Saturday, 2 February 2019

Why is Self-love so hard?

Hello lovely people,

Today we're going to talk about self-love, or more accurately we're going to talk about the challenges of 'self-love'. 'Self-love' is a buzzword right now in the self-improvement community/industry (along with 'self-care') and one which I've slowly become less and less invested in. Don't get me wrong, loving yourself is good, great even, but it isn't everything. Sometimes being overly focused on 'self-love' can lead to cycles of endless disappointment.

Why is it so hard to love ourselves?

Love, like all emotions is temporary. It is not possible to experience loving feelings towards ourselves all the time. Sometimes we piss ourselves off (i regularly piss myself off). Sometimes we feel disappointment towards ourselves. Sometimes we feel empty or lacking in some way. Sometimes we feel angry with ourselves. frustrated with ourselves and even disgusted with ourselves.

Don't worry this isn't a 'love isn't real' nihilistic rant, I promise, I simply want to point out that, no matter what emotion we are feeling towards ourselves, emotions by nature, are designed to be experienced temporarily. Besides that, it is worth noting that feelings are not achievements thereby #positivevibesonly is not only annoying, it's also straight up horseshit.

The above information may trigger some feelings of discomfort. Sure, this probably disrupts the narrative in your mind about love and may even challenge some of your fundamental beliefs. If this is the case, I'm super excited for you. If not, it probably means you've read too many of my blogposts already ;).

It is difficult to love ourselves because our expectations of 'love' are unrealistic. We view self-love as a destination we reach once we've read enough self-help books, seen enough therapists and attended enough yoga classes. This destination can only be reached by the enlightened elite who have earned their place at the self-love party. Sadly, this is bullshit. Or perhaps, not so sadly....

...the thing about life is, in my humble opinion as of February 2019, it is the conflict that fuels us. Without struggle, without pain, without the gnarly, gritty, discomfort - it would be really, really boring. Moreover, it would be meaningless, due to the very fact that we had found all the meaning we were searching for. It is the *pursuit* of meaning that creates meaning itself. It is the spaces between desire and anticipation that provide space for inquiry and without this inquiry we would entirely lack any and all motivation. The more we accept our paradoxical nature, the more we can thrive within it.

So what does this mean for love? More specifically self-love?

It means that if we loved ourselves all the time, we wouldn't be human. We wouldn't seek answers. We wouldn't be hungry for knowledge and self-discovery. We would have no stories to tell and no companions to listen to them. We would be devoid of empathy and utterly disconnected from each other. Disconnect creates connection. Hunger creates fullness. Storytellers create listeners. We cannot have one without the other. That's the duality of life, folks.

So, is it a good thing to dislike yourself?

Not necessarily - I don't think it's good or bad. I don't believe in attaching moral judgements to emotions and thought patterns. They are there for a reason, even if we are unaware of what that reason is. I also don't believe we can ever truly dislike ourselves. Why? Because, we can never truly know ourselves. Each second we are changing and evolving into the newest versions of ourselves. Alternatively, each second we are dying and being reborn the next. Chances are we have an outdated (possibly warped) idea of who we are in our minds. Another reason I don't believe we can dislike ourselves is because most of the thoughts we are thinking are habitual, perpetuated by beliefs in our subconscious. Many self-destructive thought patterns that were created during our childhoods are no longer relevant to the lives that we live today. We are fully grown beings trying on children's clothing. Then, we get distressed and annoyed when they don't fit. Beliefs that don't fit cause a dissonance between who we are and who we think we are, what we want and what we think we want and what we need and what we think we need. All of the above may lead you attempt to resolve this disparity by proclaiming 'I HATE MYSELF'.

You don't hate yourself. You've outgrown yourself, or rather you've outgrown beliefs you hold about yourself. Recognise the difference.

Our minds are rarely, if ever, in the present moment. Often when we are expressing ourselves creatively is when we are most present mentally. However, even then, we are using sources from our past to inform how we may play out our future - the brain is like a calculator, waiting for the next problem to solve. If we want to truly ground ourselves into the present - we need to focus on body, energy and soul.

For example; desire, intuition and grief do not belong to the mind. No emotion does. We feel our emotions in our clenched jaws, nauseous stomachs, quickening heartbeats, tingling spines and beaming smiles. The mind is responsible for perpetuating, numbing and distracting from emotions (through thoughts and behavioural patterns) and moralising them. It's not actually the mind's fault that it does this, all it's trying to do is help us relate to the wider society which does in fact stem from an innate primal instinct: to attach and form bonds. Your brain isn't trying to hurt you, it's trying to ensure survival amongst the greater collective. 

What I mean to say is, trying to conjure up and maintain a particular emotion (in this case, love) is understandable but ultimately futile. Regardless of how we go about it, trying to love ourselves 24/7 sets us up for failure by creating expectations that cannot be met. 

An interesting exercise/prompt that I like to use involves actively redefining 'love' for yourself. What makes you feel loved? What is love, to you? For me, love is an energy that we can align our actions with. This energy is felt in the body and the soul, not the mind.

We can, however, build up an observational practice with our minds that allows us to declutter self-destructive, ill-fitting thoughts.

But how can I feel loved?

Of course, whilst this philosophical hypothesising is cool and all, we still haven't addressed the issue at hand: whilst we cannot be forced to love ourselves, we still desire it.

Of course we do! Love is every human's favourite drug and that's what makes us wonderful. I'm not going to contest that.

Having said that, it's not always accessible to us.

So what now?

Here's where the treasure is buried....

We show up. We show up for ourselves. We do not abandon ourselves. We certainly do not abandon ourselves in the name of 'love'. We do not force superficiality upon ourselves. We do not sacrifice ourselves for others. We prioritise ourselves. We honour ourselves, however and whenever we can.

If a friend was having a panic attack, how would you show up for them? You might ask them if they want some fresh air, get them a glass of water or offer to help in some way. You wouldn't abandon them. You might not be able to express how much you love them in that moment but you can still show up.

Even if you fought with that friend the day before, you would still show up, because you care, because you want to, because you're human and this shit matters.

We can extend this same unconditional commitment to ourselves.

In order to honour ourselves we must let go of the pressures we place on ourselves and any expectations we hold. Intentions sure, but not expectations.

Arguably, love is always somewhat conditional whereas showing up in this way makes room for us to cultivate an unconditional commitment to ourselves.

Whilst self-love may not always be in reach, self-dedication is. 

The thing is, self-dedication is always going to be rooted in love. Love will always be the spring. However sometimes we don't have the strength to swim upstream to the source of the love, sometimes, we need to go downstream and just dip our toes in the shallow water (come thru 1st year Geography). A little further upstream comes things like self-acceptance and self-appreciation but even if we can't access those things, we can always choose to show up regardless. I may not like how I'm feeling, I may not like who I am, I may not even accept it, but I can choose not to abandon myself. I can choose to sit with myself. I can choose to be with myself.

Sometimes thoughts/feelings/experiences don't need to be fixed, or loved, or appreciated, they just need to be witnessed. 

I'd like to add here, that a great deal of bullshit beliefs have been sold to us by so-called 'medical professionals' and new age gurus alike. The self-help industry relies on us believing self-love is out of reach in order to profit from our insecurities. You're not delusional, it feels this way because most of the time, it is. Moreover, the self-help industry relies on us believing that without self-love 24/7 we are lacking, empty and incomplete (and wouldn't you know, they've found the cure for only €29.99!!!).

When we stop trying to force ourselves to feel things or believe things in order to show up for ourselves, when we make peace with the constant flux within our relationship with self and when we stop resisting what we already know to be true, we remove the obstacles from our river of abundance by allowing ourselves to F   L   O  W around them.

So what have we learned today kids?

We've learned that sometimes it's easier to act from a place of love rather than feel and express love directly. We've learned that our feelings of 'brokenness' surrounding self-love stem from an unrealistic expectation of our emotions (and our humanity)- and are perpetuated by pschotrollogists (10/10 for creativity) who intend to brainwash and exploit us for cold hard cash. And we've learnt that just because we cannot feel love for ourselves in a particular moment in time, doesn't mean we cannot commit to our safety, growth and nourishment (perhaps in the form of self-dedication).

So, what is the moral of this cautionary tale?

I'd rather abandon my quest for self-love than abandon myself.


source: the incredible artist that is thelatestkate.tumblr.com


I hope you have enjoyed this blogpost, let me know if any of the above resonated with you!

Remember to follow me on Facebook, Insta and bloglovin to keep up to date with all things cool and exciting.

I would recommend checking out Thais Sky and 'The worthiness wound' for more conversations around self-love and the fear-mongering of the self-improvement industry. She did an amazing podcast episode with Summer Innanen for Fearless Rebel Radio so check that out too (just type in 'The Worthiness Wound')!

Until the next time,

Niamh xxx





Sunday, 20 January 2019

How to know if you're Queer (lesser known signs)

Hello lovely people,

Today I want to to talk about how I knew I was Queer. Now, before we get any further in, I want to say that this whole process was (and is) seriously confusing. I say this, not to scare you away (wait..come back!) but rather to relieve some of the pressure you may be feeling to understand all aspects of your sexuality straight away (excuse the pun). This shit takes time, energy, emotional availability and an open heart. I was to stress here that there is absolutely no need to label your sexuality as anything, if you don't want to. You are valid, regardless! Personally, I found it helpful to use labels to navigate my sexuality (and have changed labels once already since coming out) - I wrote a whole piece on it entitled 'I'm no longer bisexual?!' which might give you some handy background info, if you aren't already familiar with my 'queer journey'.

So wait - does that mean you went through different phases in order to discover your true identity?

Kind of. I don't think I'm quite there yet - I'm not sure if I will ever be at a place where I can settle on one concrete definition of my identity. I'd like to point out that there is nothing inherently wrong with going through phases - some people stick with one identity throughout their life but others don't (myself included). The trouble comes when we accuse 'queerness' of existing only as a phase with the specific intention of invalidating queer identity. Whilst I truly believe that sexuality is fluid and that we will experience different kinds of attraction to different people throughout our lives (even if only on a non-sexual/platonic plane), invalidating queerness or transness by leveraging the oppressive power dynamics caused by *cis-hetero-normativity*, is straight-up bullshit (take a shot each time it gets punny). Any sexuality can be a phase, and I'd just like to point out that being 'straight' was mine.

Ok, we get it! Sexuality is complicated, fluid and can be hard to categorise, but nonetheless - how did you know you were *NOT* straight?

Looking back, I can see that there were actually lots of indicators that I wasn't straight, however, when you internalise homophobia, your brain sort of, finds a way to convince you otherwise, usually by repressing any uncomfortable feelings and locking them away in your subconscious.

SIGN 1: QUIZZES/YOUR INTERNET SEARCH HISTORY

Like every other baby queer living in the age of technology, I took a shit-tonne of online quizzes.

When I was first questioning my sexuality, online quizzes were one of the few resources at my fingertips (I use the term 'resources' loosely). Even though I told myself I was just doing it 'just for fun' (poor repressed baby Niamh), I was actually struggling with an inner conflict that stemmed from one particular event. As I detailed in my Coming Out blogpost (linked here), my first crush on a girl really set my brain on fire. I wanted to kiss her in a way that I had never wanted to kiss guys. Having said that, I still wanted guys to kiss me - because that's what was normal (remember when I said this was confusing). However, this time it was my desire coming to the forefront of my mind, not someone else's desire. Needless to say, the entire thing freaked me the fuck out and caused me to bury my queerness completely. I really like the analogy of comparing repressed emotions to holding a beach ball underwater - they're going to pop up eventually.

So, when I first took these quizzes, some time after I had sworn to never, ever think about the *incident* or her ever again, the answers further hindered my search for clarity. These quizzes were basic at best and asked questions like 'do you think girls are hot?' and 'would you ever kiss a girl?' - the tone was fairly grimy to say the least. Besides that, I was repulsed by these questions - no way would I ever kiss a girl! Hooray! Thank GOD! I'm nOT gaY AfTeR aLL!!!

What I was actually experiencing was a conditioned response, as a result of the deep shame I felt about my true desires. Therefore, I would recommend that you exercise caution when using online quizzes and understand that sometimes things may seem disgusting to you, because of shame rather than anything else.

This brings me nicely onto my second point:

SIGN 2: You have an INTENSE reaction to GAY shit.

Internalised homophobia/transphobia can turn you into a bit of an arsehole. I used to think lesbians were weird af - something that I'm not proud of. It's so obvious to me now how I was projecting all my self-loathing onto people who were like me. Chances are, if you really have a LOT to say about LGBT people, if it makes you full-body angry or disgusted, you're probably jealous. I know I was. Jealous and petrified.

Also, it doesn't help when you're fed such homophobic/transphobic bullshit as a child, seriously.

Sometimes this isn't necessary a sign of being queer but a sign that you're jealous of some perceived aspect of queerness such as: more freedom when it comes to gender expression (rather than gender identity).

However 9 times out of 10, there's some serious queer subtext going on. I'm not saying that everyone who is homophobic/transphobic is LGBT+ but I'm also not denying it. I'm looking at you Piers Morgan (i get it - we're great, just come out OK??).

SIGN 3: FLIRTING

Hey, hi, howdy my name is Niamh and I'm such a Scorpio, I flirt in my sleep. Jokes aside (I do actually flirt in my dreams though), sometimes we flirt when we don't even realise it.

"No way do I do that! I don't even engage in hetero flirting! I'm a flirt-free human!"

I too, used to believe this.....until, of course, I realised it was utter lies. I'm not saying that you're a flirt-a-holic or anything, buttttt, do you ever just touch people's arms, try to stand closer to people, shower them with compliments, gaze at their eyes, ask lots of questions and be reallllllyyyy interested in their dull, boring lives?

Well, that's flirting my friends. Even if it's unintentional, there's a part of you that wants to know more. Even if your brain has shut down all 'queer' thoughts. There's a part of you that's super curious and intuitive - that knows want you want before you do. It is often our behaviours that reveal this to us, when our thoughts are 'off limits'.

Without really engaging with your brain, to come up with some awesome flirty tactics, we instinctively do what we can to get other people's attention without 'officially' flirting with them. Also - the flirting can be bad, awkward or even completely ridiculous - it's still flirting.

Of course, if you're exploring the possibility of being on the asexual spectrum, this point may not apply!

Another interesting point to make here is that I used to flirt *a lot* with boys in order to try and distract from the bubbling queerness inside of me. A lot of my flirting with boys involved trying to shrink myself into a more palatable, digestible, pretty, sexy but not too sexy, ego-massaging, part-time therapist. Ew. So glad we've collectively decided to leave the male gaze in 2018, congrats everyone.

SIGN 4: ANXIETY

Are you anxious around people of the same gender as you? Are you anxious around people regardless of gender? Are you just really fucking anxious all the time?

This may be a sign of an anxiety disorder *OR* it may be a sign that you are repressing some of the emotions you are experiencing and/or have a fear of those feelings being 'discovered'. If you are attracted to someone, you may be nervous around them or worry if they like you back.

Sometimes when I would be around girls I liked, I would be absolutely bricking it whenever they would speak to me. Also, you may find yourself becoming increasingly anxious around homophobic 'friends' or family members.

A final note....

Finally, I just want to say that, what's most important is that you feel comfortable expressing yourself in ways that feel authentic to you. Identity is multi-dimensional and there is no 'right' way to identify, likewise there is no 'right' way to be queer and no 'right' way to be trans. If a label works for you and feels truthful in the moment, you are free to adopt it with pride. You don't have to have yourself all figured out, especially if you're young - be open to change and fluctuation. At the same time if you feel as though you do have things figured out - props to you! Both ways are perfect!


amazing artwork by queer Arabian artist : find more here

I hope you have enjoyed this blogpost, if you have any questions or can relate to any of the above, feel free to reach out to me!

Remember to follow this blog on Insta, Facebook and bloglovin!

Click here for more Gay Shit™️

Until the next time,

Niamh xxx


Sunday, 30 December 2018

8 LGBTQ+ Artists whose Music Defined 2018 - A Year in Review

Hello lovely people,

What better way to review the year than with the LGBT artists whose music defined my 2018. Music has been a steadfast companion throughout the ups and downs that 2018 presented. This was the year I finally came out. This was the year of unveiling doubts and feelings of unworthiness and exploring the multitudes of my identity. I can confidently say, hand on heart, that I would not have been able to do so without the following artists.

Living in a rural, catholic community as a Queer person can be a terribly isolating experience that leaves you questioning your validity and even your existence as a whole. Through literature, media and music, I have been fortunate enough to soothe those feelings and connect to the lonely, rejected parts of myself through the words and experiences of others. In addition to this, writing and creating my own artwork, using poetry and spoken word has eased, though by no means erased, feelings of disconnect.

I can now say that I am part of a global network of LGBT creators. We are sharing our lives, uplifting narratives that have been marginalised and expressing our most vulnerable moments, all the while, we are unlearning and relearning our beliefs about the world. The most beautiful part is that we are discovering ourselves. For the first time, we are meeting the truest versions of ourselves and in doing so, we encourage others to do the same.....and so the cycle continues.

In no particular order these are the LGBT artists whose music transformed my twentyGAYteen alongside my favourite songs. I urge you to check them ALL out so we can fangirl together..

1: King Princess

King Princess' entire EP ('Make My Bed') is gorgeous (as is she), so it's difficult to pick a favourite song. I would have to say her most recent release 'Pussy is God' is so unapologetic and unlike anything else I've listened to - it has to be a favourite. Her confidence, quirkiness and unmistakable sex-appeal has earned her a dedicated (slightly crazed, very gay) following, and rightly so (honestly, count me in). I also love the music videos for Holy and Talia and honestly just about everything she's made.

2: Janelle Monae

What a year it has been for Janelle Monae - Dirty Computer is available to watch on YouTube and it is a M A S T E R P I E C E. Again super unique, refreshing and new - the songs felt futuristic, not just because of the aesthetic and storyline, but also in the way that Monae celebrates her Queerness in songs 'Make Me Feel', 'I Like That' and 'Pynk'.

'Pynk' has to be a favourite for me, the stunning visuals in the MV, combined with the witty, juicy lyricism, provides a complete sensory experience that always gets me thinking 'Wow, I am really damn GAY'.

3: Ms White

Trans-Artist Ms White's music is a recent discovery of mine, and is, in my humble opinion, gravely underrated. Her style, charisma and originality elevate her catchy, pop songs to works of art. My favourite song (possibly of all time) 'Fuck Men' feels goddamn medicinal and I am eternally grateful for its existence. Even though it was released last year it, it is too good not to include here.

4: Kehlani

Kehlani has been another huge influence in my world. My favourite song 'Honey' which she released last year (technically cheating BUT I only discovered it this year) was my first encounter with a female artist speaking explicitly about their love and desire for other women. As you can imagine, this was pretty groundbreaking for me. The permission that the song carried with it, allowed me to soften towards my own desires. In addition to all this, it's a damn good song. Kehlani's vocal ability always astounds me, whilst the laid-back acoustic backdrop provides a warm, sweet palette for her lyrics to take centre-stage.

5: Dorian Electra

Another recent discovery of mine, whose work is largely unknown and criminally undervalued is genderfluid singer-songwriter, performance artist and all-round-creative-genius Dorian Electra. Their new release Man to Man ticks all the boxes - conceptually, visually, creatively - it's an explosion of ideas dripping with the fruits of their labour (and some fake blood too). Each time I watch the music video I fall a little more in love with everything about it.

6: Hayley Kiyoko

Lesbian Jesus was always gonna make this list - how could I not? My first (and I think a lot of people's first) introduction to an LGBT artist who writes about LGBT things who is also kind-of-mainstream pop - Hayley Kiyoko was my gateway drug into the world of Queer culture. My favourite song is probably Curious because it's such a bop, but truly everything she does is sacred - don't get me started on the music video for 'What I Need' - it was so good, I thought I dreamed it into existence.

7: Years and Years

Years and Years' new album Palo Santo, released this year, is considerably freer and (imo) gayer than previous releases. In Palo Santo, Olly opts for a more androgynous style, embracing traditionally 'feminine' fashion items (such as earrings etc.) as part of his self-expression. Beyond superficiality, the album appears more sexually and soulfully liberated than those that came before. I love the creative behind the whole album, my favourite song being 'Sanctify' - the music video is stunning to watch.

8: Christine and the Queens ('Chris')

Finally, Christine and the Queens, now shortened to 'Chris', is one of my favourite artists ever. In my mind, she is a true visionary and her performance skills are out-of-this-world. The way in which she has experimented with her gender and gender expression through her art has inspired me to do the same; she has described herself as genderqueer and pansexual (still using she/her pronouns). Chris' ability to reinvent herself time and time again, whilst being wholly authentic is what charms and excites me the most. The video for '5 dollars' is pretty rad - I also like 'Damn, dis moi' too!

Other noteworthy LGBT artists include Orla Gartland, Dodie Clark, Troye Sivan...the list goes on!

King Princess (my wife) - Talia image courtesy of : https://www.coupdemainmagazine.com/king-princess/14157

I hoped you have enjoyed this #20gayteen year in review - what have been your favourite musical moments this year?

Remember to follow me on bloglovin, Facebook and Instagram to keep up to date with all things wonderful.

Click here for more Gay Shit™️

Also, FYI - my Etsy shop is back up and running so it is now possible to purchase my poetry book once more!

Until the next time,

Niamh xxx

Saturday, 8 December 2018

10 Ways To Look After your Body in Eating Disorder Recovery

Hello lovely people,

Today I want to talk about how we can take care of our bodies in ED recovery. Often, discussions surrounding physical health and self-care centre around diet and exercise regimes (with the occasional bath bomb thrown in for good measure). This narrow view of health, perpetuated by diet/gym culture, neglects to mention the importance of the relationship with have with our bodies and can leave us feeling bereft when our efforts result in us feeling more disconnected from our bodies than ever. Burn out and exhaustion are common in ED recovery, not to mention the minefield that is - food, what to eat and when to eat it. Obtaining the 'perfect' recovery can become as much of an obsession as the eating disorder itself (and can in fact be ED behaviours masquerading as 'recovery'). Sometimes the best thing we can do for our bodies is to shift the focus away from food and exercise altogether.

So, I've come up with 10 different ways we can look after our bodies that don't involve exercise/diet advice.

Hopefully, by the end of this blog post you will feel more equipped to look after your body outside the confines of diet/gym culture.

1. Listen to your body 

In ED recovery, listening to our bodies can seem like an impossible and quite frankly, ridiculous task. However, this is the first step to rebuilding trust with our bodies, which may have been lost during our eating disorder. Notice the moments where body-trust already exists - for example, if you need to pee, do you question yourself a thousand times or do you believe your body's cues straight away? Chances are, if you need to pee, you don't think twice about it. You probably don't count the amount of times you need to pee during a day or chastise yourself if the number differs on a day-to-day basis. The point I'm trying to make is that, body-trust already exists, we just need to peel back the old beliefs that led us to distrust our bodies in order to rediscover our intuition.

Practice this exercise:

Place your hand on your heart, take 3 deep breaths and ask yourself

'How am I feeling in this moment?' 'What do I want/need right now?'

It may be rest, fresh air, a hug, an extra layer of clothing or maybe a warm drink. The key is to listen. Fun fact - I used to be permanently freezing when I had an ED and worse still, I never warmed myself up - I think I was numb to it, in many ways. It takes time and patience to develop this relationship with yourself, but I promise you that your body will thank you for it.

2. Attend appointments

You know those doctor/dental/medical appointments you've been putting off? Go to them! As someone who experiences anxiety, I understand that appointments can be tricky. Sometimes, self-care means doing things that are challenging. Remember, if a medical practitioner is unfriendly, unkind or not understanding of your eating disorder - switch, if you can. You don't have to put up with poor service for the sake of it.

3. Self-soothe

Self-soothing is the bomb, let me tell you. Self-soothing can come in the form of speaking softly to yourself, stroking your hair, you arms, legs etc. Deep breathing, visualisations, doing a basic body scan - go through each area of the body and release any tension your may be holding there (you can check out tutorials on YouTube). Listening to music and crying (a personal favourite). Wearing soft clothes, wrapping yourself in blankets, a cosy dressing gown, fluffy socks etc. 10/10 would recommend.

4. Get a massage/physio/acupuncture

Sometimes this can been the TLC our body is crying out for. Setting aside time to allow your body to be worked with by a professional can offer relief from pain and discomfort whilst also providing a relaxing experience for your mind. Each day, our bodies support us in so many ways, it's important that we find ways to return the favour and invest in ourselves as much as possible.

5. SLEEP goddamit

I mean it. This is mostly a note to myself FYI. Sleep is always productive. Let me say that one more time for people in the back - Sleep is always productive. It always recharges our batteries. It is worth making sleep a sacred experience because your body really, really needs it. Give yourself time to unwind. You can't expect your body to go from working and concentrating to complete relaxation in a split second. Set aside 10 minutes to unwind, moisturise, read a book, listen to a podcast etc. before you hit the hay - give yourself a chance to just be (as irritating as that sounds, it's actually kind of major). Even if this comes in the form of a power nap, sleep is sleep and sleep is grrrreattttt.

6. Stretch

Pretty self explanatory - it could be a full body stretch, or something small like rolling out your shoulders (softly), pointing and flexing your toes or just slowly moving your head from side to side to loosen up your neck. Above all else, it grounds us into our bodies, into the present moment and helps relieve any stagnant energy or tightness in our muscles.

7. Heat

Get yourself a hot water bottle, take a hot bath/shower, heck - sit by a goddamn fire if you fancy. Get near a source of heat. Heat releases tension and contributes to a sense of safety as well as keeping you, well, warm. You can even get  massage bars like 'Wiccy Magic Muscles' from Lush which heats on the skin due to the cinnamon and peppermint oil - please don't use this in the shower tho' or else adzuki-bean-plants will sprout in your drains #protip.

8. Fresh Air/Nature

'Fresh' is a relative term. Find your nearest patch of grass and breathe near it. Alternatively, open a window or just leave your house/flat/room so you don't merge with the furniture. Even better if you can get out in the daylight as there's a little light sensor at the top of our heads that needs daylight in order to feel good and healthy and all that jazz. The negative ions from lakes/rivers/the sea will make you feel tickety-boo. Walking barefoot or pressing your hands into the earth is another great way to ground. Or just hang out with some trees - they're great listeners.

9. Masturbate

This is not a drill. Looking after your body means satisfying your sexual needs too, you know? I'll spare you the ordeal of listing off 'the health benefits of orgasms' - I'm not Cosmopolitan. Seriously though, even being sensual and tender with your body can really stimulate the senses ;) and contribute to a healthy sexual/sensual relationship with your body - AND is another great way of getting to know your body and rebuilding body trust (it's a win-win situation).

10. Do the everyday, boring bits

Take multivitamins - boost your immune system. Drink water - flush out the toxins. Take any meds you need to. Brush your teeth. Wash your face/hair/body. Forgive yourself for fucking up. Appreciate all the good you do. Give your body permission to be flawed and imperfect. If possible, practice gratitude towards your body.  When I first began journalling in ED recovery, I used to write things like 'I'm am grateful for my body that allows me to sing/breathe/laugh'.

Practising gratitude, even in small chunks, will help rebuild your relationship with your body and can help reduce destructive/restrictive behaviours too. If that is too much, try practising gratitude towards your soul, your spirit, your heart.

Even if it feels weird to write or say that we love our bodies, there are little acts of love we can show ourselves without explicitly proclaiming that we love ourselves. We can show ourselves we care - that's enough.


The incredible @noods_creative who you should check out like right now featuring a quote by Brian Andreas

I hope you have enjoyed this blogpost - what ways do you look after your body? Is there anything you would add to this list? Let me know!

Remember to follow this blog on bloglovin, Facebook and Instagram to ensure you never miss a post!

Click here for more ED Recovery posts!

Until the next time,

Niamh xxx

Saturday, 24 November 2018

Fuck this shit // RANT

Hello lovely people,

It's RANT time. The Irish Courts are fucking with me right now. I am pissed off. I am really fucking angry. I have decided that this is good. Nah, scrap that, this is fucking wonderful. This is the perfect emotion to be feeling right now.

We have no place in the world for femme anger.

There is little space in music, art, literature - never mind media; in many ways femme anger is viewed as an oxymoron of sorts. Femininity is inherently linked to softness, fluidity, flexibility and nurturing energy. Anger is permitted so long as we are rising above it, better than it, kinder than it. What if, by doing this, we are severing off a massive, important part of ourselves.

I'm not talking about 'strength' here - resilience and durability are traits often associated with femmes - we get through hard times, we suffer abuse, we put others first etc.

I'm talking about pure RAGE.

See, I think that rage is our superpower. I think that it has the potential to be the driving force for change and revolution. And I think that we are utterly unaware of the disservice we do to ourselves when we ignore the rage simmering within us.

We need to STEP INTO OUR POWER. We need to raise our standards, like, big-time.

At the Cork protest the other week, I overheard a woman say: 'I think the men deserve a special congratulations for coming out today'.

Reader, I almost lost my shit then and there.

I wanted to scream from the top of my lungs:

"YOU'VE GOT TO BE FUCKING KIDDING ME!!!!"

Why?

Men are doing the bare fucking minimum. Read that again. Men are doing the bare fucking minimum. You want some special cookie or trophy for doing the right thing for once? Fuck that shit.

"I'm a feminist cos I let women hold the door open for me. I'm a feminist 'cos I think that men should get to 'express their feelings'. I'm a feminist 'cos PROSTATE CANCER (always manages to wiggle its way in there somehow)." 

Ooh man. I am so done with that shit.

When are we going to hold men accountable for their actions? 

Not the mysterious patriarchy - a group of 'bad men' floating in the sky banning men from wearing pink and telling them to bottle up their emotions - or else!

When are we going to wake up and realise that these are our brothers, our boyfriends, our bosses, our fathers?? When are we going to wake up and realise that men have been training for this all their lives? When are we going to realise we have been complicit in this, and often actively encouraged it?

When are we gonna stop raising men to be misogynists? When are we going to stop marrying men who are misogynistic? When are we going to listen to our RAGE?

When are we going to stop playing by the rules?

Here's the tea - we are stuck in the past. Underwear is not consent - duh - this is not radical or revolutionary. WE KNOW THIS ALREADY.

We have always known this - people don't care. We want to challenge slut-shaming but not misogyny (cut off the branches but not the roots). We want to talk about 'gender equality' but constantly frame feminism in ways that benefit the oppressor. We are so overly concerned with being NICE. If I know one thing, it is that being NICE gets you nowhere. It gets you trampled on.

We need to step back and observe the narratives we are consuming about our limits and our potential.

We tell ourselves over and over again "patriarchy exists because men are physically stronger than women and women are able to get pregnant which makes them weak".

LIESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS

Evolutionary theory can fuck right off with this one. This is Western White Bullshit.

I CAN'T COPE WITH THIS ANY MORE.

The shit we put up with. Oh. My. Days. Just take a moment to imagine all that misogyny disappearing from your life. How much lighter would you feel? Safer? Freer?

Guess what bitches? 

We aren't going to convince men to give up their privilege and power anytime soon. They aren't going to do this out of the goodness of their hearts. We must abandon fanciful notions of equality and instead fight for justice and truth. Shit is going to have to go down. We need to utilise the same willpower we use to silence ourselves to free ourselves.

We are not damsels in distress begging the courts to listen, begging men to listen. We are war, we are chaos, we are sluts, we are witches and bitches and your worst fucking nightmare.

We cannot continue the way we are. We have tried and tried and it does not work. We must have a zero-tolerance policy for anything and I mean anything that compromises our power. We need not ask for permission to be who we already know we are.

Here's the deal boys: rise with us or drown without us.

Watch out, these pussies grab back.

Nikita Gill has my heart - check out this gorgeous poet!

I hope you have enjoyed this RANT, it certainly felt great to release the wild rage within me. And I hope it inspires you to do the same.

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Until the next time,

Niamh xxx
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