Sometimes in life the voices in our head win. Those horrible voices who tell you you're not good enough or that you're ugly or that you'll never be a success at anything. I've been able to keep those voices at a whisper for a while but in recent weeks they have found a way to turn up the volume and are currently shouting at me.
They are so loud, it is very hard to ignore them. The ones who shout the loudest are the ones who get heard and currently the most deafening culprits are "you don't deserve to be happy" and "you're not good enough".
Given I have been suffering with depression and anxiety for a long time, I am more than used to these voices and am getting better at dealing with them. I think part of the reason they are shouting so loudly at the moment is because I'm not taking good enough care of myself. When I eat well, sleep well (or as well as one can when one suffers with insomnia), meditate regularly and practice yoga I feel better about myself and those voices tend not to scream so loudly. Just a small deviation (so I've neglected my yoga practice and have consumed far too much alcohol than is necessary in the last 2 weeks) tends to give my misery a chance to get its claws back in. The one great thing about having suffered for as long as I have is that I now recognise when I'm walking into blackness and can do my utmost to try to either avoid going there entirely or at least to have some kind of light with me to get me through it without too much injury.
I vow to be a better person not just to shut the voices up, but because I want to be. As hard as it is, I have to accept who I am right in this moment in order to be able to be better. I will take better care of myself and in turn take better care of those around me. I will be stronger and not allow myself to be caught up in what others are doing if it does not serve me or my goals in life. Learning to say no to others is about learning to say yes to yourself (thank you to the gorgeous Chloe Brotheridge for that gem of a quote) and I definitely need to be saying yes to myself a lot more.
Sometimes in life the voices win, yes, but sometimes if we listen carefully we might just hear that whisper of courage that tells you to keep going and perhaps we will learn something we didn't know before and become all the better for it.
Get Out Of Your Head
I find that so often I am stuck in my own head. Constantly working and re-working my thoughts and writing blogs and books in my mind. I always thought that because I didn't and don't write very often it was because I didn't have ideas or wasn't a very good writer but now I wonder if it's just because I am firstly a procrastinator and secondly because I truly struggle to get out of my head.
I am so 'mindly challenged' (I am aware this is not a thing, but I didn't know how else to describe it), that I dream incredibly vividly and can nearly always remember every minute detail of the dream when I awake. I have a few recollections of dreams I had when I was a small child that are still as fresh in my mind now as they were when I had them. Still conjuring up the same feelings and fears as they did back then.
I had quite a horrible dream a few nights ago which neither my boyfriend or I could figure out where it had come from - we had not watched anything on TV nor had I read anything that could have culminated in my mind producing said nightmare but dream it nonetheless I did. Looking for a silver lining I realised the idea could be turned into a novel.
This is where most of my book ideas have stemmed from, but despite apparently being quite prolific in the ideas department I simply cannot seem to dig them out of my grey matter and embed them into the page. I have to wonder now if it's because I am afraid to do it? Are the crippling fears of both success and failure causing me to remain safe in my cranium? How do I get out of my noggin and get into the real world and if I manage this what will that actually mean? Answers on a postcard to PO Box The Mind of Pin Up Pantry...
I feel like I might be having some sort of existential crisis. Either that or lack of sleep is causing me to go ever-so-slightly doolally (or more so than normal).
Funny that today where we should be celebrating all things love, that I should be feeling this way. I am struggling hugely with self-love. Yesterday I felt incredibly positive. The weekend had been lovely, and I had felt incredibly spoiled by friends and family with amazing gifts and messages of love for my birthday. I was buoyed by this, and whilst I really don't enjoy going to work I was "happily" getting through my day. Suddenly then, a dark cloud descended. I struggle a lot with the way I am perceived and treated; and some comments and demands were made which sadly made me feel very unhappy. I have never been able to be fully contented in a job, always feeling that I am being used/abused but under-utilised. This is possibly partly due to the roles I have found myself in and also due to my own distrust of my ability and potential. I do also think that people overlook me because of my appearance a lot of the time. I have noticed in recent weeks, following some big changes at work, that I feel less and less a part of a team and more and more like either a servant or a useless appendage or both.
Today is a day where I feel incredibly wretched and rubbish. Questioning why I can't just deal with things and be OK. Now, obviously, I know that as a depression sufferer, this isn't always possible but I feel like I'm staring down the barrel of a million failures (things I talked about in my previous post above success - see here) and wondering how it came to this.
It struck me as I began to compose this blog, that I seem to only be able to write when I am feeling blue. It terrifies me that in order to be creative I have to feel despair or misery. Creativity is such an important thing, and if it is only ever manifested during times of crisis, I'm scared that as I start to recover from my depression I will lose my creative streak. I used to only be able to write songs when I experienced heartbreak and I seem to only be able to write a blog when I am feeling low. The drive to finish my novel stems very much from wanting to feel like a success at something rather than the desire to write.
It occurs to me as I create this nonsensical stream of consciousness that self-love is very difficult but so important. I believe that many people assume that loving yourself means being overbearing and constantly telling people how good you are (this is actually a good indicator of being very insecure), but self-love is about accepting who you are, knowing that you are the best you that you can be, and not comparing yourself to anyone else (Comparison is the thief of joy after all). Without self-love the way I felt at the outset of this would be the way we all feel constantly (and what another terrifying thought that is). We all deserve love, and the greatest love we can give is love for ourselves as this is the only way we can truly give love to others.
I wrote this what feels like a million years ago (I wrote it originally during the London 2012 Olympics in fact), but I think this message rings so loud and so true right now. The amazing Lady Gaga performed at the Superbowl and her message was all about inclusion. We should all feel that we are included and part of the world regardless of our appearance, nationality or religious belief.
A few days ago I tweeted about how fed up I am of people making me feel like a freak because I don't dress like everyone else. I've been thinking about it a lot (one of my many curses is that I over-think EVERYTHING) and I think that at this particular time for people to react the way they are is completely and utterly inappropriate. We watch in awe and fascination as paralympians win medal after medal and break record after record, and we realise that to use the word 'disabled' is a complete and utter misnomer - it's society that disables them. Now, I'm not comparing myself to someone with a disability as clearly they have many more obstacles to overcome, but being 'disabled' by society is something we can all relate to.
How many times are we told 'be yourself'? Clearly we are only allowed to be ourselves when that self fits the mould which is seen as acceptable by general society. How can we be ourselves when our individuality is completely and utterly stifled by those who encourage us to be individual? Of course, we have evolved to be a judgemental species and that will never change, but we are now a multi-racial, multi-cultural country, shouldn't we be embracing all the individuality that has to offer?
It's taken me a very long time to feel comfortable in my own skin, and I guarantee there will be many a time when I feel less than comfortable, but I am finally accepting myself and I refuse to have that taken away from me.
Why does my pseudo 50's/60's appearance cause people to assume that I'm stupid? Maybe it's not just that, perhaps it's the fact I'm a woman? I was recently informed (when someone looked over the lunch I had made) that I couldn't possibly have made it and must have got it from the shop as I'm clearly not remotely domestic! Plus the fact that people seem to assume because I have a firm grasp on the English language and am eloquent and articulate that I can't be attractive. Someone I met after only having conversations over email told me that I couldn't be me because I was supposed to be 'short and dumpy'. OK then, so what you're saying is because I can construct a sentence I have to be ugly?
I know I have said that we are all a judgemental species and this will never change but is it not about time we stopped passing such harsh judgements on others and ourselves for that matter?
In a nut shell I am who I am - made up of lots of intricate layers of intelligence, self loathing, tattoos, make up, big hair, geekiness, domesticity, social awkwardness, depression, quirkiness, love and so much more. Take me or leave me, but don't assume you know anything about me until you make an effort to get to know me.
While I accept you will judge me don't make it obvious and don't mock me. I am human just like you.
I’ve been thinking a lot recently about success. What makes someone successful and how do we measure it?
For many people success comes in the form of money or some sort of accolade or adoration, for others success is simply just managing to make it through the day.
I do wonder sometimes why other’s people’s perception or understanding of success makes others feel like theirs are not successes at all.
I have to say that I’ve never felt like a success at anything. I’ve put myself forward for things where I could potentially be successful and never been accepted or acknowledged. I do a job - where despite my knowledge and being in a position which should be considered an integral part of the team - because I do not earn commission, and am on a low salary, I am not considered successful. And quite frankly, I don’t feel like I’m successful either. This isn’t helped by the fact that most, if not all, of my friends already own their own homes and earn in excess of £50k per year and this often makes me feel like an outsider. Because I am not on the same level as these people my life ‘successes’ are not comparable. I can’t say “hey look I’ve just paid off a chunk of my mortgage” because I can’t even afford to save for a deposit, I can’t say “wow, I just secured a huge deal and got loads of commission!” because my role doesn’t afford me that. I can’t say “I’m the director of a company” because I’m not.
Part of the issue is probably my own view on success and I suppose I always thought when I grew up I would be successful because I would be married and own my own house and either be a writer or be doing a job where I earned lots of money and could take holidays whenever I wanted. None of those things have come to pass. My age doesn’t really bother me, but as I approach my 35th birthday I suppose I am thinking more about my future. I am lucky that I have a roof over my head, an amazing boyfriend and the cutest little doggie known to mankind, and this should be enough. But is it wrong of me to want more and to feel that I have achieved something more in life?
I’ve tried so many things in life and never once succeeded in any of them – I write novels that nobody wants to publish (so I don’t finish them), I tried to be a pin up model but nobody wanted to hire me (so I gave up), I started a YouTube cookery channel which nobody watched (so I stopped doing it), the list goes on.
Success and worth shouldn’t be measured with anything tangible like money, but with our own sense of achievement. My boyfriend said to me last night (I’m paraphrasing here by the way) “if you can go to bed happy with how you’ve been as a person then you’ve succeeded” and he is right. Some days I have to accept that my success and achievement is merely getting through the day and other days it could be that I’ve got 100 views on the blog. We only get a short amount of time to live and we shouldn’t spend it comparing our ‘successes’ to others; we should embrace what we feel we have achieved and ignore those who tell us they’re not real successes because they don’t match to their view of accomplishment.
Having said that, I would still like to publish a novel or start a business. And, even if I do those things I’ll probably still feel that I’m less worthwhile than the rest, but at least I can go to bed knowing that I’m a good person and that I’ve tried my hardest even if other people don’t appreciate me or think I’m a success.