Scars

If you ask my mother what I was like as a child, she’d say that I was a fairly good kid, apart from occasionally getting into fights with my older sister/s, having a few temper tantrums and threatening to run away; but come on, who didn’t do those things as a child? So, I was a normal kid, I played with other children and was good in school. But, what my mother will tell you is that I was prone to accidents. Now, they were (thankfully) minor accidents, nothing life threatening or extremely dangerous. But, I had so many accidents as a child.

Right from the start, when I was only a couple of days old, I remember (vaguely) that I had this green, almost broccoli like thing attached to my stomach. Gross I know, but it was completely normal, it was the remainder of the umbilical cord that would eventually fall off when it was ready. So, not an accident but gross regardless. When I was about four or five, I remember being so excited after heading to town with my father, he had bought me these ‘Action Man’ (Remember him!?) fridge stickers, that were transparent looking and I couldn’t wait to plaster our fridge with them. But, before I could…for some peculiar reason that I cannot remember, one of the stickers didn’t make it to the fridge. Instead, it was rolled up and shoved up my left nostril. WHY?! Luckily, my mother was and always remains to be quick on her feet. She sat me down and grabbed some tweezers, good old tweezers, she tilted my head back and yanked out the vehicle shaped ‘Action Man’ sticker.

So, from then on it could only get worse. Around the same time that the sticker incident had occurred, I visited my Nan and was playing catch with my family at her house. It was a lovely day and we were having one of our usual barbecues. As I said, we were playing catch when my uncle threw it too hard and it smacked straight into the bridge of my nose, I can’t remember if it broke it or not, I just remember being sat in my Nan’s living room and blood gushing everywhere. Now, I have a bump in my nose to always remind me that balls to the face, may not always be a good thing.

Around the same time of this, I would often visit the park located at the bottom of the road we used to live on. We had friends that lived right next door to the park, so their fence was the wall for the right hand side of the small, looking back at it now, creepy park. One day, a friend and I were playing in said park, when we noticed that her pet rabbit was escaping out of the fence on the right hand side. She urged me to run outside of the park, to her front door to get help. Before I could even leave the park, I opened the green metal gate, the ones that every park had, it made that same old horrible noise as it opened and for some bizarre reason, I stood still in the gateway of the now returning gate, it smacked the right side of my face and knocked me to the floor. I remember getting up and feeling the worst headache ever imaginable, I placed my hand to where I could feel pain and didn’t think much of it.

As I returned to my friend’s house, still eager to get help for the now already escaped bunny, my sister walked up to greet me with one of her friends. I removed my hand and found what could only be described as the reddest blood you could ever see, my hand was covered and my sister just screamed. She ran to the door and banged for help, my mother (of course) came immediately to my rescue. Luckily, our local hospital was at the other end of the road (clearly a sign). I now have a scar above my eye, near my eyebrow and it’s a constant reminder of how clumsy I was as a child.

As I grew older, I learned to be safer and was constantly assessing my surroundings, which could explain why I’m such an anxious person nowadays. Clearly one day, I wasn’t assessing close enough. I remember playing football (Yes, I actually played football) with our neighbours and my sister, the ball was kicked into someones back yard. We all went to retrieve it, but of course I had to be the center of attention. So, I dived into this persons yard, literally, knee first onto a sharp, carpet nail hidden in the wavy grass. As gruesome as it sounds, I remember not feeling anything, it was as if I had just scratched it or something. It wasn’t until I looked down and my sister noticed that a piece of wood was protruding from my right knee cap. I tried to brush it off but there was something definitely keeping it in place. Naturally, my Nan being a nurse, was called to our house and she rushed me to hospital. They cut off my trousers and froze my leg with a can of what I thought was Mr Freeze’s Ice and thought It was pretty cool. So, now I have a scar on my right knee and that is also a reminder to not jump into things too quickly.

So, we all have scars on our bodies and each of them can be a lesson for us later in life. Of course, mine are small and are from very stupid situations, but each of them tell a story. Embrace these scars and let them be a part of you, learn from them. You will always have a story to tell, but it’s even better if you have the scars to go with them.

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Stories To Tell

As anyone who knows me will tell you, I don’t really have much of a story to tell. I haven’t experienced anything traumatic or life changing, a tragic event didn’t happen in my childhood that would qualify for a TV drama. I haven’t been involved in a life changing accident, nor have I ever been involved with anything of the sort. But, I believe we all have stories to tell, stories that maybe others aren’t so keen to hear. Stories that are probably not even worth hearing, but they are stories, we all have them. So, I plan on telling you about my ‘story’, the uncensored and totally pure story of my life. It may be pointless or all be it, stupid.  But, I have some stories that I think should be told, the ones that I haven’t told anyone, ever. Why you ask, would I be so self-indulgent and think anyone would be at interested in what I have to say? Truth is, I don’t really care if nobody reads my stories, or are uninterested in them altogether. These are MY stories, If they have overstayed their welcome inside my head, then why can’t I pour them onto the keys of a keyboard and upload them for the world to see.

The way I see it, it’s a sort of memoir really, something to look back on and read in the years to come, or if something should happen to me, something traumatic or life changing, then for the ones I love, they have something to comfort them when I am no longer around. These stories should make you laugh, maybe they’ll shock you or even bring a tear to your eye. However they may make you feel, all I ask is that should you choose to read them, you respect them and you read them with sincerity. As I say, these stories are true, 100% the gospel truth. There isn’t any fake tan or silicone being injected into them. They are all from my mind and they are all experiences I have had, that I hope will give some comfort or laughter to those who need it. So, if you’re still with me and I hope that you are, Sit back and grab some chocolate or whatever forbidden treat you desire and prepare yourself to listen to the stories inside my head.

Escaping Your Mind

Have you ever really found somewhere so peaceful and so quiet, that for that moment only, that place is yours? It could be a park bench at the top of a hill, or sat underneath a tree beside a lake. I think it is so important, especially nowadays, to find these little places, to savor them. To just sit there and listen to the world, to witness the sun kiss the lake in front of you for it to then reflect itself onto your face. It’s at places like these, where you can really sit down and just enjoy a moment with yourself. To really reflect on your life so far, to remember things that have happened recently or to find yourself in a memory that happened years ago.

Back in a time where there weren’t phones and laptops, no TV’s or games consoles, people would often go to these little places, these secluded spots and sit there to just get away for a moment. When’s the last time you had a moment to yourself? When is the last time you found a spot that for about an hour or so, was only yours? I think we have become so stubborn about the idea of just going outside for a walk, just a walk. Taking a walk somewhere into a field of flowers maybe? Or across a warm bridge, with the wind blowing through your hair.

I know you probably think my ways of thinking are somewhat old-fashioned, but I assure you, taking a small walk and having just an hour or so to yourself can really clear and open up your mind. You can fall in love with nature all over again, if you just open your eyes and have a look. If you can allow yourself to put down the technology, just for a second. Take a look out of your window; inhale a deep breath of fresh air. For example, take characters such as Elizabeth Bennet (Pride and Prejudice), she is a woman faced with multiple dilemmas and situations in which she doesn’t want to face. She often (throughout the novel) takes walks by herself, to secluded parts of the countryside to clear her head and evaluate her situations in life. Now, I’m not suggesting you need to wait around for a hunky and mature bachelor to come and confess his love for you in the pouring rain, I’m merely suggesting you take a stroll through somewhere you haven’t explored before. Try and make it an adventure perhaps? Who knows what you may find…

For those of you who have so many dilemmas going on and you feel as though the world is crumbling down on your shoulders, the best advice I can give you, is to walk it out. It’s one of life’s easiest and most beautiful ways of getting a brush and sweeping out all the clutter that’s tucked behind the furniture in your mind. Don’t come up with excuses as to why you think it’s a bad idea, I assure you it’ll be worth the numb fingers and the wet bum cheek stains on your jeans. Some of you will say that I’m factious, that you go for walks all the time. Think about it though, when’s the last time you actually went for a walk by yourself, just because you wanted to?

Once again, this is not an attack on technology and I’m not saying you can’t sit behind Netflix and have a good old binge session. I love those times too. All I’m saying is, if you have a spare hour or so, if you’re feeling frustrated or like you have nowhere to run. Go for a walk. Find those places that mean something to you and only you. This world is full of little spots just waiting to be discovered. All you have to do is close down the laptop screen or turn off that TV, put on them dirty pairs of shoes and discover a spot for you. Make it a regular thing, visit it often. Care for it, savour it and make it your escape.

#NoFilter

Self-acceptance, what does that mean? If you are feeling a little insecure, or you’ve woken up and gone to take that first look in the mirror and hated what’s looking back at you, then pay attention because this missive is for you.  Now, I am hardly an expert on giving advice nor do I try to be, but what I am an expert in is feeling insecure. Insecurity and me have had a somewhat, progressive relationship the older I have gotten. In this day and age, we study ourselves in the reflections of our camera phones a mere 250 times a week. Think about that, that’s nearly 1000 times a month. How did our society become so self-obsessed and so fixated on how we are perceived by others?

In this world, there are two labels that stick with our minds every time we look in the mirror. Am I too fat? Am I too skinny? How about this, what does it matter? Who has the right to say that you’re more of this body type than you are another? Who decided what is ‘Too fat’ or ‘Too skinny’ anyway? We are living in a society that is so pretentious and so fixated on vanity. So what I propose is (well it’s more of a dare, really) take a selfie, right now. Go on, get that phone out and take a selfie in your signature pose that you’ve come to terms with so well. Taken it? Ok good. Now, upload it somewhere, somewhere you feel comfortable. Say Instagram or take one on Snapchat, just without the dodgy face squishing filter. Upload it without (here’s the best part) editing it. Yes, that’s right. NO FILTER. And I actually mean no filter this time, don’t put a tiny filter on it and then say no filter, I see you. Upload it without a filter and let the world see the REAL you.

What would be so wrong if you’d just post a ‘selfie’ without a filter? Are you afraid that someone might say you’re ‘Too ugly’ or ‘Too’ something else? Alas, this is where the problem lies, with you.  As one of my favourite people once said, ‘If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell are you going to love somebody else?” Think about that. Go to a mirror today, stare at yourself and say one thing that you like. One thing that you see in that reflection that you think, yeah I’m actually quite beautiful. It starts with one thing, then sooner you’ll realise, you love more and more things about yourself the harder you look. FUCK EVERYONE. What difference does it make, if that one person says they don’t like the way you look? You have to accept yourself, love yourself. If someone doesn’t like it, they are merely showing off their own insecurities.

You probably have them nights where you sit there and you can count in your head how many ‘fat rolls’ you have, or how many spots you can feel coming through on your face. That’s what we call, GROWING UP. Your body goes through these motions, it grows spots. Those ‘fat rolls’ you can feel, stand up, do you see them now? No. It’s all about perception and how you see yourself. Like I said earlier, it starts with you. So, take the challenge. Take that selfie without a filter, or leave the house without worrying about how you look. The sooner you do that, the happier you’ll be and you’ll become a more confident and happier you.

I know you’re probably thinking, who is this guy? What gives him the right to tell me how I should perceive myself? And you’re right; I have no right to tell you what to do. But, I have lived this. I have woken up and hated myself as I step into my morning shower. I have laid in bed at night and hated how I can feel my stomach roll over as I do. I have uploaded selfie’s and taken them down five minutes later because I’ve hated how I looked. But then, I started accepting myself for how I look. The second I did that, the happier I became. My relationship with myself has blossomed and I have become a happier person.

So, you don’t have to listen to me, heck I’m just a teenager venting about our society. But, if you are listening and you are feeling how I have described. Then trust me, look into the mirror and say that one thing you like about yourself. Tell yourself you are beautiful. The second you do that, it will radiate throughout your body, therefore making your life a happier life to live. You can do this, you just have to believe you can.

Hello, My Name Is Anxiety.

Anxiety. Anxiety is a bitch; I’m talking full on, mean girl in high school, stealing your lunch money and sleeping with your boyfriend, bitch. For those of you who don’t know what anxiety is, anxiety is not being able to go up to a cashier and paying for your items because you’re scared they’ll say something ridiculous and everyone will laugh at you. It’s going to the movies and not being able to buy your own ticket because you’re nervous that they’ll deny you access to the film you’re wanting to see. It’s not being able to order your own food over the phone, because you’re nervous that you’ll mess up the order and everyone will hate you for it. Anxiety is a bitch.

I have suffered with anxiety since my early teenage years, going to school and worrying about what people might say about me every day was incredibly hard. I couldn’t be a rebel and go off with the cool kids because they wanted to be that little bit extra late to class, I couldn’t raise my hand when I knew the answer to the question my teacher was asking, because my brain would tell me that even though the answer was correct, it was probably still wrong. I had to make sure I was ten minutes early to things like assemblies and student conference meetings, because I was scared about walking into a room with dozens of other people looking at me, judging me as I found a seat.

Even though my brain works differently, I still find ways to cope with these situations. For example; I went to Blackpool with my boyfriend recently. He wanted to take the windowless elevator, all the way to the top of Blackpool tower. My brain was telling me dozens of scenarios that could happen, the tower could fall, the elevator could break or we wouldn’t have enough money to purchase a ticket. Even though my brain was telling me these things, I had to bottle them down and say to myself, this is going to be fine. It’s going to be a good idea that I came up here and I’ll enjoy it so much once I reach the top. You know what? It was. None of those scenarios happened. We weren’t denied access because we had insufficient funds. The tower didn’t collapse, making me fall to my death. The only way to deal with anxiety is to tell yourself that you can do this. You can walk down a high street without your brain telling you that everyone is looking at you. You can actually try on those clothes before you purchase them, rather than getting anxious that the attendant will look at you funny because you wanted to try something on, honestly the amount of times I have bought jeans or t-shirts and not tried them on, only to go home and have them be three sizes too small.

So, if you’re getting ready to open your front door, or you’re sat in a room full of people. Take control of your mind, tell yourself you can do this, you can be brave and you can walk out of here with your head held high and leave the fear of anxiety, behind you. The sooner you realize how to control your own mind, the sooner you ditch these anxious feelings and your mind can focus on more important things. You got this.

(Not Very) ‘Social’ Media

Hello, let me introduce you to me. You don’t know me, but then again why would you? I’m a pretty simple person, I keep myself to myself. I have very few friends because unfortunately, we live in a world where it’s suddenly become incorrect to greet one another as we pass by. Greeting someone, in a way, has become almost a rarity. Take a look around you, go on, take a look. Ask yourself if you were to walk up to someone in front of you right now and say hello, what sort of response do you think you’d receive? Some may say that I’m being ridiculous, that people wouldn’t be so sinister and cold. They may be right, but then again, we all have the right to think as we please. I double dare you to walk up to a random stranger right now and greet them.

Let me take you back say fifty years, simply leaving your house and seeing your neighbour next door or opposite you. Do you keep your head down and walk past them? Or do you simply smile and say hello? Back then you see, you’d clearly greet one another as it was just the right thing to do. No one cared about being anxious to greet each other or be scared that the other person would look at them differently. So, when did it become a part of our human nature, to stop greeting one another as we simply pass by? Why is it that we just keep our heads down and prevent ourselves communicating with other people? Maybe it’s because, nowadays, it’s so much easier to simply send a message to someone, or snap a photo of ourselves and broadcast it for the world to see. Maybe we’ve become so invested in social media, that that’s now our prime go-to for when we want to communicate. Of course, it’s so much easier to hide behind our screens, to say what we want to say without ever actually saying it. But, what could go so wrong, if you were to just put down your phone right now, smile at a stranger and say hello? Sure, they make look at you funny and brush it off, but maybe, just maybe, you’ll make a new friend. Better yet, maybe you’ll make their day.

This isn’t some massive attack on social media, because don’t get me wrong, I use social media. I often find myself snapping a photo just for the sake of doing it, or sending a message to someone just because I can. But, I just want ourselves to realise what we’re missing. If you’re sat on a train or on a bus, look at the world around you. What could be so important on that Snapchat story that you have to keep your head down and ignore the sights around you? We have become so involved with social media that we are constantly, constantly checking it. But, why do we do this? Why must we open that Snap’ as soon as it pops up? Why must you check that photo you just uploaded to Instagram five minutes ago? People, wake up and speak to each other. Listen to the real tweets of a bird for once. Put your draining device away, take out your headphones, close down your laptops and just say hello, you never know what could happen…