Friday, March 22, 2019

Five Friday Favourites

Can't believe another week is over!
Today I fortunate enough to catch up with K one of the directors from ReachOut who was over to give a speech, so we got lunch today which was nice. I loved finding out what was going in the ReachOut office and just chatting in general.
After not being on antibiotics for over 10 years until a few months ago (for an ear infection) I am back on another round of antibiotics this time due to an ingrown toenail, which will hopefully be (finally) dealt with on Wednesday afternoon. Thankfully as one side of the nail has already been done (when I was 11), it should be a minor procedure and not too bad, of course I won't be able to wear enclosed shoes for a week but all things considering I'm not going to complain.
I have also been dealing with dizzy spells, which are really not fun. I did think it was a side affect from the antibiotics but after a call to my doctor and being told that it's not, I am just hoping it's just a passing virus.
I start doing one day week of prac on the 8th of April, which means during the block placement I will get to do 4 days instead of full time for 4 weeks. I find between my anxiety and dyspraxia I don't have as much stamina compared to most people so 4 days is plenty plus by easing in, my anxiety levels should be minimal.

Onto Friday Favourites:

ASICS Gel Flux 5 Womens T861N 9601 (shoe) - so this year I have started going to the gym, 3 times a week for 30-45 minutes and so far so good. But I noticed that after every session my ankle would ache and it wasn't just an ache because I had gone to the gym ache but a bone ache that reminded me of when I first broke it. I soon realised that my shoes were the culprit, I had actually bought a pair of skechers runners in the mid year sales last year so it wasn't because they were old, they just weren't supportive enough for my workouts (which aren't exactly intense). I decided a new pair of shoes was needed, preferably a pair that had good ankle support, so I went to my local Jim Kidd store as they were having a sale and asked what they recommended in my price range and I ended up with this shoe. Since wearing them my ankle is happier and isn't aching, they are supportive and I have to admit I like the colour combination (grey and a pale turquoise).

The Village (TV show) - this show is really good and heart warming, I had tears in my eyes watching it multiple times. I just love how all the characters lives are intertwined and how supportive they are of each other. I'm looking forward to seeing how storylines develop and what happens next.

Maybelline Superstay Matte Ink in Lover - I treated myself to this lipstick the other day as I needed a pick me up and I loving it. The colour is really nice and a nice dark pink and perfect for a pop of colour. This lipstick is really lasts all day, as in I apply it at 9.30am and by 9.30pm it still looks decent, plus its not too drying either like some matte lipsticks. I will say it can be hard to remove but with micellar water it should come right off.

Audien & Echosmith: Favorite Sound -  this song has been on repeat for me lately and I am loving it, it's catchy and the lyrics are great too.
The Afters Lighting - another song that has been on repeat, it's such an upbeat song and has a bit of country feel to it.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Speaking Up - My experiences with Cyber Bullying

I try to be vocal about my struggles, I have openly posted about my journey with anxiety and then later my experiences with bullying. But I still struggle with going into specific areas within those journeys and for me talking about my experiences with cyber bullying is really hard and I am ashamed of it.
So for me to agree to do a media release with ReachOut and sharing my cyber bullying experience is a big deal, so it only made sense to share it here as well.
My original post about my experiences with bullying is here if you want to read it first.

It happened 9/10 years ago, Facebook was still relatively new and my only experiences with knowing what cyber bullying was was from reading a young adult novel (Destroying Avalon). I remember reading the book and feeling relieved that it was the one type of bullying I hadn't experienced as it sounded horrible and soul destroying. With in person bullying I knew I could escape to home and hide, it was my safe space and the one place that I could shut out the world. With cyber bullying though it brought it into my house and my safe space and I couldn't shut it out.

I didn't have a smart phone and they weren't something that everyone had, I didn't see the need to be connected to the internet 24/7 and it was a good thing. The computer we had was in the main living area, which meant that my parents could see what was happening as they walked by and there was no privacy. I had only just gotten Facebook and as was the case you were friends with everyone from your grade at your school, this meant I was Facebook friends with the person who bullied me.

The person who bullied me had his own issues and decided to take it out on me, we had science class together and other students took notice of us talking - he was a bit of an outsider and I was being nice. The students then thought I had a crush on him and started to jokingly tease me and him about it, I brushed it off and thought nothing of it.
I remember logging on Facebook and seeing that I had a message in my inbox from this guy and without hesitation I opened it. The words that filled the screen and  my mind were horrible and made me want to hide. I kept rereading them and the more I did the more they sank into my mind and I started to believe them. I didn't respond and I could feel the colour draining out of my face. My parents took notice of what I was reading and tried to contact the school but as it was a Friday afternoon they couldn't get through. On the Monday morning they both went in and said that something needed to be done but as it was the first incident of cyber bullying they had experienced they said they couldn't do anything as it was happening out of school hours (despite being between two students regarding events happening during school hours). I spoke to the principal and was told to be civil to this guy and to pretend like nothing had happened.
The students continued to tease me and this guy, about my supposed crush I had on him and each time he would lash out at me on social media. What was upsetting was at school this guy was civil to me and acted like nothing was wrong but on social media he was dark and his words would cut me. He sent a message that was rather long and terrified both me and my parents (I have blanked out exactly what it said) so my dad screenshotted it and emailed it to the school demanding that something had to be done about it. The boy's parents were brought in and they handled it along with the school, which meant the bullying finally stopped but the damage had already been done.

While the bullying had stopped happening to me, this boy got crafty and proceeded to bully more students over the Summer holidays using a fake Facebook account. It was reported to the school and I (thankfully) haven't seen this guy since and I hope I never do.

The cyber bullying experience has had lasting damage on me and I kept it hidden throughout the rest of my high school years (and beyond). I was getting bullied through a computer screen which was embarrassing, and honestly shouldn't it have made it hurt less as I wasn't dealing with it all face to face? With cyber bullying it brings it into your safe spaces and it gets in your head as you can't seem to pull away from the words on the screen. You can also clearly see who is bullying you face to face but online you never quite know and that makes it worse as you have no idea who you are up against.

Even now, I have this fear of Facebook messages especially if they are from someone who I haven't spoken to in a long time or aren't that close to. I guess it's always in the back in my mind that someone I thought I knew could do something similar.
I sometimes wonder if I had spoken up about it at school and told other people, if the guy would've stopped the cyber bullying and other kids wouldn't have had to deal with what I did after he had moved on from me. Thankfully the school put better policies and practices in place after that year and they learnt how to handle it better. In a twisted way I am thankful that it happened to me, someone who had strong support networks and parents who could advocate for me and weren't afraid to make some noise to get something done about it. 

1 in 4 young people will be bullied and just over a third of them will experience cyberbullying so what can you do to prevent it? 

  •  Talk to them about what is cyberbullying. Many young people think that cyberbullying is just mean messages and comments repeatedly but it's not. It's comments that can be taken the wrong way, getting excluded from events, and being tagged in cruel memes. One thing to realise is that things can be interpreted in different ways over social media and we need to understand that things that may have been done with a good intention can be taken the wrong way. 
  • Be friends with them on their social media accounts like Facebook and follow them on Instagram and Twitter. If that's crossing a line or not something you (or they) don't want to do, ask a family friend or extended family member to keep an eye on their accounts for you and let you know if they are doing anything out of character or there's anything that doesn't sit right with them. 
  • When media stories come up about cyberbullying or concerns about social media talk to them about it. Ask if they can relate and let them know you are there for them, remind them that no one deserves to be bullied over the internet or in person. Use this as a learning opportunity and a chance to educate them and yourself. 
  • If they are in still in school, ask about where their school stands on cyberbullying and what their policies and procedures are. If they do experience cyberbullying know what can be done about it and where you may need to step in to provide guidance and support. 
  •  Educate yourself on support services that are available there's: ReachOut, Headspace, Lifeline and Kids Helpline. All of which have programs and services available to help teens and young adults going through tough times. 
The important thing to remember is that just because the bullying stops doesn't mean that the damage goes away and it won't have lasting effects on the victim. By talking about it more we can stop it from happening and help those who have gone through it. I am done with hiding my experiences and I am finally almost ten years later ready to speak up about it.

SBS interview is here and the Channel 10 interview is here   

Friday, March 8, 2019

Five Friday Favourites

Happy International Womens Day! Hope everyone found a way to celebrate and acknowledge all those awesome women in our lives today :)

I think I am finally recovered from last weekend! I had so much fun and it was a great experience, you can read all about it here.
This week I handed in two assignments, had a psych appointment and just tried to keep my mind busy. I am due to start my prac in a couple of weeks and as I am doing it part time I need to start it early, my plan is to do Monday and Tuesday as prac days then Wednesday and Thursday are class days and on Friday I will do some self care in the morning followed by assignments. I'm trying not to think about it and will cross that bridge when it gets closer.

I'm also in the process of writing a major post that will (hopefully) get published on Monday, I'm in the editing stages of it now and if everything goes to plan it will be live Monday.

Onto Friday Favourites:

Northern Rescue - this is one of my new favourite shows on Netflix and it is SO good. It's Canadian show all about family and has so much depth to it. I am halfway through and trying to savour it as there's only 10 episodes (hoping for a second season) but it's well worth a watch.

Sculpey - not a new favourite but one I have been using a lot recently. I love making things out of polymer clay and this the brand I use. There's so many colours and it's perfect for playing around and experimenting with. I also find it's great for all the tiny things I like to make and it holds small detail well. I have been asked if it leaves a chemical smell in the oven and it doesn't smell in the slightest while baking nor does it leave a chemical smell in the oven.

LOQI reusable shopping bags - with plastic bags now non existent I am finding myself needing to always have a reusable shopping bag on me, of course space is at a premium in my handbag and it's another thing to carry. Thankfully LOQI shopping bags solve my problems, they fold down flat, only weigh 55grms, can carry up to 20kg and are water resistant as well plus they come in adorable patterns as well. I actually now have two on me one with cats on it and this one that I bought on my trip as I loved the pattern and hadn't seen it around. They cost between $15 and $20 but the quality is great and I am always happy to spend more on something I know I will use.

Pinata Quilt Cover - this was actually my Christmas present from my parents and even now I still love it the day I put it on! I don't like change but after almost 10 years I wasn't feeling my old quilt cover, so I started to keep an eye out for a new one. I had been keeping an eye out for a few months and had yet to see anything I like but everyone in the stores had told me you will know when you see it. One of the issues I had with any quilt cover I got, was that it had to match/compliment the feature wall in my room which is pale (apple) green. Then one day we (Mum and I) were walking by Bed Bath N Table and saw this one on display in the window and we both loved it plus it had the right green in it. I love the embroidery (and my charm bracelet has yet to get caught on it, as it's done so tightly) and it really matches my room, it's also 'grown up' while being fun and the llamas on it are a nice touch.

Kikki K Canvas Tote Bag: There She Is - I find canvas bags are great for various purposes (book bag, beach bag etc.) and I always have a few around, and use them regularly. This one is part of the new range at Kikki K and it's a great bag, the straps are sturdy and I love the print and positive message on it. I actually use it when I go to the gym to carry my water bottle, keys, phone etc.

Monday, March 4, 2019

Media Release Weekend Recap

What a crazy weekend all for 20 seconds of fame, not that I am complaining :)
This was my fourth trip over east for ReachOut work and I like to think I have all the details down from arriving at the airport to catching a cab from the airport and making sure to get the most out of my trip.

I spent Friday morning doing an assignment and trying not feel anxious about flying out that afternoon, I left for the airport at 1.30pm and flew out at 3.20pm. The flight was fairly uneventful, I watched 1.5 movies and chatted to the person sitting next to me. I arrived at 10.30pm and caught a taxi to my hotel, but it turned out within 1km of each other there was two hotels of the same chain with a similar name. I got directions to the other hotel and decided as it was so humid and there was lots of people around I would walk, of course I quickly got lost (no sense of direction) so I managed to flag down a taxi and eventually got to my hotel and checked in. I was feeling very sticky due to the humidity so I grabbed a shower and went to bed.
I struggled to sleep as my body clock was telling me it was far to early to sleep but I managed to get a few hours.

The next day I woke up and got dressed, I had all of Saturday to explore and I wanted to make the
most of it. In my mind I knew what I wanted to do but at the same time I wanted to go with the flow and see what happened. I looked up directions to a museum on my phone and figured I would grab breakfast along the way as it didn't open until 10.00am and it was only just after 9.00am. I stopped at a café and grabbed a ham and cheese croissant and sat down to enjoy it, while responding to some Facebook messages. I continued on my way to the museum and found it easily, I paid the entrance fee and started to
explore. It was four stories filled so many awesome and interesting things, everywhere I turned I saw something interesting. I spent the morning there before exiting through the gift shop (I purchased a small vase and reusable shopping bag) and deciding to enjoy lunch at the museum café.

I had no idea what to do after lunch so I started walking and tried to get my bearings, I walked through china town and eventually found a Coles where I bought a drink and a couple of other items.

I walked back down to where my hotel was and realised that there was large park/square bordered by cafes and restaurants next to it, so I walked there and grabbed some gelato before sitting down to people watch. I eventually made my way to the Maritime Museum and checked that out, by this point my feet were killing me and I just wanted to sit down. At the playground there was this stream where kids were running through and parents were sitting with their feet in the water so I took off my shoes and put my feet in the water and it was amazing. I eventually made it back to my hotel for an hour or so before I went out to dinner.

I was trying to find a place on the square where a solo diner wouldn't look out of place that wasn't too
expensive and casual, I eventually found a burger place and it was amazing. I ended up ordering the classic fried chicken burger and fries and both were amazing. The fried chicken didn't taste oily and was crisp which made the burger and the fries were freshly made (not frozen like the ones you get at McDonalds) and were the best I have had. I wanted to try one of their frozen custards but I was so full so I had to pass.
I came back to the hotel and decided to have a quiet night as I knew that the next day would be full on.

The next day, I got dressed ready for the media release, I had been told not wear anything too bold or
with too many patterns so the safest bet was to
wear my ReachOut shirt, jeans and black flats. I walked to a café for breakfast and ordered the 'breakfast bruschetta' which was really nice and filling, especially as I wanted to have something substantial for breakfast as I wasn't sure how long the media release could go on for.
I checked out of the hotel and took a cab to the ReachOut offices as I had to be there at 10.30am. I caught up with the CEO Ash, T the media release person and met Bec the other person who would be sharing their story. I had been told that there could anywhere from no TV stations to 5 TV stations in the office, so when 2 TV stations showed up it was a relief. We had a quick briefing with how the release would go and then it started.
Ash spoke to both of the TV stations together and gave a statement to do with stats regarding the research. Then afterwards the TV stations set up in 2 separate areas and Bec and I each gave an interview one on one with them. I went with SBS first and was asked various questions about my experiences with bullying and who I turned to for help. I also had to do some 'acting' like pretending to work on a laptop.
We then switched and I went with channel 10, which was much the same questions along with some 'acting'. All in all it probably took an hour - an hour and a half from start to finish and I couldn't believe how much work goes into behind the scenes of a media release.

As I wasn't flying out until much later that afternoon I decided to catch a cab to check out some markets near the harbour and did some more shopping.
I caught a cab to the airport and started my journey home, the flight was fairly uneventful and I arrived home at 6.10pm ready to settle back into my routine.

I had so much fun and I am SO thankful to ReachOut for flying me over all for my 20 seconds of fame and getting to share my experiences.

SBS interview is here and the Channel 10 interview is here    .