25

On Friday the fourth of May I turned twenty five. Some people regard it as a bit of a landmark birthday and some don’t. I was a little worried as it’s almost regarded as the social norm to have your shit together by 25, the house and car, career paved out and a long term relationship with all the trimmings.

But life doesn’t really work like that. There is no cast iron plan, no set route for everyone to go down. Some people have the world as their oyster at 25. Some have a cat a reasonably paid job and still live with their mother. In fact I’m starting to think most are the latter now that the economy is not overly 90s baby friendly (85-99 to be specific… I suppose…) and is making it oh so bloody difficult to get a decent phone contract let alone a mortgage.

I’d like to think I’m in the ~semi shit together~ phase and I’ll probably stay there until I’m 30 if I’m honest. I moved back home to save for a mortgage and help my mum out a little. After about two months I met my now boyfriend and after 4 he moved in. Pretty fast I know but the circumstances surrounding us at the time pulled it all together. Along with him came his dog, a chest of drawers and a new bed. Shifting around the bedroom, fitting everything in, changing MY car into OUR car and MY home into OUR home. It somehow seemed to fit and fast forward 8 months and like an old couple watching telly in bed at night with the dog by my side and a cup of tea!

As expected I spent my birthday with my boyfriend and family. I went to lakeside shopping centre, which if you haven’t been, is huge and has a cinema and 4 storey Primark for starters. It’s situated in Thurrock, Essex and from where I live on the south coast it’s journey to it consists of going through the Dartford Crossing (a tunnel going under the Thames river) and on the ghastly M25 but it makes up for it when you can spend an entire day there and have lunch on the lake in the sunshine.

I also had a meal with my family and my boyfriends family which was lovely and thankfully I had wonderful weather for the entire weekend of my birthday. As English people do when it’s sunny we had a family BBQ and got out the paddling pool for the little ones.

I suppose most of this post is really me just verifying to myself that it doesn’t matter that I haven’t got the money for a mortgage yet, that we aren’t engaged to be wed or pregnant. Everyone has there own time for things in life and mine is perhaps slower than some but equally as important and maybe even faster than others. It’s entirely personalised to each individual. As you get older I think your birthday is less about celebrations and more about the next upcoming year of your life. What you might achieve, memories and experiences. Having a good knees up helps to go through those though!

I guess what I’m saying is just do you. The only person that matters in your past, present and future is yourself. Without you there is none of those nice things or experiences. Your twenties are about finding yourself and learning the world. Learning what suits you, what doesn’t, compromising and how to walk away from things that don’t benefit you. It doesn’t matter if your shit isn’t quite together. Nobody should judge you so don’t judge yourself.

My first 25 was eventful. I’m sure the next will be even more so.

CA x

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Q & A

Check out this interview I did with Louise over on her blog – how about answering the questions yourself or asking your followers? CA x

LouiseBarnardxo

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Hello My Lovely Lot,

Yes its been a while but I took a break to try a different blogging platform and found out that it just wasn’t for me so have come back to my lovely followers on here.

With that being said I agreed a while back to take part in a Q&A with the awesome @charlottexamy but of course me being me and finding my feet I let her down and took a lifetime to sit down and do it. But here we are 🙂 I hope you guys get just as much enjoyment our of it as I’m sure Charlotte will.

  1. Introduce yourself:  Louise Anne Barnard, 24 years old, from Horsham West Sussex. I am currently a Front Of House Manager at a gym.
  2. Do you have a 5 year plan if so what is it?: I mean what I want and what happens lets…

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CHEATING? Is it really that bad?

My opinion on cheating is that anything from ‘sexting’ onwards whilst in an exclusive relationship is cheating. You are a cheat if you retaliate to cheating, and you are a cheat if you use it as a method to leave an unhealthy relationship. But my opinion is not necessarily the same as others, so I recently sent out a request for volunteers to look into the way that couples interact, communicate, and more importantly what they tell other people or may do with other people.

I also wanted to know (considering the current international media coverage) what people\s opinions on LGBTQ relationships was. The general census was that people had either considered a same sex relationship, knew people who were and didn’t think of it as anything other than ‘normal’ and those who really weren’t fussed as long as it wasn’t in their faces.

I asked 10 questions to multiple people, but for the purposes of this article have picked out two of my volunteers. As per my guidelines when I listed my article, all contributors are anonymous, listed only by a christian name initial.

  • How old are you and how old is your partner?

R: I am 26, my partner is 27.

H: I’m 36 and he is 32.

  • How did you meet?

R: We met when I was 14 at a local convention; we were friends for several years before we began dating.

H: I was working in a pub and he started coming in every lunch time. He would sit at the bar and we would do the sun dial in the paper lol.

  • How much time do you spend together each week?

R: Currently, we live together. We dedicate time in our day to play video games together and once a week we sit down to watch television. Despite being around each other a lot we make it a point to dedicate actual time to spend together.

H: Whenever we are home really but I try to send him out with the lads as much as possible ..I think it’s healthier to have some space.

  • Is there anything they do that you hate? (Remember it’s anonymous!)

R: My partner can sometimes be a bit of a homebody, and it takes a lot of effort to get them to go out which is incredibly annoying.

H: He spends too much time on his phone and forgets most things he is told.

  • what is your opinion on cheating?

R:  I do not believe cheating is as clean cut as it is typically perceived. Yes, someone gets hurt and that is bad- ideally, you don’t want to hurt someone. but I think the context of a situation can make it sympathetic and I believe that, for some people, they view it as their only means to escape an unhealthy relationship.

H: I think that one night stands can happen, anyone can make a mistake but an on going relationship with someone else is inexcusable.

  • Have you ever cheated? – what happened?

R: Not in my current relationship. In a relationship in my past I sought an emotional connection I did not feel I was receiving. While I was not physically unfaithful, the intimacy I formed with someone outside my relationship caused a wound that never healed.

H: No never.

  • Have you been cheated on? – what happened?

R: In my younger years, but I do not remember much of it. I typically cut ties and moved on.

H: Not yet, fingers crossed!

  • What’s your opinion on same sex/ mixed sex couples? (whichever is not yourself)

R: Currently, I am in a “mixed set” relationship but I identify as a pansexual woman and have dated a variety of different people on the gender spectrum (cis, trans, nonbinary). I personally do not find gender to be a point of influence in my relationships.

H: I’ve had relationships with both genders so I am supportive of anyone that loves each other.

  • What are the qualities you like in a partner and why?

R: In general, I like someone who is physically strong and mentally ambitious.

H: Someone who is loyal, funny, loves you even when you are at you’re worst and even after years together can still surprise you.

  • 10, what are the qualities you dislike in a partner and why?

R:  The biggest quality I dislike is a close-minded individual and passive behaviour.

H: Lying, cheating and not putting equal effort into the relationship.

 

 

If you were to answer these questions what would your answers be? Why don’t you ask your followers, friends or family? Anonymous questionnaires are brilliant for allowing people to speak their thoughts without fear of being judged. Let me know if you’d like to be part of my next social article!

 

NB: All answers are provided by the volunteers and are no way endorsed, influenced or adapted by charlottexamy.com – all volunteers consented to their answers being used on a social domain and are aware that they will be listed as their christian initial (or name of choice).

 

Let me know your thoughts below! Lets discuss!

CA x

A very honest letter to my younger self.

Hello sweet,

So you’re a teenager and you’re full of hormones. You don’t know much about me, but I know you so well. You’re very different to me but also very much the same. Most people would think you were an extrovert as you’re always in the conversation, never giving a damn, always pulling a prank or being a clown. But that will change, you’ll go through secondary school with the belief that in order to be someone you need to be popular and conform. You’ll be bullied by a girl so incredibly insecure about herself that she’ll make you hate your appearance, but you will get over it when you leave school. When you leave school you’ll realise that everyone ends up the same way in the end and that popularity doesn’t equal friendship, and so will she, so don’t hate her for what she’s done, she’s learning too.

Boys are like yo-yos to you for a bit. They bring you up and they drop you down. Yeah our first relationship is completely fake, I’m really sorry for the pain you’ll go through. Your whole relationship was a lie and I wish you knew so you could have saved your virginity for someone who cares about you more. Mainly because of this you brush the good ones away for a bit and you lose someone really great. Luckily for you he’s a top man and he stays your friend for the foreseeable future, he helps you through some seriously dark times and he truly is your counterpart, just not romantically.

I hate to break it to you but you really cocked up college. You did two years of AS because you messed around in the first year and then you gave up and went into the world of work. It’s a good job you love to work. You work more and more and move from jobs roughly each year and a half until you find something new that excites you and can’t wait to get stuck in.

Don’t believe what people say. You’re very naive to things and you subject yourself to other people’s opinions so often that they start to forge your opinions too. You will lose a lot of friends when you find yourself and you’ll be distraught that people don’t stick around and spend time with you on birthdays but you will realise that unfortunately that’s becoming an adult and you will meet people that will stick by you. I promise.

There’s some big events that happen too. You find out you have another half brother and half sister. You spend some time with them a couple of times a year for a few years, but now you’ve grown and you don’t stand for 80/20 relationships, it needs to be equal effort. So for now you’ll wait to see if they come to you.

You’ll meet your dad. The man you thought abandoned you and never wanted you. Well, he does want you. He’s just a scared man that thinks you will reject him. But you don’t, because growing up with just your mum you’ve learnt to appreciate family and embrace anyone that wants to be part of that. Along with your dad you’ll meet his side of the family, auntie, cousins, nan, step mum and step sisters and it will completely overwhelm you. Don’t worry there is no rush. Just enjoy the small things.

You find love. The kind of love you have dreamed of, and you move back home after leaving at 17. You’re saving for a mortgage and you’ve got a wonderful man and extended family. Shit gets really bad for them but you stay close and you give all you can because that’s what families do. Who knows if you will be with him forever but it’s been almost a year here now and that will astound you. Again, enjoy the small things.

Your anxiety and depression will go up and down and you’ll realise that it’s not something you will remove. It’s part of you and that’s not always a bad thing. It builds your character. Sometimes it will kick you and knock you down but you will always stand up straighter and stronger with the love you have around you. You get rid of your terror nightmares. Yes, really. You only have nightmares when you’re stressed. You’re learning to love yourself properly. Fully. Every part.

This letter isn’t to scare you about the bad things. You do so well, you drive and you know who you are. You have wonderful friends and family and despite the death, trauma and permanent damage from things you will always fight.

Because you are a fighter.

And there is always happiness.

Remember what Dumbledore says in Harry Potter, you will love by it.

“Happiness can be found in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.”

Take care. Love yourself. You’re doing so well. CA x

“Am I Crazy?” II

So I published the first chronicle. What did you think? A brief introduction into what on Earth is going on in my little bean head. To be fair to you, I’m still not fully sure. All I know is that my brain isn’t coping quite as well as I’d wanted it to right now so I’m being brave and seeking help (again).

I wanted to blog every step because I think it’s important. I think it’s really important that regardless of my gender, age, ethnicity and whatever other features they want to base mental health stats on, people can read something and think “yeah I agree” or “I had that feeling earlier” or better yet, sees that it is a struggle for someone else but that you can get help, and does so.

Let’s start with the obviously big elephant in the room, depression. Some throw the word like it’s the same as being sad, and it used to infuriate me until I realised that it’s by no fault of their own that they have never understood what depression is and the fact that it’s not just one emotion and definitely not just being sad. I’ve watched videos about how depression is a black dog that follows you around like your shadow or a big black cloud that follows you around. That’s not my interpretation though.

I think it is whatever the hell it wants to be. Sometimes I forget I have it. That sounds crazy in itself right? The medical definition of depression is “prolonged low mood for a period of two weeks or more” so naturally you’d be right to think you kind of have to be sad 24/7? Right? Not always. Depression is different for each person.

It’s smiling and joining in, hiding away and declining contact.

It’s eating very little if at all and it’s eating so much you make yourself nauseous or physically sick.

It’s not getting out of bed for days on end and it’s bounding our straight away just to make someone else happy.

Depression manifests itself in many ways and we can’t always prevent the illness. But we can show people we love them. We can hug and talk and laugh and all those things we find so trivial on a day to day basis. Because those things are the things that might bring someone away from the edge, further from the trigger, you get where I’m going with this…

My depression is up and down. Some days I hate everything and I starve (unintentionally) myself and stay in bed. Other days I’m happy to do everything for everyone else, some days I’m strong and I think “I’m gonna be selfish today like all my doctors have always told me” and then I feel guilty. Food can be a curse as your appetite is like a yo-yo so you never know where you stand.

My other pain in the ass attribute to my depression is insomnia. Isn’t insomnia a b*tch?! I mean seriously, who invited her to the party.

Insomnia is my worst friend. I say friend because she’s incredibly loyal to me and she rarely lets me down. But she is a complete nightmare and I severely dislike her presence. Thank you sweet baby Jesus for David Attenborough, that’s all I can say.

Like a perfect set of twins, depression has a sibling that likes to pop in every now and again. You’ll find that a fair few people who have depression also have anxiety. Anxiety has a whole umbrella of different types and I couldn’t possibly speak for those who have different types of anxiety to myself. I have mixed anxiety and usually I am trigger by crowds, waiting, confrontation, shouting and clinical spaces (to name a few). My hands are pretty much permanently clammy and I have headaches quite a lot. One of my main physical symptoms is a wonderful stammer and I live up to the phrase “cat got your tongue”. As many do, I’ll get the knotting in my stomach, sweats, hot and cold flushes and fight or flight response when entering an anxiety attack, if I don’t respond to my body then I hyperventilate and enter panic.

Despite having regular anxiety attacks I have only had one panic in three weeks (woo!) and I’m pretty good at hiding things in public or removing myself/avoidance. But I realised that doing that can’t always be the answer and so I’m going back for help.

Due to recent events I believe my PTSD has flared resulting in the anxiety and depression being bad. Talking therapies help me to process and programme my brain (talk therapies are brilliant if you’re an analytical person) so fingers crossed when I see the team in March I can have another referral to a higher level MH practitioner and have this as my last stay in the system.

I will update further once I have attended an appointment but until then, “Am I Crazy?” Chronicles part II is complete.

CA x