Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Beating the Blues...

It's nearing the end of January. Christmas is long gone, we're all broke as hell and the news and politics of the world, much like the weather, makes you want to stay hidden under your covers and never, ever leave the safe warm snugglyness of your bed. But, alas, you do have to get up and go about your days and it's always around this time that people start to get a little blue. It happens every year. January 16th was blue Monday, the most depressing day of the year and, according to the Telegraph the bluest ever recorded so far.

I'm not going to lie to you. I am feeling it. I am tired. I'm stressed. I'm busy. Not unbearably so, but I'm feeling it. I've had terrible anxiety for the last week and a half and every day something happens that makes me want to curl up in a ball under my desk and nap my troubles away. But instead I have a coffee, have a quick mental pep talk and continue on. Once I'm home, of course I allow myself to have a rest and let go of the day. Yet still, that lingering feeling of heaviness clings on, urging me to give up, go home or get sad.

And I let it. I let myself feel sad. Not all the time and not too much, cause quite frankly no-one is that emotional and most times it would be incredibly inconvenient for so many people. But if I am sad, I let myself be sad. If I am cross, I let myself be cross. The same goes with stress, anxiety, depression, loneliness... I don't go sobbing and stomping and wailing about crying "woe is me my life is a mess" because I know I have so much good going on in my life. But when my depression and anxiety were at their worst I denied how
I felt. I hid it from the world. I was embarrassed and scared to admit how I really felt because I didn't think those around me would understand or care. I thought that my emotions defined me and I didn't want to be known as the severely depressed girl. 

It wasn't until those feeling came out in the most self destructive way possible that I realised that what I feel doesn't make me who I am. I have depression, and I have anxiety, but I am not just depressed and anxious. I am happy, and sad, and scared, and comfortable and a whole dictionary full of other adjectives. What I feel at one given moment does not define who I am permanently. Heck, it probably doesn't even define who I am for the rest of that day! 

How you feel is important. You need to acknowledge your emotions and reactions to things. But once you identify it, let it out. Let it go! (sorry I couldn't resist). Name your feelings, own it, work on it or work through it and learn how to deal with it again. That's what being healthy is all about. An athlete doesn't stop a sport completely if they pull a muscle. They stop, figure out the problem, rest, recover , stretch it out to test the muscle and start again. Your brain needs to work out using an entire spectrum of emotions. Sometimes it feels painful and you want to just give up, but don't. Please don't. Take it from me, at the point you feel like giving up that't when those emotions feel their worst and their strongest. But I am, you are, stronger than you could ever know. Keep going. Let it go. Beat the blues.






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Sunday, 15 January 2017

Why experiencing culture is always a priority.

There are many important things in my life. My family, my friends, my faith, my job... wine. But amongst these things there is another great passion which I always try my hardest to maintain and drive forward. My craving for culture. I get that this may sound snobby but, for me, culture feeds into every other part of my life. I mean of course it does. Everyone is surrounded by culture; their own and the culture of others around them. Recently someone asked me 'does Hull even have culture?' and rather then simply just rolling my eyes (because yes or course Hull has culture, and its a fascinating one) I explained how "everywhere has culture, you can't escape it, there is always something to widen your experience and diversify your mind". 


The dictionary defines culture in two ways; the first as 'the arts and other manifestations of human intellectual achievement regarded collectively' and the second as 'the ideas, customs, and social behaviour of a particular people or society.' Basically - wherever there are people, there is culture and there is culture in many forms. And everyone, therefore, experiences culture. 


The world is so full of culture in fact that some struggle to accept them all. The bigotry, hatred and division that the world sees so often comes down to a lack of acceptance towards a different form of culture to another. Race, gender, sexuality, language, size and class all contribute to culture, as they should, and often these things come through in the artistic displays you might associate with a cultural celebration. But culture takes so many forms and is where people find their identity.


Hull's 2017 City of Culture so far has been phenomenal. I have seen the city centre busier than ever before and everyone I know, plus some others I don't have their eyes on this city and are asking what's going on. But the best thing for me so far, has been the discussions fuelled by the events that have been organised so far. People are learning and thinking about Hull more than ever before. People who have been living in Hull longer than I've been alive are looking at their home from a whole new perspective. They are witnessing and experiencing the collective culture of so many people who are just like and also nothing like them. That is the power of experiencing culture, you place yourself in the place of another and see the world in a whole new way. That is why I will always consider culture a priority. Not just because it feeds into my own identity, but it teaches me about the identity and significance of others.






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Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Loss and Life After It

This week I received some truly horrible news. I was informed that a good friend of mine had died over the Christmas season, that she had got sick and died shortly afterwards. It's always horrible when a loved one dies, but her death was so out of the blue, so sudden and that stung. Her death was unexpected, and the loss I felt was just as sudden. A few days on, I'm still sad, still shocked and I will miss her so so much.

But it got me thinking, loss is everywhere. Loss of loved ones, loss of time, loss of money. Loss is often at the root at most of our most traumatic and stressful periods. Theft - the loss of property, sickness - the loss of health, betrayal - the loss of trust. Loss effects everyone. At least in one capacity or another.

How we respond to loss tells us a lot about ourselves. With loss, comes grief and grief can be expressed though denial, anger, bargaining or depression and eventually one hopefully finds acceptance. Right now, I guess I'm at the bargaining stage; I'm doing other things, focusing on something because I don't want to think about the loss I feel. And there will be other people who deal with their feelings of loss in another way, which is okay, as long as that loss isn't always regarded or remembered as negative. 

Now, I am not saying that my friends death isn't a tragedy, because it absolutely is, but the times I spent with my friend, the laughs we shared, the joy, the stress, the quiet moments of kindness, they were wonderful. Although I may feel sad now, as it is only natural to feel, I can also be happy that I got to know her and that I am able to call her my friend.

After loss, life continues on. And for some that can seem brutal, harsh, but time doesn't stop. Loss is natural. But with loss, comes something new, and sometimes better, after. One may not see it at the time, but looking back you can see how you learned, adapted, changed and grew from that place. 

I will always miss those I have lost, and there are many other losses in my life that if I think about them too intently still cause my grief. However, with so many of these losses I can also see what I gained. I will miss my friend, but I will never forget the time we had. I feel so fortunate to have known her, and I will remember her and cherish her friendship always.




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For Lindsay 
1994 - 2016 
X

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Sunday, 8 January 2017

Made In Hull - Welcome to the City of Culture

City of Culture 2017 is well underway, and I am so proud to see Hull getting the coverage that it so richly deserves. In with a Bang brought Hull 2017 into the limelight and it hasn't stepped out of it since. This city is buzzing with energy and people can't seem to stop talking about all that's happening in Hull. The main subject on everyone's lips for the past week has been the first main instalment for 2017's first season; Made in Hull. A spectacular event with projections as well as visual and audio effects throughout the city centre. Check out the Hull 2017 social media pages for more shots if you didn't get to go yourself but do keep an eye out for the upcoming events. It was a great night out and at points was incredibly moving. There wasn't a person around me who didn't seem to enjoy it.

It was so great to see so many people in Hull and everyone I've spoken to has something positive to say about it. It truly has been an exciting start to the year. I'm so excited for the year ahead.

Check out my pictures below and stay tuned for some new, exciting things happening this week.










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Sunday, 1 January 2017

Goodbye, Hello - a new years post

Many people will see this year as a stain in history for so many reasons. The political and social controversy, the new and ongoing wars, the natural disasters and the loss lives that affected so many of us. Of course other people have so many things that will also have contributed to their opinions of this year and will therefore be glad to see the end of it. I'm sure many of you have seen the "2016 - horror movie" video that's floating around Facebook and if you choose to see it from that perspective then yeah, 2016 was a pretty crap year. 

However, when I look at my year (as in what happened to me or what I did this year) 2016 wasn't terrible. I graduated, with a 2:1 in a subject I love, I've been the happiest and most confident I've been in a long while, I got my ideal graduate job working for Hull 2017 throughout City of Culture, made amazing new friends and grew in ways I didn't know possible and therefore learned a lot about myself. Yes, the year has been challenging and there have been times I have been sad and sometimes even scared for what the future may hold, as I know many other people have too, but we came through these things. We came out stronger and like in all scenarios of significant change it became an opportunity to learn. Looking back, the past can be a useful tool to see how we could do things differently. Every year has highs and lows, and it might feel like 2016 was a whole lotta low, but there were highs during the year too, you just have to take the time to remember them, no matter how little they may seem compared to everything else.

As I have mentioned before, Little Victories are the ways I chose to look back on what had gone before in order to find something good in what felt to me like a whole lot of bad. So I am choosing to do that for the past year. And as well as looking back, I'm taking time to look forward to the year ahead.

New Years resolutions have never been a thing that sat well with me - the whole "new year, new me" crap just seems to belittle the person you were literally the day before. I'm all for self development but to set challenges that are unrealistic results in an unhealthy thought process. You don't INSTANTLY need to become someone new and 'improved' because the numbers on the date have changed. You are still you, and you are great as you are. If you want to change something then go ahead, but don't punish yourself. I guess my whole angst around this comes from peoples attitudes to fitness or loosing weight in the new year. Again, its great if people want to get healthier, in fact I want to get healthier and improve my fitness and I would encourage others to do so too. BUT, so often I hear people say they want to "loose weight fast" or they want to look like someone else. That's where I start to worry. You will always look like you, and development takes time and hard work. There isn't an 'easy' fix and honestly you shouldn't feel like you need to fix yourself. 

Don't look back on the year and look at the negative, instead know that change is possible, you can learn from it and you should take each day at a time. To have goals is wise and I would always encourage people to set them, I have set goals myself for the upcoming year. But I would also encourage people to be aware that plans may change and therefore so would your goals, and these changes could effect your body, mind, career, relationships and or your finances. We as a whole seem to place so much emphasis and pressure on change, in both a negative and positive way. As 2016 ends, a year when change caused so much distress for so many, and 2017 begins, and so many are looking to change as a thing they have to do, I think we need to remember change isn't always bad, and neither is it always good. Change is inevitable, we can't control it. What we can control, is how we respond to it.

So as this year ends, remember the good along side the bad, and look to the new year with hope but also with the expectation that it too won't be perfect. Take each day as it comes, be good to yourself and try your hardest in all that you do. You got this. Make 2017 a year to remember and remember all that you can. Thank you 2016, but its about time you were over. Bring on the happy new year.



Happy New Year :) 


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