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 It’s impossible not to feel that I have superseded my expectancies of the list and I know my life and most important, my outlook on it, is completely different.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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A perfect gift with an unexpected twist

Happy Monday all,

I don’t know about you but I love giving presents to people. I especially like it when the person you are buying for is one of the most caring people you would ever be lucky to meet. I am lucky enough to have her in my life and her friendship. We have been through the wars with love and anything else life has decided to throw at us. I have known her for 15 years ever since I moved to England and she is the chair(wo)man of my board of life trustees. She is my most loyal, kind friend with a wicked sense of humour, good girl mentality to the core and the ability to break out the worm in any dance floor on command. Nickname: Fancy Pants. How is she single, I have no idea. Most recently, Hannah was on the Vieber trip with me when I had my accident and this girl (as well as my other friends on this trip)  literally pieced me back together, but Hannah especially. She lay there whilst I cried my eyes out and relived my nightmare over and over again. She held my hand and never let me think it was not going to be okay or I wasn’t going to make it. She sat with me as I faced the mountain again and never let me feel alone even at 4am when the rest of the world slept soundly.

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Hannah and I
So, I thought that I wanted to get her something special, maybe from notonthehighstreet.com as there is always cute things on there. But I went on Etsy instead and I am so glad I did. As I typed in ‘personalised gifts for your best friend’, I was hoping for some inspiration, however I never expected to find such a perfect gift. And even a bit more. You see, as well as discussing our loves and our losses and everything in-between, Hannah and I share a passion for reading. We have different tastes in books; I read romantic fiction and she reads books she can learn from. Nonetheless,she recently let me borrow a great book called “The Shock of the Fall” which had an incredible perception on mental health. I highly recommend the book by the way. Anywho… I was scrolling through Etsy and something caught my eye. I scrolled back to it and clicked on “Personalised Bookmark.” OF COURSE. What a ideal gift from one bookworm to another and I can make sure that I put something on there to remind her that she is one of my most favourite (sorry about the terrible english but I cannot describe her in simple english) people in this world. So I reset my search and bang – about 50 different options came up. My first thought: OH MAN, I NEED COFFEE.

As I scrolled through, there were large ones, small ones and ones with every font you could imagine. However, there was one that really stood out to me because it had a tassel attached. I know it sounds silly but the tassel just seemed to make it work and look complete, you know?  It was just lovely with this adorable font that would make any phrase look ritzy. When I clicked on this link, I would have no idea of company I would experience. Millie Rose Designs (https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/MillieRoseDesignsUK) did not just give me a personalised bookmark for my friend. The lovely owner, Tracy, has a passion for creating beautiful things and the talent to match. She gave a service second to none and the package, well, it was a gift in itself. My address was beautifully written in calligraphy, the bookmark was wrapped in a pastel-coloured tissue paper with a sticker, a little bag of sweets was included inside the package and best of all, a personalised note to say thank you for my order.

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Now I am not one to be blown away easily but this is something else. She clearly cares for her products and her customers. I emailed her to say thank you for such a perfect gift and to tell her my story behind my quote that I choose. Through conversation and a desire to have one myself, she offered to make another one for me and even hand delivered the second bookmark. I will admit that I don’t think that service will equate to customers in Scotland as I am currently local to her and it was on route to her journey but still what a service.

These words (…and with or without anyone’s acknowledgement or affection, you are enough) are my own and it was never written to be a quote in itself but then again I guess all the best quotes are. This is just a string of 11 words that were a part of a text that I sent Hannah. It relates to love, or more so, the love for one’s self above all else. It felt right to share with the story behind my quote with Tracy. We spoke about it across a few messages and I had an urge to meet her, to ask her about her passions and still have the urge. She is someone that has a gracious heart and is deserving of success. She thanked me for bringing her this quote to her and I thanked her for talent. Unfortunately, I was out when she delivered the bookmark and I was sad to have missed her but I hope to meet her one day. She is someone that I would like to become a friend because you don’t find passionate people that invest in the lives of others so easily and give with such abundance.

So if you looking for someone different to give to someone, I highly recommend Millie Rose Designs. Tracy can create you your very own bookmark as well as other handmade gifts that will bring a smile to your face. All of which can be personalised and all very affordable. Her package will be unmistakable and you will be giving your business to a deserving individual who cares more for her customers than the money you bring her. So thank you Tracy for sharing your talent with me and I hope do get the chance to meet one day.

Until next time,

Ivy xxx