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Day 3: When You’ve Got Nobody Else/Knowing Yourself

I’ve been reading Oprah’s book recently, it’s called “What I Know For Sure” and it’s filled with short essays about what she’s learned in life and what she knows for sure about certain topics, Compassion, Connection, Love, for example. One thing I know for sure is that when you have nobody else to turn to, you will always have yourself. If you are a person that is completely in-touch with yourself, your personality and your inner thoughts, you know exactly what you have to do to in any situation. Other people in life are just there to guide you on the right path so that you know you’re not making the wrong decisions and it’s up to you to take it or leave it.

Oprah states in her book that you always know the right decisions in life, you just need to really sit down with your thoughts and think about what you want to do. Weigh up the pro’s and con’s if that’s easy for you, write it out, really consolidate your feelings and think about what it is you have to do, whatever it may be. This is something i’ve come to learn about many people i’ve met in life, those people that respond to questions you ask about themselves and they say “I don’t know”. Those are the people that aren’t quite there yet. They aren’t at peace with things in their life and they haven’t really given things a proper thought. For me, when I decided that I wanted to write, I knew that I could talk a lot, everybody knew. I knew that when I was just a young kid still in school, all I needed to do was hone it into a skill, a craft, a talent and make use of it.

I always knew that I wanted to do something with writing or talking, so my first career path was teaching English in schools but I knew I didn’t have the patience for children. After that, I knew that I wanted to travel the world, meet intelligent people, meet people with personalities i’ve never encountered to learn what people are really like outside of my town. Put one and two together, you get Journalism. I want to talk with people from all walks of life, really understand how complex the human race is, learn about things that matter and then share peoples stories on a platform which can reach distances these people couldn’t do by themselves. Journalism, television, radio.

I knew I wanted to be a Journalist by about age 15, I chose my A-Levels based on Journalism: English Language, Media Studies and Psychology and then Journalism at University. I knew that education was the only thing I was good at, so I stuck at it and got a degree out of it and now i’m slowly making my way into the media industry. This is how I knew that I was in-touch with myself, my thoughts and my desires. This is how I knew that when I don’t have anybody else, I KNEW, that I could count on myself.

To a lot of people, this sounds very self-centered but I believe self-centeredness is a good thing, it means you know what you want and you aren’t afraid to let people know about it. It’s how you tell people which determines what they think of you, always stay humble.

What i’m trying to say is, if you feel like if somebody asked you a question about what you want and you’d reply “I don’t know”, you’re still on the quest to finding yourself. Luckily for me, I found that at 15, i’ve been so sure of myself for 6 years. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes I know that I need guidance from other people and some of my decisions have been wrong but life goes on and things get better.

When you become sure of yourself as a human being, you’d be so surprised about how much you achieve.

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Day 2: Leaving Uni & Starting All Over Again

All throughout my third year at Uni, I knew it was coming, that we had to leave and everyone had to say goodbye. We wouldn’t be able to pop round to each others’ houses for a quick cup of tea, hungover gossip chats the next day after a night out in KFC would come to an end but most of all, the scariest part was not having your best friends there whenever you needed them. The truth was, it felt like somebody had cancer and you was just waiting for it to end. It was upsetting.

When the final hand in came along and we all knew that we had nothing left to do, it was a bittersweet moment. It was time to celebrate our three years at University, the fact that we were the ones that made it through and never gave up, it felt triumphant. Following the final nights out at Club I and the lead up to final course nights out, we all felt the need to spend as much time with each-other as possible.

It never seemed real until we graduated as one last group, one final night out and one final moment that we all would spend together. September 2014 was when I graduated and that was the moment that our student status had ended. There were many a drunken night that week and much of it was spend reminiscing about our time together. In first year when Jen and I had nights named “Crazy Tuesdays” upon which we got together on campus, and just got crazy, with whoever, wherever and almost every Tuesday, we had an incredible time, we bonded and went through stuff together as best mates. I, to this day, believe that, although fucked up those Tuesdays were, those were the nights that we cemented our friendship and we became the best of friends.

In second year, I moved into a studio apartment by myself after spending a year in shit housing with 2389472 issues. That was the year that myself and Natalie became best mates as she lived one floor up, two apartments down. My humble abode had become the “party flat” in which we had pre-drinks, after-drinks, mid-drinks, flat parties, hangover days and “study days” (where we didn’t study at all). That apartment of mine became the location of moments and nights where all sorts of shit went on and where people came to have a good time, I’ll never forget it.

Third year; myself, Natalie and her friend Kane who lived above and one flat down to me in the apartment building in second year, all moved in together in a flat on the high street. Of course, our flat became the primary pre-drinking place for parties before we headed into town as it taken literally 2 minutes to walk to Club I. Third year was a year of stress, arguments, tears, lots and lots of hangovers. During that year, I had made another friend for life, Lauren, who was my rock throughout that whole year, she was there for all the ups and the depressing downs, the hangovers, the walks, the coffee and cigarette chats out the back of Costa in town. Without her, that year would’ve been great, but not incredible. She also taught me what “shicking” was, google it.

University was an experience I will never forget, I made friends for life and friends who I perhaps won’t see that much now but I know it’s always going to be the same whenever we meet in the future. I urge anyone that is questioning about whether or not to go to Uni to absolutely go for it. One thing I know for sure is that you will never regret going to University. It’s a place where you shed your teen years and become an adult.

After University, the thought of moving home and starting at square one, trying to find a job and living at home with parents was frustrating, but somewhat relieving. No more bill stress, no more doing your own washing and no more cooking shit food. At least, i’m lucky to have this.

Right now, I work at Wagamama, a Japanese food and noodle bar in Manchester saving up money and paying off my overdraft as I apply for Internships and placements at all sorts of Media companies. A whole lot of people that have left are either travelling the world or doing the same. I decided against travelling the world as Journalism and that comes hand in hand, depending on what you do. I’ll see the world, eventually, but perhaps not right now.

Growing up and becoming an adult was an essential part of life as anyone has to do. Whether it’s going to University or simply getting a job right after school, you become an adult down whatever path you choose, mine just so happened to be Uni.

The Spotify playlist that goes with this post is a road trip playlist I put together for when me and Natalie travelled to Surrey one weekend, it’s basically filled with songs that we absolutely ruined through our three years:

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Day 1: Dealing With Loss

Yesterday one of my uncles passed away in his sleep after being in and out of the hospital with illness. I’m not 100% sure what the cause was or what entirely brought it on as i’ve not felt the need to ask my Dad or any of my family scouring questions about it, as you know, death is an extremely sensitive matter, so i’ll keep this post brief.

Death is a strange thing and most of the time, it puts things into perspective, which is what I was talking to my Dad yesterday about. When you have arguments with friends, family members, whoever, you’re likely to suspend contact with them for however long it takes you both to think about what’s happened. I’ve recently repaired a relationship with my own Mother after not properly speaking for nearly 6 months. A whole lot of growing up had to be done in those months on both her and my part which then became an essential part of our lives and making our relationship even stronger.

What this death has taught me is that it can happen anytime and you never ever know what or why it’s brought on, but it happens. In those months that I didn’t speak to my mum, I constantly thought that if something were to happen to either of us that resulted in death, the other person would be riddled in guilt and regret simply because our last conversation wasn’t a pleasant one. Without delving too deep into how it happened, I felt that in those months, she needed to get herself back to who she was and when she had achieved that, then we could repair our relationship. That being said, December 2014, we mended everything, talked about it and all was well just before Christmas and I feel like I went about it all exactly to plan and I feel like we are now stronger for it.

2014 for me, was a year of growing up and becoming an adult, if I could describe the whole year in words, simply put, it would be “a learning curve”.

Loss of anything is always going to result in grieving and what we all need to remember is that grieving doesn’t make you weak, selfish or silly, it makes you human. Grief isn’t always linked to death, more often than not it’s loss. I’m gonna end this post with a poem that I read a couple of years ago called “Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep”, a beautiful piece written by Mary Elizabeth Frye.

The origins of it is incredibly moving which made me love it even more: “Frye, who was living in Baltimore at the time, wrote the poem in 1932. She had never written any poetry, but the plight of a young German Jewish woman, Margaret Schwarzkopf, who was staying with her and her husband, inspired the poem. Margaret Schwarzkopf had been concerned about her mother, who was ill in Germany, but she had been warned not to return home because of increasing anti-Semitic unrest. When her mother died, the heartbroken young woman told Frye that she never had the chance to “stand by my mother’s grave and shed a tear”. Frye found herself composing a piece of verse on a brown paper shopping bag. Later she said that the words “just came to her” and expressed what she felt about life and death.”

Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep

Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there – I do not sleep.
I am the thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints in snow,
I am the sunlight on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.
As you awake with morning’s hush
I am the swift-up-flinging rush
Of quiet birds in circling flight.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there – I did not die.

Rest in peace Uncle Colin. 03/01/2014

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7 Day Blog Series

Starting Monday next week, I’m gonna be writing a post a day about topics such as the newly popular “10 Things To Leave In 2014″ and other kind of serious topics such as how I dealt with coming out, leaving uni and moving back home, how I got my job and how to steer your life towards something meaningful and of course, how I dealt with a break up at the end of last year.

All of the posts will be accompanied by Spotify playlists which will include songs that either helped me get through those times and songs that generally described what was happening as you read.

I hope your new year is going as well as mine! Thanks to those that read my soppy posts, 2014 was a roller coaster of a year but it helped me mature into the young man I’m becoming.

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Keep Going

Every now and then, I come to a conclusion or a final stop to my thought trains and what comes of it is surprisingly good. At least for me anyway. Almost all the time I over analyse situations, minutes, hours and even days after something has happened and it drives me completely insane, I don’t know about you but I literally cannot help it sometimes.

There’ll be a time when I’m in work and a customer will say something weird to me and I’ll think about it constantly until I’ve come to a realisation or a conclusion about what it actually meant. More often than not my brain will make me realise that it wasn’t so bad or whatever it was, it was something extremely minor, ironically, after I’ve majorly thought about it for a while.

Not to continue going on about it, but, a couple of weeks have gone by since the break up and slowly but surely I came to a realisation that, if I’m being completely honest, I was blinded by the idea of being in a relationship that I wanted for so long that truly, I don’t think I was ever in love. I was just in love with the idea of it. I think that if I was in love that I would’ve taken it all way worse than I did, I cried once but since then I’ve been absolutely fine. I’m talking to new people and possibly going on a date soon. If you take into account everything that I’ve told you guys on this blog and how I coped with it, I’d say I did well. And truthfully it just makes me think that I was never in love with him.

We’ve now stopped talking and basically completely finished it, I’m not gonna bother contacting him unless he contacts me now and I’m fine with that. I’ve learned throughout life to see the greener grass and to see the glass half full in any situation, that way, although you can be disappointed and let down, you won’t be sad, you’ll be fine, not great, just fine. If fine gets you through your day then fine you shall be.

Earlier today, my colleague was talking to some elderly people who were reaching 90 soon and she asked them what their secret was, not to ageing but to getting through life and they simply said “keep going” and when you think about it, that’s all you’ve gotta do.

Anyway I’m starting my second shift of the day soon but I thought I’d share some of my experiences with whoever reads this in hope that it could possibly lighten your day (depending on which paragraph you read). Remember, if you’re going through a really tough time in life, you’re not alone with your problems, talk about it, write about it even draw about it, but whatever you’re doing, keep going.

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Giving Your All

I was talking to my oldest sister earlier today about some stuff I had recently gone through and she explained how it’s not just me that gives my all away, it’s her, my older brother and my other sister. We’re all givers. She went on to explain how although we give our all in everything we do, we were born and raised as strong people, if we get hurt, we bounce back quicker than most people.

I’d like to think that i’m strong minded but sometimes it makes me feel weak in comparison to others and the way they deal with situations. Whilst explaining about what kind of people me and my siblings are to me, my sister went on to say that giving your all isn’t a bad thing, it’s a great thing actually, some people just aren’t hardwired the same way and therefore take it for granted, which is how I should see what’s happened recently. She’s right in a way, all the way through that relationship, I felt like I was giving 110% in everything I was doing and if i’m honest, looking back on it now, I don’t even think I got 50% back. It just makes me feel silly for thinking that I was in love with someone so bad and blinded by what was really happening.

My problem with that relationship was giving my all and getting half back, I was so badly convinced that change was going to happen. People always tell you that no matter how hard you try, you can never change a person but I was never trying to change anybody, I was just trying to better both our lives. I went into that relationship at 20 years old unbeknownst to me what love was and how a relationship works and when I think about it, which is almost everyday, I keep thinking that I failed. That I had failed him as a person and that I wasn’t good enough to satisfy his needs. Which is true in some respect, we lived 200 miles away after we finished University, it was going to be hard but we were both working our arses off to get our stuff together and move to London together to close the gap and fix any issues we had. Of course, it was going to be a massive life change but at the end of the day, I loved him and I hope he loved me enough to trust me in that decision. Unfortunately, a job opportunity came up for him which meant he couldn’t move anywhere for 2 years. Which hurt a lot, because from that point, I just knew that our relationship was going to be damaged because of it. And now look what’s happened.

Another thing that gets me is that I gave him everything he wanted, I got him a sim card and a phone so we could talk whenever we wanted, I circled a whole lot of my future plans around him so that we could be together, I went the extra mile in absolutely everything to do with his birthday as of recent and the biggest one of all, I came out to my family for him so that he would feel comfortable to come up and visit. Don’t get me wrong, I was going to do it myself anyway but I don’t think nobody ever realised that I actually did it for him, not me.

As you can see from the stuff i’ve explained, when I commit to something I go all the way, when I love, I love hard. I will give you everything and more if you just give me your time, that’s all I need. The worst part about this whole break up thing is, if he said to me tomorrow, let’s patch things up, my strong mind would say no but my even stronger heart would say yes. :(

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