How to Stop Being A Martyr in Your Friendships

Last summer I did a blog series titled ‘belonging’ and I did some videos on my facebook page about it too. The topic was all about friendships and how feeling a sense of belonging is important to our personal well being.

As I’ve gotten older my friendships have matured too. That suggests I’ve matured when in fact I’ve probably just gotten a lot more boring. Thankfully a lot of the drama has been shed, just in general and friendships are on a lot more stable ground. My personal self esteem and repect has magnified immeasurebly over the years which has a positive knock on effect on relationships. How they are formed, sustained and managed over the long term is all on a lot more of an even keel than it was in my teen years.

Now that my friendships are mutally beneificial it goes without saying that I get a lot more out of them. Friendships are tricky and complex and never straight forward and like any relationship sometimes they’re up and sometimes they’re quiet, I think that’s par for the course. But there are some questions you can ask yourself: 1. Am I consistently paying more into this friendship than I get back? 2. Do I come away from spending time with this person feeling shitty about myself? 3. Is this friend only ever available when I have something they want or need? If the answer to any of those questions is yes I would suggest you take a second look at how much of your time you are investing with this person. And I bet there is someone who popped into your head as you read that.

Female friendships can be awesome when you decide to finally value yourself and stop accepting bullshit. Truly supportive friendships are more common than we’re made to believe in popular culture. Once you give up matyring yourself to friendships that aren’t working for you, you will make space in your life for real, genuine ones.

There is no test for a good friendship but there are characteristics. Those friends who make you feel truly listened to are the genuine ones. The friends you are looking forward to catching up with. Even if you spend time playing ‘let’s meet up’ tennis that’s not always a bad sign, sometimes that’s just life. It’s busy, but those genuine friendships have a bedrock that can be relied upon and that remains firm.

My friendships are not consistent, I would love to see more of my favourite people. Often, being a stay at home mum the loneliness hits and I bemoan a lack of friends. However, over the last few years I have chosen carefully the friendships I pay into. I have chased up the important ones that have slipped, or at least made an effort to. And I’ve let the fair weather friends be just that. And admittedly it’s worked well.

On Insta stories this month I talked a bit about a friend I lost. My friend Rachel, she died from a brain tumour 5 years ago. She was only 38 and our children were toddlers. I miss her.

Some friendships are for a short period in your life and they naturally drift by the wayside and that’s ok. Then we have the friends who know us too well and we bump off of each other for years. Either way, I don’t have the time to waste on relationships with people who don’t care about me. And neither do you.

Pay into those relationships with friends who are as excited about your goals as you are (even when they’re different to theirs). Do yourself a great favour and rather than telling yourself you don’t have the time, streamline. Shrug off the people who are only ever about when it serves them and check in with that friend who you always have a great laugh with.

Oh and one last thing, release the pressure. Friendships ebb and flow and that’s how they work. One more last thing, this post was supposed to be about awesome female friends but turned into something totally different along the way.

And to my friends, my genuine friends who care about me and think about me when they’re doing the dishes and wonder what I’m up to and think they’re going to text me when you’re done but then forget (I know you do because I do too) to you…I’m trying to be a better friend, honestly. Thanks for bearing with 😉 xxx

Fed up of moaning about my weight: here’s a post all about my weight.

Oh my giddy aunt I’m boring myself. I booked a holiday today, it took me about 3.48 seconds to think about my weight. I’ll have to wear a swimsuit, will I be the only person not wearing a bikini, I wonder if I can lose some weight by then. Give it a bloody rest!

Last week’s post was all about how this month I have been focusing on my health. I have been trying to implement some small changes in the hope of making them long term changes. Things like adding in regular exercise. I have been feeling much better about myself and my choices but I would be lying if I said I haven’t weighed myself more than once.

I wish I could drop it. I really do annoy myself bringing everything back to what I weigh. Feeling guilty for eating ‘rubbish’ then eating more of it than I would have because I ‘might as well’ now I’ve had a bit.

I’ve written about my own body image before and honestly thought I was doing quite well. I try to filter my social media feeds so they’re quite postive. I try not to ever mention weight or criticize myself around my young daughter. However, I’ve no doubt she will have picked up on some negative things purely because of how much I think about my weight.

I can bring literally anything back to my weight. Thinking about how my kids are doing at school – I bet the teachers think I’ve got no self control (they’re all so pretty and slim). I’m going to take up some exercise – it would be so much easier if I wasn’t as heavy. Booking a holiday – better lose some weight or I’ll be uncomfortable in the plane seat. Uh it’s so BORING.

If you’re feeling the same I have no advice for you because you know what I’m the last person who could give advice on this. We can just be miserable together. Why are we so hard on ourselves as women, mums, etc?

New Year’s Resolutions and Why They Suck

New Year’s resolutions suck because they make you feel rubbish. It’s like analysing yourself and your habits and never coming up smelling of roses. ‘I’m failing here so I’m going to do this…’ and ‘I wish I was more…’ and I’m going to spend an awful lot of time punishing myself for it and engaging in negaitve self talk until the point I realise it’s all entirely unobtainable. More than that, I don’t actually want it. Then at this point I will begin to tell myself how rubbish I am for not keeping up with it.

The Christmas cosiness is over. We’re shoved into a New Year where all our news feeds are full of adverts for gyms and weight loss groups.

New Year’s Resolutions

We’ve all been there. We’ve all done it. New Year’s Eve is a con-man with a twinkle in his eye. It feels like we’re cresting a hill and the new year sits just beyond with long stretching meadows that will be our blank canvas. However, it’s a little more complex than that.

We are human, we are messy, we are a jumbled mix up of our individual experiences and views and ideas and thoughts and mental health and all sorts of stuff. If making change was as easy as we all feel like it is every New Year we wouldn’t need New Year’s resolutions at all.

A Dying Tradition

I’ve noticed this year the novelty of New Year’s resolutions has well and truly worn off. There are some good things happening on Instagram. Jameela Jamil is worth checking out with her ‘I weigh’ movement. She is challenging the idea that women are only worth anything when they are thin. I have friends on Instagram who are promoting body confidence and not being afraid to be yourself. I feel like a lot of people threw out the notion of unobtainable goals as New Year’s resolutions this year.

What I think is more beneificial is accepting where we are and not killing oursleves about it. Knowing that long term change occurs after many small consistent decisions. A big one for me is not limiting myself. I am my own worst enemy when it comes to evaulating my own abilities. It’s also useful to remember that you don’t have to be good at something to enjoy it.

Illness and Health

I had flu in the week before Christmas. No, not a cold, not even a bad cold but definitely flu. I was a broken person. Immobile, fever-crazed and partially deaf. Those were just the main symptoms. It was no fun. I didn’t get to take my kids to see santa, a visit we had booked in a month before and had to pretend I didn’t feel like shit when I saw the photos. I missed my daughter getting her first trophy at her martial arts class Christmas party. We missed the annual family Christmas Eve celebration at my sister in law’s. My daughter actually cried about that. (Thanks for making me feel better, kid.)

Being ill made me miss being healthy. It made me want to honor my body and protect my future health. Three weeks later and still not 100% recovered I’ve never been more grateful that I don’t have to face life contending with a chronic condition. I want that to continue, so I decided that as soon as I was better I’d make some changes to help my health. More importantly to protect my future health. Which coincided nicely with the New Year.

Mindset

I’m doing exercise for once not just to lose weight. I feel grateful to be outside in the fresh air. I keep thinking about being older and hoping that every time I exercise I’m putting off a future ache or pain.

With the priority being on my overall health I’ve also been trying other things like switching deoderant to a more natural option. Something that I haven’t had the courage to do before and not really something you might set as a New Year’s resolution. Happy New Year! This year I’m going to smell of B.O while my body relearns it’s natural balance in my armpits, what are you up to?

Because my mindset has sort of shifted a bit the out-working of that looks different to my usual. My usual being killing myself in some new full on exercise regime only to chastise myself severely that I’m ‘not as fit as I should be’ and give up a few weeks in.

Addiction

It took me ages to give up smoking because I never really wanted to if I’m honest. I thought I enjoyed smoking. Only when my mindset changed did I have the ability to quit. I realised the enjoyment of smoking was an illusion. I pictured myself in years to come, I would still either be trying to find 5 mins every hour to sneak for a cigarette, my irritably levels through the roof for the latter 50 mins of that hour or I could picture my little girl (who was 2 when I finally gave up once and for all) being older and really surprised that I ever smoked.

I was kinder to myself. I knew that it would take a few attempts and I gave myself the grace for that. Hands down it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. I did think for a while that I would crave cigarettes every day for the rest of my life. But thankfully now I don’t. (People who give up smoking are more bad-ass than you know. If you are giving up smoking I salute you.)

My body will always be affected by all those years of smoking. My health will never be equal to that of someone who never smoked.

What Do You Really Want?

New Years resolutions suck but only because they’re often flimsy and they soon collapse and leave us feeling less-than. Take that optimistic feeling of new year and use it to fuel a positive change in your life, but be honest with yourself and think about what do YOU really want. Only then you will succeed.

The point is to be kind to yourself, and think about what you really want. Break it down into small steps if necessary. Once you have the right motivation you’ll be able to do it and not just because it’s a new year.

Life’s always changing, that’s part of the beauty and there’s always an opportunity to learn something new about ourselves. Such as the levels of badd-assery we can reach when we we really set our minds to something.

Anyone for a Spot of Poetry?

Quiescence

(14112019)

I tiptoe through the bedrooms

As though not meaning to wake

It’s still

At rest

Cold and quiet.

Pretty glass things on her dressing table

Are familiar yet foreign

Obediently not touching

But the barrier is now officially broken 

I have to paw through her precious pieces

No tea and cake

No telling of secrets or future

My youngling roots will be ripped up with this 70’s patterned carpet 

There is a pretty pink bottle

That proved me a deceitful child

I spray it again

Fat droplets of betrayal

The mist on my upturned face

Smells like flowers. 

And not like nan’s house at all.

The Making of a Mother

(02042019)

I’m not sure I loved you enough.

I wasn’t feeling my best. I wasn’t myself. Didn’t get a good head start.

Maybe if I was fully here, fully rested, I would have been a better mama. I would have. I couldn’t think, only feel. I was so Raw and so were you. So new and sacred and susceptible.

I wrapped you up I did. I wrapped you up every day. Wrapped you to me. Nobody could reach in. You cried and cried. I cried. We wrapped and we cried. Us two. So new. So vulnerable. Strong.

And it seems long ago now, just as they said it would. Now I sleep the days are more fun. I’m fully here now. I can help you much better now. I commit the moments to memory.

I’m not sure.

The man at the park gave you a pound. I put it in your money box. The exact pound. But it was the delight in his eyes at you that was the magic. Surrounded us in those first years. Enveloped us like a sparkling gold cape. It must have been magic.

Did I delight in you enough?

I’m not sure.

Persistence is Key (Podcast Transcript)

Listen to this podcast here: https://www.spreaker.com/episode/19385367

Hello and welcome to the becoming a screenwriter podcast, I’m Kate and this podcast is all about my nosedive into learning about screenwriting and sharing any resources I find along the way.

Persistence. Persistence is key. Watching the Cardiff half marathon today keeping an eye out for my incredible friend Jo who ran for the Stroke Association made me wonder, what keeps a person running for such a long time? I mean, it sounds like hell to me yet over 27,000 people turned up at that start line this morning. The one thing that all of them must have had to finish was persistence.

I have been looking forward to my youngest starting nursery for a few months, even though obviously apprehensive I was excited at the prospect of 2 hours a day to write and also I knew I needed a plan. 2nd time mum I knew if I had nothing to do on that first day and those first weeks of getting us all into a new routine that I would go home and cry basically. It’s just the kind of mum I am. So the plan was to dedicate some time to writing. Ignore the housework, ignore the niggling ever present mum guilt, ignore the feelings of invalidity I experience on a loop being a stay at home mum and march through the front door immediately after the school run upstairs to my little office back bedroom and sit down and write. Or research writing opportunities. Find screenwriting competitions to write for and learn about screenwriting in any way I can.

I had plans aswell for the hours I would have alone. Like planning to get a new ear piercing, which is not something easy to do outside the hours of 9-5 or with a toddler in tow and maybe starting counselling planning in a session every 2 weeks to finally get to grips with my generalized anxiety that still rears it’s ugly head from time to time. I thought I might have a look around at some volunteering opportunities too. Basically there was a lot of stuff I wanted to get done between 9 and 11 am. Which is normal, I think. But then I thought that can all be looked at later, what I need to do first is, I need to get a discipline in writing and work around that.

So I did, I entered the Channel Four screenwriting competition and planned the time I would need to complete a pilot episode by the deadline which was the end of September. Something nice and definite to get my teeth into but it had to be an idea I didn’t particularly want to pursue because part of the Ch4 scheme is to write an hour long episode and it has to be different from your competition entry, so I wrote a pilot of a series about a young sales rep Jaime who is caught between his new shiny exciting sales life world which isn’t quite as shiny and exciting as we first think and his sort of grass roots background at home where he lives in his mum’s pub and has had a string of crappy jobs. He’s an ambitious boy but his past seems to wrap it’s knarly tendrils around him as he keeps trying to move forward. Anyway, it is inspired by my husband Rich, he’s in sales and he’s told me lots of funny stories over the years about anonymous people and shenanigans at work. It’s really a whole nother world in Sales honestly.

So I was pleased with myself about that because I’d had to do a bit of research before I could begin writing the project and I’d planned my time really well. It’s something I’m good at is being organised and I always feel really accomplished when I’ve organised something well. So even though it’s yet to be announced I felt good about having entered and I really enjoyed writing it as well. So I was feeling quite pleased and maybe giving myself a little pat on the back because I was thinking you know it’s definitely better than other scripts I’ve written but not so much like you’re awesome that script is awesome but more like you’ll never learn if you don’t do it first to learn from so yeah I was like feeling brave I guess. That’s the funny thing with writing isn’t it it’s always a little piece of your soul in it and you have to send it out for criticism but we really need that to improve don’t we so yeah it’s one of those things.

Now bearing in mind I have no expectation of making tons of money from this. It’s something I love to do and it was actually Richard’s idea, I was like what the hell am I going to do when my son starts nursery and it was Rich who said just write. Just sit down everyday and write, because you love it. Can’t argue with that can I. It’s been a weird thing for me to pursue because usually when I want to do something I want to be good at it right away and I get a bit frustrated when I’m not and maybe embarrassed when I make a mistake but with screenwriting it was just such an off the table thing to do I knew from the start I’d have loads to learn. And also because I’ve always written in one form or another it’s really a hobby, and naturally when it’s not your job, it’s enjoyable. If I miss a deadline…nothing happens. I’d love to see something I’d written acted out of course the script is only a blueprint for a whole production and I’d love to work in a creative industry alongside other writers, producers and actors. I’d love my daughter to be watching something one day and be able to casually say ‘my mum wrote this’ that’s the dream, but it feels as far fetched as hearing her say – ‘That’s my mum there the lead character’. I’m accepting of the fact that I have a long way to go and a lot to learn and I’m genuinely excited to be at the bottom looking up because I feel like learning and gaining experience is going to be fun and maybe a lifelong pursuit. I know then, that I have to write and I have to be crap because I’m just starting out and I won’t ever get better if I don’t write the crap first.

The reason this all made me think of doing a podcast about persistence is because you always hear people saying it as their top tip. Published authors on panels say, ‘Keep at it! Don’t give up!’ and in other things that always felt like a bit of a wash out. We want to know how to be good at what we’re doing. What was it that made you a success? What’s your secret? Did you fellatio a producer or are you just naturally a brilliant writer? Because that gives me a reason to say well I’m not naturally gifted, maybe this gig isn’t for me after all. Or I don’t live in L.A. where people bump into producers…Oh and of course I wouldn’t do that anyway. Wink. Any producers listening.

But really, when you love writing, persistence is key. Like I said earlier, how can you ever hope to improve otherwise? The more you write, the more you learn about writing, there’s that great saying, You can’t edit a blank page. When I read my own stuff and cringe at how bad it is, sometimes I don’t know what I need to do to fix it but the more bits I write the more I learn what works and what doesn’t. The more I persist in writing scripts the more time I spend connecting with other writers on twitter, reading their work and finding what reads well and what doesn’t.

Not every single person who turned up for the Cardiff Half today is a naturally gifted runner. A lot of them perhaps, have not been running very long, they have a lot to learn but they’re never going to improve on their last run if there isn’t one to improve on! And we can’t promise them that if they run marathons for enough years and persist enough that they will one day win one but we can see how much they love running and we can say for definite that if they do choose to persist with running that they will improve.

I had a bit of a wobble last week though for some reason. That week I’d watched the genius that is Phoebe Waller Bridge win an armful of Emmys for her amazing writing so I was already on a bit of a ‘I’ll never be as good as her’ downward spiral and then I saw Rhiannon win the BBC writer in residence opportunity and I really hope she doesn’t hear this but I felt envious which honestly is not my go to kind of position on these things. I was genuinely so made up for her to win it, she’s someone I’ve briefly chatted with on Instagram so I had that ‘I kind of know her’ moment and felt extra pleased for her as we had spoken about entering and then later in the day I just had a mad crash of confidence. I drove to McDonalds to self medicate with food and I remember in the car just feeling like foolish to be dedicating time to something as wishy washy as ‘writing’.

It’s a part of my historical behaviour patterns to get these feelings of worthlessness and I think we’ve probably all suffered with that particular strain of negative thinking at some point but I felt really blindsided by it with regard to writing and I was wondering if it was a bit of an epiphany. A bit of a realisation like this is not the way forward you bloody idiot. I went back to torture myself a little more in the evening when me and Rich were sat on opposite couches watching TV and on our phones together and I saw an interview Rhiannon had given to the BBC about winning and she had said something along the lines of having been writing for a long time and wondering if it was all a bit crap but then winning this and feeling amazing about it. That knocked me straight out of my funky envy cloud and I thought that will be me. Just clearly like that really could be me in a few years. And I’m probably going to be one of those annoying people who get asked for a top tip and say ‘just keep at it’.

So that’s what I’m going to do, just keep writing the crap until I learn how to write the gold. Every night before bed my daughter asks me what my dream is and I always say to write for T.V. so now I’ve kind of got to get better so she can see that dreams are worth pursuing.

And I would urge you to keep at it too, even though no-one asked me for my advice. If you love it, just keep writing. Don’t forget, we never know what will get picked up post-humously! So there’s always hope.

I’d love to know what would be your top tip about writing when you’re sitting on a writer’s panel in the future. Come and find me on Twitter I’m @a_screenwriter https://www.Twitter.com/a_screenwriter or if you look for Becoming a Screenwriter you can find me that way as well. A transcript of this podcast will be up on my blog website www.katelili.com. Have a great week and congratulations to everyone who ran in Cardiff today.