I Woke Up And Decided To Be Happy

Bi-polar + anxiety can equal a fucking disastrous ride through life, full of hurt and angst and misunderstandings. Hell, if you only knew how many times I’ve fallen hard, and needed to gather my damaged self back up again…my head is home to a world of scars.

Sometimes it feels like life has never been a straightforward experience. I’ve always been falling over and breaking, then staggering back upright and fixing myself, determined that I’d never be caught off guard again. That this time I’d stay ok.

But of course I’m caught off guard, of course I fall. In some ways, I think I was put here to show people that you don’t have to disappear underground forever when shit gets bad. Even though I’m one who can do that…the disappearing act…I always come back after a while because I refuse to be defeated.

The valuable thing for me to remember is that I know I can pull myself from the maelestom. I know I can get my head above the water and breathe and live for the moment, instead of in the darkened past or an imagined, shaky future.

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This morning I woke up and said to myself,

‘From now on, I’m going to be happy. I’m going to accept that life is uncertain and embrace the uncertainty. When negative thoughts try and plough into my consciousness, I’m going to let them starve from lack of attention, and when shit gets difficult, as it inevitably will from time to time, I’ll deal with it and move the fuck forward without hesitation.

I have a beautiful life, in one of the most spectacular countries in the world, and a partner I wouldn’t trade for anything. The people around me own the biggest hearts. I have my eyesight, I have my hearing, I have my voice, I have four working limbs and a strong heart. I have life-bettering opportunities offering themselves to me, and I have experience enough that I can tackle any challenge head on. I want to inspire happiness in people, I want to inspire hope.’

Further Reading

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Important Shit I Have Underlined About Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Love & Thinking

I have forever been protective over my books, I mean like obsessively protective. My books mean everyfuckingthing to me and I would run into a burning building to save them, if I had to. No lie. I would save my books over pretty much all of my other possessions.

I have my special books and I have my other books, my other books are okay to be underlined, are okay to be battered and creased and what have you. The special books on the other hand, well, be warned…crease a page and you’ve pretty much dug your own grave.

As I kid, I’d never underline stuff, I’d never turn down the top of a page, hell, I’d read them as carefully as I could so that I wouldn’t crease the spine. While this sort of protectiveness is needed for some volumes, for others I’ve loosened up.  I’ve realised that underlining and creasing pages can be for the best…

Three of the ‘other’ books which I’ve been markering with an iluminous green marker pen like a thing possessed are: Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff In Love by Richard and Kristine Carlson, Mind Power by James Borg and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy For Dummies by Rhena Branch and Rob Willson.

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Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff In Love

Bought this little book for 20 krona in a thrift store…only a quarter of the way through but, for someone who’s always looking for ways to become a better human being for my partner and our relationship, I’ve already underlined a shit ton of things.

Above all else, adopt an attitude of kindness. Make it your highest priority to practise it every day.

One of the greatest gifts you can give yourself and, ultimately, your relationship is to know your own value, to feel secure that you are special, unique and important. There isn’t a person in the world who is just like you, and no one could take your place. Your contribution is important, and the gifts and value you bring to your relationship are significant and irreplaceable.

Instead she continued working on herself. She became calmer and even kinder and happier than she already was. After a while, her happy spirit  became a little contagious and her husband became curious.

When you eliminate (or even greatly reduce) the number of little things that bother you enough to fight about, it opens the door to a different kind of relationship. It’s so much fun to be around someone is isn’t always bothered by something – it’s refreshing, inviting and nourishing. When you refuse to fight over stupid things, you can become true pals again – partners in every sense of the word.

Make being happy more important than being stubborn. Soon this could be a habit that will change the course of your relationship forever.

Mind Power

Officially the best 25 krona I have spent in my life on anything. Struggling with your head and have thoughts that you just want to piss the fuck off? This is the book you need. I’ve underlined stuff on nearly every page, and I’m not reading it for the third time because I need a bit of extra help with my thoughts and shit. I think I’ll be returning to this one in a not-so distant blog post.

You are today where the thoughts of yesterday have brought you and you will be tomorrow where the thoughts of today take you. – Blaise Pascal

Your thinking can propel you to success – or hold you back. So to change your life all you have to do is change your thinking.

How we cope with these everyday challenges and how troubled we become is purely down to the way we think about the situation. Through what ‘filter’ do we see the world?

The mere act of ‘thinking’ changes the brain.

The mind can propel us to do wonderful things or hold us back relentlessly.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy For Dummies

So I kind of adopted this book from my mother…while I don’t usually like books from the ‘For Dummies’ series, this one is actually pretty good. Some of them, I find, are just too much (and that’s something coming from me!) but this one has been really, really well written. It’s a joy to read, especially because it’s genuinely helping me.

I’ve had CBT on and off for about over 15 years. While it’s been a while since I’ve sat face to face with a therapist, I’ve decided I need to make space for it again in my life.

From Chapter 5 : Refocusing and Retraining Your Awareness

One of the real benefits of understanding the way that your emotions influence the way you think, is to know when what you’re thinking isn’t likely to be helpful or very realistic.

Given that many of the negative thoughts you experience when you’re emotionally distressed are distorted and unhelpful, you’re much better off letting some thoughts pass you by, recognising them symptoms or output of a given emotional state or psychological problem.

Becoming more familiar with the thoughts that tend to pop into your head when you feel down, anxious or guilty makes it easier for you to recognise them as thoughts and let them come and go, rather than treating them as facts.

Becoming more mindful about little everyday tasks can help you to strengthen your attention muscles. Essentially, everything you do throughout the day can be done with increased awareness.

 

Just Don’t Think

For almost a year now, I’ve had the same obsessive compulsive destructive thoughts intruding my head space. They led to a horrendous breakdown when 2016 was winding down. Functioning like a normal human being was neigh on impossible.

While I’ve mostly recovered from that fucking mess – by which I mean I can get out of bed, hold a conversation and sometimes write something decent-ish – I’m still working on cleansing my life of the thoughts that want to do nothing more than see me fall, and fall hard, as in fall so hard I don’t get back up again.

The thoughts are there when I wake up. They’re there when I try and write. They’re there when I’m digging out my blackheads. And they tire me the hell out. I mean really. My brain gets so fucking exhausted that I’m ready for bed by 3pm.

Sleep is often the only branch I can cling to for relief from the rapids of my thoughts. The moments the thoughts are crushing me when I’m awake are few and far between but they are just so beautiful.

The really fucking tragic thing is I know what’s happening to me, and I know how to solve it. But it’s hard. I’m re-educating myself in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy techniques, re-reading Mind Power by James Borg and talking to my mother.

Talking to my mother has probably been the most effective treatment source. She told me how she had managed to get her excessive worrying down from 8 hours a day to only 15 minutes by doing one simple thing – not thinking. That’s right. Just. Don’t. Think. Instead, live! Just LIVE! When your thoughts get the better of you, and they will, try again and again and again until all you are doing is living.

Instead of letting herself be rattled all day every day, my mother, my mountain, allows herself 15 minutes to worry about the things that are stressing her the hell out. The rest of the time, those thoughts can just fuck the fuck off. They’re not welcome in the temple of her mind.

Right now, I would say that 16 hours in 24 are poisoned with negative thinking, and this simply has to change. I refuse to allow my life to be dictated to by irrationality. I know I’m capable of it, it’s just this time the thoughts are rooted so fucking deep I know it’s going to take a little while. But I have a belief in myself that’s stronger than the doubt trying its hardest to make itself heard.

 

A Day Of Food When I Was Anorexic VS A Day Of Food Now

I thought this would be interesting to write about because my relationship with food is so radically  different to how it used to be.

When I was 14 years old I developed Anorexia Nervosa. Over the course of a few months, I bid farewell to over half of my body weight. The hair on my head thinned and dropped out. My periods dried up. My nails and bones became brittle as kindling, and a strange, blonde fur (lanugo) started to blanket my sad and broken skin.

My body was trying in vain to keep itself warm, to keep itself alive. When the fur didn’t help, my body started to cannibalize itself from the inside out.

First it consumed any fat that I had left, then it started to steadily eat away at my muscles. I was – very effectively – starving myself to death and became little more than a bundle of bones tied up in a scrap of dry flesh.

Yet I wanted to be…no, I needed to be thinner, smaller, less noticeable. I needed to be leaving a fainter footsteps when I walked. I needed to be practically able to float. Nothing else other than getting thinner mattered in the world. Nothing. 

My diet when I was at lowest weight (just under 5 stone) was tragic. Nobody really knew what I was eating because I lied about what made it past my mouth. I became an expert at magicking food away to anywhere but my stomach.

Before this sickness adopted me, I wasn’t fussy with food. Actually, I fucking loved food, and had a more than healthy relationship with the stuff. But it didn’t take long for it to become the enemy, for me to be afraid of it even touching my skin.

This is what a day of food looked like for me then:

Breakfast

  • 15 grams of dry branflakes.
  • A small glass of water.

Note: It was VITAL that the branflakes were weighed, and I quickly replaced milk with water when I realised how many calories I could save. But then I started to become worried about the amount of water I was having and thought that it would increase my weight, so I started to have my branflakes dry instead. There were some days, before I was admitted to hospital, where I would actually count the number of branflakes in my bowl. They always needed to be an even number.

I’d forever had tea in a morning, but that quickly became forbidden when I became ill.

Lunch

  • 2 Ryvita’s each with a transparent layer of sandwich spread.
  • 1 small apple.
  • A bottle of water.

Note: I would eat about half of one of the Ryvita’s and then throw the other one and a half in the bin. When I was having lunch at school this was easy enough. Though I still did it discreetly, just in case. More often than not the apple wouldn’t get eaten and would be thrown in the bin too.

Dinner

  • A Quorn burger or something similar. Whatever it was I didn’t want to eat it.
  • Peas, Carrots.
  • Mashed potato.

Note: The fights that I would have with my mother at dinner time were so apocalyptic they became legendary. I would scream so loud I’d break an eardrum or two, and I think I remember even catapulting plates of food. I’d usually end up swallowing a few tiny mouthfuls, then somehow manage to get away with not touching the rest, most of which would end up down my sleeves then in the toilet.


After I’d pretty much reached the weight I was when I was a toddler, I maintained my exhausting anorexic existence for over ten years. I would sort of get near to being better than I’d relapse, then I’d sort of get near to being better again, and I’d relapse…and so the cycle continued on and on and on.

It pushed my terrified family to the edge, then, making me watch, flung them over relentlessly. They’d dust themselves down, repair what had been broken, then they’d be taken right back to the edge again, even more terrified than before. And again, I was made to watch as they were flung over.

Fast-forward to 2017, 17 years after I was diagnosed with anorexia, and my relationship with food is poles apart from what it was. My family and I have, together, recovered.

I have a womanly belly. My arse is taking on something of a curve. My collar bones aren’t sharp enough for me to cut my fingers on anymore. I’m also in a relationship with a Swedish man who has weaned me onto crisps and chocolate and pick n mix and Pepsi. A man who has managed what no one else has managed – he’s managed to make me eat foods which I was still, up until a few months ago, forbidden from touching.

And this is what a day of food for me looks like now:

Breakfast

  • A bowl of…I dunno…maybe 55, 60 grams of branflakes? I don’t weigh stuff anymore, with plenty of semi-skimmed milk.
  • Non Fat Greek yogurt. Again, I don’t know how much, several tablespoons?
  • A BIG cup of tea with milk AND one teaspoon of sugar.
  • A piece of dark chocolate.
  • 1 40 mg citalopram tablet, 1 100 mg quitapine tablet.

NOTE: I used to weigh my cereal OBSESSIVELY when I was ill, and I would NEVER use semi-skimmed milk. Just skimmed or unsweetened soya…soya because it has less calories than the skimmed. Also, when I was in hospital I’d drain the milk from each individual branflake and eat just one flake at a time. I’d didn’t finish a bowl of cereal until at least 5 months into my stay in hospital.

It was only when I discovered artificial sweetener in hospital that I started to drink tea again. I became obsessed with the stuff and would have up to 8 in one cup of tea…how I have no fucking idea. Anyway, I ditched the sweetener several years ago because of a million and one different reasons which I can talk about in another post – though primarily because it works to agitate my mental issues.

The dark chocolate thing is new. When the lovely lady who contributed to my Arctic Library sent me a heap of dark organic chocolate (70% + cocoa content) I became infatuated and have been having some every day since. I’m now on the last bar she sent, and I’m trying to make it last…the benefits of dark chocolate are EXTENSIVE, as you’ll probably know.

The medication I’ve been taking since 2010 helps with the shit that goes down in my brain, because it doesn’t function like everyone else’s and needs some help. The citalopram works as an anti-depressant, while the quitapine works as an anti-psychotic. I was diagnosed with depression when I was 15 along with the anorexia. Then, when I was 24 I was accessed for the millionth time and diagnosed with bi-polar.

Lunch

  • Ham sandwich cobbled together with 2 slices of white bread and butter.
  • A banana.
  • A meringue.
  • A cup of tea with milk and sugar.

NOTE: Yeah, yeah, I know. White bread is shitty, but we didn’t have any multigrain in, so I had to make do. Back in the thin days I just wouldn’t have eaten. The butter is a relatively new. I NEVER EVER EVER had butter on my bread when I was ill. To be honest, I used to be so paranoid about butter that I thought if I touched it, the calories would leech through my skin.

The meringue was just there. Wanted it. Ate it. Licked my fingers.

Snack

  • A muesli bar. Blueberry or something. Love muesli bars.
  • A cup of tea with milk and sugar.

NOTE: If I don’t have a snack mid-afternoon I’m a mega bitch. Seriously. When I was at my sickest there was NEVER a snack.

Dinner

  • A tuna mayonnaise and spinach (!) sandwich made with wholewheat bread. (I went to the shop.)
  • A bowl of Greek yogurt with a chopped up banana and a handful of strawberries.
  • Some more dark chocolate because I needed the good mood boost and brain energy.
  • A cup of tea with milk and sugar.

NOTE: I know a tuna mayo sandwich isn’t the best dinner option, but I just could not be arsed cooking. Anorexia wouldn’t have allowed that back in the day. I had to have what I’d planned to have a week earlier, that or nothing at all.

Snack

  • ANOTHER bowl of branflakes with milk.
  • 1 disappointingly small apple.
  • A cup of tea with milk and sugar.
  • 2 100mg quitapine tablets.

NOTE: I always eat a snack in the evening. I went to bed hungry for too many years. Plus, this is usually the time the man and I devour our crisps and chocolate…

Then later…

  • Some Horlicks because I was having anxiety attacks in bed and couldn’t sleep.
  • 1 banana because I wasn’t hungry but I needed something comforting that could also help me sleep. Bananas are good for sleep.

NOTE: My food routine was ESSENTIAL when I was ill. I couldn’t deviate away from it. If I couldn’t sleep when I was ill, there was no ‘grab a cup of Horlicks’ option.’ I just had to sit there, shaking my legs – it burned calories – waiting for sleep to come.

My, how things have changed. And how very fucking proud I am of myself and the man who has helped with much of it.

Witch In The Kitchen : Turmeric Smoothie

I haven’t been treating my body very well recently. And that’s not like me at all. I’ve been devouring excessive amounts of sweets because I’ve felt like ‘I’ve deserved it…’ also because I’ve been trying to make up for all the years I denied myself pick n mix.

I’ve not drinking enough water, and have been staying up until dawn to finish work. Stupid, stupid, stupid. And I know it. I really, really know it, and that’s what makes it so bloody ridiculous that I’ve allowed myself to get to this state! But it happened so fast, that I started to feel shitty I mean. Like, a few days of eating some some sweets has done this to me. Sweets can be bad magic if you abuse them!

My energy has dribbled away, leaving me slow to move my limbs, slow to respond to life and irritable. So fucking irritable. My flesh isn’t used to being treated like this. It’s used to being looked after like the temple I need to remember it is.

My sleep has been poor too. When I’ve been able to drift off that is. My thoughts have been racing more than usual, my brain firing random, useless bullshit at me. Stuff that I really don’t need to be thinking about ever.

If I do manage to get some sleep nowadays, I’m hounded by dreams more complicated and long-winded than Gormenghast. They leave me feeling more knackered when I wake up than I felt before I went to bed. My health isn’t right at the moment, and it’s getting to me. I know food is one of the main reasons I’m feeling shitty, so I’m putting the candy aside to pay more attention to what’s fueling me.

I’ve been slowly filling up our spice shelves slowly, and turmeric is the latest addition. When I was growing up, my mother always had an impressive spice collection going on. I always thought there was something magical about it, and I wasn’t wrong…spices are the magic in our kitchens.

Sometimes I’d just go through them, the jars of spices, one by one, and sniff them out of curiosity. Sometimes a bit too hard and my little nostrils would set on fire. Some things never change – I still sniff spices, and my mother still has an eclectic collection of spices, some with names I’ll never be able to pronounce. If I’m going to someone’s house, and find they have more spices than cinnamon and nutmeg, I’m always impressed.

I was writing about Turmeric – also know as Indian Saffron – recently, and have become a convert to India’s golden spice. This superfood which makes our cooking dazzle, is capable of so much more than just flavouring and colouring our food – it can actually work immediately to better our physical, emotional and psychological health. Fucking perfect!

Curcumin, the stuff in turmeric which makes it golden, can actually help to ease anxiety and has shown promise as an anti-depressant. As well as being capable of improving your mood, turmeric is also a miracle healer for pain. It is, however, difficult for the body to absorb, so it’s advised to always add a dash of black pepper to whatever you’re using the turmeric with, as it greatly enhances absorption. I didn’t on this occasion, but I’m going to add a dash next time and see how it works.

I just cobbled this turmeric smoothie together using some a dash of common sense and some of my favourite smoothie ingredients – no processed sugar, no bad shit at all! And it turned out to be…really, really fucking good! I mean genuinely, this is going to be something I’ll be having several times a week. It’s surprisingly sweet, perfectly spicy, comes out with this delicious frothy topping. It also drinks down so smooth it’s like having a desert…but what that’s good for you in a hundred different ways.

I’m not saying give up sweets all together. Hell no. Just be more conscious…for example maybe get a bar of organic chocolate and savour it properly, instead of getting a bag of pick n mix and just putting it into your body without even engaging your senses into what it is you’re eating.

Let me know how it turns out for you, and if you start to reap the turmeric rewards! I’ll be posting some more turmeric recipes soon, so if you enjoyed this one, keep an eye out.

*I had my smoothie with some Valdosta Pecans – Glazed Mix that a friend kindly sent me from the states. DIVINE combination.

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Ingredients

  • 1 banana (frozen if you wish, though mine was just refrigerated)
  • 250 ml of skimmed milk (though you can semi skimmed, full fat or soya)
  • 3/4 tsp turmeric
  • Pinch of black pepper
  • Small handful of oats

Directions

  • Place all your ingredients in a blender and blitz until smooth. Drink slowly and really enjoy.

Why I Am Going To ‘Woman The Fuck Up’ About Money

I don’t know when or why I became sensitive about money. I  do remember when I opened my bank account though…I was 12 and had £10 to put in that I’d received for my birthday. And believe me, I was dead set that that £10 wasn’t going anywhere.

Every time I could put something in there – be it £2 or £20 – I felt like I was accomplishing something really fucking significant. I felt no shame in going up to the cashier and saying ‘I’d like to put this £2.50 into my bank account please.’

As a family of six, money was never something we had much of, and while my friends were rocking their new Nike trainers, I was wearing my aunties hand-me-down mid 80’s Reeboks that were three times too big. While my friends were crossing the sea to Greece, my siblings and I stayed with my Grandmother in a caravan on the blustery North East coast of England. While my friends brought in licorice and chocolate to school for break time, I brought in half a jam and margarine sandwich made with Safeway Own Value white bread. Despite our frugal living, we were happy and my childhood was one I wouldn’t change, it was impossibly rich in creativity, adventure and love.

My mum would welcome in all the kids from the street, and give them the food she worked two jobs for. Our homes during the years – we moved a few times – became refuges for kids whose parents didn’t give two shits about them, or kids who just wanted to get away and discovered that they found peace at our house. It was a very rare occasion that mum made anyone go on back home. Some would stay for days, others weeks. Our house was always a buzz of activity with new faces appearing every five minutes.

“It’s hard enough to give fearlessly, and it’s even harder to receive fearlessly.
But within that exchange lies the hardest thing of all:
To ask. Without shame.
And to accept the help that people offer.
Not to force them.
Just to let them.” – Amanda Palmer

I was seventeen and in collage when I got my first job. I worked the weekends as a catering assistant at a KP Foods factory and brought home £47.60 a week. I hated my job. I hated getting up while the rest of my family were sleeping and cycling in the dark to a factory whose smell made me gag from even a mile away. I hated the fact I was always given the shitty jobs ‘Katie, clean out the smokers room…’

I hated that 80% of the people I cooked, served and cleaned up after were spiteful and rude and seemingly unable to eat a cooked breakfast without half of it ending up smeared all over their table. I’m sure they did it because it would mean I’d have a nightmare scraping it up once they’d left, and the bean juice and egg yolk had dried. I hated the bitching and the behind the back talking. I hated that my skin and hair smelt like I’d been dipped in the deep fat fryer whenever I was finished for the day. If I’d been able to smell my bones, I think they would have stank too.

Much of the time I’d go home and cry. But I didn’t quit. I worked every weekend for three years at that place before packing it in. What would get me through wasn’t thinking about what I’d spend my money on, rather what I’d write when I got home. I was working on my second book and it took up almost all the hours when I wasn’t at college or work. It was my everything. It was what made me get up in the morning.

Several other jobs followed this one, none of them enjoyable, none of them satisfying, none of them made me think ‘hell, I want to do this instead of writing as a career!’ My mental health meant that I wasn’t as ‘on the ball’ I should have been. My anxiety meant I was afraid to confront customers. My values and how I’d been brought up left me unable to pressurize people into buying things I knew they probably couldn’t afford.

“From what I’ve seen, it isn’t so much the act of asking that paralyzes us–it’s what lies beneath: the fear of being vulnerable, the fear of rejection, the fear of looking needy or weak. The fear of being seen as a burdensome member of the community instead of a productive one. It points, fundamentally, to our separation from one another.” – Amanda Palmer

I never ‘fitted in’ with any of my work teams and was always the ‘weird one.’ I didn’t mind being the weird one, but I did mind the gossip, I did mind the laughing, I did mind the ‘quiet word in my office’ moments where I was told I ‘had to come out of myself.’ I couldn’t come out of my self. Hell, I was enough out of myself by turning up when fatigue made my body heavy as an iron lady. But it was always the thought that ‘when I get home I can write’ that got me through.

I’d known, since I was a kid that I’d ‘have to work a normal job’ while waiting for my writing career ‘to take off.’ And I’ve worked enough ‘normal jobs’ to know I don’t cut it, that it’s not for me. My bi-polar and anxiety means that to get to my ‘normal job’ is hard enough as it is. Many don’t realize that managing to get through the day when you have bi-polar is achievement worthy of reward. This quote from Carrie Fisher sums it up quite perfectly:

“One of the things that baffles me (and there are quite a few) is how there can be so much lingering stigma with regards to mental illness, specifically bipolar disorder. In my opinion, living with manic depression takes a tremendous amount of balls. Not unlike a tour of Afghanistan (though the bombs and bullets, in this case, come from the inside). At times, being bipolar can be an all-consuming challenge, requiring a lot of stamina and even more courage, so if you’re living with this illness and functioning at all, it’s something to be proud of, not ashamed of. They should issue medals along with the steady stream of medication.” Wishful Drinking, her 2008 memoir about her mental illness and prescription drug addiction

I’m a lone wolf who thrives in solitude, and feels weakened when she’s crowded or put under the rule of someone else. I’ve never wanted to work for anyone but myself. I found my life’s meaning when I was four years old, and I’ve never strayed from that path, not even for a second. But to keep on that path, I need to do something which, at first, made me feel ashamed because I’m a fucking proud woman…

Since being in Sweden I’ve been living off my savings, freelance writing work, hand outs from my parents and by the support of my partner. But the savings are gone now. The work doesn’t pay well, and the discussion of ‘getting a real job’ has been raging for months. I’ve been working harder, faster, but the money never seems to catch up.

I’ve signed on at what’s essentially the Swedish Job Centre, but I don’t get any hand outs nor do I get any actual useful help. My partner thinks that, despite me having a 1st class degree, it’s almost inevitable that I’ll have to work as a cleaner or something. To think of this makes my heart become as heavy as a handful of wet sand. It makes me feel weak and helpless and vulnerable. It makes me worry about the hours that I’ll have left to create and do what I need to do to keep my spirit from rotting.

The contents of my bank account have always been a secret. I haven’t wanted to share its numbers with my family or anyone else. And when someone has asked ‘how much is in there?’ I’ve become deeply offended and angry. A large part of me feels I’ve let myself down by not being a fully self-sufficient writer by the age of 30.

“There’s really no honor in proving that you can carry the entire load on your own shoulders. And…it’s lonely” – Amanda Palmer

But not I’m letting my guard down. I’m not going to be secretive about money because if I want to make it I need to ask for help. I need people willing to support me in my journey to becoming a fully self-sufficient writer. I’m not only asking for help with this because writing is what makes me happy, I’m asking for help because writing is what helps me keep my sanity.

So I’ve established a Patreon page. There’s the option for you to pledge as much or as little as you would like to, and with each pledge comes a reward. By setting up a Patreon page, I’ve let go of my sensitivity to money and am openly asking for support in my life’s mission.  I’ll leave you with this uber poignant quote from the incredible Amanda Palmer whose book The Art Of Asking I highly recommend.

“Asking for help with shame says:
You have the power over me.
Asking with condescension says:
I have the power over you.
But asking for help with gratitude says:
We have the power to help each other.”  ― Amanda Palmer

Become my

Strength Is Around Here Somewhere

I’m feeling weak today. My self-esteem is somewhere out of sight, and the temptation to flee the internet is almost overwhelming. I’ve been having panic attacks about love heart emojis, and comparing the size of my breasts to someone elses, someone I don’t even know and whom I will never meet.

I’ve been bullying myself for not being able to stop overthinking and overthinking and overthinking. I’ve been bullying the one I love because I was struggling to love myself. Looking in the mirror today was impossible because I felt too disgusted with myself, with my appearance, with my thoughts and actions.

I’m wishing we were still in winter. I’m wishing I could go to ground with a brown mother bear, and hibernate in her massive arms. I wish I could regurgitate the berries I’d eaten during the autumn months and feed on them when I was hungry. I wish I could come back to earth’s surface strong and capable of fighting off anything that tried to go for my jugular.

In an attempt to gather back some strength, I’ve been looking at some self-portraits where I try and epitomize what it is to be a strong woman. I’ve also rounded up some quotes that bring me comfort and fire. I’ve fallen, but it’s time to woman the fuck up.

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The people
who consider you weak
have not yet noticed
the wolf hiding
behind your eyes,
nor the flames
inside your soul.

Let them think
you are weak
and do what
wolves and fire
do best.

Surprise them
when they least expect it.

– Nikita Gill

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It makes utter sense to stay healthy and strong, to be as nourishing to the body as possible. Yet I would have to agree, there is in many women a ‘hungry’ one inside. But rather than hungry to be a certain size, shape, or height, rather than hungry to fit the stereotype; women are hungry for basic regard from the culture surrounding them. The ‘hungry’ one inside is longing to be treated respectfully, to be accepted and in the very least, to be met without stereotyping.

— Clarissa Pinkola Estés

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A strong woman is a woman who craves love like oxygen or she turns blue choking.  A strong woman is a woman who loves strongly and weeps strongly and is strongly terrified and has strong needs. A strong woman is strong in words, in action, in connection, in feeling; she is not strong as a stone but as a wolf suckling her young. Strength is not in her, but she enacts it as the wind fills a sail.

— Marge Piercy

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Operation Self-Esteem–Day Fucking One. ― Elizabeth Gilbert

Interpreting The Moon

While she wasn’t quite yet full, the moon last night was watching over me.  Anxiety was eating away at my good mood, so to calm the fuck down and move forward with my evening I decided on some ‘down time’ photographing and editing, and who better to be my model but Luna? When my anxiety is so rife it hurts to breathe, creating is the way to re-discovering peace. Always. The following quote illustrates what I mean beautifully…

“Art is a wound turned into light.” – Georges Braque

One of my favourite free editing programs to use is Lunapic and recently I’ve uncovered a whole other world of features. The next few hours were happy ones, as they ought to be on a Saturday night. I also gathered together some of my favourite moon quotes from some people I happen to like rather a lot.

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The original Luna…

…and the ways I interpreted her…

All of these effects can be found in the drop down menu under ‘Art.’

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Effect : Paper Folding

There are nights when the wolves are silent and only the moon howls.

— George Carlin

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Effect – Frost

If the moon smiled, she would resemble you.
You leave the same impression
Of something beautiful, but annihilating.

– Sylvia Plath

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Effect – Dark

Follow your inner moonlight; don’t hide the madness.

— Allen Ginsberg

 

Discoveries : March

I have been looking forward to putting this post together for weeks now!

If there’s one thing you should know about me it’s that I very rarely switch off. Even when I think sometimes that ‘perhaps it would be nice to have a quiet head for a while,’  it’s not often that I’m mentally capable of it being so.

It has quite a lot to do with the fact with the fact I live with bi-polar, and it’s an illness that’s renowned for not letting its carriers allow their thoughts to rest. And it has quite a lot to do with the fact that I’m just too bloody interested in my interests to be able to let my mind drain out. I tried it once last year, to just be without putting out my feelers, and I felt like it was the end of the fucking world.

Anyway, here I present to you many of the great things March informed me about in its 31 days. If there’s something that moves you or inspires you or gets really under your skin or perhaps you know of a better way that I could document my discoveries, let me know…!

P.S. The little bullet points are the rune Kenaz which symbolises – among other things – knowledge, illumination and creativity.

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Creative

< Having a baby can change a writer for the better

This quote was lifted from my friend, writer Carmen Thompson’s Facebook page.

‘I admit it I was so scared about how having a baby would affect me as a writer. How could I go from the fast paced intensity of deadlines to doing nothing but baby? But he’s made me slow down to his time until I see the details in each moment. What is innocence but having the patience to wonder? What better way to write, to live?’

Stephen King Doesn’t Write In A ‘Room Of His Own’
< The Influence English Folklore Has Had On Writers
< Darby ‘Old Hag’ Lagher Is Learning To Express Herself Through Drawing
< The Man Who Runs Free With Hoses In Iceland
< The Heartbreaking Difficulty Of Getting Rid Of Books
< Caitlin Doughty Has A New Book Coming Out Called Here To Eternity

Macabre, Death & Wyrd

< Turkeys Circling A Dead Cat
15 Historical Time Consuming Torture Methods
Yeti Could Be A Sub-Species Of The Himalayan Bear
<  The Term Sasquatch Was Coined By A Journalist In 1920
New Digital Document To Help You Find Out If You’re Descended From Witches
< Zana The Wild Woman
< Baking Students Create Chocolate Geodes

History

< Why Greenland’s Vikings Vanished

Mental Health

< Shawn Cross Illustrated Mental Illness & Disorders
< Why Mental Illness Makes People So Tired
< Conveying Depression Through Photography

Nature

< Icelandic Aurora Photo Published By Nasa
< Quest To See The Northern Lights
< Peculiar Crack Forms In Þingvellir Lake
< Satellite Detects A Massive Anomaly Under Antarctica
< Norway Prepares For A Mass Slaughter Of Reindeer

Things To Try

< Viking Bread Recipe
< Turmeric Lemonade
< A Clothing & Sigil Protection Spell