Denise aka Dennis the Menace

Hi Dennis,

As I sit down to write this I realised I don’t think I’ve ever written anything for you before… I find that odd.

Anyway, unimportant because tomorrow is your birthday!!!!!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, GRANDMA!!!

I thought I’d write you your letter for your birthday and then by the time I see you to celebrate on Wednesday evening we’ll both have forgotten about me being nice because we’re not really ever nice to each other like this, are we? It’s important to me that you do get a letter though and your birthday seemed a nice reason to write it.

Mate, I don’t even know where to start… perhaps at the beginning – I know you love ‘The Sound of Music’ as much as me and Maria said it’s a very good place to start sooo….

Sunday, September 3rd 2006 that was the day we met. Well, actually Tuesday, August 30th was the day we met because that was the day of my interview at MC and you were there but the Sunday was the first day we spoke (yes, I know I’m weird for remembering the day). I thought you were much older than me because of how you carried yourself and I remember everyone on that Sunday team telling me you were scary and I was like… what? Are you mad? She’s not scary!

And it’s true you’re not.

What you are though is a fantastic friend. Like, truly. I’ve spoken about it before with Diane – you are one of the best. Solid. You’re just great.

You are unwavering in your loyalty, you’re not hard work at all – you understand that people are weird and life is weird and don’t take offence if we don’t speak for a few weeks because I’ve spiralled into a hole of work and anxiety. You’re just there after to listen (with a cup of tea and biscuits, obvs) and give us a kick back in the right direction.

There was a couple of years ago when I was ill that you literally got me through the worst week. Calling me to make sure I was on my way to work, calling me to make sure I got to work, calling me after to make me come to your house so you could feed me and not letting me leave the table until I’d eaten half of what was on my plate after I’d confessed I’d gone about 3 days with no real food. You can’t buy friendship like that. I don’t know if I ever said thank you for it either, so thanks.

I also really respect that you don’t try to pretend to empathise with what I go through when I get ill but that you just try to understand and ask questions; anyone that has anxiety and depression will tell you it’s so hard to find people like that.

I love that you trust me to be in Charlie’s life. The older I get the more I understand how protective people need to be with who they let be around their children and you’ve let me be constantly in Bean’s. Which I’m glad for because I love that little bean. He’s a credit to you and Chris.

I love that you moved to the ghetto from the other ghetto (TH is BF, just be honest) to ten minutes away from me 😂 we’re not that bad here. Don’t go to the other side of the local shops though, that’s proper ghetto!

You’re the right balance of supportive and cautious. I have a lot of ideas that are great in theory but actually completely ridiculous in reality and you’re not scared to tell me that 👏🏼

You are that friend that says ‘we’ll just have one drink’ and then I leave your house at 4am, pissed with no door key and have to wake the house up to get in 🤷🏼‍♀️ oops. Or I end up throwing up everywhere (it was one time and I’m still embarrassed about it) … literally the worst drunk ever when I’m with you. I have my worst hangovers when I’ve been drinking with you 😂 Bad influence. Maybe this birthday I’ll get drunk and rap Eminem for you again.

You’re the best gym buddy because you know when we really need to work out and when to suggest we just sack it off and go for egg on toast at the local greasy spoon too. Balance is good for you. Obvs.

What is possibly my favourite thing about our friendship though is how much we laugh. At other people, each other, the world. I have never known anyone (and I mean ANYONE) to understand the quotes that I randomly slip into conversation… I miss working with you everyday purely for that 😂

Basically, I just wish everyone could have a friend like Dennis. They can’t actually have you though because you’re my friend.

So, Happy Birthday again. You’re great. Can’t wait for Cabaret on Wednesday. I’ll try not to sing too loudly in your ear.

See ya, pal! (please get that quote)

Micks.

• J- Ro •

Day 9 (I think)

JRo.

If anyone ever needs proof that opposites attract then they need look no further than us.

Honestly.

Even your Ma has commented on how different we are.

Our friendship just works though, and I’m so glad it does. I think we balance each other out.

You’re one of my most low maintenance friendships. We go months and months without any contact and then when we do chat, it’s like old times. Nothing’s changed.

I know that I can be hard work, and I know that I’m not always the easiest person for you to be friends with – sometimes our differences are glaringly obvious and that can cause some friction. I know, without you saying anything, that there have been times when you don’t know if you’re coming or going with me and for that I apologise. I want you to know that I’m glad you have stuck around though.

My first and original travel buddy – we’ve had some adventures! I love how keen you are to see the world and how educated on EVERYTHING you are. You are, without a doubt, my smartest friend.

Our adventures have taken us all over Europe and the US. The most glamorous moment of my life is still brushing my teeth in Walmart when we were RVing!! I’m so glad I got to do that with you by my side.

You have the kindest heart of anyone I know – you are my moral compass at times. Not a bad word to say about anyone (except maybe Trump), you lead with love and compassion.

Like me, you just want world peace.

I’m so glad I met you. I’m so glad I get to call you my friend.

I can’t wait to see you in May, give you a big ‘ole hug and make some more memories.

All the love, JRo. All the love

xoxo M

• Steph •

Stephanie Hall.

You Goddess.

When I try and describe my friends it’s always a hard thing to do because there are always so deliciously complex that to only use one word / one phrase would do them an injustice.

You are no different.

The best way I can describe you is this though – you’re the inner voice everyone should have.

You know how fuck boys always have a habit of coming back just as you’ve moved on? Well you always seem to have a habit of checking in just when I am about done with life and all it’s shit. How do you knoooow??? LITERALLY.

I still remember the first time I met you, just a couple of small town girls, living in a small town world (Big up Guildford). You and Gemma both got the job at Mothercare and told Diane that you didn’t know each other… then spent your first shift walking around the floor together. I remember saying to Huma “they’re obviously mates”. Didn’t hide it well, hun 😂

Then there was the jumper out the back (that was pretty traumatic) but you were just as nosy and me about it and I knew then you were just like me.

You were always down for a laugh and weren’t scared of making a fool of yourself for it and I LOVE THAT ABOUT YOU. This probably sounds rude but I’m gonna say it anyway – you wouldn’t expect someone so hot to be so funny. You’re bloody hilarious.

We’ve come along way from cleaning porches on a Sunday and being sung to by the homeless folk of Guildford (he was right, you are beautiful) and I’m so glad I’ve got to stand by the sidelines and watch you blossom into a kind hearted, successful, beautiful woman.

Instagram has such a filter on it and I know behind the happy grins and ‘carefree’ life on those squares there is a lot of hard work and effort that allows you to enjoy the best of what life has to offer. You deserve all of it and so much more.

You are such a force and I’m so glad I get to feel that in my world (sounded less dodgy in my head lol)

Keep on being you, because you are just wonderful.

I love you.

M xoxo

• Amy Jayne TayTay •

TayTay, you big slut.

Letter number 2.

Remember you told me last weekend I’m never nice to you unless I’m drunk? Well buckle up, sista. Here comes a whole lot of nice. And I’m sober. And publishing it. On a public platform. For the whole world to see. wait, maybe I am drunk?! (I’m definitely not)

First of all, let’s clear something up.

I think you are bloody fantastic. Ok, there, I said it. To be fair, I wouldn’t have kept you around this long if I didn’t think you were. I know I seem to pick up a whole manner of people (seriously, what is with that?) but only the best ones are allowed to stay. It’s been 10 years, you’re a lifer now.

You know I am completely backwards in that if you’re worth a dime to me I’ll call you all the names to your face and cut a bitch that talks down on you behind your back. I’m just backwards, ok?

I don’t even really know what else to say to be fair.

Like, I just think you’re great.

One of the most genuine and supportive people in my life. You always have a kind word to say about me (even if it’s followed by calling me a wench) and have been one of my biggest cheerleaders for about as long as I’ve known you. I really miss those car journeys to school placement – tell me you don’t miss my CD mixes! I’ve such great taste in music. Eclectic, but great (a couple of people from my past may disagree but whatayagonnadoaboutit?)

I feel very lucky (no I’m not lucky, I’m blessed YES – Nicki Minaj) to count you as one of my best pals – I think it was the wise Ellen Degenres that once said “it’s wonderful to be loved but it’s profound to be understood” and you understand me and all my weird ways. You just ‘get’ me.

One of the things I love most about you (other than your dog, God bless Fudge!), is that you are so unashamedly you. You don’t ask anyone to like you, you just are you and that’s something I have long admired and a trait I so wish I possessed!

You are loyal, you are so kind, compassionate and empathetic, passionate, protective… when you become a Mama they will be one lucky chicken – just remember James promised to name it after me if it’s a girl. 💃🏼

Speaking of James… what a guy. My favourite farmer who’s not really a farmer, ever! I love how happy he makes you. To be asked to write something to be read at your wedding was a privilege in itself but then when you asked me to read it… brave move – after all you did warn your friends about me before I met them 😂🙈. Not sure where I got this reputation from to be fair, I’m a proper treat!

Seriously though, I was completely honoured and I’m so pleased you trusted me enough to do it. I’m also so pleased to have been able to choose 2 of your wedding songs. I might not believe in love but I know a good love song when I hear it.

I’m going to wrap this up now because I think I’m just rambling a bit but yea, you’re pretty great. Don’t goooo changing.

See ya in Croatia.

Love you for life.

xoxo M

P.S my favourite, favourite thing is that you get jealous when you’re friends talk to me / ask me to hang out and you’re not involved

“but Kala is MY friend” 😂😂

• Lisa •

Dear Liseeeee,

Linda Lash, Lisa, Liza… I never know which name to call you because normally I just call you rude names 😉

I don’t even really know where to begin. I guess, Happy Birthday to your boy?!

Nicholas Brian Lashaway! 31 years ago you birthed that force of nature. What a treat. I hope today isn’t too hard for you, I hope that you are able to laugh at what a tit he could be amongst the sadness. Also, remember I’m forever judging you for never having made him sit down and watch ‘Mary Poppins’ 😂

I guess I should move on to saying the nice things now, ay? You know me, I’m a bit awkward and so very British about this kind of stuff. Show emotion, me? Say what!

I’m only good at being nice when I’m drunk normally… however I will do my best now.

Lisa,

Lisa,

Lisa.

What a woman.

Someone who I admire for being a hippy at heart (like me) but also for not taking any shit from anyone (a skill I’m still learning)

Maker of one of the best margaritas ever – at this point I’m convinced your mama (Queen) taught you all how to do this because your sisters make killer ones too.

An essential skill if you ask me.

My very first memory of you is our holiday in one of my favourite places in the world – Valencia. When I left there in 2010 I left a peice of my heart there so it was so special that I got to go back there with you, Soph and Jade in 2012. It was like going home for me and I was so proud to show off my city (yes, it’s my city in my head).

I remember being sat on the couch in the apartment the morning after we got there and you walked in the room and farted and then said good morning everyone. Sophie assured me that meant you liked me because you wouldn’t have felt comfortable enough to do that if you didn’t!

Add that to me realising we both loved peanut m&ms and men with good arms on that trip – I knew you were a good egg.

Over the years we’ve had sooooo many amazing trips/ visits together – let us never forget the delicious man candy in Naples, singing ‘Don’t stop believing’ on the drive from Boston to the Cape, introducing you to Honest Burger in London, crying with laughter at the Book of Mormon (we definitely should have bought a fuck frog).

I also have to mention that amazing family of yours… I know I tell you all the time how much I love them! All 750 of them, who are also now my family regardless of whether they want to be or not 😂 Surely its time for another reunion? It’s been 6 years since the last one! I’m definitely overdue for a dance party with my best friend Ben, gal pal Rachel and Princess Charlotte!

My favourite times though are us sitting in the man cave swiping left and right on Tinder, eating donuts Mark made me drive to Hollywood to get, watching Catfish (Nev has great teeth) and drinking whilst fighting over the pups.

You are hilarious (another trait we share – obvs). You make me laugh so much and are so supportive of everything I do even when it makes no sense. You’re great at reminding me that whatever happens is all part of the journey. We all need a friend that does that.

When Nick passed… I can’t even begin to fathom what you went through, and continue to go through daily. The way that you carry yourself through your grief and continue to live life is truly inspiring. I know there are days when the grief feels too much to bear but you do it because you are you. The Lisa we all know and love doesn’t let it beat her… hero.

Amongst your own grief you’ve managed to provide comfort to someone else in my life who has experienced this type of loss… having never met them and you did it without being asked to. It means so much to ME that you did that, let alone them.

I’m so blessed to know you (I really hate when people say ‘blessed’ but I feel like it’s the only appropriate word).

I’m so proud to have you in my corner. I’m so grateful that Jade chose me to be her friend because without that little cherry blossom I’d not have met you, nor Nick.

You are so fetch.

You big shitbag.

Love you! See you in May

xoxo Michaeleee

people need other people.

it’s 10pm on a wednesday night and here i am, just a while in from having dinner with someone very special and i’m sat in bed crying.

why you ask? or maybe you didn’t but either way you’re finding out.

the reason i’m crying is because i have just finished reading Bryony Gordon’s book ‘Mad Girl’. the book is Bryony sharing her story, her mental health story.

some of the parallels in our illnesses are scary but it made me realise that we, Bryony and I, are the lucky ones. we had people around us, both at home and at work, that cared. that care. that care enough to not give up on us when our demons get too much, that don’t run the other way saying ‘fuck this shit, you’re on your own’ but stand next to us, gently guiding us saying ‘you’ve got this’.

tonight when i was at dinner my friend told me about a colleague she had who had passed away recently, this colleague had struggled with his mental health (his death was unrelated to any mental health illnesses) in the past which eventually led to him leaving his position – by all accounts the management were not very supportive of the days out he needed to take.

(please note, needed is accurate. when you’re depressed you can’t simply say to depression ‘oh well today isn’t a very good day for me to be depressed, i’ve lots on. can you come back tomorrow?’ depression, in case you didn’t know, is a bit of an inconsiderate bastard).

at his funeral she learnt how much having that job meant to him. she said she never realised the impact their day to day jokes and interactions had on him, and on his life.

i’m crying because i realised that i was lucky, i was lucky that back in september i had someone who was able to notice i was poorly before i did – Momma Sophs, you recognised i was ill before i did, before anyone did. i don’t know how but thank you.

i was lucky that, when i was stood on a train platform a couple of weeks later listening to the voices in my head telling me to give up and that me dying would be for the benefit of everyone, that it would be better than the constant battle in my head, i had diane on the end of the phone telling me not to listen to the voice in my head that was telling me that. that it was lying to me.

i was lucky i had my sister to call and make the doctors appointment when i was too ill to myself.

i was lucky i had denise calling me every few hours just to check in, telling me to come to her house after work so she could feed me and let me get some of these thoughts out my head and feelings off my chest.

i had my boss – who i was super nervous to tell i was poorly because, well i was embarrassed, i was embarrassed of being ill again and of how bad it had gotten and what it might make him think of me – tell me that it was a tricky illness but that he knew i was more than capable. he understood why i text him to tell him and didn’t call and then spent time with me on the phone the next day trying to understand the illness, what it looked like for me and help me figure out what my triggers were.

now i have my new boss who was, as well, brilliant when he found out – as i’m still recovering i thought it wise to tell him and it came up very organically in conversation so i was comfortable telling him. parts of our conversation went like this…

me – i don’t run around screaming at everyone that i’m mad but it makes sense you should know.

him – you’re not mad because you’ve got depression…. you just need to make sure you tell me how you’re feeling, keep me in the loop.

(that’s what i needed to hear from him. it was a big weight off these shoulders, i tell ya. also, nb, i often tell people i’m ‘mad’ because i think i’m being funny and most people feel more comfortable when you joke about serious stuff)

i had steph, who always seems to message me at just the right time, who always makes me feel like a better human than i am.

i guess, the short version (i’ve never been very good at getting straight to the point), is that i was crying because i was grateful.

i was grateful for this year and for these people (and many more not listed here). i was grateful for the days when i thought i wouldn’t make it to the next one because, if nothing else, i’ve learnt the human spirit is made of strong bloody stuff.

2017 is the year i realised that i didn’t have to keep all my problems to myself. it was the year i learnt who my friends really were. i learnt i don’t have to keep my cards so close to my chest. i might be a burden sometimes, but then aren’t we all? the ones that think i’m worth it will stay. for the good and bad.

i learnt people need other people.

we really do.

people need other people.

and there’s nothing wrong with that. nothing at all.

xoxo M

p.s if you want to try to understand mental health illnesses and how they make you feel and think please read Bryony’s book. she words it so well, much better than i ever could.

feeling the love

oh hey.

it’s 6am in LA. I can’t sleep. so y’all are getting a post (2 in as many days #sorrynotsorry)

so, quick background on where i’m staying and who i’m staying with.

one of my best friends from university (hey, Jade) is from LA. Her mom (Momma Sophs) dad (Wilf) and god mom (Lisa) all live together in a beautiful house (her dad did a beaut of a job on it, he’s so talented). I’m staying with / visiting them. Jade isn’t here- she lives in Finland with her fella. My Irish pal is here too, though. I know, I know… it’s complicated.

i’ve know Jade for 9 years nearly, and her folks for maybe 6/7 of those. They have all known me during my struggles with depression and anxiety, they housed me for a summer so Jade and I could road trip west coast >> east, they housed me this January  when I had my breakdown over going to Australia or not. 

they know me well.

they know not to talk to me in the morning because I’m grumpy. They know I’m pretty laid back about most things – one of the reasons Jades mom likes to travel with me. They know I can be a sarcastic little shite. They know I’m obsessed with music; if I’m not listening to it, I’m reading about it. If I’m not reading about it, I’m singing. 

when I come here to visit it feels like a home from home. I feel so relaxed, there’s no pretense, no bullshit. 

they remind me that friends really are the family we choose for ourselves. I think to myself on every trip how did I luck out and meet Jade and then gain an extra family? a family that is genuinely concerned for my wellbeing.

yesterday morning I was in the kitchen and Momma Sophs and I had this conversation 

S “Oh I’m glad you’re here by yourself, I wanted to talk to you alone”

M “ok, whats up?”

S “are you ok, sweetie? You’re not feeling anxious, your depression hasn’t come back?”

M “no, I’m ok at the moment. Maybe a bit anxious with work but I’m fine”

S ” ok good, I just wanted to check because you’ve been really quiet this whole trip and I was really worried”

DO YOU KNOW HOW LUCKY AND LOVED I FELT WALKING AWAY FROM THAT CONVERSATION? 

Having conversations like that with anyone that has a history of mental illness is so, SO important. 

Knowing someone is looking out for you… priceless. 

This email from the universe is true 

I’m feeling the love 

Xoxo micks 

Week 12. Be Kind. 

Where I am: on a train 

Listening to: Maren Morris ‘My Church’

Week 12. This is a catch up post. A catch up post with a clear message. 

BE KIND.
My first post of the year was a short (and sweet?) post asking everyone to do just that. Be Kind. To themselves and others. In this one I ask the same.

There is so much terror in the world, uncertainty and tradegy; each day there is another news story reporting something bad happening somewhere. It is so disheartening to see.

  • The attack on Westminster 
  • Brexit triggered
  • The assassination of Timothy Caughman in NYC
  • Trumps entire presidency
  • The ongoing war in Syria
  • The rape and murder of the beautiful Danielle McLaughlin who was celebrating Holi festival in Goa
  • The violence in Paraguay over the election

And that is just a sprinkle of the terror in the world. 

Despite the constant terror, hate and evil that I see each time I open a newspaper or turn on the TV, I still have so much faith in humanity.


…and I believe Mr Rogers here to be right.

The medical professionals that ran from St Thomas’ when hearing of the Attack on Westminster – they ran blindly, not knowing nor caring what they were running in to, they just wanted to help. The peaceful Women’s march on Washington, the annual fundraising on Red Nose Day and Children in Need, the thousands of dollars donated to Planned Parenthood after the Trump administration decided to defund it and all it’s work (and FYI, as a British woman who has never needed to use or even really know about PP, even I know that they do SO much more than just abortions).

I’ve often spoken about my belief in how people’s reactions to things show you who they really are; you learn more about someone in times of trouble than in times of joy. We cannot change what happens to us but we are able to control how we react to it.

I heard a great version of this on a Podcast the other day (Here to Help with Noa Shaw for anyone who wants a listen). The story goes something like this; 

“Imagine you’re a mum and you have a son who is 3 years old. You’re due at a birthday party so you get yourself and your son all dressed up, wrap the present and are all ready to leave. At this moment your son comes into the room covered in peanut butter. 

You can react in 2 ways. You can get really angry and annoyed at him for ruining the outfit and stopping (or maybe delaying) you going to the party OR you can react like a loving mother – laugh at it, give your child a bath and have some fun whilst he’s in the tub and overall have a fun (if different than planned) afternoon” 

Great story showing that reactions can change our whole day. Chose to be angry and annoyed or laugh and have fun? I know which I’d rather. 

 “Imagine what the world would be like if we treated ourselves and each other as a loving mother” pondered the speaker on the Podcast (who coincidentally was guest – and my fave singer/songwriter – Christina Perri) 

Wow. What a thought. 

Look at the world through the eyes of a loving mother. Hate, anger, annoyance… all those negative emotions just drive us apart. 

Be Kind. 

BE KIND. 

Xoxo Micks 

Lessons learnt. Things to remember. 17 for 2017.

Where I am: My boudoir

Listening to: Simple Plan / Boys Like Girls / P@TD! etc

 

 

Oh hey!

It’s become a bit of a habit for me to write these ‘lessons learnt’ lists, or ‘things to remember’ lists. I’ve written these at birthdays and new years over the last few years. If you’re bored of them then you can stop reading now. I offer no apologies though, it’s good to remind yourself of these things and I enjoy reflecting on the past year.

Here’s your ‘bye 2016, hi 2017’ edit.

1. Humans are scary, be kind.

We are destroying our planet and each other simultaneously. It is not religion or race that is doing these things. It is humans. The more I see, the scarier the human race seems to me. So be kind, the world needs more of that.

2. Not everyone signs up for your rules

This is something someone said to be a couple of months ago and it has helped me SO much and makes total sense. I am guilty of doing too much for people that don’t deserve it. I invest my time and energy in almost everyone and give relationships my all and then become surprised when I don’t receive the same care, thoughtfulness and consideration back. I found myself disappointed in people more often than not, I felt a lot of my friendships and relationships were one-sided. Until I was told this. Not everyone signs up for my rules. Just because I would do ‘x’ for someone, doesn’t mean they will do it for me. Humans are generally selfish creatures; call it survival of the fittest but we are always on the look out for number 1. We pick up people when we are bored, or need something that they can provide. Then we drop them with no second thought. Once their purpose is served we say goodbye and don’t look back. Now, I’m aware this is a very harsh view on people and the world but, let’s be honest, it’s pretty accurate.

Not everyone signs up for my rules. I just need to remind myself of that.

3. You need to live life for yourself – no one else.

This one seems like a given doesn’t it? But is it? How many times do we do something in a year that we didn’t want to do, but because it was expected of us? How many times do we grin and bear it just to keep the peace? Well you know what, eff that. No one wanted me to leave Mothercare (that I know of ha), everyone thought I was making a massive mistake. No one wants me to go off to Oz – most everyone has an opinion on it and that I should stay here and just be satisfied with what is available. My answer to that is, well, no. I’ve wanted to try Oz for a while, if I hadn’t left MC I wouldn’t be going there. You only regret the chances you don’t take, so let’s see what happens.

4. You’re never too old to make new friends

If you had asked me this time last year Id have said I’m cool with what I have. I have a good group of people around me, I don’t want or need anyone else. Fast forward a year and I have surprised myself. There’s people that have entered my life this year that I hope will be here to stay.

5. It’s ok to not know it all.

I have to religiously tell myself this. I hate not knowing everything. I’m used to being the person who helps everyone out and knows everything. It’s the Gemini in me. Jack of all trades, master of none type thing, you know? Well, the last half of 2016 and most of 2017 I have/will not know it all. New jobs, situations, friends etc … it’s ok to not know it all, sometimes we have to be the student again. The only person that seems to expect me to know it all is me.

 

6. Say yes. Wonderful things can happen.

‘Nuff said.

7. Having high expectations isn’t a bad thing, people will rise to them if they want to be in your life.

You’re either worth it or you’re not. Do you really want people around that think you’re not? I didn’t think so. Never lower your standards.

8. Being vulnerable is ok.

Beingvulnerableisok.beingvulnerableisok.beingvulnerableisok.sayitwithmeandImightbelieveit.beingvulnerableisok.

 

I’ve often been described as stoic; unaffected by most things, void of emotion etc.

Example 1 “Michaela has no heart – she won’t cry at that movie”

Example 2 “You won’t get any sympathy from Michaela, so don’t cry in front of her. She’s a cold bitch”

Truth is, like most people, I am affected. I’ve just got very good at hiding it over the years so people can’t use it against me. Is that a bit too cliché? Probably, but it’s the truth. I’m slowly learning that it’s ok to show emotion, that not everyone will use it against me. I have a list of about 4 people I will cry in front of now. Baby steps, people. Baby steps.

9. People are allowed to change their minds.

Just that. Not everything is set in stone. People change their minds all the time. We might not like it, but it is a fact of life. The sooner we accept that, the better. ‘Tis what it is.

10. If it hurts you, walk away.

If being somewhere, or with someone hurts you stop going there and stop being with them. We have a tendency to over complicate the simple. If it hurts you, stop torturing yourself and walk away. It really is that simple.

11. Stop apologizing and start saying thank you instead.

This picture says it all. It’s a much nicer way to live life I think.

screen-shot-2016-12-21-at-18-44-52

12. Take a minute each day to stop and smile.

60 seconds. That’s all I’m saying. It can change your whole day, because really is it a bad day, or life? Or just a bad 5 minutes that you’ve decided to milk all day? Turn that frown upside down, sucker!

13. If you want help, ask for it.

9 times out of 10 people are always willing to help. There is no shame in saying ‘Yo, I have no clue wtf I’m doing, help a sister out.’ Or you know, if you don’t want to ask for help keep suffering in silence. You do you, boo.

14. Everything is temporary.

Every moment is temporary. Feelings are temporary, places and people are too. You’ve survived 100% of what has happened to you so far, the pleasure and pain was all temporary. You’ll survive. How do you feel now? You’ll feel differently in six weeks, and different still 6 weeks after that. The same can be said for how you think, what you believe in, what you want. It’s all temporary.

15.You get back what you put in.

Some call it Karma, others call it hippy nonsense, I call it a truth. You get back what you put in. Positive things happen to positive people.

16. It’s nice to visit the past, but don’t stay there.

When we miss people, places or times in our lives we all revisit the past. Everyday at work when they call the flights to Valencia I get a pang of longing for what was and what could have been. It’s great to visit that time in my life but I can’t stay there because it takes away from now and stops me making new memories here. That was just one chapter of my life, there are still many more to come.

17.Note to self: One day you will be number one on someone’s list.

This is all we all really want. I know it’s all I really want. Hopefully 2017 will be that year, if not, there’s always 2018!

See you around my birthday for the next one. Ok bbyeeee

xoxo Micks

To Write Love On Her Arms

“You’ll need coffee shops and sunsets and road-trips. Airplanes and passports and new songs and old songs but people more than anything else. You will need other people, and you will need to be the other person to someone else, a living breathing screaming invitation to believe in better things” – Jamie Tworkowski

 

Jamie Tworkowski is not a name that many people know. I think it is a name that more people should know. He is the founder of a non-profit organisation, or charity if you will, based out of Melbourne, Florida, that focuses on giving hope and getting help for those struggling with issues such as depression and self-harm.

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source: twloha.com

 

 

The charity was founded in 2006, the name is a direct reference to the first person the organisation ever helped. A young addict who self-harmed – she wrote the word ‘fuck up’ on her arm with a razor blade. Jamie wrote an article hoping to help her get cleaned up and write ‘LOVE’ on her arms instead.

I first came across TWLOHA in, probably, 2010 around the first time I had depression. Back then, I thought it was a sign of weakness, I was in denial for a long time. I finally was diagnosed, and then – after refusing any help from the doctors – I started to look on the interweb for things that could support me and help me get better. TWLOHA came into my life then, and I have followed their journey ever since. September 2011 I was officially not depressed anymore but I still followed them because I believed in their work and what they were doing and trying to achieve. January 2014 came and I hit a downward spiral, and I was diagnosed with depression again. 2 years later I’m still on medication for it, this time around I am not ashamed to admit it, because TWLOHA have shown me that I am not alone; that there are millions of people the world over that struggle with it too. I am one of the lucky ones who got help in time, who got help before it got too bad.

 

Of course, being non-profit means they have to fundraise which they do in various ways such as by selling merch on their website; some of which you may have seen your favourite singer or celeb wearing because a lot of public names have recognised the incredible work they do and shown support for the organisation. They gain exposure through public talks, events, social media, they go on the road every year for the Vans Warped Tour in the states, and they really are helping people. There are countless people online who talk about how TWLOHA has helped them through personal struggles.

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Last year Jamie announced he would be releasing a book called “If You Feel Too Much; Thoughts on things found and lost and hoped for”; it would be a collection of his writings and blogs across the years. It was released in May but I never got around to buying it. I bought it just after Christmas. I have been slowly getting through it on my journeys to and from work and each day, Jamie gives me food for thought, makes me feel less alone and gives me hope. I would say I wished I bought it sooner, but I’m just glad I’ve got it now. I’m just over half way through now and I wanted to share some of the thoughts and things that have struck a chord with me the most in his writings, so here they are…

 

“…for love is a choice more than it is magic”

 

“I am less and less impressed by “impressive” things or people who are presented as having things figured out. I am impressed by people who are honest and kind. I am inspired by moments of vulnerability, moments of confession and compassion, moments where someone makes it clear that they are a person in need of other people and someone else makes it clear that the first person is not alone”

 

“…love is a choice as much as it is magic. Magic comes in moments, but choices stretch out over time. We make them each morning”

 

“After my first winter in NY, I learned that spring makes sense only because of winter. You notice the warm sun on your face because it hasn’t been there”

 

“I’ve become embarrassed by most things “Christian”, but I still believe in a God who loves people”

 

Be loved. Be known. Love people and know people. Be so brave as to raise a hand for help when you need it. Make friends and make sure they know they matter. Be loyal to them and fight for them. Remind them what’s true and invite them to do the same when you forget. If you do some losing or you walk with someone else in their defeat, live with dignity and grace. It is a middle finger to the darkness.

In the event that we live to be old, I doubt our last days will find us aching for success or achievements. I doubt we’ll ask for bigger names or internet followers or virtual friends. If influence comes, then let it come, but it was never the point of the story. We will look back and smile on the moments that were real, the people who knew us and the people we knew, the relationships and conversations, the days we walked together, the story that we told. We will consider the moments when we were embraced by people who loved us even at our worst. And they simply loved us not for any sort of fame but simply because our stories had joined somehow and that miracle of friendship had taken place.”

 

“…There is a car in their driveway. There is a TWLOHA sticker on the back of that car.

We don’t know whose car it is or how the sticker got there.

But we know what that sticker means.

It means that millions of people struggle with depression, addiction, self-injury and suicide. It means that the majority of those people never get the help they need and deserve. It means that what we do with our pain – how we respond to it – matters. It’s one of the biggest questions we get to answer in this life.

We believe it’s possible to change. We hear from people taking brave steps towards hope and help and healing. We hear from people sitting across from a counselor for the first time, people stepping into treatment and people picking up the phone to call a crisis hotline. We hear from people pursuing sobriety and stability. We believe that great help exists and we know the first step is often the hardest one to take.

If you’re struggling, please talk to someone. Its okay to ask for help. People need other people. If someone you care about is hurting, talk to them. We know it’s not always easy, but it could be the thing that changes everything.”

 

“I feel sad more than I feel happy.

I feel stuck more than I feel free.

I feel defeated more than I feel accomplished.

I feel I should have found love by now…

…so do not despair for there is more than what we feel.

There are things missing in every single room, but there is even more not missing.

So don’t be blinded by ghosts. Don’t let them glow brighter than your friends. Don’t let them glow brighter than your family. Be present. Fight to be present. Don’t live only in your head. It’s lonely and it’s dangerous.

Put your phone down for a few hours every day.

Talk to people. Look someone in the eyes and be honest and invite them to do the same.

Read a good book and watch a great film and put a song on repeat and remember who you are. Keep dreaming all your dreams. and perhaps as well some new ones.

Go to counseling if you need to go to counseling.

Take your own advice.

Take care of yourself.

Take care of the people you love.

Tell them that you love them.

 

There is much to be thankful for.”

 

 

I am thankful for Jamie. For TWLOHA. For all my family and friends that have never given up on me and that see me as I really am but love me and support me anyway. Someone who is not perfect, who struggles and stumbles through life day-to-day, who – on most days – doesn’t see the girl they think she is, who is learning to be happy in her own skin, who lives in her head more than she should, who overthinks, takes things to heart but can appear emotionally disconnected (although sometimes they do peak out from behind the wall that’s there). The girl who has no clue what she’s doing or where she’s going in life, but who is trying to have some fun along the way.

 

Lastly, if you’re struggling know that hope is real and help is real. You’re stronger than your demons; they are a part of you but they don’t define you. You’re not alone.

 

Xoxo

 

Micks