Stiff Upper Lip


So it’s been quite a while since I posted. I’m making a conscious effort to be a bit more positive and chilled out, and considering my blog posts are usually inspired by anger/frustration/misery/insert-negative-emotion-here, I thought it better not to vent publicly. Truth is, I’m still very bitter & wounded from my heartbreak (I was a moody bitch before so just imagine how cynical I am now!) but I don’t want people to see me that way. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not running around grinning and exuding rainbows and shitting candyfloss… I mean even if I wanted to I’d never be able to shift this bitch-face or dry sense of humour, but I just want the world to think that I’ve picked myself up and carried on. Because I kind of have… I’m not giving in to the tears or temper tantrums. When I feel it all building up, instead of completely losing my shit I’ll send a friend some rant-y texts, apologise for said rant and get an early night. I’ll try to keep myself busy the next day until the rage subsides (yes those are delirium lyrics *In this white wave, I am sinking, in this siiiiiilence* Good tune).

You guys already know how paradoxical I am. So although I totally back the whole self love ‘movement’ (is it a movement? What defines a movement? The amount of people hashtagging it?), I struggle with it on a personal level. In the same way that I’m battling my own internalized sexism in my feminist awakening, I’m tackling the self-deprecation that’s really instilled in the British & Irish. We are definitely not taught to love ourselves. It causes problems on a national scale, including a mental health crisis (because we cannot talk about our emotions no no… stiff upper lip and all that!) but also something that I’m sure deeply affects every one of us… Not having any idea how to fucking sell ourselves in a job interview.

Interviewer: And what would you consider your strengths to be?
Me: Well, I’m kind of good at this and I once did that kind of well…
Interviewer: And your weaknesses?
Me: Oh god, where do I start? I’m always late, apathetic toward my work, lazy, hate responsibility, moody, short attention span…
Interviewer: Please stop
Me: I yawn a lot, I need to eat at least every 2 hours, constantly on my phone…
Interviwer: Please
Me: I’m sarcastic, can’t do simple maths, have jealousy issues, oh and I pull sickies at least 4 times a year.
Interviewer: We’ll be in touch

We are definitely not taught to love ourselves, look after ourselves or take time for ourselves. No, because that is self-indulgent and JESUS DOESN’T LIKE IT. Hell, if I had a quid for every time I’ve been called selfish… And being even slightly selfish, vain or egotistical is like one of the worst things a person can be. Better to be unhappy, unhealthy and unfulfilled than be accused of being self-centered. But fuck it. I am selfish. I love working on myself, what a fucking sin, right?

And this is exactly what I mean! When faced with (or apparently even just thinking about) the kind of people who think that looking after yourself is a bad thing, or somebody who isn’t selfish enough and is miserable because of it, it’s easy for me to get on my soapbox and preach the glory of self love! Yet, I have so many days and nights where I feel absolutely worthless because of what other people (one person) thinks (or doesn’t think) of me. Like half my brain is totally tuned in and yes we love ourself and fuck everyone else ’cause we’re totally killing it!!! And the other half is asleep/stoned/paralyzed and just kind of flopping about in there like ‘what now? What are we doing? I’m just gonna go lie in this dark corner OK? You got any ice cream?’. It’s probably the side that’s supposed to do maths. Fuck maths.

But, hey, I’m trying. Like I’ve said in an early blog post, I hold out hope for my thirties, on the sage advice of my lovely mum. Maybe if I try to start loving myself now I’ll have it figured out in 5-10 years! I’ll get a few comfortable years in before I start lamenting my youth and having a mid life crisis…

You can really tell I’m trying to be more positive, right?

No for real though, I do think it’s working. And I do think it’s really important for everybody, in terms of your relationship with yourself and with other people. If you are totally drained you can’t give other people what they need – love, empathy, a shoulder to cry on, whatever it may be. When we don’t look after ourselves we become exhausted and uncaring, and usually feel guilty about it to boot! I want it to be socially acceptable and even encouraged for people to take a step back from their life, their drama, partner, friends, family, job, all of it, to take a breath and step back into the ring with a second wind – without carrying a tonne of guilt with them!

So. I’m trying not to be so hard on myself, trying not to be so negative & doing things that make me happy! And since my relationship has very much taken a backseat in my day-to-day life, I can say with certainty that everything I do now is for me. And that’s how I want it. That’s maybe not how it has to be for everybody, but considering the way in which I lost myself in my relationship and subsequent heartbreak, it’s what’s right for me, right now. I’m eating right (trying to), I’m working out, I’m trying new things, booking trips with friends, I’m starting a new job & eventually I want my own place. Even if things work out with him, I think it’s important for me to have my own place, at least for a while. As scary as it is to be out on my own, I want to be that girl, who can be on her own. So I’m faking it til I make it… I’m suppressing all the stress I get over things I can’t control and I’m suffocating the bastard ’til it gets the fucking point.

Bad days – I am tougher than you. Lonely nights – You’re getting the cold shoulder. Self-loathing – I will punch you in the goddamn throat.

Who knows, maybe I’ll be preaching love and peace by the time I’m thirty. Namaste, bitches.

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I actually typed up this post about an hour ago and it became so negative I had a massive cry. Which was rather cathartic – I think I needed it. But for all our sakes I’ve revised it and tried to focus on the positives, so here goes:

I came across this text a couple of weeks ago and thought it was fantastic advice. Since then I’ve been paying attention to how the people and the events in my life make me feel and it’s wonderful to come away from spending time with somebody and acknowledging a feeling of contentment, or even excitement (and to actually mean it when you say “let’s do this again some time!”). But it goes the other way too. Sometimes I notice that somebody who maybe used to make me feel good, now leaves me feeling drained and pessimistic. It’s times like that I’d rather just bury my head in the sand…

Since taking note of the people and places that make me happier, it’s easier to actively make plans with them and set aside a bit of time and money to spend doing the things that put a genuine smile on my face – you know, one that lasts for a while even after you’ve gone home. But what to do about the people that don’t leave you feeling so good?

I’m turning 25 next month, with most of my friends around the same age. As we’re all trying to find a balance between our job, social life, family, relationships and some alone time too, it takes a lot of effort for us all to keep in contact with each other. Also, with our lives all going in different directions, we sometimes don’t have as much in common as we used to. One thing though. that every single one of us is experiencing, is the doubt, the uncertainty, the fear and the melancholy that comes with your twenties. As comforting as it is to know that we’re not alone in this, it can be a problem when it too often becomes the only easy conversation to have with one another.

Sure, smetimes we can laugh about it and walk away feeling a little lighter, but sometimes we don’t have the energy to laugh at the world. Sometimes we’re just tired and emotional and can’t say all of the things that we’re feeling – just acknowledge that life isn’t always easy and we’re not really all that happy a lot of the time. Now I have no problem with anybody pouring their heart out to me – I couldn’t possibly, because (as you may have noticed) I’m a fountain of negativity myself – but on days when it takes almost all of your energy to put a smile on your own face, it’s hard to find enough to put a smile on somebody else’s too. So, I am incredibly conscious right now of the impact I’m having on the people in my life. How do I make them feel? What can I do to repay the people that build me up? How can I make it up to the people who I deflate? I find myself carrying around a lot of guilt and putting off my atonement until tomorrow, or the weekend, or next week… Then in the blink of an eye (and whine of morning-alarm-clock) another week has passed and I’ve done nothing to improve on anything.

As I type it occurs to me that these things I’m worrying about would never cross the minds of some. We all concern ourselves with different things… Sometimes I look at people fretting over stuff that I couldn’t possibly ever bring myself to give two shits about. I wonder how they can care. How they can waste the energy on it. They would probably wonder the same about me if they read the shite I post on here, about the things that plague my mind. And that’s part of the problem – we’re all so different. It can take a hell of a lot of effort to figure out how to deal with each other and I just don’t have the energy right now, as I find myself spending time with people who leave me feeling tired and irritated.

For example, I have a friend who’s going through a tough time and her attitude to this makes her difficult to be around right now. The things that I would usually do to help (be a shoulder to cry on, talk things over, try to make sense of things, a night in with junk food, a night out for drinks), aren’t working. I do want to be there for her and be supportive but the selfish side of me struggles to make the effort when she doesn’t recognise what I, or anybody else, are trying to do for her. But I can’t be one of those assholes who only bothers with people who can offer them something. My friends are worth the effort and I’m lucky to have them so I just gotta suck it up. I’ll keep trying to cheer her up, or at least just remind her that I’m here to listen to her tale of woe over a cup of tea and family sized bar of chocolate.

Ultimately, I guess we are responsible for our own happiness (boke – such a cheesy quote and I hate it (but true fs)). If I do my best to be good to the people I care about, I won’t carry this guilt. If I get off my ass and get out to the places I love, I’ll be more energised. If I make the effort to see the people who get me, I’ll not hate myself so much of the time. And if I continue to call out the assholes in work who think they can land me in trouble, they’ll think twice before trying to use me as a scapegoat.

*This is where I cut out a bunch of super depressing stuff so I’m gonna throw in a bit of positivity instead, for my mental well-being*

The things lately that have left me feeling fabulous are:

  • Dressing up with a friend to attend a fashion show at the Galgorm
  • Taking a walk in the sun in a park full of squirrels
  • Seeing the leaves turn orange
  • Listening to new music (especially in the mornings on the way to work)
  • Finding a new show on Netflix (Hot Wet American Summer or something? Hilarious!)
  • Booking a night in The Merchant Hotel for my birthday in a few weeks
  • Buying a fucking fantastic pair of shoes on my credit card. I may be poor but damn I’m stylish.
  • Eating sweet potato fries
  • Taking time off work to go for walks in parks full of trees that are raining little crisp orange leaves
  • Going to Co Couture in Belfast for the most delicious hot chocolate and reading Anna Karenina. The most blissful alone time in a long time
  • Calling out the grown men in work who act like little bitches and watching them shit their pants and start being super nice to me
  • Wearing new lipstick (dark purple, ofc)
  • A Michelin star lunch date in Ox, Belfast, followed my shoe shopping with my most fashionable friend
  • Trying out a new hipster coffee shop with my mum
  • Seeing improvements every week at Muay Thai. I fucking love kicking stuff.
  • Meeting new people
  • Planning a trip to Paris
  • Going to the very first showing I could find of the new Guillermo del Toro movie cause I’ve been waiting on it for months! (It did not disappoint)
  • Taking the time to stop and look around, even take some pictures of the places I usually take for granted

Now I’m going to continue wasting my Sunday in bed, because it’s warm and quiet in here and I have WiFi.

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Words to live by

I love Pinterest!

Seriously, who doesn’t? In the dark days, before this magnificent site came into being, I used to spend hours cutting up magazines and gluing ‘inspiration’ into categorized scrapbooks (I still do sometimes, I love a good ‘cut and stick’ now and then). But then Pinterest burst onto the scene like a miracle for serial organizers (not me!) and aesthetic lovers alike. I’ve only just started an ‘angry blonde’ account but my personal account is packed with boards and pins that I always go back to whenever I need a little inspiration. Today, which is another gloomy day in N.I. (quelle surprise), I need some motivation. So here is my curated collection of quotes that I should really try harder to live by. Hopefully they give you a little boost too, like a slap on the ass!

“Shit could be worse.”

For all my moaning and complaining and feeling sorry for myself, shit could be a lot worse. Yes, I lost my boyfriend, but at least I have friends who rallied around to help me through it. Yes, I lost my home, but at least I have a loving family with a spare room to come back to. Yes I lost the £600 security deposit I’d put down for our new place… but, at least it wasn’t £700? Idk…

“Thou shalt not take shit.”

And I don’t… except from him. I’ve now learned that I shouldn’t break this mantra for anybody. I’m a smart girl and I’m over making allowances for anybody’s ‘issues’. If you give me shit, bitch bye.

“It’s not who you are that holds you back, it’s who you think you’re not.”

This is so fucking true. I always find myself looking at others doing things I’d like to do and shrugging off the possibility because I’m not sociable enough, or not bubbly enough, not confident enough. But you know what? I’m not unsociable. I’m not shy and I am confident. When I consider all the things that I am, instead of what I’m not, I realise I’m capable of a fuck load. (Which is a legitimate measurement here in Northern Ireland…)

“Each day I am thankful for nights that turned into mornings, friends that turned into family, dreams that turned into reality and likes that turned into loves.” – Drake

Oh, Drake. So many quotable quotes… But this one immediately brings to mind such nights, friends, loves… It’s too easy to forget how much we are thankful for and how much we’d miss certain memories if we woke up tomorrow and realised they were merely dreams and we hadn’t lived them at all.

“Everything happens for a reason. But sometimes that reason is because you’re stupid and you make bad decisions.”

Sometimes it’s really important to just accept that you’re a dick. You did a dicky thing. Learn from it. Apologise. Make amends where possible and move the fuck forward. It’s not even a part of growing up, it’s a part of simply being human. This quote helps me to remember that we’ve ALL been there.

“Normal is an illusion. What is normal to the spider is chaos to the fly.” – Morticia Addams

I may envy my friends for having their shit together while my life has seemingly taken several steps backwards, but their normality has never been mine. Just because everybody else is married with a mortgage and planning kids doesn’t mean it would work for me. In fact, it most definitely would not work for me. Fuck normal.

“When you’re busy creating your own fulfillment you won’t feel the need to seek it from others.”

Which is why I need to keep working on my blog and on myself. Figure out what I want to do and where I want to be, and hopefully I’ll eventually be satisfied without his opinion.

“Feel the fear and do it anyway.”

The things that I am most proud of in my 24 years, and the things that have had a big hand in shaping me into who I am, are the things I was fucking terrified of doing. Petrified of starting, bricking it during the whole process and dreading it ending and being faced with the outcome. But the outcome was always me feeling like “I am the fucking bomb. I can do ANYTHING. I am tough, I am smart, I am wise, I am confident, I can throw a punch, I can eat an entire chocolate cake and I can fucking do it.”

“Laugh at the men who tell you you’re pretty. You’re so much more than that.”

SO important. When I spend time chatting to a guy, telling him about my interests, my feats, being my charming, witty self, and all he can say is ‘you’re hot’, I just have to walk away. I’m not sure what my type is, but a man who can’t see anything past blonde hair and a bit of lipstick is definitely not it. Girls (and guys), let’s chill about our looks for a minute cause we‘re so much more than that.

“I am better than I was. I will be better than I am.”

So, I have to face up to the fact that I was not the perfect girlfriend. But I tried my fucking best. I treated him better than I’d treated any ex. I improved myself, I worked on my jealousy issues (typical scorpio here), I was forgiving and I made sacrifices to try and keep him happy. I’m not perfect, but I am better than I was and I’ll be better again still.

“Whatever happens we’ll be OK. Nah, we’ll be fucking fantastic.” – Above & Beyond

Just gotta believe it

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On the bright side, I am not addicted to cocaine…

Ok so I’ve done nothing but complain about the human experience lately but let me be clear, I do realise that shit could be worse. I am, in fact, a very lucky girl. All the trials and tribulations of my twenties are just a normal part of the privileged life many of us are fortunate enough to be living.

With that in mind I’m trying to focus on the positives this week. And while all the big parts of my life are looking as bleak as the Northern Irish summer, I’m trying to find smiles in the very little things:

  1. Driving home from work yesterday with a view of the brightest rainbow I’ve ever seen
  2. Early nights (and sleep in general)
  3. Avocado toast
  4. My delectable Max Benjamin Coffee & Cardamom candle
  5. Puzzle books
  6. Clean bed sheets
  7. New shoes
  8. Fleetwood Mac
  9. Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar & ID magazine
  10. Hot chocolate
  11. Good eyebrows
  12. Dwarf hamsters. So. Fucking. Cute.
  13. Autumn
  14. Starry nights
  15. Champagne cocktails

There’s plenty to smile about (metaphorically of course – I suffer from chronic bitch face). What’s on your list?

Image via Tumblr

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Last night while I was complaining (it’s what I do best!) to a friend that I feel as though I’m lagging behind everyone else in the race to the ‘having your shit together’ status, she was complaining of cold feet.

I don’t mean that she needed a pair of socks. She has life cold feet. While I’m feeling as though I’ve fallen behind my peers who have a decent job, a house, a husband etc., one of these very peers is wishing that life would slow down. Is it a curse of the twenty-something’s to always think the grass is greener on the other side?

As teens we both fantasised about our twenties. We imagined moving abroad, renting a stylish apartment together, being happy, sexy, confident women who have romantic flings with exotic men… It would be everything we always wanted, the time of our lives, our youth, our peak! Instead we ended up in this place called ‘reality’, where we are constantly worrying that we haven’t got our shit together, that we’re supposed to know what we’re doing by now, that we’re not keeping up, that life is moving too fast and we’re not ready to adult yet!

But years ago, when I was much younger, I remember asking my lovely mum what age she would go back to if she could choose. Assuming it would be between 18-21, the years I was then fantasising about, I was surprised when she answered with 30. She told me that her early 30s were when she finally felt like she knew what she was doing. She was still young and beautiful but she was no longer shy or insecure. She knew who she was, she knew what she wanted and she was finally confident and happy with herself.

So, everytime I get stressed about my twenties I like to remember that conversation and continue holding on hope for my thirties. I haven’t peaked yet, my climax is ahead of me and that’s something to be excited about.


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