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 🙂

Replaced in Stasis

I am frozen.

It’s like I’m ice, cracked, sparkling and yet breakable when dropped on the ground. It’s like I’m snow, tumbling down in little flakes, trying to be 3 at once and melting as soon as I flitter through the air. It’s like I’m dust, flailing into existence, twirling through that dance by myself with a thousand others never quite touching me. It is like I am invisible.

I am a mat, coloured in soft greens and baby blues, furrowed and nondescript. For people to pass over me is okay, to exchange me for an intricate rug, threaded with beads and starbound circles. I am content to lay dormant, only rising to be a cardboard cut-out whilst those worth more than a rusting sixpence fly. Bitterness is beneath me, stamped out by my paper hands. I refuse to feel unfairness trickling away like sand. Cardboard doesn’t feel, right?

Snow is content, time and time again, to let others fall past them with delicacy. Ice does not feel worthless when broken into the sea and replaced by sturdier, stronger, surer ice. Cardboard does not scream when it is replaced by glossy paper that understands emotions, that can be flawed but still retain humanity. I am no paper, no better snowflake, no alluring ice. I am cracked without the allure.

Reassured while my plummeting heart tries to thaw, I am told I am everything, yet shown I am nothing. Smoke falls over my hands, reaching, asking, never quite touching. The whispers of others, better, better, better, roar into my ears. They fall away. Actions cry louder than words. Therefore, my heart blanks over again, cardboard sliding over chipped stone.

I am cold, receding into thinness and terror and flawed passivity. Threads of gold stretch on into the distance, snipped half-heartedly yet not enough to sever ties. It is only enough to hurt, the sibling of fate rushing off to take care of another thread. It is left hanging by an atom, the last string of hope clinging desperately. It frosts over, hiding something explosive beneath a mirror of frozen hopelessness.

⠠⠃ I am burning, too bright, snuffed out like a spark of candle-flame. I am raging, self-contained and shaking. It is like I am a volcano, lain passive for so long, finally about to erupt.

When I break, I will leave destruction like petals in my wake. There may be a circle of my presence, trembling at the depth of humanity. When I shatter, people will glance over, never quite knowing that this is real. If I finally realise that I am worth something, I may change the world.

Before it changes me.

From Elm 🙂

How Acting Changed my Life

***Minor details have been changed for anonymity purposes***

From mid November to early December – nearly a month – I didn’t go to school. I wasn’t at home either, barely did any schoolwork, yet in doing so I created memories that will stay with me forever. I came to some difficult realisations about the future, namely that I had pushed myself to be what everyone else expected me to be. Now that I can’t be that any more, I’m almost in freefall but I wouldn’t change that for the world.

Where was I? I can’t tell you much, apart from that I was filming a small thing for something that might appear late next year. Instead of focusing too much on those details, I want to talk about how it changed my life in the best way possible. Not just temporarily but how it forced me to realise that I’ve shoved myself into a little box because of the expectations of myself and others for far too long. Those expectations have now changed and I think I may finally know what I feel.

I stayed in a city far away from the one I live in, with a train journey lasting just over 2 and a half hours. For the longest time, I’d fought with family over going by myself and finally, I was allowed to take that journey, the longest I had ever done. In total, I did it four times, sitting with my thoughts for company, reading, heart beating hard with a mix of anticipation and fear at what I knew would be an unforgettable journey. I was right.

Collectively for around a fortnight and a half, I stayed in a hotel that was 15 minutes’ drive from the place we were filming, with a chaperone because I was below the age of 18 at the time. I had my own room, could lay my stuff out how I wanted; it was exhilarating to come back to the hotel after having had dinner and to feel utterly in control of that space. The chaperone I had was amazing: she helped me to see life differently, to understand that there are far more options than the one you thought you’d do a year ago. Over dinner – where we went out pretty much every night when my schedule allowed – and breakfast in the mornings, we talked about life and anything we could think of. Walking through shops and streets, I laughed so hard that I nearly fell over at one point. The experience wouldn’t have been the same without her because I felt secure when returning back from set, knowing I had someone who I could count on to help if I got confused and just a friend who I could chat to.

Each morning of a day I filmed, I got up, had breakfast and – depending on my call time – relaxed or got ready straight away. My sleeping patterns got messed up. Often, I had 12-hour days at odd times and so I was exhausted but it was a rewarding kind of exhausting. Receiving a Callsheet was always interesting because you were never quite sure what you were doing each day, if something overran from the day before. So many times, I asked stupid questions about abbreviations but it just meant I learned, all the time.

Now, onto the filming itself. I can’t describe anything in detail really but it was exhilarating. Between takes, I howled with laughter with the other actors. The first time I properly met one of them, an hour later we were joking around like we’d known each other for months. I wasn’t afraid of truly expressing myself, breaking free of the ‘vulnerable’ stereotype, my insecurities being natural and able to be talked about. Waiting between sections of filming wasn’t difficult either: I had too many cups of tea for it to be healthy and one of the Runners – people who do jobs around set and help the actors if they need something – spoke to me constantly. I can safely say that the people made it worthwhile.

I wish I could tell you specific memories I have but I’m not allowed to reveal anything about the filming. However, highlights include shivering so hard in the cold, talking to an actor about mental health and our lives for almost an hour, learning about so many new things, chatting to the costume and makeup people and starting to use terminology that you wouldn’t understand if you weren’t in that industry. Coming back into the warmth when you were freezing felt as if your fingers were about to fall off and I took to mumbling lines under my breath and whenever I was running lines with the other actors, we’d sometimes just say the first line and run from then. I felt so comfortable around them; it didn’t matter that I looked young, that I had a disability, that I hadn’t done this much before. I felt utterly at home, able to absolutely sob with laughter and I didn’t care how I looked. It brought back my humanity and each time I came back to the hotel, I’d talk to my chaperone about how the day went and her enthusiasm for it all made me so happy.

I went for drinks after one of the days filming with some of the cast and crew. There, one of the main producers talked to me and told me I was wonderful, that I shouldn’t give up, that I should continue doing this. I beamed, heart soaring as I realised – maybe, just maybe he was right. After speaking to the director, one of the loveliest people, I started feeling a fire light deep within me. It was glorious and I got confidence I’ve never felt before or since, bolstering me like I was worth something more than I ever thought. I went back to the hotel – something I jokingly referred to as ‘home’ with my chaperone – and cried out of shock. They were happy tears, tears of gratitude and an overload of emotion.

The day I left the set for the last time, I cried so hard for hours. It felt as if I was leaving something behind and I felt horribly empty when I remembered that there would be no more Callsheets for this time, no more accidentally walking into walls and having to re-take whilst laughing, no more chatting to the director and the rest of the cast about my disability and them not caring that I was blind, just caring that I was myself. The train journey back was one of the most difficult I’ve had as it felt as if my heart was breaking: I missed it and still miss it, the simple companionship and jokes I had with people, the waiting that never seemed to be boring because I knew I was being useful. I was needed, part of it, like I’ve not really felt before.

Going to school made me feel small, powerless and so, so wrong. I’d thought, over the Christmas holidays, and realised that I really don’t know what to do about my future. It threw me: my lack of work done was piling up; I felt panicked all the time at the thought of this continuing, on and on. That snapped me back to a sort of reality. Before filming, it felt normal to feel this awful all the time and to have no respite. Now I compare myself to when I was happy to now, when I’ve reverted to feeling worried constantly. I shouldn’t have to feel like this all the time. I shouldn’t have to do a degree that will just exacerbate this.

What do I do, then? Do I still do my degree in English Lit and Creative Writing, regardless of how unhappy it makes me? Or do I look at drama schools in the year I’m taking out next year? It shocks me to note that this uncertainty, instead of making me feel terror, makes me feel less trapped. I’m less limited now. In a way, I can be more in control.

This will come as a shock to, well, everyone. It already has. Throughout my secondary education, I never went into drama; I never expressed an interest because I never thought I was good enough. This will be a surprise; I’ll have teachers and parents telling me I’m being hasty, that I should be sensible. However, in this, I’m doing the sensible thing for me.

I want to do what makes me happy, to do what feels right. I don’t want to feel as wrong as I have; feeling so terrified and unhappy about the future and believing that to be healthy is harmful. I’m having a huge re-think but maybe that was necessary to make me remember that my views for the future are not the only path I could take.

There are always options. It’s far better to be happy and to feel confident in yourself than to go along with what people tell you you should do.

I don’t want this to be the end. I don’t want to go, “That’s it,” and force myself to be content with a future that has never felt wholly “me”. I don’t want to be told I’m being a child about this, that I should just do the degree because it’ll give me a good future.

I want to make a future for myself, not anyone else’s version of my future. I will create amazing memories and the ones I made last month and the month before, though fading a little, have made a lasting impression on me. They’ve shown me that I won’t just fit into a little box.

A lot of changes are happening in my head. I’m behind in my schoolwork, desperately stressed, losing control of some of the things in my life and breaking away from the things teachers want me to be and from the studious person I once was. However, I was only that because I needed to be. It was the only thing I thought I had. I’ve been proven wrong. I’m still insecure, worried I’m running too far and too fast but for once, thinking about this doesn’t make me feel like I’m climbing a mountain that never ends. Maybe, I can be happy.

Not maybe. Definitely.

Have you ever had a complete turnaround about what you want to do in the future?

Love from Elm 🙂

Where I’ve Been

As I’m writing this, I’m on the phone to L, listening to him singing and rambling on about old blog posts. Really, it’s a great way to start my first post of 2018, the first post or second – after I became an adult – and my first after my unplanned, temporary, panic-stricken ‘hiatus’. Typically, I’m having trouble writing, either because I haven’t written in so long or because I’m scared that if I start writing, I’ll have that thing I had in the counselling session yesterday where I couldn’t stop.

I’ve realised I haven’t written properly, about my day, my life, in about a month. I miss it. So perhaps, casually, I’ll start screaming about mocks and worry and counselling and wow, here we go!

Just a note – this turned out quite negative. I want you to remember that if you ever need anyone to talk to or any support, you can find links at the bottom of this post. Alternatively, find a family member, friend or someone impartial who you can speak to.

On Monday and Wednesday, I had mocks. Monday was Psychology – the best one; then English – from Hell; History – which blessed me and cursed me in equal measure and English again – which I wanted to burn and turn into fire whilst I ran away screaming. So, that went well.

My counsellor asked me yesterday to explain how I’ve been feeling over the last week: it was my first fixed session of 12 and I had a fair bit of trouble talking then too. She was lovely and helped me to feel relaxed, like somebody really cared. Talking about it chronologically helped. I’ll start from there because right now, I feel very disconnected from everything and everyone because I haven’t been talking. This will be unstructured and mammoth; it’s mostly just to tell you how I’ve been feeling. You could probably read each paragraph separately; it’ll be that disjointed.

Since about Friday, possibly even earlier, I worked 6 hours – even more sometimes – each day. I went to bed so late because I started working late as I couldn’t get up the motivation. I kept on getting distracted and when I sat myself down, I worked and worked until I felt like I’d collapse. I couldn’t think afterwards, bone-tired from thinking too hard, copying out too many notes, being too unproductive. I disappointed myself at the end of the day, trying to be pleased with what I could do under pressure, forgetting that this – as I said to the counsellor – was more work than I’d done in a year.

I started lying to teachers, so desperately afraid of what they’d say if they found out how behind I was in their class. I started thinking of myself as an awful person, deep down despising myself, not realising that it was understandable and that leads me onto my next paragraph of shouting about how confused I am. What else is new?

I’m having a huge crisis over the future. Tomorrow, I’ll be writing a post on it but long story short, I’m questioning what I want to do on a huge level. Being in year 13, this puts me in a difficult position but luckily, I’m not applying to university this year so it gives me some time. However, I still feel kind of cut loose and directionless; I wouldn’t change that for the world though.

I talked about this all with my counsellor yesterday in the 50 minute session we had, words tumbling and exploding out of me like I’ve not been able to speak for years. Perhaps that was true: I’ve always spoken about how I feel, but not why. It’s mostly me blocking myself: I ignore reasons behind my feelings, knowing I feel panicked because of work but not understanding how to solve it because the reasons all go back years. Like now, I’m shouting onto this post with no sense of understanding how I feel and I know this will come with more counselling sessions but it makes me feel like everything stretches into the distance but I can’t move forward. Unstructured, like these sentences and all of my words and the fact that I’ve come back to blogging and all I can write about is panic.

I want to fill this space with positivity; I’ve not been so good at that lately. Positive, beautiful things have happened but because of my inability to process them, I can’t talk about them here as much. Maybe at some point later, when I can think about something other than work; maybe I’ll truly come to terms with the fact that not everyone thinks I’m ridiculous, still a child, small and directionless. Perhaps they’re partly true but I’m far more than just that.

This has been a mess but I didn’t want to come back and tell you all a lie. In good conscience, I couldn’t have told you that all my structures of thought were neat, tidy, orderly. I may be an adult but “adults” still make mistakes and don’t know how to process their emotions (like I’d know, only having been one for 12 days). Anyhow, I feel almost guilty for making you read this cluttered “thing”.

Maybe nobody will read this – and maybe I’m being attention-seeking in saying that. I think I’ll post this, humming along to terrible music, breathe and calm down until I can organise my thoughts. I’ll read posts, talk to people – and it’ll be okay.

I think, in a way, this has got me back into writing. I end writing this post whilst still listening to L singing and occasionally screeching along myself. This is what friendship is; this is what I deserve; I need to stop holding myself back for fear that I’m not good enough.

You’re only not good enough to yourself if you don’t let yourself be.

How have you all been this last week?

Love from Elm 🙂
P.S: I can’t work out if this is the most “unprofessional” thing I’ve ever written Probably not – my 2015 posts were quite something.

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

A Little Christmas Tag!

IT IS TWO WEEKS UNTIL CHRISTMAS ARE YOU EXCITED?? Because I am and I’ve catapulted myself out of my “Scrooge Phase” and have finally become all Christmasy. For my first Christmas post of the year, I’m going to be doing a Christmas tag!

I was nominated by the wonderful Chloe Lauren and you can read her post here. She’s one of the most positive bloggers ever and you should totally look at her blog because CHRISTMAS!

This fab tag was created by Girl Enters and I love the idea of it. Christmas tags are so fun because you get to scream about how much you LOVE CHRISTMAS.

The Questions

Do you like Christmas?

I like it a lot more now than I did before; I used to not get hyped at all. I love it because of the presents and decorations and how it brings all my family together. I don’t get as hyped for it as some people do but when people around me are getting festive, it’s almost contagious.

What do you enjoy most about Christmas?

I really love going to Christmas markets and also spending time with my family. When we go to my Grandma’s, we often all get really involved in bringing in the presents and the ridiculous excitement on Christmas morning with stockings is something I still do. I’m not a child, okay?!! I’m just… Alright, maybe I am a tiiiny bit of a child. (I look like one so shhhh)

Do you travel at Christmas or stay at home?

On Christmas Eve – or usually the 23rd – we go to my Grandma’s for Swedish Christmas, where we open presents and have Swedish Christmas dinner. The next day, my sister and I go to our mum’s house and have a ‘second Christmas’ there. So in a way, we do both.

Do you send out Christmas cards?

I personally don’t because I can’t write them. When I do send them out, it’s usually to friends who can read Braille or if I’m feeling especially festive, I’ll ask someone to write it for me. I’m SORRY! Writing print isn’t, erm, exactly my forte.

Do you go to any Christmas parties?

Hahahahaha NOOO. I don’t get invited because I’m an antisocial moth ×100 but I’d like to go to one with family or maybe friends. The closest I get is a New Year’s party which acts as a kind of substitute birthday party.

Do you decorate your house?

Not much, besides the tree. We have a Christmas ornament on the door and my stepmum and I plan to buy Christmas candles this year (we really should do that). I’d love to get some reindeer ornaments too because, as with everything, THEY ARE SO CUTE!

What tops your tree?

An angel. It’s getting quite old but I love it – we used to have two, one for me and one for my sister, but I think one of them went missing or something. We used to have a star as well but we haven’t seen that in a while… I swear, elves are stealing our decorations.

When do you put up your Christmas tree?

Usually it’s around 5 December – this time, we put it up two days before that because we’re all going to be quite busy this week. (One day, I’ll go on a rant about how much I love Christmas trees which hopefully won’t turn me into an actual Elm).

How long do you leave up your decorations for?

We usually have them up until 5 January or the 6th because we like to keep the festive spirit going. This time, we might have to take the tree down a bit earlier because guests are coming round so I’ll just sob over fallen pine needles and mourn the loss of my kindred spirit… Right, I need sleep.

Which do you prefer, giving or receiving presents?

Hmm… I’d say giving because I love seeing people’s responses but also receiving because I’m paranoid people will hate the presents I got them and buying for my family is a nightmare. I don’t like getting too many presents because I hate my family spending too much money on me but I suppose they have the same thought process as me, in that getting someone something they love is amazing.

When and how did you learn about Santa Claus?

What?!! Santa isn’t real?
I learnt about that – my heart’s still breaking – when I was about 7. There were these hairbands in my stocking – the only ones I’d received – and I was eavesdropping at the door of the kitchen and heard my aunt say, “Those were some lovely hairbands you got Elm!” In my little brain I started going “Hmm… Have these bitches been lying to me?” and that, children, was how I realised Santa wasn’t real. As a side note, I had to keep on pretending to my cousin that Santa existed and every time, I probably had a weird little smile on my face.

What’s your favourite thing to eat during the Christmas holidays?

I know Christmas cake and pudding is great (actually it’s gross and I don’t like it) but I either love Advent callendar chocolate, chocolate orange or those decorations you get on the Christmas tree. A few years ago, I may or may not have eaten them all. Do you notice a pattern? I 100% certainly absolutely don’t.

Nominees

And I nominate…

Ruby Rae Reads

Indy

Sumedha

Kate

Jasmine

Lu

Bethany

I really hope you like this and that you’re having a fabulous December! Even if it’s freezing here in Britain, I’m still enjoying myself.

What kinds of decorations do you have up at Christmas?

From Elm 🙂

Ways I Deal with Breakdowns

Personally, I have a bit of a routine when it comes to breakdowns. By “a bit” I mean it’s erratic: it changes; it’s sometimes more healthy than other times but there are a few things I seem to do pretty much every time. After feeling absolutely atrocious because of emotions a few days ago and comparing it to a huge breakdown I had in Barcelona, I realised that there were certain ways I dealt with it: I looked back on past “breakdowns” and decided to compile a list of ways I cope. This isn’t a “5 ways to deal” because it’s different for everyone but this is just how, sometimes, I deal with my emotions going haywire. I hope this can help anyone who needs it, like I needed it.

I class breakdowns as any time where I lose complete control of my emotions. I won’t go into what causes them – that’s for another post – but in a way, dealing with them has informed me what causes them. As my mental health has got worse, I’ve had to internalise a lot of things I used to be able to express more and so I hope that writing about this will encourage me to speak up.

Crying

This might seem like an obvious one but there have been times where I’ve felt so terrible but not let myself cry about it. Perhaps it’s cliché to say this but tears can really be a release for pent up emotion. When I let myself cry, although it panics me, it gives me a way to get something out. That’s far better than shoving it all back so that it appears later, worse. I don’t force the tears if I know they won’t fall but I try my best to let them out when I know I need to. If no people are there, I don’t quite know how to deal with them which often forces me to try and ignore them but if people bring my tears out by talking to me, or something happens which means I can’t not cry, I feel a little calmer afterwards. When I cry a lot, it does make me exhausted but it doesn’t end with me feeling angry and like I’m running to nowhere.

Grounding Myself

Part of a breakdown for me is feeling really disconnected with everything. Because of that, when I feel like I’m about to start sobbing or I’m in the midst of it, I often touch objects around me, put my hands behind my back or talk to myself about what’s happening. That last one makes me deal with it and, weirdly, makes it a bit more bearable because I’m proving to myself I’m still here, still able to express myself and still myself. If I’m around someone, I’ll either hold their hands usually or be close to them: when I was in Barcelona, my friend told me to punch a pillow really hard and also held me; the next day, I stood by the wall and pushed against it with my hands to remember where I was because I was alone and couldn’t deal with going to find anyone. In these situations, I do everything I can to remind myself that what I feel is real.

Lying/sitting on the floor

Okay, I know that might seem weird, but I’ve noticed I do this a lot especially when I don’t know how to deal with anything or when my emotions get really bad. Sometimes I can’t really help it if I walk into a room and don’t have the energy to sit on a chair but a lot of the time, it’s purposeful. Previously, I hated myself for it because I thought I was attention-seeking: in Barcelona again, things were getting too much and I went on the floor, someone said “It looked like you did that on purpose,” and I didn’t know how to tell them they were correct without looking attention-seeking. However, I’ve come to realise there’s a bit of a reason: excuse the pun but it’s another thing that grounds me. Shortly before the person had said that, I’d gone to the room I was staying in, sat on my bed and slid onto the floor to try and make myself as small as possible. I did that recently as well and just sat there, with nothing else around me to distract me and just breathed. Depending on the situation, I sit/lie on the floor for different reasons but it always seems to help in some way, without making me feel pathetic.

Talking to someone about it

A huge thing for me is that I need to talk about things or they get locked inside my head. My friend Rapunzel saw the worst breakdown I’ve ever had in front of someone and encouraged me to spend a while just breathing and then to talk about it – and, although I was so upset that I couldn’t form many words, I gave it my best try. Not only does it act as a release but it also gives me closure. Whenever I do talk about it, the next day, I don’t feel so panicked about whatever I broke down about and I can start to deal with it. Dealing with it by myself makes me feel sick because often, there are too many thoughts in my head. Talking to a friend or anyone about those thoughts makes me feel guilty for shoving all my problems onto them but if they’re willing to listen to my ramblings, I’d talk until I couldn’t any more.

Self-Care

Last night, I felt as if I was about to start shaking and that I wouldn’t be able to stop. After calming down and reading for a little, I decided to just relax and not to stress out. I had a shower, put a face mask on, moisturised and started writing. As it always seems to do, it made me feel as if I had a little bit of control over myself and made me as happy as I could be at that moment. At some point, I’ll deal with what was making me unhappy – namely, shitty, unresolved feelings and fear that everybody hates me – but this was a good starting point.

I really hope this helped, even if in a little way. I’m not the best at coping but I’m getting there. Every single emotion I have is a learning experience and with them, I learn more about myself. I’m not perfect but I’m not hopeless, either.

How do you deal with breaking down? Are there any things you’d like to do to help yourself that you don’t do currently?

From Elm 🙂

Side Character in My Own Story

I am the comma
In a sentence, the afterthought
To a word, trailing off in the middle and
Never the important sort
Of ellipses.

I’m the backing vocals
At the height of a crescendo, hope
In quiet harmony, unheard,
Falling down a slope
To lie, a discarded melody.

I am the old love interest,
Story-tired, something better ready to leap
Over my head, the readers
Never thinking how much it hurts to keep
Smiling, hiding, smiling…

I never finish the glorious tale of two
Who are happy without the underdeveloped character
With too many tears, whose chapter
Ends with a question mark.

I am the sorrow and muted horror
When love gives way to nothing-
The writer spirals somewhere different,
Pain too lonely, too boring,
But where’s that story arc for that?

The words write me,
Heartbreak created from an apostrophe-
I, a possession, owned by failure,
Vanishing into a sidestory
Of the story’s saviour.

From Elm 🙂

Musings Whilst on a Train

This idea was inspired by a blogger called My Life Online or Beccaandbeyond – although she’s no longer blogging, I’ve always wanted to do this because her style of writing was wonderful and so I thought I’d credit her. I love the idea of a stream of consciousness whilst travelling and seeming as I’m on a train right now, I just thought I’d write down what I’m feeling as it pops into my head. Because it’s me and my thoughts are disjointed, it should be… Interesting.


Last time I made this particular journey it was a Monday and I was wildly happy because everything had gone right that day and I couldn’t wait to go home. Now I’m kind of looking forward to getting back but I don’t have much at home, at the moment, to want to go back to. Not like last time.

OWW the sun is shining right through the window next to me and into my eye so I’ve just retreated into the corner. Can you retreat if you just sort of slip sideways? Well I’m doing it and I probably look weird.

There’s barely anyone in this carriage. I kind of want to get up and go for a wander but I’m scared I’ll get lost and not be able to find my seat because blind. Oh also, I’m comfortable here and strangers are scary so NOPE.

The train’s shaking and it just squeaked?? Alright then… My stop is in 15 minutes so I may do some reading but can I be bothered?

I’m starting to feel a bit ill and I’m also worried that I won’t get my suitcase in time and that I’ll get left on the train and that the assistance people won’t see me. Maybe I’ll have my case and fall off the train – okay no, I really don’t want to think about that because I’ll have a day nightmare about not getting home and being stranded in Paddington.

Daymare? Can you get those? If I fell asleep, I really would miss my stop. Okay, awake, imagine a wild party and NOO, that won’t work because I don’t go to wild parties.

I need to start getting ready to “disembark” or whatever. Right. The moment of truth… I’m now scared because I’ve totally traveled by myself with a suitcase before… Yep, I’m a pro, done this a million times OKAY NO I’ll just see how this goes.

My dad turned up???

I stood up, ready to get off the train and I was talking to a woman who was also getting assistance there. I stepped forward with my case and my dad said hi and I have never been so surprised. Of all the people, I seriously didn’t expect him to turn up ON MY TRAIN and help me to the other one. The assistance guy was laughing so much. Turns out, my dad works about 5-10 minutes away and decided to come and say hey, even though I’d see him later.

I need to recover from that… I’m on my next train now and I have my suitcase next to me. There’s a woman talking on the phone but other than that, it’s pretty quiet.

I’m sorry but I still can’t get over the fact that my dad appeared earlier? It was so unexpected as well! As you could probably tell, I was all set to get off the train and spend about 5 minutes trying to get the attention of an assistance person but obviously, that didn’t happen. Ugh, my heart’s still racing a bit.

Loads of people just got on the train and if they looked at me, they’d see a girl furiously typing on a keyboard, with a bag on the seat next to her almost as tall as her. Actually that’s not that difficult.

I’M SO HUNGRY UGHHH – I didn’t buy any food in Cardiff.

You’re probably wondering what the hell I was doing up in Wales. I should be in school/wherever.

Ooh, Sunningdale… Where even is that? It sounds like a fairytale place and I’d go there but… Nah, I’d get lost.

I was just reading blog posts and it got me in such a blogging mood… I wish I’d decided to do Blogmas and I mean I could still do it but I haven’t written any preparation posts 😦 oh well – I’ll just get painfully excited from everyone else’s!!!

I’m nearly at my stop and I’m still hungry and getting kind of tired?

Aww there’s a baby crying and I feel so sorry for the baby. There’s also this person standing next to me and I don’t know who they are NO SHIT because I’m on a train… Can you tell I’m exhausted?

When I get home, I’m playing Christmas music. I also want one of those chocolate advent calendars – the ones you get when you’re a kid. I can’t think about chocolate right now though.

I bought my family Welsh cakes from this adorable little Welsh cake shop and I really hope they like them. i mean, I could always eat them if not…

Oooh, one stop before mine! I should get ready… But this seat is – actually no it’s uncomfortable as hell but I’ll pretend to be relaxing.

Trains make the weirdest sounds. It’s sort of… Clicking and trundling along. I won’t call it cute because I want to have at least some credibility left.


I hope you liked that! I’m home now, recovered from travelling and I’m now attempting to relax.

Let me know how your day went in the comments! I hope it wasn’t as paranoid – filled as mine was! I really like doing this kind of posts because it makes me feel really informal and I miss feeling like that so much. What did you think?

From Elm 🙂