If I could write a letter to me ...

Dear 15 year old Me,

I know you don’t think anyone understands or cares, and that you’re not going to really listen to any of this. That’s okay; I’m going to say it anyways. Hopefully it’ll settle somewhere in the back of your mind and one day it’ll come forth.

Hang in there. Don’t give up, you’ll make it through and have the best friend in the whole world because of it, but it’s not who you think. One day you will look back and laugh at this, but never regret it. You will live by the Navy Seals mottos like:
"The only easy day was yesterday, and that’s because it’s over."
"Damaged people are the most dangerous because they know they can survive."
"Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional."
"Never give up, never give in, never surrender."

And always remember – go hard or go home, and f*** the world!

Love, (and yes I do really mean it)
your 22 year old self

PS – Thanks for reading this letter. I really do mean it.

I know you, because I was you … hell, I still am you. I know you hurt. I know how badly you hurt and how much pain you’re in, and even though you’re not going to believe this, I honestly wish you weren’t suffering the way you are but am so happy you stuck through it. You have no idea how much I want to tell you it will get easier and you’re not going to hurt again, but that’s not true. You are going to hurt again, and again … but you’re going to stand up and say “f*** you all” and make it through. Because one day, you will realise that you can do this; you can be a survivor. And you will want to do this, and you will want to survive. You will be stronger for this. You will realise that because you know how to hurt, and what it’s like to live in pain all the time, that you can take whatever comes your way.

I wish I could promise you a perfect life, but the truth is, at 22, we don’t have a perfect life. We have a good life, and we know it, but it’s not perfect. Lots of things you thought were going to happen didn’t, but many did. Things you wished for, well, you got some and some you stopped wishing for. After 22 years of deep self-hatred (yes, it continues) and a decade of self-destruction … one day you’re going to realise that no, you are worth it, and if he can’t see that, then too effing bad. Almost overnight, you’re going to get over a lot of your problems. Yes, I still have issues, but not nearly as badly as when I was you. Now, it’s mostly with social interactions and trust. And I’m working on them, by myself, and with the help of my (our) amazing and awesome friends. Just remember … things change. People change. You will too, and sweetie, you’re going to be an amazing person.

And that randomness you’ve got? Embrace it. Sure, it’s a bit strange … but trust me, you’re going to call it “quirky” and honestly, I don’t know what I would do without it.

Helpful Reminder

When I start to feel blue, I just think about all the wonderful and amazing people in my life. It helps to have reminders of how great they are, so a while back I put this up. If nothing else, it always makes me laugh1

Pictures from the February Escapade - How's It Going Up There?

I've Got The Scars To Prove It

Now and then regrets may find me, but these marks are here to remind me where I went wrong, what makes me strong, and how I moved on.

This song really does sum up my life. Where do you think the tattoo on my right leg came from?

YouTube - The Road Hammers - I've Got The Scars To Prove It

Cutting Knots: Feeling Guilty

Cutting Knots: Feeling Guilty: "Images by Mikrasov Design My last post was a little self-indulgent, but I hit on a couple of ideas that are very important to the experie..."

As you can tell, I love her blog and comment on almost every post. I attempted to put a feed for it up on the side so I will not reblog her blog ... but every now and again I feel the need to add a bit more and share a bit more. There was some contemplation about responding to every post of hers with one of my own, but other than the comments and my first post about her blog, I really do not see there being a whole lot else to share.

This post of hers, about feeling guilty for hurting, is my favourite. I love them all, but this one ... it is the most important and valuable lesson she has taught me. If I happen to walk outside my flat today and someone shoots the annoying seagulls out front (they rip open the bin bags and scatter rubbish all over the cobblestone street, as well as other annoyances that have earned them death threats from others) and the bird happens to fall on my head and erase part of my memories ...

well that bird had damned well better leave this one.

"Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional." Another Navy Seals quote I like to say to myself when I find I am wallowing in self-pity. I tell myself it is okay to be in pain, acknowledge that I hurt, try to identify the source, and then give myself a bit of time to whine about it before saying, "Right, enough of that. Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional. This isn't getting you anywhere; time to get back to life." Sure, I would prefer to not whine at all, but I know me. If I do not allow this self-indulgence, then I will continue to feel hurt and the anger will grow. Even if I know full well I am upset about something rather silly (like a boy rejected me or something), I still tell myself it is okay to hurt and allow some time to feel badly about it. The cause may not be as legitimate as I would like, but the hurt is real and that is all that matters. But suffering over it? I already hurt; if I can identify and acknowledge this, and take steps to get over it (and not just push it away) then I do not have to suffer.

So you hurt me ... now I am in pain. To me, this is real. But can I do anything about it? No, not really. You already hurt me and I cannot change the past. What I can do is acknowledge the pain, allow myself to experience it without guilt, and then move on past it. Because not doing so would not be you hurting me anymore; it would be me hurting me. And since I already am in pain, I would rather not add to it if avoidable.

Damaged People

A really good mate of mine started to write a blog of her own.  It is about her experiences with trauma and victimisation.  I wanted to say "childhood trauma" but truly, that is an assumption I cannot make.  Like many others, I was lucky enough to have what would be considered a normal childhood; the stories she has told me about hers make me wonder how she survived it all.  Sometimes, I think she wonders about that as well.

Truly, I have always admired her strength and courage when facing the world.  For those who have experienced extreme self-hatred, you may understand what I mean when I say there is an unspoken connection with others who have as well.  Not to sound presumptuous or anything of the like, but it does sometimes make people stand out differently.  Like when you meet a lot of new people for the first time (in this case, freshers week at the University of Edinburgh, where I was not only new to the program but also the country) and right away you can tell there is something different about a certain person.  That is how it was for me when I met this mate of mine, way back in September (spend two semesters in Halls with freshers and even nine months will seem like forever).  Right away, I knew that she was someone I wanted to be friends with, or as I prefer to phrase it, have in my life.  At the time I could not have explained why; likely I would have said it was because she seemed quirky and interesting.  But as we got to know each other more, it all began to make sense.  Out of all my mates here in Edinburgh (and they are all amazing), she is the one who I feel can understand me.  When I feel like my world has come undone - first example I can think of is related to my OCD and feeling like I lost all control - I know that I can go to her and she will understand it.

The incident I am referring to happened back in January.  I had finally gotten my room organised the way I wanted and found a place I liked for my little whiteboard.  Some of my mates were up in my room drinking, so I went to go let her know where we were in case she wanted to join us.  When I got back, they had messed things up a bit - but most of all, my whiteboard was down.  I knew none of them had intended to cause me any distress and when they saw I was upset they tried to fix things and make it better.  I just grabbed a bottle of vodka and sat drinking alone in the pantry for about 20 minutes.  Upon returning to my room I saw they had attempted to put things back in place and were all very apologetic; all I could say to them was "No, you don't understand.  You just don't understand," over and over again.  I wanted to tell them what was going on, but I simply could not.  So, I went to her room, walked in, and simply said, "I've lost all control.  My room, it's gone.  He took down my whiteboard.  I've lost all control."  Instead of scoffing at the ridiculousness of my statement or simply trying to reassure me that no one meant to hurt me, she calmly said, "It's okay.  You can get the control back," and talked me through it.  And indeed, I did.

The  next day I went and talked to my mates about what had happened and tried to explain the situation.  I do not think any of them really understood what I was saying, which I figured would happen, so I made sure to emphasise that if anything like that were to happen again, to go ask her what was going on because quite likely she would know.  Me saying over and over "You don't understand" was my way of trying to tell them that they really did not understand and I was incapable of explaining at the time.  But with her, I do not need to explain it.  I can just say what is going on, and I know she understands and will try to help me.

She is one of the best mates I could ever hope for.  My best mate is back home, and she can never be replaced in my life.  But here, this mate I have been going on about, she is a best mate in a different way.  Honestly, I do not think I could have developed and matured as much as I like to think I have over these past few months if it was not for her.  We both have issues with people and social interactions from time to time, but I know she will always be honest and upfront with me, and only wants to help.  Whether she knows it or not, I am eternally grateful for the night she tackled me in the corridor to make sure I listened to what she had to say.  Sure,  that is not the typical bonding experience, but it definitely was an important one.

The purpose of this post was to share her blog with hopes that someone else may benefit from her experiences - and to share a bit about why I am so lucky to have her in my life.  My best mate back home once said to me, "Two falling people cannot save each other."  This is true; they cannot.  But two damaged people, now that is a different story altogether.  They may not save each other, but they can share and teach, and maybe one day help heal.  She was the first one to ever say to me, "It doesn't matter why

Damaged people are the most dangerous because they know how to survive.
(Navy Seals)

Why the courts must decriminalize prostitution - The Globe and Mail

Why the courts must decriminalize prostitution - The Globe and Mail

It saddens me that it took a serial killer whose victims were fed to pigs - and therefore the true total can never be known - to actually cause this issue to be taken seriously. I firmly believe prostitution should be legalised and regulated. I would not go so far as to say all prostitutes are victims, but some certainly are. And the trade itself does victimise them by limiting or destroying their chances at a different future. Writing "prostitute" down for employment history is not likely to bode well; at the same time the lack of labour laws means no pension or insurance. There was a time when all jobs were like that, but then we developed this thing called "social welfare." Maybe you have heard of it, this concept that helping others who need it is a good thing? I love the idea from Sweden, even if it does argue prostitutes are victims. Instead of penalising them, it is the customers who are penalised. Supply-demand, right? The supply responds to the demand.

But in all seriousness, prostitution needs to be treated like the profession it is. Commonly it is referred to as the oldest profession; rarely is it treated like one. If you want to stop underage prostitution and human trafficking, make it possible to see what is really going on. Because right now, everyone is a criminal, and everyone is hiding. Who are we truly protecting?

Ultimate Burger Relish? I think not!

Marks & Spencer Cherry Tomato Relish
Tangy, crunchy, + sweet. The ultimate burger relish!

I think not. It is utterly delicious and appears to be vegan - guaranteed to be vegetarian by UK labelling, at the very least - but I disagree that it is the ultimate burger relish. It is the ultimate salad relish! Yes, it is sweet, so use sparingly and not too often; it turns my salad into a treat and takes care of that craving for sweets after a rough day. And there is no need for dressing on the salad as well. One less thing to worry about!