String | A Poem

That last piece of string lies broken,

Frayed from days spent in a freezing sea,

Ice too tired

To stay solid around it;

It’s an unravelled tragedy

Of caring too deeply.

Pull it apart and you can feel

Its spongy texture wasting away

To little more than flakes

Of something much stronger, too afraid

To even pretend to be any longer,

Soaking up the water instead of

Holding it

Together.

There are knots in my soul,

Like those on a tree or from twisted rope

I’m not sure;

They tie my tongue in a loop

And imprison the piece of hope

I had left.

I am cold.

I am too tired

To make sense.


I don’t know what this is. All I know is that in some way, it represents how I feel. It was written at a time where all I could feel was this cold desperation and nothing could shake it.

I hope, if this does anything, it can show people that you’re not alone. Things don’t have to make sense all the time.

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 🙂

We’re Going to Austria!

By the time this post goes up, I should be just landed in an airport in Vienna. If all goes to plan, we’ll be at the apartment we’re staying in shortly, near the centre of the city. You have no idea how excited I am for this!!!

Who’s we? Well, for the first time ever, my friends and I are going on an independent trip abroad – no parents, no school or anything. It’s me, my friend Swan and another friend (who I need to think of a name for. I might ask Swan on the plane to help me think of one). Now that all our A-Levels are done – She-who-does-not-have-a-name-yet had her last one on Tuesday – we’re going abroad for the freedom and the experience. For a week, we’re away from all the stresses of home and it’s going to be amazing.

This trip took ages to organise, mostly because I’m a lazy bitch and only got my shit together recently. We booked the flights, the accommodation and have quite a few ideas of where we’re going. However, it’s not going to be too intense because none of us need that. This is a way for us to relax and enjoy a place we’ve never been to before. I’m just so happy to be spending the time with friends who I absolutely love.

We’re planning on going to museums, Palace Gardens, some crypts (yes, don’t judge); we want to have a picnic at some point and also to do a ton of walking. We (and by we, I mean my friends because I’m awful) are planning to cook our own meals mostly, to save money. Trust me: my culinary skills can’t even be called skills at this point. The apartment seems lovely and I don’t want to burn it down.

I’m writing this on Monday, procrastinating from packing. Really, I should get on with it but I’m so hyped that I can’t do much else apart from look over potential places to go and screech quietly to myself about the fact that we’re now, vaguely, functioning adults.

Tomorrow – the day before the trip – I’ll schedule some blog posts to go up whilst I’m away. If I don’t have time to write whilst I’m there, then you’ll hear from the present me (that sounds weird) when I get back.

It’s supposed to be boiling in Vienna so I need to go and pack actual warm weather clothes so I don’t become fried. Most likely, it’ll take hours because I’m very, very indecisive.

I hope you all have a wonderful week and that you take some time to relax. As much as possible, I’ll do the same. I will enjoy this time, not tethered to any obligation to revise or stress myself out needlessly.

See you soon!

From Elm 🙂

I Tried | A Poem

I try
To speak, loud and uncaring
With a jolt to my words,
The fire in me flaring
With hope. But you stand,
Silent as a question of “What?”
And I am left stranded.

I do my best
To be interesting, threads
Filling my mind, bursting out
In a frenzy of unsaid
Stitching. But you scorn,
Above such notions of roses
Without thorns.

I stutter
From being, a make-believe
Wish of my own worth waning
Beneath a sneering sky. I am naive
To have thought I was wanted,
A spoonful of happy unworthy of note-
So weren’t I better faded?

I silence
My heart, rebelling and hopeless
Because each word I say is flawed.
I surface, reckless.
I thought it was simple to love
But to you,
I am not good enough.


Words and little actions can really hurt sometimes, even if they aren’t meant to. Over time, it can start to have an effect.

From Elm 🙂

The Strength Of Childhood – Collab with HonestlyLau!

Dear Elm,

I wouldn’t change my childhood if I could, it was full of opportunities and memories. I learned so much from my mum and dad, they gave me the best childhood.

I’d always just have fun, and that’s what a childhood should be about. At a young age, I grew a passion for drawing til this day, I still love it.

Before I was born, there was my brother. We were really close when we were younger, I have memories of playing in our plastic cars, the ones where you had to move it with your feet. As the years went by, we would argue constantly but that’s what brothers and sisters do.

In school, I was shy. I never really knew how to make friends but thankfully in Year 1 and 2, I made some friends that lasted until the end of Secondary school. As mostly everyone experiences, I was bullied but I liked to think that it didn’t need to bother me.

In primary school, I loved it. I grew a passion for reading, my friends from Year 1 and 2 went to the same school, so I didn’t have a difficult time making friends.

In Year 4, I made friends with a new girl who only stayed around a year. We were best friends, I’d go around her house and just play. I still remember some amazing memories, it was a good time in my life. After she left, I was pretty heartbroken. It didn’t take long when I started to become to a whole group of people. They were all so loud and confident, which I was shy so I didn’t blend in too well. Nevertheless, they made me feel welcome and joined me in, in all the games.

At this time, I wasn’t really a girly girl, I liked makeup but other then that, I was pretty much a tomboy. I remember collecting Match Attack cards, and I would watch Pokèmon.

I then transitioned into Secondary school, which was where I adventured into makeup and made even more friends. Of course, there were ups and downs but I made it out alive..well barely.

That pretty much brings me to now, I went into a course..passed and I’m now on the course I wanted for years.

Thank you so much to Elm, for allowing me to do this collaboration with her. I really enjoyed writing this. Elm wrote a post over on my blog which I definitely recommend checking out.

Thank you for reading!

Lau x

Belonging

Pretty much constantly, I have this sense of never quite belonging anywhere and it makes me so desperately lonely that I draw away from people, lose all motivation to do anything and don’t know how to get out of it. I’m feeling this right now and instead of doing my recent thing where I write when I’m “out of feeling crap,” I’m going to write this in the moment, truthfully. Later, I’ll feel horribly guilty for posting negatively but for now, I need to express this because I feel hopeless as fuck and don’t know how to talk about it.

Where does this feeling come from? I’ve tried to answer this question by thinking, writing, talking, singing but nothing quite works. Nothing quite adds up to feeling like I’m truly “with something” and that’s the problem. I hear people talking about things they love, or things they’re part of and I wonder, “Do I love it that much? Am I just an empty shell because I feel so separated sometimes?” It terrifies me and as you can probably tell, it’s difficult to talk about.

I love music, sure, but I don’t get obsessed with bands. Individual songs are what are on my playlist; I don’t even particularly like a specific genre or style of music. Often I say my music taste is obscure but it’s not the obscure of other people’s; I like weird songs but not songs of a type or anything like that. I don’t vehemently hate many songs either. People talk about songs, artists or things I’ve barely heard of and sometimes, so I don’t look stupid, I pretend to know what it is and I listen to the songs afterwards, hating myself and wishing I was more open to music, just wishing I was able to join in. It’s not that “no one gets me” because I don’t have a love of punk rock or alternative music or heavy metal – it’s just that I don’t dedicate myself enough to listening.

I don’t watch enough movies, musicals or plays to be able to understand many references. As with music, I sometimes have to act as if I get it and it leaves me feeling hollow and like I’m wildly stupid because I just don’t understand. It’s not that I worry about people hating me (for once), it’s more that I feel, personally, like I never do enough and that if I tried to watch all these movies, I’d only be doing it to understand when really, I want to watch them so I’ll enjoy them. The movies I have watched, I howl about with enthusiasm because those are the ones I get and can confidently speak about. It’s not even the fact that I’m visually impaired – it’s just that I didn’t in the past and it’s catching up to me now.

With books, I feel a little more confident but still not “with a group”. I love young adult novels, strange feminist literature and some but I still haven’t read enough to be able to feel even a little bit comfortable when talking in class or even with some people I know. In the online world it’s easier; I don’t have the pressure to “READ THIS BOOK” or that. However, I often find myself shying away from conversations about books – even ones I’ve read – because I’m afraid of just not being “with it” enough. It holds me back but I don’t know how to stop myself.

When I say all this, I feel lazy. Surely it’d be easy for me to listen more, read more, watch more movies or just get involved? I get upset, overwhelmed and then entrench the belief that I’m no good to anyone in my mind, forcing myself to believe I’m the shadow of a person and then feeling intense disgust. That’s not healthy and I know that but when I never seem to put effort in, I make myself think I then deserve to feel this isolated. I hate that.

I don’t know, I just don’t feel like I belong in a specific group, community or fandom. It may seem pitiful and whining of me to say this but I feel on the fringes, too embarrassed to speak up because my voice won’t be loud enough, won’t be assured enough. When I talk to someone about a common interest, I feel one step behind because I like a specific part of that interest whereas many people like multiple parts. It confuses me because there are only a few times where I feel like I’m on an even footing and “with someone” when I discuss things.

Of course, there are exceptions to this pile of loneliness I feel. Blogging’s a big one; I feel at home here, with no push to fit with the mould of someone who reads a type of book or who can talk for hours about something with someone and feel comfortable. However, sometimes I find myself shoving my voice to the outskirts on purpose because I ask myself if it’s worth it, whether I should just give up or why people care. That’s why I write this, though; I write it to share my unfiltered thoughts when I need to. They may be negative, they may be confusing but they belong to me and people can’t diminish that by belittling them, even by accident. Volunteering is somewhere else where I express myself because there, it doesn’t matter what I like or don’t like – it just matters that I’m a person and that I can show that to people.

There are always places where you feel more at ease but at the moment, the feeling of loneliness that I tell myself is self-made is taking over my thoughts. Although I’ll talk about it in counselling on Wednesday, I needed an outlet where people don’t give a shit if I scream my thoughts onto a screen, if I’m momentarily selfish because the whole point of my blog is to help me and others, if and when they need the help.

I’m sorry that this post is so jumbled and rambling and, well, weird. I’m trying to get used to writing again; words are becoming difficult to get out sometimes and I want to talk about feeling alone in one of the only places I don’t.

Do you ever feel like this too?

From Elm 🙂

Update: I wrote this on Friday and decided to leave it for a bit. Although I still feel like this, it’s not all-consuming right now but reading over it, I got a real sense of how unhappy I felt. Sometimes it’s good to look back on things.

Reasons Why I Shouldn’t Hate Myself

Yesterday, I had one of the worst bouts of self-hatred I’ve had in months. It continued all day, from when I woke up until the evening, when it eventually poured out of me, nonsensical and terrifying for me because I lost complete control of myself and my words. However, looking back on it, there are reasons why I shouldn’t hate myself like I aggressively did.

I screamed all of this out to one of my favourite people and I’ll call him Reggie because it’ll annoy him. How he put up with me I don’t know: I made no sense, repeated myself and lied to myself a hell of a lot but I eventually calmed down. He helped me to see that though the fear of myself and my hatred is overpowering sometimes to the point where I can’t talk about it, I’m not such a terrible person. I’ll thank him later for basically drilling that into my skull. He’s one of the main people who has forced me to realise how bad I can get.

Here are some reasons why I shouldn’t despise myself. It’ll be difficult to write because I’m still recovering from the irrational screaming of yesterday but I need to write this for myself and to show you that the perception you have of yourself can sometimes be wildly, unhealthily wrong.

My Appearance

I do actually have quite a nice figure – being small isn’t something negative
I’ve been doing a bit more exercise recently
People have found me attractive and although this shouldn’t be a way to boost my self-esteem, it destroys my notion that I’m absolutely disgusting
I have a good skincare routine and so I can take a bit of control over my appearance
When I feel it, I’m able to carry myself with a lot of confidence

My Personality

I can make myself cringe at how much I repress things, rather than shouting at myself as I did before
I make people laugh with my weird comments – not at me but with me
I can be kind to others and I try to support them as much as I can
Although it takes me a long time, I learn from my mistakes and have become a little more patient with myself after I realised that
I’m a good actor and am not being self-centred when I say that
If I have feelings, I’m not afraid to make them obvious – that’s a strength because it shows I’m capable of feeling them
I have a painfully immature and strange sense of humour sometimes
I take pride in my singing and how I can write lyrics
I have a very weird way of talking sometimes (which involves the verbal equivalent of all capitals) and my own laugh makes me laugh

How I Treat Others and React to Them

I’ve got a lot of issues to work through which make me wary of talking to some people but I know that these issues stem from very real feelings of insecurity which I will, in time, get to grips with
I’ve got better at talking to family and friends about why I do the things I do
I’m able to laugh and have a good time with people without feeling guilt over it
I’ve started to realise that the way I treat people can sometimes be shitty but in rectifying that, my friendships have got stronger
Talking about how paranoid I get has helped me to remember that people are here for me and actually care, that they’re not just pretending and that I’m worth more than a minute of people’s time (thanks again, Reggie and Red also, you fabulous people)
If people need me, I’ll always be there to talk to them and I’d happily drop anything to help

Things I’ve Done

Not everything is my fault
Really, I only deserve about 5% of the shit I put on myself, as Reggie pointed out to me yesterday (and I only listened to that this morning)
I’ve apologised for pretty much everything I’ve done, that I’m aware of, numerous times
I’ve openly communicated with people about how I feel and though some things are unresolved, starting that communication is something I’m getting better at

It turns out that I can think of quite a lot of things that I shouldn’t hate. Thanks to my friends, I’m acknowledging them rather than ignoring them and sinking into a well of screaming self-hatred.

What’s your favourite thing about yourself?

From Elm 🙂

BIRTHDAY BADGE: Elm is 1…8?

When a friend has something great happen to them, I have two in-built responses.
1. I smile politely, congratulate them on their achievement, and then back off to a corner to bitterly sulk as to why they are so much better than me and why they can do everything that I am so bad at.
2. I squeak in excitement, give them a huge hug and tell them – genuinely – how proud of them I am, because I care about them, and they are a close enough friend for their successes to feel like my own.

Elm – our dear Elm – is one of these amazing, close friends, and it gives me such pride to be here today, writing her 18th birthday post. Happy birthday, elm, and welcome to adulthood.
[This is the part where I give the ‘words of wisdom’, but I’m 16 and pretty thick so hahaha good luck Elm!]
I hope you are having a brilliant day, filled with fun, laughter, and your friends and family.
And cake. because cake is good.

I didn’t feel worthy of writing such a momentous post all by myself, so I enlisted the help of some fabulous bloggers and Internet pals, to wish our dear tree leader a happy coming-of-age.

Ocean
Blog
Twitter
“Happy Birthday Elm! I can’t believe you are 18, I think we started talking when you were only 15 or 16. You are such a fantastic friend and a wonderful person and I feel privileged to call you my friend. I admire your dedication to blogging and how you help so many people with what you write. Never forget how far you have come, I know some days are hard but so far you have got through every shitty day which shows just how strong you are. Happy Birthday once again, from Ocean”

Sav
Blog
Twitter
“As someone who’s kept me grounded like an anchor and kept me on the right trail, it’s only fitting you have a slightly above average birthday because of all the residue this past year has left on you”

Gracey
Blog
Twitter
“Elm, you’re absolutely definitely truthfully the worst person I’ve ever met and I hate you. By that I mean that I love you so, so much and I think you’re amazing! You’re so strong, intelligent, independent and hilarious, and I couldn’t wish for a better gal pal. I adore you, weirdo. Keep going, and a massive happy birthday from meeeee! X”

Kirithika
Blog
Twitter
“You know Elm, I don’t know you nearly as well as I’d like to, something I’m hoping to change in 2018! But from what I do know, I know that you’re so kind and selfless and always there to voice your support for people however big or small the issue. And beyond that, you show your support for happy things too! It’s easy enough to chuck out some heart emojis under a sad tweet but it requires authenticity to go ahead and share your joy under a happy tweet. I really do like that about you. You’ve shared a lot of struggles with us over the past few months and I’m proud to see the progress you’ve made, I only hope that you find more happiness over the next year and beyond! Happy Birthday Elm :)”

Em
Blog
Twitter
“Elmm!! Welcome to the 18 (or 81 😂) club – we’re all old here and have to take several naps to get through the day, but it’s all good fun! Thank you for blessing the blogging community with your beautiful writing, but most importantly thanks for being such a kind and caring friend. I hope you have the loveliest birthday – you really deserve it! xx”

Astrid< a href=”https://www.hideawaygirl.com/”>BlogTwitter “ELM I LOVE YOU SO MUCH- I hope to Skype with you more and to have a massive catch up 🙂 thank you for always supporting me and other people who are in such hard times and when you write about your experiences, you’re helping people massively as they know they aren’t alone so thank you Elm 🙂 I hope you’re gonna have an awesome 18th birthday, you’re an adult now; I have an adult friend OMFG!! Haha, I wish you the best year and I LOVE YOU :)”

Dziey< a href=”https://dzieyy.wordpress.com/”>BlogTwitter “Happy birthday Elm! You’re the star of WordPress and I hope you have a very very awesome birthday!”

It’s so heartwarming to see the lovely things that everyone has to say about Elm: she is such a key part of the blogging community, and a foundation in so many friendship groups both on and offline. I’m honoured to be classed as Elm’s friend each and every day, and it always makes me smile when something great happens to her, because she deserves it more than anyne else I know.

Bethany< a href=”https://bethanyandbooks.wordpress.com/”>BlogTwitter “Happy birthday Elm!!! It’s crazy to think that you’re 18 now, an adult. Sorry, I didn’t want to make you feel old in any way, whoops. Anyway, I just wanted to say a huge thank you for always being there for me this year. I always feel like you’re my mini cheerleader which always makes me smile and also convince myself to keep going with this blogging thing and to even start expanding that next year! I can’t wait to see what this next year has in store for you and I hope I can come along for the ride, if only through a screen. Happy birthday!! Xxx”

Eve< a href=”https://www.twistinthetaile.com/”>BlogTwitter “Elm – I am so lucky to know you, I can’t believe we have been blogging friends for so long. You always write beautiful & relatable posts, many of which have really helped me. You support others so much and are genuinely just super wonderful. GO YOU ❤️ Happy birthday, I hope you have a great day!”

JasmineBlogTwitter “ELMMMM – HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! A year ago (oh my gosh i’ve known you for a yearrrr) when I was just starting out blogging and you commented on my posts, I had no idea you would become a person I trust and respect so, so much. You’re such a lovely, kind and supportive person that puts absolutely everyone above yourself. Your caring nature has made you practically a role model figure in the blogging community, even a motherly figure! (which is a compliment I promise😂) It’s an absolute pleasure to know you Elm, you’re an amazing human, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!! Have the most AMAZING 18th full of fun and laughter, you deserve that and more Enter adult life with a blast!! Xxxx Elm: you have achieved so, so much in the first 18 years of your life — as a child. The rest of your life lies ahead of you, waiting for you to take charge of it. I know you will, and I know you will have every success going in the future, and I simply can’t wait to observe that for myself. You’re strong, caring, funny and so, so much more, and I can say with every certainty that those who are lucky enough to know you are just that — lucky. They are lucky, like me, because you are the most fabulous person I know.<br<br
ohol nowww LOL

This year, it can be your birthday.<br
t;

Bloggers’ Secret Santa – Why I Admire Lauren from Laurensbackpackandblog

Dear Lauren,

A few days after I knew I got you for Secret Santa, I sat down and read every single one of your posts, start to finish, and I smiled the whole way through. It might seem strange to open with this but I love your writing style, how refreshing it is and how much your posts have taught me. I know that at the moment, you’re most likely still in Bosnia celebrating Christmas so I wanted to give you a present of words. I hope that this can show you how much I’ve valued you giving your thoughts to the world and how, I think, everyone should learn from what you’ve learned.

The first thing I learned about you was that you travelled the world and when I knew that, I couldn’t wait to read what experiences you’ve had. It must be amazing to have seen so many different cultures, from European to Asian to even our one in the United Kingdom. Meeting new people is a central part of that – I remember you said it made you happy – and I bet you have a wealth of stories to tell from lives you’ve come across. From this, you have an open mind and you’ve seen snippets of sights that a lot of people will never see in their lifetime; I’m proud of you for taking something from each moment and for living, laughing and being so cheerful throughout. To me, your life seems like an amazing journey and I think it’s so important that everyone should open their minds to new ways of living so that they can see how people live in different countries that aren’t their own. You could teach me a lot and I’d love to sit down with you and talk for hours about everything you’ve seen.

One of my favourite posts of yours was about your trip to Bulgaria and about the good and bad experiences there. I’ve never been to that country but like you said, it’s a shame it’s often overlooked because it sounds beautiful. Even for your negative experiences, I can tell that it changed you as a person in a wonderful way. I also loved reading about St. Nicholas’ Day in Bosnia and also your journal entries because they showed me a day-to-day life that is so different to mine. I loved it; I thrive off learning about new people and it’s been so fascinating to read about Montenegro, your upcoming trip to Spain and also the fact that Japan inspired you to travel.

You’ve taught me so much and in this short time, I feel like I know you, as weird as that sounds. I had no idea what Workaways were before I read your post and they’re so interesting. You’ve shown me that there’s far more to life than just school, that the world holds so many undiscovered secrets and that the people who uncover them should treasure them. You, and by extension your family, have shown me that community, love and respect go a long way, that even when times get tough, there’s always a new destination. That might sound really cheesy but I’m honestly so grateful to you for broadening my mind and letting me see the worlds you live in, if only in posts and your words.

Another one of my favourite things about your blog is how you talk about your family. I’m guessing you have to be quite a close-knit group and it’s beautiful to see that in writing. The fact that you go travelling together, that you try and stick with each other and that you all have such vibrant personalities fills me with happiness. I’m going to be checking out your sisters blogs too – give my lov: to all your family, won’t you? I think that you’re all incredible people and I admire you so much.

I want to talk to you a little about confidence. When I read your writing, it shocked me that you were 13: you worry that your writing isn’t mature enough but I think it’s perfect. You have such a chatty, bubbly personality: don’t let expectations of others get rid of that. Let yourself shine through, rather than something that others want you to be. You’re already so true to yourself and you have nothing to worry about in terms of your writing style. The messages you convey, like positivity and open-mindedness, are far more important than how you write them – and yes, I did just say that!

Always continue doing what you’re doing. I can’t wait to read more of your work and now, I can finally binge-comment on your posts without you guessing I’m your Secret Santa! I hope you have a beautiful day and that the rest of Bosnia goes well!

Love from Elm xx

I Told my Mum about My Blog??

As you can tell by the title, something pretty amazing happened a few days ago. Really, I’m still in shock that it actually happened. You won’t understand how confusing the title is to me until I explain a bit about my mother, so here we go.

My mum can be a very suspicious woman. She regularly tells me about the dangers of talking to people online or going online in the first place and in the past, I’ve had to make up stories about where exactly I’ve met some of my friends. When I’ve brought up online things in the past, she’s shut me down and not only that but she’s extremely, extremely over-protective of me because I’m visually impaired. Partly because of how she treats me, I’m not very open to telling her anything whatsoever. However, I appear to have not given her enough credit.

Two days ago, the morning after she and I had had one of our biggest arguments in which bad mental health only made an appearance to myself, I was sitting at the kitchen table. I’d been internalising a lot of horrific stuff the night before but that morning, I wasn’t so agitated and I was thinking about how far my writing style had come compared to how it was before. Calmly eating, pondering her apology to me an hour before and also the state of my blog, something wild snapped in my mind. “Oh fuck it,” were my actual thoughts. Whenever I think like that, I either a) Do something very stupid, b) Make a spontaneous decision that turns out really well or c) Decide I don’t have anything to lose. I’m not entirely sure which one I did that day.

“Mum, can I tell you something?” There. Those words were out in the open and as you know, following those words always comes a ‘big’ announcement. I stopped what I was doing and focused my entire attention on saying it – I couldn’t tell you why I picked then to explain, or why I even told her.
“Sure,” she said. I was absolutely terrified for a split second before it all went blank. This was huge for me and I hadn’t even thought about it??!! What was I doing?!

So, I told her. I said I had a blog, that my sister knew because she had a blog for her art but that I never showed anyone mine, that I’d been doing it for over two and a half years. She didn’t speak throughout my explanation and I spoke in the most matter-of-fact way ever. I was so incredibly casual about it that I don’t quite think she understood how huge it was for me.

“…And I wanted to tell you because it’s a really big part of my life so yeah,” I finished. It didn’t feel like a weight had been lifted off because telling her had never worried me. Telling her about this blog was never something that had even gone into the realms of possibility.

Her response? “Well done.” Nothing else. She asked me no questions; she didn’t ask anything apart from what I wrote about. I told her the truth: that I screamed about my boring as fuck life and that a few people read it. I didn’t tell her how happy it made me and that writing connected me to myself in a way that I’d missed. I didn’t tell her how much support people reading this give me and how much I love them for it. That’ll come later – or maybe never.

Sorry, can I just – WHAT??? I told my mother??? Someone who doesn’t know exactly how I met some of the closest friends I could ever have?

I still can’t believe I did that. My mother – the person who constantly worries about where I am, what I’m doing – was completely fine with my blog?? Of course, I haven’t told her that I’ve met people from online, or just how closely connected I am to the ‘blogosphere’ because I think I should leave that until she’s more used to the idea. The fact is, I’ve revealed a massive part of my life to the parent I least expected to be fine with it.

This has shown me not to judge people too harshly. Sometimes, opening up isn’t the best idea but other times, it can really make things easier. I don’t think I could have done this a year ago and maybe it was a mistake because I know she doesn’t understand it but you know what? I’ll give her time. I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt.

Now that both my parents know, I don’t know how to feel. I suppose it’s nice that they know – or rather, BLOODY CONFUSING because I thought I was a complete whimp – but I’m still 100% going to keep the anonymity. Being able to express myself in the limited way I can (because people from real life read this a bit) is so much better than not being able to express myself at all.

Thank you so much to everyone that’s supported me the last few days. It hasn’t been easy because I’ve been feeling really down, more so than usual, but I’m trying my best to take a break from things that stress me. Blogging gives me a purpose and telling my mum connected me back to that purpose.

Have you told your parents about your blog? Would you? I never thought I would until I did and sometimes, their reactions are surprising. Don’t pressure yourself into anything and only tell people if you feel like you want to because this is your space.

Love from Elm 🙂