What flows flows / This Week

Hello!

I have been in a very reflective mood these past few weeks. Maybe it’s because I haven’t had enough time to write properly, so everything is accumulating? So I apologise in advance, because I think this will be a bit of a jumble.

To begin with, I am so happy. Like so, so happy. Happier than I ever thought would be possible. It’s all this painful healing, I think. I think I am finally coming out of the other side.

Yesterday, I came across pictures from a few years ago, and they shocked me. There were photos with my arms showing, which was a very rare occasion, because 99% of the time they had to be hidden under long sleeves. I couldn’t understand the severity at the time. In these photos, scars littered my forearms in ways that I don’t remember thinking much of. What makes me feel worse, is that this was only the tip of the iceberg. I know that later my torso and thighs met the same fate. Hundreds of scars. And I know it was only going to get worse, and more dangerous, in the years to come.

These days are so foreign to me now. I remember having to be physically restrained so that I couldn’t hurt myself. And this happened time and time again. I cannot comprehend the pain that those close to me must have been experiencing. There are a few parts about my experience with self harm that I can’t write about. It’s too painful. Thinking about it hurts in ways that I never knew possible. These blurry memories are so painful. Combined with all the other things going on during these times, I barely even recognise that person as me. I feel so full now. I feel so alive, and worthy to be so.

There are years
that I cannot speak of.
There are stories that ache
in a purgatory between
mine and ours. I am choking
on a cotton alphabet
soaked in gasoline,
and the only way to save
my bloodstream from the poison
drip is to swallow
the flaming matchstick, so
listen. Catch fire with me.
There are years
that must be spoken of.

(Adira Bennett).

A song that has been helping me lately is A Rush of Blood to the Head, by Coldplay. It’s comforting in a way I cannot describe.

1000drawings: “ sunset by Loish ”

(Image sourced from: Loish, 1000drawings.tumblr.com).

University has been so busy lately. Classes are over for this semester, and now there are just exams left until next semester! I have written so many reports, so many assignments, and done so many tests. Compared to how crazy the past few weeks have been, exams feel almost relaxing!

Some things that have been making me really happy and feeling at peace lately are:

  • This quote: “I no longer force things. What flows flows, what crashes, crashes. I only have space and energy for things that are meant for me.” (The Artidote). This has been so peace-giving lately.
  • Spending so much time with the dogs, my husband, and my family. Right now, the sun is streaming in, a dog is on my lap, and I’m writing my final report for this semester. It’s bliss.
  • Spending time with new friends and old. I’m not exaggerating when I say that my friends are each amazing. It blows my mind every day.
  • Dreaming about the future, while trying to enjoy the present moment. We have so many ideas for our house that we are saving toward, and for our future family. It’s all so exciting!

1000drawings:
“by Ryo Takemasa
”

(Image sourced from: Ryo Takemasa, 1000drawings.tumblr.com).

Have a beautiful day, friends!

Love & light,
Kaitlyn.

Changing Veganism.

Hello!

Today, well tonight, I’m going to write about something I’ve wanted to for a little while now, but I keep putting it off.

I feel so very guilty, and that’s part of the reason why this needs to change, and why I need to change too.


(Image sources from: lemonfed.tumblr.com).

About three years ago now, I became vegan almost overnight, removing all animal products from my diet quicker than you could say cheese. I had very good intentions for doing this; I had done all my research and educated myself on the awfulness of animal agriculture. I knew that I could no longer support the industry with my choices and money, because these sweet animals were no different to the dogs I call family.

However, during this time I was also very unwell, stuck in the depths of an eating disorder that thrived on restriction, and the knowledge of being able to cut out whole food groups beneath a sunny guise of ethics.

And these ethics, they are tormenting me. They truly are. My heart is in veganism, it always will be. It’s an act of peace, and of love, something that feels right to me.

But my heart is also trying to do what’s right in all the ways. For my body and my mind, and for my healing from the past.

I have decided that I need to ensure that I choose not to consume animal products only as a result of my most true, real beliefs, rather than any unresolved fear that I haven’t conquered yet. Therefore, for the time being, I’m making the choice to not label what I eat and how I eat.

I don’t want to have to face the guilt for eating something that I’m not absolutely sure is vegan, that I haven’t scrutinized the label over, anymore. I need to be totally free of this fear and guilt that is ingrained with eating.

For now, I’m choosing to still eat mostly vegan foods, as this is what I truly prefer most of the time, but if I feel like something vegetarian then that’s okay too. I will never return to eating meat, but simply am choosing to reduce my harm to both the animals, and myself this time round too, to as little as possible.

I’ve been putting off talking and writing about this because I’m so afraid of being judged. I’m also afraid of how I will explain this to those around me, how I will explain that my actions no longer always support my steadfast beliefs, or perhaps they do but in a different way. I’m writing this all out because it helps to get it clear in my head.

I know the horrors of our animal-consuming culture, how horrible it is, and that’s what makes this so hard. But this is something that I feel as though I need to go through, and a challenge I need to face, in order to get to where I need to be.

So for now, it’s not goodbye veganism, or even goodbye to my happy little herbivore self. But instead I’m just saying goodbye to a part of me that’s still holding onto a deep set fear from the past, in order to become a happier, healthier little herbivore.


(Image sources from: femmehealing.tumblr.com).

Veganism taught me so much about all the beautiful species that grace our earth, and now it’s time to discover this grace and kindness within a different context too; from myself and outwards.

Love & light,

Kaitlyn.

There is more to you than yesterday // This Week

A lot has happened this week, and in particular the last couple of days, and I’m unsure of if meaningful is the right word to use here, but all of it definitely made me feel so many things.

We have moved into our new flat, and so far it’s been really good. It’s so lovely to have space, be able to go outdoors, and breathe fresh air. It’s also much closer to where my parents live, so we were able to pop around there the other night bringing a movie and snacks, and it was lovely (just everything about this move is lovely, really) to spend time with them. This also means that we are so much closer to my parent’s dogs too! We had a spare afternoon, so we “dog-napped” one of them and drove to a big park, which involved swimming, rolling in mud, and more swimming (on the dog’s part, not ours, for clarity).

We also had some very sad news however, that our close relative passed away over the weekend. So in the middle of the week we flew down to the other end of the island for two days. The funeral, although sad, was also beautiful. So many people attended and spoke, sharing stories and beautiful tributes. It was a very special occasion. I don’t really know why, but being there and around family, made me really look forward to and be excited for our future family.

During this time away, we also got the opportunity to see my brother-in-law’s new car. Saying that it was the most fun I have ever had in a car is not an exaggeration, and I’m certainly not a car person. It’s this tiny little sports car, so low to the ground that you are practically sitting on the ground, that he has just finished painting himself. It has just two seats, and also happens to have a convertible rooftop! We took it out at night, took the roof off, and blasted Sail by AWOLNATION probably annoying loudly. It was a clear night sky, and by raising my arms my fingers felt almost as if they were skimming across the stars. It gave me so much peace. It reminded me a little bit of this scene from The Perks of being a Wallflower.

(Image sourced from: https://68.media.tumblr.com/818e2d487204bf3c03dccf09b816a8fa/tumblr_o6nhn7t4Pb1v66xy4o1_500.jpg)

Yesterday felt so very busy too! In the morning I had my Terrestrial Ecology class and then lab. We learnt about the moose and wolves of Isle Royale, an island in the middle of a huge lake which, completely naturally, ended up being an Ecologist’s dream experiment. The National Park itself is beautiful, and coupled with the rich ecological history (it makes me so excited to just think about! Eeek! I love what I study!), it is now definitely a dream to travel there someday.

(Image sourced from: https://www.nps.gov//isro/planyourvisit/images/hill_islands_1.jpg

(Image sourced from: http://media.cntraveler.com/photos/54bfdc8ef026e0d339fb6dea/master/pass/isle-royale-national-park-michigan.jpg)

That evening I went to work and experienced my very first bar shift. I have been training for it for a while now, but my biggest problem is my anxiety around it. My hands get so weak that I can’t open bottles of wine! So when I arrived yesterday I was shaking and my stomach was doing flip flops, but despite this it was actually quite a nice change. I tried to use mindfulness techniques during quiet times, and they were soothing. In the past, this sort of experience would have involved far more debilitating symptoms, so much so that I probably would have been unable to work. It was like a friendly little reminder that things have changed, that they are better now. It also helped that I had this beautiful quote stuck in my head after copying it down into my planner, particularly the final line, “There is more to you than yesterday.”

(Image sourced from: https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/564x/7c/30/a0/7c30a078c297b9f6ce3e8afba698df26.jpg)

By the end of the night I had served many drinks, made lots of food, and even made somebody a Cappuccino, which surprisingly turned out alright! This whole experience really helped with boosting my confidence, and I will even admit it was a little fun! Being trained and working bar shifts was one of my goals for this year, so I’m super happy with how it all went.

I then dove home, and this time was really important to me. I hadn’t driven home from work at night in so long, just because I normally take the bus. But last night I got to be reminded of how much I enjoy driving home at night, listening to the radio with all the streets quiet. It did though bring along a big bout of that “bad nostalgia” that I previously tried to write about, because this time used to be where so many of the awful thoughts would riot and scream, and all those drives home from work in the past are painful thinking back. But last night was different. Things are okay now. These memories just erupt when I least expect them.

What was supposed to be a quick, straightforward drive home ended up being very different. I was driving on an empty motorway, almost home, when suddenly I saw a person on the side of the motorway trying to wave me down. It was then that I noticed that something was wrong. I pulled over, along with another car who had also seen, and this was my first time helping out with a car accident. A car had swerved across several lanes on the motorway, and plummeted off the side into some trees. It was so lucky that it was night, and that there was hardly any traffic, otherwise it would have been a lot worse. We had to help the passengers, and one was injured and understandably very shaken. Thankfully, nobody was seriously hurt, although their car looked in bad shape. The police arrived, and later the ambulance too, and everyone is going to be okay. I felt bad though, because I didn’t really know what to do in this situation, so I just comforted the person who was upset and waited with them until help arrived. I don’t know if anybody really knows what to do in these times though. I naively never expect things like that to happen.

I’m going to end this here, as soon we are going to spend time with family, with my warmest wishes for your week! I hope it has been a good week for you, and that you have so much hope for the next one too.

Love and light,
Kaitlyn.