Wednesday 1 January 2014

1 Year of Scarphelia and A New Resolution

Today is a very special day all round. 

Not only does it mark the first day of the year 2014, it also marks exactly one year since I started Scarphelia and my mission to become remarkable. So, happy Blogiversary and first birthday to Scarphelia!

I started Scarphelia on the 1st January 2012 as a New Years Resolution to myself. (To read my first ever post (admittedly a little before the 1st) click here.) My Resolution for 2012 was simply: To Make It Happen. 

And boy oh boy, did it. 
I have been on the most insane whirlwind of a journey over these past 12 months, and I never would have ever dreamed I would have ended up here. To be honest, I kinda guessed that with all New Year's Resolutions, I'd get bored halfway through February and let it fizzle off whilst I returned to the normal routine.

But not this time.

2013 was going to be the year that I changed my life, and the end of the year is by no means the end of these plans. This has gone far, far beyond a silly little New Year's tradition. It feels like the foundations have been set, the gears have been put into motion, and now it's time for something BIG. 

And change is going be the main theme of my New Years Resolution for 2014. Last year was learning how to instigate the change within my life, how to take fate into my own hands and to stop being average - This year will be the year of action. 

And this is my New Years Resolution, my plan of action, and my mantra for changing my life over the course of the next year:

"To pursue positivity, peace and enlightenment."

And THIS is how I'm going to do it.

Inspired by this very popular post circulating Tumblr, the idea of this is that you take a jar, and every time something happens in your life that makes you happy, makes you smile, or that you are really grateful for, you write a little note about it and the date on a piece of paper and put it inside the jar.

On New Years Eve, before the clock strikes Midnight and marks a new year, you open the jar, and relive all of the happy memories and say your last graces for the joy the past year has bought you. 

I know this idea is a little bit done to death but I am absolutely in love with it. 

Not only does it make you truly appreciate your life, the people you have around you and just how lucky you are, it's a reminder that things are never really as bad as they seem. 

Sometimes in life it can seem that the negative so vastly outweighs the positive, but perhaps the only error is that we give more weight, more focus and more of our attention to the bad, which results in us overlooking the good. Don't let happiness forget - cast aside the bad and keep close to your heart the good, not the other way round. 

And after all, they say the true path to inner peace lies in self-reflection.

(Plus I imagine this would be such a lovely, profound and insightful thing to do with your children each year, when you're a little bit older.)

This one will undoubtedly be the hardest, and is most definitely the most important.

I have come along way from the days of hating myself, but my oh my have I become super talented at being my own worst enemy. I swear in life 80% of my stress and frustrations stem from internally arguing with myself and getting angry that I didn't do something, or I procrastinated, or I didn't try hard enough.

Although I feel pretty grown up in most aspects, I seem to have this determined stubborn little corner of my mind which has lingered since childhood and only grown ever more spiteful.

If a magic genie appeared to me now, and granted me one thing, just one thing I could change about myself, it would not be to have clearer skin, longer hair or a toned stomach - however much I want those things. It would be to change this almost biologically lackadaisical attitude towards things that I just can't seem to break free from.

To put it simply - I struggle to give a shit about anything unless I'm EXTREMELY passionate about it. Full blown clinical 'All or nothing' syndrome.

I'll have one or two things that I'm doing or working on that I get super excited about and channel all of my efforts in, and everything else I'll literally do...nothing. It doesn't even matter how fundamentally important these things are, my brain just goes 'lol don't care'. And for love nor money I can't seem to convince myself to care, and it is the most frustrating thing ever.

To use a festive-themed metaphor, like when you're sat watching TV and the box of celebrations come out, and you just cannot help yourself. You feel bad because you want to eat healthily and you know how bad they are for you, but you just keep on going back and back and you know you're not going to stop, no matter how many times that voice in your head says 'think of the calories...'

I know full well how important things like Uni work and exams are, but... It's not even that I don't care, I CAN'T care. My brain just refuses to consider them as important things worth wasting effort over.

And I kinda sorta bloody well need to sort that out. 

So after giving myself the infamous Ron Weasley line of 'She needs to sort out her priorities.' line, I'm going to attempt to go full guns blazing and kick that stubborn little immature mentality of mine back into my childhood where it belongs, and change my way of thinking for good. 

I don't need to lose weight to be happy, I don't need to be skinny to be happy - I just need to know that I have the power to change myself. 

After years of half-halfheartedly trying and failing and staying forever the same, to be happy, I have to discover that I am in control of myself. And once you truly believe in yourself, that you have the power, determination and will to make a change for the better, then you will find that peace, and be able to love yourself how you deserve to be loved. 

With the inner and outer changes that I want to make this year, I feel my peace will come from learning that I am in control of my body, my body is not in control of me. Forced repetition will become habit, will become permanent change. I just need to stick at it. 

Now, although part of my resolution is to not get too distracted by projects, I have a new, very important and special project that I will be undertaking in the new year with my friend Hollie.

I don't want to give too much away just yet, but me and Hollie, a writer and a photographer, are going to embark on a very important journey, in metaphorical and physical, with the end goal of creating an incredible documentary of what we're doing. 

The book will be heavily based upon the ideas and philosophies I discuss in Scarphelia and focused strongly around the post 'What Is Your Greatest Story?' as we seek to find the most incredible, ground-breaking, emotional and unbelievable real life stories from the people you'd least expect.

Although a little vague, we have a very strong plan behind this project, and we will be working with charities and families, as well as documenting our journey in book-form which will be released at the end, and in video-form which is most likely to be published in a series of vlogs.

I am really, seriously excited about this project (calm, priorities Katie, priorities...) and cannot wait to begin. The changes I want to make this year are not just changes to myself. Last year I wanted to make it happen, this year I want to make a difference.

So recently I made a discovery that has since fascinated me ever since;

I'm not crazy... I'm a Synesthete. 

For as long as I've ever been able to remember, I've been able to do some really weird stuff with my mind. I've never really known what the hell they are or mean, but I have recently discovered that there is a name for it. 

It's called Synesthesia, which means 'A union of senses' - in essence, the neural pathways in your mind which connect your five different sense are all jumbled and interlink, which results in some pretty bizarre and fantastic phenomenons.

 There's two main weird things I do/see and I've actually written about them before on Scarphelia, not having any clue what they actually were. I called one 'The Clarity' because I did not know what else to call it, and the other I referred to as 'Lovers Visions'.

I was speaking to Oliver about it recently, and he directed me to this page on Synesthesia, and I was blown out of the goddamn water. It's not just me. It's an actual thing! There's hundreds of us who all experience really weird things, and vary in different types too.

The reason I'd never googled it before is because it's just so damned hard to explain. I don't 'see' things exactly, I don't have schizophrenia or anything... but its just like all the time my mind is 'looking at' something, regardless of what my eyes are seeing. 

Sometimes I wish I could just project the things I can see onto a screen or something, just to show what it's like.

I guess having Synesthesia is like having a really pointless but kinda pretty super power. 

I have been so fascinated reading up about the different types and other peoples experiences of having it, and have been in contact with a Synesthesia research team at The University of East London, and hopefully will be popping over there soon to have a chat about my case and run some test and stuff. I'm so excited to actually explain everything to someone without sounding like a liar/nutcase, and to learn more about this absolutely fascinating condition. 

After my meeting with the professors I'm going to write a huge blog post about my experiences of having Synesthesia, but in the mean time if you want to ask any questions about it, feel free to drop me a message on Tumblr and I'll get back to you!

In regards to my New Years Resolution, I aim to pay more attention to it and try to incorporate it into my creative works. 

I think part of the reason I can write quite well (totes being humble here) or at least build scenes when storytelling is because all of my sense are working overtime and jumbling over all the information, and I can translate that into text to re-create that precise setting in the mind of the person who reads it. And I use quite a lot of metaphors, which I guess makes sense. (pun dot com) 

Anyway, I've mostly just ignored it, and only ever really told Oliver about it, but now I'm really going to listen/watch what the things in my mind are showing me, and and going to start keeping a log of the things I see because, honestly, you couldn't even try and make up some stuff of the weirdness level of the things I see, and it truly is just out-of-this-world bizarre.


So these are the 5 elements that make up my New Years Resolution for 2014. 

I have a good feeling about this year (is it just me or does the numbers 2014 just look better than 2013? Even numbers just seem more comforting huh) and I'm so thrilled by the all the projects and journeys that are to come. 

One of the most exciting things that is to happen in this first month of 2014, is the public voting for the National UK Blog Awards. 

Scarphelia is currently entered into the 'Young Blogger Award' category and it would honestly mean the world to me if you could just spare 30 seconds of your day to register your vote! There is no cash prize, no fame or fortune to be gained by winning, it would just be such a profound and wondrous achievement - the perfect end of my resolution 'to become remarkable'.

I write to entertain, enlighten and (hopefully) inspire, and the incredible feedback I have had over this past year has blown me away, moved me to tears at points, and kept me going. I don't know really, it just feels like I've found the thing I'm meant to be doing... and even to get shortlisted for a UK Blog Award would be the most perfect, divine sign that perhaps this is true.

So if you would be ever so kind, as a little birthday present for Scarphelia or just out of New Year goodwill, just click on the button below to be taken to the voting page and pop in your email address and a few deets, and vote Scarphelia. No spam, no ads, just a quick and simple process!

So let's raise a toast to the end of 2013, a year of being Scarphelia, and the beautiful, positivity-fulled even-numbered year ahead.

With all my love and my sincerest of gratitudes,