The Beached Whale

We were in a small white car and driving at a snails pace along the beach for the throngs of people that surrounded us, all headed in the same direction, the beach.

I was desperate to get out of the car, for what was causing such a surge of a sudden need to be all in one place at one time was a huge grey mass of a whale, when it was made clear to me by my parents that I was not to get out of the car at any circumstance I then, sulking slightly, pressed myself to the window eager to get a better look at what was going on outside.

A beautiful tall tanned woman with long silky black hair, wearing a bright red swimming costume, was sat posing atop the still barely breathing whale, his face looked sad as the camera mans device flashed this way and that as he instructed the model to pose differently for each shot, it confused me because I couldn’t understand why they weren’t helping the whale to get back into the water, I couldn’t understand why the woman was sitting atop such a graceful and helpless creature, I wanted to help, to get all those people away because they were causing the whale such distress with their awfully loud chatter and over crowdedness.

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alone time

I’ve been using writing prompts to help me write more regularly (which I’m still working on evidently), today’s writing prompt is “your favourite way to spend alone time”, I thought that this would be an easier one to write about, the only trouble is that I can’t seem to put into words what it is I enjoy about it.

Let me see,

I enjoy solitude as I feel more able to do and think more freely, I’m not constantly worried what the other person might be thinking, I’m not worried about annoying anyone or if I’m being too weird, I can be happily myself without any fear of judgement; I can sing, dance, laugh, cry, watch a movie, read a book, lay in bed listening to music or lay in bed doing nothing at all, perhaps just allowing my thoughts to mindlessly drift off into the clouds.

As an Introvert alone time for me can sometimes be an escape, to finally have some peace and quiet, to get grounded as my anxiety can often leave me feeling as though I am a helium balloon which has come loose from its string, I need my alone time to recharge as often I find myself exhausted after a time of socialising.

So  I guess now I should write about my favourite way to spend alone time. I read, get lost in my music as I sit and paint, I sometimes like to just sit out in the garden barefoot, with the cat laying in the sun beside me, and do nothing but listen to my surroundings, I love just being able to take my time and do whatever just feels good in that moment, to do whatever I please, taking a bath, making myself a cup of tea, getting into bed to watch a Harry Potter film or just endlessly browsing social media. I suppose my favourite way to spend alone time is to take however long I need to do everything in my own way and in my own time.

 

 

 

Why it’s important to love yourself

Loving yourself, as I have learnt, is (or can be) extremely difficult, it’s a journey of self-discovery, learning your likes and dislikes; it’s a journey of self-acceptance.

When I first discovered the term “self-love” I was in a truly dark place, I spent every night in torment, I had frequent panic attacks, certain that I was going to die, I was also certain that I was insane, it was agonising and I had no idea what was happening or why, I would cry until I fell asleep and wake up with dread, uncertain of what mood my parents would be in, sometimes they were chipper, but most of the time they weren’t in a good mood, if they were in a particularly bad mood they would take it out on one of us (myself or siblings), I remember my mum cornering me in the kitchen, she started to slap me over and over and over, when she was finally done my cheeks hurt so much and of course I couldn’t stop crying (which caused her to slap me more, for crying), other times we would be forced to sit at the table and watch helplessly as my father poured my sisters breakfast over the top of her head because she wouldn’t eat it quickly enough or at all, and then continue having to watch as he made her clear the mess up; this was what it was like every day, a vicious cycle of fear and abuse.

Self-love sounded insane to me, I imagined a perfect Sharpay Evans, completely in love with their reflection, no regards to anything and anyone and interested in no one but themselves, that is what I believed self-love was for many years. Then I went to college, I made friends and met my now boyfriend, through them, I learnt the true meaning of self-love, they looked out for me, making sure that I ate (I never really ate much then) and allowing me to confide in them whenever anything went wrong at home, I learnt that I could choose my family, that it was more than ok to be myself, it gave me courage and strength to face my parents, to fight back. My new found friends made me realise that I didn’t deserve the mistreatment of my parents, that I was not in the wrong, they made me feel accepted, that I was more than just the harsh words of my parents, I wasn’t selfish or stupid; I think these new friends at college is where my journey for self-love truly began.

Self-love, as I have previously mentioned in my blog post ‘my reflection in the mirror’ was what I thought was vanity, I thought it was wrong, I never realised that it was more the little things such as, taking care of yourself, making sure that you get enough sleep, that you’ve showered and had enough to eat and drink, just by thinking more positively, self-love will make yourself happier and it encourages you to reach your goals as it’s motivational, it makes you feel as though you can achieve anything, and you can! If you put your mind to it, you can achieve anything.

It’s important to love yourself because you as an individual, are important, you have your own unique views and opinions, your own way of thinking and of doing things, you deserve kindness and love just as much as anyone else does and it can start by learning to be kind and loving to yourself, treat yourself as you would want others to treat you. Do what is best for you, if you’re mentally unable to do something such as, being able to attend a party, that’s ok, by doing what is right and good for you, that’s taking a step in the right direction of looking after yourself.

Of course, I am only speaking from my own personal experiences and so I am in no way a therapist or doctor of any sort, I am merely sharing my own individual opinions.

Thanks for reading and I hope that you are on your own journey of self-love and self-discovery.

Take care xx

 

 

A Thank You note to my Best Friend.

My best friend is someone who loves and cares for me, he never doubts me and supports me in any way that he can, by offering a shoulder to cry on or by encouraging me to follow my dreams. My best friend has been there for me from day one, he listens to me, he hears what I have to say and I in return listen to him and hear what it is he has to say. We’re two perfect jigsaw puzzles, we have different edges and curves but when we’re put together we fit perfectly, we love the same genre of films, when we’re given a box of chocolates he eats the chewy ones and I eat the fruity ones, neither of us like the opposite which is great! We both know what to order the other when we go out to eat or order a takeaway, we both love spending time together, even if that means sitting quietly in the same room doing our own things separately. I don’t know what I would do without my best friend, I can tell him anything and I tell him most things.

To my best friend,

I love you so much, I can’t imagine the world without you in it, all I know is that it would be a far less happy place without you. We’ve been through a lot together and you’ve stuck by me through the good times and the bad, you know all my secrets, you know everything that there is to know about me and I know that you know me better than I know myself. You taught me what it means to love yourself and you’ve helped me grow to become a more confident and happy woman. I love the relationship that we have, you make me laugh without even trying, I love being silly with you, messing around together, building dens, singing unashamedly as loud as we possibly can to Disney soundtracks,  we laugh until our stomachs ache and cuddle as if there is no tomorrow. I trust you more than anyone in this world and know that I can always rely on you. Thank you so much for loving me and for being my best friend.

I love you with all of my heart.

My reflection in the mirror.

Something that I have always struggled with, my reflection from which I would shy away from, avoiding eye contact with. I would cringe from the mere glimpse of myself, the only times that I ever looked at myself were when I had cried myself to complete oblivion and then just sat in the front of the mirror, my reflection staring back at me with a look of hopelessness, my eyes red, my cheeks stained and on rare occasions, my hair freshly cut out of anguish. These episodes were more frequent when I lived at home with my parents, they have been less so since moving out.

Tumblr was the first blogging site that I ever came across, I met and chatted with people who talked about and promoted self-love, but I did not understand them, I couldn’t understand how anyone could love themselves, I understood it to mean vanity, to be vain, of course, this was wrong.

As a child growing up I had never liked myself but with each passing birthday, this self-loathing worsened. I remember one moment in particular where my feelings about myself felt confirmed, it was the end of the school day and I had asked a friend of mine to ask this new boy at school out on a date for me because I was too shy to ask, I was walking behind them when I heard another boy gasp and say to the new boy “you can’t go out with her! She’s ugly!”, I span on my heels and ran in the opposite direction without pause for breath, back into the school and hid in the girl’s toilets until I was sure that nobody was left but the teachers, all I remember after that was crying and my parents telling me that “he was probably jealous” which wasn’t very comforting. That moment has stuck with me ever since, it played in my mind every day and still plays in my mind every now and then.

I still struggle with my reflection, some days are better than others and in those moments  I can look at myself and smile, but not as often as I would like.

“Never trust a mirror,

For a mirror always lies,

It makes you think that all your worth,

Can be seen from the outside.

Never trust a mirror,

It only shows you what’s skin deep,

You can’t see how your eyelids flutter,

When you’re drifting off to sleep,

It doesn’t show you what the world sees,

When you’re only being you,

Or how your eyes just light up,

When you’re loving what you do,

It doesn’t capture when you’re smiling,

Where no-one else can see,

And your reflection cannot tell you,

Everything you mean to me,

Never trust a mirror,

For it only shows your skin,

And if you think it dictates your worth,

It’s time you looked within.

-e.h

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The past four years of my life have had a significant impact on how I view myself now, I remember silently crying as I stood staring at my naked reflection, I would stare at myself and wish to be skinner, to have a prettier face and a flatter stomach, I would pull at my thighs and tummy, breathing in all day so that my stomach fat wouldn’t be noticeable. When I was with my partner I would never take my top off, I was too embarrassed, ashamed, scared, I thought he would leave me if he saw all of me but he surprised me, my partner would address the parts of me that I hated most and tell me how beautiful he thought they were, how beautiful he thought I was, I found this difficult to hear and so I never knew how to react; he never stopped telling me how much he loved me. I now unashamedly flaunt it when I’m out on special occasions, I feel great when I wear more revealing clothes, when I see my reflection I pull wacky faces and ruffle my hair up so that I feel like a lioness! I have so much fun with my appearance now! I love dressing up and putting together outfits, it makes me feel great! Other times, when I’m not feeling up to doing all that I just throw on a pair of my comfiest pyjamas, light one of my favourite candles, make a den out of my duvet and pillows and put on one of my favourite films, or I just take a bath!

Over the four years of being together, talking every day, my boyfriend never failed in complimenting me in some way or another, to explain why he loved me or liked a particular part of me, that’s over 1460 days of compliments! When you hear something enough you start to believe it. For eighteen years I grew up being told every day that I’m stupid, useless, selfish, a slut, a whore etcetera, but now that was changing, it’s being reversed. Of course, I still have a long way to go on my journey of self-love, eighteen years of verbal abuse is a lot to cope with, the trauma it has caused does make the healing process difficult, but with over four years of loving, comforting words (and many more years to come) they will help me immensely.

Be kind to yourself and however long it takes, learn to love yourself. xx

Sofia

New Beginnings

I have come to realise now, that I really do only post once every three months, I have recently re-discovered my love for writing again and so I feel that it would only make sense to really try writing here more frequently.

When I was a child writing, for me personally, was a coping mechanism, the same for reading and drawing, for a while, I stopped doing these things as I no longer needed them to cope, now I am back to doing those three things again not because it’s a coping mechanism but because I  now openly and freely enjoy it! I am safe and I am no longer in survival mode every day, I can do anything I like just because I want to!

I have had a good start to Autumn, I’ve finished the business and administration course (thank god! I don’t know what I was thinking when I signed up!) and I now have a great new job! I felt that I should improve my writing space too to help motivate me to write more! I have now completely redesigned my blog here on WordPress, it feels fresh and new, I’m really happy with it. .^_^.

I hope that my writing improves and that my motivation only grows from here on out.

For now, I will take time and patience with myself by doing things in my own time, I’ve already started this process by having a relaxing bath and writing ideas for a fiction novel I would like to write someday.

I ask that you take time with yourself as well, whether you just have a glass of water or tidy your room, whatever it is, take the time to look after yourself. ❤

Sofia

A Gentle Giant at a Party.

So a few weekends passed celebrated the 40th anniversary of the birth of my uncle, to celebrate we hosted a not so secret surprise party to which all friends and (most) family were invited.

My gift to him was a painting of an elephant he had met on his travels. This post will be a mixture of, the process in how the painting came to be, even in the last minute rush of having to complete it; and also of the love and gratitude, I feel towards the people that I call family.

One August afternoon I was sat with my Auntie, planning the “surprise” party together, making preparations when it occurred to me that I hadn’t yet considered what present I would give which is when I asked my auntie for her opinion, after much consideration and discussing we came to the conclusion that a painting would be a good choice of a gift as my uncle loves my paintings. Next was deciding what to paint, at first I thought about painting a tortoise but then my auntie had the idea of making it a more personal gift by painting an animal that he had had an encounter with (instead of painting any animal that I come across on the internet).

I first made a rough sketch of how I wanted the elephant to look and then played around with some colours to see what worked best. Now, I don’t know any technical terms of painting or drawing, I just do it, so I apologise if I explain something incorrectly, just let me know if I have!

I showed the rough sketch to my auntie and she helped me by telling me what she liked and what colours were perhaps too strong, I also used this rough sketch to play around with gouache as I have never before used it. From the small sketch, I then went on to sketch out the gentle giant on the piece of watercolour paper I had purchased especially for the purpose of giving it to my uncle, it is ‘Arches’ watercolour paper, it’s beautifully smooth with crisp raw edges.

 

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Sketched Outline

I started off by sketching out the main outlines of the elephant’s figure, this is how I start any painting, by looking for the shapes that make the being as a whole, I look for the circles, triangles, and squares, any shapes; unfortunately, I had not taken a photo of the rough sketch I had made before defining the outline so I cannot show you what it looked like, although I do have a similar example posted on my Instagram which you’re more than welcome to have a look at.

Once I have the outline defined I then go on to quickly and lightly sketch out the shadows on the animal, I do this so that when I come to paint the piece I already know what areas will be darker than others, I usually paint these areas last (as I use watercolour).

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Pink Undertones.

When I start the painting process I start with the lightest colours first so that I get the desired effect. The first layer here is the pink undertones to give the elephant some life and warmth.

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Watercolours and Gouache

I then build upon that layer with darker paints to add shadows, this is where, I feel, I start to build character for the creature that I’m painting, this is my favourite part because it feels as though I am getting to know the animal. This progress photo I took as I was enjoying the music that I was listening to whilst also trying to work out how to paint the trunk without messing it up, of course, “art is only temporary”, I think Picasso said that, and with that quote in mind I continued on with the piece, I am not used to using gouache and I used it quite a bit on the trunk, so when I came back to that bit to add detail I found that it was not as easy as I had thought it would be, the layers came away and revealed the first layer of gouache I had painted and I panicked! I thought to myself, “oh no! I’ve ruined it!” I took myself away from the painting at that point because I would only have made it worse if I continued to sit there and save it. when I returned I was much more composed, I realised that I couldn’t paint the trunk as detailed as I would have liked and so I approached it as one would approaching a sleeping baby, slowly, carefully, to not disturb the paint, and ever so carefully dabbing it with my brush; I’m sure that if I had not of mentioned it you would most certainly not have noticed it, I bet it stands out now like a sore thumb!

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Finished Piece

Well, here is the finished piece! Appart from the trunk, I am actually quite surprised at myself for having completed it! My auntie and sisters were so supportive and helpful as I sent them these progress photos, especially during my “trunk” crisis!!

When it came to finally presenting the piece everybody was amazing and took turns in passing the painting around so others could have a look, my uncle he was so happy with the painting that he gave me a hug! My uncle doesn’t hug anybody so when he hugged me I felt so happy!

His surprise party turned out great, everyone was talking and laughing, there was plenty of snacks, most of which was provided by my auntie and grandma. I loved seeing my family again as they all mostly live up north so I can never just pop in to say hi, I didn’t realise how much I missed them all! People started drinking and dancing and then the evening ended with everyone dancing and singing together, taking crazy group photos and having fun, everyone was in high spirits! It was a really great night.

Well, that’s all for now I think, I am sure that I have probably left out some other details so if there is anything that you would like to know please just message me! I would be more than happy to reply, even if you just said hi! 🙂

(I’m sorry that this isn’t my greatest post!)