Showing posts with label Opinion. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Opinion. Show all posts

On Embracing Scars

A Royal wedding dress reveal is often a rather exciting moment for most fashion enthusiasts, but for me seeing the photographs of Princess Eugenie in her stunning Peter Pilotto and Christopher de Vos gown felt extra special. 

From a fashion perspective it was wonderful to see a British label given such a platform (talking of which she also wore Charlotte Olympia shoes for the occasion.) There's no doubt it was a beautiful dress - the full skirt, the folded neckline - but to see the long, thin scar, a result of spinal surgery for scoliosis, pointedly peeking out from the deep V back showed the power of dress and meant that for me it was far more than a moment for fashion. It was a moment of empowerment for everyone else with similar surgical souvenirs. 

You see I too bear that same scar, as I had the exact same operation aged 14. They straightened my twisty spine and fixed it in place with twelve bolts and two titanium rods and after a painful, but thankfully brief recovery, off I went to enjoy life all straight and proper. If it wasn't for the scar that snakes up the entire length of my spine to be honest I'd quite forget I had it done, especially taking into account lung transplantation surgery almost 10 years later.

Which brings me on to the scars from that. We have the obvious one that goes from side to side across my chest where the surgery was performed. I have two scars on each side of my ribs where chest drains were inserted (one looks a bit like a star which I'm quite fond of.) Alongside the one where they put a tracheostomy (breathing tube) in, I have the ones on my neck caused by ECMO (a big life support machine with equally big tubes) and then two scars on my legs where they had to put ECMO in there after the neck one didn't work. There's the one where I had a feeding tube in my stomach and more in my neck and on my side where a port sits under my skin, as well as various scars from all the cannulas, blood tests and whatnot from over the years - there's a lot going on, sure. 

Of course I knew I'd have scars but seeing as there were no mirrors in hospital I was quite unaware of just how much my body had changed. It wasn't until I was getting dressed in my bedroom and caught my reflection in the full length mirrors of my wardrobe doors that I was confronted with this new, stark reality. It was shocking to me, to see the full extent of what my body had been through - it looked so violent, I didn't recognise myself. To be frank, I felt grotesque. Perhaps not the right thing to think after almost dying, but that's how I felt at the time. 

However, after the initial shock had worn off I began to see them as a sign of power and strength. They were a mark of all that I'd been through, a tribute to the magic of medical science and a specific reminder of the type of surgery I'd had that saved my life. Incredible things! Beautiful meanings!

Time has faded my scars and most are hidden by my clothes. They're not totally on show here either mainly because the most obvious ones are in awky places but they're there nonetheless, attached to stories that are a part of what makes me, me. Perhaps it's my love of a good novel, maybe it's the history geek in me or narcissist, depending on your view, that revels in the idea of a narrative being revealed through the strange marks on my skin. They still cause me occasional pain due to scar tissue and other parts are completely numb years later so they're not without problems. However much I think they should be normalised and without wanting glamorise them, I firmly believe we should be proud of our scars - from the ones from major surgical procedures to the little burns that nipped the back of your hands grabbing a pizza out the oven, they're a reflection of our lives rather than the airbrushed, flawless bodies traditional and social media bombard us with. 

So to see Princess Eugenie showing her scar on what was probably the most public day of her life was empowering to see - a small but mighty gesture. From the numerous tweets I saw that day to the excitable message I got from a fellow lady who's had scoliosis corrective surgery ('We are matching!') I know for sure I wasn't the only one moved by it. 

Spark Joy

Hi frens! How are we? Quick update since we last spoke, it's been a little while I know, but I was laptopless and also busy because somehow I was able to drag my summer hols out for a whole four months. I've just moved into a new (happy) place in Brighton and am about to start my second year of uni, so that's where I'm currently at in life. I had many truly wonderful moments and also some horrendously bad, I would say it was an extreme time (much like that crazy heatwave, hey?)

But I'm not gonna put all that drama on here as this isn't Facebook. Who knows, I may say something of my experiences one day as they were certainly learning curves but for now I would like to not talk about *crippling depression* and instead have a mini rant discussion about why I've felt a bit distant from the blogging world lately.

I spent a lot of the summer volunteering again at the Fashion and Textile Museum, I'm sure I'll be posting about that at some point as even though the exhibition is over now I really want to keep the diary aspect of this blog going. One of the major things that really turns me off about blogging/social media is the commercialisation of it. Yes gurl, get that dollar, I myself have done the odd sponsored post and also posted about products I've received. But oh man is it constant 'SELL SELL SELL!' sometimes. I like shopping as much, if not more, than the next person but if even I am getting overwhelmed by it all then surely most people are. Life moves on and times change but I know when I started reading blogs it was because I was a nosy bugger who wanted to know what people were watching, what they were reading, what they were thinking and not only what they were wearing and buying (I'm a creepy person like that ok.) I liked to see a bit of personality. I don't know, it's a tricky one - it's incredible that people are earning actual money, enough to live off and then some, but it's just so in your face sometimes like #AD #AD #AD and it's just so bland. Don't get me wrong, I like a bit of mindless escapism (hello, TOWIE) but I guess it'd be nice to see someone write or wear something for the genuine pure joy of it otherwise life seems pretty soulless. Which it certainly is not, there are so many things to get excited about and I just wanna know what really floats someone's boat rather than that same mascara that twenty other influencers are raving about until they're sent a new one a week later. 

So yeah, that was a bloody long way of saying I will  be posting a lot more about exhibitions and art and life things.  Things I like. I did try therapy but I've worked out that really the nicest thing I can do for myself is a late night brain dump on here about whatever the hell I feel like talking about - whether it makes sense or not the next day will be a surprise, much like my drunk texts. If you think I chat nonsense on here, well you ain't seen nothing yet.

(But don't worry if you're here for the fashion, I obviously still love it so there'll still be some of that too.)

Niamh Nelson x

The Sunday Natter | On Difficult Friendships

It's been a funny old week - a health scare for someone I love very much perhaps made tensions high so behaviours from others that I'd usually ignore or make excuses for haven't been as tolerated as readily. I feel like sometimes I choose to not say anthing to keep the peace but this isn't always good because I don't want to be someone's proverbial punching bag or ego boost. When people do this I know they're only trying to bring me down a peg or two to make themselves feel better, so the problem lies totally with them. I know I for one don't feel like being very kind if I'm not feeling happy myself, which is really silly but human nature in a way. But I don't think that makes it ok.

I don't know if it's because I've been extra sensitive lately - to be honest having to go back on IVs for the first time since transplant shook me up a bit, when I was in hospital it meant I missed my exam and the last couple of weeks of my first year at uni and it's also super close to my two year transplant anniversary so that's been bringing up a lot of teary feelings too. So I've probably been taking little comments people have said to heart more than I might usually do, which I'm bearing in mind.

But the good news is I finally got to see a counseller at my transplant hospital after a year and a half of trying - perserverance pays off, friends. They originally sent someone to see me when I was in hospital but they came literally as I was high AF after my bronch. They asked what was bothering me but because I was quite off my head I was a bit like 'You mean in life? No, no, I'm mad fer it!' So they left me to it and sent someone else a few days later. At first I felt mega stupid and whiney, I was cringing so hard at myself but the person was so lovely and understanding I reckon I might actually get somewhere. They said the main thing I have to work on is being kinder to myself, I can be quite self critical even down the point where I blame myself for having a difficult recovery after transplant which is ridic because none of that was my fault at all.

So I think it will be helpful to sometimes maybe call someone out if they're saying something that's unkind towards me or to cut ties with people who don't really have anything nice to say to or about me. One big thing I've noticed is that silence speaks volumes and if your pals aren't celebrating your successes then they're not your people at all. Friends should call each other out when someone is being a dick and they should be able to take the piss but equally uplift and support one another and make each other feel like their best selves. I'm so lucky to have so many amazing people in my life who do just that that I'm even able to recognise when someone isn't and see it as being rather odd, but it doesn't make it less hurtful. Like I said, it generally says more about them than you but that doesn't mean it's something you have to tolerate - sometimes you have to put your own wellbeing first!

I'm worried this post totally comes off as a bit 'high-school' but navigating friendships can be tricky, particularly as an adult because our time becomes much more limited. But I guess this means it's all the more reason to hold on to special people as life gets stressier and to maybe cut off sources of negativity and unnecessary anxieties.

We get told so much to know our worth when it comes to romantic relationships but I think it should be applicable to platonic friendships too, as they can be just as intense! Make sure to surround yourself with the good eggs. 

A Blogging Backlash?

Recently I've been feeling quite disconnected with the blogging world and I know I'm not the only one. I've seen countless tweets saying the same thing and so many 'final' blog posts stating they just don't feel the same anymore.

I think that blogging has got so huge that the bubble was always going to burst for some of us - this backlash is kind of inevitable. The blogging world is bigger than ever with it's changing landscape and new blogs popping up all the time - it can be a bit overwhelming and difficult to keep up. We all know we shouldn't do it but we do compare ourselves to others sometimes - it's an annoying part of being human! Especially when it comes to social media, there's always someone who you feel has better content, better photos, better outfits etc. But to me blogging is like film or music or art - it's all subjective so just because a blog is someone's cup of tea not everyone likes tea (or something like that, you get what I'm trying to say!)

But I don't think we can blame all the changes on the blogging world - we're to blame as well. I know for me personally I've written this particular blog for about five years and it's the longest I've ever stuck at anything so it's no surprise I've been feeling less enthused about it than I used to. I can't complain about less engagement when I know that I myself have been commenting less on blogs. I don't have as much time as I used to and I think this is true for a lot of people - most of us started blogging when we were at uni with a lot of spare time but after a few years I suppose we've grown up a bit and are just busier people. It's just life! We're also reading a lot of blogs via mobile now, which makes it harder to comment and also I think we interact a lot more on twitter. A lot of my favourite bloggers are now solely blogging on instagram (something that I think will rise with the multiple photo feature.) Blogging and ourselves have changed and change is always inevitable over time.

But I have a choice - I can be moany about it and give up a hobby that I really enjoy or I can just carry on doing my own thing. I know what I'd rather do! So this year I stopped checking Google Analytics, stopped scheduling tweets and just posted whatever I've felt like whenever I've felt like and it's quite liberating. It's feeling fresh again and like it belongs to me - one thing I loved about blogging in the beginning was having a space of my own on the internet and it feels good to reclaim it again. It's so brilliant to have ambition but if we're to be realistic for the majority of us this is going to be a hobby - so why not just enjoy it? Take the pressure off, write about what you love and even make some friends and I think it's just the funnest thing ever. I'm enjoying just like I used to. So here's to blogging old skool styley this year!

What are your feelings about blogging right now? I'd love to know your views on this!

Wondering What To Do With Life

Jacket |
Dress | Topshop (via Depop, )
Boots | Topshop ()
Bag | Kate Spade

So I utilized this wall in my garden again and got caught by my neighbour. He'll be 100(!) this year, isn't that bloody amazing? He's great and has all these stories, he knows so much but he was left perplexed by what I was doing and I think he just thought I was a bit bizarre. 

I've had one of those stressy nights where I've been up all night wondering what to do with life - funfunfun. In lots of ways I feel like I'm a little bit behind other people my age because of the age I was when I started to get really ill and I've been doing that ridiculous thing of comparison which is just completely stupid because my situation is different to someone else's. Not wanting excuses or anything, but it's just proof how you shouldn't compare as we don't know what someone else's story might be. 

Yoko Ono said that 'Time is a concept humans created' and I find myself going back to that quote often. Life isn't a race and you have to do what's best for you - it's so silly how we think we have to have a list of things achieved by a certain amount of time when we all know how unexpected life can be. I think I'll write more about this specifically to transplant but one plan isn't going to work for all of us! We're not made in a factory line, we're individual and all have our own unique journeys in life. Now if I could just take my own flippin' advice...


I love Valentine's Day and I'm not even in a relationship - yes it's commercial and gaudy and we all know that we should be telling our loved ones how we feel everyday etc, etc. BUT I don't see anything wrong with having a day put aside to celebrate something as special as L-O-V-E.

And it doesn't have to be romantic love, it comes in so many forms if you let it. I love my family, my friends, my Freddydog, my life and yeah I'm gonna say it, I love me. You're not 'supposed' to say that, but I do. I'm not perfect and there's many things that I'm working on but on the whole I have decided to like myself. As women we are so critical of ourselves and on a personal level what a waste my second chance of life would be if I spent it hating who I am. I learnt many lessons after the topsy-turvy time that was last year and one of them (and perhaps the most obvious) was that you're only here once and you have to make the most of things. I'm more appreciative than ever and while I may not love life every second (because hey, I'm only human!) I do love every day. Life may not be all sunshine but storms can be beautiful too (aaaaand I think I just made myself ill writing that sentence.) But remember you are unique which makes you incomparable...and isn't that a lovely thing?

Saying that, we know V-Day can be a big fat 'HAHAHAHA LOOK AT YOU, LOSER! YOU DIDN'T EVEN GET A CARD OFF YOUR MAMA' so if you're feeling like a little self love is in order then what better excuse to have a lil' Topshop splurge? ;-) But of course there is no greater way to share the love than by !

What are you doing today? haha but I do have a date with 11 men*.

*I'm off to watch football!

Oh and P.S. YES I ventured outside to take my garden haha. But it was quite difficult to do by myself so we'll see if I try it again!

Embracing Minimalism?

Recently I watched , because after a month of buying less 'stuff' (and no clothes at all) I really wanted to learn a bit more about it. I'm always a bit in awe of minimalists because I don't think I have that level of discipline to live that lifestyle. I mean I'm not exactly a hoarder but I do like to own a fair amount of belongings and I think I'll always be that way, but after watching the doc I do feel inspired to change my shopping habits.

I'll admit I started watching the film with a certain amount of skepticism and I was feeling defensive. When I think of minimalism I can't help but conjure up images of bare, empty spaces and it's a concept that intrigues me because I always wonder where people keep their memories. Maybe I'm just a bit sentimental but I love having lots of photographs and favourite magazines and tickets to shows and places - I like a bit of clutter and having lots of things to look at. Tat to some but it's true that one man's trash is another man's treasure! I was expecting the film to attack me for my life choices and exude this whole 'holier than thou' vibe that would make me want to do the opposite to what they say just to piss them off (because I'm clearly a teenager trapped in a twenty-something body.) Plus it doesn't help that , Ryan Nicodemus and Joshua Fields Millburn, are a bit annoying ('I'm a hugger!' - no, please stop.) However to their credit whilst they express their ideas and concept passionately I never felt like I was being lectured to - they argue their points in a way that makes you want to listen to what they have to say.

It kicks off by saying how it's our human nature to buy things, as it's all about the hunt and  the thrill of the chase. This really resonated with me because the moment I felt I had a problem (and what kicked off the January spending ban) was when I'd order stuff just so I could get my fix and then send it back...pathetic, I know! But it is an addiction. We are constantly after the next big thing that we're being told is going to change our lives and when you think about it, it's kinda scary how much these big corporations control us. And with the rise of social media and yes, blogging, we are under more pressure than ever before to conform with what's 'in'. I know how guilty I am of impulse buying things just because I've seen them on instagram (but then I do strongly believe that fashion has value and shouldn't be dismissed as frivolous and unimportant. That however is a whole other post!)

Saying this, I don't think my life would have more meaning with less belongings. Having about 20+ pairs of shoes isn't to fill a void in my life - it's really not that deep, I just like shoes. They do, in Marie Kondo's words, 'spark joy' and I know this is for no other reason other than the fact I've always been a shoe gal (I mean even this blog used to be called 'Niamh Nelson Loves Shoes' lmao.) I think that everybody is different and some people kind of thrive within a bit of messy chaos (I know I do!) Objects aren't as meaningless as they insinuate, you can form attachments to them as well as people as long as you're sensible about it. I mean I love my Mulberry bags and they have sentimental value to me but obviously I don't love them like I do my friends!

But I was still feeling majorly guilty until the point was made that it's not consumerism in general that's the problem, but rather 'compulsive consumerism'. While I'm saying that my things make me happy, during the past year I also made a lot of impulse purchases that soon made their way onto eBay or depop. On a personal level this is no trouble for me but in the grand scheme of things it's damaging to the wider world. I want to be more aware and make more conscious choices. I think that while the big companies are to blame, we as consumers have a shared responsibility and could also compromise a little - like I don't think we should expect a t-shirt to cost the same amount as a sandwich. '' of fashion is a whole other debate that deserves it's own post but perhaps if we all embrace a little minimalism into our lives and 'buy less, choose well' that is one step towards a fairer world. Far easier said than done though, I know - especially as bloggers. Plus retail supports thousands of people in the UK, I mean I've worked in a shop myself. So there is also the dilemma of wanting to support businesses for that reason but it's just not right that the money isn't shared out a bit more equally.

So on the whole, I don't think I'm going to ever be one of these people  or owns one pair of jeans (I mean Millburn took one pair of jeans with him on a 10 month trip and what I wanna know is how did he wash them, the DIRTY GIT.) I love fashion and pretty things and shopping is one of my favourite activities, but the documentary has inspired me to think about my choices more. I hope I haven't come across preachy as I know I'm not perfect. As a blogger and self-confessed shopaholic I'm as bad as the next person when it comes to buying things (!) but I do want to be more friendly to the world. So next time I'm eyeing up yet another stripey top I'll be asking myself if it's really necessary.

Have you seen Minimalism? What do you think of the concept - reckon you could do it? 

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