Day 9 – 5 Current Goals

I have a lot of targets that I set myself – see my 40 for 40 list as a good example but I try to also do littler things throughout the years, like this years Pratchett Postal.

These are some challenges I have been trying to do this year so thought i’d share some of those and then we can have a re-cap as to how things are progressing and if there are still things happening throughout the rest of the year.

1: Pratchett Postal – Objective: To buy up duplicate Pratchett books (Neil Gaiman too apparently this has now been extended to) and then send them out to complete strangers online.

I decided to do this on Twitter as i’m so used to Twitter being the place where people are horrible to each other but I was desperate to prove that nice people inhabit that place too. I think that this has gone fairly well, I mean, thus far I have sent 80 books out this year, made a whole heap of new friends, learned some really interesting stuff about both myself and the world of Discworld and more than anything, am really pleased that the love I have for this series, is now being passed around the planet to others.                       pratchett 12

 

2:  Improve my writing – Objective: To become more comfortable with writing and expressing myself.

I love blogging but have always found that I do not have the impetus to keep writing and publishing every day so have set myself more manageable goals of writing twice a week (until this current challenge which is a daily thing, wish me luck because i’m scared!! I’m hoping that if nothing else, I find people who I like to read and to find people who like what I say. I don’t ever think i’d be writing novels or the like but I started this as a way to vent, deal with things and get my thoughts out and I genuinely hope that by the end of this year, I will be able to continue this and continue improving.

3:  Take part in more racing/running events – Objective: To become healthier and fitter, I have set myself a challenge of a Marathon before I turn 40 so thought I’d start small.

I signed myself up for a challenge in January to start small and cover 50 miles throughout the month then after that, a couple of 5ks, a colour run and a local 10k. I achieved the January target with no issues and the colour run and 5k, though I was incredibly slow and unfit, both were finished and both went well. Unfortunately due to health issues – relating to my knee – I had to drop out of the 10K, I did think maybe I could walk it but was worried I’d be too slow and therefore not actually finish…..am hoping that next year will be better, I’ve booked to do a couple more 5ks via Virtual Racing so if nothing else, I will be doing the work, it may not be fast, but am proud i’m getting better. This is my before (from 2015 on the Left) and the now, 2018 on the right.

colour run 2015 & 2018.JPG

4: Attend a convention – Objective: To attend a convention into something I enjoy. 

Actually this year, I’ve actually attended 2. Both superb fun and definitely a good introduction for hopefully bigger and better ones next year, or at least, in our future.

Firstly in August I went to Dragworld Uk – a festival of glitter and fabulousness all to do with the world of Drag. I loved it (and wrote a blog about it which you can read here https://wordpress.com/post/halfbakedproductions.blog/1618)   I loved it, cannot wait to go back (the pre release sale happened yesterday) and this time the man in my life is coming with me. He has some social issues (he has a lot of anxiety) so I’m hoping that to be surrounded by so many lovely and accepting people will help him. I’m already so excited!!

The second con in October was more for my other half than for me, he is very into board games (ok, we both are but he spends more time watching vids/listening to podcasts about them) but we knew there was a large expo up in Birmingham which sadly we could not attend – money for public transport in this country is insane) so when we found out there was a smaller convention in Southampton, it seemed like a no brainer, I booked us a cheapish hotel nearby and we decided to take my copy of Ankh Morpork in case there wasn’t much we wanted to play. We also found a local board games cafe, with a superb collection of games and also really lovely friendly staff and have definitely decided that we will go back, maybe even just specifically for this place!

The con itself was good, we met a couple of new people, played some new games – and some games that we probably wouldn’t own but that it’s fun to experience. It was a good introduction to a little convention and I’m hoping that next year we can do something biggr and better.

5: Get my 10% body award with Slimming World. Objective: To lose 10% of my starting body weight (at the time I was basically 13 stone and a fat size 18). I spent a long time as a younger person trying to diet and adhere to beauty standards but as I’ve got older, I’d got bigger and eating became a really important thing to me. I’d met up with some wonderful old friends and they (as usual) took photos to memorialise the day but when I saw them, they were horrible. I looked awful. I’m really used to being the fat one out of my friends but I felt gross.

Luckily my work were doing a special promotion with Slimming World where when you lost 10% of your weight, my work would pay back a max of 12 weeks subs, this seemed like an ideal way of doing it and threw myself into it. It took 14 weeks in total but I lost just under 2 stone. I am now a much healthier size 12 and feel amazing! it’s mad really as i’ve never been this size before and I love it.

I should be clear, at no point did my other half say I had to lose weight or anything like that, I did this for me and thankfully he still finds me attractive and I know he sees that I’m so much more confident, which for me is the best thing.

So there you have it, 5 challenges or goals I am currently working on. I have really enjoyed these so far so am looking forward to more next year – or maybe not more, maybe just improving my current ones and continuing to work towards my 40 for 40 list. What about you? Do you have any challenges that you are setting yourself or working towards?

 

 

 

My thoughts about Mental Health.

A friend of mine suggested this to me as a theme a few days/weeks ago and whilst it might not be the most “fun” theme i’ve tried to write about, it is most definitely close to home and something which I feel I should write about.

My history of depression is quite a long one. I can remember as a very young child sitting in a doorway, on our porch with a little bag in front of me wondering where I could go to make everyone else’s life easier. I’ve always felt like i’m in the way, like i’m a burden and I honestly have no idea why.

I’ve been very lucky, I have a loving, caring family and have not had anything serious to make me sad, or to feel the way I did, unfortunately, I just think that’s my mind.

I spent a lot of my childhood as a happy go lucky child, I think a lot of the surprise to my family/friends when I started talking about my struggles was the fact that I had hidden it so well. People didn’t believe I’d tried to run away, or to kill myself, or that i’d harmed myself but I only did what I thought was the right thing, to take away the pain, or to stop the suffering of others….like I said, I always felt like I was a burden, in the way, taking time from someone more important, hearing my parents arguing over something (which probably wasn’t me) and being sure that they were arguing over something i’d done, or something I’d caused and wishing I had never been born as I was causing people to have these thoughts…….

Yes, I have since learnt that this is a very egotistical thought but for so long I got used to feeling like the butt of all jokes, the hated part of the class, the idiot of the group – I was never a cool kid and I know that being bullied etc isn’t something no one else has dealt with but it seemed to affect me a lot –  so later in life, when the angry, hurtful and cruel voices started, I listened, in fact, no matter what was actually said to me, I would believe the inner voice. People would give me a compliment and the first thought in my mind would be “why is this person lying to me?” It sounds so warped but one thing my friends know about me is that I will often be self deprecating, and when they ask me why, my standard response is “it saves time” as in, if i’m horrible about myself, then no one else can get in there first.

I didn’t have much official therapy until I first tried to kill myself at 17 – I had started self harm before the age of 11 and trying to leave or run away at age 8 or 9 – I was back in the UK, back in my old school, surrounded by people who were confident, clever, had money and seemed to have their lives mapped out (something I still don’t have to be honest) and this scared me. I came out of a relatively serious to me relationship and I felt totally alone, totally worthless and more than anything, a massive waste of the planet’s space. I went to the riverbank close to my house, and swallowed I do not know how many pills and vodka (a great mix – not) expecting to not wake up and therefore to finally be at peace. Luckily a friend of ours found me about 2 minutes after this, actually made me be sick a few times and walked me home.

My brother was cooking a posh dinner for friends the next day and had asked us all to make an effort, I didn’t want to be involved, I just wanted to hide away but the friend told me he would dress like James Bond (he was a biker pal so this seemed insane to me) and come and get me…..I thought he was joking so agreed, only to be stunned when he showed up at my bedroom door in full suit/tie combo with a flower. How can a girl refuse when someone makes an effort like that? He made me smile, get up, get dressed and be social, it lifted me out of my funk and showed that once again, slapping on armour can really help strengthen you to fight against the demons.

I never told him how much he saved my life (figuratively and literally) but he really did, and i’ve never done something so foolish ever since. I am really lucky that I go no horrible side effects days later so please do not even do this as a cry for help, you may not be so lucky.

Because I was feeling so low, I went to the doctors to talk and ask for help. I didn’t know how the help would happen, but I knew I needed something. I went to the doctors to be told I could see a therapist and take these pills to be better…valium, at 17 is not ideal but I did as I was told as I thought this would make me better.

Nope, not so much. I felt like a zombie, like I had no insides, like I was just a vessel with nothing inside. I stayed on these pills for less than 3 months as I hated the feeling so much. I still felt hateful towards myself but didn’t want to live like that plus, I had the joy of my first therapy sessions.

Thankfully mental health services have changed a lot in the last 20 odd years as the doctor I saw at the time, basically told me that I should blame all of my issues on my parents. Now I understand that these people have a massive influence over the person that I am but this kind of advice really sat against me, my mum and dad may have opinions I didn’t agree with, or might not always say the right thing in the right way but there’s no way that I would just blindly blame them for everything wrong in my life, I have to take responsibility for my own actions.

From the bad few years I managed to rebuild myself. I moved to Spain again for a couple of years and spent a long amount of time just learning to be me. Not as a perfect person, but someone who was good at hiding away again, who was happy with her group of friends (unsure why they were my friends but still) and when I went back to England, I was just stuck in a rut, good friends and people in my life but not enough to keep me balanced. I moved to the South of the UK to escape some demons in Lincolnshire and make my life a bit more for me. I was used to living in my brother’s shadow and sort of wanted to be more me.

One of the biggest things down here was the fact that it was somewhere new, somewhere I was me and if people didn’t like it, I had to decide if I still wanted to be me or if I wanted to change to be more like them, to fit in, to be accepted. Sadly for a while I felt so alone that I did exactly that, which is when I started the worst relationship of my life, with a controlling person who could see my insecurities and who used them against me. He was controlling to the extreme and despite the fact that if anyone told me that their relationship had physical altercations, or that their partner would break their possessions saying that they were next, or threaten to kill their family if you dared breathe a word of what was happening; I’d have told them to run far and fast. I have no idea why or how we stayed together for as long as we did but the straw that (thankfully) broke the camel’s back for this was my accident in Paris.

For those who don’t know – It was Christmas day evening and I fell over, my body went one way, and my knee basically went the other. It was horrendously painful and I had no holiday insurance (yes, I’m an idiot, I am fully aware of this and now everytime I go away, it is the first thing I organise). He spent the night and a lot of the next day screaming at me for ruining his holiday, for making this all about me and made me go down the stairs across the road to the open pharmacy (thank christ for French pharmacies being open on boxing day that’s all I can say) where I asked for the strongest painkillers I could swallow while tears of pain were running down my face. I came back to the UK after a couple of days stuck on Orly airport due to snowstorms and went to the hospital where, after 6 months, they saw the serious damage I had done to myself, I had to have 2 operations and it was during the recovery from that where I finally had my revelation. We had been arguing again and he pushed me off of my crutches and picked it up to hit me with it. I can remember looking at him and saying he needed to make sure he finished the job otherwise if I could get up, I would finish it……thankfully he was out of my life shortly afterwards and it is something that I am forever grateful for.

Anyway, I spent a few months becoming me again, and for this time, I was really happy. I changed my weight, I changed my hair, I felt safe in my own home and a good person, I felt like I deserved good things, and that’s when I met the current man in my life.

I can honestly say the he is amazing, he is like my dream man and when I met him, I felt finally that there was someone who could see inside my mind, and didn’t judge me or try and hurt me for that.

It hasn’t always been easy and we did have a separation after about 9 months together. It was during this time I started to see my last therapist and can honestly say, she was simply amazing, helpful, approachable and the reason I now say therapy can work. The help can help. I was a broken person but the way I came back, has made me proud to be me finally. It’s only taken about 30 years of my life but finally I feel like I am not too bad a person. I’m still very negative about myself but am less apologetic about the person I am, if people don’t like it, that’s just fine. I’ve become comfortable as a person.

She spent a lot of time talking about my life, about my past and my insecurities and she actually helped me to see that a lot of the things I needed to do were to do with me, and the way I treat myself.

Things she taught me:

  1. Compassion is a massive part of my life, I’ve always been compassionate to others and she helped me to see that I needed to give myself a break…. Why expect yourself to be perfect, you don’t expect that from anyone else so why not give yourself a break?
  2. Accept that other people have flaws. Your parents are always going to be your biggest influencers but don’t forget, they are human and therefore capable of speaking badly, of making mistakes and you shouldn’t forget that. I know my mum and I have had a history of not getting on and at times we have both said really hurtful things to each other, but having the knowledge I now do, I think it has massively improved our relationship. (we shall see when she reads this!! eek)
  3. Tell the truth – if you feel like crap, and someone asks you how you are, be honest, if nothing else, you’ll find out who cares and who just gives lip service. I have been much more honest recently and I know that this has helped me to become a better, happier person.

It’s not an easy path to tread, it’s certainly not something that is an easy fix and it is something which sadly can still raise its ugly head frequently, a good example is that today I feel really down, I had bad dreams all night and am in a weird place at the moment, in my life, my relationship and my future. I know that there will be days where i’m flying high and some days where i’ll want to curl up and hide myself and maybe I should just do that. Self care is a big thing now and something that I underappreciated.

I cannot say I have the magic answer, medication, therapy and self care are all important, and each person is different. I would say the most important thing is to speak up, tell someone how you feel, your friends, your family, your most hated enemy, anyone. Tell them you are feeling low and ask for help. I know it’s not easy but I worry that people alone do not know where to go or what to do. I totally understand the feeling of being like a burden and that what I’m telling people to do is incredibly hard. I was made to seek help and actually did it because I was so tired but I have also had someone say that their suicidal thoughts were always there and seen as a break, a rest, a way to lift your pain which is also true and unfortunately the struggle is real, to continue fighting or to just give up.

I have lost a few friends to this choice, and I would always hope that if a friend was suffering, maybe they would contact me as someone who has been there and may understand. I’d hate the thought of people not feeling like they wanted to be a burden, seriously you are not and I cannot say that enough. PLEASE, if you ever feel like you are not enough, seek help. Therapy isn’t for everyone but I would say it’s worthwhile seeking some out, you might just learn something which helps.

Sometimes I feel like everything will work out ok, others I feel totally trapped and unhappy and unable to see a way out. I know there will be a way out but it’s a ways away. I think this is how I have to deal with life now, knowing that there will be bad, there will be good but the thought I have to hold on to is that no-matter what, there is going to be an end to however i’m feeling so to relish the positives and try to diminish the negative……easier said than done but a work in progress.

 

Talk about your favourite restaurant

I think this is probably a really easy topic for me (food obsessed) to talk about, I think the only fly in this ointment will be the only being 1 restaurant……there’s so many lovely places i’ve eaten in the past!

chartier 4

My favourite place to eat is actually not anywhere near my home. It’s in Paris and to be honest, it’s probably not what people would call the best as in “snazziest/poshest/best food/most expensive” but it’s somewhere that I go to everytime i’m in the city and when people go there, I always tell them that the Chartier experience is totally worth the wait.

I’ve always considered this as a family restaurant, some of the best times I’ve ever had in Paris is with my family and here ranks high up there – steak hache with Mum, Dad, Liam and Bird where dad thought he could sell me off to one of the Maitre d’s in exchange for accommodation in the city – totally ruined by me smoking….not sure he’s ever forgiven me for that. To the meal where we were celebrating dad’s birthday and actually got a table to ourselves for once. To the epic sauerkraut when I was a child in Paris before the one and only time I’ve been to Disney – seriously not my thing, I love some Disney but if I had a choice, Paris would be my go to, not the fantasyland outside 🙂

The restaurant was created in 1896 by two brothers, Frédéric and Camille Chartier, in a former train station concourse under the name “Le Bouillon” (lit. broth, or stock, but in this context, a type of brasserie; originally a cheap workers’ eatery that served stew), near the Grands Boulevards, the Hôtel Drouot, the Musée Grévin, and the Palais de la Bourse. The restaurant has had only four owners since opening

My dad told me years ago that after WW2 the French government realised the best way to increase business and spending in the city was to make sure that a family would spend less money for a 3 course meal at a restaurant, than it would cost to buy and make it at home, this encouraged people to spend money outside and get money back into the economy. I don’t know if this is true, or even if it was at the time, but I always find Chartier relatively cheap and therefore a great place to go, even on a budget for beautiful food.

In some of my photos you might see some cupboards with little drawers in them, these used to be for storage of regular’s cutlery , Msr so-and-so would eat there so often that he would have his own drawer for storing his bits and bobs, and I really love this, it shows the homey atmosphere.

chartier 3

I think that for me, there is far more than  the food to rave about in this place. It may not appeal to everyone but the quirkiness is amazing!

chartier 1

Firstly, you stand and queue outside, that’s right, queue. And it’s not first come first served, but as space allows. Therefore, there may be masses of groups of 4 in front of you, but if 2 seats open up, it might be you and your dining companion walking through those doors, as everyone shares tables. You don’t want to sit where they tell you to? Tough, get back out of the door……I have seen people saying they wanted to have a table to themselves, or to sit in a “better” part of the restaurant being turned away which is novel and though some say it is unnecessary, I love the way they set a rule and have stuck to it ever since.

chartier 5

Once you are sat down, you are given a menu, a large (over A4 sized) double sided menu – often taken by people as a souvenir – which changes EVERY DAY…..and the waiters simply learn the menu, every day. I would say that probably lets say at least 50% of the items change (it used to be more but I have no idea if it has gotten easier in the more recent times) and the waiters have to learn it – prices and all. They write nothing down on pads etc, they simply take your order, write the info on your tablecloth and then go tell the kitchen. On the way through, they speak with Madame, she (I believe) is the owner/owner’s wife and she is in charge of the money, as they go past, they tell her the order and she writes down a bill.

As you eat and order more, the tablecloth notes get longer, and when you eventually come to pay, the waiter will total your bill (on the tablecloth) and then take your money & give you the change etc.

chartier 6

At the end of the night the waiters will be given a figure from the madame, they then count this out from their money belts and whatever they have over, is theirs as tip, but if they don’t have enough (their maths is wrong for example) then they pay the difference back.

Ok, that sounds harsh but I think it’s amazing and next time anyone says “being a server/waiter/waitress is easy” maybe bring this up? Shows it’s not just a job where you carry plates!

Anyway, not only is the experience amazing, I really love the food. I don’t think there’s been any time there where I haven’t had any idea what to have, I have had some of the best Sauerkraut i’ve ever eaten in my life, the steaks are (always) amazing and even a simple plate like a tomato and cucumber salad is just amazing.

I’m so pleased my dad introduced me to this place, it’s been far too long since i’ve been there but seriously, if you are ever in Paris, remember this address and go for an epic meal, I doubt you’ll forget or indeed regret this!

7, Rue du Faubourg-Montmartre – go there and enjoy!

 

Daily Prompt: Express

via Daily Prompt: Express

express

As this is about Express, I’m writing this in my lunch break, so hopefully it’ll be speedy or have about 10 lines……wish me luck!

I don’t know if it’s just me but I have spent a long time thinking about speed, of the speed of work, the speed of our brains, the speed of cars…..all kinds of speed. I know in previous jobs, speed has been considered a plus, a big plus in fact, whereas in this role I am in, it seems to be more about the quality of the work itself, which is brilliant but also mind boggling. When I first started, I would say things like “i’m sorry, that’s going to take me until tomorrow” or “I can do that but it will have to wait until x date” which, as I am so used to having things be done quickly, I felt like I was letting the team down. But I have since learned that it’s better to make sure it’s 100% but takes 2 days as opposed to rushing and making mistakes. It’s actually a real weight off to know that I am working hard and it is seen as that, not that people just expect you to run through everything as quickly as possible.

Express can mean quick, but can also be another way of communicating, I for example have a very low tolerance to b*llshit and my face expresses this – often without warning and that’s definitely not a good thing!

With that form of express in mind though, I’m really pleased people are talking and expressing themselves about so many things, freedom of expression is one of the things I am 100% behind. “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it” as Evelyn Beatrice Hall wrote. I know that often it is not easy to say exactly what you want, and maybe no – one wants that but I totally am against the people who feel that because they believe something, everyone else is wrong or just because someone says something, that it is automatically fact. The joy about expressing an opinion is that it is just that, an opinion, and should hopefully inspire further investigation, chat and discourse. It doesn’t always have to be i’m right/you’re wrong though….I’m very much a live and let live kinda person.

The other type of speed I was thinking about is more of a personal thing……I’m learning to drive and am terrified of speed…..I can get to the limit but I can feel my heart racing and pounding when I do and it feels so alien to me. I’m really hopeful that this eases off otherwise i’m not sure driving and I will get on!

A random fact about the word express: The Pony Express (when it first started in 1860) had a delivery goal of 10 days – probably the same as UK second class nowadays 😉

Right, lunchtime nearly over, so, a short one today!

How’s about you? What are your feelings about any of the above, any feedback/comments/want to write abuse? Crack on, enjoy and I look forward to hearing from you 🙂

<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/express/”>Express</a&gt;