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!”

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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.

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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!

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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 

I’ve got a confession to make!

Okay……….there’s two!

I feel really vulnerable about it as it’s when I’m at my weakest.

I like a guy.

Like. Really like a guy!

Not an online guy or a guy I think I like because I think he may like me and he said ‘Hey’. Seriously thought shit like this would stop in my thirties! Clearly I ignored the countless warnings from ‘Sex and the City’ and ‘Bridget Jones’ Diary’ – they definitely didn’t have it together.

Anyway, I digress! Back in the room.

I’m going to put on my ‘courageous cape’ (actually don’t own one of these) and let him know I like him. By……

asking him if he wants to go out for a drink!

Okay so I know this may not be a BIG thing for most people. But to me its massive!

Clearly my ways of trying to make it ‘known’ to guys in the past that I like them hasn’t worked.

So, it’s time to cut to the chase and just ask.

Regardless if the answer is: yes, no or………..silence. I’ll be so pleased that I’ve asked.

My career took off when I started to make it known what I wanted. Four promotions in 3.5years was possible because I asked and took action.

  • Alongside the four – Yes’
  • I got No’s
  • And even a silence… 2 years later, I’m still waiting to hear whether I got the job after having an interview! I knew the answer when I left the room but still they ignored me after countless calls and emails (they practically turned me into a stalker)

I got rejected and I’m still here and definitely in a better position than if I’d got that job.

Rejection sucks. But rejection from myself is no longer an option. I certainly shouldn’t be the one standing in the way of getting what I want it!

Whatever the answer is when I ask him out, I know that I’ll be in a better position than I am now. The unknown!

So wish me luck 🤞

(I’m also hoping he doesn’t read this blog – now that would be awkward).

Oh yes, the other confession.

I think I’m really nearly an adult!

Last night whilst changing my bedding. A thought crossed my mind that maybe I should iron it!

WTF!!

Can this be happening?

I immediately shook the ridiculous thought from my mind and left the iron in the cupboard.

I’m part schoolgirl with a crush and part old-maid wanting to iron things!

Here’s hoping you have a great week x

Emma x

p.s. If you have any tips on how to ask a guy out without looking desperate or sounding too awkward – throw them my way.

p.p.s. If you have any tips on how I can stop thinking about ironing before it gets to the stage where I’m grabbing pants and socks – throw them my way – right now!! Seriously!!

I need some Space!

My head is a mess!

That’s how I feel when I allow clutter to take control of me.

As I’ve been non-stop for almost two weeks, I’ve felt too tired to do anything when I finally get home each evening. Especially tidying up!

The effect is a messy desk, chair and shelves and an even messier mind.

I haven’t got the neat freak trait but at the same time I hate mess!

When tasks become too big I get overwhelmed and have to run for cover. Adding extra layers of clutter I have to tidy up and in turn extra layers of unnecessary stress.

So my August focus of space is needed more than ever.

My aim is:

  • to declutter and get rid of the things I’ve accumulated. I’m a magnet to paper, bags, broken jewellery and unfinished creative projects.
  • not to say ‘Yes’ to every invitation going.

Basically let go of the things that no longer serve me.

Every object or worry I get rid of will hopefully clear space in my bedroom, calendar and head.

I recently read ‘Stuffocation’ a book which explores the clutter crisis that has hit the world.

Through stories and research the author delves into the effect that owning lots of ‘stuff’ can have on people.

There are insights from people who have let go of owning so much ‘stuff’ to become minimalists.

Although I’m not going to go that extreme, I can definitely see the benefits. Plus, I’ve got to a time in my life where I feel less is more and I’d rather invest in worthwhile items.

The throwaway culture also makes me feel bad for the planet. This has definitely intensified since moving to London and seeing items discarded on the street more often.

I know the time is right to downsize as I’m constantly questioning:

  • Do I need these t-shirts, that I don’t even deem good enough to wear in bed, clogging up space in my wardrobe?
  • Will I read the books that I picked up from a charity shop just because I recognised the author and it was 10p?
  • Will I fix the hole in the dress I’m not sure I actually like or will even fit into again?

Straightforward answer = no!

I’m trying to hold on to the past and hold on to old dreams?

All this is doing holding me back.

I’m aiming to keep one evening a week and one weekend day a month free to relax. To do nothing. To give my mind the space it needs. Promising any more time than this and I know I’ll fail.

But the stuff. Yeah – that’s got to go! I have photos that provide me with memories and I have new dreams to conquer.

Writing this blog post has already made me start to feel good. I’ll have more of that please!

I’ve finished reading ‘Stuffocation’ so if anyone (from the UK) would like me to send them the book. Give us a shout. First come first served.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on clutter and any tips you have to see me through the month (which, if I’m honest is going to probably continue into September).

Emma x

Instagram: @emmalouhalliday

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

It’s time to FOCUS on August!

“Oh July August. What’s happened to you? You used to be so bright and have such a warmth about you. Now you’re miserable, keeping me in the dark, trying to dampen my spirits. I understand that change is good – but come on!”

This has been my conversation on most days when I leave my house burdened with a coat and umbrella. Hey, what can I say? I’m English, we love to moan about the weather.

Once I’m satisfied that I have given the weather we are currently having in England enough air time, my thoughts move onto what I’m going to focus on in August.

The words Generosity and Space rained down on me (excuse the pun), making me look at ways I could incorporate them into my goals for the month.

I would say that I’m a fairly generous person. I donate to three charities a month, always tips, give my spare change to buskers and the homeless, love to gift friends and spend a lot of my free time visiting family/friends. So I was quite surprised that generosity was a strong contender. Until I looked deeper. As all of these things are second nature to me, they don’t push me forward to be more vulnerable.

How could I make being generous bring me out of my comfort zone and in turn give me valuable life lessons?

An email provided one of the answers. I was going to spend a full week volunteering at the youth centre I usually volunteer for 3hrs a week at. I wanted vulnerable and I got more than I bargained for – so much more!!

My volunteering uniform for the week!

I’ve mentioned in earlier posts that I am a ‘people pleaser’ and I ‘like to be liked‘. Well not this week……I became Miss Moany Pants. Constantly telling the young people off, asking them to respect the guys running the session and each other. Most of the time I opened my mouth it was to tell them to be quiet or to watch their words. I was a different me, it was tiring and it made me feel incredibly uncomfortable.

Looking back. After I had a large drink. Or two! And some time away from them. Away from my constant nagging. I realised that it was also one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done. What the theatre company and the young people put together in a week was wonderful.

I stepped away from my normal self and by becoming vulnerable, I developed more in character. I discovered things about me that I didn’t know before. I threw aside my shyness battles to be able to support the young people with their insecurities. I got through the days without raising my voice, I didn’t let grudges grow or use passive aggressive means to protect myself. I used my skills to highlight their strengths – of which they had plenty. It really was a money can’t buy experience.

I already respected teachers, youth and social workers but WOW – I commend any one who spends so much of their time working with young people.

Another way I looked at being generous was with dating. To be generous with my choices and to not be ruled by physical attraction.

Last week I had a long overdue catch up with one of my best-friends from childhood. Of course the conversation turned to dating. And my lack of it.

She told me how she used to go for what she perceived to be her ‘type’ and how it would lead to nothing but heartache. Until one day her friend told her to cast her net wider, give other guys a chance. Taking those words on board she met someone who wasn’t her ‘type’ on paper. Almost three years later she is happier than she’s ever been.

I love and respect this friend so when she suggested I try OKCupid, as a few of her good friends had met their long time partners on there. It wasn’t long until I downloaded the app. Taking the time to thoroughly complete the profile and answer as many of the questions that didn’t make me cringe or shudder! Yes, I do have a blog that’s about being open and vulnerable. No I don’t want to answer questions about sexual positions and fantasies.

6 days in and I’ve had 635 likes and 52 messages! So my ego has been dancing around, feeling flattered that so many guys have liked me. I in return have responded to two messages. TWO! Online dating is so time consuming and in my defence I’ve been silly busy the past week, hence not blogging for sometime. I also don’t like to lead people on, in the past I’ve responded saying ‘thank you, but you’re not my type’ which then led to more messages, stealing more time. Still – I can’t help feeling bad and maybe I will respond to them all.

In all honesty I’m also still struggling with giving someone a chance online that I’m not attracted to. I don’t view myself as a shallow person – maybe I am? BUT meeting someone in person is different. You get to know them, see their quirks. Just like my friend did.

I’m not giving up just yet. I deserve to be generous to myself and to others. So baby steps. I’m going to take time to read some profiles and respond to the ones that make me smile regardless of the profile picture that occupies it. Wish me luck.

So I don’t take up too much space in this post (oh yeah the puns keep on coming). I’m going to post about my other focus in another blog post, later this week.

Emma x

Instagram: @emmalouhalliday

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

My Kryptonite!My Power! My Hair 💇🏾

I am at my most vulnerable wearing a black cape, stood in front of a mirror with my hairdresser one step behind me, waiting for a worded response which will hopefully convey the opposite of what my face is saying.

I have that type of face that doesn't need to say anything. My face is like an etch-a-sketch! Emotions drawn right on there!

It's okay. My long suffering hairdresser knows me well enough not to feel offended. She is a hair magician and has the patience of a saint. She knows this is all about me.

And the vulnerable hair journey I go through every time I have a lapse of boldness and decide on a new hairstyle.

Every…….Single……..Time!

Growing up pre-internet in a white household in a predominantly white neighbourhood is the root of my issues. I didn't get my hair done properly until I was about nine years old which not only affected the growth of my hair but my pain threshold! Long before the days of YouTube where you can teach yourself anything, my mum used to stick a pink bow in my hair and send me on my way!

I didn't give my hairstyle a second thought until it was time to go to Middle School. I'd gone from being a frog in a pond to a tadpole in the ocean! Rather than feeling comfortable that I was no longer the only black person in my year, I felt more exposed. Misplaced!

In Primary School, no-one commented on my colour, my skin, my hair – I was just 'Emma'.

Not only did I get taunted for having dry skin and a 'picky' head but I placed myself on a comparison scale. The school playground became my YouTube and I saw what hair could look like. It wasn't something that was just a minor addition, it became the biggest part of me!

Hair relaxers, curly perms, hair pieces, extensions, braids, bleaching – I did the lot! I frequently changed my hair. Wearing each style with confidence! I was no longer a tadpole. For years I felt comfortable with my surroundings.

Then, work happened. Putting me in the spotlight. Making me once again feel exposed.

Unlike primary school, where I was just 'Emma', work life and adults strengthened the roots of my issues and added to my insecurities.

  • Each time I had to talk through my hairstyle – often explaining that it wasn't all my hair – to be greeted with confused stares or a scroll of further questions.
  • Each time someone grabbed my hair to have a feel without even asking, pulling at the roots in the process, which FYI fucking hurts!
  • Each time I was asked why don't you have an 'afro' or 'dreads' or hair like *insert black female celebrity*?

A part of my hair confidence would wither!

I'd get my hair done when I 'needed' to. When it was literally hanging by a thread. Keeping to a 'safe' style and for the first few weeks after having a new style I would wear it up to try and disguise it.

I know people don't mean to make me feel bad and it's nice that they're showing an interest. But each time I get my hair done I feel like I'm stepping onto a talent show. With every person turning into an expert on hair and becoming a judge! "This is nice but I liked the other style better" or "This is the best style you've had". I almost expect Len Goodman to pop up with a 'SEVEN!'.

Maybe I'm being too sensitive but, if I'm struggling to sleep the first few night of my new hairstyle due to fear of the comments I'm going to get, then I can't just continue to ignore my feelings. As I said before, my hair became the biggest part of me. So when my hair is getting critiqued then so am I!

New hairstyles and vulnerability go hand in hand.

This is the first time I've actually sat down to take into account all the vulnerability buttons that are being pushed when it comes to my hair. So many factors come into play and thanks to my new hairstyle I've had a therapeutic journey up to Leeds thinking about it.

*Apologies to the guy sat opposite me from London to Peterborough as I was typing away, trying to hold my tears back, whilst eating an egg sarnie!!

Finally sharing my feelings about my hair vulnerability on my blog has definitely helped me get some kind of closure (hair pun to those in the know).

So here you have my new hair and the story behind how I feel about it.

Emma x

Instagram: @emmalouhalliday

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

Some of my hairstyles