summer

So, I’m writing this on a spur of the moment. I had this post planned and it would be about school and summer and what it means to me. It was going to be very idealistic, very detailed and specific: but it would’ve all been hypothetical. So, instead, this one that I’m writing now, this one that you’re reading now, is what summer means to me.

After going and having a laugh with friends, we went to sunbathe. Just a clarification, I went to sunburn: I don’t tan. But I was lying there, on the grass (not a good idea if you have hay fever), the sun beating down into me, seeping into my skin and for a moment, just a moment, I wasn’t worried about anything. I didn’t care how pale I looked compared to the girl with gorgeous skin next to me. I didn’t care that the grass was starting to itch. I didn’t care that I could’ve/ should’ve been doing my prep, or reading, or writing or anything else.

In that moment, I was in that moment.

It was just me. The sun soaking into my skin, the heat rays warming me, surrounded with people I love, in an incredible school, with a whole life ahead of me. It was just me, smiling, laughing, feeling really and truly happy. That kind of happy that goes beyond a smile or a laugh, the kind that doesn’t go away.

We, then, went on to go cartwheel in the grass and have stupid year 4 competition about them, all of us laughing. We were all in the moment. We went on to me and my friend making daisy chains and watching a cricket drill, never on our phones or watching anything or even reading: we were in the moment.

So, what is summer to me? It’s laughs, sun, grass and nothing else mattering other than the moment you’re in and the time that you’re living, it’s appreciating the things you have, cartwheels, lemonade and daisy chains,

and maybe that’s exactly what it should be.

love, Hea xx

Why I write

My blog was going to be about how to deal with back to school nerves. Then I realised I’d be back at school when it posted, making it redundant. Maybe September? Either way, todays blog is definitely different.

Todays blog is about my love of writing.

Imagine a beach. You lie on the sand, hot rays of sun coarsing through you, seeming to seep through your skin and warm your whole being. The sea steadily laps in a constant ‘whoosh’ and this peace and contentment fills you, this feeling of complete and utter undeniable bliss.

Can you imagine it?

If your answer’s yes then that’s why I love writing. The thoughts and ideas and feelings inside me, all the things that feel unique to me, well others feel them too. And I love writing because there’s something beautiful about manipulating the English language to paint a picture and provoke an emotion. There’s something beautiful in the way words flow to please the eyes, the way sounds swell to compliment each other in the listeners’ ear, the way language is so unique to location, but feelings are universal. If I can not only speak to your ears, but to your heart then that is why I write.

You know those classic teen movies? And there’s that scene with the character in their convertible with that perfectly hued sunset and beautifully clear sky above them and wind rushing through their perfectly groomed hair and a song like ‘I don’t want to leave’ by Matthew Perryman Jones in the background and the person is so lost in thought that they seem to be enveloped in their own mind?

That’s what writing is to me. It’s those sunset joy rides, those sandy nights on the beach, those times someone’s biting their lip because they’re thinking so hard, those absent minded smiles, those moments that seem so obvious and easy and so simple and you lose yourself in them.

You know that song you were in love with four years ago and when it comes on you can still sing it word for word? Or when you haven’t seen a friend for ages but when you do it’s like everything clicks into place and they’ve never left? You know those things that just come so naturally and easy to you and just become routine? Losing myself in the words I write is one of them for me.

There’s this quote that I’m in love with. ‘She found heaven in a bookstore she got lost in the pages’. I can’t tell you why but for some reason it really speaks to me. When I read (another blog for another time) I lose myself in the words written. I find myself as part of their story. And, this might be a pipe dream and extremely ambitious and vain to say, but one day I hope to write something that someone can lose themselves in. Something that distracts someone right when they need it most.

But more than anything else I want to make a difference.

And I hope to get there, one blog at a time,

Love, Hea xx

Talk about it…

This is something I feel extremely passionate about. Something I’ve talked about before, not on this blog though. Something that affects 1 in 4 people directly and is among the leading causes of ill-health and disability world wide. This blog might be less personal and longer, but if you read through it I honestly think that you will benefit from it. Because statistically, someone you know or you yourself will suffer at some point, and knowing the information can benefit people greatly.

This blog is about mental health issues.

I asked a small group of people I know whether they or someone close to them have suffered from mental health, and from them 75% said yes. I went on to ask people if they could share their experience with me. This are some of the lines that really hit home.

‘…it was my way to ‘unwind’, to feel in control of something’- a friend battling with an eating disorder.

‘…it just doesn’t seem like there’s an end in sight’- a friend battling anxiety

‘…nothing, no one mattered. It was like everything had drained from the world and I was just so completely numb’- a friend talking about her experience with depression.

And this one, which is the main reason I’m making this blog,

‘It’s hard enough going through a mental health issue with lots of support but when you go through it with very little, it’s tough and at times makes you want to give up’- a friend talking about their fight with self harm.

In the US 45% of people deal with untreated mental health issues. There’s so much societal stigma around seeking out help. And the default setting for everyone seems to be happy.

But what if you’re not? What if the way you constantly feel nervous and nauseous and get all those horrible headaches is because of anxiety? What if the reason the colour’s seeped out of the world and you haven’t smiled in months is because you have depression? What if you stopping eating or not eating enough because you want to lose weight isn’t a healthy thing to do?

What if you reach out?

I hope you can all accept that where I am right now, I’m not ready to share my personal experience yet, please respect that. But the one thing that I can undeniably say is: it is not something you have to keep to yourself. It isn’t something that no one can relate to it is not something that is completely unfixable and unmanageable. But hoping for things to get better without making a change is like throwing a stone into the air and hoping it’ll fly on its own: nothing comes from nothing. No solution comes from no change. So go to someone, whether a friend, a teacher, a matron: someone you feel comfortable talking to and share.

And now to those people who are watching someone suffer. I’m going to say something now which will be really really hard to accept. If you haven’t yourself battled with the mental illness the person has, then you might not be able to understand. If you don’t have experience, if you haven’t felt the way that they do, then saying ‘I understand’ or ‘I get that’ will often drive them away from talking to you because they think you’re trivialising how they’re feeling. Never say ‘man up’ or ‘grow a pair’ or ‘just focus on the bright side’ because people struggling with mental health issues can’t do those things easily, if at all. I’m not going to go into details because there are so many different disorders and issues and if you really want to know how to help, google’s a magical place, but sometimes the hardest thing to accept is sometimes you won’t be able to help.

But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try.

Text them, spend time with them, write them things, try make them laugh, never judge or laugh at how they say they’re feeling: take them at their word and listen. Be the friend that you would want if you were in their situation.

But there’s one thing that I need to say more than any of this. One thing that needs to be said and, honestly, needs to be heard:

Just because other people can’t see what’s going on in your head doesn’t mean that it’s any less real.

I’m going to repeat something I was told and that’s how I want to finish this, ‘when someone breaks their leg, they walk around on crutches and everyone can see that they need support. But with mental health, people can’t know that they need to help you unless you tell them that something is wrong.

So, that was a long one. Quick thing about the blog: it’s crazy how many messages I get from people saying they like it and, even if I don’t know them, it genuinely makes my day and makes me so happy, so I guess please tell me what you thought of the blog. I’m hoping to post every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday (don’t hold me to that though, i’m also a teen at school trying to get work done). So just I love you all so much and thank you for your support

Love, Hea xx

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Soulmate?

Everyone seems to live these dream lives. Constantly stunning, smiling, with people, laughing, in the most exotic and beautiful places… according to their social media at least. But the moments we remember of the lives we’ve lead, aren’t always the ones documented and captured in time. They’re a laugh, however ‘ugly’ or ‘unattractive’ loud and harsh and real, so real you can’t breathe and are slapping the table opposite your best friend. They’re the tears you cry, and are wiped away from someone who really cares. They’re looks you and your soulmate share and you both know exactly what it means.

This isn’t a sappy teenage love story. This is about me and one of my best friends.

I have a strong belief that everyone deserves to be happy and everyone can find it. Whether it’s acting or singing or sports or writing or reading or music or anything else that brings you that, then do it. But for lots of us, spending time with friends is on that list. And I count myself so incredibly lucky for the people I have in my life, I have some of the most kind and loving and supportive friends out of everyone I’ve ever met and, they know how much they mean to me and who they are, I can never thank them enough for that.

Does anyone else have that friend who’s more of a soulmate? That friend you can cry laugh with, cackle and hurt your cheeks with laughter, and you’re not even sure what you’re laughing about. Where you can say or do anything in the world, and it won’t be judged or change how they see you, they’ll just laugh and laugh? Where they can hear the things you’re not saying just as much as the ones you are?

Because I do.

We actually hated each other with a passion for months before we were friends. Then we were forced to share a room and all I can do is thank god that we were. It led me to meet one of the funniest, realist, fiercest, smartest and kindest friends I’ve ever known.

And it’s been three years. Only three years. But it feels like a forever. It’s not that I just love her. it’s not that she’s incredible. It’s not that I don’t have other best friends, which I do and I know I’ll have texts from people asking why I didn’t do one about them, but here’s the thing.

I don’t know what the future of this blog is. What I hope to get from it, where I want it to go, hell I don’t even know what I’m going to type for the next sentence. So maybe I’ll do a blog like this for all my friends.

But this is the first.

So to you, the girl who help my hand while I was drowning, to you the friend who loved me when I didn’t love myself, to you the person who has undeniably changed my life: thank you. For all you’ve done, all you do and all you are. Thank you. You found the light in me when I could only see the dark. You helped me feel when I wanted everything to stop. You supported and loved me in ways I don’t even think you realised. Thank you.

I love you.

Who are you when you’re alone?

We all have so many roles in our life, parts we play at different times. I’m sister, daughter, cousin, niece, friend, god-daughter, student, confidant, woman, girl and so many others. When I’m with some people, I’m a friend, in situations I have to be a woman and in some I get to be a girl. So much of who we are with someone and how we act is dictated by our relationship with them. But who are we when we’re alone?

Are you happy, sad, crazy, funny, dull? Are you content in your own company or do you crave that of others? Can you busy yourself with tasks, can you relax or are you always on your toes?

When you’re alone and don’t have to be anyone for anyone else, who are you?

I know that for myself, I’m an extroverted introvert or an ambivert. That for me means I can adapt well, but if given the choice I’d enjoy my own company rather than that of a big party. But in my family that can come as an issue.

You see my mum is definitely one who enjoys hosting and parties, being social comes so naturally to her. Same for my sister, she loves parties and hosting and spending time with people. My brother is more reserved but is always up for a good time and social interaction.

And the thing is, it isn’t ‘cool’ to want to spend your time with a book. It won’t help your social standing to have watched all the shows on Netflix. People won’t clammer at your feet because you spend your days huddled with Microsoft word, typing away.

But this is who I am, you know? I love my friends with my whole heart, but I also value the time I get to spend with myself. If I’m honest, I don’t enjoy meeting new people, it scares me. If I’m even more honest, often on the day I have something planned I would much rather be alone than spend time with that person. And it isn’t that I don’t love them and want to spend time with them, it’s just that I need some time for me.

And is it just me, or is it hard to accept that? That you’d rather be alone? I feel like some kind of social leper and I hate it, but at the same time I can’t change it.

So I think it’s about finding a balance between time with others and time with yourself. For some people it will be as much time as possible with others, live their life alone on FaceTime, text until 2AM and wake up with a text ready, just for that social interaction they crave. For some it will be avoiding people and having to spend time with them when they can, when they must they will but never truly comfortable and just living their life alone.

For me? I try to make the most of whatever time I’m spending. If I’m alone I’d hope to be writing or watching something, not always on my phone. When I’m with people, I like to focus on them. But who am I when I’m alone?

A version of myself that I don’t think I’ll ever be able to let people see.

Love, Hea x

It’s okay to not be okay…

From what you’ve seen so far, from the parts of me I’ve chosen to share, I seem so positive and like I’m someone who always looks on the bright side and someone who is happy, with my life and myself and about where I am at the moment.

But as a good friend pointed out to me, if I want to be authentic on this blog then I need to let you see all sides of me, the happy the positive and maybe even the dark. So, I’m writing this in a not good mood, a low mood and there’s a good chance I won’t even publish it so if this ends up on the blog, then know that this took all the courage I had in me.

My old science teacher told us a story. One time a boy was running around and he fell and grazed his knee and the boy didn’t want to hear ‘I know it hurts’ he wanted to hear ‘it won’t hurt for long’. And here’s the thing: when you’re young and just starting to get to know the world, it’s a different place. Everything’s so big and so uncertain but you know what you feel without a doubt and see no issues and have no hesitation to say exactly how you feel. But people’s judgement and ridicule changes us as we grow up to the point where too many people are scared to admit they’re not okay or too scared to say how they’re feeling.

So, that little fallen over boy knew he’d hurt himself, he didn’t need to be told anything other than, ‘it won’t hurt for long’. But I think that as we grow up, another part has to be added on. I think it shouldn’t just be ‘you’ll be okay’ I think it should also be, ‘I know you’re not okay right now’.

So as I’m writing this, I’m not okay. God, this is hard to write. As I’m writing this, there are thousands of thoughts raging and screaming in my mind, there’s no energy in me, there are hundreds of things I want to do but don’t have the will to. There are all these things on my mind, things I should be doing, people I should be talking to, work I should get done, effort I should put in, but I just can’t. Does anyone else have those bad days that just seem to never end? It’s harder than people think to remind yourself that a day is just 24 hours when an hour feels like 24 days.

Just to say, this isn’t a blog so that people will feel sorry for me or so that I’ll have messages saying ‘are you okay?’ It’s just, for this website to be me, for this to be honest and for this to be real I can’t hide the parts of myself that aren’t pretty, I can’t pretend to be anything other that who I am, and shying away from talking about it doesn’t seem very honest. And there are some days where I wake up myself, not only happy but really and truly me. But there are others where I wake already dreading the day ahead and that’s just where I am right now. But I’m getting better.

It terrifying telling someone how you really feel. Opening up to them and letting them see the most vulnerable and most hurt or hurting parts of yourself. To let someone see you, the real you, uncensored. It’s terrifying. And there are plenty of moods or times when you don’t feel in a position to share, and that’s okay. But, as hard as it is, try to remember: you have people in your life that love you, people that care.

 

So this is the me that’s hard to share and even harder to talk about, but it’s real and I can only hope for one person to read this and relate even the smallest bit. And I want you to know: it’s okay to talk about it. But above all:

It’s okay to not be okay.

Hoping ever after?

This blog won’t be daily but I want to do two days in a row to explain something: my name. Hoping ever after aka Hea.

In all of the fairy tails that we were raised to read, in all the bedtime stories that we were read, they end with a ‘happily ever after’. A lovely and humble princess ruling over a beautiful kingdom, a family reunited and above all: a world at peace. a just and fair society. Do you know why people believe in fairy tails? Because it’s the only magic they’ll ever have in their life, the only time it’s okay to believe in the impossible, a time it’s possible to see something more than ourselves.

In the world we live in, in the time we live in, plenty of things are wrong and plenty of things are right. In our part of the world, people are treated mainly equally, there’s more awareness and acceptance of people’s beliefs or mental health issues; as a whole we are an inclusive society.

But what about the rest of the world? Places where woman are treated as inferior, places where slavery is still legal, places where you could not only be judged for your beliefs, but shunned and even imprisoned? There are even injustices and bias in our society. But how is this wrong going to be righted?

As many people who have heard me rant before know, and as many people reading this will soon find out, I believe that the small things have the biggest impact. Before the big issues can be battled, before there can be any big change, we have to build a foundation, a base for those issues to build on. And by the small things I believe we can get there.

What if happily ever after wasn’t just for fairy tails? What if that just and fair society is one day for real life? Maybe it’s a bit ambitious: but I can hope.

Hope is the one thing that keeps people going. Hope for a future, hope for happiness; hope for a tomorrow. And my hope is for our world to have its happily ever after. So, here I am, hoping ever after,

Love, Hea xx