Outlines

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My laughter would fill me with colour, and my smile would make me shine. I would smile through the darkness, and I’d laugh through the pain but one day, I looked up and saw grey.
I was slipping into the darkness, and all my colours were being drained away, and yet…just yet, nobody noticed me fade.

I desperately tried to laugh, and I frantically searched for my smile but my colours…oh they faded so fast. They stripped me down and made sure there was no colour in sight.
I was cracked white paint on the walls that they built. No more laughter and barely a smile. And yet…just yet…nobody noticed the colourful girl had turned white.

No matter how much I fought to colour those walls, they strongly withstood my paint. Anything I did was thrown in my face, and they happily covered me in shame.
They trapped me with a Demon, one that they helped to create. One day I found strength to ask for their help, and yet…just yet…nobody was there to help me deal with my fate.

I stood with my outlines that had grown ever so thin…my outlines that had faded so fast. I tried to paint over the cracks in my wall, but it always dried up too fast. Still I painted and I painted and some colour came back, and yet…just yet…never enough colour to cover the cracks.

Every now and then, a painter would come passing by. Some liked the fact I was covered in cracks, and some wanted me to stay white. Others took what they could from the colour I had fought to bring back, and yet…just yet..I stayed forgiving, hopeful that one day, I’d get painted better than that.

How do you know if a painter isn’t genuinely colouring you in? How do you know if good intentions were never there to begin?

How do you know that they actually see through the thin cracked white? The white cracked paint that’s ever so dry on the wall, the white cracked paint that fills you whole. Just a weak outline of the girl I once was, and yet…just yet…I’m still so much more colourful than before.

Colour me by numbers – oh I wish that I could. I wish it were that simple but rather it’s so misunderstood. My friends bring out my true colours and so I happily hand them my brush. We colour me in as much as we can and yet…just yet I want to hand over that trust.

I tell myself no, can only trust my own hands. I’m an artwork of my own that’s never needed the touch of a man. But a few tainted strokes doesn’t mean his will be too. And yet…just yet, here I am…here I stand…with my outlines that have grown ever so thin…

Outlines so fragile, so frail and so thin…I’ve actually forgotten where I end and begin…and yet, just yet…one question remains; what if he could help…help me colour-me-in?

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Instagram: @elenipapa92
Twitter: @elenip92

Infamous Same-Names

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What’s in a name? That which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet definition. (William Shakespeare – Romeo and Juliet)

An association with something, anything, can lead us down very different paths depending on whether the association is positive or negative. Unfortunately I have, due to more-than-unfortunate-circumstances, developed a negative association with a name…

[Insert name here because after all this time I still try to protect others in my posts]

Whilst we can’t taint the same group of people with the same negative associations I have noticed I do just that but, arguably, the more-than-unfortunate-circumstances that led to such an association are more-than-understandable.

I went to senior school with a guy called Name Number One. He came to stay at my flat one week four years ago….I had to force him to leave. I had swimmers come home with me from training to try ensure the situation went as smoothly as it could go but it didn’t go very smoothly at all

I asked him to leave because it was the second time he had visited and ‘tried it on’. It was the second time he had made me incredibly uncomfortable in my own home. In fact, far more uncomfortable this time round because it was far more intense this second time round. Far more nerve-racking, far more scary…

It could have been scarier. It could have been worse.

But that’s not the point.

A Same-Name-As-Name-Number-One came into my life around a year ago. He kissed me whilst I had a boyfriend, a boyfriend he knew about. He knew and still went for it…I did fuck up too in that situation, I text him the next day to clarify a few things and him kissing me ultimately led to me realising how unhappy I was but that situation with my ex-boyfriend was also very unfortunate at the time and that’s not the point of this post.

Following the break up there was one person texting me. Following the break up I was stupidly convinced he was devastated that I was a mess due to his actions and, wait no, I wasn’t stupid, I was lied to. I was all over and I went to someone for support that I shouldn’t have gone to. I know that. But I also know that does not mean what happened to me that night was my fault.

I know that now.

It wasn’t my fault.

Looking back I can see the guy who kissed me whilst knowing I had a boyfriend and then hung around, trying to stay in touch, acting sympathetic, saying he simply cared about me,  trying to see me post-break-up…I can see now that I was so completely broken that I could not see his actual intentions. I can see now that I was so vulnerable and someone was actually taking advantage of that.

I can see now that I did put myself in a dangerous situation but that does not mean what happened to me that night was my fault.

It wasn’t my fault.

I keep telling myself that but I don’t know when I’m truly going to believe it. I never did anything about it. I didn’t see the point and I actually still don’t. I want to tell someone new about it but I still don’t want to do anything about it. I know I should, I know we need victims of abuse to speak up and whilst I want to, I also don’t want to take it further (in a legal sense).

I saw ‘Name Number One’ on Friday and I most definitely didn’t expect to. It was at a school-dinner-reunion-thing where people from all ages and year groups came to send off our most recent headmaster who was retiring. I froze when I saw him but not as badly as I did that time I saw him in the street and had a mini-panic attack in an alleyway as a result. I froze for a minute or two and then found a different group of people to go and talk to.

So what is in a infamous same-name?

I’ve noticed I avoid Same-Names-As-Name-Numbers-One-And-Two at all costs from a dating perspective; I can tell you all that I have genuinely swiped left on tinder on pretty much every Same-Name I come across or avoided Same-Names that I meet and God, does that sound silly to type and read out loud! However, Same-Names I come across from a more neutral, maybe work-based, perspective I don’t seem to judge in the same way.

I think I just know I’ll never be romantically involved with a Same-Name and I think that’s understandable. You don’t think all fruits are going to be sour simply because the lemon is but I don’t think I could ever trust or fall for a Same-Name and, to be honest, that’s okay.

However, hating on a certain name just gives them fame and I realised on Friday night that a lot of the fear has gone. I obviously hate what one Same-Name tried to do to me and what one Same-Name did do to me but there is far less fear and whilst I was shaken for a few minutes – I know I always will be – I realised how much stronger a woman I have become.

Still Standing. Always Smiling. And didn’t I smile all night that evening…

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Blue Sky Reflections

You can learn a lot when you’re left to your own devices – in my case 4 whole days and 5 nights. It’s oh so cliched but I found myself a bit more than I thought was possible in Tenerife. I left the country to escape but what did I learn in the process?

Day 1: Being a beach bum taught me to appreciate myself

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Sitting alone on that volcanic black sand beach with the sun shining down on me filled me with relief – a sense of relief I would usually find through purging. I turned off my music and let myself be surrounded by purely my own senses and it was wonderful. It let me consider what’s led to such a pounding in my head lately and how I can overcome it. I didn’t need to resort to a Demon-induced visit to a dark place but rather that safe space I created on the beach which was incredibly calming for me.

I appreciated what I’ve gone through and who I am as a result. There’s a difference between being egotistical and having the confidence to value your self-worth. It’s okay to take a step back to look after yourself. I can’t possibly be a bigger advocate for appreciating the small successes in life; maybe you were faced with a difficult decision but brave enough to make a choice. Maybe the fact you did better on a project than you originally thought you did. Maybe – in my case – the fact you ate dinner without purging.

Think about and appreciate what you’ve already overcome because it makes the future seem less challenging. Instead of thinking how far you need to go appreciate how far you’ve already come. No matter where you are in your recovery the simple fact you are making an effort to recover is an amazing success by each and every one of us.

Appreciating your self-worth also includes giving yourself some time and space to do what you want. Make every decision based on what you need or want to do and trust me, there’s a difference between needing to do something and wanting to! However, sometimes you need to do something simply because you want to! There are no rules, just breathe and relax that control I know we all so desperately crave. Be free in your decisions and happy by choice. We are all such beautiful people who could all with appreciating ourselves a little bit more.

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Day 2: A cloudy day of exploring let me explore my recovery

Definitely an aspect that was hard to accept was that I need to look after myself more. I was so incredibly exhausted and epilepsy flare-ups indicated just ho tired and stressed I’e been lately. A factor that triggers my epilepsy is fatigue – a factor that is all too self-induced following starvation or a purge.

There’s a major need to look after myself physically and mentally will flow naturally. I did purge once – I panicked at eating out due to a lack of control over calories and it shows that whilst I’ve made leaps and bounds I’ve still got work to do.

My last post spoke about switching off my brain for a little bit so my heart can breathe. Maybe I jump too much with the mental recovery without appreciating it goes hand in hand with physical recovery. It’s a two-way street and I need to look after my body so my mind can follow suit and that’s what I’m trying to do now. I’m letting my heart breathe by switching off my brain every now and then.

Day 3: Climbing a volcano revealed I really am the biggest nature nerd I know

I like rocks, I kinda like them a lot and I liked that volcano. Being in nature has always amazed me. Nature is the only thing that keeps my attention for longer than 5 minutes and I get so wonderfully lose in it. Nothing really gets you more than climbing a volcano sitting at the summit, looking at the wonderful landscape and just not thinking. Soak it up with all your senses. Breathe it in, feel it and let your brain switch off.

Conversely, it does make you think. There I am a world away from the tall glass buildings in London – the world truly is a beautiful place and I can’t wait to see more. It’s going to be tough to stay on top of all my work but for once I have the opportunity to explore the world a little bit.

Never forget to make time for yourself – appreciate your needs and value your self-worth. You shouldn’t have to move mountains for those who wouldn’t do the same for you.

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Day 4: Accidentally experiencing Carnavale revealed I truly am happy on my own

So I had no idea my 5 days coincided with Carnavale de Puerto de la Cruz and that was a wonderful realisation! Yes, I did access social media to upload photos and to contact my mum and best friend but I loved realising I wasn’t lonely at all – perhaps it was because the people I may need are always going to be there.

I was so content to wake up and do my own thing; I didn’t really have to contemplate much, I just fancied doing this or that and so I did. I’m a strong believer that when you’re happy on your own and no longer looking back you know you’re doing something right. It’s oh so important to be happy and able to do things on your own.

I really enjoyed not being glued to my phone; not seeing things on social media; not texting any boys; no mind games from anyone; I enjoyed the lack of 21st century ‘dating rules’.

I suppose what this means is that I’m perfectly happy on my own and it’s going to take someone damn special to convince me not to be flying solo one day. Being free from the reigns of the 21st Century World was the most liberating feeling whilst being a beach bum on this island on my own. Dancing in the street with thousands of strangers simply reinforced that I only need myself to fuel my own happiness.

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Day 5: Blue Sky Reflections taught me that I am enough

I have been told this before and I’m starting to think I don’t give myself enough credit for anything that I do. I don’t think I realise that I work just as hard as I do. I’m always questioning what else I can do, mistakenly chasing ‘perfection’ that can never be attained. Maybe I need to stop questioning what else I can do and learn that I am doing everything I can right now and that it is more than enough.

That I am enough.

I am not too much nor am I not good enough; it is simply a matter of coming across the wrong people. The fact I can still love my family and my friends and stay positive and full of hope about things like (dare I say it)…boys…despite how many of those three groups have hurt me. The fact that although I have walls, I could be completely stone cold and yet, I am not. The fact I am always smiling shows just what a strong and beautiful person I am.

And I could not ask to be more than a beautiful person.

None of us can and none of us should

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Posting this picture took a lot of effort and courage because I don’t feel ‘slim’ but I learnt to be so proud of myself and my happiness gave me the bravery to post it online.

 

Instagram: @elenipap92
Twitter: @elenip92

 

Flying Solo

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Guess where I’m writing this post from? Guess where I am? I’m not in London, I’m not even in the UK…I don’t actually know where I am because that’s right, you guessed it, I’m on a plane baby!

Now, before some of you hypochondriacs panic, I’m just drafting with the intention of publishing when I arrive. I’m most certainly not using any wireless connectivity or whatever it is that would cause my post to unfortunately stop mid-sentence…well, strictly speaking mid-flight (too much?).

But here’s the crux of my post. Here’s the inspiration: I’m flying solo.

If you follow my posts you’ll know that around 12 days ago I had a bit of a breakdown at Law School and 4 days afterwards I booked a week away and so here I am writing to you all, soaring above the sea at however-many-thousand-feet and I have never had a bigger smile on my face than I do right now. I am positively glowing from the inside out and hopefully in one week’s time I’ll have a natural glow on my skin to match.

I feel quite proud of myself, you know. ‘Why would someone be proud of themselves for going on holiday?’ I hear you ask. Well, the fact I took a moment to consider what I needed which was my own personal space to clear my head. The fact that for once I didn’t push through the pain and the fact I was prepared to work hard to get what I needed.

I picked up far more shifts than I should have done at the restaurant and had the holiday paid off within the 12 days. I got all my work done in advance (so far in advance that I now have time to do that optional writing competition the firm suggested we do). But most importantly, I’m doing this for myself by myself.

I’m flying solo.

And I’m crazily happy to be doing my own thing. Now, of course I love my friends, I challenge you to find a post that doesn’t show you how much they mean to me but there’s something oh so very important about being on my own right now. It’s only the end of February but it struck me how far more independent I’ve been in 2017.

I’ve always been strong on my own but there’s something different and I’m struggling to word it so here goes. Admittedly the hurt from the beginning of 2016 right through to the end got me to cage my heart up once more but I found the courage to release it again. However, I’ve not unlocked the cage because I’ve met a new guy or anything like that. I’ve let it out because of my own self-love. My own self-compassion that has finally been coaxed out of me once more because of some of the amazing people around me.

My heart is wandering freely.

It’s flying solo.

And my brain is trying to let it wander for once. Just keeping a close eye on it every now and then because, I mean, come on now, we all know I’m a walking liability at the best of times. Example! I held up the plane today because my jacket got caught in my necklace and it took 3 people to work out how to unhook it!

So here I am, sat on a plane writing from the bottom of my heart but soaring however-many-thousand-feet above the sea because I needed to do this. I’m halfway through booking a trip to Thailand in less than 6-weeks-time because I want to do that. I’ve already booked my trip to Peru to climb a super massive hill with someone who has become a best friend of mine. Already planning my August trip to Greece and all with a few exams and work shifts here and there in between.

Strong enough to take a few jumps with my arms open wide, my smile even wider because I’m doing this for myself and everyone else can wait. Especially those boys – you should have seen some reactions when I said in the middle of February that I’d randomly decided to go away and probably wouldn’t be back until the end of April…that was quite funny.

Beating this illness in my own special way because it all starts with looking after myself; letting my heart take over for a short while so my brain can rest.

Someone can have my heart when its ready to be had.

Until then me and my taped-heart aren’t just flying solo – we’re soaring.

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