26 November, 2013

Thank You Forever x

Oh hi blog, it's been a while. It's been a busy few months...

It's just over 2 months to the day since the day I nervously stepped into my new job - with crates of enthusiasm in tow, I sailed in on a river of nerves. It's 2 months since I opened the door (and got in a lift and went through another door) to a very new, very scary chapter, with my heart saying 'please, please, let me get what I want this time'. Oh no, sorry, that was on my iPod.. Either way, since that day, my feet haven't touched the ground.

When you've been out of work for even just a short time, when you have stood in line every other Wednesday to collect your dole money, when your career has been so turbulent and then your world has shrunk so small that you lose all confidence in how to be in life, you develop an appetite for normality like you wouldn't believe. I will never forget how excited I was to start work again the day I found out about my new role, I could have made it to the moon and back on adrenaline alone, and still had some leftover for a quick dance. My thirst for that feeling you get after an honest days work was overwhelming.

That appetite hasn't disappeared. Not a day has gone by that I haven't woken up bright-eyed and ready to work, work, work, and not an evening has come around that I haven't arrived home singing inside. My heart just singing at how lucky I am, my mind and body ready for more more more. Even when I caught flu pretty early on in my employment, I still looked forward to going in every day, so happy to just get on a bus, sit amongst people, belong somewhere. And more than that, feel like I belong.

True to form, nothing makes you appreciate what's good in your life like a scare from hell. On the scale of things, my scare was pretty small, but man did it shake me up. I'd like to think I have always been an appreciative person in that rarely a day goes by that I don't count my blessings. Sometimes on a lazy Saturday I lie in bed and I just look around my little bedroom at my little things and genuinely think 'wow!' I don't own anything glamorous, I type on a big old beast of a hand-me-down laptop, most of my clothing labels read 'atmosphere' (look it up) and I'm still pining for a holiday abroad. But I still feel so very blessed, because how very different life could have been. I've always said, if you have a roof over your head and someone to rely on, you're doing okay. Just lately, with the additional joy of employment in my heart, I think I might just burst with how grateful I am for everything life has given me.

That gratitude means I don't take anything or anyone in my life for granted. All the people at my new work who have made it so easy for me to fall into place there, who helped me find my way back to a confident and bright version of myself - credit to those people. You've no idea the difference you have made, you have no idea how dim my light had become. It really is true that you don't know how much a little kindness goes a long way, and whilst not everyone knows my story, they can simply know they have made a big difference to someone.

It's early days, and I know there will be some big fat challenges round the corner, but with the kind of vibe I am so fortunate enough to have found in a workplace and with the memory of those bleak days of nothing, I don't think my appetite to work work work will ever fade.

More soon...woman got work to do.


07 November, 2013

Social Media Girl Problems

Tonight I am doing something I don't very often do - I am unplugging myself from the whole world. As my  social media contemporaries will know, it gets increasingly difficult to do when living and working in the social media frenzy. Especially when I am rarely actually motivated to switch off - I really rather like being ON. As someone who already indulges in a never ending merry go round of Tweets, Instagrams and notifications outside of work, working in the same capacity can mean I am very rarely disconnected. Whilst this is good for my timeline, it isn't always so good for my health.

I have really struggled to wind down these past few weeks, even on weekends and evenings I feel super-charged, thinking about work a lot and forever checking in. My stress levels have peaked, sleep hasn't come so easy and last night I surpassed myself with a terrifying 3.5 hours of shut eye. I only have myself to blame - I am fairly sure I check my phone, Twitter, Facebook, emails, more often than the average once every 6.5 minutes. I am a monk's nightmare, I don't deserve to sleep!

Although I am loving every single second of being so immersed in the social media world and have never felt more motivated, I have had to start thinking more about my wellbeing again. As passionate as I am about social media and as excited as I am about changing the world through Twitter (*dreams*) as my Mum once so simply put it 'social media is like being at a constant party', and it really, really is. Constant socialising, interacting, reacting, never any time for reflection. While my Klout score may thrive, my mind and body can wilt if I don't stop for some fresh, non-virtual air every now and then. I worry I will miss life if I do too much of it through a screen. I tested the waters at the weekend and managed to get through an entire fireworks display without watching it through my phone, or sharing the experience with anyone online before the experience itself was even over. I immersed myself in the moment and realised how much more often I should do it, and not for  the first time. Starting the day with this in mind, after so little sleep I wanted to heave all the way to work,  this morning I walked the 50 minutes to work NOT plugged into my ipod, and I felt so much more relaxed at the end of that walk, for once I had sort of floated in on my thoughts instead of charging along plugged into my imagined soundtrack (are there definite no cameras?)

Tonight I am breathing that non-social air.  I am taking a 12 hour digital holiday, which in social media terms is about 17 years. With the house to myself, a very tired head and a baking cupboard gasping to be opened, I am switching OFF. Of course blogging isn't the best start to such an evening, but you know, I just had to share....

06 November, 2013

What am I Sorry For?

I have a habit I do not like. I apologise for myself all the time. Like ALL THE TIME. I didn't realise it until I moved in with my boyfriend. Living with someone you are close too is like being next to a constant and annoyingly good mirror - they show you yourself, all of you, even the bits you don't like or didn't know were there.

I have learnt a lot about myself living with Gareth, some of it better than others, and I have tried to change in ways I needed to. Before 2 became 1, I had no idea how uptight I am about plans and routine or how controlling I am in the kitchen. I didn't know I was missing out on soooo much good TV or understand the benefit of doing nothing every now and then.

On the flip side, I didn't know how much I thrive on security, how much confidence I gain from the safety of a happy home. I didn't realise how much time I dedicate to my friends and family or how quickly I drop everything when they need me. As I said, some of my qualities are better than others, and if this year has taught me anything it is that just when you think you know yourself, you realise you don't. And then you go and change and it's back to square one.

The things which have become most obvious to me this year though, as I see myself in Gareth's own reflection, are my own habits and unconscious behaviours which I have probably been doing for most of my life. Of course I have lived with other people, lots of them, and they may have noticed these things too, but no-one sees you so 3 dimensionally as a partner, and I don't think anyone has ever reflected back to me some of my unique tendencies quite how Gareth has. I had probably only lived with him for a few weeks when he first started reprimanding me for apologising for my very presence. He started to ask me what I was sorry for, and made me realise what I was doing. It wasn't before long before I started to notice myself saying sorry for nothing a countless number of times a day. Bleugh!

I would be aright with this little habit, as everyone has them don't they? Except I'm not really aright with it, because I don't like what it reflects about what's going on inside. I am not a meek person by any stretch of the imagination. I am confident and extrovert and opinionated. So why am I apologising for myself when I walk past someone on the stairs? Or before I ask someone a question? Or when I get onto the treadmill next to someone at the gym? Why am I sorry?

I have tried to stop apologising so much since noticing this, because I think it can only lead to bad things with regards to how people see you, or how they think you see yourself. It shows a vulnerability and a lack of confidence that perhaps doesn't do me any favours when it comes to earning bona fide respect. When I first realised this habit, suddenly a lot of other things added up, a lot of other people's reactions to me made sense. In the past I have felt other people have been able to speak to me or treat me in such a way they wouldn't do to others. Does my apologetic nature have something to do with it? Can such a small behaviour have such a big impact? I think so. Because underneath every give-away behaviour is an iceberg of information about yourself, and us humans are really very clever. We pick up on those tiny signals, they go straight into our subconscious and dictate how we interact with each other. Every minor movement, everything about how we hold and present ourselves says so much about who we are on a level we don't even understand.

Sorry is definitely not the hardest word for me, but really this unconscious habit is just me needing to make everyone happy. And you know what? I can't. I am me, I live, I breathe, I will apologise if I hurt you otherwise I am really not sorry. Instead of apologising for myself, I am going to try to live for myself a little more.

Sorry not sorry.