What I’ve done

So it’s not been the best of starts to 2016, but there have been some notable adventures worth mentioning. Let’s start with the positive:

  1. I visited Mt. Fuji which was just incredible – there’s nothing like looking at a beautiful snow-capped mountain and knowing your problems are minuscule in those blessed few hours. Unfortunately it doesn’t last, but the exquisiteness and memory will constantly seek to remind you.
  2. I met some great people on New Years but then there was a falling out between my best friend and one of the girls because of her passive aggressiveness and rudeness. Made things complicated, still the positive memories are worth holding onto.
  3. I returned back to school knowing I was wanted at least at my favourite elementary school. But I wonder whether I can do this for another year.

It’s only been 8 days so that’s all I have but intermingled with the positives are the negatives. Since 16th December 2015, I have been facing some challenges and going through a period of extreme loneliness despite being surrounded by my family. I suppose it happened when they started to leave to go back one by one until only one was left standing. We parted ways yesterday and I don’t know when I’ll next see them. It could be 7 months or it could be a year or even a year and a half and that’s if I decide to stay in Japan for another year.

Living in Japan comes with many amazing opportunities and moments, though as with living anywhere life gets in the way and tries to smack you down just when you think your confidence is increasing. That is until life reminds you it’s not you’re just living a lie.

Last year the thing I feared most when driving happened and I hit a child on a bicycle. He’s okay, but I wasn’t. Within that moment I thought I had taken a life. Oh how quick it happens, how everything can change in a moment’s notice. How horrifyingly scary and yet I immediately stopped the car and shaken walked over to the kid. He protested that he was fine, I spoke to his parents later and they assured me he was okay. It didn’t help that I couldn’t effectively communicate in the same language, but I am grateful he was okay. No matter who was in the wrong, as the driver I am still responsible and it is my fault for not spotting him until it was too late. Blind corners are the worst, but I am haunted by the memories and although I still drive, I am afraid history will repeat itself. It was an accident, these things happen I am told, but what if something worse occurred? I don’t think I could live with myself and thus began the consistent questioning ever since. Can I live this life? Can I stay here? Will others be safe from me? Will I hurt someone else? I could easily leave, but I’m not sure that’s wise. I think I’ll be forever running fearful to continue. I can’t live like this and so went my confidence down the drain. That’s the start of when my world decided to crumble. I’m not happy. I’m always angry. I hate myself. I hate that there are some things I can’t control. I hate that I get jealous when there’s no need. I hate that I have let people drag me through the mud. I hate that I don’t have the confidence I need. How can I teach others when I am completely lacking myself?

I am trying to deal with this coupled with my shaken confidence, my low self-esteem and low self-worth. I get angry so easily and it builds up inside. I let it go when I visited Mt. Fuji, but now all that remains is Facebook and it’s jealousy. Why is everyone having a ball and I’m left standing in a freezer? Why does it look like everything else that people are doing is more fun? Why do I continue to compare myself? Why do I hate myself so much? It is a bad habit and one that Facebook does not help, but instead perpetuates. It’s as if I’m looking from afar into the interesting lives of others, but I can’t reach them. I’m the outsider looking from the window but not participating or even a part of the group. The truth is I don’t like them, I don’t want to be a part of it, I just want the adventures with friends, the fun and I want a set of friends to travel with. But the world doesn’t work the way you want it to and you don’t always get what you want so I am dealing with it. I am dealing with loneliness and the fight. It’s a constant battle and sometimes I think it would just be easier to surrender and take the easy way out, but something within me can’t, because that wouldn’t work either, I’d still have the same problems.

There are too many memories that have the power to either control you or haunt you, but that’s if you choose to let them, so it’s a tricky game. They are not just memories to look over fondly or dispassionately, they are a part of you and your past whether you like it or not. They made you the person you are today.

It’s decision time soon and the clock is ticking. Will I stay or will I leave? Will I hide or will I face those ugly demons? I don’t know yet, but only time will tell.


Staying true to yourself always

In life we go though many changes and we make many, different choices. These choices define the paths we take and right now my path has led to Japan. I have been living in Japan for five months now and I still can’t believe it, that I am actually here. I am so very lucky and I know it, but I am very grateful to God, to my family and to the universe. I don’t know how long my luck will last since nothing in this life is continuous and we are always in a state of flux as Heraclitus says. He presents an epigram of a flowing river. “We both step and do not step in the same rivers. We are and are not.” (B49a). “You cannot step twice into the same rivers.” Because you will not be the same the second time you step into the river. Without knowing it, you have changed. Plato quotes in Cratylus, 402a  “Everything changes and nothing stands still.” This is so very true and this theme is central to the point I am making today.

I am enjoying my experience in Japan, however I have come across some interesting people in the same situation as myself and part of the same programme. Some are selfish, naive, narcissistic people and others are friendly and open. Don’t you find it so very hard finding true friends? People who will respect and like you for yourself? I do. Especially in another country where English is rarely spoken except among others in the same situation as yourself. I find myself running from them, eager to escape their dull and unpleasant company. I have been taken advantage of, used, hurt and talked at. I have laughed to cover the hurt and I have ignored the truth, but I cannot continue to live my life like this anymore. If I can’t stand up to small injustices, then how could I ever stand up to other big injustices in the world? If I can’t be true to myself, how can I ever be true to others? Why must I hide behind a happy mask when I am filled with hated for those who have wronged me, but I have not let it be known that they’ve hurt me. It is weakness to degrade myself and acede to the requests of others. It is weakness to cower away and ignore the situation instead remaining silent.

So now this is my truth.

The special few people in my life have given me strength, my family, my best friend and my close circle in England – a total of 6 people including the 3 in my family. I don’t have many true friends but the ones I do have inspire me to stay true to myself. Out here away from them, I can’t ignore things anymore. The distance is the reason why I am lost and conflicted because I am alone and I have no-one to fight for me except myself. I must face these battles alone which is the way it should be. I don’t know how to deal with people who I hate and whom I am stuck with but this hatred is consuming me and occupying too many of my thoughts. Honestly I hate them so much, but I don’t want to hate because it is a waste of energy. So how do I proceed? All I know is that I can’t continue to hate. I can’t otherwise it will control me and fill me with bitterness and hatred for myself and others. So do I tell them and hurt them in the process of being true to myself or do I leave it and distance myself, but still be kind and in a way fake and pretentious? The type of person I hate myself.

I have to be diplomatic, so I won’t mention it unless it is brought up, but I won’t go out of my way to hang out with them or speak to them. It seems harsh and it probably is, but it’s the only way I can think of in this particular situation. If they cross me and try to take advantage I will tell them there and then when they are being rude or out of order. I will not allow anyone to push me again. Instead of laughing it off to disguise the hurt and shock, I will say: “Don’t push me, who do you think you are? It is not okay to push me. I don’t care if it was even in a friendly way, I was talking to someone and that was rude. If you want my attention tap my shoulder.” – “What are you doing? Don’t touch me. That is wrong. I never said it was okay to touch me like that.” – “Don’t you ever think about anyone else? What you are worried about is inconsequential to what is going on in the world. Your problems are nothing to those who have nothing. So before you complain, think about all those people who are suffering, who are jobless and abandoned. I’m not trying to lecture you, but I just want you for one second to think about those who have nothing before you say your life and your situation here is shit. You are lucky and you don’t even see it. But I don’t care about your problems and I can’t help you if you wish to remain blind. There far more important things to worry about.”

One day I will have the courage and the voice and although many people will try to take that away from me, I must never ever be silenced. I must not hide behind my mask anymore. Next time, I must stand up for myself, because no-one deserves to be disrespected or glossed over. I am growing and I am learning. I am trying to find my voice and my courage so that next time I will speak up.

Staring at the person trapped in the mirror – I see you but no one else does

It’s a funny thing thinking about what you look like and actually seeing your reflection in the mirror and seeing someone else. It’s also strange when you meet new people and realise you’re not actually like the people in your books that you’ve been reading and the films you’ve been watching. In fact sometimes it may distress you to realise that you are nothing like you want to be. This is not true for all, since some people are exactly who they want to be, but I am not talking about those people and perfection. Who is that girl I see staring straight back at me? Must I pretend that I am someone else for all time? When will my reflection show who I am inside? Because I am too dependent on the opinions of others and I am too afraid to act, to be me. Why? I can only assume it is because I am afraid rejection. I must admit though I cannot conceal myself and I don’t try anymore, but I am still finding it hard to be confident in me.

When we meet people we see traits in others that we like and wish to emulate. This can have either two effects on us a) you feel jealously towards that person and resent them or b) you feel awe and appreciation. I love reading books and it is so easy to get lost in those fictional worlds living the life of that person for a few hours or going on your own fictional adventure. That’s why it can be hard to come back to reality when you’ve always got your head stuck in a book. Losing track of time is the usual, not feeling hungry just completely immersing yourself in the world of another character and their tumultuous journey. When you get caught up in these images and stories you start to live them as your character and can sometimes believe that you have those certain brave, courageous and strong characteristics. However, when you are faced with the reality it can be a shocking surprise to see yourself as not yourself if that makes any sense. You see yourself not as you thought and suddenly the truth looms nears and blinding. You are not like the characters in your books no matter how much you would like to be. This ladies and gentleman happened to me one fine day when I walked into a new job. No one could know how much I noticed the difference and how it doesn’t come to you subtly oh no, I don’t do subtlety! No if you want someone to know something, especially if that person is me it’s always best to say it loud and clear.  Like this revelation came loud and clear on my first day temping. The way I spoke was soft spoken, quiet and almost afraid of myself and my abilities. You could tell I was oozing a lack of self-esteem, control with a self-deprecating nature and shaky confidence.  The way I acted, cowering away from people, shying away, squeaking and hiding. Is that me? I thought could that really have been me? Why was I acting so timid? What did I fear? And then it hit me, I am not that person who is completely confident in myself and I never have been. I am hesitant and I may not realise it but other people do. They know instantly when they meet me that I am a hesitant person. I find it hard to trust my own judgement even when I know that I am right. I find it hard to make decisions and this is not a good sign. I’ve always felt the need to question myself and my actions since I was little.

When someone asks are you sure? Am I really sure? No always that seed of doubt. It’s a difficult journey and it’s a difficult task relearning and reprogramming yourself to think differently, to be certain and try and make decisions. Too much thought can be lethal and too little can be reckless. Let’s not be overcautious now. I’m trying to be more confident, more forward and less hesitant but sometimes its hard to break old habits. Habits that have been there with you for a lifetime.

Perhaps it is the way one views oneself they are a harsher critic- adamant not to admit they are confident and good. This self-sacrificing and subservient image of bowing down to authority and being trampled upon is wrong and perhaps too ingrained. It is an image we all seem to have, a part of us within us, but it just depends how much control you give it. If there was a fire alarm and a few people ran to one door assuming it was the exit, whereas one person ran to the opposite side knowing that it was the real exit shouting to be heard over the commotion. Who do you think people will follow? Will they follow the crowd? Or the one person running in the opposite direction shouting to be heard that he knows the way. It seems logical to assume you would follow that one person, but when your life is in the fate of one person and everyone else is running in the oposite direction it seems hard to resist and follow that one person. After all I’m sure people would prefer to die together rather than with one or two people. It is almost sociological that we would run with the crowd when the truth is the crowd is following someone else- always someone else but just someone who looks like they are in control.

When I speak to some people they say oh your presentation was great you looked really confident and you did really well. But when you examine my thoughts you understand that I felt nothing close to confidence. If you asked me how I felt I would tell you the truth. It was completely nerve-wracking and scary but I did it. When thinking about it I’m not sure why it is scary when people are there to learn when you give a presentation and training for others in the company.

So to the person trapped inside – how do I reflect you? How do I get you out? Time I guess and perseverance. Right now I keep staring at my reflection and keep wondering when I will win, when will I be set free and given a chance? Rather than locked away waiting for a chance to shine. I wear a mask but I am not fooling anyone except myself clearly. The time is nigh….

For now I leave you with a song which is close to my heart: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h8GUCQQZS64 Christina Aguilera – Reflection

The importance of self-belief in me and you

I always get little spurts of inspiration from my driving instructor funnily enough because he talks some sense! He should but he’s rather philosophical too. What he says makes sense but I was telling him how I have 3 weeks till my theory ends and I am unsure about time and whether I’ll be able to take the test. He said to me that he could give me a million lessons but if I don’t have self-belief then I won’t be able to do it. He’s right off course, I’ve been through 2 tests already and I could do it, but my confidence and self-belief was shattered second time round. This is true in anything in life though self-belief is very important. If my doctor doubted his skills and doubted himself then I would probably not have much faith in him to carry out my operation. I would reject his help. We take risks in people who are worth taking the risks in because they believe what they can do and they believe they will do it. We put so much of our faith in people who persuade us who can fix the world.

When a person believes in themselves, anything becomes possible. So what stops us from believing in ourselves? What stops us from doing the things we want? Well its simple really, it’s a mix of fear and self-belief and sometimes these have such a powerful affect on us, we don’t even know we are affected. When they are coupled together they make the greatest force and also the greatest enemies.

A little thought I had was that:

If you ain’t got self-belief you’re playing a lost man’s game

This is the truth, because how can you go in the game to win, if you have no confidence or trust in yourself? You won’t win, not because you can’t but because you don’t believe that you can. It’s all in the power of positive thinking, or so I’ve been told, and it’s true, but sometimes we don’t want to accept the truth. We just want to find reasons not to, reasons to run or reasons not to do something again. I hate public speaking, so when I was at school I used to run to the back of the line whenever I came to the front, just so that I wouldn’t have to speak. Or I used to stay quiet when the teacher said who hasn’t delivered their presentation? She forgot about me because a) teacher wants to move on to the next task, and b) there’s more than 30 pupils in a class and I was very quiet and easy to miss which worked very well in my favour. However, this fear stopped me from developing on my skills, and it also stopped me from facing my fears. But this isn’t the only thing which stopped me, because fear does not work alone. It is founded on an irrational pre-existing belief and coupled together makes the worst form of hate. Lack of self-worth or lack of trust in the self damages self-esteem. Just like years of trust can be broken in minutes. It takes years to build relationships which can be destroyed so very easily in a matter of seconds. We build things up but we crumble beneath the weight of consequences. Why did I have a fear of standing up in front of people and talking? It’s not just because I was afraid, it was also because I had the stupid notion that I would be rejected, that I would somehow fail and people would laugh. I had the crazy idea that what I said was not ‘right’ or of any significance and I wonder how a person can get to such a low ebb at such a young age? Maybe because I never had a voice, I don’t know. It’s complex but the reasons are there.

To succeed in life, is to think I can do something, but it is also to believe that you can do it.

So this is the answer then, this is what stops me. It’s not just fear but it is self-belief. So why do I keep fighting myself? Why is everyday a battle in the mind? Where did this self-destructive mentality come from? Years of bitterness and feelings of self-worth, of being walked all over, trashed and stepped on and it time to get up, dust myself off and walk away.

I can understand where it comes from and I can understand how subtly it develops and affects me in everyday life. I can see it now and I can understand how its roots take shape and develop and grow as you grow so when you’re older you can feel constricted when you try to spread your branches. The tree of my life and how seeds take root and develop. Tiny seeds of doubt, tiny seeds of hate and self-loathing. Years of torment from cruel children, put downs by loved ones and rules by society. They say seeing is believing and I suppose that is true to an extent because it is only now I see. These all inhibit progress and you can’t progress till you let go of the past. Why do we hold on tight to the past? to the hurtful things people say? I realised that we keep the negative things that people say rather than the positive. We take it in and it cuts us a little bit, only a small cut, but after a while the cut deepens. It’s a vicious cycle and now it’s time to break from it. I admit it’s hard to break from a habit and it’s hard to break from such a long held mentality. It’s hard to break free, but it has to be done if I want to succeed and if I want to live. It can be done but it takes time and effort and perseverance and I’ve got all the time in the world.

So I leave you with my parting thoughts:

To not believe is to reject the self and who I truly am. It is ultimately self-denial and this must no longer win in my life because I need to accept me. It’s my turn to win in this game and to succeed and fight till the battle is finally won.

Meeting new people, finding friends, and feeling lonely in a big city

Today I realised that I have very few friends who I talk to regularly who want to do the same things as me. I’m not talking about eating food, I’m talking about wanting to travel, go to concerts and just generally hang out and do things together. My best friend is living in Nottingham, and although we share many interests, books, food, films, tv shows we also differ hugely. I like to dance, cook, travel and do adventurous and dangerous activities including sky diving. I work in London and a good friend I recently made decided to move back to Sweden and friends I went on holiday with have less contact with me since our holiday. I would say that’s more to do with differences rather than anything else. It’s tricky going on holiday with people because you live with them for a number of days and if you’re like me who wants to go explore, make the most of the holiday then you certainly won’t find me lounging about the hotel, like my friends. I find it very hard to find a connection with people nowadays. I have little in common but I am unsure why that is the case. Do you know what I mean when I speak of that instant connection? It’s this really great feeling which I’ve only experienced a few times in my life where you are just completely on par with the person you’ve just met. Perhaps it is because I am too serious and think too much which portrays me as intense? Not sure but I don’t like to analyse too much. Or maybe it is because I am shy and am not making the most of the opportunities. I really don’t know. There’s a lot I want to do but I find that I end up doing most things by myself. I want to go to a gig, I end up going by myself. I want to go travelling, I end up having to plan things and find countries to go to by myself. I want to go climbing I go by myself. I want to go for yoga/pilates classes, I join up by myself. There’s nothing wrong with this and its pretty great having that independence, I mean I’ve even eaten alone in a restaurant and gone to the cinema alone. In my life I have constantly done things by myself and its getting a bit lonely now. I can’t find anyone to have fun and do things with. I’m not talking about a boyfriend, I’m talking about friends, having a good time, meeting people and doing things together. I guess you have to be like minded but I find it hard to find those like minded people. Most of my friends are happy to either go clubbing, stay at home and watch films, go to restaurants or even cocktails which don’t get me wrong is fun, but I would love to join a dance club or something and do something fun or a bit more adventurous. Perhaps I will, perhaps I should just stop waiting for people which to be honest I have given up on people. I really need to get a grip on life, I have so many dreams that involve travelling the world, learning different languages and just being content, but it is difficult to be content in this life. We are constantly striving for more.

I haven’t the faintest idea where to start. I don’t know where to go and who to turn to because there is no one out there only the big wide world web. There’s so many options but I don’t know if there is a small intimate friendly class for dancing or painting. I don’t know how good it is. It’s all a risk but its something I wonder about. I am at the edge of the precipice just waiting to jump but unsure how to proceed, whether there will be someone at the bottom to catch me. Waiting and wondering but I can’t keep doing this, I can’t keep living my life like this wondering how things could be. I look at my own dear brother and how he manages to find and make some of the loveliest and great friends who want to spend time with him and do things together, to try things and who trust his judgement. We are different people and he is very witty, funny and laid back. I am more serious, deep in thought, like debating, laughing but I get stressed and worried easily. We are very different but similar as we both enjoy travelling and finding new adventures. You can see how we would attract different people, normally like minded people. He attracts jovial fun happy people and I attract serious, sometimes sad but mostly strong willed and principled individuals. Don’t get me wrong I am grateful for my lovely friends for they are lovely in a different way. They are very caring and kind but I just want more and perhaps this is my problem; I expect too much from people and I always have. But I need more friends who will do things with me and who will trust my judgement and is open to trying things. Sometimes things will not work out the way you want and some things I choose may be crap but its a risk I’m willing to make, but I can’t keep hanging on to friends who are poor and aren’t prepared to take that risk because of the outcome may result in regret. Life is an experience and I don’t know everything if that person will enjoy it or not but it is something we can do together or as a group! This is life and nothing is ever free but if you want to have fun you do need money sometimes. Not a lot, but some. I wanted to go to Imagine Dragon’s gig but when I asked all my friends they were either working, too tired or too poor to go. When I wanted to see Evanescence no one wanted to go so I had to drag my poor brother to come with me. It was one of the best nights of my life and some friends after said how they love Evanescence and their music but when I asked if they wanted to go, there was silence.

It’s so easy to say go out and meet people, but where can I meet them in such a big city like London? There’s a lot of people but they are in their own zones, are quite cold and look at you if you’re strange if you start talking to them. No literally they will turn and look to see if you’re talking to the person behind them. I need to join a club or class but where? Thousands of people swarm across London and I can’t seem to make friends. It’s crazy! Introverted I may be but ambitious and a dreamer I always will be. If you stop and talk you will get to know someone better, but it’s not hard. Actually it is quite hard because firstly you need the courage to start that conversation. We pick and choose our friends. We pick and choose people we want to talk to and we put them into different levels. Friend level, acquaintance level, “not going to chat to person” level because person looks boring, can’t be bothered level, too intense level, etc. But the level you categorise someone may not always be correct and you may be missing out on a chance of friendship.

Anyway my point is finding people to connect with is difficult. Finding activities in London is also quite tough! Maybe I’m just not looking hard enough but I will try! Hopefully I’ll find some things….no I’m sure I will!

Religious believers vs Atheists : why does there have to be a war?

I was forced to come back to my blog because I was angered by such a cruel comment and article that was posted by a friend on Facebook. For someone who did Philosophy, she really was a heartless person for being so judgemental herself. I am religious, I have feelings, I follow my religion and I believe in God. I am not afraid of saying this, about expressing what I believe. Yes I believe in God, deal with it. Yes I don’t tell the whole world but that’s my choice. Religion has become so controversial and such a touchy subject in our society that the mood darkens when it is mentioned. Don’t try to belittle me and my religion just because you don’t believe. Don’t you dare try to reduce it and make me feel like my religion is nothing but a comfort blanket. You haven’t got a fudging clue about my life, what people go through so how dare people just judge and condemn your religion like they know exactly what they are talking about. NO ONE knows anything about God. I freely admit it- no one in this massive world has a clue so how can you make a statement about people being crazy for believing in God or religion. Just because you don’t know anything about something does not make you irrational. There is a lot about this world that we do not know about but that doesn’t mean I walk down the road shouting “You are wrong because you know nothing!” Aliens could very well exist- how do you know? Scientists are trying to discover if  they do. Where did this idea of God come from? Its been around for thousands of years, but whatever happened to respecting one’s beliefs?

Oh it’s religion let’s skirt around the issue because it becomes an awkward topic of conversation. We are grown adults and people feel the need to hide behind the curtains and not wish to discuss what they think is close minded traditional old garbage. Well hang on a sec if you think that is so, then how is it that you still follow these old traditional teachings? You don’t realise it but religion is in everything whether you like it or not. It’s been around for thousands of years- you can’t just get rid of it. Even Nietzsche recognised this and stated that it would leave a vast void which would be difficult to fill.  How can you refute the claim that religion is useless when it still exists in everything you do- it is ingrained so deeply that you hardly recognise it. I studied philosophy too and at university I encountered not so much trouble at school but still enough that I was ridiculed for being a religious believer. I would always be told “its ok because you’re a nice religious believer but the others are nuts.” What am I to say? Oh thanks you think I am normal. Do you know the shameful part? I was happy with those statements and I agreed. Looking back I should have been angry because I was being compared and judged. Why do I get categorised as normal and others categorised as crazy. I just feel like I made the cut as if I just passed a test. That’s not how it should be. It shouldn’t matter what kind of religious person I am. It shouldn’t matter that I practice and keep religion to myself. It shouldn’t matter if that makes me normal or crazy because I am me and I am religious. I’m not ashamed of that and why should I be?

I digress, so this girl posted this cartoon on her Facebook: http://theoatmeal.com/comics/religion and emphasised how much she agreed with this. Some of it is not so bad, but it vexed me because of the assumptions that were made. It masquerades as humour and condemning those with crazy views, but whatever happened to the right to express our own opinions and views? Who says all religious people believe that stem cell research is evil and fruitless? I am Catholic and although I don’t agree with certain aspects of my religion doesn’t mean I am in the same group. I can’t win because I believe that homosexuality is fine. I understand it is tough and seriously how can you force others to hide who they are and pretend to be heterosexual? It’s just not fair asking someone to be who they are not. I believe Jesus loves everyone. I don’t recall God saying it was wrong because no one heard God say that.  In the eyes of religion I am a heretic and not a true Catholic but hey that’s what I believe. I still associate myself with being religious. It’s just a lot more complicated and all religion is complicated.

Don’t think my problem is solely with Atheists- I admit I don’t like it when some religious people parade religion in my face and try to show that they are better and far superior than me because they do more things in the Church. What is this a contest? Oh wow you’re more religious? Guess what I don’t care. Why should I? Religion is personal and for me is about God not some man made principles. I respect the Christian teachings but its about loving God for me. Helping others- supporting others going the extra mile. True you don’t need to be religious to do all those things but sometimes it helps to understand people and compassion a little more during times of struggle when you’re too stubborn to see the good and help those who’ve hurt you. It’s nice to sit with the Priest and discuss where God has gone and why you’re losing your faith. I’m lucky I have a lovely Priest to turn to who does not judge me but listens to me. He doesn’t give me easy answers and doesn’t even pander to the things he knows I would want to hear. He is honest and truthful that it is tough finding God in this world. I respect that.

Anyway this same girl said to me once when I was leaving after a climbing session when I said that I have to go home, she asked “why?” I said “oh because I need to go to Church for Ash Wednesday” and do you know what she said? She said “See how religion ruins your life?” and then she laughed and said goodbye. I stood there so shocked. I wish I said something but I was in too much of a state of shock. I could not believe what I just heard because do we not get choices anymore? Since when did religion ruin my life? because last I checked I made the choice to leave the session- not my religion. I am in control of my choices- if I want to leave and go to Church that’s my business. I am still to this day annoyed I didn’t speak up – who says you can forget so easily? No one says its easy to forget. I am so fed up with people telling me how to live my life and judging me just because I believe in God. It’s MY life, MY choices. Who says you get a say in my life choices? I will do what I want- if I want to go to Church I’ll damn well go. If I want to go out clubbing I will go, if I want to pray I’ll pray. I don’t force you so why are you forcing me to live the way you want. I get it that people get angered by some religious believers who force religion down their throats but people have to understand it is not all religious believers who do that. Why are you disrespecting and getting angry at religion as a whole? Just because you have issues with religion doesn’t mean you should have issues with everyone associated with that religion. Whenever I am in a group and the subject turns to religion, a silence and hush goes round the group when they discover I am Catholic. The sayings “Oh wow we would never have guessed.” or “Oh well you’re one of the normal ones then” get thrown around the group. Am i meant to be impressed and happy with those thoughts? Just because I don’t boast about my religion, preach about it and parade it in other people’s faces, it apparently makes me sane.  You don’t realise you’ve just judged me because I am religious but I bet you’d never have guessed that I like metal. I wear pretty dresses and like to smile and try to be optimistic but I still like metal. I have other sides to my personality, other interests so why do people feel the need to put me in a box? “Oh she looks happy so she must like happy music or pop music.” or “Oh she looks normal so she must not believe in religion because that is irrational.” I don’t get why it surprises people that I have different facets to my life. I dislike people who claim to be Atheist and argue that religion is judgemental while simultaneously managing to become a hypocrite by saying that they don’t judge people or the world. Then please explain to me how you claim not to judge others when you’ve clearly just judged religious believers. I don’t care what you hate and I don’t understand why it even matters?  Some people feel the need to attack the views of others just because they simply do not like it. “I don’t like religion so lets attack this shit”. But that’s not fair. I guess life is not fair but really next time be a little more sensitive. It doesn’t hurt. If you don’t like someone’s view explain that to them and if its not getting through move on. Why waste time trying to argue points just so you feel validated.

Well you’ll be happy to know my rant is over. I respect other people’s beliefs but there comes a point where it crosses the line and that’s where I lose respect. I am a religious believer. Deal with it.

This is me! Self-discovery alas….

So today I am writing about self-confidence and personal freedom. Last week I did something I wouldn’t usually do- I saw an offer to take up yogapilates and I grabbed it and decided to go for it. What do I have to lose right? So I was meant to go last Thursday but the timetable was changed and instead they gave me a free class of Pilates on Saturday! I wasn’t nervous and I feel like I have turned over a new leaf. No in fact I feel like I have rediscovered myself- the person I used to be- someone who had little fear and would just go for things! It made me realise that I do a lot of things by myself and I am not afraid to do it. I am independent! I don’t need a friend, boyfriend or parent to hold my hand and take me to the class. I noticed a lot of people brought friends, boyfriends or someone they knew with them to the class and I felt proud of myself that I could do things by myself. It also made me think back to all the things I have been doing by myself. It made me reflect about all those times I did things alone- the time when I was in my 2nd year of university and I wanted to join a club so I decided to join the University Club- I knew no one but I was not afraid, I travelled in the night alone (I was crazy travelling late at night in the darkness trying to find this climbing wall!) I am reckless sometimes, but I don’t feel alone! A presence is out there and I believe it to be God! Others may call it something else but this isn’t about belief- this is about taking chances. Anyway like I was saying I met new people but the point is I started it alone.

I decided to work in America for 2.5 months and then travel for another 2 months! I really don’t think things through but I am spontaneous! I don’t plan, well I do but not meticulously! I went to America naive thinking everything will be fine without little preparation and boy did I get the shock of my life! But again I reiterate I did it alone! I was not afraid to travel alone, to meet new people. It was a great experience looking back. I have been concentrating too much on the negative and now looking back I think of the positive. I am not afraid to jump into the deep end and that is something I have been overlooking for some time! I may be slow sometimes, act silly, say stupid things and talk like a baby around family but I am 21! I like to live and learn. I like experiencing new things. I like being a kid around my family and messing about. I don’t want to always be serious. Sometimes I ask stupid questions without thinking, so sue me!?!

I have no one to travel with and I would love to travel but I have always been forced to do things by myself because no one wants to join me! I ask friends if they want to go on holiday and they say yes but nothing ever comes from it. I search and then I realise they are not serious about it! I say I want to join a dance club and they agree but again if it doesn’t meet their schedule or it is just an idea then we can’t do it. I can’t dance very well and my co-ordination but I don’t care I am willing to try which is one of the most important things! Don’t kick me out because I suck- at least I am trying which is more than most people can say! (Not that I have been kicked out! 😉 I’m just saying!) The difference with me is when I have an idea I like to follow through with it! I am not one of those people who sit there dreaming- well actually I am but I also take action too! In my first year I told a friend I want more and I want to be more adventurous and join the climbing club; he laughed. Two years later I met him again and he told me that he did not actually think I would follow through because they were just dreams! But I will if I want something.

Some people may think I lead a lonely life and maybe I kind of do- I have no husband, boyfriend, but I do have friends and they don’t cling to me, nor do I cling to them. I don’t need anyone to do something I want to do and that feels great because I can just do it!!!! I can’t express the feeling but it feels like true freedom! I looked around when I went to this Pilates class and realised I am here by myself and I don’t care. I know no-one but again I don’t care. I am here to exercise and meet new people and have fun. It was a great class! you can really work out a sweat! Anyway the main thing is that if you are alone it doesn’t matter because you can do whatever you want! What’s there to be afraid of? I am re-discovering myself and day by day I feel like I am growing in confidence! This is my chance to shine- I just hope I make the most of all the opportunities that come my way! NO MORE REGRETS! I am strong and I can do anything I want! I am happy in that knowledge because I know I have come so far! 🙂