No More

When I was a little girl I was told, as I know a lot of girls are, that I was pretty, had beautiful unique eyes, had hair grown women dreamed about, and that I could do anything I wanted with my life. I accepted it because I was told it by the people who loved me.
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Dad & I 

So what happened between then and now. I have the same eyes and the same thick hair, and I am doing everything that I want in life. and yet I struggle.

I struggle with the fact that despite being told throughout my childhood the things I mentioned above, and many more, the only one that I held on to and has shaped me is the one about my ability to do anything I want with my life. I am doing exactly as I wish with my life. Everything I have done in my life has come from me, and yet when I look in the mirror it isn’t my accomplishments I see, it’s the things I think I have failed at.

How come I managed to turn all that positive reinforcement and support about my abilities and capabilities to achieve anything into a real life existence, yet as I sit and write this I am plagued with feelings of inadequacies about my looks that I have led me down a path to being overweight and horribly unfit.

I think that a lot of it stems from the fact that as girls we are taught by the people outside our home life that it’s the things we achieve in school that define us as we age. We are taught in school so that we can continue upwardly through life, to achieve success. In all that though I think certain messages are lost. I don’t think that girls are recognised for their naturally abilities, only those that are taught by others.

Yet as soon as we are grown those wonderful lessons we were taught, the incredible volumes of knowledge we have had imparted onto us over the years fall by the wayside and we are left with an overwhelming feeling of dissatisfaction that no amount of pay rises, promotions and big offices can over quell.

I judge myself based on the viewpoint of others. I only believe I am a good friend, if those around me tell me so. I only believe I am attractive if the people I find attractive find me so. I am only ‘right’ when someone tells me I am.

I don’t know if any of you reading feel this way, if you don’t then apologies, but I have decided in the last 40 minutes, although its been coming for some time, that as long as I am happy with the person I am, what I see in the mirror and my actions towards others then the opinions of others become null and void.

At the beginning of 2013 as the clock stuck midnight I made a promise to myself;

no more

No more trying to be someone else, no more trying to be the best at things that don’t matter and instead focus on the things that do, no more spending time angry that certain people in my life don’t behave the way I think they should, no more despising the reflection I see in the mirror. No More.

Instead here are my 2013 vows (not resolutions)

- I will not stop watching airbrushed american television shows that make me feel bad about how I look. Instead I vow to read more of the authors who inspire me, follow the lives of women who work for the bodies they deserve and find time to work on myself.
- I will not dye my hair over and over again longing for it to be something it never will be. Instead I vow to be kind to it and treat it well and most of all not try to have the looks of someone else, but create looks of my own.
- I will not pay to have plastic stuck to me nails because I think that the best way to have long nails. Instead I vow to grow my nails with patience and treat them well.
- I will not use fake tan or sun beds. Instead I will embrace my beautiful pale skin which I have recently realised actually suits my green eyes and dark hair.
- I will not read more into the tweets, Facebook statuses or other social networking site posts of my friends. Instead I vow to spend time with them; honest time so that when they post arsey snarky posts (which they still will) I will know that its nothing to do with me.
- I will not eat junk food. Instead I will allow myself a treat whenever I wish as long as it’s a small amount and I can justify eating it.
- I will not continue to allow my body to deteriorate. Instead I will exercise for 30 minutes every single day. Be it a brisk dog walk, a dance class, a swim or whatever else I wish.
- I will not see the success of others as a failure in me. Instead I will celebrate success with them and strive harder to focus on my aims and goals and not take my eye off them.

love what you do

Finally I will not deny myself any experience, opportunity or emotion. Instead I will go through life open-minded, honestly and with every intention of becoming the greatest version of myself possible.

Would love to know what you feel about this?

E x

PS don’t forget you can still enter my Instant Print business card giveaway 

Is it just me?

I love quotes; motivational, thought-provoking, compassionate or funny. I am a fan of them all.

Want to know what I’m not a fan of? Over use and under action. I’m one of those people who actually take heed of the quotes and find something within them to take with me either on a day-to-day basis or when I’m in need of a little support.

However, recently the likes of Facebook, twitter and Instagram have been littered with quotes, flippantly used, put out into the world, copied and pasted and I’m not sure of the reason people post them?!

Think one of the ones that really pushed me over the edge recently and prompted this rant, appeared on the blog header of a beauty blogger.

Roosevelt Quote

I’m sure when Roosevelt was standing up for an end to racial segmentation, or pushing for the US to join the United Nations or maybe when she sat in the first seat of United Nations Commission on Human Rights she wasn’t thinking this quote would be used to promote a beauty blog! To say the blogger has entirely missed the crux of the quote is potentially the biggest understatement possible. It infuriates me, maybe it shouldn’t, but Lordy does it!

It’s not just the misuse of the quotes, but the incessant use of them, the plastering of them everywhere, and the lack of follow through. I’m not saying that every time you write something inspiring that you must run with steely determination to accomplish something on the back of the quote, but surely by putting them into the world without action you are slowly diluting their message.

I think more what infuriates me is the lack of action, if you are so inspired by the forceful thought-provoking words of the past why are you just posting them on Facebook, why aren’t you acting on them.

So I will share my favourite quote, I hold dear to me and act on, most if not all days.

“Everything will be alright in the end, if it isn’t alright, if it isn’t alright it isn’t the end”

Everything alright in the end

Yes I know it’s not the most powerful of quotes, but as I watched my mum sink further into depression and grief at the loss of the love of her life I searched for comfort for both of us. This seemed to appear out of the blue at the perfect time, on the front of a greeting card. But it helped, it helped me know that if I carried on helping, doing what I was then mum would pull through. Because when it comes down to it, the thought of reality is far more scary than the reality itself.

It’s a great few lines to carry with you in life. To remember that however awful something feels, however difficult, it will pass; things might not be the same, but they will be OK.

So do you have a favourite quote? One you hold dear?

E x

PS don’t forget about my Instantprint giveaway – open for another 5 days!

I’m Sorry…

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Dear January,

I am writing to confess. I’ve been a bad person.

First and foremost let me apologise. I have been so cruel to you in the past. I have bitched behind your back, I have wished you never existed and I have wanted to leave you behind.

But you stood by me, you held fast and showed me how wrong I truly was.

So, January I would like to take these few hundred words to thank you.

Thank you for providing the big wigs at television HQ with a needy and wanting audience, as such we are indulged in the wonderful drama of Ripper Street, the whimsical wonderland of Mr Selfridge and the insatiably addictive Girls.

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Thank you for giving us a fresh start, for offering us a plain piece of paper and the chance to start anew. A literal clean sheet in the form of a new dairy or calendar – the horizon before us is now clear to be filled with wonder and amazement.

Thank you for giving us the hideously bitterly cold weather which means being allowed to have the heating on longer, allows us to unashamedly wear onsies and drink too much hot chocolate.

Thank you for the plethora of inspiration you give to magazines and newspapers, without you January there would be no “fad diet”

So here is my promise January, I promise to be kind to you, to think of you often and to speak only good things when people enquire as to how you are.

So here’s to you January!

All my love

Emma x
January lover!

P.S I will be posting every day in February. Every post will be at least 300 words. I will be taking requests if you want me to write about something, review something etc

So that’s it, that simple

Opera North – Otello

The whole idea when I started this blog was to see the world and be in awe of something, anything. I always thought that meant standing in front of Niagara Falls, or watching the sun set over the Canadian wilderness, both of which I have done in the last 12 months. However last Thursday proved me wrong, that actually it isn’t always vast landscapes or astronomical feats of nature, but sometimes simply the incredible talent of individuals.

I never thought I would liken myself to Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman, however just as she sat and watched the opening scene of Aida, her eyes filling with tears and her face lit up with the sheer astonishment of what she was witnessing, I sat as the lights flashed across the stage and the roar of voices began.

Those of you who know me, know I love nothing more than tragedy in my movies and books, I get enthralled in the tales of the devious, the inner workings of the deceitful and the power of jealousy. So when I saw Culture Vulture’s had space on their Access All Areas Otello evening at Opera North last week, I jumped at the chance. The thrill of live theatre mingled with the incredible classical musicality of Verdi and you have quite simply handed me my perfect night of entertainment.

Otello is known as one of Shakespeare’s greatest tragedies, the story of deceit and jealously, ending with a strangulation and blood shed. Iago is quite possibly the most revolting of characters, his entire purpose in the play is to ruin Othello, he does so by filling his head with the green-eyed monster and doubt leading him to believe his beautiful devoted wide Desdemona is cheating on him with Cassio an arrogant captain.

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Ronald Samm as Otello and David Kempster as Iago - Photo credit: Clive Barda

To add even more wonder to the evening I got to meet the incredibly enigmatic and enthralling David Kempster, who played the dastardly Iago. His passion for the opera and his clear love of the Opera North home at Leeds Grand was so inspiring. His presence on stage was mesmerising, to have met him and found him so personable, to then watch him snarl and scheme throughout the whole performance.

As the saying goes behind every great man is a powerful woman and boy is that true in this case it was Elena Kelessidi, who played Desdemona. I cannot begin to describe to you the incredible power of Elena’s voice, to have the force in a single voice to be heard in the very back seat, with a full orchestra and still convey the silent torment of knowing your husband is about to kill you for an adulterous crime you never committed. The love between them at the opening act was so intoxicating i felt myself literally on the edge of my seat, knowing what was about to befall their love.

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Ronald Samm as Otello and Elena Kelessidi as Desdemona - Photo credit: Clive Barda

Of course there wouldn’t be a true theatre or opera experience without the rousing sounds of an ensemble cast lightening the mood, especially if there are adorable children involved. Cue the wonderful chorus singing to Desdemona about her beauty and grace. The set added wonderfully to the drama of the piece, the 1940′s costumes were exquisite and the choreography of  movement on the sage in both the monologues and the ensemble numbers added to the perfection of the evening. A huge congratulations must also go to the incredible people behind the scenes, Conductor Richard Farnes, Director Tim Albery, Set and Costume Designer Leslie Travers, Lighting Designer Thomas C Hase, Choreographer Laïla Diallo, Fight Director Will Tristram

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Elena Kelessidi as Desdemona (centre) and Ann Taylor as Emilia (far right) with the Chorus of Opera North and children’s chorus - Photo credit: Clive Barda

It is rare that I have nothing negative to say, this time is one of those times. A truly wonderful experience and a great way for a newbie to both the world of opera and Shakespeare to begin their love affair. Otello is running at the Leeds Grand until 16th February and can book them easily on the Opera North site and have a look at all of the other amazing performances they have on during 2013.

One of my 2013 resolutions is to go and be in awe of the talent Opera North has to offer.

Let me know what you thought if you have seen Otello or if you are planning to go see it.

Em x

4 days down….27 to go!

4 down

So if you read my initial post about match.com earlier this week you will know that I am on a months trial of the site to see if it can boost my 3.5 year stalemate.

I come with tidings of hilarity and horror! Prepare yourself!

It was all going so well, over 100 views of my profile, 37 winks and 14 chaps chatting to me, I was thrilled. I totally understood the benefit of online dating, in the whole 3.5 years of being single I didn’t get a percentage of the attention I have had on the site.

However, as is always the way, things never do run smoothly in my life. So let me begin with some of the delights on the site, how about the 2 guys on there from Harrogate, who I know have girlfriends who have been ‘active’ on the site in the last few days…hmmm interesting! Then there are the guys who appear to have taken their profile pictures in the dirtiest mirror in the world, or decided that the picture where they are one of 30 people is a suitable one to attract attention. But I think the highlight in terms of profile picture goes to this chap – whose face I have blurred out for legal reasons! But if you are brave have a little look down at the bottom right hand corner……

scary

Not sure there is much I can say about that! And for the record that’s his profile image, not something he sent me!

But in all of this I think that the most disturbing has to be the guy who asked me out, we made great plans to go to comedy club, he was witty and we have similar interests. We should have been going on our first date tonight, but yesterday the very exciting opportunity to go to Opera North to see Otello came about thanks to Culture Vultures (I will be blogging about this in the next few days); sadly that meant I had to email mikey78 and let him know that we would have to rearrange. The email was a sweet one, his response ..not so much!

He called me most names you can think of including, a cock-tease (not sure he knows what this actually is) bitch and self indulgent. He was even less amused when I responded telling him that we wouldn’t be rearranging the date!

He topped that though, he went straight to Match and reported me as a fake profile! Cue and interesting few emails from Match. In fairness they were really great and understood my frustration with the whole matter.

So all in all an interesting first 4 days on the site. However I will continue with a positive mental attitude and as always humour.  Even if I don’t find love, I am finding a whole world of stuff to blog about!

You can follow the day to day tweetings at @emglobetrotter if you prefer my rants limited to 140 characters!

Until next time….

E x

New Year, New Blog

As I am sure all of you that read my column are aware I am not one to sit on the fence, nor am I likely to keep my trap shut when I feel a rant brewing.

If you follow me on twitter I am sure that you have seen my recent tweets about ‘real women’ it may seem I am a little late to the party as there have been substantial rumblings and annoyance aimed at companies using size 16+ women and labeling them as ‘real’

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I must say I am 16+ and comfortable with my body, and thanks to my ability to inhale & exhale I count myself a real woman, it is in fact the sheer ability to breathe and function as a human that makes me a ‘real woman’ not my BMI or dress size.

If you follow me on instagram you will be aware of my addiction to glossy advert filled magazines, and my need to photograph and lust over them. But in reading them I have noticed my view of ‘normality’ is now somewhat skewed. Although I am aware that excessive air-brushing is used together with clever lighting and technical trickery, I find myself lulled into thinking that the foundation advertised will make my skin flawless, that I could have Cheryl style hair, or that Cosmo’s life quiz might actually cast light on my never-ending single state. I was shocked at the sheer levels of air-brushing and tweaking, saddened by the inane pointless drivel they pedal.

All of this came to a head when reading Glamour magazines tips on how to Internet date and the first snippet of advice went a little like this “make sure your profile picture on the site is accessible, you need to say hello without being intimidating” Ohhhh I see, so that’s where I am going wrong I’m using an intimidating picture. Look at it, brutal!

It got me to thinking about what I really want to read about, and thus Awkward was born.

Awkward is a new blog I am launching in February, filled with lifestyle, culture, parenting, fashion and beauty. At the moment its in the process of being created so looks a little plain, but will be perfect by the launch on 18th Feb 2013.

The contributors are diverse, they know what they are writing about, if they write about parenting then its because they are parents, if they are offering advice; its because they have been there and done it. The Awkward angle comes with each individual, each writer sees  themselves in an awkward light, not in a negative way, just an awkward one.

I would love to have guest posts on the site so if you want to get involved then contact me hello@theawkwardmagazine.com let me know what you like to write about and we can get the ball rolling. You can also find Awkward on twitter

Thank you ahead of time for the support I know I will have from you all

Em x

Is it the end of the world as we know it?

On Sunday night after a lovely weekend, I sat with two of my favourite people, full of gorgeous food and settled down to watch a movie ‘Seeking a friend for the end of the world’ a wonderful Steve Carrel and Kiera Knightly indie movie about the last 3 weeks on earth.

For those of you who don’t know about the Mayans, they see December 21, 2012 as the completion of the Great Mayan Cycle, and the beginning of a New World Age. They believed it was an “invitation to all of humanity to open themselves up to imagining, envisioning and actualizing the possibilities of gradual, positive transformation of our human culture in harmony with the Earth”. As we internally align with this grand shifting of cycles we can contribute our personal inspiration and commitment to being part of this collective transformation. Some people believe they meant an apocalypse, others that’s it’s simply the end of a life cycle. It isn’t something I really thought about until I was sitting with Amy and she told me how much it freaks her out thinking about it.

It got me to thinking, if we do only have 31 days left, what would I want to do with them, what would I want to say to the people I love, where would I want to be when the world ends. Once home last night, whilst painting my nails and listening to my ‘ultimate playlist’ I thought back over the 27 years I’ve been on this earth and to be honest, if the world was to end I could say I have had a hell of a life.

So here are my top 5 things in my life, along with pictures.

1 – March 2010 -Langar Airfield, Nottinghamshire

I jumped out of a plane, as someone who dislikes planes and heights it was both physically and mentally demanding, but knowing that I was raising money for Orchid Cancer Care.

2 – owned my own business, The Bespoke Cupcake Company – started in my kitchen at home making cupcakes for my dad whilst he was going through Chemo; it turned into a huge business that I was very proud of.

3 – My dad, every single picture of dad and I is more precious now that they are all I have left of him.

4 – Getting NAKED for charity. That’s right if you didn’t know then let me tell you. On a sunny but chilly day in August 2010 I stood ont he banks of a fishing lake at Plumpton Rocks near Harrogate and this photo was taken to be part of the Domestic Bliss Calendar to raise money for Teenage Cancer Trust
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5 – Getting amazing results in my GCSE’s – not expected at all, and they set me up for the rest of my life

Now I’m not saying the world will end, I’ve bought presents so to be honest it had best not! But it has given me a little time to reflect on the life I have had, and how grateful I am for the people I have, places I’ve been and things I’ve seen. So maybe in the next 31 days take a little time out to be grateful for the life you have had, and have now. Try to just be positive, see how the moments of your life have led you to exactly where you are; stood, sat, laid, wherever you are.

Think about it

E x

Let’s talk about sex….baby!

Yes that’s right, SEX!

Perfect morning sex, saturday afternoon sex on the sofa, falling in drunk from a night out sex and especially an unexpected quickie in the shower. I hear what you are thinking, what a lucky girl getting all that perfectly marvellous sex, well I have to tell you that couldn’t be further from the truth. But just because I am currently on a sex sabbatical does not mean that I cannot indulge in past times.

As I am sure all of you, especially those who read this blog or follow me on twitter, will know that I am extremely single. Sadly not your magazine or movie worthy single where you can cut to scenes of me dancing the night away with a handsome artist in an underground salsa club or galavanting all over a sun drenched city. Rather it sees me working, walking the dogs and out on the occasional night out ending with me alone in my own in bed usually watching an episode of Inspector Lewis. Hot or what!

Although I must admit there are of course upsides to being single that include, getting control over the remote, being able to sleep in the middle of the bed and of course no compromising over the weekend plans.

There are downsides too, and recently these have become more apparent due to my now excessive single-ness! Those downsides include, no one to snuggle up to when watching a movie, having to trap spiders myself, and no one to kiss at midnight on New Years Eve, but I must admit something to you all and that is this, sex is the thing I miss the most.

I know, I know I’m a modern woman and I could go out and have sex with some hot random guy I meet on a night out, which believe me in the past I have done, and in fact massively enjoyed, so much so they make up around 40% of my ‘List’. Sadly though I think I have been out of the sex game for too long now.

Unfortunately despite all of my best interests my mini flings tend to be more like Lena Dunham in girls

than Sharon Stone in Basic Instinct!

And I have to tell you the worst of it is the moment you wake slightly furry of mouth and head, blurry eyes trying desperately to confirm your location and the body next to you. Never is it like the movies, never does it lead to breakfast in a quaint coffee shop, mostly it leads to a horrific 20 minutes of trying to remove my arm from under him, then making enough noise to wake him and work out how the hell I get the man who currently looks much more like Wayne Rooney than David Beckham out of my house. Don’t get me wrong I did that, numerous times for numerous years, although mostly with achingly gorgeous chaps. But the novelty has worn off and I think if I am completely honest I wouldn’t even know where to begin with the whole one night stand game. So I have bowed out into early retirement.

But this leaves me between a rock and hard place (or lack there of) no boyfriend to do the no pants dance with and no chance of me going out and clubbing me a man to drag back to my cave.

Suddenly I realised that if nothing else a relationship would at least offer me the joy of guaranteed sex, so gleefully I signed up to eHarmony. A word of warning, don’t do it ladies! Unless of course what you are after is a drip who lives at home and lists his interests as “reading books and eating cereal” that was his entire “likes and interests” section! Or maybe you would like a science teacher who asked me how I felt about being “an experiment” hmmmmm il pass thanks.

People keep telling me that if I stop looking “he” will find me, however I’m not sure he could find me, since I spent most of my life at work, walking the hounds dressed as a bag lady, or at home in bed watching Breaking Bad or Homeland. But there maybe is the issue, maybe I need to as Charlotte says in SATC “put myself out there” but please tell me you lucky folks having all this sex. Where is “out there”? Seriously I’d love to know! Because there are people in my life who appear to be having more sex than I am having hot meals with a plethora of chaps, I feel a little like the last kid to get picked for the team in PE!

So tonight lovelies do me a favour, no matter how tired, grumpy etc you are, have sex, grateful sex, because you don’t know how lucky you are!

Yours sincerely

Single & Shagless

E x

Things of which I am sure…

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1 – There is no such thing as a fool proof plan – however, there is such a thing as a fool with a plan! Couldn’t be more true of my efforts to book, 3 flights and 2 hotels! Manage to book first flight, last flight and one hotel! Totally forgot the other flight and hotel realising at almost the last minute! All sorted though via some travel jiggerypokery (always wanted to get that word into a blog)

2- I am no longer afraid of tiny tin can planes, having now been on a 30 seater, if i am completely honest i loved it, closest i will ever get to a private jet- however where there is a positive usually a negative isn’t far behind! Whilst flying from Orlando MCO to Washington DC Ronald Reagan on a slightly larger plane, we encountered a truly terrifying storm which made the turbulence appalling and the decent & landing extremely stressful- but thanks to really wonderful captain and staff on the Jet Blue flight I am here to tell the tale.

3- I have a skill for honest writing, truthful, heartfelt difficult writing, and not about something I made or somewhere I’ve been, just about me & my thoughts. I have always been one for the flamboyant and dramatic – I know, I know, you’re all shocked by this admission! Nevertheless during this trip I have avoiding the overly theatrical and focused on the exceptionally heartfelt, something you dear readers have been exceedingly keen on.

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4 – I am happy being chilled out, not achieving something all the time. I like my own silent company, since being here I have gone through what I now call the 5 stages of being alone.

“Denial and Isolation” – the awful realisation I had that despite my protests that I am the queen of being happy alone, once it was thrust upon me I was suddenly very aware of being ‘lonely’ rather than alone.
“Anger” I can say with entire sincerity, I was really angry that at 26 I was alone, no boyfriend, no casual fling, no friends to hang out with, no mum to go for coffee with.
Then comes…..
“Bargaining” I decided that it was fine, I bargained with myself that I would stick it out for 2 weeks and if I really wasn’t happy still then I would go home safe in the knowledge I had ‘tried’ and god knows we all love a trier!
“Depression” followed, although very fleetingly, I was homesick, sleep deprived and had come to the conclusion the entire trip was a mistake…after all this came “Acceptance” which was a welcome friend, I realised that this trip wasn’t a forever, it was a tiny part of my life, MY life. As the saying goes we come into this world with nothing and leave the same way, it’s what we do in the living that matters.
Oh did I mention these 5 stages happened during the first week of my trip – see always space for a little drama. Out of that week though I learnt the difference between being alone and being lonely.

5- I like nature more than I thought, i went on a beautiful beach, swam in the ocean and meandered down the Itchetucknee River and I lived through it all to tell the tale. I am however still terrified of bugs. Especially the ants who tried to eat me and the roaches that forced a truly epic girlie scream and leap onto a chair from me.

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6 – I like way more foods than I thought – foods that are not always cheese or meat based. I have no had a dairy milk fruit and nut since I arrived although in the practice of full disclosure I have eaten a substantial amount of ice cream, cake and key lime pie – and you know what the moments on the lips were 100% worth the life time on the hips….arse….double chin!

7- I don’t need to drink to have fun – being around people whose Saturday night doesn’t involve drunkenly stumbling home at 1am, however I will be indulging in a French Martini at Restaurant Bar and Grille with mu girls my second night home and a Lemon Drop shortly after that.

8 – I’ve learnt to sleep in silence and darkness. No tv, no radio no light. Just me. Oh and for those who know I still sleep with a bear called cedeic, I left him at home, so yay me!

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9 – I thought I knew a lot about the world, I know hardly a grain of sands worth, something I plan to change. I started changing it mostly when I arrived here in Washington DC, I have stood at the feet of Lincoln & Jefferson, I’ve read the names of the victims of the Holocaust, I’ve seen real Pandas, fed an iguana, stood where Martin Luther King Jr stood for his ‘i have a dream speech’ the list goes on and on and on and on. In a few days I will be at Niagara Falls and in Toronto! Will be immersing myself in the life & history there too. I plan on doing the same when I get home, lots of weekends away indulging in history and culture.

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10 – I am happy. That is all.

Whilst you are reading this I will have spent the morning basking in the awesomeness of the Newseum then strolled over to the Supreme Court, Capitol Hill and Library of Congress.

Happy Friday y’all

E x

I was wrong…..

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So today marks the start of the end, the end of my time in Gainesville.

I have to admit that when I first arrived here on 7th June late at night, I was not exactly in a great state of mind, as I am sure those of you who read my first blog are well aware. I had the awful feeling that I had made a mistake and that the best thing that I could do was stay a week and then admit that it wasnt for me and fly home, tail between my legs, hoping that people wouldnt judge me for too long.

But I have to tell you something, this Floridian city has taught me so much, healed my broken heart and helped me realise not only what matters to me, but why I matter.

I am staying in a quiet sleepy suburb of Gainesville, my cousin very kindly calls the “hood” the majority of the houses are small open plan single storey properties, with large yards and painted pale pastel shades. A stark difference to the old world buildings of the Downtown area with its beautiful paved streets, theatres, bars and independant stores.

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I always thought that what I needed when I came out here to have an adventure was loud exciting and over the top experiences. The first week this feeling plagued me and in turn made me feel very underwhelmed about being here. I felt I should be out partying, spending hours learning new and exciting skills and surrounding myself with painfully cool people I could tell you all about when I got home and fill my facebook with albums of pictures, you know to make people I dont really know what well jealous (admit it, thats why we do it).

During the second week of my trip, my cousin went to canada, I was left alone, something that I thought I loved, HA!!! Not the case it seemed. The first two nights she was away I did not sleep a wink and decided I would check into a hotel in a busy district of the city so that I was around traffic sounds, something at the time I needed to sleep. Whilst there I realised that there was no point waiting around for things to come along and make my trip worthwhile, if I wanted them, I had to go and get them. A life lesson as well as an adventure one!

So I left my hotel room with a map in hand and I explored, I spent hours walking around the incredible University grounds, reading wonderful books, writing in my journal, chatting to people. I sat in the sun drenched grounds, I read Salmon Fishing in the Yemen and wrote pages and pages of my own novel – 17,500 words to date. Who knew I had it in me to write a blog, let alone a book! Amazing what can be achieved when we simply remove ourselves from the norm and accept that maybe the way we have been living just isn’t right for us anymore.

Learning that actually this time away isn’t about over the top adventure, it is about me, learning who I am as a person, not just a daughter, friend, boss, business woman, but as a human being. I thought I would come over here and it would be like a movie, I would meet an amazing guy, fall madly in love and suddenly see the world through rose tinted glasses. Instead what I have done is be quiet, peaceful, contemplative. I have had real silence, where all I can hear are my own thoughts, not opinions, just me, myself and I.

But I have some people to thank for my ability to find all of this, they are my cousin & her wonderful friends, people who at home I would think of as my mums friends, but here they have made me literally howl with laughter, they have offered me a shoulder to cry on, checked in on me when bloody fire ants tried to kill me! They have shown me the hugely diverse cuisines here, from vietnamese diners, real southern fried food, boiled peanuts, mung bean burgers and a micro brewery. They’ve taken me to see independent movies I would never usually have seen & introduced me to books I never would have read.

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These women are an inspriation to me, they own thier own homes, are single and strong women, with jobs that they are skilled at and admired for, and such a healthy view of the world. They believe in Karma & that the solar system affects us all. But they thing that has changed me for the better is they are kind to each other, all the time. There is no talking behind each others back, they do not try to out smart each other or be the bigger better one. They support each other, listen kindly without judgement and most of all they clearly adore each other. Of all the things I have learnt whilst I have been here, its how to be kind, really genuinely kind, to myself and also to others. Something I plan on continuing when I get home. Removing negativity outwardly towards others leads to a positivity within.

I have walked through the Prairie with aligators, experienced the amazing Florida springs, seen an influencial authors home, watched 4th July fireworks, laid on an incredible beach, swam in the sea, seen wild dolphins, taught people to bake and been surrounded by love.

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Makes me realise that although I love the big glamorous holidays there is something very humbling about being not only allowed into someones life, but accepted and I hope to have brought something to them as well.

I have to admit to making a mistake and judging Gainesville too quickly, something that two months ago I would never have admited to.

I was wrong. And as it turns out that’s ok, I don’t need all the answers all the time, i don’t have to be righ. Sometimes, it seems, the things we think are “wrong” gift us the ability to see all the things that are right.

I read a great quote earlier and those of you that follow me on twitter @emglobetrotter may have seen it :-

“Before befriending others, you have to be your own best friend.
Before correcting others, you have to correct yourself.
Before making others happy, you must make yourself happy.
It is not deamed as selfish but personal development.
Once you balance yourself, only then can you begin to balance your world.”

So as a bid an emotional farewell to this beautiful city, I leave with a happy heart, full tummy and wonderful memories. I leave with the lesson to “notice” how I treat others, how my words can affect the people closest to me, how much I value those people, and how easy it is to be kind.

So for now its goodbye from the Sunshine State – next stop Washington DC.

E x

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