2012 – year in review and a massive list of thankfulness.

2012 was a big year. I know I made a lot of jokes about it being the end of the world, but in some ways it kind of really was, for me. I made choices and followed through with actions that radically changed my life. The number one change of course being leaving my husband and striking out on my own.

I have been in a huge flux state, changing and learning and above all growing. It hasn’t been easy, at a lot of points it’s been almost intolerably hard but through it all I had a few anchors to keep me steady.

The first and foremost has been my wonderful circle of friends: Sophie, Sam, Ellen, Michelle, Randy and Bryn above all, who have listened to my outpourings without judgement, who have supported me and gone above and beyond to help when I asked for it. I really don’t know what I would have done, and I don’t have to wonder because they were there for me. So many of my other friends have also been invaluable, whether sending messages of love, understanding or just something to make me laugh, you’ve all made a difference.

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The second anchor that has helped me through this change has been going to therapy. It’s strange admitting this in a public forum, because I have a belief that it’s shameful to ask for help, or to admit that you are getting care of this kind. I think that belief is bullshit. Life is hard, people are endlessly complicated and if you can get someone to listen to you without judgement, and give you insight into your behaviours, into why you feel the way you do then that’s precious. It should be admitted without shame and it should be encouraged in others. The interesting thing I have noticed when I have spoken openly about therapy is that people are understanding and supportive about it. My belief that it’s shameful is completely unfounded.

The third anchor is my family. It’s been hard, tremendously so, to be open with them about what has gone on, but every time I’ve fought through that resistance (on my side) it has been rewarding. My siblings have been supportive and wonderful, quietly and completely. My parents opened their house to me over Christmas (and allowed me to bring Ellen) and ensured that my first Christmas in 13 years without Lee wasn’t a sad or lonely event.

I also have a hugely wonderful and supportive network of friends online, mostly based in the States, who have been invaluable in being online when my friends here are asleep and listening without reservation. I am thankful for all of them. My work has been incredible, understanding about time I needed off for emotional reasons and helping out with the therapy. Workplace support is essential and can never be taken for granted.

Actively working on my self esteem has been another anchor. Getting rid of beliefs such as whether or not I deserve to be happy, or doing things because someone else wants me to. Learning to love myself for who I am, and letting myself be happy. It sounds so simple but in reality it can be the hardest thing in the world. One valuable tool in this quest has been the love yourself tag on tumblr, another is Gala’s many posts on radical self love and her Love and Sequins book that I have on my kindle.

Other things that I have been incredibly thankful for this year are my crafts and writing. Because sometimes the ability to create something with your hands can make you feel complete, can give you relaxation and take you out of your own head and that’s very healthy. Writing has been amazing for letting me get everything out, venting, exploring my feelings and thoughts. Doing it right before bedtime has meant I’ve been able to sleep easier, because I’ve been able to let everything go. It’s also created a referable source to see how I’ve developed my thinking, I can read back and see how I was feeling at a certain time and compare it to how I feel now.

I am looking forward to next year. I know there will be a lot more changes, the first one being moving into Giffy’s house and settling in there, but there are a lot more on the card as well. Lots to look forward to and I know no matter what happens I’ll be able to handle it. This post feels like a huge revelation, like I’m letting my secrets out into the world, and it feels good. Exhilarating. In the new year I’m going to try and blog more often, and there are plenty more revelations to come.

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Things I Love Friday

Christmas Christmas Christmas!

awkward family photo under the tree

awkward family photo under the tree

Staying with my parents was relaxed and awesome, and so warm! Hot enough to swim in the sea and although I have a summer cold which meant my energy levels weren’t up where they should have been it was awesome. Especially getting to catch up with Sam, Luke and the girls.

Road tripping with Ellen. She had the odd moment of yelling ‘scary clown!’ while I was driving, but other than that she was an excellent person to have riding shotgun and we had an awesome amount of fun. She introduced me to my new favourite christmas song:

We made lots of plans for living together at Giffy’s too, which is exciting.

My Totoro onesie.

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It just makes me really, really happy.

Honourable Mentions: sharing knowledge (taught Ellen sock monkey making on Christmas Day), coco pops chex, fresh juice, Wreck It Ralph, photos which make you laugh, ice cream on the beach, talking with children, swimming in the sea, thoughtful gifts and feeling accepted.

Happy Christmas Eve!

jennitalula santa

I used to be terrified of Santa, no lies. I’d cry and hide if he even came near me. Something about Stranger Danger mixed with the fact you couldn’t see the face…

Anyway, I’m over it now and yesterday on our epic Christmas road trip up the coast me and Ellen met two shopping mall Santas.

I hope your Christmas is as lovely and fun as mine looks set to be.

jennitalula santa

Things I Love Thursday

dalek wedding

dalek wedding

There was a Dalek wedding on my desk today. My not-so-secret Santa got me a mini red Dalek army and a little Amy Pond. I had some fun setting them up and taking photos.

I only have one week off over Christmas, but I am reallly looking forward to it. Sleeping in and mooching around and doing craft and writing (yes, writing!) and going to the beach.

Honourable Mentions: Christmas caramello santas, Christmas cookies, plans for Christmas, Christmas larps which inspire Lol wolves for Yule, pretty sunshiney weather, wearing shorts, dresses and watching Jake Gyllenhaal movies.

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For the end of the day I lined them up in front of my My Little Ponies line. Don’t they look good?

Things I love Thursday – the someday edition

I have lots of things I’m looking forward to… Let’s start with those things which are in my immediate future: ~ Christmas and time off over Christmas week.

~ Someday I’m going to Australia, hiring a van and seeing as many of these as I can.

~ Someday I will own a lovely house with polished wood floors and lots of light and bookshelves. It will have a nice large lounge for gaming in and a lawn and garden for having people over on sunny days.

Honourable Mentions: Watching romantic comedies with Chelle, this buzzfeed, stuffed mushrooms from Tan’s Takeaways, awesome presents from work, Christmas specials, the surrealism of the Christmas parade, sunshiney days when it’s actually warm, wrapping gifts and seeing the stars at night.

…. and meeting a lion: (four of them actually)

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Hating things

Why waste time hating things, talking about how much you hate something? Aren’t you just making yourself annoyed/sad/angry and possibly making other people around you feel that way too?

Whatever we feel inside ourselves…it’s what we say and what we do that defines us to other people. Why not make an effort to concentrate on things which make us joyful instead, that lift our spirits instead of creating a thundercloud over our heads?

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One thing I’ve learned is that I cannot be truly happy unless I love and forgive myself. And… if I love myself, I’ll be happy. That’s what I want for everyone I love, so why not me?

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Christmas is coming – did you bring your coat?

I am running my advent calendar again this year, check in on the tumblr for a new picture or gif every day.

I have started prep by making re-usable, Earth friendly fabric gift bags. I intend to make some paper ones as well, to make the wrapping paper I have a bit more recyclable.

I put up the teeny bright pink Christmas tree I have, and my flatmate has been opening windows on his Star Wars lego advent calendar. Chelle wrapped presents yesterday and put them by the tree. I love Christmas, and I can’t wait for it to be here.