When You Know, You Know

We’re a few days past Valentine’s Day now, and there’s been a fair distribution of love on my social media timelines between couples, but there has also been some single friends out there posting about how they’re ‘#ForeverAlone’ or how online dating will never lead to anything etc.

So here I am, the happily married mother of one, to tell you that you’re wrong. I kid. But, seriously, you might just be.

I’m a strong believer in everything happening for a reason. I guess in a sense, I’ve had to be. There’s been some seriously low points in my life that at the time I couldn’t see a way out of, but now I look back on them and can’t see how I never saw the way out sooner. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, after all.

Whit’s fur ye’ll no go by ye

Is an auld Scots saying that I’ve come to live my life by. It simply means that what is meant to be will be, and you won’t miss anything that’s meant for you. Now, call it fate, call it hard work, call it dumb luck. Whatever you call it, what’s meant to happen will always happen.

I’ve been in my fair share of pretty tough relationships, I’ve been in relationships that were toxic and relationships that were simply convenient. At the time, I would think that this was what was meant for me, but again, looking back I can see that it wasn’t. Well, not in the “forever and ever” sense, but they were definitely there to teach me life lessons. To teach me that I can be bold and travel to different countries solo. To teach me about other people’s friendships. To teach me that rebounds never work. To teach me to never feel pressured into things that you’re not comfortable with – whether that’s pressure coming from your partner or from your social group. To teach me that, no matter what, no matter the mistake, I will always have people there who have my back. The main thing that these relationships taught me though, is to never give up on the hope of sheer blissful happiness.

After I broke up with a previous boyfriend, I joined Plenty of Fish (POF), a fairly popular dating site. After sieving through your typical amount of dick pics and “hey sexy” (yuck) messages, I happened to find my husband and father of my child.

Andrew and I started chatting, and quickly we were messaging constantly. It felt like I’d started reconnecting with an old friend who I hadn’t spoken to for years. There was nothing creepy or strange or unnatural about our messages, and most importantly our connection. We found out we had a tonne in common and just the right amount of differences to keep things interesting. We met a few days later for dinner, and the rest as they say, is history.

We went from dating to in a relationship pretty quickly, and we simply knew that we loved each other and wanted this to be a forever kinda thing. We joke proposed to each other regularly in those early days, talked about how we’d always want two kids, and how we’d build a Lego collection together as well as a family.

He was the first person, never mind boyfriend, to make me feel loved for every single aspect of me. I was always able to be open about my mental health with him, always able to turn to him and always able to count on him. And that’s when I realised that this was the first time I’d been in love. Not your roses and fancy dinners love, but your weekly shop and Saturday morning cartoons kinda love.

Now, I’m not naive. I know that this doesn’t happen for everyone, heck, it was the first time it had happened for me. I guess, what I’m saying is that dating apps and online dating can work. There are real success stories there, and I don’t think that’s completely down to algorithms and luck. It also takes courage and work, just like meeting any type of life partner does and should take.

So, if you’re wondering if the right person is out there for you, or you’re struggling to have online dating work for you, please feel free to read the below tips:

Five Tips for Online Dating

  1. Stay away from cliches – now, I say this even though my tag line on my POF profile was “hello, is it me you’re looking for?” ‘Cause I love a bad pun as much as the bad person, but what I mean by this is the bad online dating cliches. The creeper who wants photos sent to them constantly, the person who constantly hounds you to meet irl, the person who just constantly messages you with “hey x” etc. Stay away from cliches and be yourself. The people you’re trying to talk to are people. Ask them about themselves, be more bold than a simple greeting.
  2. Have a conversation starter in your profile – my username was a quote from my favourite Doctor Who episode, Vincent and The Doctor. I had put on my profile that if someone knew where the quote was from, then I was already planning our wedding. The first message Andrew sent me was simply “Vincent and The Doctor episode of Doctor Who”, and that got me chatting straight away. (I later found out he’d googled it, but let’s ignore that fact just now). The point is, have something on your profile that people can converse with you about, instead of just your love life.
  3. Have patience and read the other person – now, you may be super keen on someone and want to talk to them all the time, but the thing is some people have busy lives and aren’t able to be on their phone constantly. Just because someone doesn’t reply to you straight away doesn’t necessarily mean that they don’t like you. Be patient. Don’t rush from chatting to dating if one party isn’t completely ready. I had a guy who bought us tickets to a gig, despite us not having met in person yet, and is not having any real chemistry. He then got really pissed when I said I was in a relationship, saying how he was going to have to sell the tickets. The tickets that I did not ask him to buy. Reading the other person is super important. As much as it would be wonderful if everyone we liked, liked us back, the world isn’t perfect and it doesn’t always happen. When it does happen don’t be disheartened. Just remember that there’s no point poking a fire after the flame has gone out, and that whit’s fur ye’ll no go by ye.
  4. Be yourself – it’s the most cliche piece of advice that anyone could ever give another live being, but it’s the truth. There is no point pretending to be something or someone (helloooo Catfish), that you’re not. At the end of the day the end goal of online dating is a relationship, how are you going to be in a relationship with someone if they don’t know the real you?
  5. Do not send unsolicited sexts – this should be seen as common sense. Don’t send dick pics or nudes that haven’t been asked for. Don’t send sexually explicit messages that haven’t been led to or asked for and for GODS sake don’t get pissed when someone calls you out for it.

Now, it’s up to you. You can take this entire blog entry with a pinch of salt, or you can give it a bash. Let me know if you do take any of this advice and definitely let me know if it works for you!

Please don’t be disheartened if your efforts aren’t bringing what you want, just take this time to focus on you and your well being. Your well being should come first. It’s the whole ‘positivity breeds positivity’ thing.

Be positive. Be patient. Be you.

X

Family of The Twenty-First Century

Society changes every generation it seems, and it would look like not only our society, but also our needs and wants as humans are changing. Family used to be what the world revolved around, but with more and more families breaking up and us becoming more and more reliant on our friends – be them best friends from school, family friends or even friends we have met online, there is definitely substance to the saying.

“The family of the 21st century is made up of friends, and not relatives.”

In my case, this is extremely true. Although I may come from a large family, we aren’t the closest bunch in the world. This does not mean that I care for them any less than anyone else cares for their family, it simply means that to me, family simply means that you’re related and share some traits and genes. I, however, am a firm believer in nurture over nature.

I share very few personality traits with my family – and that isn’t a bad thing. It means that I’ve always been known for my individuality and for my ability to think independently, even from a young age. If it wasn’t for my ability to do this, then I wouldn’t have the courage to pursue the things that I do, and always have done. I’ve always thought differently from the rest of my family, and I’d say that this is a sign of nurture over nature.

I was brought up to believe in myself and supported to do what I wanted to do with my life. Whether it was my dreams of being a teacher up until I turned 11, my urge to move to America as soon as I turned 16 or my hopes and dreams of being a writer and a photographer – the dreams that I’m living just now – then I knew that I could always count on my immediate family to back me up.

But, as I grew up and started taking full control of my own life, and the people that I share it with, then that ‘immediate’ family has grown – and not because my parents had more children, but simply because I had this beautiful ability to choose the people that I got to share my life with. I think the best example of this is my relationship with my oldest best friend, Danielle.

Danielle and I have been best friends since we (ironically) met at a youth group for people who couldn’t make friends easily. We hit it off straight away with a day full of laughing and general loveliness and ten years down the line I’m extremely proud to be able to call her my best friend.

The thing is, she’s more than a best friend – she’s a sister. Now, I’m not one for clichés but there is genuinely no better way to describe our relationship. No matter how bad things have got in my life, she’s been one of the constant things there to pick me up and dust me off when I’ve needed it, and she’s not afraid to point out when I’m wrong or being simply ridiculous either, because she knows that I appreciate her honesty and more importantly, the fact that she cares enough to be honest with me, no matter how lovely or brutal that honesty may be.

She’s never once got fed up of my dreaming, and if anything she’s been the biggest support of it. If at any point I start to doubt myself, then she is right by my side to remind me why I’m doing this and the things I have already accomplished. She’s my right arm, and I would be lost without her. She isn’t just my family though, she’s part of my family. She’s been accepted as part of my family by my immediate family, and that makes it even better.

“Blood makes you related. Loyality makes you family.”

Sharing genes does not necessarily make you family; the ability to love and support each other is the thing that makes you family.

I’m lucky enough to be blessed with an immediate family who I love to pieces, but I know that it’s not just because we share the same DNA; it’s because as well as being related, we are friends and we choose to be loyal to each other. My mother and big sister will always be my two biggest inspirations, and that isn’t because I happen to have the same blood as them. No, that’s completely irrelevant. The reason they inspire me is because they are both strong women who have overcome hardship and came out on the brighter side. And, they’re my friends.

Life is too short to spend it waiting on people accepting you for whom you are, or for trying to get on with people that you simply don’t get on with. Spend your life with the people you love, and the people who love you for being who you are.

Nobody should ever feel the need to change any part of themselves for the happiness of other people, the only thing you can do is be the best version of yourself that you can possibly be, and the most important part about being that, is that you make sure you’re being the best version of yourself for you and not anyone else.

Thanks for reading,
C xo

Everything Happens For a Reason

We’ve all been told at some point in our lives that ”Everything happens for a reason.” or that ”What’s for you won’t go by you.” but just how often do you actually take those words on board and see the positives in the negative things that you experience?
I know more than anyone that the negatives of life can sometimes trick our brains into think that the positives don’t outweigh the negatives, but if you sit down and really think about it – and I mean really think about it, you’ll realise that they do.

If you were to write down a list of everything good that has happened in your life, and just how momentus they were to your life then I think you would be shocked by just how much positivity surrounds every single one of us. Whether it’s a smile from a stranger, or graduating from University with the grade you’ve worked hard for; all of these can change our perspectives and I think it’s time that we started focusing more on them as a society than focusing on the negativity that comes to play every day of our lives.
It’s time for us to wake up in the morning with excitement in our hearts instead of fear.

Think of the scariest thing you have ever done, and how absolutely terrified you were to do it – now, no matter the outcome, be it the one you hoped for or the one you dreaded – are you still here? Did the world end? Did it destroy you? The answer is you’re still here, ready for more and you just have to get your brain into thinking the same as your heart and courage.
I remember being terrified to leave the house most days – and I still have those days when my head is really bad, but you know what? I get up, and I go out. Even if it’s just to the shop. I just need to show myself that I can do it, and that nobody – not even myself is going to stop me from doing it.
Since realising this I have made so many of my own dreams come true, and I’ve loved every minute of it. I’m not cured – not by any means, but I’m in control of my anxiety instead of it being in control of me.
I’ve realised that every little thing that has ever happened in my life has brought me to this exact moment in time, with the people I have around me and the things that I am achieving being results of every bad experience, and more importantly, every good experience. We can’t go forward before going backwards, and there’s no light without darkness. You just need to try and stay positive and you will achieve the things you want to.

It sounds a lot easier than it is, I’m not going to deny that, but what I’m trying to say is that at the end of the day, every single minute of your life is worth it!
Never, ever think that it’s not, and if you ever do, then I have a challenge for you – ask your closest friend three things that they love about you. Then, when you know them write them on some sticky notes and put them on your mirror. Now, anytime that you have a negative thought or experience I want you to replace the negative words with one of these (or all three) and hopefully that will make you realise that what you see in yourself isn’t what everyone else sees – everyone else sees the beautiful, brave and wonderful human being that you are.

Thank you for reading,
Chrisselle xo