Finding Writing Again.

I have so many words that I want to say, but I do not know how to pour them out.

I feel as though they used to flow effortlessly, a tangent, a whirlwind of letters and vocabulary that represented the storms of my mind.

And now they feel stuck.

There are ideas, memories, song lyrics, and love notes inched toward the front of my brain.

But I am afraid of being vulnerable.

And I am afraid of being lost where everything was once so familiar.

Perhaps I am just out of practice, of letting these thoughts out freely to strangers.

Perhaps I am practicing the expression of these through my lips instead.

– For when my lips could not speak, these words could do it for me –

I want to write about my husband. His beautiful, kind soul.

I want to write about love. About how it grows and changes over time. About how love is work and how love is everything.

I want to write about our child. About her indescribable soul who we feel as though we already know. And about how we know that we have no idea how much we are able to love her just yet.

I want to write about people that I know. Because they fill me with awe and gratitude and things that I do not know what to call.

I want to write about what is not seen from the outside. About how we have no idea what we are doing or how we got here.

About everything that has created this path and how we found ourselves together in it.

We are only wandering, really.

I want to write about this period of change. About growth. The absolute, pure, discomfort of it.

And the surprising strength that can be found within these mountains.  

About how everything we have ever dreamt of is “over there” and we are “over here”.

And my god, that space in the middle is terrifying. But necessary.

But necessary.

//

Since starting to write professionally full-time, I feel as though my creativity has become stuck in a way. I feel confident in writing reports, instructions, and directions from A-Z, where everything is straightforward and without emotion. Having that golden freedom that makes writing feel limitless and without bounds? That is what I miss. I know that what you focus on grows and what you pour your energy into expands. I just need to create space to practice this outlet once again.

On the home stretch.

Tomorrow marks the final stretch of my endeavors with university (well, for the time being anyway). It’s the second half of my final semester of my undergraduate degree, which I feel has gone on for decades. But really, it’s been about four and a half years, only a year and a half long than it was supposed to be.

It feels as though so much weighs on tomorrow. Having the opportunity to complete my degree, once and for all, feels surreal. It’s been a long time in the making. Everyone has a different path I guess, and there isn’t a right amount of time that it takes for anyone to complete anything. It’s different for everybody. But this chapter, I’m so ready for it to close. Especially with our next chapter waiting and getting bigger by the day!

At the start of this semester, so a few months ago now, we found out that we have a baby on the way, who will arrive in March!

We are so unbelievably happy. And scared. And excited. And full of hope.

We get to meet our baby in about 6 months. And that thought is so strange. Knowing that our lives are going to change dramatically really soon, but also knowing that we won’t understand the full extent of it all until it actually happens.

I used to think that the semester where I got so low and sick that I dropped out of university was the most difficult and challenging. But looking back, although being sick was awful and terrible and I wouldn’t wish it upon anyone, it’s all of the time since then that’s actually much harder. Being sick, in comparison to recovery, is easy. The illnesses take over. You can give your whole life to them. But recovery is a fight, a huge decision on every moment of every day. Fighting your brain rather than just floating along with it is far more terrible, rewarding, and life-giving.

This semester has been really difficult to be honest. There have been so many times where I am doubting if I could complete it. I am still thinking that right now, and I probably will until the moment where my final exam is over. I’m taking the equivalent of six papers, off my medication due to pregnancy, and am growing a human. Morning sickness has been really hard. We are also planning our move in about a month and a half. I feel as though I’m whinging way too much. We are so, so lucky. And I will never be able to understand how truly lucky we are to have this kind of life.

Cameron has been my rock through it all, and I have no idea where I would be without him. It has also been a big relief to be finally telling our friends and family our exciting news, because that takes a big weight off in a way. Everyone has been so supportive, kind, and full of love. We feel so loved.

The day after my final exam, I think I’ll cry and sleep and then cry some more out of pure relief. To make it through university will be the biggest weight off my shoulders.

In a month and a half, things will be so different. Sometimes I think about how different everything is now compared to in the past and it hurts, like people and places and relationships. It’s happy but sad at the same time. In a month and a half, it will all be so bittersweet.

Liquid light and all those crazy feelings.

It’s winter right now and I’m not normally one to say this, but I’m really missing summer. Wearing shorts and eating cold watermelon and downing all the water like there’s no tomorrow – it’s a stark comparison to our gray days now. Usually I find it tricky to pick one season that I like best, because honestly each can be so magical in their own way, we just have to appreciate them differently. But for now, baking in the sun and diving into the ocean is where I wish it was at. When it does get there though, I’ll probably miss being able to sleep under blankets and snuggle with Cameron and watching the rain pour outside. So for now, I’m just trying to be grateful and love the season we’re in.

So many big life things are in a time of change at the moment. I’ve almost made it through university, something I highly doubted was possible for a long time. My year-long research project about using UAVs to monitor coastal dunes is 50% driving me mad and 50% making me feel in awe of all the good that Geospatial technology can do, and how the field is really advancing at the moment. It’s a love-hate relationship! It’s the mid semester break at the moment, then I have my final few months, and then somehow it will all be over. The rush and the climb and the fall of everything is surreal.

Last week I began my new job as a content creator, and it has really showed me how weirdly life can turn out. At the start of this year when I was pouring a lot into blogging (e.g. my life and soul, literally), I made it a goal for the year to get some sort of financial return through writing, and that has certainly ended up happening! In a completely different way than I ever would have guessed though, and much better than I imagined too. Life is funny like that. How it can feel that so many doors are slamming shut one after the other, only for something better for us to be waiting at the end. Anyway, I am so thankful for this job. It has slotted into our life at just the right time, and has really helped to positively impact things for the future too. I can’t say too much about it all yet, but there are so many bright things, and we are so thankful for these.

It was strange leaving my old job and saying goodbye to everyone. I didn’t expect to be as sad, or to find it as difficult as I did. I was so happy to be leaving the job, but my coworkers were a whole different story. Seeing the same people on most days for two years makes you grow close; they become apart of your story and you apart of theirs. These endings are good though, but they are hard too. That’s how change is born.

Last night we were talking with some dear friends about how much has changed. It’s so crazy to think of how different things are compared to life one, two, five, ten years ago. How people grow. And how you can see things changing before your own eyes. It’s terrifying but it just is too. It’s the most natural thing really, but that doesn’t make it any more comfortable.

Liquid light had been abundant lately. All those moments when you know that you are exactly where you are supposed to be – they are everything. By a bonfire, or beneath the stars, or seeing the look on someone specials face. These are the moments that make life worth living, and I’m trying to remember that it’s important to search for these. What we focus on expands, and heck that has to be one of the most powerful things in the universe.

Anyway, life is crazy. We are looking for our first home. We are making big, giant, stomping steps. There is more wellness than unwellness mental health wise, which is a wonderful season.

Everything is sad and happy and wonderful and terrible, and I suppose that’s exactly how life is meant to be. Everything feels surreal.

I said to the sun . . .

I’m going to begin with one of my all time, absolute favourite quotes – “I said to the sun, ‘Tell me about the big bang.’ The sun said, ‘it hurts to become.'” (Andrea Gibson).

And my oh my, that quote just fills me with so much power and so much strength; strength that it not my own but something that I feel as though I can be apart of.

These past two months have been a whirlwind. Everything has just been going and going, and these days have been all about hard work and consistency, and just getting stuff done. It’s exhausting, but a good sort of exhausting. It’s a normal kind of being to busy to breathe kind of exhaustion, rather than my mind is going crashing through the ground. It’s a refreshing change.

Some solid, concrete steps for the future are fitting into place. This morning I was offered a new job, and it has made our future far more secure and stable. It hasn’t sunken in yet really. It will change a lot of things, in a good way.

Lately my head has been doing so good. I feel burnt out, but not because of what’s going on within, but because I am able to do so many things beyond now. I have felt so confident and content. I don’t know what has changed. Maybe it’s all the therapy work. Maybe it’s all the pushing to change. Maybe it’s just a new season. But what I do know is that I feel more me than I can ever remember.

For years I was stuck within illnesses that took over my entire world. Every decision, perspective, and moment was controlled and dulled by their graces. I was never me. I was just trying to survive, and knew only how to exist just beneath the surface.

However today, I feel more authentic to who I am supposed to be than ever. It sounds cheesy but I don’t know how to describe it. I have been trying to stand up for myself and for what I believe is important. I am talking to people I would normally be afraid of, because I can think “what’s the worst that can happen?” and actually go ahead and do it. I’m trying to stay true to my values in all situations. Anxiety, where are you at? It’s weird but enchanting. It’s amazing how much life expands when anxiety lets you push it. I truly don’t know how all these things have changed, but for now, things are wonderful. Thinking to how things used to be – to hell and back – I don’t know how I am still in today. But heck, I am so thankful for it.

Right now I am living in these days where I don’t constantly think about and dwell on bad things that have happened, and it’s such a strange, yet absolutely amazing feeling. To have my mind not imprisoned with a reel that replays the worst on repeat – it’s crazy. I still think about these things, a lot, but they are not my every thought anymore. I’m trying to build new moments and thoughts to outgrow the old. Bad, triggering songs are being replaced with songs to make new, good memories with. My psychologist and I are working on my safety behaviors, and it’s horribly difficult but good too.

The sun has told me that I can cope, that I can survive and keep living, and today I am beginning to believe her.

What are you? A chaos.

“What are you? A chaos.” (Anaïs Nin).


Just wanted to check in with everybody, to send out some love and good vibes, and to say that I’m thinking of you all. 

Right now I’m listening to Kings of Leon, reading old poetry, and watching the rain dance outside.

I hope that today has been kind to you, that your mind is granting you some well-deserved peace, and that tomorrow is a shining promise.

I’ll update properly soon, and I’m so excited to catch up on everybody’s blogs.

For now, I just thought I would share a few old poems that I wrote just over a year ago. They aren’t much, but they make me smile.


I hope these words find you well, and I’m sending out all the hugs I’ve got.

Lots of love,

Kaitlyn.

A small hello.

Hello lovely blogging friends!

It’s really nice to be back, even if it’s only for a little while.

I took around a month off from blogging – a month away from writing lots and lots, and sharing difficult things, and connecting to wonderful souls all across the globe. You see, several things happened which prompted me to step away from this world for a little bit. I missed everyone here a lot, but it was good in ways too.

University began and was hectic from the get-go. I’m trying to juggle classes, my research project, co-leading a club, volunteering, working two part-time jobs, married life, house hunting, recovery, and just general life too! I really admire people that can keep their blog up despite living crazy busy lives – go you! I am learning an awful lot, and am loving what I get to study more and more each day. Alongside this there are always so many meetings to attend to, emails to reply to, and plans to make. But I’m happy. And I’m good. It’s a stressful, yet beautiful whirlwind.

In terms on mental health, things are okay. It’s kind of weird though, because apparently I’m not very good at telling when I’m not doing okay. Despite being the busiest that I have ever been, and from my perspective coping better than ever, I have been referred to a specialist centre for a higher level of treatment. It made me laugh a little bit, because I feel that I’m doing better than ever, which may be true, but I guess it shows that we can always keep going upwards. That we can always keep pushing forwards. And it doesn’t necessarily mean that I’m unwell, or that I’m not making progress, as I am, but my therapist said that she would be doing a great disservice to me to not hand my treatment over to people she think could help even more. Have I mentioned that she is one of my favourite people? I am so grateful to her.

Another reason why I had to step away from the blog for a while was due to fear. I was afraid that a couple of people who are very dear to me would find this space, and that my writing would either upset them, or change our relationship in some way. It’s a tricky one. So, I took a few weeks to try and decide what to do with this blog, and where it is going. I don’t want to get rid of it entirely, because the connections it has allowed me to make are too precious, and writing 60 pieces over summer was a great learning experience. However, I have decided to just leave it as it is, where it is. Whatever happens, will happen. And all that has happened so far is amazing conversations with special people. This tool is such a blessing.

Someday soon I would like to write more in depth about what I’m up to this year, because it makes me so happy, and it would be nice to have a living record of it. But for now, I am just going to stick with writing on here irregularly, and with reading blogs irregularly and such. I don’t want to place more pressure and deadlines on myself than necessary, and turn this space into “work”, when it is supposed to be natural, organic and flowing. So we will see what happens.

I’m looking forward to catching up with everyone, and I hope that your todays all around the world are beautiful and peaceful.

Sending lots of love and hugs,
Kaitlyn.

 

Expanding.

Lately I have been sharing my writing with organisations and blogs beyond this little space here! 

It has been truly wonderful to have the opportunity to share my words and experiences with a wider audience, and I am so thankful that I get to be part of such incredible and supportive mental health communities.

Firstly, a couple of my pieces are part of Beating Eating Disorders, an organisation which aims to share lived experiences and support by talking about all forms of eating disorders. You can check out one here

Secondly, I have had the pleasure of contributing to Off Your Chest blog, an amazing place of discussions and reflections on mental health, run by the wonderful Fred! You can read my piece Go out there and be, here!

It has been such an honour to find and be part of such wonderful mental health communities.

What are your favourite places to share your writing with?

The last first day back.

At the moment, I’m sitting in the beautiful sunshine rays on the bus, on my way to my first day back at university. It’s also my final year, making it my last first day, in a way!

The first day jitters are all too real, but I’m excited too. I love learning, seeing friends all the time, and the environment at university too. However, I’m also looking forward to this year being over, and for being able to move on in a way, and begin a career.

These past couple of days have been blissful, and I wanted to write about some small joys that I have found in them. 

We have been visiting family who live down on the other end of the island, and where we are planning to move to in the near future.

The anticipation of visiting them, which we do at least a couple of times a year, fills me with anxiety each and every time. But the strange thing is that upon every return back to our home city, I feel a sense of peace, confidence and contentment that I don’t get elsewhere. It makes me never want to leave, and all the more excited to move there.

I didn’t have data on my phone meaning no internet or social media, which is such a good thing to do every now and then! It really helped me be more engaged in the moment, and to compare myself to others less.

We met and played with a bunch of beautiful, gorgeous dogs, one of them being the biggest I have ever seen. Her paws were huge, and she was definitely a gentle giant! There is something about dogs that fills me with hope. They see the best in people, and are so light-hearted. I reckon we could all learn a thing or two from them.


We also sorted out a lot of big decisions regarding our house for when we move down. It has taken a big chunk of pressure off us, which can only be a good thing right? I love all the planning and inspiration involved, and the feel you can get from each place about whether it’s right for you or not. And the prospect of having a veggie garden in the near future! So exciting!

We spent a lot of time with our family, which was beautiful. We are so thankful to have such supportive, encouraging and kind people surrounding us. They make us laugh so much too, which is a great bonus!

And all the little things add up too. Seeing the rushing blue rivers, the purple alpine flowers, all the alpacas, horses, bumblebees. Drinking fresh orange juice, singing along in the car, burgers, seeing friends unexpectedly.

All these little things make life so beautifully rich and sweet.

They make life worth living.

Blogger Recognition Award Nomination

Something I truly appreciate about award posts in the blogging world is that it allows bloggers to connect. We find out more about each other, and also discover new blogs that we may want to follow. It’s exciting!

The lovely Ashley from Practicing Imperfection, a blog with a fantastic name that I strongly support, nominated me for the Blogger Recognition Award! Ashley blogs honestly and genuinely about PTSD, mental health, and her journey towards recovery. It’s a wonderful resource and provides great insight too. Thank-you, so very much Ashley, for sharing your story with us through your blog, for the sweet nomination, and for being such a wonderful support here on WordPress!

The rules are:

  1. Post the Blogger Recognition Award Rules.
  2. Use Blogger Recognition Award badge on your website.
  3. Share the reasons why you blog.
  4. Share two tips for new bloggers.
  5. Nominate other bloggers for this award and notify each of them about this nomination.

This little blog, With Being Alive, was created as a space to share. For many years, I refused to talk about, or even acknowledge for the most part, the mental illnesses that were such a huge part of my life. Writing on this blog gives me the freedom to talk with vulnerability and honesty about what I kept hidden for so long. There are many blessings of blogging, and one of these is the connections you make, with people who just simply get it. They may be all the way across the globe, but they understand, and the support I have found here is immense. I am so thankful.

Along the way, I have also found that blogging is really therapeutic. Being able to go through my experiences and put them into words has been so helpful, as well as being able to “release” what goes on in my mind. It’s also really good practice for living learning how to be unashamed of who you are.

For new bloggers, I recommend getting out there in the community and being involved. Part of well-being involves being connected to others, and blogging is all about this. We are writing out to the big wide world to find like-minded souls! It can be scary at first, but if somebody is writing stuff you resonate with, go ahead and tell them! Make connections, support other bloggers, help to grow this beautiful community we have.

Another tip is to write about what is genuinely and authentically you. There is no point in writing about what may be popular at the moment, if it’s not something that interests you. Jump right on in, writing about what’s important to you, and you will find your niche and people!

My nominees for the Blogger Recognition Award are:

Rosie Blogs

Fight To Become

Indy’s Soliloquies

Crushing Walls

Revenge of Eve

Questions From A Teenager

Just A Nervous Girl

Living & Loving Through Recovery

Each of these blogs are wonderful, support spaces, where the lovely people behind them write authentically and with great talent. I am so grateful that they share their stories frequently, and loudly too! It also completely okay if you don’t want to accept the nomination, I understand that they can be taxing, and if that’s the case then please just know that I appreciate your blog an awful lot! Sending lots of hugs out to the blogosphere, and I hope everybody is having peaceful days today.

The logical insignificance of self-doubt.

We are small.

We are only mere individuals with arms and legs and sometimes fire-making abilities, and many, many flaws capping our way.

Not much of what we do actually matters, to the world as a whole.

Our actions, our words and our values imprint on those around us. They matter. They are important.

But to the world? It’s unlikely.

This sounds all dark and grim, but really it’s not, I promise you.

Think of everything holding you back, everthing in your way, stopping you from being who you have the potential to be.

It is all only as big as ourselves, at a maximum, really.

Which could make it sound either very big, if you are thinking about your dislike for peanut butter, or very small, like anxiety which feels as heavy as the weight of the world.

I’m not talking about political, or geographical, or socio-economic boundaries, as those are not from ourselves yet they do play a part in how we are limited. Of course, they too can shift.

What I’m meaning is that every ounce of self-doubt, of not feeling good enough, of a lack of self-worth, is no higher power. It cannot truly govern or rule us. We allow it to, when in reality it exists within us, because us, of us, rather than for us.

This means that every one of these shrewd, destructive thoughts, is entirely insignificant. To ourselves, to the world around us, to each other.

This is not intending to invalidate these thoughts, by saying that they dont play a big part of our lives, or that they aren’t real, because they are significant to our own lives, and they do exist.


However, to everything and everyone outside of what they are, they are nothing.

They hold no power, have no weight, and are meaningless; weightless.

Being humans, as we hold onto them, they become stones. They sink us, and we drown beneath what we make them out to be.

And we become a person who is limited by something that doesn’t really exist.

This is all really comforting, in a way, because we are so small in the big scheme of things, but we can be so big in what truly matters; to one another.

In love, in joy, in hope.

And everything within us that is unbearable – the relentless,  degrading voice which demands that we aren’t good enough – is in fact, by all logic anyway, tiny and miniscule. 

Head outside tonight, and gaze upwards at the stars. The galaxies are infinite, vast, and by comparison, self-doubt is really isn’t very monstrouly huge at all. The universe is ethereal, and self-doubt really is an insignificant blip.