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Life is What Happens

“But there was no need to be ashamed of tears, for tears bore witness that a man had the greatest of courage, the courage to suffer.”
Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning

The thing with life is – like the famous saying goes ‘Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans’.. that when you think everything is about to get better. It can hit you with another life issue and quite easily knock you off balance. Alice Herz Somme r in her documentary says that life goes UP and.. down UP and down and that’s life (she lived til 106!).

Sometimes I tell myself to ‘be like the oak tree that weathers the storms… strong, powerful and unwavering’. But. Quite frankly that can be quite hard to do sometimes. For the past year my mobility has gotten severely worse. And as a usually active person it has been a hard pill to swallow. It has taken a little over two years to get a proper diagnosis. It was put down to a sports injury by medical professionals and therefore the battle to be heard commenced. Friends who invited me out thought I was exaggerating when I replied saying ‘I can’t walk very well so won’t be able to’. A cloud of depression covered my world like a dark cloud, as I felt like all my own efforts to not drown were being ignored as I didn’t feel like I was being taken seriously. 

Unfortunately some of us in life do not have support from family. Which can be hard to disclose to others – I’ve spent many a Christmas alone. But. To be honest, I never really liked Christmas anyway. As a child my grandma would come to visit.  Well. She was a grumpy old bag… (honestly she really was)…. And of course she used to get my bed when she came to visit. In my room. And well you know what that means don’t you?

No you don’t. Oh I forget that. I forget, sometimes that people cannot read my mind. That we didn’t all have the same dark childhood that I had. 

Ok. Well it meant I had to sleep in my parents bedroom. And considering I was being abused by my biological father of course I dreaded being anywhere near him. I did not want to make the access to me any easier for him. In those days I used to pretend I was deaf a lot (I must of been around 8/9 at this point). Unfortunately, one day, when I was taken to the hearing specialist. The man who was examining me blew my cover. I wasn’t too happy about that as he finished the examination on my ears exclaiming “there’s nothing wrong with her!” to my mother. Tsk. Fucking idiot. Thanks for that. Now I can see why people are labelled as ‘survivors’. I never used to like that term much. But it’s true really isn’t it. You develop as a child – strategies to survive. 

Anyway I’ve digressed. Sometimes – the avoidance of thinking about my past has meant that it has come back two fold in adulthood. The memories and the flashbacks. Like a whole other world that has come back to haunt me. Like waking up from a very bad dream. But that was then. And this is now. 

So it wasn’t until I went to a hospital appointment – and decided to take a Boris bike as I needed to gain some fitness back taking the route across Hyde Park. The bike was so heavy. And I was probably moving at about 1 mile per hour. ‘Oh my god!’… ‘I’ve gotten so unfit’ I thought to myself as a hot guy on his racer sped past me giving me the most quizzical look. So embarrassing.

But now I was stuck in the middle of the huge park with not a bloody parking bay in sight so I had to continue. Over the December period I had been emailing my Rheumatology team – ‘I can’t walk!’ I had declared miserably to them. So when I finally waddled in to my hospital appointment, n a huge amount of pain – the nurse looked gobsmacked. I saw her. And burst into tears. And that was the beginning of hopefully the end of this shitty journey! I was heard. She took me seriously. And I was immediately sent for an X-Ray.

I have found that the worst thing in life – is when you don’t have any hope.

Shawshank Redemption: Remember, Red, hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things. And no good thing ever dies…

And to be honest by the end of that year – 2018 – I was starting to lose it. I was spending weeks at a time not leaving my flat. I’d had to drop out of my Masters. And I was not seeing anybody at all. Becoming more and more isolated. And to be honest I was embarrassed really. To let others know what was really going on. And scared.

There is nothing worse in life – than reaching out – for help and the door being firmly closed, locked and bolted. The trust one has to develop to actually reach out can be quite painful. For some. For me. The fear of rejection. And I guess as someone who couldn’t rely on parents or family to be there for me – I’ve had to be an island. 

I was at the hospital on Wednesday when the nurse had to ask me about my parents health.

“Do you have anyone to come and check in on you. What about your Dad where is he?”. I was in a good mood weirdly enough, hopeful to be finally being able to bounce about again on my legs. So when I was asked that question it took me by surprise. I gave in and disclosed what and why I do not have that sort of support system. The thing is. I’m used to it. I’ve lived with it my whole life. But the fear of how others receive it can sometimes be worse. The look of pity. The judgement? What is it they’re thinking?

“Sorry too much information!” I declared worrying about the feelings of the recipient. A behaviour I must have learnt as a child. To take care of the adults feelings around me and not my own. Eurgh.

But it’s not very nice is it. Not being able to be authentic. It gets exhausting no? The fear of judgment, or being shamed by other people who don’t want to hear the realities of what it is one is going through. The fear of being put in ‘that’ box. Feeling/being different to everyone else. Or people become some sort of pyschologist. Or they ask you if you’ve thought of visiting one (like one hasn’t thought of that one after how many years??? Hilar!) But surely it’s easier to look at someone else than oneself. Or. They shut you down because they don’t want to hear it/can’t cope with it or it makes them uncomfortable. 

Sometimes… sometimes I wonder if I’m still being encouraged by society to hide. Hide how I feel. Hide my life experiences. Like I’ve done something wrong? And you know. It’s exhausting carrying other people’s shame. And if I’m an adult and still struggle with sharing my truth – then how might a child feel about sharing theirs?

I had a good friend hang himself last year. He and his wife had written me a wonderful card a few days beforehand. And I thought. How can I tell others to be open and not to care what others think if I’m not doing the same?! What a contradiction. 

So this post is me not giving a fuck. Of me sharing my truth. About what I’m going though. About the isolation of having a chronic disease. About how sometimes I have felt jealous of Age Uk because they have so many cool workshops for people over 50 to go and connect – but I didn’t know where I fitted in. But life is getting better. And I feel hopeful as I have a hip operation date coming up. I feel hopeful. And I feel scared. And I suspect that is normal.

Have a great day! Becki Xx

ps if anyone knows/could recommend a designer that might want to help me improve my site please do let me know! 

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INTERVIEW WITH… THE HEALTH ARCHITECT

Name: Sarah Kekus aka.. the Health Architect. Sarah was the Yoga Teacher on a retreat I went to in Turkey. Here is an interview about what she does… and her lifestyle..

From: Edinburgh – Scottish-ness eludes me though!

Current location: Lake District

Current happiness levels out of 10: Life has taught me to view each new day as a blessing, so 10

Favourite film: Maybe Motorcycle Diaries – brings back memories of living and working in Chile

Favourite musician: There’s everything from classical harp to Kanye West in my music collection so choosing one musician is quite impossible. However my most recently purchased album is Grown Unknown by Lia Ices – it’s fitting my mood this week!

Favourite artist: Picasso; Guernica is mesmerizing – a powerful depiction of suffering and chaos. The combination of being a talented draughtsman with an awesome imagination and determination to bring social and political polemic into art is what makes Picasso stand out for me.

Favourite book: Cowboys are my Weakness by Pam Houston

Favourite colour: All really strong bright colours are terrifyingly fabulous but when it comes to my wardrobe I often end up wearing black. Possibly because I’m a woman of black origin, I always like a bit of gold too!

Brief synopsis of business: The Health Architect provides yoga classes, nutritional advice and challenging, yet supportive, coaching to individuals who want to improve their wellbeing.

Few questions:  

Your lifestyle is very health based, how did you find yourself on this career path? My health literally unravelled about 15 years ago after an intense period of mountaineering to climb peaks in Nepal, Bolivia, the French Alps and back to Nepal – phew! In the aftermath, and having suffered with both dysentery and pneumonia, I went to see a naturopath, who was instrumental in helping me regain health. After this experience I always dreamed of changing career and the chance finally came in 2010 when my contract as a Project Manager ended.

Has healthy living always been a way of life or was there a catalyst that sent you down this avenue? I really hated having to eat so much meat as a child and so I became a vegetarian at the age of 12. This was the catalyst for a lifelong exploration of the impact of dietary choices and exercise on health. I experimented with vegan and raw vegan diets for a few years but now, whilst I still choose a largely plant-based diet, I have re-introduced some animal protein (mainly fish), and I find this suits me the best. Balancing health requirements with ethical and environmental arguments against meat eating has forged a dichotomy in my thinking – but I can live with this now and I feel calmer and less neurotic than I once did.

What kind of people generally reach out for nutritional help? Sadly, often people only turn to nutritional therapy after conventional medicine fails to help them or when they’ve been offered medication they don’t want to take. The most common problems that people seek my help with are weight gain, chronic fatigue, hormone imbalances (especially relating to fertility, menopause, stress and thyroid dysfunction) and gastro-intestinal problems.

Do you see a similarity in the challenges of making lifestyle and dietary changes? What are they? Making any changes to your life can be very hard but both diet and lifestyle can be unwittingly governed by a range of emotional factors and these need to be recognised and addressed before lasting positive changes can be achieved. Coaching people through change is the biggest part of what I do.

You have a very active lifestyle, how do you like to relax? In the autumn and spring I love fell-walking with my husband; it restores my energy and lifts my mood, especially if the week has felt tough. If the temperature picks up then a day out climbing takes my mind off everything so I can just enjoy the moment! Whether I’ve been out walking or climbing, stopping by a favourite coffee bar on the way home is always a welcome treat. Ps. I don’t drink much coffee – honest!

If you would like to hire/get advice about your diet please contact Sarah HERE

Thanks for the health inspiration.. Becki BXx

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BEAUTY: KAHINA FEZ – HAND & BODY BALM

Photo on front: Katharine L’Heureux – founder of Kahina Giving Beauty 

It’s not long been launched in the UK – and is an organic treat for dry, dehydrated skin… at £35 a pot – the Kahina Fez Hand and Body Balm contains high concentrations of the increasingly popular ingredient, Argan Oil. It also has the relieving and medicinal properties of calendula (or “Mary’s Gold” as the Greeks used to call it) and the plant-derived butters of; carrot seed oil, shea butter, coconut oil, olive oil and mango nut butter.

kahina

Kahina Giving Beauty donates 25% of their profits to the indigenous women of Morocco who harvest and produce the Argan Oil at the core of their products. Argan oil is a plant oil produced from the kernels of the argan tree and is endemic to Morocco.

“For centuries, the hard work of extracting oil from the nut of the argan tree has been performed by Berber women, the indigenous people of North Africa, many of whom live in Morocco’s argan region. The work is extremely labor intensive. It can take one woman up to eight hours to crack the nuts for one liter of oil. Read more HERE

The Kahina product sourced from Morocco and created in New York –  claims to never use artificial preservatives, parabens, artificial colorants, artificial fragrances, petrochemicals, harsh detergents, DEA, TEA, toxic ingredients, or animal testing and is encouraged for use on severely dry, chapped skin..

But what’s it like you ask?! With this product – a little goes a long way – with it’s delicious smelling soothing aroma – the warm spicy balm is calming not only for the hand but also works its magic on the mind. Chapped from the cold weather and washing detergents (not good!) my hands have been suffering from general daily duties. This beauty balm is exactly what it claims on the box – it feels luxurious and offers the sexy comeback my hands need after a hard weekend of DIY.. a few drops of lavender on the pillow – and a small amount of Kahina Fez and one feels instantly relaxed and on the way back to repair.. heaven in a pot.. lush!

An ohDearyme recommendation!

Find the Facebook page HERE 

Website for UK purchase HERE 

Leave a comment – send a tweet – or show some love @ohdearyme

Have an awesome week!

BeckiBx

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PHILOSOPHY: ‘THE ART OF PROFANITY’

Article by Duncan of/from Philosophy On Ice

A small indicator of my respect for any given person leans on their tendency for using profanity, and their acceptance of it as a linguistic necessity for communication. It is no accident that those who are most interesting in life usually are partial to using ‘bad language’; that term being one which should no longer apply to such diverse and useful words that only the babyish prudes of this world wince at in public.

Let’s start with blasphemous words – the easiest to discredit as offensive. In meaning, they are usually synonymous with cursing, often with a sense of incredulousness. ‘Jesus Christ!’ one might exclaim, as they see their beloved kitten dive into a blender without scruple. ‘Thank God that Whiskers has not been reduced to mincemeat!’ they might add, before comforting the kitten at once, and licking it with a fresh tongue as a weird means of interspecies bonding. Most people will have had the experience in life of being given a good telling off by religious individuals who hold an eerie sense of religious propriety, defending as they do so that ever more lenient third commandment (for which the punishment is death, by the way). On these occasions, however, you can have good reason to politely tell them where to stick it.

ALBUM PREVIEW: Dance Spirit ‘The Sun Also Rises’ – 

Aside from being invasive on your belief system, whatever it may be, these zealots are failing entirely to acknowledge the true usage of these words. When I exclaim ‘Jesus!’, I am not calling for the return of the prophet, or addressing a pubescent Spanish boy. What I am really saying is ‘Ouch’, ‘Wow’, ‘Oh no’, or one of various other uses for the curse. Whilst trepidatious about being stoned to death for using the words themselves, it is understandable that these individuals would not want to indulge in using the words, but one ‘should’ not impose this absurd notion on others.

Let’s talk about ‘Fuck’ – everybody is intimately familiar with the word. Here we have a word that is so diverse that it can be annexed to any sentence. ‘Fuck off’, ‘Where’s my fucking Lego’, and ‘Get the fuck out of my conservatory’ are sentences that are all rather incoherent linguistically but of which simultaneously are all perfectly understandable to us. If you have Lego, that is. The point is that the word itself is stripped of all meaning in most cases, and simply used as a tool for emphasis in language. ‘Get the fuck out of my conservatory’ provides a much more austere, uncompromising request than the dithering, pathetic ‘Get out of my conservatory!’ alternative. Aside from this, there is a more obvious connotation of the word. The general meaning of ‘having sex’ is attached rather frequently; genitals becoming a childish focus and a running theme through most ‘filthy’ language. ‘Twat’, ‘Piss’, ‘Shit’, ‘Cock’, ‘Dick’, ‘Arsehole’, ‘Cunt’ – the more sensitive the area of focus here, the more offence that ostensibly seems to be caused.

If you were wincing as you read that brief list then do not worry, it is entirely natural – I winced a bit whilst writing them. It is because we are taught from an early age, as a matter of simplicity, that these words are bad in themselves. Which they are not – neither phonetically, nor as a word with a direct reference to a body part. ‘Bad language’ is entirely based on the context in which particular words are used in any given situation, in which we can deem them rude or offensive, or indeed humorous, emotional or profound.

Profanity, of course, can be inappropriate too – it is clearly a situational judgement. Should we liberally be swearing at or around children? It would probably be wise that we do not. Not because of the idea that, stripped of meaning, these words are bad, but simply because it is probably not a healthy environment for a child to be constantly surrounded by sexual references, which profanity often has attached to it. In the same way that we censor violence, some things are prudently not exhibited to credulous minds that may or may not understand the meaning of such things yet. Exempting children though, if you feel you are not enough of a grown up, and you believe you must in fact be censored from these things, you have probably not actually emerged from that childhood squeamishness at all.

The bottom line is; we should not be treating ‘bad’ language as bad at all, but simply as another tool available to us within the art of language. Whilst these words are not always appropriate, if you can learn to use them correctly, they can be incredibly effective and incalculably useful to us. The only reason they should ever be described as ‘offensive’ must be in direct relation to the rest of the words uttered within the sentence, within the context of that situation.

Do you agree/disagree with Duncan? Tweet your thoughts or leave a comment! @ohdearyme @PhilosophyOI #ohdearyme 

ohDearyme takes submissions… do you have something to say? Get in touch…. beckiburrows@gmail.com

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TRIED+TESTED: NANO-KERATIN TREATMENT

Perhaps I had my finger in the electrical socket as a child too many times – as frizzy hair has been a life long annoyance. When hair straighteners were introduced.. smooth hair became a wondrous new world and these appliances soon became a daily maintenance tool I could not live without. But time is of the essence and a minimal morning routine is always gratefully received. 

Introducing the Nano Keratin treatment….

Browse the internet and you can find hairdressers offering the treatment ranging from £60 to £200. But why do the prices vary so much? What’s the difference and what establishments can we trust? Many Keratin treatments or ‘Brazilian blowdrys’ have formaldehyde present and it can be difficult to know which products on the market are the safest. And let’s face it – who wants to sabotage their health for the sake of smooth hair?

before nano keratin

 (before – frizzy? Yes I know! Ahhhhh)

Keratin is protein and the key structural component of our hair and nails. The Nano Keratin product is a treatment applied directly to dry hair. It then enters all the little holes in the hair that are missing Keratin basically re-strengthening it from the inside out.

The Nano Keratin is a smoothing treatment which claims to have the smallest amount of formaldehyde as opposed to other brazilian blow dry products that contain higher levels of formaldehyde and it also claims to be within British standards.

I was ensured that all Toni and Guy products are thoroughly researched by the Toni and Guy team.

The Nano Keratin treatment is meant to make hair smoother not straighter… and with it being an active ingredient for 3 days (meaning the keratin is still working its way into the hair)… to get the best result hair must not be washed for 72 hours.

The treatment took approximately an hour and a half to apply (my hair being shoulder length) and by the end of the three days I was relieved to be able to wash it again as it was starting to feel… er a little uncomfortable. As soon as I washed the hair with the product given to me in the store: Label M Lemongrass Shampoo and Conditioner… (which smells so god damn good!) and blow dried it I noticed the difference already. Straighteners no longer necessary.  Yipppeee!!!Label M Shampoo

The Label M Shampoo (Lemongrass) is sulphate free – i.e. it it has no salt in it – which is one of the ingredients many shampoos on the market have in them, that scrub away at your scalp removing the dirt. This ingredient also slowly erodes at the expensive Nano Keratin treatment so a sulphate free shampoo is vital for ensuring the treatment lasts longer.

Nano Keratin treated hair

(After – new hair! OMG it’s SO sleek!)

Shortly after I had the treatment I went on a trip which involved the sea and a bit of scuba diving. Lots of online sites recommend not immersing the hair for too long in chlorine or sea water and if I’m honest I did feel the hair was a little drier after these events. At £175 a pop this is not a cheap treatment so personally I would recommend avoiding swimming and deep sea diving if you can!

The Nano Keratin treatment however, is well worth the money, having halved the time it takes to style my hair. If you suffer from dry frizzy hair and want glossy locks no matter how many times you have dyed your tresses, this is a brilliant way to boost your hairs health and get it back on track. I aim to try (try!) and grow my hair and as someone who likes to change colour and blasts it with a hair dryer on a daily basis – the Nano Keratin treatment is definitely the best way to keep it looking tip top.

So the result? An expensive treatment but definitely worth the money.

An ohDearyme 5/5

Contact your nearest Toni and Guy salon here

With thanks to the Technical Director Shabana Adam and Style Director Lewis Maharaj

I absolutely love the way it feels!

Becki Bx

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