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I’ve been meaning to speak on this topic for quite a while but have only gotten around to it now. I feel this is almost a post on me explaining my way of living and why I do what I do – not that I need to explain myself to anyone but I think with so many people viewing my Instagram posts or watching my snapchat I’d like to share some more info on how I do things and why.

A daily scroll through Instagram for me (and many others I’m sure) includes lots of talk of goals, photoshoot prep, prepping for a competition, cutting, bulking and everything inbetween. The fitness industry is huge at the moment, people of all ages and backgrounds taking up an interest in bettering themselves and their health. Some decide to take part in a competition or do a photoshoot, but for a lot of people it stops at bettering themselves and their health, and thats okay too. I found myself feeling super guilty and “lazy” for want of a better word recently when I stupidly compared myself to some people on my Instagram feed and let my mind go into overdrive. I’m most certainly not the only one who has done so and wont be the last either, for some bizarre reason we all compare ourselves to others (especially people online). The reason I’m blabbering on about it all is because there doesn’t need to be huge pressure on people to compete, or do a photoshoot, or even set “goals”. Don’t get me wrong I think its great to set goals and I admire anyone who takes on a challenge such as a bodybuilding competition but its not for everyone. The dedication it takes to prep for such competitions is something I’ll always admire but I’ll never want to do it. I’m in a different place in my life at the moment, enjoying time with family and friends is a huge priority after all that has happened over the past few years and I’m not going to restrict my food or go on a diet, because it doesn’t suit me. How I feel on the inside comes before how I look on the outside and I’m not going to feel guilty about it anymore. I know that I’m not the only one comparing myself to others, and by that I mean I’m sure people compare me to others too. Seeing some people dieting, some in the gym every single day, some prepping for competitions and I’m not doing any of the above. There’s huge pressure on social media, to fit in with whats “in” at the moment and to be as dedicated as everyone else. I love “health and fitness”, I love eating better because I feel better on the inside but I also love pizza. I love going to the gym, but I don’t go every day. I work hard to try and make my body the best it can be but I also enjoy drinks with my friends at the weekends. I don’t want to deprive myself of these things, I’m young and I have learnt the hard way that life is far too short to be spent miserable. To me, a diet for a bikini competition would make me miserable, that doesn’t mean I don’t admire or respect those who do it. More power to you for being in a place in your life where you can take on such a challenge.

I don’t want to rant on for much longer but I really wanted to have my say in it all. Its perfectly okay to spend 7 days a week in the gym & dieting, and its also perfectly okay if that life isn’t for you. There’s no need to feel under pressure to “fit in” or be “fitfam” like everybody else. Everyone is different, everybodies lives are different and if the only change you want to make to your lifestyle is a teeny tiny one then thats okay too. The “fitness” lifestyle doesn’t have to be an all or nothing one – take it at your own pace and do what you want to do. You’ll be a much happier person at the end of it all.

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For me, one of the hardest parts of losing my Dad has been learning to deal with it as time passes and we find ourselves further and further away from memories of him. In 2 months we will be marking 2 years without him and I can honestly say it feels like it happened last month. It goes without saying that the first few days were the easiest – to me it felt like I was in a little bubble, oblivious to what was really going on and oblivious to the heartbreak that was yet to come. I think anyone that has experienced losing a loved one will agree, the first few days, weeks or even months don’t feel real and the reality of what has happened certainly didn’t set in. I remember spending 3 weeks in Spain shortly after my Dad died. We had the holiday booked, he passed away very suddenly and I knew I couldn’t go back to work straight away. I also knew I couldn’t sit at home for weeks, so off to Spain I went. My only memories of that holiday are landing in Malaga airport (terribly upset because it was my first flight where I couldn’t text my Dad to tell him I had landed), the nightmares I experienced and the sleepless nights where I found myself wandering the beach at Sunrise. This is the case for a lot of the time close to his death, remembering very little. To me it was my minds way of protecting me – if I cant remember it, it cant upset me.

The problem with grief as time goes on, to me, is the feelings that come with it. New feelings, ones you didn’t feel at the start and ones you’re not quite sure about. Guilt is one of them – I often feel guilty for being happy, for looking forward to things, for spending time with people on a Saturday because that was a day I spent with my Dad. Its silly and trust me I know it is, but its still there. Of course I don’t let it take over and I never will, I cant sit and wallow on my own every Saturday just because my Dad isn’t here but those feelings are still there.

I also feel huge pressure to be “over it”. Sure its almost 2 years now surely I shouldn’t still be getting upset or having bad days?? If only this was the case. I still have bad days, like when I found out a few weeks back that Crufts (the dog show) was on and I had to stop myself from crying, simply because my Dad would have been glued to it with me. Its the little things that throw me off now, things like his Birthday or Anniversary are sad but not nearly as bad as passing somewhere I used to go to with him or hearing his favourite song on the radio. Nearly 2 years down the line and yup, still feeling it. Probably more than ever now as all the time “in a bubble” has passed. I know I’ll grieve forever, I have accepted that now and I also accept that not everybody will understand.

Another little one that creeps up every now and again is fear – fear that I’ll forget him, his voice or how he smelt. I know I’ll always remember him but I’m terrified my mind will betray me, that some day I’ll wake up and not recall a memory. All of this probably sounds mad to those who have never lost someone but unfortunately this blog post isn’t for you. Just count yourself extremely lucky and come back to read this if you ever find yourself in my situation & need something to relate to.

I think that’s one of the reasons I write these, to give people something to relate to. I know how dark and scary grief can sometimes be but it doesn’t have to be lonely. There is always somebody who has or is going through the exact same thing. People experience things differently and your thoughts might not be identical to somebody elses but all of that is normal too. There is no wrong way to feel and no wrong way to grieve either. Another reason I write them is to give back some of what I have learnt from this situation. Everything happens for a reason, even horribly heartbreaking things like losing your Dad to cancer but I still try to see why it had to happen and what it taught me. Of course I’d give all the lessons back in the morning if it meant I could see him again but unfortunately thats not how it works. At the moment, taking the positives and sharing my experiences in the hope of giving people something to relate to is all I can do.

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You’ll probably laugh reading the title and fair enough it’s probably amusing but it’s something I was close to googling last week – as funny as that sounds. I’d nearly google it now just to see if anything pops up.

I’ve been struggling hugely with my anxiety & depression over the past couple of weeks, moreso than usual and for no obvious reason. I hide it well and if you scrolled through my Instagram feed or had a peep at my snapchat story you probably wouldn’t have a clue, but I don’t want it to be that way. Anytime in the past that I’ve shared bits of this part of me I’ve been reminded of just how important it is that I do just that. As an “influencer” (not something I would ever see myself as or ever wanted to be but it seems I’ve fallen into that category), I think it is so so important for me to highlight the fact that I’m very much human and struggle with things just as much as any other person. It’s easy to look at an Instagram page and just assume that their life is better than yours for whatever reason. A huge part of my Instagram and my online presence is being transparent – being honest with my followers and staying true to who I am as a person, no bullsh*t. As much as I don’t broadcast how down I’m feeling somedays (mainly because I want to give people something positive to look at), I don’t want to hide it either and I certainly don’t want people to think I don’t struggle, because I do.

The reason I’m writing this is again to highlight how anxiety and/or depression is an everyday thing for so many people. Like so so many people, some of whom will never share it with others. However, part of how I identified what was going on in my head and how I came to terms with it all was simply talking about it. I never believed I could suffer from anxiety or be depressed, “I’ve nothing to be sad about” or “it could be worse” always came to mind when I was struggling. The fact that it could be worse unfortunately doesn’t change how you feel and acknowledging your feelings is the first step in taking control of them. There are no quick fixes, unfortunately, but having even one person to chat to can make the world of difference day to day. After all, thats all I try to do – just take each day as it comes and try not to worry too much about next week or month etc. Easier said than done I know, I definitely need to start taking my own advice but even making an effort is a step in the right direction.

I don’t want this to be an absolute nightmare to read so I’ll stop ranting on now but I just wanted to put this up and continue to be as transparent as I can be. We’re only human, feeling down is unfortunately completely normal but it wont last forever, knowing this definitely makes the tough days a bit easier for me. I know I’ll come out the other side stronger and happier than I’m currently feeling.

Aoife
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So it’s safe to say it’s not only losing him that changed me but also my Dad himself. For someone who lived with terminal cancer for 3 years he never for one moment let it change his attitude. He was always positive, upbeat and made the most of the time he had. Of course it was impossible not to learn from him not only how to make the most of every moment but also to appreciate the little things – it doesn’t have to be super complicated or materialistic to make you happy. I owe both the person I am today and my attitude towards everything today, to him. The silver lining to such a heartbreaking thing is everything that I learned from him, and unfortunately learning to live without him too.

1. Life is short – None of us know what’s around the corner or what tomorrow will bring. Appreciate the present, its all we really have.
2. You’re stronger than you think. Acknowlege feelings of anxiety, sadness & fear but do not let them consume you. You are more than able to handle anything that is thrown your way.
3. People will not always be kind to you – be kind anyway. Being an A-hole to somebody will usually have as much of an effect on your day as it will on theirs.
4. Challenge is the universe poking at you to grow. I spent a lot of time in my comfort zone, afraid to step out of it for fear of feeling lost. Push yourself, nothing worth having ever comes easy.
5. Life isn’t fair and probably never will be. The sooner you accept this and stop trying to control everything around you, the sooner you’ll stop worrying about things you cannot change.
6. Your health is your wealth. Look after yourself, your body and live well.
7. Good days and bad days both have their own purpose. ‘You grow through what you go through’.
8. Don’t take yourself too seriously – My Dad was the biggest messer even through his 40’s and it made the memories of him so special knowing he was so happy and goofy all of the time.
9. Your “gut” feeling?? Listen to it. There’s a reason it’s there and a reason you should pay attention to it.
10. You will lose people you love. It’s life, unfortunately, and there’s nothing we can do about it. However, we are in control of how we deal with it and how much we let it take over our lives. Losing my Dad changed my life and there’s no doubt about that but I’d like to believe it changed me for the better. Try to see the positive even in such a heartbreaking situation.
11. Everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, its not the end. Trust the process, go with the flow and believe that you’ll end up where you’re meant to be. Easier said than done I know but its nice to keep it in mind anyway.
12. Kindness is easy. Being kind, open minded and approachable will make more of a difference of your life than you’d think.
13. You, alone, are in control of your own happiness. Nobody is forcing you to work the job you hate or to spend time with that one person that drags you down. Cut all negativity out of your life with no hesitation – you will thank yourself.
14. Everything happens for a reason. It may take months or years but I promise you, you will eventually figure it all out.
15. We all take sh*t for granted, we’re all human and we all have stuff we’d like to complain about. However, training your mind to think more positively or appreciate the little things will do no harm.
16. Not everybody needs to like you, and you don’t need to care. Worry about yourself, how you want to live your life and stop worrying about what others think. You’ll never be able to please everyone anyway.
17. Its going to rain, that doesn’t mean you need to complain about it. Appreciate that there are bigger problems in the world and lots more you could be complaining about. It could always be worse.
18. Take a day. Or 2. Or 6. Take all the time you need. Figuring out what goes on in your head and establishing a relationship with that dark part of your mind is more important than you’ll ever know.
19. Be grateful. So I lost my Dad at 20, years and years before I ‘should have’ but I’ll always be grateful for the 20 years I did have with him. It doesn’t need to be a sob story.
20. Be happy – life is far too short to be anything but. ♥

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At this stage I think I should have shares in the place but we’ll try to forget about that. I go to Penneys a few times a week and alllllllways come out with something, the obsession is real. Will go through the few bits I’ve gotten over the past couple of weeks – apologies in advance for the creases on most items, I tried them on straight out of the bag. P.S. I bought these in the Penneys stores either in Wilton or Cork City♥

 

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The cutest little gingham dress. Lightweight material so definitely for Spring/Summer, I’d belt something like this just because I’m so small! I got a size 4 and its very over-sized so go down a size if you can. €8.

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Top and skirt both from Penneys. I love the little skirt its super comfortable & could be worn on a night out or during the day. Top €9, skirt €4.

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Tie waist midi dress. Personally I’d wear this casually but it could be dressed up too – Size wise its quite big I got a 4 as I like dresses like this to be fitted. €12.

kids leggings

Again both items from Penneys. The leggings are from the kids section – a size 12-13 is pretty much the same as a size 8. I actually got size 11-12 as they’re so stretchy. I’m obsessed with cropped jumpers and Penneys have loads in at the moment, orrrr just cut them yourself. This one is really lightweight. Both items were €6.

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Some gym gear, so so comfortable and the leggings are squat proof. Support wise the sports bra isn’t great but I’m teeny in that department anyway so I get away with it. The leggings were €7, I cant remember how much the sports bra was but I don’t think it was more than €6/7. It was in the underwear section as opposed to with the gym gear.

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More leggings, can you tell I kind of live in them at this stage? Again, I got these in a 4 as I wanted them fitted and they’re really stretchy. They were €6 and I got them in black too. (Jumper is Missguided.)

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When you have no holiday booked yet but go off & buy a bikini anyway. I couldn’t resist! I usually stay away from patterned bikini’s because of my tattoos but sure look. The bottoms are a Brazilian cut so super flattering on the booty. The whole bikini is reversible too. Bottoms €5 Top €9.

Hope that was helpful! Probably not if you’re an addict like me but I keep telling myself it could be worse. Will continue to do these as I pick up more Spring/Summer bits.

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