A mountain, a blip and a lesson!

Walking up the mountain, I let out an exasperated sigh. I could lie to myself and put it down to feeling tired from the steep ascent. But I don’t. I admit, right now, not only am I alone, I feel angry at myself for being alone. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not wishing that my friends were here, as I don’t actually feel lonely. Instead, I’m wishing that I could be more vocal. To speak to people. To not appear stand offish. To stride with confidence without nagging thoughts berating me for not making more of an effort.

I stop walking, take a few deep breaths, laugh at the thought of someone telling you to breath when you’re stressed. ‘Erm, hello – if I wasn’t breathing I would be dead’. One of the most pointless pieces of advice that has probably never helped anyone to calm the fuck down. Digression over, I reach for my little bottle of magic, or Larch as it is more commonly known. A homeopathic remedy to help alleviate anxiety. I take a few drops, straight to the tongue, no messing, and I assess the situation.

I came on holiday on my own so that I could have a relaxing time – on my own terms. Go where I wanted, when I wanted and to only answer to myself. Up until this point, I’d been doing that and giving myself constant kudos for doing so. So, I’m not sure if it was the altitude or the nature of the tour group setting I’d put myself in, but right here, on top of the mountain, with the insane views surrounding me, I was annoyed at myself.

Putting myself in the hot seat, I asked:

  • Judge me: “Do you actually want to be with someone right now?”
  • Annoyed me: “No. I’m happy on my own. I don’t feel lonely I just feel I should be with someone”
  • Judge me: “Isn’t this the reason you chose to come on holiday alone, so you didn’t have to feel this way?”
  • Annoyed me: “Yes. That’s why I’m annoyed. I don’t want to feel this way. I have social anxiety and I don’t want to force myself into unnecessary conversation”
  • Judge me: “…..
  • Annoyed me: “Fuck what other people think about me and my actions. This is my holiday!
  • Judge me: “……
  • Annoyed me: “I have social anxiety and I’m okay with that. Wow. I feel great admitting this. Thanks Judge me”
  • Judge me: “…………De nada (you’re welcome – in Spanish)”

You may be picturing a confuddled looking me, chatting away to myself – a bit like Fight Club but atop a mountain – when in fact it was just an internal monologue that was pretty much over as soon as it started. I definitely should consider giving scriptwriting a go – that dialogue is gold…..(ahem)!

Feeling proud that I had just made peace with the fact that I have social anxiety, I continued my walk with a spring in my step. Mere moments later, I was in a conversation with some women from the tour group.

Hmmm – how about that? As soon as my head started focusing on what I wanted – ‘a good holiday’ and stopped worrying about ‘how other people perceived me’ or thinking about ‘how to start a conversation’, I felt at peace and the day began to flow.

Not only that but I stopped turning my head slightly, to appease the guy behind me on the bus. I was tired of having to feign interest in his joke….joke….joke and so stopped with the laugh-grunt (that noise you make with lips tightly pursed when something is not really funny but you want to be polite). I kept reminding myself, it was about focusing on what I wanted – ‘a good holiday’.

As the trip came to a close I was invited out to dinner by a couple of ladies from the bus who were also traveling solo. I checked in with myself and indeed I did want to join them. And so I did!

That was yesterday and by choice I spent all today on my own and it too has been wonderful. I am going to write a summary of my holiday when I return to London but I just wanted to share my mountain blip with you.

Emma x

Instagram: @emmalouhalliday 

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

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It’s the 3 month countdown……

We are in October! I’ve already lost count of the number of times I’ve overheard people baffled by the month we’re now in. As if they were unaware that it was the month that follows September, which they were also shocked at when it came around.

I can’t believe it’s [insert month] already!

I laugh and take the piss but I am guilty of these conversations too. But seriously, how did we get to October so fast?

With three months left of 2017 I thought it would be a great time to review where I am with my year of vulnerability. Plus, I didn’t really have another topic that I necessarily wanted to write about. Writer’s block if you will! Hence not writing for over a week!

So I read my first ever post on my blog My year of vulnerability 😳 – it was basically about being single – and not wanting to be. And wanting to do better with my business.

10 months into the year and…….

  • I’m still single –  although at the time of writing this post (22.40pm on 2nd October), I have a date tomorrow.
  • I no longer have a business. Nor do I long to have one at the moment. You can read more about my change of heart and letting go of my business goals here – The write path 📝

This makes me laugh, not out loud though, okay I’m exaggerating slightly, I’m not laughing, I’m smirking – as a part of me thought having a blog as a platform to be vulnerable was like stumbling across Aladdin’s lamp, and that in the year to follow I would have ticked off my wants:

img_3986 But there was no Aladdin’s lamp – which I am grateful for. As if I’d have got what I thought I wanted, that ‘surface-level’ want, I would have been working on a business that wasn’t right for me and who knows what type of boyfriend the lamp would have brought me – shudder!m grateful because having this blog has unearthed in me a strength and courage I didn’t realise I had. I still get clammy palms and a racing heart every time I press ‘publish’ to release another part of my private thoughts, worries, dreams BUT I also take a step closer to appreciating who I am.

img_5971 During my three month hiatus from Facebook my posts became braver, more raw and my following increased. I now have 57 followers! Which isn’t many in the world of blogging but it means everything to me.

These followers are people I didn’t know before I started my blog. They cheer me on, they support my journey and sometimes a part of what I say resonates with them. If you’re reading this post dear follower – thank you! ❤️

I am also grateful of conversations that have taken place following posts that I’ve made. Conversations that would probably not have happened if I’d kept my thoughts to myself.

When I write I’m not only finding out more about myself but I’m finding out about others too and I know that I’m not on this journey alone.

I never expected to talk openly about losing loved ones, my anxiety and panic attacks, racism, feeling lonely, ugly, stupid…….etc. Like I said at the beginning it was surface level stuff.

I’m so pleased I scratched the surface and have kept on scratching, revealing parts of myself I’ve shielded for too long. As this blog has made something shift inside me and it warms my heart that it has inspired others too.

Who knows what will happen as the final months roll in? Maybe my knight in shining armour will come but if he doesn’t it really doesn’t matter. As it is no longer about that. It has never really been about that.

It’s about me finding happiness in ‘being me’ – unapologetically me!

I’ve also realised that the name of my blog, although catchy, if I do say so myself, is a tad misleading as vulnerability isn’t a {year} destination, it is an ongoing continuous journey.

I’ve signed up to this bad boy for life!

Until the next post. Cheers!

img_1704 Emma x

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

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!”

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!!

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

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

http://www.facebook.com/Hallidayshealthzone

Instagram: @emmalouhalliday