Surprises

1C6D8BEF-C6A3-48FB-BDF1-D014085FF47C.jpegJust a happy little moment when someone bothered to send me a little surprise in the post. Was such a lovely thing to come home to, nestled in amongst the circulars and bills was a package that I didn’t order. I was very confused to start with – had someone sent it to me in error?

I went through the list of people I thought it could be. No one knew anything. And I was still guessing the next morning when I got a message saying “I hope ou like your earrings” and it was none other than my lovely co-blogger. Just a happy end of January present.

And I love her even more for recognising that January is a difficult time for me and doing something amazingly lovely to celebrate me making it through.

Summer Fun

Summer on a beach

Summer seems while ago now I’m back at work and in the routines again. But I just wanted to tell you about my summer. I didn’t do anything particularly special, no holidays of a lifetime or anything, but I had fun, lots of fun.

I laughed lots, I caught up with lots of friends, I read, I relaxed and I ate out far more than my bank balance or my waist line allowed for! But most of all I learnt to love myself a little bit.

I enjoyed my own company sometimes, although there were days where I drove myself mad too! I discovered the world of make up and I love it! I actually like the way I look when I step out the house in the morning. And I learnt to be more myself and not to care as much what people think.

Its still definitely a work in progress but this summer I definitely took some big steps towards learning to love myself.

My Ink

Until I was 30 I was adamant I was never having any tattoos. Then I got my first one and I can safely say I love them and they are very addictive! Yes they hurt at the time, yes they can be expensive, no they are not to everyone’s taste but to me it’s like personalising my body. To be they are my art. All my tattoos mean something to me and were chosen for a reason so here is my explanation.

My first tattoo was three small stars on my foot. They are to represent the stars in heaven of my Grandad, my Auntie Doris and my Uncle Norman who were like grandparents to me. My next one was my butterfly on my wrist. This is for Olivia, a fabulous girl who was a brownie who sadly lost her battle with cancer. It’s a butterfly as we released butterflies at her memorial and they always remind me of her when I see one. They are also a reminder of the fragility of life. The placing is not insignificant as when I make my brownie promise salute the butterfly looks out my current girls.

My next ink was my ladybird which is for my gorgeous niece Ruby. When she was little everyone bought her ladybird things and they came to be associated with her.

My fifth inking was my owl on my side. Partly because I love owls and partly because of the Guiding and Brownie connection. And obviously I am Brown Owl! Somewhere around there are some photos taken by my co-blogger of me grimacing having that’s one done!!

Number six is a Japanese kanji which means friendship. This represents my best friend. Enough said.

And then we come to the most recent three. The hands is an original drawing by another of my best friends which she gave me on a card when Granny died earlier this year. The detail on it is amazing and she is one talented artist. The hands are significant to me because when I was little she always held my hand and guided me and as she got older and frailer, I held her hand to guide her. And now she will be with me forever. On a side note, she always loved my tattoos and coloured hair- I think she had a secret inner rebel! Well Granny now you have your own ink!

The rainbow heart represents the year I came out properly and you lovely blog followers made me happier than I’ve been ever with your total acceptance of everything that is me. Love is love, whatever and whoever.

And finally my smallest (and ironically the most painful!) is a semi-colon on my little finger. This represents the fact that 2017 was a turning point in my life. A fresh start, one where I can be me and will be me and am happy. And one to raise awareness of mental health. A subject which will always be close to my heart.

Whether you love them or hate them they are part of me and more importantly I love them!

H.A.P.P.Y.

Happy. A small word to describe a big feeling. Today I feel happy. In fact I have felt happy basically every day since June 12th. You may wonder why I know the date. Well it was the date that I took a deep breath, felt the fear and did it anyway. June 12th was when I finally came out via this blog and the post called ‘This is me.’ And you all reacted in such an amazingly positive way. You have no idea how you have changed my life.

I never realised that a blog post could have such a massive effect on my whole life. Since then it’s as if a weight has lifted. A weight that I didn’t even realise I was carrying. I feel different. I haven’t had a single anxious day since then. Not one. And I’ve struggled with anxiety since I was a teenager. That’s a whole month with no anxiety.

Several people have commented that I’m like a different person, especially at work. I went out with my work friends and danced til the early hours (took me a couple of day s to recover lol but hey) and I loved it. I chat to people at lunchtime. I no longer feel grumpy and want to snap at people in the morning. I want to be sociable. I actively seek out people to chat to at lunch time. I chat to my friends about crushes, make up, tv etc. all normal things I know but not for me til now. I even message them out of work – something I would never have previously done. I used to keep myself separate. I went to the pub with them after work and felt accepted and included. So much love for my work friends right now.

I crack jokes, sure I’ve had frustrating times too but nothing really seems to bother me too much or for too long. And I’ve been sleeping – not perfectly but a damn sight better than before. I even ordered myself some make-up. I will confess I’ve rarely bought myself make-up before. Most of what I have has been presents.

And the biggest thing of all for me. I don’t dislike myself anymore. Sure I could do with losing some weight but hey so can most of us! I went out and felt good about how I looked. I feel comfortable with who I am and what I am. I’m happy. IMG_1345

Good friends

IMG_1321When I was growing up I was never in the popular group. I did have friends but they weren’t in my class or year at school. My friends were at the stables, at guides and in my street. At school I was often lonely. I was the child who was always picked last for teams and who never had a partner or group to work with. I used to dread the moment the teacher would say “Now get into groups” knowing that I would be an outsider and that no one ever actually wanted to work with me.

Depression also robs you of your friends, you desperately need and want them but end up pushing them away because you don’t believe that you are worth liking.

Its hard to pinpoint when things started to change in the friendship department. For years having a crippling social anxiety meant I hardly went out and although I desperately wanted to take up invitations I just couldn’t do it.

I think things started to change when I was around 30. A chance meeting through a mutual friend (interestingly who I am no longer in contact with!) meant that I met my best friend- my first best friend since I was 8. Someone who liked me for who I was and actually chose to spend time with me. She also stayed by my side when I was in some of my darkest paces and for that I will always be truly grateful. It still surprises me now when she says she looks forward to seeing me! But now I am lucky enough to not have just one best friend but to have lots, more than I can count on one hand unbelievably. And not only do I have best friends, I also have other close friends and lots of people who love me for who I am. It’s taken me a long time to realise that they are not going anywhere too.

One of those friends said to me the other day “you are so good at keeping in contact with people and that’s such a great quality”. Yes I suppose I am, because the one thing I will never, ever do is take my friends for granted. I know how it feels to not have friends. I love each and every one of my friends and if you know you are one of my friends please know that you mean the world to me. And just like the picture, many of my friends I don’t get to see anywhere near as often as I’d like but it’s ok as, finally, I can believe that they will always be there.

This is Me

As I’m not quite sure how to start this post I’m just going to go for it. I’m gay. There I said it. It’s taken me a long time to feel comfortable with who I am and I’m sure this has contributed to my years of anxiety and depression.

I first knew I was ‘different’ when I was about 14. Everyone was talking about fancying boys and I just didn’t. The only idols I had were girls. Mainly from Neighbours and Home and Away! I didn’t even know there were options not to like boys then.

By the time I got to university (unbelievably twenty years ago now!) I knew the word for how I felt and I told a few people how I felt – we are no longer in contact which pretty much says it all. So I learned to keep quiet and just to go along with it when people talked about boys and later men they fancied.

Then in my twenties I tried again I told someone I thought I might be gay… and it wasn’t a disaster. But by then I was so caught up in the throws of my anxiety that I was terrified of being judged and being unable to cope.

Fast forward to now. I have a circle of amazing friends who just accept me for who I am. I went to pride with a friend from work and loved it. I can chat about girls in the staff room and am (almost) comfortable with it.

So here I am, every rainbow coloured, pink and sparkly, girl loving bit of me! Take me or leave me, your  choice but I think I am finally happy with who I am and I’m proud. IMG_1103