wellbeing

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.

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.

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

Life lessons

I’m doing it again. I’m lying in bed satisfied with finishing my book, but not with my thoughts. My mind is drifting into the unknown, the reckless line between negative and positive. This is the part where I explain how I cringed, whined and cried with my face firmly under my pillow for ever gracing this earth. The part where I tell you I’m once again over analysing events from the other week and also from years ago. Thinking about how I wish I could change how things in my past happened. If only I tried more with this and if only I did that. But I stopped myself before my mind took that small but unsteady step over the line. Something I am learning as I grow up is that life is never what it seems. It’s not easy and it’s not hard. It’s not bad or good. It’s what YOU make of it. Sometimes everything could be going fantastic and then suddenly it all changes. A chain reaction unfolding before your eyes. Believe me or not but you are either going to understand why it has happened or you won’t. And that understanding may be sudden or a realisation later in life. I’m not sure why I have so much faith in, let’s call it the ‘order of things’ but I know from experience, there is a reason for everything. We meet certain people to get to next place, like a transport system of your life and people are the transport. We have friends, lovers, even family who come and go. People teach you a lesson, good or bad and you/they move on. I wouldn’t be where I am now if I wasn’t for my first love, and now we’ve both moved on but we are still connected in a way. I wouldn’t be the same person if I hadn’t gone through the heartbreak and the hurt, if I chose to stay. He taught me many lessons good and bad and i’m a better person because of it.

And i’m waiting for someone to comment and scream ‘bullshit’ at me. But, in my opinion it’s up to the individual to either take a positive note from their past events, or a negative one. We have all gone through terrible times, and we have all gone through wonderful times. We learn through experience and we create our own opinions, our own morals and judgements on the past and how we are going to structure our future. And although we don’t believe it sometimes, we have full control of ourselves.

Tonight I am appreciating life, forgetting about the past I cannot change and living in the now.

And I am also going to sleep 🙂
And I also like you, because you are reading this and that makes me happy…cats.

Being happy

I’ve been wanting to write about this for a very long time. I’m curious about what other people’s definition of being happy is. Because quite frankly it’s not as simple as we make it out to be. Being happy is an emotion every one of us will experience throughout our lives but there’s a deeper complexity to it. There’s a difference between telling your co-workers/friends/family “yeah, I’m happy, life’s good” in response to them asking how you are or how you’ve been to you walking about full of confidence, beaming ear to ear producing smiles like no tomorrow. That is what I call true happiness. Having experienced this for the first time i have to say it felt good, infact it felt amazing. I’m not going to lie, someone played a special part in all of this for me. It’s crazy how one person can do that, bring out the best in you and make you feel so alive. I felt so content with myself and begin to see the beauty in everything, including myself. Now i’m not saying that this person was the whole reason as to way i felt so happy, he was but a step towards a better version of me. A helping hand if you like. I became happy because I chose to feel this way. We all have a choice and control over how we want to project ourselves to others and to ourselves and I finally had the courage to let go of all the crap and just be me (happy). But one thing that really grinds my gears is when people write on twitter or facebook “someone come over and make me feel better etc” being truly happy is all about loving and accepting yourself. Believing in who you are and what you can achieve. Being content. Yes people can make you feel a certain way, take away the lonliness and insecurities temporarly but people need to understand that these sort of things need to be dealt with alone. We cannot be dependent on other’s to feel a certain way. I’ve done it in the past and it’s unhealthy and unsatisfying. I’m not saying everyone should just stop feeling sad and be happy instead, as though it’s as simple as changing your top. What i’m trying to say is appreciate yourself a little more, do things that you enjoy, don’t be so hard on yourself. So what if you ruined your diet last night after eating 10 doughnuts. It’s ok, live a little, laugh and love and you will be on your way to being a happy chappy! P.s. I apologise for using the word ‘happy’ so much.