Embracing 2017 – ?

I’ve had a bit of a stalling start to 2017 one way and another. I’m just coming off the back of my second nasty cold of the year and feeling like all I’ve done for the first 51 days of this year is be ill and too tired to do anything or been working hard to catch up with myself with a bit of food preparation and sleep thrown in along the way. Basically, I don’t feel I have done anything personally productive or worthwhile, which is disheartening as I had big plans for 2017 being a year of real personal achievement.

I spent a lot of December carefully crafting a list of things I wanted to try/do/achieve in the new year. I keep writing these lists, mostly because I wish I’d done a ‘Things to do before I’m 30’ list, but didn’t and now my 30th is nearly 2 years behind me. I also find it useful to set goals and record my achievements as part of my constant efforts to bolster my mental well-being – all well and good until I feel like I’m failing at life and then it is all just counterproductive.

Anyway….I’ve been meaning to write a bit about my list of ambitions in order to make them more concrete and hold myself more accountable to them than if they’re just scribbled in the back of a notebook that no-one ever sees and even I might never look at again.

2017

  • Read 10 Books

I love reading and am a terrible book hoarder – I buy books at a much faster pace than I can read. I’ve possible got worse since I got a tablet last year and started reading Kindle books, although at least they don’t take up physical space in the house.

So far this year I finished reading The Unbroken Line of the Moon by Johanne Hildebrandt, which I really enjoyed and finished within a couple of weeks, and have moved on to Dark Eden by Chris Beckett, which is interesting but hasn’t gripped me like The Unbroken Line of the Moon and is taking me longer to get through. As a result of Kindle offers and sales I already have another 13 books waiting to be read – so I really shold get a move on with them!

  • Lose 7 Pounds

The ubiquitous weight loss goal! My success on the weight loss/management front has been really mixed over the past couple of years. I lost 8 pounds in the last 5 months of 2015, only to put it all back on over the Christmas period and subsequent months in which I was very ill. It took a while for me to find my stride again with watching what I ate and exercising but by the summer of last year I had got into a good habit of using the exercise bike between 3 and 6 times a week and lost around 6 pounds. The descent into autumn/winter and the festive season took it’s toll again and now I’m pretty much back at square one.

If I put my mind to it then 7 pounds really isn’t very much, but it’s the motivation and willpower that I lack. I have recently started doing Pilates as part of an initiative at work and am really enjoying that. Unfortunately it’s only a 6 week introduction though and I’m struggling to find a class locally that I can join once this is over.

  • Get another Tattoo & Get another Piercing

Both of these have been on my mental wish list for a while. I’ve had tattoo ideas in my mind and several occassions on which I intended to get inked – finishing my PhD and turning 30 in particular – but lack of funds, confidence and also knowing a good studio to go to have all contributed to me not actually doing anything about either.

I now have funds and think I have found a good studio, so it’s just the confidence to go in and talk to them about it that I need to work up! I know it’s silly, but my social anxiety usually does get the better of me still.

  • Climb Snowdon

We moved to North Wales 3 and a half year ago and now live around 25 miles from Snowdon. Despite this, and the fact that both Pete and our dog have made the ascent on more than a few occassions, I have still not made the trek myself.

Apart from the fact that it seems like something you should do if you live up here, it ties in with my general fitness and personal challenge aspirations so really want to tick this one off as soon as I can, hopefully in the spring once the weather is a little better but before the busy summer tourist season.

  • Have a birthday party

I’m less keen on this one than I was when I wrote this list. Since moving to Wales I haven’t had a party to celebrate my birthday, not even for my 30th, which was/is something that kind of upset me. As a result of Pete being away every summer for his research (my birthday in in July) and most of the people I know being 250 miles or more away, it’s just always seemed like more hassel/stess/upset/disappointment than it’s worth.

Pete turned 30 just over a week ago and had a party to celebrate last weekend, which kind of spurred me to want to do something for myself this year, but even organising his was a turbulent experience for me and being let down by people who I thought should care more is still a real kick in the gut for me that I’m not sure is really worth it.

  • Go to Iceland

This one is as good as ticked off already. As my birthday present to Pete for his 30th I am taking him to Iceland at the end of March. Flights and hotels are all booked, now we just need to work out how much of what we want to do can be fit into 8 days!

  • Clear out more junk

This should probably be broadened to ‘Clear out more stuff’ – I’m not a hoarder exactly, but I do own a lot of stuff and have trouble getting rid of things, either for sentimental reasons or because, well, you never know when that might be useful! I know it’s been something that has annoyed Pete for a long time, but now even I am getting frustrated with the amount of stuff I have everywhere and would like to have some clearer spaces in the house. I really need to get better at getting rid of things that I really don’t need – I’ve already sold a few things on eBay and have a box to go to the charity shop, but need to get more serious about it if I’m ever going to make a real dent on my accumulations.

  • Write a short story

I always wanted to be a writer and as a teenager I would write stories regularly, although never anything I would dare share with anyone! I can’t guarantee it’ll be any different if I try again, but I at least want to try and see if I still can, so short stories seem like a good place to start. 

  • Renovate the Bathroom

A bit of a boring practical one. We’ve been quite slow on working on the house due to time and finances, but this year I really want to get the bathroom sorted. What we have is functional but very old – it still has a pink enamelled cast iron bath that is ugly and the surface is a bit pitted and marked. The tiling is old and the grout is patchy, the window needs replacing and there was an electric shower fitted by the last owner but without additional tiling so there is wallpaper that gets drenched and is peeling away from the wall.

I’m a bit intimidated by how much work it might be and I hate coordinating different tradespeople (plumber, window fitter, plasterer…..), especially up here where they can be a bit ‘relaxed’, i.e. hard to get hold of, but I really want to get it sorted now.

  • Learn how to be less afraid

This is both a big ambition and quite an abstract one. As part of my longterm depressive issues I suffer from varying degrees of social anxiety that are often quite debilitating and definitely stops me from doing things. I hate it. Sometimes it feel like I’m just afraid of life and I can get so frustrated with myself especially when I’m stuck in a spiral of being too afraid to do something that part of me wants to do, or at least wants to be able to do.

I don’t have much of an idea how to go about fixing it though.
As an additional one, as always, I’d like to blog more. I’m already doing better than last year, which is somethings. Hopefully I’ll manage to keep it up and keep you updated on what I’m getting up to.

Thanks for stopping by.

Love,

Betty

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My Tattoo is not a Bumper Sticker, It’s a Custom Paint Job

There has been an article doing the rounds on the internet this past week that criticises women who have tattoos. The article, titled “Why put a bumper sticker on a Ferrari?” argues that women are beautiful as they are, and that getting a tattoo is pointless and un-classy.
Now, I can’t argue with the first point; women are beautiful in all our varied shapes, sizes, and colours. Indeed, I also agree with the author in her point about the how attractive a trait class is. However, beyond that, our views diverge.
I am a tattooed woman. Not to the extent of some women, and not as much as I would like to be, but I have chosen to go under the needle and put ink to flesh, on more than one occassion. As such, I am quite offended at the incinuation that my decision makes me a woman without class. I do not consider my body art to be ‘vandalism’ of ‘my temple’; it is exactly what it says it is – body ART – decoration that I have chosen, that has expression and meaning.
I strongly disagree that you get nothing out of a tattoo. The author asks if your tattoo has caused you to learn something new about yourself? Has it challenged you? Has it led to self growth? I would answer yes, strongly yes, to all of those questions. However, these things are not something that can be easily understood by someone who does not have, or care for, tattoos. My tattoos hold great meaning for me; I remember who I was when I first formulated the ideas, where I was when I drew them up, how I picked where to have them done, who was with me when I did have them done, how I felt and all the craziness associated with the whole process. My tattoos are memories and feelings far beyond anything the actual images represent.
I don’t see why the author will advocate women dressing themselves up in nice clothes, high heels, painting their nails and doing their hair as means of appreciating and enjoying their bodies but feels body art is not just a further step in dressing up, styling yourself, expressing yourself through your appearance or appreciating your body. I love my tattoo, seeing it makes me smile, it makes me feel good about my body; plus, I’m willing to put in extra effort to keep myself in shape so it stays in shape too 😉
I am also deeply offended at the prospect that my body art will corrupt the morals of my grandchildren. I have little to say about that as it is such a ridiculous idea. I have a tattoo but am in no way morally corrupt, and far be it for any distant news editor to accuse me of such.
And I won’t even start on the double standards……

My tattoo is not a bumper sticker; It’s a custom paint job. And I LOVE IT!

I think tattooed woman are beautiful, powerful symbols of feminity that no-one else has the right to judge. Class, elegance and beauty are not one thing, set out as rules in stone. The best thing a woman can be is herself; tattoos, piercings, scars, moles, wrinkles and all.

I will add one caveat; that a tattoo should always be well thought out and well executed, don’t cheapen yourself with a cheap tattoo.

I will leave you with some images of my favourite beautiful, strong, inspiring tattooed women to think about (without even starting on the Suicide Girls).

Anna Fur Laxis (photo from annafurlaxis.com)
Cervena Fox (photo byTina Korhonen, taken from facebook)

ReeRee Rockette (photo from Rockalily.com)

Ok, rant over, for now.
Love,

Ink

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As promised, a picture of my new tattoo.
I had the bats done about 2 and a half years ago and always wanted to add to it and get more tattoos, but never really had the money or a clear enough idea of what I wanted. I finally got myself together to take the plunge and had the rose added 2 weeks ago. It took about 3 hours and was rather more painful than I expected, much worse than the bats were! The leopard print was supposed to be done in the same sitting, but a technical hitch meant I needed to book a second appointment. I was a little disappointed not to get it finished but not too much as the pain had really got a bit much. So the second sitting was on Wednesdat when I had the leopard print added. It was supposed to be the end of the process for now, but looks like it’s going to continue. The artist took a picture and is going to work on some ideas for me, and I’m going to do the same. Not actually booked another appointment yet, but would like to get more done before the end of the year. Spreading the cost between multiple sittings has made it seem much less expensive than I expected too :p
Had it done at Dragstrip Tattoo, if you fancy checking them out. Pete Belson did mine, but their new Guy Shakey Pete seems awesome too and they get some really good guest artists in as well.
Love
Betty

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