Thursday, 17 September 2015

One Year On | "The present changes the past. Looking back, you do not find what you left behind"

Dear Ex Boyfriend, 
 I can't believe it's been a year already. It feels as though it was only yesterday you looked me in the eye and told me we were done. I thought my life was over but what I didn't realise at the time, the day you left me was the day my life really started. What I really want to say is thank you! Don't worry. I'm not gonna go all Christina on you and sing Fighter, although it explains this all pretty bloody well. Thank you for letting me go. Thank you for breaking my heart. Thank you for making me realise what it is to be truly loved (clue: it wasn't from you). Thank you for giving me the motivation to become a better person. Thank you for making me realise I am worth more. Thank you. 

Losing the life you had built for yourself and so desperately wanted all at once is enough to send even the strongest people into a downward spiral. I spent too long beating myself up for feeling bad when I should have been reminding myself I was entitled to feel that way. Heartbreak is such an incredibly intense emotion, it completely breaks you but IT'S OKAY, time really does heal all wounds. I couldn't be any happier right now. In a year, I've had a brilliant holiday in Cyprus with my best friend whom I became closer to on the back of the break up, got a new job where I absolutely love my colleagues, spending 2 months in 2 beautiful countries with absolute strangers, got back in contact with old friends. I've discovered more about myself in the last 12 months than in the 21 years previous. The cloud from the effects of a toxic relationship is finally lifting. People often ask if I regret being with him, I don't. It's all experience and after all I've gained much more than I've lost. I'm probably repeating myself as usual but you really do have to go through the bad times to appreciate the good ones. If you asked me this time last year if I thought I would be in this position right now, I'd have told you no. I'll be honest, I don't even recognise the person I was last September. I've grown and changed dramatically in my perspective on life and on myself.

The best part of it all is the fact I've been able to speak to others who have been through something similar to me. This is exactly WHY I write about this. I want to be the person that you feel like you can come to. I won't judge you, I will listen and I will try to help.  I cannot think of anything worse than knowing someone is feeling the way I did. It's so easy to feel like you want to give up, but don't. You have so many people that love and care for you even if it doesn't feel that way in this very moment. You're beautiful, you're kind, you are unique.
If I can help anyone by talking to them about my own experience and how it's gotten better for me, then what happened was worth it. Being in this situation has made me realise how incredible my family and friends are. I was by myself but I was never alone. 

Can't believe I'm saying this but I'm actually glad everything happened the way it did. I'm so damn proud of who I have become and what has been accomplished since then. I'm on top of the world and I refuse to let anything or anyone bring me down.

Things change, and sometimes, it's definitely for the better.

Monday, 14 September 2015

2016 Trek Adventure | "Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore”

I lost myself last year, for so long I felt as though there was something missing in my life, something missing in me... but I've found it. I've never been as happy as I am this very moment. I feel unstoppable; yes, I still have bad days, doesn't everyone? Depression is a little shitbag that is always there, but doesn't always say hello. There was a time last year where I never thought that there was way out of the dark hole I had buried myself into... how wrong I was! 
Why am I so happy? Well thank you for asking. I came across a post on twitter about a tour company called Trek America about a month ago, curiously clicking on the link I was taken to a beautiful website full of incredible journeys across America and Canada. If you've known me for a while, you'll know how much I've always wanted to go to New York, the city that never sleeps, the big apple... the home of Broadway. As a musical theatre buff, New York has appealed to me in ways no other place has done before. My childhood dream was to be a lead role in a Broadway show so even just to be in one the most prestigious theatre districts in the WORLD is making little baby Charley ridiculously giddy. I've been looking into trips to New York for years, but I've never been able to afford it... until now.
If you've read my blog before, you'll know I bought a house with my ex (thank GOD) boyfriend and as much as it sucks that all that shit happened, not only has it made me realise how much more I am worth, it's a bloody good way of saving! Managing to receive a decent sum of money from the money I put into the deposit & signing the house over to him, I stuck it in my savings account like a good responsible adult for my future. My main aim was to find somewhere to live with a couple of friends from work (HEY GIRLS) and we did, there was a gorgeous house which was absolutely perfect for us, but just slightly out of our price range. It had gotten to a point where we were so fed up with houses being too much, no sharers, no this, no that, no fucking anything that we gave up. I was gutted. It was like life just didn't want to give me a break and everything that was going well would fuck up somehow, but this was a blessing in disguise.                                                             An              absolute            blessing.
 That was the night I came across Trek America completely by accident and it became the night I found the spark I had been missing for so long. Hours had passed, my eyes hurt from scrolling endlessly through their website, every single trip looked incredible. As much as it pained me, I had to be realistic about spending the money I had put aside for a deposit on a house down here and reluctantly closed the web page. There was one trek in particular that caught my eye, the Trailblazer. 63 days camping through America and Canada. It was all I could think about for days, constantly reading about it, looking at where it was going, the prices, the flights, the dates... I couldn't do it, could I? I decided to bring in the big guns, Mumma P; if anyone had the answers, she did. "Go for it, you're young. You would be stupid to pass on an opportunity this big when you have the money just sitting there" she said. I didn't need any convincing, I booked it that night. June 2016 until August 2016. I'm allowed to get excited now though, right? I bloody hate flying, but a flight lasting 11 hours when you're alone seems like a small price to pay when you get to meet new friends and experience something incredible together.
As a person who suffers with anxiety, flying alone & meeting new people are absolutely terrifying to me but they say "life begins at the end of your comfort zone" and recently I've started to believe that. I am so proud of myself for making this decision and finally taking back control of my life. For a long time I've felt as though I haven't been living, just existing and this has given me the kick up the backside I bloody well needed.
The photos in this blog post are just a few of the places I'll be visiting during my 10 weeks away. TrekAmerica's trip itself is only 9 weeks but I've booked an extra week in LA by taking advantage of my work hotel discount (thank u Hilton). Below is a map of the route I am taking, 63 days from LA to LA & the goodies that Trek throws in. If you have any questions about the booking process, or price, get in contact with me and I'll be more than happy to help! Also, I'm considering publicly blogging/vlogging some of the experience, so if you're interested in seeing what we get up to, I will happily publish it. 

 If you have seen these before and were in two minds about it, do it, just do it - I am channeling my inner Shia LaBeouf. Whether you want to do the week trek or the 80 day trek, you will have the most incredible experience that you will never ever ever ever ever ever forget, so go on, you have so much to gain... what do you have to lose?!

If anyone has any tips on dealing with long haul flights or being alone in a big city, please get in contact as I could do with some help.... 

Friday, 19 June 2015

5 Tips For Surviving a Break-Up | NotetoCharley

Breaking up with someone is never easy, there is no cure for the pain you feel and it's a bloody long process to get back to where you were. As most of you well know,  I'm someone who has gone through a pretty tough break up recently so I thought I would share some things that have made things a little easier for me. This is gonna be a wordy one, so get comfortable.

Surround yourself with positivity.
Look in the mirror and tell yourself how incredible you look today. Infact, tell yourself every day.  Read books in the sun. Try that new restaurant. Have civilised cocktails with the girls or pints with the lads. Travel to a place you've never been before. Buy that lipstick you've been eyeing up recently. Change your bedsheets. Read cute little quotes daily. Get your hair cut. Take up a new hobby. Join the gym. Spend time with your friends and remind yourself of what you enjoyed doing when you were single. Learn to enjoy your own company again. Meet fantastic new people. 
Take advantage of this new beginning and use this time to find yourself, you've probably grown and changed a lot as a person during the time you were with them. Don't dwell on the negativity of the break up, it can only teach you to be a stronger and better person.
P.S. Don't be embarrassed to join Tinder for a bit of an ego boost. It's natural to want to be pandered to when you feel a bit shit and who knows, you could meet some really great people whilst doing so.

Allow yourself to be upset.
Please remember one thing - you are NOT weak because you are upset. Cry. Cry as much as you want. Cry your little heart out. Go through that box of tissues. Grab that tub of Ben&Jerry's, lock yourself in your room for an hour and listen to sad songs. TIP: Taylor Swift has got a few good ones. You will never get over something if you don't face it. Don't try and run from the problem because it will always be waiting for you when you get back. You may have suppressed it along with all of the other things too unbearable to think about but as long as you don't acknowledge it, theres no way you'll be able to move on. Try keeping yourself busy, but allow yourself time to come to terms with it all. Don't ever keep your feelings to yourself. Talk to somebody (I'm always here, go to my contact page if you want to mail me) or write a diary. To any men who may read this, you are not emasculated because you shed a tear or 5 during a break up, you have a heart and feelings too. Do not feel like people will judge you, the ones that do are not worth your time anyway. A break up is a grieving process, you are mourning a love lost and there is absolutely no reason not to be emotional. 

Don't put pressure on yourself to be okay.
Be gentle with yourself, there isn't a magic potion that will make things better, you won't wake up tomorrow and feel whole again. It will hurt like a bitch for a while, but eventually, the pain will ease.  It may feel like nothing can fill the void in your life left by that person but I can assure you, someone will come along, show you how incredible you are and bring the light back into your life. Remember, there will be good and bad days. You may feel 90% better than you did at the beginning but one day something will come at you like a punch in the stomach. At one point in your life, this person was your future, your everything, so a photo or a memory triggered by every day life can hurt like a little motherfucker. Don't worry, it's completely natural to experience this and it doesn't mean you're back at square one. It will get easier, and over time you'll be able to see a photo or reminisce and feel indifferent to it all. I want you to know that I'm so proud that you've not let this get the better of you, take your time and heal. The fact you're still here just shows how strong you are, even if you may not feel it, go you!

Don't ever blame yourself.
If your relationship ended anything like mine, you didn't get a reason why. An absolute dick move by ex partner, if I do say so myself. This leaves you with only one thing to blame... yourself. DON'T DO IT. Don't go there. Don't go down that road, it's so self destructive and it's much harder to come back once you do. It's so common to forget how incredible you are when you've just been broken up with, but don't you dare. Don't forget every quality that makes you unique. There is literally only one of you and the people that are involved in your life are incredibly lucky to be. You are so special. You are kind, caring, funny and you're beautiful too. You were more than good enough, nothing is wrong with you, it just wasn't meant to be. You will find love again and when you do finally meet 'the one', it will be magical.  Try to look at your relationship from an outside perspective, chances are there were tiny little signs that things weren't working as well as you had convinced yourself it was. Relationships aren't always black and white and as much as you crave an answer, you should probably just accept that there isn't one. #Brutalhonestysucks.

Give yourself space. 
I have left this one until last because I cannot stress enough how important it is. Please, if the relationship is definitively over, find the strength to remove them from EVERYTHING (at least for a while...).Yes, everything. I mean snapchat, instagram, facebook, twitter, pinterest, instant messengers. There is a time for the facebook stalk and I can tell you it's not right now. Remove things that remind you of them, delete photos from your albums, and definitely delete their number so the temptation on a drunken night out is gone. Don't try and make them jealous by uploading bangin' photos of yourself and friends, they're not worth it. I know it seems pretty drastic, but I promise you, there is absolutely no way you can begin to heal if you're hounded by reminders of them. Do not torture yourself with their life and how they're doing without you. You are far more important than that, they will never find someone like you again and thats their loss. Focus on you, focus on putting your life back together, focus on reminding yourself how you were happy without them. I know it's hard to let go of the past, the 'ugly' snapchats, the future you had, the way they laughed at your stupid jokes, how they looked next to you in the morning... but it's over and as difficult as it is, you have to accept that. They have. They're out there living life and moving on, remember that you need to too. Don't make it harder for yourself by having a constant reminder.  Oh, and break up sex is never a good idea.

So there you have it, just a couple of the main things that have helped me along the way. I may not be where I want to be yet, but I'm sure as hell on my way.

Thursday, 22 January 2015

New Beginnings | "You don't have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great"

Charley Pearce

It might be a little late, but hello 2015 and what a welcomed sight you are. You might have noticed that I've been a little quiet, well... really bloody quiet recently but I do have my reasons. For months and months, I have wanted to write and now, I finally feel at a point in my life where I can. As most of you know, I moved up to Lincoln early last year with the guy that I thought I was going to spend the rest of my life with, we bought a beautiful house and I even got myself a new job that I loved. I was on top of the world... or so I thought. It was 5:30am late September and I knew that something was wrong. It was over. I don't know why. I don't know what happened. It just was. 
My world fell apart in the space of a few minutes. 

As quick as it happened, I was packing my things and moving into the house we had bought together. It wasn't exactly habitable, but it was something I could work with until the my huge life decision was made. I'm not really sure what possessed me to stay in Lincoln, if I'm honest, I think I just wanted to prove to myself I could... and for a while, I did. Every day was a battle, trying to trick yourself into believing that you're okay and moving on but all you want to do is go home, curl up in bed and pretend you don't exist anymore. I wouldn't eat, I barely slept, I lost myself completely. If there were a path to self destruction, I was on it. It gradually got worse, having at least one anxiety attack a day but eventually I was at a point where I was ready to seek help. I was put on medication for severe depression and anxiety. What I didn't realise at that point is that anti-depressants and diazepam don't make you happy, they make you functional and sometimes, functional isn't enough. After 4 months by myself, not knowing how to cope or what to do, there was a night that I reached rock bottom and I mean, rock bottom. That's when I knew I had to move home and think about myself for once. I had gotten so wrapped up in not wanting to disappoint everyone by giving up and moving home, I forgotten I was living MY life. I wanted to prove to everyone I was strong so badly that I let it affect my health in the worst way.

Break up

"It's so melodramatic to say that you have no reason to exist anymore, but that's exactly how I felt. Everything that meant anything to me was ripped from my grasp in an instant. It was like my heart had been removed from my chest, thrown around and stomped on. I'd never felt anything like it. If that's what it is like losing someone you love, I never want to fall in love again. I did everything in my power to stop this happening, yet it wasn't enough. I thought I was set, he was my forever... but forever only exists in fairytales."

Best friends
Not everything up North was a negative though. I met a beautiful girl who quickly became my best friend. I have only known her for 9 months but she has made an incredible impact on my life and I wouldn't be here today without her. I've been to hell and back but she has been the sunshine in my darkness, my silver lining. It's definitely not about who you've known the longest, but who proves themselves as a true friend, and she has. She has been my rock through everything and I am so glad that I've had the pleasure of meeting her. I also got myself a job that I absolutely fell in love with, and worked with people that I loved even more. You wouldn't expect it at all, but I got a job for Skoda... yes the car company. Meeting new people that I will treasure for the rest of my life and learning a new skill was the best thing for me. I've now got experience in a new field of work, doing something I never thought I would do in my life... I can't even drive.

I moved home on New Years Eve on 2014, and even though I lost everything; my house, my boyfriend, my job, my independence... myself... I have been given a new beginning. Bringing in the new year in Bristol with my family was the best way I could have imagined it. I was exactly where I needed to be. Starting again is the scariest thing I've ever had to do but I feel I am engulfed in a cloud of love and countless chances to create myself again. Now I'm at a point in my life where I'm moving on... no, I'm moving up. I'm learning to love myself, I have a new found confidence and I'm surrounded by the people I love again. 

This is a new chapter of my story, and I can finally say that I'm looking forward to writing it. 
Bring it on, 2015. I'm ready for you. 

If you have read this and need someone to talk to, please go to my contact page and send me an email. It doesn't matter what time of day it is, I am here for you.