I wish I was special , your so f$cking special – I Alone by Live


I think if you ask most people if they wanted to live there early teenaged years again , I think most people would say hell no. I guess it’s because despite it being a time of firsts for most people it was tough. Being a teenager is so much more than your body changing yet that is still what we focus on. I realised as I got older that nearly all teenagers make one massive misconception about adults. When your a teenager you believe that the adults around you could never possibly understand what it’s like to be you a poor teenager trying to find yourself but in truth that is all wrong. I just wish that when I was growing up I could have spent a day as adult me but the problem with that is I would not be me. The struggle is part of what makes me who I am even if I wished some of things I did and went through did not happen. I realise in the grand scheme of things my teenage problems may pale in to comparison. However there mine and they are part of my story so I’m going to share some of my early teenage years with you. The title of this blog is for two reason the first is that it is a song that instantly can transport me back to that time and secondly because it an awesome song from a very prominent album in my life at that time I still get goosebumps when I hear it now.
I’m not really sure when you go from being a care free child to a teenager but for me I think it started during the transition from primary to secondary school everything just seemed to change. I went to the opposite school from most of my friends I told my parents that I did not want to go to the same school as my sister who was also there but that was a lie. In truth although I never had my head flushed down the toilet I had like most people experienced bullying. I was really tall and pretty strong but I was a total nerd and very non confrontational. I was intimated by a couple of girls in my class but they where not the bullies. The bullies had been three girls in the year above me one of them I had at one point been friends with which made it worse because she used the things she knew about me against me. They where never really physical they shoved me now and again or throw things at me but they mostly would just say really nasty things about me. I never told anyone about it I struggled enough to open up and I just kept it all locked inside me. I was all set to go to the same high school as my friends, it had been nearly a whole years since the bullies had left and they where at the back of my mind. We only had a few days till we had to put in our final choice of high school and then everything changed. To help us to make a decision the school brought back some pupils who had went to both high schools and you guessed it the three bullies where some of the pupils that came back. Just like that I realised they would be there waiting for me to start. That night as I lay in my bed I could not get to sleep I must have been crying out loud because my Mum came in the room she asked me what was wrong , and with all my heart I wanted to tell her. I just thought it was easier if I just accepted it and went to the other high school so I lied I told her I was just had a bad dream and that I would be okay. I closed my eyes as she sat on the bed stroking my hair. I wished so much now that I had told her that night what was going on but I did not and that was that.

The small handful of good friends I had all three of them went off to the opposite high school from me and I was left alone. I was hopeful I would make new friends. I tried to stay positive and see it as a fresh start a time to reset. I quickly realised that if I struggled to make friends when I was five I had little hope at twelve, don’t get me wrong there where people I spoke to even sometimes hung out with but they where never my friends. The truth was most of the time it did not really bother me I liked being by myself but sometimes I just wished I had someone around that got me. Although I had stayed in contact with Nic(friend from primary) I had lost touch with my other friends eventually I lost touch with Nic too. I had a couple of girls that I started to get close too one left to go to another school and the other just drifted away. By the time I was thirteen I was spending most of the days at school alone and I was spending almost every night sitting in my room. I would be watching the TV or listening to music. Finally my parents stepped in they where getting really worried about me they just wanted me to get out the house and do something. My mum had a friend who’s daughter went to a youth club. I really did not want to go but she practically begged me to try it once because she was so worried about how isolated I was so for her I did.

When I got to the club what I found was a bunch of teenagers ageing from thirteen to nineteen with a few adult volunteers. The youth club changed my life. None of the people there knew anything about me and I got that fresh start I had wanted when I started school. They where all kinda geeky like me and I really started feel like I belonged somewhere within this group. None of them where at my school so that did not really change but for two nights a week I really felt part of something. We went away on trips we had nights out and on the whole things where good but it was short lived. By the time I had turned fourteen my Mum’s  health had got worse and she died. I tried really hard to keep hold of everything but in truth I was spiralling. Everyone wanted to talked ask me how I felt. I had to see a school psychologist so I did , I went five times then she discharged me I told her exactly what she wanted to hear. I stopped going to the youth club and I stopped hanging around with my friends. I started to self harm and had started to think of ways to end my life. No one around me seen what was going on my family where dealing with there own grief and I was a master at hiding what was really going on. My family where all used to me being closed off with my feelings and just thought I was dealing with it in my own way but I wasn’t. If I could have visited myself then I would have told myself to tell someone how I felt.

A few months had passed and not much had changed. I sat in school I paid attention handed my homework in on time and even sometimes hung out with people but it was all an act inside I was falling apart . I would sometimes go to the bathroom at lunchtime and self harm for me the pain was a realise like a drug it took the edge off and stopped me from losing it completely. I had started to self destruct outside of school I had started to hang about with a girl who I knew was a bad influence I was smoking and even drinking a little but I just did not care. It has been weeks since I had listened to music or read a book I would have the TV on but not really watching it. One night I ended up having a big argument with my dad and I ran off to my  bad influence friends house and we started drinking after she had fell asleep I went to my bag and pulled out some sleeping pills that I had hidden away I lay them out in rows. I think there might have been twenty of them I took about four of them then I stopped. I have no idea why I did not take them all that night. Maybe it was fear maybe it was the thought of leaving my family behind maybe it was all those things. I picked up the rest of the pills a flushed them down the toilet then I went to bed I woke up tired and a bit groggy but I woke up. I left my friends house and I went home went straight up the stairs and put on my cassette player, I put the headphones over my ears and the song that was playing was I Alone then Lightning Clashes by the band Live. I felt like the words in the songs where speaking to me. I felt like someone was listening I turned up the volume and I listened and I cried and when the tape was finished I turned it over and listened and cried some more.

Since that night things had got better they where by no means perfect and I was still self harming but doing it a lot less most of the time just putting on my headphones and zoning out to music would be enough and I would not need to do it. I still was not talking to anyone but I was writing down how I felt I was given a small word processor a few Christmas before and was using it to write how I was feeling but also writing some fiction to keep my mind off things. I never went back to the youth group I visited once but got as far as the gates when I seen everyone outside I just knew I could not go in. I was to vulnerable  with them and I was scared they would see through me. I had started to hang out with a boy that lived just up the road he liked me a lot and I think he really cared for me. I just was not in a place to feel like that about anyone, but It was nice having him around. He became my first official boyfriend but in truth I did not really fancy him and I knew I was never going to love him but he was a nice guy and he treated me really well. We split up before I went on holiday I realised it was wrong to string him along. I went out with a few boys after that but I would always shut down stop it from going anywhere. I continued to write and listen to music and slowly it started to put me back together again , but I had changed and I never feel truly whole again.

If I jump in this fountain , will I be forgiven 

We all had a reason to be there – Forgiven by Alains MorissetteIMG_0657

So I was brought up as a catholic and I want to talk about how it affected me growing up so you get a better understanding of who I am. Anyone who knows anything about being part of any religion and having a faith knows that there are lots of positive’s that come with it. I went to church every single week and I cannot I hated it for the most part when ever I was there I felt safe and protected. This only changed if we where on holidays. On holidays my mum would still insist on going to mass and would find a little church with no air conditioning where we would spend an eternity listening to a mass in Latin that I did not understand. On the whole up until the start of my teenage years I had only seen my faith as a positive thing but as I got older being a good catholic and keeping my faith was starting to become difficult.I started to questions everything I had been brought up thinking was right. I especially rejected the views within the catholic church at that time on sex and sexuality.

At the age of thirteen I knew very little about sex or sexuality. I did biology at school and I knew where babies came from but at school we where never educated about that act of sex or the fact we even had a sexuality. I remember at some point during my first year at high school all the girls in class had been called on and shuffled into a classroom. Shortly after this two nuns walked in and introduced themselves. We found out that one of the nuns had once been a nurse and she was here to discuss turning into a good catholic woman. We discussed the changes our body would go through things we would experience periods, breast and PMT but at no point did we discuss contraceptive , STDs or anything about sexuality. I guess the message was kind of simple to them don’t have sex until your married and marriage was between one woman and one man. To be honest at thirteen I did not know there was any other kind of relationship but don’t worry that was about to change.

Before I tell you how that changed I need to go back to when I was a little younger I was in primary seven at a catholic primary school and for me it was a normal day. I went in to find Nic a girl from my class who I did not really know that well in tears on the steps in the playground. Although we where not close it was clear to me she needed some comfort. I asked her why she was so upset and she told me it was because Freddie was dead. I presumed it was a family member or pet but I was wrong. She then went on to tell he was the lead singer of a band called Queen. I then noticed she was clutching a small pillow with a badly printed picture of the band on it. I did not asked what had happened to him but I remember that the teacher later came into the classroom and confiscated the pillow. At the time I had no idea why. Nic’s response to that was to get more upset eventually the teacher responded by throwing Nic out of the classroom because she was putting other children off their work. I never really thought anymore about it at the time but me and Nic did become close friends after this and although we did not discuss what happened that day she did introduced me to the music of Queen and for that I will be eternally grateful. We listened to Queen a lot in those early days and sometimes I would sleep over and we watched videos of  Queen performing live that her dad had at no point at that time did we ever discussed how he died. I don’t know why that conversation never took place at that time but it just didn’t. I often think if it had would things have been different. Would being a catholic have had the same effect that it ended up having on me and the truth is I’m not sure.

So instead a couple of years have passed and I have just have had the talk from the nuns which has left me with more questions than answers. So I meet up with my friend Nic who I am still friends with despite the fact we don’t go to the same secondary school. I did not see her as much but I knew if anyone could answer my questions it was her. I told her about the nuns and she seemed horrified at what I was telling her. I asked her lots of questions and she  went on to ask me if we talked about STD’s or contraceptives. I did not want to look stupid so I pretended that although it was not something the nuns talked about I knew what that all meant. I quickly regretted my decision as she then went on to talk about HIV and telling me that was what Freddie had died from. She told me that after he died she stopped going to church with her gran because people at church had said to her that Freddie was punished from God for being gay and having sex with a man and that’s how was dead. I was completely out my depth and had to put my hands up and tell Nic I did not have a clue what any of it meant. She could have laughed at me or told I was stupid but she didn’t instead she told me exactly what it all meant and what she said changed my world.

I would like to say that I walked out of Nic’s house and I walked home and told my mum I would never step foot in a church again but I didn’t. In truth days passed and I was just having a hard time processing everything I had found out and as a typical introvert I kept all my thoughts and feelings on the subject to myself. I guess I was having a crisis of faith but had no idea what to do about it. I brushed the thoughts to one side and decided I wanted to buy some music I had stared to experiment a lot more with music when I was hanging out with Nic but all I actually only owned  some Kylie and Easy 17 (not that there was anything wrong with that I loved it and still own and listen to the albums at times now) but I wanted more. My Dad listened to Runrig, the Corries and Enya and while that was all well and good I was left uninspired.

I decided there was only one thing for it to look for some inspiration so I decided to go in town and as I walked in to the local Music store I was overwhelmed by the selection. I did not have clue where to start but four hours later and some music advice from the guys who worked there I walked out with three albums on tape the first was Queens greatest hits the second was Aerosmiths  big ones and finally an album called nevermind by a group called Nirvana( talk about them at another time). I put them into my cassette player one after the other in that exact order and bang the rest is history.

I spent a week listening to the tapes over and over again but whenever I listened to Queen what Nic had said about Freddie just reacted over and over in my head So I did what I always did I went to my very catholic Gran to ask her for advise and get her opinion. I did not get the response I thought I would or maybe in truth I did but my Gran told me it was a disease that men got if they kissed other men, they got ill because in the eyes of God this was wrong and they where all sinners. I asked her if she though that gay people deserved to die and she went on to say that it was something that was nothing to do with her it was up to God and that was the end of this discussion. I had never thought that my Gran was anything less than perfect but in that moment I realised I was wrong. I felt that she was being blinded by her faith surly she could she this point of view was wrong. This was only the second time my Gran had disappointed me in my life the only other time was when I was eight and she told me that dinosaur’s where never here on earth and that the bones left behind where all fake. The dinosaur comment is something we all laugh about now but as for her opinions at that time on homosexuality it was no laughing matter but and I was left horrified but thankfully over the years my Gran views like the views of so many other people of faith have changed on the subject of sexuality and sex. In my Grans case I would like to think in part I was responsible for that.

Getting back to being thirteen. A few days had passed since the chat with my Gran and I was still struggling with it all and not telling anyone. Also around this time at school I was also struggling to fit in so I was spending lots of lunchtimes in the music department alone practicing my music. I was allowed to go to the music room to practice but I really should not have been allowed to eat and drink there but Mr Collins the supply teacher was happy to let me do it. I admired Mr Collins a lot he knew so much about all styles of music and there was not an instrument he could not play I guess I really looked up to him. On one particular day we got onto the subject of the music we liked and we talked about Queen. He was just in the middle of telling me about one of three concerts of Queen he was at when I  blurted out and ask him how he felt about Freddie dying from HIV. There was a small pause and I  thought I had made a huge mistake. You know I’m gay Mr Collins said. I sat in silence and for the next few minutes I listened just listened as Mr Collins went into lots of detail about his life and sexuality. After quizzing  him for the rest of lunchtime I felt like my head was going to explode. As school ended that week I found myself at a crossroads with my faith.

That Sunday I went to church but I just could not shake that little voice in my head saying god is punishing them. I think that this was really the first time that I did not see my religion as a positive and was dreading going to mass. I loved Queens music and I really liked Mr Collins and I was just unwilling to accept that anyone deserved to be punished for who they loved. I did not understand why if God was so kind and good he would punish anyone let alone kind and decent people who just happened to love people of the same-sex. Mr Collins left the school a week later as a supply teacher and being gay I don’t think the parents liked him teaching in a catholic school but I have no proof of this. I really missed him. The following Sunday after he left I decided to tell my Mum and Gran that I did not want to go to church anymore. My Mum never asked for specific’s but I could see she was a little disappointed but she respected my decision. I guess she had seen it coming for a while I thought by not going things would change and they definitely did. I just had underestimated the impact it had already had on me and how hard it was going to be to switch off.

After I stopped going to church I started to question what my own sexuality was. How do you know ? what if I like girls ? what if I like boys ? what if I like both ?. I was overwhelmed by it all. I confused curiosity with sexuality. I was scared that if I thought any of my female friends had nice breasts or a nice round bum then I must be gay. There would have been nothing wrong with that but I was so scared. Then just as I was thinking about all these things it happened I stared to feel a horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach I could feel it rising up. I swallowed it down hard and dismissed the thoughts as fast as I could.That was the first but not the last time that I would feel like this. I now refer to it as my catholic guilt and now as an adult I have got a lot better control of it but still sometimes I let it win and takeover.
The next time I experienced it was the first time I kissed a boy despite how happy I was I also felt guilty and a little ashamed. I knew it was not wrong what I had done but it was hard to shake the thoughts. Then it happened again catholic guilt attack. I knew deep down there was nothing wrong with what I was doing but despite never going back to church I was allowing it to still really influence my life it was plaguing me and all my big special moments.  I just wanted to have intimate and sexual experiences that did not leave me feeling guilty or left me with the overwhelming feeling that I needed to be punished. I was so hard on myself and I was letting it eat me up inside and it was affecting my relationship’s. I would push people away as I did not want to be intimate with them because I was afraid to be. I would like to say I woke up one day and all the feelings of guilt and shame disappeared and I lived happily ever after but that would be a lie. I have learned to give myself a break I have grown and through the support of an amazing relationship and amazing people in my life have learnt to accept myself and deal with my catholic guilt. I like to think that being a catholic also had many positive influences on my life as well. Of course there is no getting away from the massive negative connotations on it too but religion is also changing and evolving and my personal opinion is we use religion and sometimes religion uses us. I don’t practice any faith in particular now I like to think I taken a lot of the positive parts of lots of different faiths and believes and let them be a positive influence in my life. I class myself as spiritual but I do not let any one religion or person dictate to me how I should live or what my beliefs should be.

“What If People Could Tell Their Own Stories?”

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At Design.blog, nonprofit founder and former magazine journalist Lisa Katayama writes about the power of stories in an increasingly complex world.


Photo credit: Tomo Saito

As an adult, my first chosen career was as a magazine journalist. I learned that the public always has an appetite for a good human story, and that—if you dig deep enough—everybody has a story worth sharing. I also realized that it’s always better if people can tell their own stories, rather than having others tell it for them.

Identity is complex. Each and every one of us experiences being human so differently. We use categories like age, race, gender, ethnicity, and nationality to define, protect, to create a sense of belonging—but no single category is useful for telling anyone’s full story.

In her popular TEDTalk, Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie talks about the danger of a single story. “The single story creates stereotypes…

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First Entry – What the hell am I doing here ? – Creep by Radiohead

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So I am going to use this first entry to go over a few basics and tell you a bit more about my site.

So first off I want to break down the words in the titles and what the mean to me.

So Munchies Music and Mogs

 

Munchies – I love food especially the kind that everyone tells you is bad for you and makes you fat. I am an emotional eater and food makes me feel better so sue me. Although I will not reference any of the foods in particular I was munching on at the time or what I am eating right now you can be rest assured that a) I should probably not be eating it and b) it will have tasted delicious and definitely made me feel better for a little while anyway.

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Music – So I hate when people ask me things like whats your favourite song ? or favourite band ? . For me like so many other people the music I listen too reflects how I am doing emotionally and physically in my life at the time (that may sound heavy but really it’s not) . Example if it’s the day before I go somewhere nice on holiday and I’m packing my suitcase I probably won’t be listening to Nocturne by Chopin (which I do enjoy listening to) but rather I might have on night of your life by David Guetta cause I’m getting my packing groove on.

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Mog’s – So Moggie s well I am a little bit of a cat obsessive(not just domestic cats but wild cats , lions , tigers , snow  leopards and so on ) I love cats that not to say I hate dogs but I really love all cats and polar bears. In saying that I can assure you despite being a little cat crazy it’s not the only thing about me but from time to time cats( and polar bears)will feature on this page.

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Why Diary of a Dyslexic  Introvert ?

I want the title to sum up what underpins most of the entries you will read I am of course much more than a dyslexic introvert but more me they are really important in telling my stories.

First I want to clear up the myths about being dyslexic and what being a dyslexic means to me. I did not really know what the word dyslexic meant until I was in 3rd year at high school up until that point both primary teachers and high school teachers had put my mistakes down to rushing my work or not paying attention and one even told my mum at parents night I was just not as smart as other kids.

From the first time I remember writing I remember having a sense of how I pictured it looking in my brain or what I said out aloud(yes I need to speak out what I am writing/typing  I’m one of those annoying people). was different from the way it looked on the paper. I would say or see the word for example “how”  in my head then I would look at the paper and see I had actually written down “who”. I did it over and over with lots of other words to. I would do write down a b instead of a d the letters or words would be in a different order than in my head and they seemed to have jumped all over the page. I would take me twice as long to read a book sometimes I would have to reread sentences a couple of times before they stuck and  I really needed to concentrate hard when reading or writing which left me exhausted. If I enjoyed what I was reading or writing it was so much easier but if the subject was not my thing it was so difficult and for me when I was younger it resulted in me giving up on things. I thought I was stupid.

By third year at high school things where hard and I was struggling with the step up in academia. I was on the verge of giving up completely when I got a new English and History teacher and things really positively started to changed. She unlocked a part of me that I had closed of a long time ago my passion for learning new things.  I guess before that in truth I never even seen how disillusioned I was with my education. As is often the case it was only when things got better did I realise how bad they had become.

I do not blame anyone thing for how I got to that point in my education. I guess times where different class sizes where a lot bigger and on the whole we all knew a lot less about things like dyslexia and provided less support. My parents really tried to help my mum took me for sight tests because they told her it might be that. My mum would support me and my sisters with our homework and it did make a huge difference but then she got ill.  I do however think there was a few individuals that where  responsible for making it harder for me. My primary three teacher Mrs Duncan for one who during one of  my parents nights told me I was never going to be academic and further more I would never be able to write as good as the other kids in class but she hoped I found something I was good at in the future. In truth what she said crushed me and although my family all told me that it was rubbish a bit of what she said to me stuck and the passion and excitement I had  for school started to go out and school days became much more of a struggle unless I was being creative.

Once I knew I was dyslexic  things really changed. I had both good and bad feelings about it but with the continued support of my family and my third year English and History teacher things got a lot  better. I’m not going to lie in the subjects I disliked  I was really struggling and getting bad grades but in the subjects I enjoyed I was starting to improve. I left the school with four higher’s all in my favourite subjects and most importantly for me one was English. I also learned I defiantly was not stupid and one nursing degree later I was in fact academic if it was the right material for me.

One of the biggest positives of being dyslexic was the creativity of my mind but by speaking about my creativity I have to bring in my other title word introvert. The dictionary definition of an introvert is a shy , reticent(hides feelings) person.  I definitely identify myself as an introvert but I don’t think that definition is how anyone would describe me now. I wear many masks and over the years have become very good a hiding how I really feel and for me this is they key to being an introvert. I prefer my own company sometimes. When I’m with a crowd of people I often feel alone yet when I’m actually alone I never feel lonely(confusing I know) but a lot of the time that’s how I feel. This does not mean I hate people in fact I work as a nurse and spend everyday at work with people but I think the fact that I work with people when often they are in some way vulnerable ( like I always feel but hide ) helps me to interact and open up to them. Plus it may be a bit cliche to say but I’m much older and wiser and have worked on myself a lot.

Being an introvert is just one part of me and sometimes it takes over but for the most part I control it and I see it as a positive I am a deep thinker and very creative I think outside the box and I am content in my own company and I do not need the attention of others to make me happy.

I want to leave it there for now I could type a million words on this subject alone but I just want to use this first entry to let you get a feel and sense of what you can come to expect from me and if you like what your read then read more and if not that’s cool to it takes all kinds to make a world.

If you want to leave feedback and comments then feel free