Low Point

Warning: This poem has some unpleasant themes in it and details a point I reached in my mental health today where everything felt, and feels, really awful. If you’re triggered by this type of content, please don’t feel like you have to read this. There’s help and support available and you always deserve to be loved and supported.


I hate myself
This time like it’s easy,
Falling back into misery
With little more than a shiver,
The sun setting on autumn
As it shadows into winter
A little too early.

So little do I care
That I wish to snap my own strings like thread
Through a shredder,
Little pieces of soul swimming away
Whilst no one is there
To see where weariness led.

I feel hopeless
Like it’s simple,
The worst jealousy and screams
Building up inside me and
I’m an awful friend,
A worthless girl,
Can I just fall apart,
My thoughts unfurl
Until no one remembers these perilous dreams?

Foolishly I believed
In a world where I was free of this
Gripping anxiety and shouts around me
But I am
Never good enough, never solid,
A fragile pool of starlight
That breaks apart when asked to be
Loved, to do anything when all I could do was
Fall into myself
And the message was never received.

Oblivion sounds nice
Right about now.

It is not a surprise
That people have given up on seeing
And no one cares,
NO ONE CARES
Because I am alone with nothing outside
This window of wishes and
I deserve it,
Oh god I deserve it
And I can’t do this
Anymore.

I can’t do this.

I can’t.

I hate me
And they hate me
And I’m broken again,
A cut up symphony
Where nothing fits-
What can I do to stop it?


I’m okay at the moment, just a little shaken at how fast my mental health plummetted today. There wasn’t a specific reason; after going out to London and having a wonderful time, when I was going home, everything piled up on top of me. I hated myself and thought that everyone did too; every single interaction I was having with people and seeing was proof of that to my mind (even though none of it was logical) and I felt so fucking alone that I couldn’t even let those emotions out. So, I decided on a poem.

Things will get better, for all of us, but it’s just so horrible when we’re actually going through it. I have hope but right now, my mind is my worst enemy for a few hours (as I hope it will pass soon).

From Elm

The Thing About my Identity

In September, I’ll be attending a college for the visually impaired. I’ve made no secret of that on my blog but to be honest, there are very few in this country and just under 150 people attend each at any given time. That means everyone will know each other but also that it possibly wouldn’t be difficult to figure out my ‘real’ identity.

Before, when the question of my identity came up, I reacted a little differently. I was much more defensive and worried about people finding it because I went to a school where, I felt, people would judge you or just didn’t care. Now I’m out – and even as I drew to the end of my secondary school years – I started to relax a bit more. Saying that, now, I’m starting to become quite paranoid about things. It seems silly but I’m eternally afraid that people are going to have this preconception of me that they transfer from blogging to ‘real life’, or vice versa. Does that make any sense?

I’m not so worried about blogging people finding out my real identity. It fills me with fear, of course, but there’s less chance of damaging consequences happening. Unless someone decides to unearth things about me from years ago that exist on the Internet, the blogging world won’t be my problem. I doubt I’ll reveal my identity soon but if it happens, that wouldn’t be as bad.

It’s the other way around that could be a problem. People at the college could, and probably will, find my blog. I don’t exactly do the best job at hiding it and trying to now would take far too long and would go against the openness and honesty that I want on my blog. However, the thought of people potentially discovering it and taking the piss out of me for it really worries me. It’s unlikely that they’d be so cruel but you never know: some people can be immature and laugh first before understanding.

If they do find me and only read a small amount of my posts, they could get varying opinions of me. They could look at my emotional posts and jump to conclusions about my personal life, seeming as some of the people I mention on this blog are VI (visually impaired) and might be known by them. They could find my old posts and think that’s still a representation of me. In short, they could do all sorts of things and sometimes, I’m scared about how I could react. People could really hurt me by using this blog against me and they wouldn’t even know it.

The truth is that I could react very badly. If I’m confronted with people knowing who Elm is, offline, I’d most likely freak out and if someone didn’t understand how important this blog is to me, they could trivialise it. Would that cause me to shut down? Would I then stop posting? I don’t know: I’d hope that I was mature enough to react as calmly as possible but who knows? I’m scared that if someone really drags up old memories, I won’t be able to handle trying to defend myself.

I’m afraid of becoming someone else that I don’t recognise. I’m scared that I’ll be leaving myself behind, almost, and that all my identities will be taken from me by people discovering previously unseen parts of myself. Isn’t this just life, though? I suppose it happens all the time; this is just a big change and I don’t know how to feel about it.

Don’t lose yourself in the mayhem of new beginnings but at the same time, don’t be afraid to change what you define as ‘yourself’. Your identity is fluid and doesn’t always have to be tied down by people and experiences. It’s okay if it changes.

From Elm 🙂

Life is Hectic

Sometimes, things happen in my life that make me sit up and ask myself, “Is this really happening?” I’ve had some pretty surreal experiences happen to me over the last year, where my life feels a little bit unreal. It’s hectic, to say the least!

There are memories that I look back on which fill me with joy. Most of those recent ones come from Vienna, where I screamed with laughter around my friends. Walking down the streets, holding onto each other at one point and getting so many things wrong almost made me feel like life couldn’t truly get this hilariously good. I came back to England and the cold shock of ‘reality’ made me pause. To be honest, I don’t quite know what’s happening.

I was approached on Tuesday by a representative of a company, asking me whether I wanted to audition for something. I have to be vague as I can’t actually say what it is. However, when I looked up what was required I almost screamed. This was kind of unfortunate as I was in the middle of a crowded place and so shouting would have drawn too much attention. It’s the kind of thing I never thought could happen, from an industry which I never thought I’d be properly involved in. It’s doubtful that big things will come from it but I want and need that experience. I just hope it can increase my confidence.

Acting has been going well: I’ve been offered jobs and because of my crippling insecurity, it’s been surprising because I honestly thought I was shit. I’ve been in contact with my agent too (and God, that’s weird to say) and I don’t feel like an utter failure. Though I haven’t been to any further auditions, things are looking up, especially as my attitude to everything is slowly improving as my mental health isn’t as unstable as it was before.

On Tuesday night, my heart crashing with emotion, I finally got closure from a situation that had been running round in my head for 8 months. It was the most freeing I’d ever felt and at one point I actually screamed, “I CANNOT BELIEVE I AM HAVING THIS CONVERSATION!” The person in question was amazing about it (I honestly don’t know how I thought it could be any different) and the honesty was refreshing. As it was a huge part of my life and I didn’t want to talk about it on the blog until I got closure, I need to dedicate a whole other blog post to it. Maybe then, I can finally start to process it all.

Friendships have been going so well too, ever since I crawled out of the pit of A-Levels. It’s been surprising to me that I can still be a good friend, that I can still be an interesting person to talk to. Not only have I gained closure as I said above but I’ve also had some pretty honest conversations with some friends about how my actions in the past affected them but also, how they affected me. Very recently, I’ve become friends with Connor and there are some people who you click with immediately and after a day of knowing them, you just know that they’re going to be a part of your life: he’s incredibly kind and inspires me so much; it shocked me that I could still form those connections and not feel like a fraud for having them.

Today, I’m going to a sort of induction at the college for the visually impaired that I’m attending next year. There will be so many people there and in a way, I’m really excited but also fucking terrified. I’m desperately scared that people will hate me and that I’ll make the worst impression but this is a huge new chapter of my life that I want to experience as fully as I can.I don’t know where any of this will go. But really, I’m excited. I’m excited to see what life, with all its crazy turns and “WHAT IS HAPPENING” moments, will show me.

Have you had any weird things happening recently?

From Elm 🙂

I Went to Pride!

Yesterday was such a brilliant day. To be honest, it was the best day I’ve had in such a long while. Why? Because yesterday, I went to Pride in London for the second time (the first time was two years ago). The sun was shining (a lot); my voice is still a bit rusty but I feel like I truly made memories that will last a lifetime.

It took a bit of organisation, first of all. Originally, it was going to be a group from school – me, Wren and our other friend who’s moving abroad in a week or so for university. Then, I invited one of my closest friends, Lu, because she’s a fabulous bean and I haven’t seen her in months. Pearl – who I talk about here – was added to our group too, along with her two sisters and I was so hyped for that that I did a lot of screeching. My other friend who I’ve known since I was 4, Ivy, would also be at Pride and so we planned to meet her as well. In the morning, Lu and I met at a train station, then met her friend, before I went off to have a really early lunch with someone I hadn’t seen in months. As you can tell, there was a lot of “And then we met this person!”

The friend I hadn’t seen in months was actually a woman who had been my chaperone in the filming I did in December last year. Her name’s Chris and I hadn’t seen her in six months. Despite that, as soon as I saw her, I immediately felt just as I had when I’d seen her last – we joked, insulted each other, laughed and almost cried. We went to a cafe, spoke about our lives and had such a lovely time. I forgot how much I got on with her but hopefully, we should be seeing each other soon – I think there are some people who will remain in your life, no matter how much time goes between you seeing each other. Saying goodbye wasn’t difficult, simply because of that.

I sometimes get an attitude where planning isn’t so important. That was why, after having met Chris, we then met up with the friends who we’d originally organised the day with. Waiting outside Leicester Square station, it took a while for them to find us but when they did, I full-on screamed and rushed at Wren. Our other friend from school (who is a genuine icon) was there too so our group, who now numbered five, wandered off to find the parade. Along the way, Lu and I got rainbow flags; Wren helped me tie it to my cane (and by helped, I mean did it for me because I’m pathetic). Again, I screamed a lot as we neared the sounds of music and cheering.

Eventually, after much walking through crowds and stopping to see people going past us, we found a spot by some railings in Trafalgar Square. The parade would be passing directly beneath us – we were one of the first people there and so we stood right by the railings. As soon as the parade started, a huge cheer went up: people blew whistles and screamed and the whole square was a mass of noise and celebration. That continued as everyone passed us – I honestly roared at one point. After a lot of attempts, Pearl and her sisters found us and then Mit (another friend I met through blogging) arrived. Everyone was there and because I couldn’t see the parade, what filled me with joy was all my friends being there as the celebration and cheers swirled around us. It was so beautiful; Lu and I were yelling; I tried to hug everyone: it felt like I was on top of the world for a brief moment.

After a bit of time, when the heat was increasing and we felt our energy declining, we decided to leave the parade. Instead, we walked to a cafe and then to St. James’s Park, the sun beating down as I almost melted. Going through the streets whilst laughing and then finally arriving at the park, finding a place to sit and then just chatting was just as special as the parade. It was calm: some of us talked; some of us watched the football game “FOOTBALLs COMING HOME) and some of us decided it would be a great idea to climb a tree. Pearl, her sisters and her friend had to leave early to say goodbye to some kittens they’d been fostering (which was sad because seeing them again was so wonderful) and after that, Ivy arrived with a friend of hers. By the end of it, we were pretty much sitting in a circle, with two or three conversations going on at once as the weather slowly started to become less humid.

At around half 5, Ivy, her friend and I went back to her house. I felt quite emotional saying goodbye: I hugged Mit until it was painful, wailed at Lu that I loved her and told our school friend that I was proud of her – as she’s moving abroad and I may never see her again. A day was over that felt important, where I was entirely present and loved by people.

I smiled, or felt happy inside, all day which is a rarity for me. Not only was the atmosphere electric and amazing but I was surrounded by people who I love and who have become special to me in their individual ways. We laughed and I screeched and it lived up to a day of acceptance for me, where my identity – whatever that may turn out to be – was alright because people around me loved me. I felt like I truly connected with everything.

That’s what I live for. And I want to repeat those kinds of days for as long as possible, save up the snapshots of memory from Pride and love and beauty to hold with me, to remind me that though my identity can change, I’ll still be marching forward in the parade of existence and no one can stop me from feeling that euphoria.

From Elm 🙂

When Writing Becomes Stressful

Recently, I read a post by Michelle that shocked me because of how much I related to it. That post essentially said that even when you want to write, you sometimes don’t and one of her reasons was that she was scared. Whilst there are other reasons why I’m finding writing difficult right now, the notion of being afraid and not understanding why struck a note with me because it was putting into words what I’d felt for months.

Most of my friends know that writing is what keeps me going a lot of the time. Blogging and broadcasting my thoughts is a point of stability for me, where sentences and emotions can flow out of my head and onto something tangible. It’s said to “come naturally” but of late, words don’t have the same impact. I often feel trapped in my own head, despite desperately wanting to write, but not finding the right way to express that. For someone who is sustained my words and dreams, it feels like a huge blow that it just doesn’t seem to be cathartic for now.

Here comes the fear that felt so relatable when I read Michelle’s thoughts. I constantly compare my present self to my past self, where I have this idea in my head that I need to act exactly the same as past Elm did. That is, I become afraid when my thoughts about writing and the way I write drastically change. The fear also comes from disappointing people: I’m scared that if I don’t write, my “one” talent will be gone; I’ll just be wasted and no-one will ever want to read my words again because they’re different; they’re not like how they were. I think this ties into the pressure that most bloggers face, where a change of style causes worry that your readers won’t read any more. Of course, your blog is yours but at some point, the wish for people to like your content can win out and engulf you, making you scared when that content transforms.

It’s also that I’m afraid that the posts I do write won’t come out right. I hold myself to an unbelievably and sometimes unreachable high standard, where I think that everything has to fit together nicely and that I’m not good anymore if that standard slips. That “standard”, though, is massively subjective and change doesn’t mean getting worse. However, I still have that nagging feeling that my content will be unoriginal. Because of that, I lock myself into a circular argument, where I’m paranoid that I won’t write anything decent so I don’t write but then I think that makes me a failure and that I’m incapable of writing, etc, etc. It continues until I don’t know if I’m telling myself the truth or not.

A relevant example is two posts which I’ve been meaning to write for a week and a half and three days, respectively. The first was a recap and update post on how my Austria trip, with two of my friends, went (it was absolutely breathtaking, by the way); the second was a post on my Prom experience on Monday (also fantastic and it taught me a lot about my own personal limits). I’ve not written either of them. As time went by and the days stretched out, I felt guilty and almost ashamed of the fact that I’d not got it done. Who was I if I couldn’t write these important posts? Would I slowly start to share less and less of my life, until I didn’t at all? That genuinely distressed me.

The reality is, I built up those posts into a huge block of “YOU MUST DO THEM NOW” inside my mind. They became benchmarks of my writing: if I could write those lengthy, update-like posts, I was dedicated. I was good. However, I started to get really panicked about writing the actual posts. Though I wrote outlines (they’re still on my computer), every time I thought about sitting down and putting my words onto a screen I just felt upset. Why? Why would I feel upset when what I was writing about made me happy?

Was it just that it was too much work? Does my inability to put that much effort into a post make me lazy? Am I then worse than everyone else because I don’t do enough? These kinds of questions kept going round and round in my mind, poisonously, until I couldn’t bare to sit down and write them.

There’s this unpleasant point that you can get to where you think that people will abandon you if you don’t do a certain thing. It’s happened to me a few times over the last 3 years but never has it invaded my life so harshly. It surprised me: I always tell people that “your blog is your own” and “only write when you feel like it” but I’ve not been following my own advice. I took the thing I adored and made it into something pressurising, the act of “failure” that isn’t even failure turning into this monster and couldn’t, and can’t, shake. It’s upsetting simply because I want to follow my own words. Right now, I’m not.

I think I need to step back a bit. Writing has become so stressful that I’ve warped it in my own head; it feels too draining. I need to reconnect with why I’m passionate about it and I think that actually comes from not writing, only for a small while. I’m putting myself under too much pressure, when it’s not necessary; I’m done with school and work-related pressure shouldn’t be a feature of my summer.

This only means that I need to evaluate how I approach blogging and how I approach writing. I want to be as honest as possible here; this whole thing has been increasing over the last few days, making me unsettled and more irritable, less responsive to people and generally a bit of a bitch. I don’t want to hide that side of me and I think that I need to think about why writing is important to me, without forcing myself to write. I may have wanted to write about happy, positive experiences but I built that up to a stressor in my head, which turned the writing of the posts into some kind of negative force.

I’ve always loved writing but I think the expectations I set myself are too high. I can’t write if I’m not confident in the effect my words will have on me. It’s neither fair on me or you: I don’t want my worry to shine through in my words all the time.

I just need to relax, really. Writing isn’t a chore or a necessity. It’s something I do when I want but most importantly, it isn’t my enemy.

From Elm 🙂

It’s Prom Today!

Today (although I’m writing it the day before because rebel) is our Year 13 Prom. It’s being held in a quite fancy venue, our year-group – or as many as bought tickets – together for the final time before Results’ Day. I don’t know what to expect but considering that before Year 11 Prom, it was really hectic, I’m guessing it’ll be even more hectic this time.

My dress is a medium blue, with little white and pink flowers on it. After it got adjusted, it fits me really well and I’m happy with how I feel in it. As for makeup and hair, I have no idea what I’ll do – I think I might have my hair down but who knows? I’m attempting to be more relaxed about this. It’s failing.

I can’t help but be a little nervous. Unlike my Year 11 Prom, I’m not getting my hair or makeup professionally done. My friends are helping me with it and I think it’s a testament to how much I utterly love them and how much more I’ve opened up that I trust them enough to help with my appearance. However, I’m still worried. It’s not a reflection on my friends but rather can be explained by my wild insecurities that won’t – excuse my language – fuck off.

Perhaps it’s a bunch of internalisation talking but I know I still look like a child. I don’t want to look like that when I’m at the Prom but at the same time, I still want to look like myself. It really upsets me when people dismiss my appearance and treat me differently, or less seriously, because of it. It makes me feel hideous, the constant belief that I look far too young to be 18, that I look ridiculous, that I’m putting on a show of adulthood when really, I’ll always look fragile and small. This may all seem ridiculous and I’m trying to get rid of the frustrated scream that’s caught inside my throat. Time with friends will help that to diminish.

Before Prom, we’re having a pre-Prom at my friend Swan’s house. Three of us – Swan, someone who I’ve decided to call Owl and I – are getting ready together because having photos with some of our group, then going to school and finally to the venue itself. It’ll give me a chance to calm down, I think, from all the nerves.

I know that I’ll have a wonderful time, surrounded by people I genuinely respect and love. This is the final celebration, if you will, of my secondary education. Or, in less formal terms, a time where I take the piss out of myself and everyone else, dance horribly, stave off mental breakdowns and say a last goodbye to people I won’t see again for ages, or possibly ever.

After Prom, I think that a lot of the year are going into town, potentially going clubbing. I’ve never been clubbing before so it should be interesting at best and disastrous at worst. Me drunk is horrifying, to say the least, and I expect by the time I get back to my friend’s house, I’ll be exhausted. If I do end up wearing heels, I may fall over which would complete the disastrous blind stereotype I’m going for.

It’s just a shame that the majority of my year are still strangers to me. Now, it feels too late to start to get to know those I haven’t known before. Saying that, maybe I can show myself for one final time before everything changes that I can make an impression, that I’m special in a little way, that these 7 years haven’t been for nothing.

I want to do that. I don’t want to be scared. Most of all? Selfishly, perhaps, I want to be beautiful to myself.

Have you had Prom yet? How did it go?

From Elm 🙂

Why Pride Is Important – My Thoughts and Yours

Today is the last day of Pride Month and it makes me a little sad that I haven’t written posts pertaining to it. However, there are a few reasons why Pride is a special month and I want them to be celebrated. In fact – this is a post mostly for you.

Simply put, Pride is important both as a way to express awareness about the LGBTQ+ community to those who aren’t LGBTQ+ but it also helps to let people find a place in the world who don’t feel like they fit anywhere. It’s a form of belonging but also a way to let people question who they are, as safely as they can. Of course, this isn’t exclusive to Pride Month but the conversations that can be started when acceptance is promoted so strongly from so many sources can be invaluable and can start the process of somebody feeling happy enough with how they feel about themselves to begin to ‘come out’, or to be more open with who they are.

Expressing your identity’ in the age of the Internet and modern technology may be easier nowadays then it was 50 years ago but it isn’t easy for everyone. There are still countries and communities in which being attracted to someone of the same sex or gender isn’t accepted as readily; social stigma against many parts of the LGBTQ+ community is still high, even within the LGBTQ+ community itself. Just because I, for instance, didn’t experience much homophobia growing up, doesn’t mean other people haven’t or won’t. This month can allow people to feel a little more secure in their identity, to belong to a community that accepts them when others may not.

Some may ask why Pride is necessary, if the world is more accepting now. However, not only is it necessary for those who aren’t accepted but also for those who don’t fit in with the ‘traditional’ binary idea of sexuality, romantic attraction or gender; for those who wish to celebrate their identity, it’s important. It can take any form, not just marches or parades or material things, but in discussions and collections of thought. It shouldn’t be limited or constrained to inaccessible forms of expression. Everyone is involved in Pride, not just those who speak the loudest.

What makes Pride amazing is the community surrounding it. So many people express their identity, in whatever way they wish to. It is – and should be – about positivity and inclusivity. On that note, I want to share with you a list of bloggers and blog posts who have done, and are doing, just that.

Kirithika opens up about her bisexuality on her blog, especially on how she felt about telling the important people in her life and how her understanding of her sexuality has developed over time.

Lia discusses Aphobia in the media and characters having happy endings that don’t depend on a romantic plotline.

Kel guest posted on Bethany’s blog about people’s perceptions of LGBTQ+ (in a hilarious way), as well as celebrating identity and discussing his sexuality.

Em explains her thoughts about her own identity and how confusing it can be, particularly highlighting how it can and has changed over time; it’s a truly beautiful post.

Bethany writes about her sexuality journey as part of her Pride Month posts, discussing asexuality and how school influenced her; all of her Pride posts are amazing!

Lu discusses 4 LGBTQ+ things she wants to see represented more in YA as well as talking about internalised homophobia, in the first part of her Coming Out series.

Victoria wrote about whether labels were always necessary to identify yourself in a really thought-provoking and inclusive post, taking into account all sexualities and genders in the community.

All of these posts are wonderful and I’d encourage you to read as many as you can; each has a unique voice and highlights different parts of the community, raising important points that should be talked about.

Pride goes beyond the month of June. I shouldn’t be sad about not writing posts to do with it because by expressing my identity, and by others expressing theirs, we keep the spirit of Pride alive. We show ourselves and others that being who we are should be respected and understood and that the world can be a bright place, if you give people the chance to make it so.

Love from Elm 🙂

Feminism is BS ☯

Disclaimer: Hi everyone! It’s Elm here. Ally wrote a guest post for me and though I don’t agree with some of the content of the post, I don’t want to ever censor my readers as I fundamentally agree with the concept of female empowerment and respect. I want this blog to be a place of open discussion and so because of that, here’s Ally’s post. She worked really hard on it and I want to thank her for writing it!


Hey y’all! This is Ally from Cute But Awkward, and I’m so excited to show off my bomb skills try to let you like me 🙂 here at the stunning blog of Elm. This is a post about feminism and my take on it, so sit back and enjoy! (how cheesy was that intro, amirite?)


My tagline is about me being a feminist. I used to have a category called feminism. I put that because I thought it made a short and nice category name, right? (I changed it to Girl Power, now) But actually feminism is just something women say when they feel threatened, stumped .etc The Urban Dictionary says this about feminism:

It is pretty hypocritical to expect to be treated special because you are a female (such as tighter laws concerning rape or more leniency if a woman becomes pregnant) yet they get upset when they aren’t being treated exactly like a man. The feminists need to realize that women are not better than men. They are EQUAL. You don’t see any laws that provide special treatment for men do you?

I mean, whoever wrote this should really be writing a guest post here, instead of moi. She knows that there is a clear difference between women empowerment and feminism.

Feminism is when women start posting pictures of the finger up and a pink banner with girls run the whole world on it on Instagram; I mean, that’s just plain old LAME.

Women empowerment, however, tells a different story. It’s when women support women, when somebody starts telling people that periods aren’t taboo, like Amika George (related: #ThePeriodParty +  posts by me, Elm, Astrid and Ash and a lot more); it’s when you get that the two genders are totally equal, that you realize how insanely off on logic you were.

Can I just say, that we have bigger problems in this generation to discuss? I mean, even racism has gone down by the million and I’m a dark-skinned person saying this! Ladies, we are free, slavery is abolished, we can vote and now tell me what crap you want to give me under the name of being a so-called freakin’ “FEMINIST”?!

*a long silence* Yeah, that’s what I thought.

So, I hope you all liked this post. Elm will be sparkling her wonders on my blog too, so don’t miss that!

❤ Ally

Some Thoughts About My Identity

I’ve been thinking for the past few weeks. Though that’s never a good thing, because me thinking usually results in a catastrophe, this time it’s been about my identity. Along of bemusement and a heavy dose of yelling to my friends about how confused I am, I might have started to piece together a bit more of who I think I am.

Because my thoughts are quite jumbled, I’m going to try and organise them into sections. They’ll overlap, but that’s the beauty of life, right? (I honestly have no idea how this post is going to go, so bare with my strange ramblings).

Sexual Attraction

In terms of who I’m sexually attracted to, I know it could be any gender. I know that I can get incredibly strong sexual and physical attraction to people. It’s happened many times before, even if I don’t necessarily know them. However, the sexual attraction becomes stronger the more I know somebody. Saying that, I am honestly afraid of intimacy with anyone I don’t know very well and even when I do know somebody very well, I still can become really nervous. I think this is because I was emotionally damaged from situations before that I become wary of people that I trust, in case they do something similar. In addiN to that, I am afraid of losing control in a situation where I might embarrass myself. The attraction, as well as the fear, builds up over time but I’ve found that attempting to repress this attraction can make it a lot worse.

Romantic Attraction

This one’s a bit more tricky. A lot of the time, I get romantic and sexual attraction confused. However, I know that I do experience strong romantic feelings for people; I’ve “fallen in love” three times as far as I’m aware. This attraction is normally only strong when I know somebody really well. To people I don’t know so well, I can get attracted but it’s only often a surface attraction that easily fades. Like physical attraction, I also get scared of my feelings most of the time. This causes me to run away from them, or try, which can then block me from feeling anything.

How They Interact

This is where all the confusion starts. When doing anything intimate, if there isn’t any kind of romantic subtext, I can feel a little sick afterwards. This “sick” feeling also happens if I’m only romantically, and not sexually, attracted to a person. I will never feel entirely invested in someone if I’m just physically attracted to them but nothing else; this doesn’t stop me from being involved with them but it can cause me to panic somewhere down the line. As well as that, if I’m involved with someone in one way, it can progress to the other way as well: for example, if I just had romantic feelings for someone, I could then develop physical feelings and vice versa, the latter having occurred more than once.

I DO NOT HAVE A CLUE

All of this comes from experience, where I can relate every single thing I’ve said in this post to a situation that has happened. This means I don’t know if the same patterns will continue in the future. I know I’m scared of things and that to some extent, I’ve always been way, way more attracted to people who I know but recent experiences that have happened mean that I don’t fully understand how to commit to even those people who I adore with all my heart.

There isn’t much clarity here but I knew that, even as I began to write this post. I’m still extremely confused and there isn’t one way of saying, “Oh! This is me then.” I’m hesitant about committing to anything, just in case my indecisive brain decides to do a U-turn. However, as I said earlier, I’m very sick of having to pretend to not feel things.

All I know is that my thoughts on feelings and sexuality are complicated and can’t ever be fully explained with a simple few words. Part of it’s always been there but part of it’s to do with past experiences that have shaped my personal thoughts on what I’m comfortable with. Finding the different parts that fit into those two – or more – categories is going to be tricky and I may never fully figure out which might be which. Isn’t that what life is, though? Not always being sure of how things fit together?

I’m not going to attach a label to it right now, or maybe not ever. It might change – in fact, it probably will. If I commit to a label now, I might have further panic if that then changes again.

I want to live and fall in love again but I also need to work through a bunch of identity troubles first. Or rather, I want this to be a slow process because I’ve rushed things before and that is vastly unpleasant, to say the least.

Have you ever had confusion about your identity? What did you do to help yourself figure it out?

From Elm 🙂

On Respecting Personal Boundaries and Family

Trigger warnings: this post mentions self-harm, suicidal thoughts, potential alcoholism and a description of a panic attack. Please don’t read this post if these topics make you feel very uncomfortable or trigger you.

On the morning of my English exam, I found out that my mum had told my sister that I’d used a dating app to talk to girls and that I’d met someone on there. It was only because my sister had started to use Tinder and was feeling really nervous /happy about it. I didn’t get angry: I just asked them to respect my personal boundaries. As I’m still feeling quite defensive about my identity, I wanted to be the one to tell my sister. After a brief argument, in which all of us got slightly irritated, it was resolved and I went on to do that exam. When I came home, things were okay – more tense, but okay.

A couple of days later, the day my exams finished, we were all talking again. I’d been talking to my sister about her dates that she was going on at the weekend, having a lovely conversation which made me feel more comfortable about opening up myself. When my mum got back, we were still talking about it and she was talking about the dangers of online dating. I started to react really badly, attempting to contradict her when she was talking about her friend who had got conned. Although I didn’t mean it, it came off as really argumentative and belligerent. What I was trying to do was to make her think about what she was saying. After I pushed too far, she got upset and said that she “might as well keep her mouth shut” and that’s when I completely lost it inside my own head. I went upstairs and was just washing my face when I heard them talking downstairs, again.

Like a fucking idiot, I listened. I can be really quiet when I want to be, utterly silent as I got closer to the top of the stairs, so I heard everything. My mum was really upset with me, explaining to my sister that it felt like she could never speak, that I was always arguing with her. I didn’t hear much of what my sister said because my heart was smashing in my chest and the worst sort of disgust was starting to grow. The instability that had been increasing steadily suddenly roared to life: I walked into my room and twisted my arms behind my back, wanting to tear at myself to make what I had done just go away and fuck off. I had no idea what to do – I couldn’t think past the roaring in my ears that had started as I’d slammed my door shut.

After a few minutes, I’d calmed down a bit and walked downstairs. I told my sister that I had heard what they had said and that every time mum talked about the online world in a negative way, it felt like she was disapproving of a central part of my identity. I started to tell her that I couldn’t have got through the last few years without people I’d met online but I got interrupted by my own tears. She was calming me down, telling me that mum didn’t mean it; that she was trying to communicate with me but that I often reacted as if she was attacking me.

I don’t remember precisely what happened for the few minutes after that. I know I had a panic attack, that I was gripping onto her hand and telling her I hated myself, that I had always done, and getting unspeakably upset when I didn’t think she understood. I vaguely remember hitting out at the arms of the sofa linking my hands together behind my back so that I wouldn’t be tempted to hurt myself. It was genuinely horrifying; I haven’t had that bad of a panic attack on somebody for months and I was terrified. When my sister suggested getting my mum, I practically wailed that I was scared and scared and scared; I couldn’t stop crying. This is when my awareness comes back a bit more because at that point, my sister had succeeded in stopping me from screaming.

Then, my mum came in and my sister initiated a family discussion. Without going into too much detail, because it makes me seriously anxious to remember the specifics, mum and I were telling each other how we felt. We came to the conclusion that I react out of anger a lot when mum doesn’t mean to upset me – she just wants to talk to me. I keep my emotions in too much and become defensive. By this time, I felt like it was my fault all the time and was yelling in my head that I was disgusting. Mum said that, in terms of the online stuff, that she was trying to protect us but that she needed to let go.

There is something my mum does which frustrates me, a lot. When I get upset with her for something, she just “backs down” but not in a genuine way; she uses phrases like “I should never have said anything”, or “I’ll keep my mouth shut”, or “I’m scared of you”. I told her all this, telling her it made me feel terrible but I don’t think she understood precisely. I wanted to yell at them, tell them that they had no idea how much their “casual” words affected me. That I wasn’t like them, that I couldn’t let things go, that them being silent to begin with fucked me up. However, I started to realise that they were right: I did react angrily a lot of the time and I wanted to stop it. I have so much locked-in anger and sadness that when it does come out, often, it’s not because of them – it’s because it’s built up for far too long.

At some points, I couldn’t actually speak or I couldn’t get my words out. I would mouthe “help me” at my sister when this happened, my hands opening and closing because I felt like I was choking. After one particular instance of this, I told them that I would take the anger out on myself and mum’s response to that was “so you self-harm now then?” That made it even worse but I reeled in my snappish response, instead telling her that what she just said made me feel shit. I was trying to explain to them that I passively wanted to die a lot of the time – not that I wanted to actively do anything, but that I wanted to disappear. Upon telling mum that I’d told her this before, she said she remembered and would ask me if I was suicidal (but only when we were talking about suicide anyway). In response, I said that I always said no because her version of suicidal thoughts is actively wanting to do something, so I wasn’t technically lying. Instead, I wanted to scream, “YOU ARE ALWAYS DRUNK WHEN I WANT TO TALK TO YOU MOST SO HOW THE FUCK DID I EXPECT YOU TO REMEMBER?”

We agreed to be more communicative. Thanks to my sister, I started to know what it was I was doing wrong and that my emotions can be overwhelming. In the days after, it was easier not to snap; it was easier to realise I was being unreasonable. It’s not perfect but it’s okay and yes, I still get violent flaring pieces of anger and I still can’t talk to them about it yet but maybe, when I don’t want to destroy my mind as much, I’ll start to have a go.

It’s really hard to look at it from an objective standpoint and to not get some of my residual anger out in a biased rant. I’m trying, though. I understand that I can be very mean sometimes and react without thinking but some of the things my mum says still very much upset me; I don’t want this to be a one-way communication. I know that my emotions right now aren’t necessarily the most constructive thing but I can’t be the only one trying as it would make me hate myself more, thinking that I was still doing everything wrong. I’m tired of that.

The last two weeks have taught me that neither I nor my family are faultless. We all have barriers to work through and it’s not going to be easy but it’s going to happen. This summer, I don’t want to argue or to be treated like a child; I don’t want to snap or become furious at the slightest provocation. I have to thank my sister for helping us all to realise what we’ve been doing to make ourselves unhappy.

I want to set my own boundaries; I want to communicate well. Unlike before, where everything seemed impossible, I think this might potentially work.

God, this post has drained me. I feel so upset from writing it but it’s also, strangely, settled something deep within me. If I get my unhappiness out on this blog in a helpful and non-destructive way, it might not transfer into me being a total nightmare. Then again, I don’t want to be too negative; I don’t know. It’s tricky. After this, I might just go and relax so that I can collect my thoughts without becoming overly anxious.

Thanks for reading this, if you got to the end. I know that I can be far too honest sometimes but if I can’t express things here,I can’t express things anywhere. I will be okay, though. If you’re struggling with something similar, hold onto the days where it’ll get easier. We can get through this.

Do you find that talking to your family can be really hard?

From Elm 🙂