How Did I do 2015?

What a year!  One day left in it and I can honestly say, I’m exhausted!  It’s been a big year, so much has changed and gone on.  I’ve got two weeks holiday coming up and I absolutely can’t wait, just one more day of work to go then two weeks with no alarm.  What could be better than that?

Tomorrow is the last day of 2015 and it’s the first year where I really feel like I’ve done myself proud.  I’ve had a year of ups and downs, so much has gone right and probably the same amount has gone wrong, but I have come out the other side of all of it a better person.

Not long after I started this blog I posted Goals and Whether You Should Keep Them about my ten goals for the year and today I thought being so close to the end of the year, what better time to review how I’ve done.

Goal One: Become debt free.

I’m not 100% debt free, I still have my student loan, but I no longer have any outstanding bills, hire purchases or other debts.  Considering that it’s been a tough year financially for me, I am very proud of this fact.  I just about cried the day I paid my car off!

Goal Two: Read at least one book per month.

I read three books this year.  I was just too busy and there was a period of a few months where my anxiety was way too high and it is almost impossible to read when that happens.  I probably read more books last year, but I’m still okay with not achieving this goal.  I have instead improved my writing skills, read a lot of different blogs and learned so much from them.  And, I got accepted into a writing course for next year, where I will have a published author be my mentor and get the opportunity to advance my skills further.  I think my aim to get published one day is getting closer to becoming a reality!

Goal Three: Complete a full elimination diet.

I did this and it was the best thing I’ve ever done for myself.  If you’ve been following me for a while you will know just how life changing this was.  I have way too many posts on this to reference them, but there is an Elimination Diet section on this blog.

Goal Four: Run the entire City 2 Surf of 14 km.

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Cross this one off the list, I exceeded my expectations that day!  Up until the race day I had only run about 5-6 km in one hit so you can imagine just how ecstatic I was when I crossed the finish line, having jogged the entire distance.  I wasn’t even sore the next day (thanks yoga).

Goal Five: Be able to do the splits.

Unfortunately, this is still a way off, but not for lack of trying.  I think the amount of walking and jogging that I do is a factor, as this shortens the hamstrings, however I am closer to being able to do the splits than ever before.  I will be continuing this attempt into 2016.

Goal Six: Bike to work at least once a week (unless raining).

No, this did not happen.  I did bike a lot, way more than last year, but not once a week. I also took the bus and walked the 3km from the bus stop to work a lot more as well.  Part of the reason behind this goal was to save money on petrol, which I definitely was able to do.

Goal Seven: Volunteer time to a cause each month.

I’m sorry to say that I didn’t do this one.  I did however raise over $300 during Junk Free June for The Cancer Foundation, raised $150 during Movember for the Movember Foundation and a friend and I dressed all in pink one day and spent the afternoon collecting for the Pink Ribbon Street Appeal as part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  This was more volunteering than last year, which is a good start.

Goal Eight: Learn ‘Lonely Day’ (SOAD) on my guitar.

I still haven’t picked up my guitar.  My free time has been focused more on writing.  Maybe one day.

Goal Nine: Fit comfortably into my goal pants, dress and jacket.

This is a bit of a pass and fail. I achieved this by the end of March, which was very exciting, however it isn’t something I was able to maintain for the entire year (see here).  I did manage for most of the year though and I am still wearing my goal jacket, so this is more of a win than a fail.

Goal Ten: Be grateful, stay happy.

If you read my post Gratitude and Family, you will know that I have achieved this. I am the happiest I have been, ever. This is in part due to all my achievements, but it is also a side effect of being grateful. I seriously recommend gratitude.  I still have my low days, more than I should have lately, but I can always find something good in every day and that’s pretty awesome.

When I started this blog at the beginning of the year, I had no idea that the person writing the last post of the year would be completely different, both inside and out.  I didn’t think it was possible to have this many positive changes in such a short space of time, but it is.  I haven’t achieved everything I set out to, but I haven’t given up and I already know of a few great things in store for me in 2016.

I hope you all have a wonderful new year, no matter how you are celebrating and hope to see you back here next year.

Smiles and Sunshine
Katie

Just Snap Out Of It Already

This has got to be hands down one of the worst things you can say to a person, especially a person going through a depressive or anxious episode.  Unfortunately, it happens all too often.  I’ve had it said to me more times than I can count, even by people who have their own anxiety issues and I’m pretty sure that I’ve also said it myself when I shouldn’t have.  When we are depressed or anxious, it’s easy for our actions and conversations to become annoying to others.  We may appear to be constantly complaining, moaning, or just going on and on about the same thing over and over again.  Unfortunately, this is how our brains work at the time and we don’t have a lot of control over what we are thinking and feeling. This will be obvious in our actions and what we say.

I saw a Vaguebook post on Facebook the other day.  We’ve all seen these posts, vague, negative, whiny posts that appear to have just been posted for attention.  And in a way they all are.  Some people Vaguebook for attention from others: ‘Worst day ever!!!’  Then when the comments produce a flood of ‘what’s wrong?’ they just get ignored by the original poster.  The point of the post has been achieved, attention has been received, everyone can move on.  Of course the inbox often gets flooded as well which is another win, any attention is good attention!  Then when that attention dies down, it’s time for another vague post.  These posts are a cry for help, but if you offer help or advice, it won’t be taken.  These people are not ready to admit they have a problem (this takes time) and for the time being just need attention.  I’ve definitely posted things on Facebook like this in the past (Facebook memories has definitely had me cringing some days!)

Then there are the Vaguebook posts that are technically for attention, but are actually a cry for help.  It’s very difficult to distinguish between the two because at face value they often look the same.  But these are generally the ones that aren’t surrounded by happy posts and are often from the people you would least expect it.

The post I saw the other day, I know was a cry for help, but it was disguised as attention seeking.  And people were annoyed because ‘it had been happening all too often’ (at least that’s the only way I can begin to understand their reactions).  The very first comment on the post was ‘what’s wrong?’ to which the person did respond, negatively but still vaguely, to which the first commenter said, ‘oh yes, I forgot you are in full on victim mode, snap out of it mate.’

This comment attracted a number of likes.  That is not okay!  I get it, people are over Vaguebooking, I’ve definitely gotten sick of it in the past, although more of the first type of people than the genuine cries for help, but that does not make it acceptable to put the person down with a complete lack of understanding of what they are going through. I was pretty angry when I saw this.

I proceeded to reply to the comment, offering sympathy, advice and letting the original poster know that I understood what they were going through.  I was quite clear about the fact that I was not impressed by the ‘get over it’statement and offered an explanation as to why.  I also suggested that Vaguebooking wasn’t the way to go about things, as it can attract negative attention.  Someone else jumped in with me and it ended up being quite a string of comments of support and advice which I thought was awesome.  The original poster joined in the conversation and I really hope that we were able to help.

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If you see a Vaguebook post or have an experience with a person going through mental illness in real life, don’t be a dick.  Don’t tell them to get over it, that won’t help.  It will make them feel worse about themselves and they will hide how it’s made them feel, something that we get far too good at when we are going through a rough patch, something that ultimately prolongs our recovery.  If you don’t like it, ignore it.  If you don’t know what to do, ignore it or ask how you can help.  If you understand the reasons behind why they are acting this way, then be there for them.  You don’t have to fix the problem, only they can do that, but it sure is easier with support and without other peoples negativity.  We create enough negativity ourselves in these situations, we don’t need others to do it for us.

Smiles and Sunshine
Katie

When You Lose Weight

I lost a lot of weight this year and I’m going to say it, that was the easy part.  During my Elimination Diet the weight just melted away.  I lost three dress sizes and a total of 26 kgs.  The reason? I wasn’t eating any crap and I was exercising regularly, pretty much daily.  I had energy to burn and life was good.

I’ve learned a lot about losing weight this year:

Mindset is everything.

I’ve learned that losing weight is not hard, if you are in the right mind set.  The reason I struggled to lose weight for most of my life was because I just wasn’t willing to put in the effort.  Obviously I had to find the right balance of food, exercise and treats for myself and everyone’s needs in that sense is different, but a lot of people I personally know who struggle to lose weight like I did, do exactly what I did, eat junk food and drink a lot of booze on the regular, engage in minimal exercise and expect results after eating a couple of salads. You have to be 100% committed.  Having a treat of McDonald’s or a bag of chips on Tuesday as a reward because you ate clean all of Monday is not the way to go.  Obviously treats are important, you still want to have a life after all, but you have to find the right balance.

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Other people noticed more than I did.

I genuinely could not see my weight loss for the life of me.  My clothes were looser, the number on the scales was way down and people were commenting all over the place and yet, I still couldn’t see it.  I still saw the same ‘fat’ girl I’d always been.  My thighs were too big, my stomach was an amorphous blob, I had a gazillion chins.  I couldn’t even see it in photos.  I took this progress shot and I didn’t want to share it, I genuinely couldn’t, and still cant see any difference between the two pictures.  Zombie literally pointed at parts of the pictures to show me differences, but I just couldn’t see it.  I shared the photos online and got a tonne of positive feedback but to me, the photos still look the same.  The only photo I have where I actually do see a physical difference, is this face to face photo.

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I will get reactions of all different kinds.

I got a lot of compliments about my progress.  People were impressed, wanted to know my ‘secrets’ and were genuinely happy for me.  I had a lot of friends joke about my weight loss, saying things like ‘it’s disgusting how skinny you are’ and then following up with a ‘nah, you look great, well done’ and that was cool, banter among friends is awesome.  A lot of my friends and workmates were especially impressed with the change in my personality.  I was happier than some people had ever seen me and I was a lot more fun to be around. Then there were the haters.  I had people tell me it was a shame that I’d lost my chest (I hadn’t, I’m still wearing the same bra size), I had people tell me I looked gaunt and sick (I didn’t, I was a size 12 which personally I think there is nothing wrong with at all) and I had people who were genuinely pissed off that I had lost weight and they couldn’t. I was quite upset by these comments at first, but I very quickly learned that this was sheer jealousy.  I also realised it was something I had done to others in the past and for that, I’m sorry.

Keeping the weight off is harder than losing it.

Going in, I always knew that if I ever did lose weight, it would be a life long effort that I would have to keep up.  I didn’t realise just how easy it would be to put back on though.  In the last two months I have gained back 10 of the kgs I lost.  It took me about 5 months to lose the weight and thanks to the elimination diet and my cautiousness with treat meals, alcohol and exercise, I managed to keep most of it off for a couple of months, occasionally gaining a losing the same 2-3 kgs over and over.  Unfortunately I got complacent.  One treat didn’t hurt, why not add another? Then another… Then another.  It got to the point where while I was still eating a clean and healthy breakfast, lunch and dinner, I was also treating myself to snacks everyday that I didn’t need.  Some days I was even adding in another meal, of junk food, just because I could, not because I was hungry. And while I was exercising every day, it wasn’t helping and it was getting harder to do. I started to feel tired all the time again, my mood wasn’t as light, my eczema was playing up, all the awful side effects of a bad diet I’d been putting up with for years were coming back.  Then one day, my jeans were uncomfortably tight.  I stood on the scales and was really disappointed in myself.  They say that you crave what you eat and it’s true.  While I was eating 100% clean, all I wanted was unprocessed ‘goodies’ to eat.  When I started adding in more and more treats, all I wanted was sugary junk.  And it was difficult to get back on track.  I had to retrain myself from the beginning.  Luckily, as I’d done it before, it wasn’t quite as hard as all the other times I’d unsuccessfully tried to eat a healthier diet.

My personality got a makeover.

I was just happier, less stressed out, and nicer to be around, the more weight I lost.  It wasn’t actually because of the weight I was losing, it was because I was looking after myself and this is evident in the fact that when I started treating myself too often again, I got grumpy, depressed, stressed, even a little jealous again, all the negative traits that I had managed to get a handle on came back with a vengeance.  Being happy is a ‘side effect’ of weight loss, that goes with the better diet and it’s certainly a side effect I’m keen to have continue.

I’m proud of what I’ve learned this year.  Sure, I didn’t keep all of it up, but I got myself to a point where I was able to get back on track, every single time I slipped up.  A weight loss journey is a roller coaster ride.  There are good days and bad days, weeks where you smash out goal after goal, followed by weeks or days where you get off track, berate yourself, then get back on.  You have to deal with jealousy and also a lot of people who are interested in your ‘secrets’.  The side effects I experienced, a sunny disposition, clear skin, healthy hair and nails, no more stomach pain, energy to burn and an ability to sleep well at night, plus all the other wonderful things made all the hard moments all worth it.

Smiles and Sunshine
Katie

I Love A Good Storm

It’s a beautiful summers day, the sun streaming down in hot rays, kissing the earth with light and warmth.  Lush green leaves sparkle in the sunlight, drifting lazily from side to side in the gentle breeze. Birds sing happily to each other while bees hum their way through the flowers in the garden, taking only what they need, leaving a beautiful pollen smell as they go.  The sky is a pale blue, dotted with white cotton wool clouds forming shapes of rabbits, dinosaurs and indeterminable images.

Without warning, the sky darkens, thick grey clouds, rushing across, obscuring any hint of blue that was. The wind rises from a gentle breeze to a howling gust, roughing up everything in it’s sight.  It’s a cold wind, which warrants shutting the windows.  It makes no difference to the sound, a whistling at the door and a rattling of the windows, a surround sound experience.

An electric white light flickers across the sky, blindingly bright against the dull grey.  Moments later a low rumbling follows, the sound ascending in volume, rolling louder and louder, like an air plane making it’s way across the sky, yet there are no planes in sight.

Lightening and thunder argue with each other, back and forth, the sky lit up briefly, flickering Morse code, only to be told off, long and loud, seconds later by the thunder.  The lightening undeterred, continues it’s mission, getting closer as more definition shows in it’s shape.  No longer lighting up the entire sky, white forks now splayed quickly across the clouds, turning the grey to an eerie purple in the process.

Excitement rises inside me, the electricity of the lightening awakening my senses, a tingling sensation in my skin of expectation.  The smell of warm concrete cooling rapidly permeating my nose, the thunder keeping me alert.  I stare captivated out the window, my eagerness rising at what is to come.

The wind picks up.  Leaves fall from the trees, tumbling haphazardly to the ground, only to be lifted up again, dancing their way across the yard.  The rattling of the windows intensifies, as if urgently trying to get inside, away from the extreme harsh outside world, some of the breeze making it’s way through the gaps in the panes.  A loud gunshot like crack and flash of white penetrates the air, lightening and thunder finally reaching an agreement.

The sky opens up, small white drops of ice dropping heavily to the ground, bouncing back up before settling again.  Clink, clink, clink on the roof as the hail pelts down, increasing in frequency and size, white marbles of ice, dancing on the lawn, blanketing it in a textured white within moments.

I can no longer hear the thunder over the hail on the roof, the clinking is now a constant boom as hundreds of large balls of hail bounce off the roof in unison before plunging further to the ground below.  Leaves whirl around the sky, above the rooftops, all around the yard as the wind reaches gale force levels, thrashing against the windows, the panes vibrating with the pressure.  I can see the fence opposite me straining against the strength of the wind.  I hope it will hold.

The hail subsides to a heavy rainfall, the occasional white marble descending amongst it, still pounding on the roof, but losing it’s urgency rapidly.  The wind decreases, the windows cease to rattle but I can still feel a draft coming through the cracks in the panes.  The clouds are losing their dullness, becoming brighter with white as the sun tries to peek through.

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The hail collected on the ground, partially hidden by the settling leaves is slowly being melted by each falling raindrop.  The air is warming as the wind subsides rapidly, almost to no breeze at all.  The clouds are parting, sunlight glimpsing through the cracks, sending streaks of light across the messy lawn.  The rain stops and within minutes the only evidence of the storm is the mess of leaves, petals and other debris strewn  chaotically across the yard.  The birds start singing again, making their way from the safety of the trees to the lawn below, looking for worms that may have made their way to the surface with the water.

Just a typical Kiwi summers day really.

Cajun Chicken Zoodles

It was pointed out to me last night that it’s been a while since I shared a recipe and that’s something I’d been thinking about for a while myself.  I haven’t been very creative in the kitchen lately.  I’ve been so run-down and busy that most of my eats have been quick and easy, minimal thinking and effort required.

I did however a couple of weeks adapt an old favourite recipe of mine, Cajun Chicken Pasta with the intention of sharing it and I think the time has come.

This recipe used to call for cream, butter, pasta, it was a real treat and one that I had far too often (insert bulging stomach here), however my new way of having it tastes pretty much exactly the same, is gluten and dairy free, low carb and most of all, full of goodness.

Cajun Chicken Zoodles

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For two serves:

3 tbsp coconut oil
200 gm chicken breast, diced
1 diced onion
5 sliced button mushrooms
1/2 red pepper sliced
1/2 can coconut cream (refrigerate overnight and scoop out the white from the top)
2 tbsp Cajun seasoning
1 tbsp lemon pepper seasoning
1 tbsp thyme flake
Salt and pepper to taste
2 zucchini

In a large pan heat 1 tbsp of oil on medium heat.

Brown chicken for 3-4 minutes then set aside.

Heat remaining oil, then soften onions until translucent.

Add mushrooms and peppers and sautee for 2-3 minutes.

Add chicken back into pan.

Add the white part of the coconut cream.

Mix in Cajun, lemon pepper and thyme well.

Cover and simmer until chicken is tender, approximately 20 minutes.

During simmering, use a spiralizer to cut the zucchini into noodles (zoodles), or thinly slice them.

Season the chicken mixture to taste.  You may want to add more Cajun or lemon pepper as well.

Stir in zoodles and heat for a couple of minutes until the zoodles are softened, but still a little firm and the cream has reduced a little.

Serve immediately.  I also like to make extra as it reheats nicely the next day for lunches.

Hope you enjoy this recipe, would love to know what you think if you try it.

Smiles and Sunshine
Katie

 

 

Mental Illness And The Workplace

Struggling with a mental illness is hard enough, let alone having to continue to work while getting through it.  It’s not classed as a typical sickness, because on the outside there just doesn’t seem to be anything wrong.  We aren’t vomiting every five minutes, we aren’t doubled over in pain because of an injury we’ve received, or because we have appendicitis or kidney stones, our noses aren’t running away from us and we aren’t coughing and hacking our way through the day.

Of course there are physical symptoms, we might look a bit more dishevelled than usual as pride in the appearance is usually one of the first things to go.  Our workmates might comment that we haven’t smiled or laughed in ages, or that we look worried.  They might even catch us crying, but will usually pass it off as an overwhelmed moment.  But during our toughest moments of being unwell with mental illness, it is really hard for us to take time off work, because we aren’t actually sick.  Of course we are genuinely sick, mental illness is an illness just the same, but there is a stigma that goes with it, in our own heads and in the minds of the mentally well people in society that it’s not a real illness and that we should just get over it.

I am lucky enough to work for a company that puts staff wellness, both mental and physical, above everything else.  If a staff member is sick, whether it’s medical or mental, we are treated amazingly well.  Flowers and thoughtful notes are sent, no pressure is put on us to get back to work and any kind of assistance that can be offer will be, such as counselling in my case.  My boss, my former boss and even the big boss of the company are fully aware of my mental health struggles and have supported me in a way that I have never received before.  The big boss always asks me how I’m doing whenever he sees me and he has in the past even asked me if they were doing enough for me.  They were, I couldn’t have asked for more.

I know exactly how lucky I am.  I have worked for a lot of different companies in my time and this is the first time that I have been treated like a human when I’ve had my depression and anxiety get in the way of my life and work.  I used to hide it from my employers.  I would call in sick regularly because I simply couldn’t face even getting out of bed, let alone going to work, but I would lie about the reason. I was always sick, always had a cold, always having headaches, because that’s a lot easier than telling someone that you can’t come to work because you are physically incapable of pulling the duvet off yourself.

I have worked for places that have allowed me to take a little time off each week to go to a counselling session and not made me feel awkward about it.  I have worked for places that weren’t interested and said that if I needed help I needed to do it on my own time.  All ends of the spectrum.

I remember about six years ago I went through a very traumatic period in my life.  I had unexpectedly fallen pregnant, in a relationship that was toxic for both parties.  I was on the pill at the time so it came as a complete shock to both myself and my partner.  We were living in a small rural town, near his family who weren’t my biggest fans, but a days drive away from my friends and family.  The pregnancy turned out to be ectopic and I needed to have surgery, the only surgery I’ve ever had, to save my tube.

I had a few weeks off work to recover and I was offered a few free counselling sessions.  It didn’t help.  The strain this event put on my relationship was crazy.  I needed support but my partner couldn’t give it to me.  He needed support but he didn’t want to admit it.  As I mentioned previously my friends and family were too far away to help me out (of course my mother had offered to come and stay with me, but I didn’t want to put her out), but I also didn’t want people knowing about what I was going through.  I was ashamed.  My relationship crumbled daily, taking with it my sanity.  I was demoted at work due to the amount of time I had taken and continued to take off.  I had gone from being a valued member of the staff, who had gone to BBQs at the owners house several times with my partner, to being someone who was slowly being pushed out.  Of course they wouldn’t admit that.

I bit the bullet and decided to tell my boss about the depression I was going through.  I explained that it had happened in the past, but that this time it was a result of the recent trauma I had suffered.  I told them that I was seeking help and that I wanted to make it out the other side.  I still had a drive to live and I was holding onto it with all the strength I could muster.

The response absolutely floored me:  “We don’t think you will get through this.”

Um seriously? I still to this day reel every time I think about it.  I know that it says more about them than it does about me, but it is absolutely disgusting.  The last thing a person going through a mental illness, who has worked up the courage to tell you what is going on with them needs to hear is that they are not going to make it.  For some people this would be enough to push them over the edge, They might as well have been handed a gun and instructed what to do.  Seriously, for some people a statement like that would be enough to convince them that the time for suicide had come.

Needless to say I didn’t work there for much longer.  My relationship broke up and I moved back home.  It was a long time before I got over that bout of depression.  My family was great, my friends were great, but I had so much anger, hurt and resentment that it took me over two years to move on from the whole situation.  But it was never going to be the last time I had a brush with mental illness.

Like I mentioned above, I am lucky to work in a place that respects my struggle and wants to help me with it and I appreciate it to no end, especially as I have experienced the very worst in workplace tolerance of mental health, the very best and everything in between.  In my current workplace, I am comfortable with my mental illness issues and I don’t mind if my workmates know.  In other workplaces, I didn’t want my workmates knowing, in part due to the stigma that is slowly lessening, but also because I was being treated so terribly by my bosses, I didn’t need it from my workmates too.

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I would like to one day see all work places accept mental illness for what it is and be supportive of any staff going through a struggle.  There has been a shift in recent years and a lot of workplaces do offer assistance and acceptance for staff, but there is still a long way to go.  People with depression and other struggles are terrified to share the reasons they are always calling in sick to their bosses, for fear of rejection, ridicule and indifference.  It’s the same reason we are afraid to tell our peers, because we don’t know how things will pan out afterwards.  Will things change for the better or will they take a turn for the worse, increasing our illness in the process.  It is a shame because there are so many people out there who could have recovered sooner if they had just had a little support from their employer.

Smiles and Sunshine
Katie

 

3 Days, 3 Quotes, Part 3

I was nominated by some wonderful fellow bloggers, Elusive Trope and From Crazy With Love for the 3 days, 3 quotes challenge and here is my day three, with yet another song quote.

This time I’ve strayed from my usual metal/rock song and I’ve gone for something quite mellow, but still relatively alternative.  It’s a very popular new song and I think the main appeal to the song is the fact that it is just so damn relatable!  The song is called Here by Alessia Cara.

I’m sorry if I seem uninterested
Or I’m not listenin’ or I’m indifferent
Truly, I ain’t got no business here
But since my friends are here
I just came to kick it but really
I would rather be at home all by myself not in this room
With people who don’t even care about my well-being
I don’t dance, don’t ask, I don’t need a boyfriend
So you can go back, please enjoy your party
I’ll be here, somewhere in the corner under clouds of marijuana
With this boy who’s hollering I can hardly hear
Over this music I don’t listen to and I don’t wanna get with you
So tell my friends that I’ll be over here

Oh oh oh here oh oh oh here oh oh oh
I ask myself what am I doing here?
Oh oh oh here oh oh oh here
And I can’t wait till we can break up outta here

The song is about being at a party and feeling horribly out of place, just wishing you could be anywhere but here.  I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve felt this way.  Sitting in the corner, waiting for the time that I could leave.  Even being outside by myself, away from the loudness, the social pressures and expectations would be better than having to pretend that I wasn’t ridiculously uncomfortable.

I personally used to hate being at parties because I was terrified of being seen as the ‘loser’, the person by themselves not having fun with everyone else.  I would often try to start conversations with people but there would always be someone more interesting than me to talk to so my attempts would usually be cut short.  I also struggle with the noise of the music.  It’s not always music that I don’t like, but I really can’t stand being in a social situation where you have to yell at each other just to be heard.  The amount of times I’ve smiled and nodded when in reality I have no idea what’s been said to me is pretty amazing.

I’ve been told in the past that I’m like an Ice Queen.  I was surprised by this, because I’m a pretty friendly person most of the time, but after hearing the first few lines of this song I finally understood it.  After a while of being at a party I would often give up.  Anyone who did try to talk to me after this point wouldn’t get a lot out of me.  I just couldn’t cope with trying so hard for the entire night and it would get to a point where I would shut down and just wait to go home.  Usually I’d pester my friends to get going from this point forward too.  There have also been plenty of times where I’ve literally just walked out and walked home without telling anyone.  I was always hurt that no one ever text or called me to check up on me, where I was or what had happened, but I think it was more that I was just so unnoticeable at parties, because I couldn’t socialise, that people rarely noticed.

I don’t go to parties anymore.  I don’t have any desire to.  I’m quite happy to socialise with a few friends, with the music on an audible but low volume so we can hear each other and I prefer these nights to be with an activity.  Games nights, poker, movies, something so that I don’t have to spend the entire night trying to make conversation.  It’s a lot easier for me this way and also a lot more enjoyable.

When I first heard this song I wondered if Alessia had social anxiety herself.  After hearing it a few times and seeing the reaction online to the song I’m not so sure anymore.  She quite possibly does, but I think that secretly a lot of people just don’t like the party scene and would rather spend a quiet night in, or do something fun with friends instead of struggling to prove themselves in a situation that they don’t even want to be in in the first place.

As always, here is the music video:

Smiles and Sunshine
Katie