Monday, 5 August 2019

I Am Enough - So Are You

Why do we allow other people or situations to make us feel so tiny?

I kid you not, every time I tell someone (whether they are a close friend or even an acquaintance) I feel low or upset over something or someone the response is always and always will be...

''But you're Shannon fucking Valentine.''

I think people believe I am invincible now I have seemingly 'overcome' my health battles. I'm not 100% sure on what that phrase means entirely, but it makes my confidence shoot through the roof and I am instantly reassured. I am Shannon fucking Valentine. I've overcome just as much negativity as the next person and I use it to try and make myself a better person at least. I want to help other people do the same, more than anything. Witnessing others become their true best selves gives me more happiness than the love of a man, money, or success ever could. That is success to me, and no one can take that away from me or my legacy.

Despite my new found confidence and self-love journey I can promise you it will all crumble within minutes if I feel even an ounce of rejection. I am independent, I pay my own rent and bills, nothing I could ever want is worth it unless I can get it by myself. No one will ever tell me 'You wouldn't have this if it wasn't for me'. I spend most of my time alone and I am more than okay with that. But, as much as I have grown and my mind has become so much more powerful, I still rely on others opinions to decide my true self-worth. And that makes me sad. 

As much as it hurts like hell, going through a breakup, not having someone like you back, or even falling out with friends - If they can't see your worth now please stop wasting your time wondering if they ever will. If they wanted to, they would have seen it from the beginning. It doesn't even need to be anyone's fault. You could have everything to offer, but that doesn't mean you are entitled to everything you might initially believe you want so badly.

You can not let set backs determine how worthy you are - because you are more than worthy for anything or anyone at any time. You just have to believe it. It sounds so incredibly cringe - trust me I know! But I will never stop repeating myself until everyone I know and love can see it for themselves. Write a list about everything you love about yourself... it could be two things or it could be ten things. Whatever makes you happy or feel confident - write it down.

What I love about Shannon fucking Valentine:

- I love having big green eyes, they make me feel hella CUTE.
- I love that I want to make others feel happy.
- I love showing acts of kindness and making my loved ones feel appreciated.
- I love my long healthy hair and the fact I can now enjoy it without hiding behind it.
- I love that I give everything to people - even if they don't give anything back - because I know I put my heart into it and lost nothing. I will never be left with 'what if'.

It is a long old road to self-love, but once you're there you'll be so pleased you bought a one-way ticket. You have to be there for yourself - support your needs and nourish your thoughts with positive and uplifting behaviour. Take care of your damn self and do things you LOVE. Concerts, drawing, writing, walking, running or even just talking about how you feel. It all goes hand in hand when you want to make improvements to your life. And, in turn, yourself. 

It doesn't matter what anyone else thinks or feels about it because the cold reality is you can't trust anyone to have your best interests at heart. You have no idea what anyone is really thinking so you might as well pay attention to your own thoughts instead! Growth and gratitude is all you need. 

Don't ever let anyone question your worth again. I've let people make me wonder for years why I was never enough when I was in actual fact overqualified for what they wanted/needed. Nothing wrong with that. You can't expect everyone to always choose you. You have to choose yourself.

Choose yourself every time.

Wednesday, 31 July 2019

The Toughest Yet Most Rewarding Year of my Life

The title of this blog is a powerful but very truthful statement to make.

In 2016, I gained two stone practically over night due to a liver condition that was shutting my body down. It didn't work anymore, and in turn, my brain stopped working too. Everything was quickly turning to shit and I had no idea what was going on. I've never felt so low before.

In 2017, I was miserable and alone. Lol. I isolated myself and spent most of my time alone - I hated the idea of anyone looking at me or giving me the time of day. I HATED who I was with a passion and that makes me really sad. I could barely give eye contact without feeling like the recipient was judging me.

In 2018, I thought I found 'love'. Who knew that I would've been better off remaining single for a 5th year instead. But, at the same time, regardless of what I went through, I am so much stronger for it. It taught me what I deserve and what I certainly do not. It helped me look after myself and stand up for myself when people treat me poorly. I also moved out of my family home, which at first was great but I soon felt completely alone and distant again just like the precious year.

This year, despite the past trying to haunt me, everything has changed. For better and for worse. But mostly better. I have my own place in my hometown, where only I pay the bills and I have the first and last say. There is no one telling me ' You wouldn't have this if it wasn't for me' or 'You need a boyfriend or a fiance or children to live happily.' It's mine and I have never felt more proud or independent. I never thought I would have any of the things I have now just a matter of years ago. 

I have transformed myself and have never felt so confident. I don't quite know what has come over me but I'm dressing how I have always wanted to dress, regardless of my weight or how I perceive myself in the mirror. Then again, those obstacles are no longer a struggle because I love who I am and how I look. Finally. Not even just physically, emotionally I am almost everything I wish to be. Kind, caring and sincere no matter how many people try to make me bitter.

I have met people who are now going to be in my life forever. Regardless of their title, I want them forever. It's incredible how much people can change you and help you grow despite the little amount of time they know you. I feel happy with where I am right now.

I finally realise it's okay to put myself first without worrying about what negative people will think. If they can't be happy for you or support you then they do not deserve your time or effort. I have let go of people I clung on to for YEARS, knowing that I should have cut ties so long ago. It feels great to know I only have people I want and who want me in my life.

While I haven't had to deal with similar struggles like previous years, this has been the year of growth for me. I took all of the bad and turned it into positive lessons. I still have bad days, but I deal with them much better now - I look for the good and for the opportunity to learn from it.

It doesn't have to be the be all and end all. Shit happens but it's how we deal with it that matters and what makes the means for change. The first half of this year does not have to ruin the second half. I am welcoming August with open arms. You should too. 

Monday, 20 May 2019

Why I Kept Quiet about Mental Health Awareness Week

Mental Health Awareness Week used to be my prime time to share my opinions and personal stories.

This year was different. A part of me feels like I have let people down, because, in the past, I have ALWAYS helped encourage people to speak up and talk about their experiences. This year, the idea of doing so leaves me feeling uneasy and out of my 'new-found' comfort zone.

I have realised that while it is a great cause, I am tired of oversharing my personal life. It is personal after all. Hell, I wrote an entire book on my 21st year of life - which happened to be the craziest and most 'mental' I have ever been. I couldn't run from it so I wrote about it, and while it was the best thing I ever did, I am growing into a person that would love to continue helping others but first... myself.

Don't get me wrong, I will never be quiet about my experiences if I know it will help others find peace in their own trauma or struggles. I don't care what people think about me or whether they like me or not. I have never been the type of person to feel embarrassed, no matter what abuse I would endure. I will forever speak the truth no matter how much it hurts.

I am now living a somewhat more private life, and this is down to experiencing yet another mental breakdown / what the fuck am I doing? / who am I? shit storm that I knew I could blame social media entirely for. I had lost myself and what I stood for. Constantly posting DRIVEL online, sharing selfies where I look dead behind the eyes wondering if each would get more likes than the previous.

It truly is a sad sad world and I don't wish to be apart of such expectations anymore. Life is too short for meaningless crap. I want to live by my own rules and decide what makes me happy, which is:

- Beautiful artwork
- Music that makes me feel something
- Fashion that allows me to express myself
- Gratitude for loved ones 
- Creative quotes

There is so much and I could go on all day, simply because I know who I am and what I enjoy/love. I know exactly what I want in life and even though I still have those moments of darkness, I realise I can no longer be responsible for others well-being. They have to turn the light on for themselves and I can watch from the sidelines, offering support when needed.

I have had such a great week of realisations - being in my hometown provided a lot of comfort and I met a few people who approached me about my book and how much they enjoyed it. That is all I can ask for in life at this moment in time.

I will admit I feel a huge sense of guilt for not raising awareness this year and letting people down but I am learning to be more selfish and that means putting my comforts first. Talking about mental health is the last thing on my list right now - I'm finally realising that is more that okay. 


Tuesday, 16 April 2019

The Secret to Having it All is Knowing You Already Do

Gratitude will make you happier in life.

Shit happens. Life moves forward. We love and we lose. 

But we mustn't forget the little things in life that are, in fact, quite big in terms of joyous memories. I found gratitude at a time where I believed the world was against me, which is certainly a self-destroying mindset to be in. The world doesn't owe us a thing - in the grand scheme of it all, only we can provide ourselves with true happiness, we can not rely on others to make those changes for us.

I get it, sometimes life really can be terrible to us. I witness people go through such awful pain - yet, much to my surprise, still count their lucky stars no matter what is going on behind closed doors. I used to get pissed off at everything and anything, from locking my keys in my car to getting stuck in traffic. It is pointless and energy absorbing. I now laugh it off knowing I had a good day regardless, because I am alive and surrounded by love. We have little time to enjoy life and while small things seem less significant, they really are what makes us truly happy and grateful for our lives.

I love waking up to sunshine in the morning and witnessing every beautiful sunset Spring has to offer. I adore evenings at home, laughing about old times with my closest friends. I enjoy dancing like an idiot to music that no one else likes. Those moments are what you will remember on, to put it in the most morbid way possible, your death bed.

You won't sit and stir about the time a co-worker annoyed you or when you dropped and shattered your phone. Those are the distant thoughts you will wish you never wasted time on - it simply isn't worth it. Stop draining yourself, wondering why 'everyone is against you' or that the world isn't on your side - YOU are responsible for the way you look at the world. Be grateful you woke up today and experienced something a lot of people never will.

Today I am grateful for:

- My incredibly supportive friends. Honestly, I can't put in to words how much they look out for me. I feel so lucky.
- My strong, powerful family. The one thing in my life I will never stop feeling grateful for!
- The love I have found for myself and my life.
- My new healthy mindset and the way I look at the world now.
- Discovering new music.
- Meeting new people who are great and on the same wavelength as me.
- Living in my own home.
- Having the ability to reminisce the good times in the past without dwelling on the bad.

I feel good right now - you deserve to also. Wake up early and take in the best that nature has to offer - listen to the birds and feel the warmth of the morning sun on your skin. Drink water and nourish your body! Tell your loved ones you are thankful for them. Be honest about your feelings with people - try to see the good in it all. Otherwise, you aren't truly living. It all happens for a reason and you can make such small yet life changing movements to improve yourself and view on the world.

Monday, 8 April 2019

Why Wasn't I Enough?

I don't even care about what I lost any more. I am glad it's gone. Somehow, though, I still can't help but wonder... why wasn't I enough?

I asked him this question every single day in my mind when we were together and after it ended. A year down the line, when I no longer have a care in the world about what he is doing - or who he is doing for that matter - I still feel like I deserve an answer. I needed it for quite some time.

When in a relationship, I love to make the other person fall in love with themselves - them loving me is merely a bonus. Maybe I am 'too much' or that view is unhealthy for my self-esteem, but I believe the entire point of choosing to be with one person means making them feel worthy and good enough every day.

Compliment after compliment, mixed with continuous effort and daily reminders of gratitude left my lips, but he remained silent. I didn't have anything to be grateful for; he gave me nothing of value - yet, because I loved him, I still wanted him to feel like he was the greatest gift God could fucking offer. It's like I grasped on to every last reason as to why we were together and threw it in my own face. Only, it wasn't water... it was acid, and I was left blinded by his terrible behaviour.

We liked the same movies and laughed at similar jokes - I thought we were soulmates and no one else could ever compare. I always believed you should be with someone who is like you, because what could be better than sharing the things you love with the person you love, knowing they already adore it too?

Wrong. It doesn't matter. I was looking at the wrong aspects of this toxic relationship and believed that having things in common was the critical factor. We could've had identical traits, thoughts and feelings but that doesn't stop a shitty person from being shitty. It doesn't take away the poor treatment or lack of respect. Having the same taste in music or knowing about cool things that no one else knows of means shit all when you're left in the dark day after day.

I am better off now; I no longer feel drained by the emptiness of not feeling good enough because I know that the next person I am with is going to feel incredible every day, and they will show gratitude for my efforts. They will appreciate my little quirks and how weird I can be. They will love my inappropriate jokes and silly reactions to cartoons that most would never find funny. I will never be made to feel like I am stupid or less than I am worth ever again.

I sometimes can't help but look at his new relationship and again, wonder why I wasn't enough. I witness him take her away on holiday and out on 'date night' every weekend without fail. He actually spends time with her. In the space of three months, I saw him approximately 11 times. He lived twenty minutes down the road, but I felt like I was in a long distance nightmare. It's not like I wouldn't offer to see him. When I'm in a relationship I believe in equal effort, and seeing where they grow up and how they live day-to-day life in their town makes me feel like I know them even better. Everything, even the little things like that felt like a bonus to me.

All we ever did when we saw each other was sit around, aimlessly watching television that numbed my brain. Don't get me wrong; I am not expecting fireworks and constant spontaneity. Some times watching Netflix and eating a takeaway is all you need when you love someone. But I never once felt special, wanted or needed. In the end, I couldn't even bear his touch, let alone sit through an entire film of him asking stupid questions. (Petty or not, he is the biggest dumb ass I have ever met, I was far too smart for him.)But with his new girl, everything seems different. He wouldn't dare hurt her or make her question if she was doing something wrong. It seems as though she gets showered with love every day.

All I ever felt was guilt and worry. Guilt for not doing enough, worry for why I couldn't ever be adequately loved. I wish I could tell my past self that she never had to feel such pain - that she deserved better. She deserves someone that respects her, trusts her to make the right decisions and communicates with her - honestly and maturely no matter how angry either of us get.

She didn't deserve to be left on read for two weeks straight because she stood up for herself (fucking politely and far too sweet may I add.) She didn't deserve the lashing out or manipulation. She deserved to be told she's fine the way she is, that he was grateful she did so much for him without ever asking for anything in return. She would've loved him to remember the little things about her, like how much she loves ugly sunglasses or how she'd sell her soul to see Post Malone live again. She deserved to be encouraged to dress the way she wanted, and made to feel confident and beautiful enough to do so. Not shamed for wearing something deemed inappropriate. 

She deserved peace.

I deserved better. The answer to my initial question? I was always enough - he just didn't know how to deal with someone too good for him in the first place. He has found someone on his level - someone who will put up with his awful ways and be blinded like I was. I may be on my own now, but being alone doesn't mean I am lonely. I will never feel as lonely as I did in that relationship. All I ever was was a secret - I deserve to be known as someone's girlfriend, and that they are proud of and happy with that fact.

It wasn't all bad - sometimes I can't help but refer to the good times for comfort, even if it was minimal. He helped me overcome something that ruined my life beforehand, something I never thought I could fix. He helped me, but I did it on my own - I can't help but have sick gratitude. 

I may feel like I am scarred for now, but when I am ready and the right time comes, I can't wait to have an equally loving, trusting and loyal relationship with someone who has the same values and morals as me. Feeling like damaged goods doesn't even cross my mind anymore. The right one will accept me for me. And I will finally get the relationship that I worked so hard for.

I no longer wonder what his answers or excuses would be, because I don't need them to make me feel better. A huge weight has lifted from my shoulders just by getting out of a toxic situation I initially thought was good for me. I'm all good now. No more rose-tinted glasses, even if I once loved how ugly they are.