Happier

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I have a love/hate relationship with the On This Day feature on Facebook. It reminds me of my secondary school days where I was free and the only thing I had to worry about was passing my geography class test, or having enough money to go see the latest Twilight movie with my friends. However, it also reminds me of my progress. It shows me photos of my past self. I was young, naive and sheltered. I had not yet discovered who I was, the real me, my true self. But today, as I write this post on a train to Galway, I’ve realised that I am happier than the girl in those photos, and that I have changed a lot.

I no longer watch Twilight movies. I finished school and passed my Leaving Cert. I got that B2 in English that I worked hard for. I have new friends. My skin has cleared up. My mousy brown hair is now copper. I’ve developed stretch marks and scars and cellulite. I’ve ran marathons. I’ve studied both creative writing and journalism. I’ve had work published in newspapers and on websites. I’ve read tonnes of books and watched many new movies. I’ve drank tea with my grandparents and pina coladas with my best friend. I’ve danced at concerts and cried at concerts. I’ve hopped on planes, trains and buses to new cities. I fell in love and I’ve had my heart broken. I’ve battled with anxiety and depression and I won. I discovered an unknown love for coffee and The Clash and Hygge. I wear red lipstick and often buy clothes because they remind me of The Bratpack. I daydream about living in Canada, Cork and Copenhagen. I worry about my grades and my family and my friends. I sing along to Radio Nova with my Dad in the car. I call handsome actors dishy just like my Mam does. I adopted a cat. I’ve had one tooth taken out. I have fallen in love with the simplicity of spending time by myself. I’ve fallen head over heels in love with John Hughes movies. I’ve sent a message in a bottle and heard back from the person that found it. I’ve fallen both in and out of love with my life. I’ve experienced euphoric highs and heartbreaking lows over the past twenty two years.

But most importantly, I am happier and stronger and wiser than the girl in those photographs from the past.

Sincerely Yours,

Kat

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The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Happy National Book Lovers Day!

I couldn’t let this day go by without writing about the book that means everything to me; The Perks of Being a Wallflower. I’ve always been a book worm. Back when I was in primary school I used to spend my evenings reading the Rainbow Magic series (which I still have on my bookshelf), during my pre-teen years Jacqueline Wilson was my hero and she still is, and then when I reached my moody teenage years I discovered the Twilight and The Hunger Games series. And thanks to my inspiring Leaving Cert English teacher I discovered the greats; Sylvia Plath, Emily Bronte, James Joyce and F. Scott Fitzgerald.

I believe that the books we read shape who we are. I have learned so much from the stories, the characters and the worlds I’ve read about. I’ve found my true self. I’ve been inspired and influenced and motivated by these astonishingly talented authors and the stories they have created and shared with the world. Reading is one of the biggest parts of my life and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

There is one book in particular that has changed my life. I’ve read everything and anything; from Macbeth to Jurassic Park and from Mcfly’s biography to The Great Gatsby. However, this book has made such a drastic impact on me. The characters, the plot, the themes, the world; they all meant so much to me. The characters felt like friends. Their troubles were my troubles. Their home felt like my home. They made me smile and laugh and cry and taught me some of the most important life lessons.

I read The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky back when I was 17/18. I was hooked from chapter one, I just couldn’t put it down. I was so captivated by Charlie’s letters. I related to his character like no other, I finally found a fellow wallflower. This story gave me my own personal sense of belonging. It didn’t matter if the ‘popular girls’ thought I was weird or dorky, it didn’t matter if I only had a small numbers of friends, it didn’t matter if I was afraid to speak in class, because I wasn’t alone, I had Charlie, my fellow wallflower. It gave me hope, it made me feel wanted and accepted and showed me that even when things aren’t okay they soon will be; the bad days aren’t going to last forever.

It’s been four years since I read Perks and it is still my most treasured book. This story showed me that there’s nothing wrong with being a wallflower. I love being a wallflower! I’m shy, I’m an introvert, I’m not insanely popular or extremely confident, but I am me and I’ll never change who I am. Charlie opened my eyes and made me believe that we should stay true to ourselves. “If somebody likes me, I want them to like the real me, not what they think I am.” Charlie made me believe in myself, in friendship, in love and in infinite moments and I will always be grateful for that, especially during the bad days.

“Please believe that things are good with me, and even when they’re not they will be soon enough.”

Love Always,

Kat

Dear July

Last year I was inspired by Emily Diana Ruth’s ‘Letters To July’ series so much that I wrote my very own letter to July. It’s one of my favourite pieces of work and I couldn’t help but write another this year. So here is my second letter to July.

 

Dear July,

It’s hard to believe it’s been an entire year since we last spoke. At this moment in time I feel okay; not great, not good, but not bad either. I’ve said the phrase ‘I’m fine’ a lot this month, July. Unfortunately I’ve been having one too many bad brain days lately. I feel like I’ve taken a step back progress wise, but I am hopeful that I will get better. There’s something different about me this year, July. I am a lot stronger and a lot more determined. When we last spoke I was just discovering who I truly was, but now 365 days later I finally know who I am and what I want from life.

It hasn’t been all bad. I’ve had work published, I’ve traveled, I’ve made new friends, I got a part time job, I started volunteering, I’ve started studying at a new college and I’ve become a happier and braver person. I love who I am, I just wish my brain felt the same way. The bad brain days have gotten severe, so I’ve decided to start seeing a counselor- a terrifying, but wise decision.

One thing you’ve taught me, July, is that no matter what things will always improve, even if you struggle to see a light at the end of the tunnel. On the 31st I went to Galway for a solo adventure. When I was sitting on the train travelling back to Dublin I felt content for the first time in over three weeks. You showed me that there is so much hope and potential out there, July, but you need to get out to find it. I discovered that sitting at home alone is no use. Going out on a walk, catching up with an old school friend, volunteering at my local charity shop or hopping on a train to another county is what I need to do to get myself out of this rut.

I know I will get better and the happy days will come back, the bad brain days will decrease and my mind will be clear again. Thank you for reassuring me, July. We had our tough days where I cried and where my heart ached, but we also had our happy days full of content moments and Cheshire cat smiles.

Thank you for showing me that the best is yet to come, July. I’ll see you again next year.

 

With Love,

Kat.