Know when to say no

Sticking to your guns can be incredibly difficult. Especially when all the signs point to something you don’t want to do. When you find yourself in a difficult situation it can be so tempting to take an unattractive way out. To settle because anything seems better than what you have got.

I recently found myself in this predicament. I am currently pursuing a career in marketing and unrelated job popped up. A job I can definitely do and am pretty much doing. A massive step up in the wrong direction. Something weird happened though. I said no and was steadfast in my decision. I had one of those hard conversations with myself.

No more.

NO

No more doing things I don’t want to do just because. How will I ever find the perfect opportunity if I’m always second guessing myself and running towards whatever is just merely available. It is time for me to get serious about my life and career and ONLY go for jobs I’m passionate about.

This was a massive step for me as I am normally plagued with confusion and self-doubt. It doesn’t help that I’m barely making ends meet, living paycheck to paycheck but I’m proud. I’m proud that I went with my gut and kept the promise I made to myself.

One lesson I’ve learnt through these posts is that things WILL change for the better, they always have. There always comes a point when you question your movement. Will I ever move forward and out this? When you feel this way rewatch the movie of your life. Identify the many times where you felt this way but you overcame. Let that encourage you to keep pushing on even when it seems hopeless.

Learning when to say no can also be applied to the rest of my life. It is important lesson that I had to learn. Not everything that glitters is gold and if you are unhappy about something you have the right to say something. You have the right to say no more.

You control your situations and you control the energy you allow to be around you. You don’t have to settle because ‘this is the best it’s going to be.’ Who says?!

Whether it’d be about your career, friendships, relationships, you get to decide what you will and won’t be a part of.relax

Pursuing your dreams is difficult especially when it seems that you are getting used to the feeling of being knocked down. Not settling is difficult because regardless of how passionate you are your responsibilities will still be there.

When I start feeling down about my life and feel as if I’ve been in the same position forever I look back at posts like these. Having a visual reminder of exactly how far I’ve come is so inspiring. I wrote my first post when I was unemployed person who stayed in her pyjamas all day.

Things have changed so much in a wonderful way. I will never be the girl who lucks into the perfect life or perfect job. That’s okay. It’s just going to take a lot of hard work and self motivation. All work that I’m a more than willing to do for myself, after all.. I’m worth it!

And 3 months after saying know and writing this post the incredible happened. I was offered a great job that puts me on the right ladder for me. I happy, proud of myself and so nervous! Re-reading this has been incredible, I knew what my gut was saying, stuck to it and it paid of in a big way. Moments like this reaffirm the faith I have in myself and the journey I am.

The mantra I live by is ‘trust the journey.’ It is long, confusing and has many highs and lows. However when you have work hard, believe in yourself and try your best to bew a good persons – good things will follow. journey

The journey is going to get good 🙂

Stay Bliss, Laura (communications assistant 😉

I will be posting everyday for a week w/c 8th october! Saty tuned 🙂

Advertisements

Sadness

So as you can probably tell this 31 day challenge isn’t going very well..

Instead I have decided to continue on with this series with the subtraction of the time restraint. Writing about emotions is more difficult than I imagined it to be, with a lot of the darker emotions becoming more and more challenge to discuss.

However just because something is challenging doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it so this post is going to be about sadness.

Sadness is an emotion of have come across a lot in my life. I would like to say it is a very temporary emotion but it can take a life time fending off. The reason why I often say ‘happiness is an inside job’ it because sadness, anger  and grief isn’t. I initially created this blog to ward off those feelings.

Sadness takes no work, and no effort. Being sad is easy, almost like a job where no experience is necessary.. you can start right away. Why is this the case? Why does it take me daily positive affirmations, lots of work and lots of effort to be happy?

The simple answer is I don’t know. It is easy for me to fall into a pit of sadness. It is for my mind to make all sorts of nonsense that will in turn make me sad. It is for me to hold a magnifying glass over all the flaws and holes in my life. It is easy for me to see the bad in people and myself whilst completely ignoring the good. It is super easy for me to stay in bed all day, watching shitty soaps and movies and cry about why my life isn’t like that.

What comes easy isn’t always right.

As easy as it is, it also so painful. There is a good reason why you resolve to not let sadness rule your life. It’s no fun. Sadness is like leech or vampire. It sucks up everything good. What is left is just a hole, a shell of your former self. A shell no one wants to invite out, a shell that no one will hire, a shell that no one will love.

Moments of pure joy and happiness are our biggest tools to combat this feeling. Whether you are sat sharing an inappropriate joke with your best mate, having a cuddle with your partner or eating dinner with your family – you experience a few moments of bliss. A second or two where that hole is no more. That smile on your face is real and your brain momentarily forgets about your woes.

In these moments it is all worth it.

This time last year I was awfully sad. I had resigned myself to nothingness. I had no hope of a better life. I was going to be unemployed and living with my parents forever. But an experience change my mindset. I began to chase after those joyful moments. I decided that happiness was an inside job, a job I am more than willing to dedicate my life to.

Ever since then I have been running. Running towards happiness, running towards those amazing moments. I have been planning. Planning on staying this way. Planning my next moves – now that I have found happiness, how will I be holding on to it? I have been still. I have stopped and started enjoying life. I have been calm and accepted that I cannot control everything. But as for now, I am happy. The moment is here and I am going to bask in it.

Sadness is not far away, it is lurking behind every corner. That is okay. Sometimes it will come. But if I have anything to do with, it definitely will not be staying.

I know for everybody it is not as easy as warding off a feeling. The sadness runs a lot deeper than my own experience of it. I know a bit about mental illnesses such as depression but not enough to talk about. Finding peace does not come easy. It is okay to not be okay. . You and your feelings are important and valid, and your life is worth so much. There are people trained to help you find your peace. Nothing says you have to find it alone because you are not alone.

www.mentalhealth.org.uk/your-mental-health/getting-help

Stay Bliss, Laura

WMHD.png
//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({
google_ad_client: “ca-pub-3096476811898734”,
enable_page_level_ads: true
});

Trust

Trust is moral currency.

You word and your honor are two things – the human traits that decide your value.

Trust is one of those things that no matter how many tangible, worldly things you have to offer, it can make and break your social standing.

We always remember the people who blabbed your secrets to the entire school or who told that one person the thing you told them not to. I’m not proud to admit that I have occasionally been that person, still racked with the ‘why didn’t I keep my big mouth shut’ guilt. We have been there, right?

As you grow up having those people in your life you can tell anything to becomes more important. You never pray for the worst to happen but you do have that person who you know you can tell it all to. This becomes a necessary criteria when making friends.

Do they like the same music I do? Do they love the same food I do? Can they be trusted? Not necessarily in that order.

Trust begins to mean different things as time goes on. It becomes less about can I trust you with my secret, and more about can I trust you with my feelings?

When a friend comes to you with a private thought the first step is making sure you don’t tell. However it as equally important to make them feel comfortable and not judged. The worst feeling ever is when there is a massive problem in your world which someone just shrugs of. Hearing ‘get over it’ or ‘I have bigger problems than you’ is to me a breach of trust.

It is true hearing someone complain about how much they hate their job for the millionth time (me) or how their hair is doing that weird thing again (also me) or about their ex they are going to get back together with in approximately 2 minutes can be a drag. However many problems that you have may also seem like a drag to others. What you needed at the time was a trusting ear and a safe place. Trust means being that safe place.

Trusting someone with your heart is another big one. It takes a lot to bring your guard down and be vulnerable for another person. Intimacy is a beautiful thing to share with someone and in the right hands in can be an amazing experience. However we all have heard the horror stories of people who decide to betray that trust – normally for revenge. To me this is the biggest crime that can be committed against trust. That also goes for the highly unwanted but familiar feeling of heartbreak. Losing that intense line of trust can be heart wrenching.

Trust is a complex subject. I am fortunate to have a support system made up of friends and family who I can completely trust and rely on. Trust was a difficult subject for me to write about simply because it is something I never worry about. As life goes on your circle of friends gets smaller and tighter. I am 25 and am surrounded by people who I wholly trust, and who I hope can trust me.

Stay Bliss

 

Distraction

Today I will talk about a topic I am way to familiar with and the reason I am 3 days behind on this challenge – distraction.

It takes a lot of effort for me to sit down and complete a task, all on my own. Even when I sit down to write which is something I love doing, I will defiantly get distracted and start doing something else before I am done a fair few times. For example just now rather than writing I decided that now was the perfect time to check the Ann Summer’s website…

I know I am the type of person to very easily get distracted, so I do lots of things in effort to combat that. I try to work quickly and set myself timed goals. I constantly remind myself of how important the task in front of me is to me. This blog for example, is entirely personal and so important to me. Me getting distracted is doing myself no favours. Me leaving that post half done means no new content.

Sometimes I get distracted into to not taking a risk. I go to try something new like applying for a new job but become distracted by the comfortable option. Why job hunt all day when I can binge watch project runway?

However when you get distracted from the goals you set yourself the only person your cheating is you. You haven’t gotten away with something, you haven’t let anyone down other than yourself. It is pretty harsh to be so harsh on yourself, but that is how you learn and get better.

You can also think of the super positive feeling of pride.

I sat down (first thing in the morning) and wrote my next blog post. I wasn’t in a crazy rush, I was able to take my time and figure out how I actually feel. I wrote a post that I am proud of and now I have the rest of the day left to do other things. I can do absolutely nothing if I wanted because I have completed the task of the day.

Nothing beats the feeling of being in control of your life and knowing that you are doing everything in your power to live better. When you know you are saving for your future, your job hunting so you can be happy, you writing daily therefore fulfilling your passion. Everything about your actions are in order for you to have the best.

Distractions are a normal and necessary part of life. They are life’s way of letting you know what is really important. How we deal with them is another thing. Tough love isn’t the worst thing, especially when you know how amazing it feels to follow through.

Distractions can also be good. A much-needed relief from a stressful situation. I’ve often talked about my best girlfriends – the sisterhood. Over the years we have perfected the beautiful art of distraction. Realising when of one of us is going into total meltdown – normal caused by over thinking or boys.

Sometimes you have to become that much-needed distraction for each other. Whether it’d be a cliché distraction like a girls night or just going to the cinema, we come up with creative ways to be there for each other. You know what people are doing when they are trying to distract you but you appreciate the effort nonetheless.

Relationships are also distractions at times which can be both good and bad. The toughest moments of our lives can be made slightly better when you are in a relationship. The feeling of having one person who is completely there for you and always thinking about you is amazing. There’s one person you can rely on to cheer you up and look after you.

I guess this can be a bad distraction is if you don’t think about much else. I tend to not get much work done when I’m at my boyfriend’s house. Not because he doesn’t let me or support me mainly because I really don’t want to. I’d much rather be watching a movie or chatting to him than writing. This is something I only realise when I get home and write!

In all honesty, I don’t really mind because this isn’t the worst problem to have. And it doesn’t explain me getting absolutely nothing done when he IS NOT around. I just need to be more disciplined and get my life admin done no matter what.

Delving into the different kind of distractions has made this a really interesting morning. More than anything I realise how much I distract myself. I can achieve a lot when I sit down and finish something.

 

Stay Bliss, Laura

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anger

I have had 2 very amazing days of doing absolutely nothing. To me this is the best way to spend my downtime as work is constant and intense. It has been difficult to write about the darker emotions because I am just not in the place right now. It’s easy to spill onto the page when you are going through something intense.

So anger?

I mostly feel anger at myself when I don’t live up to my potential. When I know what I should do but choose not do, I anger myself. The job hunt isn’t going to well because I have been repeating past mistakes. I wrote a post when I first started blogging about feeling disappointment at putting all my eggs in one job basket. Ideally I should be applying for many jobs a day. Instead I find one job that I love. I plan out my outfits and the easiest commute. I imagine what my desk will look and immediately hit amazon in search of the perfect mug. Like a Cath Kidston mug or one with funny friends quotes.

friends_tv_quotes_mugThat job is in my sight and not getting it is not an option. As you can probably imagine this leads to a lot of disappointment because life doesn’t always workout this way. So I guess this is what angers me. The fact that I feel myself doing the same things I was doing all those posts ago.

I have been waiting for something to click in my brain. Today is the day when I sort my life out!

It fluctuates . Sometimes I feel the click and other days I don’t.

The lesson I have learnt throughout all this is there is no time for waiting. When you spend your time waiting for a change in mind-set or a magic click. Waiting for something to manifest which will in turn get you to change is problematic. Mainly because change starts with you.

Anger is a such an intense emotion. A lot of things on this world. Racism, famine, murder & abuse and so much else. I chose to focus on the anger I can directly control. The anger at myself.

I need to fix up and fix up quick. I am aware of that and I will change that. Writing post like these helps me give myself that much-needed kick.

I know what my problem, it’s up to me to go fix them.

1

Stay Bliss, Laura

Clear skies ahead

I have known since July that I wanted to write a post dedicated to Happiness.

But how to say what I want to say? What are my thoughts on happiness? Am I even happy?

Recently my life has been full of new and exciting changes. If you have read my other post you would know that there is 3 things that I wanted. 3 things that I was convinced would bring me to happiness. A new home, a love life and a shiny new job. This perfect trio would bring me all the joy in the world. These three things would make this adulting thing actually okay and maybe even slightly enjoyable.

So why aren’t I jumping and screaming about this so-called new-found happiness? Why am I not over the moon? Why doesn’t my mood reflect all these amazing changes?img_6606

There are times where it has. I have taken a few moments throughout these past months to look at what I have achieved and actually be proud of myself. I think to myself ‘this is the feeling I want to write about.’ However this feeling doesn’t stay. A couple of days later I feel myself being climbing down and wondering what happened.

Maybe happiness doesn’t stay because we push it away. Not letting yourself just be happy and in the moment is way of self-sabotage. We are so used to having problems that we almost can’t handle not having any.

You can have everything in the world and still not be happy. Recently I have been pretty down in the dumps, which is unsurprising  for this time of month. I have been in a ‘stop the world, I want to get off’ kind of mood.

When good things happen just ACCEPT that a good thing has happened.

Life can be so tough sometimes, and at one point or another you will go through a rough patch. When going through a tough time I focus on the light at the end of the tunnel. A time that won’t be so hard. The storm finally being over and the clear skies that are now finally visible.

No more sitting idly by. And no more creating a storm where there is none.

Happiness is an inside job, something that won’t always click into place on its own. When it doesn’t you have to work at it. I have the power to do so I will create my own clear skies. See through that Laura-made tunnel.

There have been so many times when I have felt genuinely happy but fought that weird, unfamiliar, warm  feeling off.

I CAN’T BE HAPPY. THERE MUST BE SOME KIND OF PROBLEM I CAN FOCUS ON.

The truth there is that things aren’t perfect. There’s a lot of challenges I need to overcome and things I have to work through. However at the moment life is good. I worked long and hard, and almost gave up several times but I got what I’ve always wanted.

Independence.

Independence can be quite lonely sometimes but this shouldn’t be confused with being unhappy. wineI am on my own now because I choose to be. I am finally self-sufficient and am enjoying taking care of myself. When I have a bad day, going back to my empty room can make me feel worse. My mind plays tricks on me and convinces me that I am unhappy because I am alone.

Focusing on the important things is what I have taken away from the experience. Figuring out what is real and what is not. When I feel lonely there are people I can call and places I can go. Rather than sit and dwell on all the things I have to be sad about, I can stand and think about all the things that I have achieved. I can work on a new plan for things I am yet to achieve.

The biggest things I have taken from this confusing sad/happy period of time is that sometimes it is up to me actively change the way I feel.

Create your own clear skies.

Stay Bliss, Laura

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

I shall be doing the October challenge where I will be posting everyday for a month! I haven’t posted in a while so I am a bit rusty which makes this even more of a fun challenge 🙂 Keep your eyes peeled!

 

Sickle Cell & Me

My illness is something I have often talked about but have never written about. I guess it is because when you write about it you can’t cut the tension with a giggle or a little joke. However it I feel like it is an important issue to be aware of especially since it is the 2nd most common genetic disorder in the UK.

The last thing I wanted is to tell a story that was really sad or made you pity me. I didn’t want to write a long piece talking about how difficult life is for me or about how sad I am about never being able to have a ‘normal’ life. I can understand that reading this may be a little hard to swallow, you never want to hear that people you know have struggled in ways that you can not fathom. But the brighter the light is that is shone on these issues, the easier living together in cohesion will become.

So the truth is that it hasn’t been easiest life but it is all I have ever known. Both my parents have a sickle cell trait which meant it was possible but not definite that I would be born with the full-blown disease. I feel like it would have had a different effect on me had I had lived my most of my life not knowing about it.

Sickle Cell disease is a genetic blood disorder. The disorder affects the red blood cells which contain a special protein called haemoglobin (Hb for short). The function of haemoglobin is to carry oxygen from the lungs to all parts of the body. People with sickle cell disease produce unusually shaped red blood cells that can cause problems because they don’t live as long as healthy blood cells and they can become stuck in blood vessels.sickle If you want to read more about the science behind it you can here. When this happens it causes a very painful episode known as a sickle cell crisis. This can last anywhere from a few hours to a few days.

My childhood was relatively normal. All it meant was I had few more trips to the hospital than the average kid. I was physically able to do the same things as the other kids. I didn’t feel very different because a few of the children in my class had sickle cell to, as it is quite common amongst Afro-Caribbean people.  My primary years were full of a lot laughter, fun and the dramatic goings on of a primary school playground. I had quite frequent crisis’ as a kid and would always have to take a couple of days off school to recover.

Describing the feeling of having a crisis is so hard because it is something I only let myself think about in that moment. Once it’s past – it’s gone and not even worth me thinking about. Everyone with sickle cell has a completely different story about their painful experience. Mine always engulfed my lower back  first before moving on to my arm and leg joints. It is an intense, excruciating sharp pain which also feels like it’s pulsating. Sounds awful I know, not something I like talking about. However 9 times out of 10,  after a horrendous long night of my crying out in pain in my mother’s arms, I’d eventually drift off and wake up to find the crisis is over.

This is pretty much how my primary and secondary years went for me. I didn’t crisis to often, probably no more than 8 times year and made sure to completely make the most of the times that I was completely healthy!

Having parents who were always there for me and saw me at my very worst and very sickest has had a lasting impact on me. My positive attitude towards my disorder and the way I have chosen to deal with it came from my mum. She instilled two key things in me.

‘Don’t see yourself as disabled.’ My mum has worked in the NHS for most of her working life in a very different time. She knew that however wrong it is, once you check that box you open yourself up to a discrimination by people who will never admit to it. Her sister – my aunty was born with cerebral palsy, so she saw first hand the ugly face of discrimination and hatred towards the disabled.
Sickle cell by all intensive purposes is invisible. So it would do me well to keep it that way. This is something I have always kept with me. I have never written it on a job application. My philosophy is get in through the door, show them how great you are and when the times comes for you to explain why you need to leave early again for a doctor’s appointment – then I discuss it in-depth. By that time, they know me and like me and appreciate the work I have done and will continue to do for them.

‘Don’t marry someone with sickle cell.’ She doesn’t actually mind who I chose to settle down with but if I was to have a child with someone with sickle, that child will 100% be born with sickle cell. It isn’t something that I’d wish on anyone so if I could help it I’d rather not pass it on.

Using all the advice I got from parents, peers and doctors I was able to live a fun teenage life. I made great friends who were always understanding, I picked up some bad habits that were not great for my health and I pretty much was a normal ‘semi-rebellious’ teen. At one point I got pneumonia, which sucked and at one point my hands and feet swole up like balloons and I had to crawl everywhere for about a week. That also wasn’t great. In year 11 I got gallstones which REALLY sucked and I had to get my gallbladder removed which was nowhere near as bad as I thought it would be. Compared to a crisis it was a walk in the park. My body was  and is really weird and reacts to things in the weirdest ways BUT for the most part I was good. Collectively these things sound quite bad but they happened sporadically over a period of 10 to 15 years.

At 18 I experienced one of the worst thing that can happen to someone with sickle cell – a stroke. Intense fatigue, an awful migraine and lot of confusion is the best way to describe it. I wasn’t afraid because I didn’t know it was happening. It was on Christmas day which was such a pisstake but I didn’t go to the hospital until the next day because I still wasn’t aware of what was going on. At no point when the doctors were explaining what was happening did I feel fear. Mainly because I was tired and confused and because I could see how guilty my parents felt for not realising sooner. Obviously I knew it was not their fault but I guess part of being a parent is feeling completely responsible for everything that your child goes through.

It was only a mini-stroke so within a couple of days I was back on the mend and had regained the feeling in the left side of my body. Friends and family were being amazing. Something I learnt from my earlier experiences of being is hospital is you could ask for pretty much anything and people would bring it to you. I’d ask for rice and peas and curry goat, KFC, magazines and pretty much anything I could think of that I fancied at the time. Also people always just brought you Lucozade, I guess that’s thing you do when someone’s in hospital.

And that was that. I was in hospital for two-weeks, in physiotherapy for a month. I had to drop out of college but in hindsight I could have gone back sooner but chose not to. The year went by and despite the dramatic health issues it was a pretty good year. I had 4 or 5 friends at the time who also weren’t at college so I always had people around me whenever I felt pretty low.
Some days did get very low. They say one of the post-stroke side effects is depression. There were days that I really struggled. Even though I got the all clear from my physiotherapists I never felt the same. I would forget words and lose my train of thought and was convinced that my smile would always be crooked. The NHS were great to me though and got me some help. Although I never have felt like my complete old self again, my mind and body healed over the next year.

Now for the weird part. Because of the stroke the doctors have put me on a treatment called an exchange blood transfusion. Similar to a blood transfusion but instead of just giving me blood, they also remove a few units of my ‘bad blood.’ This effectively means that they make sure by sickle percentage never gets to dangerously high levels. Yes this is intrusive and a bit of headache having to go into a hospital for a day every 6 weeks. However it means that I haven’t had a crisis in years because my blood has never reached ‘crisis’ levels. This is great for me because it means not only am I constantly being protected from the threat of another stroke but I also am currently a lot healthier than I ever have been. The weird part is because the NHS is so limited that you are only eligible for this treatment if you have suffered a stroke or another major traumatic event. So the friends that I have who also have sickle but have not had a stroke can’t get this treatment. I would never claim having a stroke is a good thing because it definitely is not but it’s quite sad that some people have to still be constantly in and out of hospital because that are ineligible.

Overall having sickle cell has shaped the way I see life. I realised a long time ago that I sometimes made myself ill by just thinking that I’d have a crisis. I would take longer to recover because I had reassigned myself to the fact that I’d always be sick. I soon realised that it was going to have to be mind over matter and tried from then on to be more positive. I noticed a difference in  my attitude and pain threshold when my mind-set changed.

Medicine has advanced so much so that the first sickle cell patient has just been cured. I am told that there is still a long way to go before it is implemented in the UK but it is exciting news nonetheless. Creative outlets such as this help me to stay upbeat and give me a chance to express myself.

My body still acts up sometimes. At the moment I have an ulcer on my ankle that I have had for the last year. It can get annoying and stressful at times but I am so grateful that I can still be active and pretty much live a life that anyone else can.

For now I will remain strong in who I am, do what I can to raise awareness and carry on enjoying life.

 

Stay Bliss, Laura

warrior

Click on the links below if you want information about giving blood and/or the sickle cell society.

www.sicklecellsociety.org

www.blood.co.uk