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

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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

Tour, titivation and tangled oppressive motiv…

Tour, titivation and tangled oppressive motiv…

So it is week three of a five week tour (including rehearsals) and I am among a group of strangers performing to thousands of young people and professionals with a devised show surrounding Hate Crime.

It’s during the times of research and with having the ability to spend the time looking into the Cumbria area that my,our, the company’s eyes really begin to open and see reality of such horrendous events.  The types of hate crime and segregate discontent amongst humans is beyond belief, the lack of knowledge and education in people around the world is incredibly vast and so very varied. It is in the Cumbria area, as we present verbatim pieces of language…stories, people’s lives that the horror of such violence, abuse, incredulous activity and actions come alive in physical form. It has been in some of the most under privileged schools where most questions have come about, the truthful nature of such British extreme groups and people among these ever so closed minded communities really comes out in the open.

It’s standard that when processing, rehearsing and especially starting on a new show that opinions and idealistic voices come out as to what and how much we believe to be true and commonly existent in our lives. The lives of our families, friends and those of strangers fed by our media; which is indeed a big point within our show. Especially surrounding the portrayal of Isis Vs Muslims. I have not really given myself the opportunity to debate as such, nor express certain things when speaking with others in order to simply ‘get out’  how I feel and the frustrations of the political and diabolical atmosphere around us all in this country…well, the world really. The horrendous decisions, lack of and horrifically terrifying laws and rules that new politicians shockingly believe to be a sound reality of living in ‘peace.’ The feedback at the end of this show will be somewhat exceptional, somewhat enormous I am sure and over these next two weeks I, we, us as a company will continue to take notes, give young people a voice and educate the generation before us about just how important making a difference and speaking out in this world really is……We continue! 🙂

 

 

Day seven to eleven – hope in the goodbyes.

Day seven to eleven – hope in the goodbyes.

What this place has taught me is that life really can be beautiful! Spirituality and love in life really do exist and that happiness can indeed be found in all sorts of places and settings. It’s funny how when you don’t really know how or what to think about something then it’s easy to immediately jump to the fear aspect and quintessential point that everything seems scary and somewhat unnerving. Reality is that it’s not – at all! In fact, far from and hugely removed from such thoughts.

I’m currently in transit from Bangkok to Amman and I can honestly say that I am unsure as to how I’m really feeling about going back in the return directions instead of the other. Especially given right now, the referendum vote is occurring and let’s just say it’s really not looking great.  It’s definitely not the same as when I left and that’s only in eleven days! You come so far along, learn to get excited for the ‘next’ and then it hits harder on return. If I’m totally honest, I think that the fact that I am unsure as to what may occur next seems to be the problem. However, I catch myself each time mid-thinking and remind myself that I actually do not now what may occur and that’s okay. To be here, alive for me is a miracle, therefore what’s to say that here on will not be another magnificent beauty of an adventure.

I realise every time that I travel somewhere new, just how much I want to go and see new places even more. The culture, life, way of living and the unique mannerisms that belong to each country, city or town. Each time I visit another, a part of my heart gets captured, completely encapsulated – engulfed by the distinct qualities of the humans I encounter, moments that I experience – sights, sounds and smells. Those moments when it hits you, maybe more so me of just how lucky I am to be living, let alone with the ability to touch, feel, smell and absorb such incredible beauty in another part of the world we live.

I do not and shall not ever understand those who say that they do not want to travel or see the world – to just stay in one place and not open themselves up to others. I’m not saying that every country is for everyone, not at all. What I will stick by though is that people do not know until they try! I know for a fact that I have been both pleasantly surprised and equally not so, with the  most unexpected of places. Again – you don’t know until you go and see! Don’t really have any evidence to place any sort of ‘factually based’ thoughts on anything or anyone as such unless you really do go and put yourselves in their shoes. I genuinally have this theory that a lot of this arrogance and ‘unwillingness’ to go and see other cultures and values is due to fear. The thing that drives all irrational. Since these last six months, I have been one of the most exceptionally anxious and nervous of people but I am thankfully so self-aware from experiencing what I have, that I know what to do in order to help myself. I did it, rather than shying away and hoping things would just mend themselves.

Reality is that I still have a long way to go till my medical and physical restrictions are answered. I have a long way till the bad is somehow closed and resolved. I definitely still have a while till my growth and finalised decisions of whether I will one day be able to be a mother is answered. Right now, I reassess. Having time away in some place else is somewhat more idyllic in a new environment removed from such closed opinions and detrimental circles of life choices and options leading to obscene opinions.

Positives!

I ask myself. Question. If I am not a mother biologically by no choice of my own, is this the end of the world? If I’m in recovery and that bit heavier, happy then is this really such a terrible thing? If I don’t feel comfortable in one place and need to travel, what the heck is wrong with that?! If I start looking out for myself instead of purposely regarding others continually before my own needs, does this really make me a bad person? No, no and another two ‘no’s,’ Am I actually alright being me and true to myself? Am I doing right in putting my all into living my life the way want – pursuing acting, writing and helping others? Making sure happiness comes first! Am I making the right decision to make myself the healthiest I can be? Will my life be easier the more I focus on these things? Yes, yes and another two ‘yes’.’

The fact, the truest quote and thing that will always be the way I live my life is that ‘life is for living!’ When you have faced mortality right in the chops so much in your life – for me fourteen, eighteen, twenty three, five and then twenty six, well I can tell you that is most definitely five times more than wanted with the added affirmation that I really should be here! I feel like a cat only I don’t wish to risk it anymore to the nine lives. Maybe I’ll stick with the Asian theory and be true to my Chinese birth year and be the horse with five lives instead. Follow the Buddhist theory of focusing on the now and continually look for the beauty and peace in whatever part of the world I’m in, person I come in contact with and experience I  encounter. Life really is beautiful – so I’ll end just with one last request. To all, I tell you, ask you and request that you please just live your life, observe the beauty – experience it, embrace it and look beyond the bad, the ugly and the damn silly idealisms of certain figures within our society. We are all human, we are all the same….we are all the people that make up this beautiful world!

X

 

Day 2: Mon Mo temple, Nan Lain Gardens with a little bit of Chi-lin nunnery

Day 2: Mon Mo temple, Nan Lain Gardens with a little bit of Chi-lin nunnery

I can’t quite take in the beauty of this place. The gardens are completely stunning! The contrast of beautiful nature vs that of vast skyscrapers is beyond belief. The echoing of soothing music around is pure bliss as the pottering takes place and I feel a sense of amazement and calmness. I am more than glad that I took the step to go that much further because this really is quite amazing! I’ve talked and spoken in various gambled phrases to the ladies in the glass exhibition, the gentleman at the timber place and can’t quite believe how kind and wonderfully friendly everyone is. It’s fresh, new and just….truly beautiful!

…It was when I came to the building after my walk around Nan Lain gardens to Chi-lin Nunnery that my mind was officially blown. It was the moment my heart; feelings turned from amber to green, ‘okay’ to great! Walking through, there were three women praying and a single gentleman who took his ever so rounded specs off each time and smiled after every worshiping point. I’ve always had this obsession with Asian culture. In fact, I used to make scrap book upon scrap book of projects, pictures and research into Japan, China, Buddhism and the temples, always being drawn to this form of spirituality, calm and peaceful way of living. Just perfect. I’m not religious but if I were and the more I look at the descriptions of what each Buddha stands for, the more I realise that I could quite easily fall into the Buddhist way of living an thinking. The tranquil stillness and intricate yet simple way of being in the ‘now.’ It’s pretty much all of what I am practicing right now. Taking note of the present, not forward or back…just now – giving, loving and listening.

Once back, I finish speaking to my partner and realise that I’ve actually spoken to him much more than usual by being away – is this that weird thing of ‘distance makes the heart grow fonder?’ It’s always been a case of ‘I’ll run away into the distance and forget’ before. It’s as I sit in the bar opposite the MTR station waiting for my good friend Garreth to return from work, that I realise how at home I feel and it’s only my second day – mental! I realise that I have been beyond brave in simply going at these new found adventures alone, not relying on a single soul and haven’t felt half the anxieties that I feel in my hometown. I feel like I belong. That I am part of this ever-so different culture and not judged for how I dress, look, act or behave at all; simply appreciated for who I am and for the fact my single smile projects so many positive energies to other people in this busy city and I feel it too. This is from me, only me.

I’ve always found it funny really how life has presented itself to me when I feel ‘green’ – projecting only the good out and want nothing more back or in return. Opportunity, love, hope and new found gateways come at once. Today, people gave back with that return of a single smile or nod, tonight – an offer of home tuition in Beijing from the single interaction with a little boy and his mother and just now – the over-the-top thanks at my offer of a lighter – again, with no more than this new found kindness in the form of an offer of a cigarette, a beautiful conversation and a new friend who is staying in the same place. It’s days like today that restores my faith in humanity. You see the beauty. Not the hatred, the violence, the judgmental or the absolute utter inhumane acts of terrorism of inequality and utter disgrace to other human beings. It’s on days like today that I realise how easy it is to find peace if you go out only giving and not expecting anything from the world or anyone else. If you give your all to others; love, laugh and smile like another despite the differences in culture and communication the feelings have no words. It’s on days like today that I realise what it’s like to live feeling nothing but happiness and contentment. It on days like today, Tuesday 14th June 2016 that I realise that EVERYONE – no matter who they are, has the ability to make their life something bigger, something better and something that makes them exceptionally proud from simply being themselves.

LMFC ❤