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Monthly Update!

Happy New Year!

Welcome back to another year of blogging at OpenUpWithMe! I want to thank every single person who visited my blog last year! Over the course of 2019, I had 1819 views from 981 visitors. (Stats taken on the 28th December) From those views, I received 181 likes and 27 comments. This was my best year for my blog, and I couldn’t be more thankful! Its been read in 20+ countries and I’m overwhelmed with the support I have received from each one of you! You make writing for an audience worth it. So, from the bottom of my heart, thank you!

Considering we are now in a new year, I want to do so much more with my blog and for all those that follow it on a regular basis, so I have a few new things going on this month as a trial and if I can stick to it, then I hope to follow it out throughout the year. I have planned a new blog post for every day this month. I hope to get them all out but as you may have realised, I sometimes suck at sticking to plans, so I won’t promise that this will happen, but I certainly want to try my hardest. Now that I have some sort of routine with Luna going to her dads for a few hours every day and one night a week, I am hoping to have my blog posts planned, written and scheduled during these times to maximise my potential.

12 Goals of 2020!

This year, I want to complete more and get more out of my life and try to get myself out of the funk that I seem to have fallen into. I have decided to create 12 goals for the year instead of doing resolutions because as it turns out, I never stick to them, so I don’t even want to try. I have a habit of giving up way too quickly so that idea flew out of the window. However, my goals are broader and there’s less chance of failing. Although there are 12, I’m not planning on getting one completed each month, but I do hope that by the time 2021 comes around, I will have at least completed over half of them.

  1. Complete more of my novel! So, for those of you that don’t know, I have been writing a novel for a few years now. However, due to other commitments and lack of time prioritised to my novel, its still sitting in the writing stage. I won’t say that I will get it completed this year but if I can write a fair amount each month, I will feel better about it. It’s been in the works for too long and I’ve now found inspiration to get it completed. I mean at the moment I only have three or four chapters, but every chapter is planned with a fair amount of detail so it’s just getting my ideas to paper or word documents as the case maybe.
  2. Start Saving! I absolutely suck at saving! I find it physically impossible but after the ending of the last year, I have found that I want to put money aside for little lady’s birthday and Christmas throughout the year, so I don’t end up a charity case again next year. I spent a fair amount of money on her birthday and Christmas without support and ended up skinting myself for the rest of the month. There were other complications that came into play that I should have accounted for, but I didn’t. However, she had the best time and seeing her face at her party and on Christmas day makes it all worth it.
  3. Take Luna out somewhere new once a month! For all of you that have been following my blog closely, I suffered bad with post-natal depression and because of it my relationship with my daughter suffered massively. I want to make it up to her, I want to show her more of the country and do more stuff with her that means she’s not trapped in the flat most of the time. She is the most important person in my life, and I want to create more of a bond with her, filled with memories that can last a lifetime. My mum never had a lot of money, but she took us so many places whilst we were growing up like hiking and going on bike rides and that doesn’t cost a lot of money. Those memories will stay with me for life.
  4. Decorate! Even if I only get one room completed the way I want, its better than the standard white that seems to overrun my poor flat. I want to at least get Luna’s room decorated and spruced up because I think every child should have a colourful room that they can enjoy.
  5. Meet new people! I have made a fair few friends because of my blogging, and those people are there for me without fail whenever I need them. They have seen me through many of my ups and a huge amount of downs. They have made me laugh when I’ve felt like crying and none of them had too. Unfortunately, the closest I’ve come to most of them are facetimes every now and again, or messages via social media. However, I wouldn’t have gotten through last year without them, so I want to make a point of meeting them and thanking them personally, for impacting my life in the way that they did.
  6. Celebrate more! I have a habit of being negative and focusing on the bad for most of my life. This is my reminder to look at the positives more often. I want to celebrate the positives and embrace them a lot more. I want to maximise the amount of positivity that I bring out in others and for that, I need to start with myself.
  7. Do more for charity! I absolutely love doing things for other people. I want to do at least two big fundraising events for this year, one of which will be a walk/marathon. I want to raise money for charities that are close to my heart such as the Meningitis Trust and Children in Need.
  8. Eat better! Its no secret that I have an eating disorder. Its no secret that I have battled with my weight for most of my life. However, I am trying my very hardest to get over my eating disorder. I have managed to put on a few pounds and for me, that’s a massive achievement. I have finally got some meat on me again and my ribs are slowly becoming less obvious. I am trying not to be disgusted every time I step on the scales and notice a gain.
  9. Read one new book a month! I absolutely love reading and I have so many books that I want to read but haven’t got around to them yet. I want to dedicate at least an hour or so into reading them every night once little lady is in bed.
  10. Try one new hobby a month! I want to try new things and try to increase my skill range. I mean I can already play a few instruments, I know how to read music and I love to write but there is so much more that is on offer in the world that I want to broaden my skills and see what other things I might be able to do.
  11. Spend less time glued to my phone! A lot of us spend a fair amount of time on our phones, generally scrolling aimlessly through social media and not really doing anything productive. I want to stop this habit and spend more of my time focusing on the things that matter, like my daughter and my blog. Of course, being a social media addict, I know I will still spend time scrolling for no reason, but hopefully it will be a lot less time than I do now.
  12. Write more letters! I love the idea of getting a written letter. There is nothing that shows more thoughtfulness as well as time and effort as a handwritten letter. I want to focus on finding and maintaining pen pals and bringing back snail mail.

What plans have you got for this year? What are the things that you want to get out of 2020 that you may not have gotten from previous years? Are you like me and can’t stick to resolutions, or have you made some anyway? Let me know either by leaving a comment or getting in touch. Once again, thank you for all your support and for reading what I have to say. As always, you can find me on Facebook, twitter and Instagram or even email me on RariAyliffe@OpenUpWithMe.com. I wish you all a happy new year and remember to keep smiling.

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Lifestyle❤️

Reflection

This weeks topic is reflection and I’m going to be doing it a little differently.

On Wednesday I turned 25, (which is why I haven’t really updated over the last fortnight. I’ve had so much going on. I have gone and gotten a full time job and celebrated so here I am to make it up to you guys.) And it got me thinking, about who I am and where I want to end up. So this week, I am going to do at least three separate posts, all covering reflection. Today’s post will be all about looking at who I was as a child and growing up. The second post, will be about looking at who I am now and where my life is heading. The third post will be about the future. The person I want to be and where I want to be with my life.

Time spent in self-reflection is never wasted. It’s an intimate date with yourself.

I couldn’t be further from the person I was growing up. Before I hit secondary school, I was one of the smartest and bubbliest girls. I was in the Polymath team, the athletic team as well as being on the school council, studying the clarinet and helping out in the lunch hall as much as I could. It didn’t matter that I wasn’t popular because I had my group of girl mates. It didn’t matter that I didn’t have all the new toys or outfits because I knew that my mum was doing the best job she could.

I attended church as much as I possibly had time for. I was enrolled as a Junior Solider at the Salvation Army. I learnt how to play musical instruments in the band, (I’ve played things like a cornet and a horn, they helped me read music, I sang in the choir, attended a games night for children, attended Sunday School as well as going away camping.) I was a Brownie and a Girl Guide and got to attend events at THFC, the Millennium Dome (before it was the 02 stadium), as well as camping for Jubilee’s. I earned many of my badges and have many experiences that will stay with me for life. They taught me essential life skills.

I was so fortunate in my life to have some of the greatest girls around me during primary school. There was no doubt that you’d find me with Simpson, Floyd, Curtis and Webber and we’d be running around like headless chickens. I thought we’d all be friends for life considering how close we all were but that changed when I chose to go to a catholic secondary school instead of the one all the girls was going to. I knew I had to start again. That choice meant that I lost contact with all the girls, it didn’t help that I moved away in my first year of secondary school which meant that I was even further from all the friends I thought I had.

The first secondary school I went to, I only knew two girls that were also going there. One of them I knew quite well but she wasn’t in my close group and another was one of the girls that bullied me. I remember a lot about that school, about how I dreaded going in most days, how I pretended to be someone I wasn’t to fit in, how I started to become someone I hated. I turned into a bully with a vicious tongue. I developed too much of a back bone and took it too far on some people I believed were less than me because I wanted to be liked. That was unfair of me and I will live with those choices that I made. To those I hurt during that year, I am sorry. It doesn’t take back the things I did nor the words I said but I do wish I hadn’t.

The second school I went to was just across the road from where we moved to. It was two weeks before the end of my first year and it was actually pretty decent (my first day not the school, school was awful).

Can we just remember what our firsts days at secondary school was like? Especially if you moved near the end of the year? Now try and imagine you had a name like Ferrari!

The tutor group I moved into, had some pretty decent people in it. I was with these children for the next four years and I would say, I was actually pretty lucky. Don’t get me wrong, I can’t remember every day of school but I remember things that would probably surprise people. I spoke to at least half of them during my time at school, although I’m sure I spoke to everyone at some point but I didn’t really hang out with most. Looking back I noticed that the people I called friends changed every year. Sometimes I fell out with people and other times we just stopped talking.

I spent most of my time at school laughing and joking. Life is so much easier to handle when you joke about it. Although I did have my moments. If I remember correctly, during our leavers assembly, our tutors spoke about the group of students they had, with my tutor referring to each of his class as Disney characters. He said that I was like Tinkerbell, because I was lovely most of the time, but although I may be small, when I lost my temper, everybody knew about it, that and I only had room for one emotion at a time. Probably one of the things I agree with him on 😂. The truth was most of the time, I acted. I acted like I was okay and happy. I acted like things weren’t bothering me so when I lost it, it was the result of bottling things up.

After school I went to college and had a breakdown. I saw the strongest person I know break down before my eyes and I just lost all control. I left halfway through the year and never completed it. I couldn’t cope with all the emotions and stress that I was dealing with. For a 16 year old who not only watched her mum break down, trying to help as much as I could, dealing with losing my hair and an underlying medical condition that I still had no idea about. I had a lot on my plate.

It wasn’t until a year or two later that I actually went back when I thought I wanted to go and study law. So I studied Business to get me into university. In the first year, I achieved 9 out of 9 distinctions for my units. During that summer, I had my first adrenal crisis and ended up diagnosed with my life threatening disease. I went back to college to complete my course and despite having 3 months off for appendicitis, I managed to walk out with a triple distinction.

So what did I learn about myself by looking at my past?

  • I changed around people to fit in more. Who you were changed how I acted.
  • I just grew apart from loads of people because I believed in the wrong ones.
  • I had too much of a need to be wanted and liked.
  • I felt like I had to be what people expected.
  • I was, and probably still am, a people pleaser and I suck at it.
  • I was very outgoing as a child. Spoke to everyone and did quite a lot for my age.
  • I am determined, intelligent and strong, even when I doubt myself.

I guess in a way I’m still that person. I’m still a strong person who doesn’t give up. It’s just my dreams changed. I’m still a people pleaser and probably should stand up for myself more. I have also grown apart from people for no reason and it’s a shame. But I’m quite fortunate enough to have the friends that I do have. I may not have memories dating back to my childhood with 99% of them but they have still had an impact on my life.

My home life, with the disabilities throughout the house probably shaped why I spent a lot of my time out of it. Although my family are close, a lot of my effort went to people outside that were “normal” as I thought it was what I wanted. Turns out it was just to be accepted.

I think a lot of us just wanted to be accepted. I think we spend too much of our time trying to please other people instead of staying true to who we are. We believe that what society thinks of us is more important that what we think of ourselves. I think we try to live up to impossible standards and exhaust ourselves trying to reach a never ending target.