Love in 2016

I know that I’m not alone in the belief that 2016 has been an incredibly tough year. The media has been filled with news stories that have rocked us to the core, and some huge decisions have literally divided both the UK and America.

At this time, it feels like we’re clinging to hope – and it breaks my heart to read comments, often from people I’ve never met and do not know, expressing their loss of hope, and quite often their hatred of other people.

It feels very much like there is no ‘answer’ to all that seems to be going wrong in the world. So many people have forgotten how to have compassion, and many seem to find it hard to focus what compassion they have on anyone beyond their immediate field of vision.

In amongst all of this though, there are good stories. People doing good things for one another, positive movements gaining traction. I’ve seen a lot of pictures and videos of people doing good things, and it is heartbreaking that these acts of kindness are riddled with negativity. I don’t believe that a good deed should be recorded for the sake of personal gain, but to have done something good for someone else and to make a record of it to show to the rest of the world that people are doing good things is important.

It’s important at this time, for all of us to know that despite the way the world seems to be headed, people are still fundamentally good. We are kind, caring, compassionate creatures. Every single one of us, no matter what we have done only want for one thing – and that is to be happy. Happiness is a state of mind that can be achieved through so many means, but when you sit down and think about it, even if only for a minute it’s clear – at least to me, that happiness can be found in the smallest of gestures.

Please, please try to find kind words. We all have bad days, and bad moods and difficulties ahead of us. We all have complicated emotions and feelings but we don’t have to give in to them.

I met someone recently, completely by chance. It was chucking it down with rain, and thankfully the local bus stop has a shelter and so immediately we struck up conversation. The topic was obvious, and from it – in no time at all we were making all kinds of connections.

When it came to part ways, my new friend turned to me and told me that she had been in an awful mood, and had prepared herself to feel the same way for the rest of the day – but after our conversation her mood had changed. Just hearing that was enough to make me smile, I was already in good spirits, despite the awful weather and it reinforced this idea that happiness begets happiness.

I’m pretty sure that the change in frame of mind wasn’t down to ‘me’ fundamentally. I went out of my way to talk to someone, and in doing so made a connection that otherwise would have come and gone and left us.

Yes, there are a lot of difficult decisions and changes ahead of us that we will not be in control of. It’s okay to be afraid of how our world will change, and whether it really will be for the better – right now we know absolutely nothing about what is going to happen, and there is a lot of unrest and upset in the media over the outcome of these things.

Giving love, being kind and having compassion will not only help you as an individual through these times but it will also help to show others that they can do the same. It can be difficult to have compassion for someone else, but it is far better than to judge them and for both people to feel the effects of that negativity.

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Money Making Websites

This is a page which contains referral links to all the websites I visit which help me earn a little bit of money.

Primarily I share them with others because at some point in time, visiting them has helped me feel a sense of progress and meaning. I’m a big gamer, and I enjoy collecting achievements but sometimes it is difficult to accept that it is okay to do something for the sheer enjoyment of it.

Of course, I do benefit from telling others about these sites. Almost all of them have a referral scheme, and I take efforts to be clear about anything I gain, and never post links that require an upfront payment.

 

‘Free’ Lotteries

People with time, patience and real drive to make themselves some money have come up with great ways to help others whilst helping themselves.

The most popular website that I’m aware of at the moment is FPL, or –

Free Postcode Lottery.

www.freepostcodelottery.com

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Signing up is quick and easy and checking whether you’re a winner is a doddle. There are many chances to win, and as news of the website grows, so does it’s potential.


DOB Lotto

www.doblotto.com

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This one is a birthday lottery. Just enter your date of birth for a daily chance to win £50. It’s quick and easy, and from the 1st of April, they will be introducing the chance to fill in a quick survey to win another draw on the website.


Free Birthdate Lottery

www.freebirthdatelottery.com

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Another chance to win thanks to the day you were born. Just tell them when it is, and if it’s picked you can win £5. This website is coming up with other quirky ways to win extra points and money to ‘cash out’, too. Looks very promising.


GiftHulk

www.gifthulk.com

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TThe one thing I make sure to do on this one every day is the ‘Guess the Card’. Which can generate a few points every day. (I always pick one suit!) There are other ways to earn some money – which you earn in the form of gift cards. I tend to cash out $5 Paypal vouchers.


Qmee

www.qmee.com

qmee

In the form of an internet browser add on, this one will show you results when you search for something. Whether it’s on Google, ebay, amazon etc. By clicking on the link it shows you, you can earn a few pence. The really cool thing about this one is that you can cash out at any time, right into your paypal account.


Extreme Emotions

When you’re bombarded by extreme emotion, it’s not just the extreme emotions that you have to deal with. Most of the time, when something unexpected happens it’s because you’re in a situation you can’t control.

I like ‘my’ time best. When I’m on my own and completely in control of my environment. If I don’t feel like washing dishes right now, I don’t have to, and I know that if they stay there all day the only person I’m upsetting is me. 

There is pressure, of course. I don’t like living in a messy environment, but some days I’m happy to let things pile up until such a time when I feel ready to deal with it, whether it’s dishes or laundry.

When you live with others, the pressure changes entirely. Things have to be done, or at least that’s how I feel about things. Leaving one dish isn’t enough to throw me head first into a mood swing, but leaving just that one dish isn’t easy because I know that if I don’t clean it right away, it’s highly likely they my housemates will when they do the dishes. Although I know I do my fair share of the dishes, and often offer to do them all in one go (mine and my house mates, in an evening) the notion that I am putting someone else out brings on a world of stress that is not easily ‘pushed aside’. People lie, people tell white lies all the time and I’m still undecided about how I feel about it. I tell them too. We all do. 

“Sorry, I forgot to wash that plate.”

“It’s okay!”

It’s okay? Is it though? Is it really? Are you not just seething inside? This is the third time this week I’ve made myself a sandwich and left the plate there and you’ve washed it with all your dishes. There are days for me, when nothing is okay. Sure, you can dismiss it, whatever okay. It’s just a plate, but it’s not. You left it on the table and that’s not where it belongs. How lazy are you? You’ve walked into the kitchen twice and not bothered to take the damn plate with you and it’s on the way. It’s. Not. Hard. 

Some days, it’s easier to let go of those uncertainties than others. Some days it’s okay to leave the plate there, and perhaps that’s down to confidence rather than mood? Having confidence in the things that other people tell you comes and goes. 

“No worries, I was washing up anyway!”

On a ‘good’ day it’s easy to have confidence, to accept the word of others without question. In the same vein, it’s likely not to happen on those days. On a good day, I’m on the ball. I’m the one clearing up dishes and engaging in normal conversation, I’ve probably hoovered, cleaned and done dishes already or at least contributed in some way that feels valid. That in itself makes a huge difference to general mood. 

‘Good’ days come with their own set of ‘base’ emotions. Positivity, excitement, and enjoyment of simply being. It’s a state of mind and on it’s own, apparently, (because I haven’t noticed a pattern), uncontrollable. It’s the difference between waking up in the afternoon and feeling like there is no point in showering, dressing, eating, doing out and doing something – and waking up feeling like you can get something accomplished even if you don’t get out of pyjamas. (Which I hasten to tell you! Doesn’t happen very frequently!)

Of course, this is before you put into consideration the great number of environmental factors that can so drastically destabilise whatever mood you happen to wake up in. Like anyone.

There are simple, every day things – the weather, the state of the bank account, what day it is, what plans you have, what letters arrive in the post. 

Then there are things that I find the most difficult – social engagement. 

I have strong feeling for a lot of my friends and family. People exist in ‘my world’ in very different extremes. There are people I love. They are sometimes family, sometimes friends and mostly animals. I’m compassionate, mostly toward those whose voice is not as ‘strong’ as others. Animals, children, and so many others who have enough on their plate, or are unable to voice their feelings, worries and fears. 

Then there’s this huuuuuge gap. To exist in that space is impossible, and it’s what makes social situations so complicated for me. I’m focusing on anger, and a sensation of hatred, but it’s equally applicable to a whole range of other emotions.

On the other side of my ‘scale’ there is hate. I’ve been taught, from an early age not to use that word, especially by my Dad, because it is such an extreme and to this day I’ve been unable to accept that there could be a better word to fit the way I feel. It’s lonely, to go from feeling intense affection for someone who is a friend and then feel so deeply hurt and frustrated by them or something they have done or said that the feelings inside you switch and develop, consume and utterly control you. 

I can only describe it as hate, and it’s an awful sensation. It comes with an intense desire to be away from them, to hurt them, to make them realise how much you’re hurting and to hurt them back. You become unable to focus – words and almost impossible to muster, and because you know that the feeling is only temporary it’s so important to be able to get out of the situation without saying anything damaging. The anger is so finely and specifically directed at this one particular thing, but to control the emotion feels like a mammoth task. 

It’s followed instantly by the desperate need to GET OUT. Whether you’re there in person, or talking on the phone, text messaging, or talking through e-mail or online messaging. 

Everything becomes impossible. This anger is the sole emotion. There is nothing else. Even though you might fight desperately within yourself for rationale, there is nothing. Struggling to stay ‘level’ takes a lot of effort in itself. Often, in the time it takes to fight the wave of emotions a host of other thoughts, feelings and general awarenesses happen to further confuse the situation.

You can’t just pause time, and often that need to explain yourself is too difficult. You know that you shouldn’t be angry, but in the time it takes to try and reel in your emotions it’s just too late. Whoever you’re with, or talking to knows that there is something wrong. So the question comes. Rarely, is it understanding, slow, careful. Usually it’s defensive or provoking. You don’t want either of those things. A defensive question brings the clarity to understand that yes they know you’re feeling something – and the wave of concerns comes all over again. 

I often have strong feelings, and I prefer to keep them to myself because that’s just easier.

I have many friends that I have simply had to leave or hang up on and almost always it’s without a word because formulating words is physically impossible. 

It’s not easy, but I’ll try to explain how complex the things that rush through my mind in those moments are. 

First of all, there is the ‘thing’ itself. Whatever the trigger has been. Meltdowns happen much more regularly on a ‘bad’ day, as if the chemicals in your brain are just so unbalanced that the only things that come from it are negative, low and depressed. 

A ‘thing’ will happen and all the possible causes, consequences and potential from that thing play out in your head all at the same time. Each new possibility tends to be worse than the last. You go from feeling upset that you can’t do this simple thing to feeling sad about what that means. Then the worry steps in. Will you ever be able to manage this? In fact, have you ever actually been able to manage it? Were ‘they’ right all along? You are not able, you are not capable, you are not useful, you are not accomplishing anything, you are a burden, you can’t even keep the promises that you make to yourself, never mind the promises you make to anyone else. In fact, why do you ever make promises?

It’s at this point, you’ve effectively cancelled out all the future plans in your life. Nothing is achievable. You’ve gone beyond all your basic needs, there’s no need for any of them so there is only one question. 

Why am I even here?

The ‘truth’ – that you don’t know is so soul destroying. It’s like everyone you love breaking your heart at the same time because they’ve let you go on like this. Believing that you could be something when really you’re just going through the motions. The belief that everyone you love hates you is strong, and difficult to cope with. Perhaps if you’re lucky there is a slither of desperation. The need to reach out, to make a phone call, message a friend, go to someone but it’s such a fragile moment. Calling someone and ending up with their answer machine is difficult, especially. Do you leave a message? In the state you’re currently in any friend will know that you have a problem and where does that leave you then? You can’t possibly leave a message because if you end it all you cannot imagine the guilt that you will leave them with. 

So you don’t leave a message. You just hope that they’ll call back. 

The ‘next thing’ is there though. It’s hovering over head like a dark cloud because once you’ve reached why am I even here the next step is obviously ‘I don’t deserve to be here’, so often in conjunction with ‘I can’t do this anymore’.

Getting out is difficult. Escaping those feelings usually means completely escaping. I personally feel lucky, that for whatever reason, I haven’t turned to drugs or alcohol. A quickly as I reach ‘critical’, I can come back down. I’m the first to admit to extreme behaviours and responses in those moments, and it’s embarrassing to know that so many people have witnessed them. I do get scared, that one day the ‘off’ button will be too close, too instant, and too permanent. That one day I’m going to be somewhere potentially life-threatening when something drastic happens to me. 

I’m happy knowing that I am most likely to go home, curl up in bed and cry until it hurts. The emotion comes out so easily like that, even if the act brings along with it a whole host of other intense feelings so self-hate and loathing. As soon as it’s done it’s as if the sun has come out and there’s a rainbow and everything is good. 

By the time that’s happened, a different set of problems arises. Crying doesn’t just seem to rid me of the emotions, but it also acts as a tool to forget whatever I was so emotional over in the first place. I want to forget, and move on – staples those feelings down so that they don’t get thought about any more. It leaves a ‘gap’. I often struggle to remember whether I’ve upset someone, and obviously – the act of leaving a friend in the lurch isn’t a terribly kind thing, but coming to terms with what happened is equally difficult. Admitting to the extreme emotion isn’t simple. I have a lot of pride, and something akin to ego too, and letting go of it to talk things through isn’t easy, especially when – all things considered, maybe that friend doesn’t want an apology? 

That friend deserves for me to be in control of things well before they escalate, and sometimes it feels that the only way to do that is to only interact with others when I’m in tip-top form, and that doesn’t happen very often.

With time, and therapy I’m really hoping that I can learn to control the things that impact the extreme emotions I have. I’m well aware that they were intimately linked with my own expectations and presumptions, whether they are directed toward myself, my friends, or other people around me.

Lessons in Love

“Love yourself before you can love anyone else.”

For years I’ve been hearing sentiments like these. They’re the kind of things that people take on board, and in some ways we know them to be true but the full extent of their truth isn’t realised until we can begin to take the steps to realise them for ourselves. I often explain this feeling to others as knowing something ‘intellectually’, but not being able to comprehend it emotionally.

Self-love isn’t easy. From an early age we are judged from so many different angles that to combat those criticisms requires a lot of love. That love, I suppose, usually comes from parents and family. I feel so incredibly strongly that a loving home is the best start a child can get. Our world has changed so much, and it is a pleasure to see diversity and equality taking such huge strides. (Of course, there is so much more to be done, but that’s for another day.)

‘We’, as members of a western society have so much more opportunity than before. The chance to visit far off places, to work in whichever areas we take interest in, to explore, enquire and learn so much more than we would ever have the chance to. I know that I am lucky to have been fed every day by my parents, and that they worked hard to provide things that I wanted. My Mum certainly didn’t have that luxury and although I’ll never forget the stories of ‘bread and butter if we were lucky’, it never really struck me as something I could believe in.

I have access to a vast array of things. Whether it be simple necessities like food and drink, or more luxurious things like mobile phones, video games, books, movies, work options – the list goes on and on. Love can come from the simple things, as much as it can be shown in the luxurious things, but always it has to come in it’s most direct form. From one person to another.

My parents showed me love in their own ways, and although Love is a difficult thing to describe, and whether it’s due to Borderline Personality Disorder, or something else inherent in me myself – I have struggled to find confidence enough to say that I love me, or that I’ve ever been able to accept being loved.

I don’t love myself, and although I don’t always find it easy to accept, I feel like I am capable of loving others. When I consider my close friends and family, I will openly agree that I love each and every one of them. I’ve been picky about my friends, and I’m critical about the people I meet, but in the end I feel like I love them. Perhaps that’s because they are accepting of me as I am, or because they’ve gone through such a gruelling selection criteria that they were very likely completely unaware of – a criteria I couldn’t put values to myself. I’ve accepted them as people I love.

I am able to recognise the beliefs in my friends that I share with them. I enjoy knowing that my friends & I share common interests, which is important of course if you want to spend time with someone! It’s very easy for me to quite simply ignore the parts of my friends which I do not like. By putting those traits, beliefs or interests out of my mind and therefore out of sight it’s much easier to get along. I’m sat here trying to work out if this is a human response to friendships or if it’s as a result of Borderline that I chose to vehemently ignore those things I don’t like, because there are definitely some people who I would chose to ‘hate’ for the same opinions.

(I need another half hour of your time to explain my thoughts on the word ‘hate’, I’ve always been told it’s too extreme a word to use in application to people – but I generally find in the past I’ve either ‘loved’ or ‘hated’ people. There is very rarely a happy medium between these two points in my mind.)

Today, I feel like I have managed to take steps in the right direction to loving myself.

Quotes, internet memes, and posts that other people choose to share on the internet have helped to promote what counts as self love. This morning I ate cereal. Then I decided I was feeling far too sick to get up and go and that it was okay to go back to sleep, as long as I took my meds first.

They’re small things, but when you’re recovering they’re so important. Show yourself some love. Build up that warm confidence that you are worth it, to yourself. I am worth my own existence, and I hope that one day I’ll be able to love myself enough to be able to truly love someone else.

Helpful Links

You feel like shit. – A great support, when you’re really having trouble to self-care.

Calm.com – For a quick meditation session.

Tiny Buddha – A place for inspiration and wisdom.

On the move

I have been absolutely terrible at updating this thing, but after a few weeks of inaction, and not even typing up any blog posts on my iPad or anything I’ve decided to write up an entry whilst I’m here in Brisbane.

Melbourne was hot, but usually it was just the kind of heat that you can get used to really quickly? Hot, dry heat that makes you feel like your skin is burning when you’re outside but then the moment you go somewhere cool it takes a couple of minutes to chill out again.

Here? Okay, here the heat is that awful humid heat that kinda just sticks with you FOREVER. All day yesterday I felt like I was melting and that was not an awesome thing. :(

Despite the weather, my last two days here(ish) have been awesome! I’ve met so many people that I love, and it’s been even more awesome to get to know them in person. I’m totally sticking a bunch of ridiculous photos we took up on here.

We had pancakes at this place called Pancake Manor and I thought it was pretty amusing because it was in some ‘old’ church with fancy tables and pews, which was cool. Then we all went for a walk around Brisbane and talked about the ancient architecture in the city that dated back to the late 900’s. (rofl)

Anyway! We hung out until like 10pm, and now I’m sat here listening to Katamari music and Shia LaBeouf.

Finally there.

I’ve been here for just over two weeks now, and it feels like months.

Very fortunately I have a fantastic friend whose parents have been amazing enough to let me take over their spare room.

Melbourne is pretty awesome, and so much has happened that I’m pretty sure I’m going to forget everything in this entry but I wanted to really quickly write up something before the turn of the year!

Finally being here is strange. It’s still really difficult to get my head around the fact that I am quite literally on the other side of the world. I tried to get the water in the sink to swirl so I could see which way it drained but the plug had a slightly raised bit so the water just sort of got sucked through that instead of making a swirly thing.

The biggest, most exciting thing that’s happened so far was meeting my awesome friend Aaron for the first time. It was the most nerve wracking thing, but mostly because I could hardly believe it was actually happening.

After 12 years of knowing each other, and promising I would visit some day, working on a concept for a set of novels together for this long and being in different timezones when suddenly we were both hard working people of the world – there was always that thought that it probably wouldn’t happen.

It was my first full day in Australia, so naturally I had heaps of things to do. Open a bank account, get a mobile phone sim, post some things back home, try and file for medicare. I managed two things before I realised that it was almost 3pm. I didn’t have a way to contact Aaron to tell him where I would be and I didn’t actually know where he worked.

The mad dash was on. First I found somewhere to steal internet from. Thank you, CommBank. Message Aaron on Facebook, find out where to get a mobile phone from.

With only 5 minutes to go I barely managed to explain to the store clerk that I needed a sim only plan, and that the problem was I meeting a friend and I could barely contain myself. As soon as I had a signal, I called and he told me to wait just outside the shop, he knew where I was.

I don’t think I have ever been filled with so many emotions at once, excitement, happiness, fear, anxiety. What if he didn’t look like I thought he would, or what if he thought I was weird, and what if we didn’t get along as well as we always had. Every single person that came round the corner from Optus got a glare because oh my god is it hi– no, damnit where is he? I’m pretty sure people were slightly worried about my health, and I was helpfully informed that the sound I made was akin to a squeak when we finally met.

Needless to say, I won’t forget that in a hurry. I had nothing to worry about. We chatted on the Yarra banks, looked at some geeky shops, had food and went our separate ways. Was awesome.

The most relaxed month I have ever had the pleasure to experience

Draggy is one of my internet people. Only now, she really isn’t I guess??

I’d always promised I would visit, but I never really expected it to be for quite so long, and for the stay to be quite so chilled.

Video games, fighting with the dog, movies, Supernatural, Guardians of the Galaxy, loads of delicious food, trying and failing to ‘play’ with the cat (she doesn’t know how to play, only how to attack).

I managed to relax and chill out so easily, it felt great to get writing again, and not feel pressured into doing anything I didn’t want to. Loved it.

Would so recommend. 5 stars!

In a small room, full of cats

A girl started her travel blog.

I just hope it’s an interesting one.

Lincoln has been home to me for 17 years now, and I absolutely love the place. It’s easy to see beauty in it through most of the seasons, and I’m familiar enough that I can walk around and know where I am pretty much anywhere.

After working in a Special School for 10 years I’ve been made redundant and rather than take it at the huge hit it felt like for the first few days, I quickly turned it around into something positive.

Travelling is something I’ve enjoyed doing for a long time, and since about the age of 13 I’ve wanted to go to Australia and this is my chance.

cats

My things have been sold, donated to charity or stored – I still have a heap of clothes to sort through and find other homes for. There are some last minute things to do, but I feel ready to leave – even if I still can’t believe I’m actually going.

I’m excited, nervous, unable to wait the LONG week until I actually fly!!

Dan & Sara have been absolutely amazing, letting me stay here for well over a month between sorting things out with my old house right up until my leaving date. The cats, Oliver, Lily and Cleo have been particularly welcome (although I think that’s mostly because the novelty of cats in the house has made my bedroom more accessible to them than they’re used to!) There’s one in the washing basket, and one curled up at the end of my bed making sure that there are no spiders or flies in the immediate vicinity!

Got lots of exciting things happening over the next few days. Vaccinations in the morning, meeting friends in town, dinner at another friend’s in the evening, and Saturday I have my last morning of work ( which I am in bit about :( ) and the evening is of course host to the big leaving party!!

I reckon that’s when it will really hit home.

I need to go away and make a list of things I have yet to accomplish in time for the flight! Away I go whilst I still have the energy to think about it.

~Ollie. x