Monthly Reflections 2018: Goodbye October, Hello November...

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Looking back over October, and forwards to November:



I AM...PROUD OF

I am incredibly proud of my hunger for knowledge and my willingness to learn and to feed that hunger; I WANT KNOWLEDGE AND I WANT IT NOW! I'm reading, writing, researching, processing so much information lately; words on patience, independence (and how it's a myth), death, life, healing, spirituality, relationships, abuse, trauma, representation, equality, power, self-care, embracing our true selves...it's been a month filled with new information and knowledge for me.

I'm studying a lot via my own reserach at home and by going to educational and inspirational events. I'm also managing to keep my life and living space clutter free; I get overwhelmed when there's clutter for too long, and I'm doing well with keeping things organised and I'm also doing well in keeping toxic people out of my life. Oleeeee.




Lastly, I'm also proud of myself for asking for and accepting help when I need it. It's been a tough journey, but I'm growing and healing, and I'm proud of myself and grateful to those around me for that. My continued healing and growth wouldn't be possible without the supportive and understanding people in my life.


I AM...LETTING GO OF

It's still a work in progress, and something that will probably always be work in progress, but I am (working on) letting go of impatience and (working on) letting go of my need to control the outcomes in my life; for example, I want to have all the energy ALL THE TIME, I want to be back in full-time work NOW, I want to have my own charity NOW, I want to be a support worker NOW, I want to study all the things NOW, I want to have a published memoir NOW (I've only just started writing it!), I want to write all the things NOW, I want to exercise ALL THE TIME and do ALL THE THINGS AT THE SAME TIME.

I am truly overwhelming myself, and I would like to begin working on letting go of the need to have everything done NOW.

I'm working on just letting go; letting go of the illusion of control, of perfection, of the fear of being vulnerable, of impatience, of all the things that cause me distress and harm. I give myself permission to let go.

I included this quote in last month's reflections but I feel the need to use it again because it is so spot on!

"Detach from needing things to work out a certain way. The universe is perfect and there are no failures. Give yourself the gift of detaching from your worries and trust that everything is happening perfectly"
(Healing Energy Tools


Aaaaannnd this gem:

Image result for nothing is under control


I AM...GRATEFUL FOR

Having the opportunity to focus on recovery. I have been incredibly lucky to have the support of my family and to have been able to receive financial help which has allowed me to pay for private treatment. I have been able to pause, stop, HALT! my self and my whole life. I'm grateful to my family and the opportunities that have allowed me to do that.

This time last year, I was too anxious to open the front door and to give out sweets to all the trick or treaters. This year, I'm the one opening the door, and I'm genuinely enjoying talking and handing out candy! I thought I would never be able to do that again. Step by step, we get there. 

Here are some other things I am grateful for:

  • Words and healthy communication
  • Being able to genuinely smile and laugh again ~ there was a time when I didn't think this would evver happen again. Depression lied to me, and so did Anxiety 
  • Not feeling fatigued all the time; I have energy to do things nowadays, and it feels magical.
  • Feeling better and able to leave the house and explore London again. Yesterday, I travelled to Mile End, I would'nt have been able to do that a few months ago 
  • Education by those with lived experiences 
  • My mum
  • My family and friends, including my online community 
  • Decorations ~ I'm talking about the fun Halloween decorations, obvs. 
  • Stickers ~ I'm finding some beautiful and fun stickers in Tiger (the shop) and in Pound shops. I use them to decorate my journals, and I frikkin' loves it
  • Beautiful notebooks ~ especially my glittery ones where I can note down my words every day
  • Autumn ~ the sun is out but it ain't too hot. And it ain't too cold either. And the COLOURS 😍
  • Photography ~ I'm getting out and about with my camera again, and my oh my, how I enjoy photography as a hobbie. Bliss
  • The amazing eye opening and inspiring events that go on in London. I love feeding my mind with such experiences! 
  • That I continue to grow as a person and to heal
  • And that I can manage my bad days better than ever before

I AM...INSPIRED BY

Sonya Renee Taylor and 'The Body is not an Apology' movement. 

Whilst researching 'independence', I came across 'The Body is not an Apology' website, which instantly grabbed my attention. After reading some of the work and words on the website, I felt inspired, seen, understood, and empowered. I knew I had to learn more about the incredible mind behind this movement. That's where Sonya Renee Taylor comes in. The following words have been taken from Sonya's website ~ www.sonyareneetaylor.com ~ and from 'The Body is Not an Apology' ~ www. thebodyisnotanapology.com:

"Sonya Renee Taylor is the Founder and Radical Executive Officer of The Body is Not An Apology, a digital media and education company promoting radical self-love and body empowerment as the foundational tool for social justice and global transformation. Sonya’s work as a highly sought-after award-winning Performance Poet, activist, and transformational leader continues to have global reach."

In 2011, Sonya founded The Body is Not An Apology, as an online community to cultivate radical self-love and body empowerment."

"The Body is Not An Apology began as a conversation between two friends. Natasha feared she had an unintended pregnancy and when Sonya asked why Natasha had chosen to have unprotected sex with a casual partner, Natasha shared that her cerebral palsy made it difficult to be sexual and thus she did not feel entitled to ask her sexual partner to use a condom. Sonya's response was swift, "Your body is not an apology. You do not use it to say 'sorry for my disability." Sonya and Natasha created what Sonya refers to as a transformational portal by presencing three critical elements Radical Honesty, Radical Vulnerability, and Radical Empathy. It was from this powerful act that The Body is not An Apology was born."


Eshan Hilal ~ @eleganteshan

I first heard of Eshan Hilal on the 'Kalki Presents: My Indian Life' podcast. In the podcast's episode called 'Dancing to his own beat' and in the TED Talk 'How I danced off all the Stereotypes', Eshan speaks about life as a belly dancer in India, and about the abuse he experienced from his parents because they disapprove of his choice to become a belly dancer. In the 'My Indian Lifepodcast and in the clip 'This is the purpose I'm here for', Eshan shares some of the words his parents have said to him:


"Stop doing this feminine thing."
"You cannot dance."
"You're a boy, behave like one."
"Be a man."
"Eshan is self centred and has no respect for me (his father). What he does is not more important than what his community thinks of him."

They'd even lock Eshan in other rooms of their house whenever guests visited, because, in their words, Eshan was "too feminine". His parents also beat him in attempts to force him to stop dancing, and at one point, Eshan was even forced to run away from his home for his safety.

Eshan challenges the gender stereotypes that patriarchy forces on us, and he refuses to be anyone other than himself. He continues to choose his path and his passion, despite all odds. If this isn't inspiring, I'm not sure what is.




Both Sonya Renee Taylor and Eshan Hilal inspire me to be more myself; to never change to a version that society would prefer, but to continue healing, growing and speaking truthfully, passionately and unapologetically about my story and about things that matter. Their attitude and values make me feel empowered to stick to my guns and to always set healthy boundaries and live by my values.

I'd like to help others, the same way many have helped me, and Sonya and Eshan help me believe that I can do that.


I AM...ENJOYING

Music: Anything by Queen! The movie 'Bohemian Rhapsody' has me listening to 'Queen' on repeat at the moment.


Podcast(s):  The last two episodes of 'Kalki Presents: My Indian Life'. Both of these episodes were recorded live; one recorded with an audience of students in Delhi and one recorded with an audience of students in Mumbai. These are the end of season episodes and has all the guests throughout the first season of the show return for a final chat. These episodes are a great summary to the season; there's further discussions and conversations about all the topics and stories covered in the first season, as well as singing, dancing and a Q&A session.


Book(s): I am still reading the same book as last month 'Get Me Out of Here: My Recovery from Borderline Personality Disorder' by Rachel Reiland. I've been reading this book for a while actually, I did put it down for a some time as it became too intense for me ~ the topic and experiences are just too close to home, as I have Borderline Personality Disorder. I am a slow reader anyway, but this book is one I can really relate to so I tend to read and write what it brings up for me. So yeah, slow process, and it's likely I'll be reading it for a while longer. I'm okay with that. 


Words: Written by Sonya Renee Taylor from 'The Body is not an Apology' movement:

"Your body is not an apology. You do not use it to say 'sorry for my disability'"




"I would not be where I am today if it was not for my family, my friends, my colleagues, and the many strangers that help me every single day of my life. It's important we all have a support system; asking for help is a strength, not a weakness.

We all need help throughout our lifetime, but it is just as important that we are part of other people's support system. We must adapt our way of giving back; we all obviously have a role to play in our own successes, but think about the role we have to play in other peoples' successes, just like peope do for me every single day.

It's vitally important that we help each other, because society is increasingly placing people in silos based on biases and ideologies. And we must look past the surface and be confronted with the truth that none of us are what you can see, there's more to us than that and we are all dealing with things that you cannot see. So, living a life free of judgement allows all of us to share those experiences together and have a totally different perspective.

So remember, the only shoes you truly can walk in are your own, I cannot walk in yours. I know you can't walk in mine. But we can do something better than that, with compassion, courage, and understanding, we can walk side by side and support one another. And think about how society can change if we all do that instead of judging on only what you can see."



TV: The Haunting of Hill House on Netflix. Dang, I haven't watched a series this good in some time!

This new series on Netflix is an adaptation of Shirley Jackson's novel which goes by the same name. It's about a family who lived at Hill House, also known as America's most famous haunted house. The series tells the story of the family, and how their lives have been shaped by the events and experiences that took place when they lived at the house.

To me, this series was more than just a scary story. The story focuses on the children who become adults with serious issues; issues which arise as a result of the experiences and trauma they lived through at Hill House. As someone with mental ill health, I could realte to how the experiences we have as children can shape our lives as adults too. If we don't explore, process and deal with past traumas, those demons will haunt us forever. If we want to heal and move on, then at some point we must confront the ghosts of our past.


Movie(s): It's been a big month of powerful movies for me. I watched 'Bohemian Rhapsody' and 'Precious' this month and my Buddha, they've really helped me process some deep wounds. They can both be tough to watch, 'Bohemian Rhapsody' less so, and I don't think I'll be able to watch them again anytime soon. But for me, they were both stories I could resonate with, to a certain extent, and stories that have brought up some personal emotions and experiences for me; ones that I needed to re-visit and re-evaluate.

Bohemian Rhapsody. This post I shared late in October says it all...





* FREDDIE MERCURY IS MY QUEEN, DARLING * @sara_yk_ shared her forever Freddie look, which has inspired me to share mine. This, darling, is it! Exactly a week ago, I watched 'Bohemian Rhapsody' and I'm still processing it. For me, it was a very emotional experience. I cried for most of the movie, a tad uncontrollably at the end. Luckily mum was with me and hugged me, cause she understood why. She understood that I could relate to Freddie more than I originally thought. Some of our experiences and life choices are very familiar and watching his story hit home, I could feel his pain and my past pain and it was something! I could really relate to so much: I could relate to his vulnerability; he was a sensitive soul and an abusive person took advantage of that. He clearly had an identity crisis during that period. He was an immigrant who struggled with trying to figure out which culture he belonged to. He didn't like being alone. He self-medicated. He struggled with coping habits. He'd experienced abuse, trauma, and was in pain. He was an amazingly sensitive beautiful brave soul with demons, like many of us. SO RELATABLE! He was a fabulous human. Freddie is such an inspiration, obvs! He inspires me to be and embrace myself, always. He empowers me. Thank you Freddie, darling. "We are the Champions, my friends. And we'll keep on fighting 'til the end..." 💃 #queen #wearethechampions #freddiemercury #speakyourtruth #words #darling #ootday #picoftheday #photooftheday #health #growth #life #live #love #like #good #glitter #beautiful #beauty #colour #fabulous #portrait #selfcare #selflove #selfdiscovery #healing #recovery #real #journey #honest
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Precious has helped me rethink and process abuse and trauma in my life, and it has also helped me undertand my family history even more. It re-opened some old wounds, but with good reason and I'm glad it did, as I was then able to further process those wounds. It's not a story I could've watched a few months ago, it can be triggering and distressing, so please only watch this film if you feel ready to. Otherwise, leave it for easier times when you are less vulnrable and more prepared to deal with the topics that it covers. It's a difficult movie to watch, but one that can be educational and mind opening, when you're ready for the experience.


TED Talk(s): I don't want to say much about my favourite TED Talks this month, I want you to watch them and come up with your own thoughts and feelings. This month's chosen TED Talks are...

'Asking for help is a strength not a weakness' by Michelle L. Sullivan 


"We all go through challenges -- some you can see, most you can't, says Michele L. Sullivan. In a talk about perspective, Sullivan shares stories full of wit and wisdom and reminds us that we're all part of each other's support systems. "The only shoes you can walk in are your own," she says. "With compassion, courage and understanding, we can walk together, side by side.""


'The surprising habits of original thinkers' by Adam Grant

"How do creative people come up with great ideas? Organizational psychologist Adam Grant studies "originals": thinkers who dream up new ideas and take action to put them into the world. In this talk, learn three unexpected habits of originals -- including embracing failure. "The greatest originals are the ones who fail the most, because they're the ones who try the most," Grant says. "You need a lot of bad ideas in order to get a few good ones.""


Event(s): Fitness Blastoff and Tate Lates. I went to Fitness Blastoff with a friend earlier in October; we danced from morning to evening. It was incredible and a challenge, but I think next time I'll take a lunch break! Tate Lates are evening events at Tate Museum, they've got some amazing things going on and mostly free. I highly recommend going along. I got to attent a book reading, poetry event, and a talk about immigration. 'Twas rather brilliant and thought provoking stuff!

I got to hear some amazing and powerful words by Keisha Thompson and Joshua Idehen ~ do check out their work, it's incredible.

Here are my favourites of the night:



WHAT HAVE I LEARNED?

  • Independence is a myth ~ I'm writing a blog post about this but basically we all need each other; we can't survive alone. We all need different skills to contribute to and support our community, so team effort is a must, meaning that independence is actually not so good for us
  • If you're open and honest you create a space where others feel more comfortable to be open and honest too.
  • There is power in vulnerability ~ We are all vulnerable; some of us are more vulnerable than others, and our degrees of vulnerability can vary throughout our lives, but the fact is we can't avoid vulnerability. And as we age, we create a bigger and bigger gap between our real vulnerable selves and the version of our selves that we portray to the world. The sooner we accept and embrace our vulnerability, the sooner we can learn to live with it which can make us feel stronger.
  • Slowing down is self-care ~ I need to be more patient and do things at a steady pace that I can cope with, rather than fast and at a pace I can't cope with! I'ts better for my health, but also means that I don't breakdown again.
  • I've survived that which almost killed me. I'm a survivor, and I'm proud of that fact. 

MANTRA(S) FOR NOVEMBER  

"To heal you have to get to the root of the wound and kiss it all the way up"
(Rupi Kaur)

"May your thoughts and feelings be teachers. I invite you to act as a curious creative explorer, and willing student - willing to learn and not to deny or suppress"
(Author unknown)

"I will keep things simple, moving forward one step at a time"
(Author unknown)






See you next month! x

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