How Things Have Been

How Things Have Been

It’s been a period of doing. A lot of life happened to me in a short space of time and I found myself thrown into a sea of constant activity. I’ve been doing my best to go with the flow and respond to things as they come up naturally. I’m usually a creature of habit and someone who relishes time alone. I like having my own space to process things.

Lately however, I have been in a state of constant doing. Aside from the urge to retreat inward in order to take stock of things, I actually feel like it has been good for me. Finally the feeling of summer is in the air. I always feel nostalgic this time of year, as it reminds me of something I can never truly put my finger on. A nostalgia from being a teenager maybe; when the summer holidays would seemingly stretch out ahead of me, bursting with potential and wonder, hinting that something outside the mundane was waiting for me, just beyond the horizon. I’ve always struggled to put into words the feeling that summer evokes in me. 

Where have I been? What have I been doing? The answer is a whole lot of living. Spring came and with it brought the sense of lightness I had been craving. New work opportunities, new music, new people, new fashion and a full social calendar burst in to my quiet, grey life and added some colour. It’s almost a shame how jam packed my schedule was at this point because I will never be able to remember or retell all of the magic, chaos and chance meetings fully. But then I think that’s how it was supposed to be. I remember one day walking home from my job, looking at the blossoms on the trees, having to take out my notebook every couple of steps because poetry was just flowing out of me. I felt as though I was on the cusp of something. 

Anyone who knows me will have heard me say that I become a different person in the summer. I mean, I’m me, I’m just lighter somehow. I still don’t feel like I will be able to bottle that sense of magic I was feeling during spring. I wanted so badly to sit down and write about it. Thats the thing with moments like this, sometimes they are just so fleeting. Sometimes you are faced with the choice to wrench yourself out of the moment in order to document it, sometimes you chose to stay in it and allow it to pass by you, as a sheer flicker in time that you will one day hopefully be able to chalk up in your hazy memory. My favourite antidote is when documenting becomes a moment all in itself. That one happens sparingly.

This spring, I found myself faced with a myriad of moments that I wanted to capture, to bottle, to hold in my hands in order to prove to people that they were indeed real. What I did instead, was decide to live through them. Maybe one day my hazy memories will be able to do some of the magic justice. Sometimes you just had to be there. Sometimes no matter how talented you are at storytelling or how great your vocabulary is, sometimes you will never be able to convey the feelings you experienced, to another person.

I think theres some sort of sweet, delicate pain that comes from being a writer. The sensation of not quite being able to grasp the words, conjures up a feeling that is so downright frustrating and yet so dangerously addictive at the same time. 

I haven’t written like this in a long while; it feels more like prose than a blog entry. The last few poems I have written have been commissions which, while great; I cannot remember the last time I wrote something just for me. Life’s scenery has been passing me by so quickly. 

I’m trying to be more independent. I’ve changed a lot. I’ve grown as a person. I feel stronger, I feel more creative, I feel more embodied. I feel harder in some ways, and I feel softer in all the best ways too. I’ve been unearthing things from inside me, and I’ve been feeling lighter & brighter as a result. I still feel heavily effected by my own emotions; learning to navigate this years highs and lows is an art I have not yet mastered. Especially since the past few years have been relatively easy to manage in comparison.

For now however, I’m not going to sweat it. Because as much as “doing the work” is important, sometimes life can be about the little things. Sometimes it doesn’t all have to be so hard. Sometimes it’s about drinking tea in bed and laughing at something stupid with a friend. Sometimes it’s about music, sometimes it’s about a great piece of art, sometimes it’s about someone who gives you their t-shirt to wear. Sometimes life can be about lightness. Sometimes life can be about romance. 

Trying to be mindful and grateful in each and every moment, I’m learning, you guys. 

Maybe I will check in soon. 

Until then, I wish you a summer filled with sunsets & good music.

For more of what I’ve been doing…

New pictures

New playlist

Peace, love & poetry, Lyndsay xo

How I Sleep

How I Sleep

I’ve had a couple of conversations recently with friends who suffer from insomnia or disrupted sleep and it got me thinking about my own sleeping habits. I’m lucky that I tend to sleep really well at night, and while things like insomnia can sometimes be the result of deeper issues that require insight from medical professionals; there are certainly still some things that can be done to create an atmosphere for yourself that promotes better sleep. So here are a few things of mine…

Environment

First of all, I take really good care of my room. I am constantly decluttering and tidying things away. If my room is filled with stuff or piles of laundry then chances are, I’m not going to want to sleep there as much as I usually do. I make an effort to keep things tidy, to hoover regularly and dust down my surfaces. (Having asthma is also a factor here but it means I keep my room clean) Every morning I make sure to open the blinds to let the sunshine in and I like to keep my window a little open to allow for a flow of air too. Things like smudging, crystals and fresh flowers can also help to raise the vibration of a room, clear the energy and create a nourishing space. Whenever my friends come into my room they always tell me that it feels like they are about to get a massage and honestly that relaxing, spa-vibe is always what I’m trying to go for!

Water

I try to shower or take a bath every single night, right before bed. I do this for several reasons, one because there is no better feeling than sliding into bed with clean skin, and two because I genuinely do believe that water helps me neutralise and release any negativity from my day. Bathing at night feels like a sacred ritual to me. I often lean towards a shower but if you wanted an extra relaxing effect, I would suggest a Himalayan salt bath with candles. I take Himalayan salt baths a few times a week and I could write a whole separate post on their benefits.

Routine

We’ve touched on it above but it is really important to have a routine you actually like before going to bed. I very much keep my evenings to myself and have a hard rule that I won’t do any work after tea at night (with maybe the odd exception) my evenings are for myself, so I’m always sure to spend them relaxing! I like to keep the lights really low, no-one wants the buzz of artificial light right before bed, I might light a candle or some incense and find somewhere where I can stretch out and relax. I’m not too strict about staying off my phone at night. That said, when I do use it; the screen brightness is all the way down and nighttime mode is activated (In fact I use it this way at all times, not just during the night.) This might also be a good time for people who have a daily meditation practise (or movement practise/tapping/affirmations/anything like that.) I personally like to do my self-care in the morning but I will sometimes use the night to stretch. There are about 3 yoga stretches that I like to do for my hips and I find them to be great de-stressors. I also have a skincare routine that I really enjoy. While I haven’t spent a lot of money on products, the routine itself still feels luxurious to me. I have a rosehip facial oil that I use at night. Whenever I use this product, it seems to send a signal to my brain that I am ready for bed. Most importantly, I always close off every night the same way; by applying lavender oil to my wrists and taking a deep inhale. Lavender oil is one of the few things I wouldn’t like to live without and can calm me instantly.

Bed

Lets talk about the bed itself! I think it goes without saying that you want to wash your sheets regularly. I try to use more natural washing liquids on my sheets and clothes because really you spend nearly half your life in bed, you don’t want your skin absorbing chemicals during a time where you are supposed to be healing and regenerating. If you have the funds to do so, try and select a bad that is the firmness you want – I love a really firm bed and found my sleep to be so much better since I moved house and bought an amazing mattress. Pick pillows based on their comfort, and have your sheets reflect your personal style. I love a clean white bedspread, I like to layer mine with a fringed light grey blanket and some neural cushions with pom-poms. I’m not gona lie, it looks like a proper grown up bed! I actually feel a bit sophisticated when I’m in there. I’ve heard a lot of Feng Sui practitioners explain that it’s not a good idea to eat/do work etc. in bed and I have to say that I agree with this for the most part. Keep your bed as sacred as possible, pick sheets you love & don’t use it as a dumping ground for laundry etc! If you are reading this now, take this as permission to buy yourself new sheets! You deserve it.

Drink

Not a current habit of mine because I’m mainly too lazy to make a hot drink this close to bedtime! But if I really want a good nights sleep and especially if it’s winter, I will reach for one of several beverages. Firstly chamomile tea should be a staple in anyones homes for anxious emergencies. Secondly; I have a yogi sleep tea and a sleep tea by Pukka. Both caffeine free & organic and I have to say I love them both. Failing these I would bring out the big guns; ashwaganda. You can buy ashwaganda power from many health stores, I just heat up some plant milk and add a small amount. You could also experiment by adding in tumeric, cinnamon, even a dash of cacao (although cacao is known to be quite stimulating) I have grown to love ashwaganda and it really does help me to drift off.

A REAL WARNING: I am not an expert in nutrition, however from my research Ashwaganda is NOT suitable for those who are pregnant. So please, please do your research before introducing anything new into your diet. Plants are powerful!

PJ’s

Having pyjamas that you love and feel cosy is really of the highest importance when attempting to have a comfortable nights sleep. I can buy as many cool-looking pairs of PJ’s as I want but I often find myself gravitating towards the same old t-shirt. Why? Because fabric is important! You want something that feels nice against your skin while reflecting your personal style. Take this as permission to go through your old PJ’s, recycle or donate to charity and treat yourself to some news ones! Be honest yours probably have some sort of stain on or hole in anyway. If you’re one of those lucky people who sleep naked then you can skip this step. I personally find it too cold to do that in England but each to their own!

Gratitude 

This leads me to falling asleep! So you have your nice new PJ’s on, your sliding into your brand-new, clean sheets, cup of ashwaganda in hand, and you’re all ready for a good nights sleep! The last thing that I try to do once the lights are out, while I’m falling asleep is mentally list everything I’m grateful for. I love entering my sleep this way and do genuinely feel more of a sense of contentment from this practise. Bonus points if you write them down before falling asleep. Usually I’m too tired to but I like to list a few things mentally in my head always.

Spiritual

A few more things that I do personally try and do! Firstly I always sleep with a variety of crystals under my pillow – usually selenite or quartz but then I like to experiment with others. Lately I’ve been loving rose quartz, orange calcite and rhodonite for emotional healing. I also tried recently a bit of red jasper for grounding. Have an experiment and see what you think. You can also ask your guides/angels to communicate with you or accelerate your healing via your dreams. (be prepared for things to get a little bit crazy – I don’t do this everyday because I often have quite vivid dreams when I do) you can write some intentions or a prayer and put the paper under your pillow, there really is no limit to how you can harness your sleep as a tool for transformation! Consider keeping a dream diary, it is such an interesting world to explore and I am only really dipping a toe in! I also like to do a bit of reiki on myself during a particularly stressful day as I’m falling asleep but agin this is not for everyone!

I’d love it if you could tell me which of these you do/want to try and if there is anything you feel that I’ve missed! The topic of sleep is so layered and complex but I’ve enjoying putting some of my thoughts on this subject onto paper.

See you in the next

Lyndsay xo

February Favourites

February Favourites

Hello.

It’s been a little while. I’m sure a more pouring-my-soul out blog post is due soon. (There has been A LOT going on) I’m also still in this kind of strange space where I’m not completely happy with the layout of my blog. I’m a little unsure about Salt Water Poetry and where to take it next. I’ve loved the community feel of my events for the last few years. But I also wonder whether I need a separate space for my own personal poetry & thoughts and whether to keep SWP slightly more faceless and more for other people? Big questions! They are maybe not for now to figure out but they are definitely floating in the periphery of my mind always. Anyway spring is near and I’ve been writing some new poems, how exciting. There’s something I love so much about Spring; all the regeneration and colour, it fills me up somehow. With no further ado…. Here are some of the things I have been enjoying this month….

this video by gala darling

I have been squeezing these in in the mornings before work. I love her style and aesthetic. I love knowing that spirituality comes in all different shapes and sizes and this is really Gala being her authentic self! She also has an equally visually pleasing Instagram feed as well.

more tattoo inspiration

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Currently researching the perfect tattoo. This one is taking me a while to pin down but the meaning behind it is important to me so I’m trusting that the right artist/situation will materialise soon.

excited to be performing at this event

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Technically this is in March, however I’ve been looking forward to it during Feb. Last year, I did an equally exciting radio panel with Beth Slinn, Amina Atiq and Lexia Tomlinson (All brilliant artists in their own right) where we had a very interesting discussion around inclusion, representation and self-love.

this fashion

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Picture by: https://butwhatshouldiwear.com/inspiration/

Really big fan of the mom jeans/simple classic style that is going on at the moment. (I know these ones featured are not technically mom jeans but whatever) My style goal is to look classic/put together/comfortable and feminine while sticking to a more neutral palate and this look sums that up perfectly for me.

listening to Billie Eilish 

Apart from these, I have been getting my teeth into a new job, buying lots of flowers, enjoying memorising my new pieces of poetry, I ordered some ceremonial grade cacao from my friend Arktara and I’m currently dreaming up some places in nature for a potential future solo trip. I haven’t done much goal setting lately and I have a lot of idea’s swimming about in my head so I will be spending the rest of my day putting my thoughts into something more tangible!

Which of these favourites did you like the best? What are some things you have loved during this period of time?

See you in the next.

Lyndsay xo 

Featured Image by Vanja Vukelic available to buy as print.

Poet of The Week: Alysia Harris

Poet of The Week: Alysia Harris

I love how all the constellations are named after Greek heroes. It reminds me that, even though immortal, they have vices too.” – Alysia Harris

I came across Alysia Harris years ago. Her poem “Cab Rides & The Morning After” was one of the first spoken word poetry videos I discovered that was cinematic in style. (as opposed to just filming someone performing spoken word, this was more like a music video. It was the exact type of film I wanted to create for my own work. Evocative, deeply sensual with a sometimes hard edge; Alysia manages to capture beautifully those elusive moments that usually slip through your fingers faster than you have time to hold onto them. I love how she blends her work with music, I find that style of collaboration the most entrancing when done well. I watch a lot, a lot, a lot of spoken word poetry; both online and in real life and I would say there is real power within this woman’s work, the way it grabs you by the belly and forces you to listen. I think there is something we can all learn from this level of honesty. I imagine myself sitting back and listening to all of this on a moody evening, wearing silk, with a glass of red in my hand. (I am currently sat in my pj’s during the day on a weekday as I write this but I so desperately don’t want to ruin the mood that this poetry evokes!) Enjoy the following selection of poems!

Which one was your favourite? I feel like I still have to say “Cab Rides & The Morning After” because it was the first one of hers I ever heard! But I also am a sucker for anything  Drake so Doing it Wrong is a close second. As I’m feeling inspired, I may take this opportunity to write something of my own. If this is the same for you, I’d love to see what you create!

Until the next time..

Lyndsay xo

Don’t forget you can check out Alysia’s site here.

Current Favourites

Current Favourites

It’s been a big ole month for me. Maybe I will sum it up in a later post. December was big, January was big and now finally with February I am feeling fresh energy. The haze is being cleared from the path, allowing me to see the way. I have some things to look forward to, I have my February intentions and I am bedding down further into my spiritual practise. I wish you a month of memories and getting shit done. For now, on a more material plane, here are some of my favourites.

Ruffles & block colours

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Full Moon Magic

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by Casey Weldon

Butterfly Tattoo Inspiration

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My Vibes Playlist

This poem/quote by Maryam Hasnaa

“do you have stars in your mouth. yes I tell him, come see. Will i die, he asked. yes i tell him, every time”

And that’s it! What have you been loving so far this month? February is always a bit of a favourite for me, it’s a shorter month, spring feels round the corner and I’m actually a fan of valentines day! I’ve got my tickets to a full moon self-love ritual with Lost Cosmos, I’m writing more poetry and while I have a full work schedule to navigate, I’m really enjoying the sense of fresh energy.

Peace, love & poetry

Lyndsay xo

 

Pins Of The Week: Jewellery, Fluffs & Travel Dreams!

Pins Of The Week: Jewellery, Fluffs & Travel Dreams!

Hello there!

So while this site mainly focuses around Spoken Word & Poetry, I’m also a pretty keen Lifestyle Pinner on Pinterest. (I made the title Lifestyle Pinner up so it sounds more like a job and less like an actual addiction which it most probably is.) However, to celebrate the fact that I am now at 65k monthly viewers (I told you it was an addiction) I have decided to start linking my blog in with my pinning habits (See mum? It’s a JOB) and also because I know that other people like looking at pretty things too. Take a 2 minute break out of your day for the run down on my favourite picks of the week!

Favourite Fluff

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Favourite Jewls 

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Favourite Travel Destination

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Favourite Room 

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Favourite Fashion

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And there you have it! Be sure to follow me on Pinterest  if you want more inspiration delivered straight to you!

Lyndsay xo

2018

2018

2018 has been one of the most incredible and transformational years of my entire life. 

I started this year very slowly; by doing a tonne of inner work and really hibernating down in my own little world while I did so. During January especially I felt like I learned a lot. I did an incredibly deep inner work course that really set the tone for the entire year; over the subsequent months I really felt the themes of my shadow work resurface again and again in order to test me, especially during these most recent months. I also learned a lot during this time as well: I finally did my birth chart (apparently I’m in my solar return), looked into human design, learned about my dosha and got into a tonne of podcasts that I really jived with. I finally downloaded Netflix and set up my own little Pinterest account. Both of these seem like the smallest things however since I was actually pretty ill at this point and had real minimal energy levels they made all the difference to my life. I started running, I created so many lovely morning routines. I got really into music and in some ways it really saved me. I Kon Marie-d my entire house. (The process outlined in The Life Changing Magic of Tidying) and I just let go of a million things that I was ready to let go of (both physically and mentally). I feel for me, the act of letting go of such a high amount of belongings really propelled me into the next phase of my life. As soon as I did that, everything changed. Situations became clearer, different people showed up in my life, and things started to feel less stagnant. I found out I had a couple of nutrient deficiencies. Something which really helped me to understand why I had been feeling so low for the last couple of years. I’m pleased to say I have almost completely reversed them. They way I feel now is honestly incomparable and something I do not take for granted. I said goodbye to my beloved poetry night, the night I had run for 2 years and trusted that despite it feeling scary, it was the right thing to do. Rhymes & Records really made me who I am in some ways and is honestly one of my proudest achievements. I was fortunate enough that I was able to attend a LOT of weddings, hen nights and baby showers. Watching my friends carve out the lives that are perfect for them has been lovely to see. 

This takes me to summer. We are so blessed to have had one of the best summers that England has seen in a long time. I have hundreds of pictures on my phone from spending my mornings in the garden and I truly believe that spending time outside in this weather is what healed me. I had some of the most loveliest times, just soaking in the sunlight: reading, doing yoga or eating.  I’m lucky in that I wasn’t overworked this year at all. I didn’t end up making a tonne of money but I made enough and was really able to take some much needed time for me. I did a juice cleanse that really raised me up a notch and made a massive difference to my health – in fact it was the first time I experienced having some level of energy and I feel it was a real turning point for me spiritually. I drank a lot of cacao in this time and really upped my self care. (I think it’s important to always have some strong go-to’s in this area – tools you can use that you know will always work.) I found out some things relating to my adoption (including that I previously had a different name!) and I learned that I share a lot of similar traits to women with high-functioning autism (not sure what that means at this stage but it is something I would love to further investigate) My best friend came back for a few weeks after moving away and I also had a 28th birthday.

Portugal. Firstly I won a free holiday (thank you manifestation course from earlier in the year) who even does that?! Portugal was one of the most incredible, profound adventures I’ve had to date. I’ve written about this previously but that one short week was responsible for some real shifts inside me. As soon as I came back, autumn had seemed to set in, which was the start of a whole new season and phase of life for me. 

Moving. I’m so lucky that I managed to move out into an absolute dream house, in a dream location, that is close to my work and filled with some really beautiful people. I’m close to the the park, I’m close to all my favourite things in the city and I feel like in moving I shed a lot of old stuff and really stepped into a new, lighter way of being. My home environment is really important to me and I am honestly so happy to be able to call this place my home. Every time I step into my room I have a smile on my face, no matter what sort of day I’ve had. My room in particular is a real solace and I work really hard to maintain it’s specific state of energy. At this point as well, my energy has almost made a complete return and I was feeling like life is full of possibility. I treated myself to some new clothes and really started to feel comfortable in my own skin and enjoy fashion again. I stopped being vegan for a short space of time, something I’m working my way back to. I also completed a year sober and taught myself that it’s okay to have a drink every now and then. I took on some really big poetry jobs around this time, I’d even go as far to describe them as “high-profile” (well they are the words that the organisers who booked me used at least) I also ran a tonne of events that I really was happy with: another Find Your Voice Course, a Rhymes & Records Revival and a Conscious Poetry Night being just a few. I’m really happy with the work I put out there this year, and the lovely people it connected me to. The next few months were full of synchronicities and powerful full moons. I wouldn’t be able to explain all of the strange, kismet things that happened during this time but I did start making a note of them somewhere private because there was too many not to! Watching Neil Hilborn, Rudy Francisco and Sabrina Benaim was a real privilege and really helped me evolve the way I write poetry. After feeling like I had outgrown some of my stuff, I was able to create new work that I felt accurately demonstrated everything I had learned up until this point. 

These last few months have been some of the most challenging I’ve had to date. I don’t think it’s fair for me to go into them in too much detail just yet and to be honest, I’m still processing. Everything that I learned about myself at the start of the year looped back around in the form of a mirror and really caused me to take stock of how far I’ve come and far there still is to go. I’ve learned that I am much, much stronger than I thought and in many way’s I’m so proud of how I’ve carried myself during such a difficult time. The way I’ve dealt with things this challenging has actually been really healthy. I’m proud of myself for that. The purpose of this is not to get people to feel sorry for me or concerned because I’m absolutely fine. Or maybe I’m not, and that’s fine too. I think theres a really strong sort of beauty that comes from owning your truth. I know that everything happened exactly as it was meant to and it really helped me grow into the person I was supposed to. I used to think people were full of shit when they’d say things like that – when something bad happened to them and they’d they can see why & that it was all divine etc. I used to think they were completely bullshitting and too afraid to say that it sucks. However I understand now that its happening to me. Everything that happened was beautiful and divine and also kind of sucks a little bit and it’s fine for things to be both. I’m in awe and gratitude to the year that I’ve had. I’m glad that I’ve been able to have fires in my garden and burn away everything I no longer need and know that I most probably will be turning to that ritual a lot more in the upcoming weeks. I’m grateful to salt baths and to sage, to orange essential oil and the absolute angels of friends I’ve had around me. This year, I’ve learned that anything can be beautiful if you allow it to be.

What else? I’ve grown as a person, I feel like I’m acting out of alignment a lot more and my body confidence is higher than it has ever been. This year I’ve felt more like a woman than any other year. I’m so thankful that I feel more at home within my body and the feeling still catches me off-guard and feels like a novelty for me. I still have further to go in the world of self-love but I don’t feel like I have to force it as much anymore. One of the other things that got me through this year were my girls at work. I’m so lucky with work in general that it’s got to a point where it all feels like a very well-oiled machine. We just work together well and everyone knows what they’re doing. I feel real confidence there and I’m so fortunate that I’ve had some of the nicest, most caring, supportive, funny and intelligent people to work with over these past few months. Working in the grotto on top of my normal job over the xmas time also really helped; the santa’s & the elves! During a time where I was struggling, the small conversations I had with others really helped me, even if they were about absolutely nothing! I’m so fortunate to have all of the friends around me that I do. Everyone talks about cutting off the negative people in the new year but I honestly don’t think I would know who. I have some people who really do genuinely care. And I hope I can be there for them they were they were there for me this year. I didn’t get as involved with Alternative Fashion Fest as I would have liked to this year, that’s the only thing I can really fault out of my year really. But I know it will always be there for me. I had canal boat holidays with my family and worked the door on some burlesque shows. But ultimately this year has been one of intense expansion and growth. I’m so fortunate and so thankful. 

Last year my word was “Stability” which I honestly do feel like I’ve been able to create more of for myself. I have a lot more things that I want to do this year and I can already start to see how the year is taking shape. This year I feel like I don’t have to force it as much. I feel like I want to keep my goals and intentions in real alignment with myself and that is why my word is “Truth”. Last year I entered the new year feeling fresh and full of hope. This year I kind of feel like I have been dragging myself across the finish line, covered in cuts and bruises and aching bones. However I’ve done it, I’m still here, I’m still breathing, even if my breath is ragged and my hair a mess, even if I barely know what day it is and have shaking hands. I’m here and I’m alive and that is honestly all that matters.

May 2019 bring you everything it’s supposed to.  

*original photo credit not found. Please let me know if you know the artist so I can credit them.

Why I Switched From Poetry to Blogging

Why I Switched From Poetry to Blogging

Recently I was talking to a friend who commented that she had noticed me posting more blog posts. Straight away, I delved right into discussion with her, explaining all the reasons why I am loving blogging at the moment. I realised this would make for a great post and I thought I would explain to all of you why I have “switched” from poetry to blogging….Firstly let me say that I haven’t really switched at all! Just focused my energy on a form of writing that I believe is more sustainable for me at this time. No matter what sort of mood I am in, I’ve noticed that I am almost always able to write a blog post. Blogs are straightforward; they usually exist to communicate some form of information with an audience. Yes it takes work to create a post that is inspiring, imaginative and witty; but with blogging I feel like there’s less of a struggle. It helps me when I feel the need to write and share my thoughts with others and requires a lot less emotional labour than a poem does.

Poetry takes guts. It takes you reaching out into the cavernous depths of your chest and pulling out with your bare hands whats inside. It asks you to face your demons, to confront those parts of yourself that are considered most ugly. Poetry asks you to dig out your dirty laundry and hold it up for the whole world to see, hoping that your vulnerability will be something people can connect with.

Poetry, having being dismissed by scholars/society for centuries for being too “fluffy” is certainly not for the faint-hearted. But I am not someone who can access their most painful or joyous truth on cue. For me it can take even years for some poems to come through fully. It is like birthing something and this process cannot be rushed. Yes we can do writing exercises and yes, I would push people to write on a regular basis; I do after all, believe that many of us can hurry through the feeling of writers block and produce something fantastic in it’s wake. However, some poems simply do take years to create. When I first awakened creatively, I felt like poetry was just dripping onto the page. Ideas flowed through without any effort at all and I genuinely had the naivety (much like anyone at the start of a new, fabulous relationship) to believe that me and poetry would work like this together forever. What I was not prepared for, was for the poetry to dry up. What happens when I’ve picked all the low-hanging fruit? What happens when I’m not sure what else there is to write for? Do we keep pushing on, keep digging, even in the face of emotionally unearthing some wounds that are just too fresh to face daylight? And if we don’t want to, what might we turn our attention to instead?

With blogging comes the bonus of instant, measurable gratification. As much as I am a creative, I really do like my numbers and organisation. Thanks to the diagnostics tools available on WordPress – after each post I am presented with a nice neat table, detailing how many views, comments and clicks I get on each post. Theres also the function to compare my views to the previous post, week or even year. I absolutely love taking about the statistics and viewing my blog from all the different angles it can be viewed from. I have a little readership but for me that little element of progress is really satisfying to see. Poetry is unmeasurable; that’s what makes it exciting and beautiful. It’s hard to “track your progress” with a poem and I honestly wouldn’t have it any other way. The subjectiveness is what I love about poetry. For the other side of me who likes to see upward lines on graphs, blogging can pander to that need nicely.  

Variety

I think it’s important to focus your attention on multiple forms of writing and art. Last year I took a scriptwriting class just to try new things, I started writing the beginning chapters of a YA Novel just for fun and this year I’m focusing more on my blog. Telling myself that I am not just one kind of writer gives me permission to move outside the box, experiment and make mistakes. Things get stagnant if we keep them the same way for too long and it’s important to be able to shift and respond in accordance to your surroundings. I do not think it’s healthy for anyone’s creativity to be boxed into something. I think I will always see myself as a poet or an artist and I think my work will always be within the realms of helping others to access their creativity but I need to know that I am able to make necessary changes and adjustments in order to do whats best for me.

Sustainability

I have mentioned this word a couple of times lately. If you know me personally you will know that my main goal in life is to create a sustainable career out of creativity for myself. This has been my focus to the point that I am bordering on obsessed with it.

I don’t want to believe this all-too-common rhetoric that artists and writers should live on a diet of fresh air and budget whiskey. I don’t buy it. I don’t buy that you can’t be both a talented artist and business-savvy.

(I also don’t buy that you have to drink heavily to be a poet but I suppose that’s a whole other conversation entirely!) Having an online platform that can serve as a hub for a larger community strikes me as something I can really use as a foundation from which to build off. It’s sustainable from my point of view and also useful to the people reading! I want to build a life for myself, and I want a brand that is rooted in the authenticity of who I am. Blogging and sharing information via Salt Water Poetry feels like a good place to start for me.  Whatever form of writing you chose to focus on, I hope that it’s rooted in authenticity for you. I hope you find a way to be yourself and most of all I hope you massively enjoy what you do. I may flit backwards and forwards between writing and working styles, but I have to tell you that since I opened up the door of possibility on me being “more” than just a poet, I have never felt more free.

Why I Went Sober for a Year (and what I learned)

Why I Went Sober for a Year (and what I learned)

 

As a child I was brought up to see the adults in my family drinking responsibly. My parents would have a glass of wine with dinner, maybe a beer at the weekend, maybe something sparkling on new years eve. While no-one ever drank in excess, they never made me feel like alcohol was “off-limits”. I remember being allowed some wine with my meal from a relatively young age. I think in contrast to my friends whom alcohol was “banned” I didn’t go off the rails when I finally drank unsupervised. Not at first, at least. I always remember being fascinated with the heavier stuff. My parents had a bottle of Chintzano (something no-one even drinks and probably rightly so because it tasted vile) stashed away in their cupboard. I remember I would sneak swigs out of it (definitely was the sort of thing that needed to be mixed!) and tell my friends afterwards. I remember feeling giddy from the feeling of doing something wrong more so than feeling drunk! Then there were the days of alcopops; cute bottles filled with fruity, sugary, brightly coloured liquid that the companies swore were not aimed at teenagers. Hmmmm. WKD, Bacardi Breezers, Red Square, and many other titles that I would like to forget. I remember being drunk for the first time, wobbling around my friends house aged 13 after too many orange Bacardi Breezers on New Years Eve. Little did I know that would be minor in comparison to the alcohol I would consume and states I would get myself into later in life. In school, finding that one person with the “cool parents’ or older sister who could provide alcohol was like hitting gold.

I feel part of the reason why so many teens drink to the point of passing out is because to us, it feels like we’re in the middle of a draught. I wasn’t sure when I’d have another chance to get my hands on alcohol so I wanted to make sure I took advantage of the opportunity.

(The absence of hangovers also probably helped) I know for a fact that my experience with alcohol in school was incredibly tame in comparison to a lot of my friends. Hearing about someone getting their stomach pumped at the weekend or taken home by the police was pretty normal. Not to mention a whole heap of other things that I just don’t need to go into! From leaving school at 16 up until going to university at 20; alcohol played a huge role in mine and my friends social lives. I remember parties, pub visits and birthdays on the beach. Most of them were filled with home made cocktails, cheep bottles of wine and a large amount of peach shnaps and vodka. (Why was peach shnaps a thing? Was that just me and my friends?) Alcohol was ingrained into British youth culture at the time. With the rise of music festivals, 18-30 holidays and TV programs such as The Inbetweeners and Skins; alcohol (and other substances but thats a whole other kettle of fish) was everywhere. Social media was starting to take off and for the first time we had a real unfiltered look into the lives and weekend habits of others, this I’m presuming added to the obsession we had at the time with getting absolutely shitfaced. A lot of my friends went to university before me so I was around for many freshers weeks and student nights. And of course there were festivals coupled with the fact that most of us at this point were legal to drink. Somewhere in this haze of happy memories, I was starting to realise that alcohol wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. For a start, being 5ft and a size 6 means that I’m a huge lightweight! Also when going out, I was more pre-occupied with having a chat with someone over queuing at a bar and would go many nights on just one or two drinks. I’d had enough embarrassing moments by this point to know that alcohol just wasn’t worth it for me. I’d witnessed a few friends struggle with substance abuse and the feeling had started to creep in that we were just getting too old for this.

There comes a point that drinking like there’s no tomorrow stops being young and idealistic and starts heading towards a far darker place. 

My darkest moments took place at university. I was experiencing a lot of undiagnosed anxiety; being a highly sensitive, introverted person (but not yet having this vocabulary or knowledge at the time) around a tonne of extroverted acting students at a drama school was a complete recipe for disaster for me. I drank to fill the awkward silences. I drank because I didn’t know what else to do with my hands, I drank because that meant I wouldn’t have to talk as much, I drank because I felt I needed to be there, like I couldn’t just go home and call it a night, I drank because I didn’t feel like there was an alternative. I’m sure many of you don’t need me to tell you but drinking when you’re not happy on the inside doesn’t usually bring your best self forward. There were nights were I was mean, bitter, jealous, emotional and over-dramatic. I said things I wish I could take back and took low swipes at my friends sore spots. I was mean to another girl over a boy I liked and rude to strangers and people just trying to help. I didn’t like myself when I was drunk. I wasn’t able to just have a good time. I’d often end up saying something I regretted or crying. If I didn’t do something embarrassing, I would shut myself off in my room anytime I felt I was “too drunk” to sleep it off and end up missing the majority of the party anyway. Uni was were I started weening myself off alcohol. It helped that I attended a drama school, on a course with a high workload. We didn’t really have a freshers week, uni was a 30-50 hour week, and the lessons were demanding. It took us all one attempt at doing a Body Conditioning class hungover to realise that this was not going to be your typical university experience. I was glad; the intense nature of the course was part of the reason why I had chosen it but that’s not to say that alcohol didn’t find a way in. It just wasn’t something we could do in the week and our weekends were usually reserved for drama school parties. (my soul hurts as I’m writing that as my brain flashes back to watching a tonne of 1st year actors drunkenly belt out songs from beauty and the beast…. NOT MY SCENE!) (Nothing wrong with that if you like it, but for me; very overwhelming.) After graduating, I had one final embarrassing “I’m drinking to avoid my social awkwardness” encounter and realised that enough was enough. I’d tried to clean up my diet and lifestyle a lot in the years that passed after uni and I was slowly getting more used to the fact that I didn’t like alcohol anymore. When I moved back home I got a 9-5 working for a charity. The people I worked with were amazing but there was a huge pub culture present that I had to learn to navigate. This really put my new lifestyle to the test and was probably one of the most tempting/hardest situations so far! I was new, I wanted to spend time with my co-workers and plus they made it seem so fun! There was a lot of travelling involved and alcohol really helped to spice up the sometimes three-hour commute with your co-workers at the end of a long day.

After a while, I eventually managed to strike a balance between sticking to my gut and not sucking the life out of a party.

I had managed to be around drunk people sober, stay non-judgemental and most of all stay fun. The people around me at this point were not only accepting, they were incredibly supportive too. This is why last year on my birthday I finally decided to go a full year without touching a drop. I was drinking very little at this point but I still drank occasionally. I wanted to cut it out of my life completely as drinking even a tiny bit seemed to negatively affect my health pretty instantly and I was no longer enjoying even just having one drink. Through the hen parties, weddings and family meals I’m proud to say that I made it. Was it as easy as I thought? No, there were still moments I found difficult. Sitting at a table for my friends birthday that was heaving under the weight of more bottles of red wine than plates was hard. I love the taste! Getting through a hen night was surprisingly easy thanks to the company of my also-sober-pregnant friend. Was there a moment where I thought I was going to cave? Yes but ultimately I’m so glad that I didn’t. So: what did I learn? That’s what you wanted to know right? I would say that if you got this far and are eager to know then maybe try it yourself. Try and give up anything for a year and see how it changes you. All I can tell you is how it’s been for me, in no way am I suggesting that the conclusions I came to will be part of your experience. Here goes…. Abstaining from alcohol and “going-out culture” in general has really allowed me to step more into the role of the observer. I’ve been able to look at alcohol (and our social lives for that matter) for what it is and really challenge some of the pre-concieved notions I had around drinking. If I’m honest in my years of “low alcohol” I used to be very judgemental towards people who chose to drink. I couldn’t understand why people would subject their body and mental health to that much of a battering and would roll my eyes anytime I’d have to walk down a bar-lined street at night. Since then my perceptions have changed massively.

I don’t think I’m any better, I certainly don’t think I’m more highly evolved and I really do see and appreciate the place alcohol has in our society to an extent.

Sometimes I feel like there is an air of superiority within the spiritual community. The rhetoric being that people who drink are less spiritually-evolved or “awake”. I believe this steers us into a belief that our experience with one substance will really be the same for others, which isn’t exactly true. I know tonnes of people who can still get lit at the weekend and at meditation class. It’s called balance. It’s called the human experience. It’s called living in western society where alcohol culture is at an all-time high and maybe not knowing how to engage with that while keeping your friends and not living like a hermit. Ultimately I like to reserve judgement towards my friends lifestyle) choices. (Unless of course, someone is causing a direct risk to themselves or others. I don’t believe that we should continue our relationship to alcohol in the same way as it currently is. I don’t believe that drinking should be used as a vice and of course I know I’m not the only one to stare in open-mouthed disbelief at the alcohol fuelled violence that takes place on our streets, or at the way addiction can seep into our family homes, tearing our units apart at the seams. Of course I wish there were more health warnings and that young people with developing minds were made to be aware of the effect drinking can have on our mental health. I wish there were more alternative activities around on Friday nights too. Overall, however, I don’t condemn drinking. I say if you have a healthy relationship to something then go for it. Alcohol lowers our inhibitions which can actually enhance our social dynamics. For that reason I really do see it’s place. The late Psalm Isadora said (quoting from another great herself) 

“Anything in this world can be either medicine or poison”

– Psalm Isadora

I might decide to break my fast on my birthday by sipping a gin and elderflower or sparkly cocktail or two but I really don’t see myself ever incorporating alcohol back into my life in any serious way. I do believe that for the majority of us; we would be better off without it, our health would improve and our minds would probably remain a lot sharper. However I realise how difficult is it to navigate society and friendship groups should you distance yourself completely from drinking culture. For some people, this will work but others it may prove difficult. As well as my ups and downs, I have experienced so many funny memories and moments that served to bring my core group of friends closer together when we were younger. I miss that. One day as society evolves and we keep working on ourselves, I think we will be able to lose our inhibitions and deepen our friendships naturally, I think friends will be able to open up about the important stuff without the need for a glass of wine in hand and I think that 2008 holiday Lyndsay would have been able to kiss that boy first without the shot of tequila in her stomach but until then; I say drink if you want to but do it responsibly.

 

My Current Favourite Music to Write to

My Current Favourite Music to Write to

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Instagram: @saltwaterpoetry

Do you ever feel like you just need the right music to help you zone out and create? Well I’ve put together a few of my fail-safe playlists that have helped me over the years! (Side note: you don’t just have to use these to write to). One of my favourite things to do is to discover new music. (See my Top 5 Female Artists posts a while back if you haven’t already.) I’m always curious as to what music people listen to in their rooms when they’re trying to create an atmosphere. Expect; moody, ambient tracks with a few movie soundtracks thrown in too! Use them for writing, painting, making art, cooking, cleaning, long walks, or simply lounging outside in the sun all day.

Tycho: Epoch

My ultimate favourite artist of this nature. (See also albums: Drive, Awake and their live set at Burning Man (available on SoundCloud) Tycho casts the perfect balance, taking you on an almost meditative journey through clean, modern and minimal beats.

Kiasmos: (Self Titled Album)

Following on from the same feel as Tycho, Kiasmos is floaty and uplifting. This album gets a little heavier towards the end but if you’re already in a flow by then you might not even notice!

James Blake

A little moody and darker, this I would say is perfect rainy-day listening. Got an art project that needs your attention? Throw on some James Blake! No one album in particular, I would recommend you to get familiar with a few of his songs.

London Grammar: If You Wait

This might be more of a random add in because I don’t usually like to listen to songs with words when I’m writing but for some reason, the first song on this album especially helps to get me into a flow. Especially good for journaling or creating work thats more emotional. Plus it’s a UK band which I just love supporting. They also have a new album out but for me If You Wait will always have a place in my music library.

American Beauty Score

It originally won awards for it’s creation and I can’t help but find it beautiful to write to! Off-beat, uplifting and full of personality; I bring to you something that is both classic and dynamic. Composed by Thomas Newman.

Her Soundtrack

Following on from the theme of soundtracks, this one is a little bit more experimental. But when you’re in the mood for it, you’re in the mood for it, you get me? Composed by Arcade Fire and Owen Pallett, this soundtrack is simply stunning. Within this playlist I have to say that I really like the first song Sleepwalker. Song On The Beach is beautiful too.

LowFi Hiphop Playlists

More so a genre than any set playlist or album. If you search for this on YouTube or SoundCloud, I guarentee you will find something that sits well with you. I would say these are my favourites right now.

I know that classical music or jazz can be a firm favourite with many people also. I could go on and on for movie soundtracks but I’ll save those for another day! I would also note that these albums are very different to the music I listen to when I’m just generally working. When I have a tonne of e-mails to bash out or I’m tinkering on the blog, I’m more likely to listen to something more upbeat (Cue many 90’s r’n’b playlist’s.) I like to have a variety of different styles available to me. What I want to listen to really depends on how I feel when I wake up in the morning but I love, love, love more than anything finding new, cool music to listen to! I feel like a good playlist just brightens up your life, so please if you have any songs that you just love listening to, I’d be happy to hear about them!