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.

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I’ve Been Nominated 🤗

For an award.

An award due to this blog.

An award due to this blog from a very wonderful, funny and talented blogger, Maria, The Super Wife & Mommy. Please do check out her page as it’s full of wonderful stories of life, children’s poetry, recipes and more.

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I’m going to admit, after the initial buzz of being recognised and receiving a compliment on a page where I bare parts of my soul, I felt torn.

And I had an inward battle with myself because I vowed when I started this blog not to indulge these types of awards that ask you to nominate other people. It reminded me of all those Facebook posts where you’re asked to share a picture or something about yourself and tag everybody and their pet. Plus, it didn’t fit in to the theme of my blog.

But it did and it does, in more ways than one, because; I felt vulnerable and I was being recognised for being vulnerable.

So I got over myself and the gratitude returned and I knew I was going to partake.

Here’s how the award works:

Rules:

  • Put the award logo on your blog.
  • Thank the people who nominated you, linking to their blogs.
  • Answer 7 questions asked by the person who nominated you.
  • Nominate any number of bloggers you like, linking to their blogs.
  • Let them know you nominated them (by commenting on their blog, etc).
  • Ask your nominees 7 questions

I felt a tinge of guilt reading the rules as I realised that I haven’t built up many friendships on WordPress, I don’t have many followers, nor do I follow many blogs. I come on the site, make a post, read a few other people’s posts and move on. This award has made me want to become part of a community so I will also be spending more time trying to rectify that.

So before, I start answering the questions and making my own nominations I would like to say a HUGE thank you to Super Wife & Mommy for pulling me out of my blogging comfort zone.

Questions 

  • What’s an interesting thing you have read or seen this week?

An easy question to start with. It’s a blog post by Super Wife & Mommy. It is one of the most beautiful and vulnerable posts I have come across – a real heart tugger. If you read one thing today, check out her postSelf-Explanatory.

  • What do you prefer? Sitting alone in a room reading or going out partying.

This is a toughie as I am an eclectic person. I love and I mean LOVE both. Parties are great. I’m good at partying. Be it a festival, old man’s pub or clubbing into the early hours – I love it. But I also ache for alone time. I love reading. It’s my thing. I’ve always got a book on the go and crave for times where I can get lost in a story. I have balance in my life and I like it. SO on this occasion – I choose both.

  • Do you prefer digital reading (PDF, kindle, etc) or traditional books?

Easy. Books. I bought a digital reading device and couldn’t gel with it. Alas, it wasn’t a kindle and I just couldn’t get the hang of it. I enjoy getting stuck into a book and thumbing through the pages. I feel at home when I’m in a library – the smell of the books and the possibilities right there in front of your face. Aaaah I get a serious buzz just thinking about it.

  • What’s the closest thing to real magic?

When the universe and your intuition conspire to work in your favour. I’ve seen magic happen. You just have to let go and believe.

  • What is the craziest thing you have ever done?

Define crazy? Many people think some of the activities I’ve done are a bit crazy. Getting naked and painting myself blue in the name of art, sky-diving, solo travelling in South America, having a body caste made, hitch-hiking, getting tattoos/piercings, skinny-dipping (hmmm I appear to be naked in most of these) but these were all so much fun. Crazy to me has been staying in a job too long, not getting into a relationship I wanted to, withholding my dreams and hanging onto the past.

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  • Your favorite quote

My favourite quote changes depending on how I’m feeling. I’m always saving new ones to my phone. I’m currently loving….

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Well that was fun. I’ve just realised there were only 6 questions. I’m going to change the questions slightly so they fit in with vulnerability.

Questions:

  1. Are you a perfectionist?
  2. What is the scariest thing you have ever done?
  3. Who do you admire?
  4. What trait do you love about yourself?
  5. What have you been giving yourself a hard time about?
  6. Do you believe in yourself?
  7. Do you like being naked? (Seriously, I’m obsessed with being naked)

Sticking with the theme of vulnerability. I have chosen bloggers that have invited me into their world and let their vulnerability shine. You guys rock:

  1. Peaceful Jellyfish
  2. Everyone Else Has the Best Titles
  3. The Other Stuff
  4. Not Just Any Job
  5. Victoria’s Bubble Blog

Note to nominees: You don’t have to continue the awards but I just wanted to let you all know that I appreciate you. Reading your posts make me feel more confident about keeping on my journey and for that I thank you.

Emma x

p.s. to any readers of this post. I’d be really interested in reading your answers to my questions in the comments. Dare you get a little vulnerable?

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 

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.

Reflection – July Challenges

Heads-up………this is a long, grab a cuppa, type of post! [6min read]

Everyone who knows me knows that I really like to challenge myself. What they may not know is that it’s not because I like pushing myself to the point of nausea or that I like acting to extreme measures.

I challenge myself because I want to change. There are parts of me that I want to bury and replace with something new.

I challenge myself as I believe it will bring exciting adventures, a happier me, a huge growth spurt and in the past a better me.

So last month I didn’t set myself just the one challenge. Oh no – that would be too easy, too simple. This ‘over estimator’ set 10 challenges! 10!

Continue reading “Reflection – July Challenges”

An invitation to be Imperfectly Perfect

It’s only recently that I’ve realised that there was a perfectionist lurking inside of me. 

I still have doubts that it’s perfectionism. The irony of this is I have spent the past 30mins trying to write one sentence. Anchoring on to one word, not allowing myself to move on until it is………..perfect!

It’s debilitating.

Looking back, I can highlight many an opportunity I didn’t take which I could put down to being a perfectionist. I rarely put myself forward or start something new – for fear of not being good enough. 

I initially thought that this was a fear of criticism or rejection. As putting myself out there leaves me an easy target to be judged. Plus, I have a high expectation of the way things should be – especially me.

Perfect!

Perfectionism stalls creativity and as I’ve chosen to embark on a path where writing is my main focus, I can’t continue my relationship with this dangerous illusion. I’m ready to stop:

  • Berating myself at the end of each day due to not working to my full potential
  • Taking hours to write and rewrite my blog, editing commas and changing the structure
  • Storing ideas in my mind as ‘there’s no point starting them as they won’t be perfect’

It is tiresome.

I had recently come across the act of Wab-Sabi, which is a Japanese tradition of accepting imperfections. I loved the sound of this and promised to find out more about the lifestyle. Only I didn’t. I continued to fret, to stall, to compare and to live unrealistically.

That was until I received an invitation to be imperfectly perfect. Not once but twice this week!

The Youth Centre

I look down at the paper and ……..nothing! Looking to others for nature inspiration was a mistake. Seeing their pencils barely leave the page – leaves, trees, foliage! I felt so inadequate that I took to having a silent conversation with myself.

What do leaves look like? How do I draw a flower?’ 

My mind was as blank as the paper in front of me. *note to self. When struggling to meditate remember this moment. 

I  pushed myself and drew the most basic looking leaf I could think of, then a simple flower. As my confidence started to peep through I started to experiment, which left a mess on my paper and me looking for an eraser. Could I tell the art teacher that a child had sneaked in when she left the room and doodled on my paper?

That’s a really interesting shape – you should use that” proclaimed the teacher, throwing me out of my ridiculous plotting.

I was alarmed that she was pointing at the childlike scrawl I had tried to hide. I was further alarmed that my two simple ‘perfect’ pictures were cascaded aside, allowing space for the drawings I had been embarrassed by.

I loved the screen print that we’d created. I took the photo as a reminder that imperfections can be be a work of art, depending on who is looking at it.

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The Writer’s Workshop

“I want you all to write whatever comes into your head. It doesn’t have to make sense, don’t think about it just write. I’m going to put five minutes on the timer. Go!”

Aaah just writing words, not thinking about the structure, where a full stop should go. This was hard. I started writing, focusing on objects in my vicinity which made me realise I was playing small – safe. I finally let my pen take over, only stopping when the alarm rang out.

The next instruction was to highlight five of the words. I chose words I wouldn’t normally use, unaware of what we were going to be doing with them:

Primate, Moonshine, Chiselled, Harboured, Density

“Write a poem using your selected five words.”

The rules: Three words per line. One of your chosen words in each line. Five minutes.

I really enjoyed this process. It was the quickest poem I had ever written. It didn’t mean anything but it made perfect sense as I read it out to the rest of the group. I was proud with my imperfectly perfect poem.

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After the lessons this week, I feel more confident to just get out there and do it. 

Picasso was estimated to have produced 50,000 pieces of artwork in his lifetime! 50,000! There must have been a massive percentage which he thought were below par but yet he still produced.

I’m going to be my own Picasso – who knows what may come of it?

Have you got examples of how you tackle perfectionism?

Emma x

Instagram: @emmalouhalliday

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