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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Ever since gaining a following on Instagram the question I get asked the most is where I got my tattoos done. Unfortunately it’s probably the hardest question to answer. At this stage I have traveled for most of them, to Poland for a piece on my leg and to the UK on numerous occasions for my sleeve and shin pieces. I got my first tattoo when I was 17 but my knowledge and how I choose an artist has definitely changed lots since then. To me, there’s a lot more to it now than “He did my friends tattoo, its unreal so you should definitely go to him for yours”. The style of the tattoo has so much to do with it and I think that’s the part people don’t realise. I wouldn’t have the guy who did my shins tattoo the kind of work I have on my right arm and that’s perfectly okay, he wouldn’t want to do it anyway. Any legit artist (in my opinion, someone who’s in it because they have a passion for it) will find a style they like, or are good at, and stick to that. This line of thinking is how I went about choosing an artist after my first few tattoos.

So, after deciding on a tattoo you’ll need to identify the style of tattoo or how you want it done. Do your research. Trawl through Instagram – this is how I found 2 of the artists I eventually traveled to have work done by. Be patient. An artist with a long waiting list is usually one worth waiting for, I waited 2 years between starting my sleeve and finishing it but it was more than worth going back & getting it finished by the same artist. It’s going to be on your body forever, don’t rush into it just so it’ll be on your body sooner.

Be willing to travel. This is the part that made me look crazy as I got on a plane to Warsaw just for a tattoo but I’d do it again in a heartbeat. I got exactly what I wanted, in the style I wanted, by the artist I wanted aaaand I got a lil’ holiday too. Some of the best artists in the world are dotted around Europe, I have one in Berlin on my wishlist for a piece on my leg. It obviously depends on what you want done and if its something you’d be willing to travel for but it definitely gives you lots more to choose from if you’re willing to hop on a plane for a tattoo.. Even if people think you’re crazy.

I’m going to go through some of my different pieces and different artists I’ve been to below. Hopefully it’ll help you to identify the different styles and importance of choosing the right person for the job.

 

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My shin pieces. Probably one of my favourites & my most recent tattoos! These were done by Aaron Anthony in The Circle, Soho London.

 

 

 

 

 

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My sleeve on my right arm. Exactly how I imagined it and worth all of the travelling. I traveled to Stoke On Trent to start it in 2014 and followed the artist to his new location in Hull exactly 2 years later. Done by Matt Webb in Bishop Lane Tattoo.

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My thigh pieces. I adore these and how they’re done, I wanted leg tattoos that would still look good years later and I got exactly what I wanted. All of these were done by the same artist, Kuba. His Instagram is “_b.j.n_”.

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Cosmetic Surgery; the most taboo subject that nobody wants to talk about yet everyone wants to know about. Having underwent cosmetic surgery on my nose in November’16, the option was there for me to either share my story or keep my decision private. Halfway through my recovery and after lots of thinking I decided I was going to tell the 14,000 people on my Instagram page not only that I underwent cosmetic surgery, but also why I did it. The fact that its such a taboo subject and one that’s often frowned upon frustrated me and I wanted to do my part in breaking the stigma. I have a previous blog post touching on why I decided to have Rhinoplasty done and how I feel now that it’s done. I never thought that at 21 I’d have undergone surgery for cosmetic reasons but I’m so glad I did. Hopefully the info below will help even one person on their own cosmetic surgery journey♥

Question 1; “What surgeon or clinic did you go to?”
I went to Dr. Eoin O Broin. Having spoken to some friends and family about what I wanted to have done he was recommended to me. After my consultation with him and his nurse I knew I had come to the right place. He’s based here in Cork and I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out. I trusted him completely and came out with results better than I ever could have hoped for. 

Question 2; “What was the pain like?”
The pain was definitely the last thing I was worried about before the surgery. Typically, Rhinoplasty is a procedure in which the recovery looks worse than it feels. Most people experience bruising, black eyes etc..Basically everything that comes with a broken nose. I was lucky in that I had very little to no bruising. Pain wise I was on nothing stronger than nurofen(ibuprofen) and wasn’t in much pain at all as soon as the first 36 hours passed. My only real complaint would have been how uncomfortable I was, rather than how much pain I was in. Obviously your nose is in a cast and once the initial packing is removed, the swelling starts. The swelling meant I couldn’t open my mouth, smile, laugh or do anything that we very clearly take for granted. I couldn’t taste and was breathing through my mouth the whole time so eating was a struggle. Lots of jelly & yogurts got me through that week!

Question 3; “How long was your recovery?”
I was in the hospital for one night following the surgery and was sent home then. I had a cast on my nose for a week, to keep it in place basically. I was back to see Dr.O’Broin after a week, to have the cast and stitches removed. Following that I had soft bandages on for 3 days, and as soon as they were removed I felt comfortable to leave the house again. I think its so important for me to note here the swelling that comes with the Rhinoplasty procedure. Even though the swelling had gone down lots since the first week (and I no longer looked like a hamster), the cast coming off caused some ‘rebound’ swelling along with the general swelling from the surgery. The swelling after Rhinoplasty can take up to a year, even longer for some people, to go down completely. I have noticed this hugely over the past few months as I watch my nose change. The nose I had and saw in the first 2-3 weeks after surgery is totally different to the one I have now. I know it will continue to change in ways I probably wont notice now but its definitely important to take note of, especially for when your cast comes off. I was so excited to see the ‘finished product’ but in fact it was weeks if not months before I saw how it really was.

Tips, Tricks & Advice for anyone considering Rhinoplasty;

  • Do lots and lots of thinking – I think this goes without saying but make sure you think about why you want it done, and more importantly how you’ll feel afterwards. After all, you are changing a pretty important part of your face and the decision to do that shouldn’t be made lightly.
  • Do your research – Find out as much as you possibly can about the procedure. Google can be hit or miss for information but with a bit of digging there is some helpful articles out there. If that fails, book a consultation with a reputable surgeon. You have absolutely no obligation to go through with the surgery following a consultation and its a great way to get more info, ask questions and just learn more about what you want done.
  • Don’t rush into it – A long waiting list usually comes hand in hand with an amazing surgeon. I luckily got a cancellation appointment but was prepared to wait for as long as necessary. There’s absolutely no point in settling and going to a different clinic because it’ll be done faster or maybe because its cheaper. After all, its your face they’re operating on which for me meant there was no shortcuts to be taken. The results will be worth the wait!

I wanted to keep this blog post as short as possible, so its more of an info post as opposed to me rambling on (again). Taking all of the above into account I’d do it all over again if I had to. It wasn’t the most pleasant of experiences and definitely as mentally challenging as it was physically but the results are more than worth it. If anyone has any questions feel free to ask away, I’ll answer as best I can♥

 

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