I need some Space!

My head is a mess!

That’s how I feel when I allow clutter to take control of me.

As I’ve been non-stop for almost two weeks, I’ve felt too tired to do anything when I finally get home each evening. Especially tidying up!

The effect is a messy desk, chair and shelves and an even messier mind.

I haven’t got the neat freak trait but at the same time I hate mess!

When tasks become too big I get overwhelmed and have to run for cover. Adding extra layers of clutter I have to tidy up and in turn extra layers of unnecessary stress.

So my August focus of space is needed more than ever.

My aim is:

  • to declutter and get rid of the things I’ve accumulated. I’m a magnet to paper, bags, broken jewellery and unfinished creative projects.
  • not to say ‘Yes’ to every invitation going.

Basically let go of the things that no longer serve me.

Every object or worry I get rid of will hopefully clear space in my bedroom, calendar and head.

I recently read ‘Stuffocation’ a book which explores the clutter crisis that has hit the world.

Through stories and research the author delves into the effect that owning lots of ‘stuff’ can have on people.

There are insights from people who have let go of owning so much ‘stuff’ to become minimalists.

Although I’m not going to go that extreme, I can definitely see the benefits. Plus, I’ve got to a time in my life where I feel less is more and I’d rather invest in worthwhile items.

The throwaway culture also makes me feel bad for the planet. This has definitely intensified since moving to London and seeing items discarded on the street more often.

I know the time is right to downsize as I’m constantly questioning:

  • Do I need these t-shirts, that I don’t even deem good enough to wear in bed, clogging up space in my wardrobe?
  • Will I read the books that I picked up from a charity shop just because I recognised the author and it was 10p?
  • Will I fix the hole in the dress I’m not sure I actually like or will even fit into again?

Straightforward answer = no!

I’m trying to hold on to the past and hold on to old dreams?

All this is doing holding me back.

I’m aiming to keep one evening a week and one weekend day a month free to relax. To do nothing. To give my mind the space it needs. Promising any more time than this and I know I’ll fail.

But the stuff. Yeah – that’s got to go! I have photos that provide me with memories and I have new dreams to conquer.

Writing this blog post has already made me start to feel good. I’ll have more of that please!

I’ve finished reading ‘Stuffocation’ so if anyone (from the UK) would like me to send them the book. Give us a shout. First come first served.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on clutter and any tips you have to see me through the month (which, if I’m honest is going to probably continue into September).

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”

The Adventure Island – Flash Fiction

She crouched over, allowing her lungs to take in as much air as possible. She was tired but couldn’t stop now. The cut she had sustained on her leg whilst running away added to the lethargy.

 

Smells from the shore gave her hope. She could hear the soft night time waves lapping against the rocks. The moon shone between the entangled trees, getting lighter as she neared the beach.

 

She cursed herself and her quench for an exciting life. Promises of love and laughter soon were lost beyond the sea.

 

“Adele.” Jessie panted “Hurry up, they’re not far behind us! ”

 

She picked up pace to join Jessie in the water, wincing as the salt stung her wound. Jessie took charge of the oars when they settled in the boat.

 

An adventurous, immersive and fun holiday Jessie had described this as. She was still waiting for the latter part.

 

Looking back towards the shore as the other teams began to emerge, she felt a sense of satisfaction.

 

Okay winning was quite fun!

(172 words)

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As part of my year of vulnerability I am putting myself out there with my writing. Here I am participating in a Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers challenge. The challenge is to write a piece between 100 and 150 words (+- 25 words) inspired by the photo featured above.
Word Count: 172
Picture Credit: The Storyteller's abode by Louise
Emma x
Instagram: emmalouhalliday

 

 

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.

img_3467

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.

 img_3464

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.

The Enchanted Garden – Flash Fiction

Meet me at eight, in the garden that does bring,
stories from childhood and memories of Spring

Charlotte read the note again – even though she had instantly known the location.

It was a special place she shared with her Grandmother. How could it be the same – with her gone?

Folding the papyrus paper, she descended the grassy staircase.

She thought of: the teddy bears picnic, looking for fairies, counting stars. All now a distant dream.

Charlotte stood in shock as she entered the clearing. Fairly lights lead the way to the patchwork blanket she'd helped her Grandmother make one year. Her eldest teddy bear placed on it, next to a feast of her favourite picnic food and…………Ben.

On one knee!

He said "I want you to fall in love with this place again.

With you dear Charlotte I feel like a King
So I told your father, you make my heart sing
With that he gave me his sincere blessing
To ask for your hand with your Grandmother’s ring”

*******************

I am participating in my first Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers. The challenge is to write a piece between 100 and 150 words (+- 25 words) inspired by the photo featured above.

Word Count: 175
Picture Credit: J.S. Brand

Read the other fantastic entries here

Dancing my cares away 💃 

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.

Going back to some roots 🌲 

I am a tree hugger!

As part of my July Challenges – point 5 was to ‘spend time in nature’. After suffering with ‘imposter syndrome‘ for most of the day, an email I’d received from ‘Margaret Rushing‘ sang to me. In it she challenges the reader to go out into nature and ‘hug a tree’. 

I really couldn’t be arsed venturing back out after I’d got home. But……I knew if I didn’t I’d be annoyed with myself for the rest of the evening. So off I went – in search of a tree.

Continue reading “Going back to some roots 🌲 “