Being a Social Media Whingebag

I feel like posting a Before and After picture of “weight loss/gain” is becoming a right of passage between impressionable people on social media; I’ve done it too, so hear me out.

Before and After pictures are consuming social media; where fitness bloggers, or Body Positive bloggers (or basically anyone trying to gain blogger status) post a transformation shot to the world. Now yes, it can be deemed very positive (especially if you feel proud or positive about it) but what I’m struggling to grasp is why people need to post them?

So, throwing it back to the first paragraph where I stated I had posted one. Why did I do it? And where’s my reasoning?

1. I posted a B & A shot to validate myself. Obviously it’s wrong because I don’t need to validate myself but from my experience I posted one to explain my body shape, to justify why that fat was there and why that part of me looked thinner. And looking back that’s such a negative mindset, because 1) I don’t need to validate myself to other people and 2) as long as you’re happy within yourself it doesn’t matter how people receive you because of it.

2. Doing it for the likes. Just being honest here pals. Likes really used to raise my self esteem (again it’s validation for who I thought I was) and B & A shots reeeeeeeeeel in the likes, everyone loves a good ole’ comparison. But here’s a tip, once I stepped back from wanting the likes I really questioned who I thought I was, and it wasn’t the social media sheep I had become… I’m shamelessly myself. Crude language and all.

3. Fitness is a massive trend (and obviously quite healthy) but like I said a trend and I was riding that wave… what I’ve realised is the level I was doing it wasn’t healthy for me. Looking through family pictures my body frame hasn’t changed very much from being a child. I have a round frame, larger proportioned arms and have probably remained as condensed in height as I was when I was 5. The thing is, I was only interested in fitness to try and gain a body that would be an amazing transformation from who I am naturally. I aspired to have that amazing Before and After shot 1) to make me look like I had my s*** together 2) because I thought my opinion only matters if I’m thin (OBVIOUSLY NOT PALS) 3) Someone would love me more if I was thin e.g. It would instantly make me more employable, attractive, emotionally stable and the list could roll on.

Living my best life.

*Alarm Rings*

Not a healthy mind set.

4. The B & A was an attempt at a revenge body which again is not a healthy mindset.

LOVE YO’SELF FIRST AND PEOPLE WILL LOVE YOU.

Personally, I don’t feel Before and After shots are affirmation of loving or being comfortable in your own skin *controversial argument alert*. I feel like people are using them as a tool to affirm themselves by receiving affirmation from others, which is I feel is (all personal opinion here guys, open to opinions) unnecessary.

OBVIOUSLY in the liberal society we live in, you may do as you please (within reason) and your social media is exactly that. Yours. However this topic is one that has peeved me over time and I’m interested in hearing your opinions and sides to the discussion.

(Maybe I should stop caring so much?)

((I just want people to be set free from the burden of social media affirmation))

(((I’m also mega bored of seeing them ALL THE TIME on instal)))

Have fun out there!

Love,

Pipedream xx

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Working on my Wings…

I’m not a very good flyer.

After a tough term at work, a holiday was definitely on the cards. Some people may pooh-pooh the idea of a Secret Escapes selected holiday, for the lack of “culture” but what you lack in one thing you definitely gain in another. And I have never felt more looked-after, free from worry and happy in a place from home before.

As I write this, I am overlooking the Hills of Gran Canaria, tucked away from the hubbub of the tourism on the coast, by the many palms and the golf course of our resort; we are completely remote and my inner hermit is completely in love.

On the day of our arrival, Lydia and I had been confronted with many “little wins” as our car was located in a perfect spot, we checked in easily, our bags were all the correct weight (no matter how much you weigh them on your bathroom scales, the worry is real!) and we breezed through the journey right up into the departure lounge.

Disclaimer: Lydia actively jinxed our travels, “I don’t know why people get so stressed when travelling…” “This has been so stress-free” “easy”

*Nothing but love here Pal*

This is where the story begins.

At 7:25am our little plane thundered down the runway, projecting us into the sky. Emotionally I had been preparing myself the whole week prior to the flight, as I’m scared of heights and the concept of being so high in the sky makes my knees go weak.

I had my s*** together, gazing out of the window at the land below. That is until the seatbelt warning light went on and an announcement was made by the pilot. We may have only been 30 minutes into our journey but a plane fault is still a plane fault and we had to turn around causing a raucous amongst the passengers.

Surprisingly I stayed calm and optimistic suggesting how they were minimising our chances of death by returning to Gatwick, which I was grateful for, being the drama queen that I am. Lydia however was having a mini-moment next to me.

Mini-moment: A mixture of emotions e.g. Despair, annoyance and generally being f****d off.

We landed. Fire engines surrounding us, in case our full tank of fuel blew us up on landing *fake yay* and I was relieved to be on solid ground. I momentarily questioned whether to swirl around ‘The Sound of Music’ style and profess my love to the land of Great Britain. I didn’t.

Fast-forward nearly 12 hours, a Hilton Hotel room with a complimentary lunch and Mac Make-up Artists putting shades of lipsticks on to match my inner turmoil; we still were grounded at Gatwick. *rolls eyes*

Of course, I started to experience an anxiety related pain in my side and stress was seeping into my veins behind my fake mask of optimism.

Lydia however was taking it all in her stride, reading a psychology magazine beside me, looking all Zen and unfazed. I mean really I should have been riddled in excitement but as I was reading a magazine about guardian angels saving lives of those in trouble; in my warped state of mind (sleep deprived with a pinch of anxiety) I thought this to be an omen and that I should be begging to the stars.

My first near faint experience was as we were boarding the plane, my stomach in knots and my head light but full of noise. I managed to keep my s*** together, making my legs cooperate against the will of my mind.

2 hours in to the flight however, I was a lost cause. 1 panic attack in the toilet, 2 failed attempts at passing out, 3 opportunities trying to retain vomit in my stomach (sounds like a warped 12 days of Christmas) I just wanted the ordeal to be over but it wasn’t. As soon as the plane touched down on the landing strip of Gran Canaria I was ready to run.

I would like to add that nobody mentioned how hair-raising it is to be driven along the roads of Gran Canaria IN THE DARK, where there were more bends than a mother could be driven round by, by her children. I’m not usually one to get travel sick but of course this was not any usual day.

I arrived at the Hotel (REALLY SORRY LYDIA) doubled over feeling like a beaten women. Questioning whether to throw up or die. After our brutal Airport transfer, where the man reassured us that he was a “professional” (what a relief) and “speedy-speedy” the saviour that is Lydia, checked us in, got all the deets for our holiday and had to put up with me being an absolute diva.

TUI your delay sucked. But I can safely say it was all worth it because I have views for days and a holiday accomplice that is a joy. Secret Escapes I’ll be seeing you again.

Have fun out there!

With Love,

Pipedream.

The Qualms of Being “Busy”

It has been far too many days since I have last posted, and I am genuinely gutted that I couldn’t maintain a consistent feed. I am just your classic case of a consistently-inconsistent blogger. What have I been doing in that time? And why do I have the time now?

My current career path is TOUGH and before the cusp of the (School) holidays, stress levels peak, along with the hours that I am expected to work. I don’t believe I have spoken much about my place of work before, however I am a House Mistress in an International Boarding School and in laymen terms that means I look after 90+ girls, 24/7 acting as a “stand-in” parent during term time. Many parents out there understand how consuming caring for a child is, so you can imagine how little time that leaves for me to write blog posts, looking after so many. So, to have written as many blog posts as I have to date (since September) is a feat I think.

*Takes a Bow*

As the Holidays approach, where exhaustion begins to overtake our bodies, House Mistresses/Masters have one final hurdle… Departures *Dramatic music*. The children’s departures can be at any hour of the day, but they usually happen within the hours of 1am-5am which means 0 sleep for the humble House Mistress/Master who must get the students up and make sure they leave to fly around the world.

Disclaimer: I CANNOT FUNCTION ON LESS THAN 5 HOURS SLEEP A DAY. *Corpse Alert*

Of course, this is only just one of the reasons why I haven’t posted. I have written about this mildly in previous blog posts, but I suffer from Anxiety (or GAD, a really attractive title) which completely contradicts my extrovert character. I have been a little consumed by the grey fog which crept up on me slowly, unassuming (I thought I was dealing with it accordingly… I wasn’t) ((Anxiety:1 Me:0)) shaking up my already “exciting” life, the curveball that is anxiety made me doubt my whole existence, along with convincing myself of impending doom. * Fake yay*

If you experience Anxiety, you will already know that no two anxieties are the same and mine wasn’t fully diagnosed until April last year, but I had experienced it throughout my childhood, so we were old friends.

My classic symptoms are fatigue, my body just hurts (due to muscles being tense) and I start to avoid certain tasks because the thought makes me panic (heart thumping, adrenaline pumping *not lyrics to a song, I promise* and feeling sick). I of course thought that the symptoms above were just the results of being overly tired due to my job and I thought that my constant running/exercise was providing enough endorphins to keep me sweet. But alas, I am only human, and I had worked myself safely into the ground. Of course, the above is mainly lifestyle related, and this time my anxiety flared up because my brain was noticing that something WASN’T right within my routine. Which brings me to now.
I am three days, out of three weeks, into my Easter Holidays and my body is slowing down, starting to make sense of things – hence the blog post.

Side Note: I am by no way miraculously healed.
I have time to write, sleep and focus on myself, along with prepping for a cute spa/yoga retreat to recharge my batteries in a 5* hotel in the hills of Gran Canaria. *Wiggles eyebrow*
Which is just what I need to get me back on the path and out of the woods.

I would like to add that I love my life and my mind, and I am also heavily optimistic about my anxiety. The months after I begin to return to my “normal” self, are by far my most creative; so that is something to look forward too, being the kooky artist that I am.

A smooth sea never makes for a skilled sailor.

Have fun out there!

With love,

Pipedream xx

The Blackmarket VIP

I am a little shameless when it comes to self-promotion. If you do not rate yourself, how can you expect others too? I actively post on social-media, discuss ideas, my goals and dreams with anyone who will listen and email large organisations repeatedly in the hope to gain an opportunity that will help change my life.
Side Note: this is not vanity, this is just a little touch of determination and belief in my self-worth.

This shameless self-promotion using the power of social media and sharing, landed me the opportunity to paint some of my work upon the walls of a fresh new venue, promoting rad bands and other live acts. The Blackmarket VIP gave me an opportunity and a stepping stone towards more people knowing about me and my work. A variety of people walk through the doors of The Blackmarket VIP every day, which is a great promotional opportunity, for someone starting out like myself.

The Blackmarket VIP has recently been taken over by Ash Jacobs, who is reinventing the image and vibe of the venue, for the better. It was once a place where stuffy functions were hosted, resulting in a lack of atmosphere and charisma. Since the new ownership, the energy of the The Blackmarket VIP is crackling with exciting new prospects, resulting in it gaining popularity being ‘the’ place to watch fresh new acts. It encourages and appreciates diversity, allowing a space for artists, musicians and any creative to explore their craft with freedom and acceptance.

I was given a large canvas, and creative freedom within the venue which is what any artist craves. Working towards briefs is where the money lies, but creative freedom is where the happiness remains.

I have a love for exploring the shapes of insects, and I enjoy how uncomfortable they make people feel. I like the concept of discomfort and the weird within my own work and partnering two concepts together (which wouldn’t be commonly associated) is something I continue to explore. The Blackmarket VIP was a perfect space for my work, and Ash was completely willing to allow my crazy to be featured upon the walls. I cannot begin to explain how grateful I am to have my work exhibited in this kooky venue where I feel so at home.

I urge anyone with a love of the Arts to visit this venue. They are on all forms of social media, and have events every week, so there is no excuse to not check them out. This isn’t a paid promotion, this is just a genuine love for what this venue stands for, and I want more of you to know about it.
Have fun out there,

Pipedream xx

A little Pipedream…

I had started AlittlePipedream in the midst of a case of the Black Dog. It had become a companion, and I was in a routine of accompanying it on a day-to-day basis. Looking back – I can no longer relate to that person. Life is what you make of it and I had created a dam, blocking all hopes of positivity into my life – harbouring pain, angst and guilt instead. What a waste of time.

After many trips to the GP, I was labelled with quite a selection of abbreviations which was supposed to justify my behaviour, but instead left feelings of disappointment that that had become my reality. I remember sitting in the pleather, red chair of my doctors waiting room, adamant that I needed to change or to initiate a change, because the only way was down if I didn’t.

I am headstrong which can work positively or negatively in my favour. I knew for certain that medication was not going to be an option for me, and luckily my GP was reluctant to go down that route. In my experience, GPs don’t offer pills out like sweets, despite the stigma; they explore many routes for an individual first. *Hi-5 NHS*

My Doctor looked at me and said “write”. She expressed that writing allows the time to rationalise thoughts and to come to terms with things and I had a lot of words that needed materialising. I also half expected her answer. I had been googling alternatives myself.

And in that moment, AlittlePipedream was born.

When I first started publishing posts, I remember tip-toeing around the subjects that I really wanted to talk about, opting for classic product promo posts and hollow accounts of my days which consisted of no more than my 9-5 job. Writing on a platform where anyone and everyone can view it is incredibly vulnerable, but it also made me realise how important it is to be honest and shamelessly myself. In the short amount of time I had been writing, I had realised that I wasn’t a lifestyle blogger at all, I was a life blogger.

Disclaimer: Lifestyle’s aren’t real life, they are the glittery outer-layer encasing real life which is the utter filth I wanted to write about and to shed some light on.

At the time (and during my present) I was experiencing a lot of failure within life – thinking that this was the root issue of my state of mind. However, failure is the most positive thing that can happen to any human being – I worked out that it wasn’t the failure that was the problem, it was my inability to learn and to develop from it. The pangs of disappointment and the constant revaluation is hard to tackle if the step forward could equal the same result, but there is no living if you are staying in the same place. And I wanted to live.

Pipedream seemed an apt name for myself, as its meaning is fantasising about a fantastic notion, hope or story and I was hoping for a way out of the rut I had got myself into by telling stories. Today is AlittlePipedream’s 1st Birthday, marking a year since I embarked on being honest, open and aiming to kick life’s bootayyyyyyyyyy… I have laughed, cried and screamed into my steering wheel throughout these last 12 months but I have poured my heart into every post I have written, and I hope that I have encouraged you, whoever you may be, to see the sunshine in failing and living an everyday life.

Thank you for the all the kind words, the conversations and the support. It is humbling to know that my words can offer solace to not only myself but to you who read these little posts that started off as a mere rambling.

Have fun out there!

With love,

Pipedream xx

Angsty-Moshers Absent

Last night I left the O2 with a little spring in my step.

For my mothers birthday I bought her ‘The Script’ tickets, because 1) I get her (aka I’m the best daughter) ((obviously)) and 2) it’s tradition; if they’re touring.

The Irish Rock Band have created some absolute classics over the years, resulting in my mother having a constant love attachment to the lead singer Danny O’Donoghue since I willingly played her “The Man who can’t be moved” back in the October of 2009. *Who knew what I had started*

She begged to join a queue, longer than one on a Black-Friday sale, to buy merchandise with Danny’s face on it. I cautiously looked at my watch, knowing trains home were limited and I was teaching in the morning (I obviously let her with a roll of my eyes and a quick scold to “be back shortly”). *It’s also tradition for me to put my mother-pants on when we are out together, because my mother is hopeless at organisation*. I love you mum.

I may be the only one, but I feel that The Script have carried a little stigma over the years, being deemed ‘uncool’ in comparison to other rock bands on the scene, because they have written songs with emotional lyrics which all generations can relate too; instead of being limited to angsty, moshers you would expect to see in a generic ‘rock’ concert or people who are reluctant to feel. *Sorry not sorry for the stereotypes here*

Side Note: It is completely cool to be the said stereotypes, as it is completely cool to be whomever you wish to be. Who am I to judge?

But last night I felt completely empowered to be standing within the audience of their gig, which actively celebrated being different, inspiring others and achieving/living life exactly how YOU want too. We were asked to unite as a body of people, holding onto one another (including random strangers you had met 2 minutes prior), dancing together and living in the moment. That is what life is about. Togetherness in our differences.

*Dusts off my Soapbox*

My mother and I had missed our planned train home *classic*, sprinting up the left side of the elevators in the hope of making the last train home. Two stitches, a whinge and being bent over out-of-breath later, we made it onto our train. *wipes sweat from brow*

I am more than willing to see ‘The Script’ again, as it was an experience of empowerment and glitter confetti – my two favourite things and we need more of that in our day to day lives. And as I took off my clothing last night, confetti cascaded onto the floor, leaving a little patch of memories which greeted me this morning.

Last night really inspired my tunnel-vision to go get out and live the life I want to lead. So in the words of The Script “It’s not right for you, if you really have to think about it… You’ve got one life, to love what you do”.

Have fun out there!

Tomorrow is AlittlePipedream’s first birthday… Yay!

With Love,

Pipedream xx

The meaning behind the Magpie…

Four weeks ago I was lying on the floor penning the steps towards my next adventure, when I picked up the phone and arranged a tattoo for the very next day. Tattooists are busy-busy people, and this convenient availability for the very next day gave me a little bit of ‘witchy’ faith, that it was all meant to be. I am one of those people that will make a spontaneous decision regarding my appearance to signify an emotional/physical end converting the negativity into a positive new meaning, which was something I had touched upon in a previous blog post ‘Emotional Haircuts’ *cheeky name drop*.

I am someone who values my self-developed skillset but never holds much faith in it. I am self-critical, passionate, determined but easily discouraged. Looking back, my tattoos were always the prologue before a change which has shaped the path resulting in my present. I wear them like little emblems, but it was time for a new one. I needed something to represent my new mindset and direction but still payed compliments to the past.

A Magpie.

In the world of spiritual meaning a Magpie symbolises creative expression, which is the need to be heard and not misunderstood which is something I’m ready to focus on now. I am committed to my self-expression and I am not ashamed. Amongst other things a Magpie is symbolic for no longer chasing false beliefs, quitting the things that leave you feeling uninspired because the shiny materialism is something you think is the right thing to chase but it really isn’t. I was in a rut, forcing myself to be fine with my current state of person because it meant a comfortable income, and a shiny title on my CV but I felt so grey. A Magpie is a guiding figure towards following what you know to be correct for you. There are many other meanings which really sum up the position I was in prior to the Magpie but these just felt the most important.

There is also a story behind this Magpie, which I usually save; but it now feels so apt to tell.

Many moons ago, under the influence of alcohol I took to the fields which contained the home I was house-sitting, and I sought for the little Magpie which was caged to lure its friends. In the countryside there is a life cycle which I completely respect, however in my drunken state the little Magpie’s reality was to much for me to bare and I released it (in quite a dramatic fashion; arms raised above my head, screaming something along the lines of “Fly Free, Be Free little friend…”) *Damn whiskey*

Disclaimer: Drink sensibly or not at all. *I shouldn’t*

The next morning, as I closed-up the house (call it a coincidence) a little Magpie was perched on the garden gate, chattering away into the sun rise. It didn’t move once until I had got into my car to leave, it flew away free and it is one of those mental images that holds much symbology for me. This new emblem I wear on my arm signifies an element of freedom I am yet to feel, but I am adamant to revel in creative expression with utmost freedom.

Have fun out there!

With love,

Pipedream xx

100 Years of Suffrage

The last couple of days marked 100 years since Women gained suffrage*Fist Pump* after sacrificing themselves to a cause which still inspires many today.

Suffragettes were a group of women; game changers and forward thinkers, striving to make an impact by starting a conversation. They actively initiated their side of the story within the media by Arson, Property Damage and Domestic Terrorism (not a term I’m fond of in this context *bleugh*) resulting in prison sentences, fatal protests, hunger strikes and ferocious determination.

Campaigning for Women’s rights began during the 19th century, however it really gained momentum in 1903 when the name Suffragette was born. Sacrifice after sacrifice resulted in a circular battle between women and the government, also known as ‘The Cat and Mouse Act’ where the government retaliated instead of listening.
However, it wasn’t until 1914, when the First World War broke out that things really began to change. Altering their tactics, the Suffragettes no longer desired to use force but played with positivity and enforced a new direction of self-advocacy.

Men were at War fighting for their country, whilst women remained at home fighting societal gender roles. Doing what the men once had, women tended the land, built aircraft and proved that they could do a man’s job which contradicted the argument affecting their right to vote.

Self-Advocacy in a positive way, is a powerful lesson anyone can initiate within their lives. If you cannot prove your own worth by challenging something you aren’t receiving but you know you are entitled too and capable of achieving, how do you expect others to appreciate your worth too?

There are many topics yet to be discussed within the world we live in. I think it’s time to start talking.

Have fun out there!
With love,
Pipedream xx

Zen

January is in full steam, but February is nearly here to envelop us in the prospects of spring. I have been back at work for 3 weeks; sleep is sparse, and my life choices are compensating in return. I’m tired of the rain, smudged make-up, a sickly complexion, and the cold imprisoning my bones so they ache. I’m ready for some Zen.

I close my eyes daily and picture adventure, excitement and change. Deep in the pit of my stomach, there is a little glow of the person I was at the end of a restful 3 weeks off and I am going to embark on a few pointers which I think will re-find my Zen.

‘Zen’ is a little phrase I adopted, to explain a state of well-being which bought happiness into my life but first I had to work out what worked in making me feel blissful. Here are a couple pointers which I hope will help you find your ‘Zen’ in this crazy, chaotic world.

1) Spontaneity – Be curious, take a left turn when you should really be going right. Explore the unknown, walk on a whim, say ‘yes’ (within reason e.g. something moral *no crimes pal*) with reckless abandon before your rational mind can ‘adult’ your decisions. Live in the moment.

2) Be free – I mean this in two contexts. The first being ‘the best things in life are free’. Nature is free, get outside, run through the woods, skim stones on the waters’ edge, do something that doesn’t require the assistance of a phone and the second meaning being, ‘free’ as in unbound. Take your shoes off and wriggle your toes in the sand, get disgustingly dirty, let the wind guide your body.
Side Note: I have 0 cares if this is ‘uncool’ and defies the societal view of a lifestyle you should aspire to have e.g. a BMW, with designer threads *yawn*

3) Health – Move your body, let those endorphins flow through your veins, laugh; not just for your mind but your abs (I nearly threw up because I laughed so much once *cool story*). Eat yo’ greens and drink that divine little liquid called water. PUT DOWN THE PROSECCO *I’m reluctant too* and look in that mirror and celebrate yourself. Health isn’t singular to fitness, it lives in your mind too. Let your mind relax and breath.

4) Self-maintenance – Say no to energy vampires (people that require lots of your time and positivity) that leave you feeling zapped. Divide your time evenly between killing it at life and self-love (getting your hair done, treating yourself etc). It doesn’t make you vain, selfish or mean to invest time into yourself. It allows you to prep and represent the best side of yourself to the world… Disclaimer: Everyone still has bad days, even ‘Zen’ enthused humans.

These points are a little raindrop in comparison to the waterfalls of possibility to achieve the imminent Zen. If you have succumbed to resembling the wintery gloom, looming outside your window, go outside and live with reckless abandon.

Have fun out there!

With love,

Pipedream xx

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