A Place of Intent

Sunday, 19 November 2017

Winter Wonder

Lights up on the Headrow after leaving work

My mornings of late have comprised waking up in the dark, feeling the warmth of my duvet around me and fighting the temptation to lay there all day, wrapped up in the loving embrace of sleepiness and comfort. But I get out of bed, and wander downstairs, where I fill the kettle through bleary eyes and flick the switch, retrieving my favourite mug and plopping a teabag in preparation. I then stand staring transfixed, oddly comforted by the increasing noise and bubbling of the boiling water until eventually it crescendos to a satisfying click. I make my tea and then my toast, and for 15 minutes I sit and enjoy both. It's then shower time, where I turn on the tap and dart away from the initial blast of cold water, waving my hand through the stream until it reaches a temperature far more inviting. I wash quickly and get dressed in my work clothes, getting my things together and patting myself down to ensure I've remembered everything, and then finally I wrap up warm, and leave for work.

The last of the autumn leaves against the dark evening sky

As soon as I'm outside, I'm hit by a wave of  fresh, icy air and it tingles my throat as I breathe in, warming as it enters my lungs. On the exhale, it creates a mist cloud as it condenses in the cold, and feel and looks oddly satisfying. Along the walk, the sun is rising, filling the sky with colour and the dimly lighting the surroundings. It glints off the frost grass, and makes everything seem magical. I walk with a bounce in my step and all too soon, I reach the city centre, to the hustle and bustle of everyone else making their way around, wrapped up in winter clothes, tiny pockets of steam in front of their faces as they each exhale.

I LOVE WINTER. 

Sat with a bowl of tomato soup, listening to the La La Land Soundtrack

Honestly, I adore all the seasons. But I forget just how much I adore the cold weather until it returns, filling me a sense of wonder and nostalgia. I love the feeling of the cold on my face, as the rest of my body is cloaked in warmth. I love the frost, and the dark nights. I love walking home and seeing all the lights glistening against the dark sky. I love getting home and making a hot drink and cuddling up under a blanket. I love being indoors, having more of an excuse to read books and write. I love regaining that feeling in my fingers when theyre numb from the cold. I love the anticipation of Christmas. I love winter food, having soup and stew, and potatoes, all feel somehow right when the weather becomes a bit chilly and dreary. I love wearing jeans and jumpers, hats and scarves. I just love this season so much, Ahhh, I'm so happy right now and I just wanted to share that wonder with you all.

Happy Winter!
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Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Smart Food Choices


A year ago, whilst I was living in Canada, I wrote this blog post about becoming a vegan. I maintained a vegan lifestyle for 4 months and discovered a lot along the way. My perspective on food and making smart food choices has changed and evolved a lot in the past year, as I've continued learning and researching into the foods that I eat and the foods that are available. The overall conclusion I've reached is that I'm going to stop putting labels on my diet and instead try and make smart food choices. When I say smart food choices, I mean choices that take into account not only the environment, but the morality, the social impact and the cultural impact of food and its production, transportation and consumption.


Being a vegan forced me to educate myself a lot about nutrition. Which foods are good for the body, which foods make you feel energised and healthy and I felt the best I'd ever felt in terms of fitness and health. It was fairly difficult to remove all animal products from my diet and I struggled to reach my protein goals and really missed eggs. Eating out with friends was miserable as vegan meals were virtually non-existent in most places. I began to resent the constraints of a diet within the realms of a label. The Vegan and Vegetarian Label. When I reflected on my reasons for transitioning into this diet, the most dominant of which was care for the environment, I realised that a vegan lifestyle (and vegetarian) is not always an environmentally friendly lifestyle. Most alternatives also have their fair share of environmental impacts. A critical ingredient I found everywhere in vegan substitutes was palm oil, an oil that is causing mass deforestation in Indonesia and decimated the biodiversity including the more widely known orangutan. I'm glossing over this as it deserves a blog post in itself. Another main ingredient found in alternatives is soya, which has the potential to be environmentally friendly but is largely used in the intensive cattle industry as feed, leading to it being unsustainably grown. But, simply, what I'm trying to say is that I felt like I was under pressure to stick to the confines of the label despite not being truly happy with every food item, instead of defining my own boundaries and the food choices I want to make.
Delicious Buddha Bowl
So, after a slightly miserable vegan Christmas dinner, I'd had enough. I wanted to redefine my diet. To try and take into account a multitude of factors and assess which foods are the best choices overall. I wanted to see for myself what it was like to work on a farm that produces cattle. So I got in touch with a farm up in Orkney and spent my summer working there. This farm produces around 120 calves a year, and around 600 lambs. I learnt a lot, which I started to write about here. All in all, I got a firsthand experience into the life and the hard work that goes into agriculture. When done on a scale like this, I have no issue with the product and eating the product. I still believe that beef should be eaten infrequently, but I am not opposed to eating a small, sustainable amount of meat. Plus, this beef is grass fed and supplemented with barley, and not soya. I am still not too happy about dairy, and to be completely honest, I'd like to cut a lot of it out and support some industries that are providing nutritious plant alternatives and even other livestock alternatives such as ewe and goat's cheeses and yoghurts. I want to buy local produce when I can, and buy seasonal produce, to support the smaller farms and more sustainable farms. I want to continue to eat less meat, to put less pressure on our earth as a whole, and I mostly want to educate people and get people thinking more critically about where their food comes from.
Dairy Free Milk Options

One thing I'm passionate about is food waste, and trying to reduce it. A growing population and the increase in food poverty and insecurity are some of the most severe challenges faced by communities in the 21st century, with a big emphasis being placed on increasing food production as the solution. However, we currently produce enough food globally to sustain the population, yet between 30-40% of this food is wasted along the supply chain. In developed countries, this waste is predominantly at the retail, food services and consumption sections of the chain. I see absolutely no logic in wasting perfectly edible food that is on route to landfill.


Anyway, this is something I care really deeply about, so I'm currently writing a piece about food projects in the UK such as The Real Junk Food Project that aim to tackle this loss of food to landfill along the food supply chain. Please let me know what food choices you make, and what you prioritise when buying food.

Happy eating!
xx
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Thursday, 2 November 2017

MDMA: My Experience

This year I took MDMA for the first time and the experience was so incredible and, in a way, life changing that I really wanted to share it with you. As a disclaimer, I am not an expert in drug use, I have only tried MDMA once and in a very safe, comfortable environment, I did not mix it with any other substances and I took it with someone who was very experienced and who I trusted completely. I'm going to leave a load of links below this post to the resources I've used to educate myself around the drug, so if you are someone who is considering taking it, please do your research first and be vigilant. Also, I really urge you to watch Drugslab on YouTube where they actually take MDMA on camera and document the effects and talk about everything you need to know if considering taking the drug.


BACKGROUND
So, first of all, a little bit of background. MDMA, also known as Ecstasy, XTC, Molly, Mandy, short for 3,4-methylenedioxy-methamphetamine is a psychoactive drug characterised by its ability to make people experience feelings of euphoria, empathy, energy, love and connectedness. MDMA refers to the drug in its crystal form, whereas ecstasy generally refers to the pill form. It triggers the release of dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin in the body and usually takes between 20-60 minutes to kick in, lasting between 3-6 hours. 

Effects:
As mentioned above, the desirable effects of MDMA include:
~feeling energised and alert
~feeling a connectedness to your surroundings
~empathy and love
~euphoria 
~decreased inhibition
~increased chattiness

Side Effects:
~Dilated pupils
~Dry mouth
~Jaw clenching and tightening (gurning)
~A tingling feeling
~Difficulty concentrating
~Feeling cold
~Elevated heartbeat
~Increase in body temperature (despite potentially feeling cold)

Common Risks associated with MDMA:
~Overheating (hyperthermia) and dehydration. Body temperature increases when taking MDMA whilst often making people feel colder, so often MDMA related problems involve people overheating from dancing in hot environments and not taking enough breaks and drinking enough water.
~Over hydrating. On the flip side, because hyperthermia is a well known risk of MDMA use, people are overly cautious and drink too much water when using. However, MDMA inhibits the bodys ability to urinate when on it, so the fluid is retained and can get into the brain, which can be fatal. So although it's wise to drink fluids, particularly those high in vitamins and salts, when on MDMA, don't overdo it (recommended no more than a pint (568ml) of water every hour- FRANK).
~Impure/ Fake MDMA. One of the biggest risks with this particular drug is that it can be fake and is rarely sold pure. ALWAYS test your drugs to make sure that what you're about to put into your body is actually safe. 


MY EXPERIENCE
So finally, we get to my first time taking MDMA! I wrote a diary entry as I was coming down in the early hours of 18th June. I was staying at my brothers and he recommended we try and get as much sleep as possible to prevent a bad hangover and come down. I think as it was my first time and I had just had this intense, overwhelming experience, I struggled to sleep. I slept for maybe two hours and woke up needing to write about it while it was still slightly in my system and the memories vivid. I think it's probably most authentic if I write out what I wrote then and then I'll add to it some thoughts and feelings I've had since I had time to process  the experience and how I felt in the days after.

'I just had MDMA for the first time. It was absolutely incredible, and I'm still feeling the afterglow. Its been 11 hours since I took it. It's so hard to describe. We took the first part at 10pm, we being PJ. Pj's friend Jacob and I. I was feeling a bit nervous, so we played Mario Kart to pass the time. After 20 minutes I still didn't know if I felt anything and I started getting a bit anxious. We played another cup of Mario Kart and all of a sudden I was sat there watching the screen, controller in my hands, grinning from ear to ear, despite the fact that I was losing terribly. PJ looked at me and asked me if I was feeling anything and I thought about it and said yes. I was feeling really energetic and jittery but happy. It was really bizarre. He asked if I wanted a hug so I instinctively said yes, because I really did want a hug. So we had a big hug and twirl around and then I had a look around. Everything seemed a lot brighter and clearer. I remember looking at the clock and it was so vivid that it looked like all the lines and numbers were moving. I went and got my glasses to see if I could add to this new perception. 

I looked at myself in the mirror and my eyes were absolutely huge. They were so diluted, which made the brightness of everything make sense. There was this overwhelming sense of calm and happiness. It was magical. We took the boost at 11pm. And Jacob took the clock off the wall so we couldn't get sad by reminding ourselves how little time we had left on the drug. PJ gave me a head massage and shoulder massage and by this point Jacob had started feeling the effects. He talked non-stop from then on. It was crazy. Me and PJ were more quiet. It makes you feel really really empathetic. I can't imagine not understanding someone on it. We had water and tea and crisps to keep ourselves hydrated and replenish the salts from our sweat. It made my jaw clench and ache a bit. We got some chewing gum and that helped a lot. 

We mostly spent the time chatting, listening to music and doing massages. It was amazing. I did feel a bit sad when it was, indeed over. There are things you feel like you wanted to say but din't get the chance to. I can't imagine it would be easy to lie on MDMA, it just makes you feel so honest and open. I felt very touchy feely, like I just wanted to touch everything and I kept stroking my arms because it felt so good. PJ had a blanket that was just wonderful to wrap up and rub your cheek against. PJ said at one point that he didn't mind if I wanted to kiss Jacob but strangely enough I didn't want to. I felt a lot of love towards Jacob but no attraction.

I just felt completely okay. Like everything was right with the world. Like nothing in that moment could have been better. It was so wonderful. I'm really glad I tried it and I'm really glad it was with PJ, he made me feel really safe and looked after.'


I got really emotional writing that out. I feel so much love for my brother and that shared experience just strengthens that bond and love that I feel towards him. I wouldn't have wanted to try MDMA for the first time with anyone else. I am grateful to him for making me feel safe, being a calming and knowledgeable guide throughout the whole experience. 

The day afterwards I feel high as a kite. Completely at peace with the world and mellow. It was the same feeling I'd felt when I returned from Turtle Island Preserve the first time (which I'm aware I still haven't written an in depth post about). That day was pure bliss and I hoped that feeling of contentment and peace would never go away. I think I felt a bit tired the day after that day, as the fact that I'd only slept 2 hours caught up with me, but overall, I didn't experience any post MDMA depression.

Even now, when I think back to that experience I get butterflies in my stomach and this excited feeling. I can honestly say it was one of the best experiences in my life, and if I never have MDMA again I don't mind, because I'm glad to have been able to have tried it. Although it was an experience like no other, the emotions that I felt weren't strangers. They were all great emotions that I've felt that strongly at really pivotal moments in my life. I remember once, when I was 17, my best friend was taking a lot of drugs including MDMA, and I was really worried about her because she was overdoing it. I went to my Dad to ask for advice on how to get through to her, and he told me that I couldn't possibly understand what it was like until I'd tried it, that it was a feeling of euphoria that only really ever get to experience during the most important moments in your life, but that I should let her know that life offers that feeling, without drugs, and that feeling will fade if you take the drug constantly. And that's always kind of kept in my mind, as a reminder that life can offer you euphoria and that you should seek it naturally, and only seek it artificially on rare occasion. And that's why I'm okay with never having MDMA again, because I know that I will experience those feelings regardless. Having said that, I would still love to try it again.



ADDITIONAL RESOURCES 
Drug Abuse: https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/mdma-ecstasymolly

More personal but informative accounts (highly recommend watching both of these videos):
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Thursday, 26 October 2017

Midnight Musings: Press Pause


It's a little after midnight, an hour I rarely get to consciously welcome nowadays, grandma that I have become since joining the world of work. But tonight I felt the urge to stay up late, relax and enjoy the quiet that night can bring. Sometimes it's not only nice, but necessary, to take a moment to yourself. To breathe. To unwind. To slow down.

I've been feeling a lot of inspiration lately to truly make the most of life, to be the best version of myself that I can possibly be. That, for me, entails being busy. I'm constantly doing doing doing. I have so many goals, so many things that I want to achieve, so many places I want to visit, skills I want to acquire, things I want to write about, projects I want to get involved in, people I want to see and engage with. I am at the prime of my life and I don't want to look back at one moment with regret.

I am happy. I am happy with the direction my life is taking. I'm happy with the person I am, although I always want to be improving, I always want to be learning and growing. As much as I do, there is always more that I feel I should be doing. I'm scared that time is going to pass me by and I'm going to wish I'd done more, that I'd spent more time with certain people in my life and less with others.


Life is all about balance. Pushing yourself too much for too long and stretching yourself thin can burn you out and detract from your success, your progress and how much you can benefit those around you. I've found that this is applicable in most things, sometimes you need to give yourself a break in order to move forward, in whatever it is you want to make progress in. And sometimes you have to give yourself a little tender love and care in order for you to be able to give it to others.

When it comes to writing blog posts, I generally spend a lot of time articulating my thoughts, which means that I rarely post. But I want to introduce a bit of freedom, and have these 'midnight musings' be a semi regular segment where I just write and post. This is a topic in which I have so much more to say. But if I decide to hit save, it'll be months before I get round to writing an all encompassing post on the importance of setting goals, self care and achieving balance. So, although I feel like this is nowhere near as articulate as I would like. I'm going to post it anyway.

So, I shall leave with this:

Whoever you are, whatever you're doing, give yourself a break. Press pause. Reap the rewards of your hard work and just breathe. You deserve it. 

xx
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Monday, 23 October 2017

Update: Leeds

'Learn from yesterday, live for today, design for tomorrow', Saxon Hawke House/ Lyon Works, Leeds

Good morning! I feel overdue in giving a bit of an update. It's been almost 4 months since I moved to Leeds which in itself feels absolutely crazy. Looking back over the past 4 months, so much has happened, life has been exceptionally busy and I've really begun to settle here and embrace my new life no longer being a student.
View from Santorini, City Island, Leeds

It's strange, because the amount of time I've been living in Leeds is the amount of time I spent for my first semester in Calgary on exchange and yet the experiences are so starkly contrasted. In Calgary, by 4 months, I felt like I'd truly experienced the city and the mountains, I'd made some really strong friendships and relationships and I'd truly immersed in the culture and my new home. In Leeds, that process has been a lot slower and I still feel as though I'm only just beginning to really experience everything Leeds has to offer and I'm only just beginning to strengthen certain friendships and relationships I've made here.

Cross Arcade, Victoria Quarter Shopping Centre, Leeds

I think that's down to a few reasons. In Canada, I was completely removed from my life in the UK, I had no friends or family nearby, I was completely alone in a new country thousands of miles away from home so I had no choice but to spend my time on making friends and exploring. I was also surrounded by people who were in the same position as me on exchange. We didn't have the luxury of time, so we filled our time with every experience we could possibly have and this meant that we became so close so quickly, as we spent all our time together, living together, going out together, exploring Canada together. My life in Canada during those 4 months was a whirlwind of new experiences and those experiences were shared with a group of people who also had other lives miles away, so overall it was intense and as a result, intense connections and relationships were made. On the flip side, it was like leading a separate life. We all knew that living there was temporary, so it was like being in a bubble somehow. The lives we lived in Calgary for those first 4 months was not a lifestyle that would have been sustainable had we all decided to move to Canada permanently.

Sunset along the River Aire, Leeds
During my time in Leeds so far, there hasn't been that frantic need to do everything I can possibly do here in a limited time, as I still have at least 8 months of living here yet at least. The settling period has been more gentle and gradual. My life is also very split between certain things. Unlike in Calgary, where I lived, studied and socialised with the same people, here in Leeds, my social circles are quite separate so my time and investment has been split between them. As well as this, I've spent a lot of my weekends visiting family and friends or having family and friends come to stay, which has been a true pleasure, in both having the time and the money to do it. However, the downside to this, is that I've not spent as much time as I could on developing my support network in Leeds itself, which is why my friendships here have been a lot more slow growing.

Tazz and GG visiting for bank holiday weekend August.

But enough rambling. My life in Leeds so far:

I live in a shared house with three other 'young professionals' (my landlords words not mine), and now I would consider myself friends with two of them and friendly with the third, but because we are all in different situations, and all have separate lives, I rarely spend much time with them so building those friendships has taken a lot more time, but I feel as though they will continue to grow and I'm happy with that. And I've become really good friends with one of my housemates girlfriends, who has reintroduced me to yoga and with whom I would consider one of my closest friends in Leeds so far.

Becky's Reggae Yoga Class
I work in a blood donation clinic and I am loving it.  I am now qualified as a phlebotomist and daily I take peoples blood for donation. It has been an invaluable experience and I really do enjoy meeting such a variety of people day in and day out. I'm working there part time so that I can spend time getting involved in other things, as this really was my main goal in moving here. I wanted to both gain clinical experience to see if it was a path I wanted to go down and I wanted to be able to volunteer at a range of charities and projects, which I have been doing. As I spend so much of my time at the blood donor clinic, I've made some really good friends there but they're all a lot older than me with families and busy schedules so socialising outside of work is a lot more difficult to organise which is a shame. They're such a great crew though, and I definitely feel like a true part of the team. I am planning on writing a more in depth blog post about what exactly I do at the clinic and about blood donation, the process, from walking through the door as a donor to patients receiving that blood, but I'll save that for another time.

Giving blood for the first time, Leeds City Donor Centre
I've spent a lot of time at my local gym, and I've really pushed myself in terms of weight training. Again, something I'm going to write about in another blog post. I do kickboxing and Krav Maga at Leeds Uni, which is a relatively new thing for me. I've never done anything like it so it's been great to try out and i'm really pleased to be learning something completely new.  It's also allowed me to meet some younger people in Leeds. Exercise has been and is the most important thing for both my mental and physical health, and I have loved how much a part of my lifestyle it's become over the past couple of years. I sometimes go to spin class and as I mentioned before, one of my friends in Leeds has begun giving yoga classes which I've been going along to. My health and fitness has never been better.

Lunch with the family at Thai Aroy Dee
I volunteer at the British Red Cross every couple of weeks, working with young refugees in the Leeds area and I am beginning to get involved in the Real Junk Food Project, an organisation that intercepts fresh food on route to landfill for various reasons from supermarkets, wholesalers and restaurants and then uses it for cooking in their cafes which are pay as you feel. I absolutely adore this project, from its ethos to the people working there, I have been made to feel truly welcome and it's been here that I really feel at home. I'm so excited to become more involved as the weeks go by.

Armley Pantry - The Real Junk Food Project

I've really made the effort to see my family and friends, and so I've spent time with my parents, my grandparents and had a few friends to stay. It's been much needed in my life, and I honestly feel like the last 4 months have been a welcome change. I am loving life outside of education, and being able to dedicate my time and energy to myself, to my friends, my family and to projects and charities that I care deeply about. I am really happy here.

To the next 8 months...

xx
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Saturday, 16 September 2017

Letting Go of Friendship


I recently wrote a blog post about friendship where I talked briefly about different type of friendships, the ebbing and flowing of friends, what makes a good friend and the loss of certain friendships. Following that post, I wanted to talk more extensively about letting go of friendship.

When it comes to the ending of romantic relationships, we, as a society, have general guidelines on what to do. We break up, we separate, we get divorced. There is a definitive end, and following that end there is an understood period of mourning, of heartbreak and of moving on.. But when it comes to friendships, things aren't so clear cut. Like romantic relationships, friendships also evolve and change over time. A friendship that was once mutually satisfying and fulfilling, may not always be that way. Sometimes these friendships can become toxic and slowly wear you down, and they can stop adding value to your life. Instead of bringing you up, this person begins to drag you down. But love, history and loyalty prevent us from feeling able to walk away. We can be manipulated into thinking that we can't live without this person, that we need this person and that we owe it to the friendship to persevere.

Unlike romantic relationships, we don't tend to sit down with our once closest friends and talk through our problems. But maybe it would make life easier if we did, if we could communicate and decide when enough is enough. Personally, I think it takes a lot more courage to walk away from those who were once our biggest platonic supports. Because 'breaking up' with your friends isn't really a thing. Instead we tend to describe it as 'drifting apart'. But drifting apart in my opinion, refers to the mutual growth away from a friend, an unspoken acknowledgement that you've both changed and that your friendship is no longer what it once was, but that's okay. Let's be grateful for what we had, for the good memories and the support, but lets move on.


Unfortunately, this isn't always the case when a friendship runs its natural course. You may outgrow them, but they may not outgrow you. Sometimes your friends can become parasites that suck your energy for their benefit. And I know I may seem dramatic when I say that, but this parasitic behaviour isn't necessarily done maliciously. In fact, there are two very important relationships in my life that I'm currently in the process of letting go of, and neither one of those friends I believe have become negative forces in my life through their own choice.

A great friend is someone who nurtures you. Who you feel understood by. Whose company is easy to be in. Who encourages you to follow your dreams. Who sticks by you during the rough seas. Who is not judgemental. Someone whose company leaves you feeling positive and uplifted, cared for and understood.

A great friend is not someone who judges you. Who makes you feel inadequate. Who manipulates you. Who tries to control you. Who tries to make you feel guilty. Whose company leaves you feeling deflated and negative.

It can be hard to spot these signs. To accept that this person who you used to share so much with, who used to be your solace and support, who you thought truly got you like no-one else did, is not your best friend anymore. And when that person still considers you their best friend, when they rely on you for so much support, it's nearly impossible not to feel guilty for feeling this way. Walking away involves conflict, hurt and upset. It can make you feel like the baddie, and it can put you in a position for that person to blame you and make you feel like shit, simply because you had the strength to stand up for yourself and respect that life is too short for unhealthy relationships. Don't let that sadness and guilt stop you from doing what is best for you.


Okay, I'm going to go personal for a minute, so if you're here for the general advice, you may want to skip ahead a bit The first friend of the two I mentioned above has been one of my best friends since the end of secondary school. We became very close through being in some very sad situations that your average 16 year old generally won't be able to relate to and the empathy and grief that we both shared forged a bond that will last forever. There's no denying that. However, since we left for university, our friendship has been an uphill struggle. I've grown a lot from that grieving 16 year old, and moved on, and our moving on has taken very different paths.  We've spent three years trying to cling onto our close and special friendship, but we're both different people, who want different things from life, and who prioritise very differently and therefore we struggle to understand some of the choices that we each make. Thats okay. That's just who we are, and who we are isn't as compatible as we once were. There are friends in my life that I can call twice a year and its as though nothing has changed, but for some reason this friendship can't survive like that. It's either all or nothing, and the all just doesn't work, trust me, I've tried it. Giving this friendship my all made me realise that it was a toxic relationship to be in. So we're onto the nothing, which makes me sad, because I will always love and cherish this person, but I have to accept that two very different people and that she is someone I don't need anymore, and haven't really needed in quite some time. I realise that I'm being very vague here, but it wouldn't be fair to go heavily into detail.

The next friendship I consider waaaaay more toxic because some serious manipulation occurred, and it was only after being incredibly hurt by this person that I was able to see just how manipulated and badly treated I was by her. Now I'm not going to go into too much detail because I'm still quite heavily involved in the letting go process and I don't really want to make it glaringly obvious who this person is, but this friend made me feel like I needed her. She would constantly tell me, her friends and family how close we were, how we needed each other, how we were the best of friends. She would disguise mean comments as compliments. She would make me feel guilty for hanging out with other people, for doing things without her, for not telling her things. She bombarded me with her company, and never gave me any space. She essentially suffocated me so that I never got enough space to really think about what she was doing. It was how I imagine being in a relationship with someone who's very controlling would be like, except without the sex. Anyway, luckily for me, she did something that made me feel intense hatred towards her for a while and that allowed me to see things differently. I now realise that she never really understood me. She constantly made me feel judged for my opinions if I disagreed with her. She tried to make me feel less than her, and tried to make me feel as though I needed her. She was so manipulative and controlling, that i'm sad and surprised our friendship lasted for as long as it did. But it just goes to show, that sometimes we are blinded and we don't realise we're being manipulated to feel things we wouldn't otherwise feel.


So if you feel like you have a close friend who isn't actually the friend you thought they were, or the friend you need them to be, here are some tips for letting go.

Distance yourself. Meet new people. Try new things. Create space physically and emotionally. Lean on your other support systems, your family and other friends. Don't text them. Don't be at their beck and call. Think of yourself and do what you need to do to be happy.

You will meet people who are on your wavelength, and you will once again be reminded what a truly good and wholesome friendship looks like, and you'll realise just how toxic that other friendship was. Yes, it's sad to turn away from someone who meant so much, but like a romantic relationship that doesn't work out, the fact that you outgrew this person doesn't take away from what you had. You can still look back on your memories with fondness, you can still keep in contact with these people, you can still maintain a friendship at arms length, but you have to be able to accept them for who they are, and that is someone who may not understand you, who may not be on your wavelength.

Lots of love,

xx
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