Archive | September 2016

Taking a Break From Blogging

For most of my life I’ve struggled with low self-esteem and I started blogging as a means of helping me to put myself out there and to develop confidence in sharing my thoughts and ideas. I also find it difficult to express myself, but this leaves me with a lot of baggage in my brain. Having a place where I could write all of this stuff has been really helpful. It’s not always been easy, but I’ve connected with a lot of kind people through blogging. I’ve even made some close friends through it.

Lately however, life has gotten pretty chaotic. Our oldest family members have fallen ill or passed away. While this has left a deep sadness in our hearts, we are still able to celebrate them by how their legacy continues to live on through us. It feels fitting that as one moment passes another begins with my partner and I preparing our new home together. I hope that we can fill it with the same warmth passed on to us through our parents and grandparents.

With so much going on I haven’t been feeling as motivated to keep writing and I’m ready for a break. I need some time to heal and figure out who I am. When I started this blog I was also unsure that I’d be able to keep something going for so long. There’s that concern that you’ll eventually run out of things to write about. Now that I’ve had some practice I look forward to starting a new and specialized blog some time in the future.

It’s ok to put Ourselves First (Codependency and Self-validation)

‘Nobody thinks what I think’
– Kitchen Sink by Twenty One Pilots.

For most of my life I’ve felt unseen. Others see me as the person they want me to be and not for who I really am; Despite knowing this it can cause me to doubt myself. It’s frustrating and can feel like a fight getting others to listen. I attempted to seek understanding and comfort for this, but discovered that no matter how much I tried to explain my feelings noone was able to quite grasp them. These people have had different upbringings to me. Their minds don’t work like mine. Our beliefs and perceptions don’t match. Some experiences are hard to understand unless you’ve been through them yourself. I’ve found that it’s easy to jump to wrong conclusions based on how you think you’d feel if you went through the same thing.

My own experiences have taught me that what I feel is less important than everybody else and that my thoughts need to be validated to feel real. This mindset is risky as it relies on others to give you what you need. It’s setting you up for a lifetime of resentment. I have difficulties speaking up about what I want and it seemed selfish to me when others just took without asking or offering. They cannot understand my demons because they do not carry those same unhelpful beliefs. They might have been happy to have shared with me if I’d simply asked, but negative responses for doing so in the past have taught me that it’s safer to keep quiet. Unfortunately this is a common problem, and it’s not our fault that we have such difficulties. I also respect people that can go out and get what they want instead of just complaining about it.

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Celebrate The Small Things: 9 September

Our moving in date has finally been confirmed and it’s really soon. When this first crept up on us I was feeling overwhelmed by the idea, but now I’m just really excited about it. I bought my first items for the house: a hoover, kettle, toaster and iron. I didn’t think buying these types of things could ever be fun, but it’s that idea of being able to take more control over your life and having a space to do what you want with. Been to Ikea today. They do nice hot dogs.

I’d also like to mention how generous people have been in helping us to get started. We’ve had furniture and financial support offered to us as we’ve gone through this process. I’m really grateful as it takes a lot of the pressure off. It’s also lovely to know and acknowledge that no matter how alone we feel, there are people there that do have our best interests in mind. I just hope that I can repay the favour some day to show how thankful I am.


Celebrate the Small Things is a weekly celebration created by VikLit and now hosted by Lexa Cain to celebrate the happenings of the week, however small or large. You can learn all about it and sign up for it here.

What Makes Tomb Raider Special?

With this year marking Tomb Raider’s 20th anniversary I wanted to write a little bit about what the franchise means to me. Admittedly, in recent times I haven’t been keeping up with the franchise, but it was a major part of my childhood. I use to buy each new game on launch and have completed a few of them. I remember I had this goal to try and get through all of them. I ended up spending whole days just playing Tomb Raider. Unfortunately I lost the save very close to the end of the 3rd game and I kept getting stuck in the same place in the 4th game.

My first memories of Tomb Raider are of awe and wonder. It was one of the first games we got for the Playstation and before that point I’d never experienced an adventure game in which you could swim, climb and drive vehicles (over the entire series the choice of vehicles is also varied from boats, to skidoos, bikes to canoes.) My most vivid memory of my early video game experiences was in the original Tomb Raider, in which that first pool of water was revealed. The music was mysterious and enticing. I made a beeline for the water because I was so excited to jump in and explore its depths. I don’t get such simple pleasures from video games nowadays, but back then I’d never played anything like it before. I really felt like I was being adventurous through my exploration of what Lara Croft could do. The variety of locations and the lure of history/mythology was exciting, even though I never fully understood what was happening. I felt a whole range of emotions during these games too, including curiosity, surprise, excitement, tension, relief and even fear – well I was young and those moving statues in the third game genuinely creeped me out… In fact they still do.

While I always enjoyed games, Tomb Raider is the one I’m most thankful towards for getting me into this hobby. It was the first time I got to control a female character and Lara Croft is an amazing role model in that she’s attractive, and yet also smart and capable at the same time. I remember a lot of girls back then saying that they aspired to be like Lara Croft. There’s the other side to this where she was also thought of as a sex symbol, but this was more prevalent in marketing than in the games themselves. She was an appealing character to both female and male fans alike. I haven’t come across another female protagonist since that would be able to fill that role as well as Lara Croft did. As games are often thought of as being masculine I’ve had to deal with many misunderstandings about my hobby and the way it reflects on me as a person, but Tomb Raider was one of those games that didn’t seem to be thought of in this way. It was one of those games that I could enjoy talking about with other girls and they didn’t think it was weird.

Tomb Raider also inspired me to want to learn how to make my own games. In reality we don’t often come across opportunities that can give us a sense of adventure, but Tomb Raider allowed me to experience this feeling from a young age. I enjoyed it so much that I soon began to crave the idea of being able to create my own adventures. I use to draw out my own level designs with a similar complexity to what I’d experienced in Tomb Raider. I’d imagine my own female protagonists running through them as well. Ok, I’ll admit, all of my ideas back then were basically copies of Tomb Raider.

Nowadays we have loads of adventure/action games to choose from, but they don’t elicit the same excitement in me as when I first experienced Tomb Raider. As such I will always have fond memories of this. By invoking so many different emotions in me Tomb Raider showed me just what video games could be capable of.

My Interpretation of a Few Well Known Quotes

We have these quotes that attempt to shine wisdom on different aspects of our lives, but I’ve found their helpfulness to be varied depending on where and how they’ve been applied. My interpretation of these quotes are based on the ways in which I’ve observed them being used.

‘Life is tough’ and ‘sometimes you have to do things you don’t like.’
It’s easier to endure suffering if we can accept it as an unavoidable part of life that everybody experiences sometimes. Fighting everything that we don’t like will lead to frustration and it can be far better to practice patience and perseverance. I also think of this in terms of working towards long term goals, instead of falling to the temptation of short term rewards. If we focus too much on this statement however, we can feel guilty during the times when life isn’t tough and also resentful towards anybody that appears to be breezing through it. I’ve also found there to be two different approaches to the statement; If something isn’t working out I try to seek solutions to improve my situation, but others have used it for acceptance and a reason not to act. Our feelings are there to inform us when something is wrong and to be assessed to see if we can do something about it. For example, we might be really unhappy in a job that just isn’t going anywhere and this could be an indicator that it’s time to take a new direction in our life. On the other hand exercising patience and going through all of the tasks we don’t like could eventually lead to greater opportunities later on. Only we can know what feels right to us, even if others treat us like we’re shirking our responsibility in taking some of life’s hardships. It’s not worth worrying about the things that we have absolutely no control over, but otherwise why shouldn’t we seek solutions to help us to escape some of life’s hardships?

‘What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’
This statement has been used to comfort me. I do believe that hardship can make us stronger; It can teach us how to overcome obstacles and to solve problems in our lives. If everything always came easy to us we’d become complacent. I do believe my experiences have shaped my values, built my empathy and taught me what to avoid. If others mistreat us it can motivate us to work harder so as to prove ourselves. However, psychological wounds can be some of the hardest to heal from and I certainty don’t feel strong right now. My experiences have left me with learned helplessness, a difficulty to trust and a lot of self doubt, all of which pose challenges when striving towards my goals. Perhaps I’m strong in the sense that I keep getting up despite having such obstacles in my life, but I’d much rather not have the obstacles there in the first place. There have been times when hearing this has felt more like a justification to those that have treated me unfairly. We can’t change the past however and fighting it will only make us feel worse – blaming others never helps. As such the only thing we can do is to try and find the silver linings. My experiences opened my eyes to other problem areas in my life and I’m learning how to protect myself. It has also led me to seek spirituality to help me to live my life in a more positive way. In that sense I guess my experiences have made me stronger.

‘Time can heal all wounds’
It can be reassuring to us that with time we will be able to experience joy once more. I’ve found this to be true when experiencing loss. In the moment it’s very painful, but after a while it becomes easier to accept. Having been through this process a few times now I know for sure that it can pass and that I’m strong enough to get to the other side. As such I can be kind to myself while going through the process. Some problems are also very small when we put them into perspective. I might feel embarrassed about a social mishap, but will anybody still be thinking about this years from now? However, I do think it depends on the type of wound we are addressing. Some wounds require us to tend to them to allow them to heal. If we don’t they can continue to bubble back up the the surface years later. I made the mistake of trying to move on too quickly, and then because a lot of time had passed I felt ashamed to admit that the same issues were still causing me problems. The cause of the wound might not be directly influencing us anymore, but it might have changed us in some way that continues to impact our lives. For example, the anxiety, confusion, distrust and lack of self-esteem that arose from what happened. These types of wounds need more than just time to recover from. Some issues are also cyclical in nature, so they’ll keep aggravating themselves until addressed. For example, anxiety can affect how we behave in a situation, which in turn increases the anxiety.

‘Don’t judge a book by its cover’
I use to hold onto this saying to remind myself to keep an open mind, and also to comfort myself when others were judging me based on factors such as my appearance. I think we’re all guilty of making judgements though. It’s a part of what makes us human. We have to be able to make judgements about things to protect ourselves from harm. If something looks dangerous, then we should avoid it – better to be safe than sorry. Too many of us ignore our gut instincts when they inform us that another doesn’t have our well being in mind. Unfortunately, our judgements can also be off due to our own interpretations of the world around us. For example, I’ve had bad experiences with certain sub-cultures, so when I see people dressed a certain way I feel wary. If I give some of them a chance I might find that I have misinterpreted the sub-culture and that they don’t all intend me harm. I see others judging Goth culture in this same way, as if it’s scary and unapproachable. This seems strange to me because Goth festivals have been some of the friendliest and safest places I’ve ever been to. In fact, the idea of not judging others based on their appearance is often emphasized at these events. It’s better to interpret this statement not as we should feel bad for judging, but that we need to think carefully about how we choose to act based on those judgements. We might be missing out on a chance to widen our minds if we allow our judgements to take full control. On the other hand, if we ignore all of our judgements we could end up getting hurt.

Celebrate The Small Things: 2 September


It’s not been an easy week. Well it’s not been an easy year at all, with so many changes coming at once. I think we all experience years like this from time to time. My granddad passed away a week ago and we’re currently feeling the hurt that accompanies such a loss. He had Alzheimer’s and I know he wasn’t happy so we’re at least able to find comfort in knowing that he’s at peace. We also had some major milestone birthdays to celebrate which managed to put a smile back on people’s faces – I know my granddad would prefer that. We had a lovely day out. The weather was warm, a good excuse for ice cream. I’ve seen lots of wild flowers around, inspiring me for my own garden – I really can’t wait to have my own garden.

I made the difficult choice to let go of a friendship this week. This person has hurt me a lot, but despite this I still cared for them. Its lifted a weight because I was carrying this guilt around due to the resentment I felt for a person that I was still trying to connect with. I’ve now finally acknowledged my feelings and my right to hurt over how they treated me, and with that I no longer have to feel any guilt or shame. It’s not my fault that they treated me the way they did. This is probably a kindness to both of us, allowing us both to move on from what happened. Our moving out day is coming closer and I’m thinking of this as a fresh new start in my life, which also means dealing with the parts that haven’t been working for me. People have told me that they’re proud of me for making this decision and dealing with it as sensitively as I have done. I don’t want this person to carry any guilt around that will prevent them from moving on, I just wanted them to know how serious things were so that they treat the next person better and hopefully experience a relationship the way its meant to be. In my attempts to find silver linings I guess I could say that this experience has taught me how to spot problem areas in a friendship and that while it might be scary it’s important to acknowledge your own feelings and to set boundaries. This experience has also inspired me for a story I’m currently working on. These sorts of problems affect a lot of people despite being fairly misunderstood, so I think it’s important for them to know that there are others out there that are going through the same thing.

So this week I’m celebrating the prospect of a brighter future and making the first few steps to get there.


Celebrate the Small Things is a weekly celebration created by VikLit and now hosted by Lexa Cain to celebrate the happenings of the week, however small or large. You can learn all about it and sign up for it here.