An Open Apology To Taylor Swift (and all the other women I’ve shamed) | BECOMING BETTER

As I’m getting older I am starting to learn more about the kind of person I want to be and I’m learning how to get rid of negative attitudes I simply just don’t need anymore.

For such a long time now being a feminist has been a huge part of my identity. But despite everything I preach, I still have my issues.

The following is a realisation of those issues and the major epiphany I had, right there in the middle of Wembly Stadium as Taylor Swift freaking smashed her set on the Reputation Tour, about what it takes to really practice what you preach.

NOT A SWIFTIE

So the use of Taylor Swift may be a little bit clickbaity for this post (a girl’s gotta try get those likes some how right?) but she did inspire this whole realisation and self-growth situation regarding other women, shame and jealousy.

For a bit of background, I was one of those people who didn’t really like Swift for no particular reason. I listened to her music but would criticise her whenever she appeared in the headlines. For every breakup, makeup and latest scandal I was with the rest of the world rolling my eyes and wondering how such a ‘nice girl’ could cause so much drama, unless it was all fake.

Although Swift is such an extreme example of a shamed woman, her experiences are unfortunately shared with so many others – famous or not. Every movement, every mistake or success, is out there for us to judge.

But then, on 22nd June when I sang and screamed along with thousands of her loyal fans I got to see the other side. The side that is rarely ever publicised. Her side.

And I realised how messed up my attitude to, not only Swift had been, but towards women overall – despite my bold claims for female empowerment. In reality, I had been a part of what was pushing us all back down.

THE EPIPHANY

I know it seems kind of like I’m just using this whole post to boast about the fact that I got to see Taylor Swift in her Reputation tour (and maybe I am just a little bit) but there was something about being in that place, so full of happiness and pure love that made me realise what an arse I’d been. And trust me, when you’re surrounded by thousands of dedicated fans, that feeling goes pretty deep!

But the gig gave me a chance to see Swift simply. As just a lass who was doing her job, and doing it pretty bloody well too. And it got me thinking about how many other women I’ve shamed, ridiculed or disliked based on an idea that I’d either been given or made up myself.

I know that everyone feels as though they’re being judged, and we all get that anxiety when we feel like we don’t fit in, regardless of gender, but I feel like women (especially those in the public eye) just get a little bit more shit than normal.

“how many other women have I shamed, ridiculed or disliked based on an idea that I’d either been given or made up myself?”

Literally every. single. thing. women do is mocked or questioned in some way. From our own personal choices (don’t you think it’s selfish not to have children? how come he hasn’t put a ring on it yet?) to natural, bodily functions (periods*, body hair, size and shape) women are under scrutiny from the rest of the world.

We really don’t need to be getting shit from our sisters too.

THE FEMINIST BIT

So what is it about Taylor Swift that gets people so mad?

Well, there’s loads of excuses: the fact that she’s had a lot of partners; the fact that she’s quiet; the fact she is too nice. But the main one, when you really boil it down, is the fact that she is successful.

And like with most issues I’ve personally had with other women, it all comes down to jealousy.

We’re all so used to being pitted against each other for everything, from our relationships to our careers, it’s no wonder we fall victim to it. From day one, women are told that there isn’t enough room for them. From the fact that there are less women in higher role jobs, to the fact that women are normally seen as accessories,  we are constantly being told that we aren’t good enough.

But this whole thing with Taylor Swift and the epiphany I had while singing my heart out at that stadium was so simple I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to get.

We need to make room for ourselves.

And we need to make sure that we are not shutting other women down or pushing them away just because we’re not keen on them or don’t have the same outlook as them.

The only way we’re all going to succeed is if we’re in it together.

WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO DO?

Next time you see a shitty article bashing women (it’ll probably be about Taylor Swift, to be fair) check yourself.

  • How does this make you feel?
  • If this was one of your friends would you shame her?
  • Would those actions be wrong if a man was doing them?
  • What does the world get out of shaming her like that?

Call out the bullshit you see, be supportive of your sisters, educate those who don’t understand.

So finally, after all that rambling:

I’m so sorry Taylor Swift, and every other woman I’ve shamed, through jealousy or a misunderstanding or simply just to fit in. I will learn from my mistakes, check myself and continue to be a support for all women. I have learnt that there is enough room for all of us, and it is down to us now to create a safe and open space for us all. 

I will be better. 


*I know that not all women have periods, just like not all period-having-people are women. But just for the sake of my argument here and just to generalise in the easiest way I can, this is what I’m going with. Please do not be offended. I see you xoxo


Speak soon,

Rachael.

 

 

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Life After University | A YEAR On From Graduation, Here’s Where I’m At RN

I can’t believe I’m about to write this, but it has been a year since I graduated university.

One year since I was finally free from a degree that I had worked my arse off for three years. If you’re currently in the midst of your studies, I’m sure that you’ve dreamed about the situation I’m currently in. I know for a fact that it’s all I thought about while I went through sixth form and university – the bit where you actually start your real life.

Like most things, it hasn’t been an easy ride and I’m far from feeling settled. But I feel like for all it’s failures, my little journey may be of help (or at least of interest) to someone out there. I feel like your life after university, or any kind of structured routine, isn’t something that is talked about in depth. We have expectations and ideas, for sure, but we don’t get given a solid idea of what will happen once we’re free. It’s just like a hazy dreamland.

So allow me, one normal lass to another, to enlighten you.

CAREER

I know for a fact the first thing on your mind is what work am I doing now. Well, if you’re looking for a super exciting, #girlboss style story then I’m afraid you’ll have to look elsewhere (or give me a good few years to work on it. Who knows?)

I was successful in leaving my part-time fast food job that I’d held down throughout my entire studies – which to be honest was a goal for post-uni Rachael. However, I left that job to continue working in customer service/retail, but this time with better hours and slightly better pay.

Other than that there are no signs of a ‘better’ career around the corner. To be honest with you I have no idea what I want to do anyway. After getting rejected from the handful of jobs I did apply for, I kind of lost motivation for the whole thing. Even now I feel kind of anxious even thinking about the minefield that is Indeed.com.

My current job, although it definitely has it’s many downsides, has been a positive for me overall. It’s allowed me to meet and connect with people I would never have found outside of our building and has increased my confidence so much it’s kind of insane.

And with that, I can swiftly move on the the next area of post -uni life I want to talk about.

PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT (IE. HOW I’M DOING)

When reflecting on my life for the past year, I was so suprised by how much I’ve changed. I found, when thinking about what I was going to write for this post, that I feel like a different person to the girl in her graduation cap and gown.

Sure, we’re both still anxious and insecure and absolutely terrified about what’s coming up in the future. But I feel more confident than her. I feel more mature than her, like I’m more able to handle situations better (even if it’s not true).

I spent my graduation day a sweaty, nervous wreck and couldn’t really enjoy any of it. I just wanted to get it over and done with – and that’s something I look back on now with a bit of regret. I should have been more excited, more proud and more up for a party 🙂


If you’re graduating this summer, or the next one or the next one, do me a favour and enjoy it.

Enjoy those moments with your friends, your classmates and your family. It’s a day for you and your hard work and you should be so proud of yourself.

University can be such a wild ride and I’m guessing that life after it is just going to be the same. I’m a bit disappointed and frequently anxious about the fact I haven’t really done anything within this year, but I guess good things come to those who wait and are ready for it.

I’ve got a lot of working on myself to do and a lot of more life to experience so I guess I shouldn’t get too hung up on finding my perfect career just yet. I’m making this post as a reminder for myself to be patient, to cut myself some slack, every now and again, and if this happens to resonate with you then I hope you take heed too.

Congratulations and best of luck reader.

Speak soon,

Rachael.

Twenty Two Lessons In 22 Years | Birthday Reflections

It’s my birthday tomorrow, so how else would a wannabe blogger celebrate than writing a cliche post? I actually love these kind of posts – I wrote one for my birthday last year and found it to be a great experience. I love this positive yet reflective state I get in around this time of year and wanted to share.

Birthdays are a wonderful opportunity to up your self care, get grateful and just appreciate yourself and your journey. So without further ado, here’s what I’ve learnt:

  1. Being a pessimist is so draining.
  2. The people you work with really make the job.
  3. University can sometimes be a really difficult and lonely place to be, but no one really tells you this beforehand.
  4. Aloe Vera plants are really hard to keep alive. RIP Harry the Plant
  5. You can actually wear whatever you want. Like you can literally put on any kind of clothing you want, regardless of your size, shape and all that other shite.
  6. Your mental health really does effect your physical, and vice versa. So it’s important to constantly be taking care of yourself in both.
  7. Communication is the number one thing to making a relationship work. If you can’t be honest with or trust your partner, then you probably shouldn’t be with them.
  8. Even if you don’t see them as often as you’d like, your friends still care about you more than you’ll understand.
  9. With that being said, it’s the small things that keep a friendship going. Those little messages to check in, the silly memes you tag each other in, and so on are great reminders that say there’s someone out there who cares and is thinking about you.
  10. Being spontaneous, although it can be terrifying at first, is good for you.
  11. Your self talk is arguably one of the most important factors in how your life is ran, so make sure what you’re saying to yourself everyday is nice.
  12. You can actually be really good mates with your sibling, it often just takes a bit of growing up (and maybe for one of you to move out 🙂 )
  13. We all put far too much pressure on ourselves.Image 1Image 2
  14. Change is such a hard thing to implement into your life, even when you know what the issues are and how much better you will be without them. Patience and determination are vital here.
  15. I really do care about what other people think about me and it’s kind of ruining my life.
  16. Shaming or ridiculing people with different opinions to you is never going to bring change. The best option is being open, honest and gentle. Education is the way forward, but its definitely the harder option.
  17. Everyone is a little problematic at times – from your favourite celebrity to your mates, family and even yourself.
  18. Reading makes me so happy and is a better way to escape than social media.
  19. Other people’s relationships, as are their lives or decisions, is none of your business. Even if you think you know what’s best for them, you have to allow people the opportunity to change for themselves.
  20. No one is looking at you. No one noticed that spot you’ve got on your chin, or that bit of mascara on your eyelid. And if they did, they’re too busying worrying about what’s happening with their face to care about yours.
  21. Being in a happy, healthy relationship can be incredible for your body confidence , and confidence in general, but only if you liked yourself before. Being insecure will get in the way, no matter how many nice things they say about you.
  22. You are a good person. Stop thinking you’re not.

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I’m going into my 22nd year feeling pretty satisfied with the lessons I’ve learnt and how much I’ve grown over the past few years. I have a good feeling about this year and I aim to be lighter and just enjoy it as much as possible. Now, I’m off to start some early celebrations – which, I’ll be honest, mainly consist of cake.

Sending you all the love.

Speak soon,

Rachael.

An Open Letter To Ex Friends | Self Growth

First of all let me say, that if we split in a bad way then I’m no longer mad.

I understand that at the time neither of us were in a position where our actions were as mature or as thought out as they could have been. And for that I do have some regret. From where I stand now (and hindsight is a wonderful thing!) I do wish we’d shown each other a bit more respect, but sometimes the situation takes over and there’s no time for that.

Speaking of maturity, I really want to be able to say I forgive you for what you did; for whatever choices you made or the things you said either to me or about me. For the actions that now seem unnecessary.

But here’s the thing – I’m not great with forgiveness.

Although I’m not mad anymore about what may have happened between us, I will always look back on those moments with great sadness. Sometimes I still feel hurt. And since you can still bring that effect I’m not sure if I want to forgive you right now.

Although I’m sure that time will come, eventually.

But I can be big enough to thank you for what you’ve taught me. From our actions, I now know what kind of friendships I need to avoid and which ones I should nurture. I have learnt what damaging behaviours I have tendencies to and need to lean towards those who don’t encourage this.

I should also thank you for the good times. Cause despite how it all went down, if it was a bad one, or even if you’re simply no longer in my life anymore, we had a canny few in our time. I’m grateful for the growth and the lessons we have hopefully given to each other.

And I genuinely wish you all the best.


The main reason I wanted to write this letter was for me. As is the natural way, I’ve had some friendship break downs over the years and, in an act of self growth and development, I wanted to get a few things of my chest. A bit of closure I guess.

To the friends I am lucky enough to hold dear still, thank you so much. I don’t appreciate you enough.


I urge you to put past breakups behind you and try to focus on what you have now. I feel like we all need to give ourselves that break.

Speak soon,

Rachael.

So You Haven’t Had The Best Start | New Year Pep Talk

We’re over a week into 2018 already and from what I’ve seen across my social media, it’s been a bit of strange one for people.

Some people out there are proper getting into their new years resolutions; they are making wonderfully positive changes to their lives and are totally smashing it. On the flip side some of us are struggling; we’re out of a routine or we’re not feeling our best and our new year hasn’t really got off to a great start.

I am definitely in the latter category of these groups and you know what – that’s totally fine! I’ve not been too well over the past week or so which is forcing me to take things slowly and I’m actually feeling really grateful for it.

As you know, this year was the first one where I did not make a single resolution and I’m finding it to be a wonderfully liberating experience. I have taken away the unnecessary pressure we normally put on ourselves to make this year the best yet and to change everything about myself. Instead, I’m taking 2018 at my own pace. And I think you should do the same.

Maybe this week has been a bit of a difficult one for you. Maybe you’ve had to go back to work or your studies and are just feeling a bit underwhelmed with it all. Regardless of what’s going on with you, try to focus on the positive side.

So you’re not getting stuck into your passion projects like you wanted to, or you haven’t been able to go the gym yet or make a decent meal. You have eleven more months to kick 2018’s arse – stop putting so much pressure on yourself!

I’m taking my illness and my slow start to 2018 as a blessing. It’s given me some time to really think about what I want from this year, as well as allowing me to put a focus on self – care. Although this slow pace was somewhat accidental, it’s reminding me how important patience can be and how much I need to implement it in all areas of my life.

I wish you all the best with the new year and I hope that it brings everything you want. Just remember to be kind to yourself and allow yourself all the time you need.

Speak soon,

Rachael.

 

Lessons Learnt From 2017 | Festive Thoughts #1

This past year has been a mad one, don’t you think? I know how cliche it is to say this but it has honestly gone so fast – I don’t think I can even process the fact that 2017 is soon to be over!

To be totally honest with you, this year has been full of extreme highs and lows. And although it’s been a strange thing to go through, 2017 has provided me with so many learning curves and lessons to take along to the new year.

So what better way to celebrate the fact we’ve made it through another year, then to share what this one has taught me?

SELF – CARE IS HARD SOMETIMES

Contrary to what Instagram will tell you, self – care isn’t always face masks and Lush products. Of course it can be this, but there is so much more to looking after yourself then the luxury stuff and I think that’s hit me hard this year.

Sometimes, self – care can mean letting go of old friends who are no longer serving you or make you feel good, or sometimes we can lose friends when we put ourselves first. Both are painful and difficult situations to go through but are so worth it in the long run.

2017 taught me that I need to get serious about my self – care and I need to put myself first, or else I can’t be there for anyone else.

YOUR MENTAL HEALTH IS IMPORTANT, GODDAMMIT!

On a similar note, this past year has taught me that I need to practice what I preach when it comes to mental health and looking after yourself.

I am often very public about caring for mental health and I am the first to encourage my loved ones to take care of themselves. But for the longest time I didn’t take my own mental state seriously – and how that’s come to bite me on the arse this year!

2017 taught me that, regardless of how you’ve been in the past, you do have a mental health and it is something that needs to be taken seriously. Take care of yourself, be honest and seek help if you need it. We all struggle sometimes.

HARD TIMES = GROWTH, BUT OH HOW IT SUCKS!

Can you tell that this has been a little bit of a difficult year for me? 🙂 But as I said in the beginning, I’m actually feeling quite grateful for it all, as it’s allowed me to grow and learn so much.

Because this year has been so full of extreme highs and lows, I’ve learnt that you only really grow during difficult times. It’s those times that allow you to really get deep with yourself. You’ll learn how you cope, what triggers you, what makes you feel good and so on. But even though I know how beneficial these hard times can be, it doesn’t stop them sucking and it doesn’t stop the negative impact is has on me in the current moment.

2017 taught me how to cope better with hard times, how to lift myself back up and the signs to look for when things start going downhill again.

SOMETIMES YOU NEED THE DULL MOMENTS IN LIFE

Like I keep saying, there’s been some extreme highs and lows this year. One of which was my graduation in July, which was definitely a high! I had worked so hard for so long to get to that moment and although it was wonderful, and I still can’t believe I have a degree in a subject I love, life suddenly got in the way again.

I felt so underwhelmed for such a long time. After all that hard work, effort and fun I was now back at home, working in retail and, along with a bunch of other obstacles, I’ve found myself feeling like a failure for the past six months or so.

But being out of education and being away from creative/productive work has allowed me to relax and get a grip on my life again. University was a wonderful experience for me, but it also came with it’s difficulties and I now understand that I’ve needed some time away just to live. To get back in touch with myself, so to speak.

2017 taught me that there is value to every season of life. Comparison certainly is the thief of joy and just because your journey differs from those around you (or online!) doesn’t mean you’re doing it wrong. Take things at your own pace and stop being so hard on yourself.


So there we have it! This has been a bit of a personal post and basically a summary of my 2017. How was yours?

Happy holidays!

Speak soon,

Rachael.

 

Dealing With A Bad Mental Health Day At Work

For the past few months my mental health hasn’t been in the best of places. With dealing with my graduation and impending ‘adult life’; starting a new job and some illnesses and issues within my family, things have gotten on top of me a bit and it’s been evident to everyone around me. Including my new colleagues.

I’m usually the kind of person who tries to keep everything under control and under wraps, but lately I just haven’t been able to hide whatever’s going on. So imagine my shock and embarrassment as I went into work yesterday (which was a better day) and was greeted with sarky comments on my improved attitude.

“Oh, so you’ve decided to talk to us today have you?” 

Now I know my colleagues weren’t commenting from a place of hatred or being deliberately mean. They were simply making a comment. And I guess I’m glad that I’m now in the kind of work environment where people notice what’s going on and will take time to ask how you’re feeling.

But that didn’t stop me feeling a bit embarrassed about my obvious bad attitude over the past few weeks and got me thinking about how I should handle it in the future.

Now I’ve spoken about self-care a few times on this blog, and I love that it is a popular topic elsewhere online. But even though it’s a topic I talk about a lot, I still struggle with it – especially when I’m going to work a lot and have to deal with my issues while still being present for my employer.

Following this conversation yesterday, and in an attempt to pick myself back up again, I’ve come up with a couple of ways to deal with a bad mental health day when you’re at work and can’t just huddle in bed like you’d want to.

FORGIVE YOURSELF 

Whatever happens today, when you’re at work, you need to forgive yourself for it. Treat yourself like you’d treat your best friend or a loved one. If they came to you and said that they were having a bad mental health day and subsequently had a bad day at work, what would you do?

You certainly wouldn’t shame them or make them feel any worse. You’d (hopefully!) be kind and compassionate. So why shouldn’t you treat yourself the same way?

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USE YOUR BREAKS

Although there isn’t much you can do at work to try to make yourself feel better, as you’re too busy doing your actual job, most workplaces are entitled to a break of sorts.

It is absolutely vital on a bad mental health day that you make the most of your break. In fact I’d say it’s vital everyday, but I know how things can be. However when you’re feeling low, make sure you use your lunch break to maybe get out of your work environment – even if it’s just for a walk around the block. Use this time to have a calming cup of tea and eat something nutritious and yummy.

If you don’t get official breaks at work, ask a manager if you can take 10 or so minutes uninterrupted away from the shop floor. Bloody hell, even just take yourself to the loos and sit in there for five minutes! Just allow yourself some quiet time.

BE HONEST 

If you’re really struggling to handle work today, pull aside a trusted colleague or, better yet, speak to someone higher up and be honest with them about how you’re feeling and express what’s going on.

I understand how hard this may be, but if you’re really having a bad day letting those around you know is incredibly useful. This will help them understand why you may not be performing at your best which in turn may give you some peace of mind. Mental health is still something of a ‘new’ topic for workplaces, especially those I have experienced, but by being honest and expressing what you need together we can change attitudes and the way things are handled.

HOME TIME = TIME FOR SELF CARE

Regardless of how many breaks you manage to get throughout the day, it’s likely that you’ve not really had any time for some serious self care. Once you’re home, make sure you take looking after yourself as a priority.

If you have plans for after work and don’t feel up to them, cancel. Although there still maybe things you need to get done in the evening just take it slow. Start your self-care routine the minute you get home. Things to include could be:

  • A long hot bath
  • Several cups of tea (decaff if you’re feeling anxious!)
  • Watching your favourite TV show/Youtuber for a few hours
  • Cooking yourself a decent meal. This can be whatever you feel like you need, but if you’ve been low for a while try include some greens (note to self). If you need comfort, carbs are you’re best friend!
  • Have an early night

Check out my Emergency Self Care Checklist for more ideas

START AFRESH  

And finally, despite everything that may have happened today, tomorrow is a new one. Take this evening to look after yourself, seek some motivation and inspiration so you’re ready to tackle tomorrow.

I’m aware mental health issues don’t just go away, but I know how much of an impact your overall attitude can have on your day regardless. By taking some time out this evening to support yourself, you will hopefully feel in a better mindset to deal with tomorrow.


How do you cope with a bad day at work? I’d really like to hear your advice!

Speak soon,

Rachael.

Self- Talk: Beware Of The Stories You Tell Yourself

I talk to myself an awful lot. And I’m not kidding, I mean a lot. In fact, maybe I should be embarrassed for how many conversations I have with myself on a daily basis? I know I certainly feel that way when I talk to myself in public without realising, and meet the eyes of some unnerved stranger who totally saw the whole thing.

But then again, how am I supposed to know myself and eventually grow to love myself if I don’t have a chat with me? Talking to yourself can be an amazing release sometimes and can be a great way to psych yourself up when necessary. Unfortunately, more times than not the self-talk I give out is negative and I know I’m not alone in this.

The idea of telling yourself stories is something I first heard in this Shope Delano video (fabulous creator, must see) and was later explained in more detail in this Curly and Wordy post (yet another marvellous creator, definite must see). And even though it was laid out for me by these amazing women, and on the odd occasion elsewhere, it still took far too long for me to actually figure out what it actually meant.

Like I said, I talk to myself an awful lot. But I hadn’t realised that often it is the things I leave unsaid that cause the most issues. It’s those little beliefs of myself that I’ve created, and then clung to ever since, that cause trouble. I want to outline the stories I tell myself and how they interrupt my life, as well as seeing what ways I can change the self-talk I give myself to lead to an ultimately happier,  more content me.  Because self-care is important!

THE STORIES I TELL

“I’m an introvert, and therefore should avoid all social activities”

Learning that I am an introvert was very important for me and definitely helped me throughout my time at university. However there is a point when something stops being helpful and instead just becomes a hindrance, and my introvertism has become just that.

Although I can now accept that I actually need time alone to recharge, I find myself saying no way too often. In fact I say no so often, that there actually isn’t any need for me to take time out to recharge, as I haven’t done anything that could impact me anyway!

“I can’t trust people and, therefore, cannot have truly deep connections”

Although I do often struggle to trust people initially and like to take my time building connections before getting too comfortable, this isn’t even an issue. But for some reason I turn it into something I struggle with in my head.

I don’t have trust issues, I have just grown to be more selective about who I share my life with because I am at that stage in life where this is a possibility. By constantly telling myself that I struggle to trust others, I’m getting in my own way of making real connections with those already in my life. I become to fixated on what could be instead of living in the now.

“My mental health is not as important as I do not have it as bad as this person”

This is something I hate hearing other people say, yet say it to myself on a regular basis.  I believe that everyone’s mental health should be something they consider a great importance, as it literally effects everything. It’s your health for God’s sake!

I understand that no one can truly understand what another person is going through, and the issues you have to deal with on your own (whether you have a condition of sorts or are simply having a bad day) are the most important ones to you, I somehow still can’t give myself a break.

I am definitely too hard on myself and don’t really give myself a break, which almost sounds like I’m bragging but trust me I’m not. I am slowly getting to grips with the fact I need to take care of my mental health too, regardless of what else is happening.

COMPARISON

Theodore Roosevelt

Comparison is another unhealthy habit I have too and it’s something I really want to work on. I compare myself to basically every person I meet or encounter and with the rise in social media and my total obsession with it, I am comparing myself countless times a day.

When I say comparing, by the way, let me be clear that I am comparing myself in a negative way. Whenever I compare myself to someone, whether that be our looks, our successes or even our personalities, I always come out on bottom. And I think that’s how it goes for most of us, which is tragic and ultimately pointless.

I know that there is only one of me and that everything I am is so unique. Through this I understand that there is no point in comparing myself to others, as I will never match up. Yet I still do it.

But, the first step in solving a problem is admitting that it’s there in the first place so here I am admitting it.

Now what?

MOVING FORWARD

In order to improve the way I talk to myself, and ultimately live my life, I first needed to be aware of the issues. Now I’ve clearly done that, I need to constantly keep checking in on myself in order to kick these bad habits.

Whenever I find myself giving negative self-talk I need to stop, check myself and remind myself of the impacts this has. I may have to implement some positive mantras that I can repeat when I catch myself talking bad and will definitely be looking for solutions (although not comparison!).

It’s going to be a long journey, and something I feel like I will always be working on, but I know that in order to feel better and live to my fullest potential, I need to commit.

After all, the only way I can make a difference to the world is if I start with myself. And I need to be kinder to myself and show myself that I am worth it, hence making this commitment to start treating myself a bit better.

What commitment are you going to make to yourself? And do you have any positive mantras you would like to share?

Thank you so much for reading this. I love self-reflection, self-discovery pieces and hope to produce more. Feel free to share any materials you have on this!

Speak soon,

Rachael.


Materials:

(Previously linked)

How I’m Going to Make Myself Proud in 2017: Curly And Wordy

Insights Into 2016 (part one): Shope Delano

(Further)

I Don’t Think That Affirmations Are Bullshit Anymore: Curly and Wordy

Stories of Triumph and Calling BS on Yourself: Shope Delano

How to Train Yourself To Be More Positive: Muchelle B

Self Love: Munashe

 

 

Creating Just For The Hell Of It: Shame, Fear and Self-Care

It may be pretty obvious, as I have this little blog and did I creative degree, but writing is something that I really love. When I was a child, I would spent hours scribbling in notebooks and typing up stories, journal entries and poems. I was never afraid to share my work and on several occasions would hand out copies of my ‘books’ (ie. ten or so pages bound together in a folder) to friends, family and teachers.

And now I’m in a funny period of my life where I’m free from any major commitments, like school, and have a lot time on my hands. I keep thinking about all of these creative projects and things that I’ve wanted to get stuck into for the longest time and sometimes I’m successful (see any recent posts). But at other times I feel like I’m holding myself back.

THE PASSION AND THE PRESSURE 

As I explained in a recent post I have finally gotten myself back into reading and I am now reading a lot of fiction once again. This is something that makes me so happy as I finally feel like I’m pulling bits of myself together again. A bit of a dramatic way to describe reigniting a hobby, I know, but that’s how I feel.

And with reading a lot comes this burning desire to write a lot too. Like I said, this is something I used to do all of the time when I was a kid without any structure or plan. I would just pick up a pen (or open a word document) and get writing.

I didn’t think much then about whether what I was making was good or something people would want to read. I simply just made stuff because I wanted to and I had the time.

I feel like so many people have similar stories from when they were a kid, but then it always seems to fizzle out by the time we hit our teens. It’s so sad.

We suddenly become so aware of everyone else and become fixated on their opinions that it gets in the way and we stop being as creative as we once were. Of course there are other factors, like having less free time and so on, but I think this is the main reason.

THE INSPIRATION AND THE GOAL 

I’ve been re listening to Elizabeth Gilbert’s podcast, Magic Lessons, that I’ve mentioned a couple of times on here and I think it’s been a combination of all these aforementioned life things  (the free time, the reading and the podcast) that have got me thinking a lot about this subject.

You already know, if you’ve read any of my past posts, that comparison is a major issue for me and it is a major barrier when I try creating things. And when I think about it now, I get so mad at myself.

For me, writing has always been a passion. It’s been the one thing that I have loved and actually felt like I am quite good at. Yet I still find myself restricting what I do because I’m not good enough or I’m not qualified enough or other people are just way better at it than me.

How frigging daft is that?

I know that we all get like this. I don’t know what your passion is, but I bet you could do it more.

Anyway, I’ve now had a realisation, or I guess I’ve just reconfirmed for myself, that I can just make stuff if and when I feel like it.

Writing non-fiction is something that I have been doing for so long now, what with my journalism degree and this somewhat lifestyle based outlet. It’s something I love and will continue to do, of course, but I now want to give myself permission to start writing other stuff too.

I stopped writing stories and poems when I was back in school, because I knew there were others around me who were better at it and who cared about it more than I did. But now at twenty one, with my degree still fresh from the printers, I want to start getting back into writing whatever I fancy- even if it doesn’t go anywhere.

THE SELF-CARE EFFECTS

Making stuff just for the hell of it is a wonderful and freeing experience. I know I talk about self care a lot on this blog, but this really is relevant to that conversation as well.

Allowing yourself to get involved with hobbies or activities that excite you is definitely an act of self-care in my book.

You’re being kind to yourself, you’re taking time out for yourself and you’re no doubt learning a little bit as well, whether that’s about who you are or about the craft.

So if you’re considering doing something creative, even if it’s something that you feel like you have no knowledge on or you think it won’t work out or whatever, I urge you to try it. Allow yourself to have a bit of fun and don’t put so much pressure on yourself!

It’s only art after all.

Please come and join me in this journey of making stuff just because we can and because we love it. I can’t wait to see what I get up to now I’m allowing myself and I’m so excited for you too!

Elizabeth Gilbert


I’d love it if you’d like to share some of your creative bits or even those that inspire you!

Best of luck and happy making.

Speak soon,

Rachael.


Materials:

Big Magic: Elizabeth Gilbert*

Brene Brown on ‘Big Strong Magic’

Your elusive creative genius: Elizabeth Gilbert (TED)

Am I Qualified To Be Creative? itswaypastmybedtime

Am I A People Pleaser? Ninkcompoop

 

Finally giving a fuck: justkissmyfrog

*(affiliate link used)

Reaching Goals: A [Pretty Late] Mid-Year Update

I know it’s so cliche to say, and I swear its something I say almost every post, but how fast is this year going? I can’t believe that we’re already in August. On a personal level, it’s insane to think that I have now been a graduate for almost a month!

Anyway, it’s clear that time isn’t going to go any slower, despite my many pleas, so I might as well be productive and see where I’m at.

2017 was the first time I documented my New Years’ Resolutions publicly, an act that has it’s pros and cons. The pros are now that I can actually remember my resolutions (surely I’m not the only one who forgets a month down the line?) and can hopefully keep on track that way. But the cons are now that people know what I wanted to do and if I fail it could be a little embarrassing.

But what’s the point in being embarrassed when your keeping a personal blog, eh?

So now, let’s have a look at what my goals were at the start of 2017 and see how I’ve been getting on.

(You can read my original post here)

  • Travel More

In 2016 I managed to travel more that I think I ever had before and that was something I wanted to continue. I was going to render this one a total fail, but thinking about it I have been lucky enough to go on a couple of trips already this year, although to no where new.

For my birthday I spent a weekend in Whitby; I organised a night in Edinburgh with my two girlfriends and then just at the beginning of my summer, my family organised a little break to Blackpool which was wonderful as I hadn’t been there in over a decade! (Oh, I sound so old!)

I have also been travelling between my university home, my home home and my boyfriend’s house if we want to count that too, although none of these take me out of the North East!

VERDICT: This was a refreshing look back actually, I genuinely thought I’d failed big time here. I’m not sure how much more I’ll be travelling for the rest of the year, but I would like to continue to explore and hopefully seem some new places eventually.

  • Be More Spontaneous

I’m not quite sure where I was going with this one actually, but is New Years even New Years unless you vow to change something major about yourself?

I am a worrier and I like to have a plan. Not knowing what’s happening makes me feel nervous and uncomfortable, so it’s kind of odd that I’d put that kind of pressure on myself. Instead of trying to be more ‘spontaneous’ I think I’m going to flip this resolution on it’s head and learn to say yes more.

VERDICT: Well since I’ve changed the resolution to saying yes more, I’m going to judge myself on that and if I’m being totally honest I haven’t done too well here either. It will be something I will continue to aim for moving forward.

  • Blogging Focus

Oh, this one makes me sad because I was so motivated and naive back in January! I really wanted to work my socks off with this blog and create regular content, as it’s something I genuinely love, but university understandably took priority.

It took almost everything I have to get through my final year, including a lot of creative energy into my dissertation, which meant I didn’t have much left for blogging. Now I’ve finished university I’ve still been struggling to get back on track with various things, including producing content. I think I didn’t expect things to be so difficult after I’d finished and naively assumed I’d bounce back immediately.

Still, I’m making major efforts to get back on track and reorganise myself so hopefully things will improve from here.

VERDICT: This one is definitely a fail, as university was my main priority this year. Nonetheless, I am so happy I put my everything into my degree as it’s something I’ve worked towards for so long, and I came out with a grade better than I’d even dreamed! Now my life is settling back down a bit, I’m hoping I can get back on it.

  • Buy Less, Use More

I’m not sure how I’d consider this one. It’s something I have had some success with, but then I’ve also fallen off the bandwagon quite a bit! I am trying to use up all of my makeup and bath products, and could really go for ages without buying anything new, but every so often I slip up. And once I slip up, that’s it. I’m one of those people who can’t stop spending once they’ve started, which is tragic for my bank balance!

I discovered that, despite my initial interest, minimalism is definitely not for me but I do need to keep track of where my money’s going. I have recently made the decision to try to save as much money as I can once I return to work, and I really hope I succeed!

VERDICT: Despite some major fails, I have been successful at times with this one and I am trying to bring this goal back to myself!

  • Calm Down

This is a goal that I think I will have for the rest of my life! Like I’ve already said, I’m a worrier and that takes up so much of my energy on a daily basis. Yet, unfortunately I don’t see this changing anytime soon.

However, I did do quite well at university and managed to get a lot of my work done ahead of deadlines, allowing me to have a pretty stress-free last few months. This seems to be an unusual feat and I’m definitively proud of myself for this!

VERDICT: I don’t think I’ll ever be a calm person, as it’s just not in my nature, but I can manage my nerves and stress when necessary. Even when times are really tough I manage to get through it every time. My biggest success is surviving my final year at university!

  • See More Live Shows

I was very lucky in 2016 and managed to go to the theatre quite often, or at least on a more regular basis than I’d previously experienced. However, now my student days are behind me and my priorities have changed drastically since January.

I no longer have the finances to be able to go the theatre as often as I would like, although there are some shows and gigs coming up that I would love to see. I’m hoping that once I get back into work and have a regular pay check again, I can reignite my love for theatre but at the moment it’s just not a priority.

VERDICT: A lot of things can happen in eight months and that’s what this resolution has taught me. I no longer have the same goals I did have at the beginning of the year, even though this is definitely a lovely one, and there’s no point beating myself up about it.

  • Self-Loving

I am hoping that this is a goal that will just continue to grow and grow. Although I wouldn’t say there is a massive progress here, as I genuinely feel the same most of the time, there is definitely an improvement overall.

My major goal for this now is to really try to look after myself, like eating some vegetables and moving a bit more. I find this surprisingly difficult with my lifestyle at the moment, but as with the majority of these goals, I’m hoping it will improve when I get into a decent routine.

VERDICT: I will continue to have good days and bad days in terms of my relationship with myself and I need to continue to be kinder to myself and appreciate the good days.

Theodore Roosevelt. 2


Do you believe in New Years Resolutions? How are you getting on with yours?

Here’s to making the most out of the rest of the year! We’ve got this.

Speak soon,

Rachael


Materials:

Am I Reaching My Goals?booksandquills (This was my inspiration behind this post)

How To Slay The Next Six MonthsMuchelle B