Change

change

noun

the act or instance of making or becoming different.

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I used to think I was afraid of change. Six months of CBT has taught me, however, that what I'm actually scared of is the uncertainty that accompanies change (although that's another story for another time – really, it's currently saved in my drafts.)

This past month, my life has seen a lot of change. I left my job, got offered a new one, found a place to live, and started said new job, all in the space of 18 days. For months I'd been craving change. I needed something new, something different, something to shake off the uninvited black cloud that had been following me round for what felt like a lifetime.

Then it happened.

And now? Now I'm not really sure how to feel. I'm a mixture of terrified and excited and sad and apprehensive and a few more adjectives thrown in for good measure. But all of these feelings aren't trigged by the change itself, they stem from the uncertainty of leaving my comfort zone. And, although my comfort zone is a nice place full of naps and beds and cats, it was getting pretty limiting. 

Change is good, and if I keep telling myself that, I might start to believe it. Things change and people change and circumstances change, and that's ok. I've changed so much in the past couple of years, I can look back and read things back and struggle to recognise myself. On the outside, I probably look the same; minus a few lbs and a couple of inches off may hair. But I think nicer thoughts and I feel different things and, whilst I've found life more difficult, ultimately I'm pretty sure I've changed for the better.

Nothing stays the same. Not forever. Some things just change quicker and more drastically than others. And it might be scary, but I think it might be ok too. 

Compliment

compliment

noun

a polite expression of praise or admiration.

You know the warm feeling you get when someone compliments your new dress? I like to extend that feeling to other people. I tell people when I admire their outfits, and congratulate them on their achievements, and never think twice about doing so. Yet I – and by I, I definitely also mean we – rarely ever extend the same treatment to myself* (*ourselves). 

When you're feeling especially 'not enough', it can be hard to remember the things that make you 'more than enough'. I know this because it took me weeks to think of enough things take up more than an opening paragraph. But I also know that there are things. And it's about time we started complimenting ourselves. 

Things that I like

My freckles. During the winter months, I can almost forget that they're there. I suppose that's what comes with looking at the same face in the mirror every day. But in the Summer, they come out in full force, and every year I'm reminded how much I love them. How I really quite good at remembering things. Things like someone's favourite colour, an unimportant and not very interesting fact, what I was wearing on a specific day three months ago. Those sorts of things. My hair. 24 years later and I've finally started agreeing when people tell me they like it. Because so do I. Most days. My sense of humour. I'm not laugh out loud funny. My jokes leave leave a lot to be desired. But I'm quick, and I can muster up many a context based sarcastic comment. I amuse myself anyhow. My body. Yes, I said it. Not all of it. Definitely not all of it. But I wouldn't be sharing the above photos if I didn't like something about it, right? Loyalty. I feel like this is a weird one, but I was recently asked to describe myself in three words, and 'loyal' was one of them. If I like you, you're kind of stuck with me. I tend not to give up, and absolutely hate to disappoint. In fact, let's add reliability to the list too. I like to pretend I'm not one for star signs, but if I were? Well I'm such a Taurus. My intelligence. I may have given up on academia around the same time I gave up on my Journalism degree, but I've managed to keep the clever thing going to some extent. I like to learn new things, and I manage to have the odd intelligent thought every so often. And lastly, to quote Maurice Moss – “I like being weird. Weird's all I've got. That and my sweet style.” – I can put together a pretty decent outfit, and enjoy myself whilst doing it. 

And there we have it. It may be hard to always like myself, but it's doable. Even if I could only come up with nine reasons for now.

Things from May

I've been feeling very not myself for the past few months. Not all days have been bad. Some days have been great, but some days have been awful, and then some days just ok. As if life I suppose.

It's almost as if words got a bit too much. So I bought a couple of disposable cameras and took a photo (almost) every day for the whole month. Disposable cameras leave very little room for curation, aside from standing pressing a button and wondering whether you should have used flash, so I suppose it's an accurate enough representation of May.

Here are the highlights.

1st May 2017 – Southbourne Beach, Dorset

1st May 2017 – Southbourne Beach, Dorset

6th May 2017 – Boscombe Beach, Dorset. (also my 24th birthday)

6th May 2017 – Boscombe Beach, Dorset. (also my 24th birthday)

8th May 2017, – Stourhead, Wiltshire

8th May 2017, – Stourhead, Wiltshire

10th May 2017 – Mudeford, Dorset

10th May 2017 – Mudeford, Dorset

20th May 2017 – Primrose Vale Pick Your Own, Cheltenham

20th May 2017 – Primrose Vale Pick Your Own, Cheltenham

26th May 2017 – Boscombe Beach, Dorset

26th May 2017 – Boscombe Beach, Dorset

31st May 2017 – Southbourne Overcliff, Dorset

31st May 2017 – Southbourne Overcliff, Dorset

#MentalHealthAwarenessWeek

It's Mental Health Awareness week. I mean, it's actually Mental Health Awareness month as well. But this week is apparently the week. I don't know?

To celebrate this fact – not intentionally but coincidentally – I restarted my CBT sessions this week. And by restarted I mean finally found a new therapist after just over a month of cancellations due to my previous one unfortunately getting ill. 

Now I'm not sure if it's direct correlation, although it doesn't seem unlikely, but for those five weeks where I wasn't talking things through for 50 minutes every Tuesday afternoon, everything seemed to go downhill a little bit. I suppose it shouldn't come as a surprise that the thing designed to help had actually been helping, but, if I'm honest, I'd been feeling a little deflated about the whole thing. You see, I like quick fixes and (spoiler alert) there is no quick fix for these sorts of things. 

I didn't really want to go. Not because I didn't think I needed it (I definitely needed it)  but because I didn't really fancy talking about myself at all, let alone start from the beginning with someone new. But I did, because I'd made the appointment and god forbid I was going to make a phone call to cancel. I even changed out of my leggings and put on a nice dress so that I could at least pretend I sort of have my life together. Except I forgot to rub in my dry shampoo, so slight flaw in my plan there. 

I have to travel to a different venue for this one. I liked the old one because it was on the way home from work and not far from my house and it also played host to Physiotherapy and Pilates and Yoga classes, so I could walk in under the pretence that I was there for an hour of stretching instead. The new venue has a large sign outside signalling that, it is in a fact, a Counselling and Therapy Centre, meaning I must, of course, be there for counselling and therapy. 

This bothered me for all of 30 seconds before I realised that it really doesn't matter. It would be pretty ridiculous to write online about how we should be talking more about mental health, then worry about what a stranger in a car on the other side of the road thinks. Battling stigma and all that.

So that's what I'm doing now. Talking about it. There's no profound ending to this story, but talking more about mental health isn't limited to pouring your heart out about not being ok. It's about having honest and open conversations, and that means making it a part of our every day lives.

Instead of moaning about the traffic I got stuck in on the way home from 'an appointment', I should moan about the traffic I got stuck in on the way home from therapy. I – no, we – should give 'sorry I can't make do dinner on Tuesday because I have therapy' the same weight as 'sorry I can't do dinner on Tuesday because I've got the dentist'. 

So, whilst this story was about as interesting as me telling you that I booked a haircut for next week (I've booked a haircut for next week, BTW) it's just as worth talking about.