Hey there people and Happy Wednesday to you. I am settling back into the routine of working once again after such a productive and blissful summer break. I am enjoying the challenges of being back in school and the planning needed to fit in all of the important aspects of my life around what feels almost like new hours of work! I honestly had forgotten my login for the school computer/email when I arrived back. It was that good a holiday! I always think that the measure of a good holiday is that you have been able to put work out of your mind completely in the meantime. That you have had the space to just be yourself and to completely unwind from all things corporate. And that was exactly the kind of holiday I had. I am so grateful for that.
Today, I am really excited. Why? I am excited to be sharing something a little different with you. Something quite raw, possibly emotional and certainly personal. Today is the first day of my new Shine a Light series.
I am beyond pleased that I have the opportunity to do this with you. Beyond pleased. I can’t tell you how much of a pleasure this is. To have a platform to be able to share my story is an amazing feeling. And to have beyond that platform such a supportive blogging community only makes it all the more valid.
What is Shine a Light all about? It is where I share with you the highs and lows and the fighting spirit that has lead me to where I am today. The spark, the light and the love that gets me through. And sometimes the tears, the frustrations and the setbacks that still ultimately led me to this point. This life. This path.
I only hope that by my telling my story, others will feel inspired to keep going with their own lives and potential difficulties, and perhaps even be inspired to tell their stories too.
Here’s the thing – I am not a trained counsellor or therapist or anything like that. The only training I have is the training of life itself. If what I say helps (and I really hope that it does) then that is totally wonderful and I will feel as though my words are working, that I am influencing people in just the right way. But my training has only come from that one place – life. More specifically, my life. Let me tell you a little about that life, shall I?
I had a fairly typical childhood really. No major traumas at home to speak of, nothing particularly unusual or out of the ordinary. The only thing that stands out from my early childhood is a sense of loneliness. I was more often than not alone through my childhood. I mostly didn’t let that bother me overly. I was happy and healthy and managed to fill my time somehow.
But I was lonely. I had no friends at all at school. No one to talk to. No one to be with. No support network. Nothing.
My family were supportive and lovely. I even had a friend who I played out with at home who lived very close to me. But at school there was no one. I was never good enough for the people at school, there were other people to choose from and they were obviously a better choice than I was. This was my school life up until about the age of 8.
When I was eight, things changed. I started to play an instrument. I met people during my lessons. They talked to me. They realised that despite the fact that I was fat (too fat for anyone to consider hanging out with at my school) I was actually alright. I was actually quite funny. I could talk about lots of things. I was quite clever (but not in a swotty, cocky sort of way).
Did you know that in a study where children were shown various pictures of different children and were told to pick the one they would least like to be friends with almost all of the children picked the fat child’s picture? Such a powerful thing to hear. That by virtue of how you look so many judgements are made about you (either rightly or wrongly) is kind of chilling. It almost hurts to hear it. The irony of it is that I look at photos of me from back then and I couldn’t have been further from fat really. Chubby maybe. But not really even big enough to be called fat. Ridiculous.
But fat acceptance is a different issue. I am here to tell my story and to tell you about how I deal with things. Not to dwell overly on delivering some kind of party political broadcast. I have digressed!
Somehow I had gone all the way through nursery and primary school having absolutely no friends and was still a mostly happy, contented and well balanced child. I was astonishingly self reliant it seems.
And that self reliance has done me well. I haven’t always had the most straightforward of times through my life. I have been to the depths of depression and back, I have been lied to, cheated on and bullied more than once. I haven’t always felt self-reliant. Sometimes I have felt feeble and completely unable to cope. There have been times when even getting out of bed has seemed an impossible task, never mind going somewhere outside after that. But I have coped. What did I come back to time and again? Who was it that kept me going throughout all of this?
I kept myself going. And how did I do that? It hasn’t always been simple or easy. The word impossible has already been used once. I refer you back to that word and add in a bucket load of fear and doubt. But I still did manage to cope. I believe this is the reason why:
The Three I’s.
You didn’t know I had three I’s did you? Very clever make up going on here you see! I do these things every. single. day and I wonder if others do too. They actually help to keep me on the straight and narrow. Even when things are falling apart all around me. Even when everything else has gone wrong. These things are the things that keep me going.
Imagine. As a child I had an imaginary friend called Tim. He came everywhere with me. I had long conversations with Tim. I have a confession to make – that imaginary friend is with me wherever I go, even now. I can sense that some of you are considering closing this browser window right now, and metaphorically backing away from the crazy lady but hear me out. I don’t mean that I still talk to Tim. I don’t. I do spend a lot of my time though imagining things. Imagining conversations between me and people I have never met. Imagining arguments with a work colleague where I win (or at least don’t make a fool out of myself). I imagine a lot. So should you. I imagine all kinds of things from the mundane to the sublime to the ridiculous.
“If you can imagine it you will hold it in your hand.”
Immerse. I immerse myself in things. So much so that I can look up from creating a piece of art or sewing something for my store and discover that it’s now three hours later and I’m thirsty and starving and I can’t believe I haven’t done anything about either of those things. It is an instant mood lifter for me. Even if I don’t have the energy or the creative power or just plain don’t feel like creating I’ll immerse myself in a book or a tv series (something like Ghost Whisperer or Medium or Game of Thrones) or anything that drags me into it’s world a little. I might look at some art or simply spend some time just poring over things. I lose myself that way, and lose the negativity and the longer hours along with that.
“If you watch young children play, you will notice that they create games, characters, situations, whole worlds in which they immerse themselves with intense concentration.”
Inhabit. I inhabit myself fully. I am me. I am my own best friend. I am all that I need. I inhabit my body, my world and my universe. I am fully there and present within myself (OK not so much when I am lost in my imagination) but I am me. I am happy with who I am and I am proud to inhabit my own space.
“Be Yourself. Nobody else is better qualified.”
This kind of self acceptance hasn’t come easily to me. As you can see from the first part of my story, it has been a bit of a battle with bullies, self image, illness and all kinds of things in between those. But I have won the battle. I now feel stronger than ever and able to take on whatever life might throw at me.
So, that was the very first instalment of what I hope will be a long series here on the blog. As long as I am learning and growing and evolving and changing I will have more to write I guess.
I hope you have enjoyed this little peak inside my heart and soul. I have enjoyed writing it. It’s amazing what you can learn about yourself by doing this kind of writing. It’s cathartic and it makes you realise just what you have achieved and just how far you really have come throughout the course of your life.
Have a great Wednesday people!
ps. If you click here you can download a free printable which is related to my three I’s. Just a little gift from me to you!
pps. Don’t forget to enter my Giveaway – it closes at 12am BST tonight!