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

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

HATE CRIME AWARENESS WEEK!

HATE CRIME AWARENESS WEEK!

So, what’s this all about and what is it you’re all actually doing?

We are Kieran, Sophie, Jemima and Margot….four actors currently touring  AlterEgo Theatre Company’s new show, ‘Feel the Hate.’ The play is the fictional retelling of four different characters, deriving from a collaboration of verbatim narrative (taken from true stories of residents within the Cumbria area.) Ania – a sixteen year old Polish female, Susanna – a sixteen year old English girl who has converted to Islam, Joe – A sixteen year old homosexual male and Kim – also sixteen with MD (Muscular Dystrophy.)

It was at the beginning of 2016 when the company brought the script (in its early stages) up to Cumbria for a bit of a read. Between four actors, the director and police we had a session to scope where it was going and if there was any other relevant stories we could include that were issues up this end of the country that maybe we hadn’t touched upon. After discussing with Cumbria Police, they gave significant feedback and after a few tweaks and additions have stuck by the company resulting in the ‘go ahead’ and then commissioning us to make this project come alive and our tour possible!

In addition to this fantastic project, it just so happens that National Hate Crime Awareness Week (October 8-15th)  falls during this time (on our third week of touring) and we’re feeling pretty darn passionate about not only the show but a lot of stories within the media that are extremely relative and linking to the post show talk at the end!

‘ Hate Crime is any incident which may or may not be a crime that anyone perceives to be motivated by hostility or prejudice towards any aspect of a person’s identity. This covers race, identified gender, disability, ethnicity or sexuality.’

Over our last two weeks, we shall be blogging and writing away with the aim to support and get the word out about the project we are doing. There will be specific facts, figures, personal and impersonal features included surrounding the topics within the show. Each day you will get introduced to one of the four characters individually and their stories within the play – Ania, Kim, Joe and Susanna . It will be an insight into where their stories originally came from, what it feels like to play the characters as actors and what surprises, shocks and new found information has come about from delivering and performing the show and post show talk across Cumbria.

Next week, we’ll hopefully have posts from other key figures who have been part of the team – The writer / director, people who have supported and commissioned this wonderful project and hopefully some of our audience members!

Keep up to date, keep informed and in the words of Ania Berlinski:

‘Don’t stand for it. Don’t allow it.

Thankyou.’

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! 🙂