Filling the void one book at a time!

[This post is a 5 minute read]

Ever since I left the comfortable bosom of Network Marketing my focus has changed. I’m heading into a new direction. Unknown territories.

I feel free. In fact the only time I’ve felt this free [as an adult] was when I embarked on a 15mth travelling stint to South America and New Zealand.

This isn’t a dig at my past, network marketing was one of the best things to ever happen to me. It set me on a path that has led me to where I am. On the journey I not only met some truly wonderful people but I picked up an arsenal of skills and read some really valuable personal development books.

Once I closed the door to living my life in that environment, I suddenly felt many of the those books were redundant. I had no interest in how I should ‘Speak about my product’, ‘How to hustle’, ‘What successful people do’ and a plethora of other similar titles.

There was also a void where my vision once was. With network marketing although it hadn’t made a huge dent in my dreams, I knew what the end looked like. I knew what was possible and I knew it would be possible. I’d seen it happen.

My new dream leaves me questioning what my future is going to be. There’s no 5-year plan or step-by-step guide to success. Success leaves clues in many businesses but looking into writing the clues are scattered and what works for one person, dramatically fails for others. Will I ever make it? What does make it even look like? Will I only be a success and be able to live a comfortable life if I reach the heights of JK Rowling?

My reading habits have also changed since embarking on my new path. I’m reading more fiction and autobiographies instead of books that are constantly about enforcing change on you.

I read. I’m in awe. Then I’m scared. Then the doubts scuttle in. The way the authors manipulate the text, play with style, structure and pluck out words that I barely understand leaves me asking:

“What chance do I really have?”

I feel a tad relieved knowing that I’m still at the starting blocks. I haven’t figured out the ‘Author’ in me just yet and there are a lot of avenues I want to visit BUT at the same time I feel a sense of dread. As my ‘perfectly painted’ future has been white-washed over, leaving a sticky unclear residue with fragments of doubt, fears, envy and bewilderment.

But I have my books and I’m getting lost in them. Aside from reading some collection of short stories my focus has been on reading books from black Authors.

The reason I decided to this is because I have never embraced being ‘black’. Yes, I acknowledge I’m black but I don’t talk about it, research into my history, or even have that many black friends. I was brought up in a white family, in a white working class area and watched re-runs of films and TV shows with white actors in the lead and bit part actors in token ‘black’ roles. I talk more about this in my post – Back to Black 🙋🏿

From the top of my head I didn’t know many black authors so the first book I picked up was Maya Angelou’s first volume of her autobiography. Before I could delve into it I had to read a specific book as part of the ‘book club’ I attend.

Well the Universe certainly wanted to help me, as I found out when I started to read the book, the author was a black man. Paul Beatty’s – ‘The Sellout’, is a satire look at racism in the present day and how one man reinstates segregation and slavery. It was a book that was hard to read but nicely broken up with laugh out loud parts. It definitely made me think and question the way some things are.

img_3940

I finished Maya Angelou’s ‘I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings’ yesterday and WOW! It blew me away. With her words I got trapped into her world. The dark side of her growing up, mixed with her adventures and the thorn in my side, which drew constant tears on my commute to work, the out here racism she saw and endured. It made for a hard but a much needed read.

One of the lines that I read over and over again was a conversation Maya’s 13year old brother had with his Uncle:

“Uncle Willie. Why do they hate us so much?”

Uncle Willie muttered “They don’t really hate us. They don’t know us. How can they hate us? They mostly scared”

img_3941

Those words made me cry then and typing them out, made me just cry again. Yes, the past is the past but it dictates our future and it’s still got a strangle hold on us. So I’m reading these books to stop being ignorant, to try and understand and maybe just maybe something I write will help dictate a brighter future.

The final book I want to touch on is one that I received for my birthday back in July. Some of my girlfriends chipped in to buy me a few gifts and one of them was another nod from the Universe.

‘Bad Feminist’ – a book by a black author, Roxanne Gay. I just started reading it today and this woman is awesome! In her essays she touches on being black, having immigrant parents [raised in America], being a woman and as the title suggest being a feminist, albeit a bad one!

She talks about things other people daren’t and I can already see that I am going to be a big fan of hers. And start to speak up more about issues that matter. One thing at a time……

img_3942

One thing at a time………

One step at a time………

That’s all it takes. Reminding myself of this reaffirms that I’m on the right path, even though that path may be a dirt track, full of talented writers or full of wrong turns with no end in sight.

I am where I’m meant to be.

Emma x

Instagram: @emmalouhalliday 

If you like this post or any other of my blog posts, please feel free to like, comment or share with friends.

img_3939
Two additional books by black authors that are next on my list.
Advertisements

We can’t do this on our own!

This thing called life, we can’t do it on our own and why would we want to?

I have always classified myself as strong and independent (not stable 😜) and thought I could work my way through life with little help.

I partly thought this because I’m a bit stubborn but mainly because I didn’t want to appear weak, vulnerable and to be honest I was too scared to let my defences down and too shy to actually ask for help.

I have seen the error in my ways and realise that to really experience life and get the most value from it, we need people. And you all know my thoughts on vulnerability – hence the name and theme of my blog.

We need people to: love, work with, talk to (I mean really talk where they’re actively listening), bounce ideas off, laugh with, cry with, moan to.

img_3906
And we sometimes need people to take over and be the crutch, the support when we feel like we can’t go on.

My emotions have been a bit all over the place this week, a lull set up camp and I felt a little disjointed. I put it down to post holiday blues but naming it didn’t make it disappear. Plus, I’m not sure that it was the actual reason.

I did however feel so much better having people there, not to judge or to fix me, but just be there. Texts with one friend, impromptu dinner with another, a couple of video calls and suddenly I didn’t feel so alone. To actually air how we are currently feeling really does expose it to the light and it can make the situation more bearable.

To hear the battles and obstacles other people are facing reminded me that life is hard, it can sometimes be shit and unfair. Running from how we feel or masking our feelings with social media, shopping, drugs, alcohol etc. can only work for a short time. There comes a time where we have to sit with our feelings and speak to someone we trust.

Which brings me on to my writing journey.

For years I have wanted to be a writer, but squashed that dream down with negative self talk and dangerous comparisons. When I finally started to tell people I wanted to write, far be it from laughing in my face and telling me how unrealistic I was, I got messages of encouragement and recommendations.

Since then I’ve become a member of a book club for writers, attended a workshop for intuitive writing, joined a flash-fiction writers group and……

I finished my first ever short story A piece of me!

This was due to a supportive creative writing workshop I attended. The host, Sean, was so kind, patient and understanding and was a great critical voice to have. I not only learnt that I can actually start something and complete it but I can actually handle constructive criticism – go me! If you’re based in London and are interested in writing, I recommend his workshops 100% – https://www.thenewmachine.com/ 

Yes, sometimes there are paths and journeys we have to take on our own but along the way there’ll be people to guide us.

I’m learning more each day to embrace this and to accept help when it’s offered. Next step, starting to actually ask for help too…….

img_3908
Emma x

Instagram: @emmalouhalliday

If you like this post or any other of my blog posts, please feel free to like, comment or share with friends.

img_2216

img_3907

Learning to go with the flow…..

This afternoon I got back from my first (but hopefully not last) holiday of the year. I’ve come back to England with so many Greek goodies, a body full of mosquito bites, an urge to put toilet paper in the bin and the same amount of tiredness that I left with.

img_3788
Boarding the small plane to Ikaria

I had visions of my holiday not only been an escape away from the daily grind but a chance to totally unwind, de-stress, catch up on sleeping and getting stuck into a book.

I didn’t sleep much and of the two books and a magazine that I took with me, I only read a few articles from the latter.

img_3787
Okay – I got some sleep 🙂

But……I had a fantastic time. When things don’t usually go to plan, my initial response is to stress then try and make it right immediately. I think the magical Island of Ikaria, where the locals are so relaxed – they’re horizontal, made me chill out and go with the flow.

img_3817
The one hour uphill walk in the blazing sun was so worth it.

img_3821

I dropped the guilt and instead had a break from my life, from:

  • fretting about not writing every day
  • worrying about what my next step is on my writing path
  • meditating and reading
  • going crazy about my future
  • this blog and wondering how I was going to build up my followers

I just let it all go and I became part of the Island. There’s a reason why Ikaria is one of the five ‘blue zones’ in the world {places where people live longer}.

img_3835
Stunning port – Evdilos

Standing at the corner of a dusty road, we hitchhiked back to our friend’s village after a day at the beach. I left my angst at the door as I was fed by my friend’s Ikarian in-laws, exchanging smiles and nods instead of worrying about the language barrier. I enjoyed the wind in my face and the thrill of riding the back of a moped across winding narrow roads during a tour of some of the island.

The holiday has been a much needed reminder to stop loading myself with so many ‘must do’s’ and ‘expectations’.

img_3805
A day at the beach before hitchhiking back to the village

It also gave me the much needed nudge in the direction of booking a solo holiday where I can read, write, meditate and do other activities that I’ve been longing for. The thought of a solo holiday fills me with fear, even though I have travelled on my own before. I’m sure it’s just like riding a bike and once I set off, I’ll remember how much I enjoy it.

I have two nights to catch up on sleep before I go back to work and I’ve decided to bring a bit of Ikaria into my work life and not fret too much as the work piles up.

Going with the flow is so much easier than struggling against the tide so it’s really a no brainer.

I’ll keep you posted on where I decide to go on my solo jaunt.

img_3866
Last night in Athens. Having a drink at a bar that overlooked the Acropolis.
img_3850-1
View of the Acropolis

Emma x

If you’ve liked this or any other of my posts, please feel free to like, share or comment 🙂

 

 

I’ve Been Nominated 🤗

For an award.

An award due to this blog.

An award due to this blog from a very wonderful, funny and talented blogger, Maria, The Super Wife & Mommy. Please do check out her page as it’s full of wonderful stories of life, children’s poetry, recipes and more.

img_3770

I’m going to admit, after the initial buzz of being recognised and receiving a compliment on a page where I bare parts of my soul, I felt torn.

And I had an inward battle with myself because I vowed when I started this blog not to indulge these types of awards that ask you to nominate other people. It reminded me of all those Facebook posts where you’re asked to share a picture or something about yourself and tag everybody and their pet. Plus, it didn’t fit in to the theme of my blog.

But it did and it does, in more ways than one, because; I felt vulnerable and I was being recognised for being vulnerable.

So I got over myself and the gratitude returned and I knew I was going to partake.

Here’s how the award works:

Rules:

  • Put the award logo on your blog.
  • Thank the people who nominated you, linking to their blogs.
  • Answer 7 questions asked by the person who nominated you.
  • Nominate any number of bloggers you like, linking to their blogs.
  • Let them know you nominated them (by commenting on their blog, etc).
  • Ask your nominees 7 questions

I felt a tinge of guilt reading the rules as I realised that I haven’t built up many friendships on WordPress, I don’t have many followers, nor do I follow many blogs. I come on the site, make a post, read a few other people’s posts and move on. This award has made me want to become part of a community so I will also be spending more time trying to rectify that.

So before, I start answering the questions and making my own nominations I would like to say a HUGE thank you to Super Wife & Mommy for pulling me out of my blogging comfort zone.

Questions 

  • What’s an interesting thing you have read or seen this week?

An easy question to start with. It’s a blog post by Super Wife & Mommy. It is one of the most beautiful and vulnerable posts I have come across – a real heart tugger. If you read one thing today, check out her postSelf-Explanatory.

  • What do you prefer? Sitting alone in a room reading or going out partying.

This is a toughie as I am an eclectic person. I love and I mean LOVE both. Parties are great. I’m good at partying. Be it a festival, old man’s pub or clubbing into the early hours – I love it. But I also ache for alone time. I love reading. It’s my thing. I’ve always got a book on the go and crave for times where I can get lost in a story. I have balance in my life and I like it. SO on this occasion – I choose both.

  • Do you prefer digital reading (PDF, kindle, etc) or traditional books?

Easy. Books. I bought a digital reading device and couldn’t gel with it. Alas, it wasn’t a kindle and I just couldn’t get the hang of it. I enjoy getting stuck into a book and thumbing through the pages. I feel at home when I’m in a library – the smell of the books and the possibilities right there in front of your face. Aaaah I get a serious buzz just thinking about it.

  • What’s the closest thing to real magic?

When the universe and your intuition conspire to work in your favour. I’ve seen magic happen. You just have to let go and believe.

  • What is the craziest thing you have ever done?

Define crazy? Many people think some of the activities I’ve done are a bit crazy. Getting naked and painting myself blue in the name of art, sky-diving, solo travelling in South America, having a body caste made, hitch-hiking, getting tattoos/piercings, skinny-dipping (hmmm I appear to be naked in most of these) but these were all so much fun. Crazy to me has been staying in a job too long, not getting into a relationship I wanted to, withholding my dreams and hanging onto the past.

img_1895             img_3771

  • Your favorite quote

My favourite quote changes depending on how I’m feeling. I’m always saving new ones to my phone. I’m currently loving….

img_4818

Well that was fun. I’ve just realised there were only 6 questions. I’m going to change the questions slightly so they fit in with vulnerability.

Questions:

  1. Are you a perfectionist?
  2. What is the scariest thing you have ever done?
  3. Who do you admire?
  4. What trait do you love about yourself?
  5. What have you been giving yourself a hard time about?
  6. Do you believe in yourself?
  7. Do you like being naked? (Seriously, I’m obsessed with being naked)

Sticking with the theme of vulnerability. I have chosen bloggers that have invited me into their world and let their vulnerability shine. You guys rock:

  1. Peaceful Jellyfish
  2. Everyone Else Has the Best Titles
  3. The Other Stuff
  4. Not Just Any Job
  5. Victoria’s Bubble Blog

Note to nominees: You don’t have to continue the awards but I just wanted to let you all know that I appreciate you. Reading your posts make me feel more confident about keeping on my journey and for that I thank you.

Emma x

p.s. to any readers of this post. I’d be really interested in reading your answers to my questions in the comments. Dare you get a little vulnerable?

A piece of me!

Note: As this blog post includes an overview followed by a short story (3,044 words) this is a long read (13-16 minutes). So sit back, relax and read on……..(or run for the hills).

Overview

As many of you will know, I want to be a writer, I proclaimed it to the blogging world and my Facebook friends in this post – The write path. Since confessing my dreams, alongside this blog, I have:

Continue reading “A piece of me!”

A follow on to ‘I’ve got a confession to make’

In my post I’ve got a confession to make! I gave myself a challenge.

That was to ask a guy, who I have taken a shine to, out for a drink. Make it known that I like him.

After declaring to the world my blog that I was going to bite the bullet and just ask, I had days to wait until I had the opportunity.

And those days dragged.

And my imagination went wild.

And I was going to back down.

But………I did it!

It was my initial plan to ask him face to face but partly due to fears, partly due to not wanting to put him in an awkward position and partly to do with some other obstacles, I couldn’t find the right moment.

I left feeling like a failure and had a huge cloud of uncertainty clogging my mind, which to be fair could have quite easily been the alcohol! But that’s when I knew, I had to tell him.

So I sent a text.

A text felt like the easy way out so I still felt like a failure but hey, I figured, I’m a writer – that’s the way I work. Plus the only awkward silence I would have to deal with is the silence of my phone.

And the cloud began to disperse.

I didn’t get the answer I was looking for (in other words, it was a polite No’) but I got so much more.

img_3746

I had broken the curse of ‘not putting myself out there’ and the rejection didn’t sting as much as the regret would have.

So as I sit typing this blog with a smile on my face and a Bloody Mary by my side (I’m going to Notting Hill Carnival shortly), I now know that closure tastes so much sweeter than ‘what if’ and ‘I wonder’.

Therefore, I shall continue on my asking path!

img_3747
A quote from Danielle LaPorte which is so fitting.

Oh, and another thing – I am pleased to say that I haven’t had any more crazy thoughts about ironing!

Emma x

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/emmalouhalliday/

p.s. If you like this, or any other of my posts, please do comment, like or share 🙂

 

Guest in Jest – a humorous introduction to me – Emma Louise Halliday

Today I am presenting my first guest post which I wrote for a simply wonderful blogger. Linda was actually the first blogger I followed. If you like dogs and humour you’ll definitely love Linda’s blog:

You can check out her blog here:

https://mainepaperpusher.wordpress.com

You too can take part in guest posting on her blog as every Friday she runs ‘Guest in Jest’. If you’re interested check out the rules which follow after my post.

Source: https://mainepaperpusher.wordpress.com/2017/08/25/guest-in-jest-7-yearofvulnerability/

Guest in Jest

My voice quivered as the words started to jump around on the page. It didn’t help that I couldn’t keep the paper still. My eyes lost focus, blurring out the audience, which was a new slant on trying to picture them naked! As the sun beamed into the classroom and the sweat rolled down my cheeks, I let out a wheeze mid sentence and started to fall.

That was my first proper public speaking outing.

In front of my class.

Whilst reading my book report.

To a class of teenagers!

Teenagers!

They were like a pack of hyenas, waiting for their next pray…………..to fall. Well in my case faint!

For the remainder of the school year I was a focus points of jokes. With kids coming up to me, starting a sentence only to stop midway – trailing their words and pretending to fall to the floor!

That episode clung to me for more than half my life, until one day I took ownership of it. Putting myself in front of an audience again to tell that story at a ‘fear of public speaking’ class. Over-exaggerating the wheeze, the fall – making people laugh as I laughed along with it! It couldn’t hold me back anymore – I had the power!

My name is Emma Halliday and I hail from a proper belting city in England. The heart of England if you will. A place called Leeds, in Yorkshire. Although I am very protective over the place I will always call home, I now live in London. Which I absolutely love!

I would like to call myself a writer, as ever since I can remember I have loved writing, telling stories through my words, alleviating heartache through poetry and sharing my secrets with my diary, which for some reason I named Percy. A name which would then be reused to call my most precious sentimental item I possess – a teddy bear!

Alas, I have no grounds to call myself a writer, not just yet. With a few festival and travelling reviews under my belt, more than a few lengthy Facebook statuses, a handful of poems and my most recent blog – my year of vulnerability – I don’t feel justified to greet myself with that title.

My Year of Vulnerability is the main focus in my life right now and it’s a long time coming. I’ve not been good with being vulnerable, seeing it as a weakness and the more times I was made to feel embarrassed, rejected or stupid (see above story) – inside a part of me retreated………….and to put it dramatically – died!

After I owned that story, embarrasing times would come – as they do! My initial reaction was to run and hide, but this was quickly replaced with laughter and proudly claiming it as mine!

So when I was a couple of days into a new job with people who I didn’t really gel with, I wanted to make an impression. I asked for additional training which was well received. “Score – you see Emma, you do belong here!”

Sat in the middle of my 2 colleagues, sipping on a herbal tea as they spoke, determined to take all this extra information in, I suddenly felt wet! I looked down and my blue skirt, was wet. How could that be?

I swung my head right, seeing splashes go towards colleague number one. I turned my head left and liquid flew towards colleague number two. That is when I saw it, the string from the herbal tea bag had managed to miraculously wrap around my lip piercing and I was like a St Bernard -shaking my head from side to side with the water following my movements.

Not a word was said from my colleagues as I fiddled and faffed trying to release the teabag. Plop!! It fell back into the cup and we continued on our session.

I had to go to a meeting straight after and as soon as I got into the lift I burst out into uncontrollable laughter. My eyes almost as wet as my skirt. The lift stopped on the next floor and I woman walked in, I continued to laugh until we reached the ground floor. It was hilarious!

I owned that event – as embarrasing as it was! I had officially tea bagged myself at work!

 I now don’t struggle as much with situations that ‘happen’ to me – I proudly own it! My year of vulnerability is about putting myself out there and handling situations that I put on myself and blogging about it as I go along. So watch this space!

Emma x

http://www.yearofvulnerability.wordpress.com/

***********************************************

Please join us in our Guest of Jest series.

Here are the rules:

  1. Give us some info about your blog.  Make sure to add a link to it.
  2. Write up something amusing.  It doesn’t have to be “laugh out loud” funny, but a bit of humor would be great.
  3. Pictures optional, but encouraged.
  4. The post can be one that has been posted before.

The piece can be anything that is humorous.  A story, a recollection, even something as simple as a joke.

Send your submission to Linda at mainepaperpusher@yahoo.com and I’ll pop you right in the schedule.

 

C’mon, you know you want to!

 

The featured image was created by Silas at  My weird, crazy and mundane life Journal