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Who Am I and Why Am I Here? I Write Because…

As I’ve decided to throw my luck in with both Blogging University and Writing 101, I decided to combine the posts and here we are.

I’ll get the biographical stuff out of the way first. My name is Emily and I live in Australia in a beautiful area of Melbourne (who am I kidding it’s all beautiful because it’s Australia and Melbourne has been named the most livable city in the world).

I’m here to learn. It’s important to me to produce the best possible blog that I can for myself and my readers. I joined the esteemed ranks of WordPress at the end of September 2015, and the whole idea was to write mainly for myself, record some memories and really enjoy myself and my writing. So far it’s been thrilling, but stressful and I can’t figure out if that’s a good or bad thing! I think it means I’ve been caring a little too much about what I write, and post. I’ve been wrestling over pieces white-knuckled and pop-eyed very late until the night here, so I asked myself what the original reason for getting a website was…  I adore writing, but I’m unsure of my writing style. Am I funny, sad, serious (God forbid) or practical about my writing? Perhaps all of these things, but one can’t make a website for everything. I don’t think there’s any one good way to write, part of the reason I’m here is to read other people’s blogs because you all have a different writing style, and vastly different things to say. I’ve already read a few of your blogs, and the wonderful diversity came through really well.

What I’ve also realised is that what I write is up to me because it’s my blog, my site and I control what goes on there, so why am I afraid to experiment? When I first started this site, I spent two weeks learning about WordPress, as mainstream as it is, because i’ve forgotten all I learnt at university, I did a year of Information Systems, which comprised of the basics of html, database stuff, and Visual Basic (shudder). I was attempting a Bachelor of Social Science (Psychology), however due to complications of type 1 diabetes I lost my leg below the right knee (Well it was amputated, let’s be honest) so I had to give up uni and learn to live with it. I’m telling you this because I’ve decided to go back to uni and get that degree, although I can’t get recognition for the work I’ve already done but that’s ok, I have time and I know that I need to go over things as it’s been a while.

By now you’ll of course using a pseudonym. I didn’t when I started writing, but as this is an exercise in honesty and making myself write about the things I find most uncomfortable in life I’ve changed everything over to the name of my site, except for my first name which really is Emily. I consider this to be a form of ‘online therapy’ so I will be open about the things that trouble me, so I have to be fairly unapologetic about what I write. If the last month has taught me anything, it’s that I need not be afraid what I write about because people are mostly kind and helpful, as long as you ask for help. My advice to anyone new to blogging would be take risks, play around with your website until you find a theme that suits you and post to your heart’s content, especially on the commons because we’re all here to learn and get the most out of this experience. I’m looking forward to getting to know you, and your blogs.

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I’m suffering from a crisis of self-worth for the very first time in my life and I don’t like it one bit. I’m second, third and fourth guessing everything I write and can’t seem to post the way I wanted to when I first started this blog. I had every intention to write humorous stories about some of the incidences in my life and instead I’ve been writing sad, depressing stories about me having diabetes. I don’t take myself seriously but lately, how I feel about me has changed. So what happened to change me?

Recently I was trashed on Facebook, and it was the very first time I’ve ever had someone do that to me on the Internet.  Some people might say ‘So what? I get trolled 6 times a day!’. Good for you, but for me it was devastating. My immediate reaction was hurt, then fury, a desire to maim, and back to hurt. Why have I taken this so seriously? I know deep down that what other people think about me has nothing to do with my perception of myself but this has really dented me. She doesn’t know me; I don’t know her so why has this affected me so badly? I know I’m not alone here because social media has changed the way we view and interact with others. I haven’t gone back to Facebook for weeks… which is probably a good thing.  Don’t try this at home kids, it might get interesting.

The Quiz

So how do I know how damaged my self-esteem is by an online quiz ( sounded like a good idea at the time). Unfortunately, the first one froze on me and I immediately assumed it didn’t like me. I’ll get back to that one later because to convince it otherwise. I’ll wait for you BeliefNet!

Next quiz came from Netdoctor which sounds professional, but don’t get too excited yet. It returned the following result:

You have scored 62. (Out of what exactly? I assume 100 but you just don’t know)

What your scoring means

You have quite good self-esteem on the whole (No I don’t. Trust me). But you sometimes fail to believe in yourself enough. (I believe in me, it’s just everyone else that has their doubts). Remember you are a special and unique person (Of course I am, I’m so unique they broke the mould after I was made. That’s because it had diabetes and they wanted to put it out of it’s misery). Many people with your score feel confident in what they do for a living and get a lot of affirmation from that. (Sorry I don’t work, and anyway, it isn’t what I do that gives myself affirmation, it’s supposed to be who I am that does that. Tsk tsk self-worth quiz). It’s important however, to feel good about who you are, not just about what you do. (I do feel good about who I am, er I think I do?) Have a think about this. (Have a think about what in particular? Is there some great truth in this where I simply haven’t picked up the context yet?)

Good heavens, what a load of rubbish! A very simplistic question and multiple choice answer system that really needs to take a bloody good look at itself, and if it doesn’t like the criticism too bad.

On to the next quiz from psychtest and this one was touted as a scientifically viable so it had better impress me with chocolate and flowers. Fair warning psychtest.

Overall Score is 60

Your results indicate that you have relatively high self-esteem (Relatively speaking of course). You recognize your inner value and it shows in your personal life, relationships and career/school success (True, I always like to tell people about my inner value). You exude confidence, and believe enough in yourself to pursue things whole-heartedly. (My pursuits extend to eating and sleeping at the moment). Such a healthy self-esteem likely allows you to handle stress effectively and maintain an overall sense of well-being (Are you serious? I’m so stressed out I can’t think straight). You should value and nurture this quality…it will take you far in life. (Sure, how I feel about myself will get me far away from life with chronic illness, look at me go).

Ten questions and it thinks it knows me? This is supposed to be a scientific test from reputable people. I could have a 5 minute chat with someone and they could find out more than this test did.

On to Queendon.com and this looks more positive. This time there’s a whopping 34 questions (!) which is a bit more comprehensive than the last 2 tests. Some of the questions I had already answered in the Psychtest quiz, but that was fine because I’m at heart essentially a lazy person.

Your score is 69 (Now I’m getting slightly worried, does this mean the tests have been accurate? I’m staggered that this kind of pop psychology could be right).

You generally don’t concern yourself too much about being rejected by others, although it does cross your mind from time to time. (That’s true, people can like or not like me and I’m not too worried because I know what they’re missing out on). However, you don’t really seem to be the type to bend over backwards in order to get and keep other people’s approval – at least not too often. (I’m not and I said I’m not, weren’t you paying attention?) Rejection by the people in your life may very well hurt you and may be something you have experienced before, but you try not to let it affect how you feel about yourself. (Who’s rejecting me and what did they say about me?) Although you likely know this, the only approval you should be worried about is your own. (No, go on, say you enjoyed me being at your website) Moreover, when you respect and approve of yourself, you are more likely to project an image to others that says “I am worthy, and I am have much to offer to someone.” (What was that last bit? Pretty bad mistake on a quiz that’s collecting data. Did I mention the data collecting?)

Tell me you love me (I mean literally)

Now to give myself the love that I clearly need and get some advice.  Hmmm how about some quotes to keep me going?

 

The great thing in the world is not so much to seek happiness as to earn peace and self-respect.

Thomas Huxley

(What is wrong with happiness? It makes me happy to be happy. And who’s this Thomas Huxley when he’s at home anyway? I only follow celebrities because they just get it right all the time).

Drugs are a waste of time. They destroy your memory and your self-respect and everything that goes along with your self-esteem. They’re no good at all.

Kurt Cobain

(Listen to Kurt, he knows what he’s talking about. This man didn’t just take drugs, the drugs had him. What? He’s dead, he can’t hear me).

 

Cutting people out of my life, does not mean I hate them, it simply means I respect me.

(Now that’s better, that person knows what they’re talking about. Pity that I have absolutely no idea who they are).

What does it all mean?

Self-esteem must come from within us so that we grow and nourish ourselves. It’s dangerous to rely on other people to make us feel good about ourselves, for you will always be disappointed and hurt as people seldom live up to our expectations. It’s easy to accept pats on the back from other people but when they’re not there, you’re left to wilt and slowly starve emotionally. It’s not healthy to rely on anyone for boosts to your self-worth but you know you can rely on you. I’m happy that my image of myself hasn’t changed and it speaks highly of my mother, who obviously built a solid groundwork for me to grow upon. Self-esteem and confidence aren’t to be confused with selfishness, to which the person thinks only of themselves and their own needs, and hardly cares for anyone else’s opinions, wants or needs.

It seems although the person got what they wanted at the time by trashing my profile on Facebook they didn’t actually win in the long run. My core values and beliefs are intact, but as a long time internet user I’m shocked this hasn’t happened before to me. When did we get comfortable with this lack of respect for other people? What makes it right to treat other people badly just because they’re behind the anonymity of a computer screen? Threatened violence towards people on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other social media seems to becoming the norm, as if it didn’t matter. People believe they can get away treating others in a truly despicable manner when they wouldn’t dare say these things face to face. They should be accountable; however, police don’t seem to know how to cope with online bullying altogether because the laws aren’t in place to effect the more serious offenders. It’s up to us as individuals to reject the idea that saying that threats, trolling, online bullying, and this is all just as unacceptable as it would be to their face. If you’re tempted to attack someone for a comment put yourself in a real life situation and ask yourself ‘Would I say this to them in person?’

Oops, I almost forgot about Beliefnet.com, my first quiz:

Congratulations. You’ve learned the importance of respecting yourself and drawing appropriate boundaries. You are the king or queen of your own castle and a good example to others of what it means to have a high sense of self-esteem.

Maybe I’m stronger than I give myself credit for.

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This is by one of my very favourite authors, Rudyard Kipling. This poem is about a father giving advice to his son, but it really resonates for everyone. Everyone should be given a copy of this on their 18th Birthday. It’s about growing up, shouldering responsibility, but also assigning yourself value, and cherishing your own character. A fantastic read, and one of my favourite poems of Kipling’s.

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise

If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;

If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings – nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;

If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!”

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The Daily Post: Read or Write?

Today’s (or tonight’s as the case may be) is from The Vexing Point and asks;

 WRITING PROMPT #61 – READ OR WRITE?

When I was a child I absolutely ATE books. Couldn’t get enough of them. An avid reader herself, my mother was instrumental in my love of reading, buying me books for Christmas, visiting my school and reading to us there. I read and re-read so many books my parents had a beautiful cedar bookcase made for one of my birthdays which I still have. My various schools had programs to encourage children to read and Mum used to joke ‘But how do you get them to stop?’

Then something changed. I lost the capacity for reading. The books I loved were sitting in the bookcase gathering dust and I had no idea why. It took me quite a while to work it out and in hindsight I really should have known. I was diagnosed with depression and it had taken the pleasure away from me. I actually wasn’t too upset at the depression; I was more horrified that I could no longer read as I used to. I had lost something that was so precious to me, the feeling was almost a type of grief because that world was gone. I had loved Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Crime Novels, and even my university text books were given a place in my study. I was fast becoming a TV addict and I really didn’t like it.

At that point I hadn’t read any of my books for about 6 months, but what I didn’t know was that I wasn’t going to even touch a book for many years.

When I was a child, I used to write all the time. My mother still has a plastic folder with laminated large writing in it, my early attempts at a kiddy novel which has never seen the light of day and never will. When my father got his first computer I would commandeer it whenever his back was turned, which was difficult because a) he worked from home, and b) he had eyes in the back of his head.

I was 11 years old when I won a scholarship to my high school to the delight of my parents. I had done one of my stunning pieces of writing work that came so easily to me, almost as if someone else was writing through me. I was still 11 when I wrote a poem that was published in a literature magazine for adults, a heady moment indeed. Then I was diagnosed with depression, and I wasn’t to write anything for many years.

At this point I’m still depressed, still mired down in the world by the consequences of having poorly controlled type one diabetes for 28 years, but the other day something incredible happened. I woke up. I literally woke up from a sleep that I had been dreaming for a long time, and so I started to try and look after myself by doing many things that I had neglected. I started to blood test more often, and I actually cared about myself for the first time in years. I realised that life had started when I wasn’t looking, that I had believed in the lie I had created for myself, that my achievements and my life was behind me.

Only in the past two weeks have I started to write again, not just a post a week to keep myself happy but to really record the events of my life for myself primarily, but I don’t mind if anyone deigns to read them. I’ve found myself posting things a lot more than I thought I would, I’ve had inspiration from all different aspects of my life and I’m going to run with it. I’m also reading again, not my books just yet but I have time. It’s other people’s blogs that I read, their stories fill me with a rich satisfaction that I haven’t felt for years. I hope that I never lose that feeling again.

So, I can state with complete confidence, it’s both reading and writing for me, there are no in-betweens. That’s just the way I like it.