ramble · reflecting

Family

They’re weird. It doesn’t matter if you have the “traditional” set of parents – married in their 20’s, never had an affair or gotten a divorce, or maybe your ‘rents never got married and split 3 years after you were born (eh em..). I’ve seen immeasurable versions of what family means to people and they’re all completely unique.

Each one has those quirks, those in jokes that only those involved would understand. For example, my cousin (actually my Mum’s best friend’s daughter) always takes the ribbon off the Christmas crackers and puts it on my fingers, where it stays until it starts cutting off my circulation a few hours later. She’s not a relation to me by blood or marriage but she’s my best friend, cousin and sister rolled into one. I actually only have 3 sets of cousins officially related to me, but i still refer to my Mum’s other best friend’s children as family members.
Looking at my Dad’s side, i’m not hugely clued up on his blood relatives, but my Stepmum’s parents are quite involved. Not to mention, i count some of my ex’s family members as part of my own, which is the thing people find weirdest about my family. Even i admit it’s unusual! I think it’s a combination of me not being great socially and spending huge amounts of time with these 2 people over nearly 2 years. I’ve never been great at clicking with others so i’m reluctant to let go when it does happen, especially as the thought of losing them was the reason i stayed in that relationship longer than i should’ve.

I think the biggest contrast to my family is Tom’s. His parents are together, his sister is married and all his brother-in-law’s family are in long term relationships or married. They’ve merged two complete family units together into one big one and it’s nice, if a bit of a shock for me! I know for a fact the feeling is mutual for him and my family. I love spending time with his family and it’s great to see the dynamics in the room. Obviously everyone is centred around Ashleigh – Laura and Chris’s 2 year old daughter – and she knows it! I’m very much the newcomer at the minute and i’m pretty quiet in large groups but i don’t feel hugely anxious with them.

There’s always going to be those who don’t fit quite in with the family norms, and Tom and i are definitely those people. I suppose it’s less obvious with my family – who very rarely all get together as not everybody gets on, plus there’s far too many of us!
Neither of us could be described as people that like other people, despite both choosing jobs that involve interaction with others, not to mention Tom works a hell of a lot and doesn’t have much spare time. I guess that makes us the black sheep? I mean i know i am! I am the emo cousin everybody has, the crazy one who dropped out of university and spent years unemployed and miserable, bouncing from horrible relationship to horrible relationship and dabbling in illegal things that i probably shouldn’t speak about on a platform that my family members read! The only “normal” thing i’ve done was moving out in my early 20’s and supporting myself financially (most of the time…i’m not perfect).

Putting our unreliability to one side, i’m confident that we’ll find our way when we start our own family. Whether or not that means we get more involved with our larger family groups, or we just stick close to our immediate family…i’m not sure! All i know is that i’m unbelievably grateful to have another group of wonderful people i can think of as family and i hope that will never change.

L x

depression · obsessive compulsive disorder · ocd · ramble · rats · reflecting · self harm · twenties

Things i’m most afraid of

All of my life i’ve been afraid of something.
Mostly irrational fears, like being scared of the dark until i was around 19 and still feeling claustrophobic about it even now.
When i was between 10 and 12 my cousin played an online video game that i believe was in a room escape style while i watched out of the corner of my eye. I remember feeling anxious even though i wasn’t playing or watching properly. In the game, he passed an open door with a mirror angled slightly towards the character’s POV. A dark hooded figure swept past the mirror’s reflection and thus began my fear of mirrors for around 8-10 years.
My OCD happily latched onto this image, which is probably the reason it became such an intense phobia for me, and i used to have rituals if i needed to interact with a mirror in any way.

I’ve sort of grown out of some of my fears as i’ve gotten older. I say ‘sort of’ because i still feel some level of anxiety around them but nowhere near the extreme they used to be.
My fears and worries nowadays tend to be just as irrational for being unfounded but more appropriate for my life, desires and happiness.

A fear of being infertile/having fertility problems 

This one has plagued me for approx 3 years now. I guess it started with myself and a past partner being stupid with contraception. It certainly wasn’t ever a plan to have a baby that early in our relationship but my period still hadn’t returned since stopping the Depo-Provera injection a year previous, so i made an assumption that “it would all be okay”. I know that tends to be the famous last words for a large amount of people but oddly it wasn’t for us. Even after my period returned and we were still sloppy and irresponsible, we never had so much of a scare and my periods kept coming like clockwork. Fast forward to now and i’ve had one scare when it came a day late. I’m hoping i’m just really good at my method of natural birth control by closely tracking my fertile periods, but i’m stuck between not wanting a baby right now and being happy that i’ve not accidentally gotten pregnant, and being terrified that i can’t get pregnant in the first place.

A fear of my partner dying

I suppose this is one that most people have, although my fears easily turn into obsessions that take over my brain. Tom works away a lot and he always drives, so my main worry is that he gets in an accident. This is probably fueled by my experiences of being in 3 car accidents before i turned 16. Logically i know he’s a great driver and has a ton of experience but that does very little to soothe me. I can’t imagine how parents must feel about their children if this is the level of anxiety i can achieve from my healthy, grown up, highly-capable-of-surviving partner dying.

A fear of my mental health deteriorating or never improving

It’s becoming clear that i’ve reached the end of my ability to deal with my mental health alone. I haven’t visited a Dr about it since 2011 and my dealings with them were less than useful. Those close to me keep telling me to speak to a professional about things and it is something i know i need to do, but i’m still a little hesitant. It scares me to think that i might always be this way or worse. It has an effect on every aspect of my life including work and relationships with others. It already stops me from doing certain things and causes other people pain. I can’t remember how long exactly i’ve felt this way but i know it’s a really long time, at least 4 years. Obviously i’m not a Dr or any kind of healthcare professional, but i have my suspicions on what the diagnosis could be. That’s part of the reason i’m still debating whether to seek help or not – i don’t want to be diagnosed and immediately put on medication. Sadly the only way i’m able to get the treatment i want (DBT) is by going through the motions, starting with my GP…

A fear of being emotionally unavailable to my future children

This one is related to the above paragraph. When i have strong emotions or reactions to events, i enter a “zombie state” where i am unavailable, uncooperative and generally a bit of a bitch. I can also deteriorate into this state by either accidentally or purposefully isolating myself from others for a prolonged period of time (aka having a day off work with no plans when Tom is working or away). I feel very sorry that Tom has to deal with this version of me and he’s said before that it’s heartbreaking. It can last anywhere from 5 minutes to 15 hours and i find it nearly impossible to ‘snap out of it’ without external help (aka someone intervening).
We aren’t planning on starting a family just yet, as Tom keeps saying: “house first!”, but as it’s something in the not so distant future, it’s a creeping worry for me that i will still be emotionally unavailable. I’m sure lots of parents will tell me not to fret and that nothing could crush your love for your children etc. I wish i could fully believe them but you hear horrible stories of neglectful mothers and i know how horrible my brain can be sometimes. Take the rats for example: i love those sweet little puddings so much. They’re fantastic and playing with them always makes me feel better, especially when they give me kisses and run up to the cage to greet me. But i can’t always get that far. Some days i can’t even bear to look at them because having something that loves me try to get affection from me feels like glass through my heart. Then comes the guilt of not getting them out to play and the disgust at myself and self pity and it can easily spiral from there. I guess i can’t really compare my pet rats to a child, but it’s the only similar relationship i have to work from.

All in all, it’s fucking terrifying being an adult.

L x

20s · ramble · reflecting · reflection

One year to the day

It’s finally here. The day i’ve been apprehensively waiting for.

One year ago today i watched High School Musical 2 and got picked up by my boyfriend-at-the-time at around 7pm. We went to McDonalds.
I was already planning to leave him within the next couple of weeks at this point but even now i’m not sure if i ever would’ve had the courage to.

Fortunately, he gave me a push. He asked for my phone to put a Spotify playlist on for the drive home. I offered to do it myself if he told me the name of the playlist. He demanded i give him my phone and he made attempts to snatch it off me. We ended up arguing, him shouting at me that i had something to hide. He probably thought i was cheating on him but in reality, i was pretty sure a friend had just text me mentioning my planned escape.

He drove us home like a maniac. I shouted at him to drive more carefully or he’ll end up killing us both. He didn’t listen.
We pulled up to our flat in one piece and he shouted at me again to explain what i was hiding. I refused and he stormed off inside, and i followed.

He went into the living room, the place that had been his bedroom for a couple of months, and i went into ‘our’ bedroom and looked around. I told myself it was now or never and so i began to make a small pile of things to take with me. I’d already made a plan with Janine a couple of months previous where i told her there would come a night where i would text her at near midnight saying i was coming over. She only lived a 5 minute walk from us thankfully.
I messaged her to let her know that tonight was the night and hunted for my work clothes. My trousers and deodorant were in the living room so i left them until last because i was convinced he would try and stop me leaving, even with physical force if it came to it. It wasn’t something i’d have put past him.

He noticed straight away when i skulked into the living room and asked what i was doing. I told him i was staying at Janine’s for tonight. He got up and followed me around, meaning i didn’t have chance to grab anything else. I never managed to get my trousers.
I put on my shoes and coat and ignored him raising his voice again, questioning me.

When i got to the front door, he opened it and shouted ‘if you leave now, it’s over!’
I repeated ‘i’m just staying at Janine’s for tonight’ and he slammed the front door. I threw myself in the lift, heart racing and smashed the 0 button.

Once i got outside the building, i ran to Janine’s street, looking behind me every 2 seconds. I was completely convinced he would follow me, try to stop me or bring me back. Looking back, i think he wanted it to be over too.
It was a turbulent relationship from the start. He was a very angry person, aggressive and controlling. He never told me i couldn’t see my friends or i wasn’t allowed to do things without him, but by our 1 year anniversary i found myself to be without friends apart from those at work and each time i went somewhere by myself or with someone who wasn’t him i’d be bombarded with texts and calls and questioned when i got home if i hadn’t replied as much as he wanted. He didn’t physically hit me but i had objects thrown at me on a couple of occasions or he would threaten to do things like push me out the car and drive off or throw me off the bed or out the window when i asked him to roll over so he wouldn’t snore so loud.
I was far from perfect. I completely gave in to the dark side of me and closed up. I didn’t want to talk or be touched or even be looked at. I just existed alongside him and replied to conversation he tried to make, trying to resist jumping out of our 4th floor window.

I actually challenged him about his behaviour once. Towards the end i became less passive and joined in with arguments he started. I told him that something had to change because we were going to end up killing each other and that he needed to get control of his anger. He turned the entire conversation around on me, because in his eyes it was always my fault. My fault for making him angry, my fault that i didn’t want to have sex or even hold hands. He seemed incapable of linking my destructive behaviours to events or things he had done.

I don’t regret dating him. He pulled me out of a depression, gave me the opportunity to escape Mansfield and move to Sheffield and drove me to an interview for a part time job that led to a full time promotion within 10 months i’m still doing now.
His family have become an extension of mine and i will always adore his Mum and little sister and see them as my own.
I simply wish i’d had the courage and strength to leave when i first realised we weren’t destined to last.

This is the first time i’ve spoken so openly on the internet about what really happened. It’s good to get it out my head – the year anniversary has been plaguing me all morning.

I feel like it’s finally time to move on.

(Pictures below from my Timehop: the food i ate from McDonalds, my bed at Janine’s when i arrived, my first selfie of a fresh start)

img_3192img_3195img_3193

 

20s · depression · ramble · reflecting · reflection · sex · twenties · Uncategorized

A letter to 22 year old me (from 23 year old me)

It gets better.

There’s much more to it than just that of course, but that’s the main point I want you to take from this letter.

 

Right now you’re probably working until 8pm because even though you’ve been promoted, you’re still working your old shifts. You usually get picked up by him. No doubt you’ll grab some food on the way home too. You’ll eventually get inside your dingy, disgusting flat. He’ll go into the living room and you might follow him, sit at the computer and browse Facebook for a few hours – ignoring each other. You might clamber over the rubbish to get to the bed, which only you now use. The bedsheets haven’t been changed in over a month and the bed frame is so broken, it’s basically just a mattress on the floor with surrounding wood. You’ll spend at least an hour each night in the utility room, staring out the window at the park your multi storey flat block backs onto. You’ll stare at the ground from the 4th floor, willing your brain to have the nerve to throw yourself out. He didn’t know you thought about things like that. He must’ve been just as miserable as you were but he played video games and shouted and denied instead.

You can’t see an end that doesn’t involve you smushed against the concrete below. You don’t think he’d let you leave. You tried to before, during a big fight. He always twists your words or changes tactic and makes you feel guilty.

I’ve got some good news. You do leave him and that horrible life. It takes you until February but you do it. It’s a struggle at first. The night you arrive at Janine’s at midnight – backpack with only your laptop, phone charger and a few changes of clothes inside – is intense. You’re panting from running the entire distance because you were terrified he was going to come after you. You’re ecstatic and the relief you feel is mind blowing, but it’s a huge struggle not to turn around and run back to him. You sit there on the sofa after Janine goes to bed and wonder how on earth you’re going to do this without him. Everything that has happened over the past 2 years has a link to him in some way and you’re not even sure who you are as a person anymore.

I think you leave it about a week before you put yourself on dating apps. Not to find a relationship, no you’re pretty adverse to that at the moment. You just want some fun. You end up talking to someone called Sam. You have some fun but get a little attached. Don’t worry, it’s normal. The same thing happens with Charlie and Josh. You’re being a bit reckless and slutty but that’s okay too because you’re dead against slut shaming. You drink a lot too and start hanging out with friends again.

There’s a moment, a couple of months after you start this new life, that just blows your mind. You’re sat on a rooftop, a little sleepy because you’ve been on an early shift at work. You’re having (non alcoholic) drinks with a guy he knows. You realise you haven’t checked your phone in like 3 hours and dread suddenly pours through your veins. You start to panic because you can’t imagine how many texts and missed calls you’ll have, especially if he’s seen you with this guy. You rip your bag from the ground with such ferocity that it stops the guy from talking and he watches you. You tear it open and desperately grope about for your phone. When you find it, you press the button and look at the notifications.

You had one..

From your housemate..

Telling you about her day.

That was a turning point in your head. That was the moment you realised you were free.

 

And now it’s the following October. You’re the happiest you’ve ever been in your adult life. You’ve met that person, the one you’re positive you’ll marry and spend forever with. He thinks it too. Your life still isn’t perfect: he has to work away a lot and it makes you sad, and your job is getting you down because the hours are taking their toll and your pay isn’t amazing. But I wish I could go back in time and spare you all the pain of not knowing, of wishing you were dead.

It does get better. It is better.

 

ramble · reflecting · reflection · twenties

Driving lessons and rats

I’ve done it, i’ve had my first ever driving lesson!
Something i thought would never happen and definitely not something i thought i would enjoy so much.
Tom (boyfriend) took charge of my aversion and booked a lesson with his sister Laura (she’s a driving instructor) and told me to at least try it. I thought being pushed into it would make me freak out and i’d end up breaking down in hysterical and extremely embarrassing tears but i actually had fun!!

I was super nervous beforehand and genuinely felt like i was going to puke. The 10 minutes before she was due to pick me up i just sat on the sofa staring into space, trying to calm the hell down and not have a freakin’ panic attack before i’d even gotten into the car.
But weirdly once i’d done my first start and stop, i was fine. I think i was too busy concentrating on the road and trying to remember everything to let my anxiety in.

I did a couple of start/stops, a few corners and junctions, 2 gear changes, an uphill start and only stalled 3 times..
Apparently that’s normal, though i’m a little disappointed because i wanted to be amazing and get through my first lesson without stalling once. I guess that’s too much to ask. Maybe next time.

Tom’s going to Wales tomorrow morning overnight for work and i’m working 6 late shifts in a row.
Yaaaaay…
Last night i was saying to him that i can’t wait for this stage of our lives to be over. It’s hard sometimes not living super close to one another (it takes about 40 minutes on the tram, 20 in the car) and with us both working conflicting rotas all the time. That’s more my fault though, his shifts are the same each week whereas mine change every week. It’s something i have a love hate relationship with. It stops you from getting Monday blues because sometimes i might be off on a Tuesday, but it means i usually work weekends.
I’m just looking forward to coming home to each other. Hopefully at a decent time by then, i hate finishing work at 11pm.
We also talked about our favourite names (i’m not pregnant! Just female) and he hates 90% of mine!! I’m shocked and offended that he hates Aurora and Luna.
Ah well, future-us will deal with that.

The Autumn Ball works do is coming up in a couple of weeks. I need to stay away from wine this time round. I can’t remember much of the Spring Ball if i’m honest..

In other news, i gave the rats some chicken bones for the first time and they went mental. Absolutely LOVED them.
They really have come on a long way since i got them at the start of June. All can be handled without biting, Arya only bites occasionally – usually a warning nip if i try play fighting with her – and Astrid is starting to come out of the box at playtime to explore my bed.
They’re also all comfortable with Janine (housemate) now which is fantastic, especially for if i go away again or stay at Tom’s for more than one night.

Do you guys prefer these personal rambly posts or do you like my opinion ones more? I feel like noone would be interested in my life enough to read this blog if i posted in a diary style. Let me know in the comments!

Lora x

20s · body love · Body Positive · ramble · reflecting · reflection · self care · self love · teenage · teenager · twenties · Uncategorized

Your early 20’s – the truth (and some positive points)

1.There comes a time where your Mum will get sick of booking your dentist/doctors appointments for you.

2. Time really does go faster the older you get.

3. You cannot survive on Pop Tarts and cheese.

4. School taught you nothing about renting houses and making your wages last the entire month.

5. Making your wages last even a fortnight will sometimes be a struggle.

6. Don’t stay up until 4am watching Netflix when you have work the next day. You will regret it.

7. Working 6 days in a row hurts but sometimes it’s necessary to make up for the fact that you spent your rent money on takeaways and vodka.

8. You also can’t survive on shop bought sandwiches and Coco Pops.

9. You might feel 14 forever but you will learn how to adult more over time.

10. Freshers aren’t getting younger, you’re getting older.

11. But yes, they are noisy, annoying children with ID.

12. Speak to your parents more, especially if you’ve moved out. They miss you.

13. Have lots of sex. Have some sex. Don’t have any sex. It’s your body. Just don’t let anybody try to tell you what to do with it.

14. You also don’t owe anybody your body. Not if they’ve spent ¬£100 on dinner or bought you flowers and presents or promised to kill a man of your choosing if you consent. Okay..maybe that last one.. (kidding! I’m sure there’s another human out there you actually want to have sex with who will adhere to your murderous side).

15. Work sucks but it pays the bills. It’s also easier to find a new job when you have one.

16. But – if like me – you’ve spent time unemployed, don’t fret. Volunteer, go on courses, ask friends and family. You’ll get there.

17. Yes, a house takes a surprising amount of cleaning to keep it looking decent. And yes, it’s boring as fuck.

18. On that note, you will be spending the rest of your life washing clothes and dishes. Endless chores, urgh. Save up for a dishwasher and maybe a maid.

19. Take lots of photos. Have albums on Facebook, your computer or a hard copy. Separate by year.

20. Every body is a bikini body.

21. Use a condom. Pregnancy scares and STD’s aren’t sexy.

22. Spending 3 days in the same pyjamas without showering is ok. We all need time to fester. Just remember to get a good wash at the end of it and you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it earlier.

23. Save up what money you can and go on days out or holidays. Make the most of being young.

24. Don’t worry too much about the future, you’ve made it this far after all.

25. And lastly, don’t get so drunk that you throw up on your dress, your boyfriend’s tshirt and your hair. Also make sure you properly clean any sick up, especially if you’re abroad. Ants like puke a surprising (worrying) amount.

 

20s · ramble · reflecting · reflection · twenties

1 year ago

Myself and Tom were discussing where we were one year ago over tea and crumpets this morning (i realise how British that makes us sound..).
He was relatively recently single and beginning to enjoy his life again.
I was suicidal and staring out of my flat window every night, trying to build the courage to jump out of it.

One year ago i bought a backpack that i would’ve taken to Florida that November. We were a couple of weeks off finding out that we wouldn’t be able to go. My excuse to myself for trying to make my relationship work had gone. Cue more excuses like “oh well we have plans for my birthday/his birthday/Christmas/New Years” etc etc

I put on such a brave face to everyone last year. I pretended to be happy and committed and excited about things. I didn’t tell anyone that i was fantasising about killing myself, or that i spent every waking moment paranoid or scared. I couldn’t see any other way out. I was trapped and i was terrified of being on my own because i didn’t think i’d be able to do it. I didn’t think he would let me and i didn’t have the energy left to fight anyone. I was so tired of everything – tired of arguing, of looking happy. Tired of life.

A year on and i’m almost a completely different person. I’m happy and committed and excited. I’ve found the person i genuinely want to spend forever with. Anyone who knows me will know how crazy it is for me of all people to say that. I’m not an openly affectionate person and i’ve never said that about any partner (okay maybe when i was like 13, but that doesn’t count). It’s the weirdest thing…i look at him and it feels like i’ve known him forever. Like he was always there, but was waiting for it to be our time. He brings out the best in me. He treats me better than anyone else has before. He’s my equal partner (except in the bedroom hurrhurr). He doesn’t make me feel trapped or like i couldn’t live without him. The difference this time is, i don’t want to.

A year on and oh wow, so so much has changed. I’m so grateful to whatever or whoever decided that i deserve this happiness. I admit i’m still a little paranoid, but paranoid that something is going to snatch this all away from me. As somebody naturally pessimistic and self hating, it’s hard for me to believe that i deserve anything good.
But i’m going to push aside those feelings as best i can and bask in this new, warm life i have.