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Plastic Free July

Hello July! It’s our very first day of 31 in this beautiful month!
In recent days, it has come to my attention a campaign is running called “Plastic Free July” and I signed up to take part this morning. Over the past week, the amount of plastic I consume has been brought into my conscious and I’m trying to help raise awareness of the issues plastic causes!
I’ve been loyal to recycling over the years, but I’ve realised I could do a whole lot better at “reducing” how much plastic I use. A cursory scan over my room reveals LOTS of plastic – plastic storage boxes, plastic bin bags, plastic tupperware, plastic coat hangers, plastic water bottles, plastic toothbrush and shampoo bottles. Of course, there’s no sense in throwing these out, but it really highlights how MUCH plastic we use, and there’s a definite need for alternatives.
Plastic use causes so many environmental problems, but the worst is single use plastic items. More than 8 million tons of plastic is dumped in the oceans every year, with lethal effects. Aquatic life is being severely impacted by plastic – it pollutes the water, and many creatures also die from ingesting plastic. This also affects human life, as the ocean is responsible for producing over 2/3rds of the oxygen we breath. Incinerating plastic also releases many harmful toxins into the air, which can lead to respiratory problems. This is just a few examples of the ills of plastic, but a simple google search will reveal thousands more reasons why reducing plastic use is a pretty good idea.

It’s easier said than done, and I know trying to participate in Plastic Free July will be a real challenge for me! I plan to reduce my plastic use by:

  • Bringing reusable cups and bottles with me when I go out
  • Taking tote bags with me when I go shopping so I don’t purchase plastic bags
  • Purchasing ‘shampoo bars’ instead of bottles of shampoo
  • Refusing plastic cutlery or straws
  • Buying ‘loose’ fruit and veg!
  • Lobbying the government and companies to use less plastic!

I encourage everyone to try and use less plastic! There are many more ideas/tips available online 🙂 It’s also important not to become overwhelmed by all the different ways you can reduce your plastic consumption! Take it one step at a time, and just try your best!
If anyone wants to follow my Plastic Free July attempt on instagram @beeblossoming, please do! Any tips or words of support would also be super welcome!

-A x

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Mental health · Rambling · Uncategorized

Getting my sh*t together

 

These past few months have been rough. I’ve struggled A LOT.
Fortunately, I am currently in the best place (mentally) I have been in a long time. Since April, my outlook has totally changed. I’ve truly been living my best life. However, I am still finding ~life~ challenging. The year is over half-way done, and still only half-way there in terms of getting my act together again!
My previous posts have sung the praises of my medication, but I have actually stopped taking meds for my mental illness. Whilst this has had positive implications (I’m able to cope with life, woo) it’s unfortunately made my insomnia a lot worse.

I’ve learnt the hard way that I can’t do it all. I’ve felt crushed to learn to respect my ‘spoonie’ life, to realise I have to stop ‘biting off more than I can chew’, and that there’s some things I simply cannot do.
I am so lucky in that I have received a lot of support from the staff at my university. My subject director held an intervention with me to discuss how best they can support me, and highlighted to me that I “need to ask for help”.
I’ve been making a martyr of myself in an attempt to ‘do it all by myself’. She showed me there’s no reason I shouldn’t ask for help, and that by striving to be ‘independent’, I’ve caused myself difficulties I did not need to.

In light of this, I am applying for PIP, to try ease the pressures I face. This is a very scary reality for me, regardless of the outcome. I will either qualify for PIP, and because of the stupid stigma my stupid pride will take a knock, or I won’t, and I will keep struggling on, physically, emotionally, and financially, (which is unfortunately where a lot of the health problems I face stem from in the first place!).

She also highlighted to me that the rather difficult situations I have found myself in late 2017/early 2018 take a lot to recover from. Many things in my life have been put on a “backburner” whilst I prioritised recovery. Some days getting out of the flat and down to the local shop to get some food was a huge feat. And that’s okay! Some horrible things happened that ripped me down to my absolute rock bottom but it’s meant I have had to rebuild myself. I’m stronger and better than I’ve ever been before, but instead of trying to ‘do it all’ I’ve been gentle with myself. I’ve taken things ‘one at a time’ to avoid getting overwhelmed. Each new thing I pick up needs to be carefully added into my life, instead of me running around, spinning too many ‘plates’ until they all crash and fall because I burn out (basically what happened for me to end up at ‘rock bottom’). Someone very dear to me who has come into my life recently has shown me I can “do more by doing less”, by committing myself more fully to one or two things, instead of spreading myself thin by trying to do it all. They encourage me to listen to my heart and follow my dreams, and I am very grateful to have them in my life.

I was granted a three week extension on my university deadlines, and was able to utilise that to finish my first year. Admittedly, I did not get ‘good’ grades, but I passed and I am working with my tutors to develop a support system and ‘plan of action’ to ensure I can tackle Year 2 without the problems I have faced in Year 1.

I feel that a weight has been lifted now I no longer have to tackle looming assessment deadlines. I have not allowed myself to despair over my somewhat disappointing grades, but instead, I’ve celebrated the relief the year is over and that I have actually passed! I have a beautiful summer stretched ahead of me; I am taking this time to set down the paving stones that will help me better access university when I return in September.

I have also learnt to ‘make time for myself’, so over summer, I will be attempting to practice better self-care habits to avoid future burnouts/breakdowns/bad situations.
I am also currently luxuriating in my free time, spending it with new friends and old. One of my favourite things about currently rebuilding myself is the opportunities it has presented me to begin fostering new friendships, and to spend time with old friends. I haven’t had the time to spend with friends prior to finishing university (expect for those who attend university with me, who I could see during my ‘breaks’ from studying). I feel very lucky now to have the opportunity to see friends over summer, but also very lucky I have friends who have understood that I have needed to ‘disappear’. In the past few weeks, I have been able to see 2 of my best friends who I haven’t seen since January. This has done me a world of good, and I am so so grateful to Euan and Liv for understanding that I quite literally haven’t had the time to see them. I’m so grateful too that they can understand that merely ‘keeping going’ can suck up so much time that trying to ‘make an effort’ is a mammoth task.

I have dragged myself out of hell over the past few months. I have had some horrible things happen to me (which I won’t detail on my blog) but they have shown me my strength, and to have self-respect.  I have learnt to re-prioritise my life, but that doesn’t happen overnight. Slowly, I have been “getting my sh*t together”, and I’m very hopeful about how the future looks.

Recovery is bloody hard, but I’m made of tough stuff.

 

On my way back to the light ❤
-Amari x

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Musings on turning 19

Today, I turned 19. At midnight, I was boogieing away in a club with my flatmates – not a bad way to celebrate in my book. I spent my last day as an 18 year old adventuring around charity shops in York, putting together an outfit for my friend with a budget of £10 (he looked stunning btw!), and chilling by the river. My flatmates dragged me on a night out ❤ Today, I slept until 12 after falling into bed at 6am, and enjoyed the sunshine with my friend Jules. We plan to go see Deadpool 2 this evening, although this plan may change as I’m quite tired…
My 18th year on this planet has been a strange one – crammed full of life-changing experiences that have allowed me to learn A LOT about myself.
I am learning who I am. I’ve discovered I’m not all that bad either 😉
I look forward to what year 19 on this crazy planet will bring me.

This post would be a lot longer, expect I’m procrastinating, and have another post due soon! (Well, it’s over-due, but I’ve been procrastinating it haha)

19 seems to hold a lot of promise for me. I’m fiercely independent, but learning also to ask for help. I have beautiful connections with people and I’m learning how to utilise them. I feel strong and confident and hopeful.

19

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME! 🙂

-A x

(Update: We didn’t end up going to the cinema. Instead, we built a huge blanket fort and watched the original Deadpool on Netflix and it was AWESOME)

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Hello again!

My last post on this blog was November 2nd 2017. Almost 6 months ago. Writing another post is incredibly scary, and seems almost ‘pointless’, but I realised those feelings attach too much expectations to my writing. I now aim to utilise this more as diary, a creative outlet, than to try ‘document’ my journey for others. I can use this blog to share what I please, but I should do so for myself, not for the gaze of others.
It was this need to ‘cater’ to a perceived audience that lead me to neglect this blog for so long. November 3rd, Benjamin, my partner mentioned in so many of my previous blog posts, broke up with me. He was a big support system, and I needed to give myself time to heal. But as time went on, returning to blogging seemed harder and harder.
I entered another relationship in December 2017. Without going into details, it taught me a lot about myself. It made me ‘grow a backbone’. The ex-boyfriend from this relationship almost destroyed me, but after it coming to a close, I have finally made peace with who I am. I finally feel whole.
I’ve learnt a lot in the time between now and November ’17. Especially about myself.
My friend Jules pointed out I was exhausting myself by constantly ‘working’, by constantly trying to be a good person, and since his words, I’ve stopped *trying* so hard, and just *be* instead. I make mistakes, but I try to be guided by compassion, instead of striving to be compassionate. It’s hard to explain the hippy babble that goes on in my head, but it’s super helpful for me.

In the interim, I was also employed as a support worker for 2 months. Although I left this role, I absolutely loved this job. It taught me a lot about myself, and inspired me to keep fighting for what I believe in. I also learnt a lot about life from the old people I cared for. They imparted a lot of knowledge.
Additionally, through working with YNC I’ve had chance to hang out with toddlers, who are amongst the wisest beings walking on this planet. I’m super excited for the cafe to open May 4th. I absolutely love volunteering with YNC, and it’s allowed me to build an amazing support network who’ve been brilliant when things have gotten rocky over the last few months.

It’d be impossible to fill in everything that has happened in the past 6 months; too many memories (good and bad) to capture. But I feel a sense of purpose returning to my life, which is awesome ❤

Oh, and another important update – I now have blue hair! 31019277_1192599794213789_1668035971_o

 

Apologies for neglecting the blog for several months, but I’m super proud of myself for finding the energy to resurrect it! This post would be longer but I have uni work to crack on with.

Before I end this post, I would like to remind readers of the power of setting good intentions as you go about your day, and the magic of practicing conscious gratitude! Both have helped me heal so much ❤

Love,
– A x

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Halloween 2017

Halloween is my absolute favourite holiday of the year! 

I normally celebrate Halloween by taking my younger siblings out trick-or-treating with my friend Mara, before coming home to watch scary movies, and topping the night off with a midnight viewing of The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

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Halloween 2013!

Given I’ve moved to uni and couldn’t feasibly come home, my first Halloween in York was a bit of a big deal for me. Unfortunately, none of my friends had plans, as most had 9am lectures or had been out at the weekend. Rather forlorn, I accepted my night would consist of cheesy Halloween flicks in bed on my lonesome, reminiscing about the weekend, when I saw my little sister Lilly and we carved a pumpkin and watched The Nightmare Before Christmas together.

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Our pumpkin! (Frame copyright held by Facebook, I sourced this photo from my dad)

I attended university in the morning. My seminar focussed on an assignment I seriously need to stop neglecting. #studentlife

I had an hour’s gap between the seminar and my training to be an Academic Rep for my course. (My role basically consists of feeding back students’ opinions to the staff running our degree). I picked up a falafel and sweet potato wrap and a cup of tea from the uni cafe. (The 20p discount because I used my own cup was a nice surprise). To fill the time left, I went to visit my friend Aneesa, as I knew she was running a stall in the SU to raise money for Islamic Relief.

As I chatted with her, I told her I was feeling a little blue that I had no plans to celebrate Halloween. She very kindly invited me along on her night out! I had a really fantastic night!
After I got home from uni, I headed to Sainsbury’s with my flatmates in a quest for fake blood to piece together a last-minute costume. Sainsbury’s were flat-out of fake blood, and I got roped into buying toilet roll for the house, which in hindsight I suppose i could have made into a mummy costume haha.

Luckily when we got back from the trip, one of my flatmates’ girlfriends kindly gave me her left-over fake blood. I delved into my wardrobe to piece something together, and don’t think I did too bad a job.

As I did my makeup (a skill I’ve been aiming to develop recently – thankfully my friend Liv taught me the basics when she came to stay on the 22nd), I danced around the room to spooky tunes, before settling down to eat a burrito and FINALLY watched Stranger Things Season 2.

At about 9, I met Aneesa and was introduced to her friends Nafeesa and Hasnat, and her sister, also called Nafeesa. They were all really lovely and we popped to SPAR for Fanta before heading to the house party. Nafeesa and I chatted for ages; she told me about her travels and teaching degree.

We eventually headed into town and danced away at Stone Roses Bar. The experience was somewhat surreal – all these people dressed fantastically as Harley Quinn, pumpkins, zombies, John Travolta, vampires, bananas, cowboys and mermaids, drinking cocktails and dancing. Another part of me wished that that was how everyone always dressed! Everyone looked amazing!

At about 12am, we walked down to meet Aneesa’s friend at the train station, before grabbing McDonalds on the way home. They all walked me home before heading back to Hasnat’s. (I was invited along but way too tired to face it!) It was really lovely being on a night out with Muslims as there was no social pressure to drink and we all had a really good time without having to get drunk.

After getting settled in bed, I fell asleep watching Miranda on Netflix. All in all, a very lovely way to celebrate my favourite holiday!

As today marks the first of November and I did a post at the beginning of last month, I thought I would reflect on my October goals that I set for myself now.

My fundraising for St Gemma’s isn’t going quite at the pace I would like, but I have gotten support from the Careers/Volunteering department at uni and had a meeting with Ashleigh (a member of their staff) today. Ashleigh made some great suggestions and has helped me devise a fundraising plan!
I’ve continued working hard towards my degree, and I’m super excited to start as an Academic Rep. Admittedly, I need to buckle down and sort out my assignments instead of procrastinating. I’ve also been busy with blossoming friendships, and spending time with Liv and my family. I’ve been trying to promote YNC as well.
October has been a really great month for me, and I saw it out having lots of fun. Bring on everything November has to offer!

-A x

Rambling · Uncategorized

Hello October! – 2017

Today marks the first day of October 2017!
Next week I will have been at university a whole month, which is very exciting.

I will hopefully be travelling home at the end of the month to celebrate Halloween with my family. Halloween is my favourite holiday and I am super excited!
Let me know if you have anything cool planned for this spooky celebration!
I’ve been fascinated with Halloween since I was a kid, as according to some, it’s a time when the veil between the living and the spirit worlds is at its thinnest ~ooooh~

Death is something we as a culture seem to have a very complicated relationship with. One of my goals this month is to apply myself more to my fundraising for my Great Wall of China trek for St Gemma’s Hospice, where my grandad John sadly passed away in 2015. October is also Infant and Pregnancy Loss Awareness month, which is a rather taboo subject that needs to be discussed more. That said, I have little experience with this deeply emotional and saddening topic, so would suggest SomethingRosier or OneDayofWinter who have much more meaningful contributions when it comes to infant loss. It’s a horrible, heartbreaking thing, but it does happen and it NEEDS to be talked about.

My additional goals for October include continuing to work hard towards my degree, and making the most of the beautiful Autumnal weather going on currently. I aim to continue exploring my faith and identity, and to reach out to people more. I’ve been struggling to ‘put myself out there’ due to my anxiety. I’ve been spending a lot of time with Benj as he’s my rock and I feel comfortable with him. But this means I haven’t been pushing myself to try make friends. Last night, I went to the Student Union with some members of the LGBT society, who were all super lovely, so I am hoping to build a connection with them and start attending the LGBT society regularly as I’ve been ‘chickening out’ of going to meetings.

October is such a beautiful time of year, and I’ve very excited for the opportunities and adventures it has in store for me.

-A x

Rambling · Uncategorized

Moving to uni!

On September 9th I moved to York to start my university-career and I have been busy as heck since then!
That faithful Saturday was spent unpacking, and I had a sleepover with my friend Jas at her accommodation as none of my flatmates had moved in and I went too nervous to spend the night alone. I’m glad Jas took pity on me and let me stay with them haha.

On the 10th, my flatmates moved in and I spent some time socialising with them. They all seem really nice, which is relieving seeing as i’m living with them for the next year!
On the 11th, I went to my first lecture, which was very chilled out and mainly just ice-breaking activities and an introduction to the course.
I went for lunch with some of the girls after the lecture, and met one of them, Melissa, for drinks on the Wednesday evening of that week. I also attended my first Quaker meeting in York on Wednesday the 13th which was really lovely. Everyone was so welcoming and friendly!
On the Thursday 14th, Benjamin came to stay. I treated him to cupcakes at Crumbs Bakery for breakfast on Friday and we bought each other promise rings to celebrate our anniversary ❤ I had a short lecture at lunchtime, and afterwards, Benj and I joined my course peers and tutors at the pub as a ‘getting-to-know-you’ activity.

I spent the weekend with Benj. A text from Melissa triggered a spontaneous night out in Hull at Spiders nightclub. It was a lot of fun, and it was nice to have Mel to travel back to York with on the Sunday. Our bus was snazzy as heck, it had free wifi and a table. (Yes I’m very impressed by a bus!)
Monday the 18th brought with it a lecture, and a boatload of homework. I felt somewhat overwhelmed by how much work we had to do already, but I cracked on with it and got it all completed on Wednesday, before nipping across the Coffea (a cute cafe near my uni) for a brew and a chat with the lovely lady who runs it.

So far I am loving uni, even though it’s a bit chaotic. My course seems to be the perfect course for me, and I’m really enjoying it so far. I’m still finding my feet, but I’m settling in nicely.