MONTHLY REFLECTIONS: Goodbye September, Hello October!


It's been another wonderful month, although there's been a lot of physical pain and exhaustion this past few weeks, I have managed to cope and actually thrive! 

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

I AM PROUD OF

I can't believe I am saying this, but I am proud of quite a few things this month. The mean voice in my head always puts me down and wins, but I'm kicking its' ass recently; I'm challenging that fucker head on, and it's paying off.

When that mean voice starts going, I've found it helpful to challenge it by saying:

"Yes I hear you, but this is an old thought pattern which didn't help me or let me grow. Also, what you're saying is not justifiable. So, I disagree with you and I'm going to pursue anyway"

It's helped me feel proud of so many things I've done for myself this month (WHO DIS?!) Like the following:


My Etsy Shop 


I'm proud of how well I'm managing my Etsy Shop; it's slow and I'm not going as fast as I'd usually go with a thing. BUT! I am in recovery and slow is necessary right now. Treading carefully and going slow has helped me manage to be productive in many aspects of my life, like my Beija Flor Jewellery shop, my ability to manage my self-care routine and healing progress. If you want to check my out my shop, just click here.


My Blog



I'm extremely proud for keeping up with my blog; I've managed to keep posting regularly and increased my blog traffic; I'm now getting approximately 3x more traffic than a couple of months ago - so YAY!

I'm also getting a lot more engagement with my readers; mainly over on Instagram, but I'm loving talking to the gems that read my words and want to talk about how they relate! It's a special kind of beautiful when people feel inspired by your work.


My Writing




 I'm proud of myself for managing to write every day. Be it a blog post, journalling and/or   general "getting my thoughts on   paper" type writing. I'm just doing it and I'm extremely proud of that, especially as I was struggling to write anything a couple of months ago.







Signing up to Laura Jane Williams' Writing Workshop


I signed up to Laura Jane Williams' "Don't Be a Writer, Be a Storyteller" online course and I cannot wait! I've always enjoyed writing and my dream is to one day be a published writer. So, this is me working towards that dream, and I'm damn proud of myself for taking this step. If this is something you're interested in, then click here to learn more. And above is her brilliant online course Trailer.


Contacting Open University regarding doing a Post Graduate

That's right, I'm thinking of doing a Post Graduate degree. Well, not just thinking anymore; I have decided I am going to do one. If I meet the entry requirements and they LET ME IN, then I will be studying for an MA in Creative Writing starting in October 2018. Eek!


I AM LETTING GO OF

Hatred for my body. Guilt. Perfectionism.

Simple as that.

No, of course it's not simple. But I'm working on it.

Hatred for my body, guilt, and perfectionism are things that have caused me a lot of harm and held me back over the years. And I feel like I've reached a point where I'm really done with feeling those things, especially for unjustified reasons. With this in mind, I've decided to sign up to all sorts of Self Love challenges and personal development events, with the aim of helping myself love me as I am.

As a result, I just completed Mel Wells #SelfLoveWeek challenge and it's been so eye & mind opening, and truly helpful when thinking of how I treat my body and why I need to love it truly, madly, deeply. Day 4's challenge "I Love My Body Because..." had me feeling quite emotional and rit also had me doing some serious self-discovery. I ended up posting this photo on instagram; it was the result of the emotions & discovery that came to me:

* M Y • B O D Y * #SelfLoveWeek with @iammelwells // Day 4 challenge: "I Love My Body Because..." Fuck me, I've got so many reasons to love this body! It's survived so much, it's unbelievable. I'm in awe of its' power. It's survived surgeries, seizures, self-harm, starvation, binge eating, alcohol abuse, drug abuse, suicide attempts; physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional and mental abuse. And it's still going! • After everything it has been through, and is still going through, this body is still going strong, and I fucking love it for standing for and by me through thick & thin. • This body also moves in beautiful & fun ways; I'm a dancer at heart and this baby allows me to express myself through dance, and I'm forever grateful for that. • I've punished it so much and told it it's ugly and full of marks & scars & cellulite & stretch marks & it's too thin or too fat! I've shouted at it going: "I JUST WANT YOU TO LOOK LIKE THAT BEAUTIFUL NORMAL WOMAN?!" (What the fuck even is "normal"?!) • And for all the abuse, I am truly sorry, baby. You're enough and I'm proud of you. I Love You Because you've been there with me through every-fucking-thing and you're still going with me; I was against you for a long time but you never let me down! I'm sorry and thank you; from now on I'm with you all the way πŸ’ͺπŸ™❤️ πŸ–€ #mybody #body #truth #me #selfie #selfiewanker #ownit #slay #beautiful #beauty #photooftheday #picoftheday #self #selfcare #love #live #life #healing #selflove #bpd #recovery #proud #grateful #natural #thisisme #bodypositive #bodypositivity #awareness #adventure
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Guilt
I feel guilt for...everything! And mostly it is unjustified guilt; guilt that doesn't belong to me or it's something that there's no need to feel guilty for. For example, if someone steps on my shoes, I feel guilty that I was in their way, and I end up apologising. I imagine many people can relate to this too!

But, I'm making it a priority to let go of that guilt, I've been working on this for a while in reality, but this week I'm kicking my focus up another notch!

Guilt is a healthy reaction when it is felt as a result to justifiable guilt, like say, if I cheated on a partner. But this is not usually my problem, my problem is usually as mentioned above and also things like "Ah man, I feel really shit! I'm gonna have to cancel on my dinner with that friend because I don't feel well. I feel so guilty!" - this is unjustified guilt, as usually when this happens, I do it to take care of myself. One of the main things I've ever learned is that there is selfish and self-care, and your self-care always takes priority.


Perfection
Ah fucking perfectionism! "ARGH" - AMIRITE?! Perfectionism has held me back most of my life. I always think "can't do that, cause it won't be perfect, so fuck it". But that changes now; from now on I am officially fully embracing imperfection. Actually, I am going to deliberately be "off key" and imperfect sometimes, to honestly & genuinely express my emotions. What matters is how I feel and how I fit into my moment and experience. And same goes for all of us. 

In the words of Sia:

"...And I don't care if I sing off key
I found myself in my melodies
I sing for love, I sing for me
I shout it out like a bird set free
No I don't care if I sing off key
I found myself in my melodies
I sing for love, I sing for me
I'll shout it out like a bird set free..."


Something that's been key to my progress in the above areas is AFFIRMATIONS. I recently attended a FIERCE talk at the Scarlet Ladies HQ; where Rachael Welford talked about loving herself and her body and how she got to where she is now. It was so fucking INSPIRING and it's really helped me change a few things about how I see myself.

I've noticed that I've made progress already (the talk was only two weeks ago); I'm feeling more confident in my body, it's like suddenly I understand that I'm so much more than how I look. I'm also being kinder to myself, and I'm opening myself up to good things coming my way - I'm doing these with affirmations - and as always with therapy too - which is something I learned from Rachael during this beautiful and honest talk.

I highly recommend checking out her website, she gets up to some amazing work and has some awesome events coming up - click here to find out more. 



WHAT AND/OR WHO HAS INSPIRED ME


This month my biggest inspirations have come from Rachael Welford (mentioned above) and Laura Jane Williams from Superlatively Rude.

Laura Jane Williams is the author, and general badass woman, who wrote a memoir called 'Becoming' about "sex, second chances and figuring out who the hell I am". I read 'Becoming' in June of last year (2016) and oh my Buddha, it was so life changing; Laura made me believe that I am the heroine of my life and that I should go for it! That feeling has stayed with me.

This month though, whilst writing a piece about what book contributed to me talking about sex for the #ITalkSex campaign (I wrote about the campaign here -"#ITalkSex Because...") I ended up re-reading parts of 'Becoming', and I feel inspired all over again. It's like an inspiration refresher, and it's bloody wonderful! It's got me fighting harder for the good things I want in life; it's got me fighting harder for me. Thanking you always & forever Laura.

Now for the lovely Rachael Welford. I don't know where to begin, as I'm still processing just how inspiring and wonderful Rachael was, is! Ok, so as I mentioned above, I went to one of Rachael's talks - here is a little about the event.

This was a couple of weeks ago and after hearing her story I thought "this woman is me five years from now!" Imagine being able to talk to future you and get tips! Hah! Rachael is also super lovely, so meeting her and chatting with her for hours was truly a treat!

We mainly spoke about affirmations and healing and our experiences and energies. And I agreed with every bloody thing she said. Her recommendations regarding affirmations and doing them daily, has been one of the best practices for me. I posted about it on Instagram - because of course I would; I'm an Instagram whore, s'what I do innit.

*A F F I R M A T I O N S * I learned some more about affirmations yesterday and the 4 P's; that, ideally, affirmations should be: 1) Personal 2) Present tense 3) Positive 4) Powerful And! That I should be Persistent (another 'P'); and keep reminding myself and practising my affirmations. • So, as it's early days, I've decided to focus on and practise only one of my affirmations today (I'll keep adding more and more one day at a time), and I thought I'd share it as it's a big one, and I have a feeling others might relate. • Here it goes: "I choose to love myself as I am; body, mind and soul, in any weight, age or hairstyle!" • Have you lovely lot got any affirmations? πŸ–€ #affirmations #wellness #wellbeing #love #practice #life #live #health #work #selfcare #selflove #words #advice #onestepatatime #bpd #bipolar #healing #recovery #me #selfie #ootd #fashion #look #hair #swag #like #girl #woman #spiritual #hippie
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Also, seeing someone who has similar mental health issues to me doing so well, has really inspired me to keep going and helped me feel more hopeful about the future. Just because I have a mental illness, it doesn't mean that I can't have everything I want; "it is ok for me to have everything I want" - that's one of my favourite affirmations (I'll note all of my affirmation in the last section of this post - 'Important Messages + Reminders').


WHAT I FOUND DIFFICULT+WHAT HELPED ME


Difficult:
  • Managing my manic moods
  • Accepting my weight
  • Managing my Jewellery shop
  • Kick starting my emotion diary, which is part of my therapy progress
  • Managing my period pains, which is most likely Endometreosis, but I am waiting for a Laparacospy to be sure. 

Helped me: 

  • Scarlet Ladies talks have helped me a lot; in terms of feeling confident and finding my voice!
  • Prioritising self-care has also been a biggie - whenever I stop to think "what are my values and am I doing the self-care thing right now", I then check in with myself and identity what I need to do or  put in place for me. The affirmations in the last section of this post 'Important Messages + Reminders' have been key to this. Also, I have a list of values which I identified with the help of my therapist early on in my in therapy - I'm currently working on a post about that so watch this space!
  • The only thing that helped me with my torturous period pains this month was rest; not much movement at all, and a Castor Oil treatment that my therapist passed on to me, and I simply must share with anyone who struggles with Endometreosis. 

Here it is:
Castor Oil Transdermal Packs
At the beginning of the menstrual cycle, when the first symptoms of cramping become noticeable, a castor oil transdermal pack can dramatically reduce the severity of symptoms throughout the cycle. This is the basic procedure:
  • A wash cloth should be soaked in pure, cold-pressed castor oil that is obtained from a health food store
  • The wash cloth should be placed on bare skin on the lower stomach
  • Put a piece of plastic on top of the cloth, such as a plastic grocery bag or cling film
  • Place a hot water bottle on top of that. The water should be made as hot as possible, so long as you can tolerate it
  • Leave this in place for at least 30 minutes.
The above procedure can also be done repeatedly during the cycle to provide relief. However, one treatment is usually enough to provide massive relief. Women should use only dioxin-free, unchlorinated feminine products, especially tampons. Consuming Brazil nuts is ideal too, because they contain folate, selenium, and magnesium, which have all been shown to reduce menstrual cramps.

It worked for me, and if you decide to try it, I hope you have a similar result. 


WHAT MADE ME SMILE


  • All the times I spent in 23 Paul Street with the Scarlet Ladies 
  • Talking about the future with my mum, and my brother, and my best friends
  • Seeing my brother happy with his new job
  • My mum getting her first job as a social carer, since graduating from the Open University
  • Going to Temple of Seitan with my person (my person is my best friend Janine, just FYI)
  • Talking about doing a Post Graduate degree with the Open Uni
  • The Satifyer Pro Range of sex toys - I wrote about them here

BOOKS, MOVIES, POSTS, PODCASTS, MUSIC, PLACES I'VE ENJOYED 


BOOK(S)

Becoming
'Becoming' by Laura Jane Williams - mentioned above and this post says it all really!

Finished reading this beautiful, inspiring, honest book. First of all I'm excited because I'm finally able to read again (crippling depression can fuck that up sometimes). • Secondly, @superlativelylj has changed my life in a way. I got this book at a really difficult time and it's like it was a message; Laura showed me that I'm enough and I can have a hell of a life if I focus on me, myself & I. Not in a narcissistic way but a self-care way. Thank you so much for sharing Laura, I can't imagine how hard it must've been to write this memoir. This book will have an impact on a gazillion others! (In a positive way!) • Lastly, Electric Coffee has the best coffee in London! #Fact #thisismybecoming #growth #life #selfacceptance #selfcare #selfdiscovery #time #mentalhealth #relationships #bpd #wellness #wellbeing #bekind #recovery #onedayatatime #reading #books #change #inspiration #inspiração #honest #belong #love #health #overcome #toughcookie #depression #anxiety #selfbelief
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MOVIE(S)

Marie Antoinette
It's not only a good entertaining movie and an astounding true story, but it also shows how women have always need unfairly treated and been blamed for every bloody thing. Yes, Marie Antoinette was privileged in many ways and no angel, but she also had so much pressure put on her to fix the Kingdom - simply because she was a woman who, apparently, needed to get pregnant. My eyes just rolled so hard!

When the kingdom fell apart, mainly thanks to her husband (King of France) financially supporting America's war, and thus breaking the people of France - it was Marie Antoinette that got the blame and was eventually hanged for it. I'm sure you know the story, so I don't think I'm spoiling anything. I hope. Gulp!

Also, Kirsten Dunst's performance as Marie Antoinette is just A+++!




POST(S)
A Tumblr post: 



That is all. 

PODCAST(S)

Proud to be Kinky Podcast 
I've recently began learning about Kink life and as a newbie, this podcast has been awesome to listen to, and I recommend it to anyone! In this particular podcast, the presenters discuss the internal conflicts that some of our kinks might cause us to have. To listen, read and learn more, click here.

For newbies like myself, Kink means:

"Sexual practices that go outside of the "norm"; Kink is considered to be unconventional sexual practices. I am still learning about this, but I have noticed that there is definitely a gray area - the definition of kink varies widely to include sexual acts ranging from BDSM to fetish to just doing things that are outside of "normal" sexual boundaries"

That's my definition based on all my research and conversations about Kink. I have been told that FetLife community and Proud to be Kinky podcast are great ways to learn and get into the Kink scene.


MUSIC

Sia

'This is Acting' and '1000 Forms of Fear' have been life saving and life changing for me, no exaggeration. Some of my favourite songs from these albums talk about strength and getting through hard times and actually becoming "Unstoppable" and "The Greatest". Can you see why I love Sia and have her songs on repeat?!

Some of my favourite songs, and ones I recommend you listen to are:

Bird Set Free
Alive
Unstoppable 
Reaper
House on Fire
Chandelier 
The Greatest
Free The Animal
Big Girls Cry
Elastic Heart
Move Your Body


Beyonce

I was never a huge fan of Beyonce, but her Lemonade album hit me in the feels. Mainly because, Bey - I've been there, done that. Beyonce's Lemonade album reminds me of my last relationship, A LOT. But the way in which she has written about her experiences, has really given me strength to go "Sorry, I'm not sorry" for talking openly and honestly about what I went through with you.

In the words of Bey:
"Where do you go when you go quiet?
You're like my father, a magician. Able to exist in two places at once
In the tradition of men in my bloody, you come home at 3AM and lie to me"

These words gave me actual TINGLES, because to me it describes part of my ex so well, and also my own father. These words give me life. Hence why Lemonade has made this list. If you're interested in learning more about the meaning behind the lyrics, click here.


PLACE(S)

A vegan chicken shop. Yep, you heard that right. A chicken shop that is vegan, and thus ahmazing! Delish food, I highly recommend. For more info, click here
Address: 10 Morning Lane, London, E9 6NA
(Nearest station is Hackney Central overground station or Bethnal Green underground station and then get the bus from there 106 or 254 towards Hackney Town Hall from there)

Angel is one of my favourite areas in London. I hope to live here one day. It's got everything; restaurants, cafes, theatres, shops, bars, clubs, supermarkets, cinemas, card shops, flowers...everything! Just go to Angel station (it's on the Northern line) turn right and check that side out, then go back to the station and turn left cause there is something all over Angel. Just go. Seriously.
For more info, click here.
Address: Angel tube station, Northern Line

The best coffee in London.
For more info, click here. 
'Nuff said.
Address: 40 Haven Green, London, W5 2NX

A beautiful independent cage & restaurant, also in Hackney. This cafe is one of the most Instagramable places I've ever been to. For more info, click here. 
Address: 411 Mare St, London, E8 1HY
(Nearest station is Hackney Central overground station or Bethnal Green underground station and then get the bus from there 106 or 254 towards Hackney Town Hall from there)


Here are some photos to prove just how pretty it is:













A few months ago, I joined the Scarlet Ladies at 23 Paul Street, to celebrate their/our new home. From now on, all Scarlet Ladies events will be held at this stunning, luxurious venue, rather than at different venues around London.

I wasn't sure what to expect, but this venue left me in awe!

23 Paul Street is a space like no other. This is a beautiful boutique house of striptease, with a twist. It is London's most ethical place of its kind; with a focus on female sexual empowerment and providing a safe space for women, where good manners and mutual respect are priority.



The house is split into four floors or 'Quarters', and the second floor is where the Scarlet Ladies home-from-home is based, every Tuesday evening from 5pm. If what you've read in this post interests you, then I recommend you go ahead and check the Scarlet Ladies website for upcoming events. You won't regret it!




23 Paul StreetThe Vault (Basement): Where it all begins 



23 Paul StreetMr Stendhals, on the first floor: Provides a more private striptease experience



Welcome to The Reserve (Second floor): This secret bookcase entrance just adds to the magic of the Scarlet Ladies. It leads to a laid back suite of rooms that, every Tuesday, is exclusively ours

The wonderful ladies who work at 23 Paul Street are fabulous and always manage to make me feel so at home; and I never thought I could feel so comfortable in a house of striptease! Every time I walk out of  its' doors, I feel a sense of...abandoning my place of comfort. Thanks to severe anxiety, I usually struggle everywhere I go, but 23 Paul Street has been amazing at making this beautiful house feel like my home. And I'm so grateful.


23 Paul Street also host a 'Ladies Only' night called 'Mint Tease'; it's a tease party for just us ladies! Eeek! To find out more about this wonderful event, click HERE.


IMPORTANT MESSAGES+REMINDERS


Thank you to Rachael Welford at Welford Wellbeing and to my therapist for helping me with the below affirmations and reminders:

  • Always stick to and live by my Values & Boundaries!
  • Fuck what others think of me
  • Well-behaved women seldom make history
And here is my book of affirmations:




Hope it's all been useful!

Have a beautiful October, lovely.

xoxo


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