Author, Book Publishing, Career, Creative, Equestrian, Life, Mental Health Awareness, Mindfulness, Positivity, Relationships, Self-Love, Share Your Story, Uncategorized, Writing

About Judgement

Hi Everyone,

Long time, no see (again)! Wishing you a Happy New Year – hope you were able to enjoy the festive season, whether or not you celebrated πŸ™‚

As you’ve probably guessed, I’ve been super busy so haven’t been able to write a new blog post for a long while. Although I felt inspired to write about this topic many months ago, recently, I’ve uncovered considerable inspiration for it that – I hope – will enrich my perspective.

So, in this blog post I’m going to write about judgement and misjudgement.

Judgement has several definitions dependent on context, though for the purposes of this blog post, ‘judgement’ is defined as: “an opinion or conclusion”. Whereas, ‘misjudgement’ is defined as: “the action of forming a wrong opinion or conclusion”.

As humans, we are hardwired to make judgements about everything. We have to, it’s an instinctive element of survival. However, the act of making unnecessary or unjust judgements of other humans has become toxic.

Of course, there are countless people out there who are dangerous and deserve to be judged as such – I should know, I’ve come across a few who I failed to judge correctly – but there are instances that unearned misjudgement causes intense pain for the recipient.

The blame isn’t solely on those who make misjudgements of fellow human beings, though. We live in a world where humans are pitted against one another in an atmosphere through which “survival of the fittest” translates to “survival of the selfish, forsaking the feelings of others”. We are quite literally bombarded with messages in the media and through advertising that tell us we’re not good enough. Constant messages that unless we conform to the impossibly narrow rubric of ‘perfection’ conveyed by the powers that be, we are unworthy of respect and therefore fair game for judgement by those who may or may not know us.

I guess, for those who enjoy making rash judgements of others without truly knowing anything about them, it’s easy to deflect their own insecurities when someone else is just ‘there’ awaiting deconstruction. Often, misjudgements don’t surface instantly – allowing the judgemental to twist and contort their vision of another person to fit their own fantastical image, instead of taking the time and effort to uncover the truth.

I’ll illustrate several of the misjudgements I have been subject to or have seen, that once ate away at what little self-esteem I had until I realised that someone else’s judgements are nothing to do with me.

Humans should support one another, not tear one another down – though if all conflict ceased (whether conflict with self or with others), imagine how many businesses would cease, too. Unfortunately, health and wellbeing β‰  wealth and aesthetic.

If someone wishes to concoct a dishonest, unrealistic judgement of me based on whatever misinformation they have access to, I have no power to compel them to think of me otherwise. Unless a person has the strength to escape their blinkered viewpoint, through making the effort to learn the truth before making a judgement, is their opinion even worth your consideration?

(Mis)Judgement #1 – All Equestrians are Wealthy

I’ve heard this judgement made of so many horse owners, and it couldn’t be more wrong!

Obviously, owning horses costs a lot of money – nobody’s denying that. But there are countless other passions, pursuits, and hobbies that are expensive but aren’t getting nearly as much judgement as that experienced by horse owners.

For those of us compelled to rescue horses, the years of going without ‘normal’ experiences such as eating out at restaurants, shopping for ourselves, and holidays abroad were made worthwhile by the joy of seeing our horses grow and thrive after suffering unmentionable mistreatment at the hand of evil.

Owning horses can make it impossible to lead a life of freedom. Horses don’t allow us to be selfish. They force us to consider another’s life and wellbeing every day, without fail. While we may enlist kind helpers to support us in the care of our horses on occasion, ultimately, the responsibility of their care is at the forefront of our minds 24/7. As worthwhile as horse ownership is, it consists of endless hard work, too.

Horses become part of your family. So, when there’s a choice between a new car and vet bills, joke! There is no choice. Saving money is near impossible, because horses have this uncanny skill of injuring themselves or suddenly becoming poorly just as you start to feel on top of your finances – even if it has taken years of working long hours and forsaking a social life to have saved that money.

So, to conclude, horses are incredibly wonderful and while those of us who are fortunate to love them don’t regret our choice, we have to work sooo much to afford the basic care costs of horse ownership that we do end up missing out on several elements of life non-equestrians take for granted. If you love living paycheck-to-paycheck, enjoy having next to no free time, and appreciate shovelling wheelbarrow-loads of poop every day, invest in the ownership of a horse πŸ™‚

She’s worth it all – I love my special pony <3

(Mis)Judgement #2 – Self-Publishing Invalidates Literary Ability

In the publishing world, there’s a common misconception that unless your book has been traditionally published, it isn’t worth a reader’s time.

While there are a lot of self-published works out there that deserved an extra few rounds of editing before being released (my first attempts at self-publishing being a case in point), there are hundreds of thousands of incredible self-published works out there that are going unnoticed because their route to publication wasn’t ‘traditional’.

For those of you unfamiliar with the publishing world, I’ll give a brief explanation of the traditional publishing process and the self-publishing process…

Traditional Publishing: 1 – Write manuscript. 2 – Edit manuscript. 3 – Rewrite manuscript. 4 – Edit manuscript, again. 5 – Repeat steps 1 to 4 at least 3 times. 6 – Craft individual query emails to literary agents and publishing companies that accept unsolicited manuscripts. 7 – Wait at least 6 months, either receive several rejections or don’t hear anything back. 8 – Repeat steps 6 and 7 for years, hoping one literary agent or publishing company will notice your literary efforts. 9 – Can go one of two ways, either let the rejection eat away at resolve and give up, or, finally get lucky and get your manuscript published, perhaps getting a small advance that amounts to less than minimum wage over the time you spent crafting your literary masterpiece. 10 – Attend any literary events as requested by literary agent or publishing company, perhaps attend some speaking engagements, and look forward to writing your next manuscript.

Self-publishing: 1 – Attempt all steps of Traditional Publishing process to step 9, except don’t get lucky by having your manuscript published and also don’t give up. 2 – Muster courage to forge your own path to publication and edit your manuscript, again. 3 – Pay an editor to edit your manuscript. 4 – Pay a proofreader and beta readers to work through your manuscript. 5 – Work on edits suggested by reviews from proofreader and beta readers. 6 – Hire a cover designer. 7 – Research the inconceivable number of options for publishing routes. 7 – Finalise all aspects of your book, from typesetting and metadata, to content and self-publishing platform. 8 – Publish your literary masterpiece. 9 – Market your new literary endeavour, receive very little support from family/friends/acquaintances who don’t quite understand how to help market your book, jump at any opportunity to sell more copies of your book, accept direct criticism, and spend money on advertisements for various social media platforms. 10 – Work on your next manuscript while juggling the marketing process of your published work, as you need to have a fairly substantial backlist in case you enjoy future literary success.

Of course, everyone’s journey to publication is unique, containing many diverse realms of experience – and it’s important to remember that every literary experience is valid (whether positive or negative). However, as you can see, self-publishing is not as straightforward as it may seem. Anyone who has the courage to write works that make a positive impact on readers is deserving of respect and fair pay, no-matter their route to publication πŸ™‚

(Mis)Judgement #3 – Showing Cleavage is Unacceptable

As someone who was bullied in school, suffers emetophobia, has been sexually abused/controlled/manipulated/cheated on/received negative comments about my body in the past, as well as having to deal with chronic pain/issues with dexterity since experiencing an injury to my hand 7 years ago, my relationship with my body has been turbulent. The manner in which I present myself is constantly evolving, in line with my confidence.

So, when I feel like wearing an outfit that happens to accentuate my breasts, it’s because I’ve garnered the confidence to do so. Yet I still receive derogatory comments – surprisingly, most often from people I know – or am mocked, as people seem to think it acceptable to say something unnecessarily unpleasant about how I look. I wouldn’t even begin to explore the reasons they feel the need to do so, though more often than not, those reasons are clearly not to empower me or to help improve my self-confidence. (Unending thanks to those who always try to build my confidence, however, your efforts are truly appreciated!)

I wouldn’t dream of saying something negative about someone else’s appearance, let alone write disparaging comments about their appearance on a public platform for all to see. In fact, I make a conscious effort to compliment others – online and in person – in recognition of their efforts to look nice, because I know it makes them feel more positively about themselves.

While I acknowledge that superficial beauty should never be regarded the essence of a human’s worth, the way society has been formed forces us to recognise the superficial and gives us little choice but to begin improving the world by making the effort to raise people up with compliments about their appearance instead of insulting them for the way they dress. Misogyny has a lot to answer for and really does need to be addressed. However, I don’t see those who comment about my appearance making complaints about BeyoncΓ©, or Lady Gaga, or Katy Perry, or any other famous women for leaning on societal notions of attractiveness by using sexuality to propel their brand? I wish I had their confidence; you’d see a lot more of my writing if that were the case πŸ˜‰

If you don’t like how a person presents themselves on social media, just scroll on. There’s absolutely no need to make damaging, negative comments about other people, especially when you don’t know their story.

In light of this, I’m making my point with a plethora of images of me in varying states of appearance – cleavage, no cleavage, make-up, no make-up, indoors, outdoors, filters, no filters, etc. – to illuminate the fact that it doesn’t matter how I look, I am who I am. In every photo I’m still me, I still have exactly the same sense of morality, exactly the same capabilities, exactly the same worth. The same goes for other people, too. Nobody else has the right to judge you for your appearance – so please keep being yourself, because the universe needs you just as you are πŸ™‚

Moral of the story (or, blog post): DON’T MAKE JUDGEMENTS WITHOUT COMPASSION.

I’ve said (written) it before and I’ll say (write) it again, we are unique – and, provided we strive to be kind in all we do, we do not deserve other people’s misjudgements so we shouldn’t let their misinformation taint our joy.

You are the only you in existence – please don’t allow others to let you feel unworthy because they cannot comprehend every complex facet of your brilliance πŸ™‚

Thanks for reading <3

Best wishes,

Dannika

Adventure, Creative, Edinburgh, Engagement, Happiness, Life, Magic, Positivity, Uncategorized, Writing

Our Edinburgh Engagement!

Hi, hope you’re having a fantastic week πŸ™‚

I am writing this blog post to document our magical holiday in Edinburgh…

I love him, infinitely <3

We travelled to Scotland anticipating a tiresome, lengthy drive and sooo many restrictions, thanks to the coronavirus pandemic. However, the drive was pleasant and offered sweeping views of incredible landscapes, and the main restrictions included booking restaurants before eating there and having to book visits to places such as Edinburgh Castle. Despite being unable to book a visit to Edinburgh Castle, we couldn’t help but admire the stunning architecture as we wandered through the streets of Scotland’s iconic capital city.

We arrived at the hotel to a friendly welcome, and settled into our room before freshening-up, booking somewhere to eat, then making our way to the hotel bar to enjoy a drink before walking to the restaurant. It was our first evening in Edinburgh; I had no idea it’d end in euphoria! Gareth and I enjoyed our meal, though it started tipping down as we left the restaurant and we’d forgotten our coats – so we raced through the winding Scottish streets back to our hotel room, where Gareth claimed to have left something in the room’s safe. For those of you aware of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Gareth had joked earlier in the evening that he wanted to put his sandwiches in the safe like Captain Holt did, so, naturally, I expected to open the safe to find sandwiches, socks, or something equally silly. However, Gareth had changed the code on the safe to the date we first met, and, as I opened the door I was presented with a delicate, sparkling engagement ring! I turned around, in shock, and almost tripped over as Gareth was down on one knee. I may be a writer, but there are simply no words to explain how amazing that moment was; I didn’t have to think twice about saying “Yes!” to the most wonderful man in the universe πŸ™‚

The euphoric haze in which we were cocooned was enhanced by the awesome food, glorious architecture, and breath-taking sights spanning Edinburgh’s spectacular skyline.

Gareth and I strolled through the glorious park and historic streets as we soaked in the atmosphere, relishing every moment of our dream engagement without the pressures and expectations of everyday life. We couldn’t have wished for a more magical beginning to our future together πŸ™‚

Happiness is being with him πŸ™‚

After the disappointments, the struggles, the betrayal, and the tragedies we’ve both experienced, we realise how incredibly lucky we are to have found one another. Gareth is my other half, just as I am his. We’re excited to be planning our future together, and we are beyond thankful for the chance to do so <3

Best wishes,

Dannika

Mental Health Awareness, Uncategorized, Writing

Moment.

Heyy,

I suppose this is a bizarre way to find out whether those close to me read my blog; if you’re a relative or friend of mine ‘in real life’, I’m so sorry you’re discovering this experience here – though please know that I chose not to tell you because I believed that you didn’t need to share in the sadness too, there’s already enough of us upset by this without extending that beyond our parents and siblings. Besides, everyone seems to have more than enough on their plate right now, so it’s no use causing further distress about something nobody could do anything about. (If you’d like to speak to me about it, please send a private message as opposed to broadcasting anything publicly on my social media accounts – I certainly don’t want my grandparents finding out, as due to lockdown I haven’t seen them for a long time and this would only upset them unnecessarily!) I’m writing about my experience because I find writing cathartic, and I long to help others who have experienced/are experiencing/will experience similar situations – it’s so important that nobody feels alone, especially going through something like this.

** Warning: there may be content some might find upsetting – read at your own risk! **

Before I share my experiences, I send my sincerest condolences to anyone who has ever experienced pregnancy loss, miscarriage and stillbirth. Unfortunately, I am now a member of the (sadly) not-so-exclusive miscarriage club.

I understand that there are those who have had more traumatic experiences than I have, for which I am truly devastated and my thoughts go out to every one of you. Though I’d like to remind anyone grieving that your experience is not lessened by the perception that someone else’s experience seems worse than yours for whatever reason. The loss of a baby is devastating, irrespective of their stage of development – they still had a life, however briefly; they will always be part of you, and it’s important to remember that they existed, you created them, and it’s perfectly acceptable to mourn their passing.

My story is an unusual one, however, because my boyfriend and I didn’t know that I was pregnant. We believed I might have been for a couple of weeks, though at-home tests returned negative for pregnancy and although the GP claimed there was no need to test for pregnancy through blood tests because at-home tests would’ve ruled out pregnancy, the results of routine blood tests I had indicated that my hormone levels were all fine, aside progesterone being a little low (it’s normally high in a healthy pregnancy), so the GP believed I was likely to have an ovarian cyst that was stopping my menstrual cycle from happening for 15 weeks. As I write this, I’m still awaiting an ultrasound appointment to assess whether I had or have an ovarian cyst or something similar – though my body seems to be healing, so I imagine my issues were, in fact, pregnancy related. The symptoms I had were obviously pregnancy related, though I had no choice but to explain them away with whatever excuses I could think of at the time, since tests told me I wasn’t pregnant and I was made to feel it would be foolish to believe what my body was telling me.

I started getting menstrual-like cramping to the point I felt faint one night, so I assumed it was the long-awaited return of my menstrual cycle, which happened to be attacking with a vengeance after being MIA for so long. A week of mild cramping then became a week of ‘spotting’ and back ache following all forms of exercise. Then, 2:25am on 4th March 2021, I experienced the most severe menstrual cramps I had ever had in my entire life, accompanied by heavy bleeding. That excruciating pain continued in waves over the course of the day and night, to the point I could barely move off the sofa and struggled to get comfortable. Finally, at 1am on 5th March 2021, I managed to fall asleep. When I woke with one last wave of cramping at 7:30am 5th March 2021, I rushed into the bathroom, after feeling the strangest sensation I’ve ever experienced, to discover I had miscarried something that appeared to resemble part of a fetus and accompanying ‘mass’ whose development must have ceased between 8 and 9 weeks according to my own research; after which the relief was almost instantaneous – all the cramping, heavy bleeding, and uncertainty had gone. I took a photograph in case the GP might need to see it to check it was all there or whatever they do in such situations, though I couldn’t bring myself to investigate the ‘mass’ to check what the complete (that’s if it was indeed ‘complete’) fetus looked like and my boyfriend agreed that it could prove more traumatic and wouldn’t help wrap my head around it anyway. I called the GP surgery at 8:30am, having composed myself after an hour of sobbing; the receptionist was lovely and checked that I had someone with me – though I didn’t receive a call back until around 2:30pm. There was absolutely nothing the GP could do apparently (it wasn’t the GP I’d been dealing with throughout all this) – though they informed it was more than likely a miscarriage despite negative pregnancy test results, I was shocked that they didn’t advise of any organisations I could contact for further support, advice, or comfort; in fact, they were keen to rush off the phone. At least all the pain, discomfort, and confusion I’d experienced for the last few months had suddenly disappeared.

I realise that, for whatever reason, my pregnancy wasn’t viable because there must have been some chromosomal abnormality that meant the fetus couldn’t develop. Without any medical advice, from what I can fathom, the negative tests meant that there wasn’t enough pregnancy hormone in my body to sustain a full-term, healthy pregnancy – which was more than likely due to the fact that the fetus simply wasn’t viable. As for the reason my body held onto the fetus for weeks after it ceased to be, I could only hazard a guess that because my body wasn’t 100% certain of the pregnancy in the first place, there was no way of realising the pregnancy needed to end until my body came to terms with the fact that there was definitely no live fetus to care for anymore, instead there was an ‘alien-like mass’ that needed to be expelled before it caused a problem. I do take comfort in the fact that even for a short time that fetus was alive and growing – which is why I have decided to refer to them as ‘Moment’. I know it would be ridiculous to give a name to an undeveloped fetus whose existence I didn’t truly know about until they were no longer connected with me, though I feel it important to recognise their existence whilst simultaneously acknowledging my experience of losing them.

It seems that everyone around me are able to have happy, healthy babies and share with the world the wonders – as well as the stresses and pressures – that accompany their adventure into parenthood. I truly am delighted for every one of them, and wish them well – but it certainly doesn’t help the grieving process I’m having to endure that I hadn’t prepared for in any way, shape, or form.

Maybe one day I’ll be fortunate enough to become a mother – though maybe I’ll never have the chance to embark on the adventure of motherhood due to circumstances out of my control; who knows?

What I do know is that this devastating, excruciating, shocking experience has brought my boyfriend and I closer together. We both believe that everything happens for a reason, we’re infinitely grateful for all the wonderfulness we already have in our life together, and we know how lucky we are to have one another <3

I haven’t sought professional support for my experiences (primarily because I keep pondering whether this experience is less valid because the pregnancy was never detected let alone viable), although I may choose to sometime in the near future – however, just in case you’re in need of support, here’s a list of organisations I’ve been assured are amazing at helping people through any form of pregnancy loss, miscarriage, or stillbirth:

* https://www.tommys.org/about-us/contact-us

* https://www.miscarriageassociation.org.uk/about-us/

* https://www.sands.org.uk/contact-us

Thanks for reading.

Best wishes,
Dannika