The write path 📝

40 days ago I started a challenge which was recommended to me in the book ‘Making Miracles in 40 Days’. To regular visitors to my blog, you may recall me mention my experience of using it before when I visited a fertility clinic (you can read the post here). 

Well today was the last day of the challenge. Have I seen miracles? Well that would depend on what you define a miracle to be. Have I seen a change? Hell yes – no matter what your definition of change is. I definitely have. 

My miracle was made up of a total shift in mindset and a huge step closer to living uncomfortably ME. Sounds pained. But I truly believe that those that follow their passion live a life that – at most times – is uncomfortable. 

There’s the fear of the unknown. Coupled with loud and invisible whispers from others. This can often lead us to choosing to live a compromised life – that we pass off as our truth!

I know this to be true as I did this. 

At the beginning of the challenge I asked for my miracle to be in the form of my businesses booming. 

I then spent the next 40 days taking 10mins in the morning to write my NON-gratitude list. I held back for the first few days but as I started to open up to myself and become vulnerable, what I was writing began to surprise me. This included not wanting to continue on the path I’d forged for myself for over 3yrs. 

I wrote that:

  • I was unhappy
  • I was bored
  • I was unmotivated
  • I was uninspired
  • I was on the wrong path

      I tried to fight the feelings as I really wanted to hold on to my Arbonne business. Hand on heart it is one of the most amazing things to happen in my life. After a week of scribing about ‘wanting to leave’ I asked myself the question: “Would I still be doing Arbonne if I won one million pounds?”. It was a strong No!!

      I finally accepted the message. I could see clearly that this chapter had come to an end. To stay – would be giving it approval to smother my dreams!

      A whole weight, which I didn’t know I was even carrying, was lifted. And for the first time in a long time – I was looking at the world from a different perspective. 

      I also knew the time was right to pursue my passion. One that I’ve never thought of as more than an ardent hobby. 

      I was going to be a writer!

      It scared me to actually admit that. I had no plan. No ideas. No clear vision. I just knew the time was right to write

      Telling people brought with it a rush of different feelings. With some it felt like I was breaking up with them. Others I felt like a quitter. One friend told me I was brave – which may seem like an odd comment to those that don’t understand the network marketing industry. 

      Because with Arbonne I’m working with friends. I’m part of a team. I have clear guidance. Great support. A path to follow. People leading the way. Leaving the security of all this to go into the unknown – was quite brave. 

      My passion brings with it the opposite. With my writing I am laid out bare. Each word I scribe uncovering a part of me. Leaving me naked and up for scrutiny!
      It scares the hell out of me – to even just admit I’m chasing a goal like this. 

      I am a writer. I’ve always known it.  As a child I loved to write but I didn’t believe someone like me could be a writer. So I wrote, mainly in secret, and slowly my dreams faded away. 

      There have been so many signs through the years – subtly telling me “you can do it”. Oportunities presented themselves – and I took them. 

      It was a sign when:

      • I won a poetry competition when I was 15.
      • I attended a creative writing course and was told that I had natural writing talent by the tutor. 
      • I fell into a job as a festival and gig reviewer.
      • I helped pay my way around South America by writing articles, reviews and bios for other people. This included a gig watching porn to write overviews of the videos! (lonely housewife turns sultry madam for the randy postman) – I kid you not!!

      But – pursue I didn’t. I retreated back to safety as:

      • I fear criticism
      • I fear rejection
      • I fear the unknown

      Yet here I am bypassing these fears – sharing more than I planned to in this blog. Which has actually been the biggest source of happiness I’ve had in my life for longer than I dare to remember. And also another sign that I can do it!

      I thank Arbonne for getting me where I am today. The increased confidence. The mindset shift. The promotions. For shining light and beauty on to my fears. 

      To all those folk that have already forged their own paths. To have made the decision to live each day in the painful unknowing. I am inspired by you! 

      For now I’m standing up. Being unashamedly me and telling the world (ahem – the few that read my blog) that:

      I – Emma Halliday – am a writer! 

      As I said at the beginning of this post. Living your passion is uncomfortable but now I’ve had a taste of it – I know it is so fucking worth it!

      Emma x

      P.s. Another fear and a weakness of mine is asking for help. So here goes….if you’ve liked this or any of my other posts. I would be utterly grateful if you could give them a share. 

      If you know someone who has a lead into scriptwriting, publishers, magazines etc. I would really welcome an introduction. 

      If you don’t ask the answer is always going to be no and I’m wanting a yes. Another sign that I’m on the write path!

      Instagram: @emmalouhalliday


      Loves and Losses

      After the heaviness of my last post I had made the decision to err on the light side. I had a post in my head all ready to be transformed into something that whilst still being vulnerable didn’t mean I needed tissues to accompany me. 

      That all changed when I decided to spend Bank Holiday Monday unpacking some boxes that had arrived from Leeds late last week. Boxes that had been stored patiently at my friend’s house since I moved to London. 

      As I hadn’t touched the items or missed them for over a year it was easy to rummage through and throw a lot of the once prized possessions away. I came across a newspaper and was puzzled as to why I was saving that – until I saw my friend’s face emblazoned across the front. A friend that is no longer on this earth. And I was struck. Paralysed. In shock. Upset at myself for having to question what the paper was, whilst reliving the sadness I first felt when I found out he’d passed. 

      No sooner had I recomposed myself that another memory of a lost soul entered my path via the form of a photograph. An old school friend. Then another and another and unfortunately another. I clearly should have marked this bag, so that I wouldn’t be confronted without warning of all the lives that had in some way touched my heart and left in it fragments of memories. Pieces of them!

      I actually broke down. I was performing an ugly loud shaking cry. Knelt on my bedroom floor, surrounded by funeral programmes and old photographs, nestled in with boxes of my past. 

      I let myself cry – I was home, alone and had no makeup on. That choking motion that occurs when forcing back the tears, gasping for breath wasn’t going to take place today. After a while, probably minutes – although my body was so drained it felt like longer. I continued searching through my stuff and my tears turned into laughter as I read an old school report. 

      I noted with interest just how quickly my emotions were able to switch from sadness to laughter. From wanting to make the most out of my life and not waste a spare moment to stopping, reminiscing and procrastinating. What I’d done in a matter of moments is what I realised I’ve done over and over again in my life. This is best explained by a note I wrote in my diary aged 15. 

      “My mother died in February – it was so sudden – not a lot of people know about it – I can’t bring myself round to tell them. All the family are coping as best they can. My whole life was turned upside down. She was so healthy one day, the next she had died. We have to look to the future now – and since my mother’s death she has made me realise that I should have fun now – as I’m only young once. I don’t care what people think about me no more – it’s my life and I will live it the way I want to live”

      And I did! Well……..for a few months until I started listening to the world telling me to live ‘normal’ and I started caring what people thought of me. I took 2 steps closer to living the life I wanted – and as the dust settled – 1 step back. This pattern continued with every tragedy – 2 steps closer – 1 step back. 

      Still I wasn’t going to write about this – about death and my vulnerability surrounding it. 

      But then it occurred to me that it would have been my Dad’s birthday today (Sunday 7th May) – and instantly I realised that this is what I was meant to write. 

      I have been to more funerals than I have weddings – the majority of them for people my age or younger. I’m 35 and have lost both my {foster} parents and yet I’m still vulnerable as fuck about death and dying! I see it and fear it most days. 

      In most cases, the more that you experience something the easier it becomes when faced with it the next time. Not with death. That shit hurts and there is no stopping the pain. 

      I continuously ache for all my friends that still have their parents or haven’t lost someone of significance. I step into their pain and I prematurely feel it for them. I walk past old people and it hurts and all I can think of is when are they going to take their last breath. Do they have someone to take care of them? My mind scans statistics and I wonder who’s funeral I’m going to be crying at next. Absolutely morbid! And such a tiring and strange way to be. 

      In addition to this, my fear has also had a personal effect on my life. I tend to put up barriers so people can’t fully get close to me. As the closer someone is the more it will hurt if I lose them. So what I’m actually doing is hurting myself – constantly – in anticipation of loss. I hold back love for fear of losing that love. Not a healthy way to be and as it’s my year of vulnerability and I want to make a shift in my life. I realise this habit I’ve acquired has to stop! It helps that I’m now actually aware of how I’ve being sabotaging parts of my life. 

      The worrying isn’t helpful as when the situation arises there is only one thing you can do and that is deal with it. Coping mechanisms come to the fore, adjustments to life are made and somehow you soldier on. 

      So now I’ve made it known that I have an issue with death I am on a quest to not let it run my thoughts and my life. 

      I started with a visit to There I watched and listened intently to 3 talks about death. Taking nuggets of wisdom from each video, the one that shined brightest was by Stephen Cave ‘The 4 stories we tell ourselves about death’. His closing words were like a warm hug – giving an alternative perspective. 

        “Now, I find it helps to see life as being like a book: Just as a book is bounded by its covers, by beginning and end, so our lives are bounded by birth and death, and even though a book is limited by beginning and end, it can encompass distant landscapes,exotic figures, fantastic adventures. And even though a book is limited by beginning and end, the characters within it know no horizons. They only know the moments that make up their story, even when the book is closed. And so the characters of a book are not afraid of reaching the last page. Long John Silver is not afraid of you finishing your copy of “Treasure Island.” And so it should be with us. Imagine the book of your life, its covers, its beginning and end, and your birth and your death. You can only know the moments in between, the moments that make up your life. It makes no sense for you to fear what is outside of those covers,whether before your birth or after your death. And you needn’t worry how long the book is, or whether it’s a comic strip or an epic. The only thing that matters is that you make it a good story.”

        To think of us all as books. Of differing sizes, genres and endings. This made death seem more poetic – easier to digest. Unfortunately, it is something that is going to happen to us all and me spending time thinking about it isn’t going to make the situation any easier when it happens.

        So it’s now time to take off my premature sympathy glasses, to uncover my heart and stop living life in the future. 

        Emma x

        This post is dedicated to my Poppa Bear – Leslie James Thompson. Your book came to an end and with it you have proved that my story still continues. 

        Results from the IAT 😶

        In my last post, Back to Black, I referred to a test called the Implicit Association Test. I said that I’d do it and feedback my results. 

        The IAT highlights hidden biases that we may have over certain things/people. 

        I completed the test with Project Implicit – a non-profit organisation. There are a series of free tests that you can take on their website including age, weight, disability, sexuality, race – which is the one that I took. 

        I was a little bit disheartened, a tad sceptical but not really surprised with the result. 


        Your data suggest a slight automatic preference for European Americans over African Americans.

        • The website explains that the automatic preference may be described as “slight”, “moderate”, “strong”, or “no preference”.

        A series of pictures (black and white faces) and words (good and bad) flashed up on my screen and I had to categorise them as instructed as quickly as possible. I couldn’t tell whilst doing the test how I was performing. 

        After reading more on the website about what the results mean (below) I actually felt better. 

        “The IAT shows biases that are not necessarily endorsed and that may even be contradictory to what one consciously believes. So, no, we would not say that such people are prejudiced. It is important to know, however, that implicit biases can predict behavior. If we want to treat people in a way that reflects our values, then it is critical to be mindful of hidden biases that may influence our actions.”

        I invite you to visit the site and take a test and let me know how you get on. 

        IAT Test

        Emma x

        Back to Black 🙋🏿

        I asked the universe for a sign of what I should put in the spotlight next for my year of vulnerability and over the course of the week I had numerous ideas skip by me. 

        There was the invitation that made it’s way to my inbox with an offer to do a couple of Brene Brown’s online courses. Well as she is one of the reasons I’ve decided to focus on vulnerability – that was a clear message. I was going to sign up and write about it, until…….

        An old school friend got in touch to remind me that “It’s been 10yrs since our school reunion and 20yrs since we’d actually left school and did I want to arrange another?” 20yrs and my brain still calculates in school years!! Does this ever stop? 

        My blogging clogs we’re going crazy as I was going to write about; having achieved nothing compared to others since leaving school, no children, no husband, no driving licence, no mortgage, no savings in the bank! Ooh this is it – I thought. Time to get vulnerable about life and the uncomfortable feelings that the school reunion has stirred up.  

        That was until yesterday when I picked up the book ‘Stupid White Men’. I had come across the book last year in a charity shop and started to read it immediately. A chapter in and for some reason I stopped – even though I was enjoying it. Yesterday, thinking about the next General Election, I was inclined to start reading it again. So I have Theresa May to honestly thank for that. 

        Devouring chapters on the train, I was taken aback when my heart joined my mind collaborating to take in the message. And there I was. Sat on a Virgin train from Birmingham to London – and I’m crying. To a Michael Moore book that is almost 16years old! I’m shedding tears on the train and I’m asking for forgiveness. This message is too strong to run from now and I am asking for forgiveness that I haven’t faced the fact that – I am black!

        I’m not coloured blind. I know my skin colour but I’ve never embraced it. Preferring to focus on my personality, my soul and everything else but! Not wanting to be judged by my colour and not wanting to add more ammunition to my ‘token black’ crown – it being a more unspeakable topic than saying the word cunt. 

        But this book sang out and I got the message that I am hiding my race so much that it’s time the vulnerability spotlight shone on me. Shone on my dark skin – my black features and for once staying at surface level – shining a light on my black casing. 

        I was brought up with a white family in the 80’s and we never discussed my colour. I was a part of the family – and that was that. I always laugh when my friend tells me about when she came round to mine for the first time and my dad answered the door. My old white dad. This gave her a surprise as I’d never mentioned it – I didn’t even think to. Yes, I’d experienced small boughts of racism and received ample confused stares but apart from that my life was solid. So I grew up on the privilege tightrope – basically my head was buried in the sand.

        As I’m here to be honest, I’m going to admit that when I was younger I gave most black people a wide berth as the media portrayed them us as dangerous, poor, helpless, trouble causers, thieves……(insert stereotypical comment here). I was confused as that didn’t relate to me but I did see it in others. 

        I got bullied for my dark skin at school………by a black boy, rejected and put down in front of a group of kids by another. The 2 fights I’ve had in my life were at the wrath of black girls, I hated getting my hair done as all the hairdressers I went to when I was younger were rude. I just couldn’t see myself as ‘one of them’. So I built my bubble and tried to disassociate myself! 

        I actually didn’t realise I was doing this at the time and thankfully I grew out of that but as the memories come marching in – it hurts. 

        The dots have connected behind me and I’m in pain 

        and I’m embarrassed 

        and I’m crying 

        and I’m asking for forgiveness. 

        The many actions that I’ve undertaken to protect myself come flooding back to me:

        • Speaking out loud when I felt uncomfortable in a situation where I’m the only black person so people could hear my accent. My strong, born and bred, Yorkshire tones.
        • In a quest to fit in (outside of my family and close knit friendships) I secretly bought some whitening soap that would lighten my skin. If I was going to be black, I could be a few shades lighter! Thank god that didn’t last unfortunately some women are still scrubbing and bleaching themselves to this day. 
        • Holding in my anger so not to be judged as ‘an angry aggressive black woman’ or ‘diva’. 
        • Being upbeat and smiley in public even if I didn’t feel like it – because it hurt to be labelled ‘a black girl with attitude’ for having a down day. 

        I did know I was black though – there were many episodes to remind me of that. Like the time that I met a guy at my local bar and went back to his for a night cap. No sooner had the drink been poured than his mother appeared at the living room door. Taking one look at the situation (boy on sofa – space – girl on sofa) and she left the room – hurtling up the stairs to shout “There’s a black girl in the living room!” This was not in the deep American South in the 50’s – this was 90’s North Leeds! I cursed the twat of a guy that dared to take me into such a toxic place and before slamming the door thanked his cock blocking mum for making me understand the world that little bit better. 

        But then I had my white family, my white and asian friends and so many good people surrounding me that the horrific experience became a story and another layer of numb that I didn’t know I was wearing. 

        Yesterday’s train journey thawed me out. And I cried as Michael Moore talked about the hidden racism that African-American’s are faced with on a daily basis in America. As statistics jumped off the page into my eyes, I realised that now was the time for me to stand up and fully embrace who I am. Yes I would rather people see me as Emma first and I have been fortunate enough for that to happen on most occasions. But this isn’t about just me. It’s about others that deserve fairness, justice, a chance and better opportunities – and I need to lend my voice to theirs. Not to flash the race card but to actually highlight the hidden racism that snakes through the world and seeps itself unconsciously in to people’s minds. Like it seeped into mine. 

        Before reading ‘Stupid White Men’ I read ‘Blink‘ by Malcolm Gladwell. In the book Malcolm states that many people of all races are unconsciously biased to black people and they don’t even realise it. He mentions a test called the IAT (Implicit Association Test) where the majority of people who complete it have an automatic preference to white people – black people included. Malcolm Gladwell himself completed the test on numerous occasions and kept leaning to the white. Despite being born to a black mother and white father. I’m going to do the test myself so will feedback on that. I read page after page of how the unconscious mind even if just for a split second will judge on the appearance and parts of me ached. 

        I ached because I know deep down I’ve missed out on jobs because of the way that I looked. I ached because I know that certain guys won’t even take a second look at me because my colour is alien to them – fuck my personality! I ached because I know that every single year without fail someone will call me either Serena or Venus when Wimbledon is on. If I actually looked like one of them I would get called it all year round – like I do with Whoopie Goldberg (which I’ve finally made my peace with)! Whilst I know that these throwaway thoughts, comments and unconscious actions aren’t done with malice or said with racist undertones, they can’t help but create invisible barriers and fractured mindsets. 

        For example, when I visit new places (countries – cities) before I can fully relax I scan the streets looking for a black face so that I can let my guard down knowing I’m not the only one. When watching TV shows or films, I am wound up tightly when a black person is on the screen – worrying how they’re going to be portrayed. In the back of my mind I knew I did this but didn’t realise the significance until now. I put it down to me being sensitive or too politically correct. When in all honesty this shit needs to stop and I’m saying now – this is NOT okay.  

        Tears stream down my face as I realise what I have to do. I have to finally break free from my protective bubble and play my part in re-painting the stereotype. Unmute myself from the injustices that are happening in the world and confidently stand up tall. 

        But before I even get to that, the first stage is to actually love the black lass I see in the mirror. All of her. Not just what’s on the inside but the beautiful ebony skin that I live in!

        Love Emma x
        Instagram: @emmalouhalliday

        The Single Side of Me ❤️

        I have nothing that I want to write today and also feel that I don’t have anything worthwhile to share. I made a promise to myself that I would write at least once a week and as I want to love and respect myself and build my self-esteem, I am not going to break that promise. 

        So I decided to spend the morning re-reading what I had shared so far in the ‘Make Miracles in 40 Days’ project I’ve been doing and wow – I have a lot to say! A load of shit mainly, repeating myself, silly gripes and moans but nestled beside that shit – I am raw – unfiltered and true. 

        So I had basically lied to myself saying that I didn’t have anything to write. 19 emails constructed in 3hrs-10mins proved me wrong. The truth is I have so much to write that it’s actually scaring me. Feeling vulnerable (hey isn’t this the point?) as the more people that tell me they have read my blog – got closer to my soul – the more I:

        • question myself and my reasons for my year of vulnerability 
        • think I’m over sharing 
        • feel I have to perform better each time

        Re-reading my daily emails to myself, shuddering through some of my comments and cringing at some of the words. Who is this lost woman that presents herself on this page? I felt like a stranger – prying into someone’s life – tasting their bitter pain. 

        The theme that continues to run through each of my daily emails and one of the main reasons that I decided to start my ‘year of vulnerability’ was being tired of standing in my own way of love. 

        In other words – bored of still being single! It will formally be 10 years in June. A fucking decade! I vowed to myself a while ago to stop playing the victim and wearing the length of time like a badge that a kid proudly displays on their birthday. I stopped mentioning how long I had been single to people and tried to side step the questions. But I guess there are always questions and if I’m not being asked them – I’m asking myself. 

        The standard questions at first: Why me? What’s wrong with me? Am I doing too much? Am I not doing enough? 

        BUT……….then I start looking at my physical self, my communication skills, the Comparison Cashier arrives and bit by bit I tear myself apart. I start to believe that I’m not actually capable of finding love and being loved ever again. 

        I’ve been on the dating sites and apps, written my list with what I want in a partner, put it on a vision board, asked for it in prayers and meditations, sent out love when I’ve seen happy couples in the street and so much more – seriously I’ve done a lot and then done nothing! And yet……here I am. Alone!

        I’m not writing as a victim, for sympathy or to moan about ‘men these days’. I’m not on this post to gather words of encouragement, praise, dating advice or to soften my cries. 

        I’m here to proclaim. I am not giving up!

        Neither am I going to settle. I don’t want a relationship where I can’t be myself. I don’t want a boyfriend where I immediately want to change the person he is. Nor am I looking for someone to fill a void, complete me or tell me everything is going to be okay. 

        I’m here because being open in this format is helping me to piece myself back together. One word and insight at a time. 

        So whether it’s a month, a year or another decade for love to make an entrance – I am making my peace with that. 

        My door, which I admit was once locked, or seriously jammed shut – is now open. My protective rejection gauze is off and I’m ready to be vulnerable when it comes to love and get out of my own way. 

        I shall sign off with a poem which I wrote in January this year:

        I want love
        The laughs, the cuddles, the secret glances
        I want love
        The pain, the heartache, the awkward
        The comfortable silences
        I want love
        The aches of missing him
        The annoyance when with him
        The confused feelings
        The electric touch
        I want that kind of love

        Not to scare any potentials off but yah – I caught the bouquet!

        Emma x
        Instagram: @emmalouhalliday

         The Way of the Ambivert. 

        “The cleaner told me that there’s some staff in this building that eat their lunch in the toilets” proclaimed one of the ladies in my office. 

        This prompted shocks and confusion from us all. Someone putting it down to ‘perhaps they had an eating disorder’!

        Getting stuck into my book ‘Quiet’ on the way home from work – delving back into the world of the shy, the introverts, the sensitive and highly reactive folk and I was transported back to my teenage days and to one specific phase. 

        It was the most solemn time of my life. High school work experience. I may as well have been on a silent retreat in India……………………..

        Too shy to eat my breakfast in the canteen – I took it to the ladies toilets. Grabbed myself a cubicle and silently scoffed my toast! 

        This developed into a routine over the 2 weeks I was there. My penchant for making toilets into pop up canteens thankfully ended when the work experience finished. And I all but forgot about it until yesterday. Literally flushed away that part of my past. 

        You could put that down to me being a 15yr old who hadn’t yet grown in confidence but my painful shyness began to materialise in other ways. 

        Fast forward to my early twenties and office life.  Where the thought of doing the tea run gave me palpitations……….interrupting people to ask if they wanted a drink, making said drink to their liking – oh hey there sweats! It was another example of how tea doesn’t cool you down! 

        So I lied. “I don’t really drink hot drinks”. If only they knew – I’m sure that my family helped put Yorkshire tea on the map, the amount we drank! My Dad alone in fact! So I stuck to water – all day! I can thank my shyness for developing a healthy habit and my glowing skin – I guess. 

        As I get a deeper understanding of the points made in this book ‘Quiet’ author ‘Susan Cain’ has become my new hero for bringing this information to my attention. 

        I felt rather smug after answering true or false to 20 questions to see where I was positioned on the introvert-extrovert spectrum. Slap bang in the middle. “Hello my name is Emma and I am indeed an Ambivert!”

        I’ve lost count the number of times that I’ve been greeted with eye rolling and laughs of disbelief when I’ve said that I’m shy. And yeah, I suppose I get it. To the outside world, the extrovert part of me leads the dance. My naturally booming voice, my welcoming smile and my adventurous nature makes everyone presume that I’m all confident. 

        Many people don’t want to listen to my reasonings why I’m not a full on extrovert. Tying to prove myself right, whilst not only a tiring process, also makes me comes across as defensive and somewhat abrasive. A shy person wouldn’t be like that now would they? Bloody can’t win.

        So when I purchased this book, which had been sat on my ‘Amazon wish list’ for sometime, I felt like I had someone on my side for once. Cheers Susan. It also started to answer so many of my ‘Why am I like this?’ questions that I’ve been storing. 

        Excitedly underlining line after line of text whilst going all Churchill nodding dog. I wished for my highlighter when I read the following: 

        ‘Studies have shown that, indeed, introverts are more likely than extroverts to express intimate facts about themselves online that their family and friends would be surprised to read, to say that they can express the “real me” online, and to spend more time in certain kinds of online discussions. They welcome the chance to communicate digitally. The same person who would never raise his hand in a lecture hall of two hundred people might blog to two thousand, or two million, without thinking twice. The same person who finds it difficult to introduce himself to strangers might establish a presence online and then extend these relationships into the real world.’ 

        After re-reading the paragraph at least 3 times, I wrote the words ‘ME’ sandwiched in-between two arrows and I knew right then what my next blog post was going to be about. 

        This book came to me at the right time as I was starting to feel uneasy as I began to share more about myself on my blog. I find it easier to share my thoughts and feelings to the world not because I’m confident to do so but because I’m not confident enough to share with people in the flesh! 

        Fear of feeling awkward, being judged or having to further explain or prove myself would stop me. Then there was an additional fear that the person would try and ‘fix me’ or break my tension with throwaway ‘I’m listening’ comments like: “I know”, “don’t be silly”, “me too” or “it’ll all work out”. Or that absolute stomach churning feeling of speaking to someone who ‘listened‘ with dead eyes!

        For the past 8 or so years I’ve been on a path of self improvement, trying to gain more confidence and eradicate the introvert side of me. I got frustrated when the more I moved out of my comfort zone, the stronger my feelings of introversion and anxiety would get. 

        Another line in the book, a quote by Dr. Schwartz, states:

        “Free will can take us far, but it cannot carry us infinitely beyond our genetic limits”

        Reading this was like a big hug. A feeling of comfort washed over me and I fell a little bit more in love with the person that I am. I semi extroverted – semi introverted person. An Ambivert if you will. 

        So if you happen to be one of those people that eats your lunch in the toilet. Or doesn’t like to get involved in the tea runs. 

        I’ll let you know now for all the personal development I’ve done and the amount I’ve grown over the past few years, I still:

        • Feel anxious when having people visit my house (to stay over/for dinner)
        • Rehearse phone calls in my head before dialling 
        • Sometimes turn the other way when I see people I know 
        • Hover at the side of the room at networking events and workshops waiting for someone to speak to me 
        • Feel really uncomfortable being sat next to someone on a train
        • Feel nauseous at the thought of speaking off the cuff in large groups

        That’s the introvert side of me and she’s here to stay. I’m going to pay that side of me as much respect as I do the extrovert side –  as the world without introverts would be chaos. 

        Emma x

        Instagram: @emmalouhalliday

        Bitten by the lonely bug!

         “Today I am alone but I choose not to be lonely”

        Those were the words I uttered with gusto………………maybe out loud, with a mini fist pump and a nod of the head. Those words pulled me out of the victim mentality mode I’d been in for the past 20mins or so.

        Couples in love, the laughter of friends and happy families all enjoying the sun and soaking up the atmosphere on a busy Brick Lane.

        I felt alone!

        At that moment, if time was to pause, I would have happily swapped shoes with many people on that street, not giving a thought to what size and style the shoes were nor where they had been.

        It’s not like it was my first time alone in a busy place but this time I felt like I stood out, shining brighter than the sun, wearing a hat that yelled loner!
        I recalled the comment a friend had made years earlier.

        “As great as London is, it can feel like the loneliest place in the world.”  

        The words highly resonated with me today and a quick search on Google brought up a survey conducted by TimeOut on 18 cities, to see which one was the loneliest. London came up top.

        That is when I made the decision that I wasn’t going to be lonely. I was going to enjoy the glorious sunny afternoon and right then I made London my friend.

        Immediately I looked at London from a different perspective. I sauntered down the street, head held high, free Bud Light in hand, making it look way tastier than it was. I decided to walk home from Shoreditch, looking on this spectacular place with innocent eyes – I saw buildings, shops, trees and graffiti that I’d never seen before.

        Walking past 2 guys, I saw in one of their eyes that although he was not alone, he looked really lonely. It hit me that I’d been there before and that type of loneliness hurt me more than the one I had felt mere minutes ago. Loneliness when surrounded by people. I’d been crippled with it numerous times.

        I then thought back to a conversation I had with a friend when I moaned yet again about being the ‘eternal singleton’. 

        “You’re out all the time and so busy and independent, where would you find time for a relationship?”

        Struggling to hold back the flash of emotion that had popped the fuck out of nowhere, I finally replied. “If I wasn’t busy and doing things all the time, I would feel more alone and…………..down”. I had really wanted to use the word depressed but, we didn’t talk like that.

        If only I had said “Today I am alone but I choose not to be lonely” at these times.

        The saunter continued, I was smiling and genuinely happy. Enjoying the weekend, my new £5 sunglasses – that were already hurting my nose, the fact that I had escaped a hangover and that I had another weak, albeit free, Bud Light in my bag. I was loving the fact that I was owning my day!

        Suddenly I was seeing more people that were alone, these people will have been there all along it’s just I was choosing to focus on what I didn’t have before. 

        With my new sense of focus I took a pit stop at the first park I saw, kicked my shoes off and got stuck into my book.

        Will I feel lonely again? Damn right I will and this could be triggered by a number of things. 

        Sometimes choosing not to feel lonely won’t come as easy and at times like these I am fortunate enough to have a really great set of friends and now this blog, which is like a personal diary to me.

        Apparently loneliness is an increasing problem in modern life, with some sources saying there’s actually a ‘loneliness epidemic’.

        If you don’t feel like you have someone you can open up to, try and change your focus as there’s always someone listening. Maybe I can be that someone?!

        Emma x

        Instagram: @emmalouhalliday