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This year has been an eventful one. So much has happened. As I sat and reflected I realised there are so many things I have learnt that I need to take into the new year.

Grab a tea and a snack – this is going to be a long one!

No rushing, no skipping

The biggest thing I’ve learnt this year is that life can’t be rushed. There are so many times this year that I wished to skip to the good part. The part where I’m making good money. The part where I had finally left the nest. The part where I was in a happy, healthy relationship.

All things take time. And now looking at it from the other-side, there were things I had to go through in order to get to this point. I had to go through my really low period. The point where I spent everyday in bed thinking nothing was ever going to change. This very low point of my life was actually beneficial to me in more ways than one.

  • It inspired a great friendship. One of my closest friends found herself in a similar situation. This meant we became really close and most of our unemployed days were spent together. zi and iWe did many different things to keep our mind off our current problems and to keep the hope alive. It’s crazy because when we look back at those days, it’s amazing how far we have come. I truly don’t think I would have had any upbeat moments if it wasn’t for her. 
  • It made me seek help in making myself employable. I often talk about the 2 week employability boot campboot camp that completely change my outlook on life. In these 2 weeks I went from being a victim that blamed everyone else for my circumstances to someone who was beginning to think – maybe it’s me? This is when I decided that I was having trouble finding employment so the apprenticeship route was my best chance. Future LDN (the people who ran the course) taught me lots of practical things that I still use to this day. 
  • It made me set realistic goals for myself. Maybe applying for marketing manager positions wasn’t what I should have been aiming for at that time. It would be less deflating to set achievable goals and build up to that dream position. That’s what I did. I’m still very much on my way, but 1 step at a time.

You just can’t skip over the sucky parts and I’m glad. How will I know when things are amazing if nothing ever sucks. This is something I have to be sure to bare in mind as life goes on. It really is a roller-coaster, I can handle when it sucks because I know sooner or later it’ll turn amazing again. When I actually work hard and build towards something, it will happen when it is meant to. 

Friendships

Friendships are so important. The older I have gotten the smaller and tighter my circle has become. Back when I was younger the ‘cool’ thing was to have as many friends as possible. The bigger your circle equalled how popular you were, you were the social butterfly that all cliques welcomed.

Things have changed so much since then, now there is more emphasis on solid friendships that can stand the test of time.

Over time I have had to get rid toxic friendships but for the most part I am very fortunate to have friends that remain. My best friends are the most positive, talented, aware, beautiful and ambitious people. You can tell who are your actual friends when going through a bad patch. It is easy to be there for someone who is on top of the world. The people who are there to pick you up when you are down and out, who sit with you while you cry, who you lean on for financial support when you are struggling are the ones you can always rely on.

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Christmas ’16 with my sisters ❤

As important as it is to have good friends in your life, it’s equally as important to be a good friend. Just because they will always be there for you don’t take advantage. It is not okay to make them an afterthought. If you have a busy schedule, you HAVE to make sure that they are part of it and given as much time as everything else.

Letting go of my ego is something that I have not mastered but I’m learning to do. One of my best friends messaged me a while ago quite upset because she thought I was leaving her out. Although I had my reasons, I could see why she felt this way as I would have felt the exact same. I called her up immediately, explained why I was acting the way I was and apologised profusely. I had to let her vent her frustrations to me and apologise as much as I could. I thought nothing of doing this, the friendship is way to important to me to let my pride get in the way. In the end she was grateful for the call and apology and I was just happy that everything was easily resolved. I tell this story because so many times we let silly things mess up our friendships. Things that are minor in the grand scheme of things. I also tell this story to demonstrate that just like all the other ships, friendships take work. Work mending any fences that have been damaged, and work making sure to make time for everyone. Having a sisterhood as tight as mine is totally worth all the effort!

Family

I haven’t learnt much about family this year that I didn’t already know. The only new thing for me is learning to live independently.The need for balance becomes more and more vital. I have never met anyone who balances life perfectly, I don’t think that person exists. However you can tell by the different ways people juggle, where their priorities are.

My parents are my backbone and my biggest supporters.

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25th birthday meal with my beautiful family

Moving out has put a slight strain on our relationship because things aren’t as organic anymore. I have never  been in the position where I had to make an effort to see my parents because I was either at university or living at home.

Now I have to set aside quality time with them. No one likes to feel neglected or like second best. I definitely don’t. 

2018 will be about spending quality time with them and demonstrating why me moving out is a great thing. In theory space is the best way to remember all the good things about someone. In practice you need to make sure that the ‘space’ you are taking is only for a minute and not a decade.  

Work

I have been quite deflated at work recently. I am not enjoying my job the same way I used to and have experienced a many financial hiccups. It doesn’t help that I constantly compare myself to other people who have achieved more by a younger age and come down hard on myself for where I am. This isn’t a competition, there is plenty of time to achieve what I want.

Taking the time to save money and plan my next steps is NOT settling. There is no need to jump into something I am not ready for yet. Money is a necessity for most things so taking the time to make sure you are in a decent financial position before jumping into the next venture is not a bad idea.

The biggest thing I need to remember going forward is not to get comfortable. I am by nature a lazy person, who loves stability and knowing exactly what’s going to happen next. Sometimes this is a great way if thinking, but other times this can really hold me back. I second guess every new move, and think critically about every way it effect life as I know. Knowing change is a good thing and actually being accepting of change is not the same thing. 

Change is great, staying the same is impossible. I must learn to seek change and accept it when it comes. 

 

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Team Christmas dinner ’17

Grudges

Letting go of grudges is a difficult one. I am not the most stubborn girl in the world but when I know I am right and you were way wrong, my automatic instinct is to separate myself from you. This is hard one because I don’t want to hold on to unnecessary negative feelings. It’s like dragging around dead weight. 

However I do acknowledge that this behaviour is not beneficial for anybody. Communication is key and in some ways I feel that distancing myself can be quite unfair. How can issues be resolved when the other party are not even aware there is an issue?

I am drawing a blank on this one. I had no actual solution to how to get over these feelings. Grudges come from a place of deep hurt and rage, tied up in 101 reasons of why.

There is one difficult conversation I must have before I know how I feel in the issue. Sometimes you find the answer by actively seeking it. Hopefully this is one of those times. 

People

No matter what positive effect you think you have on someone, you can not change them. Change comes from within, and it comes from a deep wanting of change. As I have said before – I am no-one’s mother. If you are having a problem, it is your duty to resolve it. In the past I have driven myself insane trying to change people. Trying to inspire them to do better and be better. I failed sometimes because this is not my job. Where I have succeeded was ultimately not my doing. People change because they want to. All the massive changes I have made to myself are because I wanted to.

The only life I have control over is mine. I decide whats next for me. My physical and emotional health is my main priority.

That’s not to say there is no room in my heart for anyone else. I can still be a good, positive person by jodie and mehelping where I can. I can continue to encourage, advise and support the people around me. The decisions that they make comes from them. 

 I have also learnt not to allow anyone to hold me back. And to not be held back by myself. When you are at the end of your days and you look back on all the choices you have made, the worst thing will be not pursuing what you wanted to because of someone else. The people in your life should be encouraging you to go after all your dreams.  

 You hear of people giving up on their ambitions to accommodate someone else without the person even knowing! Have faith, and trust in your loved ones. They are there to help you get over your fears. They are there to scream over that voice in your head saying ‘you can’t do it.’ 

 Most importantly be the hero to your own story. Encouragement from others is great, but how much does it mean if you don’t believe in yourself. Be your own cheerleader and biggest fan. The only thing holding you back is your own imagination! 2018 can be an amazing year if you want it to be. Will it be perfect? No. Nothing is. But it can be a year filled with more highs than lows if you want it to be. If you work hard for it to be.   

Quitting your job and moving to the other side of the world isn’t as easy as people make out it is. However if it’s what you want it can be done. Tomorrow you may decide that you want to be a doctor. Yes it’s takes years of studying and super hard work. However the decision to do it is that easy. As long as you are prepared to follow through. 

As for me

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Photo Credit – Alisha Dandy http://instagram.com/alishadandy

this year overall has been a good one. However I do get complacent easily. I need to take my own advise and make that next bold move. I have an idea of where I want to go, now for the following through..

So goodbye 2017, bring on the Christmas dinners, gallons of mulled wine and epic NYE celebrations.  

2018 I’m ready for ya 😉 

Also a big shout to Ineffabless UK for this beautiful silver bangle they sent me!


Click the picture which will link you to this bracelet. If you want to have a deeper look at their website – http://www.ineffabless.co.uk. Everything is affordable and so pretty!

Stay Bliss, Laura

 

 

B L A C K

So I have been thinking recently about internalised racism. About how we are sometimes the most racist to ourselves and others of our race. Black people have the tendency to this (this black person in particular).  We both are and are not to blame for this as throughout history we have been oppressed and fed a number of lies which has shaped our position in society.

‘You are not intelligent.’ ‘Your hair is ugly and unprofessional’ ‘Your skin is to dark therefore you cannot be beautiful.’ ‘Your nose is to big, not dainty and elegant.’

Everything that has happened to us we have dealt with, fought and survived. Everything we are supposed to hate about ourselves is now deemed beautiful on anyone without dark skin. We are now in the midst of trends such as cornrows, big lips, big bottoms and being as bronzed and tanned as possible. All trends that most black people are genetically born with or adopted into our culture a long time ago. All things that we were ridiculed and put down for having. All things that were deemed ‘inappropriate’ and could mean you never were employed. All things that have been stolen from us, and sold back to us without any credit and a hefty price tag.

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I have been thinking a lot about internalised racism. I am in a good place and have learnt to love myself. I am able to recognise this because at one point this wasn’t the case. I subconsciously hated my skin. I hated the way my hair looked when it was wet, I hated the fact that I wasn’t as pretty as the other girls. Why couldn’t I be like the beautiful girl who was on the cover of cosmopolitan or vogue? Why didn’t the boys like me as much as they like the other girls?

My prejudice against my own race led to me trying my best to separate myself. I was proud of the fact you that I wasn’t a ‘typical black girl’. I like indie, heavy metal, festivals and crazy drunken parties so I’m not like them I’m different. I used words like ghetto and ratchet to describe people who looked just like me. I didn’t like what my skin represented so I tried to be different.

This is something I have only realised I used to do now that I am doing some self-reflection. The more I grow to love myself, I start to figure out the reasons why I was so down on my appearance. Now I laugh at the term ‘typical black girl’ and can’t believe I ever used it. I am also deeply upset I put black women into this box. There is absolutely nothing typical about us and is an extremely offensive thing to say. Of course there will be similarities that any two people of the same culture will have. However we come in different heights, sizes and body shapes. Some of us are extremely outspoken and some of us are really shy. Those of us of African or Caribbean descent will have the similar upbringings therefore similar stories. We deal with our traditional parents and the deep schism between the old school and the new school. There are many things we do that they can not and do not want to understand. A lot of subjects warrant the ‘in my day’ speech which I think is something we can all relate to.

As said in the beginning we are and are not to blame for our own racism. The negative feelings I had towards my skin come from a lifetime of being told that black is not beautiful. The image of beauty that has been given to me from the moment I understood what the word beautiful meant has never looked like me. If I think about my favourite toys, movies, celebrities, TV shows – they were never beautiful dark-skinned people. As little girls we played with barbies and toy babies, we watched Nickelodeon and The Disney channel and our favourite films were films like Toy Story and The Incredibles.

This was society’s way of teaching us what morals we should have and who we should inspire to become. Our favourite people did not look like us and were never from the same place. Thus began the image I started forming of myself and the dislike of the girl of the girl staring back at me in the mirror.

I am happy about how far I have come. I am happy about how far WE have come.

There has been a massive revival in the effort to get POC* to love their skin. Black businesses are growing and many are choosing to ditch the chemically straightened hair and weaves/wigs and embrace their naturally kinky locs. Black media has exploded and black twitter are forver there to bring focus to the issues of interest to the black community.
I love how comfortable I am in my skin and the more I learnt about the struggles of many people before me went through to get the basic freedom that I have, the more my melanin means to me. I have the freedom of expression and legislation behind me that in theory keeps my safe from attack or being discriminated against.

I am sad because we have a long way to go. The thought of young girls and boys going through the same battles I did is an upsetting reality. The reality is, if a POC types beauty into google they will see images they cannot relate to.

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The reality is the world is still a pretty unfair place for us, in terms of living conditions, employment, politics and law enforcement. The reality is that as a people the black race is still very divided at how we can demand better for ourselves. The reality it takes learning about your history, and teaching yourself the black is in fact beautiful in order to live a life where you are happy with your skin.

As always I have taken the time to figure out what my feelings actually are about this. I have never been particularly outspoken, and have a hard time coming to you with a set of intellectual facts and figures. Talking to my family – especially the older generation has helped me love myself and my history. Hearing about the oppression people in my own family faced has forced me to wake up. It is easy to wish for another life, wish to look a different way, wish things were not so hard. However my ancestors dreamed of freedom. They dreamed of liberation from their slave masters. They dreamed of an education. They dreamed of having the right to vote so they could start to effect change to their society. They dreamed that one day their grand-children, and great-grandchildren (such as myself) will not have to fight the same battles they have had to.

I have unintentionally ripped of MLK’s ‘I have a dream’ speech but that’s how far you need to go to be grateful for what you do have and protest for the change you have yet to see.

Of course it is important to identify and challenge racism whenever you see it. But first you must deal with the racism you harbor internally and ask yourself why you feel this way. When you can except your shortcomings and change your mentality and behaviour you then can start to deal with the external world.

Stay Bliss,

Laura

*POC – Person of Colour

 

There ain’t no party like a pity party

‘There ain’t no party like a pity party’

..well this pity party has come to a much-anticipated end.

This last month has been a pretty rough one and I still can not put my finger on what was actually wrong.

What I can understand from it all, is that there was so much going on at the same shitty time. My work life, personal life and body all came to ahead and I was neck-high in a sea of emotions. The best way to describe is to say that I was drowning. Drowning in my negative thoughts and drowning in my immense workload. I was 100% focused on the negative, as I was only committed to thinking about how terrible I felt and how nothing would make me ever feel better.

This got me thinking about the different practical ways we get over a bad stint. It is impossible for us to be happy 100% of the times and entirely natural to go through prolonged moments of sadness. We all develop different ways of lifting ourselves out of these stress caves. It has been super interesting hearing different people’s’ tips and tricks for how they manage these.

One of the most popular suggestions was music.

 

Music is such a brilliant escape and has the power to really make you view your current situation in a better light. Some artists are born with the immense gift of getting others to feel what they feel. They somehow get you  to connect with them speaking to your heart as well as your soul. It can transport you to a different time of your life and give you the ability to look at your life through the artist’s lens.

I know for me personally music has always been the way I escape the stresses of the day. As soon as I get home from work its hair up and headphones on. I have an hour or two where I completely let myself go through the music that reflects my mood. I have to many cringey moments where somewhere has walked in on my dancing around like a  drunk butterfly and (trying to) hit the high-notes of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs ‘Gold Lion’ – well, not very well! But I get over it because it does me a load of good and by the time I’m ready to take off my headphones I am in a much better place.

Another of the opinions I received was to have a reliable support system. I found myself in such a state that I forgot I could ask for help. I forgot that my friends and family have been there too. No two situations are the same but you truly realise how much your loved ones can relate to your struggle and that can be the key to you overcoming it. For example, my mother has worked in the NHS for 25 years. I often make the mistake of still seeing her as the authoritative figure in my life that still will tell me off for misbehaving. But as I grow into an adult our relationship has shifted slighty as she becomes more of a friend. After weeks of avoiding the subject of work for fear of being told to ‘stop misbehaving’ I finally cracked and told her everything. I told her that I was struggling with my workload and how mad at myself I was for feeling this way as this was all I ever wanted. What never occurred to me is that she’s actually the BEST person to ask anything about the NHS to. Well she of course gave me sound advice – ‘don’t worry, you’re a very new junior member of staff, you’re not accountable for any major mistakes you may make.’ After this I opened up to my girls, they also completely understood and some were struggling with their work to.

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The lesson I learnt from this is that I am not alone. There are so many people who are going similar struggles or have already been through them and have many wise words as to how they did.

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The most practical response I received was from a friend who keeps a CBT diary. From my understanding this is a form of cognitive therapy. The idea of it is to effect self-change by taking steps to change your process of thinking. You can read about it here.

It is honestly something I have never tried in this way, but I can do a great deal of help. You evaluate every situation deciding how you felt at the time and how you felt about your reaction. You can then use this as a tool for self-improvement. You can change they way you react in a similar situation the next time round and then evaluate whether the improvements made you and the outcome better.

Getting everyone’s opinions on how they pull themselves out of a bad funk was certainly insightful. Now having got through it and seeing things a bit more clearly the key thing I’ve learnt is that it’s okay to not be okay. More often than not you convince yourself that you’re being weird and dramatic and no one has time for you. When you push through this and swallow your pride and ask for help you wonder why you didn’t just do this to begin with. Realising that people not only relate to your struggle but can help you in ways they were once help is taking a proactive step to getting yourself better. In terms of your mental health the solution isn’t so simple. It becomes less about pulling yourself out of a funk and more about asking for professional help.

thinkingMy first thoughts on my very first post were ‘it’s always darkest before the dawn.’ As silly and cliché as this sounds, it is very true. I still am struggling but I am happier for taking the time to talk to people and write this as I work my way through it.

And I wish the same for you. I hope you are happy. I hope you are working through your struggles and doing everything it takes to make yourself happy. No one is above help and sometimes you can be happily surprised at the advice and support you may get.

Stay Bliss, Laura

 

Down in the Dumps

Lately I’ve been pretty down and I am having trouble pin-pointing why. I’ve been putting it down to hormones but I’m not 100% sure that this is what it is.

It may be the grass is always greener philosophy. Lately it has been my belief that my life is incomplete. It has been missing a few pieces that I will work hard on gathering and putting together. The biggest missing piece when I started this blog was my career. I was unemployed – no money or motive and this is what I needed for my life to begin. Another peice was my independence and freedom, I need my own place to live in order for my life to begin. Yet another is love, I need love in my life in order for my life to begin.

There’s a common reoccurrence here. One that may be the reason for my bad mood lately.

I seem to be always waiting for something to come and change my life. I’m hoping one of these things will remove these feelings of emptiness and loneliness. So far no luck.

I tend to force myself into facing my issue by vocalising it. Most of the time we believe we can’t place the issue because we are not ready to own up to it..

I spoke about not wanting to write a post until the issue I’m facing comes to its natural conclusion. I need to have that ‘aah this how I’m going to deal with it’ moment. Until then I wait it out. I ride the choppy waves and try my best to see the good and be the good in everything. This time I thought I would try something new.

I am by no means past these feelings and maybe it is because I am not ready to be. There is a lesson that can be taken from every situation, I believe it won’t end until you do. I am just left to ponder. Ponder what is that I am trying to grasp at. I’ve given myself a lot of different options as to what this can be down to. Is it down to me feeling not as close to family or friends? Is it down my work life not being a lot harder than I could ever imagine? Is it down to misplaced feelings of love? Or is what I originally I suspected, my monthly treat taking me on whirlwind ride through all the human emotions known to man.. better yet, woman? fake

I know for certain my family and friends don’t play any part in this. I feel as close to them now as ever did. It is true though, work is getting tough and I am not used to this amount of pressure. Progression and promotion became my two most important things when I started working for the NHS. I’ve seen it all. I’ve seen people who were vocal about where the wanted to be and put the hard work behind it and have now shot up the ladder. I’ve also seen the people who were either content or just waiting for opportunities to manifest for them – they are still where they have been for years. I guess this worries me, what kind of person am I? I would like to be the first one but am I vocal enough and does my work back this up?

Misplaced love? Could be.

I don’t think I can blame my cycle for this one. Yes my feelings intensify around this time but these are feelings that have always been there.

So there you have it. A post full of questions and doubts. I often talk about the need to be positive and see every situation in a positive light. This I still very much believe. However you need time to self-analyse. Where you don’t look at things under any kind of light. You just look at it how it is. Almost like looking at all the puzzle pieces for a while before you attempt to put it together.

I think the lesson I have gathered from my feelings at the moment is that self-reflection is important. Plastering a massive smile on your face and acting as if everything is okay is not always the solution. Admit it. I’m not okay. And that’s okay!

Happiness is an inside job and that it is! I think from now on I’m going to strip myself down and see myself without all the stuff I need that will ‘make life begin.’ My life begun 24 years ago, I am in the midst of it.

No more waiting and anticipating for what it is that will finally make me happy. I need to do that myself. Without the money, the house, the family, the friends, the partner. Me and only me.

As Ru Paul says – ‘If you can’t love yourself, how the hell you guna love somebody else?!’ Can I get an amen?down

Stay Bliss, Laura

Day 31 – Final Thoughts

Today is the final day of this blogging challenge I embarked on 31 days ago.

It has been terrific, humbling and I discovered so much about my self and my outlook. I don’t often give my childhood and teenage years much thought, so it was lovely letting myself go there on quite a few of my posts.

I have come to the understanding that you don’t need to try so hard to be yourself. I thought about nothing other than ‘adulting’ recently. How to sort out my life and take the necessary next steps that adults should. I thought it was time to take on the responsibility of a home, rent, bills and all that adulty stuff. I decided that I was going to stay in the NHS because of the progression, the work I’m doing and the steady paycheck. I’m almost 25 for Pete’s sake, time to grow up!

I’ve decided that I’m sick of this attitude, and it was making me super stressed. Giving myself a deadline as to when this new, magical adult life needs to begin was making me ill with worry. How am I trusting the journey when I am already planning out what the destination looks like. I don’t have to be afraid of taking risks and making big decisions like going travelling or volunteering or going back to university full-time. You have the ability to start again at any point of your life. Your 20’s are for not knowing and figuring out who you are and what you want to do with your life.

I am still going to be smart as I realise you need money to do anything. I am still going to work hard at my apprenticeship as this is my dream job. I am going to save up for the year that I am here so I am in a solid financial position by the end. That’s it. I have no plans to stay and no plans to leave. I am going to take as it comes and not be afraid to pursue the big risks that I have been fearful of.

I leave this challenge believing that anything is possible. With a positive attitude and a smart plan, we can achieve anything.

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I will be posting like normal again, but hopefully a lot more frequently and consistently!

If you have kept up with me throughout this month, or maybe just read or liked a post or two, thank you!

Talk soon,

Stay Bliss, Laura

 

 

Day 30 – The Penultimate Post

Day 30 of the 31 day challenge

SMILE – You deserve it!

So here I am on the second to last day of this 31 day blogging challenge.

This has been extremely difficult, different and a test of my ability. When I started I wanted to know if I could write everyday. And not only that, can I relate what I write to staying positive and bliss. Some days, especially lately I have wavered. I have thought there was absolutely no way I would be able to finish this. It has been time-consuming, physically and emotionally draining.

My biggest worry about creating and maintaining a blog was staying consistent. I was firm believer in not writing until I had something worthwhile to say. Sometimes I would have a solid month full of inspiration and topics I wished to discuss. Other times I just flat out refused to write. I didn’t want to write about a situation I was facing that was yet to come to its natural conclusion. I was in the midst of storm because and at that point everything I thought and said would be negative. So I held on until I had that moment of clarity. That ‘ahh ok, that’s how I will look at it’ moment.

This mindset I had been stuck has changed over this 31 day period. I realised this fully on ‘Day 22 & 23 – Dear Teenage me.” 

I reached into my psyche and really got honest with myself. I had no idea where that post was going when I started. I consciously had no idea that I even felt that way. It sounds so cliché but it literally came out on the post. My fingers typed what my mind wasn’t prepared to think about. It was from this moment I realised inspiration can come from anywhere. The world and your life doesn’t just hand you the next topic. Sometimes you have to inspire yourself.

I have been lucky enough to have so many inspirational people in my life. People who have fought their own unique battles. People with life experiences, relationship experiences, spiritual insight, the artistically minded and people who share my struggle. I was able to sit up with open ears and open mind to the tips, tricks and insights they have discovered on their journey and find ways to apply it to myself.

The biggest thing I have learnt though, is sometimes I have the answers. Sometimes I am the key, I can be the hero I have always looked and longed for. Day 24 taught me this – for the first time in a long time I wasn’t being completely self-critical. I addressed my flaws, my lessons and my triumphs. I let myself be proud because I have come a very long way from being that odd little girl I used to be.

So if there are any readers out there, I implore you to give yourself a break. You can flourish in so many different ways, not just by giving yourself a hard time. Let your mind take you somewhere you decided is off-limits. You are stronger than you let yourself believe and I promise you can handle it. In all those mistakes you made, the hiccups you have run into, there is a lesson to be learned. If you want to blog then blog! It as an amazing way to sort through your issues and you can visually see your journey from one train of thought to the next. The best way to start is to start!

Trust the journey you are on, keep your head up, keep working hard . Remember things are always difficult before they are easy. When it does become easy smile, you deserve it.

Until day 31, the final day

Stay Bliss, Laura

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Yay 1 more day to go!

Day 22 & 23 – Dear teenage me

Day 22 & 23 of 31 day blogging challenge

Dear Teenage Laura

Dear Laura,

You had the right idea when you were young. You wanted to stay true to yourself, you just hoped that the real you was super cool. The way you went about being you was by trying to be different. You purposely would swim against the current and strategically insert yourself into a friendship group that best reflected who you wanted to become. You thought a lot. Maybe a lot more than other kids. How can I be seen as beautiful? How can I be seen as popular? How can I get all the boys to notice me?

After a while you figured this incredibly vain fantasy wasn’t going to happen for you at school. So you recalculated. You figured I may not be the head girl but I can become the girl who everyone knows. So that’s what you did. You were a part of everybody’s friendship group and loved having the opportunity in many conversations to say ‘oh yeah I know him, he’s a friend of mine.’ This was your way to be cool. This was how you would stay relevant. You never looked deep into yourself and asked why are you like this? In fact this is the first time you are letting yourself acknowledge this at all.

So why? And when did you grow out of this incredibly mysterious and strategic behaviour. Because it just didn’t matter. You realised as many friends that you have, you only had a few true friends. Ironically most of which you met during the first couple years at school. You began to understood that people saw you the way they wanted to and all the strategy in the world wouldn’t change that. On the last day of year 11 when you went around signing each others shirts the crashing realisation that you were never going to win this popularity race was finally known to you. Your shirt and your book was bare, signatures of only the closest friends who were there from the get go. You weren’t even invited to the race let alone in it.

That was okay, you had some of the best years of your life in secondary. You left armed with only a few friends who you knew were going to be in your life forever. You realised that your social life is supposed to be carefree. You now strategise your next steps at work. You know where you want to be when your 30 and you have the detailed plan as to how you going to get there.

Above all you are now 100% yourself, all the time. You realised you don’t need to try to be different. Just be who you are. That’s what you do. I don’t blame you for any of your short comings you had when you were a teenager. You were incredibly insecure, you hadn’t realised the need for self-love and positivity. I thank you for the lesson I’ve learnt. I thank you for your inquisitive nature, rebellious spirit and finding people who are now my family. You were fearless but careful. You couldn’t be pushed into doing anything you didn’t want to do. Whenever you were asked that question that sends shivers down my spine now – ‘what do you want to be when your older?’ , you’d smile and say ‘I just want to do something that I love, whilst wearing some nice shoes.’

That’s still the dream. I will one day save up enough to get my own flat and Loubitons  and toast to accomplishing little Laura’s dreams.

You still have a few insecurities, nobody is perfect right. You are working on it. Your motto now is trust the journey. You believe in yourself now as much as you believed you could be a lead singer of a rock band, which you were! As I said – fearless, you’d never do that now!

You sometimes used to let your insecurity and thirst for beauty and popularity guide you. You dropped this and just began believing in yourself. You made some life time friends and are equipped with a Mary Poppins style bag full of lesson you learnt.

I am proud of who you were and hope you would be proud of who I am.

me teen
How cool was I?

 

 

Stay Bliss, Laura

Day 17 – Work Life

Day 17 of 31 day blogging challenge

Where do you work?

I work for the NHS! If you live or have ever been to the UK, you may also agree that our healthcare service is by far one of the best things about our country. What you don’t understand as a patient or a loved one of a patient,NHS is just how much work goes into the NHS behind the scenes. There are services and departments you wouldn’t even imagine could be part of the NHS. People make the mistake of presuming the that NHS is just about doctors and nurses but the truth is in 2015-16 they added a further 1.6 million employees to the roster.

I was born with Sickle Cell Anaemia which is the second most common genetic blood disorder in the UK. This means I spend most of my life in and out of hospitals and doctor’s surgeries. I’ve spent more Christmas’s and new year’s in hospital than anyone should. However the wonderful and diligent help of all the staff meant that I didn’t let this get me down. When I did they were all there with smiles, laughs and one time a Bailey’s on ice to cheer me up! 🙂

My mother worked for the department of health for most of working life. So I was always in and out of fancy office and got to sit and watch first hand the amazing work I did. Whenever I had to skip school because I was sick my mum would take me to work with her. I’d sit on her swivel chair for hours with her label maker and was completely content. Her colleagues would stop by her office with little games, treats and tasks for me, I felt like a proper member of the department of health. When I was on holidays from school she would check me into the DOH summer school. I mingled and played with all the other NHS children while our parents were in different parts of the building working hard.

For as long as I can remember I’ve wanted an office job, an NHS office job. This would baffle people when they received this as an answer to what do you want to do with your life. However what I’ve always wanted is to feel valued. I want the work I’m doing to have a positive impact on someone’s life. The NHS is the perfect place to accomplish this. I can climb the ladder, be given more and more responsibility and have a direct impact on the patient and staff experience.

This being said the NHS is notoriously hard to get into if you are not clinical. Before joining I pretty much had little to no office experience so I wasn’t even being offered any interviews for the hundreds of jobs I applied for. Then I started looking for apprenticeships because I figured this was the best way in. At the time I just really needed work, and applied for as many random apprenticeships as I could. This went on for a good 8/9 months, I was slowly losing the plot! Then suddenly out of the blue I was offered two different apprenticeships.. both NHS and the only NHS apprenticeships I’d applied for.

Was this fate? No. It was an absolute disaster which I covered in Let’s take it back and From Spain with love.

ttj2
Note to self – literally

However much of disaster it was it showed me that the NHS was where I was meant to be. I just had to pick myself up, dust myself off and keep onwards. I needed to find another apprenticeship within the NHS, one that worked for me. I had to set myself new goals and make sure I hit them and celebrate when I did. Week 8, that was my target, I had to make it to week 8. I had to prove to myself that I am smart and capable and I really can make something of myself.

So where do you work Laura? That was the question.

I am 4 months into an apprenticeship at one of the biggest hospitals in the UK. I am a liabusiness apprentice for one of the NHS’s many Education Centres. I support with collating the finances of the department, keeping a track of our income and expenses. I help and volunteer for as much after work activity as I can. Just yesterday I was a helper at our celebrating excellence awards, an evening where members of staff are celebrated and praised for their hard work.

I am in an incredible position at the moment, my world is my oyster. For the first time ever I have a purpose, I have a goal. The biggest lesson I’ve learnt over the past 4 months is – trust the journey.

No matter what happens, whether I’m kept on permanently or whether I start looking for a job again but with 12 months experience, I know I have worked the hardest I ever have.

And that’s something I’m proud of.

ttjStay Bliss, Laura