Category Archives: Life Love and Me

Quick tips for when you need a reminder that you’re special

When I took the photo below of two diverging paths, I internally captioned it ‘a metaphor for my life’.

Cliché, I know, especially as it’s not that I have a dilemma forcing me to choose either or – it’s the choice of throwing myself at life and making things happen, or continuing to feel resentful because they’re not.

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Iyanla Vanzant, and I’m sure many others too said, everything you’ve acquired in life so far is a manifestation of what you’ve been able to create with the knowledge you have. If I measure my current situation and accomplishments by those words, I’ve done amazingly well, but I know I was meant for more. What has hindered my success in all areas of my life is fear and damaged self-esteem. Perhaps like me you’ve had the same negative self-talk for so long you feel trapped, and have begun to realise nobody sees you because of it. Who I am in my mind is not the person most people experience, and this is what I’m attempting to address without costly talking therapies – although I remain a staunch advocate of the practice.

“If you look underneath your depression, you’ll find anger. Look under your anger and you’ll find sadness. And under sadness is the root of it all; what’s really masquerading all the while – fear.” Molecules of Emotion by Candace Pert.

The term ‘self-love’ may sound airy and vague, but how much you value yourself governs every thought and therefore every decision you make. However you prefer to term it, the concept can’t be ignored so I guess I’m on a self-love mission of sorts. Millions of other people around the world and I often don’t feel very special so I thought sharing what I’m doing to correct this, would be an ideal starting point.

Reiterate who you are

At times I forget who I am. My motivations, likes, dislikes, values etcetera, all merge into the 50,000 thoughts a day I’m apparently having and the humdrum of working. I love writing everything down (clearly!) so I started a mind-map with a bubble in the middle of an A5 page: ‘Who am I?’ It’s almost a summing up of what makes me ‘me’ – my qualities, interests, and my best bits – make it visible to you on a daily basis.

Be honest

However unfavourable, admit to what you’re feeling and experiencing. Be honest about your behaviour or negative habits because you need to understand the cause to effect the outcome. One of the key things I’ve had to be honest about is jealousy, which is borne from a lack of fulfilment. It sounds awful but it’s a change signal for me. Another is dedication issues. What are yours?

Think back

A lot of the passion I had in my youth has disintegrated. I exist, but I don’t live. However, much of what moves me hasn’t changed, it’s just I no longer, or don’t, do them. So think back to the original source of motivation, the purpose for doing, because remembering and feeling it again can be really helpful.

What do you do? Share some of your self-love practices and tips by commenting below so we can add to this working progress. While you’re at it, watch this TED talk.

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REWIND: Wayne Marshall ‘G Spot’/ Beverley Knight ‘Flavour of the Old School’

Not the song that I randomly began singing a moment ago, but this was the one that followed it on my mum’s cassette tape. If only I could remember more than a few scatty lyrics of the one I actually want to find. ‘See what happiness will bring ya/yeah’ is as far as I’ve got and, ‘Everybody’s got that feeling’ followed by a high-pitched, ‘[something, something] high school(?)’ This is going to kill me!

*SCREAM* I got it! It was Beverley Knight – Flavour of the Old School. Thank goodness for that as I couldn’t even phone a friend to have them guess the tune.

Enjoy!

Debunking Myths with Brené Brown

Discovered in, and happily bought from Waterstones in summer 2014, cast aside for fiction some time in August 2014, divinely rediscovered at the side of my bed, December 2014.

Discovered in, and happily bought from Waterstones in summer 2014; cast aside for fiction some time in August 2014; divinely rediscovered at the side of my bed, December 2014.

If I hadn’t spent weeks contacting all manner of psychotherapists and psychologists for “complementary consultations” earlier this year, which would form the basis of an article I’d pitched, quite possibly I’d never have come across this fascinating woman and her research. The name was delivered with a side of ‘no-can-do-on-the-free-thing-but-this-might-help-you-out’ to my email inbox, and researching her opened up a treasure trove of wisdom that at the time, literally spoke to me. 6-8 months later, unfortunately the article remains unwritten as anonymous magazine stopped replying to my emails – my fault – but good news is, I have this book.

Just a snippet from Chapter 2…

MYTH #1: Vulnerability Is Weakness

“The perception that vulnerability is weakness is the most-widely accepted myth about vulnerability and the most dangerous. When we spend our lives pushing away and protecting ourselves from feeling vulnerable or from being perceived as too emotional, we feel contempt when others are less capable or willing to mask feelings, suck it up, and soldier on. We’ve come to the point where, rather than respecting and appreciating the courage and daring behind vulnerability, we let our fear and discomfort become judgement and criticism.”

Brené asks for her reader to consider a culture or social system you’re apart of when she poses deliberate questions in the book. Almost instantly, I think of my immediate family who I’d say are entangled within said paragraph above, and I believed/ still embody through my actions, myth number 1. If you’re unaware of Brené Brown, her light and airy website is the best place to start or better yet, type her name into Google (minus the accent), followed by TED.

3am Introspection

A perpetual seeker, bad habit repeater, silent night weeper,                                                                                                 Definitely a colossal dreamer.                                                                                                                                                                     3 sugars in my cup drinker, take a digestive biscuit dunker,                                                                                                                 A worn out over thinker.                                                                                                                                                                                   And that, my friends, is the clincher.

The Perils vs. Perks of Desiring Older Men

'Older Man With Younger Man' (1985) photographed by Ken Schles. Source: www.americansuburbx.com

‘Older Man With Younger Man’ (1985) photographed by Ken Schles. Source: http://www.americansuburbx.com

Younger women older men, Older women younger men, is far from a new concept; hook-ups are breaking generation boundaries all over the world. Fetish may be too strong of a word but there is undeniably something about an older man which I find far more appealing than one of my own age, and have done for quite some time.
While men of my own age have tended to put me on an misjudged pedestal, after evaluating a cross-section of their previous and deciding that I was this profound and supreme being who had it all together, an older man sees right through it. Your words aren’t enough to fool them as they judge women by their actions, not a hazy façade that you create so well.
Nonetheless, there’s a reason why this post refers to ‘desiring’ older men as opposed to ‘relationships’ with older men because I haven’t yet accomplished that feat. In the meantime, I present the reality of what one of these ‘seeingships’ entail for an age gap in the region of 10 years or more.

Perils

Pressure to impress

An older man has his criteria of what he wants in a partner at that particular time, if he’s ready, or has quite a clear idea of the type of woman he seeks. No matter how much ‘potential’ you have – that word alone suggests that you’re not quite there yet – forcing yourself to be their archetypal woman is a futile effort. Growing into who you are is a process. Consider how a caterpillar morphs into a butterfly – would you sacrifice its journey for the sake of the outcome? I think not. They’ve had their chance and it’s vital that you also grab yours.

Highlights your naivety

Innocence is a double-edged sword. It is alluring to an older man to entertain your innocence which has much to do with their willingness to teach. Innocence also indicates a lack of baggage; a more vibrant energy, and for an older man this is refreshing. However, it becomes negative when you find yourself illogically trying to compensate for a deficit of, in my case, more than 10 years. Sexually, socially, financially, career-wise, you have much to learn and if not careful, you’ll find self-doubt becomes like a parasite.

Different objectives

If you’re of your early 20s, have a 5-10 year plan laminated on your wall, then skip past this point and kudos to you. I’ll put my mouth on the line and say, that does not reflect the majority, and an older man does not have the time, patience, or intention to wait for you to figure this out. While you’re daydreaming, planning backpacking trips, still living at home with minimal savings; they’re in more of an ideal situation to build an empire, so either you’re in or you’re out. Don’t be deluded. Your end goals may be the same but it’s a race you won’t win.

Instant responsibilities

A little more than just tending to your home or throwing together a Sunday lunch let’s say, coming together means being united in every aspect. Living with someone equals sharing the same space, deciding how to cultivate your home environment, plus paying a considerable amount of bills. To do all of that takes emotional maturity, clear communication and a consistent, stable income from both parties. Not only that but you have a duty to nurture someone else emotionally – it’s no longer all about you and you’ll be expected to hit the ground running.

Sex and Babies

Interlinked, of course, but I’ll tackle each one in turn. The intimacy that you experience with an older man is incomparable to someone less skilful, but your inexperience is only cute for a little while. Sexuality is exploratory so giving you pleasure, gives them pleasure, but a man wants to feel desired and occasionally, submit all control, meaning you need to step up. And I say no more on that. Now onto babies. Talks of starting a family could come very soon but whose timing dictates to that decision? Yours or his? You may also need to question whether you’re considering it on some level to please them and keep them or because you genuinely hope to start a family with them. Babies are forever while relationships don’t have that same assurance.

Perks

Gentleman behaviour

Being swept off your feet is a feeling that exists, I’m happy to say, and I’m grateful to have experienced a fraction of it as I know the universe has more to bring! Some of the mature, gentlemanly behaviours I’ve encountered so far include: taking the lead, vulnerability, being openly affectionate, catering to my needs, showing me how beautiful and deserving a woman I am. Younger men don’t always get it because more often than not their ego doesn’t allow for you to shine; it’s like two divas clawing at each other for a solo performance. An older man will sit back and admire, rather than compete.

Highlight the real

I’m the first to admit that my pride can get in the way of friendly, but deemed unwelcome, advice. We think we know it all and sometimes have an unwillingness, to open our eyes and ears to what’s really going on. An older man, again we come back to time and patience, is at a point where they are unashamedly honest and that’s ultimately what provokes change or progression in someone. Their intention is not to patronise or undermine, though you may take it in that way; it’s simply to educate and highlight any misconceptions or skewed ideas you might have.

New shared experiences

Imagination has nothing on older men and the older you get, the less inclined you are to create excuses for living life. This opens up a never-ending list of what you can do together! Weird, wonderful and everything in-between because guess what? They don’t care about what anyone thinks; they’re comfortable in who they are, so their response to you will always be, “why not?” Older men are daring and adventurous; age has absolutely nothing to do with it. Not much that suggest will shock or intimidate them because they’ve probably done worse.

Selfless agenda

Support from an older man has the power to make you feel capable of anything because they don’t hold back the fact that they believe in you. Even when you can’t see it; they’ll acknowledge the talents that you have, and encourage you fulfil your ambitions. It’s not about the throwaway compliments, which I actually found were less frequent, but there’s power behind their words; they choose them carefully. I say it’s a selfless agenda in that they sincerely want for you to step into your potential as a woman, whether it’s them who end up tasting the divine fruits or not; they care.

Unique perspective

Older men have two very purposeful gifts: foresight and hindsight. A lot of situations that you’ll find yourself in, they’ve already experienced, and wished they had someone to coach them through it. No need to reinvent the wheel, as they say; all of the wisdom is there for you which they’re more than happy to share. Generation gaps also provide insightful exchanges where conversation is concerned, and you’ll each find yourselves being enlightened on subjects you may never have delved into. As much as you’re learning from him, he’s absorbing from you too, and is enjoying it equally as much.

 

An Alternative Christmas: How I Plan To Spend The Holidays

13 days until Christmas Day and exactly eight more days, or in teacher speak ‘get-ups’, until the 20th December arrives and the students race out of the school gates with their coats rebelliously on in the school building and as much cheer in their goodbyes as Ebenezer Scrooge. He was a mean, mean man and they, like I, are unfazed by the festivities around them.

This just made me laugh. Source: Weheartit.com

This just made me laugh. Source: Weheartit.com

Although ironically there’s a grand but sadly unembellished tree erected in the main foyer of my school, the festive morale among students and staff reaches nowhere as high as our ceiling-skimming conifer. In fact, between my commute from home to work, if it wasn’t for the bustle of the German Market and decorations draped across the tops of our heads, Christmas would come and go and I’d wake up on Boxing Day none the wiser.

By now you might have guessed that I’m not an enthusiast of this time of year. Don’t get me wrong, I love the romanticism of it all and admiring twinkle lights through people’s windows but I’ve woken up and grown up to describe Christmas for what it really is: ridiculously commercialised, a period of gluttony my stomach is no longer adept to breakdown and a holiday of depreciating value where my finances are concerned.

I’ve removed the conditioned obligation to exchange gifts and the disappointment at the low number of them I’d received since adolescence. (You’re now all forgiven). Food is cheap so naturally you’re inclined to buy and eat more, but I’d happily eat beans on toast for Christmas dinner. Though I haven’t had to yet, the revered turkey dinner stopped being important years ago. While I love food just as much as you reading, is the measure of a great Christmas what/ how much you consume or who’s around the table/ TV when you do so? Dining in with mum is perfectly fine but when two people regularly dine together anyway, why the emphasis on this one day? It just doesn’t seem necessary or logical.

Questioning why I’d choose to spend time following the traditions of a religion I don’t even practice was the crucial afterthought which finally made me think ‘sod this’. Gone are the expectations of a huge family dinner; paper crackers being pulled between cousins across the table and laughing at the grown folks who overestimated how much whisky and white rum they could drink – I’m too much of a curious person to think that’s the only experience of Christmas I can expect to have. Time to come up with a slight alternative so I thought of volunteering.

When I initially had this idea, one of many, I wanted to include Christmas Day BUT there’s a little lady at home who’s great for banter and whose company I enjoy when she’s in a good mood so that day, I will reserve for her. Ideally I’d like to spend 3-5 days in a hospice, women’s crisis centre, foster home, homeless shelter and the like; giving part of my time to people unrelated to me.

Let me assert that Mother Teresa I am not. I certainly don’t want to appear self-righteous, it’s all part of an educational process to broaden my ideas of what life is and isn’t, while making more effective use of my time. So if you work on behalf of a charity who’d appreciate an extra willing hand or know of some local projects that I could contact asap, please make contact with me or leave a comment at the end of this post.

Keep up-to-date on where I end up via the TwentysomethingMe Facebook here.

Audio Blog: Would you be in a relationship with you?

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Source: meloveletters.com

A lot of the topics for my blogs have been inspired by conversations with friends, whether I say little or a lot, there’s usually something that sparks a trail of thought for potential posts. Problem is, when I don’t rush to get those written down, they shrivel back up, though gasping for air, in this sardine tin I call, my mind.

“Part of growing up is being able to find solutions to your own problems. At the end of the day, if you can’t do it, there’s no amount of asking for advice that’s going to help because it’s you that has to implement this advice.”

Last night, I decided to not procrastinate quite so much and take action when the thoughts were fresh and relevant. There was no time to write this down, it would have turned into an epic piece of waffle, and I can’t say that waffle hasn’t been transformed into ramble, but I ran with the momentum at least. No edits, I’ve recorded and uploaded this just how it is and as you may have guessed the question: ‘Would you be in a relationship with you?’ will crop up in this audio, eventually, when I get to the point.

“Like I say to everyone, which is probably slightly negative, I feel like your twenties are just – can be – slightly overrated. This kind of image of being ‘twenty something’ which is thrust upon everyone, isn’t what it actually is, which is why I love my website so much and writing because at the end of the day, I think I present a honest account, even if it is slightly self-depreciating, I just like to be honest.”

Apologies for it being so long, I guess I do like the sound of my own voice after all…

“You need to think about the value that you’re adding to other people’s lives. And before you think about the value that you can add to another person’s life, you need to think about the value that you’re adding to yourself.”