It has been exceedingly busy here at ‘D.E. Kendall HQ’ over the last few months!
However, this post isn’t about a general update (hoping to write an update sometime in the next month), it is to celebrate the (FINAL) new editions of Larry and Animals’ Guide to the Human Race being republished 🙂
The road to this point has been exceedingly long and winding, so it’s an enormous relief that two of my original books are finally finished…
So, I started writing Larry when I was 15 years old, and it has seen several versions in various states of quality/readability to reach its current edition – and I am delighted to have completed the journey, at long last! While I realise my perfectionism may not ever allow me to feel 100% proud of my work, because – as with every aspect of my life – I always perceive facets of myself through a highly critical lens (though I wish I didn’t!), I hope I have done the adaptation of Larry’s story justice.
After a close call with a vanity publisher in 2014-2015, Larry has been self-published, traditionally published, and has now been self-published once again for the final time. I’m tempted to craft a more in-depth blog post in future, to write about each phase Larry has endured to get here – please let me know if that’s something you’d be interested in reading 🙂
For now, if Larry can inspire even one person to treat animals with more kindness and compassion, 15 years of hard work will have been worthwhile. There has been a considerable amount of research and editorial work poured into Larry, and I hope you’ll gain something positive from reading it…
Larry: A Rescue Pony’s Story
by D.E. Kendall
This third edition of Animals’ Guide to the Human Race has been completely transformed from its previous editions, thanks to my improved writing and editorial skills owing to four years of a creative writing degree and over two years of ghostwriting experience. Therefore, I hope Animals’ Guide will provide readers with some much-needed positivity, in a world obsessed with everything that’s wrong instead of celebrating the little joys in life. For those of you who are familiar with Animals’ Guide, please rest assured that this version is almost unrecognisable from previous editions; it’s actually readable now (I hope)!
The purpose for Animals’ Guide is to be read in small snippets as opposed to being read cover to cover as a novel. Therefore, Animals’ Guide has been designed to inspire positivity and laughter, no-matter where you are or whatever’s happening in your life – I hope Animals’ Guide becomes a form of comfort to readers, somewhere nice to turn when life gets overwhelming. Also, previous editions of Animals’ Guide have proven especially popular for those who don’t have the time to dedicate to reading, so it would be amazing if it appeals to an even wider audience moving forwards 🙂
Please let me know what you think of Animals’ Guide to the Human Race – I’d love to know that it has made you laugh and/or brightened your day by even a teeny tiny amount…
Why the ‘Eira Diaries’? Not only does the title sound poetic, but both words contain ‘Eira’ – which, I think, earns extra ‘writer points’ 😉
This series of blog posts will feature not only my beautiful pony, Eira, but also our family’s handsome horse, Tân, and, from time to time, my sister’s gorgeous horse, Kara.
The reason I’ve decided to create a blog post series is to document the journey Eira and I are taking to get fitter and healthier, after many years of struggling to get moving with our adventures.
Throughout this series, I hope to include stories of both mine and Eira’s past experiences, alongside the tales of our – inevitably winding – road to fitness. I also hope to include some useful product reviews 🙂
So, this first post of the series will focus on the beautiful pony herself…
I rescued Eira when she was 11 months old, in the summer of 2013. Destined for the meat market, Eira was bought at auction by landowners who were inexperienced in caring for horses, but longed to save horses from slaughter. Eira was turned out in a huge field with countless other horses who had been rescued from various auctions. The people who’d bought Eira thought it was a great idea to leave the mismatch herd of horses and ponies (from huge cobs to teeny tiny miniature Shetlands) fight over crates of bananas left in their field!
Perhaps naively, I purchased Eira without being able to get anywhere near her. There were several horses and ponies available to choose from, though even from a distance, I fell in love with Eira’s scruffy chestnut foal coat and near-white flaxen mane. The next day, it took us hours to get her into a trailer. When we arrived at her new, temporary home, she was so terrified of us that she hid in the corner and trembled whenever we tried to approach her.
It only took a couple of days for Eira to realise that we weren’t going to hurt her, and, once she’d learned how to eat from a bucket, she decided she was happy to let us near – after all, someone who feeds you three times a day can’t be that bad, right?
By the end of her first week with me, I’d managed to remove the scraggly foal coat still clinging on since winter (it was June), and I couldn’t believe how beautiful my new pony was underneath all that grime and dust!
I chose the name ‘Eirawen’ for her because it means ‘snow white’ in Welsh, and at the time her mane and tail were so bright they looked almost white. Plus, it was clear from the get-go that Eirawen believed she was a princess, so the name suited her. It didn’t take long for her name to be shortened to ‘Eira’ – the name ‘Eirawen’ only resurfaces when she’s acting like a diva, or decides to stand on my foot.
Prior to Eira’s first vet visit, it was obvious she had conformational issues. As the years have passed, she’s developed a plethora of health problems that have meant her insurance costs are ridiculously expensive (#cry). Aside from having wonky legs that require specialist front shoes, Eira has very sensitive skin that turns into sweet itch over the summer, she had laminitis around 4 years ago so is now prone to that, she has cysts on her ovaries, a few small sarcoids, dodgy teeth that require 6-monthly check-ups, a flat back that makes it really challenging to find saddles to fit her, and she can’t seem to keep more than half of her mane at any given time. (Oh, and she likes to sit down in the field, like a dog!) So, all things considered, she looks pretty darn good for a pony with all those issues, if I do say so myself 🙂
Eira has a naughty streak and can be stubborn when she wants to be – she also loves a buck when asked to canter, whether under saddle or on the lunge, which I’ve learned has nothing to do with discomfort or imbalance and everything to do with overexcitement. For all her cheekiness, Eira is the most gentle pony – no more so than when she’s with my niece, whom Eira adores. Of our family’s horses, Eira is the one we introduce visitors to, because she’s the only one who can be trusted not to accidentally headbutt, nip, or squish them! We may not be flying around show-jumping courses or dazzling in the dressage arena, though I am incredibly proud to have produced such a kind, willing – if a little stubborn at times – pony whose fate could’ve been totally different if I hadn’t taken that leap of faith 9 years ago…
Due to a hand injury 7 years ago (that still isn’t better 3 surgeries later) and having such a hectic life since Eira was old enough to ride, my poor girl is still extremely green under saddle – through no fault of her own. My parents and sister help take care of Eira when I’m unable to due to my ridiculously long work hours and when my hand is too painful to move, for which I am eternally grateful.
I wish I could wave a magic wand to fix her health issues, fix my hand, and add a few extra hours into every day, but for now, we’ll just have to settle for trying our best under our given circumstances.
I’ve ordered a saddle for Eira that should be arriving tomorrow, so *fingers crossed* it fits because it’d be fab to finally return to ridden work after a month-and-a-half of lunging!
Anyways, I hope you’ll look forward to the next instalment of the Eira Diaries 🙂
So, I’ve reached the big ‘three-ohh’ :O And I felt it pertinent that I share with you those invaluable pearls of wisdom I wish I’d been privy to before turning 30…
First, however, I’ll just say that my 30th birthday was made so special by loved ones – for which I am eternally grateful! Not only have I received the loveliest birthday wishes, cards, and gifts, but I have been reminded how very fortunate I am to be loved by so many wonderful people (and animals!) – I cannot thank the universe enough 🙂
Here are a few photos from yesterday, when I: ate a marvellous chocolate cupcake for breakfast (because, you know, I’m officially an adult now, so I’m allowed to do that sort of thing); walked through an autumnal landscape on the cusp of transformation with my lovely dog; spent some rare quality time writing for my own literary projects; rode my beautiful pony for the first time in forever, and didn’t fall off when she bucked into canter (#winning); went for a deliciously indulgent meal with my wonderful fiancé, during which time I polished off an entire glass of wine (those who know me know it usually takes me so long to get through an alcoholic beverage, that I rarely have time to finish them!) – then almost fell over on the walk home… 😛
Anyways, to the task at hand…
Please note: these ‘life lessons’ are not in order of importance, though I hope at least one of them will be of value to you 🙂
1.) Love is a life force – never take it for granted.
Whatever form love takes – whether from family, friends, your romantic partner, or your dog – cherish it. I am incredibly fortunate to never have known life without love, though after some pretty devastating experiences in my 30 years on this planet, I have come to realise that love is enough to keep you going when times are tough, and it should never be taken for granted. Tell the ones you love how infinitely you love them every day, make time to spend with the people (and animals) who let you know how important you are to them, and be thankful; you never know what’s lurking just around the corner.
2.) Trust your instincts.
I don’t mean fleeting thoughts or impulsive feelings, I’m referring to those innate, soulful vibes that indicate from somewhere, deep down, whether or not a situation is right. Trusting your instincts requires a significant amount of soul searching, and it doesn’t always lead to pleasing those around you. I’ve made the dreadful mistake of failing to trust my instincts, of ignoring the indicators that something wasn’t quite right, and landing in situations that have not only cost me my sanity, but my sense of self-worth, too.
It can take years to escape a situation if you’re tricked into believing it’s as life is supposed to be, or that your happiness is worth less than the acceptance of people surrounding you at the time. This is your sign to respect the gift nature has bestowed upon you through your instincts – from my own experiences I can tell you wholeheartedly that if something doesn’t feel right, it isn’t.
Likewise, listening to that inner voice can lead to true contentment, if you let it. Sometimes, the right path is not the path forced upon us. Trusting your instincts can be difficult, and can make you feel a cacophony of mixed emotions, but, ultimately, there’ll come a day you sit back and realise that trusting yourself was the best thing you’ve ever done.
3.) Kindness is key – in moderation.
Generations of my family have been documented as having lost everything in pursuit of kindness. I’ve been taught to sacrifice consideration of myself in favour of caring for others. Kindness has brought me so much joy, but it has also led to mistreatment and disrespect.
I implore everyone to treat others with kindness; you never know what someone else is going through. Kindness keeps the world turning, and saves lives every second of every day. However, showering people with kindness, respect, and affection does not necessarily guarantee that you will enjoy such treatment in return. Every aspect of my being has been taken advantage of in the past, which is the reason I recommend that it’s vital to be kind -though it is just as essential to be cautious of whom you help, and how.
4.) Perfection is subjective.
I have wasted countless hours of my life comparing myself to others, worrying about how others perceive me, and fussing over my appearance – yet yielding no confidence as a result.
Life is precious. It may sound cliché, but every moment truly is a gift – yet it’s easy to forget that our bodies are a gift, too. Alright, sometimes our bodies don’t work the way we want them to (I lived with recurring bouts of tonsillitis for 16 years before having my tonsils removed, a hand injury changed the course of my life drastically, my skin is super sensitive so often looks blemished, and suffering with emetophobia can wreak havoc on my perception of my body), but the fact we’re able to continue living despite physical challenges proves just how incredibly resilient we are – and that deserves to be celebrated!
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, yet perfectionism steals that acknowledgement from us when we perceive ourselves as anything less than perfection. But do you know what? You are perfect. At this very moment, you are perfect, just as you are. Your unique experiences tell a story through your body, so comparing your story to someone else’s is utterly futile.
Please don’t waste a minute that could be spent feeling good about yourself on making yourself feel unworthy. I admit, I still have some body image issues to overcome, though with the incredible support system surrounding me – in conjunction with a lot of effort on my behalf to change how I see myself – I’m improving every day; so can you.
All the issues I possess surrounding my appearance, alongside my lack of body confidence, stem from various sources – such as being bullied in school, being cheated on, being subject to sexual/coercive abuse, and years of bombardment of photoshopped/heavily edited imagery through all media/social media outlets designed to instil self-loathing that funds the conglomerate gluttony of the ‘beauty’ industry which eats away at our sense of self-worth. My point is, there are so many reasons to feel bad about ourselves and to put ourselves down, but at the end of the day, there are infinitely more reasons to feel good about ourselves; a primary one being that perfection is unattainable. Why are we wasting our time and energy in pursuit of a state that doesn’t actually exist?
Each of us has a unique vision of what we believe perfection is. The only aspect of your life stopping you from being perfect, from feeling perfect, is you.
Practice plenty of self-love, take care of your body and nurture your mind – it helps.
And even if you never feel perfect yourself, I promise there is someone out there who truly knows you to fit their perception of perfection 🙂
5.) Talking is tonic – and animals are the best counsellors!
Communicating your deepest, darkest fears can feel intimidating – not least because we’ve been conditioned to believe that vulnerability equals weakness. As someone who spent years hiding away from the reality of a situation, and failing to tell anyone what I was suffering, I am in a qualified position to say that talking is vital – not only for maintaining your mental health, but in many ways for the good of your physical health, too.
The toll of secrecy devours your soul until there’s not much of yourself left to salvage. Fear held me captive for such a long time that I almost had no route for escape.
If you are going through something, whether it feels harrowing or humdrum, talking about it to a trusted loved one – or even to a professional listener, such as a psychologist or GP – can make all the difference in strengthening your resolve to endure it.
There are sooo many services out there you can reach out to for help, support, and advice; please don’t ever feel weak for talking about your worries – instead, realise just how strong you are for having the courage to share.
I cannot stress enough how wonderful animals are in any healing process. By sharing your innermost concerns, memories, and regrets with a listener whose judgement will never be anything but positive, you’ll feel far better. So, whether it’s a cwtch with a cat, adventuring with a dog, chatting to a budgerigar, or exploring glorious countryside with a horse, connecting with animals can provide a purpose beyond ourselves that can help us realise that there’s incredible beauty to be discovered in every realm of life, if we just learn to let go of our self-limiting inhibitions.
I’m always apologising for being busy, though this time, I’m not going to. Instead, I’m going to include a brief (well, brief in terms of my writing) update along with my hope that all is going wonderfully well in your life – if it isn’t, please know you are not alone 🙂
So, I finally completed my Stage 2 modules as I study for BA(Hons) English Literature & Creative Writing with the Open University. Due to my ridiculously heavy workload, I initially intended to complete one module at a time for the final Stage 3 section of my degree, though I’ve given deep thought into what I’d like to achieve, and have had endless discussions with my loved ones about my terrible attempts to forge a work-life balance – I’ve come to the conclusion that if I am to relieve pressure long term, I’m going to follow their advice and study full time from Sept/Oct this year, so I’ll have less pressure on my time as of June/July 2022. That means I’m going to take a small step back from taking on new ghostwriting clients with lengthy projects – if you’re a prospective client with a lengthy project, I apologise! But I have to focus on improving the quality of my assignment scores, since I achieved 80%-95% for Stage 1 modules (though I did complete them part time, around part time employment) and only 65%-75% for Stage 2 modules (completed around self-employment; the hours for which I spend working I dread to count!). I am still accepting smaller projects, such as blog posts, website content, articles, and short stories 🙂
I am not at liberty to discuss any aspect of ghostwriting projects – as I sign confidentiality agreements for every project – though I can let you know that business has been incredibly busy, for which I am exceedingly thankful! Unfortunately, I did experience my first (and hopefully last) setback in my ghostwriting endeavours, when a client failed to pay the final fee for their project; they disappeared the day after I sent them the final document. I admit that my trust in the basic, moral goodness of human nature was tested, and though I have chalked it up to being a valuable lesson learned, it was also the catalyst for my decision to pursue the completion of my degree full time as I reassessed what I’d like to achieve through ghostwriting. It saddens me that despite my best efforts to help people and make a difference for the better, someone could be so thoughtless as to waste my valuable time and effort – especially since I’d turned down other projects to help the client, as there was a tight deadline and I was told the project meant a lot to them. So, I have decided to focus on completing my degree, and whilst I will continue ghostwriting and proofreading, I am only going to take on projects I know I’ll enjoy, as I am going to spend more time on my own writing whilst I pursue a primary school teaching career (unless, in the meantime, I manage to emulate a fraction of J.K. Rowling’s success with my own novels, enabling me to write for myself full time; which is highly unlikely!).
I have always been driven to make a difference for the better, something I have strived to do through ghostwriting and proofreading – for instance, I’ve taken on many projects free of charge for charitable organisations, alongside my busy work schedule – though have found that my love of writing has been tested on occasion when I’ve had to work 14-hour days while struggling to juggle everything going on in my hectic schedule. Enduring a miscarriage – as well as suffering with my mental health as a result of the constant stress caused by the struggle against the rising pressure of everything – has taught me that life is too short not to do what I love for a living. Whilst I love writing – and have earned more money through ghostwriting than any other job I’ve ever had – I cannot sustain the level of work I have been. I’m not making as much of a difference for the better as I intended through the type of ghostwriting work I do. Although I am going to continue working for several of my fantastic clients, for whom I provide ghostwriting projects regularly, I will be dedicating more of my time to achieving success with my own writing (since I’m able to do so for my clients, I may as well try writing bestselling pieces formyself too!), and I am going to work towards becoming a primary school teacher; following in the footsteps of many amazing female relatives before me, primary school teaching is a career I expect to be as challenging as it is creative, but will allow me steady, structured working hours and the ability to work as part of a team and ‘switch off’ at the end of the day (instead of being immersed in my solitary work 24/7) – enabling me to make the most of my life, whilst still making a positive difference to many young people’s lives 🙂
Moving on from my career aspirations, I created a special book for my niece (whom I hadn’t seen for a year due to pandemic lockdown restrictions) for her 5th birthday. She’s going through a tough time with her health, so I felt it would cheer her up to have a book created specially for her 🙂 Whilst I still have a lot to learn in terms of illustration and typesetting a fully-illustrated document, I thoroughly enjoyed working on Evelyn-Rose’s book around my crazy work/uni/life schedule; it helped me channel stressful energy into something positive. In case you’d like to view it for yourself, the link to the listing for “Evelyn-Rose’s Magical Adventure” is here.
Something I’d been debating for many years was getting a second tattoo. My first experience was traumatic, to say the least, so I’ve spent years researching and pondering whether the benefits outweigh the risks. Though I am pleased to say that I did go ahead with getting a tattoo, inspired by a photograph I’d taken on the last family holiday we went on with my wonderful grandparents – something my late Nan and I talked about for a while was my getting a peacock butterfly tattoo, so I hope she’d have appreciated my decision to finally go ahead with getting it done 🙂 As it happens, butterflies are also representative of the beauty of change, of hope, and of triumph through adversity – a fitting testament to my life experiences.
I have been revelling in the beautiful weather lately, taking every opportunity I can to get Cai walked and ride/spend time with my horses, as well as to delve back in to another of my hobbies – photography 🙂 I’ve not been feeling quite myself, so I’m currently working hard to exercise more and eat healthier, in hope of losing weight, improving my strength, and toning up; I’m pleased to report that it’s only been a couple of weeks since I finished my final end-of-module uni assignments, though I feel better already for spending more time out and about. You can follow some of Cai’s adventures on his Instagram page.
However, as often seems to be the case, my injuries have made being more active far from straightforward. Not only has my hand been more painful lately (due to increased exercise through following YouTube HIIT/Pilates videos, horse riding, Cai pulling on his lead, etc.), but I have discovered that my jaw is dislocated and has been causing me major issues in the form of pain, swelling, and headaches – I had mistaken the issue as being an impacted wisdom tooth for a long time; it was the thought of having another tooth removed that put me off making an appointment with the dentist, but if non-invasive treatments don’t work, I might have to go through some pretty unpleasant surgery on my jaw o.O
My boyfriend, Gareth, and I have a few events to attend this year, as well as a few days away in Edinburgh to look forward to this summer – and I’m working hard on improving my self-confidence – so, I’ve spent a little time practising using make-up. My skin has been terrible lately – which I imagine is largely stress-based – and that hasn’t helped me feel better about myself. Whilst I’m nowhere near as great at using make-up as I’d like to be, I’m hopeful my face painting/sculpting skills will continue to improve…
I’ve been working hard to improve my confidence whilst driving, and am pleased to be making progress 🙂 I even went to the cinema a couple of days ago, for the first time in around 18 months!
Annndd I’ve decided to dedicate as much time as I can to my own writing by taking it more seriously – as such, I’ve signed up for Mslexia and WritersHQ, which will help me gain confidence by interacting more frequently with fellow writers. I’ll be making more time to read books from fantastically inspirational authors too, to improve my writing as much as possible and ‘switch off’ – just received a mega Waterstones order; anyone else love that ‘new book’ scent? 😉
I hope to be more active in terms of content creation for my blog from now on, so you can expect more interesting posts than this – such as a short story series, book reviews, and a variety of posts about all things literary, equestrian, and mental health 🙂
Anyways, I hope all is well with you; I look forward to reading messages about all the exciting things happening in your lives too!
Dydd Gŵyl Dewi Hapus, or, Happy St David’s Day (if you don’t speak Welsh)!
Soooo sorry I’ve not updated my blog in a while, it’s been a busy few months… o.O
I’ve been struggling to manage my time effectively (so, nothing new there) – which has often led to me working until between 11pm and 1am most nights a week. Not only have I been busy with some great ghostwriting projects, I’ve also been working hard to keep up with both of my university modules. However, that has meant I’ve lost out on precious time I could have spent with my boyfriend, dog, and horses (if it weren’t for lockdown that list would be far longer!) – as well as meaning I’ve had to put the writing of my own novels on hold. Two weeks ago I decided enough was enough, I’d hit a metaphorical wall and felt completely burned out. Therefore, I caught up with all the work I needed to and gifted myself 2 weeks off to take a step back from work and enjoy my life. I’m happy to report that I’ve done just that! 🙂
Despite my mare’s attempts to get herself stuck in a fence whilst trying to remove her own shoe, meaning a few days of box rest and bandages while waiting for the farrier, I have managed to get some schooling done with my horses – which has been wonderful 🙂
I’ve spent lots of time cwtched up watching films in the evenings with my boyfriend – who is amazing at keeping me from stress-spiralling and supports me through absolutely everything, for which I am eternally grateful 🙂
My dog and I have enjoyed lots of brilliant walks, taking in the beauty of nature as it’s about to blossom into spring – he’s also needed a few baths, thanks to the muddy conditions clinging on after winter 🙂
And, last but not least, I’ve actually managed to enjoy writing my own novels! I’m in the ‘world-building’ phase at the moment, and am working on tidying up plots and storylines before getting down to business and getting the actual manuscripts written. I’d actually written a manuscript for the first novel around 4 years ago, though have pretty much scrapped that and am starting again. All I’m at liberty to share with you right now is that it’s a YA Sci-Fi series, that will eventually link to a fully illustrated children’s book series I also intend to write… I’m hoping to attain representation from a literary agent when I’ve completed all of the manuscripts, though because I’m so busy I have no set schedule for completion 🙂
That’s it for my relatively boring blog post today – I will try to get some interesting content written as soon as I have time to, promise! I hope you’re all coping as well as you possibly can with your local coronavirus restrictions, and I hope the arrival of spring is as inspiring for you as it is for me 🙂 Infinite thanks for your continued support <3
I’m sorry I haven’t written a blog post for a while, though I have been *super* busy.
I hope you’re enjoying the festive season, despite COVID-19 pandemic restrictions 🙂
There’s been a lot happening in the world of D.E. Kendall!
First of all, the lovely laptop I inherited from my late grandmother sadly stopped working :'( Thankfully, I’d already saved all my work on a back-up hard-drive. Therefore, I had to find the right laptop to replace it. I found a really pretty (pink!) Acer Swift that is performing well so far – though the last couple of months have meant extra hours of work catching up on the two weeks I didn’t have a laptop. I did take the opportunity to enjoy spending time with my boyfriend, dog, and horses; as well as writing my own novels (that have been neglected lately thanks to such a busy schedule) – which helped me take a much-needed break, even though I was anxious because I wasn’t getting any university or ghostwriting/proofreading work done 🙂
I also had my hair cut, then a couple of weeks later added a splash of colour 🙂
I dressed as a witch for Halloween and discovered Mary Higgins-Clark novels…
The weather got freeeezing cold, so I have spent the last two months or so working in a blanket or in the living room near a radiator! I also dealt with some crippling writer’s block and headaches from staring at screens for too long without a break. Thankfully, I took the advice of loved ones on board, and those issues soon resolved 🙂
I also moved in with my boyfriend, so life has been exciting and more positive than it has been for many, many years – for which I am infinitely thankful 🙂 Fast-forward to Christmas – it looked pretty different this year due to pandemic restrictions, though was magical not only because it was my first Christmas living with my boyfriend, but also because I was too poorly to enjoy any of it or see anyone last year when I was struck down with a ‘B-strain’ of flu according to my GP (which I now believe was possibly the coronavirus, it was just misdiagnosed because it hadn’t been as well researched by then!). Here are some photographs of us over the last couple of weeks… 🙂
Aside from my already hectic home life, I plan to complete more writing projects of my own this year, between two second-year university modules and plenty of ghostwriting/proofreading work – I am definitely looking forward to lots of new literary adventures…
Self-care sounds so indulgent, like it’s some sort of ethereal gift allowed only on special occasions – well, that’s what it seems to me anyway. I take care of my personal hygiene (perhaps a little too much, given my OCD for cleanliness), exercise, eat as healthily as I can and manage my responsibilities, but rarely do I spend time truly enjoying my own company.
Here’s what Google has to say about the definition of self-care:
The practice of taking an active role in protecting one’s own well-being and happiness, in particular during periods of stress. “expressing oneself is an essential form of self-care”
I love my family (including the animals!), I love my boyfriend, and I love my friends, so any time I can I spend soaking up their company and making the most of that ‘togetherness’ we’ve all been without for so long (although sadly, we can’t yet see all our family and friends in person). For me, this is a form of self-care, because I relish being surrounded by loved ones.
When alone, however, I am absolutely rubbish at taking breaks whilst I’m working. I get so absorbed by what I’m doing, that I just let time run away with me; then when I’ve stopped working, all I can do is plan and think about work. On the surface, this is great in terms of productivity – because I am a perfectionist, I try my best to create quality, meaningful content, so being able to get projects completed in a timely fashion is a great feeling. Unfortunately, in the long run I find myself physically and emotionally drained all.the.time.
On Monday I decided this is no longer sustainable. I had to get my backside in gear and organise myself properly if I’m to make the most of my life. I’m missing out on a heck of a lot because I’m so damn focused on earning money to keep my animals, and my everyday life, going. I am fed up of living in a constant state of anxious stress. I admit, having my new car stranded in a garage for the last week after it broke down three times within the first two days of owning it has done nothing to help my anxiety or stress levels… Though I took my first steps toward enjoying myself more by making time to enjoy riding my horses and walking my dog instead of just doing so for exercise, I spent quality time cwtched with my boyfriend as we ate great food, watched films and celebrated being together for a whole year; and I actually read a book for fun as opposed to just reading for work or studying.
Taking time to breathe in your life is not a luxury, it is vital.
Making time to nurture your mental and physical well-being is allowed.
Please, don’t ever feel guilty for wanting to make the most of time for yourself.
Self-care is different for each of us. So, here is a brilliant article by Anna Borges that might help you along the path of contentment & if you’d like further advice, you can find some here from mental health charity Mind.
Apologies for the vague blog post title – my creativity decided not to extend that far today…
**Exciting News Alert** I’m now represented by fantastic ghostwriting agency, Top Rated Ghostwriters 😀 I am honoured to be represented by such a brilliant company, whose work ethic complements my own and empathetic ethos guarantees a compassionate yet successful connection between ghostwriters and clients. They have welcomed me into their dynamic, talented team – for which I am exceedingly thankful!
Anyways, how are you? Now lockdown restrictions are easing across the world, are you coping?
As I am emetophobic, anxiety surrounding hygiene and illness transmission is constantly ongoing. It’s a battle I face every day, and whilst that battle used to be demoralising, I am coming to terms with the fact it actually gives me opportunity to prove my inner-strength time and again. So, if you’d like any advice on dealing with anxiety during these challenging times, please don’t hesitate to get in touch 🙂
On a lighter note, I am delighted to have finally spent some quality time with my boyfriend – it’s been a long few months, though our dog was super excited to finally be able to see him too!
Whilst out and about on walks and adventures, I always take photographs of things I find inspiring. I thought I’d share a few with you… Do you take photographs to help inspire your writing, or is it just me?
I’ve been trying out my metaphorical ‘brave pants’ lately as well, and have been helping exercise horses at the riding school I work for between writing projects. It has been immensely confidence-giving, and I hope to transfer that confidence to riding my own horses more often 🙂 Just a shame the weather is so miserable for July.
Also, I maintain my unbeaten record of achieving last place in every video quiz I have completed since the beginning of lockdown; impressive or what 😉 haha! For the lastest quiz I participated in, we had to wear something sparkly – can you spot what my ‘something sparkly’ was? Oh, and I realised that since I work from home 99% of the time, it was acceptable to wear something sparkly, have crazy hair, and wear fluffy socks 🙂
And I end today’s rambling with a revelation – I can finally wear my fringe down again after ruining it a few weeks ago! 😀
Two words unlikely to appear in the same sentence, yet have a fascinating connection, are ‘inspiration’ and ‘silliness’.
When we feel inspired it’s supposed to move us, to motivate us, to keep us moving forward in our lives. Whereas silliness seems to have little substance in adult life, apart from acceptance on television or during peer-pressured drunkenness.
So you may be wondering why I have chosen to write a blog post about these words.
Well, now I’ve officially been an adult for over a decade, I have learned many valuable lessons – one of the most interesting being that silliness can evolve into inspiration.
Anyone who knows me knows I love to make people smile and laugh. It drives me to do all I can to make our world a brighter, more cheerful, kinder place. Although it happens frequently, I still get a wonderful buzz when someone approaches me for help or advice. And to be able earn a living doing something I’m passionate about, whilst making other people’s dreams come true, is an honour as well as a privilege.
A lot of the time adult life calls for us to be serious. Whether that’s maintaining professional mannerisms when dealing with clients, or deciding which provider to choose for your mortgage, or even managing the expectations of those around you because even though you love them dearly and know they love you no-matter what, you still don’t want to disappoint them. All this seriousness means we live 90% of our lives in a heightened state of stress – the other 10% is spent sleeping, or trying to sleep. Some people deal with this stress better than others – I am reminded of this on a daily basis, since sooo many people I know ‘have it together’ according to social media, whereas I still forget to eat lunch most workdays, and have been known to accidentally use deodorant instead of dry shampoo.
This got me to thinking, why does life have to be this way? Why must we all be seen to live such bustling lives to be regarded successful? Why do I allow myself to feel like a blob, and want to cwtch up in my baggiest jumper, whenever I see photos of confident women, wearing whatever the heck they want, even when they’re curvier than I am and have already had like three kids? Why do I beat myself up about not being able to ride my horses often enough, let alone compete them like I used to, despite the fact I have a chronic hand injury that drastically limits my capabilities?
Realisation struck today that the answers to those questions lie heavily upon the curse of social media goggles. It’s that ‘rose-tinted glasses’ affect, but far worse. Glasses grace your face and help you see whilst allowing for peripheral vision, yet goggles give you no choice as to your peripheral vision since they’re strapped tightly to your head. So tightly in fact, that when you eventually take them off, you’re left with red marks around your eyes, the effects of which take time to fade.
Maybe it’s about time we removed those goggles and viewed social media in its true light – as a form of media. When you read a fiction book or watch a blockbuster film, you fully expect scenes written to perfection, every detail taken care of, every character the idealistic image of an aspect of humanity. Despite the fact social media was designed to represent our everyday lives, we forget that it is just another form of media. People won’t share what they don’t want us to see (unless they’re really, really brave!). Silliness seems to have no place in a world striving for perfection. But, just as with fiction books and blockbuster films, we shouldn’t trust what we see on social media as being the full story. Behind every book you read there’s been an entire production team, often including authors or ghostwriters, editors, agents, and publishing companies. Same goes for blockbuster films – I guarantee if it’s big budget, there’s an entire team dedicated to each minuscule portion of that film’s development and production. And whilst we’ve been fooled into thinking social media harnesses each individual voice, algorithms working behind the scenes are what determines the content we see. Therefore, it shapes how we feel about social media, as opposed to allowing us to connect directly with the hundreds of people we ‘follow’ or are ‘friends’ with, and making our own minds up about them. That masterful direction means we are being exposed to an edited version of people, even people we see every day in person. For all its awesomeness, social media cannot replace true human connection.
Social media should not dictate that which defines us as ‘successful’. We are unique. Success is different for each of us.
So, actually, life doesn’t have to be stressful in order for us to be regarded successful. If you look back over your life and recognise that you’re in a healthier, happier place than you were a year or two ago, then congratulations – you’re winning!
Social media makes me feel like I should be going to a gym then sharing my sculpted form with ‘followers’ or ‘friends’, and buying expensive clothes that flatter my figure that I should post all over my social media profiles to show off, and I should learn to perfect make-up/camera-angles in order to attract higher-paying clients, and I should be posting 50 updates a day about what I’m doing to reach to a wider audience, and I should have my life in such great order that every day is prosperous. But do you know what, my respect for all these amazing women and men who seem capable of juggling every aspect of their life shouldn’t end with them, it should extend to myself.
I have to stop caring what social media has conditioned me to believe represents success. I am a powerful woman because I have overcome some horrible experiences and worked unbelievably hard to get to the fortunate position I am in today. I shall continue to work tirelessly to inspire an even better tomorrow, so I am going to stop allowing social media to make me feel like I’m not worthy, because you know what? I damn well am! Are you with me? I’d love to hear your success stories – whether that extends to writing a bestselling novel, or running an excellent charity, or something as seemingly humble as being a good person in a self-centred world. Because you, my friend, are marvelous and it’s about time someone noticed 🙂
And just so you know this isn’t empty narrative, I’ll include some of the silliness I’ve participated in over the last few days that inspired me to write this post…
Life can be tough, but it can also be amazing.
Stay well, stay safe, and please, keep smiling… <3