Just Be Yourself

Okay, be honest. How many times have you heard those three words being said to you? How many times have you listened? How many times has it actually made you feel better? How many times have you wanted to slap that person and just scream, “ITS JUST NOT THAT EASY!”

Yes, you are reading the words of one such individual who has both said those words to others and been on the receiving end of it. Granted, it does sometimes help to hear those words, but there was a point where being myself was just something I didn’t want to be, or at least I didn’t feel I was someone others would want to be around. Last year, I wrote a blog on weight and explained a little about my journey with it – https://livinglifewithlucia.home.blog/2019/05/06/6-may-myself-and-i-weight/ this is the link if you want a small segway into what I have previously spoken about. Along with the things I spoke about in the blog above, one thing that bothered me most were my clothes. I just wanted to sit and wear my slouch as all day long, with a baggy jumper that made me feel nice and small and like I was being cuddled by a big teddy bear. It was great! I was also hiding. From myself.

When I was younger, I used to wear all sorts of clothing that I actually loved. I didn’t care what other people thought and I loved anything that was bright or striped. As you get older, part of the challenge is finding out what you like and don’t like. Just like your taste buds developing and your body too, so does everything else.

I always have and always will love Doc Martin’s. I love going from jeans and a t-shirt to wearing a dress, although I am always adamant that I’m not a girly girl (not that anyone cares either way.) I used to love wearing anything that was bright and stood out, because it made me feel more comfortable. I have never been one for wearing lots of makeup or doing fancy hair dos, but instead, I always felt like I expressed myself and was fully who I am by the clothes I wore. I loved vintage clothing and although for a time I chose to ignore that, I have found my way back to it again.

When I put on weight and was struggling with my body, I didn’t want to dress in my usual clothing. I no longer felt myself and suddenly I found myself looking to other people and how they dressed. This included buying more clothes that I saw a lot of people wearing, buying clothing I knew weren’t really for me, but forcing myself into them. Now, out of this, I did find some clothes that actually suited me that I never before would of even picked up. However, one day, I looked at my wardrobe and saw someone else looking right back. I had somehow managed to buy clothes that 5 ft 8 skinny girls would wear, who didn’t have massive boobs to worry about and could wear these items and look stunning! I am 5 ft 3 and I am a curvy woman. I’m not small chested and I have to be careful with certain clothing, because some can sit on me in such a way that they can make me look flat chested, or bigger than I am and I’m sure many other people can relate to the battle of finding clothes that fit your size, shape and skin tone (yes, that is actually a factor). Please don’t misunderstand, there is no judgement or hate towards women that can wear these clothes and look amazing – quite the opposite. I used to envy those that could pick something up and just know that it was going to look great on them. I was hiding away from who I was and never realised that what I chose to wear was actually telling people, “I’m so lost right now, I literally do not know my left to my right. I don’t know who I am.” It was such a huge waste of money. Especially for a student, who needed every penny she had! I ended up throwing them away or happily giving them to my friends who would get some use out of them.  

I remember having a chat with one of my best friends, who came round one day and basically told me that she could tell I wasn’t myself. I told her what was going through my head and that I needed new clothes. So, she came with me to start getting some new things. Bit by bit I began to buy things that suited me, that made me comfortable and feel sexy and attractive. I began to surround myself again with people who made me feel good to be who I am, who told me I looked great and who made me feel confident enough to be in clothing that felt like me!

Even now, I am still learning what I like and dislike and I find that my wardrobe is still changing constantly. Now that I am in a full time job, I have found that I love high waist trousers (or anything high wasted). I love fitted tops and dresses and I have found a website called ‘Joanie Clothing’, that sells vintage style items. If I had the money, I would probably purchase every item on that site! I also feel lucky enough to be with somebody who loves how I dress, including the more quirky items that I like to get. He even bought me a gorgeous book dress that I have completely fallen in love with and got to wear to the Harry Potter Tour in London! (One of the best days EVER!) 

The point of this particular topic, is not just about wearing clothes that make you feel good, but is also about not hiding from who you are. It’s about just being yourself. It can be really difficult to hear those three words and I completely understand that, but I had become so consumed with negativity about myself and my body (for so many reasons) that I had basically turned off and was becoming a robot of myself. Everything changes and you continue to develop from the day you are born all the way through to the day you die. Tastes change, interests divert and items that you once clung onto, slowly slip away. There is nothing wrong with that. But maybe, if each day, you try and focus on being you and being the best version of you, you can actually begin to enjoy yourself. There should be excitement in getting new things. There should be happiness feeling good in something you wear. It shouldn’t be a burden. As corny as this may sound, you have to start loving who you are and what you have to offer the world in order to enjoy the things that life throws at you. It’s definitely not always easy and I could go on and tell you so many times that I have not been able to find one single item of clothing that makes me happy, but quite frankly, I don’t want to bore you. Take each day, one step at a time. Start throwing away items that don’t bring you joy. Whether that be clothing, shoes, books, movies. Anything. There is so many things bad in the world, why hold even more negativity in your room or in your house? Declutter. Start again. Rip things apart and put them back together again. Do what you need to do to find who you are so that you can wake up everyday and be happy with who you are. You might even be surprised and not hate it so much when someone turns to you and says,

“Just be yourself.”

It really wouldn’t kill you to be nice…

Before I go into what I suppose is a little rant, I just want to say, I hope everyone is doing okay and I hope that this does make a few people think and make others laugh…which is completely allowed at this time! In fact, its needed!

This is all very difficult on lots of people and it has been so lovely to see everyone coming together to help one another and showing a lot of appreciation to our key workers. To be honest, I give a genuine applause to anyone who hasn’t killed their partner, sibling or any other family member, from being stuck inside the house. Seriously. Humans were never meant to live on top of one another in this way. But, we do what we need to do right now to survive.

However, I was reminded yesterday that there are still people in this world who really do not care about anyone but themselves and it was in the stupedist scenario ever! Now, I completely invite you to laugh at this situation, because, looking back I can now laugh at it. At the time, I genuinely cried and wanted to punch somebody.

Let me set the scene: I had had a bit of a bad morning, having had an argument with my family and decided to go for my daily walk with my dog. Its sunny, clear skies and I have just had a chat with my boyfriend who has cheered me up completely. Hes a key worker, so we couldn’t chat long, before he was off his break and had to get back. I’m walking down this road, when I get to a bit of off road track bust is a cut through. Please bare in mind that this is a wide road. Two people are walking towards me with their dog. Now, my dog is fine with other dogs as long as they aren’t bigger than him. Clearly, with the current situation, we dont want to be going anywhere near them. So, I’m holding my dog back. The owner puts his dog back on the lead (which looked like an extremely long piece of rope) and let is hang very loose, hardly holding his dog back. My dog is watching him when this dog starts to bark and go for mine. I pull mine back (Archie) and he listens. The other dog goes again and as my dog pulls forward too, I lose my footing and fall over my foot, twist my ankle, whilst dragging my knee across the ground and falling flat on my face.

Did they ask if I was okay? Did they apologise for not keeping their dog back and letting it get so close to mine?

No.

They literally looked at me and walked away! My dog immediately stopped the second I fell over and came by my side. He licked my cheek as I started to cry and sat on the ground holding myself up and completely letting myself just have a moment.

You have no idea what other people are going through. None at all. I was angry with them, yes, but later I was able to laugh at how funny I probably looked in a sitcom kind of way. There are genuinely some people who will never understand how to just be kind to someone. I called my friend, who calmed me down, reminded me to breathe and checked I was okay. A small gesture that was gratefully received.

Later that day I had an influx of people who I am lucky to have in my life, tell me that I am loved and that they were there for me. It completely turned my day around. By the end of the day, I didn’t even really remember what had happened that morning. Come two weeks time, it would even cross my mind once and those people would of been gone from my life. It’s easy sometimes to let people’s actions take over in your head and have an impact and worse of all it can happen with people that you dont even know and who won’t have even given you a second thought. Don’t waste time of people like that. It’s so easy to do and I am the worst for it. I hold onto things and struggle to let go and have done for a long time. I need to take a leaf out of my own book. Don’t let those that aren’t important, affect you and put a downer on your day. Now, more than ever, you need to keep hold of the things that are important to you. That make you smile, laugh and even cry. There is always a balance needed. Negativity in order to see the positive things in life. But dont let it take over and have power over the rest of your day or what you want to do with it. Time is precious. Sometimes it really bloody hurts when you fall, but you just have to get back up again and keep going.

Virtual Hugs to all Around!

In this very scary and uncertain time, I just wanted to send out a message to you all to say that, we are all in this together and that I am here if you need someone to talk to or have questions or would like some tips on what to do if you are not working at the moment and need something to keep yourself and your mind occupied.

If, you are like me, I’m sure you are quite sick of hearing about the Coronavirus, so let me rest assure you, that this will be a safe space away from it all. Of course, it is important for us all to know the information and there are the right and correct places to go for that, however, we all also need a place away from it all, to just be us and feel a little bit of peace from it all, even if it is for just five minutes.

So, this is a quick little message, to let you all drop me messages and comments of what you would love to read about from me. Topics be from books, to films, to relationship advice, or anything else you would like to know about. Pop it in the comments and I will get writing!

Just as Carrie Fletcher the actress, author and Youtuber has said before in her videos, you can look to me as an honorary big sister, or a long distant friend. I’m here to listen, chat and let you step away from everything for a little while, so that you can cope with everything else in your day again!

Lots of love to you all,

Lucia xx

 

My New Chapter Starts

Tomorrow, I start my new job and with that starts a whole new chapter in my life.

I have spent around the last 17 years of my life in education and I have loved every single second of it. From primary school right through to going to University, I have loved soaking up every drop if information that anyone can give me. Yes, I had my good and bad days as everyone does, but all in all, I really loved education.

This past year since leaving University, has definitely had its ups and downs. I knew that moving back home would be difficult, but I hadn’t quite comprehended just how much of an effect it would have on me. I was scared to move back home and I was scared to figure out what to do next.

Coming back to where I grew up, didn’t really feel like coming home at first. It was like the first day of school all over again, where you know no one and no one knows you. I had to start again with making friends and I think to some extent, I felt homesick from Lincoln where I went to University.

I was desperate to move back. I still am desperate to move back, but have now come to terms that it just isn’t my time yet to go back there. I hope to some day, but have finally reached an area of acceptance where I feel okay – even pretty good with where I am now.

When I left my old job, it was really difficult. I have made some lifelong friends there who have been there for me through one of the toughest years of my life since leaving Uni. They were there to make me laugh, listen to me rant and just give me massive hugs when I needed them. They became a safety blanket, as did the job, and I started to become complacent to leave.

I tried every job opportunity that would get me started in the career I have chosen, along with getting me back in Lincoln. Unfortunately, the latter hasnt happened, but I am incredibly grateful that someone has decided to take a chance in me and give me an opportunity that will hopefully open so many doors down the path I want to take.

I had so many people ask me if I was excited and it’s been hard to figure out if I am or not. To be honest, after so many months of rejection after rejection from companies, the fact that I actually have a full-time job, has definitely not sunk in! I felt guilty for not feeling as excited, but I think my mind just hasn’t quite come to terms with it yet and won’t do until I step into the building and actually begin working.

I had the absolute pleasure of having a week’s work experience at a company called ‘Shooting Star’ and absolutely loved every single second of it. Its shown me where I want to go and how my new job will help me get there!

It’s crazy to think that tomorrow I am actually stepping into the adult world of work.

It’s all happened so quickly that I’m still taking my time to process it all. I felt a little buzz of creativity to write a bit about what is going through my head as I edge closer to that door into my new chapter. Who knows what will happen. Who knows where this will take me. But, one thing I am definitely sure of is this – I have earnt this! It’s been a rollercoaster ride to get to this point, but I’m ready for the next ride to start. I’m done with the one I have been on for the last year. I need something new. I need to take that leap even though I am so nervous for tomorrow to begin! The unknown is always scary, so you are not alone if you feel that way!

So, there you go sweet void. Please don’t let me do anything too stupid tomorrow(!) I would really really appreciate that!

For anyone else starting something new – whatever it may be, I wish you all the luck, strength and happiness with it!

I’m tired.

It seems to be a common phrase I am using at the moment. I’m physically tired. Emotionally tired. Mentally tired. My body is craving more sleep every single day. My mind wants to just shut off and go quiet. My emotions feel constantly all over the place.

This post has no particular purpose other than for my own need to just spill and get things off my chest. And if by some chance it helps someone else feel less alone and see that someone feels similar to them, then great! In other words, I just want to have a little rant.

I’m working a lot at the moment, which is one reason why I am so tired. However, if I didn’t have a million and one things to do in the day time, my evening shifts could be my one and only focus and I would probably feel a lot calmer and as though I was a little more in control of my life.

Right now… I don’t feel in control. I have felt very lost over the previous months since finishing university and have struggled to get through one day to the next. My routine and system had disappeared and I had no idea what I was doing. I now have a system (not so structural) but a system all the same and I feel a lot smoother in my movements with where I am going to next. I have an idea of what I want to do with my career and my life, more so than I did a few months ago. I haven’t got it all sorted but slowly I feel like I’m ticking all the right boxes. This should be making my day to day life a lot easier. But… I have so many things going on in my head at the moment, that I’m struggling to just stop, take a step back and watch what I have accomplished so far. Constant rejections of jobs I apply for, is something I am getting better at dealing with. However, it’s still draining. You see people achieve and conquer all over social media everyday that it’s easy to forget that they had to work hard to get there! They had to have low and awful days to get to the highs. But these are not often seen. Pride gets in the way. So I’m going to put it out there. I have been rejected for more jobs than I can count. I have got to interviews and failed. But my achievement is getting back up and starting again. Wiping those tears away and trying to move forward.

One thing I have had to admit to myself, is that I really need those I care about the most to be there for me right now. That’s a massive step with anything is admitting when you need help. Drop the pride. Put your hands up and just say, “I need help.” I’m definitely no expert in it. In fact, I am so stubborn that sometimes I make matters worse because I can’t just say that I need help. I hope that my friends and family know I am always here for them, even if I don’t message everyday (I know they do know this). I am just a phone call away and I will always be there for any of my friends. They are so important to me. But I am tired of fighting for friendships where I feel like it is one sided, or that I am fighting for my worth to be seen. My patience with time, my energy to be understanding has decreased massively. I have become quiet. I have become secluded. I see myself doing it and yet I can’t seem to stop right now. I know I need this time to focus on me. To focus on those most important to me. I have the most amazing rock in my life who is keeping me on my feet. Who is giving me enough strength to push forward. If you have someone like that for You, hold onto it. Let them support you and help you.

This is no sympathy post. I find writing to be therapeutic. I enjoy to just sit and chat with you. And if you are feeling the same then you can be comforted by the fact that others go through the same. It isn’t easy. I understand that. I am applying for things over and over. My time will come. This is just the path I am taking to get there. One that isn’t easy right now, but will become easier. I can already see the jigsaw pieces are falling into place. It’s easy to forget that sometimes, but I know deep down, through all of my tiredness, that ultimately everything will work out and everything is going to be okay. If you need to hear that too then just know now. Everything is going to be okay. I promise.

#20 – May, Myself and I – Mundane

Mundane – “Lacking interest or excitement”

It seems only right that after not writing a blog for a couple of weeks, the next word for ‘May, Myself and I’ would be ‘mundane’. A word that seems to sum up exactly how I have been feeling, with no explanation whatsoever as to why I have been feeling this way.

I have gone through phases in my life, where for no reason I feel down or grumpy or lack any interest to take part in anything unless it means I can stay in bed and sleep. Once I hit puberty (yes, I just used the ‘P’ word) and my hormones were everywhere, it sort of made sense to sometimes feel this way and acceptance of it was always key to dealing with it. The joys of uni meant that sometimes I could afford to get back into bed, shut my door, put my laptop on the bed and do my work in bed, or sometimes avoid doing it at all (although I don’t recommend doing this often). It was easier then to choose a day off and have it without feeling too guilty. I could have a time out, knowing that I could choose to do my work later on in the day, even if it was in the early hours of the morning; sometimes it was the only time my brain actually felt awake and ready to go. Now, having left university, I often feel limited, as though there aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done. From chores, to looking after my dog, to going to work, to seeing my boyfriend, to meeting my friends, to looking for a full-time job, to actually having some down time, weeks seem to turn into months and its sometimes difficult to find the balance.

I have now been out of uni for a year, which is so scary to think about, considering it feels like I have only been gone for a month or not even that! I miss the environment, the house I lived in, the independence and the knowledge of knowing what I was going to do the next day. I am officially out of the safety bubble and into the world of adulthood. Sometimes it really sucks. Other times it is absolutely great. Recently, my brain has been mundane. My moods shift and change constantly and I feel a lack of control in what I am going to be feeling next. I struggle to get up, applying for jobs is draining and the continuous rejections is even harder. I have acknowledged my mood but have found no way out. Until today. Something clicked. I had been avoiding chatting to people and not really making an effort to do anything else other than work, eat and sleep. Today, I picked up the phone to my friend who I used to live with. I saw another friend this weekend who I hadn’t seen in seven months. My mum brought home a load of old vinyl records that she used to listen to and we had a laugh and a little dance along. Today, is a better day. It’s not perfect, but having made a few choices to push myself to do things, it definitely feels a lot better. I pushed myself to ring my friend back and although at first I struggled to talk, I soon found myself back in the swing of it and felt a lot better for it. Little bits and pieces seemed to slot together today including other news that I feel I cant talk about at the moment. Hopefully tomorrow will be just as good or even better. The thing is, feeling mundane doesn’t need to be a constant state. The first step was acknowledging and seeing it being there, but it is definitely difficult to push yourself into a situation of being active rather than choosing to be a hermit.

I’m tired of feeling mundane, but I have decided to see it as a way of me appreciating the good days a little better. I have allowed myself a few days of feeling this way, but the guilt of not being myself around those I care about was enough to push me to try and be a little active.

 

#6 – May, Myself and I – Weight

Yes, I know, I missed days 4 and 5, but I never promised to get everyday done. I knew it wouldn’t be possible to do it all and so I wasn’t going to set a goal that I already knew I would fail. This is something I have learned to do over the past few years – not setting myself up to fail. It does nothing for my self-confidence and only ends up making me feel grumpy and annoyed at myself for not accomplishing it, even though I knew from the very beginning I would never reach it in the first place.

When I was in first year of Uni, I put on a lot of weight. This was due to the amount of alcohol I was drinking, (freshers week really did completely kill me) food I was eating and the fact that I was on the pill. Yes, I’m about to start talking about a little subject that some people feel all squeamish about and really makes me want to slap them. I was on the pill due to having very heavy, very unpredictable periods. With a whole new chapter starting of living on my own, doing a degree, remembering to wash my clothes, the last thing I wanted was the extra stress of not knowing when my stupid period would start. This would give me a structure that I could stick to and not have to worry of randomly waking up in the middle of the night and have horrible sheets due to not knowing when I was about to start. It was a stress that I could completely avoid. It all started off great, although I did change my pill a couple of times due to it not suiting my body, but it turned out that I am allergic to the oestrogen that are in many pills. I was offered other pills by the doctors but in all honesty I wanted to give my body a break. What had started as an easy option to avoid unexpected periods, slowly turned into a nightmare. I put on a heck of a lot of weight, my hormones were everywhere and I began to get acne all over my face, something I had never been prone to before. I came off the pill and decided to just let mother nature be. I think if I was to go back to the pill, some deeper research would need to happen on my part to find the right one.

By the time I came off the pill and it was out of my system (which can take up to 3 months), I was in my second year of Uni. I had tried the gym in first year and probably showed up 3 or 4 times during the whole year. I just didn’t enjoy it. Now, don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t huge or unhealthy, but I just didn’t feel good in my own skin. I constantly felt bloated or dirty or completely sluggish, and I struggled to do anything about it. To me, your size does not matter as long as you are healthy and happy. I didn’t feel happy and I definitely didn’t feel healthy. I would walk to and from work and everywhere around Lincoln when I was at uni. It’s not like I didn’t do any exercise, but between all of that I just didn’t feel like it was enough.

I began to go to the gym and gave it another go with my roommate. We joined classes and often did the spin class and to toning class for legs, bums and tums (the three areas I was most conscious of.) But slowly, I stopped going. I didn’t go for about 4 months and continued to pay for a membership that I never used. I made excuses.

There was a period at Uni where a lot of things had happened and I completely hated my body. I couldn’t stand to look at my own reflection in the bathroom. There mirror was right where I would stand when I would get out of the shower. I wouldn’t even look up and would cover myself with the towel. I drank more, ate rubbish food and began to feel numb towards my own body. Not looking after it. Not caring at all. I wasn’t eating great and so the weight did drop off and I was pretty skinny. But not healthy. Again, size to me doesn’t matter. My health does.

After an amount of time, lots of late night walks and thinking, I gave myself the kick up the butt that I needed. I wasn’t looking after myself. I wasn’t sleeping well. I felt stressed and so unhappy. I would drift in and out of conversation, never really being in the same room as everyone else. Just being. Not living.

I decided to set myself realistic goals. I would get up and put my gym clothes on straight away. I would have my bag ready. I stopped going to gym classes because they restricted my freedom to pick and choose when I could go. I started with just half an hour workouts, once a week. I cut out drinking for a short while and slowly went back to it when it was a social outing, but wouldn’t allow myself to get completely obliterated. I still need to drink more water, but my intake definitely improved. In my day to day life I made mini goals. Getting up and making the bed. Cooking myself dinner from scratch. Going for a walk if I didn’t go to the gym. I kept going until I no longer thought about it. It became second nature. I actually became the person who would go to the gym 2 or 3 times a week. My sessions would last an hour and a half. I felt mentally better. I began to tone up and saw curves on myself that I never knew existed. I began to feel happier.

The point of this, is not about losing weight and being extremely toned and muscular. It’s actually about your own mental health and feeling happy in your own skin. Everyday I still take those steps. Everyday I hope to get slightly better. It’s definitely easier said than done and takes a lot of time to get there. Recently, I haven’t been able to get down to the gym as much as I would like. But I walk my dog, I walk to work and I’m on my feet all day when I am on shift. I have to take that into account and try not to beat myself up about not going to the gym and working out. When I’m at the gym, I stick to what I know and what I enjoy. I don’t force myself to do anything that makes me uncomfortable or atleast not until I’m ready to. It all has to be at your own pace. The gym isn’t for everyone. It never used to be for me. But there are so many different routes.

In today’s society we are constantly bombarded with mixed messages, from crazy workouts to lose weight and be skinny, to being told to love your size and that’s it’s great to be big and a different shape. It’s so hard to decide what to tune into when everything feels incredibly judged and like it’s the wrong answer.

All I knew for myself was that I wanted to feel happier in my own skin. I felt like I couldn’t speak up because I was a size 10 or 12. I felt like speaking about it made people think I was craving attention. But I simply didn’t feel healthy. I didn’t feel like I was looking after myself well enough. The first steps I took, was to stand in front of the mirror naked and find something I liked about myself. About 50 flaws came to mind first and I had to really look to find something I liked. Slowly but surely I began to find atleast one thing a day that I liked. Whether it was how I had done my make up or how my butt looked in a pair of jeans. It’s something I still try to do now. The more I worked out, the better I felt. I could shut everything out at the gym and only listen to my own breathing. I set myself smaller goals that I could see ahead of me in my mind and ones that were difficult but reachable.

Size does not matter. Every body shape, every curve, every mark is beautiful and it’s really difficult to see that sometimes. Rather than looking at weight, look at your own health. Physically and mentally. Once that mindset changes, it’s a lot easier to do something about it. It’s fine to have had days and it’s fine to not always get there. Talk to people. Write down your goals. Find a routine that suits you. There is not right or wrong way. But actually starting to love yourself,even if it is just one thing, the first step to feeling happier and healthier. Screw looking at weight. Happiness comes first. Everything become a easier and a lot more positive when you aren’t constantly clouded by judgement and self-hatred. Try and try again. Weight can be gained. Weight can be dropped. It doenst matter. All you need to ask yourself is, am I happy? What do I love about myself? Just find that one thing first and the ball will start rolling all on its own.

I think I will make a further blog on weight and how I changed with what I was wearing and what I felt good in. Let’s call this part 1 to maybe a mini series of my own journey if you are interested.

#3 – May, Myself and I – Doughnut

I close my eyes and imagine myself back to one of my favourite places on earth. It is strange to think that I have thought and spoken about this memory very recently with my boyfriend. I told him that if money was never a worry for me in my life, then I would hop on a plane and go to Italy, Belluno more specifically, where I went a few years ago and would go to the same café, where on holiday we went nearly everyday for coffee and cake. I would choose a gorgeous, freshly baked ‘ciambella’ or as you know it more commonly as… a doughnut. I have loved doughnuts for as long as I can remember. Iced ones. Jam ones. Custard ones. This one had a fresh custard cream in the centre… light, fluffy and just so delicious.

Apart from being so yummy, I always remember this place for its beauty and historical serenity. My family and I decided to go to Belluno on holiday for a week, before driving down to Lake Garda for another. The village was small, very few tourists and allowed me and my family to put our Italian culture and language to good use. My family are from the more southern region of Italy and it was amazing to see how certain foods were cooked differently to how they were in the south. The place didn’t feel foreign to me. In the first couple of days, we completely slotted in and found our way around. It was so easy to feel comfortable and happy in this place. The whole trip was amazing. I always love going back to Italy, seeing new places, learning more of the history, eating the incredible food and speaking the beautiful language.

Now, whenever I eat a doughnut, I am always reminded of sitting outside that coffee, early in the morning, surrounded by all the locals and starting my day with the rest of them. It’s amazing to think how much one thing can create a memory in your mind! Just like that you are transported right back to that moment when you first created it. The smells. What you were wearing. The taste of the food. The person you were with. It’s also a great excuse to have another doughnut, when the experience is not only tasty but transports you to a great happy place!

#2 – May, Myself and I – Stars

Nothing will ever beat a clear night, warm breeze, walking with someone you love or on your own and being able to look up at the sky and seeing a beautiful abundance of stars looking down at you. During my time at University, I found myself having nights where I was unable to sleep. My brain just wouldn’t quieten down and the four walls of my room seemed to close in on me on certain nights when stress, tiredness and life in general seemed to completely take over. On those nights, I would put on my hoodie, comfy bottoms and walking shoes and go for a walk. As long as it wasn’t raining, I wasn’t too fussed as to when I was going. I went to Lincoln University and I never fail to be taken back by the gorgeous and beautiful cathedral. At night, it is completely lit up and can be used as a guiding light to find your way back to the main high street. I knew Lincoln pretty well but often never strayed too far from the cathedral. I always ended up there. Sometimes I would walk in my own silence, sometimes with the guy I was with at the time and sometimes I would walk with music in my ears, often London Grammar. Each time, I found myself back at the Cathedral. I would listen to people laughing or chatting away as they moved to go out for a night out. I would hear my feet and my breath as I moved up the steep which never seemed to get easier. Then I would reach the Cathedral and then… stop. I would look up at it and feel tiny. I would look up and feel safe. I would look up and feel inspired. And, on those nights that I went up, more often than not I would look up past the Cathedral and see beautiful shining stars. Stars to me are not just a fixed luminous point in the night sky which is a large, remote incandescent body like the sun (the oxford definition).

Stars to me feel like answers that are written in the sky, maybe even guardian angels of loved ones or spirits we do not know. You have to quieten your mind and listen. Pause in whatever is happening in your own life and just be. This is not to say that I suddenly hear a voice in my head or even out loud, telling me what I need to do or that everything will be okay. I do, however, always feel a sense of calm. Everything that had been buzzing in my head seems to relax and float back to sleep. The thoughts that had been eating away at me, completely dissolved. I would feel calm. And relaxed. Something about the night always made me feel that way. The walk, the fresh air, the quietness and then seeing the Cathedral and stars, always made me feel a million times better. On nights that I would walk with the guy I was with (I will keep him unnamed for his own privacy, although I am lucky enough to say he is still one of my best friends), I found that we would walk together and talk about the things that were on our mind. To us, it felt like we were out of the way from everyone and we could just be ourselves. Anything we aired out would just float away into the open sky. We had a particular spot where we would just sit and see the whole of Lincoln completely lit up. It was beautiful and we often sat in quiet appreciation of the place. We would also look at the stars. I sometimes found myself saying a little prayer, that all my worries would be fixed and sometimes I found that peacefulness again. Almost a bit of perspective. That, whilst I sat there and worried about exams or essays, family members or my relationship, there were these little cluster of lights up in the air that were reminding me that I had no idea what was out there for me. I was so tiny on that bench, just one person in Lincoln… one person in the UK… in the world… out of billions of people. And above me, up in the sky, were a million more things that I had no idea about. The key thing is, it never scared me. Instead, I would find a peaceful serenity, a sanctuary in those twinkling stars, that everything would be okay and that everything would find its right place. I didn’t need to worry. I didn’t have to try and fix it, and although I would worry again, and try and fix things again, in those few moments… I could just be.

#1 – May, Myself and I – Running

Following the video by the wonderful Carrie Hope Fletcher, I have decided to attempt to do as many of the starter words as I can do during the month of May, for the project of “May, Myself and I”. I’m already a day late to writing one, but thought the first word was an interesting topic to start with. I have no idea how many of these I will do, but there is a goal and I am going to try my best to fulfil it.

The word running always makes me think of running out of time. Or more specifically, running late. Before I left home to go to University, I lived in a house where time was everything. There was only to be a certain amount of time spent in the shower, or we had to be ready for a specific time to leave to go somewhere. This was all due to having a parent who liked and still likes to be organised and on time. This then passed onto me, who became the person who was always early to events or a party, who felt stressed at running even a second late. I’m still like this now but hopefully a much calmer version. I won’t be late to a cinema showing or for a meeting, but if I’m meeting a friend who is more than likely going to be late, then I’m not going to break my neck trying to get to the place for the specific time we had originally discussed. It’s hard to change that side of yourself, especially when you have been brought up in an environment that is very time regimented. Time naturally runs along, but it’s very easy to feel like time is constantly teasing you, dangling a pair of keys that would open the door to relaxation and allow you to live stress free. Time runs out but it is also constantly moving. Evolving. Changing. I hate running late, but what I have to remember is that time does run out, so sometimes I need to step back, get a little perspective and see what I need to run after and what I can do at a nice, slow pace. Sometimes, just stop running and watch the world go by.

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