The night before

Hey all,

I hope everyone is having a good day. I was just updating my pages (project 365 and 30 things before thirty) and I felt inspired to write a little ‘something-something’ about it.

I updated the 30 before 30 page and I felt incredibly proud of myself. I found myself realising that I may not have done everything on the list as per written and there are a few items left to do, however, I remain incredibly proud of myself. I have managed to complete something without feeling guilty or undeserving of it. It’s impossible not to feel that I have superseded my expectancies of the list and I know my life and most important, my outlook on it, is completely different. I spent years wishing for everything to be perfect, only to be left feeling disappointed in myself. Reflecting upon that now, it was never going to work and I was never going to win. But I think I did that for a reason. I think I did that to prove to myself that I was not worth anything. Every time I failed, it was a confirmation that I did not deserve it and “it was not right”. Looking back, how did I hate myself so much?

Since started and now coming to the end of this decade, I have learned some serious life lessons and started to develop three of the most beautiful life skills that I think we all need.

  1. Patience – I have learnt the importance of being patient. Being patient with myself, with others, with strangers. Things take time. Hearts heals, people do forget, life continues to occur whether you are ready or not. Everything just takes some time to readjust and I have to just refocus. I have learned to breathe, to wait for the good moments, to ride out the storm and to enjoy the quiet moments. I learned that life is all about dancing in the rain, thunder, hurricanes and whatever the world and others throw at you.
  2. Self-love – I have learned that love starts and ends with you. In order to love anyone, you have to love yourself. You have to look inside and find things that you do like about yourself and hold onto those. Expand on those without fear that you will fail or fall. Because even if you do, you can then love your ability to start again, your ability to never give up and your ability to let go of something that is not working. I can openly say that I love my smile, my ability to talk to anyone, my commitment to work, etc. I can say this without worrying about sounding arrogant or cocky because it is not about that. It’s about knowing my strength and my likes and my dislikes and continuously improving myself for me. Nothing is always negative but if you focus on that, then yes life does feel that way. You have to reteach yourself to look for the positive.
  3. Forgiveness – Finally, I have learned to forgive myself. I am starting to look back over my life and forgiving myself for the mistakes I made, for the things I said and for the hurt I caused myself. Additionally, I am forgiving others for their mistakes, for the mutual pain caused. I am learning to sit comfortably in my dirty laundry and change the narrative of my life and the experiences that have continued to cause me pain for years. I am changing my perspective and forgiving myself for doing the best I could. I am no longer going to punish myself for my mistakes. I will apologize, take responsibility and learn from those mistakes. If others want to forget me then I understand, you have to do what you need to do. However, from my experience, holding on to pain and anger only makes things worse. You have to forgive and reflect on why that experience makes you anger still? what purpose does the anger have? and why is it so important to hold onto it? I found myself asking this to myself over and over again and I realized it is just not important. It is not important to hold a grudge.

The most important lesson I have learned is that it is not important to waste my only life holding onto negative experiences. My father died and I was holding onto a dead man, why? I will remember him always without putting myself through pain over and over again. I forgive him for leaving and I forgive myself for hating him at times. In exchange, I found inner strength and a desire to be a good wife to Liv. Someone who listens and supports her. Someone who will be there through it all, whatever it is, rather than do it alone like you did dad. I have your face father, but I do not have your identity. I have my own and I will only ever be me. Sorry if that is a disappointment to you but I forgive myself for your mistakes and that you left long before your died. I forgive myself for shouldering that blame for years because I thought it was mine to hold onto and I am sorry for holding onto you. I am now sitting comfortably in my memories of you and smiling now, glad to have had some time with you. I am easily removing the shackles I put on myself and I am able to walk away from the city limits of my Painsville. Thank you for bringing me into this world and leaving me stronger. I am sorry I cannot stay with you anymore but I am still breathing. I am choosing to breathe and live a life that you did not want to anymore. I chose to not waste more time trying to hold onto your ashes.

So shackle free and sitting comfortable, welcome to 30, Ivy

xxx

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Opinions are not mandatory 

Hey all, 

It’s been a while I admit however I have the best intentions to blog and then, well, life happens. 

However, during my swim this morning, I was speaking to Les (a regular lane companion) and we were talking about my upcoming challenge. That’s right folks, I am doing a pier to pier swim for the British heart foundation and I am so nervous. It’s 1.4 mile (2.25 km) open water challenge. The water will be about 14 degrees Celsius at the most and if I am lucky. I will be wearing a wetsuit and I am training for it but I am excited to be able to do something for people who know what good comes from these events and all those that it benefits. 

Anyways, this man got in the pool next to me and as Les and I were talking about the challenge, he jumped in and said I was stupid and crazy for doing it. The words he said rang in my head, ” just give them your money, it’s all their want.” I think I just looked at him in disbelief that people like this exist in our society. Les, the kind man he is, tried to reason with the man but there was no such luck. I watched him swim away and thought I dreamed the whole thing. 

However, as I sat and watch my cake bake in the oven, I cannot help be reflect on why I am doing this and what he said. Anne frank once said, ” no one has ever become poor by giving.” We all need help once in a while and I feel my life has become so much more rich because I give people and myself more. I give my old clothes to charity, I give the homeless man coffee and dinner, I give my patience to the lady with her slow trolley and loads of change. I am always finding things to give away and do. In return, I give myself more love, more time, and more understanding. I really appreciate that I can walk, I can drive, I am so independent that I don’t need any assurance to do anything. That puts me in the top 20% of the world. And I want to use that to inspire others to do something with their privileges that we all take for granted. 

Giving is not about the donation, it’s about making a difference. A difference to the quality of life someone leads. There is so much ugliness and cruelty in the world right now and things we don’t see and even they we do see and turn away. Some don’t have the privilege of turning away. There are patients in a Guatemalan state hospital with no staff but armed guards and over medicated. Those don’t get a say, don’t have a choice, and even worse, they don’t have a voice. There are people all over the world without a home, or a loved one. Without a hope or a light to the end of their ordeal that they may have to call a life. I have all of this and I have a say and a change to do something for someone else. Giving not a charity is a responsibility that I have as a human being and as a member of society. 

Sometimes, the greatest form of charity is just to withhold your judgement and be kind. Use your hands to provide others with help, your eyes to see past the beautiful life you lead, your ears to listen with empathy and compassion, and your voice to speak for yourself and the others that don’t get a chance. Give your time to others and your patience. You may never know what hell they may be going through, and you will never know when they may be your lifeline. So never underestimate your ability to make someone else life better, even if you don’t know how to. The Queen said at Christmas, in her speech, that we should all be the change we want to see, so I challenge all of you to do one random act of kindness today. Leave a bigger tip, buy two coffee and give one away, let the lady with all the coins have time to sort herself out. Do something that benefits someone else and I can guarantee that it will be the best feeling. And because small acts, multiples in a larger size, can transform a world. 

So I have decided that this gentlemen is just one man, one man with a small mind and big insecurities. I have learnt that I should never let small minds convince you that your dreams are too big. Life isn’t about getting and having, it’s about giving and being. I am against the most powerful in the world as I have a voice and a choice. I chose to give back to this world. I am not rich, or well off, but I have the power to change a life with my kindness and that’s worth it weight in gold. The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any. We all have the power to change this world. Someone’s world, your own world. 

I hope everyone has a good day 

Ivy xx

An apologetic update… 

Hey all, 

I am so sorry I haven’t been online much. March has just ran away with me with the wedding planning and the change in jobs (eventually). Life has seemed to consume a lot of my time and I can feel myself suffering from it. I miss my blog, my post, your comments, your thoughts. So thank god march is almost over. 

I am going to spend some time blogging this wedding however I must apology for the Sunday story from feb (and march). I had one line up ready to go and the individual got cold feet and asked me to withdraw their story at 2am Sunday morning. Although she did say it was nothing to do with my writing, I couldn’t help but over analysis it. It has definitely affected my desire to do another one. I have emails sitting in my inbox and for some reason, I feel unable to do them justice at present. I love my Sunday stories and I love writing them but I need so time to build my confidence back up. Bare with me all. 

Speak soon, 

Ivy xx

One year on… 

Hey all, 

Today marks a milestone for me. I took the header photo today and really looked at myself. How different was I now to a year ago. Exactly one year ago, to the day, I was sitting on top of a mountain in the aftermath of my accident and uncertain about my future. I sat alone and fearing the worst.  Below is a picture from that day. You can read more about it here (about me page) if you want to.

But today, sitting here now, writing about this a year on, is quite surreal for me. It was before my blog, before liv, before everything. It’s hard not to reflect on the significance and the undoubtable butterly effect that is still changing me now. I felt alone up there and I have never felt alone since that day.  Yes there has been some dark moments but never did once feel truly alone. That’s the biggest chance I have seen in myself – my change in my mindset. 

I have learnt to embrace the world for what it is and what it throws at me. You have to take the good with the bad. I realize that I needed to use every ounce of strength I had to learn what strength was. I have learnt that only one person has the ability to make your life better – you. Take the power away from everyone to control your ups and your downs and give it back to yourself. Trust yourself and you will never be alone. Only then can you surround yourself with happiness and love because you will see it and feel it. It’s true what people say….. love starts with you. 

So here I am, a year on, happier with my life because of me. Yes I have liv and an amazing group of friends for they are incredible for their ongoing love and support. And I also have my blog and all of you with your kind words and your encouragements. And I have a family that I love. But behind all that, I have me. And I can appreciate it because I have learnt to love myself first. 

So if you want to change the world, change your circumstances, or even just be happy – My advice is to start with yourself. Love the crap out of yourself first and you will never go far wrong. And let go. Let go of everything that doesn’t really matter. 

Cheers all, 

Ivy xx

The art of letting go

Hey all,

I’ve reloaded something this week and I wanted to share with you. I don’t think I have posted about it before so mugs of coffee at the ready.

Context:

This week my water bottle emptied a liter of water into my bag and drown the whole contents of my bag. Including my beloved bullet journal. Yes I said it, my bullet journal was soggy and all the ink had bled through the pages. I was at work and tried to dry it out but it was unfortunately beyond repair. I was disappointed and felt heavy with all the pages and hours spent that were now swimming in the bottom of my bag.

The surprise:

My fiancée ( who is incredible by the way) had brought me a new one before I even got a chance to tho about what to do. She has an incredible ability for understanding me after our 8 months so far together. Don’t tell her but she knew me after day one. But anyways she knows how important it is to me and how not doing this impacts on me. Her kindness and giving are never ending. It’s the fact that she doesn’t belittle my habits or throw away my effects like harmful comments. Any notebook would have done but she chose the same one and got it dispatched the next day. My knightness in shining armor strikes again.

The reset:

So this weekend, I begrudgingly started again. I opened up the first page and thought “where do I start?” I thought about the organization and my old bullet journal. What did I want to do differently? And I started and couldn’t start. I completely my yearly things and then moved on to February. I set it out with more of my “creative flare” that Liv says I have. I piled out all of my scrapbooking stuff and made something my notebook mine again. I love it already. I am struggling to stop for dinner.

The lesson:
Letting go isn’t about erasing the blow but more about lessening the impact. Yes, my bullet journal got ruined but then I got to start again. It doesn’t take away from time and effort put into my old one but it just made it better. For me, I just broke down the task into manageable chunks and dealt with it. I didn’t get emotionally overloaded. It helped to have Liv as a soundboard I admit, but I took the emotion out and dealt with the facts. Simply put.

The result:

I thought I would share the new journal layout. I have to say, I am so pleased with it. Your comments and thought are welcome. I’m not done yet but that’s the thing about bullet journaling – it’s never complete.


Enjoy,

Ivy xx

Breaking point

Hey all, 

Okay – here’s my cards. I have reached boiling point and cried when confronted with the face of my old identity. My darkest secret surfaced through an unexpected moment and I had to finally face my demons and what’s held me in my own shadows for years. I spoke about my darkest conviction and I lost. 

I lost the truth of the situation in my over analysis. I finally looked myself in the mirror and voiced what I told would never see the light of day and I was not as defective as I have done for 17 years. I cried and cried when I looked inwards and realized I had persecuted myself for years for something I did not do. For something that I misinterpreted and misconstrued. I built my walls so high that I didn’t think I deserved the life I had. I always kept my distance for the fear of consequence. But yesterday, I walked straight up to those walls and touched them only to realize it was an illusion. It was paper. I walked through it only to look back and wonder why I spent so many of my years confided to a small space. I told Liv, my wonderful, beautiful, unphrased fiancée, my deepest secret only for her to shine a torch on the shadows and show me it’s just my imagination. My overactive imagination that has tricked me into thinking that I was a monster. Liv simply guided me home. She did not kick me, hurt me, beat me, turn away from me. She did not leave me. She gave me the key to my padlocks and chains and I broke free. She blew me away with her empathy and understanding. She gave me the only thing I needed but couldn’t give myself….reason. 

Today, I am different. I am processing my life. I am processing my ignorance. I am processing how I can make this better. I am trying to think about how I can make the last 17 years up to myself. All I can do is not leave today up to yesterday. I have to life my life. I need to stay and enjoy my life. No more punishment, no more excuses of why I do not deserve my life, no more self-hatred. The only thing I can do to say sorry is to move forward without the shadows. I need to stop carrying the fuel to the fire that has tarnished so many of my memories and achievements. I need to realize that I am not what I thought I was. I am just as average as the next but I can be the best that I can be if I stop being my own worst enemy. If I have learnt anything, it is that I make mistakes but I deserve happiness just as much as the next person. I am a good person and I am deserving of the life I have. 

I have broken free and it feels so good. 

Ivy xx

Enough Is Enough

Privacy

10, 821

I scrolled through social media today with all of these “fake news” site offering the answers to life. How to know it’s love. How to be successful. How to be happy. How to be the best you. I thought to myself, how do you measure success or happiness. How do you measure the quality of love you have. How does that compare to the couple that live below you in a block of apartments? The money in my bank account is not my measure of success. The smile across my face is not my measure of happiness. The best version of me is not available on some checklist. Your little articles do not attack my self-esteem. 

Instead, I celebrate every victory, regardless of size. I woke up on time, I went for that swim despite my tiredness, I made that traffic light, I found a new artist I love. Every victory started with a choice to do something that I didn’t have to. For example, first week back to work and I was shattered. I did not want to get out of bed at all. But instead, I went swimming every morning before work. Up at 6am, in the pool by 7:30 am and I pushed it. Every single stroke was a choice. A choice to keep going. A decision where I said, “I did not come this far to walk away without a sense of victory.” I am, as we all are, a history of victories. We are still here and we are fighting proof that we are stronger than the warfare we have been through. There are the non-scale victories that we feel without observational proof. Improved endurance, quality of sleep, increased resilience.  Those are my measures of success, happiness, and being the best me. You will see the thoughts weigh heavy in my eyes but you will see the warrior inside my soul because  I am the victor of my own catastrophe. The quickest way from A to B is straight through and the soldier inside urges me forward through the havoc. I ignore the fallen to the left and right, it does not matter what they are doing. We are all on a battlefield with our biggest fears facing us. I am not here to judge your spider if you don’t judge my shark. I am not a part of their battle. I am not a saver as they are not mine. This fight is mine and mine alone.

R.M. Drake wrote, “one day you’ll make peace with your demons, and the chaos in your heart will settle first. and maybe for the first time in your life, life will smile right back at you and welcome you home.” Well, I walked right now to my demons and they waved their white flags. Every day I go to bed with more victories under my belt. Today, I conquered another new place, solved another new problem and saw another through a new perspective. On my surface, I seem confident and armed with a shield. I am old scars from my previous battles. I am the beautifully blemished victor and I see the need for my armor. It makes me ready for battle, regardless of the requirement for it.

So here is to my history of victories. All 10,821 days that I have conquered.

Ivy

xx