Tuesday, 8 April 2014

The Most Beautiful Thing

After over two years away, I am back working at my beloved Wild Oats. This little shop is a treasure trove of health food and natural remedies. It's a lovely place to browse the shelves and pick up new treats for yourself. It's an even lovelier place to work even if most of your wage gets spent on yummy foods!

I'm really enjoying working there again be it doing the washing up, putting out stock or serving customers. What I love is the ability to serve people in such a basic way. Though it may just be finding them a gorgeous new tea to try or picking up a quick pint of milk, I get to participate in their daily life and bring nourishment to their body. It really is the most beautiful thing.

Shawl: Free People // Blouse: H&M // Shorts: Primark // Necklace: Accessorize //

Top: Truly Madly Deeply @ Urban Outfitters // Skirt: Staring at Stars @ Urban Outfitters // Earrings: Gift from a lovely housemate // Short necklace: the cross was a Christening gift and the pendant was a gift from the bloke // Hamsa necklace: Accessorize //

Top: Truly Madly Deeply @ Urban Outfitters // Jeans (I enjoy wearing these not just because they're comfy but because the bloke hates them!): New Look // Necklace: As above // Boots: Primark

I love wolves and you should too. Or at least watch this amazing video!

I absolutely adore how relaxed and comfy this outfit. The top was an amazing purchase from Primark. It's a wool-like material and is great for just sloppy elegance. I also love wearing it for yoga, look at me doing a mini-tree!
Top: Primark // Dress: New Look // Leggings: Primark // Hairband: Primark // Earrings: Accessorize // Short necklace: Mixture of gifts // Turquoise necklace: Accessorize //

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Love Cannot Be Weighed

As I edited the photos for this blog post, I ummed and ahhed over each picture. Thinking to myself, Oh I look too fat in that one, People don't want to see my body like that, I don't want people to see my body like that. As I sit in my yoga classes, I get frustrated as my body gets in the way of my postures.

Let me explain a little more, I am from a naturally skinny family and yes, those really do exist! We are very tall and very skinny. We called my Dad the human dustbin whilst we were growing up because he could eat so much. His other nickname was Daddy Longlegs. And I grew up like that, with a very skinny body, able to eat as much as I wanted. That is not to say that I haven't struggled with food my whole life. It is something that I can control when the world outside feels uncontrollable. My weight has dropped dangerously low in the past. And then I was prescribed Mirtzapine for my depression. This pill saved my life. There is no other way to put it. It made me sleep when all I could think about was how much I hated myself. It forced me to eat, and to eat a lot. But when the over-appetite waned, the weight did not. And I piled on the weight. And then some more weight. A couple of friends have even mistakenly thought that I was pregnant! 

As I start to come off Mirtzapine, I am eager to lose this weight but not the feeling of acceptance of my flesh and existence that it led me to. Being bigger forced me to accept that I existed and it was okay to do so. One of my counsellors once suggested that my issues with food were not just about a control but stemmed from a belief that I did not deserve or want to exist. Being heavier has forced me to accept my body as it is. It has forced me to think about my yoga postures, as I struggle to find a gravitational centre in a body that is so alien to me.

Sweatshirt: New Look (just £5!) // Vest: New Look // Skirt: New Look // Necklace: Accessorize (present from my Mum) //

Apologies for my crazy hair! I'd been on the telephones at work all day! But still smiling! 
Shirt: Joules via Ebay // Top: Free People // Skirt: New Look //

Poncho: Free People // Top: New Look // Vest (underneath): H&M // Shorts: Primark via Ebay // Necklace: New Look (present from the bloke) //

Denim vest: Primark via Ebay // Lacy top: New Look // Skirt: White Stuff via Ebay
I wore this lovely ensemble when my little sister visited and we went out for a scrumptious Sunday lunch. In the evening, the bloke and I went to see a really interesting and lovely film called When the Iron Bird Flies. It's about Tibetan Buddhism coming to the West and it was put on by the Aro Ling centre on Gloucester Road. If you get the chance, I definitely recommend this film. 

Monday, 31 March 2014

A Tree is Strong by its Roots

First of all, apologies that it has been so long since I last wrote. When I first started this blog, I was deep in the seemingly-eternal depths of depression and had very little social life. My blog was a way to reach out and interact with the world in a safe and healthy way. As I've started to claw my way out of depression, I've found that my life has filled up with the things that bring me joy but that bring me away from my laptop. My weeks are now full of yoga, books, friends, and above all, joy. I went to see my doctor last week and said I'm happy, I'm happier than I ever been. I didn't know life could feel like this. 

And my secret? Well, the mixture of anti-depressants smoothed me out enough that I could think about eating healthy and getting back into yoga. And that first class, when my feet hit the mat in downward facing dog, was where I experienced joy. I started to learn that my body was not something to be cut at, to be tortured and reviled but something that should be enjoyed, fed and glorified. As B.K.S. Iyengar said: "My body is my temple, asanas are my prayers." I'm not going to pretend that my life is all sunshine and rainbows now. But, now, when I trudge through my day underneath a black cloud, I know I can leave that at the door of the studio and find peace and myself again as I roll out my mat. If a tree is strong by its roots, then yoga is my tree. 

The sun always shines on a yogini in tree pose!

The bloke and I went on a Faith Crawl around the different spiritual spaces around Bristol. This is me at the Sikh Gurdwara. Felt a little bit naughty covering my hair in my scarf decorated by Śiva!
Jumper: Jack Wills // Vest: New Look // Skirt: New Look // Scarf: From the very sadly departed Hippypottermouse in Leeds.

Dungarees: Primark // Stripy vest: New Look // Long-sleeved top: New Look // Hat: Accessorize // Necklace: Accessorize via Ebay


Vest: New Look // Skirt: White Stuff (via Ebay) // Necklace: Sole Sisters // Hamsa necklace: Accessorize 

 Cardigan: BDG @ Urban Outfitters (in grey) // Dress: Free People @ Urban Outfitters // Necklace: Accessorize via Ebay // Socks: Primark

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Count Only Your Blessings

Tea is my fuel. In a choice between tea and something very important, I would choose tea. Every time. I'm a big fan of a good old builders brew that is so strong that you can stand a spoon up in it. I also adore all the different varieties of tea you can get. One for every mood. One of my fave brands is Yogi teas and at the moment, I'm supping a mixture of their Echinacea with Rose. It's super comforting and smells divine. Yogi tea-bags all come with a little mantra and I love to save them and read them aloud to the bloke. He snorts at them a lot. One of my recent ones was to count only your blessings. I was really struck by that. At the moment, my depression is being effectively managed by a concoction of pharmaceuticals that make it possible for me to try and enjoy life. To be able to get back into yoga. And to enjoy drinking tea again. I have loved getting back to my yoga mat and have been enthralled by the things that my body can do. I walk back from my classes with my body feeling like it's singing a Gloria to nature. On my route home, I walk across a bridge. Usually, I would avoid bridges for my own safety but now I relish them because I don't think about jumping from them. So I have a lot of blessings to count.

It makes life a lot easier to think about our blessings rather than our curses. A rain shower is not an annoyance that will soak me to the skin but a chance to give my muddy Docs a rinse. My cold is a blessing because it's come from my new telephone job. The bloke and I decided not to celebrate St. Valentine's Day this year but instead Parinirvana. We went for a bracing walk around Leigh Woods. By bracing, I mean that I got us completely lost in some very dark woods. It's why my Docs needed a rinse. We got very muddy and were barely talking to each other. But as we crossed Clifton Suspension Bridge, we saw a meteor. A Meteor!

It's not just hippy dippy positive thinking but a complete reversal of how we interpret our lives and what befalls us. In the past, I have believed that it was my fault that I got a cold. By thinking only of blessings, it becomes not a rod to punish myself with but a celebration of the life that I am, for the first time in recent memory, happy to live.

Stevie Nicks is my Spirit Animal!
Cardigan: Primark // T-Shirt: Primark (gift from Mum) // Skirt: New Look // Pumps: Primark // Pearl Necklace: Accessorize (gift from Mum) // Blue Necklace: Free from a magazine //

On a recent trip to the library, I got to see the Book Hive, which is an installation piece of motion-activated books. As you come nearer to the books, they open up. The sound and movement of the books is mesmerising.

My hair was a work against gravity. Just a few hairpins holding up a hell of a lot of hair!
Kimono: Topshop via Ebay // Top: New Look // Skirt: Joules via Ebay // Turquoise Necklace: India // Dreamcatcher Necklace: Canada (Parents bought me it. I am a very spoilt daughter!)

For numerous reasons, I suffer nightmares every night without fail. I have been drawn to dream catchers not so much for a belief that they would stop them but as a symbol of strength. I do suffer nightmares but the dream catcher, for me, means that I don't let them conquer me. I try to not let them seep into my days. 

 Cardigan: New Look // Dress: White Stuff // Vest: H&M // Necklace: Accessorize via Ebay // Earrings: Accessorize via Ebay //

Check out my super cute new pug friend from my super gorgeous human friend Jess!
Torn between the names Captain Pugwash or Matthew McConnaughey! Please vote!
Kimono: Topshop via Ebay // Top: H&M (in the US) // Skirt: Jack Wills via Ebay // Earrings: Accessorize via Ebay // Turquoise necklace: India // Dream catcher necklace: Canada (gift from the parents) //

Stay Grateful

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Rain, Anniversaries and Steak

One morning this week, I woke up with a serious case of the "I hate myselfs." To be honest, I went to sleep with them. I struggled to leave my sleep, my nightmare seeking to keep me entwined in sleep.

All I wanted to do was not exist. I felt as if I was bursting at the seams with pain. As if the pain would explode out of me. The pressure was building inside me. 

I knew that, in this moment, I could call the bloke and he would leave everything to hold me & tell me how loved I am. But those arms won't change my pain, those words of love would not be believed.

My self-hatred runs so deep that I would believe his arms and words were lies.  Only I can learn to stop hating myself, and start loving myself. 

I wish there was a switch that I could turn and suddenly I would be a happy person and content in myself. But instead, I have to learn to live with who I am.

So, I decided to take a shower, to get changed into something comfortable. I listened to worship music. Too often, self-care for me turns into eating chocolate and hiding from the world. But that is not self-care. Self-care is eating healthy food, self-care is setting an intention to try and be well, self-care is taking myself to Legs, Bums and Tums even though I really didn't want to. 

And it worked, I didn't cut (5 weeks clean!), or drink, or starve myself. It wasn't a magic cure. I still feel adrift, alone upon a sea of hate but at least now I am standing rather than allowing the waves to wash over me. 

Instead, of an outfit of the day, I'm posting a few of my outfits from the week with where the items are from under the pic. As you might notice, I'm relaxing my style a little bit and putting more emphasis on comfort. I had begun to get stressed about always being well-dressed, which is not good self-care. 

Have you got any good tips for self-care?

Jumper: Cath Kidston
Skirt: White Stuff (in sale!)
Leggings: Primark
Scarf: Primark
Necklace: Primark
Earrings: Accessorize

Jumper: White Stuff
Skirt: New Look (in blackgrey and red)
Necklace: Sole Sisters

My necklace was a Christmas present from the bloke's mum. I love how it repurposes old items into great jewellery!

Top: Primark (current)
Skirt: H&M
Leggings (fleecy on the inside!): New Look (also in black and burgundy)
Earrings & Necklace: Primark

Today/Yesterday (we "became a couple" at around midnight!) we celebrated our 2nd anniversary. I can't believe he's put up with me that long! We celebrated with him cooking steak (my fave) and making me a mix tape (well...memory card!) and me making a very poor meringue! Meringue-making is not my forte!

Dungarees: Primark (just £5! or New Look)
Top: New Look
Leggings: New Look
Cardigan: Primark (current)
Necklace: Free with a magazine

These blog posts really helped me this week:

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Frozen Bows

This weekend, it was my turn to pick the movie and I chose the new Disney flick "Frozen." As we started watching, I began to feel quite uncomfortable. I have always adored Disney films and have escaped into the magical worlds they created for me as a child. As an adult, I loved relaxing into these familiar stories especially when my medication was giving me a kicking. But, Frozen was a little bit too familiar to my liking. 

As Elsa sang "Don't let them in, Don't let them see, Be the good girl you always have to be. Conceal, Don't feel, Don't let them know," I felt as if Disney had reached into my heart and mind and created a fairytale out of the years of pain and suffering. Those mantras were the ones that I repeated to myself day after day. 

The similarities grew for me as characters discussed if Elsa's power was good or made her a monster. The very word Frozen symbolised the years that I had spent frozen by my disease, unable to think, act or love without fear. 

When Elsa's power was discovered some labelled her a monster and came to attack her. But she sang: "I don't care what they're going to say, let the storm rage on. The cold never bothered me anyway. The fears that once controlled me can't get to me at all. Here I stand in the light of day, let the storm rage on."

Elsa learnt to control her powers and to use them for good, a future that I hope to have. But most poignantly, it was Elsa's sister Anna who was her salvation. It was Anna who came to rescue Elsa from the mountain and it was her love that taught Elsa to love without fear.

It's corny but it's Disney. And it's true. Love is so important, I truly believe it can change lives, including those marred by depression. My darling bloke gets me Disney movies for when I'm down. My little sister, my Anna, comes and gets me off my mountain and loves me so dearly that it sometimes baffles me that such a little person can have so much love. 

And it's okay to let people know. It's okay to let go of the masks, of the good girl and just be you. Depression is not shameful, it should not be hidden. Don't let it control your life but use it for good.

My little sis & I at Disneyland Paris!
Perhaps, it really is as simple as Frozen puts it. Perhaps, we need to learn to let go of fear and allow love to enter our frozen hearts. Of course, it's not simple but it can start with little actions, little but brave. (Sorry for the pun!) Conquering our fears by going to that party, letting a little control go, going to see a doctor, allowing people to love us.

Because are we going to allow our lives to be taken over by fear? Or are we going to stand in the light of day? We deserve better.

Speaking of fears, I love my pink spotty hairband but I worry when I wear it that I look silly. I fear what people think of me? Are they going to think I'm silly? Stupid? Horrible? But, am I going to let fear stop me from wearing a bow? 

Jumper: New Look
Shirt (underneath): Joules (similar)
Skirt: New Look (in redblack & burgundy)
Pumps: Primark (current)
Bangle: Vintage
Earrings: New Look
Bow: Primark

There is a fantastic post about Frozen on the As I Live With Anxiety blog.