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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚
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.

I Wanted to be like Everyone Else

On Thursday, a prizegiving event is being held at my school and I can’t make it. Not because I’m staging a wild protest – although that’s something I would do – but because I’ve got a prearranged appointment for something exciting. Even if I didn’t have that, Ow still wouldn’t go because the prize I’ve been ‘awarded’ has not only upset me but it’s hurt me, more than it would seem if you look at it on the surface. Will that make me sound arrogant or ungrateful? Perhaps but I’m willing to take that risk to show how sometimes, well-meaning actions can have the opposite effect.

Prizegiving is huge here for years 12 and 13; parents come, there are guest speakers and it’s held in a Church. Especially for year 13, it means a lot because it’s our last year here. You can get achievement prizes, academic prizes for a specific subject, attendance prizes and that kind of thing. Last year, I won a prize for achievement which I was so so proud of myself for because I worked so fucking hard on my GCSEs I knew I deserved those grades.

This time, from my Head of Year, I’ve been awarded a prize for ‘overcoming adversity’. That’s all I’ve been told: ‘overcoming adversity’, overcoming a difficulty, achieving despite your difficulties – and the only difficulty they know I have that could restrict my education is that I’m blind. Yes, it could be something else, like the fact that I struggled with mental health last year but that was nowhere near bad enough, or rather nobody saw it get bad enough, to warrant a prize for ‘overcoming adversity’. If they’d awarded it on the basis of mental health or external circumstances, hands down, somebody else would have got it – someone who deserved to get it.

It’s not that I’m not grateful. I’m happy they thought me worthy of a prize, when for the last year I’ve been thinking I’m either stupid or that nothing I do is worthwhile. It’s the prize itself: it feels like they’re awarding me for surviving the education system with a disability. It feels like they’re awarding me for existing, for ‘beating the odds’, for being disabled and still succeeding in education. And that would be fine, if I deserved it; that would be fine, if my disability affected every single thing I did to the extent where the act of going to school was difficult; that would be fine, if there weren’t so, so many other people who would deserve it more than me – who have had it much worse than me.

That’s the first reason I’m upset or angry. The other reason is much more personal and is the reason I cried earlier when I found out. I cried instead of being ecstatic and the “why” is quite simple.

The reason I came to this school was to get the best possible education I could. I didn’t want to go to an entirely mainstream school because the ones around my area weren’t that good and couldn’t have supported me anyway, such as preparing my work. I didn’t want to go to a school specifically for visually impaired students because I didn’t feel like that suited me, as I wanted to be surrounded by a lot of people and didn’t want to feel trapped. In short, I came here because I wanted to be like everyone else, without my education being thrown to the curb if I didn’t get good support. And, for the most part, Ow succeeded.

However, I’ve always been known as the “blind one”, or my year sometimes treat me with caution like I’m a doll or something delicate. People don’t often know how to act around me which hurts so much. I’ve always wanted to be recognised as more than my disability, with the blindness being a side thing: “Oh, there’s Elm, she’s short and takes the piss out of herself for it; she writes.” I’ve tried so hard to break free of stereotypes set for myself and others and again, for the most part and majority of people, it worked but the thing that hurts is that the school – the place where I’ve got such a good education – sees me as their blind person and as the one who did well despite a disability, not did well and that was the end of it.

There’s a silver lining to this. I was in the atrium, talking to two of my friends who I got close with when I went to Berlin about this and started crying out of anger and just general sadness. I told them that I felt like I wasn’t really getting an award, that people still viewed me as different when I wanted to succeed just as much as anybody else. They hugged me, sat with me for about 20 minutes and just talked everything out; chatting to people who don’t know me as well but are willing to put the effort in helped to make me feel more included. I love them for that; they took time out of their day to comfort me, along with another girl who didn’t know me at all yet said that she’d never viewed me as “the blind one”.

I’m still angry, still upset that after all I’ve done to try and stop my disability being the first thing people see, they would award me a prize that’s either focused on my disability or something similar. However, I do know that at least some people in my year besides those I’m with at break and lunch, who’ve known me since year 7, don’t view me as separate. I might not be able to stop the teachers from thinking that I’m “so brave” for coming to this school and getting good grades, but I have proved to some of the people around me that there’s more to me than the eyes. The others don’t matter because they never tried.

I’m only here until May and then I’m out. Then it won’t matter how the school see me. I’ve been here 7 years almost and I haven’t managed to prove to them that I’m successful not despite my disability but for my own merit. However, I’ve managed to prove to myself I’m strong-willed, more than that blind girl and I’m respected for myself, to the people that matter.

From Elm πŸ™‚

What I Can’t Say | A Letter

Last night, I had a dream that you actually cared about me.

When I woke up, feeling ill and shaking with something a little like fear, I cried because I realised the dream was just that – a dream. Over the next hour, it hit me that not only did you not care but there was nothing I could do to make you care. You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it give a shit about the water, after all.

I could send you a thousand messages, do everything possible to get your attention but that’s what they call “attention-seeking”. I could tell you if I felt miserable in the hours when I wasn’t sleeping; I could let you know just how sad I’m feeling; I could tell you that when I spoke to you, it calmed something within me but no matter that it’s true, even if you believed me, you still wouldn’t care. There wouldn’t be much use in exhausting all avenues of communication if it’ll just go unanswered. It wouldn’t be of much use if it’d just make you hate me.

Now, I don’t think you hate me, just that you don’t care. We’ve gone through too much for you to hate me; you’ve said it countless times. However, the ceaseless paranoia I feel in the cavity of my stomach makes me believe that you just don’t care: that you’re tired of caring. It’s like all my attempts to talk to you, instead of bringing you closer, have pushed you away. Maybe it’s my fault, for being odd and scarily attached to people, but sometimes, it just happens.

You may think that I write this in anger that you wouldn’t care but the truth is, I’ve come to accept it. Yes, it breaks me a fair bit that the beautiful friendship I suppose we still had will be marred by me, where I constantly seek reassurance, but it’s part of things which I have to come to terms with. I’ll change that part of me but for now, I know that when I next speak to you, I’ll be filled with the terror that I’ll say something that’ll make things worse. That doesn’t mean I’m angry or resentful; it just means that I’m both scared of myself and of having direct proof that I’m losing you.

I’m a jumble of thoughts. I want you to care but I don’t want to show you that because I can turn into a pathetic mess. I don’t want to be misconstrued as attention-seeking when a small part of me wants a crying sort of assurance. In short, you make me become a juxtaposition, like I want to shove you away in case I screw things up but I also want to still have you here because no matter that you don’t care, I still care. Will that tear me apart? Perhaps but I must stop lying to myself and I have to stop pretending that I don’t have a heart.

You’ll never read this and that’s why I can say all these things, all of the confused strands of paranoia and loneliness spilling out onto a screen. Maybe I’m wrong and maybe you do care but I don’t want to waste energy wishing. In time, you’ll prove to me that you care or that you don’t and then I’ll know. I’ll just have to wait and try not to lock myself into a loop of wild hope and crushing disappointment.

People stay in your life and people leave; people are there for a short time and a long time and often, you can’t predict what it’ll be. I couldn’t say what you’ll be to me in 5 years because you may have cut off all communication with me by then. It’s okay to do that but what I can’t deal with is this uncertainty: I know that you don’t care as much now but to what extent is still not known to me. Time heals all wounds, they say, but how much time are we willing to give each other?

If you do end up reading this, I might get a message telling me I don’t know you at all, that this just shows that I don’t understand you. To that, I’d say “I’m sorry but in order for me to understand you, you have to let me.” Or I may just leave it. You may say, “Why would you think I don’t care – I have a lot going on so I’m sorry for that.” Or you may never send me a message at all.

I’m not sad now; I’m not angry. I’m neither resigned nor hopeful. I’m just here and so are you and that’s, really, what matters. Beneath all the confusion and torn up thoughts, silent wonderings and spoken happiness, we’re still here.

I’m glad of that. Maybe, at some point, I’ll get my answer but if not? I’m still here.

From Elm πŸ™‚

Parties, Dogs and Getting my Life Together | A Life Update

The title of this post is probably a bit odd but honestly, it was the first thing that popped into my head to summarise what’s been happening for the last week. In my typical disorganised style, I’ll be updating you on the hopelessly boring life of Elm. Apologies if you fall asleep.

Knowing me, I’ll forget what happened this week – and a lot did – so I’ll write it down for myself, too. I’ve missed chronicling my cringy exploits for you to laugh at. I should start doing it more often. So, here we go: I’ll start from exactly a week ago.

Last Thursday, I went to a party in London where I only knew one person. It sounds like a stupid idea but really, it was one of the best things I’ve ever done, as is most of my spontaneous and adventurous plans. It was my friend Silva’s birthday: she’s a girl who goes to school in Dorset and who contacted me a few months ago about me going to speak at her school – you can read more about her here. I went into the city by myself, met her and all her friends and went to her house. Not only was she lovely (and her puns are something special) but all the people she invited, as well as her parents, made me feel so comfortable that I forgot to be scared.

First of all, her house is huge and actually has a hot tub. I’d brought a swimming costume for the hell of it and it was great because I didn’t feel self-conscious about the idea of showing that much skin. I think that not knowing many people really helped with that, although throughout the evening I made friends such as a girl who shares my love for LGBTQ YA books, a girl who’s been trained as a sniper and a guy who honestly owns a lake. I sang at the top of my voice, had painfully deep conversations within 15 minutes of speaking to a girl and got dehydrated at one point so that I nearly fell over. It ended up with me sitting on a sofa at 3:00 in the morning, singing my heart out to a Taylor Swift song with 3 people I’d known for a grand total of 9 hours. Because it was so late, most of us stayed the night (someone slept in a cupboard) and in the morning, I was driven back to the station by Silva’s mum with another girl. It was honestly fantastic and, unsurprisingly, has increased my confidence: it turns out that I’m able to be myself around people who didn’t know me before.

Friday was spent recovering and I can honestly say I did nothing that day apart from complain about how tired I was. I’d got about 3 hours of proper sleep and couldn’t really interact with anyone without yawning. Saturday was a little more eventful: I went into London, yet again, for a meeting on a campaign in which I’m involved. The other two people that were there are amazing and before we got into organising anything, we had a 10 minute conversation about the woes of school (as I always do). It was great to meet up with them again and hopefully, we’re going to get the campaign underway: I can’t reveal too much about it because of anonymity. After that, I went home to my dad’s house and exhaustedly read some of the book that I was supposed to read for English ages ago. Oops… Sunday was pretty much the same as Friday: dreadfully boring with no excitement at all. I mean I wrote a post but that was about it!

Monday was the day of my mobility lesson. If you didn’t know, I’ve been having some mobility lessons over the summer – learning routes round my local area because I’m blind and had not much independence until now. My mobility officer is amazing (the amount of times we go off topic is brilliant) and she works with Guide Dogs, the charity, because at some point I really want to get a Guide Dog of my own. One of my best friends, L, has one and you should really go and check out his blog because it’s amazing. Anyway, it was what I thought was my last mobility lesson with her on Monday and we went to a bust depo, explored a bus, talked to two bloody lovely bus drivers and got driven around town. It’s the most fun I’ve had in a while, dealing with the confusion of the public who saw a nearly empty bus driving past, having conversations with the bus drivers and wandering around. After that had ended, I spoke to my mobility officer and I may be able to get a Guide Dog sooner than I thought!!! As you can tell, thinking about that makes me so so happy because it would be a huge step forward for me, confidence-wise.

One time, I’ll write a whole post about why I really want to get a Guide Dog. I think it’ll really increase my independence and give me a lot more confidence which is, at the moment, the main thing that’s blocking me from doing a lot of things. However, it is a long process and isn’t as simple as saying “Oh hello, here’s your dog, byee!”

On Monday evening, I prepared for school which was to be the next day. I had a bit of a cry that night because I was honestly terrified, not of school but of the coming year as last year was so shit. Even so, on Tuesday morning I got myself up and spent a while getting myself ready because I could feel the nerves getting to me. Sadly, it was a bit of a pointless day: we went in at 11, had a half an hour assembly and then an hour of form. We then had a barbecue to welcome the Year 12s which was run by our Student Reps (two of them are Wren and Red). I loved it but I don’t know if it was worth me going in, although I caught up with Pine who I hadn’t seen all summer, Wren, Red and my other friend Swan. The day ended with some of the Student Reps doing the Cha Cha Slide and Wren and I catching up and having one of the deepest conversations I’ve had in weeks. That bit was fabulous!

It turns out that I’m not at school until next Monday, where my timetable starts properly. Because I’m now allowed to have my Guide Dogs mobility officer instead of my local one, I’m going to organise which day I’ll have a lesson on. That’s made me feel a little more productive but still, over the last two days, I’ve had nothing much to do. All the work I’m supposed to do seems a little pointless: I know I have to do it but I can’t get the motivation to do it. I’m almost at a loose end but the thought of getting back into a routine, despite the bleakness of everything, has helped me through things.

At some point this weekend, I’ll do the Psychology work and English work that needs to be done. I also need to sort out a couple of worrying things to do with both my mental health and with some of my friends: it’s mostly trying to alleviate some awful paranoia I’ve been feeling. I just need to try and get as much negativity out of my life as possible because I get enough of it from my own mind anyway.

All in all, it’s been a hectic week. From parties to screaming over my new timetable, from periods of complete inactivity to hours where I’ve been reading non-stop and from thinking that I’ll never be independent to having that door thrown open again, things aren’t too bad. I’m honestly a little disgusted that I didn’t update you on it sooner; I’ve been painfully unmotivated recently as I mention in every single conversation.

How has your week been? Let me know in the comments!

From Elm πŸ™‚

Something like Love

This is just a rambling post, written by someone who’s had little sleep and feels mildly ill. However, I think that this state can produce the best kind of content (or what my version or “content” is at least).

Recently, I told a good friend that I loved them.

“You know I love you, right? Not like that but I still love you.” It was the most truthful thing I’d said in weeks, something I meant with everything I had and it terrified me more than anything. It left me feeling free, like a weight I didn’t even know existed had been lifted. Even so, it took a lot out of me, expressing what I felt so plainly.

When I said “love”, I meant that I loved them as a friend – in a platonic sense. Now, I don’t feel as if I have the capacity to love romantically; I feel so torn up and tired by myself that the thought of someone else, like that, makes me so weary that I have no energy left. But this was easier. Somehow, telling someone that I loved them in friendship made me more giddy than if I had told someone that I loved them in any other sense.

I think that my friend took in what I said to him and it’s given me so much courage. I’m always afraid to tell people how I feel, even in a platonic sense like that but I think it can be really good for you. Not only does it show you that you can be open with people but it also lets your friends know that you appreciate them a hell of a lot. Everyone needs to be told how much they mean to another person once in a while – even me with my stone cold heart. I took that step and yes, it’s a small one but it helped both of us to understand each other more.

Love comes in so many different forms that it can be hard to distinguish between them. Sometimes it’s not as clear-cut as saying a simple “I love you,” but saying those three words can somehow convey all of that. Maybe that only makes sense to me but it’s as if the emotion in your voice can display that entangled yet simplistic emotion. To me, they have power: it’s how you say it, how you can prove to someone that you care about them. I still have that fear of screwing up how I’ll say things but telling someone I loved them is the first step to conquering that fear. I want to continue doing it so that the next time I tell someone how I feel about them, I don’t get that terrified leap in my chest because previously, those words had scared me beyond belief.

When you feel like it, tell one of your friends that you love them. It can be for something they’ve done or just because they’re a great person. Even if you’re scared, the good thing about friends is that they’ll understand in which way you mean it. There’s little danger of them shoving you away or telling you, “I don’t feel the same way.” That’s why this kind of love doesn’t panic me so much.

Friends stay with you; I know this even for how paranoid I get. They are beautiful and the love I feel for my friends isn’t tainted by terror or the thought that they could never love me back. They do. That’s one of the things of which I’m certain.

To all of you, you mean so much to me. I’d happily tell you I care about you because you listen, take in my words and then you make something of them. The content that people in the blogging world create is wonderful because it’s so incredibly diverse and that’s another reason why I care about the people who’s posts I read.

Remember: love doesn’t always have to be about romance. It’s scary to tell a friend that you love them but if you do, you’re just expressing your friendship. That’s beautiful and you aren’t being overly-emotional. You can love a friend just as much as you love anyone else.

Love is still love, no matter what form it takes.

From Elm πŸ™‚

The Social Media Blog Tag!

Every so often, a tag comes along which I absolutely love with all my stone cold, unfeeling heart. The Social Media Blog Tag is one of them. Created by Chloe last year, she brought it back this year and I couldn’t be happier. For some odd reason, I was tagged – than’ you so so much by the way – and I immediately knew I had to do this one again. Um well, it’s being posted two days after it was supposed to but I’m SORRY I NEED to GET MY SHIT TOGETHER!

I did this tag last year when I was actually funny – HAHA remember that? Excuse all of the screaming ramblings that are going to follow. I miss my “old style” of posting, where I felt more relaxed. So, screw the correct grammar and more formal style of posting: I’m going to rave about people, write in ALL CAPITALS sometimes and bloody well enjoy myself whilst doing it.

Right. I refuse to get stressed about doing which award but it was created to spread love; it’s based on different types of social media and bloggers who would fit that.

The Rules

  1. Thank the person who tagged you. (Merci, Chloe; you’re brilliant)
  2. Choose a Blog or Blogger per category and explain why you chose them.
  3. Tag others to do this (up to you how many)

THE CATEGORIES OF FABULOUSNESS

INSTAGRAM – A BLOG WITH A DESIGN YOU LOVE

Annoyingly, I can’t actually do this one properly because I’m almost completely blind. However, from what I’ve heard, Reine has a wonderfully designed blog. She recently went self-hosted and I know that she’s put a lot of effort into what she does; compared to her, I’m pretty much an uninformed, technologically-repellent cavewoman. I’ve also known Reine for what feels like forever; she’s a huge blog inspiration for me and has helped me out so much! (Trust me, I need all the help I can get.)

FACEBOOK – A BLOG WITH A FRIENDLY BLOGGER

I didn’t even have to think about this one: GirlMasked is one of the nicest people I know. She’s always there to support people – on her posts and on Twitter. Not only does she write relatable content (her posts on mental health calm me down so much) but she always reaches out to people either when they’re having a bad day or when something amazing happens. I never feel afraid to talk to her and she’s someone in the community who you can always rely on to have the best chats with, about anything! Seriously, you’re wonderful; don’t stop writing!

TWITTER – A BLOGGER WHO COULD WRITE JUST 140 CHARACTERS AND YOU WOULD STILL LOVE THEM

AHH definitely Lu, who’s actually one of my close friends. Her writing style MAKES MY LIFE COMPLETE and her rambles and rants on books are my favourite thing. She’s mastered the art of being able to summarise her thoughts well (I’m sobbing here because I love it SO MUCH and am so jealous). I love how everything she says is either amazing, hilarious or IS IN ALL CAPS because that’s the best writing style of ever.

YOUTUBE – A BLOG WHICH KEEPS YOU ENTERTAINED

OKAY this is easy – Diversion3000 is the funniest blogger ever. Her posts actually have made me cry with laughter on a number of occasions – from fashion reviews to fantastic lists to musings on life, whenever I read her posts I have a smile on her face. Not only that but she’s friendly as hell and when you talk to her, the bubbly and awesome personality shown in her posts is just as present. Ever since her blog started, she’s been someone I go to when I need a cheer-up and I admire her so much for that!!!

SNAPCHAT – THE BLOGGER WHO’s UPDATES YOU CAN’t WAIT FOR

Without a doubt, I have to choose L for this one. Both his blog and Twitter are some of my favourite things to read: he’s funny and whenever he posts or tweets about his life, he does it so casually – as if he’s speaking to his readers like they’re his friends. Recently, he’s got a Guide Dog and those updates have got to be the ones I love to read the most because he’s so incredibly happy. I honestly get emotional when I think about it – is that weird?

TUMBLR – A BLOG WHICH IS VERY DIVERSE AND HAS VARIETY

Jasmine has always been someone who manages to balance loads of different themes on her blog. I’m always in awe of her; she’s got to be one of my favourite bloggers and blogging inspirations. She posts life updates, thoughtful posts, about her dairy-free lifestyle and also blogging tips. I’m not sure how she does it because I find it really difficult to keep my content interesting so that you don’t fall asleep while reading it. However, you will never get bored when reading her blog because she’s one of the most inspiration people I know, simply because her blog covers so many different things and never, ever lacks in quality with any of them. Ahh, I adore her blog more than anything.

PINTEREST – A BLOG WHICH IS FULL OF CREATIVITY AND INSPIRATION

Someone who I’ve known for ages, Misstery Blog writes such beautiful poetry on her blog that it makes me feels all the feels possible. Her thoughts on life, particularly teenagers, inspire me to want to speak up and not stay silent about issues in society. She’s such a wonderful writer – people like her let me fall in love with poems and stories even more than I already am. If you haven’t seen her blog before, go and give her a follow – she deserves every single view she gets!

My Nominations

Like Chloe, I’m nominating everyone I mentioned here as well as anyone else who wants to do it! If you’ve been nominated already, don’t worry about it. Also, regardless of whether you’ve been nominated or not, you’re fantastic bloggers and people.

I also nominate:

Astrid

Emillia

Ebe

Evie

I really hope you enjoy doing this! I certainly loved it – thanks, Chloe, for creating it again! You’re awesome.

From Elm πŸ™‚

The Simplicity of Friendship | An Update on my Week

Hi all!

I’m sorry for my huge absence over the last week; I’ve had a friend over since Tuesday. She left today and once I got home from dropping her off at the station, I just knew I had to write a post talking about everything that happened. This week has helped me so much, in far more ways than just one.

The friend that came to stay was someone I call Rapunzel – you can read about her on this page. She and I have known each other for almost 3 years now and as soon as we started talking, I could tell that we immediately “clicked” – to use a clichΓ© phrase. We’ve gone through so much shit but the fact that we’re still such great friends after it shows that we care about each other. We’d been planning this for ages; she made her second independent trip down to London – 3 hours away by train – from Tuesday until Saturday. I couldn’t be more proud of her.

Tuesday – Arriving at my Non-Impressive House

Because my parents were at work or abroad respectively, my sister got on the train with me just before lunch to travel to a large station in London where Rapunzel would be arriving. Travelling with my sister is always interesting: she and I have a tendency to get both stressed and paranoid; however, nothing went wrong! I was so excited to see her, as we hadn’t met up since February, that I don’t think I had room to get very stressed. Finding the platform that she was on was the only mildly worrying part but because of the fabulous inventions called phones (they’re very, very rare, I know), we got to where she was. Honestly, I haven’t shrieked or hugged someone so hard in a very long time… I probably got weird looks.

Have you ever tried leading 2 almost completely blind girls, both with canes, together with a large suitcase which was in danger of being forgotten through London? My sister hadn’t and the helpful tips provided by me, from the last time that about 4 of us had walked through a busy place, might not have been as helpful as I wanted. Anyhow, we managed – after about 15 minutes of looking – to find a Pizza Express and after having had lunch, we went to my house to get Rapunzel settled in. By this time, it was about 5:30 and, typically, I was exhausted.

The rest of the day was rather uneventful. We went for a walk with my dad in the park: it’s one of my favourite things to do because it’s so peaceful: nature seems to calm my thoughts and I know that we both enjoyed that. When we got back, Rapunzel and I chatted for literal HOURS, yellow and shouting and generally acting as if we’d seen each other the day before, not almost 6 months before. I had to transfer some of my stuff upstairs because we were sleeping in my sister’s terrifying room in what used to be the loft. Okay, it’s not terrifying but I’m a complete moron.

Wednesday – Nostalgia and a Beautiful Conversation

On our first full day, I decided to prove my narcissistic tendencies to Rapunzel by showing her some of the stuff in my room. Granted, she’s been wanting to see all the stuff I’d mention to her in passing – like the bear that’s as big as me when I was a baby, my old coin collection and some random braille books I had lying around. Instead of treating me like the sad , strange person I probably am, she actually seemed to be interested in looking at what I was showing her. I don’t know why, either. That day was very nostalgic for me; there were a lot of memories from my childhood it was really nice to have someone who had seen so much of my recent personality to get a glimpse of the room I grew up in, to see a little of what I was like as a kid.

She and I have both experienced a lot, both when we knew each other and when we didn’t. There have been some times where miscommunication has caused us to do a lot of stupidly shitty things, or times where we haven’t been honest with each other. On Wednesday, she opened up to me about a very personal situation that had happened to her; we also had a hugely deep conversation about our emotions. I’ve never been very good at expressing my feelings to other people in real life; it was so lovely to be able to do that. It was also amazing to have her speaking to me as she did: it let me understand her and how she acted. Tears were involved from both sides but with her, I don’t feel a pressure to explain why; she and I now almost have a brutal honesty with each other for which I’m so grateful.

After that conversation, we decided to relax again: the next day, we knew, was going to be busy so we thought we might as well get an early night. Usually, I don’t get much sleep but that night, I slept like a log. It was kind of ridiculous but I had a lot to think on, above all the refreshing conversation I’d had with her.

Thursday
As soon as we got up, I decided to be mildly productive: whilst Rapunzel was sobbing in happiness over an email she received and also while she was going through her poems, I sent off the application for the Residential College for visually impaired people I want to attend for a year after A-Levels; I also went and recorded something for a potential Voiceover job. Yes, I probably sounded ridiculous reading one half of a script but I think it’s good experience (I cringed when I listened to myself though). At 2 o’clock, a Mobility Officer from Guide Dogs – who’s working with me in the summer so I can become more independent – came over and honestly, Rapunzel was the best person who could have been there beside me.

I’ve never been the most independent; if I ever wanted to get a Guide Dog, I’d have to know three routes. Now, the rather insignificantly large major huge problem with that is that I don’t. I don’t know my local area either; I decided enough was enough and I was going to actually do something instead of just being a lazy human. The lady who came to talk to me, to organise mobility, was amazing: right away, the three of us went completely off topic and ended up talking about school, technology (or my lack of proficiency) and laughing: the atmosphere was so friendly. Once the boring forms were out of the way, we actually got on to doing, well, mobility.

Well, I can safely say I know the incredibly short route to my closest bus stop now. Impressive, right? But seriously, I was actually proud of myself: as everyone says all the time, I don’t give myself enough credit ever and lock myself into a cave of “HELLO I AM SHIT AND A FAILURE DO NOT BE DISAPPOINTED!” When I was prover wrong, for once, I felt hyper: Rapunzel and the mobility officer walked behind me, talking; I felt confident and like I was in control. After that, we sorted out plans: I’ll have four lessons this summer, the next being next Wednesday: having a concrete plan of what we’re going to cover made the panic less oppressive. I could have cried. I almost did, after she’d gone; I squealed and hugged Rapunzel until it hurt. She knows how much it means to me and so I didn’t hide any of my blatant, screaming, happy hysteria.

Maybe, after such a long day, it was a bad idea to talk to a good friend of ours for 5 hours. We did it anyway, wearing face masks and going from talking about serious topics of mental health to trying to muffle the laughter that couldn’t help but escape. S – the friend – is fantastic and we all spoke equally; it didn’t feel like I was left β€². It’s one of the best conversations I’ve ever had, simply because even when one of us was upset for whatever reason, the other two supported them and made things feel less awful. It was open, honest and painful but also hilarious. Saying that, going to bed at 3 A.M made me feel ill the next day.

Friday – A Picnic and Afternoon with Friends

Last Saturday, at volunteering, Rose – a friend I’ve known since I was a baby – suggested that us three plus her sister Poppy should go for a picnic in the park. As I’m a child at heart and love picnics more than anything in the world (is it possible to be picnic-deprived because I hadn’t had one in years), I agreed almost before she finished the sentence. There may have been some clapping and shrieking involved. At midday, we all went to the park with an assortment of food. Whilst sitting on the grass, I took about 80 years to eat a bagel; a deer nearly ate our food (why wasn’t I scared?) and I felt so amazing. I’d wanted those three to meet for ages; Rose and Poppy are like my sisters and know every single little annoying thing about me. They make sure to embarrass me horrendously, every single time they meet one of my other friends. I 1000% hate them.

In the afternoon, we went to Rose and Poppy’s house. I know it almost as well as I know mine: the amount of time I spent there as a child meant that I had to know it. We jumped on the trampoline – or rather Rapunzel and Rose jumped whilst I didn’t because I’m about as unfit as you can get. I re-connected with my inner child again by lying in a hammock and grinning far too widely; Rose and I were also sobbing with laughter over Poppy’s story which she wrote when she was 7. Nobody else would understand why it was so funny but because Poppy wrote it, Still was howling. We sang a particular song non-stop which I don’t want to name because it’ll get stuck in my head.

Whenever I see really close friends, I spend the whole day with them: such was the case with all four of us. Poppy and Rose came to my house for dinner: it involved us singing so loudly that I nearly kicked Poppy. They also embarrassed me further by showing Rapunzel the cringiest, most awful video of me ever. Luckily, I stopped screaming and running away long enough to realise that they’d stopped the video. When we were done with dinner – a mix of vegetarian Thai cooking and chicken – we watched more hilarious videos before the two girls left and we went off the bed. Yet again, I didn’t sleep for very long. I’m really stupid because the next day, we got up at 7 in the morning.

Saturday – Feeling Alive but Saying Goodbye

One of the main things that makes me feel the most connected to myself and the most real is to go volunteering at Parkrun with Poppy and Rose. Wonderfully, Rapunzel got to join in. Unlike with many people, I don’t feel mortified when I shout stuff around them which ends up sounding too sarcastic; all four of us were standing together, clapping and in my case, screaming in encouragement. Poppy calculated the percentage of the run that had been done so far, I yelled aggressively and embarrassed myself by o responding to someone who recognised me and, to top it all off, I felt happy because I was with my friends. It energised me, even though my body felt tired; volunteering always seems to do that to me.

I hate things ending. As we got home, I could feel the impending sense of sadness already creeping up on me; it was so much worse when Rapunzel took her bag down and we drove to our local train station. It took us an hour or so to get into the centre of London and all throughout, Rapunzel and I spoke, laughed and shared moments of slight sadness. We hardly ever get to see each other so which. we do, it always means a lot. When we hugged goodbye for the last time, I could feel my throat closing up. I’ve got so many memories from the last 5 days – both happy and sentimental – but still, saying goodbye is the absolute worst especially when she lives so far away.

My Thoughts Afterwards

I’m home now and I’m feeling really weird. The house feels kind of empty: I’d got used to having her here and so too, I think, had my dad and stepmother. She’s such a beautiful person and she helped me so so much: there’s hardly anyone I can be so honest with, who won’t judge me for anything. She’s remained a good friend for so long; her coming to stay was a really good thing for both of us: her so that she can experience new things and me because she made me feel like I was a good person. She let me laugh and never treated me like some fragile person: our discussions on mental health are some of the most constructive I’ve had in months. Without even trying, she’s been someone who’s let me be myself.

Sometimes, friends really are what let you feel like you’re really human and that as can be happy. I wouldn’t change that for the world.

I’ve had such a good week, filled with happy memories. Now, I feel quite listless but this just proves to me that things aren’t hopeless. I have her to thank for that.

If you’re reading this, thank you. Shank you for being such a great and kind person. That goes for both Rapunzel and any other friends I have, no matter how close you are.

From Elm πŸ™‚

Change of Email and a Quick Update!

Hi!

Over the past few days, I’ve started to email bloggers from a new email and it’s going to be the one I use from now on to talk to bloggers. It’s much more connected to my blog and because it’s linked to my account, I prefer to use it.

You can email me here>/a> with the email address being elmblog2403@gmail.com. I’ll still be using my old email address for those who don’t know about the change but if any of you get an email from that, it’s not another Elm – it’s me.


Now that’s out of the way, I wanted to update you on what’s been happening. I’ve felt restless and jittery over the past few days, not least because of the GP Appointment I talked about in this post. I’m still waiting for the call from the counselling service; it’s put me entirely on edge. I can’t relax, worse than usual, but I know it’s a by-product of some sort of anxiety.

Earlier, I went from feeling light and airy to feeling this awful, weighty sadness and lack of motivation that I can barely explain. It’s a sense of unfounded guilt at things I can’t even control: I feel bad for thinking, sometimes, and if it weren’t for my friends I’d be screaming. They, along with those who read my blog and who inspire me, are what help me through whatever it is I’m feeling.

I told my friend that I had no idea if what I feel is true or false, which is pretty accurate. However, I don’t feel that bone-deep weariness I did feel before. Things are getting better, if only in a small way. I’m thankful for those small ways, despite my continual terror that every single person I know is lying to me or hates me. Although I convince myself that at the slightest thing, people will never speak to me again – as I did today – I know it’s illogical. That shows me that I’m getting a little better. I’m not perfect because I still tell myself that people are going behind my back but I’ve improved.

Tomorrow, one of my closest friends is coming to stay until Saturday. I’m looking forward to that; she’s never stayed over at mine before and with her, I can be more independent. She doesn’t make me feel stupid for the things I say or like I’m some sort of burden.

I may not be able to post over the next few days. I want to enjoy myself; I want to live my life without feeling constant fear.

Your support and comments have really helped over the last couple of days. Seeking prvessional help, I think, is one of the best decisions I’ve made for months. Even if these feelings are only temporary, I want to be able to sort them out rather than screaming them out to no one in particular.

Sorry for the abrupt nature of this post; I’m exhausted and so overly paranoid that talking to anyone much will make me feel even more worried.

From Elm πŸ™‚