Tuesday, 16 December 2014

A Little More Faith, a Little Less Fear

Human beings are beautiful, remarkable creations, with infinite strength and an uncanny ability to adapt to whatever life throws at them. We are incredible, and capable of so much. Yet, every day we see stories of a new war, new atrocities, and new "quests" in the name of advancement or religion. People use labels to give purpose to what they're fighting against, filled with such hatred and anger. One of the reasons I avoid the news (as much as I can) is because it depresses me. I constantly see a world of bad decisions, by one person, by many. I see pain and suffering and it makes me angry. I promise this won't be a rant, and I promise it won't be me woe-betiding the entire world. But I need to say this. Even by ignoring the world news, I still see the damage we are capable of. It is everywhere: in our families and friends. We can do so much good, but are so excellent at bringing about devastation: relationships break down, hearts are shattered by strings of poor decisions. We tear down instead of encourage, we offer judgement instead of support and instead of helping each other or reaching out, we learn to pick up the pieces of our poor bruised hearts and shut them away. We build walls, put up defences which seem almost impossible to breach. Yet, in spite of all of this, still it happens: we yearn endlessly for love in our lives.

But we are terrified. not of the love itself: since we've seen its beauty. We have seen it's power to transform and to overcome, its capacity to bring peace and the virtually palpable magic it awakens in us. No, what we fear, is what happens when that love brings down those walls. When it reveals our flaws, our mistakes, our insecurities, we panic. What if we aren't enough? What if love isn't enough? What if we aren't loveable anymore? Or, worst of all, what if we are loveable? What then?

We are suddenly back in those moments when what felt safe, right and good for so long, started collapsing around our ears. We are back in those times when the person who loved us most damaged us the most. We are back in those moments when those defences came down and though initially, perhaps we were met with love and compassion, it backfired when the relationship fell apart. We find ourselves reliving all those mistakes and all the pain, and there it is: the desire to flee, to run as fast and as far as possible.

When it comes down to it we are all just lost and afraid of what love can do to us when it falls apart. Perhaps if we were a little kinder, a little more gentle with one another, the desire to flee will be replaced by a desire to stay and build something. And the best part? We aren't alone. We can create something amazing. Together. Isn't that the best part of being human? Being able to surround yourself with people you love and value, who love and value you equally?

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Clear Vision

Looking at the world map from my bed... I think about my dream to see the world, about all of those rare and beautiful animals I wanted to see in the wild before I died. I think about all the people I want to meet and all the things I want to own. I dream of the day when I can trade my (fairly regular) shopping trips in H&M, Warehouse, Topshop and Newlook for the big brands, first Whistles and Reiss, and then into the big leagues: Armani, Burberry, Prada... I think of all those first class flights and the days when buying a £38 eye shadow set won't count as splashing out. I think of the fleeting dreams of novel writing in my chateau in the south of France, being a best selling author and living with an entire menagerie of animals. I dream about finally being able to get the horse I have wanted since forever. I dream about being able to change lives with my writing, and impacting people in profound ways. I wish for better assuming that having money means all of this will be accomplished, and not until then.

What I forget is, that I will still be, fundamentally me, and thus fundamentally flawed. I forget that you can't outrun your problems, much less out dream them. These days my dreams are smaller, more realistic: I feel relief getting to the end of the day and crawling into bed is my reward. I am proud of writing a few hundred words, let alone thousands. I think of the people I have around me, and the family I treasure, and begin to ask myself why this isn't enough.

The honest answer? I don't know. In some ways, it is more than enough, it is more than I ever would have thought possible to have. At the age of 12/13 I wouldn't have believed anyone if they told me I would go from being almost totally alone and isolated, belittled even by those who should have helped me, to having friends who love and value me. It is still a novelty, even today. As much as the memory of that girl hurts, I am learning to make peace with her. I hope I never forget, because she deserves this. She deserves the love she has now and treasures it. To change one life is enough, but to have a voice that people listen to? That is an incredible gift. 

Tuesday, 25 November 2014


The stress is back with a vengence, the end of term is approaching at lightening speed and yet my work seems to be moving at a snail's pace. Not ideal. The reminders of deadlines are everywhere, and my head is spinning. I take a deep breath and attempt to fill the blank page glaring at me. The words appear and I start to feel calmer. Yes, these words are nonsensical and totally disorganised, but on the page they can't make my head spin anymore. As the room comes back into focus and my pulse stops racing, I return to the present. Now, now I can work.

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Who am I?

I am the doubts that overpower you. I am the reason you constantly feel undermined and insecure. I am the reason that sometimes living feels unbearable. I am the times you have missed dates with friends, dinner parties, even deadlines. I am the reason you cried yourself to sleep for 2 months straight. I am the reason you constantly seek to be better, to do better, but know you never will. I am the reason you end up putting that blade to your skin. I am the reason you were sat in the doctors wondering what the point was. I am the one who got so used to your brain that I made myself at home there. I am the one who never sleeps. I am the reason your nerves make you sick. I am the reason you hate what you have to look at in the mirror every day. I am the one who stores and weaponises every single negative experience and can completely annihilate the positive ones. I am capable of flooring you with a single word; and the best part? I don't care. I don't love you. I resent you.

Who am I? I am the bitch inside your head.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Mean Girls

I look in the mirror and check myself before I leave. "That's as good as it's going to get," I sigh sadly. I see more spots come up and what I thought was smudged mascara actually turns out to be blue bags that aren't going anywhere. Great. The makeup has dealt with the worst, but nothing can hide my god awful stomach and shitty mood. I tear myself away from the mirror before I can muse anymore and make my mood worse still.

Food. That is another topic which can be a touchy subject. Everyone I know is debating over whether or not to have that chocolate bar. People come back from the shop with chocolate, sweets or crisps in hand saying "I am being a fat shit," or "I shouldn't be eating this," or "I am being so bad today." I count myself among those, in fact every single mouthful of food feels wrong, feels like I am contributing to the obesity epidemic.

I hear girls criticising each other for being too thin, for being too fat, for thinking they are too high maintenance with their appearance, or not high maintenance enough. I hate myself for not exercising enough, yet sometimes find myself sneering at the "gym bunnies" (though for that there is always the silent retort of "well at least they won't get diabetes")

Why do we do this to ourselves? This seems like a battle we can't win. We'll either be too fat, too thin or too obsessed. We are catty and jealous towards each other about the superficial things, and then it seeps into our own thought patterns. It is destructive, horrible, and utterly futile. By being this mean about ourselves, are we just doing a Mean Girls-esque thing where we make it ok for guys to treat us in the same way?

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Carry On

I lay there clock watching and as my alarm went I lazily swang my arm round and whacked the snooze button. As usual I had woken up just before I needed to. It seems to happen a lot now, regardless of how well or badly I slept. As I lay there I knew that today was going to be another one of those days. The one where you can't move and the very idea of people and what they may or may not think of you seems too much to handle. I felt like every single part of me was made of lead, and my eyes still felt fuzzy with sleep, even though I'd woken up a good 20 minutes ago. I never know how this happens. One minute I will be motivated and ready for anything and quick as a flash it can evaporate and turn sour. There doesn't even always have to be a reason. Today the voices are particularly loud. Those insecurities that seem to forever sit in the back of my mind are vying for attention and causing chaos. I am happy it isn't raining again, but I feel exhausted. I am not ready for today. I am really not. I tell myself I only have an hour to get through, but that does little to help. It isn't until my housemate comes into my room to make sure I am working (obviously I am not) and sees I am still wrapped in my duvet that I am forced out of bed and into the shower. I try to hold back the tears but today is particularly rough. I let the hot water rush over me and inhale the smell of shampoo and body wash. Life isn't all bad. But the shower didn't help. My usual rebellion of putting on makeup and making myself human hasn't worked. I still find myself in the foetal position wishing the world away.
"Will it always be this hard?" I wonder aloud. It is a miracle I am even dressed. I begin to wonder if anything is going to make this go away. I miss the old me. I miss the girl who is virtually a stranger to me. She wasn't always defeated just by the idea of seeing people, or rather people seeing her. I find myself asking what I should do in this situation, and how to carry on. My answer?

To hope. To love. To smile. To cry. To laugh. To write.

I hope that tomorrow will be better and if not tomorrow, then the next day. I hope that one day I will find the girl slipping from my grasp. I love. I love my family, my friends and all of the people who make my life a little easier without realising it. I try to tell them as much as possible, to remind myself, as much as them how lucky, how grateful I am. I smile through the tears, and muster up the courage to take a shot at happiness, even if it doesn't always work. I cry, I cry because it hurts. I cry because sometimes it is too much. I laugh because it is the moments of joy that I need to forget the pain, even if it is only for a moment. Finally, I write because it helps. I write because I want you to understand me. I write because I want to understand myself. In writing I can say the words I daren't speak aloud.

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Messy Monday

Monday was a challenge. I felt tired and annoyed. When I met up with one of my best friends for a coffee, I arrived hoping to be a more positive version of last week's me who was manic and unfocused. Unfortunately today was not much different. In fact it was probably worse. I couldn't turn off the waterworks, and I was ranting and raving and expressing rather violent urges to punch Jesus... I think one of the many things I repeated frequently was that he was a douche. Constructive and mature right? Yet my friend sat there and listened, and told me everything I didn't want to hear but (if I weren't too stubborn to admit it) was probably absolutely necessary. In those moments I felt so grateful. I was hurting and it took everything in me not to completely break down, even though I cried, but I was trying. I was seeking hope and it is hard. But I guess that is something I need to come to terms with: Life is hard and it gets messy.

But there are always people who make it worth living. There are always people who can make me smile no matter what and it should go without saying that I absolutely love them.

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Back to the Start

As I sat at that table, smiling and introducing myself, I felt my heart in my mouth. It was a casual social occasion but I already felt under pressure with these questions, people trying to work out how Christian I was or if indeed I was at all. The simple questions warranted a wince in response: "Do you go to a church?" A straight forward yes would have been sufficient, but also untrue.  So instead I hesitate and stumble my way through an explanation of my year abroad and try to find an adequate way to summarise my lack of faith and major cynicism. I think in the end I decided on "I have questions, so where better to go than back to the start?" I sat and listened obediently, interested and attentive, like I should have been. And to a certain extent, I was. The rest of me however, was jealous. Jealous of these people who were telling an audience of 1500 how they'd felt God change and impact them. One woman described her experience like a "warm hug." I knew that. I had experienced it. But it felt so long ago and so far away. And all I could think was; "In the last year I have tried so hard, I have spent so much time hungry and desperate for your voice, your intervention, yet all I heard is nothing." Nothing. That word used to be ominous, threatening, scary even. Now, nothing is my friend. It is a feeling I actually try to conjure. Wrong I know, and probably bizarre.  But as I sat there, reassured by my friend being there too, I also felt guilty. I knew exactly what to say, and how to react. So I did that. I fell into auto pilot, as on so many occasions, I said and did all of the right things. But I wanted to scream and shout and rage. I wanted to run. I wanted to cry. "WHY ME? WHY THE SILENCE? IF GOD IS REALLY THERE AND JESUS REALLY DIED IN MY PLACE AND HE REALLY CARES, THEN WHY HAVE I FELT AND HEARD NOTHING FOR SO LONG?" I always thought a relationship was meant to be two ways, and my one with Jesus has easily been one of the best, and definitely the longest one I have ever had. But this year, I have spent more time with radio silence than I have experiencing him. They say we always turn away before God does. They say that we are the imperfect ones who need his perfection. But if God is perfect, and if God loves me, then why has he turned his back? I have been to hell and back, but this is worse. What has been at the centre of my world for 6 years now feels wrong. It feels invisible. And that hurts. People say you should hold on. Even when you think you're done you should hold on. But my question is, to what? What is there to hold onto if every prayer is met with silence?

I don't want to feel like this. I would love to end this post by saying that going back to the start, by experiencing an introduction to Alpha again I had a huge breakthrough and I am stronger than ever in my faith. But that isn't true. Not remotely. If anything I feel more hurt and angry than before (which is an impressive feat). 

Monday, 22 September 2014

Pursuing Happiness

There are billions upon billions of moments scattered throughout our lives. They pass in the blink of an eye but they can impact us forever. There are the mundane, the happy, the euphoric, the sad and the tragic, and they are vital. But here I want to focus on the happy kind of moment, which lays the foundations for what I want to call 'Holy Ground.' These are the moments of a happiness and completeness so pure that no matter how much life changes, they will forever remain perfect and untainted by emotions and hurt feelings. As someone who shows so much of herself and seems to be wired strongly to emotion and sentiment (sorry I can't help it), these memories are like sacred territory. They are secret, precious and unseen by the eyes of others. I think we all need these moments of purity and perfection to help us hope. For me, it shows that even in the chaos of the storm life isn't all bad. In fact it is very, very good. It is these times, scattered throughout my short life that show me not to lose hope because it gets better.

The strange thing about many of these times however, is that often they are born from totally ordinary situations. This, more than anything teaches me that we shouldn't take anything for granted, because you never know when (to quote Winnie the Pooh): "...The smallest things take up the most room in your heart."

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Fighting the Fear

Fear is designed to protect us. It is an instinct that warns us of danger and sends our bodies into fight or flight mode. In many ways fear is a totally essential part of life because it can help us escape potentially harmful situations. However, since most of us don't spend our lives in fight/flight situations this fear can become irrational and controlling. It paralyses, it controls and instead of helping us to survive it ends up destroying us. The reason I am compelled to write about this is that it has been preying on myself and a lot of the people I care about. After all, it's September, the time for new places and new beginnings. This "new" also feels like a step into the unknown, which often leaves us feeling vulnerable and so our defence mechanism kicks in:we start to prepare for fight/flight. Honestly, in my case it is nearly always the latter I find myself preparing for. But I am tired of it. I am tired of running from the dark and being scared of the unknown, I say FIGHT. Fight that instinct down and push forwards into the new, into the unexplored. Some of the best moments in my life only happened because I forced myself into the unknown. It is this I try to remind myself of when the fear and instinct to run overwhelms me. Furthermore, fear can be extremely destructive. It is exhausting and it steals everything. So when I say I am tired of being scared I mean it. I was losing sleep, losing joy and losing opportunities because instead of success all I forecast is a myriad of catastrophes. Yes, things have gone wrong, and probably will never be 100% perfect all the time, but when life is good, it is amazing. There are so many amazing times just waiting to be had, people to meet but they are all the other side of fear. So take out those boxing gloves, put on a brave face and own it. I know you can. Life comes with risks, but without taking them you won't know success: and oh my dear how you deserve to succeed.

Saturday, 16 August 2014

I Want to be Beautiful

That is the title of the word document that makes me simultaneously sad and angry when I read it. I wrote it after a bottle of wine and a bad day. I am pretty sure that tells you all you need to know to picture its contents: pessimistic and endlessly self critical, it repeatedly questions my self worth and value. I have never had a huge amount of self esteem, though outwardly confident, it soon becomes apparent in my constant self deprecating comments that I am far from at ease with who I am and how I look (I am working on this I promise). But for some reason this particular sentence got to me. I think it is because I was seeing beauty in an extremely one dimensional way (easily done after a bottle of wine): as skin deep. As a fictional, magical almost mythical quality which is nigh on impossible to attain (naturally I would aim for the impossible). I failed to see that in fact real beauty is indeed special, but not nearly as rare or unattainable as I like to think.

Beauty is so much more than looks. It is everywhere. Beauty is in our smiles, our laughter, it's in our easy friendships and it's in the music of our voices, the moments of tenderness with the people we love. It is in the most ordinary moments, the times which we keep for ourselves that forever remain a place where no other person will ever tread or spoil. Beauty is even in pain: in the tears shed from a heart that has loved and lost, in the person who finds the strength to fight through their pain. It is in the tiny bit of hope which glows like an ember in the ashes. Beauty is in our story: in the experiences that have shaped and molded us. Beauty, is a matter of the heart, not of the skin. And that is the kind of beauty we should be chasing, the beauty of a heart which loves and hopes, even a midst the chaos of life and its continuous surprises.

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

A Whole Lot of Nothing

When you feel like you're falling apart and others are getting it together life can be really tough. When it feels like thing after thing keeps going wrong it is easy to retreat. It is easy to surrender and admit defeat. It is that mounting sense of loss which can become crippling.

2014 has seen the beginning and end of a relationship, losing 2 phones and a passport, losing confidence, losing faith, losing interest in my degree, so it would be all too easy for me to tell you that I have given up. It would be easy for me to say that because the loss hurts. It dragged me down and strangled my joy in a way I hadn't known before. It left the mark of cynicism and mistrust. I didn't realise how deep this ran until I was at Rendez-Vous 2014: a christian camp in the middle of the Cévennes in the South of France, without wifi and without anywhere to run to. I was forced to confront my misgivings and my pain and come face to face with the truths I didn't want to hear, much less listen to. I spent most of the week feeling angry and resentful at God. Others were deep in worship and excited about the ways in which God was speaking to them. Then there was me: I hadn't even brought my bible. I got nothing. I sat there, I tried. I tried to sing, I tried to be thankful, I tried to be joyful in the arms of God. But I couldn't see past my pain. I couldn't see past my mistakes and I could definitely not understand how when I was crying out for him, he was silent. It was torturous. The doubts surrounded me and I felt like I was drowning in my inadequacy. Hopeless. Then at the end of the week the other girls I was with prayed for me at the end of a seminar and the tears I had kept hidden for so long wouldn't cease. The things they prayed over me were so unbelievably exact that I was in shock. I have a long way to go, and as much as I hated having a year which felt like a whole lot of nothing, I am learning valuable lessons.

I needed to lose some of these things because they taught me strength, self reliance, and they taught me the value of my friends and the value of my family and most importantly the value of my faith, for that is where I find my hope. I needed to question it so that when I came back to it I was more certain than ever, because for me the cross is the one thing that I can never question. It is impossible to doubt God's love for me when I look at the cross. So here I am, at Jesus' feet, seeking to restore some of what was lost and build upon what was gained. I know it will take time, and I know that this is the start of a long road. But starting small and aiming high I will carry on. Now, piece by piece my faith is being restored, and piece by little piece I am putting myself together. And little by little I am finding my feet again. But this time, I am anchored in Jesus and his love.

Saturday, 31 May 2014

I survived!

I sit in my room surrounded by the chaos of unfinished packing, suffocating in the smell of the cleaning products I have spent the day using to clean my room for the final time and realise that I have made it: I have completed my Erasmus year. Not only that but I have survived.

I have met some of the most incredible people in my time in Montpellier and I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to fall in love with such a beautiful city. Spending my final weekend surrounded by some of my favourite people celebrating my 21st birthday with champagne and cocktails seemed like the only way to honour the end of a crazy year. Admittedly in amongst the madness my blog has suffered. I am not up to writing a long heartfelt post at the moment but I can share with you some of the things I have learnt this year:

  • Sometimes you have to rescue yourself. 
  • The best days and favourite memories were mostly unplanned and totally spontaneous.
  • People surprise you on a daily basis. I would not have been able to survive this year if it wasn't for the beautiful friends who continually surprised me. 
  • French bread/cheese and wine really is the best.
  • The sunshine is beautiful and extremely easy to take for granted (Says freezing English girl in her hometown). 
  • Home really is where your heart is.
  • Finally probably my most important rule: Do not speak out of anger, but out of love. If you are angry or hurting it is best to find time and space to cool off so you don't say anything you will regret.
Hopefully this summer I can get back into my writing... Fingers crossed!

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Homesick - A Very Short Story

Sydney took in a gulp of air. He had barely been inside 5 minutes and already he felt like he was suffocating. The space felt too small, the light unnatural and the odor of fresh paint was enough to make him dizzy and disorientated. Clearly they had brought him here for a reason, and though he came willingly he was already regretting his decision. He longed for the woodland and the shelter of the trees. He craved the damp coolness of the forest air and the gentle crunch of the autumn leaves underfoot. He looked up and saw nothing but the ceiling to this cage, providing a window to the monotony of the grizzly sky which looked dark and forboding. The droplets clattered against the glass and then chased eachother off the sloping roof. A storm was coming. He sighed heavily and pushed his dense curls from his face. "I suppose I had better make the best of this, after all it isn't going to be forever," he promised himself aloud. He looked around the room, slowly drinking in its contents. He knew they had designed it to make him feel at home, but it just seemed absurd and menacing to him. To his left was the "watering hole," a blue pool of fresh water surrounded by a bank of foliage and mud. Only the bank stopped right at the edge of the circle of water. He could tell instantly it was man made: Nothing in the forest was this calculated, this exact. The circle was perfect and the water was calm and crystal clear. He found its precision unnerving. As he continued to explore this impossible room he began to feel increasingly ill at ease, there was not a sound except for his footsteps. The trees didn't rustle in the way they should, there was no movement in the foliage and the ground underfoot was perfectly soft and smooth. To most people it was nature without the apparent chaos which seemed to accompany it. To him it was human stupidity taken to an worrying new level: Why try to change a system which had survived billions of years? Why try to "perfect" the perfect?

Sydney Price: back in the realms of "civilisation" and it felt every bit the opposite of that. The perfect circles of the pool, the cold, clear blue of the water, the soft ground underfoot, it all had a sinister calculation, designed to advantage those who found nature too "savage." But, that was where beauty thrived in every season: The snowy treetops and the frozen lake which glistened like crystals in the winter sun, the fiery oranges and reds of the autumn leaves falling and the satisfying crunch they made underfoot, the spring flowers blooming in all the colours imaginable, and the summer heat bringing with it blue skies and the promise of happiness. Here it was perpetually a non season: Too cool to be summer, but too humid to be spring. There was no breeze and he could be sure there would never be. All the things he took for granted he was now craving, all the chaos he thought he might escape by entering this unfamiliar world seemed eerily systematic and necessary. Home was where Sydney Price wanted to be and it would never be here. Where ever here was.

Monday, 24 March 2014

A Dying Passion

This summer I will have completed my year abroad in Montpellier, France. It has been without a doubt one of the hardest years of my entire life thus far, with more ups and downs, twists and turns than a rollercoaster. I have been both torn apart and built up in almost equal measure, and definitely changed as a result. I have caught the travel bug and a taste for adventure which I am not sure I really posessed before this September. In fact before this September I was a girl overcome by fear and anxiety starting out in a new place with absolutely no idea what the future would hold. And whilst others have become more certain and more comfortable with what they want to do later in life I have done the opposite. Everything I thought I knew, everything I thought I wanted has been put into question and right now there are only 2 things I am certain of:

1) French is not my subject. Shocking I know, since I adore the language and am one step closer to being a fluent speaker (which is really exciting)

2) My faith. I still have a lot of questions and part of me thinks I always will but I know that Jesus saved me and that I love him. And for now, that is enough for me.

But do you know something? The girl with the obsession with a plan and with a solid idea of where she wanted to be by 21 is gone. In her place stands a woman who sees the world and knows there will always be more to learn from it and is hungry to see more. She is someone who, in the midst of uncertainty and fear, has not let it rule her but has instead let it free her. In her place, stands a woman who knows that though this year has been unimaginably hard at times, it has been one of the best decisions of her life. I know that all of this seems melodramatic and cheesy but it is undeniably true. I am not the same girl who came to France, wide-eyed and scared, I am someone who has been strengthened and molded into a strong, capable woman. Whilst I do not know what I want I am now certain of what I do not want: I do not want to spend another year just scraping through,doing something I am merely good at, but I want to persue something I love, something that satisfies me. I want to take the risk of doing something so wholly unrelated to my degree that the likelihood of getting onto the course is not high. I want to prove that I cannot be boxed in and that I am not the person  I have spent 19 years believing I am, but someone totally unrecognizable from a lost and insecure teenager. I am taking control of myself and taking hold of my identity. I am a child of God, friend of Jesus, highly capable, independent and full of fight. I am becoming the person I want to be. And she is nothing like I expected, but I like her.

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

A Letter to the Other Third of AUNT

I was supposed to write an entry here every week. This hasn't happened since I published my first letter. I was trying to write something that I could publish on here, and whilst knowing to whom I wanted to write, I could not word it properly. So here I am after god knows how many attempts, writing a letter to you, the other third of AUNT.

When I think of you, I think of those endless afternoons and evenings spent in the pub, the days spent nursing hangovers from the night before, the hours spent in the library attempting to sort our lives out, and the lazy weekends doing nothing in particular. I think of all those evenings stress baking… who even knew that was a thing?! Well I guess it is now! I think of those Skype conversations and stupid text messages. I think of the note passing in lessons. I think of the days when I was close to tears and you were there. I remember all the ways you told me it'd be okay when everything was falling apart. I remember you. I remember the way you managed to become one of my favourite people without me even realising.

But I also remember the times when you managed to tear down pretty much every wall I put up with just a gaze or a few well placed words. I remember the times you'd leave me defeated and low from just a snide comment here and there (though I admit I have been just as bad). I remember the times when I really wanted to hate you. I remember the cutting comments, the dramas and the jealousy. I remember my cynicism and anger. I remember wishing you'd apologise… wishing that maybe just once it wouldn't be me that made all the effort, that maybe you would come and see me. I remember the times when you were the reason I was falling apart. I remember thinking that I knew exactly where to hit if I wanted to hurt you. I remember all the times I said no when what I really wanted to say was yes.

Mixed up is an understatement. Messed up is probably more accurate. I wrote so many drafts of this letter and I am still scared of publishing it because I don't know what you will say. But I am tired. I am tired of dodging the elephant in the room and tired of dancing around honesty. I am tired of the game playing and frankly, I am tired of how I feel. I know it is crazy and I know you are probably one of the worst risks I could ever take (at least that is what I am repeatedly told) but I need you to know. You are both the best and the worst thing that ever happened to me. And the worst part? I don't think I can ever say yes, even though I really want to.

Friday, 7 February 2014

A Letter to One Third of AUNT

I wrote this for you because you need to know that you are so much more than what you believe and what is happening to you. Love you.

Things are difficult for you. I know that this is an understatement. You get upset because you feel like you are not enough and that you never will be. You cry over people who are not worth your time or your tears. You fret over things that most people wouldn't think about twice. You see a person who is weak, who is broken and who is less than exceptional and entirely ordinary. It breaks my heart. I wish that just for a day you could see yourself through my eyes. To me you are incredible. I see all of the pain, and all of the heart ache, but I do not see weakness. I see strength. I see the effort it takes for you just to make it to the end of the day. I see the times when you have been distraught because someone else has raised and then dashed your expectations and yet again it seems like they have trampled on your dreams. I know you see someone who is questioning their existence and doesn't see the point.

Well I wish you could see what I see: A woman who is fighting a war in her head which few understand and even fewer will live. I see a woman who is broken by this war, disheartened and down, but still standing. I see strength in this: you still have the strength to get to the end of the day, to know who you are and fight for that. I see a woman who is fiercely loyal, kind and caring. You take crap from no one and are not afraid to speak your mind. I admire the courage in that and there is something so beautiful in a heart and mind which has taken so much pain and abuse and still say: "No. I will say what I believe. I don't need to accept your opinion as my own." I see a friend who is a whole ocean away and still asks how I am doing, and who is still able to love and support me. I see a woman whose battle scars and life story only make her more powerful, and more beautiful. I wish that you could see that, and I wish you could understand that you are so much more than what happens to you. You are so much more than what you believe and what you see.

Thursday, 6 February 2014

26 Letters & Writers Block

Writing is one of my favourite things in the whole world. But there are days like today, or even weeks where inspiration runs dry. I want to create something inspiring, beautiful, and something perfect. I keep trying to put words on paper but nothing forms correctly. It's all so empty and insincere, the very emotions I am trying to evoke seem shallow and fake. I can't do it. I rip up the paper in frustration, delete every word document I reread because it isn't acceptable. I delete them because I get angry with myself. I delete them because I can't find a way to make the words paint the picture I want. There are infinite combinations of 26 letters, and it feels like not a single one of these is going to become what I want it to. Somewhere in the back of my mind are the number of page views and the comments that people have made about my writing. I can't bear the idea of publishing anything yet... It isn't done. It isn't ready. I know that nothing is sincere enough to pull people in and though it is good, good isn't enough. I want perfect.

Perfect. Yet again my wandering heart begins to chase the very thing which is impossible to attain. Yet again I need to remind myself that in Jesus, in my saviour I can find rest, peace and perfection. I simply need to look to the cross. I simply need to fall at the foot of it and cry out to my saviour. It is here I find my rest and here I will find my peace of mind. I know that writing is difficult at the moment and an alphabet of 26 letters seems too small and too big at the same time. I guess the lack of ability to form my thoughts and articulate my emotions is reflected in the fact that at the moment my mind is somewhat chaotic. I feel like there is so much going on inside my head that my poor little brain is not managing to process or articulate anything very clearly. I am forcing myself to overcome writers block by making myself to write through it. It is for this reason that I am almost too eager to add a disclaimer to each post for the foreseeable future: I worry that they will not be of a high standard because they are not written in moments of mad inspiration, but in moments of concentration and often frustration.

None the less, feeling this way has forced me to try something new with this blog. I have decided to write a series of open letters entitled "A Letter To..." about things/to people I really care about and it will give me a really exciting opportunity to try something a little different with my writing and get me to post a lot more regularly. So I really hope you enjoy it and I would love to know your thoughts.

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

How Many Times?

How many times? How many times will we walk away before we believe you Father? How many times will we fall away from your gaze and stray from your sight? How many times will the empty promises and small vanities of this world tear us from your arms? How many times Father, will our hearts lead us astray? Tell me Father because I need you. I need your love. I need the strength of your grace and mercy. I need those wings to lift me from the ground and I need your love to get me through the day.

Sunday, 5 January 2014

365 Good Things

2014. It is here and although I am rarely one for resolutions, I have made 2. The first is no more selfies. After discovering the word had been added to the english dictionary at some point last year, and the fact that friends were beginning to comment on the number I take and my addiction to social media... I decided that it maybe a good idea to give them a break from my constant selfies.

The second and the main reason I am writing this post is my main goal of this year. I have called it 365 Good Things. It isn't very original I know but the concept lies in the name. For those who know me, and perhaps even those of you who have been following my blog, know that last year was difficult, and seeing the silver lining in everything has been nigh on impossible. So I decided that I am going to challenge myself: to find one good thing about every single day of the year. This is because even when things are bad, I know that because I have Jesus I will always have something to be thankful for. And who knows maybe it will change my outlook on life?