Author, Uncategorized

For Mental Health Awareness Week

Hellooo πŸ™‚

It is Mental Health Awareness Week (in case you didn’t know!), and I hope that through sharing my own insecurities you may feel more comfortable and confident in yourself πŸ™‚

Later, I will be sharing about emetophobia on my social media pages (linking to blog posts I have already written), something I’ve lived with since I can remember. Right now, however, I’m remaining focused on physical insecurities, since I know that affects everyone – whilst emetophobia doesn’t…

So, I wore braces for years as a teenager – not just to straighten my teeth, but to correct my jaw alignment. I lost my retainer 8 years ago on a camping trip, though foolishly didn’t return to the orthodontic centre as I believed my teeth and jaw issues had been fixed.

My jaw has gradually misaligned again, which affects many aspects of my wellbeing; from eating, to talking, to sleeping. I now have a new retainer. While it unfortunately won’t fully straighten my teeth (I can’t afford thousands in orthodontist fees!), it will prevent misalignment worsening. And as over-the-top as I am with cleaning my teeth, the discoloured marks (again, I unfortunately can’t afford to get my teeth whitened) are from the time I had braces – glue used for my braces wasn’t cleared properly by the orthodontist. My dentist does a brilliant job of cleaning these glue marks from my teeth little by little each visit, though it’s something I am very self conscious of.

Teeth misalignment and permanent glue marks are the reasons you will rarely see me flashing my teeth when I smile in photographs – I also dislike showing a lot of my gums when smiling, which I do naturally when photographs are taken of me unawares! Whilst it is a minor complaint in the grand scheme of things, I imagine others of you feel insecure about this sort of thing too. I do still lack confidence in smiling fully due to the image of my teeth and gums being imperfect, which is silly because there’s nothing more wonderful than being able to smile through sheer happiness! Please don’t ever allow anything to stop you smiling if it has only to do with how the world perceives you – I’m a perfectionist, which does cause me issues like worrying about superficial things such as this, but beauty isn’t founded in perfection, it is founded in joy πŸ™‚

Same goes for body weight. I’ve put on weight since becoming a full-time ghostwriter working entirely from home – the scales say I’ve gained 2kg (equivalent of 4lbs). Following lockdown rules to only exercise once a day initially, which has thankfully now increased to more exercise being allowed, has had an impact. I walk my dog very near my home for my daily exercise, around the local park as opposed to adventuring like we usually do – I also take care of my horses and the sheep, so I do get some exercise there too. However, I’ve been exceedingly careful about riding my horses to avoid as much as possible the risk of putting extra strain on the NHS by getting injured. I already suffer a debilitating hand issue, which does limit how often I’m able to ride and what exercise I am able to do generally – though my horses do need some exercise to keep them healthy too. It’s a delicate balancing act, so, I’m vowing to myself to lose weight and get fit as soon as I have organised a suitable, safe exercise regime and equally sensible diet. I’m not a greedy person, and I do keep to a relatively healthy diet – but there’s always room for improvement (perfectionism creeping in), which is what I am going to do as soon as life is back to some sort of state of normality again – because chocolate is keeping me going right now! One day I will feel comfortable and confident in a bathing suit, I am determined πŸ™‚

Sharing my work-in-progress on insecurities is all well and good, but I feel that I ought to prove it is possible to overcome them. My eyesight is not great – I am rather short sighted. When I was 9 I started wearing glasses – and when I say wearing them, I mean hiding them in my school bag and squinting at the blackboard all day, leaving school with a headache because I was afraid to get bullied wearing glasses. As it happens, I was bullied for wearing glasses – as well as for being short, quiet, and unassuming – in high school. It took until April 2019 when I fell in love with the pair of glasses I have now to feel confident enough to have photographs in them. I wear contact lenses when I can, though they’re expensive so I tend to save them for special occasions. I realised that all I had to do was muster the courage to try a new style of frames, and it made the world of difference to my relationship with glasses; please don’t allow wearing glasses to get you down – I guarantee you’ll look as fabulous as you do without them πŸ™‚

I used to suffer with acne too. Still get breakouts from time to time. But I persevered and sought clinical advice, so am now much happier in my skin than I used to be. Whilst my skin is still not perfect, life experience has taught me that it isn’t supposed to be – we are people not plastic. So embrace your skin; spots, stretch marks, cellulite, scars and all – because you’re an attractive specimen, and deserve to know so!

I know how lucky I am for these insecurities to be relatively minor, for which I am infinitely thankful. Though insecurities only make us insecure when we allow them to…

TL;DR – You are awesome πŸ™‚

Thanks for reading!

We’ve got this <3

Best wishes,

Dannika

Animals, Author, Nature, Uncategorized

An Update

Hi Everyone πŸ™‚

I’m sorry it’s been a while, I have been *exceedingly* busy – I hope you’re staying safe and well!

That’s why I decided to write about some of what I’ve been doing the last few weeks. I will admit, however, that I cannot share anything about the ghostwriting projects I’ve been working on, aside the colouring books I produced on behalf of my Mum πŸ™‚

The royalties from these colouring books are being donated to the NHS until 1st June (and beyond if sales remain steady), as even though my Dad works for the NHS, my family wanted to do something more to help toward the pandemic situation. In case you might be interested, Mum’s colouring books are available here.

I’ve spent quality time with my gorgeous dog and beautiful horses. They help me deal with anxieties, stresses and pressures of the current situation, as they’ve helped me deal with so many difficult times throughout my life. Not only are they a comforting presence, their lives are my responsibility – so even if I feel like cwtching up in bed with a blanket and Disney films all day, feeling sorry for myself because I’m missing loved ones, I can’t. Because they need my care and attention no-matter what πŸ™‚

I did have a near-miss when riding yesterday though; I failed to thoroughly check my horse’s bridle, and thankfully I’ve trained her well enough for an insecure bridle not to pose a problem, because I didn’t have cause to notice until I removed her bridle!

Moral of the story = ALWAYS check your tack before riding… o.O

As my family have done for the last decade, we continue to help look after the sheep at the farm we keep our horses at. The girls have only produced one lamb between them this year – though he’s been castrated and the lady who owns the farm decided we’re going to keep him, which is lush! She named the lamb Osian – and he’s *nearly* brave enough to approach us πŸ™‚

I’ve also taken some time to enjoy photography again, an interest of mine I have been tempted to take up professionally though never have. I love the beauty of nature and wildlife, as well as getting used to all the features on my mobile phone camera that I’ve not yet spent the time doing – I suggest having a go at photography if you’re in need of a new hobby during lockdown, it’s fun; I also made friends with geese living at the farm πŸ™‚

I had a go at applying make-up once too; I am definitely not skilled at that! Haha. And whilst I respect anyone able to apply make-up to perfection, it made me realise the finances and time such people must have to invest to be able to do so. I sincerely hope that people applying make-up do so because they enjoy enhancing their features, as opposed to hiding their real self. If confidence is dependent on one’s exterior, that isn’t healthy. So I hope that one day I’ll be able to help people feel more comfortable and confident to be themselves; using make-up as an enhancement to their already perfect features (if at all), instead of a mask behind which to hide with their insecurities.

I have exterior insecurities of my own – my nose, for one. My nose was broken by my family’s horse when I was 10 years old; I remember the pain as though it were yesterday! (#owch) Though in dealing with the feelings of having what I always used to perceive as being a ‘larger-than-average’ nose, I learned that actually, there’s nothing much wrong with my nose. Every person is different, as such, their bodies tell the story of their life. I realise now that I shouldn’t be anymore ashamed of my nose than I should be of the surgical scars I have on my right hand, because they’re part of *my story* – and if I’m honest, when I look back at my story and everything I continue to strive to achieve, I am proud of who I am becoming and how I’m getting there. That’s not to say I don’t have my wobbly moments when I completely lack any sense of self-confidence, I’m human so of course I am naturally self-critical, though I’ve mustered the strength to stare adversity straight in the face as I kick it in the nuts, before making the decision to walk on by – if I can do that, there’s nothing stopping you either πŸ™‚

Something I did that I still don’t do often enough is practice self-care. Obviously I shower every day, brush my teeth, look after my hair, try to eat healthily, exercise, etc. – though self-care is so much more than that. In my case, self-care meant that on a day I felt burdened by pressures I put upon myself, I decided to take a step back to have a relaxing read in the bath, then dress in colourful clothes and remind myself that it is absolutely alright to allow myself time to deal with anxiety, stress, worries, and feelings of alone-ness (not loneliness, however; since I am fortunate to be surrounded by family and able to see friends from a distance at the farm) that accompany being away from my boyfriend for such a long time. I was working in excess of 12 hours a day, and I’m sure it doesn’t take a genius to work out that staring at a screen for that long is bound to have a detrimental impact – for me, that happened to be headaches and dizziness; symptoms I am lucky to have only ever experienced rarely. In attempt to work instead of addressing my anxieties, I accidentally forgot that unless I took care of myself, I wouldn’t be able to give my all to anything – ghostwriting projects, writing my novels, caring for my animals, helping my loved ones through this lockdown, etc.

Lesson learned here was that we are allowed to take time to recharge. One should never feel guilty for having to indulge in proper self-care πŸ™‚

Finally, I try to keep my social media content positive as possible during these turbulent times. Though I tend to neglect social media posting in favour of completing work most of the time, I have created a few posts as my own little contribution toward the sense of community seeing us through this awful pandemic and lockdown. So, in case you needed some thanks for all that you’re doing to save lives, here’s my message to you…

Thanks for reading my latest blog post!

Please stay safe and know that we’re all in this, together <3

Best wishes,

Dannika

Uncategorized

Lots!

Heyy πŸ™‚

Sorry I’ve been away. I definitely haven’t been idle though!

As you’re able to see from exploring my website, I have worked exceedingly hard to update the services I offer. In this modern world of uncertainty, to be able to diversify is to remain financially afloat. I am absolutely delighted to be able to surround myself in the fascinating world of words.

I imagine you’re wondering what else I could have possibly been doing in a lockdown, to have prevented me from writing blog posts. Well, I’ve worked a little on my own writing projects, worked on a ghostwriting project, studied for my next uni assignment, cut my own fringe, kept up with caring for my horses and dog, as well as completing distance learning CPD courses. Phew! No wonder I am absolutely shattered…

Whilst my poor – already injured – hand is painful from all the writing (the printer ran out of ink and as printer ink isn’t an essential purchase, I chose to hand-write notes instead), I successfully completed a Bookkeeping for Personal & Business Accounting course, along with a CPD (Continued Professional Development) Proofreading & Copy-editing course; for which I achieved 100% on the final test! *High-five myself due to social distancing rules*

I may have square eyes and a broken hand now, but the fact I’ve managed to achieve a lot in lockdown got me to thinking as to why more schools and universities aren’t offering online courses for free. What better way is there to utilise our time than to better ourselves? Education is power. Surely, it’s about time we all had access to opportunities to pursue our dreams? Life is too damn short not to.

I am exceedingly fortunate to be on track to pursuing my dreams, having recently taken the leap into freelance ghostwriting – now proofreading and beta reading too – though some aren’t so lucky.

All I can hope is that everyone finds their own piece of positivity, amidst this time of turbulence. I hope you’re able to find your own peace during this pandemic!

Best wishes,

Dannika

( P.S. In case you needed a laugh, following are two photographs from this evening – ‘before’ and ‘after’. My apologies in advance for not having any make-up on whatsoever, for not using a filter, and for wearing my PJs. Hope my embarrassing attempt at DIY hair-cutting gives you a giggle! <3 )