‘Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all…’

‘Life is either a daring  adventure or nothing at all…’

Helen Keller ladies and gents. An absolute beauty of a lass!

I never thought about a life of freedom. Adventure yes, but never really a ‘free’ adventure as it were. For some people ‘freedom’ is the ability to totally let go of all worries, concerns and fears. That feeling of spinning in a circle on the spot with your arms flailing about until you fall over unbalanced with the wind in your hair. Yes! I suppose I never really thought that ‘freedom’ truly existed in reality, that maybe it was one of those fanatical fantasies that were made up and not really something humans ever felt… well never one hundred percent anyway.

Recently, it appears that life has been challenging for a lot of people especially regarding health and surprise, surprise…I’ve not lacked in this area either. I got to a point after remission and the big operation at Christmas to clear all of my womanly organs of thinking that maybe life might feel a little more free. A little less chaotic. I suppose at first it did. The relief of no cancer…amazing. Furthermore, the realisation of just how far I’d come to be able to get the discharge (well visually) from the eating disorder service. An incredible sense of freedom to say the least but still with the hidden struggle (as ever) that I was still physically feeling exceptionally unwell. At first, I was convinced that maybe it was psychosomatic, maybe this was just what I was used to and my body had to adjust. Then weeks went by and I began feeling worse and worse, surely nobody would feel like this and be fainting or be paralysed from simply thinking they were ill or imagining that they still were right? I knew the recovery of a hysterectomy wasn’t an immediate one, I’d spoken to my mum and other women, some of which had taken a couple of years to get through the other side. It wasn’t easy, far from. But honestly, that for me was the easy part. I was off paracetamol within a week or two and did my resting period in one of the nicest places in England away from everyone and all negativity (despite a couple of traumatic events along the way that upset the process.) All in all, I was doing alright. However, things got worse, symptoms didn’t settle, I got weaker and my body began failing me more and more.

I silently accepted that maybe this was going to be life. Maybe this was how all women felt when in the menopause and I had to accept that because I had gone down the route of a hysterectomy. Maybe, this was what I now had to deal with. I just didn’t realise that this level of fatigue, crippling migraines four times weekly making me bed bound and fainting was part of it. I kept silent, tried to get on and then it got to much. After some encouragement from my supportive partner, I went to the doctors after breaking down.

It became clear that not only had they given me the wrong Hormone Replacement Treatment straight after my operation at Christmas, but also that for the last few years of being on this treatment my body had been getting weaker and more and more tired. Worn out and was at risk of a stroke. I’d been having a lot of symptoms for a couple of years….sometimes getting worse and I’d have periods of feeling really unwell. Other times I’d just have extreme tiredness, falling asleep in people’s cars or passing out on public transport or whilst speaking to people. Sometimes I’d just loose my train of thought or just be a bit vacant at times. More recently, it was the heart that was doing me in….pains and palpitations, migraines that were crippling me and a send of fatigue that made me absolutely paralysed to the point of not being able to move a muscle to even get out of bed. It was debilitating and horrible. More than anything…scary. Something really wasn’t right. It took appointments, tests (which at this point moved quickly), investigations and scans to get to this point. To get a diagnosis. It turns out I have contracted a disease from years of illness called Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (M.E.) is a long-term (chronic), fluctuating, neurological condition that causes symptoms affecting many body systems, more commonly the nervous and immune systems. I guess when you think of what my body’s been through it sort of makes sense that it would be tired right? It can’t really have gone through all of that unscathed? Especially combined with the added trauma from childhood and more recent years right?

I don’t know what or why I write but I felt the need to get it down and out really and also to tell people as I just sort of disappeared a bit and hid. It would be so easy for me to sit here and sob over it all. To feel sorry for myself and curse at some unknown being as to ‘why me?!’ But what would be the use in that? Yes, naturally, I do feel sad, truly devastated when I have days like yesterday of feeling as if someone was sat on top of me and I was simply laying there unable to move my body whilst just enduring the extreme aching, tiredness, sickness and a migraine that at points made me feel like I was going to fit or faint. Sometimes, this lasts for a few days but then I get two, three sometimes (if I’m lucky) four good ones. For these, I feel positive and take in the beauty as much as I can until the next.

Old Sophie would have been the lass that would have just drunk to numb this mess and hide the pain, pretending that it’s all okay but look where that’s got me so far. Relationship-less, in no better state mentally and unable to function healthily without the right nutrients in me and support around to be there when I’ve needed it, more so…when I’ve actually been brave enough to decide to ask for it, which lets face it was hardly ever. This time, the more ‘sorted Sophie’ isn’t willing to do this. She doesn’t drink loads, she doesn’t go off the rails or hide behind working herself into the ground (as she really isn’t able to) and most of all I’m eating healthily. This Sophie is actually working on herself properly alongside the most exceptional therapist who checks in weekly via phone or face to face, she works through the rape and my childhood and the illness stuff. An angel. Yes, it is more than hard but yes, this Sophie is doing it daily. Using that determination bit by bit with strides and progress. With the need to keep positive to live as I am able with this grotty illness that I am left with.

I confused a lot of people, including myself I’d like to add, when I disappeared in the yellow van with a random man I just met a few months ago (on what was originally a friendship.) It’s not been an easy path. Certainly not for either of us and certainly not in the respect of ‘trying to sort out your box’ safely and such close proximity to another human. It might not have been right at points, looking back over it…well, it would have been much easier to back out at any point. A lot of bad habits have crept in along the way but this time they’ve been worked through not ignored. I tried to push away, tried to convince myself that I didn’t want to be with anyone…this person who was with me on this journey. I ‘was in it just for the van.’ Was I? Nope. Yes. Probably. No, actually. No…shit. I wasn’t. Oh no. I was trying to deny myself the right of happiness. Of not being able to be who I wanted to be. To not have a life of freedom. Of doing what I’d always done. Self punishment. Self harm. Self blame. The ‘I don’t deserve this’ game. The ‘I’m not good enough for anyone, I’m too much trouble and hassle.’

What the hell was I doing?! Ha!

So here we are. Here I am. Recently diagnosed with M.E or CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) as some might now know of it but yet I’m clear of cancer. Working through past sexual violence and rape but able to be with a new partner who loves me and feel things…intimacy and actual feelings without self punishment. Having some hard days with food but eating much more healthily and in more mass than in about fifteen years. Having some very bad poorly days but on the few beautiful, able to travel, see some of the most incredible views and be creative on the road. I might not be able to take on long contracts for tours, shows or jobs but I am able to do one or two day shoots. I am being paid by several companies to write for them, for non fiction and fiction for young women using my voice, my passion and soul whilst equally being a better me. I get to see one of my best friends get married on Friday and I am alive, I made it up to Scotland to see her and the ceremony. I am able to be her witness, do a speech for her and be there on one of her special days. I am alive to see that because of her and the other beauties in my life that helped me and also because of my amazing body that by heck and a half challenges me but is the toughest thing I know! Yes, it’s having a bloody hard time but by heck, there’s ALWAYS the positives right?!

LMFC  XxX ❤

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I have always preferred the reflection of life to life itself…

I have always preferred the reflection of life to life itself…
Reflection
rɪˈflɛkʃ(ə)n/
noun
  1. the throwing back by a body or surface of light, heat, or sound without absorbing it.
    “the reflection of light”
    2. Serious thought or consideration.
    “he doesn’t get much time for reflection”

I’ve never been someone to like their own reflection. Never been someone to look at themselves and particularly like what they see or grow to love themselves as they’ve become a woman. I’ve been a ‘someone’ who has struggled with being herself, hidden behind numerous characters or stories. Hid in the mending of other people; helping them and not myself to make sense of life and their heads to keep them on track when I have done that of the opposite. I’ve been a someone who’s let others hurt me; not once, not twice but time and time again before speaking up or out; sometimes non of these things. I’ve been that someone who internalised a lot of her pain, hurt and anger transferring it all onto herself and into her soul, knowing that it would momentarily make the process somewhat easier and not upset or affect anyone else as much as her little heart.

I now, on this day. Saturday, the 10th March, realise that I am no longer only, singularly and purely this broken ‘someone.’ It has been two weeks since I got my physical discharge from the NHS eating disorder service (meaning that I no longer have to go in for my physical weigh-ins, assessments of bloods, health and mental capability.) It has been three months since I had my hysterectomy, a little under two since I got my full remission and I feel the best I’ve felt (physically) in well, I don’t know how many years – but a lot!

So why are you writing about this? Why are you just writing about facts, wittering on? Blah, blah, blah. I know, it seems silly and well I haven’t been able to put process onto paper for a long time. I thought this type of process (of getting better) would be a time of stillness and give me the ability to finish my book, write more. In fact it’s been the opposite if I’m honest. Don’t get me wrong I’ve progressed a little and been writing my one woman show but not as much as I thought or maybe would have initially ‘liked.’ I knew that there was going to be a ‘hard’ bit after the good news. Not like a sad moment of ‘why am I well?’ as such. More of the ‘what the hell am I going to do now that I am well and not got this ‘baggage’ to hide behind? What do I do now everyone gets to see me for actually being me and not an illness? Have I worked on this or that enough to be exposed to the world? Am I okay to be me and explain my mental health battles through all of these events plus my rape? Is someone else going to hurt me out there and am I allowed to start a new relationship? How do I even begin a relationship without being poorly or mentally unwell and what do I even do? How do I begin to let someone touch me without extensive amounts of alcohol in my body? Will I ever be able to have sex or let someone come near me in that way now that I feel mentally okay and not like I need a bottle of wine to allow a man to set eyes on my face?  Am I EVER going to be normal?

Yes, so you’re getting my point now right? Maybe a little more of what these last few months have been like since the ‘major op?’ Maybe why I’ve needed to write?

For those of you who don’t know my story. Don’t know my journey or even anything about me, well, I made a brave and bold choice to join a gent in van three months ago.  Well, to go and live in this van really. The situation was a bit random, spontaneous – not knowing what any results were going to be from my swabs and biopsies, not even knowing if I would like to be physically close and in someone else’s presence not only in a space with the two of you, but the small amount of space in the four walls of the van that would be my home for the time being. I put myself in a situation of all the things I feared knowing full well that I was absolutely scared shitless but knowing equally, that if I did not combat them or do something soon, I would never get better or gain the confidence I needed to really be me….to really be Sophie. I have been mentally unwell for a very long time, suffered with anorexia – food and my eating for nearly a third of my life on and off with relapses, cancer, endometriosis, suicidal thoughts and depression to exceptional levels for as long as I can remember. So I went. I did it and I didn’t know if this person who was going with me was going to harm me, do what this other male friend had done to me and also not be in a place of safety. I just went. Decided to leave and knowing that I wanted to get better. I needed to get better and nobody could do it for me. It was in my hands and only mine and at that particular moment, people had not been showing me the greatest and those I cared about didn’t feel close. So Idid it. I chose to go and I went to Dorset in Uzo the van. Not having anyone close, not having safety, not having stability, not having my doctors near and being vulnerable in that I was not fully recovered. Not only that, but for the first time in a long while, allowed a man to be close to me sober and trusting them with my life since the two years prior of getting raped by a seeming ‘friend.’ I know. What the actual f***? Silly cow!

So, I did it. Okay. Wow. So, how did it go? How is it going? Are you okay? (Obviously I’m not dead! Bonus!)

So, The first few days were great. Adrenaline kicked in, I had a chance of being with nature and outdoors which is when I feel at my happiest and able to rely on nothing commercial or influenced by the government who hadn’t been my friend for a long time, especially with their cuts to my gods…the NHS and new laws. I felt good and able and like I didn’t have to rely on anyone else for the first time in a long time. I could just be me. Just me somewhere new and with some new life, a new life, away from the hurt and place that continued to drag me down and back into the trauma of my past. Then. Well, then the fear set in. The fear I’d been living my life with for the whole of my twenty seven years. I was scared of this man next to me, the person who I was with despite him being lovely and caring and kind, afraid he was going to sexually assault me or a hug or a rub of the body as he passed meant that he wanted sex when he didn’t. I was scared of new males around me. Paranoid and terrified of the cancer not being gone. I was tired, I didn’t miss my hometown but I missed having people. Space. A safe space.

The next few weeks were repeated. I felt ashamed of being me, like the person with me was hiding me, like I was best being hidden and like I would never beat my own mind in not thinking of food as my enemy or being my only friend by backwardly keeping it away. I shut myself off. I told people I was fine but I cried…lied. I spoke to my therapist. I had people, even people far away hurt me more than anyone could ever imagine. People who made up lies and tales to suit themselves to gain power in their own career and to then have a detrimental impact on myself and my own relationships with people who were my second family. People used my own trauma against me to benefit themselves. Threats, verbal abuse and disgusting language, hurt. I learnt that my intuition was usually, in fact actually always correct and that initial thoughts and fears of humans tend to be correct despite it hurting beyond belief when it happens or becomes apparent. I felt betrayed. Betrayed that my old place of work had employed the man who raped me with no regard for my feelings, putting people I cared for in danger and taking me away from my only other safe place in my own hometown. I could never go back. I then endured calls from this person from my old workplace through a stupid careless act sending me into a combined suicide spiral of not wanting to be alive or being able to carry on my life. I was a mess. A physically, broken yet ironically mended mess. I have been this ‘mess’, was this mess for the last just under months and I hid away. Only this time, this time was different.

This time, I wasn’t the ‘someone’ who just hid from it all. I was stronger. Able and capable of having the professional help and the ability to ask for advice on it all. I’ve been working on it. I’ve been working so damn hard on myself, on my past and present issues, my triggers and on my life to make myself better and capable.

The last few weeks have been different. I have had a totally up and down relationship with this person physically on the journey with me – friendship, love, anger, emotional battle, trauma, taunt and distrust yet equally learnt the opposite. I have learnt love, grown the ability to trust someone with my life and being open without the single influence of alcohol. I have adapted to a new, healthy diet, now putting more in me than I ever have food wise and I feel good. I have explored the idea of lust, touch (despite crawling inside myself and having my therapist help me to work through what I need to allow myself to relax in situations I never thought I ever could have.) Mentally, sometimes, some days, I am still struggling but with a difference. The difference of power and strength by my side. Mentally, still terrified of the triggers that greet me daily and with the ‘what if he or they are going to hurt me?’ Still mentally trying to fix the hurt and fear that has been part of my life and my disgusting best friend for the most of my life with some days it being the most tiring and overwhelming of feelings resulting in sleep. Trying to allow this person, who I think I actually care for properly into my life fully into my life bit by bit. Not with all my past. Not being the Sophie defined by her past but as Sophie as….well, Sophie. Allowing a relationship to occur naturally with proper love and care, attention and affection. To start from scratch. Not expecting. Not planning. Not wanting. Trying to be independent but equally asking for help when it’s needed. I am honest. I am brave and I am trying. More than anything in the world I am trying and working harder than I ever have to be me. A better, more able and healthy me.

I am exhausted. I am emotionally on edge but with a bravery that I’ve not dared to explore before. I am different and I actually feel like I’m doing the whole ‘working on myself’ and it feels good. Scary but…good. I am able to work and reap the benefits from my efforts. I am acting, writing and doing freelance work whilst discovering myself. Who I am and the full version of positive, creative and loving me. I am trying. I, Sophie Wardlow am trying and I amgetting better!

We keep going. We keep persisting. We keep mindful and hopeful. We work, we play, we love and more importantly….we live! We bloody well live!

LMFC XxX

Illogical minds and Irrational hearts.

Anger ˈaŋɡə/

noun

A strong feeling of annoyance, displeasure, or hostility

verb

Fill (someone) with anger; provoke anger in.

Anger. An emotion that jars ever so strongly in my head and heart. A feeling that I have held deep inside me for the most of my life, scared of the wrath and aftermath if released. It has been since having my operation and awaiting the last results from my bloods and cervix that the anger inside me has raised it’s little head ever so slightly and at points rather strongly. I can’t excuse the fact that it’s made me into some venomous female at times. I have indeed vented at the poor soul that has taken me into his home whilst I recover and to help me to get away. I have vented and ‘popped’ at times when the anger has pushed through and in my hated mind not been able to stop it from seeping out.

I am blessed. This human, as the other few who are close enough to me to understand my life – the past and what I have been through; the process of recovery and just how hard it is mentally, understands and allows it. I speak to my therapist and there are many tears that flow and roll down my cheeks as she tells me that everything I am feeling is okay. I explain that my eating disorder head is trying to push through the more I try to fight this horrible sense of anger that creeps out so very strongly and she, this wonderful lady…a beautiful example of someone who is exceptional at their job reminds me that ‘it’s okay.’ I am ‘okay’ and not ‘mental’ like I describe. That this….the writing, the reflection and the ability to be so aware of how I am feeling is brilliant and perfectly ‘okay’. That I should just ‘allow myself to feel’, ‘allow myself to be’ and ‘sit with it.’

I can’t say that it’s easy. I am struggling daily at the minute and to different extremes in a pattern of ups and downs. I struggle to sit in one place and also in an area that I don’t know all to well and there are symptoms as part of the physical recovery combined with the unknown of waiting for my cancer markers and results coming back that fills my mind with nothing less than the black mist and haze that feels ever so heavy and scary. I didn’t realise that recovery was going to be this hard. I didn’t realise that this part was going to bring back old mental battles; naively imagining that once it was all physically out and over, then these might disappear as well.  Don’t get me wrong, these dips in my mood have become less. I know it has been longer in between the last one and now and also that my ability to deal with them is getting better. However, this time I’m struggling. I know I have been through a bunch of ‘trouble’ and ‘major events’ more recently as some say that will be contributing to my mind being so unsettled and irrational. I know that this will pass. I know that I will feel better. I know that the two year anniversary of the rape is next week and it’s on my mind. That the results will more than likely come at the same time and that also, I am allowed to feel all these things in both positive and negative correlation. I keep on keeping on. I have to. I need to. I do not know if this will get easier. I do not know if my mind with become more settled or whether it will stay like it is now or change daily and eventually ease off. All of it….the unknown. I try to allow myself to be…to feel and try not to punish myself for doing so. I talk…I keep communicating to the soul living in such close proximity and I breathe. I breathe, I keep mindful and I allow myself to simply feel. I remind myself that feeling IS okay. Recovery is indeed a process but that it is….more than anything, possible and that I will, eventually get there!

LMFC

XxX

The beauty in the open and honestly observed…

Dogs. So many energetic and happy dogs, splashing with absolutely no worries in the sea that is just below where I am sitting on the hill.

The last few days have been a hazy mist of both anxiety and worry as to if, what or how much of what I am experiencing at this moment in time is ‘real.’ The fact that I am living in a converted van on the beach front, in nice company, currently feeling (physically) rather well and refreshed, able to eat and feel alright about it and mostly, be able to sit and allow myself to do ‘nothing’. Okay so arguably, the ‘nothing’ isn’t really that as such. I have indeed been applying for jobs, answering emails, writing my book and editing it the best that I can for now. I have been attempting to learn new skills – new tunes on the ukulele and also accents to further my acting career that have been helping me from going insane whilst recovering from major surgery. Okay, so maybe it’s not ‘nothing’, maybe I am doing ‘things’; it’s just a case of allowing myself to do them without feeling guilty.

If I’m honest, I’ve always been a lass with the incapability to sit and just ‘be.’ To allow myself to sit and physically not move much. Or to eat as some might describe as ‘normally.’ It’s in this whole ‘recovery process’ that self-care and acceptance is hugely key. I have to learn to allow myself to ‘sit’ and equally not feel ‘bad’ about doing so. To allow myself to take in the beauty of the earth just like I see it, right now, in front of my two eyes and to then believe that I DO actually deserve this – with or without cancer being a part of my life! To invest truly in the belief that the world is as equally beautiful and that it is able to offer me opportunities that may potentially open up into more beauty and love in the world.

So, I sit. On my little grubby wooden pallet in the field next to Reubs who is planting new trees and I watch the dogs. I listen to the seagulls, the splashing of their four feet, the shouting of their owners and I giggle at how naughty some of them are being. I take in the energy and warmth from the sun which is a nice relief to that of the crisp air and I allow myself to feel the beauty. I allow myself to accept that I AM entitled to feel every single, wonderful feeling that I encounter momentarily in my heart and that this, all of this, really is REAL!

LMFC

XxX

Soft lips and John Smiths…

Soft lips and John Smiths…

I often wonder what sort of a life a person or human ‘think’ they deserve. What they feel they deserve….or what their life even is and if it’s enough to fulfil their own ‘want’ or ‘need.’

It was today when going on a rather long and brisk walk around my new ‘back garden’ that I realised just what my life is as of now and what I thought I needed. What I maybe assumed I needed anyway and just how different the two were.

I stood there. I stood there and I took in the remarkable view. The colours, the sea, the sound of seagulls, the heat from my breath and sharpness of the wind and I breathed. It hit my chest hard but brought me back to the now of living in the moment. Seeing the world as it is and admiring just how beautiful and brilliant the world around me really was….is. There’s a part of me that feels a little amount of anxiety, the ‘am I actually allowed to feel this good?’ and the ‘is this view actually in front of my eyes?’ It comes to the front of my mind and I realise that I am. I try and separate the ’emotional mind’ from the ‘reasonable mind’ into that of the ‘wise.’ I try and allow myself to just ‘be’ and take it all  in. The main part of this process to begin to love myself and the world around me without doubt and fear.

It was a six hour trip (nearly) yesterday that took myself to this destination. The destination that Uzo the Merc Sprinter triumphed in! On arrival the overwhelming fear of ‘what the f**k is this place?’ and the ‘am I going to die?’ To the settled belief that actually what was in front of my eyes was real, that people did come to stay here and have their little holidays on the coast from time to time and that the amount of information given was actually true and real. That all of this was not actually some falsified vision and that sometimes to ‘land on your feet’ is just what happens!

It was then. At this point that the ‘settling’ began. The calm arrived. The hope began to appear slightly and the worry fade ever so gently. It was a conversation just the day before with my mother about fear for all things new that pushed me to not give into the anxiety around this journey. The constant ‘I will do this’ and ‘I won’t give in to what people think I’ll do.’ I guess a certain amount of stubbornness. As ever, illness has been an ever present part of my little journey so far. To not bring it with me in the van and so far away from home as part of my ‘safety blanket’ was and is ever so alien. Scary. I worry that I might get sick whilst away then realise it’s an irrational worry that might always be there somewhere once hitting remission. I then do the ‘get your shit together Soph, you’re fine and well and not poorly at all. Even the tonsillitis and infection is lifting and for that….be grateful!’ Nothing more than grateful. It’s so easy to forget these simple things…the ability to feel well. To be well. To take the simple and basic things in life for what they are. Just ‘life.’ To not fear them or worry and to grab them in our arms through to our souls, hearts and embrace them.

For this. For today I thank the world. I sit. I appreciate some more and I look forward to the little things. The homemade lip balm on my lips. The bitter John Smiths. The cooking that is about to come of foods that I would never have allowed into my body before. The simple. The little. The love. The hope. The wonder. The world that is actually my life and I remain excited about the unknown. The tomorrow that will be!

LMFC ❤ XxX

How are you starting your new year Soph?

How are you starting your new year Soph?

So, 2017 has gone, we’ve waved goodbye to the good and bad of the last year, realised that it’s 2018! It’s a new one folks and yes, for myself a VERY newly resorted and hopefully healed Soph! With this comes my travel blog that raises it’s face a little less than my others and also with a nifty new Instagram account alongside it (LMFC.Recovers) My next round of posts follow on after my Hong Kong and ‘Hate Crime’ adventures, which was a long while back – yes but yet, this time round we are once again on another positive adventure (that admittedly makes me feel a little outside my comfort zone with a certain amount of anxiety, yet also a huge amount of excitement and optimism!)

This time, my blog will be of my travels as were my last little posts (alongside the Vlogging I did.) Only this time, the focus is on eating disorder recovery – cooking new meals and taking care of my body healthily and full of self-love discovery whilst on the road. It follows me and my little self on the rusty roads down to Dorset which will cover (at least) the next two months in a beautifully restored bright yellow Mercedes Sprinter (completed by an absolute gem) and living what some might know as ‘the van life.’ In this time away from the world, I shall be finishing my book, totally absorbing myself into everything creative, working on self-love and most importantly finishing my recovery! I will quite possibly be ‘off-the-grid’, you will more than likely see very little of me but I’ll be existing and posting the best I can. I’ll be ready. SO ready to take on this adventure and live life finally for me, figuring out what life really is supposed to be about free; away from a mind absorbed with post-traumatic stress, mental health issues and hard-ass illness for a while…hopefully to see me into the rest of my life. I will learn how be healthy. How to live healthy. Properly healthy and most importantly; my main aim. My main goal in life that I am still yet to live and feel…the ability to be truly, truly….HAPPY! ❤ xx

 

A letter of hope to the world….

A letter of hope to the world….

Dear world,

I wanted to write you a letter to speak openly of how I’m feeling about you and how this last year has seemed for the many of us. A letter of hope really to people out there who maybe feel like life isn’t worth living, to the masses who need everyday support – some days more than most, people who have had bad news – grief, loss, hurt and deep set damage; physically and mentally…people like myself who feel like they’ve been beaten from pillar to post from incredible amounts of trauma and unfortunate circumstance.

This year; 2016 has been incredibly difficult to say the least for the majority. One that has been full of death…loss for those extremely close to me and those that bit further, some particular strangers known by names. A year of extreme violence and political harm and hatred. A year of segregation and deprivation, anger and hurt. A mix of negativity and emotional struggle for many a human living on this planet.

I ask the question world – is this what we have to live with? Is this negativity what we’re supposed to focus on and keep dwelling on to carry on mentally tying so many people down? Are we not allowed hope? Positivity? Happiness? I am well aware that a lot of these circumstances are both in and out of our control as humans living on this earth. I’m equally aware that a lot of the time, we cannot really change other people’s lives either or the way in which society is conformed but what I do know is that every single person on this planet has the incredible ability to love.

I am one single human on this planet who has felt like you world have tested her. In fact more than the most. My year began by continuing to be incredibly ill with both cancer and anorexia combined, I then got raped before January was even over and then the year continued to present me with further struggles splitting what could have potentially been a great future relationship from no fault of any parties just confusion and mental trauma, authorities who didn’t look after me when they should have resulting in more trauma to then feeling like there was no way out and becoming mentally unwell, to more recently with further medical and legal struggles….tipping me over the edge once again not wanting to continue life at all. World, I am one single human on this planet who has had an absolute shit load to go through in the space of twelve months and yes, yes right now world I feel angry, bitter at you! I feel sorry for myself and utterly at my end but I am not willing to have you, this negativity or this upset pull other people to this point EVER.

This is where my letter World defers a little to those reading into our personal chat… This is where I address this part of my letter to the many on this planet who are struggling, continue to struggle and need that support and understanding. To those reading this, hello! You don’t need to know my name if you’re reading this without knowing who I am but what I do ask is that you please read and listen to what I have got to say. For those who don’t know my story, what I’ve been through and what my life has entailed, I’d like to think they’d know no different. This year, when focusing on all of the negatives seem like it has been the worst for sure, as I’m sure may be the same for the many of you! But I ask you now to please, read and listen.

Firstly, I’d like to reassure you that things WILL get better. No matter how terribly horrible they seem right now, whether I make it through this next week, weeks, year or few years, I can promise you that they will because they simply have to. I also ask that you trust me when I tell you that nobody can change that, nobody but YOU! I share my negative year with the fact that I can equally counteract it with my positives. My year has been awfully horrendous yes but that doesn’t mean I haven’t had some amazing things happen as well. I have indeed had some incredible acting jobs and begun to work again, I have travelled to see one of my closest over in Hong Kong, I got approached to publish my book, I have helped hundreds of young people and performed to even more. I have made new friends, gained trust and friendships with some stunning people and met even more amazing humans from the traumas whilst by some miracle raising the £4,000 for me to be able to look into and begin the process of freezing my eggs to one day have a family. I also realise that no matter how bad things are, no matter how bad they seem or how ‘on your own’ you feel….you are NEVER EVER alone!

It would be so easy, in fact it is so easy to forget these positives when you’re at your lowest point I get that believe me. When time and time again this ‘world’ kicks you mentally and physically in the face. When you loose the people closest and things that mean everything to you but may I ask you something? Can you for just one second stop and look around at the beauty. Look at the smallest thing….that weird mark on the wall that if you look close enough is a shape of something you recognise, the fact that the feather, dust or bit of a dandelion is falling slowly, possibly in time to the song in your head. The wind, rain or sun on your face. The feeling of warmth falling down your cheeks from your eyes. Yes – even in tears there is beauty! The beauty that you’re able to feel, the fact that you can cry if you need to and that there is always someone willing to grab you, hold you and tell you that everything will be okay. The capability to speak and communicate in some way – whether that be speaking, blinking, looking, the vibration of a shake, the silent swallow or glazed glimpse in the ever so tired eye. Someone, somewhere and in some way WILL understand. I promise.

So world, I’m talking to you now and asking for us both. Can we please begin by injecting more beauty and love into the world? More kindness to each other? More consideration and understanding in that we all make mistakes, we all hurt people when we don’t mean to, we all aren’t perfect but can try to make you, us all, each other a little bit better? A little bit nicer? A little bit more tolerable for the many? It’s fact World, that all us humans living on you have negatives and positives to live through…good and bad but can I ask you….can you please help to make these; no matter how hard, just that little bit more beautiful?

XxX