The beauty of failure

Hey all,

There is a thing I have been thinking about a lot recently and the clue is in the title so this should not be a surprise but it’s the idea of failure. Failure can resemble certain people, significant events, targets, anything. Whatever it resembles to you, failure should not be feared. It is as inevitable as the next breathe you take (and now become hyper aware of). I feel that as a whole, the majority of people I know, fear failure for the fact that they perceive the outlook others will have on them and because of the deskilling factor it plays. But when you look deeper, I don’t remember constant success growing development and resilience. It is within the failure that we learnt the lessons that form our values and our identity. The ethical guidelines that we internally adhere to become the cornerstones of your identity, both professional and personally. And it is within these failures, do you realise what we desire the most. The things that we are willing to let life kick the crap out of us for day after day. Success is great, but failure is damn right beautiful.

This made me think about the failure as an event. If it is as inevitable as I think it is, then it is actually the event more than the emotion. Why? Because everyone will experience failure in their life, that will happen. If you haven’t yet, brace yourself. Someone may fail to meet you, you will fail a job interview, your jeans will rip. These are all examples of failure. But those are all not individualised and you cannot change the presence of these failures when they come. But what is different is the emotion that it provoke. The emotion that you choose to react with is what we do have control over. The thinking between the failure is also your responsibility. So what I am saying is that if you know you cannot change the event (failure), then it’s the thoughts and behaviours that we associate with that are our responsible and so our the consequence that follow those behaviours. If you fail and then you self destruct then you are responsible for the aftermath. The red button will only activate when you push it. I think what I ask myself all the time is what is I never pushed the red button again? What would happen to me? I think it’s time to re-evaluate my own rule book.

Despite this spontaneous re-evaluation, I still choose not to be afraid of failure. I like the growth that parallels failure’s presence in my life. I do one thing that scares me everyday and sometimes hope that I fail. I learn the rules better than way. I learn where I can push the boundaries and where I stand with people. Apologises are not hard to come be with me around and I would much rather ask for forgiveness than permission. To failure is to ultimately succeed. You cut your hair often to make it grow, and the more your fail is the more you learn. I don’t learn through my successes. That’s a reinforcement of what I already know what things I am good at. Why do we as humans think that we must be perfect? That we will get it right without practice? Is everyday we walk this earth another practice day? And when you fail, who’s standards are you failing by? If the answer is not your own, stop whatever you are doing and look in the mirror. You should always and only set your own bar. You do not owe anyone anything.

Screw the others I say. Fail gloriously and as often as you can. The beauty of failure will forever outweigh the dizzying unsteadying heights of success. Your platform will be more stable with deeper roots and a familiar face. Someone said to me once, “don’t judge someone by the successes under their belt, but their reactions to the failures they experience”. I finally get it, I finally see the honesty in that. Failure hurts in the moment you experience it. I don’t love those moments. But what I do love if the thought I have directly after it. The “I am never wanting to experience that again” and the “what can I learn from that?” That’s where the success happens. That’s where my identity is taking shape from. Bruises are only so deep but values run to the core. Failure makes me build myself from the inside out.

Today, I failed, I failed little and often. But I learnt things by doing it. I learnt that I do really value my space. My me time is my favourite time. I realise I give myself to a lot of people, and I don’t want to change that. Maybe I just realise that that requires me to take more time hiding away. A lesson can only be learnt when thought about and reflected upon. So here I am, thinking about it.

Time for sleep,

Ivy xx

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The dangerous game

Morning all,

Isn’t it funny that the environment around your life has change in a matter of days? That everything you thought you saw around you plays a game of spot the difference upon your return. Or that even your autopilot mode forced a change of cards. Either way, when you next look up, it’s the end of the line and the conductor is shouting “all change please”.

One thing I have learnt over the years and it recently hit me when I said it to a friend was that I know the true meaning behind “be careful what you wish for”. I have learnt the value of these words separately and as the string. I don’t know about you guys out there, but when I wish, I ask the stars for what I want most in that moment. I have never wished to win the lottery, for world peace, or for things like shoes. I’m not that way inclined. This may not be a shock anymore, but I have always wished for love. Even writing this now sounds pathetic but I think I have to let this all go. I have had some incredible people try and love me over the years. I have had different version of love stories that all could have been beautiful variances of something that could have resembled the happy ending. And at those times, I think I attracted what I was ready for, the first love, the ideal woman, the lover’s leap, and the best friend turned lover. I had all of the main themes covered by love stories. I’ll describe them one by one to help you understand their characters and that chapter:

  • The first love – first relationship with a woman and together for 4 years. We were that couple that met and everyone knew we would get engaged and when people asked “how did we know that we didn’t want anyone else” we said we just knew. In my head, we were the couple that didn’t “need to date around” and we would make it. God I was so wrong, and a month after we got engaged, we ended and tried to be friend years later but well we just don’t work as friends.
  • The ideal woman – one of the more recent woman in my life, a work colleague. When I thought about my ideal partner, this woman ticked all the boxes. Clever, reflective, similar job, independent, beautiful, honesty every box was ticked. We were getting to know each other and well, all I can say is that weeks of hurt and uncertainty later, we ended. I pushed too hard for her to give me more far to soon, much sooner then she was ready for and she broke my trust. Safe to say we ended before we began and now it’s feels like we never existed.
  • The lovers leap – this is my aka ultimate love story, the one I wanted all along. From a young age, my favourite love stories were those where the couple married soon after meeting, days, weeks or months later and then loved happily ever after. I had this. 3 months in and I was engaged and buying a house. The story was beautiful to me. However, a beautiful story has to have the right characters. When it came down to the wire, I knew it wasn’t right. I left everything and walked away.
  • The best friend turned lover – the one I didn’t see coming but has stayed around for years. The one where our kids would be picture perfect and inevitably the road to an us was future focused but rocky. The permanence of a future was something I didn’t doubt and her love was my backbone. I will never doubt what she felt for me, and no doubt still feels. But we ended and the road to us currently seems to have been more of a cul-de-sac. We go around and around the house but never get anywhere. Safe to say, she spoke and I have finally listened.

So why am I explaining this. Well I think I have lost these individuals along the way, these stories will forever remain chapters in my book that have ended. So I was thinking about it. At one point in my life, I wished for all of these loves. I wished for these stories to play out. Was I watering the plastic plants thinking they would grow? I have had the love I wished for and I lost it. Whatever you have, you only lose what you cling to. But what if what you cling to, wasn’t never yours? What if I wasn’t meant to have any of them, what if I was just a chapter in their books?

So the wishing game needs to come with a health warning. The dangers are occurred by just playing. If you put your desires into a box and say that is what you want, you limit yourself. You are the only limit to your life. You set the pace of your life and I know what it means now by you have time. I have time to find out what character the next person will play, or if any of the above will make a comeback, who they will play. I just don’t wish for them anymore. I will take my time on me. Someone once wrote “working on myself, by myself, for myself” and I don’t know who it said it. However, may be that is because it is the determined voice of every person who wants to find themselves and their place in their own story. I go back to the conductor who is saying “all change please”, well shouldn’t that be me in my life? It won’t get any better than this. This is the “one time” performance and the world’s eyes are all waiting for me to take center stage. They will take you on my own estimate of my worth and on the performance you give. I will be the one winking back when looking directly into the eyes of the biggest storm. Maybe, for now, I am just looking for my lines. Maybe I just want to find myself and be her. I know I want love. I don’t want to be single forever but if that’s the cards I am dealt, I will play my ace.

I would like to apologise to all those people named above for the role I played in our demise. I was one half of the problem. Thank you for trying to run with me when your legs were tired. I hope life is good for all of you, and if not, I hope it gets better. If any of you ever come back, the kettle is on. There will be no more scripts for you to have to memorise, no more obstacles. If not, then I respect your decisions. This isn’t an invite for you all, and I won’t be sending this as a letter and making contact. It’s just an invite to say that if you still feel our chapter isn’t done, the ink is still wet, then pick your moment, say hello. I don’t have the script to say this is a happy ending but everything starts with a hello. To the next character to want an appearance, tread with caution and actually, hold off for a while. I’m not an easy person. My own mother calls me hard work but I’ll bring a love you have never seen before, shall we get there. Give me time to warm up to an idea of unscripted life, I’m currently licking my wounds in my rabbit hole but I’ll be back. That all sounds like a contradiction but I guess what I am trying to say is that, I am open to whatever life has to throw at me. I am letting go on my own narratives and letting things just play out now. I’m lost for words and I have to rely on myself.

Letting it go,

Ivy xx

Suddenly

Meander

Captivating

Weaponisation words

Evening all,

So this evening I had a conversation that hurt. I may not always express myself clearly, more often then not but your words hurt. Words hurt. They string and left the lash marks upon my skin. Strings of words with vicious tails. When someone you know says statement that make you feel that to them, an aspect of your life is pointless, it hurts. We spend years works on ambitions because we feel it’s worthwhile, we gain sometimes from them. To have such disagreement vocally expressed at you, well, leaves me feeling hurt. So it got my thinking about views and words. The views we have, the differences it creates, the hurt they cause and the war they start. More important for me, above all else, the potential impact of my future decisions. In short, views can be changed and words don’t have to be said.

I happily describe myself as a people person. I like to get to know people, to explore, to understand them. I value the art of conversation and opinions. I value the quality that those differences bring to life. But what I don’t like is the way these words are sometimes portrayed. The words we choose to se, either flippantly or considered have consequences. I choose to see past labels with people. I dig deeper, I see the father, the daughter, the friend, the person behind the scarlet letter. I see the product of circumstance, the rough upbringing, the impossible situation, the outweighed success and the perceived picture of failure that we as individual pace upon ourselves. I guess I prefer to not see the whole person but instead the sum of their parts. I think a person is best valued this way. And when people indirectly undermine that and belittle it, it hurts. We all have views but it’s important to remember that those views are not shared and can cause detrimental effects on a person’s sense of identity. It sounds heavy, loaded, and anger, I was those things, I have those feelings, as we all do, but I hurt. I feel defensive about my life choices. I chose a complex path as much as it chose me and I love my journey.

This got me thinking about disagreements. I am the first to love a good debate. Rigidity is only based on naivety. If you choose not to flip the coin over and have a look, that’s your choice. If viewpoint could be not changed then why do government parties campaign? Why did Brexit parties tour the country and talk to people about the issues involved? A viewpoint may or may not be changed if the individual holding it decides to open their mind to it to the possible of a different narrative. I don’t talk about my job but I will say this, my job is not for the faint hearted or the narrow minded. And I understand that there are people out who decide to not agree with me. That is absolutely fine. But what is not fine is the ones that who know more and just think it okay to say statement that undermine the value of my work, my passion. It is not okay to make someone feel that their work is not making a difference just because it’s not something you would do. So to those who think it’s okay to voice those views, I have something to say, next time you don’t agree with someone’s profession, don’t you dare undermine their value in the work they do when they do nothing but support you in everything you have every done. Don’t you think the world and his wife has enough to see to me already? You are not Mr. Public and you know how important this is to me. Do not use your word as your selected weapons just because you don’t agree. Consider your choice of words and what that will leave me feeling like. When you wouldn’t say it in front of my friends in a dinner party, what makes you think it’s okay to say it to me behind closed door? I do what they do! I hold the same opinion and I value what I do just as much.

I am not the common, the sheep, or the easily lead. I have my views and I reserve my judgements until I know facts. I chose to wait for the big reveal to see what I want to do. I love that side of me. A book is always better than it’s cover and I end it’s most recent page. I wonder deeper and think bigger than most people I know. I see the world as a beautiful place and these is always time for a comeback, for a second chance. This is where you will find me, living in HD colour and seeing every hue. I chose to refrain from hurting others with my words because people can be momentary fragile, but people come back. I am not down and out, my friend, but merely finding my feet, I wonder what your world looks like in black and white with you “unchangeable views”. I won’t change my viewpoint but I’ll just change the setting.

So for tonight, I will give myself a hug, work my crap out, and give myself a break. Your views are not mine. Your words don’t have ink and will fade into the pool along with my own feelings. Diluted value within and left alone. Kindness goes somewhere, it can save a life, mend a heart, lift a dark cloud. It’s never the solution but it always helps the journey. It makes friends out of stranger and a home out of a house. It’s such a beautiful thing. My fellow bloggers, do me a favour as I never ask for them, send one message to someone and tell they you appreciate them. Say hello to a stranger or buy the next man in line a coffee. Tell me that I’m not crazy. Be the change you want to see in the world. Do anything for some one else. I promise you, it matters.

To those listening, you are more than the title given to you,

Ivy xx

Wonder

Provoke

The problem with reflections…

So little (not so) secret about myself, I am a deep thinker, reflector, and analyzer. Some may just go as far as saying that I ‘overthink’ everything. I am okay with that. I like to think that it’s healthy to reflect and think about ourselves, the wider context, the world from our point of view.

The problems with reflections are that they always say something back. A mirror will always have your portrait, a thought will always have a reason, and a feeling will always have a reaction. In one way these I class to be objective as they all serve a purpose. Each of these items has a function to us. In another way, these are all subjective, because we will only read what we want to see (wow this outfit makes me look great). However, if you look deep enough, you may not like what is really staring back at you. Underneath the layers of crap, are the questions and thoughts that you just do not know how to answer anymore. Is this the right job? Right relationship? Is this who I really am?  Something looking at yourself will give you more questions than answers. Previously I didn’t stop to even look because what if that was everything I already knew.

Today I looked at myself and saw too deep. I saw an amalgamation of the consequences of my actions, behaviors and poor choices. I saw the impatience of my progress, the build up of a hundred stored tears, a plan with no structure. I am doing what I always do. Unhelpful.

I watched my plants today in the sun. I noticed the light hitting their leaves. Thinking more deeply (as always), I realise that they are incredible. Plants are incredible because despite where someone placed them, they do what they have to to survive. They bend, they twist, they grow all whilst constrained to a plant pot. I put them there, I placed them in that situation, that environment, without their input, and they did what they had to. They thrive. How amazing is that? In the story of my life, I am the gardener and the plant. I put myself here, in this environment, in this situation and now I have to bend, twist and grow to develop. I have to realise what I want in life and learn that I need time and space. Stop chasing the darkness when I thrive off light. I want to blossom and bloom. I want to grow until I am too big for my pot. I want to be bursting with roots so strongly grounded that nothing ruins me again. I have the soil, the water, the sunlight, embrace it Ivy. Let it in, let it warm your leaves, deepen your roots. What are you so afraid of? You put yourself here now grow yourself out of it!

Branching out,

Ivy xx

Typical

Branch

What’s left behind

Good afternoon virtual void,

Take that as it was intended to be, a compliment. A void is an empty space but it is also something that has no legal binding or enforcement. This space, these pages, are my dumping grounds that do not judge me for my lack of communication, my appearance, my mood. It has no demands, just limitless space solely for me. It’s beautiful and it feels like my best friend sometimes. Its funny that I found a best friend in such a void. Or this is just me finally learning to love myself? Either way, your value and simple existences is greatly appreciated.

I found this thought today when I was sitting in Starbucks in my town and planning my weekend to London. Tomorrow morning I jump on a coach to the big smoke for a weekend of self love. Just me, myself and I (and oh about 3 million strangers) in a city of dreams. The city where I stopped being my mother’s daughter, the sister, the child and I stared at the world as Ivy. I threw all the titles in a bin and said “This is me, world. Ready or not.” I felt my strength and passion for people and life grow as I shred the layers of naivety and self doubt. Looking back now, just wow! What a life I have made for myself. The things I have seen, the people I have met. I’m going “home” for a weekend like a child does when they take their school work home to put on the fridge.

This got me thinking about what is left behind after the world takes it’s pounds of flesh each day. After the light fades and darkness creeps in. Where pillows welcome home their masters and the unconditional love written all over the my walls speaks to me to say “it’s okay, I missed you.”

I see myself in all the different hats I wear on the walls – the best friend, the auntie, the sister, the daughter, the graduate, the mother to my dog. Then I see my favourite photo in a beautiful white vintage frame. I see my niece and I on the beach from Christmas just past. I see me there, the version that is still there after all the labels are removed, after the world has had enough of me for a day. I see the version that is always there but few actually get to see. I see the girl that made her own world out of the rumble of a thousand wars but a million victories. I see the girl wearing a bathing suit and smiling. Unfortunately, this society tries to make me feel ugly because it is ugly. Society is an ugly beast with a beautiful face and impossible expectations. However in this picture, I see a girl who is bigger than your “average” girl and I am smiling. I am smiling a big fuck you to society smile. That is the girl I am taking home for the fridge, the girl that will be getting on the coach tomorrow. I wear my battle wounds with my medals of honour and I don’t let the world get to close to me anymore. I cry so many less tears these days but I still pack the tissues. Society, people, supposed love stopped apologising for hurting my feelings and I stopped expecting them to change. I got the confidence to walk away from those people, those places, those ideations that left me in a rumble and I got stronger. I see all this when I see that picture. I just see me and I am doing okay.

So what’s left behind when all is said and done? Well, me. Me is the developed, refined form. Me that never tears myself down anymore. Me that goes to sleep every night saying to myself “well done and I love you.” I do love myself and I am proud of myself. I have come so far since you London. I cannot wait for you to see me, you are going to be so proud. I am more than society can handle. I will feel your touch and smile. I will be alone and I will become familiar with you again, even just for a weekend. I will fall in love with you whilst you get to know me. You will see the girl in that picture dancing on my own. There is room for improvement but I have a solid base now, I am not hollow anymore. I am substance. I am beautiful. I am proud to be me.

We all feel that we could have done something differently or handled a situation better. However, what butterfly effect would that have caused. Yes I would have been more grateful for my family, was less moody as a teenager and spent more time with my father before he passed away. But those moments taught me lessons about time being precious and be kind above all else which I may not have learnt those lessons otherwise. So instead of reliving that, I want to say well done to myself. I’ve coped well and I am still standing. Because in this society, we are all a bit too quick to criticise and find faults within ourselves. We should be taking the time and building ourselves up. We need to love the crap out of ourselves in order to survive. We need to gave ourselves a break because life is hard and it’s cold. Society is brutal and as unforgiving as the concrete you hit at the bottom. All you can do is pick yourself up, stand tall, and drown them out.

So ready or not, here I come,

Ivy xx

Conversant

Uncompromising

Grasp

Breathing again

Hi all,

So one eventful weekend and 300 miles later, I am put the vacant sign on my door and left my little world with all of my hurt and pain behind me – at least for this week. I am come to the beautiful Wye Valley with my mother and I am armed with my camera, walking boots, my iPad, books and all my favourite jumpers. We are currently staying in a castle on the hill (cue Ed Sheeran) and realising that life can simply change in a instant.

My life is evolving and I am just starting to really breathe again. I left my perfect picture life a few months ago because it wasn’t enough. It wasn’t working for me anymore. It had a good recipe but not the right ingredients. Within a short time, my life had done a complete 180 and I find myself single, relocated into the first house share I saw, and frankly petrified. What if I had make the biggest mistake? What if I just got scared? What if my new housemates are weird? So many doubts running through my mind. And it was only when the entertainment was done, the crowds had gone and the lights were off, did I find myself alone and I crying every night. December flew by and the world didn’t let me be. The weight was heavy and I was sinking deeper. I swear Davy Jones felt my presence in the depths of December. A lifesaver saved me and the tears eventually stopped falling and I was no longer seeing the hours of 3 and 5am. But then you happened, you threw me a curveball and the chains around my ankles sunk me, the shock of the ice water reminded me faintly of the (not so distant) December. The water felt crashing on my chest and the pillows soon felt my tears once again. I saw you and I was so torn. I love you but I couldn’t feel you. You touched me and I felt like my body was fighting you like a disease. I felt so conflicted.

Now you’re gone but the tears remain, even this foreign pillow has had the pleasure. My phone has been drawn to your number so many times but the words fail to overpower my feelings. The thorns are pricking me as reminders and I chose not to want to bleed. I don’t see you calling but then why should you? We agreed on space and then why did my heart cry for you to stay the moment you left? Why do I pray that every car that passes my window be yours? Why do I wish you were my Joe Fox and I would be your Kathleen Kelly? But then I am not calling so is this just the heartbreak before the mending? I think I see you but wonder if I can see myself around you. There is so much insecurity with regard to you and the idea of an us that I cannot think clearly. Those famous words “I hoped it would be you” whispered in the final scenes by Kathleen when she realises her heart’s desire had clashed with her unknowable pride fill my thoughts. What if I whisper to the wind that I hope it will be you – will that message reach your ears and drive you enough to see you hatch an unseen plan to make sure it’s you? Do your words carry such weight or will I see those words pass by on feather in the wind as the first storm. Do your feelings for me provide you roots in the gusts or am I merely just a leaf to you awaiting a simple puff of air.

Regardless of your intentions, I am breathing and I know my tears will stop falling. I will not wait to be saved or reassured. Davy Jones will not see me again and I will not sink into his locket. My resilience runs deeply than my desires and my dear safety net will catch me every time. Today I aim to just breathe and maybe tomorrow it will be just as hard but in time I will stop being so conscious of my breathe. My days will not change dramatically but more slowly and I will recognise the difference all at once. Away for the eyes of the world, I will be the girl who dared to dream once again and have the courage to touch it. I hold myself in such regard but I know I am so afraid of tomorrow’s portrait. However, we will become familiar with each other and tomorrow will learn to deal with my expectations of it and I will become accustom to it’s existence in my life. We will work together and I will soon not only recognise but like the way you look. Tomorrow will be my favourite promise and today will be my favourite day of the week. But for now the only certainty I know and that I hold dear is the knowledge that despite the length of time between my breathes or the pain that I feel in those moments, every breathe will go and a new will come. I will continue to exchange carbon dioxide for oxygen and that’s enough for now.

With every breathe I am fighting,

Ivy xx

A beautiful thing is never idealistic

Hello old friend,

I sometimes find a pausation when these isn’t a warning sign in sight. A spanner gets thrown into the works due to other’s inability to shoulder uncertainty or blame. Or even to see the view from the other side of the bridge. It’s like a whip of cold air on a waterfront when I feel lost in my vulnerary reflections. Your words, resembling those from a domineering enfant terrible of an otherwise picture perfect moment, cast doubts and leave me standing without an alibi. Do you demand such control within all the games you play? And does this still feel virtuous to you?

I watch the waves crash and burn consistently and wonder how that much the resilience feels. Does the ocean ever depend on the rocks to break into drift? Or does it just exist alongside? I find myself enviously watching the water and wondering if I could be ever be so bold, so thought provoking and so beautifully decathected? I have fallen apart so many times without a safety net and always decided that it was easier to depend on myself than let others in. I didn’t think that I didn’t need anyone, because I do, I like people’s existence in my life. Instead I just got habitual about it – and it got easier to turn off.

However I did not bank on a beautiful thing to resemble my reflection. I did not think that I would be looking into the faces of my housemates only to see them pass me the mirror instead of the iconic lines. We sat in the lounge and they gave me the only tool I needed – myself. They came into my life as collateral damage when I blew my own world up. And just like that, when I wasn’t looking for a beautiful thing but merely a solution, I found them. I have learnt that the idealistic isn’t the necessary. Sometimes the best things are found without a search light. I stumbled into my safe haven only needing a bed and gained a home. Gained a family outside of the restrictive titles. My habitual nature varnished as beautifully as a fading light and I knew I had stumbled upon something special. I suddenly didn’t feel the need to have any answers and bend until breaking point but merely the confidence to hold myself. I found strength in my small army and got back up again. It all felt like a momentary slip, the blur of the days, months gone, my head cleared. I didn’t feel alone or afraid to be brave.

I think back now to the waves and realised that the water isn’t a Lone Ranger but a collection of appointees comprised of a heartsome nature. My own formulation of strength tainted the view of what was actually there, deciding that my mindset was objectionable evidence.

So thank you both for being the difference. For being the beautiful thing I didn’t see until I was standing in the dark.

Good night,

Ivy xx

Messy