It’s so so cliche to do one of these new year’s clean-slate type of posts, I know. Sorry to be unimaginative, don’t take it as guide for the rest of my content of 2018. I’m also very aware how silly some people think it is when we talk of new beginnings or making big important changes when it comes to a simple digit change. But let’s not pee all over what can be for some, a very useful excuse and reason to shift a negative mindset, make important potentially game-changing decision (one’s they’ve perhaps put off till now). If you’ve had a tricky year it can also help you to least attempt to leave certain unfortunate events behind, back in the sorry year that has just reached it’s (thank god ‘that’s over) conclusion.
I know it’s nonsensical to wait for the 1st of January to implement things that needed to be or should have been done way before, but for some it just feels easier way to adopt a new strategy at the start of a new year. It’s a very neat and tidy time to press reset, restore factory settings, or attempt to be become a new model entirely.
Although I started my year in traditional sense, going for our annual new year’s day country walk, I really do hope I’m going to do things a differently in 2018. And when I think about all the changes I want to make, they all link to one thing, and that’s freedom.
When I look back over the majority of the things that got me down last year, a lot of them were linked to feeling restricted or hindered in one way or another. As someone who has a distinct hippy, free-spirited, way of thinking, these are particularly challenging feelings to have.
(Before I delve into the constraints I felt that held me back in 2017, let me just acknowledge how lucky we are to live in a country that is as free as ours. We are free to travel, walk the streets in relative safety, talk publically about our thoughts and opininons (even if they’re challenged by strangers on social media or by colleagues in the workplace). We have a freedom people in some other parts of the world can only dream of).
This year I’ve felt very trapped in my living situation. A hiccup within the family unit in the summer, during my first experience of having a kidney infection, forced me to temporarily move out and stay at my friend’s empty house while she was on holiday. It really brought home that if my parents didn’t allow me to stay with them at our family home, I really would be well and truly buggered. Si was away in LA at that point, so it was a really sad and lonely time for me, and I hated that I wasn’t in a financial position where I could have been able to support myself even for that short amount of time. It was really scary to ponder the what if’s, having gotten so used to having the backup of my parents house for so long that I almost took it for granted. I have always HATED relying on others, even if it’s not my fault that I’m in the situation that requires me to. I really want to feel proud that I can make enough money to survive on my own, but also want that peace of mind that I know I can if I have to.
It’s obviously been my goal to move out for the last 7 years or so, but I realise now how vital it is to my mental health moving forward. The nagging thought that because it’s taken so long, and that by the time I do eventually move out (and live a real adult and independent life) I’ll only have a short space of time before I have the responsibilities of looking after ageing relatives and doing all that super grown up stuff, really makes me sad on a daily level. So although I feel like I have been trying my best till now to make it happen, I’m even more determined to find a way to do it. I don’t have a strategy or plan as such, but my god am I going to work my butt off and save, save, and save some more. It will be so interesting to see whether we’ll end up doing a student style house share just to get out of our current situation, or rent a flat in a dodgy area, in one room the size of a cupboard. We currently can’t even afford to rent a garage in our current location, so who know’s where in the country we’ll end up in our pursuit for independent and adult living.
I’m hoping that I won’t feel as limited travel wise in the year ahead too. I’ve been so spoilt in my life travelling to many incredible locations across the globe, but I think it made the absence of a holiday even more hard to deal with. I’m all too aware of how much it can enrich you’re life and inspire you for the remainder of the year back on home turf. As I’ve said in previous posts, I’d never realised until it became as impossible dream last year, how much I rely on a holiday to get through a year. Without that date in the calendar to look forward to and minus the knowledge that at some point my pores would be serve as a sieve for Vitamin D, I felt it hard to remain hopeful and buoyed on those days where everything felt a bit too much. When I talk about this I always feel like people must think I’m terribly ungrateful, or even harsher ‘one entitled bitch’ , but please understand that I really do recognise how lucky I am to be in a position where my physical health allows me to travel, and I truly treasure having a a lengthy catalogue of travel memories to replay. But this is a post about dreams and hopes and hopefully changes, so I wouldn’t be honest if I didn’t confess a yearning for more travel and more importantly escape in the year ahead, and I want to be in a financial position to make this possible.
I want to feel free-er when it comes to how I dress too, and this is something that will definitely come hand in hand with moving out. Knowing that you’ll get a parental review (and a brutally honest one) of your outfit whenever you come down the stairs, really does effect how you put your outfits together, well it does it your an insecure people-pleaser like me. You can’t help but rewind the years and feel like that unsure teenager who hadn’t quite found their style yet, when your instantly greeted with a facial gurn that can only interpreted as ‘she better not be going out in that’. It’s also very hard to leave the house feeling confident and empowered if they decide to come out and say ‘oooh, I don’t like your outfit’ or ‘that really does you no favours.’ I’ve worked as a stylist and stylist assistant so I absolutely love putting outfits together, some tame, some chic, but some a bit more wacky or avant-garde. I’ve really let the fear of being fined, or even arrested, by the home-based fashion police dilute my personal style, and that’s such a shame when I have a job that allows for a lot of opportunity to have so much fun with the way I dress. So although I don’t want to do anything particularly crazy by blogging style standards, I don’t want to stick with my family-friendly looks ALL the time. I might want a hem that’s a bit shorter than would have been allowed at school. I may want to wear shoes that are impractical but beautiful. Actually….I won’t, because I’m all about comfort these days, but the point is that I want to know that I’d be happy to buy/wear them if I wanted to, and not care about the response it may get from the Eggleton clan. If I was just living in a house with Si he’d support my more daring outfit choices, or I’d be comfortable enough to tell him that he’s wrong, because we would be sharing the bills and I don’t have an obligation to be ‘respectful’.
These also leads me on to wanting to feel less confined when it comes my body, and I mean this in two ways. Firstly I want to embrace the fact that I care less about my ‘flaws’ now that I’m a fully fledged woman. I think learned behaviour has meant that I’ve always been fairly conservative, almost prudish, when it comes to showing my body, particularly with the clothes I tend to gravitate towards or the Instagram’s I tend to post (it took a lot of courage to post my bikini pics last year). Although via art and photography at uni,and during times away from my family via travel I’ve embraced by body and sexuality more,I’m still fairly modest when it comes to baring flesh most of the time. When I’ve got in bikini’s on group holiday’s people have often said that they didn’t even know I had boobs, and boyfriends have always question me why I pick the floaty, smart, high neck dresses over the low cut, thigh skimming, or tight numbers and why I hide my nude self with pillows or bed sheets. There are many layers and reasons behind this I’m sure, but I really want to embrace what I have a bit more this year. I really want to try and push myself to feel happy in my own skin and in the process let people know via my initially forced confidence, that you don’t have to have super smooth un-dimpled skin, perfect uppity breasts, and Victoria Secret Angel stems to wear sexy attire or show some skin. So you might see me wear a few more tighter or skin baring ensembles this year, and I predict it will feel a bit odd due to it being fairly new to me, and I imagine I’ll always feel rather sexless and awkward, but I’m excited to attempt being kittenish and alluring haha. I may well find out that I actually feel sexiest in my fairly covered up 2-piece suit, but I want to create opportunities find that out via style trial and error. Life’s too short not to mix it up. You also always hear people say they wish they appreciated their younger bodies more, so as I rapidly leave ‘young’ status I want to make sure I’ve made the most of it!!
Secondly people with chronic illnesses often feel imprisoned and restricted. We don’t always have the freedom to leave the house when we want, if at all. The limitations our illness inflict on our lives mean we don’t have a freedom which would allow for us to embark on chasing our dreams and ticking off those daily or life to-do lists. We often don’t have the freedom to enjoy life in a way that a regular income would allow us to. I’m very lucky to be where I am with CFS. Yes I’m always drained and tired, never refreshed by sleep, always struggling with stomach issues and allergies, and now have a recurring kidney issue, but I get to leave the house fairly regularly. Although it’s nowhere near what I wanted, hoped or qualified for, I do have a work-life to some degree, which is slowly but surely evolving. Like my movements, it’s slow. In the spectrum of chronic illnesses I am one damn lucky girl though. I want to think of ways I can help people less fortunate than me, by sharing knowledge that may be able to gift them more freedom than they have already, even if that’s merely the freedom to hope. The stress freeing feeling of believing a rosier future could be ahead. So I’m determined to do what I can to improve my personal health – researching and trying things that appear to be beneficial – make the most of the energy and freedom I do have, and get myself to a position where I can help others, via my blogs and videos.
‘Freedom means the opportunity to be what we never thought we would be.’
Lastly I want to be far less worried the whole bloomin’ time. My consistent need to please, and a incessant feeling of guilt , that I’m not good enough, or not doing enough good for others, has held me back and undoubtedly stalled my progress career wise for too long now. Every partner I’ve had has had at handful of frustrated red faced rants at me about how I’m getting my priorities wrong, and sacrificing my own happiness in the process and that they’re sick of seeing the same thing happen over and over when it goes unnoticed or unappreciated. I’m going to stop worrying about what everyone thinks of me, what everyone’s going to think of me if I (INSERT SOMETHING I WANT TO DO BUT HAVEN’T FOR FEAR OF JUDGEMENT), and actually put my career and quality of life up the priority list a bit more. I also feel like letting go of anxiety related to outside opinion would give me the freedom to really soak the best out of social situations and amazing opportunities that come my way. So in short, I’m just going to LET IT GO (yes I am singing the song in my head as I type) and just live a bit more spontaneously, in tune with my gut before the voices of doubt creep in. Maybe overthinking everything for all this time has been where I’ve been going wrong, and maybe just listening to the head/heart/gut combo may deliver the goods. Dont’ worry, I’m not going to become a completely cold selfish tyrant, but I might have to say no to you a bit more this year. Please understand why.
I hope you will all follow me in my personal pursuit of mental and physical freedom via my blog and videos. I also hope by the end of the year we can celebrate some newly acquired space in our cluttered heads that will have been free’d up by a reduction in stress, fear and doubt.
‘I’ve learned that fear limits you and your vision. It serves as blinders to what may be just a few steps down the road for you. The journey is valuable, but believing in your talents, your abilities, and your self-worth can empower you to walk down an even brighter path. Transforming fear into freedom – how great is that?’