying positive things to and about yourself, show kindness and the positive people will come … We attract each other. Be open, be kind and listen.

Okay I know this is all well and good on a good day. Not so easy on a tough one. Or in a tough time, I hear that. I hear that very clearly. So here’s where I suggest you start your positive journey …

Here’s some resources to use if your soul isn’t up to much.

 

1. Lavendaire 

Lavendaire (aka Aileen Xu) has been inspiring me for I don’t know how long. I went searching for something on YouTube two years ago and stumbled upon her KonMari tutorials. I started watching her stuff because I thought her voice was soothing and her videos are just really beautiful. She talks about life as a creative person, gives book/music/beauty/media/etc recommendations  but also just spreads a message of acceptance and support. She is the one who motivated me to start giving my years a theme and it is honestly the best idea if you want an alternative to New Year Resolutions. This actually works (2017 is the year of self love). Through time I have fallen in love with her message, her positivity, her spirituality and calm sense of self. She is just very candid, very motivated and positive and so full of a natural wisdom. She is beautiful to listen to or watch and I highly recommend getting on board with the Lavendaire Lifestyle. Her positive energy is infectious.

Catch her YouTube Channel ..

 

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-ga3onzHSJFAGsIebtVeBg

 

Or she has a podcast called “The Lavendaire Lifestyle”.

 

2. Rupaul’s DragRace

It’s not just a cheesy reality TV show. It’s a way of life. If you don’t know, RPDR is a reality competition to become THE NEXT DRAG SUPERSTAR. It’s not only fun but actually so uplifting and empowering for so many reasons.

  • Drag is all about celebrating the powerful women throughout history, bringing them to life and raising them up. The discourse around women is one of power, strength and ferocity, women are respected in the drag community probably more than anywhere else. It’s also about fucking with gender, bending the rules of social normalcy. Basically sticking it to the man.
  • Drag is inclusive of all body types. The big queens are just as fabulous and fierce competitors as the small ones. A plus size queen is a threat. They are amazing, they are beautiful, they are creatures of pure FAB.
  • Drag queens are sadly, usually survivors of intense adversity. They know what it is to struggle, they know what it is to be different and so their advice is worth listening to.

 

 

“My attitude toward friendship has remained the same. I will support and encourage you with all the love in my heart, but if it’s not reciprocal, I gotta go […] If your friends are bitter about your success to the extent that they act out, don’t expect them to change […] Move on.” Rupaul

“I want people to realize, that it’s okay to make mistakes, it’s okay to fall down. Get up, look sickening, and Make Them Eat It!” Latrice Royale

“Being booed off stage is just an applause from ghosts!” Sharon Needles

“For all the queens who tell me I’m not polished enough, they just need to know, I’m polish remover bitch” Adore Delano

Pretty much everything on the show is quotable gold but these are some of my favourites. As well as watching every episode of Drag Race you can get your hands on (season 2-9 on Netflix) I would recommend Rupaul’s podcast “What’s the Tee”. It’s all about over coming your inner demons.

 

3. Snapchat

peculiar I know but I have been so uplifted by so many snapchatters. If you want to watch me talk about body positivity, mental health, feminism and the day to day survival of a depressive person follow yhegarty1. But you know me, I want to introduce you to some people you might not know but who may lift your spirits. They definitely have helped to lift mine.

  • Kelly (kelsxabi)  Holistic healing, positivity, mental health awareness
  • Naoise (naoichan) Body positivity, kinky sex, kindness, bdp awareness, chronic pain awareness.
  • Alex (happybeingme70) positivity, feminism, break up grief
  • Caroline Kay (carolinekay117) positivity, kindness, music, just fucking hilarious really.
  • Dainty Dress Diaries (daintydiaries) crafts, fashion, positivity, goal setting, being in touch with the universe.
  • Caterina (cannacat) ptsd survival, positivity, marijuana advocate, just over all one of the sweetest souls I’ve ever met.

 

This is to name just a few, I’m getting to know more and more every day. What’s the common thread throughout? The key word … POSITIVITY. All these people are sharing it … for free!!! Jump on that band wagon.

So I won’t over load you with more than that for now.

 

I hope it helps. Be positive, Be free and remember negativity is a liar … don’t listen to it.

 

Self Love … A “How To” Guide

Okay, so my last post was a heavy one. I actually considered taking it down but I have since changed my mind. However, I am going to do something a little lighter today. Perhaps a little easier to read. I want to talk about something I am learning is very important. That is the never ending power of SELF LOVE.

Now, self love is hard. Self love unfortunately does not come easily to most of us. It seems that our default mode is set to self hate. I know mine is (was). Our media is so cruel. We are constantly told that we are not good enough.Where I notice this most is through weight loss movements such as “Slimming World” or “Weight Watchers”. I think they are negative and damaging beyond measure. Sure they might help you lose weight, but what precedent does that set up for our children? That we are only as good as the size clothes we wear? Their language is all positive and I see how it is easy to be tricked into believing that it is. But in my opinion (just mine … you do your thing) they are just selling you a dream, and re-enforcing that the only way to love yourself is if there is less of yourself. I don’t want to be part of a world that focuses purely on slimming and I definitely don’t want any one watching my weight.

So, this is just one example, I want to keep this post positive so I won’t get into the rest. But I just want to highlight that our world can put such focus on self-improvement and self-growth etc. What about the self we are right now? Is that not good enough? When will I be improved enough to love? When will I have grown enough to accept myself as good enough? I know the answers to these questions now. NOW. We are good enough now. And we deserve to love ourselves. Accept ourselves, forgive ourselves. Right. Now.

It is a really hard adjustment to make, but give yourself permission. Here is where I suggest you start ….

 

LOVE YOUR BODY 

Your body is amazing. It is so much more than what the beauty industry tells you it should be. It is this crazy machine that just works. Yes, shit goes wrong, some people can’t use their legs, some people struggle with weight gain, some with maintaining weight … But our bodies don’t fail us. They just work the way they do. Accept the way yours works may be different to how your friend’s does. It may look different to how a model’s looks. It is different, because it’s yours. It can’t look or work the same as anyone else’s, and their bodies are good enough too.  So don’t compare, just love yours, it loves you. It carries around your soul all day every day. Let it rest now, set it free. I love you body, you are fucking fabulous.

Wear comfy clothes. This has been a huge trigger in my own hateful thoughts towards my body. I would wear clothes that pinched my skin or made me feel sick because they were too tight etc. Now I don’t give a fuck, and I don’t need to create a perfect silhouette to feel fab. I am fab anyway, and the clothes I put on my bod now are always comfortable, they always leave room to eat. I am not putting my body through pain any more to uphold a standard I didn’t create. This body, my body, is perfect.

 

LOVE YOUR FACE 

Your faces are all beautiful. Tell yourself you are pretty, go on, say it out loud …. Do it, I dare you. You are fabulous, you are individual and you are gorgeous. If you are sick of plucking your unibrow, then stop plucking it … Own that one fabulous eyebrow, If you have a mustache, then fucking have a mustache. You don’t need to grow hair in just the right places. Your hair grows where it grows, who says this chin whisker isn’t cute?! I never said that!!! I am beautiful, no-one will ever have this face, just me, and I love it. Big nose, double chin, spots, chin whisker … It’s a perfect face.

 

LOVE YOUR MIND 

Your mind is your most powerful weapon. Use it. Read, learn, practice, learn more, create ideas, experiment, learn more. Don’t be afraid to set your mind free! You are the deepest ocean of knowledge, knowledge that only you have. Love that about yourself. Every memory, every experience (good and bad) has made you who you are, love that person … love that mind. Not the mind that they tell you to have, not the way they tell you to behave … No! Refuse to be anything but what your beautiful, magnificent mind tells you to be. You have to listen very carefully because it is the most gentle, quiet sound, but there is a voice in there telling you who you are. Give that voice the opportunity to scream, because it has something to say!

 

LOVE YOUR MISTAKES

This is a really hard one to do. But it is possible. We make mistakes, we fuck up, we let people down, we forget stuff, we get it wrong, we lose our temper, we lash out at those we love. We all do all of this, all of the time. Forgive yourself. Do not beat yourself up constantly for the mistakes you have made, that is just another mistake. Let it be, let it go, look in the mirror, know you have done your best and say “I fucking love you”.

 

Now, as I have said, this stuff doesn’t come naturally to me, I have worked on this so much. But I have finally gotten to a place where I know the choices that I make are based on my own well-being. The people around me, are those that build me up and celebrate me. They enhance my self-love because they love me too and I love them, and they love themselves and it is beautiful. Love is contagious. And it starts within yourself. When you love yourself completely, you can offer the most warm and kind love to those who deserve it. But you have to love yourself first.

 

I LOVE YOU YVONNE.

YOU FIERCE LITTLE ROCKET SHIP.

 

 

 

 

Slut shaming and why it has to stop.

This one goes out to you “Slane Girl” and all the “Slane Girls” yet to come. On behalf of our society, I apologise to you. You never deserved the ridicule, you never deserved the injustice of it all. You were shamed when you have nothing to be ashamed of. You will get them all back Slane Girl. Don’t you worry. I hope this experience has given you strength. You have given me strength, the strength to write this.

Slut shaming is disgusting. It happens every day. It is the lowest of the low and I am ashamed to admit I have done it and allowed it to be done. I have not only called my peers sluts, whores, easy … I have allowed myself to be called these words, I have allowed myself to be affected by them. But that time has passed.

I want to tell you a few stories from my late teens and early twenties, when the little boys who I grew up with suddenly became monsters. How I would love to name and shame a few. But I won’t. These are normal guys now. Living normal lives. The scariest part about this is that it is a very “normal” experience. I know so many young women who have been through similar events. It is not okay.

The word “slut”, among my friends probably started getting thrown around and tried out when I started secondary school. We were becoming sexual creatures, some quicker than others. People were kissing, there may have even been some below the belt action at that time too. Not for me, but definitely in my class. So that’s when I got to know the word. It meant a girl who was easy to fuck, flirted with guys, wanted their attention.

But it was a bad word. It meant you were a bad person.

But none of those things are bad.

  1. Easy to fuck
  2. Flirtatious
  3. Enjoys attention

I cannot see the problem with any of that. So why did we start saying that to each other, to hurt each other? Who taught us that? Who said wanting to fuck was bad?! Who said fucking a lot was bad?!

I still can’t answer that question.

All I know is that when I started having sex and I started getting called a slut. I felt like I was worthless. I felt like I was less than nothing. I was so afraid for my friends and classmates to ever find out what I would do on a Saturday night because I would be labeled a “slut” … whatever the fuck that means.

There was a particular time, over a summer if I remember correctly that it all got very bad for me. I had broken up with my long term boyfriend. We had been together for two years. Started going out when I was 16 and broke up when I was 18. He is a great guy, but we were interested in different things and we went our separate ways. I had a quick fling with a guy I was head over heels in love with then. I think it only lasted about a month before he broke my heart but he was my everything for those 4 very special weeks before the leaving cert. Nobody called me a slut for being with either of these men. Apparently having sex in a relationship is not slutty.

Then I was completely single. Completely free. Finished school, the world was mine. I wanted to sleep with guys. I wanted to kiss them. I wanted to love them and flirt with them and hang out with them. But acting on these impulses was apparently “slutty”, and I had learned at a young age that that word was the one word you never want associated with you. I had already been having sex, so why now? What was different now? Why did I deserve to be shamed now? I was free, I was single, it was fun.

After just a few weeks of the single life that word and my name seemed interchangeable.

And it started to hurt. It really started to hurt. So much so, I would tell myself “Yvonne, don’t even look at a guy tonight”. Because I was so terrified of what people would think of me.

This is when I started hiding stuff from my friends. I was so afraid to be called a slut again. I was so afraid of that shame.

A few incidents stand out to me. This is hard for me to write. I don’t know if I have ever been this honest about it. These events scared me so much.

 

The first: 

I was at my house, just home from a night out. It was probably about 3am. A boy I knew called to the door and wanted to come in. I let him. He was flustered. I can’t even remember what we talked about but he was upset I think. He tried to kiss me a few times and I said no. Very clearly. See, he had a girlfriend and I was terrified that if anyone found out that I had him in my house I would be called a slut. So I definitely wasn’t going to kiss him. He physically restrained me. I had to fight to keep my head turned to one side so that he wouldn’t be able to kiss me. Every time I asked him to leave he would get upset again and say sorry. He then managed to get me on his lap. I was continuing to say no. He tried to force my legs apart as I was trying to keep them shut. He ripped the tights I was wearing. I started to give in. It was easier that way. But I would not kiss him. I asked him to go because I was getting scared. It was so hard to get him out. at the front door he put his foot in the way so I couldn’t close the door. He begged for me to kiss him. I thought I was never going to get him to leave. So I kissed him. I felt so ashamed.

 

The Second: 

I was in the car park of a shopping centre. A boy I knew was walking me home pretty late, late enough for it to be deserted. I would have felt safer walking home alone. He stopped walking and stood in a shadow. I asked him what he was doing. He asked would I give him a blow job because he heard I was really good. I said no. He asked again. I said no. He asked again. I said no. I was terrified if people found out I gave a guy who wasn’t my boyfriend head in a car park then I would be called a slut. He asked again. His hands were on my shoulders. It was easier to just give in. I made him promise not to tell anyone. I did it. I felt so ashamed.

 

The Third: 

I had a threesome. There. You all know about it anyway. It was the talk of the fucking town for a few weeks. For the people involved in the events that followed the actual sex you should be thoroughly ashamed of yourselves. I know I’m not. So I had sex with these two guys. One of them I had slept with a good few times before casually. The other was his friend. It was all a bit of a laugh to be honest, every one was consenting, we were all drunk enough to be giddy but not so drunk that anyone was taken advantage of. We were all single. No problems right? Well after about a week I heard a little rumour. A little tiny rumour that destroyed me. Apparently there was a video. I still don’t believe that there was, I certainly never saw one but the rumour was damaging enough. I rang these guys to ask about it. I screamed and shouted because I literally remember telling them to put their phones on the other side of the room before. They of course denied the video, but I could hear a big group of lads in the background laughing and hooting and sounding like dickheads. I pretended not to care. It was the only defense I had. I continued life as normal. But I was terrified this video was real and it was going to get out. I could have been “Slane Girl”. I remember a few weeks after all this happened a girl, who I would also love to name and shame but won’t went out of her way to come up to me in a nightclub and said “Hey Yvonne … have any threesomes lately?” and sniggered. Real intelligent I know. I said “not lately” and continued to pretend I didn’t care. But girl, that hurt. We weren’t friends, we never spoke, we never moved in the same circles. But you made it your business that night to make me feel bad about what had happened. I wonder if you said the same to the guys? I wonder if anyone ever confronted the person who started the rumour that destroyed me? I wonder if they were made to feel ashamed?

The point I am trying to make here is that by calling me a slut all those times you covered up what was actually happening. You used that as a shield as a barrier to the truth. I was so caught up in the fear of being slut shamed that I never realised how wrong it was for the guys I was hanging out with to push me into doing things I wasn’t happy to do. I was so blinded by all of your hate that I allowed these men to mistreat me in such a way. Maybe if I felt supported I could have been open to my friends about this and maybe it would never have happened again. Maybe had I felt the fierce solidarity of my sisters, united and powerful I would never have been hurt like that.

So this is the attitude we must adopt in our lives. The word “slut” is a word of pure power to me. If I hear it used in a derogatory way, I will cut that shit so quick. Support your sisters. Call them words that ignite strength and togetherness and not shame and isolation. Create a discourse of inclusion and understanding so that if ANY young girl is forced into doing things she is not comfortable doing, she is not ashamed.

We have the power to do this. It is in our hands.

 

Sober as a judge but feeling judged.

I don’t drink.

This is not a big deal.

It is not.

Except that it is to everyone else and that’s pretty annoying.

So this has been something that every doctor, psychiatrist, psychologist or therapist has advised me to do. As someone prone to depression and crippling anxiety, staying away from drugs and alcohol is a wise move for me. Not only does the alcohol bring on the blues in a serious way it also messes with the meds that I have been on until recently. I have always agreed that it is good advice, but haven’t taken the advice. Until now.

I have flirted with ideas of the sober life for years now. But nothing ever stuck (more on that in a moment). I took part in “Dry January” or “Sober October” or whatever the fuck pop culture has renamed group hangover mentality. But I wasn’t doing it to prove a point, or to save money, or because I was studying for exams or any of the lies I told my peers. I was doing it because I hate drinking and it’s much easier to tell people that the reason your beer has no alcohol in it is because you are participating in something worthy of a hash tag, not just … because I don’t want to.

See, you probably only know this if you are a sober person … the moment you say “I don’t drink” people get uncomfortable. See, it is different from saying “I am not drinking tonight” … Which implies, yes yes I am normal and do participate in group merriment but I have a valid reason that tonight I will participate without an alcoholic beverage. This used to make me uncomfortable too but now I actually find it highly amusing. The person doesn’t know what to say next, immediately they are wondering if I am pregnant, in a religious cult, a raging alcoholic or just plain boring. They usually settle on the latter. But honestly it bores me to sit in a club full of people taking selfies and telling the internet how much fun they’re having when really they are sitting silently, scrolling through their likes. Look around the club/pub you are in next … most of the smiles or laughter you will see will be posed for a snap … The reality of it is, a room full of faces, pointed down at their devices, lit up like ghosts. Phone in one hand, drink in another, eyes down.

Now I know, this does make me sound like a judgy little arts student but honestly in my twilight years I have become a watcher. I am not ashamed. I do watch the world around me and how these social events unfold. Actually I always have done but it is nights like these that sucked that part of myself dry. There was a time, most of my adult life, that I decided to just give in, just go with it. We must get drunk, we must do whatever everyone else is doing. WE MUST FOLLOW THE REGIME.

Correction former Yvonne …

WE FUCKING DON’T.

And I won’t be from now on.

Here is the face of a very happy me, I was drunk, I was messy but eating curry cheese fries and knowing that I would never be drunk again and I found so much joy in that. This was the night I made the decision to never drink again.

 

nor

Honestly it has been so easy to give it up this time. I have no desire for it, I hate being drunk and that is enough to keep me sober. However that is easier to accept now. For years I couldn’t accept it because how the people around me reacted to it mattered to me.

I used to have such crazy anxiety walking into a social event that I knew I wanted to do sober. I used to be terrified of the moment someone would notice that my drink was non alcoholic and then the judgement would begin. I would have to reason with these people, try to make them see why I was not drinking or else in the worst cases, I would just give in and buy an alcoholic drink, get locked, dance around like a crazy person and then hate myself. Hate myself for doing what society told me to do … hate myself for giving up on my principals and what my body wanted. There were so many times that I would bail on my friends last minute because the anxiety was getting so bad knowing the questions that were going to be shot at me when I just have a coffee, knowing the sly looks that would be thrown at me for going home early, the inevitability of getting the cold shoulder for avoiding putting poison in my body and looking after myself.

Now, I couldn’t give a fuck what anyone says about my sobriety. I really don’t care, laugh at me, feel sorry for me, judge me, think I am pretentious, think that I am judging you. Go ahead think what you like. I am happy, and I am a better friend because of it.

So to any sober soldiers out there, just know that yes you will be judged by ass holes and yes people will probably look at you like you’re different and maybe they are right about one thing …

Maybe we are different …

 

 

 

 

 

What they don’t tell you about coming off pharmaceutical drugs.

Like so many, I have been taking a sexy little cocktail of antidepressants for the last 4 years. From SSRI-SNRI, sleeping tablets, Valium and everyones’ fave … Xanax.

It took me a really long time to find a drug and dose that suited me, one that allowed me to sleep most of the night, with the night sweats at a minimum (meaning only waking once a night). One that allowed me to get up, go to work, get through the day staying out of my head but still allowing me access to my creativity. This was a challenge and it is asking a lot from a little pill, but I did find one eventually that did all this for me. I was not depressed, I was only a little anxious and I was free.

However, it wasn’t long till I started getting this crazy dizziness. I felt like I was going to faint all the time and when the doctors checked my blood pressure, turns out it had dropped very dangerously low. So after a 4 year search to find the perfect meds, my body said “no”. Fuck.

They started me on a process to get off them slowly, but low blood pressure turned into severe chest pain and I was told to come off them immediately and then my journey through withdrawal began … This was about 2  months ago, the withdrawal symptoms appeared after about  2 weeks.

I was warned that withdrawal “may” come with some side effects.

The symptoms “may” last for about 10-14 days  …

That was 6 weeks ago.

They continue.

However, they are improved, drastically in the last week actually. But before that, I feared I would not live through it.

I want you to know this because no Doctor really warned me how bad this could be, so I was frightened, if I am honest I still am. I never knew my body could hurt like this and I felt that nobody really took it seriously. That filtered through from the doctors who were telling me, “It will pass”. I would have taken those words and cut their eyes out with them if I heard them one more time.

When? When will it pass?

It started with what they call “Brain Zaps”. It’s like a disturbance in the nervous system in the brain. The only way I can describe it is like having a bumble bee trapped deep inside your head. Every time I moved my head from side to side it would started buzzing, like I could literally hear it. Completely distracting when someone is trying to talk to you and all you can hear is a buzzing in your head.

Next came the break outs, my whole skin, everywhere was covered in these open wounds, really unsightly and really painful. I actually had a customer in work who knows me well enough ask me “what’s going on there lovey?” While pointing at  a break out on my face. If that guy ever reads this, know that you are an asshole for doing that. I am not your “lovey” and what goes on on my face, on my skin, on my body is none of your fucking business. But nonetheless I left the floor to cry that day, because you had the nerve to do such a horrible thing.  The next day, I was sweating buckets because I was too scared to take my jumper off in case someone else was brave (rude) enough to comment on the skin on my arms. Advice to the public, even if you see me everyday in work does not mean you have the right to comment on my appearance. You see me for a very tiny part of my life, in work, when I can’t actually be real with you because I am on the clock. So I am forced to be polite to you. Remember that I have a real life, outside the cafe walls, if you approached me there, I would probably have bitten you.

dav

Then there was the nausea, that is yet to pass. Then the migraines, then ridiculous irritability. A really weird one as well which I imagine must be what it is like to be pregnant (which I am definitely not) … my senses are very … sensitive. Like I can smell EVERYTHING and every noise is making me want to die. My skin is like a fire of nerve endings, it’s not that it hurts but everything I touch I feel it so much more. So in work when cleaning peoples’ half eaten bits of whatever off messy plates I am retching.

The worst of it was when the zaps went across my teeth in flashes every few seconds and down my fingers so that when I was carrying cups to tables I was gripping them with all the strength I had because my hands just were not part of my body anymore. I ended up in hospital when the panic attacks and chest pain got so bad that I lost all access to oxygen.

All  the while, I went to work, I went to the social events I had to attend and even when the nerves in my teeth were screaming I was still smiling.

Remember the next time you complain to a waitress that your coffee is taking too long that maybe it is because her hands aren’t working properly and she is holding back a panic attack. Remember she is probably better educated than you are but nowadays they don’t just hand out jobs to anybody. The generation of complainers tend to be older and think they are more important than me … but they are not. It’s just that your half shot, extra hot, soy, decaf, vanilla latte is the least of my worries and you can choke on it 🙂

The struggle continues but let me send hope to those of you that had to go through this or will have to or are going through it now. It does get better, but maybe not as quickly as the doctors have told you it will. It hurts like a bitch, but when pain subsides, freedom takes its place.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bikini shopping as a member of the body positive movement …

So every girl dreads the season …

Fucking why?!

We have bodies, we put them in swimwear … Therefore … We have bikini bodies.

I have been growing more and more disheartened by listening to my peers shame each other, in ways that don’t sound like shaming.

“Oh girl you will lose the weight don’t worry”

**TRANSLATION**

“You need to lose weight”.

“I Know I hate bikini shopping too, need to cut out the carbs lol hahaha lol”

**TRANSLATION**

“I am in agreement that we should be ashamed at our reflections in the mirror of Penney’s dressing rooms and we should starve ourselves until we reach the impossible task of reaching body confidence lol”

But the women around me, the strong and powerful sisters that have paved the way for our liberation must have wanted more than this?! The women who I see, the fierce mothers that have had babies cut out of their bodies, the women who fight to be treated as equals, the women who are born from the fire of our ancestors are still hating on their bodies, and each others and re-enforcing to our daughters that no your body is not worthy of acceptance.

Well my sisters, let me tell you that it is. But, and it’s a big but (pun intended), it starts from you. You must look at your thighs that chafe and say, fuck yes, they are the legs that carry me. You must look at the scars from our stretched out skin and say “Look how much I have grown”, We must let our bellies hang over our jeans and let the air at them, breathe body, breathe. Here I am setting you free.

Most importantly, buy the bikini, wear the bikini, jump around in it for fuck’s sake. Don’t work towards improving how you look in it, because you look awesome, because nothing looks better than a woman proud to show her daughters that they are free. Let’s start teaching that lesson to the women of the future.

dav

They Say I’m a Dreamer

What is chronic tiredness?

No really, that sounds like complete bullshit, what is it?

I hear you sigh, but it’s real, and it’s debilitating and I am going to talk about it today.

So I’ve talked before about my on-going battles with anxiety and depression. I won’t get into that again, it’s dull and uneventful but it related to this chronic tiredness I am struggling with at the moment. I am taking daily meds for my depression, they help, a lot. I am a completely functioning member of society with a job I’m proud of, boyfriend, friends, well-adjusted morals etc. but … here’s the thing … I’m always tired! Not just a yawn here and there, not just a quick nap on the couch or a lie in on a Saturday morning kind of tired … I mean REALLY tired.

People often laugh at me because I take daily naps and constantly yawn but for me it’s actually really much more than just laziness or anything like it. It has changed my life. At the moment I get through the day by drinking at least 3/4 espressos and constantly moving … If I stop moving, I start dreaming. It has actually taken me all day just to write this post and I’ve had 2 naps today.

Now I am not saying I have this Chronic Fatigue Syndrome but it has been something that I’ve done quite a bit of research into in the past few years and have started to question if it explains some things. I often wonder if my depression is actually a side effect of my chronic fatigue and not the other way.

Of course it’s depressing. Think about it … I’m constantly functioning at the lower end of the spectrum … you know that feeling when your body is heavy and your words are slurred because you’ve had a few late nights/early mornings or after a really long work week? That is literally me all of the time! Is that normal? My social life has taken a serious hit also … A night out for me is terrifying!! I am 25, at the peak of my social life but I find myself making excuses for nights out because I just can’t get through them with this tiredness. If I am to go on a night out till let’s say 3am I would probably need two naps (2 hours each) that day to last without getting a migraine.

Am I a freak?! From my research I have found some solace however. Chronic Fatigue tends to be cyclical, which matches up with my symptoms perfectly. I see this pattern emerging in my life in three month cycles … 3 bad followed by 3 improved followed by 3 great months. I’m always aware that I can slip back into a bad cycle very quickly which is nerve wrecking in itself, however I know it’s not forever.

I know this isn’t the most uplifting of posts but I wanted to get it out there … I wanted to work through it a bit because at the moment, I am above all things, extremely tired.

If any of you struggle with a similar battle let me know, it’s a weird one and one that Google doesn’t help with much, there’s little research out there and to be honest if I didn’t go through it myself I would call bullshit on it so fast.

Resisting

Hello all 

Well it’s been a long while since I’ve blogged and I apologise for that. I have no excuse other than my own laziness. I’ve actually recently watched a little YouTube vid by this gal I follow which describes perfectly what I’ve been going through … Resistance … Watch this.

Good right? However, It’s a new year, a fresh start and with this in mind I’ve decided to share something a little more personal with you all, the citizens of my tiny world.. I’m outing myself in a sense. If you’re not into this kind of expression of inner angst… perhaps skip this post. There will be more regular reviews and Lit Crit coming soon. You have been warned.

Thank you to those who have chosen to read on. Also thank you to those of you who have decided to follow my blog in whichever way you have decided to do so. I appreciate those of you who say nothing and those who do, as long as someone reads the words I write that’s all that really matters. So genuinely, thank you to those of you who are with me.

Anyway. I wanted to come clean about something. I can assure you, I do this not for attention or sympathy or even empathy, but more for myself. I want to feel a little bit normal about something that is not. I want to feel like I told the truth about something only those closest to me know. It’s not a big deal, but I suffer with depression. It’s tough, it’s dark, and it’s a struggle. But it is part of me. Even though I sometimes I hate this part of myself I have found that the few people I have chosen to share this with have been supportive in ways I never imagined possible. So honestly, thank you to all of you who treat me like a normal person, my best friends, my family, my boyfriend. You are all treasures to me.

I have been on meds for about a year now, and I have seen huge improvements in my ability to cope with day to day life. I go out with friends now, I can drink alcohol again, I sleep through the nights, I stay awake during the days, I got my degree, I got a job after a year of unemployment and now I’ve even bought a car and am learning to drive. Great success! This is true, I am happier now than I probably ever have been. I laugh more, I smile more, and I am genuinely enjoying my life. The people who now fill the empty spaces in my life are so important to me. I have managed to replace fear with friendship and that is powerful. I am lucky that I got such wonderful people given to me. Each and every one of them are a gift.

 

But of course, life has a way of throwing curveballs don’t it? I have stopped dancing … again. I stopped once. It took me about a year to get the courage to go back. When I did I was so happy. I got fit again, I got to socialise with likeminded people. I could express my creativity and choreograph my own material. Fabulous right? Wrong. I went back to dance for reasons not quite as solid. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I wanted to dance because I wanted to be somebody again. The truth is, I didn’t really know if I was worth anything without dance. It’s all I’ve ever really been good at. It’s all people have known me as. So I was happy for a short time because once again I could rely on dance to give me a purpose. But when my depression decided to set up camp and I drifted from my dance company and any other projects I had underway, I once again forgot how to be me. Was there a “me” without dance? Was I worth anything without a rehearsal to go to or a performance to talk (brag) about? Is it enough for me to just be me, Yvonne not Yvonne the dancer. Just me. Am I good enough? This has left me with an unanswerable question ringing loudly in my ears … “If I am not a dancer, who am I?” Well I suppose right now, I am trying to figure that out.

Let’s go back a little. Okay, so since I was a little one I have danced, I am trained in Ballet primarily but have done jazz, contemporary, tap, aerial hoop, gymnastics along the way. I studied dance full time in college, I did some professional dance work. I even did some work independently as part of a dance group set up by myself and a fellow dancer. It was great to have dancing to rely on. It gave me a template of who to be. I am Yvonne, I am a dancer, I am therefore skinny and healthy, and I am therefore disciplined and strong. This is great and everything but what do you do when those things disappear without your control?

My medication makes me sleepy and lethargic. It also promotes weight gain. I have put on about 2 stone in the last year. It has made me much more relaxed, this has made my discipline fade and my interest in training fade with it. In general I just feel much more mellowed out. “But at what cost?” I hear you cry. Well I can honestly say even though I’m probably (definitely) going backwards in relation to my dance career, I have never been happier. I don’t want to be the girl I was when I was the lean and determined dancer girl. She was miserable, sure she had direction and purpose and meaning but she was MISRABLE.

This is confusing though. To me as much as you believe me. I have so many people say to me “why don’t you go back to dance?” “Have you done much dancing recently?” etc. And I struggle to answer these questions. The reason being, I want to be that girl who dances and rehearses and has a great meaning to her life but I don’t know how to do it without the depression coming back. It’s like the two are connected. Dancing makes me so happy but it can also bring me to such dark places. So sometimes I just need a break. I want to go back, I really do, I dance inside my head all the time, but with the instability of a career in the arts ever-looming I tend to back off the idea. I lose myself instead in my books and my writing. I’m finding new ways dance, in my words. Maybe I’ll find a way back some day. Maybe my tiny world will grow into something bigger, maybe it will be epic.

“13 Reasons Why” By Jay Asher

I have actually really been putting off writing this because I really don’t know what to say about this book. It’s a crazy good debut novel by Jay Asher that you will read in a matter of hours but my God it is haunting. Do not read if you are in any way down or sad because it will make you sadder. Really tough to get through but compelling as they come.

13reasons

So I started reading this (having been really excited to read it for some time) right about the time when an internship I was meant to be starting fell through (paper work how I despise you) so I was bored at home, quite disappointed that something I was excited about starting had broken up with me, ultimately, I was feeling sorry for myself. I ran myself a bath, got my new book, and then felt 20 times worse about everything because this book is just so depressing. At the same time I could not stop. I had a sense of duty once I started to journey through it with Clay, our protag.

I think most of you will have probably heard of this book before, me being late to the Y.A party but for those of you who haven’t … let’s summarise. As I said the book’s protagonist is Clay, a high school student, high achiever, nice to everybody, doesn’t cause any trouble … or so he thought. A few weeks after the suicide of one of his class mates, Hannah he finds a box of cassette tapes outside his front door. They are from Hannah (this all happens in the first chapter I’m not spoiling anything I swear). The tapes are numbered 1-13 and have been instructed by Hannah to be passed around to 13 people, the 13 people and reasons why she killed herself. Having made it to this list Clay, the good guy, knows he is somehow involved in her suicide, but how?, why? He has to listen to the tapes to find out.

So yes, it’s a heavy plot but there is no way you can stop reading once you start. As Clay struggles through the tapes the reader struggles along with him. The hardest part is that Clay is so likable and here Hannah is blaming him and punishing him for her death. It’s just so hard to take in. She is so unlikable but who can blame her? As the tapes go on and reveal what happened to her, you just feel so sad for her. But her language is so hostile and sarcastic, it’s actually tough to read it because she’s so mean. I’ll try find you an example without a spoiler.

One moment please …

Okay I can’t find one. But trust me, it’s chilling.

I really would recommend this book though, despite its heaviness in content it’s really educational when it comes to teen suicide. It shows you that everything you do to another person counts. Everything you do to their life, good or bad, radiates throughout their relationships and experiences. Basically I think the whole message of the book is to do the right thing before it’s too late.

If you want to hear more about this book try listening to “The Split” a Y.A book reviews podcast for readers and writers. It’s presented by Bryan Cohen (Ted Saves the World) and Robert Scanlon (The Dreamer Chronicles) and it is great for book ideas and tips for writing. Every book they review they find “takeaways” which is basically something for a writer to take from the book they’ve read to improve their own writing. I love these guys, they’ve helped me with my writing loads and I often read books after they review them. “13 Reasons Why” was one of these. Also, I emailed them once and they both emailed me back, they’re so nice. (Yep I’m a big nerd).

Here’s a link to their blogpost about this book anyway, sure you can listen to all their podcasts from here too.

http://thesplitbookreviews.com/thirteen-reasons-why-jay-asher-book-review/

Jacqueline Wilson

So right about the time I had finished up all my assignments, essays and performances for my final year in my degree (English and Drama in case you’re interested) I was absolutely exhausted, brain dead and in need of literature that was easy to get through. I was looking for something comforting and familiar, where better to go than to your favourite childhood author. Oh Jacqueline you were like another mother to me.

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I decided not to review these books individually for a couple of reasons. The first being, probably most of you in my generation who are female have read them all anyway at least I know when I was a little pre-teen all my girly girls were reading them. I distinctly remember the conversations of “have you got to the part yet where xyz happens” “noooo don’t ruin it on me” etc. And the second reason is … let’s face it as much as I love her Wilson’s plots are fairly similar. They usually involve some kind of broken family bringing up some sort of tortured little girl who finds it difficult to evaluate and maintain meaningful friendships. That’s such a harsh generalization but it’s kind of the truth. Please don’t hurt me pre-teens I love her I swear but when you read 10 in a row (yes 10) I suppose you start to see the pattern emerging.

However, this didn’t stop me aimlessly wasting away my afternoons in blissful mindlessness reading them one after another. It was not only a blast from the past but a bit of an eye-opener. When I read these first I was probably between age 8-12 or something along those lines but as “Children of the Dust” (see previous review … need to learn how to hyper link) the seriousness of what Wilson was dealing with went completely over my head. So I gained a new perspective on them reading them with my cynicism by my side, something that I suppose I didn’t have as an 8 year old.

My favourite part of reading these books was how Wilson never uses big scary words to describe a feeling or an illness but explains it. That seems confusing. I’ll give you an example, in “Vicky Angel” Wilson clearly goes through the signs and symptoms of depression but I don’t think she ever uses the word “depression”. I liked this, as a child maybe it’s too big a concept to understand but the feeling isn’t. I felt like Wilson was giving children the vocabulary to speak about loss, grief or sadness with eloquence. I think she is an empowering force in children’s lit.

Love her. Always have. Always will. The voice of my childhood.