This New Year – A Revival

Vicki Amaya

Two Thousand and Eighteen

A new year, a new start. Three hundred and sixty five opportunities to learn and grow. I enter at the age of twenty eight, with gratitude, knowledge and love. I’m not sure why, but I have such a euphoric buzz about it. Everywhere I look it seems that people are calling 2018, the best year ever! Weirder still, for once – I believe it will be.

Lets Recap – 2017

At the start of 2017, I felt hopeful. There were dreams of a better life, dreams of big change and a glimmer of optimism. I had been working for an Alarm Installation and maintenance company for a little over 12 months and felt stable (for the most part). Gone was the pressure of learning how to do the job. Forgotten was the mid-year melt down of ’16. I was ready to start anew and refreshed from the Christmas break. I could go to work every day of the week, for 52 weeks of the year. No longer did I need to have time off for anxiety or depression. It was gone.

I had made two promises to myself for 2017. The first was to play more guitar and the second was to go on holiday. Fairly easy on the ol’ resolutions list, I’ll admit. Yet, these were big accomplishments for me. Never have I felt able to complete or achieve anything of note. A stable income was foreign to me. I had always needed money to pay my way. Had always needed a job to survive. Why would I spend money on a holiday, when it was needed to pay rent and bills?

Though, I felt If I wanted to see changes, I had to make changes. With a swift decision and a box of peroxide, my hair was transformed from dull blonde to bright yellow, then silver. A small decision that shaped my life for the better (As you all know)!

As January passed by, I decided to take my Instagram account and Blog more seriously. I started uploading pictures five days a week and on the 11th February 2017 my little Instagram account hit 1000 followers! Around the same time, one of my photos hit 2000 likes.

“The Highs Are So High”

In May I made the brash and ballsy decision to quit my full time, stable 9-5 job and go it alone. Diving straight into the world of the budding bloggers and Instagram influencers. Whilst, I cannot regret the decision to leave forks (just kidding, I’m not Bella Swan) the longest job role i’d ever had. Looking back, I know I could have handled the actual leaving aspect a lot more gracefully.

I think I left prematurely and without a plan but my god, I was determined as hell to make this work. One of the problems that comes with entrepreneurial endeavours is that there isn’t a step by step guide. There may have been thousands of blog posts, infographs and YouTube videos explaining how to “become a successful blogger”, but very few give the actual breakdown. The nitty, gritty need to know information.

Though I hustled, I girl bossed, I pushed through the doubt, worry and fear of failure… I was still making no money. (Side note- I’m still not)

Penniless and fearing debt, I applied for a part time role in a fashion store called Allsaints. With my wage halved but my free time overflowing I felt renewed and slightly relieved.

August brought an opportunity to backpack through Germany and Austria. My Partner, My Mum and My Nan all put forward a small loan to fund my tour. Not that I have many holidays to compare it to, but it was one of the most beautiful and liberating trips I have experienced. If you’re looking for a place to spend a few days, please visit Berchtesgaden and Salzburg.

“The Lows Are Killing Me”

In early October the cracks started to show. Although I had more free time, it came in the form of one day on and one day off work. Also, I had pulled my back muscles just prior to my backpacking adventure and two shifts back at work, I did it again. This meant having some time off to recover, which is where the negativity bias that once ruled my every move started to creep back in. Resentment for the job, physical pain and a lack of direction left me putting a mountain of unnecessary pressure on myself. Could I really quit another job just because I don’t like the hours? Were the staff really that mean to me? Was I playing out my old habit of job hopping yet again?

After many tears, a drive into the middle of the woods and an emotional chat with my manager, I took some time out to figure out my mind. I wrote a blog post about this time called An Anxiety Catch Up (Diary Post).

I returned to work in early November. The deal was I would work a four week notice period or if they could find a replacement sooner, I could leave. Although relieved, the same uncertainty of my previous abandoning ship encounter wouldn’t drown. With an equal medium for me and my manager, I asked if I could reduce my hours in order to get three consecutive days off. We both agreed that this would be better than quitting and since then it’s been a pleasure to work there.

Praise to the positive – a reflection.

If there is anything I have learnt from 2017, it’s that even the smallest indulgence of negativity can disrupt the entire infrastructure of your life. One throw away comment can shape your outlook, change your mood, thoughts and feelings all for the worse. The remainder of last year was spent focusing solely on positivity. Embracing the good in people, helping others as much as I could, reaching out to more people and giving without a want to receive.

In return, I got perfect clarity for the remainder of that year.

December

On the 13th December, I celebrated my twenty eighth birthday. I was taken for afternoon tea at Ting restaurant located within The Shard. Looking out at the bustling city below whilst sipping a flute of ten year old champagne I came to realise that I’m doing just fine with this living malarkey. Whilst it may have taken others a lot less time to figure this out, for me it is such an achievement to feel it at all. Not to dampen the tone of this post but there is a reality in which I do not exist past the point of 22.

The remaining hours that encapsulated 2017 were filled with my partner and his family. As couples, we watched films in separate rooms then joined to see in the start of the best year ever. We drank champagne (A new celebratory drink of Adam and I), we watched the hootenanny and we relished every hand tick until Big Ben rang out twelve strikes.

The New Year

Which brings us nicely back to this new year. There can be no doubt that I am still a student to the ways of the world. I still have much to learn and experience. However, I feel that I’m able to just crack on and get this year underway without any of the stress and doubt that last year brought. I haven’t made any promises to myself this year. I don’t feel that I need to set myself to targets and achievements. Instead, I have decided that this is the year that my life changes for the better, the year that everything I ever dreamed of comes true.

If you know me now, you know that I am one determined mother-lover. Watch this space lovelies, the times they are a changing’ and they’re changing me.

As always,

All My Love

VickiAmaya.

xx

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An Anxiety Catch Up (Diary Post)

Hey Lovelies, these past few weeks have been a bit strange for me. I’ve been dealing with a lot of stress, worry and anxiety and I want to tell you some of the things I’ve learnt as they can help you too!

As you know, I’ve been making some big changes in my life the past few months; this is to counter the unhappiness and lack of fulfilment that has plagued me for years. The journey has been a whirlwind but I’m happy to finally share my experiences.

I left full time employment in May of this year and since then I have been working part time at Allsaints and spending the rest of my time doing the following:

• Running my Blog
• Researching and scheduling my Instagram posts
• Drafting and finalising blog posts
• Trialling new ways to combat bad habits
• Maintaining existing friendships
• Working out where my anxiety stems from
• Researching new trends
• Taking photos for Instagram
• Addressing and implementing new life strategy
• Worrying
• Constantly battling negative thoughts about myself

All of that is without adding basic self care like eating three meals a day, exercising and sleeping seven hours each night. Furthermore, it definitely doesn’t include trying to think of ways to make my millions, conjure interesting blog posts and spend time with my boyfriend. The odds were stacking against me and something had to give – and it did.

I got myself a note from the doctor and have taken a few weeks off work to recalibrate my frazzled brain. The days that followed have been a rollercoaster of emotions but I feel like I’m getting to grips with life again. I have a reclaimed my ability to complete items on my to-do list. And most importantly, I’ve been taking these small, easy steps to refocus my brain.

• Eating three meals a day
• Drinking plenty water
• Showering daily
• Brushing my teeth (twice daily)

Believe me, I know that sounds gross and obvious but in my bad patch I used to spend all day in bed doing nothing for weeks on end. I feel that going back to basics has really helped to stabilise my mind. It’s crazy how we will overlook the necessities of simple self care to try and get everything else completed. The problem I had was focusing too much on my big goals and as a result, the idea of doing them all had shocked me to paralysis.

 

To stay level, from this point onwards I’m going to focus on doing small actions every day and build from there. Honestly, if all you can manage in a day is to eat three meals, drink enough water and not cry then that’s an accomplishment to be proud of!

 

One of the reasons I started back at the beginning with treating anxiety is because it was recommended for me. Mel Robbins is the best selling author of “Stop Saying You’re Fine:” and “The 5 Second Rule”. I first found Mel when her “How to stop screwing yourself over ” Ted talk video popped into my suggested feed and I followed her on Instagram for daily doses of inspiration.

 

Just recently, Mel posted a story on Instagram asking people to send problems they have been struggling to overcome. I sent my own (after a few revisions) and was fortunate enough to get a response from the lady herself! I mean, come on… Mel Fricking Robbins, Best Selling Author, Most Booked female motivational speaker and an absolute babe actually replied to my message! Mel then asked if she could record an answer to my question for a video. It has been uploaded onto her YouTube channel so that it can help others too! Be warned though, she is very to the point and direct with her words. (You can click here to watch it)

 

Receiving a personalised message like this was an incredible boost for me. This was massively significant, as I have been such an admirer of Mel and her work for such a long time. That said, I had greatly underestimated the power of taking action and the message definitely gave me the kick I needed.

With all of that said and done, let’s talk about the elephant in the room, shall we?

“Vicki, I thought you said that depression and anxiety doesn’t affect you anymore!”

Weeelllll, it doesn’t. At least it doesn’t bother me the way it used to. I’m over sitting on the floor all day, rocking back and forth and thinking of all the problems I had. Now, I’ve learnt what my mind and body need to do to reset – and I honour that, instead of fighting against it. Not to get too scientific but it is our brains job to protect us from harm. It stems from our primitive beginnings and having to survive a much harsher world than the one we live in today. The important part is to find a harmonious balance and healthy relationship with this part of the mind so that we can grow with it instead of fighting against it.

So, here’s to the little steps. The small actions in the right direction that have slowly built me back up to level foundations.

If any of you are interested in a more in-depth article regarding any of the points raised, please drop me a comment and I will be happy to delve into it for you.

Thursday 21st September

Hey Lovelies,

How are you all doing?

So I wrote a blog post on Tuesday, I pulled all of my emotions out of my chest, through my fingers and into the keys of my iPad keyboard in the hopes that it would remove this vast void of transparency that I’ve been engulfed by the past few weeks. I was ready to finalise and post it when something made me stop. It told me to reconsider putting out so much sadness and insecurity into the world, so I went to bed instead.

Today I woke up feeling the exact same transparency but I just can’t bring myself to talk about it anymore. I’d much rather get through this by writing something meaningful and uplifting, than something to tear open the emotional flood gates. So instead I’m writing today to make a promise to you all. A promise that I wont give up.

At nineteen, full of life, love and rebellion I went to a friend and had a tattoo on a black leather sofa. The sofa was covered in dog hair, the tattooist was covered in terrible tattoos and my wrist is forever scarred with the words ‘Nunquam Redono” which in Latin (hopefully) translates to ‘Never Give Up’ (Ironic, I know but Carpe Diem seemed too mainstream, please don’t judge my teenage years, I beg of you). For years I’ve looked at this terrible tattoo with regret and uneasiness as to its legitimacy but no more. It is now a symbol that I will become a person of note, a do-er, a yes girl.

No more apathy and self pity, its time to dig myself out of my hole, sort my life out and climb that fucking ladder straight to the top.

 

Let’s do this, Lovelies!!

Yours,

A pumped up, fed up, fucked up but not giving up, VickiAmaya

xo

 

 

Falling In Love (With Yourself)

Hey Lovelies,

How are you?

I recently read a blog post by one of my beautiful followers and it instantly prompted me to start jotting this down!

As you all know, I was in a bad relationship for a little while. A relationship where I masked my feelings, shut out the sensible voice inside my head and twisted my every personality trait to suit him. I changed my clothes, my hair, my dress sense, my friends. At the end of it, I was a shell of the person I used to be and for what?!
I’ve seen it over and over again with family, friends and even people on the internet whom I’ve never met. We twist and turn ourselves to suit the recipient. We hide the traits we’ve had all our lives. Hide the quirks, the emotions, the rawness. Why? So we can pretend to be in love…

We put up with the arguments, the snide remarks and at the end of the relationship we are bitter. Bitter and miserable because we changed every aspect of ourselves to make it work for the other half.

Well, I want to tell you a secret. Real love doesn’t need you to compromise. Real love will accept every aspect of you and cherish it over and over again. Real love will keep you young, keep you safe and keep you full of happiness.

I urge you to learn to love, as you want to be loved. Be you, unapologetically. Unforgivingly.

I fell in love with myself at seventeen. I fell in love with the way my eyes caught the sunlight and twinkled a magnificent blue. I fell in love with the way my heart fluttered at each late night discussion with my best friend. I fell in love with my laugh, my breathy chuckle, which turns silent when I’m really humoured.

My impeccable ability to feel emotionally involved with every acoustic song ever created, as though they were handwritten love letters from my heart. My memory of insignificant moments that every one else has long since forgotten. The colour of people’s eyes, their birthdays, the sound of their voice. The smell of their clothes. The soundtracks of boyfriends and best friends and the greatest nights you could ever ask for.

I fell out of love with myself at twenty two. I couldn’t stand the sight of my face. The way I had convinced myself that I could love a man who didn’t care about me. For giving up on the things that I cared about. For not talking to my mum for an entire year. For losing touch with my best friend. For torturing my mind with a constant barrage of negativity. For self harming. For overdosing.

I rekindled a love for myself at twenty five. It was hard at first, but I remembered the way my heart sends out a warm sensation when its a sunny morning and i’m laying in bed with the sunlight streaming through the windows. I remembered how to look at my face with admiration instead of boredom. How I can recite the lyrics to almost any song with only a 5 second preview. The way I’ve always wanted to be one of those people who can pick up a guitar and play effortlessly. Then it started to happen more and more, I would love the way my hair would always fall flat after my uncountable efforts, elixirs and backcombing attempts. The way my cheeks will puff up when I smile. The way I will sing out of key when I can’t hit the notes in a song. The way my body has always stayed slim despite my lack of care for it. The way I can immerse myself into a book and let the world pass by.

You have to love who YOU are because no one will ever be able to make you feel as good as you can make you feel. You know you better than anyone else, so you have earned the right to give yourself all the love you can muster!

Now go and take a long hard look at yourself in the mirror and tell yourself OUT LOUD, one thing that you really love about you.

xo

Going Deep

Hey Lovelies,

How are you?

Let’s go deep with this one…

Life is as hard as you make it for yourself. You are responsible for all the bad things that happen to you (at least, that’s my personal opinion and experience), but you are also responsible for all the good things that can happen to you.

Life can be chaotic, soul crushing, painful and god damn frustrating at times but you can also experience so much pleasure from the little things. The thrill of passionately kissing your significant other in the dark hours of the night, the excitement of running fast, away from authority when you’re a teenager, laughing so hard that your stomach cramps up and you can’t breathe, the gentle rapping of rain from a storm on your bedroom window.
You only have to open your heart to let yourself start to feel these things. When you do, feel them with every fibre of your being. It won’t take you long to realise that for any bad, there is an unfathomable amount of good that can overthrow the darkness that sometimes engulfs us all.

I spent years and years in the dark, trying to convince myself that I could fit a square into a circular hole. Desperately wanting to make every job I gained, be the one that made me. Unapologetically pouring my heart into every boy I met, in the desperate hope that they would be the one to take me away from the world I had grown accustom to. Push me into some brand new, unknown mystery of love, acceptance and excitement. I wasted hours of my existence on the negative thoughts that others could have had about me. The unsaid opinions, the possible dirty looks, the suggestive sniggers and for what? To fit into a society that applauds the average, the safe bets and the low risk takers…

I didn’t know that to open my eyes and really experience life, I only had to learn who I was and what I wanted for myself. To stop filling the silence and allow the ‘little me’ a chance on the soapbox for a change. To be part of the world that I was so desperate to escape from. To live in harmony with it instead of fighting with all my might to be above it all.

There was a point in my life that I had convinced myself I couldn’t be put through any more negativity. That things were so painful, so gut wrenchingly bad that I physically couldn’t bear to take one more breathe. I mean, put yourself in that position for just a moment and try to picture desperately sobbing yourself to sleep every night because you cannot see any escape from your pit of self pity and depression. I hated myself, I hated my life, I hated how I was living, where I was living, I hated the experiences I had had. I wasn’t living, I was surviving. Breathing in and out for the only reason that I had nothing else to do. I knew no other way of life. In and out of sleep all night and all day, eating just to kill the pain of hunger, drinking to numb the pain of thirst. Crying so hard that your body spasms, lying on the floor with hatred for your own existence. Rocking back and forth over and over with your arms cuddling your knees to stop yourself from grabbing something sharp and ramming it across your throat.
For all the adjectives in the world, there are none that can truly express how depression feels.

I am only human, but my god – what a human I am now! I opened my eyes to everything life had to offer me at twenty five years old. I let the ‘little me’ shout from the rooftops, I embraced each negative action and reaction and I looked deep inside myself to find the root cause for all my sadness. After that, things just fell into place and I understood. I understood that sometimes people just have to go through something awful and soul destroying to find themselves; find the goodness and positivity that they know they desperately want but have struggled so hard to locate.

I had to go through every tear, every bad word, every judgemental look, every cut, every heartbreak, every false friend and every experience good or bad because without them, I wouldn’t be here, as I am. How and who I am.

I’m not a perfect example of a human, but I’m a human that is learning, growing and living each day with gratitude for each breath. I know that my life could have been completely different. I know that I may not have even had a life at all. With one action, it could have all been taken away and in its place, a void for friends and family to attempt to fill.

I wrote this with the intention of just getting my deep thoughts and feelings onto a page. To release some emotion and let my truly unedited mind seep out. You all know that I want to write a book about my experiences with depression and anxiety, so maybe this can be my foreword, my introduction to a book not yet written.

I love you guys, so much. Thank you for joining me on this adventure.

VickiAmaya

xo