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 Pokรจmon.

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

I Have No Time

I was going to begin this post with a “It’s only (insert number here) days until my A-Levels!” and then I realised that the very thought of doing that stressed me out to the point where everything felt cold and I wanted to slip under the school desk I’m sitting at and never emerge again. That’s nothing unfamiliar from the usual and that’s the issue: I’m constantly stressed, constantly terrified and unable to find time to do anything I want. Blogging, talking to friends, relaxing, reading – all of these I’ll be talking about in this post, as well as sobbing generally over my lack of organisation.

On Tuesday, the day I was supposed to be doing my history mock because I was ill the Wednesday prior, our school gave us an assembly that totally fucked up my day and, in short, made me cry. They told us that we should be more panicked, more stressed because our A-Levels are soon, that we should start taking responsibility for our own learning even more than we already do. I’m sure they meant it as a way for us to realise the “urgency”, as they put it, of the lack of time we actually have but it did the opposite for me. It increased my panic, to the point where I could barely breathe whilst listening; I walked downstairs and sat there for a good 15 minutes unable to do anything but breathe raggedly in utter fear.

I never ended up doing that mock in those 3 hours, lying that I’d finished it – I was doing it in my own time anyway – being wildly upset when I was doing other work that ended up helping me in the long run and eventually doing it in the evening where I worked far more productively. But that cut down on my time to do other things; it piled up and I cried twice that day: once in the toilets before lunch so nobody would see and another time at home. In counselling yestarday I told Jane all this, bursting out in a rush along with my general frustration and anger. All that screaming negativity made me realise something, properly for the first time: I don’t have time to do absolutely everything.

There are some people who can balance work with a social life, whilst having good and consistent mental health, can do a few of their hobbies and still have time to relax afterwards. I’m not one of those people. At the moment, I have extremely unstable mental health, no two ways about it; I’m barely able to keep afloat with work; I haven’t read a book for fun in months; my communication with friends has worsened if that’s even possible; I’m always tense. I try to do so many things that I never end up doing any of them, leading to so much stress and I suppose you’d call it anxiety. I withdraw myself, making myself feel so guilty that I try my best to be a good friend which makes me feel guilty for not doing work. It’s quite the cycle.

I love my friends; they’re the ones that have kept me going. Talking to some of my blogging friends at weekends has made me smile and gives a bit of routine to my mind. However, I haven’t been meeting people outside school and my energy for socialising has decreased dramatically. Instead of attacking myself for that, I need to remember that I don’t have an obligation to talk to people all the time: my brain has a lot going on within it and I’m always stressed. I don’t need another stressor on top of that because friends shouldn’t be a stressing factor at all. They’re friends and understand what’s happening, or they will when I explain it to all of them.

What makes me quite sad is that I haven’t given myself time to relax. Apart from extending my skincare routine on weekends, I just haven’t put any effort into making myself feel calm. My logic is that if I don’t have time to talk, I also shouldn’t give myself time to relax either. That’s crap logic. To try and get past that, I bought a few books recently and I’m re-reading Ink and Bone which I bloody love. I’m also trying to go to bed early; my sleep patterns have been so awful for the last few months and I want to fix that. Relaxing is so important, more important than working yourself to the ground. Now, if I could only take my own advice…

*3 decades later* well oops, looks like that might take a lot more work.

You may have noticed that I haven’t been posting recently. I mean you might not have, I’m kind of an insignificant dust speck in space and AAAAHH I’ll just stop talking… Anyway, the reason is simple: I’ve had even less time for blogging. Unlike with GCSEs, I’d rather be writing than studying but I don’t have much of an option. Every time I realise how much I miss blogging I feel quite upset and guilty but that gets me into a horrible mindset. I don’t know what my posts will be like, or when I’ll post them, over the next few months. I could pick myself up or I could slither away into a hole of despair but no matter what, I’m not leaving this blog. Posts just might be a bit short or infrequent but it’s coming up to my 3 year anniversary on here and I want to do something for it.

Schoolwork hasn’t been as monstrous as I thought. I’ve caught up on some notes, written essays, completed bits of homework and almost finished my english coursework, I’d like to say tentatively? things aren’t good but I don’t want to hide utterly right now which is a positive. I’ve kept up more of a dialogue with teachers and I just want to get that work done and not keep crying out of fear and desperation again. It’s an exhausting way to live and as I said to Jane yesterday, I hate it.

Honestly, I’m not sure what I’ll do from here. As I’m feeling rather erratic because of work, uncontrollable feelings and confusion, I can’t very well predict my own behaviour. Bare with me because I’m trying and my trying may not be enough but if it is, things may get a tiny bit more bearable. All I know is that time is running out and I don’t have much more time before exams but in that time, I plan to be as alright as I can be.

How do you manage your time? Also, do you have any ideas about what I should do for my 3 years?

From Elm ๐Ÿ™‚

Hiding from The Beast from the East

This morning, I stepped out of the taxi (I live 40 minutes away from school so that’s why I get it), gasped in confusion at the fact that there was frosty ice-snow on the ground, took a step and nearly shrieked because snow crunched under my feet. Actual snow. In England. In March.

Now, before you start shrieking, “WHAT, it’s been on the news for days, everyone’s wailing about it, are you blind or something?” I’d reply with the fact that I was ill yesterday, very inattentive on Tuesday and ill again on Monday. Yes, I’m blind, and I also was fully aware of the hysteria surrounding this storm. I, erm, didn’t parttake in that hysteria. No way.

I’m not talking about the places where there are red alert weather warnings, such as Scotland, Wales and some of the south of England. They’re justified in panicking – look at my awesome friend‘s post. I’m talking about the fact that after one flake of snow, people start screaming in fear. Not me, of course not, HAHAHAHA where would you get that impression from??

Yesterday, I approached the storm’s existence in a normal fashion. I had some of the best Twitter conversations with my new friends Mason and ABG. Can I just say, you make friends in the strangest of places. Jokes such as #Snunderstorms, magic carpets and Mason screaming about Aladin made me laugh so hard I cackled. It gave me a sense of security – I could handle the snow that wasn’t even bad in the morning.

Picture this. Snow is on either side of me as I walk down the path, the grass covered in a blanket of white. I turn left – all is fine. I walk on, the cold biting into my un-scarved neck because I’m stupid and didn’t bring one and I think my neck is frozen. Everything is good as I turn right again, my face peeking out from behind the building. I start making my way towards the sixth form block and oh shit no, it’s slippy. “I am dignified,” I think, “I will not fall over, I will not scream and I certainly will not start panicking!”

“there are some steps there,” says an unidentifiable staff member. I squeak mumble an acknowledgement and wander on. I’m just veering down the little slope – which was difficult to do with a cane and freezing senses – when someone approaches me.

“Hi Elm! How are you?” says one of the leading staff members in the sixth form.

“Oh hi yeah I’m doing really great actually! I just have to go really reeaally slowly so I don’t slip, it’s quite difficult hahaha!” True to form, I laugh painfully awkwardly and walk into the sixth form building, making some inane remark about how fucking freezing it is to another teacher.

You see, it’s not that I hate snow, or that I particularly like it. I find it difficult to walk in it on account of using a cane and it throws off my balance. The snow wasn’t deep enough for me to stand in it and to hear that awesome snow-sound. I don’t want to get ill again and I kept on yelling about this throughout the day, most likely pissing everyone off because I was making a fuss over nothing.

In lessons and at break, people kept on staring out of the window and discussing the possibility of it being a snow day tomorrow. We were all hoping for it – 30 teachers didn’t make it into school today and I think everyone was getting frustrated. Personally, I was hoping for it but also, I’ve only attended 2 days of school this week: today and Tuesday.

For once, our wishes were granted – an “executive decision” was made for there to be a snow day tomorrow. I’m still inwardly cheering but also panicking. Tonight, I’lll do some work, chat with friends and just relax (I’ve been doing it for the last 18 years so…).

If we can, I’m seeing my sister in Norwich tomorrow where she goes to university. Because the roads are quite dangerous at the minute, we’re not sure whether we can go; I’d love to see her and she and I will be so sad if we can’t. Saying that, I really don’t want to be put in danger from the snow or put anything else in danger either.

All in all, I think I’m going to hybernate. I’m sitting here now with a hot chocolate, my hands still really dry from when I was in Wales, filming, at the weekend. (More on that in a future blog post, I promise!) For now, I’m pretending that it’s not cold outside and that I’m perfectly composed.

I hope you enjoyed my somewhat nonsensical ramblings. I thought I’d make an easier post, where I don’t stress and just write. Let me know what you think!

Have you got snow where you are? If you’re not in England, how often do you get snow?

From Elm ๐Ÿ™‚

Being Open and Other Emotions

As I start writing this, I’m listening to music far too loudly; I’m singing along in a mumbled kind of way and I suppose, for now, I’m content for a little slice of time. Not happy but closer to it than I’ve been for a good few weeks.

Yesterday, in counselling, I was the most honest I’d ever been. In no uncertain terms, I told my counsellor how worthless I felt, how unworthy of anything I thought I was and how, no matter how many people tell me a list of qualities I have, my brain just doesn’t believe them even if I know it’s a little bit true. It’s a complicated issue that has been inside my head for as long as I can remember.

My friends are amazing and I know that what they say is true to them but I get absolutely incredulous when I even think “Oh, you are a good person then?” because my brain refuses to think about the possibility of letting myself fly because I’m terrified of disappointment. As my counsellor said, I keep myself down so that I don’t get disappointed by myself and it’s a fucking horrible way to think and live but it’s what I feel pretty much constantly. As you can tell, I get exhausted by it.

It hurt so much to talk about. Unlike with situations that have happened to me, there isn’t a direct cause to this. It has come about as a result of years of thinking I’m awful and I can’t just change that in a summer or a few months. I need myself and others to understand that this is not simple – I got the closest to breaking down in that session than I have before because it made me feel wretched as fuck and hopeless, too. In counselling, it’s rare that I get really, directly upset about something and show that externally, as I spoke about me and others being unable to understand because I didn’t want to tell them I didn’t believe them in case they gave up on me and left. But here’s the thing: I spoke about it.

Recently, I’ve become quite closed off, keeping rigidly to the view that nothing good will happen, nothing will come of anything so what’s the point of speaking because no one cares – that kind of thing. I broke that yesterday, getting animated and visibly upset – no “blank slate”, no hiding and I lied about nothing. I talked about some of the most terrifying feelings I had, both positive and negative – the distinction being that I hated having the negative feelings but the only thing that upset me about the positive feelings were how much they could fuck me up.

An example of negative feelings that I spoke about in a number of sessions was a time, three weeks ago, when I was walking in my school before lessons started. I listed, systematically and brutally, every single reason why I thought people should hate me, why they already did and why I should hate myself more. It was vicious, almost mentally violent and afterwards, I went to the toilets and sobbed because it hurt so much to despise myself like that. Since then I’ve never got that bad but I refuse to pretend it’s all gone away and I don’t have the energy to shut it all down and fake shit.

I think i’m still recovering from how much stuff I said yesterday. I’m not used, now, to explaining things like this to someone who doesn’t assume my feelings or dismiss them. At the end of the session, I said to her – when she asked – that I knew what I’d done, how open I’d been and that it was something to be proud of but still, I wasn’t letting myself be proud of me because I couldn’t bring myself to be. That’s the best indication I can give as to how my thought processes work.

I don’t quite know where to go from here. I know this was a negative post but there are some good points to it, such as that I know i’m capable of talking. i’m not utterly without reason, hope or clarity of mind.

Currently, i’m not alright, partly because I’m becoming more aware of how I feel but also external circumstances that I’m somehow managing to blame myself for?? However, I’m a hell of a lot more okay than I have been.

When in doubt, remember that people are there to listen. You may not think they care but they will listen to you; try to give yourself a chance more than anyone else.

How easy is it for you to open up?

From Elm ๐Ÿ™‚

What Youโ€™re Capable Of | A Letter to 17-Year-Old Me

Dear Elm,
I know what you’re thinking. “Oh God, if she’s writing a letter to me, something really must have happened – what happened??? What’d I do? Ahh shit, what am I like in a year – am I worse? AM I?” and words to that paranoid effect. I know us far better than you would give me credit for and no, that doesn’t make sense but we think in pretty much the same way so just go with it. The difference is that I know far more than you, you moronic child – and again no, that’s not self-hating, it’s just the truth.

Happy Valentine’s Day! I’m writing this today because for some reason, we take stock in these days – birthdays, when you started this blog and today because it’s associated with love. I never knew I was capable of being sentimental.

Speaking of, you have no idea what’s going to happen over the next year and just how confusing things will get. On that note, I want to tell you a few little things because you don’t know what you’re able to do when you feel panicky. So, let’s jump into a year of being an idiot – and just for the record, you stop talking about love on your blog and it’s time I started again.

In the next few days and weeks, you’re going to do something really stupid. Actually – the thing itself isn’t stupid, it’s just how you respond to it. You’re going to emotionally hurt someone close to you; you’re going to feel violently guilty but not take steps to do anything about that and in the future, that affects your relationships with people and they don’t trust you as much. You probably would know what I was talking about but it’s not a case of just “being honest” with this. You’re terrified, or you will be soon, and you don’t know how to cope with that. In short, you’re capable of running away, lying and refusing to deal with the consequences.

Let’s talk about lying for a minute. You’ve never properly, truly lied before but now is when you start: you lie about your feelings; you lie about how much that affects you; you act utterly blank and emotionless when that couldn’t be further from the truth. Looking back, I feel quite sorry for you because you lived – and still live – in a world of terror that makes you firmly believe that you deserve nothing and by doing that, you don’t let yourself live in the moment, have anything good – or hope. You lie for fear of people hating you and when you tell the truth, it either comes with negative consequences or causes irreversible panic and I wish you’d known that people care about you so much and just want to know if you’re okay. Though that doesn’t excuse anything you do, how you upset people, I – and the people involved – understand you a lot more now. Don’t throw away things just because of fear, okay?

Here’s the thing. You wouldn’t believe me when I say this but you block someone for no good reason and attempt to justify that to yourself and others by pushing the anger you feel – for the first time – onto someone else rather than yourself. You stop doing that totally when you unblock them and talk about it – and there’s another thing. Communication is amazing and you will learn to treasure the ones who are as open as they can be with you. In August, you’ll have many difficult conversations but you are capable of learning. I’m proud of you for that. Those conversations need to happen and you finally learn that the most beautiful people are the ones who don’t try to fix you – they just try to be there.

Last October, you were hurt so badly by circumstances beyond your control and this October, I’m sorry to say it happens again and you’re left wrecked from it. However, you’re able to pick yourself up a little: you rely on friends, have screaming breakdowns and move on- and can I just say, stop lying to yourself about that shit! I’d love to tell you it resolves itself, that you feel utterly fine about things in a year’s time but you don’t and that’s something you have to contend with – guilt, confusion and the persistent feeling that you’ll never be good enough. That’s bullshit and we know it but some people have a habit of making you question your own existence.

It’s not all negative. You are capable of beautiful things but I want you to discover them on your own. Trust me, if you could read this, you’d never believe me. Sometimes I don’t believe me either.

For instance, if I told you what you’ve been repressing for ages and how much you’ve been lying to yourself about someone, you’d call me a twat and break your computer. If I told you that you travel three hours on your own and meet some amazing people, that you become way more independent and that you realise feelings were okay to have, you’d glare at me in the weird way we do and ask if all of those internal theories of alternate universes were, in fact, true. They might be but I’m in your universe so deal with it.

You are capable of so many things. Having feelings again – but shhh, don’t tell anyone – and you discover so much about how your mind works. You finally go to counselling and process some emotions. You still lie but you’ve stopped lying to yourself so much and you’ve stopped twisting your own perception of reality.

I hope I can look back on this in a year’s time and that I could say I was brave. One thing I’ve learned from you is that running away and ignoring our feelings never works. They don’t just go away. Maybe tonight, I’ll make my 17-year-old self proud and tell people how I feel. Or maybe, said self wouldn’t be proud – just shocked and slightly apprehensive at how grim, wise and less self-hating I sound.

I’m still making progress. I’m not like you any more but in a way, I am – we love the same but express it differently. Just remember one thing – love isn’t scary. Neither is hope.

From Elm ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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.

My Period Experiences | #ThePeriodParty

Do you want to see an end to period poverty and the shame that surrounds talking about periods? I certainly do and so I bring you my contribution to #ThePeriodParty. This post might be a little different to my usual, in that I’ll be talking about my personal experiences with the wonderful “menstrual Cycle,” but that’s the point to this movement. I’m stepping out of my comfort zone a little to make a difference, in whatever way I can.

What is #ThePeriodParty?

Set up by the wonderful Ash, this is a movement to inspire people of all ages and genders, to talk about periods, to remove the stigma around them and to spread awareness of the people who can’t afford sanitary products or who are prevented from going to school, spending time doing the things they love or from feeling comfortable because society has not given them the opportunity. You can read Ash’s post for more info and to learn how to get involved; I’ll be putting some ideas at the bottom of this post as wel.

In an effort to help those who don’t feel as comfortable, I’m going to be sharing some of the highlights or not – of my periods over the years. They make me cringe to this day but it’s good to talk about it because now, I can have a good laugh over them.

My Period

I started my period when I was 11, the age my sister started. I couldn’t tell you what happened – I don’t remember precisely what I was feeling – but what I do know is that it took me ages to properly realise how to use a pad because i wasn’t quite sure how to ask my mum or sister. Tampons were another story – I’ll get onto that in a little while.

It was a case of trial and error in finding the right products for me. On the first day of my period, it’s not that bad but for the next 2-3 days after that, it’s the equivalent of of a waterfall and it’s horrendous. That brings me onto my first story…

The Classroom Incident

I was 13, very much prone to embarrassment and still trying to figure out my “cycle.” RE, or religious education, was the last lesson of the day and I remember it being around the second day of my period. I was doing well, congratulating myself on avoiding any “accidents” when I stood up at the end of the lesson.

I was wearing a skirt with no tights on. I stood up and immediately, I knew something was wrong. Turns out that there was blood on my leg and the sheer horror I felt, knowing people could see it (because there was a fair bit of it) caused me to run out of the classroom. I actually ran because I was so embarrassed.

Unfortunately, people remembered it for a while afterwards and so I absolutely refused to talk about my period to anyone until the next one came around. Ever since then, I’ve kept pads in my bag for emergencies.

The Tampon Incident

I’d not had a very good relationship with tampons when I first started. I’d tried to use one when I was 12 and didn’t understand how so I stopped trying. That meant that I couldn’t ever swim whilst on holiday and I had the constant anxiety that the Classroom incident would occur again. When I was 16, I’d had enough. I asked my mother to buy some tampons for me because I didn’t have a clue and I also asked her to tell me how to wear one.

And it didn’t go well. I ended up crying and getting so frustrated with it that i thought I’d never be able to do it. So, what did I do? I looked it up online and when my mum went out, I tried again. It took me a while to figure out how to not stab myself with the tampon, I’ll be honest.

I followed the instructions and somehow managed to successfully do it, but then I had no idea how I’d done it. I couldn’t feel it but then I got irrationally terrified it’d be stuck inside me forever and so I took it out after 2 hours when the recommended amount of time is four. I’ve got much more comfortable with wearing them now and they’re sometimes a necessity if my period is particularly bad.

The Thailand Incident

Over the last 3 years, I’ve been getting really bad cramps. Some have been so bad that I had to go home from school because I could barely stand up. One of the worst times was in the summer of when I was 16, when I went to Thailand.

We’d gone shopping with some of my stepmother’s friends and gone out for dinner afterwards. I felt really off and I ached but it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. As we were walking around and the sky got darker and darker, I started slowly to get more exhausted and then the pain started. When this happens, I feel so sick that I utterly lose control of my emotions.

I don’t remember much but I do know that I tried to curl up on the ground at one point and I could barely walk. I was crying, I think, and everything was blurring around me so that I didn’t know where I was. Eventually we got home but I still had no idea what was going on and it felt like something was scooping my insides out with a fork. Since then, it’s only been that bad once. On that occasion, I’d got 5 hours of sleep, hadn’t eaten for 18 hours and was so exhausted that it was the closest I ever got to utterly passing out.

The Crying Incidents

This isn’t a specific incident but a culmination of many. Usually 3 days before my period, the beautiful and kind PMS starts. Mine involves becoming a complete bitch, exhibiting far too much emotion and, well, crying.

I snap at my family, shut down a lot or go to the other extreme and start telling everyone how upset I feel for no good reason. If I think I’m bad now, with a long time to go before my period, it’s nothing compared to how irritating I get a few days before. I feel so sorry for my friends sometimes although what’s good about them is that regardless of whether they get periods or not, they’re so understanding.


There you have it – 4 of my “Period stories”! I hope you ejoyed them and cringed as much as I did.

how you can get involved

If this inspired you, or if Ash’s post did, there are some things you can do to get involved.
You can sign the petition which calls on the government to give those who receive free school meals to also receive free sanitary products.
You can get involved on social media using the hashtag #ThePeriodParty so that anyone – whether they have a blog or not – has a chance to hear about this campaign.
You could start talking about it offline, to people you know from school or work, so that talking about periods can be done everywhere – not just on the Internet.
Anyone can do this – any age, any gender, any period experience – this is about open discussion and spreading awareness.

I’d like to take a moment to thank Ash for being so proactive and using her thoughtful, creative personality to make a true difference. I’m so incredibly proud of her, what she’s done and what she will do. It’s up to us to spread this message and I, for one, will be doing everything I can to help those who need it.

From Elm ๐Ÿ™‚

I Fear Intimacy

A while ago, I wrote a post about how I was scared of losing my virginity. That post has been on my mind a lot recently, simply because the fear I’ve described has increased so much and it’s only now, after a recent experience, that I’ve started to delve into the reasons why.

In this post, I’m going to be talking about some topics that could make people uncomfortable; if you aren’t comfortable with reading about fear of “physical things”, you shouldn’t have to read this post. It’s taken me a long time to come to terms with this all and I’m still not there yet but bare with me. Maybe, if I’m a little more open on this blog, I’ll properly start to process this. If you relate to this, don’t be afraid to talk about it.

I’m neither the type of person who talks about this a lot, nor the type of person who never talks about it. I fall somewhere in the middle, only talking about it in terms of what I call The Fear or letting people know things that have happened; I never feel quite comfortable with talking about this to people who haven’t directly seen me being afraid because it’s difficult to explain. I contradict myself and that’s part of the issue.

What overshadows pretty much all my thoughts on “intimacy” (that word makes me cringe URGH) is experiences of the past. They’re not bad (the opposite, from what I can remember because it’s kind of painful to re-think them) but they happened and the fallout, or the effects that people have had on me, have caused what I can only describe as those memories to “warp”. Without going into graphic detail or sounding like I’m involved in a science fiction novel, I find it impossible some days to think of certain people, certain dates, certain events or even the topic of sex without getting worried, upset and paranoid at myself. I’ve never had a bad experience, no traumatic experiences or events, but I have a habit of holding onto memories to help me get through. Some of them are of specific people – and when those specific people make me unhappy, or something changes, I can’t think about it any more without feeling wrong or guilty, so those memories go into the “Don’t think about it” box I talk about in this post. I think because I’ve been unable to let myself process them, I’ve become scared of the memories and scared of intimacy in general. Whoohoo, my mind is glorious sometimes.

On the subject of processing things, I have a lot of trouble sometimes registering things when they actually happen. In a recent situation, it took about 10 minutes for me to understand that even the smallest thing had happened and I was getting panicked, just because it didn’t feel wrong. With other memories, I’ve lived in the moment as much as possible and then got confused afterwards and second-guessed myself; a long time ago, when I was prone to being a bit of a dick with my emotions, I only realised that I was desperately unhappy when it was blatantly pointed out to me. This has made me always worry that next time I even kiss someone, next time I want to be involved with someone, I’ll take it for granted and not understand the significance of it until it’s over: I either don’t live in the moment at all or live in it too much that I forget it when it’s over. I’m extremely scared that I won’t approach situations in a good way and that I’ll accidentally screw people over because of my inability to trust my own emotions or responses. (Also, just a side note, I half-love and half-hate how I’m being so vague about all of this shit).

Above all recently, trusting people has been so tricky: back in May last year, when I wrote that post about virginity, I had a lot of “trust issues” which have still remained and have actually got worse. Before anything happens, I worry that I’ll just be replaced; afterwards, if and when I am replaced, I take it too personally; my trust got absolutely trampled on by a herd/gaggle of elephants last year to the point where I would think about sex, or even kissing someone, and would nearly cry and so I’d repress it all. Not a healthy way to be but I did it, partly because I didn’t see any other way and also because to me at that time, I believed everyone would lie to me and let me trust them before throwing that trust so hard into the sea that it sank to the bottom of the ocean. (Crap, did I come across as too bitter then?).

Okay, this one’s kind of awkward for me but I’m going to go for it anyway. I have a persistent fear of losing control, whether that’s control physically or emotionally. The former makes me uncomfortable and I’m still trying to figure that one out but the latter is relatively simple: I’m terrified of getting feelings, of trusting people that I shouldn’t, and of repeating everything I’ve done before. Separating the physical from the emotional has done irreparable – at least for now – damage to the way I respond to emotions which means that I’ve had to be overly self-controlled, on top of my already existing fear of being vulnerable. People who have tried to help me with the former “problem” have made the latter problem come to the surface without knowing but it’s still there and so if I’d ever want to get involved with someone, they’d have to understand that despite me sometimes rushing into things, I SHOULD NOT DO THAT because it makes me panic and afraid.

The last thing, and possibly the one that boils more towards the surface and that isn’t repressed is that I’m wildly insecure about my body. This has been a recurring theme on a few posts, casually mentioned sometimes but it’s very real and gets in the way of me feeling wholly comfortable. I don’t do enough exercise and so I think I look drab and boring; I’m very small, utterly unremarkable in my own eyes; I dislike my skin; I just don’t think I’m appealing whatsoever. I know this is something that can be worked through and is about self-esteem and self-confidence, the willingness to try, but I get this incredulity whenever I think that anyone would be remotely interested in me. Yes, it’s damaging and yes, I can solve it easier than the rest but the insecurities have been around for just about as long as I’ve been criticising myself.

All of this stops me – not from getting close to people, because I do that far too often for my liking but from me utterly engaging or feeling happy with everything. I feel like people will get sick of me talking about it but it’s good to talk about and to open up. Whenever I get paranoid that this will always remain, I shut down and don’t think or talk about it because I never take people’s advice and I end up despising myself and becoming absolutely furious. If I could learn, inside my own mind, that shit was okay and that my own self isn’t something to be hated or desperately frightened of, that losing control won’t destroy me, that the people worth trusting are the ones that don’t get tired of you or who are only interested in you for one thing only – the Fear might get a little better.

As you can see, all of these reasons tie into each other; I can’t address one without another one cropping up somewhere. I think I need to find someone I truly trust to help me through those issues but I don’t know how to go about doing that without looking stupid, crying, sounding pathetic or doing all of those. The one person I do consistently trust to talk about this with has helped reassure me but the Fear is increasing. I know this can be considered “normal” but the entire thing worries me, considering that I always seem to wait for things to go wrong.

Whereas before, in the post I linked at the top of this one I thought it was all about my lack of ability to trust people, really it’s a lot more complicated than that. For me, it wouldn’t just be fair to say that I hate losing control or that it’s only past experiences that have made me like this because one affects the other hugely. To get through it, I might need to be more trusting or need to help myself get over my fear of helplessness and you could say that this could be done with the help of someone else but I don’t know if I trust anyone right now. Trusting in myself is the most difficult thing of all.

This has been such a cathartic post, where I’ve let out some emotions and confusion. I’m still figuring it out and this is so disjointed because because I’m unclear as to what I feel, how to solve it or where it all came from. This is an introduction – or rather a re-introduction – into me being more free with my thoughts.

The post that inspired me to write all this, that made me think a lot about my own feelings, was written by Kirithika and it’s one of the best ways to talk about it – casually and reassuringly. You should seriously go and read it!

This post isn’t to tell you how to get over the fear because as you’ve read, I haven’t yet. I don’t have any tips, any advice – just my own personal experiences and worries. If I tried to tell you how to help yourself, I would be a hypocrite. I just hope that, at least, anyone who has gone through a similar thing can feel comforted that they aren’t alone here.

One day, my fear will diminish and I won’t simultaneously want to get close to someone whilst also wanting to shy away and explain, numerous times, why I’m afraid. My mind is complicated but at least I have an outlet for it.

From Elm ๐Ÿ™‚

A Firebird’s Song

You thought I was cold
Didn’t you, unable to burn
Like a sparked-out fuse,
Ice-blue and unfeeling, thousand-year-old
Stardust that only hits your eyes
When your love’s been sold.

You thought I wouldn’t open,
That’s true, stark lines on ashes
When I had nothing to lose,
Thoughts on lips, shivers on hands frozen
To your wavering, silk-thin wings
As you flew me words unspoken.

You thought I was freeing
For you, a tick to pass the time, fire
Flickering out as soon as you blew
Out the sparkling light. But for me,
Standing unmoving, thawing heart a shade of wrong,
I could never quite stop seeing

The firelit need to belong-
Never touched you, your glowing eyes
A step away from the truth,
Oblivious as they whispered along
To the melody of another dance-
You made my love a burned-out song.


Sometimes, I pretend I’m cold inside. Sometimes, the people who burned me the most have made me shut down my emotions. Sometimes, I just can’t hold that in any more.
From Elm ๐Ÿ™‚

The Music Habits Tag!

Hi!
Long time no speak, write – whatever it is I churn out on this blog. Things have been painfully hectic recently but I’m back with a tag! I can hear you shrieking for joy all the way from here, the air filled with the beautiful sound of silence. Okay no, I’ll shut up and stop whinging; onto the tag!

This was created by my amazing friend Sumedha who is a genius and you should seriously check out her blog. I love this tag of hers and it’s time I yelled about music more on this blog.

The Rules

  1. Tag the creator – Sumedha – so they can read all your answers!
  2. Thank the person who tagged you.
  3. Answer all the questions.
  4. Tag at least three friends.

This sounds fab I NEED TO DO TAGS MORE OFTEN! Right, the questions…

Do you download songs or stream them from apps like Spotify?

I used to download songs onto my phone but I got quite bored of that because I wasn’t able to find new music easily, so now I use Spotify to stream most of my music. For me, it’s easier and takes up way less space on my phone.

What’s your current favourite song?

Ooooh this is a difficult one. I’m really loving the acoustic version of Flicker by Niall Horan because it gives me a vague amount of hope and the piano accompaniment is beautiful. You’ll notice a pattern – I listen to sad songs a lot and the ones that aren’t sad, I’m too ashamed to admit to.

Last song you listened to?

I was feeling bitter and stereotypical so I listened to Let Me Go by Hailee Steinfeld – I actually really like it and it’s one of the songs I listen to that aren’t really weird or sad.

Who are your all time favourite artists?

  1. Katelyn Tarver
  2. We The Kings
  3. Hayley Kiyoko
  4. Alan Walker
  5. Dean Lewis

Oh god, my taste in music is strange… I don’t actually have many all-time favourite artists; I more get obsessed with songs.

Have you been to any concerts?

YESSS, I’ve been to Glastonbury four times – from the ages of 8 to 11- where I’ve seen Lady Gaga, Beyonce, Jay Z, Marina and the Diamonds and a few others. I’ve also seen Rae live, and Hozier, which you can read about here. That was honestly amazing and I’ve loved all the concerts I’ve been to.

Do you play any instruments?

I kind of play the piano, though badly; the main thing I do is sing. On my contact page, you can find a link to my grim Youtube channel that I’m not even allowing myself to call a “Youtube channel”> On there, I occasionally warble out something you might call music, if you were being generous. I quit piano years ago so singing’s the only thing I really have, music-wise.

Do you play your songs on shuffle or choose a playlist?

Recently I’ve been getting really into playlists but I do want to start to shuffle my music more. I kind of like the uncertainty of it on days where that doesn’t stress me out. I’ve created some seriously cringe playlists on Spotify that I really hope I’ve made private…

Name one song that you always skip when it comes up on shuffle

Perfect by Ed Sheeran. I used to really love this song but now, it actually upsets me to listen to it. I’ll listen to it occasionally but I have too many internal things associated with that song to feel entirely at ease when I hear it.

Do you prefer playing songs on speaker or listening in ear/headphones?

When I’m at home, I’ll often listen to music on my speaker or just out loud. However, in public, I always put headphones in because sometimes I have pretty emotional reactions to songs and get embarrassed quite easily if people see me looking happy/upset in public. I don’t know – I’m quite odd.

Is there any popularly liked song that you donโ€™t like?

I really don’t like Hurtin’ Me. It just makes me angry whenever I hear it. I’m listening to it at the moment and getting so furious that I’m going to switch to a less insufferable song.

Where do you usually find new music? Example through shuffle online

Usually, it’s through YouTube, or if something comes up on my Spotify that I’ve never heard before. If my friends really like a song and go on about it a lot, I’ll listen to it just to see what it’s like and quite a lot, I’ll get good song recommendations from it. Saying that, on top of some strange videos in my recommended, YouTube is usually my place to go.

Do you like songs based on tunes/beats or lyrics?

If one is really bad, so if there are shit lyrics or a shit tune, I won’t like the song. However, what usually attracts me to songs are the lyrics; if a song has a particularly relatable theme or line, I’ll automatically get obsessed with it. Some songs I like purely for their beat (but I don’t usually admit that shhh).

Name one song you think everyone should listen to

Waves by Dean Lewis. The first time I heard it, I cried because it pretty much describes how I feel on a day-to-day basis. that, coupled with the piano, makes me feel weirdly comforted whenever I hear it.

And I Nominate

Bethany
Alex
Perfectly Platonic
Bri
Kel


I hope you enjoyed my weird and rambling answers! I don’t have the best music taste ever but I own it…

What’s your favourite song?

From Elm ๐Ÿ™‚