The Curse of Positivity

I should probably make one thing clear before I get into this post, I am not against positivity – not in the slightest. I believe that positivity is wonderful and can aid recovery, can undoubtedly make life more pleasurable and of course can make us more enjoyable people to be around. Despite the depression, I even think of myself as a generally positive person – my thoughts in this post aren’t about positivity per se, they are more about how positivity can sometimes feel forced, and pushed upon us…

Because I think we have all reached that point at times where positivity is really, really hard to muster. A bad day, week, month, year…  an amalgamation of events, a mental or physical illness, instances of inequality or discrimination. But still, we have this message pushed upon us by social media especially that we should be positive – because its ‘healthy’.

But… what if its not always the healthy option? What if our constant drive to put this positive front out to the rest of the world is actually damaging our wellness and our growth? We’ve all scrolled through Facebook, Instagram and Twitter looking at everyone else’s highlight reel, we’ve all come away feeling that little bit sadder, that little bit less accomplished.  

I came across a post during my scrolling on Facebook this morning which was a quote taken from Rachel Hollis’s bestselling book ‘Girl, Wash Your Face’

Now… my problem isn’t with Rachel Hollis, or her book. I haven’t read it so it would be unfair of me to pass any form of judgement on it. My problem is with the quote – a quote, which apparently comes near the end of the book and is taken (perhaps) out of context.

If you are reading this quote in the book, then you are someone who has chosen to read what Rachel has to say. You have been given time to grasp the approach of the book, you are perhaps already a fan of Rachel Hollis – maybe from this book itself, or perhaps you heard of her through her event planning company, lifestyle website, or the media company she runs with her husband. Maybe you’ve read one of her novels, own either of her cookbooks, been to one of her conferences or even attended one of her ‘getaway weekends’. The Rachel Hollis brand is huge and she evidently has a massive following of people that know who she is, what she stands for and also her approach to ‘wellness’.

However, if like me, you had to Google her…. then the quote is out of context. What this quote says, to someone unfamiliar with her tough love approach, is pull yourself together girl, stop dwelling on the past. Be positive, love yourself…

And this is something that I cannot get on board with.

Sure, that message is positive; it screams positivity and motivation. But what it doesn’t address is why these ‘positive’ things are not happening in the first place.

Lets break it down a little and see why reading a quote like this out of context can be so problematic…

‘Girl…’ – I get the impression that her target audience is middle class women, usually mothers. But can we take a moment to recognise that men also suffer with the issues that she is trying to address?

 ‘Get ahold of your life’ – how? Is it easy? It that something that people who don’t have a job because of a mental health condition can do? Is that something that someone who is being discriminated against because of their sexuality, race or gender can do? Is it something that a single working mum (or dad) can do when every penny goes on shelter and putting food in their childrens mouths? Is it something an addict can do? Or someone with a physical health condition? Or someone who is grieving? How about uh…. Someone who is processing trauma? Someone who has major anxiety and cannot go outside? Get ahold of your life – five words that are very easy to type, but that have different meanings, difficulties, connotations and shame attached to them, for so many people.

‘Stop medicating’ – I am giving her the benefit of the doubt here, I’m presuming she means ‘self-medicating’ rather than actual medication. But still, coming from a woman who wrote in her bestselling book that she would use vodka and Xanax to deal with stress when she was going through the fostering process, you’d think she’d perhaps have a little more compassion for people that do resort to coping mechanisms to get through. Two words, but they don’t delve into the complexities of addiction, they don’t offer any forgiveness for how we try and cope with our pain. They don’t encapsulate how hard it is to stop behaviours that have helped us in the past and that can be very easy to fall back to, even when we are ‘recovered’.

‘Stop hiding out, stop being afraid, stop giving away pieces of yourself’ – these are good snippets of advice, but they are delivered in such a simplistic way that they lose all meaning. Its safe to hide, especially if you have experienced trauma or discrimination – hiding becomes a learned and subconscious behaviour to some – including myself. And how could you contemplate just telling someone to ‘stop being afraid’? Fears and phobias are bad enough but if we are talking about being afraid of putting ourselves out there, of being seen, or taking huge steps forward and managing our own recovery – then that becomes something else entirely. As for giving away pieces of ourselves – sometimes that comes down to self-worth, to co-dependency, to being abused and to having to, because that’s how we have learnt to survive.

‘Stop saying you can’t do it. Stop the negative self-talk’ – So this part, is perhaps the only part that I do agree with. We are all so hard on ourselves and we do need to learn to talk to ourselves more gently, to be more forgiving to ourselves and to acknowledge that we aren’t perfect, and – in fact – no-one is. Unfortunately, the compassion that we need to offer onto ourselves in order to begin to do this, is not really offered within this context.

‘Stop abusing your body’ – So, this is a very interesting one. I haven’t read Rachels book, but in preparation for this post I have read about Rachel and I have read snippets in order to gleam some sort of idea about the message she is trying to promote. This is a quote from her book:

“Humans were not made to be out of shape and severely overweight. You can choose to continue to abuse your body because it’s all you know […] but please stop making excuses for the why’s”

Rachel Hollis

It is also worth noting at this point, that Rachel Hollis does have posts on her Instagram about loving your body and your worth isn’t dependant on your appearance – which is wonderful and is a very important message. But unfortunately, she seems to be completely disregarding the fact that millions of people suffer with mental health issues which are directly linked to food. Some people undereat, some people overeat and some people do both – and these are all valid reasons for emotional distress. Anorexia is an abuse upon our bodies yes, but it is not a choice, it is not an excuse, it is a deep rooted and traumatising illness – and the same applies to binge eating and bulimia. Also, if we take it away from food for a moment and move onto exercise then can we at least recognise that the ability, time and often money to do so is a privilege not afforded to all.

‘Stop putting if off for tomorrow or Monday or next year’ – if you are tired, if you are unwell, if you are recovering then sometimes you need to put things off. Sure, don’t put them off forever, don’t put them off to the point of never doing them  – but again, it comes down to kindness. It comes down to recognising that something might just be a bit too much of a hurdle today, but tomorrow it might be easier. It is a difficult one, because sometimes we do need to do that hard stuff in order to move forward – but do it with kindness, do it whilst recognising your own limits and whilst also rewarding yourself for how far you’ve come! And that distance will be different for everyone – on some days getting out of bed and showered may seem like a hundred-mile trek, but recognise the power it took to do it, and forgive yourself if today you just can’t.

‘Stop crying about what happened…’ – No, don’t stop crying about what happened. This is perhaps the worst command in this entire list. Its ok to cry about what happened, its healthy to cry about what happened. Tears are healthy, addressing past issues and traumas and learning how to deal with them so that we can move on, is healthy. Never feel ashamed for crying, never feel ashamed for what happened to you and never feel ashamed for talking about it. We need to open up these places of safety, we need to get better at discovering why we sometimes do the things we do and why we react the way that we do to certain things. Brushing things under the carpet, painting on a mask of wellness and positivity and moving forwards is not going to help us find the root causes and is not going to help us address the issues that we need to move on from. Confide in friends you feel safe with, go to the therapy if you are able, take the medication if it helps makes things more bearable and cry when you need to cry – but please don’t ever feel ashamed or embarrassed to do so because you cannot skip these parts, you cannot ignore the past.

…and take control of what happens next’ The same rhetoric as ‘get ahold of your life’. We do have to take responsibility for ourselves at times, but it is important to recognise that these decisions can come much easier for some than for others. If you are being discriminated against, if you are poor, if you live in a rural community and don’t have good transport links, if you are in an abusive relationship, if you don’t have adequate healthcare or are on a long and never ending waiting list for help – then you can recognise that need to take responsibility as much as you want, but you cannot control what happens next.

The ‘tough love’ approach may work for some. It certainly work’s for Rachel’s devoted audience – but it doesn’t work for all. For some, it will feel judgemental, it will feel unkind and it will reinforce the belief that they have in themselves that they are not trying hard enough and that they are to blame – when so often, this isn’t the case.

Rachel Hollis has very successfully built a brand – and the brand is her. But to my knowledge, she doesn’t hold a medical degree, she does not have a background in mental health and before she founded Chic Events with her husband, her working life was spent at Miramax Studios. Rachel doesn’t know, or understand your individual pain, or your trauma. Her message is that of positivity and motivation and that is wonderful – unfortunately her message becomes skewed when her words are taken out of context and are read by people who haven’t bought into the lifestyle brand that she has created. If you cannot do the things you see in a quote all about positivity, that doesn’t make you a bad person. It doesn’t mean you have failed, and it doesn’t mean that your inability to do so is your fault.

It is ok to not be positive, it is ok to be sad or angry, or to feel pain, or to still be in the process of recovery. You do not need to brush yourself off and get on with it just because it’s the done thing, you are allowed to feel your feelings and to talk and cry and revisit the past in order to find ways of making your future bright. We do not all need to be shining beacons of positivity all the time – and we do not need to know where we are going or how we are going to get there.

Sometimes, all we need to do, is be kind.

And not only to others.

Thank you for reading If you have enjoyed this writing, please feel free to come and join me on my following social network pages to see my new posts and daily musings:

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World Mental Health Day

Last year, on World Mental Health Day, I was in the process of coming off of an anti-depressant that I had been on for eight years. I remember I woke up and scrolled through Facebook – the significance of the day dawning on me. The insightful and hopeful posts about talking, and sharing, and not giving in lighting up my screen. But I wasn’t a part of that, I didn’t have any hope or insight.

I posted something, a small paragraph about kindness and how it important it is – especially when it comes to giving it to ourselves and then I probably went back to sleep, or went and led in a hot bath, or cried… I don’t really remember.

This morning… I realised it was World Mental Health Day, again, as I was scrolling through Twitter in bed this morning. A lot has happened in the last year; I have had a course of Cognitive Analytical Therapy, I went back onto the medication I was trying to come off of, I’ve been able to put a name and a reason to some of my pain. I’ve stood up for myself, I quit a job that was making me miserable, I gained a new baby nephew, I lost my wonderful Great Aunt – and, I started this blog.

As a mental health blogger, there should be something insightful coming from my pages today, right? Yeah… probably. I thought about it all morning, I thought about it when I was exercising, when I was hanging the washing on the line. I thought about it whilst scrolling through Twitter and whilst in the shower. Nothing came to me, nothing but pressure.

But maybe that was because there are no beautiful and insightful words that will help when you are in the midst’s of depression, or feeling the effects of long-lasting and complex trauma. Maybe it’s because – like I found last year – if you are in that place, you can read them, but you can’t feel them.

When you are in that place, hope doesn’t apply because depression will snuff out any glimmer of hope before it can really shine. That’s what depression does. You begin to feel disconnected from it all, like you are not worthy of these words or this kindness, because that’s what depression does. You feel that you cannot go to any of those people who assure you that their door is open or they are willing to listen because you’d feel like a burden, or too sad, or guilty, or shameful… because that’s what depression does.

Depression is ugly, and dark. Its corrosive, sticky and toxic. Its complex, its deep rooted, it latches onto other mental and physical illnesses and makes them 10x worse, and 100x harder to fight. But it is also familiar. It lives within us and so it is at times scarily, and comfortingly familiar. Its twisted, its conniving… its not something we can sit here and write pretty words and breezy platitudes about. It’s a killer.

It can kill anyone, it’s not fussy. On the lunchtime news today I watched Lorraine Denman, the mother of the Team GB snowboarder Ellie Soutter talk about her daughters suicide last year. Ellie was 18, she was beautiful, talented, had a loving family and an amazingly bright future ahead of her – she showed no signs of being depressed, she was out with friends the night before….

Ellie Soutter
Photo credit:

Depression doesn’t care who you are. It doesn’t care about hope, it doesn’t care about wealth, beauty, love or gender. It will latch on to anything remotely positive and twist it, swamp it with its darkness and its ugliness. It will take your words away, it will convince you that you are too much, too sad, too boring, too unworthy to get help or speak to those you love – and that love you – about what you are feeling. It will jumble your thoughts so that even if you could speak, you wouldn’t know how to make any of it make sense. It will make you so tired of fighting, so tired of having it within you that you will do anything to stop it.

But it doesn’t need to make sense. If you are able to talk to someone, it doesn’t need to come out in any order, it doesn’t have to come out well-described, or calmly, or like beautiful prose. It just needs to come out.

One thing that is important to remember, which I struggle to remember, is that when you do confide in someone – be it a friend, family member, spouse, boss, doctor… anyone – they are not in the same emotional space as you. They are not feeling what you are feeling. They may have their own mental health issues – but, if you are anything like me, it is always easier to hold someone else’s pain than it is your own. I have depression (amongst other things) but I would never want any of my friends to feel that they could not come to me, because I would much rather sit with them in their pain, than sit next to their hospital bed or their coffin.

So… this World Mental Health Day, lets still all vow to be there for each other, but lets also vow to stop treating Depression, PTSD, BPD, Anxiety, Addiction,Eating Disorders and the rest with platitudes. People don’t just suffer on one day, or one week, of the year. They aren’t just suffering when you see them ‘looking sad’, or when they are crying. People can be in emotional pain, even when they are smiling, even when they are holding down a job, or socialising, or recovering. They can still be suicidal when they are tipped to be an Olympic athlete with a bright future and the whole world ahead of them.

Let’s not forget that.

For Ellie x

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A Summer Without Salt

Photo by Engin Akyurt from Pexels
 It's not natural of course  
For a girl who feels it all
It's not normal at all
When there is no protective wall

The tears, they were a burden
Escaping as often as they did
The tears were as frequent as words
Spilling freely from tired lids

But then, 200mg every night
And throw a cover over the pain
But then you know it's not really gone
And it will always remain

A summer with no tears
No salty cleanse, no relieving sob
A summer of not crying at all
It's hard not to feel robbed

Because how else can I get rid of this pain?
This heavy, noisy, aching, unrelenting sadness
Because it is just hidden in the corner
Waiting to unleash its madness

But what will happen if I stop?
Put the pills away
But what will happen to my mind?
If I carry on this way

The Mystery Blogger Award

I’m thrilled to be nominated for the Mystery Blogger award by Naomi from Inching Forwards.

Naomi is wonderful – and not just because of the awesome name 😉 Her blog is full of thought provoking posts; from discussions about politics and mental health, to Eurovision! But I first discovered her writing when I came across her 30 Day Writing Challenge on Love, and I was blown away by how she can create whole worlds filled with wonderful characters, all within a few short paragraphs. If you aren’t following her already, then you definitely should…

So, what is this award all about?

amazing bloggers with ingenious posts. Their blog not only captivates; it inspires and motivates. They are one of the best out there, and they deserve all the recognition they get. This award is also for bloggers who find fun and inspiration in blogging, and they do it with so much love and passion.

– Okoto Enigma, Mystery Blogger Award creator.

Mystery Blogger Award rules

  1. Put the award logo on your blog.
  2. List the rules.
  3. Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  4. Mention the creator of the award and provide a link as well.
  5. Tell your readers three things about yourself.
  6. Nominate between ten and twenty bloggers.
  7. Notify your nominees.
  8. Ask your nominees any five questions of your choice (with one weird or funny question).
  9. Share a link to your best post/s.

3 Facts About Me

  1. I love the ‘bad’ weather – give me torrential rain, howling wind, awe-inspiring thunderstorms and the quiet solace of snow over hot and sunny days every time.
  2. The first gig I ever went to was The Prodigy in Bournemouth in… probably about 2004? What a way to start…
  3. I can never remember the endings of books! I can tell you the story from start to finish…. but ask me to tell you what happens in those final few pages, nope!

Answers to Naomi’s Questions

How are you today?

I am pretty good thank you. I am making a concious effort today to be a little more productive on my blog after having some lovely little confidence boosters of the last week or so – including this nomination 🙂

If you could design your own creature and keep it as a pet, what would it be like? (You cannot pick a real animal.)

Oh wow… well, there would have to be a pretty big canine element. I think Akita – because they are not only gorgeous but also lovely to have as a noble and protective companion. I would have the blackness of a bat though, and perhaps the ability to swim across vast lakes and climb high mountains with me sat upon its back, like a horse (but smaller). It would have the ability to be stealth like when under the canopy of the woods – a good hunter, but gentle enough to curl up around the fire with me in the evening. And all round woodland companion really 🙂

What have you done this week that made you feel good about yourself?

Well… it’s only Monday, so lets not get too carried away! I have been pretty productive though, I’ve done some housework, made a video for my Instagram channel and had a meeting about some freelance work I’m doing. Trying to resit the urge to nap though…

What kind of music are you into at the moment?

All of it! Haha. I have about 3 playlists on the go at the moment and none are defined as one genre. Last week I made a playlist with songs that always make me feel something – from some of the Titanic instrumentals, to Damien Rice and The Eurythmics. I also have a playlist that I’ve been listening to whilst doing some decorating at my friends house with songs that I love to sing along to – think Lulu, ABBA, Marina and The Diamonds, MUNA and First Aid Kit. I’ve also just started my Autumn playlist….

I find it very hard to stick to one type of music. But this year I have really fallen head over heels for MUNA, Phoebe Bridgers and I’m more recently enjoying some stuff from Young Ejecta.

Where do you feel most happy and calm?

Wales, always. In a little isolated cottage or wrapped up against the elements as mother nature wraps her arms around us.

My Mystery Blogger Award Nominees

Basically BaileyBailey is just finding her feet in the blogging community but keep your eyes peeled for some great lifestyle posts coming soon.

Tales of Night Creatures – Not only my best friend, but also a highly skilled writer and artist. April talks about mental health like no-one I have known before – honest, brave and heart-stoppingly beautiful at times ❤

Little Tinkablee – Books, mental health, yoga, cats – oh, and she also comes from Wales, what other incentives do you need to follow this gorgeous gem of a person?!

Diffusing The TensionJen over at Diffusing The Tension not only writes wonderfully about mental health, but she also hosts a whole heap of guest posts and also offers ecourses and informative posts for those of us that can sometimes feel a little out of our depths 🙂

NyxiesNook – One of the very first bloggers I discovered when starting out with all of this, Chloe blogs about mental health with a heavy slant towards eating disorder recovery, Massively inspiring, not only for her organisation and success with her wonderful blog, but also for her recovery ❤

DragonsCodex – Beautiful, beautiful Taryn. A constant source of light as I navigate Twitter. She has just relaunched her blog, so be sure to go and check it out and show her some love.

The Good Limbo – Not only a wonderful mental health community page run by Muir and Zoe, but also a wonderful blog and a group of genuinely really lovely people. The team at The Good Limbo offer so much support to other members of the mental health community on a daily basis and are so lovely to chat to – about absolutely anything 🙂

5 Questions For My Mystery Blog Award Nominees

  1. What does your dream day look like? If you could do absolutely anything, what would you do?
  2. What song will always get you singing at the top of your voice?
  3. Why did you start blogging?
  4. If you could only eat sweet or savoury food for the rest of your life, which one would you pick?
  5. If you could be any fictional character for a whole year, who would you be?

My Best Posts

Sylvia at The Shoreline – A love letter to the women who smile through it all, and an acknowledgement of the kind of loneliness that company cannot fix.

The Mountain – A good friend once described recovery to me in this way, and it is the best metaphor I think I have ever come across.

The Four Month Wedding – With my second wedding anniversary coming up in a few weeks, what better time to re-visit this?

The Frequency of Sadness – Depression will present itself differently for everyone… here is my take on it all.

Rainy Day Rambles

I lay on the edge of the bed, my right arm lazily grazing the carpet. Slowly I closed one eye and my view changed, I could no longer see the ruffled-up duvet in front of my face. I opened it again and everything came back into view. I closed the other, with slightly more effort, and watched as the view shifted a little, just like an old slide projector.

It crossed my mind, briefly, that this is how the world works. Things shift and blur into reality and what we think we see. That without moving, even just barely breathing… our minds can alter our reality. My mind was tired and my body felt heavy. The amount of thoughts inside my cranium were literally weighing me down. If the mind is like the one-eyed trick, then surely, we can alter it?

In that instant I berated myself for thinking of it in such simple terms.

But I do this, simplify the complex. Yesterday I was so sad, unbearably sad at some points and I didn’t know why. My own voice in my own head was pointing out all the things that I should be grateful for without acknowledging the very fact that depression doesn’t need a reason. That’s a fact, that’s not a thought. My mind was ignoring the rational and instead choosing the option that made me feel guilt and shame which of course, made me feel worse. But then I guess that’s the poorly part, the defunct and damaged cells, the sticky black tar.

The friend that chirpily tells you that are so lucky, as she twists the knife in your back.

I haven’t been writing because I haven’t known how to put my feelings into words since therapy ended a little over a month ago. I haven’t wanted to write dismal posts about how I’m feeling, and yet I haven’t had the drive to read scientifically backed information about the things that your mind does when you are processing trauma in order to wrap it up in a neat little bow. I’ve seen things that I’ve thought would make great inspiration for poems, I’ve thought of whole, wonderfully, crafted paragraphs of prose whilst I’ve been starting into space – but when it comes to writing it down, the words haven’t flowed.

I need to write; writing for me is like a sifting my thoughts through thin white mesh – it sorts the jumbled from the rational and helps me to think clearly. Getting words out on to paper enables me to breathe again without the metaphorical hitch in the back of my throat – I can’t scream and rage, I struggle to cry since starting back on medication – how else can I get these feelings out?

I am angry… I am angry that I don’t have a job whilst the person that forced me out still collects his paycheck at the end of the month. I am angry at the state of politics in this country, that the medication that will keep my dog healthy will mean that we will have to be frugal with our money for as long as he lives. I am angry when I watch people I love being taken advantage of, I’m angry at people who claim to be Christians on Twitter post utter nonsense that not only attacks those that already live in the margins, but continues to shatter the concept of real Christianity, for myself and for anyone that reads their hate filled diatribe.

But I cannot get it out. I cannot express it without feeling shame, or without experiencing guilt.

I am sad that my words are once again failing me, that I can’t settle to read a book or that it takes me hours to write what would have taken me moments, because the words I need feel like they are caught up in the tar and I cannot pick them out without becoming exhausted.

I am frustrated that the first, honest, writing from me in weeks is one that is about how my depression is feeling right now, and not how it has felt in the past.

But maybe that’s what’s needed. An acknowledgement of how I truly feel, no pretty neat bows, no fancy words or scientific facts. Just someone admitting that right now, its all a bit hard and that sometimes we all feel a little lost.

Today, I need to be kind to myself. I’ll do some yoga, I’ll take a walk. I may even do some baking this afternoon. The rain is falling steadily outside, and it feels more autumnal than august should. My dog, with his medication working and fur coming back is snoring softly next to me, my husband will be home this evening and the first thing he will do is hold me. I have a roof over my head and food in the cupboards – and I am thankful, so thankful – but that doesn’t mean that my feelings and my depression aren’t valid. That doesn’t mean that I can berate myself for how I feel because it doesn’t fit into the cookie-cutter mould of what I should be feeling in order to make others more comfortable.

And maybe the words will come, maybe the tar will snake back and the heaviness will lift and what will be left will be gleaming pathways with freshly uncovered words for me to play with, but its ok if that doesn’t happen today, or tomorrow, or even this week.

What matters is my breath, in this moment. It’s the things that make my days brighter – my dog, my husband, my friends and my family. It will be hearing the rain patter on my hood or umbrella when I venture out later, and how the flour and butter feel between my fingers as I gently rub them together to make something delicious. It’s the gentle reminders that I will give to myself that this passes, it always passes and the sun will come out again. That every time it happens I come out more battle worn, but always stronger… and that that strength on some days will help others get through days, just like this one.

Am I tying it up in a neat little bow?


Thank you for reading If you have enjoyed this writing, please feel free to come and join me on my following social network pages to see my new posts and daily musings:

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Where The Swings Used To Be

I jotted this down as a note a few weeks ago on my phone. My husband and I had gone up to Gloucestershire to visit my parents for a few days, and on the first evening we took our dog out for a short walk before bed.

If you have read my previous post, you’ll know that my teenage years were a little difficult with school and the bullying that I encountered there. This feels like a good time to share this writing… not only as a follow on from that, but also because I’ve realised that going back to a place can stir up so many different memories, emotions and even behaviours. However, I have also realised that a ‘safe space’ doesn’t always have to be co-ordinates on a map, it can also be a person.

I am very lucky, that my safe person is my husband. I realised when I spent time in Gloucestershire a couple of days ago without him, that I felt very different to how I feel when I am at home in Somerset. He helps to ground me, here in the present. He reminds me – often without words – that I am safe, I am loved and that I am not a scared fourteen year old girl any more.

I still have a lot of healing to do – but I have been with him now for sixteen years. Sixteen years of visiting my parents and not once did I attempt to bring him to this place described below – it was too painful. However, as an adult, with him by my side, with the healing that I have started to do I felt brave enough. However, as you’ll read, it did also stir up a lot of emotion.

This is unedited.

I was going to take him there, to show him the spot where a smaller version of me would sit, and wait

I never knew what for, but I knew where I didn’t want to be, where I couldn’t be, who I couldn’t face, again

Two swings and a slide, bark upon the ground. It was like a little secret area but it wasn’t a secret at all.

My mum once told the woman from the school that I could be anywhere, that I knew those alleyways like the back of my hand… I didn’t know them tonight as a woman. I lost my way, doubled back.

It was gone, all of it. I looked at the house that now stood in its place, it was established.

Nearly 20 years on and I am not established.

Bricks and mortar don’t erase a place. They don’t erase the sadness that a place can hold.

I wonder if when they tuck their children up in bed, they know that a girl once sat in this place because she didn’t know where else to go.

That she was so lost, just 5 minutes from home.

That in 20 years she would hold her husbands hand as she looked for that place, the place that is so vivid in her mind and find that it was long gone.

Just another house, in another cul de sac.

But one full of memories.

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The Impact of Bullying

When I was just a little tot, my family moved into a church building. It wasn’t a typical church – no steeple, or anything like that. It was in fact the old offices of the local electricity board and it looked like a building that wouldn’t seem out of place in soviet Russia.

It was the late eighties – the rooms were big, the floors covered in carpet tiles. Large, corporate, geometric patterns were on the wallpaper and red handrails adorned the main central staircase. Our flat was at the far end of the building, upstairs. I must have been the only child at school that at times wished for a smaller bedroom. But it was our home and my parents made it feel just like that.

Throughout infant and junior school, I don’t recall an awful lot of bullying. I was quiet, but I wasn’t all that different to the other kids. I had a close friend who I had gone to playgroup with and we remained friends throughout those years. I remember not being overly confident when it came to school plays and wanting to be at home rather than at school – but I think that is just the mark of the sensitive, introverted child that I was.

When I moved to senior school though, something shifted. The school was much closer to our home in the church and it wasn’t a nice area. The church itself was well-placed, my parents helped so many people in the local community with food banks, Christmas dinners and just having a ‘safe’ place to go to, at any time. The church building also housed a toddler group, playgroup and café. Local groups met there for woodwork, music, keep fit… it was the community hub that the community needed.

Suddenly though, to my new peers, I was different. Not only was I quiet and sensitive, I also lived in a church and this made me stand out. My friend from junior school moved up to senior school with me, and I though all would be well – we’d stick together, wouldn’t we?


We stayed within the same friendship group, but it wasn’t a healthy one. There was a definite shift in dynamics once we had paired up with two other girls and within a short space of time this caused a definite split between the four of us. It has only been in the last six months in therapy that I have been able to look at this group of the four of us – which did merge into six – objectively. Now I can see the split, 3 girls who had the power and 3 that didn’t.

I don’t know how it happened, not really. There weren’t vast differences between us in the areas that you would think would cause such a drastic change, but once it had happened it was very hard to get back on an even keel. I tried making other friends, but I was quiet and shy and over time my self-esteem took a hefty whack. Who would want to be friends with me? Besides, the moods of these three girls (one in particular) would change from day to day. On Monday I may be left out of everything, called a witch in front of the rest of the class whilst the teacher was out of the room, forced to hand over parts of my lunch, or be told that I wasn’t good enough, pretty enough or clever enough to be part of the group… but then, on Tuesday they could be the best friends that one could wish for.

In adulthood, this is seen as coercive and controlling behaviour, it is recognised very clearly as abuse.

In childhood, its playground banter.

For 5 years, I had this. Day in, day out. It carried on even when our family moved from the church and into a normal house. I didn’t know if I was going into school to see my friends or my tormentors. I got even quieter, I literally and metaphorically, shrunk. I told my parents, after much deliberation and the main bully was brought in from PE to sit in the deputy heads office and apologise… she told me, my parents and the school staff that it was only a joke, that none of it was serious and she couldn’t understand why I was hurt by it. Nothing was done and afterwards she quietly ramped it all up; she was the victim now, someone had told tales on her and I was the tormentor.

I stopped eating normal sized meals for a girl my age and size, how could I eat when my stomach was in knots? I didn’t want to do anything on the weekends or with my family because I knew that if I thought about it whilst at school it would make me want to cry.  I was terrified of not only going to school but also going out in my local area, I started to have panic attacks and my chest hurt constantly from the anxiety. I was admitted to hospital for tests to find out what was wrong with me – it was deemed by the school and by doctors that I had the problem. I saw a child psychologist who would sit and talk to my parents afterwards whilst I tried to read a book in the waiting room. But what could I tell them? I had seen and experienced what happened when she was pulled up on her behaviour and I couldn’t go through that, not again…

Why am I telling you this? Its not for pity, hundreds of thousands of children get bullied at school every year and although specific in its details, my experience is not vastly different from any other. I’m telling you this because I am now 34, I still have blackouts in my memory of school – whole years that I cannot piece together. Since leaving school, I have suffered with anxiety, depression, agoraphobia, nightmares and body dysmorphic disorder which has in turn led to bouts of bulimia and anorexia. I have had various therapies, I have engaged in promiscuous behaviour in order to validate my self-worth, I have found it hard to trust people and I have abandonment issues. I also have Fibromyalgia – which, the causes of which are generally pretty much unknown, but it is thought that the symptoms occur when we have spent vast amounts of time in a ‘fight or flight’ situation.

Image credit: The Mighty

The effects of bullying do not stop once a child leaves school. The effects of sustained bullying can impact whole lives. I do not have a career because of my mental health, and I do not have children either, even though I have dreamed of being a mother for as long as I can remember.

It is only this year – 20 years after I went through these experiences that I recognised, through therapy, that what I had endured constituted trauma. I did not feel safe for years. I wanted to hide and make myself invisible in order the stop the attacks for years. I did not know what to expect every single day for years. I hid my pain from my parents because I couldn’t see the answers or the point in telling them the details for years.  I wanted to do anything to make it stop, including making myself disappear for years.

And then, once I was out of there and away from them, I tried to forget it and move on with my life like any normal person would, for decades.

But it doesn’t work like that. Things have to be dealt with, we cannot just put a lid on it all and expect it to go away. I had been led to believe that my thoughts, feelings and emotions weren’t valid. The norm, for me, was not telling anyone when I was experiencing mental anguish and so therefore when I did get upset, or angry, or depressed, I automatically did not tell anyone and I deemed that normal. I lost my voice and my expression – the only way I had of expressing myself was through writing, and even then I didn’t – and still don’t – want to upset anyone that read it.

I had learnt that if I made myself small, I was ‘safe’. This was founded on nothing, but the wish to disappear but it is still something I aspire to now. It has led to dangerous relationships and damaging friendships with people within the BDSM community where ‘little’ is very often seen as something to aspire to, but not something that will always keep you safe. It has affected my body image, and made me lose even more of my voice and the confidence to express it.

I’ll say it again: The effects of bullying do not stop when a child leaves school.

The voice of the main bully has been replaced with my own; there will be days when the not good enough, pretty enough or clever enough mantra will repeat in my head, in my own voice and I can find all the evidence needed to back those claims up. It becomes very hard to argue against yourself when you have a lifetime of negative associations tied into those claims.

We would be naïve here if we thought that bullying was contained to classrooms and playing fields. It doesn’t just happen to children. It happens to adults too, in workplaces and friendship groups. By colleagues, managers, family members and so-called friends. I have recently left a role where my new manager was a textbook bully – and gaslighter at that. On Friday night, I consoled my colleague who has also just resigned from his management and over the weekend I have felt lost, unheard, sad, angry (I think), unmotivated and very, very low – but I could not put my finger on why.

It was only last night whilst washing up that it came to me – this man, this manager had triggered emotions within me that were felt 20 years ago. Over the last few weeks I have been in fight mode – I quit, I filled out my exit interview form (myself, he didn’t even want my voice to be heard on that), I spoke to friends about it, I felt relieved when my unemployment commenced because I wasn’t in that situation anymore and for a couple of weeks I saw friends, did yoga, made jam, applied for jobs…. all fine and dandy. Until, until I heard about a conversation on Friday where he invalidated my colleague and in invalidating my colleague, he also invalidated the effects of the bullying that led me to quit my job.

He had done exactly what my school bully had done in the deputy heads office all those years ago.

One more time, for those that haven’t quite understood: The effects of bullying do not stop when a child leaves school.

There is a light though, a chink of positivity within all of this – I know how important compassion, inclusivity and validation are. I will never, ever, knowingly exclude someone. I believe firmly in equality and acceptance I will strive to treat everyone the same – regardless of background, gender, wealth, disability or appearance. We all have unique gifts to offer, whether we are quiet or loud or somewhere in between, our voices matter – each and every one of them. I am trying, really trying, with the help of wonderful friends, my husband and my family to realise that I can include myself in that, but at times it is hard. Unpicking decades of ingrained beliefs doesn’t come easy…

If you suspect your child is being bullied, or is the bully then Bulling UK have some wonderful resources that may help.

If you are being bullied, then Relate has some great advice on their website and also offer a confidential chat service.

If you are living with the effects of trauma and its really hard today, then some grounding techniques may help or even some yoga designed with trauma in mind. I did this routine earlier today and it centred around breathing exercises and feeling safe within your body. I can highly recommend it – also, the dog is super cute! 🐶

Original image credit: Paola Chaaya on Unsplash

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Learning to Swim

 Photo by Sora Sagano on Unsplash 

You told me that when I fell off the rails I would do it quietly and without fuss.

Slipping, hardly noticeable.

I knew what you were saying was right, I saw the worry behind your eyes at the realisation it had already begun. But I smiled, I told you not to be silly.

I feel it now. Your words ring true in my ears as I drink the wine that numbs the feelings, as I crave the words that give me the punishment. It’s all inside of me; my small body and fragile mind keep it contained in a safe and hardly manageable existence…

But I still see the way you look at me, the gaze that lingers too long and the arms that hold so tightly. You know it’s happening and you can’t stop it because I tell you I am fine.

I am drowning, but still I smile.

Validation Isn’t Just For Parking Tickets

Image by Jason Rosewell @ Unsplash

A couple of weeks ago, I reacted to something inappropriately – I dismissed something that my husband was feeling and I realised as soon as the words left my mouth what I had done, but by then of course it was a little late to take it back.

I’ve been having a lot of thoughts lately surrounding vulnerability and validation. I think vulnerability may come up more in its own post about the subject, but validation is so very important.

And I neglected that.

A bit of background information would be helpful here… My husband has an old Mk 2 Golf that is very much a project car. We have named her Christine after the Stephen King novel as she is, lets say, high maintenance? (Although she hasn’t tried to kill me yet, so I’m taking that as a bonus 😉)

Anyway, Christine has some relatively nice alloy wheels. On this particular Saturday we had to pop out to pick up some toilet seat hinges (such a glamourous life we lead!) and also a few grocery bits. However, before we got to Screwfix, my husband had to do a three-point turn which was tighter than anticipated and he scraped the front passenger side wheel on a curb. He got out to check and it had left ‘a huge gouge’ in the paint. He was pissed off – mostly at himself, but also because of all the time and effort he has put into that car, and now something else, so easily avoided had gone wrong. It had already been a hugely stressful week, he wasn’t looking forward to fixing the toilet seat, it was hot, we were tired and hungry etc etc…

We went around to the supermarket and as we got out of the car, he came around to take another look, I also looked and… I couldn’t see anything. I was expecting ‘a huge gouge’ out of the paint. I’m not into cars in the slightest, to me it just looked like a regular alloy wheel. He pointed it out to me – a scrape along the outside edge and… well, I did the worst thing I could possibly do, I laughed.

Not in a cruel way – I wasn’t laughing at him, but in more of a relived way. I told him that it wasn’t that bad and hardly noticeable. I did the one thing that I always try not to do, I minimised his feelings, I invalidated his concern.

Of course, this did nothing to improve his mood. I tried to explain to him that my initial reaction was just relief – for him – that it wasn’t as bad as I had expected. But it was too late – the fixing of the toilet seat when we got home was punctuated with swearing and the slamming down of screwdrivers, which was completely understandable. I hadn’t heard him, I hadn’t realised that actually, it wasn’t about the wheel at all.

It was a build up of things, of worry and anxiety that had filled our week off. It was the driving to and from Bristol which had stressed him out for a number of reasons. The additional driving down to Dorset to a specialist vets appointment which was anxiety inducing, hot and once again gave no real conclusion to an ongoing concern with our dog. It was the social obligations which had taken their toll, it was the thought of going back to work after not exactly having a relaxing time off. It was the lack of decent sleep on and off for a fortnight due to stress. It was the thought that Saturday and Sunday should have just been two days to finally chill out – and now because of an error of judgement, there was something else to ‘fix’.

But… it wasn’t my job to fix this situation, and it is never our jobs to fix other people’s problems. My job – which I neglected to notice – was just to hear his frustration. To recognise it, acknowledge it and act accordingly. Because when we feel heard we feel empowered, we may not realise it at the time, but we do realise when we aren’t heard and the space that it puts us in.

I should have said sorry and bought him chocolate 😊

My husband, upon reading it to this point

However, this ‘trying to make things better’ is something that I think we have all been guilty of at some point or another. Its horrible to see someone we love and/or care for upset, angry, or frustrated so we try and do what we can to bring them out of the situation. It can also sometimes be uncomfortable for us and so we want to move past those feelings quickly so that we can get on with our day and put whatever unfortunate happening that has just occurred behind us.

Is that selfish? No, I don’t think so. I think that we all experience uncomfortable feelings – definitely in adulthood but we would have done so as children as well. We all have our own feelings about feelings – I am uncomfortable with anger for example. If I am ever angry then I don’t know how to safely hold and sit with that emotion, and if someone is angry at me or around me then I don’t know how to react, so I go very quiet, very small and just take it. But we would have all had instances in childhood where we felt strong emotions – such as anger, resentment, sadness and also the extremes at the other end of the scale such as love, generosity and giddying waves of happiness. How those feelings were reciprocated by parents and caregivers when we were at the cognitive developmental stage where we didn’t know how to express ourselves, will undoubtedly shape how we learn to deal with them as adults. This also applies to when we see someone else expressing these emotions that we struggle with – we react in the ways that we were reacted to.

With the incident with the car, I just wanted to make it better for him – but he was also angry, and I didn’t know how to deal with that and so my innate reaction was to get us both out of that situation as quickly as possible.

It didn’t work – and why would it have done? Making light of the situation wouldn’t have made the scrape in the wheel go away. We could have held hands and laughed and skipped our way into Morrisons, but his feelings of frustration and anger would have still been there. The situation that caused the discomfort wouldn’t just disappear if we ignored it.

Our feelings – whatever they may be – need to be heard. Talking about feelings, with a partner, friend, parent, child etc is such an important step in honouring our true selves and opening up those bridges of communication. If I made my husband feel silly over the car or if I repeatedly tried to distract him or judged or minimised his feelings every time something went wrong – even if its not about a subject that I am particularly knowledgeable on – then he’s going to stop communicating when he is upset, and this won’t just apply to what is happening in the garage. However, it is also important to realise that his emotions aren’t mine – I don’t have to crouch down and hold my head in my hands and get angry and frustrated at instances like the scrape in the tyre, I just need to communicate that I can see that he is upset and angry and keep the dialogue going.

Instead of laughing, I could have said something like ‘Oh dear, that must make you feel frustrated’ – and then instead of storming off into the supermarket ahead of me, he perhaps would have said ‘Yes, I had just got the car how I want it/its going to take time to fix/but its not just that…’ etc. It would have opened up the space for him to communicate and to have his feelings heard.

It isn’t dangerous to have our feelings out in the open – even the ones that can feel really difficult to express.  No bolt of lightening is going to come and strike us down if we dare to actually feel these difficult emotions and communicate with each other about them, in fact, much the opposite will happen. Learning to recognise our feelings and our emotions for what they are allows us to be more in tune with ourselves and with those around us – it allows us to communicate honestly and openly and it teaches us that our emotions – whatever they may be – are valid. In turn, this plays an important role in being able to trust our own instincts, for example if we begin to recognise fear or unease for the emotion that it is – instead of squashing it down and ignoring it because ‘it doesn’t feel very nice’ – then we become better at protecting ourselves and those around us.

I’m not there yet with anger. I can now recognise it as something that I need to be mindful of and work on – and I am very fortunate that I have some wonderful friends and a wonderful husband that are more likely to encourage me to talk about my anger when I feel it and help me unpick it, rather than try and ‘fix’ it with platitudes, but these things do take time and a lot of patience. When I have been angry in the past and I have pushed it down and tried not to feel it because I have had that belief for 34 years that ‘anger is bad’ – where has it gone? It hasn’t come out of me, no, it has stayed and whispered in my ear that what I feel doesn’t matter, that what I feel is ‘wrong’, that what I feel makes me a bad person… and do you know what other name we have for that voice? Depression.

So, encourage people to talk – those that you love, those that you care about. Let them know that it is ok to feel what they are feeling and that no emotion – however hard it may be to experience is ‘wrong’. We cannot be shining beacons of light and grace at all times; life doesn’t work like that.

In order to appreciate the light, we must also experience the dark – and the dark can look different for each any every one of us.

Philippa Perry has written about this subject in her wonderful book ‘The Book You Wish Your Parents Had Read (and Your Children Will be Glad That You Did)’ and during my most recent round of therapy, I have found this book – and some of her talks on YouTube to be highly illuminating.

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73 Things About Me

Hi guys 🙂 So its been a little while since I posted and I apologise for my absence. ‘Real life’ has been kind of hectic and full on over the past couple of weeks – both physically and emotionally. I hope to get back into the swing of things over the next few weeks – writing does bring me calm and does help me to get some things out of my brain which makes it a much nicer place to live in 🙂

Meanwhile though, Naomi at Inching Forwards tagged me in this 73 questions thing that is currently doing the rounds on Twitter so I thought I would give it a go – I haven’t done one of these since they used to be all the rage on Facebook! Some of my answers have probably changed somewhat since then though…

I’ve tagged eleven wonderful bloggers and writers below, so be sure to check out their writing too! So, without further ado, lets get to those all important questions…

1. What is your usual Starbucks order?
I don’t buy a lot of coffee from big chains, but I’m not really one for fancy coffees with lots of milk and cream. I tend to go for a black Americano – or if I need a bit of comfort, chai latte with oat milk

2. What does your workstation look like right now?
Tidy! For once The in-laws were over for dinner last night and my desk is in the back room/dining room, so it needed a bit of a clear up.

3. All time favourite food?
Oh crikey… this changes almost daily. I’m a huge fan of Kedgeree, although I don’t tend to stick to a recipe so it’s different every time Roast potatoes, gravy and mint sauce is also a winning combination any day…

4. Favourite author?
There will be a theme in these answers, I don’t have a definite answer to anything I’m a big Murakami fan, but also Margaret Atwood, Tom Cox and Elizabeth Gilbert are very high on the list.

5. What do you think of open relationships?
I think that they make a lot of sense and that to limit love to one person and/or expect someone to be your ‘everything’ is something that I struggle with. A polyamorous relationship is something that I would be open to, but I do think that it can leave all parties open to confusion and heartbreak if there is a lack of communication and honesty. It has to be something that everyone consents to. I’ve met guys before who have told me that they were poly – it’s just a shame that their wife or girlfriend wasn’t aware

6. What is your favourite video game?
Mario Party, or Tetris…

7. Guilty pleasure treat?
Food wise, Chinese takeaway and until recently, my guilty pleasure has been Pretty Little Liars, but I’ve finished it all now so need to find something else that my husband abhors! Mwahaha

8. Favourite movie?
Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind

9. Favourite book?
A toughie… There is a very old book I have from the 70s called ‘The Little Girl who Lived Down The Lane’ by Laird Koenig. I read it when I was a teenager and although it’s set in America, it reminds me of a place I know very well in Cornwall. Its very dark and there was a movie made with Jodie Foster – but it’s nowhere near as good as the book.

Also, ‘The Visible World’ by Mark Slouka completely broke me when I read it. Its very, very beautiful. The type of writing that one dreams about being able to create.

10. Twitter or Instagram?
Um… neither? Each platform does have its bonuses but I sometimes find social media in general to be just all too overwhelming. I do interact with people more on Twitter, which can be lovely but sometimes I just need a few days away from it all.

11. Desktop or laptop?
I don’t think I really have a preference. Either is better that trying to type up a post or answers to 73 questions on a mobile phone

12. Best advice you’ve ever received?
Speak the truth even when your voice shakes. Be proud of who you are and what you believe in.

13. What project are you working on right now?
Project ‘get Naomi a new job’

14. Favourite colour?

15. Did you get good grades at school?
Absolutely not. School was really hard, for a few reasons, but my last 18 months were severely affected and I only took English and Maths at GSCE. I have proven to myself as an adult that it wasn’t through lack of intelligence though – but it’s still frustrating sometimes.

16. Dream job?
I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. Something where I can help people, whilst also being creative and able to write… I don’t know what that job is. I do have a dream of what I would like to ultimately do, but that would take a lottery win to get off the ground

17. Played any sports?

Unless Yoga and Davina DVDs count?

18. Do you have a degree?
I will do at some point! I’ve completed my first year with the OU but have taken a little break recently because of health reasons and the amount of time that I could(nt) commit to it.

19. Nationality?
British. (Not African as some random in my DM’s was convinced of the other day…)

20. What is your favourite kind of blog post to do?

They are the hardest, but definitely the more personal ones.

21. What do you like to collect?
Glances over at groaning bookshelves Do all of those books count?

22. Describe yourself in three words
Indecisive, empathic, introverted

23. If you were a rapper what would your rapper name be?

I think this is the hardest question yet… :/

24. Who was the last person you DMed?
On Twitter, the guy who blocked me after thinking I was African. Instagram, my best friend April and WhatsApp, my husband.

25. What’s on the top of your wish list right now?
That hayfever season will end soon (from July mine gets better, I think it’s grass pollen related) that I get the job I really do want rand it’s as good as I hope it will be

26. Hogwarts house?
Apparently I’m a Hufflepuff? Although I have never read Harry Potter and I’ve only watched the first two films with a running commentary from my best friends son…

27. How many tattoos do you have?
None. I’ve been thinking of getting some temporary ones from inkbox though and seeing how I feel with them.

28. What are you most grateful for this year?
My husband, my friends, my dog and my home. They all mean the absolute world to me

29. What’s the best thing that’s happened to you this month?
Finding the courage to quit my job. I should have done it months ago…

30. What’s the best thing that’s happened to you today?
Having some time after a crazy and very stressful week to have some time to myself.

31. What’s the best thing ever?

The smell of my dogs fur when he comes in for a snuggle. Chilling out with my husband and sweet and salty popcorn – still hot. Getting to the top of a mountain and admiring the view, the bridge that takes you from England to Wales. My mums roast dinner…

32. Favourite season?

33. Favourite holiday?
I’m with Naomi @InchingForwards on this one – the build up to Christmas is just magical.

34. Which fictional character do you relate to most?
I think Clementine from Eternal Sunshine… although my hair is too dark to dye all of those wonderful colours! Or perhaps April Ludgate…

35. Do you like surprises?
Not really. I tend to worry that my reaction will never be enough to show gratitude to the planning and consideration that someone has gone through…

36. What’s the biggest surprise you’ve ever had?

My husband took me to Poland for my birthday a few years ago. I had no idea where we were going until we got to the check in desk – it was a truly wonderful surprise and was like going to a snow filled winter wonderland

37. What’s a surprise that made you cry?
Finding out that my sister in law was pregnant and my little brother was going to be a Dad to the most amazing little boy

38. What’s the best surprise you’ve ever given anyone?
I’m not one for springing huge surprises on people but I bought my husband an Angry Shiba soft cushion for his birthday this week, which he was definitely not expecting but that he loved 😊

39. Do you like muffins?
Cake-y muffins are a bit much in one go for me. But savoury muffins are nice with a poached egg on top!

40. Do you cook often?
Pretty much everyday – unless we are very tired and then we just eat pizza 😊.

41. What’s your favourite dessert?
I haven’t got a huge sweet tooth – so either something sharp and citrusy, or a cheeseboard. Although saying that, if a treacle tart is on the menu I’d go for that!

42. Is there a dessert you don’t like?
Double chocolate cake… anything really rich and sweet

43. Cake or pie?
Pie – sweet is ok, but savoury if I had the choice.

(Sorry – the formatting went screwy here…)

44. What’s your least favourite food?

Anything really meaty – I’m not a vegetarian but I’m not the biggest fan of a lot of meat. Thick burgers, chicken packed stuff, any sort of offal-y type things, liver – yuk!

45. What’s your favourite condiment?

Salt. I’m a terror for it…

46. It’s 4am on a Saturday night, what would you eat?

Crisps… Or cheese.

47. If you could teach a college class what would it be called?

Hmm… it would be something about self-acceptance and kindness / inclusivity towards ourselves and others.

48. Best animated film?

Beauty and The Beast (the original, not the Emma Watson one)

49. What has a guy done or said to impress you?

Been honest with me and consistently being there through the hard times as well as the great times.

50. Best thing to do on a first date?

Something chilled and informal – a nice walk followed by a bite to eat perhaps.

51. Worst thing to do on a first date?

Be rude to the waiting staff. It’s a common answer I’m sure, but observing how someone treats others gives you a good idea of their personality in general.

52. What’s the funniest pick up line a guy could use on a girl?

Aren’t pick up lines all a it cheesy?

53. Best comic book character?

Does Morrigan count as a comic book character?

54. What are three things that are always in your purse?

My keys, tissues, a book

55. Favourite drink?

I like just plain water, or Australian red wine…

56. If you could play a historical character who would it be?

Vita Sackville-West

57. Kittens or puppies?

Puppies – I like cats, but I’m a dog fan through and through…

58. Favourite sushi roll?

I should eat more sushi, and pay attention to the names of the ones I really like.

59. What kind of lipstick do you use?

I don’t really, usually just lip balm. But if I do then I tend to go a bit dark and gothic…

60. What kind of foundation do you use?

Its one from The Body Shop

61. Blow dry or air dry?

I usually blow dry – only because my hair is quite thick and heavy, so it needs a bit of uplift from the roots or it weighs itself down. I am liking it curly, or naturally wavy whilst I’m off work though.

62. Who is your fashion icon?

Its always been Andrea Corr ❤

63. Favourite Disney character?


64. What are you doing tomorrow?

Making the most of our last official holiday day…

65. Movie you laughed the hardest through?

I find Will Ferrell pretty funny if I see him in things… but I don’t tend to watch a lot of comedy.

66. Movie that made you cry?

Oh crikey… Beaches, Titanic, The Great Beyond, Never Let Me Go, Allied, Up, Hatchi: A Dogs Tale…. I usually cry at a lot

67. If you could sing a duet with someone who would it be?

Probably my best friend April ❤

68. If your life was a song what would the title be?

Kinda depends on the day… Right now Motion Sickness by Pheobe Bridgers seems very relatable.

69. What’s your favourite animal?

Dogs ❤ Or otters, bears and bees

70. Favourite illustrator?

Christian Schloe is really good, but I don’t think I have a favourite…

71. Person you want to have coffee with?

Naomi @inchingforwards would be a pretty interesting coffee date I think 😊

72. What’s a country you wish to visit?

Soooo many. But right now, I’m very much liking the idea of visiting Canada

73. Best way to decompress?

Yin Yoga, followed by a hot bath and a good book.

I tag

Anxiety and Liz

Tales of Night Creatures

Beauty of My Chaotic Mind

Biographical Bean

Momus Najmi

Self-Saving Warrior Princess

The Good Limbo

Bearded Igor

Michael Brooks


RJ Midgley