Navel Gazing Is Good For You

You may have noticed I like to talk about myself.

This blog is basically made up of post upon post of me, talking about me.  My social media feeds are a big enormous Lotte party. And, although I claim to detest the letter ‘i’ (curse you, O Ruiner of Scrabble!), I’m thinking my book is going to be comprised almost entirely of it.

I. I. I.
Me. Me. Me.
Lotte. Lotte. Lotte.

I know my self-absorption isn’t desirable.  Focusing on oneself just isn’t… done. (I was going to say it wasn’t British, but as a French woman once screamed in my face “you are useless… all you do is stare at ze belly button Lotte!” I guess it’s a more global thing.)

We are not meant to be about Me.
We are meant to be all about Everyone Else.

This was hammered home to me aged 6 when, bedecked in a chocolate coloured bobble hat and yellow criss cross tie I promised to “think of others before myself… and to keep the Brownie Guide law”. 

(Aside: I only question now whether the Cub Scouts had to promise the same thing, or whether they got to promise to battle with tigers or something cool like that. After all, they got campfires and penknives while we learnt washing symbols and macrame.  Ahhh the 1980s. Anyway).

I’m a good girl, so growing up I kept my Brownie Promise and worked hard do right by everybody else. To be helpful, to be kind, to be likeable; to do what was expected, to do as I was told. I smiled and cared and gave and did my best to keep my shameful selfishness out of the equation as much as possible.

I didn’t factor in my life.

But here’s a thing.  If you neglect yourself, you get unhappy.

If you decide that you - your own needs, your own desires – are of no importance, you get really fucking unhappy.

And if you are really fucking unhappy for too long you get really fucking depressed.  And if you get really fucking depressed you have to spend a huge chunk of your life numbed to fuck by drugs and a huge chunk of your income on fucktonnes of therapy in the desperate hope that one day you won’t wake up wishing you would die.

I was one of the lucky ones.  I did the work and it worked. I want to LIVE.

And the crucial factor in my success?

Examining my Navel.

If you’ve not had the privilege of being in counselling (and if you haven’t you should try it, it’s great), it involves talking about yourself. A lot.

At 5.30 every Wednesday for just over two years, I sat in a camel coloured IKEA armchair (no black couch for me) and talked about myself. At first it felt super uncomfortable: I kept asking my counsellor about her week, attempting small talk.  But she was having none of it, and I was paying her, so I did what she asked and I talked. And I talked and I talked and I talked and I talked.

And eventually it became second nature.

And eventually it felt good.

And eventually  I uncovered some important things, about myself, about why I was unhappy, about how I could get happy, about my hopes, my dreams, my values, and how I could live my life consciously, purposefully and like I fucking mean it.

And I learnt that I mattered.  And I learnt that I was enough.

????????

I’m pretty sure that unpicking the contents of my bellybutton saved my life.

Exploring who I am makes me a better person. Stronger. More Confident. More fucking USEFUL actually, Mrs Shouty Gallic Lady.  By putting myself first I find I’m better placed to give.

So I’m going to keep doing it. Loudly. Proudly.

I have no shame about who I am.

And neither should you.

Why I drink too much

I’m currently on a self-imposed booze ban, to help get my latest bout of depression to fuck the fuck off.

I won’t lie to you, this is difficult for me.

I love a drink, I do.

Not in an ‘I’m alcohol dependent’ kinda way (I’m not – though I may have been once upon a time).

No.  I love a drink in a ‘mmm booze is delicious’ kinda way, and  - I’ll admit it – in a ‘it makes life fun’ kinda way.

Yes, I said it. Alcohol is fun.

more →

What the hell am I doing?

Things are ramping up workwise in Lotteland, which is great for stuff like paying for my new roof, but less so for my sanity.

I’ll level with you: right now I feel overwhelmed, under pressure and out of control, and worse off it’s all of my own making.

This whole ‘do what you love’ self-employment thing – especially when juggled with a toddler and other life requirements (y’know, paying bills, doing chores, getting a few hours sleep) – well, it’s HARD.  more →

Cracked it! How breaking my toe offered profound insight (and shit)

Everything is breaking in Lotteland.

You all know about the roof (and the worms dropping through the ceiling), but there’s also the boiler (which we’re ignoring) and the bed (which is currently being held up by books).

One of our hobs has broken, our grill has broken and both our phones have broken too. The stairgates fell out of the wall (broken!), the clothes dryer out of the ceiling (broken!) and the chain on Dave’s bike snapped last week (broken!).

The builders started work today (I’m broke!), but arrived late because their van broke (is it me?) and then – wait for it – I only went and did this more →

Lotte’s turn (the next stop on the Writing Process Blogging Tour)

I’ve been invited by Karen of The Great Corporate Escape to join the Writing Process Blogging Tour.

Through the tour, writers are asked four questions about what they’re writing, why, and how.  At the end of their post, the writer ‘hands on the baton’ and invites three other writers to join in the fun, creating an ever expanding virtual chain of writers.  Nice huh?

Thank you Karen for the invite – I enjoyed reading your post. Here are my responses!  more →

Busy vs Fun – the Smackdown

I’m busy, yo.

Every second that I’m not contending with a teething toddler (OH THE HORROR), or trying – and failing – to get my life in some kind of order, I’m working on this here new business, shooting for riches and fame and, of course, hitting my target of £10k by May.

My (much-needed) sleep comes as an afterthought, washing is a luxury, and I’m FAR TOO BUSY DARLING to ever do the exercise my Alexander Technique teacher tasked me (it involves lying on the floor for 15 minutes every day and doing nothing. Nothing! Every day?! AS IF I HAD TIME FOR THAT!!). more →