silver linings?

They say that every fairytale has a happy ending. They say that every cloud has a silver lining. They say that happiness cannot be found until you search in the dark and find light.

I want to know who ‘they’ are.

I want them to tell me every word about staying positive they know and I want them to keep saying them until I am happy. Keep saying them until I know that everything will be okay. It’s going to take a lot before I believe those words are true because at the moment true happiness is just a story. I have moments of elation when I forget my troubles and I can live a little with a smile on my face but then I remember the grim truth of my fate, thanks to a vile, selfish human who thinks of nothing but money and yet claims otherwise.

Up to this moment my life has gone on and I have dealt with every dark cloud but now there is no break where the sun can shine through. I am in a tunnel so dark that the end must be very far away because there isn’t even a hint of daylight from the other side. I edge slowly down this path, clinging desperately to the walls so I don’t lose my way but I see no end. Someone needs to lead me there before I go mad. This insanity is creeping up and I cannot push it away because my life is devastated. Everything I am, or was, has been thrown to the side and wasted by someone who one day decided they did not care enough to really help someone in need. A petty complaint has turned into an explosion of rage and a conclusion that has wrecked everything we knew.

They say money makes the world go round but it doesn’t. It stops a person’s world in its tracks when another person decides they want to take everything away. Every penny is lost, every smile has faded, every hope – abandoned. I have never felt so lost and afraid. I have never worried about how I will get out of my situation. I have never in my life felt as though I had nothing left.

I cannot comprehend why a person would turn against another, especially considering the relationship, and leave them in the dust. If you love someone you do not betray them. There are two consequences to the individuals actions. They have caused my partner and I incredible stress and now we face what could very well be the end of everything as we know it! And they have lost the hope of ever having a relationship with us every again, me I’m not so bothered about, but he will never be associated with her again. Not properly. This betrayal cuts too deep, the wounds will fester and they will rot. Nothing can save it now. She says that she is doing this in order to maintain a relationship but the opposite effect has occurred because she has proved what a materialistic, ignorant demon she really is, beyond any hope of repair. And although it is true that many things were said from all parties it does not excuse her abominable actions.

I am generally a positive person, I find the bright side and I carry on even when others are down. I have always been the person people turn to in their time of need and now I need help, I feel like a burden, it’s like I’m not wanted and I feel like I have nowhere to go. Virtually no one to turn to. I always try to be the lift that is needed to ensure life goes on but this time even I have fallen to the depths of despair that I thought I would never see again. And yet I find myself here, sleeping in a place that, although I am grateful for, is not my home, fearing that at any moment some new and terrible thing will befall me and I will be sent even further into the dark. As of right now I am surrounded by darkness.

I have tried to convince myself that everything will be okay, that we’ll get out of this mess and life will go on as planned but at the moment I am struggling to see it. I am lost in a world i don’t fully understand and I am hopeless. I don’t know which way to turn or where my path is going to take me. I see no way out and i don’t know what to do next. All my hopes and my dreams are shattered and my life has fallen into uncertainty. There is only one constant and he is in the arena with me waiting for the Tigers to strike. I hate that I have dragged him into my mess and I wish nothing more than to save him, save us. We need to find a way to climb out of this pit of fire and lead us on to a better tomorrow.

I just hope things will improve despite my hesitation to believe they could, and perhaps then I can finally find peace. The only hope I have now is lingering in the back of my mind telling me to not just give up because if I try then things will fall into place, but all the other voices are pushing it away. I know I shouldn’t give up because I don’t want her to win. I’ll roll the dice and make my next move towards the future. Who knows, maybe we’ll still come out on top after all.

Do I avoid the world, or play in the sun?

The sun is shining, it is a beautiful day and I am sat inside writing a blog post on the iPad, pretending I don’t exist. I love the outdoors. I love the smell of nature and the sound of birds singing in the trees. I love watching the sun slowly climb to the highest point in the sky before it starts to fall. I love sitting on a blanket with my boyfriend by my side and a book in my hand while I escape into another dimension. But I can’t cope with doing that for a prolonged amount of time.

The sun gets too hot, my eyes start to hurt from the brightness and I find myself wanting to retreat back into the shadows where I can hide away from everyone and just relax. I am two different people in my head, the person who wants to go outside and spend all day frolicking in the fields of the Yorkshire countryside, attempting to make friends with the wildlife that hurries away from me as I approach in my heavy Dr Martens and the person who just wants to curl up somewhere in her room and read or write in silence, hidden away from the judging views of the outside world.

I don’t think I could class myself as an introvert or an extrovert as I share qualities with both and I am not really sure whether you can be classed as both types. I enjoy human interaction, hence why I am a tour guide and I work in a bar, I constantly meet new people and interact with them. I equally want to lock myself in a dark room and never talk to anyone ever again. Some days I want both, or I’ll know that all evening I’ll be talking on the tour so i just want to be quiet all day and chill out away from the world. I can’t figure out which qualities have the stronger pull because, honestly, it depends on the day.

Today I am physically exhausted because I did my very first shift in a bar and so obviously finished very late on and today I wanted nothing to do with the universe until I have to go to work this evening. We decided to go for a picnic in the country which was glorious. The sun is shining and there is not one cloud in the crystal blue sky, twenty three degrees Celsius! Unheard of in England…I embraced it. I love being in nature and seeing the tiny rabbits run around the fields, the river rushing by at the bottom of the hill and watching the trains rush through the centre. Sure trains are filled with busy people squashed together in a sweaty metal space which is ugly and unwanted in the beauty of the world but it can only ruin the serenity for a few moments before it’s forgotten and peace is restored. We took drinks and snacks and sat there reading and dazing for a few hours in absolute bliss. Completely disconnected to the rest of the world.

Eventually though, I start to feel an itch. An pull dragging me back home and I no longer had any patience for the rays of light or songs of a blackbird, I just want to go home. I couldn’t concentrate on my book anymore and I started to fidget.

I don’t know what it is. Sometimes when I’m in that type of situation I just don’t want to be there anymore even if I’m having a wonderful time, which I was. I suppose I just think about what I’m doing and think about how I could be doing all these things at home, on a soft bed or beanbag rather than a slightly hard bit of ground, not having to squint – ergo avoiding an inevitable headache – and avoiding accidental sunburn which would be disastrous with my ridiculously pale complexion.  I think it probably has something to do with the fact that I work in tourism in every single job I do, I constantly face people and it is so nice to escape from all of that. I like quiet in my spare time.

I know there were next to no people up there on that hill today but there is always the potential someone would appear, hiking, walking their dog, just going for a leisurely stroll, and i don’t want to talk to them. I know for a fact that is going to be no strangers in my home. I adore being outside but when I’m not at work sometimes I just want to lay on the bed and mind my own business. Outdoor activity or ventures will of course be tolerated for periods of time as I do find it very enjoyable, especially when I’m with Kristian, but I like knowing I have the option of returning when I want to, in order to recuperate and simply get away from the universe.

I have never explicitly said this to Kristian but I think he does understand my little way of thinking. He too likes to be indoors, playing games on the computer or reading, just as much as he loves being outdoors going for walks with the dog or having a drink in a beer garden. He understands me rather well! And I feel like I understand him too. We have such wonderful times together and I treasure every single one of them! But sometimes I just want to go home, be together in a comfortable silence of love and understanding as we live out our peaceful day. These days often lead to wonderful, in depth, conversations about philosophical theories which we believe in or find interesting, helping us to understand the way we both work, being at home for me is just as much of a blessing as the beautiful sun glaring down onto a lush green field and a gentle breeze.

Family is more precious than gold

Family is the most important thing in the world. I am incredibly lucky that I have had a wonderful upbringing, the best it could have been. My parents are understanding, they care, they don’t stop giving and they are genuinely proud of everything I have done and continue to do with my life. We didn’t have all the money in the world but that is okay because we have something even more precious than gold. My parents are my best friends. I can tell them anything, I confide in them about everything and I trust them with my life. The same way I trust my incredible partner, he stands beside me no matter what and, like me, my parents adore him.

Where I know I can trust him, he too knows he can trust in me. I will always do everything in my life to protect him from harm and love him unconditionally. He is my family. He is the most important person in my life and I hate seeing him hurt in any way. There is nothing more precious to me than having him in my life, being a family.

I cannot understand people who are willing to let their family go. Why would you ever think it would be okay to push someone away? And most importantly, if a problem occurs that has the potential to destroy a relationship, why would you not do everything in your power to stop that rapture?

If there ever comes a point in my life, God forbid, when for whatever reason it feels as though I may lose someone whom I consider my world, then I would not just walk away and accept it, I would fight with every single ounce of power I possess. I would not drop it until some kind of resolution would be found. I would not give up because if something was really that important to me there would be no way I would just step aside and let it happen. That’s just what you do. Families stick together, that’s what I have always been told, what I have always known. You do not give up on family. They are the most important people in your life. Sure they can be a nightmare and people shout, they get upset, they slam a door and someone might cry but you eventually go downstairs and everything is okay. I had plenty of fallouts with my mum growing up but I never lost her, she never lost me because – as families should – we worked it out. From our darkest times together we grew stronger and formed a bond we lacked before, now my mum is my world.

You cannot afford to be stubborn in a relationship (romantic or otherwise), even if you think you are in the wrong you have to find a resolution, you have to fix the problem. If you don’t think you have done anything then you apologise for the mistake you didn’t realise you were making, you apologise for the emotional corruption you have laid on someone’s heart, you apologise for the deterioration of a relationship you cannot live without. You fix the problem and you move on. The incorrect and, in my personal opinion, stupid decision is to deny everything, make no attempt at redemption and to walk away. If you’re so stubborn and closed minded that you cannot see past your own twisted view on reality then nothing will be solved and you will end up losing everything. As I said before in a previous post, you end up with an empty house with only the echoes of a past that no longer belongs to you. Sometimes you have to listen to what other people say, you have to accept their opinion and you have to move past your own stubborn obscurities and fix it! If you don’t you will lose everything you have ever cared about.

Or perhaps it is already too late. Perhaps you have already decided. By the time the bird flew away and made it’s own way you decided it didn’t matter, it’s life meant nothing now because it wasn’t yours to enslave. What does it matter if it still has feelings, pent up for years but too scared to speak out in case you reacted like this. What does it matter if you’ll end up without contact? What does it matter. You’ll still feel like you’ve won in the end because after all it is everybody else who has the problem, it’s everyone else who makes mistakes. When your judgement fails and you cannot comprehend when you have messed up, it seems that family isn’t important anymore and the moment they start causing problems for number one you just do not want to hear it. Their opinion differs from your own and therefore it is wrong. What a disgusting attitude to have. They make you think about other people’s lives instead of your own and suddenly everything is worthless to you and you have no interest in what anybody has to say. Congratulations, your selfish nature is now your undoing.

I would never abandon my family. I would never lose control. I would want to build bridges not destroy them, because I would not want to lose my soul. People need to understand that real happiness can be found, and if you hinder growth or cannot establish the necessary power within yourself to come forward and admit you were wrong then you will never find it. It will always be hidden from you. And so will your family.

Love hides and then it shines.

There is nothing so perfect as being in love. Just being able to exist so comfortably in another person’s life, with no fears of judgement and no pain. You have someone you can always rely on and you have someone that you can share everything with no matter what. You cannot choose who that person will be but you can choose to accept the feeling and act upon it. The decision to follow my heart instead of my head was the best decision of my life.

For a long time I thought I was in love. I thought that I had found my happily ever after. I thought I had found exactly what I was looking for. I was wrong.

There was a lot of pain in that relationship, pain that went unspoken. I held onto a hope for so many years that I could be happy with him because he was kind and loving. But I failed to see the bad parts that were crawling out of the woodwork. I didn’t think about how little time he actually spent with me, I didn’t think about how little interest he had in my life, I didn’t think about all the words he never said. I was blinded by hope because I had been broken before. I honestly thought that I could find a way to be happy, but I couldn’t. I was ignored for most of the day because he was upstairs working, and don’t get me wrong I was so proud of him – he has accomplished so much – and he is extremely talented, but he never made time to hang out with me, when he did it was limited. I began to fall into a place where I was unhappy and lonely so I turned to alcohol and further seclusion. When I got a cat that helped a lot because she has become my best friend and we have a bond that can never be broken, I love that creature more than life. But I became a mess. And he did that to me. People told me I needed to get out, people told me that I was making a mistake living there and I didn’t listen because I was too busy pretending everything was fine. Hope was the only thing binding me to him.

Eventually I started going out more, I started reconnecting with people in the real world and I started to see all the things that people had been saying for years! I started to hope that maybe there was something else and started to believe that I deserved better. I didn’t want to be in that situation anymore because I knew that I was unhappy and I couldn’t unsee everything around me. So I did the hardest thing in the world, I trusted my heart, I put that life behind me and I started a new one.

I don’t regret my decision to leave. It was unhealthy and I fixed my life because of it. But sometimes I do find myself thinking about it, before everything went wrong. For a time I was happy, and there are things about that relationship that brings joy to my heart and I will never ever forget the times we did share. I am glad for the memories and I hope he is okay. I want him to be happy too because I know he isn’t a bad person, he just wasn’t right for me. I know deep down he wasn’t happy either, because he didn’t fight at the end. He knew he’d lost me and he just gave up. He told me he just wanted to forget everything, and I really hope he hasn’t because we had a lot of good times, things to be treasured. We were young and we thought we were in love, and that is something you should never forget.

We just had to move on…

And now I know I am in love. It’s a feeling I cannot deny. We are completely as one, it’s serene and it’s bliss. We fight but we always make up because we know we can, we know it’s worth it. When I see him my heart leaps, I feel butterflies and a smile erupts across my face. When he hugs me I feel safe and his words are a comfort, I’ve never felt this safe before. I know he’ll take care of me no matter what. He is my knight in shining  armour. And even though he too spends a lot of time on the computer I know he’ll stop if I need him to I know he’ll hold me in his arms and he won’t be in a rush to get away. I love this boy, and I trust him with my life. I never realised how much I needed him until I found him. And now I know he’ll never leave.

Love is a funny thing because you never quite know when it’s going to make an appearance and once it hits you, you never want it to leave. The fates work in mysterious ways and the deterioration of my previous relationship pushed me towards this one, the difference is unbelievable. After living in a world of such regret I finally feel free, I can be myself around him and I don’t feel like I need to hide anything at all.

I’ll always remember my past, but now I know I have a future. There is no better feeling in the world than knowing you have someone in your life who you want to share the world with…

 

Don’t expect perfection, just embrace the satisfaction.

The type of person I am means that I like to push for what I want. If I am not happy with a situation I will do something to change it, if I want to achieve something I will throw myself at it until I am able to get there, if I see that something is just out of reach, then I jump for it. I don’t like giving up, I don’t like losing and I don’t like people who don’t believe in you just because you’re acting off a dream. You so often see people lose hope because other people make a comment or tell them they are wrong, they lose faith in themselves and they can’t push themselves into doing the thing they want more than anything in the world.

I recently made a very risky decision to leave my place of work very abruptly because it was not agreeing with me. Now this is not me being petty, I am talking about my job causing serious damage in my already damaged head and pulling into a very dark place, a stage of depression that I thought I had left behind long ago and I knew I could not afford to stay there any longer. Mental health is more important than anything. I took that chance and I leapt into action, knowing full well that I had to do something quickly or I could end up with rather bad financial difficulties. There was of course the major issue of potentially ending up falling into debt and causing more mental states and so to avoid it I went into overdrive in order to fix the problem before it became one. Will power is a strong force once you let yourself use it.

There is a point to this, very brief, story. After I left I applied for a job as a host, with an acting background I knew I had the confidence to present myself to human beings. When I arrived I noticed there was another category on the form which was ‘performance’. I knew this was not what I was walking in for, but I put it as my preference of department anyway and this led to me getting an interview with the arts department and what is basically my dream job instead. If I hadn’t risked so much, and then taken the final step of putting that category on that page, this opportunity would not have been offered to me.

If there is ever even the slightest chance that you can make something happen then you need to take it. If you spend your life wondering if you’re making the right decision or worrying about what may or may not happen then you will never find out, you will never achieve your goals. The people who make it the furthest in life are the ones who take risks. J K Rowling had nothing until she pushed herself and her books, now everyone has heard of Harry Potter, actors always say you get rejected 19 times out of 20 but you have to just keep on going. If you push it, you will make it.

When I was at university I studied Theatre. This is a subject I was passionate about, am still passionate about. There were many other people on my course, in my year, who said they were passionate about the subject. In my particular year not one other person got themselves involved in theatre outside of university. To me this makes little sense, if you love something then why would you not persue it? I got myself involved in everything I could, amateur dramatics, small films, tour guiding, street theatre, even YouTube. I got myself out in the real world and started making connections with real people – all the while building myself a repertoire, gaining experience, and it is that experience that has led to me achieving all I have. I want to make something of my life and so I am doing everything I can to achieve it! I don’t listen to people who tell me I can’t because they are wrong, I’ll prove it to them time and time again because I know I am good enough and I know that I can push myself forever in order to reach the point I want to be. I am the o lay person who can get there, I am the only person who can push for me, and I will not let myself be pulled down by people who only see negatives. Everyone needs to start thinking like this, I really don’t see why we don’t already.

If you want something you have to fight for it! It is not going to be handed to you on a silver plate unless you are born lucky and rich. And if you do nothing to try and kickstart your life, it is never going to happen. This should be taught in schools. Who cares if you can use pi to calculate the circumference of a circle? Learn to believe in yourself, skills that matter in your life! If a circle is relevant to you then that is great, but it never helped me and if I had been taught how to grow as a person and fight from an earlier age maybe I would’t have to fight so hard now. We lose so many kids to caution these days because they are told they are not good enough. When I told my history teacher in year 13 that I wanted to go to university she laughed in my face, actually laughed at me and told me I’d never do it. Now I’ve graduated because I wanted to prove her wrong. I pushed myself to breaking point to get that degree and I’m going to keep pushing with everything I’ve got.

I actually ran into some girls from uni the other day, they told me they were so proud of me and everything I am achieving now we’ve graduated. They asked me how I have done it and I told them i don’t hold back. I asked them how they were doing and they told me that breaking into theatre is hard. They haven’t really got anywhere. They also told me that they were a bit nervous of just throwing themselves into it because they might not get anywhere. Right there is the problem! The attitude of caution is the reason people fail, or they don’t quite make it. If you want something then do it. No hesitation, no worries, just go.

I cannot stress enough how important it is to take risks! Yes it can be scary, and yes you should consider other options just in case it doesn’t turn out the way you want HOWEVER you will not move forward if you do not try.

Don’t be scared.

Take a deep breathe.

Throw yourself, heart first, into a new adventure.

Only you have the power to make yourself do it, so why are you the one that is holding you back?

 

Picture credit

Beauty and the Beast: Review

WARNING! SPOILERS (although if you don’t know the story you’ve clearly been living under a rock)

As a child Beauty and the Beast was one of my favourite Disney movies. It didn’t try to copy anything else and it warmed my heart to watch the character’s love unfold. I knew every word to every song, I could picture every second and I knew that I wanted a castle just like that.

The story really is a ‘tale as old as time’ and has captured the minds of children and adults alike around the world since it was originally released in 1991. We see the young, beautiful and slightly obscure Belle being doted on by a loving father and harassed by a vile, vain specimen of a man named Gaston in their quiet village in France. Her father, an elaborate inventor, goes to sell his wares at market and finds himself lost in the woods on a cold night where he stumbles across a seemingly empty castle. Here he encounters the terrifying beast for the first time who keeps him prisoner. When Belle learns of her fathers plight she hurries to the castle to free him where she takes his place and immediately falls victim to the various household characters, quite literally – talking clocks and candlesticks included – who reside in the castle. Eventually she falls in love with her captor, a small dose of Stolkholm Syndrome taking hold, and breaks the curse which holds him and he turns back into a handsome prince who isn’t all that terrible and we assume they live happily ever after with all the servants who have since returned to their human form.

In true Disney fashion the movie is a musical, filled with enchanting melodies and songs to make you cry like a small child even when you have seen it a thousand times. I will admit when I first heard they were going to remake it I was concerned. I didn’t want them to destroy something I had held so dear for so many years. I have enjoyed the other remakes which have been made of late, Cinderella was particularly good – Jungle Book not so much – so I really had no idea what it would be like. Then the trailers were released and I got excited, this was clearly a movie which was going to reflect the old one beautifully, even down to the finest details in the trailer – made shot by shot to the original – and the use of the original soundtrack made me squeal with anticipation.

Emma Watson, though not my first choice when it comes to a Disney Princess, held the part to a reasonable standard. I did feel she fell a little flat when it came to the more musical scenes, clearly feeling a little awkward and I have to say the amount of autotune used on her voice made me want to cry for a whole different reason. Would it not have been better to find someone with an incredible musical talent who fitted the role rather than someone high profile? She was good, I just don’t think she quite hit all the marks. She is of course incredibly beautiful, a talented actress and a natural born princess, I just somehow found myself wanting more from her. Dan Stevens as the beast however was utterly brilliant. His portrayal was serene, it was subtle and it made you sympathise well with the character. The director, Bill Condon, clearly put a lot of thought into the beast and wanted to show the more gentle side for Belle to fall in love with, it shows his pain and his grief a lot more clearly than the original and we even learn a little from his past which until this point has remained unknown. And then of course we have Cogsworth played by the always excellent Ian McKellon and Lumiere, Ewan Magreggor. These characters were by far the life and soul of the party, stealing the scenes and truly being the comic relief. I enjoyed not only their voice acting but their small appearances at the end when they at last return to their ordinary bodies, using the real actors was a nice touch. The two did an extraordinary job of bringing these classic characters to life and if I ever get trapped in a castle with a crazed bear man creature I would certainly want them to ‘be our guest’.

One duo for me though really stole the show and that is of course Gaston and Lafou. Josh Gad who plays Lafou is also well known for his role as Olaf in Frozen and is hilariously funny, witty and just a little bit on the camp side. There is of course the thing that everyone has been talking about, a little sexual tension between him and Gaston. When Disney announced the character would have slight homosexual tendancies I was worried they would take it too far and it would be the focus of the character, but it is done in a subtle way and although there are moments where this shines through it is never taken too far and just adds a little something to the character. He is a joy to watch, as always, and although I never can quite see him as anything other than Olaf or Elder Cunningham (The Book of Morman) he really did make the character his own, and did a jolly good English accent – despite the fact they’re all supposed to be French. Then we come to Luke Evans as Gaston! I have always thought he was a fantastic actor and was thrilled when he got this iconic role and he far surpassed my expectations. Although not quite as brutishly large as he is portrayed in the original he is a rough, angry and yet oddly beautiful man who demands attention wherever he goes. His voice is beautiful and he was something to be witnessed as he strutted around town as the queen bee, even if he was the only one who thought so. His characterisation of both the charmer and the ruthless killer was persistent and ensured I could not take my eyes off him, much like all the desperate girls in the village. One thing I will say though about this pair is that I was a little disappointed by their famous song in the bar

‘ no one’s…slick and Gaston, no one’s quick as Gaston, no one’s neck is incredibly think as Gaston’ and so on…

Which i felt was lacking. The original was memorable and fun and this one seemed to focus more on random sword fights and spitting competitions than the effort being put into the song itself, something about it for me was missing. Can’t deny I wasn’t singing along anyway with a smile on my face because it was of course wonderful! I just wanted more.

The set design was spectacular, the nostalgia from the original was emanating from every moment and the added extras in the story really helped to bring the whole thing to life in a way which makes me want to go back and experience it all over again. The few errors which are easily spotted such as the Toms being worn by the lead herself or the historical inaccuracies when it comes to the people in town can almost be forgiven, almost, because it really has turned out wonderfully and I will most certainly be coming back for more. But overall it was a beautiful piece of cinema and I am incredibly pleased that it wasn’t butchered or ruined in anyway, I am glad it has been made so well and look forward to seeing what other movies Disney has in store.

Featured image.

 

My hair isn’t going to hinder my ability to work.

What is professionalism?

According to Google it is ‘the competence or skill expected of a professional’.

Now forgive me if I am wrong but this sentence refers directly to the attitude and skill of a person does it not? This sentence refers nothing to the appearance of a person, the colour of their hair, how many tattoos they have, anything like that. It is not important. If a person conducts their work in the correct way then that should be all that matters.

If you walk into a store and see that everyone is dressed the same, they look the same and are even using the same tone of voice you feel a bit put off. It gives off an uncomfortable air. People like creativity. If I walk into a store and see someone with pink hair, my first thought is never ‘look at them, they are so unprofessional I bet they’re terrible at their job’. My thought is usually, ‘they have cool hair’, and then I move on. In my last few days at my previous job I dyed my hair from white blonde to the polar opposite – black. But this is not totally black, it has blue in it. My hair is a sort of deep navy and it’s beautiful. Everyone commented on it, saying it was beautiful and how much it suited me and that I should keep it that colour. Even the managers liked it. But I wasn’t allowed to keep it. I was allowed to keep it that day but was being forced to dye it that night or I would be sent home. Nothing had been said previously about colour, I used silver shampoo on my blonde hair which made it a kind of lilac, my manager told me that would be okay as long as it was all the same colour. But even though my hair is now all the same colour, almost black unless you really look, it’s wrong.

During my final day I served many people, this was at a well known jewellery brand and a lot of people come in and spend a lot of money. I am very good at this job and was often able to up-sell to customers who may not have wanted to spend a lot. That day I went on as normal and did my hair hinder my ability to sell? Not even a little bit. Did my hair cause people to believe I was unprofessional? No. Did people question my sanity and avoid me? NO! In fact I had numerous people come up to me and compliment my hair, some even told me it was a breath of fresh air, to see someone working there who didn’t look like a clone of everyone else.

People like character. I’m interesting and people are attracted to oddities.

Hair colour and style does not dictate my ability to work. The same with makeup and nails. At my work I rarely wore makeup because I often don’t have time on a morning or, more likely, I just don’t want to wear it as I am pretty happy in my own skin. I was ‘encouraged’ to wear makeup, basically to doll myself up in order to make myself more appealing to guys coming in buying stuff for their girlfriends and mothers. The idea being they would be distracted by my face and spend more money which is utterly ridiculous. I was in a show in the last few weeks and one day I wore my fake lashes to work because I knew I’d forget them if I didn’t, I did a smokey eye and wore lipstick, I even contoured my face. They told me my makeup was too much and I needed to take it off or tone it down. I couldn’t win in any situation, not even a little bit. And then my nails, utterly stupid. I was, once again, encouraged to get my nails professionally done, but they had to be very specific colours or I would have to get them changed. On a few occasions I was told I was wrong, white was too bright and distracting but black made me seem a bit depressive, I was allowed red but not too red or it wouldn’t be attractive and purple was allowed however not the specific shade that I was wearing because it just wasn’t quite right. This high standard of ‘beauty’ is something which I personally believe is pointless and it adds unnecessary stress onto the workers. If we were wearing a uniform and everything was paid for by them then fair enough, however it was all my own stuff and I had to pay for the nails myself which is around £30 or £40 for a decent job, and it isn’t even something I necessarily wanted to do.

I am so comfortable being myself. The image at the top shows me now with my dark hair. I don’t think I look unprofessional. I don’t think I look intimidating and I think not people would disagree with me. I understand that jobs want you to look smart because it’s true if you look a mess most people are put off, but there is a difference between being  mess and being yourself, and it is quite large. People need to start respecting others and not being so judgemental in the workplace because I for one will not stand for it. In this day and age especially you would think companies would be more accepting – to be fair a lot of them are, I just chose badly – and I do not ever want to work in a place where my personality and my appearance is thrown in my face and I am told to change. It truly makes me sad, because I’m not a child now, I am an adult and I am able to make my own decisions. Those decisions should be respected.

Happiness, a state of mind.

I believe it was John Lennon who when asked what he wanted to be when he grew up responded with ‘happy’.

That’s what we all need isn’t it? Happiness. We need joy in our lives. I believe there is a very simple formula to make happiness a reality. First of all you need to get rid of everything and everyone in your life who is toxic. Wash your soul clean and breathe in the fresh new air around you. It’s amazing how good you’ll feel when you don’t have to deal with all the negativity and the self-deprecation. You can think straight and you can start to focus on the things that actually matter in life, you can see the world in technicolor. There is no point in living through pain and arguments, all it does is cause trouble and take you further away from the place of bliss where you need to be. You need to put yourself first and do a few simple things that will change your life.

Find something you love doing and start doing it more! There is so much joy to be found in the little things in life, simple little tasks which make you feel relaxed and make you smile. Draw a picture, write a blog, study a language, there is an amazing world out there that you need to explore. People don’t realise how important it is to actually take time to yourself, it really can make all the difference. You are important and making yourself happy is just as important as food. For me it’s the theatre! I love performing more than anything in the world, more than life itself and the picture at the top is my favourite cast I’ve ever worked with. They are people who have given in to their love of musical theatre and found happiness where it really matters, I’m in this one too…the way too enthusiastic little blonde girl on the left – not that I’m blonde anymore.

Realise that not all dreams are impossible. A lot of negativity and disappointment stems from the thought that you’re never going to achieve your dreams, as soon as you put yourself in that mindset you are obviously going to lose a lot of self worth. No matter what your dream is you should always find a way of making your way towards it. Want to be an actor? Get yourself down to an amateur dramatics group and start playing. Want to be a writer? Get yourself online and set up your own blog. Want to be a film-maker? Buy a camera and start putting stuff up on YouTube. There are endless ways to follow your dreams, there is always the possibility then that you might make it, sometimes in a different – and better – way than you first thought.

Go on long walks. Fresh country air is a blessing sent from God. A walk on the beach, or through a wood, or even just a walk downtown can make you feel alive. Sit in a forest and listen to the birds and the wind, watch as the life all around you explodes in a flurry of bright colours and magic. If you live in a city then go somewhere you’ve never been before, sit down and watch the people pass you by. Find yourself imagining what they’re doing with their lives, who they really are and whether that suit is all that important. Let yourself be free and escape the oddities of real life for just a little while. Breathe.

Be comfortable in your own skin. If you realise that you are perfect just the way you are and remember that beauty is not just what society believes in then you’ll find yourself smiling again. Embraces all you insecurities and ‘imperfections’ they make you who you are and if you ever try to change for everyone around you then you’ll be miserable and forever chasing shadows. You should never try to apologise for being who you are, I learned this a while ago but over time I forgot, but now I can start over and can finally be myself everywhere I go.

Happiness can be found in the most unexpected places, and as soon as you stop searching for it you’ll find it in an instant. If you spend your life trying to find things that make you happy instead of just embracing it then you’ll never truly find it. And anyone who says they have found it are probably lying to you. It’s not something to declare to the world, it’s a feeling deep within yourself that you don’t need to share, you just need to experience. Once you find it I want you to make a promise to yourself that you’re never going to lose it again. I want you to ensure that nobody ever takes it away from you. I want you to keep yourself safe.

Happiness is a human need. It is something that we crave. It is something we deserve. If anyone tries to rip it from you then you have to turn around and walk away. They’re not good for you, find people who care and never let them go.

Stress, anxiety and a leap of faith.

Life can be extremely hard. It comes with a lot of trials and there are a lot of tall hurdles you have to jump over. I try to take life as it comes and stay positive, find the good things and try not to focus on the bad but sometimes it just isn’t enough! Sometimes no matter how much light you surround yourself with the darkness always hangs around, waiting for your candle to flicker just a little. It always tries to find a way in.

Sometimes you let things get on top of you and you find yourself feeling trapped. Being trapped in that kind of situation is the worst position for a human to be in, especially if you add a mental health problem into the mix. But I won’t dwell too much on that part because I’ve already done it in my previous post. Stress is a major problem that you often can’t control, it climbs into your mind and consumes your every thought. You start to worry about everything and usually ends in tears, particularly if you’re an emotional wreck like me. And then people start to notice that something is wrong, people start asking questions and the stress increases, you get anxious because you feel like everyone is watching you even more. You can’t breathe, you can’t cope and that’s the point where things really start to slide rapidly downhill.

I hate feeling this way because it always makes me feel down about my entire life and like I’m not achieving anything. It makes me feel like there is nothing I can do in any universe that will fix it because everything I do is always wrong. There is honestly nothing worse than the feeling of worthlessness.

Usually stress is completely unnecessary and almost always is avoidable but when it does break through it is a nightmare! I’m a sensitive sort of person and I will admit I do need positive feedback and gratification to feel good about myself, when people focus solely on the negatives it grinds at your soul and that is never okay. Sometimes you have to put yourself first and not think of the consequences. The risk I have taken today is a big one I’ll admit, I have chosen to walk out of a job I loved for a long time because the build up of stress was really starting to affect me and the way I function in life. I loved the people and I loved my actual job but everything that came with it from above, not necessarily a decision from my manager specifically but from higher still, which was an attempt to push and push and push us into achieving more but never telling us we were doing well. I do not recall a time when I was told what I was specifically doing right, it was only what I needed to do to improve. That is not healthy! And I’m not saying I need to be told every three seconds that I am doing well but the occasional confidence boost would not go amiss.

True I may not have handled the situation in the best way possible but I think it is a decision well made, like my colleague actually said to me today, my mental health is more important. I need to put myself first in this situation and I need to fix everything. I cannot linger or give up completely because now I have to fight back and start making a name for myself somewhere else. Somewhere hopefully that I will thrive. I’m not looking for something that will set me on the path to victory, just something that will awaken my passion for growth and for life, something which I feel has been slightly taken away from me of late. I need to be in an environment where I my individuality and my creativity is respected because that way I will truly learn to love myself and find happiness in every aspect of my life. I know that is waiting for me, it’s just out of arms reach at the moment, but I know it isn’t far away and that gives me hope!

I know I probably won’t be able to avoid stress forever because it always lingers, hanging over your shoulder like a rain cloud, but hopefully my new ventures will see me through and I’ll conquer new heights. I need to find a place in my life where I can thrive and I can really grow as a person, as a performer and as a dreamer. I want to be able to fulfill my dreams and I am so aware of how hard that is but I feel like I’m on the right track. I feel like I am now in a really good place to start my life properly, cogs are moving and my imagination is running wild! I know that whatever comes next is going to change my life forever because I have made a positive change, positivity is only ever a good thing, nothing bad ever came from a smile. And at least I have time to dedicate my life to things I love now. I just have to take the plunge and really get my head down! I have the confidence I need to pull me through this.

Onwards to bigger and better things now.

 

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Depression isn’t cured, and it won’t just go away…

Recently I’ve been told I don’t seem like myself, that they want the old Gemma back, that I need to smile more.

They’re right I don’t seem like myself, that’s because I’m not myself, my inner self is retreating to a place in the dark where i don’t have to talk to anyone and I don’t have to share my thoughts. I feel like I’m trapped in a place where no one gives a damn about me, how I feel or what kind of human being I am.The ‘old Gemma’ is not someone who has decided to go on holiday, she’s still here standing in front of you, she just has a lot of emotions and a lot of thoughts running through her head. She is lost and needs your help not your abrasion. She doesn’t want to work with you, for you, anymore because the thought of coming to work each day crushes her soul and makes her question whether she needs to breathe.

When a place makes you feel like you cannot do anything right and that you are under performing when in actual fact you are one of the best they have you need to get the hell out. When a place does not appreciate your personality or your individuality, you need to get the hell out. When a place is more concerned about figures on a spreadsheet than the well being of their own employees, you need to get the hell out.

I am made to feel small. I am made to feel worthless. I am made to feel like I do not belong. I do not appreciate their attitude. This isn’t just a dislike of work, a feeling of despair because I can’t spend the day lounging around and doing nothing, this is a feeling of utter utter dejection and worthlessness.

I feel the need to say this because as someone who has previously been in charge, and have had employees of my own, I do not understand why someone can be so careless with their words. As a person of authority you are supposed to be the person they trust the most and who they come to with their problems and anxiety. When not one but five employees feel the same way and want to leave you know you have failed in your role as leader.

To successfully lead you must

1 – Have the ability to listen to those below you and take on board their feedback.

2 – Demand respect but also hold the respect of those you govern.

3 – Be able to empathize.

4 – Understand the needs of those around you.

5 – Be accepting.

The company I work for do not adhere to this list, they do not care about their employees because if they did then they would enter into a contract of trust with those around them, they would understand that in order to move forward they must first take a step back.

Depression is not a subject which should be taken lightly as it is a serious problem that can hinder a person’s life and impact those around them. I have suffered with it for many years and although there are times, glorious pockets of sunshine in an otherwise dismal world, where i feel like everything will be okay, eventually it crawls back into my mind and consumes me. I find it truly disturbing that even in this time, when everyone is at least acutely aware of this horrific mental ailment, that all managers and supervisors do not have sufficient training to be able to correctly handle a person in need. The fact that I am told to just ‘pretend I’m okay’ or that I ‘need to just put it out of my mind’ is offensive. I cannot switch it off like a light switch, I can’t put it away to deal with at a later date and I am most certainly not putting it on to avoid work. My job is focused solely on reaching targets, a ridiculous and unrealistic amount of targets each day and if said targets are not met they put an incredible amount of pressure on us to push customers into spending more. Being told your efforts are not good enough on a daily basis makes you feel bad about yourself, it makes you question your ability and when you have a mental illness it can seriously affect your health. This is something I have discovered recently, and the fact that the mere thought of going to work and knowing that I’m going to be told the same thing over and over again makes me feel physically sick is an indication that things need to change.

Mental illnesses should not be pushed under the carpet by incompetent managers who are incapable of comprehending the extent of your condition. They don’t go away by themselves and are in fact hindered by ignorant humans thinking nothing but targets.

I understand that targets are important however when they take over everything and the rest is irrelevant then there is something seriously wrong. My condition makes me vulnerable, it makes me unstable and it makes me unpredictable. I am not the only person who is stuck in this place between darkness and illumination, there are many who follow me down this broken path and the longer it takes for people to understand and alter their opinions and priorities then the worse the situation will get.

I refuse to apologise for things I cannot control but I want them to apologize because there is no reason to belittle a human being, and there is no excuse for this type of behavior in the workplace.

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