The post-graduate blues

I was skyping my mum last saturday morning, standing in my kitchen making scrambled egg rolls, and I was having a moan. I tell her, with my throat tightening, that all I want is a bit of security, after an intense conversation about all the things that just weren’t happening for me.

And in reply to my heartfelt confession, in the context of a classic millennial groan. My mother, scoffed rather loudly, firing off that mum advice with a side of sass that comes from age and wisdom.

She started at me “having more money doesn’t give you that, having a better and more comfortable home doesn’t give you that. Not even love gives you that. You need to feel secure in yourself”. I thought about it for a moment, ready to argue back about how she was wrong, but she was completely right. 

I had that feeling of complete solidarity with myself and my life once, it was a few years ago and its now a time I look fondly upon. Everything was going okay. I was doing well in university, I had moved store and I met some truly amazing people. I started going out and doing new things, I started pushing myself out of my comfort zone so much more than before. To make it even better I was in love too, and I was really truly okay – my blog posts from that time are testament to that. 

I remained optimistic for such a long time and somewhere along the way amongst growing impatience, financial woes and graduation blues – I lost it. 

I sunk into a mild depression that would come and go as it pleased. Like waves meeting the sandy anxiety that already protruded from me, both clinging on to my skin for dear life. It is hard to stay grounded when you feel like you are constantly being scrutinised, questioned and pushed to the point where you are no longer trying to come up for air. 

I reminded myself that my mother too, had it hard at my age. Dear lord, she expereinced the 80’s, but at least it was a little easier to be younger then. A punk revolution helped them get through and probably a few drugs here and there I am sure – this being her version of events. For my generation, our grasp on ‘The sesh’  has firmly devolped as a generalised and okay thing to do continuously, and when and whereever possible. A space and time to ‘get oot our nut’ on varying degrees (mine getting drunk on rum or vodka – nothing extravagant).

We engage in conversations, nearly always a political conversation, a topical football palava that happened earlier that week that always manages to grace the shores of the early evening chat regardless of whether you support a team or not. And then comes the quiet and agreeable prescense later on, after a rowdy debate, that we are all a little fecked and the tory’s aren’t really our favourite. 

Our revolution is essentially the same thing as my mum’s era, we are waking up and engaging. Expect we all wear Nike air max now and I certainly don’t have a mowhawk.

But she too is living in today, and if anyone would know better about the state of our society it is her opinion that really goes above for me. She never gives me this false idea that it will be always be fine. Because from experience, it isn’t. She has toed the poverty line and then been flung over many a time. But she is strong and she continues to pick herself back up. It’s a race to the next step for the both of us, a beginning for me and a new chapter for her – the circle of life.

Problem is, I have no bloody idea what my next step is. The stairs have eroded into a grisly mess and like many young graduates, we are all running and about like headless chickens. Looking for our feet. But our feet are off following our mothers and fathers with their idealistic optimism about the job market. So off we go, paying to live, working full-time in a profit-driven society to pay the “big guys” for the generous hard work and service they once put into a company many decades ago. The company they spent so much time building, is now struggling – another recession imminent. How will they cope?

They tend to reach out and take – reduce and cut the few benefits they give employees already on minimum wage. A guy I know, who works for such, has been working hard, doing different roles for 10 years – A decade of his life may I add, has had his benefits taken off him because the said company changed his contract without him realising the consequences. It was supposed to be a promotion and a pay rise. There was no warning, and also no pay rise it turned out, just the same pay for more responsibility and your benefits taken off you for wanting to give more of yourself to the company. 

This happened last year and it is a true story. Let me tell you, I was bloody furious. I honestly feel like I have become a inside protester, I do my best to help people stick up for themselves when they are being wronged in my own work. Politics is clearly my calling.

Anyway, my mother was right in putting the truth to me. I need to be happy with myself, and stop relying on societys’ offerings to give me comfort. A good enough vision to have would you agree? To a point. 

I can go through stages of being fine, but with every moral lapse in the political world, every benefit sanctioned, every company doing best for themselves and not their employees, it is bloody hard.

My emotional empathy is high and each time it goes into overdrive. I can’t cope as much as I used too because the truth is, I am no longer in my bubble. I am no longer working towards anything, succeeding or doing things for myself because I am working full-time and I have no money or time. I am very very sad within myself and its getting harder as time goes on.

I am aware of all that is wrong with my expectations, as though having these things would ‘make me better’. But its not about that, I just know fine well, that getting a good graduate job would means my mental state will get better because I would have my own purpose – a career. Not just that, but my financial problems will hopefully start being controlled better and I could start looking out for myself again. I remain hopeful that this day will come.

I don’t think it’s too wrong to want to be in a better position, a job where I can make a difference, so I can shake off this guilt that I should be doing something more for myself. I wish I had the time to volunteer to learn more about the community I live in,  I wish I could intern as many days I could and do something real to me. I wish that the society I lived in wasn’t this harsh on young graduates coming out of student loan debt and straight into ridiculous overdrafts and ridiculously badly paid jobs.

I want to do more and I AM FRUSTRATED  because I feel like I can’t do anything without rejection. I am sad because no matter how much I am trying it feels like I am going nowhere, and each time I send in an application I have this annoying glimmer of hope that at least one day it will be different and better. And I can do something, and give something back to those in the same position – even if it’s through my writing.

Beyond the gentle waves is where the real turbulence lies.

​I knew I needed time off work, but I didn’t realise just how much being there was causing these negative feelings I was experiencing every single day. I thought it was my just my general mood, because I was struggling to find my feet as a journalism graduate. I thought it was because of the mudane pressures that come with being an adult.

Still, a few days away was enough to put things into perspective for me. I went away to places I had never been before and I explored.It gave me a moment of pure calm as I looked up to the moody sky and realised for once I didn’t feel the same. I took a deep breathe and then watched the waves of Loch Lomond roll out and into the roots of outgrown trees.  As myself and my boyfriend crossed a wooden bridge we peered over like excited children, chatting about all the different kinds of pebbles. We discussed and challenged the easiest route to get around a slightly alarming puddle. We saw some ducks. I was content.

Walking is my therapy, so these trips became more than just your every day stroll. I ended up with the kind of soul-searching, outwith my usual boundries kind of walk which usually occurs when life is in the process of adapting around you.

Walking brought up feelings, and it was refreshing to break through the numb quiet I have become used to, a gentle reminder that despite my moment of calm, I am still struggling.

Most people in my life know this, that mentally, physically and financially I am drained. 

Though it may be unbelievable, I am still happy, I have very good friends, and I like coming home to my supportive and intelligent partner. (And of course my cats). But when i go to work, I become sad. It’s like a shift in personality. I stiffen, I expect negativity, to be talked down to, to be cursed at, shouted at irrationally. But I can handle that. It comes with the job and you find positivty and kindness goes a long way in dealings with these situations. But I become unbearably sad and it isn’t right. Work doesn’t give me any feeling of pride, I no longer feel a sense of achievement. I feel stuck, badly paid and unappreciated. I am not happy about the way things are run, or with some of the people “running it” I am unhappy not just because of me, but having to watch everyone else I have grown attached too struggle and feel just the same in varying ways. 

It is a workplace that is in no way shape or form forward thinking about the welfare of its employees, nor their livelihoods. Everything is a bother, or a problem. You request a day off weeks in advance and you are verbally called a pest. You work your socks off, you produce sales, instead of gratitude, you gain nothing. It is a still silence.

It is an expected silence.

And so you watch a manager get a hefty bonus for sitting in an office huffing about its awful staff and how everything is left for them to do, because we are incapable. While the staff and other management are hard at work serving, dealing with the everyday issues and nonchalantly working away, indifferent to the opinion of one on their individual abilities.

I spend most my time there, but this work is not my life, just my livelehood. And that is something I am made to feel ashamed of and restricted to. I did not spend 5 years studying journalism to be forced into a weirdly controlled working environment that tells you how to feel, or do, without reflection, a moment of creativity, a challenge or offer any prospects. It is not a happy workplace and I will never lie about that. 

So my time off has been very much a rude awakening. 

I already knew I was stuck and there is nothing I can do about that until I can find a new job.  While I never expected to be in this position, at least time off has confirmed what the problem is, that I need mental stimulus and respect. I need more than this and that is completely okay. It is a simple conclusion but a sign of a changing attitude, because if there is one thing I do best, it is that I believe I adapt well, even if I don’t realise at the time.

Reflection

Throughout my life, I have reflected on my actions, my choices, and my feelings, and today is no exception.

Towards the end of university, I thrived off the simplicity of success and the feeling of working towards a common goal. My aim was to graduate with honours. Of course, this was a desire that everyone had, that was the point of it.Yet surprisingly, in the beginning, I didn’t. See the truth is, I expected to fail, even though I have already gotten so far. I doubted my ability, my intelligence, and I battled with my own negative outlook. But university changed my way of thinking.

In the beginning of university my natural reactions to most things were primed by a negative mind. I was clouded, so whenever something good happened, say for instance, getting results back and sharing them with others, I would feel embarrassed and awkward. When I quietly announced to a friend over a table that I got a B in my portfolio, I watched their reactions, their smiles and I would smile back with an apologetic look on my face. Why, because I wanted to shout and jump about it, but gloating wasn’t my normal way of doing things, I was embarrassed for allowing people to feel excited for me. I was being fussed over and instead of feeling grateful for such a positive reaction, I looked for anything to turn around and enforce my negative opinion of myself and my achievements. It was so bad that I would take congratulations from lecturers with a pinch of salt, go home and think about how I could have done so much better.Simply Because I truly believed I wasn’t good enough. I was so deep into my own self-loathing, I couldn’t comprehend positivity, and that is a truly terrifying thing.

But the thing was, the people in my life didn’t cater to my darkness like I wanted, they smiled and cheered, and egged me on. The issue I was faced with was that my self-doubting was so bad, my sense of judgement of progression and achievement was seriously clouded. But university gave me my guts back, and the friends I had and made along the way pushed me to celebrate the small things, and most importantly my boyfriend changed how I saw myself, loved me no matter. And so, I reflected some more.

See, like all humans, we reflect on our actions, our feelings and our patterns that we develop. Over the years, I accepted that feeling ashamed about wanting to be better and successful was just a response, driven by past events to my own inner issues. I accepted that I was reinforcing my own idea about myself, and it started to become clear, that I saw myself differently to everyone else in my life. I was always quick to celebrate other people’s achievements but I had finally begun to feel proud of my own. University and the people within it gave me that. I started listening intently to those words, watching those reactions and changing my own perception of myself. I felt like I was finally in control.

As I went through my final two years of university. I took on board the constructive criticism from lecturers and let it guide me. I put myself into situations I would never have dreamed of. I worked for Sky News and threw myself into an internship at a publishing house I wanted to work for. I wrote about something that interested me and got it published. I chose a difficult and interesting topic about reporting on trauma for my dissertation, I interviewed very successful people in the business and didn’t feel unequal. I did these things because I believed in myself and listened to those who believed in me too. I did these things because I wanted to be the best of myself without the negative outlook.

On reflection, if there is one thing I am sure of, it is that we continue to grow – up and better – all at once, and the challenges we face are sometimes obstacles we place before ourselves, because we either don’t know any better, or we haven’t allowed ourselves to be better. But with a bit of reflection, we can all get through this, challenge ourselves to be the good within and not what we are told, but who we are and how we feel.

Life unexpected

I sat there completely numb, staring at the red wax I had spilled on the carpet many years ago, an SNP car drove down the street singing through the gap in my open windows. The sound travelled through me as I listened to it screaming, away from eyesight. Powerful and together. I glanced back at the residue left from the blu tac on my bedroom wall, a sour expression shaped my face.

I knew deep down it was going to end up this way. But he’d always managed to escape unscathed. His mental well being was always his silent defence, except that the reality this time was that he wasn’t the same version of himself, the one that I used to know. He was together and then he wasn’t, and then he was everywhere and I couldn’t keep up, understand or help. And that was my father. I cursed my curiosity for trying to find him. For hoping he would be well. I was wrong and it hurt me more than I ever expected to. At least he was alive was the conclusion i took from finding out his whereabouts.

Change did it. He egged me on. My life was moving on to new a chapter and I was happy. “I am an adult now”, I would tell myself confidently as I wrote him letter’s I would never send.

But I didn’t feel powerful, only exhausted. I got up and shoved some of my old paper work into a bin bag and moved it to the floor. A slight wave of relief brushed over me as I stared at the newly clean area of my bed – the rest covered in various belongings. Trying to feel settled in chaos was overwhelmingly familiar.

Finding him in jail was unexpected. It was already shaping me. I thought about this as I sat amongst my disorder and pulled out an old shoebox, the sentimental sort. One by one I investigated and remembered, plastics cats I used to get on top of my birthday cake every year, various badges of childhood authority, letters, post cards, birthday cards. I found my dad’s collection of random pictures and cards. I looked through them, stroking the fabric on one, appreciating the moment of nostalgia.Full of effort, they were the put-together-art kind or one’s with cats on the covers. He knew me even if I didn’t see him. At the time, I would proudly place them beside my other cards, hoping people would see that it was from my dad.Hoping I wouldn’t have to answer any questions of his whereabouts. It was a child thing to do. Still I kept a hold of them because I knew the importance of the simplest of things. I remember the feeling of disappointment waiting by the back door to catch a glimpse of him dropping them off. I never did.

I am the way because of my parents, my many traits knotted together with theirs. Unintentionally intertwined. My determination most definitely stems from my disorder of growing up. The constant not knowing how his mind was when I started seeing him again. The constant reliance on the bare minimum. My mum being the best kind of support system growing up, always caring.

My parents divorced when I was only young. It doesn’t bother me at all. It never has, the absent father was the thing to do and I understood that. I remember being a toddler and seeing the unhappiness between them. I shouldn’t of known they weren’t supposed to be together. I shouldn’t be acknowledging anything other than my farm animals and my lack of juice in my sippy cup at that age, but I have always always been aware of other people’s emotions.

And emotion is what drives me every single moment of every day. Every decision based on the foundations of my life so far.

I packed my happy memories into a bigger box and wrote on the side of it. The bad news had been there a month and I still hadn’t had time to process it, or the true meaning behind his safety. I was finishing off all my third year assessments, most of which could only be completed at my university, a two hour journey from where I lived. I was working part time at the weekend, and was doing a full time internship for two weeks at Think Publishing. I was working for Sky News for the General Election in a few days and then moving to my new home two days after.

I was stressed, and this meant that my pain was concealed by my need to keep going. Right now as I write this. It hurts. I’m hurting. But I have never been more grateful and happy for having such a stable relationship with my boyfriend, friends and family. I think that’s probably why I can’t feel settled in my new home. My links to my past and my experiences have been left in my old home and for the first time in my life – my chaos has not followed and overshadowed me like before.

I’m used to feeling submerged by my problems and fighting through it. I’m used to the familiarity of striving for stableness but never achieving it. Slowly and with the right people I got there, I am living a stable life, Its hurts knowing he may never be able to, or even thinking about the possibility of him never knowing how if feels. Because it changes you and I wish he knew how nice it feels. I wish I could have what I have always wanted, which is a stable relationship with him. But I am not sure that is ever going to be a possibility. But life is unexpected. I guess I don’t know him anymore, he may become well again. It may happen. I remain hopeful – as any loving daughter would.

Honestly, I always expected trouble, because with illness, trouble follows like a twisted slave. I just never expected to find him in jail for something constructed by his ill mind. I hope they have moved him to a facility where they can take care of him. I hope they can help him become himself again. And then maybe, I can resume my role as daughter. I wonder now that my need to find him was because I am trying to sabotage my own stability and surround myself with chaos to feel okay again. After all, any negative experience only makes you cautious.

Learning as you go

I think what shocked me the most was the realisation that I wasn’t as emotionally invested as I had led myself to believe. The investment was real, but the long term effects of my unhappiness in the relationship meant that it was rather my image than my heart that I trailed after.

The thought staggered and swayed in my mind as I tried to ease the pain of my friends loss. Lost in conversation, I watched as it pointed the finger at old feelings, replicated from fresh conversation, newly born from my hurt friend, I tried the best I could to dish up healthy advice and that how she currently felt was natural and what to do about it. But it isn’t something you can really put into words. Your own experience is your own experience after all. And break up’s are fucking hard.

The truth is… Feel the way you want to feel. If you need time away from people, take it. If you need to get out and socialise. Do it. Everyone reacts differently. The first thing I did was breathe.

Once he had left the room to confide in his xbox friends and resume his game, I took a deep breath, my body and mind abandoning ship and shaking violently, I scrolled down, clicked my life with him away to single and saved the changes. I waited for the shock of people coming to terms with me finally letting go. I spent that evening planning a life without him, doing my finances, taking the dog a walk. I was free, was essentially my first thought – and probably his too.

A few years down the line, mistakes learned and memories faded, I can say with my feet firmly on the ground, my head held high, that I survived. I made my peace and I moved on. Everything has changed for the better. I am over it, but of course I still feel it, and that is what I remembered today talking with a friend. That everybody moves on but the mind stays frozen. It re-enacts distant memories from your closed box, fresh and gut wrenching all the same. The hair at the back of your neck raised. Now it is nothing more than a warning to older times.

I feel it when they pop up on my timeline on Facebook. I feel it when we past by one another back in my adolescent home town, embarrassed looks exchanged and then forgotten about at the end of the street.  It doesn’t bother me anymore but I still feel it. It is a reminder of my failed relationship, One I am grateful for finally ending. I am reminded of the hurt I felt for the betrayal, and what we both felt for probably a good portion of our ‘perfect’ relationship.

The reality is that I was not an innocent bystander. I was part of a team, and as much as him, I failed to turn up. In this past I have acknowledged this, but I have learned from that one conversation that sometimes you just need a little bit of time, and a little bit of change to fully appreciate how different things could of been, and how great they can be. Which is how I feel things are for me now.

Reflection is key for me becoming a better person, and I can finally put my hands up and say ‘hey, it’s also my fault that our relationship broke down’ and ‘hey, I also let it get to a point where we both felt trapped and helpless’. It is a horrible feeling owning up to your own mistakes but life has taught me to deal with it and move on. Which I gladly did.

None of this is new information to me, it is something I have thought about over and over in many moments alone. In my many moments trying to overcome bad habits. I am only human after all. But one thing is for sure. A new perspective, a different experience and a new mind are all important factors in understanding your own.

Independence Referendum Reflection

Words are what spark emotions in people. For instance, we hear war and naturally we feel fear and anxiety. We hear Independence and we are met with a mix of good and bad emotions, pride, freedom, anxiety, suppression. In general, words can ignite something in us. It happened to me on September 11, 2001, when two planes crashed into the twin towers. I was only seven, I cried, I felt anger, I felt for the people who had died and those who had lost their loved ones. I felt emotions, but I didn’t understand why. On the news, the aftermath was occupied with political jargon, war and hatred. Being seven I couldn’t fully take it in, but I wanted to. From that point on I was filled with a morbid curiosity, I had to settle my own confusion.

It was 9/11 which sparked my political interest, but it had always been there. Everyone has it, we all care about the rules and regulations, but we only show it when we don’t approve. And that is what is happening right now. That is why we are having a referendum.

When Alex Salmond announced that there would be a Scottish referendum on September 18th, I wasn’t amused. Oh great, I thought, another political campaign. But it was just anxiety speaking. Over time I felt drawn towards it. What was the right answer? Was there a right answer? I spent hours gruelling over both campaigner’s websites. Partly for a debate that I was involved in with my other classmates at university, and partly because I wanted to know. But I got angry over the childishness on both websites and very quickly spiralled into a huff and gave up. Why was it so difficult to have a straight answer? How could I debate about it if I didn’t fully understand it. I was immediately brought back to seven year old me obsessing over 9/11. It spurred me on. I realised I was only angry because I didn’t understand. So this time I paid more attention, I starting watching the live debates, I started reading articles from both sides on a variety of news websites. I started taking an interest.

The funny thing was, so was everyone else. In the run up to the independence referendum there has been yes and no campaigners singing or shouting about independence. There has been customers coming into my work with balloons, badges, stickers, all of which were making their way onto the floor, or the ceiling, or our clothes. Within what felt like a few months, everything changed, everywhere I turned people were expressing themselves. Whether that be for independence or against. It was refreshing. For the first time ever, people I worked with were having healthy debates about it. These people were all between 16 and 27. We were all young and we were all interested in politics in some way or another. When have we ever been able to say that? It made me realise how big this has become. People want to be apart of Scotland’s future, we want to have a voice. It is clear that maybe Scottish people feel they were never heard before. That is certainly something to think about it anyway.

If you are reading this and your are still undecided, my advice is to settle your confusion, do your research and tomorrow vote for what you believe is the right decision, whatever that may be.

Now I have one question for you reader. Have my words sparked an interest?

From Adult To Adult

“Ouch”. I moan, as my kitten’s perfectly refined claws retract out of my calves. He senses the tension between us and as an act of avoiding responsibility, performs a jump and sprint through the flat. All the while, I’m bent over falling bum first into my hallway wall, trying frantically to put my shoes on and tie my laces in a manner, I am sure is exclusive to the anxious and clumsy. As always I am late, which means I must perform the ritual of all my morning rituals. Check I have my keys, check again, run across the road and through the traffic lights, hold down my flying lanyard, wipe my watery eyes from the wind, keep the contents of my bag safe as I check that I have my card (and my keys). I try and hide my shame and my wind tears, as I sprint awkwardly to the station, past all my neighbours and takeaway providers.

They know, I will tell myself, that even as a fully grown 20 year old women, I still fucking hate mornings.

Growing up, I was never under the assumption that life was going to be an easy ride. As a child, I was constantly observing and going through the struggles of life, only from a younger perspective. Though I may not have been physically dealing with things like an adult would, emotionally I was. I became a worrier, a title that had rudely gatecrashed my life.

I didn’t know what I was expecting of adulthood, I don’t think anyone does. All I had to base it on was from watching my mother bring me and my sister up. From that, I guess I had already learned that life was unexpected, mean and incredibly unfair. It was full of mishaps and responsibilities and yet, it taught me an important lesson. I learned that opportunity is only an opportunity if you see it as one. As a teenager, I took this idea on aggressively, because I wanted nothing more than stability. I wanted what everyone else ‘had’.

This attitude was clearly one of the reasons people perceived me as odd during school. I was mocked for wanting to better my life. Mocked for wanting to get a flat instead of go to halls, laughed at for having a savings account. Posters about me and my ex stuck on walls for this that and everything else. It was ignorance on their part, for not being able to accept me as the person I was, and ignorance on my part for not being able to accept the fact that nothing I did would make them value me as their peer. I felt wrong, rejected, a people pleaser who was unable to please. A troubling time for me as far as troubling times can go. But I wasn’t different, just misunderstood.

I may not of expected too much from growing up, but naively, after school I had hoped it would get better. I was convinced that if I made a life for myself, if I set the foundations, surely the rest would follow. All this steamed from a difficult financial upbringing, I really just wanted the chance to feel what every other child, teenager or adult was apparently feeling. Stability, financial support, a home to run to when things got too hard. I didn’t have this option, I knew when I moved out that I will never have that option. So Instead I grew up with the understanding that I had to be extremely cautious in life. When I was younger I would constantly wish I had money, then when I got older, any money that I made I kept a hold of.  …Just in case something happens…  I would tell myself. I was so used to mishaps that it became an obsession. Security was all I wanted in the end right? Even when I moved out, I was repeatedly turning down, doing fun things with friends because I just had to save for bills. I knew I would be like this, at least I was prepared for that, even if they weren’t.

Security. The word glided through my nerves and slipped into my mind. It wasn’t a threat, only a mild sedative. I was simply programmed into this way of life now. I had to support the pressure and responsibilities I had created and I wasn’t willing to give any of it up. But the pressure became my host. In a panic I let myself believe that I wasn’t lost. Just more focused, more willing to do what I could, to build my life up to the pedestal I had set long, long ago. The word fun became a disease, I worked hard and I saved. There was nothing more to it. I had a goal, I would get that stability that I was so clearly deprived of.

But I felt overwhelmed, cornered with no where to turn. I soon understood that this obsession was unhealthy. Had society turned me into a monster, or had I? I finally understood that I was depressed, and instead of dealing with this issue, I had created a persona. I wanted to fit in so badly, be valued and recognised as an adult, that I became a different person, with a warped view on adulthood.  I managed to go years without really living, Instead I was a bystander in my own life. A faded shadow.

The moment everything began to change wasn’t sudden, it was a gradual process, a couple of confusing months, a couple of secret’s let slip, a lot of me began to change. I didn’t want to be the pressured idea that I had created, I wanted to be able to enjoy myself and see my friends and start living my life. I wanted to be me.

One thing I have learned is that the pressure you feel is your own, most of the time. Something my partner has taught me is that you can take control of what you can control, but you need to let go of what you can’t. And being able to adjust to that attitude has been a breakthrough in my own growth. Being able to finally find joy in things and spend money on myself (responsibly) is a blessing, and something I never thought I could ever feel without fear of judgement.  Still, I wont deny the fact that adulthood is tough, feeling overwhelmed and having no over option than to deal with it is a way of life as an adult.  But I have found a healthy way to deal with it. (Except mornings, that shit will never get old).

It’s funny that we allow ourselves to be told by society what is right and what is wrong, there is no leeway. It’s basically ‘Here’s the guide book, follow it or be deemed socially different’. In a nutshell, I tried and I failed and then I thought to myself. After years of trying to fit in, all the pressure from caring too much of what other people thought. I am so done with it. Because that’s the beauty of adulthood, at the end of the day, it is your life.  Unless you let them, no one can do or say anything that is going to stop your emotional growth. You make your own mistakes, and you decide if you are going to take it as an opportunity to grow. You eventually learn that you can rise above it all. You can rise above depression, you can rise above hardships and you can most certainly rise above yourself. And in the end, I did that. In the end, I allowed myself to have a happy life.

 

And I love my life…for the most part. 😉

 

Kyra xo

 

 

Finally I understand

“It has made me better loving you … it has made me wiser, and easier, and brighter. I used to want a great many things before, and to be angry that I did not have them. Theoretically, I was satisfied. I flattered myself that I had limited my wants. But I was subject to irritation; I used to have morbid sterile hateful fits of hunger, of desire. Now I really am satisfied, because I can’t think of anything better.” -Henry James, The Portrait of a Lady.

I have never come across a bundle of words so accurate to how I feel in this moment, how I have been feeling from the very beginning. I didn’t know how to express the fact that I finally felt Satisfied. And not just with you, but more importantly, with myself. It is not something you can pinpoint out the very back of your subconscious and be like, ah! that’s what I’ve meaning to say all along. This quote reminded me of myself and it helped me understand.

Words helped me see, so I’ll let you see my words clearly.

When my mouth moved I was slurring out cheese-filled vocabulary which made me sound like an overused valentines day card. I was coming across as your average girl in love. I found it hard to express vocally without sounding the same as everyone else – but I have the ability to write about how I feel, and that is a powerful thing, even as powerful as how I feel about you. I may not be able to say it without tripping over my words and taking about three years to get to the point, I may go off on a tangent, and accidently forgot what I was trying to say. I get distracted, but at least I can write about how I love you.

And I’m sorry for saying I love you,  without really explaining why. With everything you do for me, even the smallest of things, they can have the biggest effect.

I love you for how you calm me, how you carefully challenge me when I’m too anxious to step up, how you make me see that I am stronger than what my self-esteem likes to think it is, even in my most vulnerable moments. How you have taught a highly strung, overly cautious girl to have fun, in ways I like having fun and introducing me to ways you like having fun. You have taught me how to be bold.

Falling in love with you, was one of the best experiences I have ever had. There was not a moment where I doubted that this wouldn’t work, despite having reasons to be careful. But it felt far too right to ignore, and what is life if you are not living, if you are not taking risks. And us falling in love was one worth taking.

It can be curious thing love, it is especially curious once you aren’t falling in love anymore. Instead you are just in love, it doesn’t sound as glamorous but once the constant rush has settled, everything is so much clearer. You are committed to each other in a way that seems like friendship, but stronger – like a overlapping bond. Tight, secure, and safe. I am happy, Satisfied.

I have passed that heart pounding, anxiety driven feeling that I had with him while I was falling, like I was about to leap of a a tall cliff. It was a leap of complete and utter faith, of giving myself over and letting my emotions lead the way. For once I carefully ignored any signs that this could end at any point, because I was lost in a happy place, everything was so easy, so carefree, so different. And it still is. Why would I ever think that it could ever end?

Oh you! I laugh as I playfully nudge my inner-self, for thinking such a silly thing. But sometimes you can stop thinking clearly, not matter how happy you are. It can be easier than you think letting your insecurities slowly take control.

All of my worst thoughts creeping into skin.What happens if it does end? Will he still love me? Is he going to get bored and move on. Am I going to be alone, worse abandoned.  Every time you Shake them off violently, stomping at the foul creatures and remind yourself that insecurities are not who you are, unless you let them, they are not how they make you feel, unless you let them. They are powerless, unless you give them the wheel.

I would consider myself a strong person, but you have still supported me through some of my darkest moments, even if you have not realised. You have, and you still pull me up when I’m sitting with you at half one in the morning trying to explain, trying to understand my own ridiculous and unnecessary insecurities. Sometimes, I let them take over, and I don’t know why. I guess I can get defense and I get scared. I do not want to loose the most important person in my life (besides my family). I am human and I feel protective, of course I wouldn’t want to lose you. I have never had it better. And as for my insecurities, well no matter how much I have dealt with something emotionally, tiny fractions can sometimes still remain and there is nothing I can do about that, but solider on and accept it as part of what has built me up, and what made me who I am. The me that I am today, and not the me that i was yesterday.

You have never given me any reason to doubt that this relationship was wrong, that this journey we were both on was timed.  Right now I could think of nothing better than to spend the rest of my life with you, to travel and experience life together. For with love you have all the time in world. That connection I feel with you is just the same as how I described it a year ago when I wrote about you for the first time on here. Just as strong, only so much more now.

It has made me better loving you … it has made me wiser, and easier, and brighter. I used to want a great many things before, and to be angry that I did not have them. I was not satisfied with anything at all, i was learning to accept myself. But now I have myself and I have you, and I am satisfied in every way someone could be. You satisfy me in every way you can, and I can’t thank you enough for being you. For being the best influence in my life, for letting me in on your world. I love you more than you could ever imagine.

Kyra xo

Ministers’ call for veto on release of report that sheds HS2 project in bad light.

Cabinet Office Minister, Francis Maude and Transport Secretary, Patrick McLoughlin, have come under fire after a leaked letter to David Cameron, detailing their urge to veto the release of the project assessment review on HS2.

The letter reveals their concerns about the release of the report and believe it will cause “political and presentational” problems, if the document is released to the public.

Earlier in the year, the Information Commissioner stated that the documents should be released, but the government appealed against the decision, and will appear for a tribunal hearing later in the week.

In 2011, the project was placed under the amber/red category.

The controversial project is rumoured to have rising costs, and is expected to go over the expected £50billion budget.

The Department of Transport had previously refused disclosure of the review to the public and MPs, despite numerous requests under the Freedom of Information (FoI) Act. The department state that: “disclosure of the information would not be in the public interest.”

If the veto gets the go ahead, neither the public or MPs would have access to the information.

According to the Daily Mail, Stop HS2 Campaign Manager Joe Rukin said: “It is absolutely disgraceful that the Government doesn’t want MPs, who should be fully informed before voting on the colossal expenditure HS2 entails, to actually have all the information about the project.”

HS2 is considered controversial for a number of reasons, including the rising cost of the project, and the governments ability to knock down homes and parks, to make way for new railway tracks, if the bill is passed through parliament successfully.

Phase 1, is destined to run from London to the West Midlands, and is expected to be completed by 2024. With Phase 2, continuing to the North East of England, which is expected to be completed around 2032.

Profile: The Man Behind The Ice Cream.

Copyright @stv news

Equi’s ice cream has become renowned for its quality and presentation. The man behind it, delivers the same message. Grown into the family business, and 25 tasty years later, it can be said that David Equi, now the Director of Equi and Sons Ltd certainly knows a scoop or two about ice cream.

We go into the manager’s office and for the third time I am offered a cup of tea. The interview has not even begun yet, but his personality is as big as his scoops. The word family gets thrown around, but the truth is that for the past 18 years, he has been the only member that is actively involved in the business. But it doesn’t matter to him though, because it becomes apparent that his staff are his unofficial family.

“It’s all about the staff its not about me”. He says as he relaxes back into his chair.
“I employ 180 staff, I do all the rotas, which I’ve done in here for 25 years. You wouldn’t be anything without your staff, and they could also be the ruin of you, if you don’t look after them. But if you have decent people helping you run it then it’s fine. I used to be run around doing everything, I would be here every morning, and every night, because that was the old Italian way. There always had to be a member of the family on the shop floor, but it came to a point where I was the only member of the family here and you can’t do everything. So my big thing was that I don’t want to run it as a family, I wanted to run it as a business.” He remarks.

David tells me about growing up with the business, explaining that he worked behind the counter every Sunday. In those days, it was tradition for him and his siblings.

“Bizarre as it sounds,” David exclaims, “I was working behind the counter at 8 years old. I can remember selling cigarettes to people, which at the time was only 26 ½ pence.”

For 90 years, Equi’s has been trading in South Lanarkshire and now to the rest of Scotland. Times have certainly changed, along with the currency, and Britain has faced difficult times. Yet Equi’s acceptance to adapt to customer needs has meant that they have survived some of the worst.

“I remember when I bought our first delivery van for the wholesale ice cream and it was a great feeling,” David smiles. “But, it’s not like I lead an extravagant lifestyle. Well, I did have an Audi 08 for a year,” he says with a smirk. “I’m not a flashy person, because it’s always a struggle to find money. I mean anyone I know that’s good at business, they are not in it for the money. It’s for the success of it, the representation, and sometimes you have to make choices.” He adds.

David looks at me with a serious look and says:“You’ve got to cut your cloth accordingly. When running a business, you have to play things really tight because it’s really hard to borrow or raise money. I remember loads of times in here, when we had no money at all.”

When David was a boy, money wasn’t the only thing that was beginning to change, ice cream had become trendy. David speaks of his father and his passion for making ice cream, explaining that as he was growing up, peoples attitudes were changing and they were more inclined to try new things. He suggested that people expected more than just flavour now. The presentation had became important too, and that is something Equi’s were able to adapt to very quickly.

David starts pouring himself a cup of tea, as he says: “It was always a big thing of his, to get famous. But my father was always set on the fact that nobody outside of Hamilton knew who we were. I then realised that every town in Scotland thinks they have the best ice cream, every person you meet are like ‘I’m away to get ice cream from so and so from down the road’, and they only know their local area. At least that’s how it used to be.”

But that is not the case any more as Equi’s supply a staggering 250 wholesale customers, including big brand supermarkets such as Asda. The business has gained more recognition through customer service and by adapting to change over the past few decades. And it is all because of David’s drive to be the very best. But he explains that he did not always want to work for the family business. David studied Business at Edinburgh University. Once he graduated, he discovered that there was no job’s out there for him.

In between sips he explains: “When I came back, I wasn’t planning on working for the family business. But because I couldn’t get a job when I graduated, I ended up working for my father. I could make all the ice cream anyway, and I could work in the office because I knew how to do payroll. But as it was very old fashioned in here, my father didn’t really want me in the business, he didn’t think I could do it, which just shows you. But he was just trying to push me. He’d tell me ‘you’ll be on crap wages, you’ll have to prove yourself’, even though I was a honours graduate from Edinburgh University. I was still, ‘the boy will do this, the boy will do that’, I used to hate it. But really it’s good, it keeps you grounded.”

David’s relationship with his father was his driving force to make the business a success. Subconsciously, he was following in his father’s footsteps, getting them known and building up the business. Not long after the pair went into partnership, his father took ill with leukemia and passed away.

“I was left with running the business on my own,” David says with a pondering look in his eye.
He quickly asserts himself and continues: “Which I had been kind of doing anyway when he was ill, but he was still quite old fashioned and he didn’t really want me to do much. By that point though, I had wanted to do a million things. So I started to expand the business and do different things.”
Going back to his father, he continues: “Before he was ill, I remember us going on a tour around all these ice cream parlours in Scotland. Ones that were well known, for instance Nardinis. I used to go there as a boy and be like no way this place is massive. I wanted to be like that. And now, I own half of Nardinis.”
“But my father wasn’t really into the business, whereas I was. He was really into his ice cream, yet he never entered a competition. So the first time he let me do it, we won a silver medal. After that he trusted me a bit more. What he didn’t realise was that I had been mucking about with his ice-cream for years, changing them all up. Of course, I had to do it gradually so he didn’t realise what I was doing.” He says with a mischievously grin, stirring his spoon into his second cup of tea.
Now, the walls of the ice cream parlour in Hamilton are filled with awards of all kinds. Including UK Champion of Champions, best flavour of ice cream at The Royal Highland Show, which he won five times in a row, and most recently ‘Best Ice Cream Parlour’ at the Scottish Italian Awards 2013. David explains excitedly that the latter is his favourite, for the recognition it brings to the business and his community.
With ice cream parlours in Cambuslang, Edinburgh, and Motherwell, and the possibility of a unit in Glasgow, the business is growing at a fast rate, but David promises it is all a gradual process. He explains with a serious face, that you must take risks to invest in the business.

“When my dad was here, people started to ask us about selling them ice-cream, and I thought ‘oh that would be good’, but he didn’t want to do it, he said you have to do it yourself. There was a guy helping me make the ice cream but he didn’t want anything to do with it. People were different back then, he would say oh ‘That’s not my job, that’s your job.’ So my dad was like, you need to do it in the evenings when the other guy isn’t on, and you have to deliver it in the back of your car, so I said fine, and I did it.”
Today, Equi’s have a number of delivery vans and a factory that produces over 300,000 litres of ice cream every year. Though the brand is known for its ice cream in Scotland, David’s heart has not left the community.
David looks around him and says:“I was born and raised in Hamilton, so it is important to respect the people you live around. I think a bit of ethos is giving back, and reconnecting with the community, I’ve done daft things for charity, I once had my back waxed for comic relief, that was embarrassing, but we raised two and a half grand, which was good.”

As the once full, pot of tea resides in David’s stomach, he explains that the job can get stressful, and a million things can go wrong at the same time. But he insists that it is made easier as all his employees work as part of a friendly team. 25 years later, David shows that he is still striving for Equi’s to be the very best. The man behind Equi’s ice cream sure knows how to deliver the scoop.