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 🙂

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.

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Stay Bliss, Laura

Admiration

Honestly I’m finding this challenge so difficult.

31 days of emotions sounded like a good idea at first but I have been left feeling completely uninspired. I don’t know if that is about the topic or about not having enough time to fully sit down and write. (This is on my half hour lunch break)

I mostly think I am completely knackered. Work is really hard and not very enjoyable at the moment as I have so much to do! It is weird how one little crack in your life seems to tear everything apart. The tiniest flaw is what we seem to focus on. As time goes on I’ll see if this topic is really hitting the spot.

My parents are the king and queen of carrying on. They have soldiered through some really rough times and have kept smiling and praying throughout. Sometimes I feel bad about given in so easy. I don’t tend to quit, but when I am uninterested you can definitely tell. The battle for me is powering through when I feel unmotivated. I hit my wall and decide that I can’t get over  it.

I admire my parents for teaching me this lesson. The lesson of pushing through and seeing what’s on the other side. Sometimes we convince ourself that we are stuck with what’s on the other side. The truth is this isn’t the case. In the end you’ll be proud of yourself for pushing through. If it isn’t for you, that’s just something you can check of your list. You now have an even more precise plan of how you are going to keep moving. They have taught me this lesson time and time again with all the changes they make to their lives.

My dad medaddecided to open a college once. He did that for many years until he realised his true passion wasn’t to be a principal. It was to be a lecturer. To educate young minds and to slowly make the whole world IT literate!

Not to mention the change he made to his entire life the day he decided to move to England. Just him and his best mate in a small bed sit. You would never have thought that the guy you see today, was the former barely English-speaking, luxury hotel cleaner. That’s a man who found out what his passion was over a long time of powering through.

This wasn’t going to be the message of the post but now I’m feeling all nostalgic. The person I most associate with the word admiration is my dad. Just by the small pieces of his life I was able to tell you on this post – you can see why.

Stay Bliss, Laura

Serenity

Serenity – The state of being calm, peaceful, and untroubled. – Oxford Dictionary

Serenity and happiness go hand in hand.

I was recently thinking about what it means to actually be happy. That feeling of finally having the things you’ve wanted. That feeling can be somewhat unfamiliar and scary. It’s that realisation that you have nothing substantial to complain about. For the first time in a very long time things are going well. Because of this you should maybe step out of your bubble, become selfless and help someone who actually needs it. That thought alone is terrifying!

Serenity is a how I would describe the space I am in right now. Of course there are things that I still want, and things I hope to one day change. For the most part though I am happy. Serene even.

I have a tiny corner of London I can officially call my own. From the moment started blogging this is thing I have been talking about the most. Wanting my own space, some independence. Well now I have it!
The thing I am enjoying the most is being completely self-sufficient. Washing my own clothes, cooking my own food and keeping my space tidy. 3 things I notoriously despised doing until recently. I think it’s knowing if I don’t do these things the won’t get done. I am in complete control of my own quality of life. Scary but awesome.

I am pretty happy in my relationship to!

The one thing I want to change is my job. I have learnt so much this year as an apprentice. I’ve gone from being a complete baby, not knowing much about what it meant to work 9-5. Now I’ve gotten to a place where I’m ready for the next challenge. I guess that’s next in my journey for serenity.

I feel like finding serenity is trying to find total peace. It’s a super difficult task that isn’t always entirely possible. What is possible though is finding peace in life’s chaos. I think my life is pretty calm for the moment, it isn’t guaranteed to stay that way. There are many moments, relationships and new challenges to focus on.

Searching for serenity is like searching for happiness. Sometimes it comes easy and sometimes it’s hard work. Despite all the hard times, those moments of serenity makes it make sense.

Stay Bliss, Laura

 

31 Days of Emotions – Anticipation

This month I will be participating in the 31 day blogging challenge. I previously did this challenge in march and found it thoroughly enjoyable but at the same time rough. I also didn’t quite manage to post every single day so I’m going to give another shot. I have been writing as much as I used to, so I’m hoping this month will kick-start my creative juices.

In march I found a generic daily blogging questions image and answered each question.

31

This month I have been advised to choose a topic to write about. I wanted to choose something that kept in tone with my narrative, which is all about positivity and how overcome adverse times. The way I’m going to do this is by making this the 31 Days of Emotions. Each day I will choose an emotion which I will discuss. It seems so organised and planned out but I’m still so confused as to how this will all pan out!


Anticipation

So I feel it is only right to dedicate this post to the feeling of anticipation.

I’m starting off on a bit of a downer, with only half an hour left of the day and only posting now. However I am very excited about starting this creative process once again.

So what am I anticipating to gain during this process?

The last time I participated in a blogging challenge I found that I was putting limits on myself. I was convincing myself that I couldn’t write about certain things but was then surprised by the outcome.

I also figured out somethings about myself that I hadn’t before. I delved into what it was life was like for teenage Laura. I have always been quite hard on myself, I look back on few secondary school moments and cringe hard. It was nice to look back on my youth in a positive way. Seeing all the mess ups as learning tools instead of cringe moments.

So during these 31 days of emotions I anticipate learning more about myself. I hope to continue to be honest with myself and with my readers and I hope by the end of this journey I found it easier to sit down and write.

Only 10 minutes left eek!!

Until tomorrow

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!

 

Trust the Journey

I am afraid that I will waste my life due to the bad decisions I made when I was younger. I fear that I will never know true passion for a job like others do. I am not perfect and cannot give everything 100% at all times. I don’t want to spend my time trying to be an adult and trying super hard to be good at what I do to have the small mistakes stack up against me. I fear that I am not always thinking important things through. Am I running with what my heart is telling me rather than listening to the logic and reason of my mind. Maybe my biggest dreams and goals won’t come true because I am not taking the correct risks. What are the right risks? Is there even such a thing as bad risks? I am afraid that I will never know what it is like to have someone be in love with me. Will always be ‘one of the gs’ Laura? Is that image I have in my head of me super happy and succesful just a fantasy? Is the reality a lot dimmer than that.

Trust the journey.

I obsess about everything. I over think everything.  Today more than any other day I have been really in my head. Stressing about the big changes I have decided to make and trying to figure out if these risks are going be worth. You learn a lot from failure but nobody WANTS to fail. I want the decision to move out to be a succesful one. I want the decision to go for a new job which is way above my level to be a succesful one.

I have been sat at my desk all day with a thousands thoughts flying through my head, almost to the point of tears. What if I don’t get the job? What do I do then? Is moving out a good idea right now? Also I have been beating myself up because have I a really gone out of my way to prove why this job should be mine?

Then I looked up. ttj2

I immediately calmed down and remembered why this is my mantra. Opportunities come everyday. A no does not always mean never. If I have made mistakes and failed to prove why I am the best then that’s a lesson for me. Meanwhile ‘no’ does not equal the end. Life does not wrap itself up once you don’t get something you want.

It carries on with it’s journey and shows you why things have to happen the way they happened. All you can do is try your absolute hardest and trust. Trust that the job you want will happen for you when you put the work. Trust that one day you will find love the same way everybody else has. Trust that the risks you take will pay off in a big way or teach you a valuable lesson.

Honestly I don’t know if taking the big step to move out of my parents house is the right thing to do right now. It might all blow up in my face and within a couple months I am back in my old room with a brusied ego, licking my wounds. Maybe it will work and this is it for me. A start of a new journey into adulthood. Either way I am doing because I believe I will regret more the things that I don’t even try.

I am doing it because I am trusting the journey.

I have tried to write this post a dozen times over the last few months but failed to properly communicate the meaning of this saying to me. Writing a list of the things I fear the most is the only way tpo describe it. These are the things I have to work as hard as I can at and then leave it to the universe.

I trust my heart and am guided by my reason. Whatever will be will be.

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.

marc jacobs

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.

beauty

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

 

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

 

 

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 24 to 29 – My Thoughts on blogging

Day 24 to 29 of 31 day blogging challenge

Blogging

I’ve recently had yet another conversation with a friend about how much I love blogging. I have now come to understand that as many bloggers as there are out there, there is even more people who wish to blog but don’t know how to start. So far I have had quite a few friends tell me how much they love my blog and how much they would love to blog to.

So what is stopping you?

Probably the same thing that stopped me for the longest time. Does anyone really care about what I have to say? Is my life and my point of view interesting enough to the point where I can continuously engage readers? There are so many bloggers out there, as I good enough to part of them?

The answer is there is no answer. You will never know if you are good enough or if you can be a content writer until you give it a shot. The good thing about blogging is that it is completely free. The bigger your site grows is when you contemplate investing some of your own money. You can pay for your own website, plan photo shoots etc. The initial creation however is completely free. So the best way to start is to start.

As well as most things in life the key is self-belief. You need to believe that you do have something important to say and you have to trust in what you write. When I first started I had only a couple of views on each post, but I was blogging for me so it didn’t deter me. By no means am I saying that I’ve made it as super blogger, the more I continue the more people begin to notice me.

There are 101 tips out there about building your blog, gaining more traffic and all those things you’d love to experience as a blogger. For me the biggest thing is to stay real. Stay true to yourself and what you believe. Don’t let anyone make you water down your content. The more honest you are the bigger connection you make with your readers. It makes me happy when people tell me that they can relate to my words as they have once in their life found themselves in a similar situation.

I am able to reach new depths and find out things about myself I was consciously unaware of through writing all out on a post like this. Do it for you and for what you can gain by using a medium such as this one.

success means different things for different people. For me it means to do something you love; something that makes you happy; something that quickly becomes your passion.

Stay Bliss, Laura

 

Day 18, 19 & 20 – Figuring out this life stuff

Day 18, 19 & 20 of 31 day blogging challenge

Something you are trying to figure out?

I am now more than half way through this challenge and have a whole new respect for content writers. I knew it wouldn’t be easy but this is a lot more challenging than I anticipated. Challenging in an awesome way though, nothing is more satisfying than writing a post I am proud of.

After a particularly heavy weekend I was in no frame of mind to write, being so hung over and all. So today I will put 3 days of posts together and answer this simple question – what are somethings you are trying to figure out?

life

I am trying to figure how to be true to myself and how to be 100% authentic. Sometimes I get caught up in my own thoughts and over think the littlest things. Of late I have realised that I am my own biggest obstacle. I let people and situations dictate how I act or what I can do. As much as this can be seen as an unsettling revelation it is also a blessing in disguise. It means that if I learn to trust myself and my instincts, if I spend time trying to make myself happy and not listening to others, I will begin to get out of my own way. If you are your own biggest obstacle, with hard work and a positive mindset, you can become your biggest cheerleader.

I am trying to figure out how to have patience. There is still so much I want to accomplish, at a certain point you wonder if your head is in the clouds. Will I ever have enough money to move out of my parents house? Will I ever find love? Will I ever have the booming career I always wanted? I know I’m still young and all things take time.

‘Have patience. Everything is difficult before it is easy.’

20sI KNOW I have to trust the journey and keep doing what I’m doing. Things don’t come into existence over night, it takes what feels like years of hard work to get that pay off one day. If there’s any place you are falling short, try filling in those gaps in these quiet years. Understand that one day you will be older. The probability is that within 10 years you would have settled down. So rather than being impatient do what you can only do now.. now! Move in with friends, quit your job to go travelling, or work a ridiculous amount of hours in your current job. Now is the time to do those crazy things you may not be able to do in a few years.

I am trying to figure out how to truly believe I’m beautiful.love This is a hard one isn’t it? We know beauty is the eye of the beholder. We know beauty isn’t skin deep. We know beautiful comes in different races, and sizes. We know there needs to be more to a person then just there looks. That doesn’t stop us looking in the mirror and not being happy with what we see sometimes. That doesn’t stop us having that friend we are the slightest bit envious because they are drop dead gorgeous, or have your dream body.
For me it comes in waves. Sometimes I’d get all doled up for a party and look in the mirror and think ‘damn girl, you lookin’ fine!’ Most of the time I look in the mirror and get that uggggh feeling. I guess this is one of those things that’s a work in progress. When I catch myself being down on my appearance I stop myself. I either find a way to fix those flaws that my mind won’t let me forget or drop it. How’s me obsessing going to make me feel better?

So there is lots I’m trying to figure out. With a lot of these I suspect it’s something you figure out over time. With age and experience comes wisdom. There is lots I know now that I didn’t when I was 18. There is lots I will know when I’m 30 that I don’t know now. 

Stay Bliss, Laura

Day 13 – Something I’ve been putting off

Day 13 of 31 day blogging challenge

What is something you have been putting off?

Well I haven’t completed anything on my bucket list so technically this could all count as things I’ve been putting off. Or in better terms thing’s I’m yet to do.

Going back to university and getting a degree is something I really want to do. The reason I have been putting this off is because I have already been to university. I feel I was pressured into it  because that’s what you did – you finish college and go to university. I chose the wrong degree and was completely uncommitted to it from day one. I remember sleeping and drinking my way through freshers week, missing most of the introductory/ orientation days. This was a pattern that continued throughout my 3 years at university. I half-assed did everything and can’t remember going to a full week worth of lectures. However despite all this I still earned a full degree’s worth of student debt!

Some amazing things came out of my 3 year failed university adventure. I made the most amazing friendships. The friendships I made at university have lasted until this very day and I wouldnt change them for the world. I will touch more on this in my Geneva post coming up at the end of the month 🙂
I also learnt to live independently and loved it! Paying rent and bills; cooking myself up a storm in the kitchen; taking care of my own laundry and managing the weekly grocery shop are all things I successfully learnt to do on my own. This is partially the reason why I really want to move into my own place – I know I can handle it.
I now know what kind of personality matches my own in terms of living arrangements. You can’t just move in with any friend, and that’s not to say you don’t have a meaningful friendship. It just means that you are the kind of people who can remain friends as long as you DO NOT live together!

All this being said I wish  I took away from this experience the one thing that I went to uni for, a degree. So in order to make this happen I have had to think about a few things. Money being the biggest thing. I’ve asked myself a few questions that have helped me make some big decisions.

What degree would you do?
I’ve been really enjoying writing and it’s something I have had always had a passion for. English Literature is what I’m thinking at the moment. Or even creative writing. I’d like to better my vocabulary and get more creative and experimental with my writing.

Full time education again?
No! I know it will take me twice as long to do it part-time but this way I could fit it around my work schedule. I need to earn while I study because I do not want to put my dreams of moving out on hold for another 3 years. I am really unfussed about how long it will take. Life isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon. Slow progress is still progress.

Where?
London. I have had my fun venturing outside the capital and experienced country living. Well sort of – does Northamptonshire count as country living? I would definitely want to stay close to family, friends and job while I’m studying. Although thinking about this now, what’s stopping me from getting a job, moving away and studying in some other place?

When?
Within the next couple of years if I can figure out a way to pay for it. At the moment I’m doing an apprenticeship with the NHS so I’m currently studying. So once I’m done with this and I’m hopefully in a new, permanent position and I can go off and get my degree.

What else would you do differently?
In one word – focus. I’m going to focus on my studies and make sure I complete with the best result I am capable of. If I really am as mature as I’d like to think, I would use this new opportunity to learn from and not repeat my past mistakes. I will have to make a pact with myself that I am going to completely commit, keep myself motivated, not procrastinate with homework!

Finally getting a degree is the biggest thing I’ve been putting off. Writing this has helped me figure out exactly how much I want it and what steps I need to take to get it. As always I’ll keep you updated 🙂

I’m going to go get researching! Any London university/course suggestions?

Stay Bliss, Laura

 

Day 12 – My Bucket List

Day 12 of 31 day blogging challenge

Share your bucket list

Honesty can be a difficult policy when it comes to getting real and sharing what you actually want from life. If you never share then no one will know if you fail. You will know though and will always wonder if the problem was that you didn’t believe in yourself. Maybe if you shared your dreams somebody out there could relate. Somebody out there could help you, the same way you could help with certain things. Somebody might quit thinking that there dreams are stupid if they hear yours are similar. So this is my bucket list / things I want to achieve. In no particular order of course…

1) Start a Stay Bliss YouTube channel

This has been on my mind for the longest time but the thought of starting my own channel terrifies me. I don’t know if I’m cut out to be a YouTuber! For one thing I have no idea how to edit videos. I know with a bit of self-belief, some classes and a lot of organisation I can do this. However for now I am very happy with blogging 🙂 I’m still working out how to use wordpress…

2) Get a tattoo

I want a ying yang tattoo somewhere on my body…

3) Travel to and around Indonesia

I have always wanted to visit Bali and want to take an eating trip around Malaysia. Their cuisine looks seriously tasty.

4) Run a Stay Bliss conference

Yes it is what it sounds like. I would like to run a 2-3 day Stay Bliss conference. A place where we can all get together and encourage each other. I’d get motivational speakers, mediation experts, beauty gurus, love experts, financial advisers to come and chat to everyone. The whole thing would be completely geared around helping people live the best most positive life they can. As you can see I’ve put a lot of thought into this. I’m just in need of money, a lot of money.

5) Get my own place

If you read my blog prior to the challenge you know that for me moving out of my parents house is the next big move for me. Right now I’m looking for a house-share. Getting my own place is something I’d like to do when I have enough money to rent on my own.

6) Work in a fun start-up company

Hover boards, scooters, rum cocktails etc working at a startup company sounds like so much fun!

7) Start again somewhere like San Francisco or Seattle

They look like really pretty, carefree places to live – that speak English.

8) Find actual real love

I guess this would be nice

9) Publish a book

Something I would definitely love to do but still thinking about. A completely fictional novel about the England gangland perhaps?

10) Get a degree

I never completed university and this has always bugged me. I would love to go back one day and get a degree in English Literature.

So that’s all I can think of for right now. It feels really great to share. Now that I have it all in writing on a public forum like this it will be all the more easier to focus and achieve. I’ll be sure to keep you updated, who knows you may get an announcement about a YouTube channel or a conference soon! In the mean time I encourage you to think about your own bucket list. Write them down so you can fully enjoy the feeling of slowly checking them off.

Stay Bliss, Laura