Body Image

It would be a lie to say that the last time I sat down and wrote for this blog was in February, when I posted my last entry. I’ve tried countless times to express myself and my feelings and find something coherent to say but my mind fails me. It’s not as if nothing has happened. These last five months have been incredibly exciting and challenging. I’ve become much more comfortable in my job and I’ve finished my first year of university (managing to achieve 80% in one of my essays… oo-er), my friendships are becoming closer and I’ve enjoyed many days (and nights) out with people who I love.

It sounds as if I have a very fulfilling and happy life and I know that I should be grateful for every moment. But something has been on my mind recently, and it has really placed a dark shadow over my existence over the last few months.

That something is body image. I have struggled, as so many people do, with my body image my entire life. I’ve experimented with different hair colours and cuts, piercings, clothing styles and make-up to try and find myself and the identity that I want to feel and portray, yet I still don’t feel like I’ve found it. And while on the surface I’m dying my hair wild colours and wearing ridiculous shoes and dark lipstick, on the inside all I’m doing is trying to cover up the fact that I’m not skinny. I hate the fact that I’ve had to type that and I feel like I’m seeking attention when nobody even reads this blog. But the truth of the matter is, I’ve always tried out new things and changed my image in order to distract myself from the fact that I don’t have the body I want. It’s always been there, hammering on in the back of my mind, even in my happiest moments I am unable to be truly free because I am worried about what my arms look like, or if my back rolls are visible or if I have a double chin. The society of ‘skinny’ has tortured me in such a way that it physically stands in the way of my happiness.

Sometimes, I’ll be unable to sleep because I am thinking about the way my body looks. I am unable to be intimate with my boyfriend because I am ashamed of myself. I am worried that people in the street will look at me and think I don’t take good care of myself. When I meet my boyfriend’s friends, I am worried that they will think he could do better.

But the thing is – I WANT to love myself. I want to love every inch of my body no matter how flabby or cellulite-y or podgy, and I want to eat cake without feeling guilty and I don’t want to restrict myself or make myself miserable because of what I eat. But right now, it seems impossible. Right now, in a society so forcefully focused on being thin and getting rid of love handles and achieving a thigh gap and having abs and eating avocado mush for breakfast, it seems impossible to have a positive attitude towards myself and my body.

I am sick of the culture that believes there is only one way to be healthy and one way to look healthy, one diet that works and one lifestyle that suits us. I am sick of the culture which tells young girls that being skinny is the only way that a boy will like them – or if someone is being particularly PC, that boys LIKE curves so it’s okay to be chubby. Why does a boy’s opinion define a girl’s worth?

Why is it that we feel pleased when someone we dislike puts on weight? The world has placed an unpleasant stigma on the idea of ‘being fat’ which couples up with being lazy, being unhealthy, unfit, greedy and ridiculous. And this, is exactly how society has taught me to view myself.

So this is the ramblings of a unhappy woman who longs to accept herself because when she accepts herself then the cares and desires of society will no longer matter but those have yet to pass over me.

Anger

February has been a tough month. It’s been exciting; I started a new job, turned 20 and got very drunk to celebrate, but it’s really been tough. I’ve been experiencing some nasty mood swings and horrible feelings of depression throughout this month, really unpleasant feelings which totally come from nowhere and can’t be explained as I know they don’t come from inside me.

I don’t know if I have depression. I don’t think I experience these feelings enough to say that I actually have the condition but I can say that I’ve felt so bad on some days that all motivation, desire to live or appreciation for myself and those around me completely evaporates. It’s like a dark cloud comes over me and blocks any light from shining into my life in those brief periods during my day. It stops me from talking, drains my energy and puts only one thought in my mind – worthless.

Worthless. Worthless. Worthless. It’s like a record stuck on repeat, a pendulum striking over and over again, a heartbeat running through my veins and it’s utterly relentless. And I don’t know how to get rid of it.

Most of the time I just wait for it to pass. Sometimes I can take a nap and it will have lifted by the time I wake, but often I wake up with the same dark feelings. Often, it gets so bad that I have to take it out on stuff around me; I rip things, throw things, kick the wall and scream into my pillow. I physically shake, trying to get out of whatever trap I’ve been locked in. Recently, I’ve just started sobbing. Sobbing, then stopping, then sobbing again.

Writing this post, I realise that I haven’t felt like this in several days. I did cry today, but I cry on most days. I’m an emotional person, and always have been, but this kind of emotion is different to just feeling tearful. It’s like all the feeling has been stripped from you and been replaced with hatred. Just pure, angry hatred at everything in existence.

Right now, I don’t know if it will come back. I imagine that it will, but I want to be prepared for it. There is no saying how bad it will be or how long it will last. The most important thing for me right now is that I acknowledge it – it’s not me. This isn’t coming from me and it’s not my fault and when I learn to accept that, maybe I will be able to control its power over me.

Well, this has been sufficiently morbid and upsetting.

Til’ next time, folks

New Years Resolutions

Okay, so I’m a month late. Shoot me. I just had things to do, like eating. The point is, that I’m back, it’s 2016, and it’s less than a month until I turn twenty and leave the wistful bliss of teenager-hood behind. I always used to think, as everybody does, that by the time I was twenty I would have my life sorted out. And if I’m honest, I think I have the basic elements in place. I’m studying a degree I love, I have a boyfriend who I love, I’m starting a new job and I can cook vegetarian chili off by heart.

It’s easy, when you’re in a good mood, to look at your life and feel happy. That’s when you notice all the good things you have and everything positive that surrounds you and you are able to feel grateful. Of course, within a few days, I could be crumbling under the pressure of university work, hating my job and angry at my boyfriend because of a drunken mistake. But if I dwell over what could happen, then there’s no point in anything being good at any time, because you’ll never appreciate how good it really is.

This leads me to my New Years resolutions. I have a few boring ones, like trying to learn to cook more, developing characters and plot for a book and getting good grades in my assignments, but there is one thing which I have decided needs to be addressed. I need to stop putting pressure on myself. Countless times I’ve said to myself, “Lois, if you don’t go to this social event, you’ll be a failure. Nobody will like you.” Then, another version of me will say, “But if you do go, you’ll probably say something stupid and everyone will laugh or people will think you’re fat and will make fun of you afterwards or people will find you annoying and will groan whenever they see you approaching.”

Now I realise, there is never going to be one way of doing things which will make myself feel better. If I don’t want to go to something, or I don’t want to wear something, I don’t have to. I don’t have to be friends with people who make me feel bad about myself, or express a certain opinion just because other people feel it too. It’s alright to be your own person – in fact, it’s quite wonderful to be your own person. Living inside your mind is more exciting than you think. Shelves and beds become cliffs and bridges; strangers on the street become 1920s gangsters and inventors and artists; buses become black holes into which people’s paths of life are sucked and transported and spat out along the way. Nobody else sees the world in the way that you see it, so why should you change the way you see it to match theirs?

I think in today’s society we are told that the way we are is not good enough. The way that we think or the way we process ideas or our creative output which we express through our music taste or our fashion or our hobbies is not right and needs to be changed.

My New Year’s Resolution is to be happy within myself. To be content with who I am and the desires of my own heart and to use them to make my own world a better place.

12 ‘Gratefuls’ of Christmas

It’s 6:30am on the 22nd of December and I’ve woken up after about 4 hours sleep, completely wide awake. So here’s a list of things that happened in 2015 that I’m grateful about!

  1. Getting 2 nanny jobs.
  2. Earning enough money from those jobs to pay off my rent and bills from dropping out.
  3. Dropping out early enough in order to reapply and get a place at the uni I really wanted to be at.
  4. A welcoming CU and church community at uni.
  5. Friends who are proud of your achievements.
  6. Getting to interview Lucy Rose.
  7. Being brave enough to read out my own poetry for the first time.
  8. People who want to spend time with you.
  9. Late nights and lie-ins with the love of my life.
  10. Long drives listening to Don Broco.
  11. Old friends who you can always rely on.
  12. Christmas traditions that never change no matter how old you get.

Christmas Spurut

HELLO.

I was going to write a long winded post about what’s been happening in my life for the last few days but it’ll be so mind-numbingly boring that I thought I’d do something else instead. This year, while I’ve been at uni, my mum made an advent calendar for me to open – each day has some sweets, a funny photo, a Bible passage, and a little white stone with a Bible verse written on it. It’s such a lovely thing to open every day and I thought I would share some of my favourite verses that I’ve been reading so far.

Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.

– Psalm 25:4-5

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.

– Psalm 32:8

The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

– Psalm 18:2

Christmas is coming and I always find that this time of year can be a tricky one for my faith. There’s the constant reminder that Christmas is a commercial ordeal, that ‘Christmas isn’t really Jesus’ birth it’s a Pagam holiday’ and all that. Christians can really come under fire at Christmas because they’re trying to keep their beliefs alive and society is adamant that they should become irrelevant. However, the message of Jesus’ birth is so alive in the music we listen to, in the spirit of the season and in the love we show for people around us at Christmas time.

I thought I’d list a few of my favourite Christmas songs of the moment! yayyyy

Joy to the World – Francesca Batistelli

Jesus is the Reason – Kirk Franklin

Little Drummer Boy – Pentatonix

Something Bigger

“He also made the stars.” Genesis 1:16

This is only going to be a short one – but something I’ve been needing to tell myself for a while.

This week, I got my results back from one of the first essays I’ve submitted this year, and it’s safe to say I was not happy with my mark. For various reasons, I’d missed the point on several occasions and despite working pretty hard on it, hadn’t managed to achieve the grade I hoped for. And I got very upset about it. Like, tears and shit. Ask me then, I could have given you a thousand reasons why I was so upset – but ask me now, and I’m over it. The reason being there are SO many more things going on in the world that matter INFINITELY more than my university grades.

My boyfriend and I went to see Bridge of Spies, the new Tom Hanks film – and it was a real eye opener, to say the least. Tom Hanks plays an insurance lawyer in the Cold War, who is given the task of defending an alleged Soviet spy. He has to negotiate a deal with the Soviets, in order to return the spy to his home country in exchange for two American hostages. Now THAT is something to worry about. Not only was he responsible for keeping some element of peace between the two nations, but he had to put his career, his family and his reputation on the line. It’s that selfless nature that drew me to his story, the fact that he would put it all aside in order to take on this task, and remains calm throughout, knowing that there are bigger things than this, trusting in his own skill and capability and not using violence to achieve what he wants.

We came out of the cinema with endless praise for the film, truly one of the best I’ve seen in a very long time. Go see it.

Bridge of Spies TRAILER

A Serious Note

Christmas is coming, folks!

This week in Leicester, the Christmas lights were switched on and what a sight that was to behold. Turned up at 4:26, lights came on at 4:30, left at 4:31. It felt strange standing in the city centre in a big crowd of people and waiting for something to happen, because earlier in the week, I’d been standing in that exact same position, watching a man sitting on top of a building, threatening to jump.

Looking back at it now, I can’t even believe I stood and watched for the length of time that I did. We must have waited for about 10 minutes, and yes, we were watching because we wanted to make sure he got down safely, but at the same time, the worst could have happened. People around us were muttering ‘just jump already,’ and ‘he’s just doing it for attention,’ which really upset me. It’s come to the point when people would rather see another life lost than put the effort in to try and save it.

Some said that the man had mental health issues, others said that he was homeless and was trying to get sectioned, so that he’d have somewhere to live. It’s absolutely heartbreaking that for him, that was the only option. He had to put his own life on the line, in order to get some attention. Maybe the police saw it as a nuisance, but the police are there to help and protect us. This man needed help and protection – and if he thought that the only way someone would notice him was to sit atop a building, where no doubt onlookers would gather (hoping to see some ‘action’) then that just tells us that something is wrong with our society.

I strongly believe that there is no human life worth nothing. Our attitude to this man’s well-being can give us a reality check. There are people struggling all around us, and more often than not we don’t realise it. The only thing that we can do is be a smiling face, a warm presence in their lives, no matter who they are or what they’ve done or how they look.

WWJD?

Every Single Emotion

Hello, my fine friends. A great deal has happened since we last spoke. This has been a week of a LOT of self growth, challenge, emotion and heartbreak. If I could speak to myself a couple of weeks ago, let alone a year or so ago, I feel we would be different enough to actually get along.

To begin with, a friend from university offered me the opportunity to go and interview Lucy Rose, a singer who I’ve been a big fan of for several years now. Obviously, I jumped at the chance. It was something I’d never done before. She asked me to interview her before her gig, then go to the gig and review it. I prepared my questions, practiced recording myself asking them and rehearsed my warm and welcoming smile in the mirror. Little did I know, the car park (where the car that would take me to the interview was parked) had been closed temporarily, the taxi I then called would go to the entirely wrong place and the one they sent after would be twenty minutes late. Of course, being the totally hip and cool tour manager that he was, my being late was “literally nothing to worry about it,” and I got my interview done and dusted. The stress I felt in that hour before was the worst I’d felt in a long time. I think I actually cried on the side of the road. And I wasn’t even being interviewed?!?!?!

Anyway, that was a big moment for me. It was lovely to go to the gig too, and watch her perform the songs I’d been listening to on the bus for years. If you don’t know her, she’s quite fantastic and I’ll put a couple cheeky links at the end of this post so you can check her out.

The second challenge this week was going on the CU Weekend Away. Surrounded by lots of new people for two days filled me with a LOT of anxiety but I knew that I’d be proud of myself if I went. And I don’t regret it in any way. I felt my faith grow, began some new friendships and began questioning so much about myself. I don’t find it easy to make new friends, to start conversations – and I really felt that during the weekend. It’s difficult to keep reassuring yourself that true friendships can take time to develop. Being surrounded by so many people who know God and who love him gave me a new sense of being okay to be me. It’s okay that I’m not the quickest wit or the funniest joker or the talented singer, because he made me to be his daughter and that’s what I need to focus on. However, I did write a pretty SiCk poem and feeling at ease to read it out in front of people gave me a sense of comfort and strength.

Then the worst came. The attacks in Paris really hit home with me, as I’m sure they did with so many people. It’s that feeling of being unsafe, every moment being so precious. When I came home from the weekend away and saw my boyfriend again, every emotion inside me spilled out. It’s the fact that it could have been him. It could have been my mum, my dad, my brothers or sister, my friends. You just don’t know what is going to happen. I spend the good part of an hour crying on the phone to my mum on Sunday night, just coming to terms with the fact that my boyfriend, who I feel so strongly is my soul mate, doesn’t know Jesus and won’t have that security of heaven and paradise waiting for him if the worst were to happen. You never realise how much you love someone until you think about losing them.

If there’s anything I’ve learnt in the last week, it’s take every SINGLE opportunity when it comes knocking and don’t waste a moment. It’s fine to cry, to laugh, to get angry, but don’t be bleak. Don’t live without passion and don’t live with boredom. Make the most of every single minute, and I don’t mean try and be happy all the time. Just LIVE, live with emotion and excitement and change and progress.

Here’s some things I’ve been enjoying this week.

Lucy Rose – Like An Arrow

Flyte – Please Eloise

These guys ^ were Lucy Rose’s support and they’re excellent.

BYEEEEE

 

 

Halloween and Stuff

So, much has happened in the last few weeks since I declared that I was going to make weekly blog posts in order to keep myself on track. One of those things is that I forgot I decided to do this. But it’s fine, because I don’t have any followers anyway. So the only person I’m really hurting is myself. As always.

I joke, I joke. Life seems pretty good as I sit at my desk in my university flat, waiting for my pizza to cook. I’ve had a great week, enjoyed a visit from my family, handed in a couple of assignments and actually made some real good friends. Halloween was eventful, but I enjoyed myself nonetheless and came out of it with a messy, tear-stained face along with new friendships and pride that I actually went out in that very short dress. I did wear tights. But that’s not so much a confidence issue as a way of covering up the fact that I hadn’t shaved my legs in a good month or so.

I have come to notice something about university friendships. Some will flourish for about a week or so, and then die soon after. Some will be gradual, a slight smile exchanged in the corridor until you meet on a night-out and become best pals. Some people will cling to you like a sloth clings to his branch; your existence may become essential for theirs. And some will require some bravery. You come across so many people at university, whether it’s in class or a society, in a club or a bar, through another friend or even at the printer in the library. What’s important is learning to embrace this, and knowing that not every person you speak to will be pleasant, or have anything in common with you. You don’t have to like everyone, but then again you don’t have to hate everyone. University forces you into uncomfortable situations every single day and it’s up to you to make the best of it.

I’ll just give you a moment while you dry your eyes.

So, nothing dreadful has happened yet. I’m not regretting too many decisions just yet. I’ll leave you with a couple of videos that I’ve been enjoying these past few weeks, and speak to you sooner than you’d probably appreciate.

Trap Queen – Josh Levi, KHS

An amazing piano cover of Fetty Wap’s Trap Queen, little too much reverb but I’m into it.

Great Are You Lord – All Sons and Daughters

I saw this band a few years ago and almost fell asleep with how boring they were. However, this song is incredibly beautiful and we’ve been singing it at CU and church recently, I LOVE IT.

New Blawg

Eee! A new blog! That doesn’t sound daunting in any way. I’m very excited to be re-opening this blog, which I was using for my Music Production degree as a log-book style thing. After I dropped out, I started a new personal blog on Tumblr which consists of essentially my mind at it’s most unhinged. However, I did create some posts on that blog which I’m pretty pleased with, and wanted to share them on this┬ámuch more professional looking website. I am now an English student at DMU in Leicester, and I will (hopefully!) soon be writing for their online magazine, Tea Break. So, some of my posts will be up on there, others will be here. The ‘others’ will probably be ones I’m too afraid to send to the editors but still want to share (and one day look back on and see how much I’ve improved…?).

I’m hoping that I’ll have the time and energy to do some regular updates on my life and my thoughts, whether that may be on books, films, music, political events (LOL, not really) or just general life stuff. But instead of putting too much pressure on myself to create detailed reviews and beautifully written arguments, I thought I’d start by just attaching a few links to things I’m enjoying at the moment. Music, websites, whatever.

So thank you for visiting, have a lil’ look around and don’t fall down.

Tea Break Magazine

Amy Schumer’s SNL Monologue

Lost on Me – Peace