Celebrating 36 years on Earth ๐ŸŒ

Today is my birthday!

Today I am 36 years old!

Today I am so bloody happy!

(Okay I'm cheating with this pic as it was taken 3 days ago but it was raining then and it's raining now)

But growing older hasn't always left me feeling this way.

Once I reached my 30s, the years quickly began to attach to me.

Each time my birthday came round I would take note of all the things that I didn't have, such as:

  • A husband/partner
  • A mortgage
  • A driving licence
  • Savings
  • Children
  • A degree

And I would be smothered with a sense of dread, longing and disappointment.

My goals of living in far flung places would be replaced with more 'accessible' and 'realistic' aims! And my biological clock would sing out:

"Happy Birthday……Tick Tock"

Leading up to my birthday this year, something changed. The list above, although still lifetime priorities, didn't hold as much weight!

What mattered more was that I have lived to see 36years.

So this morning I jumped out of bed and celebrated my birthday…… in my birthday suit (obvs). Being grateful for all that I do have. All the experiences I've been fortunate to lay claim to.

As I slathered body firming cream onto my cellulite and concealer on to my eye bags. I made a personal 'New Year' resolution to stop trying to fathom out how I should act at each age.

Not only is it a ball-ache but it doesn't achieve anything apart from make the Comparison Cashier work overtime.

I'm quitting this game of age Top Trumps as I'm tired of being woeful about my age. Playing it up when around older people and playing it down when I'm with younger people. Instead of just being.

My housemate said "Can't wait to celebrate YOU today".

So that's exactly what I'm gonna do! Celebrate ME!

(Birthday lunch with my Bow Bird ❤️)

Happy Birthday to Me xx

Emma x

Dancing my cares away ๐Ÿ’ƒย 

Item no.4 of my July Challenges is to ‘Look at myself in mirrors and see the beauty in me’. I’ve been doing this to some extent but half heartedly.  

That all changed today!

‘I just can’t stop loving you’ had been playing in my head all morning. I took that as I sign to blast it out from my speaker.

I put on my black push up bra, which had been shoved to the back of my drawer. Left untouched due to the way it accentuates my curves. 

It leaves me open to be noticed. From people who think it’s their right to look, to judge, to leer, form an opinion. But mainly from me – and the stories I tell myself about how I think others are going to perceive me! As demonstrated above!

I have a habit of becoming the judge [of myself] before others can judge me. A safety net that isn’t actually helpful or safe!

Coupled with my black lace undies, I felt great! I had no plans apart from taking a walk around my local park. But no.10 in my challenges is to ‘Wear my Sunday Best’ so that is what I was gonna do. They’re not really my best. I don’t have any fancy underwear. *note to self – buy some fancy lingerie. And I was not just about to go out into the neighbourhood sans clothes. 

Standing in front of my mirrored wardrobe, 3 large mirrors that stretch almost from ceiling to floor. I started to dance. 

I succumbed to the music. 

Next up Gloria Gaynor – ‘I am what I am‘. A perfect theme tune to loving what is. Only I realised……….I wasn’t!

An audience of one and I was holding in my stomach as I danced. Only approving of myself from certain angles. Awareness stopped me in my tracks and I……

  1. breathed out
  2. Felt horrendous 
  3. Continued to dance

Forcing myself to look at my stomach, which tops my ‘things I don’t like about myself so moan about instead of changing‘ list. 

I was in flow now, dancing my cares away. The solo party continued as I got all ‘lip sync’ karaoke to ‘Earth Song’. 

By the time I reached the ‘What about us….’ ending I was thinking I was a rockstar, wanting to dance in classes, clubs and besides swimming pools – in my undies. I was totally in awe of Michael Jackson. And at peace with myself. My body. My dance moves. 

I was seriously cutting some shapes in my own special way! It totally reawakened my love of dancing – just because! 

I headed out, feeling happy and confident. Instead of comparing myself to the people I passed, I observed and saluted them instead. Not actually a physical salute – although that would have been funny!

I saluted: 

  • the gorgeous girl who had a thigh gap and flat stomach.  And promised myself to stop moaning that I don’t have a body like that! If it’s so important to me, I know what to do. I’m barely even doing it! Exercise…….when will I enjoy you?
  • the couple holding hands and embracing the day. Instead of solemnly longing for what they had, they made me feeling optimistic. I will persevere with dating apps and when I next really like a guy, I’m going to let him know – hello vulnerability!
  • the group of friends all set for a day at a festival. Instead of feeling lonely, I was happy to be on the outside looking in. Knowing that in a couple of weeks I’ll be doing the same with my friends. 

So as I sat typing this post on a park bench. Laughter, birds and music setting the tone. I was awash with gratitude to have left the Comparison Cashier at home. And to have found something else to aid me in my year of vulnerability. 

Long live letting go and dancing in front of my mirror in my best (for now) underwear and learning to love what is! 


Emma x

Instagram: @emmalouhalliday
Twitter: @boomerhalliday

p.s. if you’ve liked this or any of my other posts, I would be grateful if you could give them a share.

ย The Way of the Ambivert.ย 

“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

http://www.facebook.com/Hallidayshealthzone

Instagram: @emmalouhalliday