My Hometown

Hello, welcome to my hometown. This is the place I grew up, my half-home at the moment while I’m at university. I’ve lived in this town all my life, I know it pretty well. There are so many segments: my town almost feels like a lot of different villages put together, each of them feels different.

Old Hall feels like home. Layers upon layers of memories: first kisses, childhood friends, and 21 Christmases. I used to play in the little woods opposite my house, if it was an adventurous day we’d go to the Bumpy for the swings and slides. My mum goes to the Spar every morning to get her paper, the staff know her pretty well by now. Our time in this house is probably coming to an end soon but in my heart I think it will always be mine.

Chappleford feels like expectation. I watched these houses rise up from an old air force base. The first time I visited was to the museum, just before it closed. Within a year the first houses were finished. Before prom in year 11 I met my friend to sunbathe on a nice patch of grass which looked pretty ordinary, now its a park for many to enjoy. I had a make or break conversation with my ex there last year. This place always reminds me of him: it was my walk to his house and a middle point for us to meet. Other people are making lifelong memories there now.

Westbrook feels like childhood. My primary school and old church live here. Primary school is rose tinted in my eyes, nothing really felt too much there. We used to go to the cinema once a year as a treat but I usually ended up scared of the film and leaving before the end. The change from UCI to Odeon was not welcomed at first but I really can’t tell you the difference, teenagers still meet there and favourite films are experienced for the first time there. I spent a lot of my childhood there, now go only for the supermarket.

Hood Manor feels like nostalgia. Its home to two people who used to be the most important. My ex-best friend: the closest to the type of friendship everyone else appears to have. We grew apart and thats okay. Nevertheless I’ll always think of her. My ex-boyfriend: my first love and hardest break up. He doesn’t stay there much but his family is still there and that house holds a lot of memories of awkwardness, fun, and love. Its happy nostalgia tinted with loss, and I wouldn’t ever change it.

Great Sankey feels like school. My high school is here, seven years of my life I got the bus in and out. Its not as happy as primary school but even so I became me here. I have a friend who lives down the road and her primary school was where my mum taught last. I didn’t explore the area too much, although I could find my way around alright. My school years were up and down but they made me who I am.

Thats just a snapshot of my hometown: the places that mean the most. I’ve spent a lot of my time here wanting something else but it’ll always be my first home. I’m getting ready to leave again now, start a new at my second university. I hope to carve out a new home one day, give my children a hometown that they can base their lives upon.

A letter to my 18 year old self

Hi 18 year old Kathryn,

Its you, only three years older. It feels as if we’re completely different people, I remember not wanting that to happen but I’m glad it did.

Right about now you’re recovering from LeakyCon, or as you’d call it the best weekend of your life. Thats very true to you right now. Today, things are a little different. You don’t want a LeakyCon tattoo anymore and the memories feel very distant. Don’t worry though, they’re still as fond. You’re still in touch with Kristina and Annika, you won’t believe how much they’ve changed, and you’re updated on facebook about the others. I know this sounds scary, but believe me, its all good.

You’re terrified of change and facing a lot of it, its totally understandable. You don’t think you could be happier right now and its so much easier to stay where you are but you’ve got a huge adventure ahead of you. Its not always going to be easy, in fact its going to start off as the hardest thing you’ve ever done. You’ve been through heartbreak and heartache but you understand why. You’ll go through ups and downs that will turn your world upside down, but guess what? You’re happier in yourself than ever before.

I’m sorry to say that you don’t have everything figured out. Those times you set yourself for when you’d know everything didn’t really work. 21 doesn’t feel a huge way off from 18, but it does at the same time. You’re still classed as a young adult, but that feels a bit more comfortable now. You’d never believe how much you’ve done, how many new people you’ve met and how little it matters about those you’ve lost. You’re just starting to learn to be okay with the fact that you’ll always be a work in progress.

I didn’t want to write this to scare you although I know it would have, I just wanted to write this as a tribute to how far we’ve come. There are huge specific things that happen to us that I’ve missed out. I’ve done that because I don’t think they’d happen if you knew about them. Keep going, you’ll get through, and some wonderful things are still to come.

Yours lovingly,

21 year old Kathryn

Forgiveness, can you imagine?

If anyone asks me what my faith is based on, I’d tell them: the love and forgiveness of my heavenly father who has set me free.

Forgiveness. Thats what we receive from Christ. The ultimate forgiveness, setting us free to be and free from so much. Forgiveness that is ours to have and hold, to make us better people.

I don’t understand forgiveness yet. I’m a little bit closer to understanding today than I was last week though. I’ve made a huge step since one of my best friends challenged me, asking “have you forgiven him yet?”.

You see, I thought I’d moved past the hurt of breaking up with the guy I thought I’d spend the rest of my life with. I thought I was good. For the first time in nearly a year, I reached out to him. I thought it would be okay. It wasn’t. I realised that he wasn’t hurting how I thought he was. He’d moved on and had been moved on for a long time. A spiral started and the next 12 hours were a write off.

During that time was when I was asked if I had forgiven him. I hadn’t. I haven’t got all the way there now. Until last week I believed that forgiveness was for the other person only. Until last week I thought that to forgiveness was letting the other person off the hook. Believe it or not, google taught me otherwise.

According to google, “Forgiveness is the intentional and voluntary process by which a victim undergoes a change in feelings and attitude regarding an offense, lets go of negative emotions such as vengefulness, with an increased ability to wish the offender well.”

What struck me about this definition is that it focuses on the impact on the ‘victim’ rather than the ‘offender’. Thats a totally new way of looking at it for me. Remembering that forgiveness is for me, rather than the other person has transformed the way I think. I’ve always been bad at letting things go but by the grace of God I’ve been able to begin to learn it this week.

I’m not going to claim to understand God in any way shape or form but thanks to a very good friend I’ve been able to follow Jesus more truly by learning to forgive. What better way to bless others while increasing my own blessing from God?

Drop in the ocean

2016 has been a bit of a year.

Recently especially,
Every morning something new,
Whether its in politics,
Or another tragedy right on cue.

I’ve become desensitised,
The shock value is gone.
Cautiously pessimistic is my default,
A barrier of self protection.

Its not airtight,
Things drip in,
Though I try not to worry,
Things still weigh heavy.

The pull of empathy,
Overtaken by the helplessness,
It all seems so far away,
Just too removed.

Amidst all of this,
Rays of sunshine can still shine through,
Sharing in the sorrow is important,
Remembering the good even moreso.

All I know to be true,
After all this sadness,
We will come through.

Make this year a year of love.
Kindness through and through,
Overwhelm the negative.

Afterall is said and done,

Love will always win.

Temporary people

temporary

I remember when I first saw this, it was a comfort to me. I related it immediately to the people I’ve met since I was 16 who brought me down rather than building me up. Knowing that those people are temporary, no matter how bad they make me feel right now is pretty helpful and I’m grateful for that.

Coming to the end of university though, I’ve realised that this does not just refer to this group of people. As I leave university I am aware that I will probably never again see a lot of the people who I have grown close to and shared my life with here. I’m usually a person who hates goodbyes and, three years a go, I wouldn’t of been able to handle this knowledge. Now though, I have a completely different perspective.

I can look at the wonderful people who have helped me through this journey of my undergraduate degree and say goodbye with some sort of peace. People come into your life for a reason, to teach you things, to help carry the load, and to give you love when you need it most. Those people who have done that for me here at university are incredibly special to me and I will always love them and be grateful for them. But I’m okay with people that come into my life to fulfil a purpose for a short time, maybe they’re some of the most valuable.

Home

 

If home is where the heart is, then my home is scattered.
Uneven chunks of home, found all over.
A big part where my mum is
A section in my home town
A portion with my university family
Pieces scattered over England, with my dear friends
A sliver in India, with all those wonderful people I met
A molecule in every country I’ve visited
And a section left in my chest

One day I’ll have a base
A house and a place of my own
A place to settle
For the time being
Until the seasons change

What a wonderful privilege, to have so many homes
I know that the list will only lengthen
My heart stretching more and more
Thats the goal, anyway

Friendship

I thought they didn’t care as much as I do
Maybe I just think more,
Feel different,
Expect something that isn’t true

On my 21st birthday I was shocked at how much love I received. I have friends accross the country, my main groups being friends from home and friends from uni. They’re very different people. My uni friends are the group I’d thought my other group should be. My home friends are the ones who understand me from where I’d come from more.

One of the biggest surprises that my birthday brought was the card and present from my oldest, bestest friend. We have known each other since we were 4, grown up together inthe same classes right the way through school. We went to different universities and, compared to what we were, drifted apart. In the first couple of years I’d text her every now and then and we’d have a bit of a catch up, but half way through last year I made the decision to stop, because she didn’t do it first and that was just hurting me.

The week of my birthday, she sent me the nicest card and present. To be honest, I assumed that she probably didn’t think of me as her best friend any more, she has this life at university with new friends who probably know her current self better than I do. So, when I got a card to ‘my best friend’ with the most lovely message inside and a plaque saying ‘no matter how far apart, good friends always stay close to the heart’ it changed the way I see our friendship.

I’ve never liked the idea of not regularly talking to your friends. So many things get shown on facebook about how the best friends are the ones you don’t talk to for ages and then can pick up where you left off when you do see each other. They never sit right with me. I like to be secure in my friendships and that kind of relationship makes me feel insecure, always guessing about the other person. Maybe that’s just my insecurity that I need to get over.

I assumed that my friends felt one way about me, my 21st birthday proved me wrong. Maybe I just need to develop that confidence in myself and my relationships that things don’t need to, and can’t always, be how I might think they should. Maybe I need to learn to stand firm in myself and let my relationships benefit from that. Maybe I’m nearly there.

A change in perspective

IMG_0332[1]This is my goal. To be fit(ish). I want to be healthier, I know that and I’ve started that journey already.’But I need to change my perspective.

I started getting fitter and  healthier over the last year. I started well, focused on my fitnes above anything else. Of course, my looks were a factor, one among many. Who doesn’t think they need to look slimmer after growing up in this image dominated culture of ‘perfection’.

Over the last couple of months, however, my focus shifted from getting fitter to looking better. As I visibly lost weight, it became more and more a focus. That wasn’t good for me. Yes, I love being able to fit into smaller clothes, but I still think I’ve got too much fat, all my insecurities about how I look are still around, so nothing much has really changed.

This lead to me buying a ‘teatox’ from a company which promised a flatter tummy and great weightloss. Coming to the end of this ‘teatox’ and I don’t think I have a flatter tummy, the teas drained my energy and set my eczema off instead. It wasn’t worth the £20 I spent on it.

I had an aha moment one day when I was watching Loose Women. They were discussing being happy with your body, and all these thin, glamorous women were saying that they weren’t happy with their body with the assumption that no one ever was. That said something to me, because all I was striving to do was be happy with my body, but if they weren’t, then I wasn’t ever going to be.

That started a change in perspective. I have decided that I need to focus more on my health and fitness than my looks. I need to work on acceptance of my looks, without changing them because there will always be something thats not picture perfect according to the media.

Its all a journey. I am not there, at all, but its a goal and I think its a better goal than the ‘lose 10kg’ goal and the ‘fit into a size 10’ goal that I was focused on before.

Hold On Pain Ends

I’ve always been a hopeful person, now I find sure hope in God. Its a pretty great add on to the adoption into the family of Christians, an amazing privilege that I’ve gained.

Hope means a lot of things. For me, its tied with trust in God’s plan and having the courage to run towards it. As I grow in my faith, hope is becoming more and more a God thing. Previously it was just a good thing, something that was ingrained in me anyway but still a bit wavering.

At this time, my hope is for the future. I’m beginning to distinguish between hoping and wishing. My hope, which is intertwined with God’s promises, is that I know my future will work out for the best. My wishes are different, I want a marriage and a family and a successful career, I don’t know if they will happen. I know that I will be okay, no matter what is thrown at me, because I hope in the Lord.

Based on the daily prompt