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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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.

Life – who’s in charge?

I reached for my beautiful turquoise notepad, which was a thoughtful Secret Santa gift from a work colleague. I absolutely love notepads……and stationery in general. That feeling I get visiting Paperchase, The Works, WHSmith and other such stores. Browsing the shelves churns the creative cogs in my mind. 

But notepads have always been my favourite! A blank canvas, igniting inspiration – ready to transform into whatever you want: 

  • hold words that help craft stories
  • plot and plan dreams
  • harbour deep secrets 
  • doodle

I thumb through my notepad and am slightly disheartened when I see the empty pages. I’ve barely made a dent in it. This highlights my habit of starting things with gusto only to move onto the next thing – leaving that particular dream on the shelf! Unfortunately this trait overflows to other parts of my life. 

It’s the book I excitedly started in January – for my year of vulnerability. 

On the first page, I wrote:

“This year I decided to have a theme which I would focus on for the year. That theme is vulnerability. So many things {career, relationships, travels} have been stopped, stilted or not allowed to flourish due to me putting a shield around myself. So it has to stop – here! I am bored of not getting what I want for fear of getting hurt so let’s get to it! This is my scrapbook. I’m going to be journaling, blogging, note taking. Along with doing Facebook Lives, Instagram, reading, therapy sessions and challenges. Bring it on!”

I accompanied this with a list of things that I planned to do – the majority remained unticked.

I seem to have taken a slip road on my journey, which isn’t particularly a bad thing but it is important to reassess what I actually want from this year. 

It’s funny – in life we generally don’t tend to assess things. Our relationships (with family, friends, partners), our jobs, where we live, how we like to spend our spare time. We often make that choice once or fall into it and then let life unconsciously take over – only changing when we have to! I know I’ve spent more time assessing and planning where I want to go on a holiday than anything to do with my life. Crazy!

I love this quote by Zig Ziglar:

As much as the idea of ‘life happening to you’ and ‘working in your favour’ sounds so romantic and the easier option. I don’t actually believe it is. I used to be in the ‘fate’ fan club and living for today. 

This was great for excuses when life hadn’t gone the way I wanted it to: 

“Don’t blame me – blame fate”

But not so great on the purse strings: 

“Fuck saving for a rainy day – tomorrow never comes!” 

Well it did and it has! And many a day I’ve let life guide me too loosely – trying to mask my disappointment with the outcome. 

Planning for the future and the thought of choosing to stay in one place, one job, with one person used to paralyse me. Never considering that I could actually change my direction……..anytime. That I had the choice to do that!

With that notion firmly in my mind……….(again). I’ve learnt this lesson countless times but this time………this time…..it’s firmly in my mind! 

I actually want to be the one leading the show – making the decisions about my life!

Control taken back. Excitement levels restored. 

I pick up my trusty notepad. 

I’m ready to plan my heart out!

This year of vulnerability has just turned up a notch!

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. 

The Dating Rollercoaster!

I started the night secretly retrieving tissue from my pocket……to wipe sweat from my forehead. I ended the night forgoing the tissue as tears streamed down my face. 

What a night. 

What a mixture of emotions. 

Such is the life of a single girl, diving back into the world of dating. 

As I’ve mentioned on a couple of occasions, I am single! In my post, ‘The Single Side of Me’, I delve deeper into how I feel about it. 

One of the reasons I started my year of vulnerability was due to my single status, which – I put my hands up and admit – I am to blame for! 

As the great Jim Rohn said: “For things to change. You need to change.”

And boy do I want things to change. 


So I’m looking at my situation from different angles, donning different shoes. It’s scary, staring my demons head on, feeling the emotions. But with it I come through the other side with a lesson. 

Although……..I wasn’t expecting tears on the tube, on the way home from an event, to be part of the journey. 

It all started Wednesday night when I nervously arrived at Farr’s School of Dancing in Dalston, for a silent dating event. The event Shhh party, was something that I’d never experienced before but it wasn’t totally out of my comfort zone as I proudly have ‘improv skills’ on my CV. Plus, silliness definitely is in my DNA. 

Not a stranger to being alone in a room full of people due to countless networking events and courses I’ve attended, I found it interesting that I confidently strode up to 2 women and asked if I could join them. Usually I would linger around the side of the room waiting for someone to approach me. 

Dating stories were swapped and I admitted that it had been over a year since my last date and that I was eager to ramp it up again. Hence the deep end. This event!

We started off with a few warm up games, making our way around the room, in silence, introducing ourselves in various ways. There were about 30 men and women, almost equally split, so there was always someone new to greet. Each round of games required more energy, confidence and movement than its predecessor, which didn’t bode well for my skinny black jeans in an already hot room. 

As I mopped my brow, taking off my freshly done makeup in the process, I realised I didn’t mind as I was having so much fun. My face ached from smiling and I was eager to see how the night would unfold. 

The games continued, not all in silence. The host, Adam Wilder, was the perfect compère, hilarious and engaging. He explained the reasons for playing each game, which also turned out to be perfect life lessons. Totally up my street.  

After the break the games took a sensual turn, shining a respectful light on intimacy. Something that lacks in so many people’s lives, not just those that are single! I don’t want to divulge too much into the event for those that may be interested in going themselves. So I will just say the last game was surreal, powerful, beautiful and……….sad!

The evening ended with people staying on for drinks to talk, finally introducing themselves by name. Some people coupling off and leaving together. 

I got a number. 

A woman’s number. 

Yup. I got me a wing-woman!

On the phone to my friend as I headed back home, I was laughing as I expressively explained the set up. All of a sudden, without warning, the gloom set in and I was……..despondent. I felt rejected and further away from my goal. 

And I moaned. 
“In dating situations today you have to vie for attention and it often feels like the guy is the one pulling the strings. Making the decisions. Whilst the girl patiently waits. Takes unnecessary digs at herself. Compares herself. Why do I let myself get pulled into this situation time after time, without actually giving my permission?”

And I cried. 
“I was sad that no-one showed an interest, even though I wasn’t particularly interested in anyone. I was tired of always having to try when others only have to look at someone to be in a relationship. I was fed up of constantly being the 3rd wheel amongst friends. I felt happy and independent one minute and then so alone the next.”

And I blamed.
“Damn the time of the month making me extra hormonal. Is there a full moon? It feels like it. I’m tired. I’ve had a few to drink. It’s been a long day. It’s probably the stress of the election. Damn you Theresa May.”

And my friend.
Knowing how I feel about advice and papering over problems with sickly sweet throwaway words of comfort, remained silent. I loved her for it ❤️

I can’t speak for all single women, nor would I want to, but I’m sure the majority will agree when I say that there are a list of things that we’re sick of hearing. I scribbled my top 5 down to include in this post but then realised it didn’t flow. So my ranting list will be in a separate post – you lucky folks you! 

Sometimes all anyone needs to feel better, is a non-judgemental person who will sit and listen. Listening is underused and underrated – in my opinion. Thanks to my friend’s ears, my tears soon dried and I was able to move on and the lessons, they came a-knocking. 

Lesson 1
Putting on some size 9 trainers, I looked at the guys that I had turned down in life. Who had bravely asked me out and I had snubbed their advances. Why was it any different when it happened to me? It’s hypocritical. We are all entitled to our choice. It just feels like I’m playing snap with no sets of pairs in the card deck. 

Lesson 2
As I was drifting off to sleep I laughed as I realised that this was what vulnerability felt like. I had asked for this. To be open, on my quest for love, could mean……..hurt, pain, rejection! I was firmly on the right path. This made me feel okay. Actually, this made me feel more than okay!

Lesson 3
When walking back from the polling station yesterday evening. I thought of Jim Rohn’s quote again and began to dissect it further. 

‘You need to change.’

I see this as not changing my personality to fit into someone else’s perfect partner mould. Instead, I see this as an opportunity to change into the person I want to be. A ‘me’ that would fit into my ideal relationship mould. 

I want my partner to be outgoing, open-minded, healthy, sporty and love the outdoors. I laugh as I try and remember the last time I went camping without it been a festival. Or the last time I went to the gym or picked up my kettlebells (which I’ve only used once). How can I expect to attract someone like this when I’m not this person myself? 

The lessons are always there. After the demons – they are there. Many people choose to spend most of their time entertaining the demons by playing hide and seek or wallowing with them. 

This time I chose to sit with them, with the pain. And I hurt. I moaned. I complained. I cried. Coming out of the other side feeling stronger and more certain than ever that I will not settle and will not give in! 

It cemented the fact that I still believe that I will get what I’m looking for. 

I’m so grateful for Shhhh Party for getting me there in the most fun rollercoaster dating experience I’ve had. I highly recommend it to anyone. Maybe you’ll meet your partner, a wing woman or a demon with a message. Whatever happens one thing I can almost guarantee is – you’ll have fun! You can check it out here www.shhhdating.com

Finally I am beyond grateful to my friend who was ‘silently’ with me as I battled my demons. You know who you are 😘. 

Emma x

p.s. On Sunday night I deactivated my Facebook for a much needed break, you can see why in my post ‘We are on a Break’.  This has resulted in a more open and raw account of my feelings. As the amount of people that this blog will reach is smaller than my other posts I felt more confident sharing. Plus, I don’t have the opportunity to sit watching FB waiting for the feedback. Phew!! 

If you have liked this post feel free to give it a share. 

 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

http://www.facebook.com/Hallidayshealthzone

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

http://www.facebook.com/Hallidayshealthzone

Instagram: @emmalouhalliday