Life Experience, Uncategorized

Getting Back Up Again

I’ve been staring at this screen for a while. The last few weeks, I’ve loaded up WordPress with the intention of writing blog posts, but I always press the red cross. It’s not been worth it, writing. The truth of it is that for the last few months I have experienced the most horrific heartbreak I never thought possible for one human to feel. It meant that anything I wanted to write about was either depressingly miserable, or bitterly nasty. And what good would that do? That wouldn’t help anybody, especially myself and someone involved would likely call me out on it. I know that I’m not entitled to an opinion in this… oops.

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Sorry… ANYWAYS. I have taken now myself out of the situation. It was a very long time between the initial ‘incident’ and actually leaving the awful environment. It was actually only two months but it definitely felt like at least two years. If I had just one piece of advice for if  you are ever forced to live with your ex, it’s this: Don’t.

Just don’t do it. Get yourself out of that situation a.s.a.p. because it is bad for your mental and physical well being. (I have found actually that not many people are as unlucky as me to have to go through with this but it does happen.) I’ve felt like I’ve been going insane for the sad-girl-foot-in-water-black-and-whitelast few weeks, I’ve lost a lot of weight, had no appetite and have been sick and cried a lot. It has been horrendous. And the joke is, it could have been a lot, lot worse. But seeing your ex take up with you someone you live with really has to take the biscuit for things to break your heart. Painful doesn’t really cover it. Hurt doesn’t justify what I felt. Devastated does not even begin to describe the cavernous rip that tore through me…

But that’s not what this blog is about. This post is about the future and how things are starting to look up. I’ve started a Masters degree course at university, I’ve moved back in with my parents, I’m looking at starting driving lessons, I’m going to start swimming again, I’m making new friends, I’m meeting new people.

This blog is about however painful it is, and whatever heartbreak you’re going through whether that’s romantically or because of grief, work, trauma, anything, you will be okay. You are stronger than you think you are. Something I have come to realise is that you never know your true strength until that is all you have left. You might be collapsed on the floor, surrounded by tissues, your chest a gaping and bleeding raw wound. Your hair may be unwashed and you may not have eaten for 24 hours and you may be wearing the same pyjamas as you wore all day yesterday, but trust me when I say that things do get better. It will likely be one tiny step at a time, and the steps may be spread across weeks, but you will absolutely see an improvement in time. Nothing can hold you down so much that you can’t get back up again. Nothing.

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As for me, I’m nowhere near healed yet, and I don’t think I’ll be back to my old self for a long time, but now that I am away from that awful situation, the real work can begin. If you are suffering, all I can say is keep the faith, believe in yourself and go on Pinterest looking for inspirational quotes because you will realise than that you are not alone. Knowing that there are other people going through similar things is a weird kind of comfort when you’re hurting.

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You just have to believe in yourself.

Life Experience

Two Choices

It’s no secret that life throws plenty of opportunities at you to be sad, miserable and down. ‘Oh woe is me, why is the world against me, what did I ever do to deserve this?’ The truth is, you probably did nothing to deserve the hardship and the pitfalls that are dealt to you and at times it can feel like it’s just you against the world.

When something goes wrong you have two options, just two. You can turn away from everything that has happened and hide, you can pretend amongst the tears and the panic attacks that everything is actually okay and that if you protect yourself with cotton wool, you will be fine. You can run away from the trauma, guard yourself and build high walls to make sure you won’t get hurt again.

Or you can confront the pain head-on. You can stare it in its beady black eye and understand it, why it’s come for you specifically. It might not reveal any of its reasons or let you in on its secrets, but by facing it you can be damned sure that you can push past it and move forward.

It’s easy to hide and it’s easy to shut down, to close yourself off from the world around you. It’s most definitely a surefire way of protecting yourself, we all know that. But ultimately, it’s also the death of you. You can’t grow as an individual without taking on challenges willingly or otherwise, and you will never learn more about who you are by turning your back and running away.

I’ve learned that it’s okay to be sad and upset, because when you bottle your real emotions – men and women – it makes everything 100x worse. But there should always come a natural point where you decide what to do next, and that’s the crucial moment. Do you blanket yourself and try to smooth over the cracks that have appeared? Or do you stand up with your head high, borrow some glue from someone who supports you and take a leap of faith?

Well I took the glue, and I would choose to take a leap of faith every time. You don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow, nobody does, and it’s really scary to throw yourself into the unknown alone like that. But me, I wouldn’t do it any differently. I didn’t hide and here I am, Brittany v2.0, and I will continue to not hide every time a difficult challenge comes along. I want to confront life and take control of what happens to me and of how I feel, and that’s exactly what I’m going to do from now on.

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Life Experience, University

The Talent Show of Life

When I was in school I used to feel like I didn’t have any talents. I felt like I had no skills that I could put to good use in the real world or that I would be recognised for. Then I went to uni. Studying Film and Television Production gave me something to strive towards and made me feel like I was worth something to the world – to the film world especially. My skills were fine tuned and I got the degree that I wanted when I graduated.

Almost a year after graduation, that feeling has gone and the old one has reared its ugly head. Not being a part of something like that anymore is difficult and I haven’t had the same creative opportunities that I did on the course. I’m back to where I started, feeling like I’m bursting with potential, but nowhere to take it, nowhere to implement it.

My new job as a marketing intern is showing me differently to an extent, however, because I’ve only been here for a week or so, I’m still learning viciously. I’m struggling with all three of my jobs in that I don’t like being at the bottom of the pile, imageslooking up at everyone else. I know that will take all of the hard work that I can muster and I believe that one day I will make it, but there is also a part of me that is scared of committing. What if the career that I commit to turns out to be something I hate? What if I fall out of love with it? It’s likely that some part of me will change, I just don’t know whether that will be for the positive or not.

My motive at the moment is to keep smiling through all the struggles and think about how I’m still young, free and capable
of anything. Getting bogged down in negative thoughts is something that I’m excellent at. Onwards and upwards.

Life Experience

How to live with friends and not kill each other

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Living with other people is hard. Nevermind being told you can’t go out to that party or have that last bar of chocolate by your mum and dad, or when to go to bed; it’s hard living with other adults. Like everything in this world there are positives and negatives and living with your friends when you’re grown up is an all round positive. What’s most difficult about living with others are the little niggles that you experience every day.

Each and every one of us is different and it’s impossible to be best friends with everyone all of the time. People are annoying, it’s a fact of life, you’re going to get pissed off with your housemates / flatmates / roommates so what I’ve devised is a little tip list of how to deal with those pesky situations that are otherwise awkward and on the edge of becoming dramatic if the right thing doesn’t happen.

1. Passive aggression does not work.

The toilet roll hasn’t been replaced, the washing up hasn’t been done, someone keeps their shoes in the middle of the kitchen – it makes your blood boil and you stand there seething in your own fury for around five minutes. You think ‘Ohh I’ll tell ’em this time! This isn’t right!’ And you write a very specifically worded note and stick it on the fridge, or the bathroom mirror, wherever it’s relevant. Uh-oh. This isn’t the way to go, friends. There are two outcomes of leaving passive aggressive notes; 1) the person in question won’t even notice and things won’t change or 2) you’ll piss them off and you’ll fall out in silence and awkwardly. It’s not ideal. If it’s really a huge problem to your existence in the house, tell them; they’ll probably appreciate your honesty and you won’t get mad at each other. But if it’s really not that bad, do you feel you can let it go? Just stop, take a deep breath and remember that everyone was brought up differently and has different habits.

2. Calm down at 11pm

Unless you’re all drinking and going out, partying the night away, it’s always a good idea to start to wind down at 11pm. People up early for work know that others aren’t and are generally accepting of shenanigans until about 11, because then it gets a bit late and silly (think about the neighbours too, arguments like that aren’t worth it!). You’ve got to remember that everyone has their own commitments, so whether that’s going to work at 6am or getting up for a 9am lecture, it’s only fair if everyone respects each other’s sleep. Happy sleep = happy life.

3. Hang out together

Living with people means that you’re sometimes under each other’s feet and all you want to do is spend time by yourself to get some peace and quiet. Me time is great, but it’s also important to hang out with each other and remind yourselves that you are indeed friends. If all you talk about is household chores and bills and she didn’t do this and he didn’t do that, it’s easy to forget the good times. Go to the local pub, go out for a meal together, even cook a meal together and then watch a movie. Just spend time together rather than existing around each other.

4. Celebrate and praise each other

This goes for birthdays, promotions, good grades, getting out of bed, anything! Particularly birthdays because the responsibility has been passed from their parents onto you. It’s your job to show them that their birthday matters, so stick up some banners and get them a card and present; it’s important for people to feel remembered and appreciated. And if someone gets promoted, go out and buy them a pint! You want to show everyone that you care about their achievements because you’re all in this together – being young is really hard.

Sharing a house with other people as we’ve seen from Friends and other such popular entertainment, is one of the best things you can do. To have your best friends on tap is something special that you can’t get anywhere else. It’s also one of the hardest things to do because everyone is so different and has known different ways of living. But it’s an experience to learn how other people live and it more often than not benefits you as a person. Just, the biggest rule of all is, don’t be a jerk. Remember that you’re all friends and keep your relationships alive by spending good quality time together and it’ll be a breeze.

Life Experience, University

Dear ‘Ruth’

Vulnerable and eager in the early days of September, 2011, I was looking for someone to trust and to befriend, someone that I could shed all my secrets to, someone who could come with me to compare dresses out shopping, someone who was on the same wave length as me. And I found you; quickly and wholeheartedly you introduced yourself into the void in my life.

Dear Ruth,

Over the last year or so, I’ve really changed; I don’t think I’m even the same person that you used to know and you might not even recognise me. It’s been about three years since we last spoke and this message to you, whether you are aware of it or not, is about how you influenced my life. I want to say thank you, Ruth for everything you did, all you contributed in those delicate few months that we were friends. We did have a good run at the start of university but I had to learn the hard way how you could be so affected by a boy and in turn how you could affect the other people around you, people who I thought were also my friends.

I first questioned your personality when you, despite rummaging through my wardrobe on a daily basis, refused to lend me clothes because there would be no way they would fit me. Being a size 10/12 compared to your slight 6/8 obviously meant that I was too large for you and your designer clothes and I forget now how many times you told me I didn’t eat enough humus or lettuce. You were also keen to tell me that my then boyfriend was a bad idea and even though you thought it was funny to flirt with him and sit on his lap, you still found it appropriate to tell me how pathetic our relationship was. It was important to you to one-up everybody, to be worse off, or on occasion, better. Nobody could have anything without you having more or less. Even though I have a cracked bone in my foot, your size 3 feet are more painful because of your 4 inch size 2 heels. You used to take pleasure in telling me that my university course was not as good as yours and that your course mates were just the best, whereas I’m aware that you no longer speak to yours and I still live with mine. I remember going out with my course friends, and finding that before leaving the house you would lock yourself away with the other housemates, and I wouldn’t see you the next day because you’d all decided to take an early shopping trip together, despite knowing I was in the house and not in a lecture.

Ruth, I could have lived with all of this; everyone has flaws, mine aren’t great and I sometimes wonder why people stick with me, but you took it too far. Deciding that your ex boyfriend who you had dated for no more than two months was the be all and end all was not what I would have imagined you to do. Screaming at me in the middle of a nightclub about how my then boyfriend was talking to other women – oh no! – and then leaving with the other girls was something that I will never forget. Screaming at me in a different nightclub for a second time after we had moved into a house together and then leaving me alone in that nightclub is something that I can never forgive you for. You listened to your ex boyfriend who told you that I was interested in him and you abandoned me in the middle of the night, a thirty-five minute walk from a new home in a new neighbourhood that I’d been told was risky at night. You didn’t believe me when I told you that he was lying, but you had made up your mind. From then on you made the next three days in that house effectively hell. I heard you calling me names to the other girls, I saw you hiding and moving my stuff and I remember you leaving the house unlocked while I was sleeping so you could go on a night out. Part of me wishes I had dropped the deadbolt on the door, but what would have been the point in stooping to your level?

Normally, letters to people are full of forgiveness and sometimes blessings, but I can’t forgive you. What I can do is thank you. Thank you for forcing me to move out of the new house to then live with my real friends. Even though I began paying two rents on two houses in that year, I was happy. Thank you, Ruth, for all your malice because, without it, I may not have met my wonderful boyfriend. I would not have gained stronger relationships with people who are still my best friends. I don’t think I would be where I am today without your vindictive assistance and even though you make me shudder inside and make my heart turn cold when I see you, I thank you for all of that. I sincerely hope that you remember everything that happened, but I can imagine that you continue to have your rose-tinted side of things. Brittany, what a bitch who tried to steal your boyfriend and always left you to see her course friends, you must have felt so hard done by. But, in all honesty, thank you for indirectly bringing me to a better group of people, to a better university life because for the most part, my first year was dampened down by you.

You really showed me what some people can be capable of, and you really, really changed my life. So thank you, Ruth for everything. I don’t assume our paths will ever cross again but for the minuscule amount of time that you affected my life, thanks and I won’t ever, ever forget it. If you are reading this, I’m certain that you’ll know this is you even though Ruth isn’t your real name and I sincerely hope you read it with integrity, attention and with an open mind. This letter to you is my official goodbye, and I can safely say that after writing this, I feel a large weight and concern has been lifted from my shoulders and I can continue to stand tall and proud.

Love Brittany.

Life Experience

AMA (lol I speak Internet) About Uni

I’ve been through an awful lot in the past three years – both great and horrible things – and I would consider myself to understand what university life is like more than I would have imagined. My sister has secured a place at Liverpool John Moores University and it got me thinking. She’s been asking me numerous questions about what it’s genuinely like to go to university so I thought I would put that out on here. Ask me anything uni related. Even if you think it might not be, ask it anyway and I will give you an honest answer based on my experience. Because uni is a scary time, I was scouring the internets looking for any advice on what it would be like. And yes, it does come down to just living it but if you’re a worrier, like me, it’s sometimes nice to have totally random and obscure questions answered before you embark on your historic journey.

So go ahead, ask me anything. Only disclaimer is I’m English and won’t have the foggiest about US college times, which I understand is totally different.

Three photos which more or less represent what uni life is like: library – house party – graduation.

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                Working hard or hardly working?
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        Probably cider… or wine?
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                      Graduation day
Life Experience, World

11 and a half months to go…

I’ve been looking at 2015, the 11 and a half months ahead, trying to find something exciting. Like last year, in 2014 I was still at uni, living it up, making films, making friends and such. I had graduation, a holiday in Mexico and three new jobs. 2015, however, well…this year I will finish my job in the summer, and there are no holiday prospects…all a bit sad, really, isn’t it?

So, I have taken it upon myself under my new year’s resolutions to stop being a misery guts this instant and make things for myself to do. I need to learn to drive, there’s one. I want to go on holiday – to wowcher.co.uk!

I just need something to keep me going…anything to show me that life isn’t boring and that 2015 – the coolest sounding year so far – is going to be good. I suppose we’ll just have to see.

Life Experience

15th January, 2013

Two years ago today, my Grandad passed away. It’s still hard to even think about or discuss but I feel like I have to honour the day somehow. Sometimes people don’t want to listen to stories about another person’s grandparent, but I have to say something. My plan was to write a book – I even got a nice leather bound one for the job and everything – about all of his stories that he used to tell me because I want to preserve them somehow. He was one of those that repeats all the time, telling the same story ten times over, but I never stopped him. I used to like hearing him talk about his role in post-war Africa and his time in the mines. He was the best storyteller I knew, not because of any great showmanship or performance, but because it was so obvious that he loved telling them. He laughed at every funny part of the tale, and would always brush over any sad parts. There’s no sadness to my Grandad that I ever remember, he was always happy and smiling.

But now…I can’t even recall a story. I’m sure I wrote them down somewhere, but I can’t remember much that he’d said, not a full story anyway, just bits. I’m struggling to remember the sound of his voice but somewhere, I have a cassette tape waiting to be played again. I once recorded an ‘interview’ I did with him at primary school about what life was like in Britain during WW2 and I have it…in my room. I’m not sure I’m quite ready to listen to it yet but I will be soon I think.

He was just so full of life and believed in everything that I did, which I think is what hurts the most. He always said I could do something if I put my mind to it and that everything would work out okay in the end. I can’t even count how many times I’ve needed to hear that in the last two years, especially the last six months.

I didn’t mean to make this post sad, but it’s kind of a sad day for the family today. Grandad, I miss you, I really do, just hope you’re living it up in there.

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Education, Life Experience, World

Epiphanies of 2015

I previously told you my New Year’s resolutions, things like get into shape, learn to drive, the usuals, y’know. But I think the biggest one of all that I didn’t even write down on that list is that I’m going to change my outlook on life. Wutt, what does that even mean? Okay *deep breath* here goes.

Before Christmas, probably 6 or so weeks before, I really started to get down about life. I mean, what’s the point when you spend what feels like more than half your life at work? Get up at 5:45, have an hour journey to work, work 8 hours, wait two hours to go home and then all of a sudden it’s bedtime and you have to be up again bright (or not in December) and early in the morning to do it all again. I just started to look at my life as though I wasn’t happy and the only time I would be happy was when I was with family or friends, doing my own thang, in York or otherwise. I hated getting up every single day to go to work (I do like work, I just have other things in life that I prefer to do, like, y’know, shopping…) and come home just to scoff dinner and then go to sleep. I didn’t see anyone outside of work and I couldn’t spend my time relaxing or getting on with hobbies that I like.

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I loved the freedom at uni, just being able to, I dunno, go to Tesco at midnight, or go watch a film in the evening, or sleep til I was no longer tired. Being at uni was free, despite the assignments and the hard work, it’s essentially still your choice to do what you please and when. That’s what got me – the time. Everything is scheduled, do this at exactly 11:20, you may not eat until 13:20 and it’s like that in most jobs, some places even worse (restaurant peeps, am I right). I was adamant that as soon as I had enough money I would set up my own little business or start writing for realz and work from home (which is still an ambition of mine, but it’s not exactly a burning desire anymore). Life was just getting too much. I can’t tell you how painful it is (although you probably know all too well) getting up in the dark, travelling in the dark, being stuck inside all day and then going home in the dark. It’s not like working down a mine or anything, but it sure can feel like it sometimes.

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And then after Christmas, I realised how morbidly depressing I’ve been. I realised that I was taking things far too seriously and needed to lighten up – the job I have is challenging, there’s no two ways about it, but it’s not as difficult as a lot of customer service jobs. I can, essentially, do my own thing and work how I want to, provided that I’m in the right place at the right time. I must have had an epiphany or something of the sort because I suddenly understood why I’d been so unhappy. I’d looked at travelling to work as a negative – ‘ugh, don’t wanna go’ – whereas I should have been looking at it like ‘it’s a really clear morning, such fresh air, wow’. I need to take everything just one hour at a time, rather than a day, because my days are so jam packed of stuff to do that I get bogged down in it all and constantly live in the near future; I’m always three or four hours ahead. I used to look at the clock when I got home and knew I had only three and a half hours before I should go to bed. I knew I had only 6 hours to sleep. I used to think at the end of the day ‘in two hours’ time I’ll be home…if we’re not late…’. This wasn’t good for me. At all. This way of thinking makes the days unattractive and bulky.

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I guess my mission statement would read ‘Take every hour as it comes and think of the positives things that I’m going to achieve.’ Because even though there may be no major achievements that day, there are always minor ones. Maybe I got a pupil to write one more sentence than they did the other day, maybe I had a teacher smile on me on the corridor, maybe I managed to help someone, I don’t know. The achievement of this hour? I’ve written this. I’ve been thinking about this for a while, about how I’m trying really hard to change my mindset, because it’s not easy at all. It’s actually really difficult because, of course, life gets in the way as per. Bad things to happen and things do go wrong. There are stresses in the world that we can’t avoid, sometimes as simple as someone not replying to an email when we’d like but they’re there to make us stronger. I think, anyway.

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Christmas has really lightened my spirits about things (don’t know how long it’s gonna last, like, she says) and I’m really trying hard not to get upset or down over everything. It seems to be working, I feel more awake, more aliveeee. Hehe. Taking each hour as it comes probably wouldn’t work for everyone, but it’s working for me and will feel like it’s prolonging my life because omg hours have just been flying past this last three years and I’ve barely noticed…I’m 22, I still feel 19. Eek.

(The pictures are to break up the post because it’s kinda serious and we all like cute animals, right?)

Education

Testing the Waters

Dedication.

Determination.

Persistence.

Patience.

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Buzz words that you may or may not associate with teachers. Since I’ve been at this school, I have noted how teachers constantly put students before themselves (which you would hope if you were a parent) but, I just don’t think that I would be able to do this in the long run. They sacrifice their precious free time to mark books, send emails, create lesson plans and have meetings, all the while getting more and more tired as the days are counted towards the summer holidays. But this is far from true; teachers relish in the pressure, and despite all of the hard work and stress, sleepless nights and early mornings, if a teacher can make one small difference to one child, their job is complete. They love it.

And then there’s me. Now, before you jump to any sort of conclusions, please bear in mind that I do like my job and I’m grateful for this opportunity because it has given me a taster of something that I might want to do in life. It just turns out that I don’t. I don’t fancy the idea of taking a huge stack of books home every night; I want to leave work at work and at 22 I’m still in quite a self-centered phase of wanting to progress my own intelligence rather than improve others’. Horrible aren’t I? Actually, no I don’t think so. My defense is that everybody is different, we all lead different lives and we all want to achieve different things. I am testing the waters at the minute with different opportunities, I’m trying teaching, I’ve tried film, waitressing and working in a museum. I also plan to try out writing, dressmaking and probably standard office work. I don’t want to settle just yet, I’m still young! I want to go back to uni if we’re honest, but who has the money?