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How do I describe it? – Blogmas Day 15

How do I describe it?

It’s like when you wait

for the weather forecast

on the television

longing to see that promising sunshine

that never seems to come;

except I’m looking for the storm clouds

or any sign of thunder,

of lighting,

of torrential rain

because I’m done hoping

for anything close to sunshine.

I was done a long time ago.

It’s never going to come.

 

Until tomorrow,

Charlene McElhinney

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Not like the Others – Blogmas Day 14

kids-toy-chalk-colored

I once painted a spider pink

because I thought it’d look pretty sweet;

I once used green chalk to draw arrows

to my direction around my street.

Did anyone ever dare to find me?

I guess not because they never looked

and still to this day, I haven’t been found

and still I am misunderstood.

Someone probably stood on that spider;

my arrows washed away by rain showers

I guess what I’m trying to tell you now

is that I’ve never been like the others.

 

Until tomorrow,

Charlene McElhinney

[image source]

 

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The Little Things – Blogmas Day 13

 

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Trudging slowly through the snow;

ice and sludge like a blanket throw.

An array of footprints on my path

and oh I wonder where they all go.

I see a robin redbreast in a tree,

an elderly couple hand in hand pass me –

are they going to church? Probably.

That’s the tradition on Christmas Eve.

I sit at home and watch Christmas films

whilst Wilma and Peter sing Christmas hymns

but everyone is entitled to do their own thing

the night before Christmas morning.

I’ll lounge in my pyjamas in front of the TV

with a packet of biscuits and a cup of tea;

I’ll go to bed late and I’ll get up early

and spend the day with my dear family.

It’s the little things that mean the most.

 

Until tomorrow,

Charlene McElhinney

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My own worst critic – Blogmas Day 12

I’m my own worst critic in everything in life. I think I’m absolutely mince at just about everything. I think I’m inferior to everyone and that I’m incapable of doing things that ‘normal’ people do. In this post, I’m going to be specifically talking about my book.

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Yes, I published a book. At 20 years old, I published a book. And although that is an astounding achievement for anyone in life – I’m my own worst critic and I think it’s no good. Upon reflection, I wish I’d done things differently. I wish I’d been more talented. I wish I’d known more about poetry and found my writing style at the time it was written. I wish I’d understood form more, and played around with line breaks and techniques. You see, I was still a very anxious and sensitive soul, I was too afraid to come out of my comfort zone and try new things. I was holding back. Writers shouldn’t hold back. 

I shouldn’t beat myself up too much. My book has been a great success for a self-published writer and I’ve received many messages from people who have took comfort from it. My intention was to help people and I can put my hand on my heart and say my book has achieved that. I shared my mental health journey at a time where I was still very vulnerable and I’m proud of myself for that but I can’t help scrutinizing my book and wishing I’d done things differently. I’m my own worst critic. 

I don’t pick my book up often enough. In fact, I very seldom pick it up at all. I don’t promote it nearly enough as I should. I’ve even reduced the price from it’s original £10.99 to £7.99 because I felt it wasn’t worth what I was charging – even though I only receive a very small royalty from every book sold. It’s not about the money for me. I just want to help people; I want people to read my book and resonate with my words and take some comfort from them. The poems are easily accessible, they aren’t hard to decipher, and I haven’t shown my true writing style in my first book because like I said: I was holding back. 

I just wish I could give myself some credit for publishing my book. It’s my legacy. If I were to die tomorrow I’ve got a legacy. A tangible legacy that will live on long after I’m gone. Why can’t I give myself a pat on the back and say, ‘You’ve  done good Charlene’? I lost a dear friend, Emma, in the blogging community to cancer not so long ago and she doted on my book and always reminded me how much it meant to her. I need to remember these important facts and not let my own criticism deviate me from the positive results of my book. Emma would have wanted me to be proud of my book. I know that for sure.

Anyway, it’s almost Christmas, and I shouldn’t be bringing you all down with me. This is just a post that’s been brewing for a while and as Shrek says – better out than in. 

If you’re interested in buying my book (even after I’ve expressed all it’s flaws) you can pick up a copy here.

Until tomorrow,

Charlene McElhinney

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EMAIL: charlenemcelhinney@icloud.com

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Dear Christmas Shoppers – Blogmas Day 11

Dear Christmas shoppers,

The world is not about to end. It really isn’t. It wouldn’t kill you to show some kindness to your fellow shoppers instead of barging past them and acting like you have more of a right to be there than anyone else. I guess we are all guilty of it at some point in our lives. Shopping can be a right pain in the backside – especially at X-mas time! But do you ever stop to think about who you’re budging out of the way and what goes through their mind when you do so?

Damn, the thought of my wee naïve mum out and about doing her shopping, and someone disregarding her and barging past her like she’s nothing really grinds my gears. When you put it in to perspective and imagine it’s someone close to you – it’s not a nice thought. Then there’s the anxious folk, the people who exceedingly hate to shop, who are there just because they have to be. They get flustered when someone stands near them, they start to think they are in the way, that they need to move and go to another rail. They get all sweaty and worked up. They don’t like to be rushed, to have their space invaded, to feel like they are a burden. Y’know, it wouldn’t do any harm to respect other folk when you’re out and about shopping. Be patient. Like I said: The world is not about to end.

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Is there anything worse than when you’re admiring a nice little top on the rail and checking the size etc. and then some numpty just crosses right over you and takes over the space and starts rummaging through like there’s no tomorrow, complete ignorance, as if you weren’t even there? Rude. Then there’s the ones who speak to staff with attitude and disrespect; especially in retail. I worked in retail at Christmas last year and the way customers spoke to me was abhorrent.

Then of course you’ve got the slow walkers, the over-takers who come out of nowhere and start zig-zagging all over the shop thinking they are doing good but really they are causing an uproar for the busy crowds of folk walking around them, then you’ve got the kids running away from parents, the people with a shit ton of bags hitting you with them as they abruptly brush past, the over-crowded queues with the huffing and puffing of impatient shoppers, the staff approaching you and trying to sell you this, that and the next thing with great big desperate cheesy grins on their faces…it’s a stressful time for everyone. That’s for sure.

But next time you’re in the shops please be mindful of the others around you. Today, I was in a shopping centre, and I was a zig-zagger. Guilty. Upon reflection, I must have really agitated a lot of people, and I must have come across as either rude or a woman on a mission (which I was – to get out of that damn place ASAP). Seriously though, next time you’re out doing your shopping, look around you. Really look. And ask yourself, does anyone really want to be here at this time of year? We’re all going through the same thing. We all have that in common. Just be mindful, Christmas shoppers, we are all in the same boat.

Until tomorrow,

Charlene McElhinney

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Forest Holidays – Blogmas Day 10

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A weekend away with serenity. That’s what it was. Absolute bliss.

Last weekend, my boyfriend and I went on a break away for the weekend, to a precious little place in Argyll, Scotland. It is known as forest holidays; they have a wide range of log cabins with luxurious hot tubs and otherworldly views in the middle of the woods – in a variety of places across the UK. I was blown away when I arrived at our home for the weekend. 

The log cabin was extraordinary. Huge. We had 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms (one was an en-suite), a gigantic kitchen with everything you could possibly need, a large living area, spectacular windows with the most beautiful scenic views and of course, a bloody big hot tub out on the decking underneath the stars. Sublime. What more could you possibly want?

We had the best of the best of everything. Underfloor heating? Amazing. The sofa was so comfy, the bed was super snug and the pillows were like the fluffiest marshmallows. Getting out of bed in the morning was ridiculously hard because it was just so cosy and enticing…but then so was the hot tub!

The hot tub was absolutely fabulous. We spent so much time just lounging around, relaxing in the hot tub, listening to the birds singing in the trees and watching the sun go down. I honestly would give anything to go back. It’s like being in a different world entirely. 

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I never thought I could possibly feel like I was on holiday in my own country. Alas, I did. I felt like I was so far away from all of the hustle and bustle and the reality of the real world. It was wonderful. Our cabin was perfect, the views were indescribable and the weekend was so precious and memorable. I would go back in a heartbeat. 

As a writer, a cabin away from the world, with stunning views and tons of space is the equivalent of paradise. My mind felt so free. If only I didn’t have an essay to write whilst I was away I would have worked my way through reading so many books and I’d have wrote some exciting blog posts or poetry. I felt so inspired. 

Writing about my stay here is making me want to go back right this very second. It’s my new safe space. I would go every weekend if I could. No word of a lie. It was 110% worth it. Forest Holidays have hit the nail on the head with this place and I’m sure all of their other destinations are just as good. They are pet friendly, so you can take your little furry friends with you, they have car parking facilities for you to keep a wee eye on your car from your cabin (which I don’t recommend doing when it’s dark if you have a fear of wild animals as we may have bumped in to a wild deer whilst popping out to bring some more juice in)! Oh, it was just fantastic! Absolutely marvellous. 

Have you ever been to stay at a log cabin? Did you love it as much as I did? Have you heard of Forest Holidays before? Let me know in the comments.

Until Tomorrow,

Charlene McElhinney

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Lydia Wilkins guest post – Blogmas Day 9

Make my Christmas

By Lydia Wilkins

 Disclaimer: Aspergers syndrome is a spectrum condition, meaning that “one size does not fit all”, in terms of help given. This post is written to raise awareness of the condition; what you do as a result of it is your own responsibility.pexels-photo-225251

 Hello everyone,

 My name is Lydia; I am eighteen, and I blog over at mademoisellewomen.com. My blog has been running for just over five years now; here, I use the space I have on the internet to document my Aspergers. (Because, like other invisble/visible disabillities, and mental health issues, it is still incredibly misunderstood.)

 I was diagnosed two months shy of my sixteenth birthday; I had always not been a fan of loud noises, dressed myself in a way to conform to hypersensitivity issues, and not had many friends. Many people often thought that I was either a loner, or very strange-because, well, who wants to talk politics, rather than which boy in our year was really cute?! (I chatted about politics; most chatted about the latter.)

 In the run up to Christmas, some things I sometimes find hard to get along with, amongst the feverish excitment, the wrapping, and shopping for a tree. So, whilst keeping in mind that everyone with Aspergers is different, due to it being a spectrum disorder, I thought that I’d like to write what my ideal Christmas is, and how some issues can be resolved.

 Firstly… noise. There is so much noise round Christmas! I lack a way to filter noise internally, so I can be overwhelmed by it at times. Try walking into a shop: there’s All I Want For Christmas continually playing, lots of people-all hustling and bustling-colours, the tannoy announcment calling for extra staff help, the toys on display bust out a tune.. Lots of people on Christmas Day can also be quite overwhelming for me. (If you’d like to know more about the impact of noise, click here. https://mademoisellewomen.com/2017/10/31/aspergers-environments/ To read more about noise and Aspergers, read this. https://mademoisellewomen.com/2017/10/09/its-all-in-the-sound/ . This Christmas, if a place is too loud for me, I’ll either be in my bedroom, or another place, to calm down. (Usually I have a podcast or music to listen to.) I’d like for this to be understood just that little bit more.

 Social expectations are also hard to manage. Personally, I can’t read body language or faces very well, apart from the basic; you smiling? You’re happy. Frowning? Sad. Sometimes, though, I often find myself forced into a gesture I’m not comfortable with. So: if I’m with you, please don’t be cross if I fail to respond-I usually take just a little bit longer than the average person does.

 And the final thing is: remember that I am a person, too! Just because I am a person who is autistic does not mean that I dislike, or can’t celebrate, Christmas. (Even though the opening paragraphs of this post may have sounded like a Scrooge!) But so far this year, I have arranged a mini card swap, gone Christmas shopping, got involved with a secret santa, and shopped for a tree. I love Christmas! Just not the noise and confusing social expectations…

 Happy Christmas,

 Lydia

I just want to thank Lydia for her contribution to my blogmas this December, what a fabulous guest post, and what an honour to have you! Remember you guys can check out Lydia’s blog here

Until tomorrow,

Charlene McElhinney

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Email: charlenemcelhinney@icloud.com

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*Image source: pexels*