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Marie Curie and the Swimathon Foundation

The Storyteller

Hey guys!

So as you’ll know I recently did a 24 hour radio show for the charity St David’s Hospice in North Wales with my friend- but the fundraising doesn’t end there!

I have always been a keen swimmer, having spent most of my hours outside of school training with my club before I came to university. I’ve heard of The Swimathon Foundation before, but I’ve never been able to take part in it because of others commitments- until now.

This year, between the 7th-9th April, The Swimathon Foundation are teaming up with Marie Curie to raise money. If you’re not already aware, Marie Curie are a charity who provide care and support to people living with a terminal illness at the end of their lives.

I am going to be swimming 2.5km (which is around 120 lengths) and my aim is to raise £100- obviously I’d like to raise…

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I Actually Enjoyed Shopping?

In my younger years (I sound like an old woman) I was notorious for hating shopping, scorning the thought of myself wearing makeup, and not wanting to go to the effort of going outside to do something for myself – entirely for me. Today, I flipped that on its head, and realised some parts of my personality have changed drastically.

When I’m at my dad’s house, I’m often happier and strive to be independent. Such was the case when my dad asked me on Thursday, “Elm, want to do anything at the weekend? Maybe we could go out on a walk or learn some routes, like going on the bus or something.” I’m blind and so my independence means a lot to me, as it’s abismally low, which meant that I jumped on the opportunity.

“Actually,” I said yesterday when I was transferring from my mum’s to my dad’s, “Can I go out and get some makeup brushes and makeup?” No one was more surprised than I was (except most likely my mum). Over the last year and a half, I’ve steadily warmed to the idea of makeup: I don’t think I’d wear it all the time, but I know it makes me feel confident. Not because of my appearance because I can’t see myself, but it’s a new thing, an extra little add-on that – if I apply it myself – gives me faith in my own abilities, if that makes sense?

After having stayed up until 4 (I still have a pretend grudge against the bloggers I skyped until then) I was exhausted; I woke up at 11, relaxed, had a shower, brushed my hair and made myself feel as relaxed and happy as possible because I knew if I went out today with a bad mindset I’d give up and not want to do what would make me feel better: taking control of myself. I took the first steps to do that by putting perfume on, and wearing clothes that I actually like; it’s little things like these which make me feel secure.

At my stepmother’s insistance, I wasn’t guided by my dad and I walked the (short) distance to the bus stop. I embarrassed myself by not being able to find the card reader thing (I live near London) and getting pissed off, stepping aggressively down the bus and then losing contact with my dad, meaning that I couldn’t find a seat and nearly sat on someone… That was great.

When I arrived at the shops, I got stressed: I knew what I wanted, but I was paranoid I wasn’t getting the right thing. Rapunzel, a close friend of mine, has helped me because I’m literally terrible at everything to do with beauty. I asked her for advice, and used my (limited) skills to find out what I liked.

I bought:
Four brushes from Real Techniques:
• A foundation brush
• Concealer brush
• Shadow brush (for eyeshadow I think
I KNOW NOTHING)
• Powder brush
• Foundation from Bare Minerals
• Perfecting Veil from Bare Minerals
• Two packs of makeup wipes from Boots
• I’m not turning into a beauty blogger; that would be hilarious because me +beauty =disaster

In the midst of shopping, I had to deal with some, errm, emotional panic, so that wasn’t great, but I soon looked over it because I was happy as I was being independent with my actions. Not once did I feel bored, or frustrated at not being able to decide; I spoke to three shop assistants and didn’t feel out of place. They didn’t make me feel like a child.

This afternoon, I learned that it’s okay to change your opinions. It’s alright to go out there, ‘do what you want, and not judge yourself for it. I’ve accepted that I’m intrigued by the thought of makeup, of making myself look a certain way and being able to manipulate that.

All in all? Finding myself makes me feel like I can truly do this. That I can truly express my own personality without screaming at myself for it. You can, too.

From Elm 🙂

Should you Do Something Even if You Hate It?

Yesterday was a great day: I felt positive, happy, did work (understood my psychology and history) and I was held up by the thought that for the whole day, I’d felt alive and like I was in control. Recently – and by that I mean for the past few months – I’ve steadily been feeling less connected with my emotions; numb, if you will; growing slowly more unfeeling and scared because of it. Yesterday was a change from that.

Today started off the same – a bit dulled – but it was still alright. I had great conversations with Swan, felt passionate about Othello and English and laughed in Psychology with the new, casual friends I’ve made.

That shattered, at lunch, for one reason: French.

“I fucking hate it.” “God, I wish I’d done Philosophy, or Politics instead.” “If I could go back and change my options, I honestly would – I know loads of people say that but I mean this.” “I’m not passionate about it any more.” “I can’t do it – I just can’t – I want to cry whenever I think about it.” “I love the concept of it – languages are amazing – but studying it sucks the energy out of me and I hate myself for it.” These are all things I’ve been saying about the subject, with more and more insistance, increasing in frequency after the soul-destroying disaster that was my mock.

Today I broke down over it – it was like the final straw. I do Peer Mentoring for this lovely girl a few years younger than me, but I couldn’t do it this lunch. It was partly because I felt shit, but also because I’m tired, confused, and I feel ill, but that’s a whole other story. I hope that she’s okay; I feel rubbish for not talking to her because she might have needed my help nd.

I went to the VI unit – building for visually impaired people where they prepare our work – told the teacher who helps me find my Mentee’s form room that I just couldn’t do it because of stress, and then opened up to her about the french problem. They all knew I was stressed, that I disliked french, but today was the day I truly told them how I felt. After that teacher left, I explained how awful I felt to the teacher who prepares my French work, and one of the other teachers there. Then, I cried through my words, just feeling guilty and hollow.

Essentially, I don’t think I can carry on with French, even to the AS exam. Every time I think about that subject, I panic, cry and don’t do the work. Not doing the work makes me panic so much that I then can’t do it, but there are other reasons.

In French, we study a film. I’m blind, and can’t see enough at all to, well, read the subtitles. The film’s in French, English but also Spanish (which I have no idea how to speak apart from some simple phrases). It would be bad enough if I just didn’t understand what was going on scenery-wise, but not only did my dad have to try and explain what was going on with that as well, he had to translate a few key passages using the subtitles. Plenty of VI people have done french and other languages for A-Level, but I’m just bad, and my mental health was low anyway. That sounds like some fucking stupid excuse.

How do I explain this? Right, so imagine you’re blindfolded and you have to listen to something. It’s in a foreign language, a few English words scattered here and there but mostly in a different language. You watch it with your dad and you think “Okay, I think I get the plot?” You watch it with your class and a funny scene comes up; they laugh, and it takes you 10 minutes to get the context of the joke, understand it, and then understand why it’s relevant. The teacher tells you, “Here are some filming techniques!” Oh great, you think, but what does that mean? Why? You find out the plot, have to learn it and then someone in your class says, “Remember when the main character did that?” Did what, and when was that, and when was the significance of that, and oh god oh god oh god!

When I write about this film, I write what people tell me to write. Either because I’m incapable or because of partly the blindness, coming up with good points based on scenery, characters or anything like that is a struggle. I just don’t understand it, and writing, reading, listening or anything has turned into a chore, something I dread, and it ultimately makes me hate myself because I convince myself I’m some sort of failure.

It’s not only that: the workload is awful. I do three other essay subjects, and they’ve all been affected because French takes up my time, and I always stress I’m just not doing enough. This year has been the worst, academically and personally, for me; my enthusiasm has gone, my mental health is unpleasant, I feel like crap all the time and I can’t seem to shake a feeling of worthlessness. I only wish I’d caught this at the start of the year but at the start of the year, I was much happier.

My friend Laurel, who sits next to me in French, found me after class today as it was the end of the day. She’s also thinking of dropping it, and we walked down the corridor, as I was trying to explain an abbreviated version of how I felt. The wind, as we walked outside, threw my hair around and we stood facing each other, she patting my arm as we said goodbye because she could hear the deadness in my voice.

The thought of going to french lessons makes me feel sick. When I come out the classroom, usually I’m upset, or dead inside – as I am right now, numbed to it. I got so stressed about the speaking exam and how I hadn’t prepared for the practice one that I bent my fingers back, twisting my wrists and gasping for air, trying to tell myself I was fine, that I was just being pathetic.

I can’t do it any more, and I’m gripped with this awful desperation. If I continue with this, I’ll break down, cry even more than I have, and I’m just scared of slipping even further down the crap health ladder. Then again, am I making this out to be worse than it is? If I drop it, will everyone hate me?

I’m speaking to a more senior staff member tomorrow, because I’m too nervous of talking to the french teachers. They’re amazing people and I adore them, but if I explain it to them, they’ll try and convince me to stay. They’ll give great arguments, or say, “Just stick it out to your exam!” I genuinely don’t know if I can do that, but if I told them, they’d convince me I could and then I’d get even worse, because I’d have to prove something.

Pros of dropping French:
I’ll be happier
There’ll be less stress
I can concentrate on the subjects I want to carry on with
I’ll have more time for myself
I may hate myself less

Cons of dropping French:
My french teachers and otherteachers will be disappointed in me
It looks like I’m giving up after having not tried it
I’ll lose credability for not carrying it through to the end
I may regret the decision
My friends and everyone else could think I’m a failure
I do enjoy the idea of French

As I sit in my bedroom, hands shaking and feeling cold all over, I ask myself this question: is it worth feeling this miserable, panicking constantly and worrying, for something that won’t affect your future much after you do it? Is it all really worth it if everything else is being brought down by it? Is it too late? I don’t know. I don’t think it is, and that’s terrifying.

From Elm 🙂

The 2016-2017 Tag!

After about a milennium, I’m coming back with another tag. I know, the surprise is extraordinary!

I was nominated by Waves of Awesomeness who is so creative, and writes extremely well, for the 2016-2017 tag! I’m so excited to do it, and thanks for nominating me and leaving such lovely comments on my posts.

This tag was created by Davide from #theguywhosaidalwaysno who’s blog is just brilliant!

The Rules:
1. Mention the creator of the tag. Done!
2. Use the image in the article. Okay this is getting ridiculous – I need to sort out this image thing.
3. Mention the blogger(s) who have chosen you.
4. Answer the questions.
5. Tag 9 other bloggers and let them know. (I’ll do this VIA pingback)

Yaas question time!! (I need to calm down)

1. Describe your 2016 in 3 words
1. Painful
2. Beautiful
3. Self-development (that isn’t an adjective but just roll with it)

2. Write the names of two people who have characterised your 2016:
1. My ex-boyfriend S (he helped me to grow as a person and come to a lot of realisations about myself)
2. L because he’s been just such a good friend and all around amazing person

3. Write the most beautiful place you visited in 2016 and why you liked it so much:
Paris, because it was filled with new experiences and memories, and because I got to appreciate real art and sculptures in a museum for the first time ever. It was extremely emotional, but as was also one of the most real trips
:’ve ever been on, and made me realise exactly who I had and why the people around me meant so much.

4. Write the most delicious food you’ve tasted in 2016:
Italian pasta. Aaahhh, it’s glorious; much better than it’s English counterpart.

5. Write the event which has marked you more of this in 2016?
The breakup I experienced in 2016 where I was cheated on, because it abblowed me to remember that anger wasn’t the right solution to anything, and that there are more than just two sides to a story.

6. Write the finest purchase you’ve made in this 2016, and if you want to link a photo:
Ohh… It’s quite sad, but all of the beauty products I bought – makeup brushes, actual makeup, a lovely moisturiser, because I was taking control of my own look and health.

7. Write three good intentions for this 2017:
1. Be happy or try to be.
2. Get more motivation for studying and working.
3. Appreciate everyone I can.

8. Write one place you want to visit in 2017:
I’d say Barcelona or Berlin, because I have trips planned there in October and June respectively.

9. Write one plate/food you want to eat in 2017:
I desperately want to try goose because it’s traditional, and quail. I’m becoming more adventurous!

I nominate:

Aspen
Sprinkle of Anonymous
Evie
The Differentiated Eccentric
Kate
The Magpie
Kate Hawkins
Inspired Teen
Tanya

Hope you enjoy doing this! Argh, I miss doing tags.

Love from Elm 🙂

Adventures on So-Called “Blind Camp”

If there’s one thing you should know about me, it’s that I’m very unfit and don’t do much exercise. Err, make that two.

As a result, blind camp – not actual camping but I call it that because it’s usually a bunch of blind and VI people, plus volunteers, doing activities that are exhausting – nearly killed me, but nothing has ever been more worth it.

Perhaps “killed” is an exaggeration. Tired me out would be better, or caused my non-existent muscles to ache and for me, now, to be so sleepy that I have no filter on my words. Luckily I don’t have school tomorrow so I can sleep, but still; my eyes hurt and so do my arms.

I had been to the centre where it was taking place twice before: in January and February last year, the latter experience causing so much drama that it was almost but not quite funny. Because of that, I knew the place well, and it took a short while for me to stop getting lost, or other people lost. We arrived on Thursday around midday – the success and happiness of Wednesday had made it so that I felt less nervous than I thought I would: having that, feeling human and loved, gave me the confidence I needed to remember that I was okay, that people cared about me and that I did fit in there.

Traditionally, on these “blind camps”, we do quite a few activities – because I’ve been to so many, I’d done a lot before but it was still amazing to get new experiences. Contrary to my misleading nickname for it, we didn’t sleep in tents: we had rooms and it was indoors, with most activities being outdoors. Yes, it’s February and yes, it was cold, but trust me that even I wasn’t cold by the end of each one.

After we had arrived, done our usual screaming reunions with people we had met before and got introduced to those we haven’t, we did the classic unpacking, had “banter” with the volunteers and relaxed. I think that the people were the ones that made it for me – if it weren’t for certain people, I would have hated it.

Firstly, the fabulous L was there: he and I have met up more over the past year then in all other years combined, probably. Violet – a great friend of mine who I’d met first at a family weekend when I was 11 – was also there, and she and I had amazing conversations at 1 o’clock in the morning; she was my emotional rock in Paris, being there for me, as I try to be there for her. A girl who we’d met last year shared a room with us – she’s quite loud, but nice, and made me literally scream with laughter a few times. Lastly, my ex-girlfriend – I call her Rapunzel on here – was there on her first trip like this, and we were utterly inseparable throughout. I hadn’t seen her in almost a year, and so my legendary brutal hug was even more injuring this time, and I may or may not have – in the first 10 minutes of being with all of them – shouted “SHUT THE BLOODY HELL UP!” and screeched whilst laughing.

As I said, activities we did were physically taxing, but only for me because I have the energy levels of a 2 dimensional shape. After the relaxation, we jumped right in with rock climbing. It’s the only “sport” I’m not attrocious at, and I’m proud of myself that I managed to climb the wall fast, doing my terrible impression of a monkey/spider/over-eager little child. My hands were rubbed raw by rope – and by that I mean they were dried out – and I made a new friend whilst helping other people up the wall and making sure they didn’t fall. We moved straight onto archery, the only good thing about that being that I got an accidental bullseye on my first go. I actually remember how to shoot a bow which is shocking, and in between rounds of shooting arrows, I sat with the others. We made terrifying innuendos involving balloons, arrows and various other things, and that continued throughout the weekend: with us making the most inappropriate jokes, me taking the piss out of everyone and showcasing my newly corrupted (thanks to Sav and Mit) nature to people.

We watched a film in the evening, and just “chilled” – re-discovering that the showers were shit, going to bed too late which we subsequently repeated, later and later, the next two nights, and generally making far too much noise. The next day we did canoeing – yelling loudly in time to the oars going through the water, splashing people a little and floating down a lake. Afterwards, we did a thing called crate-stacking: climbing on a layer of crates, building a tower that you stand on as it gets higher and higher. It doesn’t sound difficult, but it wobbles more as you go up, and I was gripping onto Rapunzel and another boy for dear life, scream-swearing with the boundaries of personal space being obliterated. When the tower fell down – after I shoved the boy off by accident – it hit John, one of the volunteers. He’s one of my favourite people in existence: he was there when I cried my eyes out on the Eiffel Tower, which you can read about in this post – and it bruised him because he jumped in front of a volunteer and another boy; I still feel bad for that. It turned into a running thing, where he couldn’t do certain activities like caving the next day because of it.

In the afternoon, we did bushcraft: I set things on fire, used a saw and knife, wreaked of woodsmoke and first started to use the catchphrase “GOOD DRILLS!” – something that the cratestack-boy always says. When we got back in, I stabbed Rapunzel with a sword.

Of course, I mean I fenced – why would you ever suspect me of stabbing people? Hmmph. Anyway, the instructor helped me, and I was scared of hurting Rapunzel or scaring her, but I won the “match”. To protect our faces, we wore a visor which meant that the vision blurred into just nothing, and I got so tired by the end that I could barely think. Having a pizza for takeaway (Dominos is amazing) was a blessing, and even though I didn’t finish it, the evening of tears of laughter and the discovery that I hated the showers even more, more than made up for it.

Saturday was the most interesting day, I think. It started with abseiling – something, again, which I can do – and I’m telling you, abseiling down the inside of a tower whilst you can hear L singing is one of the funniest experiences ever. For the first time, I didn’t freak out whilst abseiling outside, and I ecstatically told John this when I reached the bottom. We next went into caves and crawled along tunnels. Nick – another volunteer – wore a blindfold and so there was only one fully sighted person in that cave system, who was the instructor. My hands were covered in cave shit, mud and dusty bits from the stones, but I loved it because it made me feel accomplished. After lunch I made this fabric swatch in textiles: it’s alternating electric blue, green and vibrant pink thread, is soft and is something I’m proud of because it’s (mostly) neat. I love being creative, and coming up with ideas; I felt as if I was happy doing that, even for the anger I experienced when I got something wrong. I calmed down though, even deviating from the rigid pattern I had originally planned to stick to. Eyyy I’m such a rebel!

For the last meal of the trip, we went to a pub. Okay okay, it sounds weird, but just bare with me. I dressed up. As in I made an effort with my appearance, actually straightening my hair and – yeah, I had to borrow everything from Rapunzel, but she being the patient and fabulous person she is, didn’t get pissed off and taught me how to be somewhat vaguely okay at makeup. Her sight’s much worse than mine, but she could see more before and so knows how to do it both with sight and without; she looked beautiful (I couldn’t see her but other people said so) and I trust her to help me because she actually cares about me – why, I don’t know. I wore a skirt, and top with velvet on it – the boy I made friends with at rock climbing had an awesome conversation with me about clothes and fabrics after dinner, whilst Rapunzel did L’s makeup.

During dinner itself, I felt unbelievably happy: John and I sat with Rapunzel and L, and I was actually crying whilst cackling at one point; R and I copied each other in what we ate, with John having about 500 portions of food. The other voluntiers were amazing in the activities too, and it’s such a relaxed atmosphere that for the most part, they don’t care what you say as long as it doesn’t upset anyone.

This morning – after having about 4 hours of sleep – we did zorbing, which is basically attempting to walk in a large blown-up ball on water. Violet and I had had great conversations the night before and so I was feeling positive, Rapunzel, L and I creating a “blind parody” to Closer by The Chainsmokers, and loudly performing children’s songs after we’d “walked on water”. It was time to pack after that – even though I’d packed before, I was paranoid I’d forgotten something, and spent ages in the room faffing around with my case.

Leaving was the only time I properly sobbed – I’m such a wimp honestly. I hate saying goodbye to people, and I really don’t know when I’ll see any of those people again: I love them to pieces and they made me so happy. Rapunzel and I were the last ones to leave, mainly because I’d made my mum wait for her mum, and I hugged all the volunteers goodbye (almost crying when John said he hated to see me cry).

It was a brilliant experience, because apart from some minor things, I didn’t hate myself. I felt loved, cared about and entirely comfortable yelling at people as a joke; there was no pretending, because I was presenting myself to people who didn’t have preconceived judgements about me or if they did, they were the judgements of my personality that were correct.

I felt alive, connected to myself, light and airy and full of vitality, like I was worth the effort to jump to the moon and back – like I was worth something. I felt human, and every time I hugged someone, or fake-danced, a little spark grew inside me that told me – “Hey, Elm, you have a personality and people can see that.” When I got home, I felt hopeless and dispondent, like I could scream because I missed that feeling. Being with everyone there gave me a purpose, something to do, an objective to work towards that I loved. Now, I feel really sad, but also happy and confused and filled with nostalgic memories.

I’ll bounce back. The little things – like the fact that walls and water are forever ruined for me, or that I found a huge pair of pants that were definitely not mine on my bed which I then proceeded to wear over my trousers whilst howling with laughter, will keep me going. I just felt that much more relaxed with those people, where I could express myself, than I feel here or at school.

I hope you didn’t mind reading that monstrously long post; I just wanted to summarise the few days I’ve had. They’ve been enlightening, and have given me a lot of lovely memories to savour.

From Elm 🙂

This Is What I Live For

I have had the best day, ever, because I met Sav and Mit today for the second and third time respectively.

Not only did I meet them, but I travelled there semi-independently: my sister shadowed me to make sure I was fine, but I went on the tube on my own and it was exhilarating, thrilling and such a great experience.

I’ve been excited about this meeting for such a long time, though we didn’t know when it was going to happen. As I got off the train at an unnamed but large station, I stepped forward, to wait for the assistance. They didn’t come. I wasn’t panicking – I didn’t have time – because this lovely member of the public helped me. As in, he went out of his way to make sure I was alright, helping me out of the platform and not treating me like a child; it was just so nice of him.

So I was walking with him, my sister creepily following us, and I chatted to him a fair bit as we went to the Assistance Desk. I stood around, waiting for someone to come and collect me, and then I went on the bloody London Underground. I’m sorry but the paranoid as fuck girl went on the tube by herself and just – I’m so surprised I wasn’t falling to pieces out of worry. I was even talking to the Travel Assistance people on the tube, laughing, and speaking confidently!

When I got to the station where I’d meet them, I felt the largest smile growing on my face because I had done it: I’d got on a tube, been calm, not freaked out or ‘stick-insected’ as Sav likes to call it (rubbing my hands together and shaking). My sister buggered off – coming back for some reason just as Mit and Sav arrived. The bastards had walked right past me before they figured out where I was, doubled back and then we stood together, just talking before we even thought about where we’d go.

The day itself was amazing. It took an age to find the Tube map: Sav and Mit, being idiots – erm I mean, lovely people – eventually found it. “That blue thingy” became the first created inside joke, because the “blue” turned out to be the Piccadilly line – as someone pointed out to us when we were trying to name it.

There were so many highlights. We jumped onto a tube to Lecester Square, walked around, walked around some more and did more walking. The innuendos were on point: we managed to make sweet shops, the Piccadilly Line, food, elbows and magicians seem disturbing.

One especially amazing thing happened. As we were eating outside, a man walked up to me. He said that he was going to be blind soon – immediately, I switched on what I like to call my ‘Elm vibes’ where I become sensitive to others – and he told me that seeing me, laughing with my friends and being happy, gave him courage. Honestly, I nearly sobbed right there, because I indirectly helped a man through a tough time in his life: I told him, “Just please remember that it doesn’t end here – you can still live, and have a life.” After that, we visited Covent Garden Market (I think), managed to walk round in a circle and drank hot chocolate, as well as driving 6 individual people away from us with our screeching innuendos.

Here’s a list of particularly good highlights:
Sav putting “Let me just shove the whole thing into my mouth!” on his Snapchat
Mit finding out Sav’s passcode and posting a suitably Mit-type thing on his Snapchat
Having we like to call a “lap orgy” in the Apple Store, where we all sat on each other’s laps with Sav and Mit doing very suggestive poses
The Titanic =Elm +Mit – TRAGIC selfie taken in said Apple store
Sav and Mit trying to convince each other that they could get ANYBODY’s number and failing ahem ahem
A woman thinking that Sav and Mit were brothers because of this secret-acquiring thing which I can’t tell you because it’s secret
Sav and Mit’s fabulous guiding skills, which they hadn’t forgotten after 6 months
Me screaming with laughter, accidentally hitting both of them and being much too emotional
The magician and his juggling of his 6 balls, something that made Sav and I cry
Too many innuendos to count – I HATE YOU BOTH you’ve corrupted me forever

I think that today will go down in history for me as the day where I was entirely myself, no filters, no bars, no walls up. I waffn’t paranoid, scared, lonely, left out or any negative emotion I usually feel. I was – and am – so so happy. It’s almost a novelty, to have smiled so much today, to feel like I was entirely welcome and part of all of it.

What I love about these two is that they never make you feel stupid for being who you are. They don’t have prejudgements of me, don’t think I’m someone I’m not, and appreciate me more than so many other people do. I love them so much for it; I think they understood that because I injured them both with my extremely painful hugs as I felt so emotional. I’d feel sorry for them, but I’m still pretending to be angry at Mit for running off 10 metres when I said him ceasing to exist would be “annoying”, coming back and making me jump.

It’s not often that I get that glorious, whole feeling, one where everything’s gone as perfect as it could go, where I’ve not only made others happy but also myself. If I hadn’t done this today, I would have been miserable. I needed it, to walk around London in the nipping cold and brief spatterings of rain, to organise myself, laugh and hug people and stand on tip-toes on escalators to pretend to be tall.

Today has lit up a spark inside of me, which I thought was dulled, and that’s all thanks to them. Honestly, I feel like I can share anything with them and it wouldn’t be weird; they don’t see me as the blind one, or the tagalong, third wheel or spare – they see me as me and I’m so grateful for that. I’m not inadequate to them and both of them have such unique personalities, and bring such a refreshing humour to everything that I can’t help but feel included, with my interesting quirks that they seem to just instinctively understand. It may seem strange for this to mean so much, but I know that today was something I’ll never forget as it was a day for me, to love my friends, and really show myself that I could do this.

I can be independent, and with my blogging friends – or ones I met on here – I feel at home. It’s not forced or faked and I don’t have to try too hard – all I have to do is try enough, because my enough is other people’s enough, too.

From Elm 🙂

ALL The Drinks

I’m sorry for the influx of posts today, but I couldn’t not reblog this fabulous thing. This is the Llama King’s – AKA L’s – recount of the day, which made me sob out of happiness.

I don’t understand what it is with those two and mentioning my tragic tiger selfie face… Then again, Lu’s “Jesus phone” was one of the highlights of the entire thing. Need I remind you how much I love L and Lu?

Anyway, I’ll leave L to explain everything: just to set the record straight, my dad doesn’t ACTUALLY think I’m weird? And having L over the day before was also one of the funniest experiences of my life because he’s the very definition of fabulous, as he has taken to CONSTANTLY singing Wicked songs.

From Elm 🙂

Consider Yourself Warned...

Yesterday was amazing.
Seriously — it was bloody brilliant, and I’m going to tell you why because i’m a nice llama like that…

On Sunday (yesterday), I met up with two of my favourite bloggers, Elm, and the fabulous Lu. It was one of the best Sundays I’ve had in a long, long time, and I really appreciated that so much.

However, let me start at the beginning: I actually met Elm on Saturday, at a train sation. I was going to meet her at her house, so we could both go and see the brailliantly-legendary Lu in her area of zee world on Sunday. Weirdly enough, I found one of elm’s IRL friends on the train down to her station, which was crazy and so coinsidental — it was almost creepy. They must have seen me, and turned and said my name, to check it was me…

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Triangle Time With Elm and L.

Because I’m a terrible person, I haven’t had time to write a post of my own about the beautiful, fabulous day I had with Lu and L yesterday. However, here’s a post – from Lu herself – explaining all of the Triangle Times (it was creepy because we were screech-singing), resurrecting phones and duck tiger screaming attrocious selfies.

I love these two so so much, and I’ll never forget this day. Lu forgot to mention that her glorious laugh in real life is going onto my top 10 favourite moments ever, and that I nearly injured her with my legendary painful hugs. Going to see her with L was one of the best things I’ve ever done.

Oh, and if you want to keep your reputation, never ever sing in Poundland. Or have two hot chocolates in separate Costas. Or, well, accidentally trip up a woman and hit a poor child – or get punched in the face by L.

Love from Elm 🙂

Lu Reads

Okay, children, calm down, it’s story time. . .

On the fine day of Sunday 12th February, i.e, yesterday, I was an adventurous child and ventured into the wilderness to meet the wonderful Grandma Elm and the moronic-but-lovable, L. This was a pretty big day for me, because I’ve never met up with another blogger before, but also because they’re amazing, and let’s be honest, they still could have been 50-something-year-olds.

Due to it being a Sunday, and yeah, I arrived early, wandering about the town freezing to death, then found sanctuary in the 2nd-nearest Costa shop (the one L had COMMANDED me to go to, btw) and actually bumped into someone I know… AWKS! And to make it even more “AWKS!” her parents were there… and her mum said “you here all by yourself?” I must have seemed like a right looser.

Anyways, several minutes later, Black Americano cooling…

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The Stay Strong Tag

Hi guys,
I’m sorry for not posting this sooner; a family friend who used to live next door to my dad died two days ago and although I wasn’t close to him, it still saddens me and so I’ve been a little out of sorts since yesterday evening.

I’m going to do a tag today which is quite personal to me.

This is the Stay Strong Tag. Created by Penny from My Life Anonymously, it’s a way to talk about, raise awareness for and to help people through suicide and experiences associated with it. If this topic triggers anybody, I’m really sorry; I thought I would put a warning up now just in case.

There are two rules to this tag:
1. Put the Supergirl (or Superman image if you’re a guy) on your post.
2. Mention the creator of the tag and provide a link.

Some people hear about others killing themselves and glance over it – “Oh, that’s sad”, and move on; “I wonder how that happened,” and then they go onto do something else; “Couldn’t they have waited until things got a bit better – was killing themselves really necessary?” and then quickly look away, not realising how much their words can hurt.

Suicide is not selfish. It’s not the coward’s way out. It’s a last scream for help when people think others aren’t listening; it’s a way out when people don’t think they have any other option; it’s a tragedy but not something that people can just “stop doing” because if you want to die, you sometimes can’t get rid of those feelings and save them for a more ‘convenient’ time.

I have never wanted to kill myself or tried, but on occasions I’ve wanted to die: cease existing, just end, not permanently but for a bit. It doesn’t make sense, but in those moments I was absolutely terrified. Although I knew that I would never kill myself – never truly try to – I knew I wanted to die, and that I thought that the world would not even blink at my passing. I thought and still think life is pointless sometimes, and that if I were to just die, it wouldn’t matter. Because my self-esteem and self-worth is low, I go through periods of feeling miserable and scared.

I’m telling you this because I want you to know that I understand a little of what you may go through. That feeling that people just don’t care? I understand. But I also understand being proved wrong.

When I was 11, one of my relatives tried to kill themselves, and I woke up to them screaming. It is singularly one of the worst memories I have ever experienced, and ever since then when I had what you may term ‘suicidal thoughts’, I remember the horror of that night, of not understanding, of realising years later that there was so much I could have done to help. I was only 11, and realistically couldn’t have done much because I didn’t know what they were going through at the time, but the guilt still remained. It’s no use dwelling on guilt, though, and so I had to move on: it’s stayed with me though, and made me realise that for everything, people still care.

If you feel like you want to die, the best thing you can do is talk about it. Nobody knows the true extent to how bad my thoughts used to get, and I wish I had felt brave enough to talk to someone about it. Remember that people are here to listen to you, and won’t shun your problems. Either they’ve experienced it themselves, know someone who has or can empathise with you.

People do care – more than you’d think. If you feel like your friends can’t help you, and your family wouldn’t talk to you, contact a professional. There are many suicide prevention hotlines which you can contact, and websites which you can visit. You are not alone, because there are a myriad of people who will gladly extend a hand to you. Take that first step to get help: and if you can’t, someone else can. Concerned for you, people will go out of their way to make sure you’re okay.

Anyone could tell these things to you, but I’m telling as a friend. I know what it’s like to feel like you’re screaming and no one’s hearing you, and not being able to let people hear you. It’s so terrifying to reach out, but you can do it. You aren’t just a statistic, a number in a list.

You can’t be expected to recover in a day: it takes time, but don’t give up. Don’t ever give up on yourself because if you feel like nobody cares about you, it’s up to you to start caring about your health. You’re not worthless.

Don’t suffer in silence: the world needs your voice.

Love from Elm 🙂

Principles I Attempt to Live By

In the roar of bad mental health, panicking and making somewhat questionable decisions that my life has now turned into, I appear to have forgotten exactly what makes me a good person: exactly who I am, and why I do the things I do.

Here’s a short post, just to remind myself – and you – of what I try to live by. Maybe this will help you, too, because I think that these supposed rules are so important.

My “Rules” of Life

Always be kind to others. It doesn’t hurt anybody – it helps them – and it only takes a second to tell people how much you love them

Help others as much as you can; you’d want people to do the same for you and helping people, when they need it, is the right thing to do

Conversely, you need to take time for yourself: you can’t help anyone if you’re so miserable that you can’t help yourself. Don’t neglect you as a person.

You can love as strongly, as deeply, as you did before. There’s nothing wrong with falling in love, with expressing your love to anyone.

Live in the present as much as you can, and only worry about the future when you can do something about it. What’s the point in dwelling on “what if?” Don’t drown in the past: remember what you have now.

It’s okay to be angry, but don’t let it consume you. People shouldn’t walk all over you – you need to stick up for yourself – but anger isn’t the sole fuel in life.

Never do something if it makes you utterly miserable but it makes someone else happy, or placates someone. Here, your happiness comes first; you are so important.

Listen to your friends. They love you, and you love them; their advice is invaluable. They’re your friends for a reason.

You can’t please everyone; don’t try. Let people love you when you can, and love them in return: don’t put your guard up, but remember that people are only as good as they make themselves.

Most of all? Strive to be happy. You don’t think it, but you deserve it.

From Elm 🙂