Keeping Myself in Check

Last week I was massively resisting with writing my blog, had total mind fog and didn’t know where to begin. This week my mind has been putting the world to rights, full of opinions and if I’m honest judgements. It’s like every day has been a full on shower day! You know the one – where as soon as you’re in the shower you’re partly washing but mainly connecting to creativity or winning invisible arguments?

Lines of poetry, statements of intent, book ideas and collaborations washed all over me, some of the information sticking but most disappearing down the drain. I’m left with the residue, trying to piece a story together.

I have to remind myself what this blog is about and who I’m doing it for as I feel myself getting wound up as I’m reading statement upon statement poking fun of people on a different journey to the masses. My mind is constructing responses, picking apart their views, I’m starting poems with lines such as ‘How dare you’ and then I step back and laugh when I see the irony – the defence field I have put up falls down and I ask myself ‘What do I want?’

  • I want a year of tremendous growth
  • I want to be courageous
  • I want to be loved for my authentic self
  • I want to create magic
  • I want to laugh, be inspired, be heard and be………..me

Battling someone’s opinions on trivial matters is not going to put a tick besides any of my wants, chances are it won’t change anyone’s minds but will leave me feeling uneasy and further back on my journey. And so I retreat and remind myself…….

I’m doing this for me. 

I was also struck this week with comparison. Unfortunately comparison hasn’t been a stranger and visits me often. Walking past someone with better hair, a better strut, straighter teeth, a gorgeous partner, beautiful children, a confident voice – the Comparison Cashier checks it!

I stumbled across a blog the other day that spoke to me – it literally spoke to me – asking me questions, including the reader into the words. Immediately the Comparison Cashier, who at this point was like a Parking Attendant, had already written a ticket ready to stick on me.

It read ‘your blog is self obsessed, it’s all about you, you don’t check in with other people, it’s not engaging, you’re not as talented as she is, you sound like an amateur’. 

Due to personal development my awareness is getting stronger each day and I’m able to uncheck and move on at a quicker pace, sometimes that pace is still that of a snail but I move on. And so I had to remind myself…..

I’m doing this for me.

So this blog post wasn’t one of the carefully pieced together works of art I had planned to write. It wasn’t written in anger trying to put down someone’s point of view. I didn’t have an image of someone feeling inspired after reading my words. Im not writing for viral internet fame. I’m just sat in bed after a couple of glasses of wine and I’m reminding myself why I’m doing it.

All my above wants make up my year of vulnerability and I realise that I’m feeling pretty vulnerable right now. And it is once again confirmed…….

I’m doing this for me.

  • The Comparison Cashier will keep on visiting.
  • There’ll always be someone’s opinions that don’t resonate with mine.
  • There’ll be times when I want to do things just to be acknowledged

That’s when I realise, this blog post is my marker, to keep me in check, because after all…….

I’m doing this for me. 

People’s lights will always shine – choose to shine yours too!

The Creative Versus the Critic!

As a teenager I had an Agony Aunt that I shared my deepest thoughts and issues about life, friends and boys I admired, from afar! If I ever had a problem I would go straight to that source and let it all out. My Agony Aunt was in the form of paper and pen. My words were in the form of poems.

I used to prop myself up in bed, late into the evening – the bedside lamp positioned to give light to my thoughts. I would let my pen take over, my mind would clear and I would write. Sometimes in anger, other times in sadness, if I felt joy, scared or confused. I would write. I would release the thoughts that were camped out in my head and then I would feel better.

I’m not sure what age I was when I stopped writing poems, I never really gave it much thought. That was until last November, 27th of November to be exact! Laid in bed, willing myself to go to sleep, to be an early riser, because that’s what ‘all the successful people do’. But when I turned round to get comfy, my arm reached for the lamp and my phone and this is what I produced:

So many critics
Sitting on the sidelines
Watching in the ring
Fighting with their mouths
Too scared to get in

Too scared to be on the stage
To let their vulnerability show
Leading instead with lethal words
Their ego dressed as bravado

So many judges
Sitting in their comfort zones
Protected by their screens
Typing insults furiously
Too scared to be seen

Too scared to embrace uniqueness
Feeling stronger as a clone
Laughing at those darlings
Who choose to stand alone

So many critics
Sitting on the sidelines
Wasting precious time
By focusing on others
Because their life’s just fine

My face when I see a critic at work!

I don’t know if or when I’ll write another poem, but I knew this was a message for me as I was about to embark on my ‘year of vulnerability’. A message to remind me that whatever I do there will be someone criticising it but to do it anyway. The more I step into my authentic self – the more I’ll hear the critics cry and honestly this absolutely makes me feel sick but there is no other way. As Elbert Hubbard said; “To avoid criticism do nothing, say nothing and be nothing”

Emma Halliday
Writing poems from bed

Opening up the vulnerability vortex 

Wow!! I’ve just had a moment and I’m damn sure I can link it to my quest to become more open and vulnerable. 

I have just been to the doctors and gave the nurse a date ’28th February’. Nothing unusual here – I was just throwing a date out there. I’m pretty sure it was the wrong one! 

I then head to Superdrug to pick up some toilet roll – 9 pack for £2 – good quality. It’s a no brainer! The song that is playing when I enter is ‘I’ll Be Missing You’ – Puff Daddy, Faith Evans and 112!

A strange feeling drifts over me and I instantly well up. It was the song that came out just after my mum died – so I instantly attached it to her. 

I try to hold back my sad thoughts  but that doesn’t align me with me today. 

So I open up, let the memories flood in and as I walk around the aisles in Superdrug, I sing along with Puff Daddy/P Diddy/Sean Combes or whatever he’s called now. Tears proudly resting in my eyes, 9 pack of boggers under my arm, singing out of tune and I remember my mum!

After I leave the shop I immediately text my Sister and ask what date mum died. I’d heard that song countless times in the years following but never had I come over like this. 

Text back read: 28th February, 1997. 

20years ago!! That was definitely a sign and I’m so pleased that I decided to let the emotions in! 

I was 15yrs old when she passed away and I never really grieved. Hence not even setting the date in stone in my mind. So I’m sat here now – sharing this story with you and I’m crying. I’m grieving. I’m allowing!! 

This year of vulnerability thing is well powerful! 

I’ll Be Missing You

R.I.P – Barbara Jean Thompson – 28.02.97

X

The Curse Of The Flying F#ck!

I am massively resisting when it comes to writing my next blog and have been putting it off – waiting for something epic to come to me. 

The more I get into this cycle of putting it off, the easier it will become to sack it off all together. I’m sure you’ve been there before! I certainly have. 

Letting it slowly slip into the pile of ‘what could have been’. Nestled together with ‘barely started’ and ‘broken dreams’ – turning into a haze of mind clutter that produces waves of guilt and toxic personal judgement.

So I’m writing. I’m here. I’m showing up! I’m going to continue what I started and I’m going to see it through to the end. I’m making myself accountable to………myself. 

Fuck adding this to the list of things that makes me feel bad – I love writing and I want to be more vulnerable, so the show will go on.

I have been thinking a lot recently about the sudden wave of ‘No Fucks Given’ memes that are in constant flow on social media sites. At first I was like ‘hell yeah’ that’s the place that I want to be. To actually give no fucks would make my anxiety disappear and I would get much further with my goals. 

This thought didn’t last long as I love to analyse everything and I mean everything! See things from another perspective and ensure what is being said is actually true before I share it with others. It’s a trait I actually admire in myself, although it also brings me to despair that I can’t just let things go – researching at 2am in the morning when I should have been asleep 3hrs ago does get tiring!

Every personality test I’ve done always comes up with the same traits:
✅I’m a people pleaser
✅I seek approval
✅I crave acknowledgement

Add this to my fear of rejection and receiving criticism and it has often meant that I haven’t done something because of fearing what others may think or say about me. 

For years this has bugged me where I whimsically think……what could have been? I never stopped to think about the other side of the not giving a fuck coin. There’s a chance without me caring too much about what other people thought, I would have gone off the rails and my situation would have been so very different and maybe not for the better. 

For example……I didn’t date a really dodgy guy when I was younger because I cared too much what people would think. Phew……..saved by the Fuck!

Being able to be thankful that I cared what people thought has given me a switch in mindset. I have come to the agreement that I’m going to learn to fly the flag for ‘Giving a Fuck’ alongside the flag that says – ‘Doing it Anyway’. 

I am going to do the things that I really want to do, whilst still having the fear in my belly about what other people are going to think. 

  • I’m going to embrace it when I feel sad when someone is rude to me. 
  • I’m going to take it on the chin when I get rejected. 
  • I’m going to sit with my sorrow when I get criticised. 

Why wouldn’t I want to experience all the feelings I have? This lets me know I’m alive and that I’m still me! 

Part of my ‘year of vulnerability’ is to love who I am – warts, traits and all! Plus, I’ve noticed, the quicker I confront my feelings, the quicker they pass and I can move on.
So I am not going to pretend by posting a meme that I don’t give a fuck! That doesn’t resonate with who I am. Also, I actually think that meme is a bit of a contradiction as if you didn’t give a fuck why would you shout from the rooftops about not giving a fuck……… with a meme? It’s a bit on the passive aggressive side.

I have just finished reading a book called ‘The Antidote’ which was really heavy going, had a lot of theory but it was such a worthwhile read. There I was introduced to ‘Stoicism’ and how they live their lives, enduring and accepting pain and not running from their feelings. They often ask “What’s the worst that could happen?” 

So, as I keep on raising my ‘Doing it Anyway’ flag – which actually churns my stomach just writing about it – gulp!!! I’m going to play that on loop in my head. “What’s the worst that could happen? What’s the worst that could happen?”

As I’m nearing the end of my post, which has taken a couple of hours to write as I procrastinate and dither and wonder what are people going to think. I ask myself what am I doing all this for?

I then look back over at the pile of ‘what could have been’ and look forward to ‘what still could be’ – there’s my answer!

      What I know for sure is – today I’m not going to let other opinions of me stop me from doing what I love – tomorrow I may do, who knows! This is going to be a slow but progressive change.

          What I also know for sure is – I’m going to post this on my blog and my hands are going to be clammy and I’m going to feel a bit sick. I’m going to give a fuck about what other people think!

              And what I’ll finally know for sure is that both my flags are flying high and I’m going to be proud of that!

              I’m Emma Halliday and I give a fuck! x

              Emma…………….Come Out To Play!

              Yes, the title of this blog post is a reference to the cult film ‘Warriors’! As what I feel like I need right now is a gang chanting this at me! 

              Emma…………come out to play!”

              Reminding me that I need to play! I need to bring back the fun in more aspects of my life. 

              To those that know me this may come as a shock that I’m saying that I need to have more fun in my life. Gees – it bloody came as a shock to me when I became aware of it. 

              It has only been the past few weeks that I’ve realised that I’m taking life far too seriously. Even my subconscious believed that I was having so much fun – I marked it the highest section when I was sat doing my wheel of life to help me with my ‘year of vulnerability’. 


              I clearly was just thinking about the activities that I choose to do:

              • Dinner with friends
              • Pop up events
              • Girlie weekends away
              • Improvisation course
              • Etc…..etc…

              Hence the reason I scored it an 8/10 – an absolutely valid and healthy score if looking at it face on. 

              After having an anxiety attack a few weeks back it made me step back and observe how tightly strung I had got and how I was compartmentalising fun, play, life, work – instead of realising how important it is for them to intertwine. As soon as I realised this, there were of course signs EVERYWHERE! As is always the case. 

              Last week I had a very powerful intuition reading by 3 people who all said that when I’m operating from my ego: I take life too seriously, I’m a perfectionist, I’m hard on myself and so much more. The reading was for 10minutes and they did not hold back. 

              Then came the intuition reading for when I’m operating from my genius: I am playful, I am joyful, I am fun, things flow so well for me when I just let the fun out! That night, these 3 strangers were my Warriors.

              “Emma…………come out to play!”                                                                                          

              Last Sunday I joined hundreds of other people singing my heart out at Sunday Assembly. The theme this time was ‘Connection and Playfulness’. Adam Taffler was the guest speaker and I hung on every single one of his words as he talked about how important playfulness is and how it can unite us, build community and bring joy into our lives. 

              He shared some practical tips on how we can be more playful, one so simple and silly that I have being trying it out. When using your Oyster card make your own ‘beeping’ sound. It was amazing how good it made me feel each time I did this. “We seem to have lost the ability to play when we’re adults” Adam said – another Warrior – calling me!

              “Emma…………come out to play!”                                                                                             

              Yesterday I watched a talk by thought leader ‘Don Jose Ruiz’ and I stood to attention when he said “Once you wake up, you can never go back to sleep“. 

              It hit me hard! 

              I had woken up and now I was carrying the weight of all the books, audios, courses, workshops, seminars, quotes on my shoulders! 

              My quest to be happier, for freedom and pure love had also brought with it a lorry load of new beliefs, doubts, worries and questions – which has ironically  turned into this serious Emma, that tries to control play! 

              I told my amazing friend and confidante my thoughts and she totally resonated with what I was saying. So much so we chatted for 90mins mostly on this subject. 

              Opening the door to self development had made us lock ‘play’ away in a box and let ‘guilt’ take over. Feeling guilty if we aren’t hustling, if we don’t meditate, if we don’t journal, if we eat chips, if we watch TV! No more we said! It’s time to put ‘play’ back on the table and not just at regimented times. In every day life. In all situations. 

              “Emma…………come out to play!”  

              This morning I opened up my book to read the next chapter and do the exercises. The title of that chapter? ‘Lighten Up’


              “Emma…….

              Okay, okay I get it. I’m listening. I’m coming out to play!! I much prefer myself that way!!


              Emma x

              Naked Yoga

              Most mornings I start the day with some 5 Tibetans Yoga. It consists of 5 different yoga positions, done up to 21 times each (I usually do 3 rounds of 7). I was recommended this type of Yoga from a teacher after telling her ‘Yoga wasn’t for me’. 

              Well this morning I did the yoga naked and in front of my triple mirrored wardrobe. 

              Learning to love my body. 

              That is all!

              Emma x

              3 small cheers to Saturday 💪💪💪

              Yesterday (Saturday 18th Feb) I did 3 things that were not my default, 3 things that were uncomfortable, 3 things that welcomed unease. These 3 actions that would be passed off as insignificant to many, were triumphant to me and fit in perfectly to my year of vulnerability

              The day started with speaking my mind and facing conflict. Not something I am a fan of but I had to step up. Unless I am pushed I tend to keep quiet. It’s a trait I’ve carried through from my childhood. My Auntie loves to tell me how I was so placid as a child – having the patience to endure my cousin’s teasing and tormenting. He would continue to push and push and………….push until I would see red and just lash out. It used to be physical…….his head versus a brick wall! Ahem……but maturity and adulthood turned the physical into lethal words wrapped up in passive aggressive paper. Self development has thankfully taught me to step back, breath and not to act on the defensive so although this is a character trait I have to live with it’s one I rarely let control me. Speaking my mind is going to heavily feature in my year of vulnerability as it’s so important. I’m not going to go around using my opinions to hurt and insult others but I am going to speak up when something truly matters. 

              As Martin Luther King Jnr said “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter”. 

              So today was a great step in speaking my truth and coming from a place of authenticity. I am calm inside and that’s when I know I did the right thing – my stomach wasn’t churning with regret or turmoil and I know my conscience is clean. 

              I had decided earlier in the week that this Saturday would belong to me. I usually have plans on a weekend, if I’m not jumping on a train or coach to spend time out of London, I’m on a personal development course or training event. I love that my diary has something scheduled most of the time but I felt I owed myself a ‘go slow’ day. I stayed in bed long after I woke up, without setting an alarm, my pyjamas (yes pyjamas – this was a dirty word for me until a few months ago. I now have 3 pairs!! What has happened to me?) were still on after midday and I watched some TV. It felt wrong. I felt guilty. Guilty for having a lazy day! I sat with these feelings, had a word with myself, basically telling myself to lighten the f*%k up and embrace the day. I’m nurturing myself and that’s nothing to feel guilty about. Once I made this decision the day lightened up and I had 2 long and great conversations with friends and organised my desk. This wouldn’t have been a possibility if I was elsewhere. Plus I feel that my energy has been recharged – so I am going to make it a priority to schedule more days like this. 

              The 3rd act to me was the most empowering. I left the house without a bra! I let my boobs hang out. Well not literally hang out. I was wearing a vest, cardigan and jacket (both unbuttoned) but I was braless! And man did it feel good! As many women will testify, that moment when you get home and you take your bra off is such an epic feeling. I’ve definitely been known to emit an accompanying groan to go with it…….like a really satisfying stretch. Thanks to the media, snapping shots of unsuspecting celebrities body shaming them I have not gone braless since my early 20s. If the media is blasting women for nature and gravity being in cahoots, then that means everyone else is looking and judging right? Add to that people thinking they have a right, as a mobile phone owner, to take pictures of others on the sly just to share on social media – to laugh at! And we thought bullying stopped at school! I had no desire to put myself out there, until now. As SELF LOVE and not caring what other people think is a BIGGIE for me in my year of vulnerability– this was the perfect challenge. Many of you will be thinking, erm – wait a minute – you got your full kit off last year in Hull and painted yourself blue, how can going without a bra to your local shops be more empowering? I have 3 words to answer that ‘Safety in Numbers’. I was in the same boat as every other person there. This time this was my own challenge. Do you know what happened when I went out braless? 

              🔹The man that was staring at me as I walked past, spoke out to say……………my fly was undone. 

              🔹My nipples stood to attention as I passed the chilled food aisle! Brrrrrrr!!! 

              So nothing happened. Absolutely nothing!! So many times we spend time worrying about what may happen when most of that time nothing does. 

              No makeup and no bra 😬

              So there you have it. My 3 things. I’m proud of myself and have just stopped typing to pat myself on the back. 

              I want to leave you with some words that came to me today. 

              “Would you rather be liked because of what you do or because of who you actually are?” 

              I’m choosing the latter ❤️

              Until the next time xx