DAY OF THE DEAD

We had a few incidents involving a weird green slop, some fish that still had its eyes and some very disappointed hosts

I love being logical and pretending to be organised so I thought I would chat about all the madness that’s been going on in chronological order ((I made a list (love a list) and it made the most sense to talk things through from start to finish)). What doesn’t make sense though is the title of this post, other than today when this post goes live it is halloween and in Spain they call it the ‘Day of the dead’ #funfact.

2 weeks into Uni and I thought it would be a great idea to hop on a plane to Spain and have a jolly tennis coaching for a bit. Well, it wasn’t quite like that. Back in May this year I had previously been with my parents to Spain on their tennis holiday in La manga because they had pretty much no other choice but to take me. I was not in a good place at all, I had just come back from Edinburgh and to put it plainly, I couldn’t be away from them ((also the pressure for my sister who would have had to watch out for me would have been way too much, yes, I was that much of a nightmare)). When we went on the May trip to La manga I wasn’t me, I didn’t want to be there, I was a bit of burden on my parents and it just wasn’t the ideal holiday everyone had imagined. The nature of the holiday on top of that was extremely social so that made things a billion times harder. Mind you, I love a bit of Spanish sun and in general I love being on holiday, so I wasn’t complaining too much at the time.

 

This time around though, I can’t exaggerate enough how much fun I had. While it was literally the exact same holiday it was SOOOOO different ((which is a good thing, I think..)) I was coaching, I was actually playing ((in my opinion)) really good tennis, having fun, enjoying meals out(!!!!) and socialising with everyone. I think the main difference was that I actually wanted to be there this time and enjoy my time in Spain ((who wouldn’t)). This October trip was initially only booked for my mum and dad. When my mum booked it, ((I am pretty sure it was basically the week after we returned from the May trip)) October seemed like a long way off and long long time for me to make progress and be in a much better place, where I would be able to stay at home and not gate crash their trip…again. In August ((I think.. or July)) I had to be added to the trip. I was being very stubborn and making no effort to even try and get better so mum had no choice but to bring me along again. As it turns out, I think I ended up having the most fun. My dad lost a fair few of his matches and mum decided that on a tennis holiday she would also take up running and got herself a back injury, I think I was the only one to leave the trip smiling.

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The closer the trip was getting, I was making more and more progress. I have started University at King’s College London, I have been cooperative and my mood has only been getting better ((Thank God for Septempber!!!))

AND yes, you didn’t read it wrong, I even enjoyed meals out this time. Back in May we had a few incidents involving a weird green slop, some fish that still had its eyes and some very disappointed hosts ((I am sure anyone would have ran away from the table crying if they had been unexpectedly faced with that, again to Ann, Phil and Jerry I am sorry but we still had a fab evening)). Moving on from that, this time there were no tears, and some meals out. Admittedly, it still filled me with anxiety and if I had had the choice I wouldn’t have gone but, I did and I am still standing. Nothing terrible happened, I got to chat to some lovely wonderful people and you know what it was kind of tasty! It was so nice for a couple of nights to feel normal, I enjoyed doing a normal thing. After this though, and feeling this sense of ‘normality’ I started hating feeling normal and what normal meant. I started questioning whether people were going to have expectations from me now like I am back to the old me and people won’t care or something (WTF?!?!!). Just because I ate out doesn’t mean I am “cured” or “recovered” more I calmed the storm…for a bit, I managed my disorder and I think that is such an achievement and for now I can’t ask for anything more. So yes, there is a little piece of me that is still scared of getting better and trying to understand that people apparently do still care even if you can look after yourself.

But hey, one step at a time!

XXX

 

 

Hidden Gems

((Basically an excuse for me to take some “artsy farsty” photos and show of my stunners of a fam))

Eventually we (my family and I) are getting back into the swing of things again and settling back into our comfy routine ((Hooray!!)). However, after every summer jolliday comes the post holiday blues, with the real world hurtling around the corner and being completely in your face with absolutely no consideration that you had once been totally relaxed ((I think my dog is definitely suffering the most with not being able to run around the perimeter of the boat all day or chasing after something for hours on end)).

Unsurprisingly I found my self flicking through the countless photos that we had all collected from the week… I came across some absolute stunners and some not so worth sharing but 100% never being deleted ((safe to say we aren’t all sleeping beauties)).

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On one the longer walks that we set off on ((that wasn’t to the local grocery shop or to the nearest toilet)) we spotted the most incredible field covered in sunflowers *cue photo opp* After a few thousand cringey yet worthwhile pictures later mum said something along the lines of “isn’t it amazing what you can discover”, she mentioned this to me because we had been talking about being able to cope and manage unplanned events etc and highlighted that good things can happen, even when you don’t control or plan it. It made me think about my previous blog post “CHANGE” and the idea of being a little more spontaneous and changing routine. We hadn’t planned our route, well, Dad had an extremely vague idea of what direction we should be heading in but really we were just walking to be outside and to enjoy our surroundings. For me, even though it was only doing something little and simple, it really emphasised the importance of opening myself up to opportunities because quite literally you have no idea what might be around the corner.. Hey! it might be a field full of sunflowers!! ((sorry for the cliche)). I appreciate that a simple family walk and going down a few footpaths and taking some odd photos may not seem big or as poignant but for me it was something new and different and I really really enjoyed it. ((Basically an excuse for me to take some “artsy farsty” photos and show of my stunners of a fam)).

It has made me excited rather than anxious to continue discovering new places and to leave some trips a little more unplanned and add some spontaneity, even if it’s just exploring a few unknown streets around Cambridge with my pups. ((risky business i know, but hopefully worth it!!))

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I would love to hear about any places people have discovered by accident??

xxx

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What the heck is Mindfulness?!

“being present”

According to trusty google being mindful is defined as,

 “the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something”

Before giving this a search I tried thinking of some definitions myself. A lot of adjectives such as awareness, realization, peacefulness came up but in my opinion the best one and simplest definition was,

“being present”

The second definition google provided was,

“a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique”

I mean google definitely went for the lengthier option but I wasn’t far off!

Being mindful has been something I have wanted to benefit from and I have been concentrating a lot on what I want it to mean to me. Suffering with an eating disorder, I am constantly flicking between fearing the future and worrying about the past. I find that some days go by when I have absolutely no idea what I have done because I was off in my head somewhere. So being able to come up with what to me seems like the best summary of being mindful and with google sort of agreeing with me, has put a massive smile on my face.

My most recent holiday on a boat in Norfolk was when the penny dropped in terms of understanding mindfulness properly ((took me back to the good old days in maths when you finally understand how to use an equation)). I can hand on heart say that for the majority of days ((aside from the time I was reading)) I was extremely aware of my thoughts and feelings in the present moment ((usually to prevent anyone from pushing me off the boat nevertheless I was being extremely mindful)).

For ages, I actually thought mindfulness meant being able to zone out. In my head I held this picture ((comically)) of someone meditating to singing dolphins, pretty much the complete opposite of the mindfulness I know. I don’t think I am the only one who thought that’s what being mindful meant, don’t worry it is not a cult. It has opened me up to enjoy and remember so many more experiences, even down to lying in svasana and really feeling the weight of my yoga practice sink into my mat ((truly the best feeling, apart from when you are trying to relax and all you can feel is your super itchy big toe…)). Even my rekindled love of Sudoku I think counts as being mindful, I can literally spend my whole evening solely focused on my book of puzzles ((commitment I know)).

Being able to understand that the chatter in my head, whether it is particularly loud or quiet that day doesn’t have to be silenced or argued with, instead just recognized. That has been such an achievement and a massive step in being able to accept myself… thank you Norfolk broads!!!

xxx

 

 

 

 

CHANGE

“Go with the flow”

So it is coming to the end of official day 3 on the boat.

Let me put that sentence into some context. We decided, what seems like a long time ago now that as a family we would venture to the Norfolk broads for 7 whole days on a cruiser…plus a dog. What an experience this is already turning out to be, for many many reasons, good and bad.

This great idea first came when I was originally only going to have about a month at home in between my first year nursing placement finishing and the start of second year, so in that time I told mum that I would prefer a holiday that everyone could come on including my puppy! This was back when a month at home didn’t seem like a very long time, so time was very precious. Since booking the holiday and actually moving back home in February the idea was starting to sound more and more peculiar. Why on earth would you put a crazy cocker spaniel, a pair of princessey parents, a 13 year old boy and a soon to be married couple… Oh yeah and me(!!!) on a boat for a week. It has come with some serious entertainment alongside some very honest chitter chatter.

Swings and roundabouts though and would you believe it, so far so good. The weather has been ideal thankfully ((mum and sister have even whipped out the shorts))

This made us think what a change this has been for all of us and how good it has been. When I think August summer holiday, as everyone dreams, it consists of a sandy beach somewhere gorgeous with lots and lots of sun with a cool drink to hand. Not, I need to row across a massive river at 7 am so my overly excited/anxious/mad dog can have his long awaited morning wee and poo. As it turns out, that has probably been the highlight of the trip so far. I have never seen such peace and tranquillity, and I really took that moment to appreciate my holiday.

Something about stepping out of our comfort zones and changing things up from what we normally get up to day to day has been so valuable. It has sparked up a few interesting conversations about ourselves like, what we actually really enjoy and who really can adapt the best… ((my brother probably being the first to admit that he really likes routine)).

While routine has been essential for me to get back into the swing of things again, this change even if it’s just been a little change in location or rather the massive change in the way I am living, I have probably learnt more in the past 3 days about my family, myself included ((particularly that my dog can genuinely run all day if there is a ball on the go)) that I would never have discovered if we had kept to the norm or even our usual summer holidays ((when I often don’t even spend any time with my family..))

The idea of change fills me with such excitement, I love the potential of what the future holds and I love planning and being able to set my-self goals ((I love a list, especially a list of goals)). The thing I struggle with is the unexpected change and the unknown future. One thing that this holiday has been successful with, is being able to throw a curve ball when you least expect it. Adapting to an environment I am not used to is challenging but I am now trying hard not fear it and just “go with the flow” instead. I am really enjoying this experience of not knowing what is next and challenging myself. When I do slip nicely back into my routine I will try and leave an element of surprise and see what comes of adding a little bit of change… or maybe I will in the future…who knows…

xxx