jameshighland

 

So your mind is against you? It picked today to made you squirm under the scrutiny of stranger eyes, familiar eyes. It taunts you with images of the past but most prominently nightmares of the future. What will happen terrifies you and it’s all your own fault. Every birthday is a reminder of how “mature” you are, how “together” your life should be. But you still escape in fairytales and write yourself into other worlds. Every day you contemplate the worst of outcomes and fear has taken permanent residency in your heart. They say to stop caring like it’s that easy. All you do is care, it’s exhausting.

So you hate your body? They called you fat a few names in school, nothing brutal, and planted that seed of self hatred inside. You’re grown up now but you still don’t look down past your shoulders in the mirror and your love of swimming in the ocean is marred by your fear of exposed skin in swim wear. They planted the seed but those were just words. What battles with you now are thoughts and they aren’t in the voices of school kids, they’re in your voice. You’re self assured in this, the torturing of yourself.

So they make you feel like “everyone else”, yeah? You’ll open up and let your anxiety take release in confessions and scrawl it in poetry. You even right a detailed letter to the university councillor. But the reception is startling and they think you’re dramatic. Every young adult is confused about the future, every girl disappointed in their bodies. But you can’t help but wonder why they make it sound okay because last night you cried yourself to sleep because you feared growing old without giving enough to the world, you feared losing your dear ones and you feared no one could love your destructive mind and tragic body. This wasn’t just a one night thing but an almost every night thing and sometimes you remind yourself that if this feeling gets that little bit too much again, if you can’t leave the house without hiding in a public toilet cubicle with your head between your knees, then you have the power to take it all away. And it isn’t a continuous contemplation, though you’ve imagined your end before it only comes at the darkest of times when you’re being lives more in the tremors of anxiety than out in the world, you know that it isn’t “normal” to feel that.

Even when we talk our symptoms can be ignored, I’ve suffered that. This isn’t an easy thing to confess and I know so many of you are sitting alone and baring the same burden. Never have I ever been able to express the torture of living with me without my troubles seeming mundane. How do I tell people I don’t at all feel like I belong in this world, that I never really connect with anyone, that I spend most of my time with people fully focused on how ugly of a human I am inside and out? I know it sounds like angsty bullshit but at one point not too far in my past it was enough to make me think the unthinkable, more than once.

We’re getting better with it, celebrities speak out about it and bloggers and social media influencers share themselves in such a raw and beautiful way. There are still doubters, people who will say you’re doing it for “attention”, that you should “get over it” or, my personal favourite, “just be happy” like you wouldn’t be doing just that if you could. Honest, that’s what I chastise myself with everyday, I have every ingredient for a happy life and still I have the audacity to want more. It’s hard because that kind of backlash is exactly what fuels my not enoughness. I’ve read awful things about mental illness in so many different forms, including supposed academic articles.

Just know that whatever you’re suffering I would never judge you for it. My email is in my contacts and though I’m not qualified, I’ve been told I’m good at listening and I wouldn’t ever make you feel inferior.

Sending love and healing to all of you. Being your own worst enemy is a burden no one deserves to bare but you’re a warrior and I stand with you.

N x

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by the water-2

 

This is my greatest anxiety.

I’m eight years old clutching a large stuffed bunny to my chest with watering eyes telling my mam that I don’t want to get so grown up I have to give my bunny up. I still find comfort in hugging that bunny now. I’m fourteen years old enamoured by the art of acting and I cry to my mam because if I don’t make it in the business now I’ll never make it. I still find love in that art and consider it even more plausible now. I’m sixteen years old and my parents encourage my first job, I sit in a heap on the floor in heaving tears because the grown up world has hit and I can already feel the magic withering. I still believe wholeheartedly in that magic now. I’m nineteen years old and I sob in front of my counsellor because I’m balancing a soul destroying part time job with a severely restricting study of literature, a topic so full of freedom to me before university. I still find my escape in the pages of a book now. I’m twenty one years old and I cry on my birthday because the numbers scream out at me from every card with despairing responsibility. I’m yet to take on that ominous ‘adult responsibility’ even now.

I’m twenty two years old and I grip my anxiety with grateful hands because I know I’m growing older and all too quick but my fear is the driving force behind living and that living is proving to me that age really is just a number. My age is as defining as my name. It’s obsolete, abstract, holds no credible meaning. Human’s created time to control because we have to control everything. Age gives a framework to order and so long as we abide by that we’re easier to categorise and influence. I’m not any kind of number, least of all that twenty two. I have the magical energy of childhood me, that angsty creative drive of teenage me and the sheer determination of young adult me and we’re all coexisting and learning with every number that adds itself to us.

You are not your age. There is no ‘should’ be doing, just ‘want’ to be doing. Disconnect from the laborious task of meeting the number and just grow at your own pace instead, less anxiety, more living.

N x

Lately I’ve been feeling proud.

Always I associated pride with selfishness. Confusing being proud with being conceited. But to be proud is to be self-aware, to have self-respect, to look at something you’ve worked hard to achieve and think, ‘yes I did that and my god am I pleased with how hard I worked for it’. So you know what? I am proud, I am proud of myself for feeling pride.

I pride myself on my kindness.

I pride myself on my hard work.

I pride myself on my courage.

The wall flower has grown out into the room and in the most divine colours. Colours that she painted for herself. She reached out into the world, with slow, timid hands, shaking at the slightest gust of wind that threatened to hinder her growth and she persisted. She pushed herself through the cracks in the pavement, battled diplomatically with brighter fuller blossoms for the sunlight, and she conquered her own self doubt, forgot about the tidy lawns and pruned hedges and instead grew in the wildest gardens. And I’m proud of her. Proud to be her.

Do you have any idea how fulfilling that feels?

N x

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You’ve caught the virus

the one they spread

of toxic thoughts

and social dread.

 

Your bright eyes heavy

dulled in vain

from all the insomnia

thoughts that stain

 

Your mind it’s anxious

a trembling thread

of wicked voices

you cannot shed.

 

Your body is weary

from sleepless nights

your thinning limbs

a pitiful sight.

 

Your lip it quivers

a trembling shame

hollow cheeks

depressions claim.

Words on my mind: Spirituality

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“Spirituality is rebellion; religiousness is orthodoxy. Spirituality is individuality; religiousness is just remaining part of the crowd psychology. Religiousness keeps you a sheep, and spirituality is a lion’s roar.” – Osho

Sometimes I become obsessed with words and ideas, things that make a big bang in the chaos of my thoughts. I’ll read a quote, a definition of a word, I’ll overhear a conversation on the bus and something in the deepest part of me just twinkles alive. Why are humans so scared of feeling? So scared of connecting with the heavy energy of our world. We reach out to each other everyday when our gazes meet, when we brush past a stranger in the street, when we like a post on instagram. But we never build on it, we keep it secret and brewing inside, we turn it into poetry, into a dream we have no control over. We are scared of what being human inherently means. To feel. We let other people dictate who we should be, what we should pursue, where we should go. We let our worth be weighed up by the people society has taught us to view as higher than ourselves. This pollution of power has always seemed to be such an intrinsic problem in religion.

Take, for example, this guy in Newcastle city centre who would stop you in the street and ramble about God, about his divinity, his goodness and his forgiveness. After this forceful speech of God’s righteousness he would move onto racist slurs and homophobic jibes. It was so backward. “Oh I’m such a devoted follower of this holy spirit full of light and beauty but shame on these people and the things they can’t help being. Judgment and punishment to anyone outside of this ludicrous assessment the bible has taught me. God has no room for them, but he has room for me and my blind hatred, in his master plan for a peaceful love centric world.” Come on now.

When I was in high school our religious studies teacher used to talk about how the church was an archaic memory, about how England had lost it’s religion. He’s right. Unfortunately for England and America people have taken judgement, unfair dictations and severe hatred and use a loose passage in the bible to justify it, they’ve just forgotten all of the goodness. We carry with us those archaic discriminatory views first implemented by the church and it’s such waste of what could be, and oftentimes is, such a pure kindness filled belief system.

With spirituality I’ve found the lightness of being, the intricate web that connects you with her and him and them. A deep energy filled existence that stretched out tendrils of knowing and connects you to a greater purpose. I toyed with the Christian way of life when I was thirteen and the Buddhist way in my later teens. But like everything, the labels are just labels, humans trying desperately to categorise a bunch of thoughts to make life less scary. But it isn’t scary it’s mysterious and we need to remember the core of all the hundreds of beliefs around the world, whether aboriginal spirit or the holy divinity of the church. We want kindness, we want unity, we want a fair place to live, let our light spark up and when we die? Well we’ll deal with that when it comes. Make your energy vibrate with kindness and forgiveness, with creativity and passion, take all you are, all you hope to be and push it out into the world. At the heart of every faith is love, act on that.

 

Pieces of August…

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Reading: It’s been over a year since I finished a book, being a Literature grad I feel this is equal parts disappointing and understandable. This month I found time, whilst waiting around for work in a small town, to really settle down and focus my chaotic mind on the words of a page. ‘Big Magic’ meant little to me in terms of Gilbert’s other novels (I remain in the minority to have not read Eat Pray Love, it seems) but still it was a light, energetic read for a wannabe author (a wannabe anything really). A good amount of philosophy among little snippets of personal encounters, inspirations and experiences with magic. It got me inspired to write again and I appreciate her nods to feminism and her dispelling of the tragic author.

Music: Sticky Fingers – Cyclone (The Village Sessions) Don’t get me started on my love for these guys. This version, the lyrics, the acoustic guitar, it has my feels trembling.

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Instagram: My favourite instagram page of recent has been @caitmiersphotography. She’s actually been one of my favourites since the early days, a feed of blue, adventure and soulfulness. It lifts my sea craving spirit and has me smiling at the prospect of future adventures.

Blogs: I’ve found myself scrolling through the articles of The Messy Heads Blog more than my twitter feed recently (I know right? crazy). These girls are woke, they’re fluent, intelligent, active young women taking back there gender and society. Love it, love them.

Youtube: On a similar wave length to the Messy Heads blog, Cartia Mallan and Stella Rae are owning Youtube with there focus on veganism and being young women in a troubled society. This Video is equal parts tenacious personality, wise beyond their years tidbits of wisdom and encouraging comraderie between women at an age where all other females seem to be in competition with one another. Give both of their channels a watch.

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Adventure: Being in Melbourne, alone, for a day. I’ve travelled with company pretty much this whole year and there’s something intense about doing it alone. Knowing no one in the city you’re in and being able to completely immerse yourself in the things you love. Nothing gets me like wandering through photography exhibitions, or people watching and writing in small cafe’s. I love Melbourne, I love feeling free to be anyone and I love feeling like I’ve accomplished something.

Find my posts on Melbourne: 

I hope you found this somewhat interesting. Let me know if you like these kind of posts and let me in on some of your favourites!

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I don’t know that I’ve ever talked openly about anxiety, a shame since I find other peoples honesty so reassuring. Now that I’m here in the middle of nowhere in South Australia, alone, it seems silly to still consider myself as an anxious person. But I am and the more the days go by the quiter I get in social situations, I try to get the words out but I freeze and I struggle to support myself and this horrendous invisible crippling hand around my throat. It’s been a while since the sweaty palms, nervous stutters and iced over brain have attacked me so brutally but it was there yesterday.

But you know despite all of that, despite how scared I am of the presence in my body that wants nothing but discomfort for me, I still persisted in heading to the other side of the world, I still boarded by first solo flight to Bali a few weeks ago and I still came all the way here to Barmera, South Australia, with little idea of what was waiting for me and how this might all pan out, all on my own. And I have to be a little big headed and admit, I have never been so proud of myself. Even back in the days when I chose college over sixth form and staying with my friends, or when I deliberately refused to apply to universities near home so there was no temptation of safety. I’ve always tried to push passed the anxiety and build a future that I wanted for myself and despite the break downs, the panic attacks and ultimately the failures, all of it has payed off.

And I needed this little written realisation to pump myself up to go back to that hostel and talk to people like a normal human being. They probably all think I’m a little strange by this point but that’s okay because I’m doing my ultimate best. That’s all you can do out there in the big bad world. So if you’re struggling out there, if you need a nudge of encouragement, a word of advice, try and sit it out and listen to you. If there’s one thing I’m learning (albeit super slowly) its that I’m the only one who knows whats best for me, my instinct is looking out for my future and I have to have faith in it, even when it does slip up, its usually with some ulterior motive that I’ll be grateful for in the future.

Make yourself a priority, try and forgive your less shiny parts (physical and mental) and welcome them as part of you and your quirks.