MONTHLY REFLECTIONS: Goodbye August, Hello September!


And finally, on the 3rd of September, she finally manages to finish off her August Monthly Reflections! It's been a wonderful August, but I gotta say that I am really looking forward to this new month; I have lots of lovely things planned for September and YAY for Autumn!

So, looking back over August, and forwards to September:


I AM PROUD OF

I am incredibly proud of moi for putting myself out there and taking part in wonderful campaigns like the #ITalkSex campaign and Sophie Mayanne's 'Behind the Scars' photo series.


Photo by Faby and Carlo for the Scarlet Ladies #ITalkSex campaign 

Photo by Sophie Mayanne for her 'Behind the Scars' photo series 

I wrote about the #ITalkSex campaign and why I Talk Sex HERE - I really think you should go read more about it, if you haven't already. As for the Behind the Scars photo series, that post is a work in progress - watch this space.

I am also incredibly proud of me for ALL the hard work that I've put in to revamp and set-up ze new blog; 'Unapologetically Elly', and for all the work that I put in to set-up my Etsy shop - which I've named 'Beija Flor Jewellery'  - Beija Flor means Hummingbird in Portuguese (I'm from Brazil, where we speak Portuguese) and I love Hummingbirds and what they represent, so it felt right to name my little space after those beautiful creatures.

My shop is basically my take on hippie jewellery that I love, including Mala Beads, colourful quirky pieces and dainty beauties. And the shop is now LIVE - go check it out and let me know what you think! Click HERE.

Logo for my Etsy Shop!

But most of all I'm proud of myself for managing to stay on my recovery path (for those who don't know, I had a mental breakdown a few years ago and really hit rock bottom; I am now in recovery) by sticking to my values and boundaries, even with all the new projects, events and extra add-ons. You go girl! * flicks hair back *


I AM LETTING GO OF

Unhealthy comparison; I've spent too much time comparing myself to others this past month - I want less, to none, of that. So, I'm making a conscious effort to pay attention to my path; I want to worry less about what the person in the next lane is doing, and focus on my focus.

I say "unhealthy comparison" as I have also been doing some healthy comparison; I regularly compare the woman I am today to the woman I was this time last year, and fucking hell, I've worked hard and achieved some wonderful things, and new levels of awareness and emotional intelligence.

It 2017 me!

I've proved to myself that recovery and real living is possible. It's not easy, but I can do this.

I would also like to stop fear from getting in the way of me doing things; it's completely expected to feel fear, but I will work on not letting it hold me back.


WHAT AND/OR WHO HAS INSPIRED ME

Sarah and Jannette - 'nuff said. These two badass inspirational women are the co-founders of The Scarlet Ladies - learn more about their story HERE. You're welcome!

Anywhoozle, these ladies have proved that hard work really does pay off, and that you can go after your dreams and make them happen; yes, YOU CAN ACHIEVE YOUR GOALS! They've inspired me to challenge societal standards, beliefs and expectations, and shown me that I can make a difference by simply having a CONVERSATION! How BADASS is that?!

Someone else that has really inspired me is Tree Carr; Tree is a Dreaming Guide, Death Doula, Mystic, Filmmaker and Musician.

"Tree is an avid Lucid Dreamer and looks to her dreams for creative inspiration, self exploration, healing and the personal expansion of greater consciousness."
Last month (August) I attended one of Tree's Lucid Dreams workshops, and those few hours were life changing for me - I ended up opening up about my experiences of death and certain dreams I have, where loved ones who have passed away come back to visit me and give me messages through my dreams. Sometimes I also get death visitations whilst I'm awake, but these are usually of people I don't know rather than loved ones.

Anywhoozle, I spoke to Tree about this and well, turns out that these night dreams (and day dreams) which have left me rattled in the past, could actually be a gift rather than horrible, scary experiences. Tree has inspired me to explore this side of me without negative misconceptions, and I will be forever grateful to her for her words. To learn more about Tree and her work, click HERE.


WHAT I FOUND DIFFICULT
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WHAT HELPED ME

As someone with severe anxiety, it is really hard to put myself out there and do new things. But! reminding myself of how far I've come in my recovery, and that I can do amazing new things yet still be in recovery mode, has been incredibly helpful.

Another thing I've struggled with this August is accepting compliments, especially when I was told  by Tree Carr and my therapist that something I thought was a curse may actually be a gift - I'm talking about the death visitations that I get in my dreams. I've not spoken about this much at all, as saying it out loud made me feel like a freak.

This is something I struggled to accept at first. I'm guessing that's because to think of myself as "special" or "gifted" just goes against the self-loathing I've been doing for years. Well, to continue with my self-care routine, I am working hard to kindly ignore that negative mean voice that says I can't be special, and I've set a personal goal to fully embrace this gift and see where it takes me. As a result, I have decided to immerse myself into learning more about Shamanic Healing and also consider the possibility of me training as a Death Doula (something I think I would love to do.)

The main thing that has helped me this past month though, is giving myself time to process things and talking about it. I've actually been sharing how I'm feeling and how things are affecting me, rather than choosing to suppress and internalise it all. I've been communicating with my loved ones and through my online platforms, and it has been cathartic and extremely helpful to me. Processing and communication is so important, and doing these things has really got me through lately.


WHAT MADE ME SMILE

It's been a month of wonderful events and achievements! From the #ITalkSex campaign, and taking part in the 'Behind the Scars' photo series, to going on wonderful dates with my person; we found wonderful vegetarian goodness at one of Mildred's restaurants (we tried the Soho one).



And we also got to experience 'Romeo+Juliet' (Baz Luhrman's one, of course!) in a fairytale-like church, with live choir - it was beautiful, and sad, and powerful, and just gave me all the feels!



If this is an event you'd be interested in going to (I think they have more events like this coming up), then check out the Backyard Cinema website for more info - click HERE.

So, basically, August was a good month and I smiled a lot. Eek! Which is a huge difference to last August (August 2016) when I was falling apart thanks to abusive relationships and spending most of my time in pain.


BOOKS, MOVIES, ARTICLES, PODCASTS, MUSIC I'VE ENJOYED 

BOOK(S) 
I'm struggling to read big chunks of words at once (I get this from time to time - thanks mental ill health!) so, I'm re-reading my favourite poetry books; Milk & Honey by Rupi Kaur and Salt  by Nayyirah Waheed, as these books are a collection of beautiful smaller chunks of words, which I can handle.

Taken from Rupi Kaur's Milk and Honey 


Taken from Nayyirah Waheed's Salt 

Both of these books have helped me in my healing. They are truly wonderful, raw and honest words written by women who have been through traumatic events, and who pour their passion and emotions out into their words. In my opinion, these books are beautiful pieces of art, and I can't recommend them highly enough. Reading these words in my candle lit zen den, is some of the most wonderful moments I've had.


MOVIE(S)




I was not prepared for The Big Sick! I'd heard that it was about an interracial couple and the struggles they face when their cultures clash, but my oh my, emotions really took over me as I watched their story come to life on the big screen. It's an honest story about traditions, relationships, health, love, expectations and true feelings. A must watch, I say.



10 Years is just a fun, light-hearted movie. Y'know, for those days when you just want a good movie about life, old friends and the reality of trying to adult. I can't be the only one that has those days, right?


ARTICLE(S)
My favourite article this month is by far Ioan Marc Jones' Reading Orwell in the Dole Queue. I feel like Ioan really nails it when talking about the difference between how society sees those living on welfare and the actual reality of relying on welfare. 


"It was around October 2013 when I received my first dole cheque. At the time, the government and most mainstream tabloids were proselytising about an apparent ‘culture of dependency’. The Sun was running a typically hyperbolic campaign called ‘the war on welfare’. The ever-charming Daily Mail daily condemned the so-called scroungers purportedly unwilling to work. Commentators on Question Time claimed that the safety blanket of welfare had become a 10,000-thread count sheet made from Egyptian cotton. Families settled on sofas across Britain every evening to watch poverty porn on domestic television while social media erupted with faux-outrage. Shows such as Benefits Street gave viewers a misleading glimpse into the lives of welfare claimants. Mocking those without means was business and business was booming."

It's just a brilliant read, check it out, you guys. 


PODCAST(S)
I don't usually listen to Rachel Brathen's (better known as Yoga Girl) 'From the Heart' podcast, but last week (August 25th 2017) Rachel's "A Story of Rape and Responsibility" podcast with Thordis Elva, really caught my attention. And well, I may be tuning in to Rachel's podcast regularly now!



This particular podcast appealed to me as in the past 12 months I have found my voice, and finding that voice has resulted in me opening up about the sexual abuse I have experienced in my life. I've now turned into some sort of human sponge; soaking in as much as I can about other survivors' stories, and reaching out for others who have similar experiences.

In this podcast, Thordis Elva talks about the traumatic story of how she was raped by her boyfriend at 16 years old. She goes on to tell us about how this affected her and about the powerful healing journey she is on, which has involved confronting her perpetrator. The conversation naturally includes discussions on issues such as sexual assault, sexual abuse, rape and how, as a society, we deal with such crimes.

This is an intense listen but so worth it. But if you are going to listen to this podcast, please do tread carefully as it can definitely be a trigger.

I can really relate to Thordis' words and this particular sentence really touched me, so I'm going to leave it here:

"I ended up in a cycle where I was repeatedly re-traumatised and unfortunately assaulted more than once. So my mind I guess, subconsciously, realised that I had to go back to the source; I had to start my healing work from where it all began."
THE FEELS! Because - SAME! To learn more about Thordis Elva - click HERE.


MUSIC
I am currently OBSESSED with Melanie Martinez's debut album 'Cry Baby'. I love Melanie's sound, and this album really takes you on a journey, and it's a story I can really relate to.


Cover of Melanie Martinez's debut album 'Cry Baby'

The album is about a character, named Cry Baby (hence the name of the album), who is a fantasy version of Melanie Martinez when she was a child, and a representation of her vulnerable and mental side. Each song tells a childhood-related story, with adult themes; so, to me, it's about a disturbed child who had to grow up quickly in order to deal with adult problems. And whenever she displays any emotion, she is teased for being openly emotional; she is named a "Cry Baby".

I've also got Grace VanderWaal's song 'Moonlight' on repeat right now, you guys. In a statement announcing the song, Grace explained the inspiration behind it, saying:

"'Moonlight' is about somebody you know very well changing unnaturally over time right in front of you and pushing you away, so you want to help bring them back to their original self."

Here's the video. And once again, you're welcome!




HOW BEAUTIFUL IS THAT?!


IMPORTANT MESSAGES
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REMINDERS

Don't let fear stop you from being you. You're awesome, fucking embrace that shiz. Those who mind, don't matter and those who matter, don't mind!

When things get too hard, take a break if necessary, but keep on keeping on.

Repeat daily:

  • I am allowed to change and grow
  • I am allowed to be myself and let myself heal at my own pace
  • I am allowed to experience and express my feelings, sensations and sexuality
  • I am allowed to get my needs met in a healthy, open and satisfying way
  • I am allowed to walk away from toxic relationships
  • I am capable and I am allowed to go after what I want

Have a fabulous September, you gems. x

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