Dear 11 year old Helena..

Dear baba me,

I miss you. I miss being you a lot right now. Sometimes when I look at my nieces I can see myself in them but I’m so proud of where they are. They’re a lot stronger than we were, I think. Not that you didn’t try your best, cause I know you did. But I know how easy it was for you to get upset. I remember when you looked at secondary school options and learnt that you had to learn about life and death in RE and you cried because it scared you. I remember when you used to offer to help the teacher with paperwork at lunchtimes in primary school, because you were too nervous to go outside. I remember when your sister told you she was pregnant with Ellie and you cried because you knew you weren’t the baby anymore. Can you believe that? Imagine telling Ellie that in a few years. She’ll find it hilarious.

Do you remember that last holiday in Clacton before you started high school and you were walking down a road from the beach holding dads hand and telling him how you were scared you wouldn’t make friends at high school? And he told you you’d be fine. Mum and dad had so much hope for you I think. I wish you had spent more time with them instead of hiding behind the computer or in your room. Mum used to think you were going to become a writer but you didn’t quite go for that option. I hope we didn’t upset her. I’m finally deciding I want to do something in English now and writing and I’m going to try and get in a big university and study it. Does that sound cool? Or scary?

Do the kids at school still make you cry and want to stay at home? I wish I could cuddle you and tell you it’ll be ok. A lot of people will make you cry as you get older. I wish I knew how to have prepared you, but even now I don’t. They really don’t matter though. Nothing is wrong with you and you are an absolute beauty. You know your gorgeous, curly locks? I cut them recently and I regret it. Hold onto those locks for as long as possible, they were lovely on you. Also if anyone says you’re fat or pudgy, ignore it. I envy the size you’re at because you were tiny and healthy. I don’t know why the other kids made you believe something was wrong with you. It’s something that stays with you for years sweet, believe me.

Little one, I wish I could go back and make things right for us. We got kind of screwed over a lot and it isn’t fair. You deserved better and you deserve better than how I’m treating us now. I’ll try and be better for you and try and look after myself.

Goodnight x

Dear 2015..

Dear 2015,

You’ve been a roller-coaster of a year. It’s like you weren’t exactly certain where you wanted your head to be at and kept changing your mind every month. I understand cause I am like that too. January and me had a bit of an argument this year, do you remember? I was finally coming to terms with how and how I shouldn’t be treated – I was questioning a lot of what was going on and at one point January didn’t seem to like it. In fact January seemed to want to see me crying on the bathroom floor with left-over tacky Christmas drinks at one point – which I still don’t appreciate January, but I am eternally thankful for when you turned around and pushed me in the right direction near the end. The year was extremely different to others since then and I know it was for the best.

February dived in with a lot of adventures up it’s sleeve. I got to explore the beautiful city of Edinburgh and see my lovely sister and brother-in-law. I got to visit the small, hidden village of Todmorden and meet some funny people and my confidence was slowly growing. Like a small seedling. Admittedly some days it’d have troubles uncurling it’s leaves – scared it was showing off too much growth when other people were not ready for it. But small progress is better than nothing. March was fizzy and sweet like pink lemonade and the spring definitely blossomed some optimism inside me. I began a second game project at my old job and saw a great band live. March was the bittersweet month of this year and I was comforted by her visit.

April showers mostly reflected my stress levels. Some days everything would be clear and other days you’d be stuck trying to fix a broken umbrella torn apart from the wind and reckless rain. Luckily April lectured me in the importance of people’s intentions. Some people will not need or want you when you can’t give them anything and other people will expect things from you that you never promised them. April’s tough love at the time felt cruel and hurt my head, but now I look back and see how much progress I made and I wonder if April knew how her tough attitude made me stronger. May was like a softer twin of April – still wanted to push me to extreme lengths but was full of understanding when it became too much.

June and July were blurs of sweat and motivation. Admittedly in July, I had a lot of hope for my career – then it was unknown to me what turns the Winter would give me. But I am nostalgic for that relaxed feeling I would have surrounded by friends I had made for the past year. I wish July would tell me if I had done the right things or if there was anything I could of done to ensure I would have more times like I did the past year, with those same people. But July was quite secretive and would only tell me so much. In future, I must learn to be patient but plan ahead.

August put me on a plane and taught me to conquer my fears. “You need to do these things once”, August pleaded with me. I guess August was right. There’s something about going through an airport and to a new country alone that strengthens your bones. There’s also something about standing in a hot, stuffy crowd at your first ever festival that makes you fall temporarily in love with the world. Hearing a massive amount of people sing their hearts out to one of your favourite songs along with you is almost overwhelming and I think even next August won’t let me forget the thumps in my chest as the blurs and bright lights of festivals span around me like neon ribbons.

September, October and November all hid under a blanket together and invited me to come and sit with them. I wonder if it was fun for them to watch how patient I could be over three months. The months all merged together with their mild, crisp airs and constant flickering of my phone on and off as I waited for emails. I hope they wanted to punch and kick as much as I wanted to when the long wait came to an end. I wonder how they felt when they saw me in tears questioning why I wasn’t good enough to continue my career. They had no answers. Quiet pats on the back followed and the small, tender push to go and find something else. I remember it was November’s pale, cold hands that were the hands that pushed me forward to my current career. Although I think November didn’t know me well enough to make that choice, I still thank her for getting me out of my self-pity.

December’s eyes glowed amber colours symmetrical to the street lights on a Winter evening. She was perfectly still and reserved like a magical fountain of some sort, but every so often she’d open her eyes wide and they’d shine like tinsel and glitter and hypnotise me. My heart and head would become jumpy and excited and convince me I could do anything. But then December’s eyelashes would crinkle with frost and everything came to a halt again. I think December knows how much I rely on other people and that when it comes to looking after myself I can instantly stop dead in my tracks and crumble. Instead of waiting on the year to validate me with gold, shining eyes, I must understand that I can do great things without the nod of approval.

So thank you 2015, for teaching me confidence. Thank you for giving me the strength to come away from relationships that were hurting me. Thank you for giving me the hope of new friendships and relationships that make me more happy and push me in the right direction. Thank you for keeping me humble and making me tread through storms to realise what I have the strength to do.

I am excited to see what 2016 brings. I know I am going to do great things.

Have a good one everybody,

Helena x x

 

Train Rides

This year I think I’ve been on train journeys more than I have done in my entire life. Growing up I always imagined trains as a transportation you get when you’re going on a big journey, much like a plane or even a boat. However now I probably use trains more than I use buses.

Not that it makes train rides feel less adventurous. In fact, as silly as it may sound, train journeys feel different every time I get them. Even if I’m going to the same place.

You have the morning train. It’s crowded and weirdly warm. The only sounds are the buzzes of people’s music in their headphones or the sharp flick of newspaper pages turning. The grey, fuzzy sky gives the train a weird sense of comfort, the lights in the train are on and it emits a fluorescent glow and people are slowly waking up to the day.

The afternoon train can be different. This is the train where you’re already awake. Your eyes don’t strain when you look out to the countryside view shoot past and the train is mostly empty so you can indulge in the fervour of your own headphones and the radiance outside. It’s the kind of train you get when you have a day off work. When you feel free and laid back because you have no worries about being too late or too early. You can just be in complete relaxation as the train glides along the tracks.

The evening train has a lingering stench of beer and handsome perfume, but it gets your blood pumping and your curiosity heightened. Different conversations and stories flit across the air of the train from different groups and the contrast between matte black trousers and shiny, new nightclub dresses let the world know that tonight is going to be different for everyone. Some people might fall in love tonight, some people might get in a fight. But at the end of night everyone will wake up with the same bittersweet hangover.

File 18-12-2015, 8 42 14 p.m.

In 2016 I hope that I’ll explore more places in the UK and it’ll be very exciting if I get to visit Huddersfield and Leeds for University interviews. Is there any places you hope to visit in 2016? Share!

Thanks for reading,

Helena x

You do not decide the world that lives inside my brain

Sometimes in my life my anxiety causes me to not feel that I am really inside my head. Sometimes I feel like something that is watching a human walk around and I try to help it make decisions but sometimes it just zones out and isn’t completely present. This is called dissociation and it is an experience where you feel separate from your body and your sense of identity and thoughts, as well as the way you view the world and yourself change quite drastically. Sometimes when I get into these weird states where I don’t feel 100% there I find it harder to remember memories or even mix up memories that are other peoples or sometimes I’ve noticed recently when I have realistic dreams I sometimes believe these are actual things that happened way in the past. For example I had a dream one of my friends had a tooth growing out of their gum, as if they were having their final adult tooth growing through or something along that lines and I feel like I can remember avidly them telling me they had toothache and pulling up their upper lip to show me it. However a few weeks later when I asked them about their tooth apparently that never happened and their gums were normal.

In these states my anxiety can be a real struggle as well, you don’t feel right about your identity, you worry that people think different of you than what you want to believe, you are worried that your interests and what you like might come across as fake or false or even in really  bad  states I even feel that I don’t have a personality at all. But at the end of the day my anxiety and struggles make me. They help me grow as a person and coming to terms with them and being able to sit back and go ‘no your worries don’t define you, you have these personality traits that make you lovable’.

Growing up it was definitely not that easy to accept how sensitive I was to comments about my personality, choices, thought processes or dreams. When I got to the age of picking my GCSEs, I excitedly dragged my mum to the GCSE Art stall to discuss what doing the GCSE was like and the head of art turned around and said that I shouldn’t do it. That I wouldn’t be able to handle it and I would not pass it. Yet here I am, I passed GCSE Art and passed my college course of Art and Design with a DMM Grade (D being Distinctions, M’s being Merits. These are almost like A’s and B’s in A Level Terms).  I am proud of my younger self for not letting the teacher’s words cut me to the core although the amount of times I’d sit at home over my work and cry cause I didn’t think art was right for me. I will continue being strong like my younger self was during that time and not let people tell me what and what I shouldn’t do with my dreams and ambitions.

People who do not know you and the world set out in your mind cannot dictate what you are here on earth for. This post is a reminder for everyone struggling with identity struggles, personality struggles or anxiety. This is for anyone who is trying to decide what to study in University and their peers are telling them to go towards other areas of study yet something else feels right in your head. If you feel drawn towards Science, you go for that Science course – you know yourself better than anyone else knows you.

Today I was having a really bad case of anxiety attacks and symptoms whilst I was at work and whilst putting back some baskets a customer approached me and asked me for some help. She asked if I could recommend a product to cover a hole in her garden. I was hired for the job of working on checkouts at my current job so I advised this lady that I did not have training in homeware or gardenware and that I would go and get someone to help. After running all the way to customer service, unable to find anyone that wasn’t busy and ran back to her. When I told her she turned around and went “No. No. You people are supposed to know this stuff, you are hired to help me.”.

So to this customer and anybody else who thinks I am supposed to know certain things to aid them.
I have a name.
I am a person.
I am not ‘you people’.
I am hired to help as much as I possibly can and to help the store make money.
I am not here for you. I am here for myself.
I am here to learn and gain experience so I can go to University.
I will not let your rude attitude define me and define why I was put here in this store.

I am Helena and I am here on earth to make my dreams happen. I am here to gain happiness and education. I am here in this job because I want to work and earn experience and income so I can go to University and travel.

 

Thanks for reading,
Helena