Sunday, 12 February 2017

trek america | hollywood to vegas, baby

11th of June 2016. 
6:30 in the morning and my alarm screams in my ear to wake me from my ridiculously light sleep. Apparently, anxiety and excitement aren't great tools for getting a decent nights sleep. Meeting 10 new people and starting a journey that would change my life, albeit terrifying, meant getting out of the comfiest bed in the world would be so worth it. I was the first to turn up in the lobby, promptly followed by Emily who would be the lucky lady to show us around the south of North America. We sat eagerly awaiting the rest of the group who would accompany us in the van for an entire month, 4 guys and 4 girls later, we were ready to sign all our paperwork and get on the road to Vegas. 

Firstly we started by introducing ourselves to each other. There was Laura from Weston, just down the road from me, which was so nice because she felt like home from home. Charlotte from just outside Birmingham, who was hilarious and would be the one to bring me out of my shell. Chris from London, who'd be the one to cause the drama. Lewis, also from London, who was the mediator and the one to speak all the sense. Eliza from Italy, the one that you never quite got to know. Regina from Germany, who was strong and outspoken. Silvan from Switzerland, who came across as shy but would soon emerge as sweet and funny and then there was Simon, the joker of the group.

This trip was going to be a fair amount of driving, so the journeys would be long and beautiful. LA to Vegas was a 4 hour trip, so we broke up the time by having a stop off at Hollywood Boulevard. Having been here the last two days I felt somewhat a pro, no longer was I a confused tourist but I knew exactly where the Starbucks was and the CVS to grab some suncream. After a brief stop in Hollywood, we were back in the van and heading to VEGAS! What better way to bond and start your trip than to start it in Las Vegas?

Not long into the trip, we make our first stop at the all American Walmart for snacks to keep us all occupied and fed until we pulled over for some food. I want to say that I was surprised that they sell guns in Walmart, but quite frankly I'd be lying. Never before have I come across somewhere you can buy pillows, graham crackers and guns in the same place. Loaded (pun intended) with treats, snacks and the biggest bottles of powerade you can imagine, it was time to head on to Nevada. I didn't realise how incredibly big America is and how much of it is just empty, it's endless desert, mountains and just absolute beauty. You hear so much of the built up states and cities, but not so much of the areas inbetween which are just as breathtaking. 

After an hour or two of endless driving, we stopped at The Mad Greek Cafe in Baker (and it was fucking baking... I think it was like 100 fahrenheit, it was smack bang in the middle of the desert to be fair), which to me was super exciting because I'd seen it on Diners, Drive ins and Dives... Obviously, most of us had gyros and milkshakes which were incredible. Full, and ready to party, we continued on our journey to Nevada. Once Vegas was in our sights, we stopped at a liquor store because the ones in actual Vegas are bloody expensive and few and far between. Our shopping trolley was ridiculous, baring in mind there was only 10 of us, the whole thing was full. Part of our trip included a hotel and party bus limo ride down the strip before a night out. 

7:30pm: Meet in Emily's room at The Golden Nugget, Freemont Street.

Beer pong. Something I will never, ever be good at. 50 inch pizza, something I absolutely will be good at. I have seen nothing like it before, the bloody pizza didn't even fit on the desk.
After mixing drinks, and creating poisons for our party bus, we headed downstairs to watch the light show on Freemont Street. We were lucky enough to actually be in one of the hotels/casinos on that strip, so we plodded past the swimming pool (it had a slide inside a shark tank... how very Vegas). Outside Chris got conned out of $10 by Darth Vader while we stood and watched.

After the light show we went to board our ride down the Vegas strip. To our surprise, we were welcomed by a pole in the back of the bus.. which we most definitely took advantage of. Vegas for me was a fantastic way to shift any divide in the group, we all got to know each other so well this evening. Our first stop on the strip was the infamous Welcome to Vegas sign. After a small queue of people and a wedding party (!!), we were accosted by a woman who wanted to take our photos for us for tips, obviously... this became a thing throughout.

After parting with a few dollars, it was time to make our way to watch the Bellagio water fountain display. I think when you see something in so many films, on tv and plastered over the internet, you go in with a preconception of what it'll be like... I was not disappointed. It was so beautiful, magical even. I didn't want it to end. Lewis and I were kept amused by the tourist groups with the pink fluffy cock on a stick. I know you need to keep the group together, so what better way than following a cock? Vegas is such a strange place. It's a world in the middle of a desert. It's tacky, yet beautiful. It was time to head back to Freemont Street to really get the night started. I'll be 110% honest, I don't remember all that much that happened after this bar casinos everywhere, a guy called Jonny and Chris getting kicked out of a bar.

12th June 2016.
Oh wow, hangover galore. I'm not sure I have ever felt this bad in my entire life. I'm not sure what I expected really, it was Vegas. Surprisingly, I was up at 9 in the morning and on the strip by 12. Today was a free day so we could venture around this crazy place as and when we wished to, there were no time constraints, no driving, just all the time in the world. You don't realise how big LV is until you're walking around not having a damn clue where you are. Fun fact, did you know there are no pedestrian crossings in Vegas? It's all bridges and escalators, so getting anywhere is a fucking nightmare. Despite it being one of my absolute dreams to ride New York, New York, my stomach had other ideas. Even the thought of a rollercoaster made me want to throw up a tiny bit. Strolling through the casinos and Hershey's chocolate world (yum!) we had definitely built up an appetite.

Hard Rock Cafe seemed like a good shout, it was air conditioned... and at 50 degrees celcius, exactly what we needed. You know it's too hot when you're walking into shops with no intention of buying a damn thing, but stealing their air con. After a while, we realised none of us had heard from Chris or Lewis all day. We had hoped that they were just off doing their own thing and would see them later. I'll tell you what though guys, you can do an awful lot of walking here so be prepared. Take enough water, and make sure you're creamed up. It's incredible how much effort has gone into the hotels and casinos here, they're fucking phenomenal. One is literally a little Venice, it's just insane.
Emily had arranged for us to meet at 7pm to go to a cute little hipster food court for dinner. At this point, we had found Lewis but there was still no sign of Chris. BBQ was where it's at. Pulled pork, mac and cheese and a bread roll side. Everything in America comes with a bread roll. Still no Chris. On our way back to the hotel, we came across a huge metal praying mantis, little did we know that it fucking shot out fire. It absolutely fucking terrified a child which had me and the guys in stitches. I have never seen such a look of terror in my life. It was time to go back to Laura and Charlottes room for a game of cards against humanity before an early night. Finally, after an entire night of panic for Emily, Chris showed his face and his bottle of Jim Beam. Turns out he had been asleep, all day. ALL DAY.

In short, Vegas was an incredible experience and I feel so lucky to have been able to be here with some fantastic people. I would definitely come back to visit and maybe try my hand at a slot machine, but it's just not for me. It's completely overwhelming, so fucking hot and absolutely mental. Vegas is it's own world. At least no one got married...

Next time... a trip to Zion National Park and our first night camping. 

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

trek america || from london to la

Well hello there old friends, it's been a while... again. I've been kicked up the backside by an email telling me my domain had been paid for for another year, so here we are.
Back in June 2016, as I'm sure you're aware, I travelled 5000 miles across the world to LAX to embark on the journey of a lifetime. A two month trip around America. Anyone that knows me, knows how crazy it was for me to do this by myself. I decided to document my adventure daily so I could relive the experience when I got home, but unfortunately things have happened since then and I haven't gotten round to it. Now ladies and gents, now, is the time that I delve back into my journal and this time, I'm going to share it with you.

8th of June 2016.
5am. I'm no good with mornings. Infact, mornings are my least favourite time of day. This day, however was different, I was filled with anticipation and excitement. Panic set in. Do I have my passport? Do I have my dollars? Do I have my itinery? Insurance? Hotel bookings? After being calmed down by my wonderful mother, we jumped in the car and drove to Heathrow with my two brothers. I was ready (albeit terrified) to go and explore the United States but not until after food. A veggie breakfast and a bloody mary was just what I needed before I boarded an 11 hour flight by myself. I'm not the best flyer, infact I absolutely bloody hate flying, so getting on that plane alone was a challenge in itself. After lots of cuddles and a little bit of crying, leaving my family at security was difficult. I couldn't even bring myself to turn around to wave goodbye. There was no going back once I'd gone through those doors. I was doing this. I was going to America, alone, for two months. I had no idea what was waiting for me, walking into the unknown. The flight itself wasn't too bad, luckily I had booked my flights with Virgin Atlantic and they were absolutely fabulous. They could not have been more friendly or attentive. Despite how tired I was, sleep wasn't an option, there was a vast array of films available to me and I was constantly being given food and drink. We touched down in LAX at 2:15pm local time. Now it was time to be terrified of customs, which was completely unnecessary because it was nothing like you see on tv. It was smooth, the customs officers were lovely, only a few questions and I was picking up my super blue suitcase ready to "go hail a cab".  I'm going to skip ahead to my first full day in LA because all I did today was keep myself awake until 9pm, eat jalapeno flavoured crisps and drink ginger ale.

9th June 2016.
To get over my jet lag, I booked a couple of days in a hotel before going to the hotel Trek America had booked me into. Luckily, I had made friends with a guy on another trek who was in LA at the same time as I was. We met at my hotel and ventured into Hollywood. I didn't feel particularly safe in my hotel (it was only a few blocks from Compton and every other noise you heard was a gunshot, remind me to trip advisor my hotel next time) so it was nice to have a friendly face around. To check off our obvious Hollywood sight seeing points, we had a little wonder down the walk of fame. I didn't realise how large the walk of fame actually is. 
It's every where. Everywhere. Once we'd walked up an appetite, it would have been rude not to walk into the Hard Rock Cafe and eat ourselves silly with the American portion sizes. Little did we know, in the U.S soft drinks are refilled and bought to your table for free when you look like you're running out, definitely looked stupidly British when we apologised for not ordering them. After food, we headed off to the Chinese Theatre, admiring the great names we'd walked over on the way. It's always a bit overwhelming seeing places you've wanted to visit for so long. The Chinese theatre is just full of hand and footprints from insanely talented and influential people, so standing where they stood all those years ago was absolutely crazy, but that wasn't the craziest thing to happen that day. Once we'd been accosted by all of the people trying to sell us stuff, I decided to go into MAC and buy a lipstick because I was regretting not bringing any with me. 

We'd been keeping an eye on a red carpet being laid out at The Dolby Theatre, so me being the curious being I am, I asked the security guard what was happening later this afternoon. He told me it was an event to honour John Williams, the composer of Star Wars, Jurassic Park and many many more. Sticking around to see who turned up seemed like a pretty good idea considering we had no time limit and this is fucking Hollywood. Next thing we know, out walk John Williams himself, George Lucas, STEVEN FUCKING SPIELBERG, JJ Abrams, Idina Menzel (for anyone that knows me and my love of Wicked, I thought I was going to die), Kobe Bryant and about 20 minutes late... up rocks Harrison Ford. 

Guys, I'm on day one of my trip and I'm stood here thinking... 

Has this trip just peaked? Am I the luckiest tourist in the world? 

10th June 2016.
After the craziness of yesterday, I was well ready to pack up my stuff and move to the hotel Trek America had booked for me. Fully aware that I would be sharing a room with a stranger, my anxiety started to pick up for the first time since I got here. I checked in, was given my room card and my roommate for the day was already in the room. She was this beautiful, sweet Australian girl and we just got on straight away. Thank god. We spoke for a little while about my adventures in the US so far, and decided to go back into Hollywood but this time via the metro and the subway.
American public transport is actually a little intimidating, it's so busy and everyone on there just looks like you've offended them. Being an Australian and a Brit, it was quite noticeable that people were watching and listening to us like we were a different species, something they'd never seen before. 

Once we'd navigated our way to the right station on the subway, we avoided those trying to sell us things and went straight for food. This time Johnny Rockets (apparently the original hamburger) fed me, and by gosh, I was not disappointed. We didn't even need fries because the burger was so ridiculously huge. Tipping is basically compulsory in America, which is a nightmare because everything becomes so expensive, but we weren't sure if we'd tipped them so pretty much ran out of the restaurant. Oops. Is there a better place to go than Hollywood for Madam Tussauds? Probably not, so we forked out the $30 entry fee and spent the afternoon with the stars. Nurel was all over James Dean, and I was sure
one of them would be the real person. Drinks seemed like the way to celebrate the end of a great day, and the start of our trips. I felt so lucky to be paired with someone as lovely as her. I felt instantly comfortable and calm even though usually meeting new people terrifies me. We were told that the bar at Aloft, where we were staying, was one of the best in El Segundo, how convenient! It wasn't a late night for us unfortunately because of the 7:30am meeting time for my trek group, and with that realisation, suddenly, I was overcome with anxiety, excitement... anticipation. It was starting. My 9 week trip around the USA was beginning and I knew my life would never be the same.

Until next time...
Trek begins.
Vegas and Zion National Park.

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

know when to let go | november 2016

Letting go of someone you love is one of the hardest things you'll ever do. 
But, I promise you it's not as hard as holding on to someone who will never love you back.

At the beginning of this year, I met someone. He was charming, sweet, funny, kind and had the most gorgeous big blue eyes. We’d stay up talking until it was almost physically impossible to keep our eyes open, usually around 7am we’d bid each other goodnight and gush over how wished we could continue speaking. Anyone who knows me, knows how quickly I fall for someone and I fell. I fell so hard that I didn’t know if I was ever going to get back up. We just clicked, we completely got each other, it was like meeting the male version of myself. It was pretty obvious to us both that we had to meet and so at the next chance we both got, it happened. I hopped on a train and he jumped in his car. The first few months were perfect, for me at least. There are moments that have been completely engrained in my memory like the first time he touched me, even though it was in his car and accidentally. His hand touched mine and I don’t know how to explain it other than a surge of electricity. I don’t know if he felt it too, but thats when I knew I was in trouble. Or when we went for a walk through the woods, and he took my hand and didn’t let go. I stopped in the middle of what felt like an eternity of trees, he looked at me like no-one has ever looked at me before. I’m pretty sure my heart stopped for a second. To me, he was perfect. He was everything I was looking for and everything I needed. At some point in April, he spoke to me about moving to Bristol and of course, that’s what I wanted. We spent a week and a half in numerous different hotels while we tried to find him somewhere to live and work. I felt like the luckiest girl in the world waking up to him every morning. Writing this has made me realise how quickly this started going south. As soon as he got the job he’s in now, he started changing.

Slowly but surely, gone was the man who wanted to cuddle me to sleep, gone was the man who held my hand while we walked round the shops, gone was the man who would call me just to hear my voice but I clung to the hope that he would show his face again. He didn’t. For months, it’s been like we’ve been just friends with the occasional benefit. He forgot my birthday, wouldn’t touch me, would rarely be seen with me in public, never kissed me, wouldn’t speak to me for days at a time, refused to tell anyone I even existed - which in itself was enough to make me feel like I wasn’t good enough. I recently moved from Bristol to be closer to him (de ja vu, anyone?), but he hadn't bothered to speak to me since the end of October. I’m not going to say that everything that happened since he moved here has been awful because it hasn’t. Like anyone, we’ve had good times, theres been some days where I just would have given anything to do over. I thought he was it. I thought that I would be with him forever. I was willing to accept all of the bad things, and things he kept from me (you wouldn’t even believe it if I told you) in the hopes that the person I fell so god damn hard for, would come back to me. I would have taken the months of feeling like a burden, or not good enough, or the nights of insecurity for just a glimpse of that person again, but enough was enough. 

 Last week, I was driven to make a decision that I didn’t want to make.

I broke up with him over the phone as he refused to see me due to people saying I had said loads of things about him, which I absolutely haven’t. I couldn’t cope anymore. I couldn’t cope with the fact he would decide I was guilty without even coming to me first. I was flooded with emotions that were frustrating for me because I wasn’t ready to give up on him yet. I wasn’t ready to let go of that perfect person I had met at the start of the year. I’m a firm believer in putting in work, putting in effort to fix something before letting go of it but something clicked in me that day. It became increasingly obvious that this was an impossible task and at the expense of my mental health, self worth and esteem, it wasn’t worth it. Putting 110% of yourself into someone and getting absolutely nothing back is soul destroying. The person I fell in love with didn’t exist anymore, and he’s readily admitted to me that person never existed, it was all an act. I know I’m not perfect. I know I can be difficult, irrational and jealous. I’m not going to say I never did anything wrong, but I definitely didn’t deserve to be treated the way I was in the end. I did nothing but love him completely and loving him ended up being the most exquisite form of self destruction.

I suppose I’m writing this as some form of therapy. Regardless of how much I hurt right now and how I wish things cold have been different, I know I made the right decision. I wish nothing but the best for him and I hope that one day we can be friends because despite what he thinks, he does deserve to be happy. I only wish I could have been the one to give him that, but sometimes you have to take a step back; realise when you need more, when someone can’t give that to you and when giving up is the best option for you both. 

note to charley: you are stronger than you thought.

Thursday, 17 September 2015

One Year On | "The present changes the past. Looking back, you do not find what you left behind"

Dear Ex Boyfriend, 
 I can't believe it's been a year already. It feels as though it was only yesterday you looked me in the eye and told me we were done. I thought my life was over but what I didn't realise at the time, the day you left me was the day my life really started. What I really want to say is thank you! Don't worry. I'm not gonna go all Christina on you and sing Fighter, although it explains this all pretty bloody well. Thank you for letting me go. Thank you for breaking my heart. Thank you for making me realise what it is to be truly loved (clue: it wasn't from you). Thank you for giving me the motivation to become a better person. Thank you for making me realise I am worth more. Thank you. 

Losing the life you had built for yourself and so desperately wanted all at once is enough to send even the strongest people into a downward spiral. I spent too long beating myself up for feeling bad when I should have been reminding myself I was entitled to feel that way. Heartbreak is such an incredibly intense emotion, it completely breaks you but IT'S OKAY, time really does heal all wounds. I couldn't be any happier right now. In a year, I've had a brilliant holiday in Cyprus with my best friend whom I became closer to on the back of the break up, got a new job where I absolutely love my colleagues, spending 2 months in 2 beautiful countries with absolute strangers, got back in contact with old friends. I've discovered more about myself in the last 12 months than in the 21 years previous. The cloud from the effects of a toxic relationship is finally lifting. People often ask if I regret being with him, I don't. It's all experience and after all I've gained much more than I've lost. I'm probably repeating myself as usual but you really do have to go through the bad times to appreciate the good ones. If you asked me this time last year if I thought I would be in this position right now, I'd have told you no. I'll be honest, I don't even recognise the person I was last September. I've grown and changed dramatically in my perspective on life and on myself.

The best part of it all is the fact I've been able to speak to others who have been through something similar to me. This is exactly WHY I write about this. I want to be the person that you feel like you can come to. I won't judge you, I will listen and I will try to help.  I cannot think of anything worse than knowing someone is feeling the way I did. It's so easy to feel like you want to give up, but don't. You have so many people that love and care for you even if it doesn't feel that way in this very moment. You're beautiful, you're kind, you are unique.
If I can help anyone by talking to them about my own experience and how it's gotten better for me, then what happened was worth it. Being in this situation has made me realise how incredible my family and friends are. I was by myself but I was never alone. 

Can't believe I'm saying this but I'm actually glad everything happened the way it did. I'm so damn proud of who I have become and what has been accomplished since then. I'm on top of the world and I refuse to let anything or anyone bring me down.

Things change, and sometimes, it's definitely for the better.

Monday, 14 September 2015

2016 Trek Adventure | "Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore”

I lost myself last year, for so long I felt as though there was something missing in my life, something missing in me... but I've found it. I've never been as happy as I am this very moment. I feel unstoppable; yes, I still have bad days, doesn't everyone? Depression is a little shitbag that is always there, but doesn't always say hello. There was a time last year where I never thought that there was way out of the dark hole I had buried myself into... how wrong I was! 
Why am I so happy? Well thank you for asking. I came across a post on twitter about a tour company called Trek America about a month ago, curiously clicking on the link I was taken to a beautiful website full of incredible journeys across America and Canada. If you've known me for a while, you'll know how much I've always wanted to go to New York, the city that never sleeps, the big apple... the home of Broadway. As a musical theatre buff, New York has appealed to me in ways no other place has done before. My childhood dream was to be a lead role in a Broadway show so even just to be in one the most prestigious theatre districts in the WORLD is making little baby Charley ridiculously giddy. I've been looking into trips to New York for years, but I've never been able to afford it... until now.
If you've read my blog before, you'll know I bought a house with my ex (thank GOD) boyfriend and as much as it sucks that all that shit happened, not only has it made me realise how much more I am worth, it's a bloody good way of saving! Managing to receive a decent sum of money from the money I put into the deposit & signing the house over to him, I stuck it in my savings account like a good responsible adult for my future. My main aim was to find somewhere to live with a couple of friends from work (HEY GIRLS) and we did, there was a gorgeous house which was absolutely perfect for us, but just slightly out of our price range. It had gotten to a point where we were so fed up with houses being too much, no sharers, no this, no that, no fucking anything that we gave up. I was gutted. It was like life just didn't want to give me a break and everything that was going well would fuck up somehow, but this was a blessing in disguise.                                                             An              absolute            blessing.
 That was the night I came across Trek America completely by accident and it became the night I found the spark I had been missing for so long. Hours had passed, my eyes hurt from scrolling endlessly through their website, every single trip looked incredible. As much as it pained me, I had to be realistic about spending the money I had put aside for a deposit on a house down here and reluctantly closed the web page. There was one trek in particular that caught my eye, the Trailblazer. 63 days camping through America and Canada. It was all I could think about for days, constantly reading about it, looking at where it was going, the prices, the flights, the dates... I couldn't do it, could I? I decided to bring in the big guns, Mumma P; if anyone had the answers, she did. "Go for it, you're young. You would be stupid to pass on an opportunity this big when you have the money just sitting there" she said. I didn't need any convincing, I booked it that night. June 2016 until August 2016. I'm allowed to get excited now though, right? I bloody hate flying, but a flight lasting 11 hours when you're alone seems like a small price to pay when you get to meet new friends and experience something incredible together.
As a person who suffers with anxiety, flying alone & meeting new people are absolutely terrifying to me but they say "life begins at the end of your comfort zone" and recently I've started to believe that. I am so proud of myself for making this decision and finally taking back control of my life. For a long time I've felt as though I haven't been living, just existing and this has given me the kick up the backside I bloody well needed.
The photos in this blog post are just a few of the places I'll be visiting during my 10 weeks away. TrekAmerica's trip itself is only 9 weeks but I've booked an extra week in LA by taking advantage of my work hotel discount (thank u Hilton). Below is a map of the route I am taking, 63 days from LA to LA & the goodies that Trek throws in. If you have any questions about the booking process, or price, get in contact with me and I'll be more than happy to help! Also, I'm considering publicly blogging/vlogging some of the experience, so if you're interested in seeing what we get up to, I will happily publish it. 

 If you have seen these before and were in two minds about it, do it, just do it - I am channeling my inner Shia LaBeouf. Whether you want to do the week trek or the 80 day trek, you will have the most incredible experience that you will never ever ever ever ever ever forget, so go on, you have so much to gain... what do you have to lose?!

If anyone has any tips on dealing with long haul flights or being alone in a big city, please get in contact as I could do with some help.... 

Friday, 19 June 2015

5 Tips For Surviving a Break-Up | NotetoCharley

Breaking up with someone is never easy, there is no cure for the pain you feel and it's a bloody long process to get back to where you were. As most of you well know,  I'm someone who has gone through a pretty tough break up recently so I thought I would share some things that have made things a little easier for me. This is gonna be a wordy one, so get comfortable.

Surround yourself with positivity.
Look in the mirror and tell yourself how incredible you look today. Infact, tell yourself every day.  Read books in the sun. Try that new restaurant. Have civilised cocktails with the girls or pints with the lads. Travel to a place you've never been before. Buy that lipstick you've been eyeing up recently. Change your bedsheets. Read cute little quotes daily. Get your hair cut. Take up a new hobby. Join the gym. Spend time with your friends and remind yourself of what you enjoyed doing when you were single. Learn to enjoy your own company again. Meet fantastic new people. 
Take advantage of this new beginning and use this time to find yourself, you've probably grown and changed a lot as a person during the time you were with them. Don't dwell on the negativity of the break up, it can only teach you to be a stronger and better person.
P.S. Don't be embarrassed to join Tinder for a bit of an ego boost. It's natural to want to be pandered to when you feel a bit shit and who knows, you could meet some really great people whilst doing so.

Allow yourself to be upset.
Please remember one thing - you are NOT weak because you are upset. Cry. Cry as much as you want. Cry your little heart out. Go through that box of tissues. Grab that tub of Ben&Jerry's, lock yourself in your room for an hour and listen to sad songs. TIP: Taylor Swift has got a few good ones. You will never get over something if you don't face it. Don't try and run from the problem because it will always be waiting for you when you get back. You may have suppressed it along with all of the other things too unbearable to think about but as long as you don't acknowledge it, theres no way you'll be able to move on. Try keeping yourself busy, but allow yourself time to come to terms with it all. Don't ever keep your feelings to yourself. Talk to somebody (I'm always here, go to my contact page if you want to mail me) or write a diary. To any men who may read this, you are not emasculated because you shed a tear or 5 during a break up, you have a heart and feelings too. Do not feel like people will judge you, the ones that do are not worth your time anyway. A break up is a grieving process, you are mourning a love lost and there is absolutely no reason not to be emotional. 

Don't put pressure on yourself to be okay.
Be gentle with yourself, there isn't a magic potion that will make things better, you won't wake up tomorrow and feel whole again. It will hurt like a bitch for a while, but eventually, the pain will ease.  It may feel like nothing can fill the void in your life left by that person but I can assure you, someone will come along, show you how incredible you are and bring the light back into your life. Remember, there will be good and bad days. You may feel 90% better than you did at the beginning but one day something will come at you like a punch in the stomach. At one point in your life, this person was your future, your everything, so a photo or a memory triggered by every day life can hurt like a little motherfucker. Don't worry, it's completely natural to experience this and it doesn't mean you're back at square one. It will get easier, and over time you'll be able to see a photo or reminisce and feel indifferent to it all. I want you to know that I'm so proud that you've not let this get the better of you, take your time and heal. The fact you're still here just shows how strong you are, even if you may not feel it, go you!

Don't ever blame yourself.
If your relationship ended anything like mine, you didn't get a reason why. An absolute dick move by ex partner, if I do say so myself. This leaves you with only one thing to blame... yourself. DON'T DO IT. Don't go there. Don't go down that road, it's so self destructive and it's much harder to come back once you do. It's so common to forget how incredible you are when you've just been broken up with, but don't you dare. Don't forget every quality that makes you unique. There is literally only one of you and the people that are involved in your life are incredibly lucky to be. You are so special. You are kind, caring, funny and you're beautiful too. You were more than good enough, nothing is wrong with you, it just wasn't meant to be. You will find love again and when you do finally meet 'the one', it will be magical.  Try to look at your relationship from an outside perspective, chances are there were tiny little signs that things weren't working as well as you had convinced yourself it was. Relationships aren't always black and white and as much as you crave an answer, you should probably just accept that there isn't one. #Brutalhonestysucks.

Give yourself space. 
I have left this one until last because I cannot stress enough how important it is. Please, if the relationship is definitively over, find the strength to remove them from EVERYTHING (at least for a while...).Yes, everything. I mean snapchat, instagram, facebook, twitter, pinterest, instant messengers. There is a time for the facebook stalk and I can tell you it's not right now. Remove things that remind you of them, delete photos from your albums, and definitely delete their number so the temptation on a drunken night out is gone. Don't try and make them jealous by uploading bangin' photos of yourself and friends, they're not worth it. I know it seems pretty drastic, but I promise you, there is absolutely no way you can begin to heal if you're hounded by reminders of them. Do not torture yourself with their life and how they're doing without you. You are far more important than that, they will never find someone like you again and thats their loss. Focus on you, focus on putting your life back together, focus on reminding yourself how you were happy without them. I know it's hard to let go of the past, the 'ugly' snapchats, the future you had, the way they laughed at your stupid jokes, how they looked next to you in the morning... but it's over and as difficult as it is, you have to accept that. They have. They're out there living life and moving on, remember that you need to too. Don't make it harder for yourself by having a constant reminder.  Oh, and break up sex is never a good idea.

So there you have it, just a couple of the main things that have helped me along the way. I may not be where I want to be yet, but I'm sure as hell on my way.

Thursday, 22 January 2015

New Beginnings | "You don't have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great"

Charley Pearce

It might be a little late, but hello 2015 and what a welcomed sight you are. You might have noticed that I've been a little quiet, well... really bloody quiet recently but I do have my reasons. For months and months, I have wanted to write and now, I finally feel at a point in my life where I can. As most of you know, I moved up to Lincoln early last year with the guy that I thought I was going to spend the rest of my life with, we bought a beautiful house and I even got myself a new job that I loved. I was on top of the world... or so I thought. It was 5:30am late September and I knew that something was wrong. It was over. I don't know why. I don't know what happened. It just was. 
My world fell apart in the space of a few minutes. 

As quick as it happened, I was packing my things and moving into the house we had bought together. It wasn't exactly habitable, but it was something I could work with until the my huge life decision was made. I'm not really sure what possessed me to stay in Lincoln, if I'm honest, I think I just wanted to prove to myself I could... and for a while, I did. Every day was a battle, trying to trick yourself into believing that you're okay and moving on but all you want to do is go home, curl up in bed and pretend you don't exist anymore. I wouldn't eat, I barely slept, I lost myself completely. If there were a path to self destruction, I was on it. It gradually got worse, having at least one anxiety attack a day but eventually I was at a point where I was ready to seek help. I was put on medication for severe depression and anxiety. What I didn't realise at that point is that anti-depressants and diazepam don't make you happy, they make you functional and sometimes, functional isn't enough. After 4 months by myself, not knowing how to cope or what to do, there was a night that I reached rock bottom and I mean, rock bottom. That's when I knew I had to move home and think about myself for once. I had gotten so wrapped up in not wanting to disappoint everyone by giving up and moving home, I forgotten I was living MY life. I wanted to prove to everyone I was strong so badly that I let it affect my health in the worst way.

Break up

"It's so melodramatic to say that you have no reason to exist anymore, but that's exactly how I felt. Everything that meant anything to me was ripped from my grasp in an instant. It was like my heart had been removed from my chest, thrown around and stomped on. I'd never felt anything like it. If that's what it is like losing someone you love, I never want to fall in love again. I did everything in my power to stop this happening, yet it wasn't enough. I thought I was set, he was my forever... but forever only exists in fairytales."

Best friends
Not everything up North was a negative though. I met a beautiful girl who quickly became my best friend. I have only known her for 9 months but she has made an incredible impact on my life and I wouldn't be here today without her. I've been to hell and back but she has been the sunshine in my darkness, my silver lining. It's definitely not about who you've known the longest, but who proves themselves as a true friend, and she has. She has been my rock through everything and I am so glad that I've had the pleasure of meeting her. I also got myself a job that I absolutely fell in love with, and worked with people that I loved even more. You wouldn't expect it at all, but I got a job for Skoda... yes the car company. Meeting new people that I will treasure for the rest of my life and learning a new skill was the best thing for me. I've now got experience in a new field of work, doing something I never thought I would do in my life... I can't even drive.

I moved home on New Years Eve on 2014, and even though I lost everything; my house, my boyfriend, my job, my independence... myself... I have been given a new beginning. Bringing in the new year in Bristol with my family was the best way I could have imagined it. I was exactly where I needed to be. Starting again is the scariest thing I've ever had to do but I feel I am engulfed in a cloud of love and countless chances to create myself again. Now I'm at a point in my life where I'm moving on... no, I'm moving up. I'm learning to love myself, I have a new found confidence and I'm surrounded by the people I love again. 

This is a new chapter of my story, and I can finally say that I'm looking forward to writing it. 
Bring it on, 2015. I'm ready for you. 

If you have read this and need someone to talk to, please go to my contact page and send me an email. It doesn't matter what time of day it is, I am here for you.