• 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

reflections on a younger self. 

last night i found myself looking through my old journals and diaries. i don’t know why but as i was placing a book on my bookshelf i saw them and decided to pull some out and relive what i’d lived. 

a lot of the entries are not dated so i don’t know the last time i wrote in them – i can only guess it was around this time 2 years ago because of what i’d written about in them, certain incidents in my life that happened then are the focus of my last scribbles.

what i do know reading them is that i’ve changed. i can see the change in myself through the words on the page. is that weird? life is the strangest thing – we don’t see that we’re moving forward day to day but when we look back so much has changed. so much has happened. 

i like this person i’m becoming.

even on the days when i can’t see through the fog, even on the days when i want the world to go away. i like the person i am becoming. 

i look back at my old entries and feel what i felt back then but i am also able to see it differently. i can see the heart and heartbreak i felt over the boy who didn’t love me enough to not hurt me, the boy i would have moved across oceans for had he asked me again and not only see my pain, but also his. who am i to say he didn’t love me enough just because he didn’t love me the way i wanted him to love me. i can see the good in that goodbye.

i read back through the confusion and see that i have gained clarity, not in everything, but in some things. and for now that is enough.

i look at the old entries and see someone who was fighting against herself but couldn’t see that’s what she was doing. who thought that emotions were a sign of weakness (especially the sad ones). i was so proud of being so guarded and so unfeeling to the world. i was so proud of never having shared my true self with anyone. 

i thought that made me strong.

in actual fact i think now it showed my weakness, my insecurity. the ability to feel, to show emotions – the good and the bad – is part of what makes us so wonderfully human. you can’t shut it out, you can’t shut yourself off from it. you can try, but it will catch  up with you eventually. everything you run from always does.

i know more about me now.

what i want

where i want to go

life makes it hard to remember those things  sometimes but that’s why i write. it reminds me who i am and what i want. it focuses me when i need direction. when i need to get stuff off my chest. when i need a friend. there’s always a piece of paper and a pen around, no matter what time of the day it is. 

when i get lost i can pick those friends up and draw myself a map back home. 

xoxo

micks.

pictures of me from 2008 to the present day. there is one every year from 2008 doing various things with various people. the only year missing is 2016 because it wouldn’t fit!

The one where I talk about toxic thinking. 

Now before I finish this post, I’d just like to say I am not posting this for any kind of validation. I am not posting this so people can say ‘oh, Michaela you’re so great’ I’m posting this because this is genuinely how I feel and it is where my head is at 75% of the time.

I have, historically, struggled to open up about how I feel. My mum is constantly telling me how guarded I am, how closed off I am. When I started writing I started writing for me and then when I started to share some of that with the world I said that I would do my best to share not just the light hearted stuff but also the stuff that makes me feel uncomfortable, the stuff that people might read and say “WTF is wrong with her?”  

This is one of those posts and it is triggered by a couple of things that have been said to me in the last couple of weeks. 

The first was that I am, what is known as, a toxic thinker. I was talking to my boss about some stuff and this phrase came up. It’s really stuck with me. 

The second was that the world owes me some happiness. One of my friends said that to me; that I work really fucking hard, that Karma was the world’s energy and that when you are a nice person and always put everyone else first then yes karma should give you something back. 

I batted this back, naturally, by saying the world doesn’t owe me anything. I do believe this to be true, the world was here first. I’m lucky to just be living on it. 

I then thought back to the conversation about ‘toxic thinking’ and realised this reaction to someone saying something (that was actually really fucking nice) was proving the point. The thing is, until now I’d never thought of it as being a detriment to my own mental health and self worth. I never thought that me thinking that I didn’t deserve any kind of goodness wasn’t normal. I figured most people would react the same way as me if asked. Who knew I could be so dense? 

I was also so focused on wanting to be the best for other people, for wanting to cheerlead them in their lives that I always felt uncomfortable with people doing that for me. 

I never felt that I deserved anything that was out of this world in ways of praise, relationships, or love. People would tell me I deserved the best and I’d laugh. I never felt entitled. I have always viewed myself as mediocre at best.

“We often judge worthiness on what people contribute, and if you haven’t done much that is considered ‘valuable’ by society’s standards, you may not feel very worthy of any sort of rewards. You see how many people just get by, or live terrible lives, and you think what is so special about you..why do you deserve to get everything you want” – livelifemadetoorder.com

The standards I set myself are sooooo high and I might not meet them all the time. I can’t be the best at everything I do, I just need to learn to take the victories where I can. 

I need to remember that me having to bail on a friend doesn’t make me not worthy of their friendship. I need to remember that me not being able to split myself in 6 or achieve everything I want to at work doesn’t make me a bad manager (I am notorious for wanting everything done yesterday)

How can I have the life that I want if I don’t think I deserve it? The short answer is I can’t. Only I can change my perception of myself and in turn change my perception of what I think I deserve.

Is gonna be easy to change my thinking? I doubt it but I’ll give it a go.

Here’s to less toxic thoughts and more self love ❤️ 

Peace ✌🏼 

xoxo Micks 

Feck it, it’s 2017

Date: 14/12/16

Time: 8:27am

Where I am : On a train somewhere between Southampton and Weymouth

What I’m listening to: The Overtones ‘You’ve lost that loving feeling’ and anything else that Lachie sings lead on because THAT VOICE (insert heart eye emoji)

 

 

 

Hullo to you my lovely reader. It’s been a while hasn’t it. I hope this finds you all well and full of festive cheer. Christmas time, as a lot of you know, is one of my favourite times of the year – or at least the build up to it. Christmas day is normally a bit of a let down – everyone eats and drinks until they hate themselves and then there is an argument over who cheated at Monopoly. This year though, I am not as in to it as normal and that may be because I have something bigger to focus on.

 

January 1st.

 

No no, not that ‘new year, new me’ tosh.

January 1st I’m leaving the homeland for adventures with no return date.

Solo.

Alone.

All by myself. (you have to sing that one)

 

 

Am I excited? Yes.

Am I crazy? Most definitely.

Am I scared? Hell yes, but as someone once told me – if your dreams don’t scare you, they aren’t big enough.

 

Doing the Australia work/travel thing is something that I have been talking/ dreaming about for 7 years now. Yep. SEVEN years. Almost a decade. It’s been 5 years since my old boss Mrs T (who currently resides there) told me to get my butt over there. “Give me a few years” I said… 5 years later…oops. There was always something in the way – there was the epic summer of ’13 in the States, then there was my sister’s wedding. Then I was petrified something would happen to my Grandad and I wouldn’t be here – October 2014 saw that horror realised. Then my sister got pregnant, my friend Amy got engaged and wanted me to write for the wedding and be in the wedding party… after that I ran out of excuses. They were all excuses too – the things I listed there (all bar the American Summer) would have happened regardless of me being in England or not. I could have gone and come back for those things but the truth is, I wasn’t brave enough to go. I was so used to relying on other people to keep me company, to take care of me and guide me that I would never have survived travelling alone. The loneliness would have killed me.

 

Now I figure, feck it. You can be lonely no matter where you are, so where better to be lonely than on a beach in Aus whilst topping up your vitamin D levels? Of course there is the possibility that I will not like it, I may find that the grass isn’t greener and home really is where the heart is. I’ve said for the last few years now, the more I travel the more I realise that London is the best city in the world – and it is right on my doorstep. Maybe I am silly for jumping ship across the world and leaving that behind. However, the beauty of the year 2017 is that I can come back whenever I want.

 

My visa is currently 6 months, with the option to stay on a work/travel visa in Aus for up to 2 years. The majority of my friends seem to think that I won’t come back – as my friend Amy put it “You’ll either hate it and be back within a week, or you’ll love it and we’ll never see you again”. It’s true, there rarely is grey area with me in anything I do. The idea that I may not come back probably goes someway to explaining why, when I talk to people, it feels like I’m dying “Oh I need to see you before you go!” “I can’t believe you’re not going to be here” and so on and so forth. I’m not dying people, I’m just going to see what the land down under has to offer for a wee while. Calm yourselves. Of course it’s nice people want to see me (I like being liked) but I don’t like a fuss and I feel that there is massive ‘fuss’ potential in this move, if that makes any sense? Probably not, I’ve had about 90 mins sleep in the last 24 hours so I apologise if it doesn’t make sense.

 

Truth be told I don’t know what is going to happen when I am away. I don’t know if I will love or hate it. I don’t have a plan on how long I will be there because of this. Maybe I’ll end up somewhere else. Who knows what could happen? So long as I am happy and healthy I’ll go wherever the wind takes me. The uncertainty is part of the adventure and, I may as well do it now because, why not? To quote the great philosopher Drake “YOLO”.

 

YOLO, that’s the motto.

 

xoxo

 

Micks

 

P.S if y’all have any recommendations for me of what to do/see in Aus then by all means let me know! I’d love to hear them.

 

 

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Time flies, but you’re the pilot.

Important life update: I LEFT MY JOB OF 10 YEARS AND STARTED A NEW ONE AND IT WAS SCARY AND UPSETTING AND EXCITING ALL AT ONCE.

 I FUCKING DID IT!

You didn’t think I would, did you? It’s fine, I didn’t think I would either.

My decision to leave my job is one that I have discussed with many of my family, friends and colleagues. I wasn’t convinced I would make the jump myself, even after I had handed my notice in, announced it to everyone and survived the incessant ‘but why’s?’ I still wasn’t sure I was brave enough.

Of course everyone has their own opinions about whether I made the right decision or not; my mum has been very vocal about not understanding the logic behind the decision, as was my old regional manager. My work BFF Michelle was, and is, very vocal about me leaving and has tried to get me to come back already – it’s only been a week and a half! I know my Madre is worried I will make a mistake and come to regret my decision (she also doesn’t want me to go travelling ha). Michelle wanting me to stay is purely selfish because I am her favourite (and also most modest) colleague. We have, and will, stay in touch though. I do believe in the 10 days since I’ve left we have spoken on the phone at least 5 times. She is the only person I’ve met that likes to talk as much as I do! : )

 

My friends have been much more understanding – they understand my commitment to the company would hold me back from my future travel plans.

 

“If you stay then you won’t go travelling” – Sophia, Leanna, Ken, Denise, Mark etc.

 

“Just stay working for us but book a ticket and then you’ll have to leave” – Mr. Keefe’s (my old RM) logic to my leaving.

 

If only my mind worked that way Mr. Keefe! I know I would never leave; the merry-go-round that is my old work place is a hard one to jump off of, especially after 10 years. Losing money on a plane ticket wouldn’t faze me; money has never been my motivation. Despite the pressure, stress and the long days, the satisfaction of meeting that (often tight) deadline, seeing new product, developing new team members, training the staff – training was one of my favourite parts of the job -, helping the customers and my belief in the brand and it’s values would have kept me there. My heart was in it, for the good and the bad!

 

My head, however, told me otherwise. A typical Gemini in every sense of the word; the battle between head and heart was eventually won by my head. Logic won. If I was to go travelling, I wanted more time to spend with the people I tolerate the most before I go, I want time to enjoy seeing my nephews grow up (MJ now says Kayla and it is the most adorable sound since Oscar calling me KayKay for the first time). I want some time to myself, to enjoy having a job that is just that, a job. My old job took over my life somewhat (and I do understand that was my doing, no one else’s) but it was my passion and dedication – I have always been an all or nothing kind of gal. Logic told me it makes more sense to leave because that was the only way I’d get what I wanted out of my time before I flit off to the next place. When this opportunity came up to move jobs, I had to take it.

 

 

A job closer to home affords me time. Shift work affords me time – although those early mornings are a killer. I am NOT a morning person. Regular days off afford me time. I can already feel the difference in myself – I no longer take work home with me. It is a job, that’s it. When I am with friends I am not checking work emails whilst half paying attention to what they are saying. I’m there fully – I wasn’t before.

 

“The only thing more precious than our time is who we spend it on”

 

All this time I have gained has brought home to me how much time I really did spend worrying about work – I said to my friend that I have actually realised that I don’t really have much of a life because I never had time to make one before. – This post is also making me realise how work obsessed I was it’s kind of embarrassing aha. Now I have something that I didn’t have before TIME. Time to do stuff that I want – I am going to get my fitness levels back to what they were this time last year (if not better), I am attempting to relearn the Spanish I unlearnt over the years, I have a pile of 10 books that have been sat on my side waiting to be read for the last year. Time flies, but luckily we’re the pilots. We control how we waste our time.

 

So. My new job? What’s the verdict? My new job is just that, new. It’s different, not in a bad way. It’s just different. I hate that I don’t know everything yet – I don’t like not knowing stuff, I like to learn and am used to being a bit of a know-it-all; another Gemini trait. The team is nice, and I get on well with most of them (there are a couple I’m not sure of but we’ll see what happens there, watch this space). I enjoy mentally spending all my money on the items we have and I definitely enjoy the monthly clothing allowance. Most of all though, I love talking to the customers about travel! My favourite thing is to travel and hearing and sharing recommendations on what to do and where to go is great for me! I am off to Prague in November (Happy birthday, Leanna) and already have numerous places and things that have been recommended to me by locals flying home. I think I will enjoy it more the longer I’m there; so far there are no regrets.

 

My old workplace will always be home though.

 

Xoxo

Micks

 

 

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You’re not scared of climbing mountains, you’re scared that you can’t make them move.

“Making a big life change is scary, but you know what is scarier?

REGRET”

 

 

This quote is so applicable to my life right now it is freaky. As my family and friends know I am currently working my notice period for a company I have worked at for (on and off) 10 years. I’ve worked my way up from a 6hr Sunday girl to store manager. The company has supported me completely throughout this time, providing me with a part-time job during university, a career after. They have allowed me to take sabbaticals to go off, explore the world and live my best life whilst providing me with a safety net to return to when I’m done. It’s been my comfort blanket for the last 10 years. On August 13th 2016 that comfort blanket is gone for good.

 

A change gon’ come.

 

Now, considering I was the one who made the decision to leave you’d think I’d be more excited about the new challenges that lay ahead with my new job and I am, to an extent, but I am also shitting my pants a bit. Why? Exactly as that quote says – change is a scary thing. I know my job I have now (after 10 years I’d be worried if I didn’t), I still love the company – I believe in where it is going and its vision for the future. Whilst it is not perfect (no business is), it’s determined to be the best in its category. I adore the (majority of) customers that come through the door; in fact I properly enjoy talking with the kids more than the adults! My favourite customers I have seen through numerous children, they have come back to see me time and again – one customer even followed me from my previous store to the one I’m currently in.

To think that will be gone is both sad and scary.

Some of my close friends have had the drama of me officially making this decision – when I handed my notice in my regional manager made it VERY hard to leave – so hard in fact that when I hung up the phone to him I promptly burst into tears through both confusion and because he was very nice to me and I wasn’t expecting it. I then called Den and Michelle straight away and they spoke whilst I cried a bit more, I then crazy messaged my friend in Weymouth shouting about needing her life coach advice (She’s yet to steer me wrong) and then starting harassing two people who’s opinions I value a lot through the mediums of Whatsapp and Snapchat. Ultimately the decision was mine and I decided to go ahead with the resignation because I have bigger, long-term plans and could never live with the ‘what if’ that I know I would end up with if I stayed.

 

Over the last week I have almost called my RM and retracted my notice on a couple of occasions because change is scary. Because I worry that I’ve made the wrong choice and the grass isn’t really greener. Because I worry about the people I’m leaving behind and that I’m somehow letting them down. Especially when you’re settled, change is scary. When you constantly worry about what could go wrong, and what if you feel that you are not strong enough, independent enough or lovable enough to succeed in getting through an important change?

Change is scary.

 

Now, some people embrace change as though it is nothing (I hate and admire those people in equal amounts), a smart man said once “change is the only constant thing in life” and we need to learn to embrace it, little by little to challenge ourselves and grow. If I was to let it, my imagination could come up with a million different worse case scenarios and terrible things that could happen as a result of this change I’m making. Thinking about it, if I can imagine the worst thing, why can’t imagine the best? It can only go one of two ways, right? Things can get better, or they can get worst. 50/50 chance of both.

 “the key to change…is to let go of fear” (Roseanne Cash)

and right now that is what I am deciding to do (at least for the next 5 minutes).

 

 

Yes, the change I am making is scary. Yes, it could go wrong. Right now though, I am deciding to take a leap of faith and trust in the magic of new beginnings. I have to live my life for me, and no one else.

Besides, who knows, give it a year and I might be back where I started, but at least I’ll be able to say I tried.

Xoxo

Micks

P.S to all my work favourites… you’ll never really get rid of me. Like a fly to shit I’ll always be hovering around J Love yous xxx

I’m on the pursuit of happiness.

Are you happy? Genuinely happy? Take a minute to think about your life are you happy with it? Sure it’s not perfect, no one’s life is, but are you happy with it?

 

My answer would be no.

 

Sure I have happy moments – when I’m playing football with MJ, or walking along Brighton pier with Rach and Oscar, visiting my Irish or American families etc. – but these moments of happiness are fleeting. The happiness never seems to stay. No matter how much I look for it. It seems to elude me.

There is a quote that get’s chucked around a fair amount –

 

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But the problem I have with that is this. Happiness is my goal in life, so why would I not chase it? Nothing in this life comes free; nothing is handed to us on a plate. Happiness included.

Please don’t misunderstand me when I say ‘happy with life’, I don’t mean that things are 100% perfect, 100% of the time. This is real life after all. I mean that, when you sit there and think about it, are you are happy with your life the people in it. The job you have. The places you’ve been. The things you’ve done. Everything you’ve seen. Where you’re headed. Are you happy with that when you take the day-to-day stuff out?

Is it my fault that I can’t find a permanent happiness? I’ve been told on more than one occasion that I am never satisfied and that my expectations are too high. I guess I just know what I want, and I don’t want to settle for anything less.

One of my favourite songs is Kid Cudi’s “pursuit of happiness” – the chorus could be my theme tune.

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I’ll be good.

 

There are various scientists that claim to have found the secret to happiness. Dr Sood even has I down to 4 simple steps. According to him 40-50% of our happiness is down to the choices we make and where we put our focus daily. Gratitude also features in his research into the key to happiness.

I am very aware of the many things in life I have to be thankful for. Hash tag blessed. Alas, it still eludes me.

So still, why can’t I find it? Do you know? Am I the only one who feels like this?

Answers on a postcard.

Advice gratefully received.

Xoxo Micks

Read more of Dr. Sood’s work here: http://stressfree.org/

Kid Cudi ‘Pursuit of Happiness’ available to buy on iTunes. The music video is here