Realisation and Christmas ASK Italian bloggers dinner

This week began in the worst way. If you read my last blogpost I was about to go to my second interview for a job I really wanted. I felt like my style really reflected their brand and I had in my mind I had a good chance of getting it. Then… Monday morning I got the email that they had chosen someone else. Right back to the drawing board I go. I’m not going to lie, but I cried about it. That probably sounds sad but… I’m sure you’ve all wanted something so bad and when you don’t, it’s the worst feeling. Anyhow, I vowed that I wouldn’t change or get back on the grind of job hunting until 2018, unless… like a miracle something would find me. I quite frankly felt down about my design work.

On Tuesday morning, I woke up to a message saying I had won the competition to eat lots of pizza and drink cocktails with one of my favourite bloggers, Jessica of CocoaChelsea, you can check out her Instagram here. I’ve followed Jess for a long time now and absolutely love the content she produces. Her photo content is INCREDIBLE and her Insta stories are my faves to watch. So, to be given the opportunity to go for dinner with her, at ASK Italian trying their Christmas menus and disco ball cocktails, I couldn’t exactly say no, could I? I was so excited.

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Three people won, including myself, and one of the girls Hannah had arranged for us with Cat to meet before the event. It’s that thought of walking into an event on your own, that terrifies me. We grabbed a quick glass of wine, in the most rude pub. I’m not gonna go into that though. Then headed to the event.

We all went and met Jess and stood getting to know each other, asking questions and just getting used to the vibe. We were segmented on the side in our own little area and was presented with the coolest cranberry mojitio in a disco ball cup, I’ve ever seen. And my god, it was YUMMY. We then sat down and one of each of the starters were bought out. I instantly gravitated to the cheesy garlic bread because, who doesn’t love that? And it did NOT disappoint. Other options were bought out as well such as the Pumpkin Arancini that, according to Cat tasted like cheese and potato. I’m not THAT much into pumpkin so didn’t try it… only pumpkin thing I love is a pumpkin spiced latte from Starbucks October time, BRING ON NEXT YEAR.

 

 

We were sat chatting and I can honestly say, it felt like I had known these girlys my whole life, not just met an hour or so ago. We chatted ALL sorts of things and it was genuinely so lovely, talking to people who get you. We were also lucky enough to get some top tips from Jess too – yay! 

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We were allowed to choose what we’d like for the main and by this time I was feeling pretty jolly. Those cocktails – YES! I ordered the calzone pollo, and I had never had this before. I thought it was a pasta dish and not a GIANT pasty, but… my god it was so YUMMY.  It was filled with chicken, pancetta, mushrooms, roasted peppers, olives, tomato sauce and mozzerella. SO DAMN GOOD. So filled with the filling. If I get to go back before the Christmas menu disappears, I NEED IT AGAIN. ASAP. 

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Before our dessert came out we began the big quiz of 2017! There were different segments to the quiz… my fav was the CHRISTMAS SEGMENT! Whilst we were busy answering the questions, we were given desserts to try and… believe me when I say, I was SO confused when this first came out… SNOWBALL GNNOCHI??? RIGHT??? I was so sceptical about these but they were incredible. Tasted like little doughballs FILLED with Nutella. What more, could you want? You could also dip them into white chocolate and coconut and I was genuinely in heaven. They were incredible. 

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AND GUESS WHO WON THE QUIZ???? TEAM GLITTER BALLS DID! YES!!!!!!

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The whole evening was incredible and really and truly cheered me up. Towards the end of the evening I began to talk about the fact that I do graphic design/illustrations and have being toying for a LONG time now… must be a few years, that I want to start and Etsy shop. To create badges and tote bags and stickers and just fun things. Seeing the girls be so successful in what they do have made me SO motivated. I may even dabble in a bit of media kit designing, blog headers and buisness card designs for bloggers, that go as a pack together.

I will look into this a lot more and do some research, but could be something for the next year.

BRING ON 2018. 

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Life as a Graduate Part Two.

Around 5/6 months ago, I posted a blog about being a graduate, trying to find a job as a newly graduated arts/fashion student, the changes of living away to living at home etc. Now this time has passed, I just thought I’d update you all on what is going on now that I’ve well and truly graduated and so far away from what I knew, uni life.

I still, every single day, miss the independence of living away from home but I’m very much loving all the food, internet and alone/quiet time I get. I’m loving being closer to family and not waiting up to months or when I could afford to get home to see them. I miss the uni lifestyle more than ever. I’m missing the routine. Even if I only got up to sit in a computer room for hours with my uni friends and headed home for dinner and an evening of Greys Anatomy on the box, it was still something. I miss being pushed beyond what I thought I could be creatively. I miss being inspired by class friends and tutors. I just miss uni. If you had asked me this time last year, if I was looking forward to being out of education I wouldn’t of hesitated to answer… hell yes. It’s only now, I would do anything to go back.

Sadly, all in all, not too much has changed. However, I have realised and learnt a lot from the interviewing world. I’m not sure if I should put the number on here or not, but why the hell not? It’s real life isn’t it. Since July, I have applied for 238 jobs/internships. That number is a total from only two job sites I have used. There are at least 4 other job sites I have used, where I haven’t added the number to the total. 238 times I have been rejected. 238 times I have had my hopes up when either applying or interviews. Some I have even had trial days for. 

I understand that when you graduate, it’s probably advisable for you to go into an internship. Especially if your degree is in creative subjects. Internships, from what I understand are designed for you to gain industry experience, the company can help you learn and gain the skills for industry, whilst working in industry and prepare you for working in the big wide worldwhatever that is. So, when I’ve gone for design internship interviews to just get an email back to say they have chosen someone with  more experience than me, doesn’t that just defeat the purpose of an internship? I try so hard not to be mad at that… but I just can’t help it.

 

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(Image from Pinterest, love this type!)

We all know the world of employment is difficult to get into, whatever career path you take… but for a graduate, this is really and truly tough. Getting turned down every single day, no matter how hard you try for the job is so emotionally and mentally destroying. I know people are trying to help by saying there’s a job out there for everyone, keep going, don’t give up etc… however, sadly it just doesn’t take the emotional and mental side of being declined away. You still have to read the email you’re not good enough because of experience. You still have to deal with the thoughts of; am I good enough? Why did I do a degree just to get this constantly? Will I ever be able to be a girlboss in the career I’ve always dreamt of being part of? I think it’s just as important to address this side of job declines as it is to say keep going.

I do, however have some good news, or news that I hope will be good news in the end. I went to a job interview last week where I thought I had done the best interview I’ve done to date. Despite having a panic attack in the middle of the street in London, I went in and thought I had bossed it. I had created a whole campaign for the brand that I took additionally to my interview with my portfolio and the brand loved it. I was then told at the end to wait until the end of this week. That was one of the longest weeks of my life. The wait to hear back from job interviews literally turns me into such an anxious mess. From the experience I’ve already had… is there any surprise?

I finally got an email this morning to say I am through to the second interview with their creative partners and I am so BEYOND excited. However, I am so nervous… I am so nervous because standard interviews I’ve done a lot now. But have never done a second interview and I just want to do the best I possibly can for the role.

I need this job more than ever now. It would be the most perfect Christmas present. Please keep your fingers crossed. 

I’m looking forward to updating part three in another 5/6 months from now to see how much things have changed, if at all? 

 

Online friends, role models, bullying and a little bit of news. 

So, on the 29th October 2010 it was the first time I met one of my role models growing up, Dannii Minogue. Exactly, seven years ago today and I can remember the lead up to it so very very well. That feeling of not being able to sleep the night before out of pure excitement. Creating a card from scratch, which I had an argument with the card shop man about getting the perfect card… to then being able to give it to Dannii. I remember, watching Dannii on X Factor for years, walking into newsagents and seeing Dannii on magazine covers and buying them and collecting them (not ashamed to say I still have them). I never thought, that I’d ever meet the real lady herself.

Funny story about the actual day, whilst we were waiting in line to meet, Dannii walked down to where she would be signing her new book and it was literally the first time I had ever seen her, in flesh. I remember turning to my friends and saying ‘omg she’s real’ – how cute! 

As I was growing up I was teased a lot and made fun out of supporting Dannii and the other people I looked up to.

But what people didn’t know, was… watching Dannii on X Factor every weekend and the fact that she tweeted back took me away from the real life problems that was going on… for example – BULLYING.  I’ve touched on bullying on my blog before. It’s such a part of my life, although it is such a sad, horrible part, yet a big part… that I only really talk about it in context.

I was bullied right from year one at school to when I left in year 11. I would be wary and on my toes, every single day at school. A few times, during school, I was left on my own in break times and lunch times. I’d go into lessons and have the words ‘spongebob squarepants’ or just the plain and simple words ‘SQUARE HEAD!’ shouted at me, continuously until I believed it. I believed I had a square head, especially with the amount of people who used to remind me of it, every single day.

Even now, today… it has knocked my confidence so much. I’m away from the people who used to call me names, but their words have scarred me. I find it incredibly difficult to speak up about ideas in a work/education situation. I never did it whilst at school, because I didn’t think the class would be worthy of my answer. To them, I just thought I was a square head and that was it. To this day, I still don’t know how I put up with it for years and years. How did I let people degrade me and make me feel like that? 

I wasn’t scared as such to go to lessons, they didn’t scare me… it was just, the thought of being called it continuously, even when I was minding my own business and stayed out of people’s way..  sadly it didn’t make them stop. I remember, so many lunch times and break times you would never see me on the school playground or field. I felt more safe and secure being inside the school, even if I did annoy the teachers. 

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(Seeing Dannii seven years ago to this day – 29/10/2010) 

But, becoming a supporter (I detest the word fan) of Dannii and Kylie and all the other people I’m a fan of, I felt validated. Something I didn’t feel from my own age group in real life. I had Twitter before everyone else caught on at school, and through Twitter and Dannii/Kylie I was able to make friends. Friends I still have to this day. Friends, I will always, always be grateful for. I didn’t talk about being bullied online at school because I was scared. But these people made me feel like I had friends outside the few I had at school. Even if they weren’t right there with me. 

Through the friends I had made on Twitter and online, I felt listened to. People would reply to my tweets and made me feel like people cared as well as making me feel people wanted to talk to me.

And guess what? Not once on the internet or since school have I been called a square head. Not once. 

People may of teased me back then about looking up to a celebrity(ies) but what they didn’t know is, they helped me feel me again. They helped me make friends that I still see to this day. They have made me feel validated. 

I still struggle every day with self confidence issues and just confidence in general. 

In fact, I have my dream job trial day tomorrow (30th October) and because of my confidence issue of speaking out ideas, and believing in myself, if I am good enough… I’m terrified. But I’m gonna try my absolute best. 

I hope this post helps people out there. In one way or another. It was incredibly hard to type but I’m so glad I have.

Most of all, thank you to all the role models that I have looked up to, who have helped me make friends for life and for making me the happiest when I was the saddest. 

Life as a Graduate Part One.

So… here’s my little insight for you all into the world of a recent graduate. Twelve weeks ago today, I handed in my final major project at university. Crazy! I miss the work load strangely, I miss the knowing that I was working towards something great and I miss seeing my friends almost every day as well as living with some. I also miss the independence uni gave me and how everything was so much closer to me down at uni. Since the uni days, I just feel like every day that goes by I can slowly feel my creativity slip a way a little more, or so I think it is.

I am losing my mind every day applying for six – nine jobs whilst simultaneously getting emailed replies from other companies declining job applications. Some not even giving a few hours and instantly replying saying, no chance. (I once got an email that said I don’t think this role is worth your application – great, loved that.)

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(Pic by my good friend Aisha’s dad – woo graduation day!)

Right now, I am currently in that stage of looking for a graduate job whether that be an internship that pays for at least my travel and food expenses or a junior graphic designer job.

The only thing with this is, many jobs require experience. How am I meant to get real life experience if people don’t give you the chance? That phrase real life keeps coming up. I’m over it. I do, however, have a real big issue with internships that don’t pay and especially now I’ve graduated with a decent degree. I personally feel they exploit new creatives with fresh ideas to build their company up and for what? Many of them… nothing. I know that completing at least even a week of an internship will ultimately become part of your CV.  This way, it can count towards experience every company wants you to have, but internships could also be unpractical if you have no money – like myself. For example, for me to get to an internship in peak hours it would cost me £600 a month on travel only, for free work

I’ve found that the interviews I’ve been to so far have also bigged you up and make you believe you are suitable for a role and then, sadly, will see someone else for an interview and they have better experience than you. Even if that’s just a tiny bit and you’re back to square one. Who would of thought that sitting at a computer all day every day refreshing websites for potential jobs, going to interviews and then restarting the process can be mentally and of course physically exhausting.

I’m also aware that I haven’t finished uni that long ago and I also know that jobs take a while to get but I’m feeling frustrated in this job search and ultimately, lost. Let alone the massive pressure to get a job in the degree you studied the past three years and spent a fortune on. It feels like an endless cycle right now and no matter how hard I try and think… if I don’t get this job or I don’t get that reply, it’s not the right one for me… it is disheartening. I find myself feeling angry that maybe I’m not good enough for the career I want to go into and the constant declines are making me believe it more and more.

When I first got my few replies back about job interviews/phone call interviews I was excited that I posted on my social media and let those really close know. But with the constant not getting them, even though I’m trying my hardest… I’ve began not to let them know. That phrase… build your success silently is coming to my mind. Maybe if I don’t shout about these things, it will work in my favour? I don’t know… my brain is weird.

I have really and truly hit those graduate blues and I’m not sure how many more days I can sit on my sofa, refreshing job applications and watching Netflix I can take before going out my mind. I’m just so so nervous thinking I’m not good enough for my career I want to take. It’s becoming more and more believable the more I get jobs declined.

I just want a chance in this real world, I’m almost over it, already… before things have started.

 

 

 

Happy two years Southampton

Grab yourself a cuppa, this one is going to be long. Today marks exactly two years ago I made one of the biggest decisions and done the biggest thing I’ve ever done; move over 100 miles away from my family and friends. 100 miles away from home.

screen-shot-2016-09-17-at-19-51-46I still remember the run up to going away. I remember every time I went to go and visit my nan. She would have added an essential thing you needed to have when living on your own which I would never of thought of. You know things like medicine – of course you’ll need that at some point unless you’re supernatural and immune to all illnesses, if thats the case please give me your secret. My nan still does that to this day, tops me up with the stuff that I will need but may not already gone out to buy it or wouldn’t necessary bought with a food shop – thank you nan! I really appreciate it.

I also remember my going away meal. The meal where my family got together for a little goodbye to uni and I bought my good friend Shannon along. It was the weekend before I went and I remember then it kicking in that my family won’t just be down the road. That if I needed eggs to bake cakes I wasn’t able to just run to my nan and steal two eggs and instead have to go to the shop and grab six eggs and waste four because I don’t like eating eggs on their own.

However, it meant that I was about to start to gain my own independence and that was exciting. I was about to have all the freedom I possibly could have, not that I didn’t have that before but even more so now. It meant that I had to grow up, quickly. Hell did it smack me round the face as soon as I got there. Once I had grabbed my fob (I was staying in student halls first year, as many people do) and unloaded the car of way too much of my belongings into my room I’ll be living in for the next ten months, grabbed a food shop and saw my dad off which was hands down one of the worst times – ever, I headed back to my room and sat on my bed thinking, what now with tears down my face. Even now when I say bye I always cry, there’s something about your family leaving you down away that is just so so sad.

In my first year I’m not going to lie I got homesick a lot. To the point I wouldn’t leave my room and just lay in bed feeling sad. I missed the whole different lifestyle I had at home which I didn’t realise I had until I moved away. I would call any family member as many times as I could just to talk to them. I didn’t even meet the people I’m currently living now, who lived down my hallway until a few weeks in. Not every one has an experience like that but because I feel like I’m such a family girl, it hit me hard. Looking back on that to now I don’t get it nearly as much. I’ve finally got round to thinking in my head, I’m only a three hour train ride home, it’s not that bad. Besides, it’s so much nicer to go home and see my family after a long while, it feels more… special?

It’s no secret if you’ve read my blog before that I have a mental health illness which is triggered majorly by anxiety and depression. It was life changing moving away from home and battling with that. It’s made me more aware of how to look after myself more and it literally is just me here, to look after myself. If I’m sick and I don’t have medicine in, I have to go out and buy it and still make my dinner and get through the day. This is probably one of the biggest thing’s I’ve learnt. I have had an overwhelming amount of support for this, however. Last year, just after I had started my second year I went to seek help with dealing with anxiety and the way it was making me feel from the uni after advice. It helped me a lot. I’ve wrote about it in a blog post here.

All in all I have learnt a lot about myself. I have a stable job here now, I’ve been passing my university projects and now going into third year and I have my own little uni family. I know more than two people now, I know all the great coffee shops and take aways and I now have people down here who look out for me. I have no idea, how I’ve made it this far without going home… especially after them first few weeks, but I battled through it and still going now. It’s been an adventure for sure. I still haven’t left Southampton and gone anywhere else down the south coast, that is still on my list to do, as well as go the Isle of Wight.

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A massive special thank you to the family and friends who listen to my rants constantly. Who listen when I have something I’m finding difficult and just need to speak it out. Those who give the most invaluable advice and those who check up on me to see how I’m doing. Those who call me for hours and hours because I’m feeling alone and those who text me to make sure I’m OK. I appreciate it so much, so so much. Genuinely. If you have just moved to uni and feeling alone, down, don’t really know what to do.. please please do message me. I would so love to help you and give you tips.

I’m lucky now that I can call Southampton my second home and I’m proud of myself.

University – Top five tips

It’s already September – how? Although this does mean Autumn, i.e- cosy jumpers, drinking hot chocolate with lots of cream and marshmallows and not getting weird looks, PUMPKIN SPICED LATTES, cute over the knee socks – you get the idea. It also means for some people a stressful time of moving away from home to a whole new city, where they may not know anyone and it can be scary. I’m about to go into my third year at university and now quite used to the lifestyle that comes with moving away.

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(Photo credit: Instagram – positiveheadspace)

I have some of my top tips which I have learnt after moving away. It’s all so exciting moving away and I can tell you it’s one of the best things I’ve ever done. I’ve gained so much independence and learnt life things which I wouldn’t have known if I didn’t move away.

I’ve piled some into a list for you here and I hope they help you in one way, or another:

– BUY EARPLUGS. Oh christ I wish I knew this before I moved to university. I didn’t use them in first year and just put up with the noise. Only recently have I bought some as next door have parties regularly and they are the best investment. You might not need them every night but it’s so good to have them there incase you do. They will become your best friend. 

–  If you can, get a group together to do a food shop and get it delivered to your halls/house. It’s so much easier than trailing across town with bags and bags of food. If you split the cost of delivery and pay your own share, its lifesaving. Seriously.

– If you’re moving into halls getting a lock for your cupboard stops people getting in your cupboard and stealing food. Although you can only control it in the fridge if you buy yourself a mini fridge for your room (I did, best £30 spent! Who doesn’t want milk in your room for a late night cuppa without leaving your room?) 

Keep on top of washing up. There is nothing more frustrating for other flatmates/housemates than someone in the kitchen who doesn’t clean their own plates up. There is also a hygiene issue with this too. Not ok. Just keep on top of everything in general. If you stick post-it notes over your room and it helps – do it. If you’re someone who like to keep a diary and write stuff down like me – buy one. It will help you so much and you will feel so much more productive. 

– If you are missing home or have other issues then please, please go and speak to someone within the university. There will be a student support centre within your uni who are there for you. It’s there job to look out for people. Don’t ever feel like you are being too silly or a burden  I did feel this before I went to talk to them and they’re so helpful. They offer services for all sorts of issues including money, homesickness and mental health to name a few. Best thing I done was talk to them. Honestly.

– Keep track of your assignments and work. It goes without saying really. I only decided to discover the library at the end of second year – yep. It is the perfect place for work to get peace and quiet. Sometimes your house/halls can be too loud to get some work done. Also, if you don’t do anything whilst there, it still feels productive because you’re at the library. If you struggle with writing/reading there will be people at the library who can help you too. Win/win.

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(Photo credit: Instagram – positiveheadspace)

Make sure you have the best time. Although at some points it may get too much just remember why and how you got there. You can do it. You will get through that ever ending to do list. You will get that assignment thats kept you up for months done and you will get used to being away from home.  Remember if you ever do have any issues, especially homesickness message me any time. You can do it and it will be the best years of your life, honestly!

Don’t let trichy days get you down

Incase you’ve missed it, it’s been unbelievably hot recently. During this week the weather has hit temperatures of 31 degrees. THIRTY ONE. In the UK that is unbelievably hot. I don’t think we are prepared enough for this type of weather, considering it only happens around three times in a year, no joke.

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If you are like me and suffer from Trichotillomania (Trich) then it can be incredibly hard to get through the warm days as well as the not so warm days. I must say recently, I’m not sure what it is, but I haven’t pulled that much. I have pulled but it hasn’t been to the extent that I’ve been sat there hours at a time doing it, which is a massive massive step for me. I am however about to go into my third year at university with final major projects and dissertations to be writing, so I’ll look back at this time with a massive smile and say that I can do it. YAS!

I have a few different ways which I have that help me try to cope with Trich and just general bad days. It’s so frustrating there is no cure for Trichotillomania. There are ways however that make me feel a little bit happier. I’m still learning every single day how to deal with this myself, so if you have any suggestions please do let me know. I have put a few together in this blogpost and hope it helps someone with Trich or gives people ideas how they can help someone if they have Trich. Some of these can be for sad days too.

– It goes without saying, always always try and keep your hands busy. 100%. If you know what triggers you to pull then plan in advance how you can distract your hands. Carry a stress ball with you at all times. Its small and can fit in your bag/pocket and that way you know you’ve always got something to help. 

– Talk to someone. I suffered myself everyday for so many years and I kept it to myself. It’s 100% true, Trich makes you feel the lowest of lows. It makes you feel like you can’t be in control of yourself. It makes you so down, so so down and so self conscious. It is the worst thing to go through and especially by yourself. A very few close people knew of it and of course people notice it. Talk to someone. Whether they be professional or someone you can trust and know you can talk to, friends/family/teachers/work mates. It will be hard, they may not understand straight away but once you talk about it more, it’ll become easier. Remember if you or someone you know needs to talk to someone and are afraid… I’m always happy to. Always. 

If you are feeling down and upset one of the best ways to lift your mood is to pamper yourself. Pampering can help so much with Trich. For example, putting a hair mask on your hair it begins to repair your hair and makes your hair oily. Oily hair helps you not grab strands of your hair and pull them. In my own experience hair oil on my hair makes my hair feel less coarse and stops me pulling. After you wash it let it dry naturally. Wet hair is also really hard to pull or snap as it doesn’t have the same texture as you normally pull. 

– I’m seeing these appear more and more in shops and it’s making me very happy. They have been a huge fashion statement this Spring/Summer and I’m sure they’ll carry through to the colder months too. Hair wraps/headscarfs. I was sceptical at first but my goodness they are a god send. You can wear them SO many ways. I have a Youtube video planned to film showing you how I style them. I’ve began to wear them not to just tie round my head but they look damn cute tied around a hair bun or even a balaclava around your neck (I’ve been doing that a lot when it hasn’t been too hot and will carry it through to autumn, definitely!) 

– On Trichy days I genuinely wear my hair up. I’ve been wearing my hair up a lot recently, because finally the underneath bits where I had broken it off have grown back and I don’t need as many hair grips – YAS! You can do your hair in all cute little styles too. I’m really loving the two Miley buns, the top knot and two french braids. I see a whole lot more growth if I have my hair up too which is amazing. 

– Go out. As soon as you get out of bed make it. I find if I make it straight away it stops me from climbing back in it. I know you more than likely don’t want to face the world but even a small trip to a coffee shop and getting a take away coffee makes me feel so much better. I think it’s the air, fresh air.

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(Both photos from an Instagram account called trich.otillomania. A special shoutout to whoever runs this account. If you don’t already follow them on Instagram and you have Trich then I would recommend. They just get i t. I also recommend if you don’t have Trich and want to learn more of how it feels to deal with it and for some positivity then I’d suggest following them too. I’m so grateful for the account and making me feel less alone.)

I hope some of these tips help someone with Trich or helps someone you may know with Trich. It’s an awful thing to go through and can be difficult to understand but if you have it – you’ve got this! If you don’t then please, whatever you do, be understanding of those who do.