Sometimes, life hates me. 😂😳☕️

Hi, my name is Kim or Kimbo. Whatever you prefer. Just absolutely not Kimberly! THAT IS NOT MY NAME! Often, my life is absolutely comical. The sentence “only that would happen to you” was written for me, I swear. I can make anyone having a bad day feel better almost guaranteed, because the chances are something embarrassing or unlucky has happened to me that will make you feel better about any of your f@ck-ups. I am a disaster or, a disaSTAR as my dad calls me (it makes me feel better about myself.) And that’s me!

(That’s a bio for Kimbo Lockyer if I’ve ever seen one!)

So, this weekend I was closing the deli. I was on my own and it was almost home time. All three inside doors had been cleaned and put back onto the deli counter. Before I finished up I went to push open one of the sliding glass doors to cover up the salads inside the counter. I’m actually not even sure what happened, but as I pushed the door open it just cracked and totally smashed. I stood in shock for about a minute because I couldn’t comprehend what had just happened. Then some of the floor staff came running over after hearing the crash. They helped me tidy it all up and apart from being late home, it shouldn’t have been a big deal, right? Accidents happen!

But it was a big deal, to me. I’m not sure if it’s because I got such a fright or because I was tired or just a mix of emotions but the minute I walked out of the shop I burst into tears. I  had an almighty panic attack and cried for about two hours after getting home. I felt sick, couldn’t eat dinner and really contemplated calling in sick the next day so I didn’t have to face my boss.

Friday’s panic attack wasn’t as big as the one I had back in January when I got the wrong train and ended up in Port Laois rather than Huston (lol), but it was big and draining enough to leave me totally wiped out most of the day on Saturday.

Since the almighty panic attack in January this has only been my second proper panic attack. I was disheartened becuase I really thought I was beginning to get over panic attacks but this has been my second one in the last month. I questioned whether it was just because I’m fairly over tired since the campaign and I haven’t really stopped at all as of late. Then it dawned on me. I think I can make a connection with the vast majority of my panic attacks. The trigger seems to be the fear of getting into trouble. Which makes sense. I HATE getting into trouble, with anyone. I do not deal well with people being angry with me at all! Friends, family, anyone whose opinion matters to me.

This I think, stems from a general fear of conflict. After dealing with all the domestic violence and being surrounded by conflict for the majority of my teenage years, unless it’s me standing up for what I believe in and being really angry at someone for something, I run from conflict!

Like I’ve written before, hearing pots and pans banging around downstairs sometimes sends me into a panic. I cannot deal with seeing people shout at each other or physically fight each other; strangers or not.

I feel like this is where my fear of getting into trouble and resulting panic attacks are coming from. This realisiation is all a little exciting because I’ve never noticed this connection before. Now that I think I know what the trigger mostly is I can work on conquering it!

I am completely aware that as Welfare Officer I am going to face plenty of conflict situations and I’m not even a little bit worried. I know that I will handle them! I also know that I’ll get better and better at handling conflict situations the more I face. But I have an opportunity now to start dealing with and overcoming this fear and I’m so ready. Just haven’t quite figured out how to do that yet haha.

If anyone has any suggestions, please let me know! ❤️

I had this conversation with Ellen at some point last week all about self-discovery and how fun learning about yourself is. I think that’s why since America I’ve been so addicted to challenging myself. It’s really fulfilling to recognise your downfalls and to try to address them. It’s the coolest feeling in the world to be able to step back and actively recognise how far I’ve come from say, first year.

Little first year Kimbo, spent all year covered up in the baggiest possible clothes hiding behind her extra long hair and couldn’t say her name out loud in her tutorial class without having a panic attack. Now Kimbo, although still in extra colourful, over patterned clothes, dresses much better, has v. short hair and is Welfare Officer Elect. WHATTT!?

There are some challenges, very big and very scary challenges that I have worked to overcome. That I am still working on overcoming. Only a couple of my closest people know about these challenges. (We all have some super private skeletons in our closets.) These challenges still scare me and get the better of me on occasion but I am currently really working on recognising when I start to panic, questioning why I’m panicking and then making a decision about whether or not I’m being rational. Deep breathing techniques are my very best friend.

Although, I’m not sure I’ll ever reach the point where I feel comfortable discussing these personal challenges on such a public platform such as this blog, I had the realisation that as Welfare Officer next year, I will be able to talk about all these issues on a general level. I will be able to reassure students and provide them with lots of broad information and messages about all these big and scary things that I had to deal with and figure out mostly on my own. That makes me so unbelievably excited. 🌻

I really feel like I’m doing younger Kimbo and everything she went through proud.

So cheers to getting over my fear of needles, getting over my fear of conflict and hopefully to putting panic attacks behind me and finally, to getting some self-control and to stopping all this ridiculous procrastination of my assignments.

Lots of love and lots of baby steps,

Smile Always,

Kimbo. X 👣⭐️🌼✨🌸💛

Onwards and Upwards! ❤️

I have an essay to do right now, but all I can think about is writing a blog post.

I think I am still in shock. It definitely hasn’t sunk in yet, but I am officially the Welfare and Equality Officer Elect for 2018/19! 💛

I am totally overwhelmed. The fact that so many people believed in me and my ideas;  I can’t even describe how amazing that feels. Thank you to everyone who voted. Thank you to everyone for the kind messages and constant supply of hugs and head massages (Jayne.) Thank you to Alisha, Cathal, Ellen and Adam for their constant support and love. Even from abroad you guys got me through it! Thank you to my campaign team (Kimpaigners 😉) ! I could not have done any of this without you guys, especially. I’m going to be forever grateful to you guys for everything you sacrificed over the last few weeks just to help me! ❤️ Thank you to all the support coming from home. My parents, my neighbours, my foster parents. Thank you to everyone who supported my ideas and encouraged me before any of this even started; giving me the most amazing advice, advice that I whole heartedly believe helped me win!

Although I can’t name everyone or I’d be here all day, lastly I’d like to thank Paul for everything he helped me with over this campaign. I can’t believe that we get to work together next year and that while we started this journey together, we get to finish it together too. I couldn’t have gotten through this campaign without you and I want to say the biggest congrats to you too. You deserve this more than anyone! I’m so proud of us and how far we’ve come!

I had this weird realisation on Wednesday night after the results were released. I was sitting in the SU and just started thinking about how in first year, every time I went into the Welfare Officer to chat to her, I would be shaking and freaking out, even just at the idea of talking to her about what was going on.

I text her after I won and it just dawned on me how now, after everything that’s happened, I have her job. I can now support students the same way that she supported me!

I would lastly like to thank you, Síona, for your support when I needed it the most and for believing in me when I didn’t believe in myself. You are without a doubt part of the reason I am here right now. And above all else, thank you for the duck! 💛🐥

Everything has changed so much!

At the beginning of this adventure I set out in search of a challenge and by god, that’s exactly what I got! The last two weeks have put me to the test like nothing ever has before. I haven’t been as nervous for anything in a long time as I was for Hustings. But again, with the help and support from the most amazing people who surrounded me, I did it!

I am not the same person as I was two weeks ago and not going to lie, I’m really proud of myself.  I put myself out there like I never have before and like to think that I remained completely true to me and my beliefs. That’s why this is so unbelievably humbling, because people voted me in for me. They believed in me!

My next challenge will be getting a blood test and conquering my fear of needles. Then finally get my tattoo.. (SO SORRY DAD!) 😁

For now, I guess I need to rescue my head from up in the clouds and get back to college and get this degree. Only like two and a half months left. Eeepp. Not sure at all where that time went. Safe to say though, that my time in Maynooth has been the hardest but the very best years of my life!

I am 100% ready for everything new and exciting and difficult and challenging. I’m ready to keep pushing myself and to keep discovering everything new about myself and my abilities.

I’m ready to keep taking all these little baby steps that are forever turning into the biggest and most exciting steps. I AM READY!

Thank you again to everyone for helping me change the course of my life.

I can’t put into words how much I love you all.

Smile Always, beautiful people,

Kimbo. X 💙🌸✨🌼🌻🐥💛

 

 

 

VOTE #1 KIM FOR WELFARE AND EQUALITY 💛

Man oh man, this is a big one! Ya lil’ deli-gal, Kimbo is terrified.

After realising how much I love a good ol’ challenge thanks to America, I have decided to run for Welfare and Equality Officer in college. My election campaign is about to involve putting myself right out there along with lots of public speaking and a whole bunch of other scary things. Scary isn’t actually even the word. I am petrified! Pretty excited too though.

I am about to be thrown so far outside of my comfort zone that I won’t even be able to remember what my comfort zone was/ is now.

Way back in first year, I was sitting upstairs in the John Hume building in college when one of my college girls got an email advertising the upcoming Students Union Sabbatical elections. ( Us being only babies in college, not having a clue what the positions were or what they entailed.) One of the girls saw the title of Welfare and Equality Officer and suggested maybe it was something I might be interested in. I laughed and thought little more about it.

Months after when I was really struggling and entering into some of my absolute hardest months in college this far I ended up linking in with the Welfare Officer at the time. She was wonderful and amazing. She pointed me in the direction of the supports I needed and even accompanied me because, at the time I was far too anxious to deal with any of it on my own and was having panic attacks almost everyday. I was absolutely doubting whether I could handle college anymore and my Welfare Officer made me believe that I could.

I clearly remember thinking that she had such a cool job; being able to reassure students and getting to spend her days helping them the way she helped me. I remember thinking that I would love to do that one day and then shaking the idea out of my head because I would never have the confidence. Even the idea of such a thing made me feel anxious.

Skip on two and a half years and here we are! I am running for Welfare and Equality Officer! Maynooth has done that for me. It’s given me the space to be exactly myself and it has also allowed me to meet some of the best people in the world, without a doubt. I am now so happy and confident in myself and I have found my passion. Mental Health.

Of course, It’s taken a lot of work on myself to get to this point and before America I hadn’t even considered this whole new adventure as a possibility but like I’ve said before, if I could do that huge adventure on my own and make it to the end then I can do absolutely anything!

I had a friend pass away by suicide earlier in the academic year. As well as doing this for me, I am doing this for him. ❤️ I want to make a difference. I want to support and educate the Maynooth student body. I don’t want one single Maynooth student to feel like they are on their own if I have any say in the matter what so ever. This means the world to me, maybe that’s why it’s so scary. I believe I can make a difference!

As far as challenges go, this is without a doubt my biggest one to face yet but I am SO ready! Even if I don’t get elected, I am already beyond proud of myself for taking on this challenge and getting to the point in my own journey where I feel 100% confident in myself and my own abilities, enough so to put myself out there like I’m about to.

I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who’s helped me with my campaign so far and also to all those who are about to help me over the next two weeks. It’s not going to be easy but we’re going to do it by taking baby steps, as always. 💛👣

Best of luck to my fellow candidates if you are reading this. May the best person win.

Also I want to wish my friends Katie and Paul who are running for sabbatical positions the very best of luck too. ❤️

I want to be and have no doubt that I can be the Welfare Officer to others that mine in first year was to me. 💛

May the odds be ever in **my** favour. 🌟😂

Never stop taking baby steps,

Smile Always,

‼️VOTE #1 KIM FOR WELFARE AND EQUALITY ON MARCH 13TH, ‼️💛😉

Kimbo. X 🍭✨🌻💛🌼

28233295_1707102789346025_1588900557_n.png

Baby steps 👣💪🏼✨

Man, this semester has been tough! The blog and life in general have had to take a back seat to college work. It’s been non stop, and I think a lot of people have felt in the same boat. It’s been overwhelming too. In my last post, I think I  kind of predicted a ‘breakdown’ coming and in some respects I was all too right.

So much has happened in my personal life on top of learning the ropes in a new job along with trying to Final Year. Yes, I’m taking about Final Year as a verb. 😴

Having so many of my closest friends studying abroad this year has also been tough. I’ve missed them all a whole bunch. One night a couple of weeks before Christmas after I’d had a really tough day I started feeling somewhat homesick?? Even though I was at home with dad and Sally, I was just missing all my M8s so bad. It was the strangest thing. 😥😂

But of course, my friends have still been there 24/7 from different countries and my college girls have been the best, as always! ❤️

It’s kind of funny because I am so, so aware of how amazing all of my closest friends are and how much they do for me and care about me but they still literally never fail to surprise me and constantly seem to prove themselves as ever more and more amazing. This is 100% an appreciation shout out to them all for dragging me through and I think I’ll actually be forever grateful to them for keeping me going. No point naming everything they’ve each done for me because I’d be here forever but, last night I had the worst panic attack I’ve ever had. I genuinely thought I was having a heart attack and I could not for the life of me calm myself down.

Anyway, I managed to get through to Adam who was with my other besto Ash and the two of them were absolutely hammered. Even in their questionable state of minds they immediately put their night on hold and totally talked me down. I was absolutely overwhelmed by how much they helped me last night and I’m so grateful they were there. This morning Alisha’s mom was going to call in after dropping her to the airport to check in that I was okay. This afternoon Ellen called over and had made me a ‘We’re just fine’ playlist so that if I ever panic like that again I’ll be prepared. She also brought me a little world map that I can scratch off all the places I’ve visited and remind myself how brave I’ve been. Then tonight Adam called over before he left to go back to Spain and didn’t leave until he was sure I had calmed down. (I got anxious again lol)

I mean, in the space of like 24 hours I’ve been totally surrounded by the best of the best. I am honestly the luckiest girl in the world. Without even telling them how much I needed them all they’ve surrounded me. ❤️

It was funny because especially over the last two months while the college work has been super intense for all of us in Third Year Social Policy, everyone has just pulled together. Everyone has been leaning on/ supporting each other and that’s been so nice.         -I was having a bit of a meltdown one morning in the library and three of the mature students in my course, who, I think were also somewhat freaking out, brought me for brekki to cheer me up. My Social Policy family are all legends, too! 💛

It’s proven as a comfort to have everyone else struggling along side me. I know that sounds so selfish, but I think the most comforting sentence in the world to hear when you’re overwhelmed is: ‘Don’t panic, I haven’t started either.’

The last couple of months, I haven’t been painting or doing much of what I enjoy. Keeping up with Emmerdale has been the height of the excitement and over the last two weeks I’ve even fallen behind in that. My anxiety has been sporadically intense and my mood has definitely dipped at points, especially as of late. I’ve just kept my head down, taken it all very much day by day and tried to prioritise my mental health where possible.

When I finished my last essay due before Christmas,  I burst into tears. I cried for a solid hour after finishing because I just could not believe I had made it to the end. I finally felt the biggest sense of relief and just pride. Pride in myself, that despite all the work, despite all the bumps along with way, despite a serious lack of sleep, despite everyone being away for the year, I had made it through final year assignment season no.1, and most of my first winter without medication in about seven years.

Christmas can be a really difficult time for a lot of people. Usually I’m not a fan at all, but this year my friends all travelled home for Christmas and I haven’t been as excited for Christmas as I was this year in years.

From the minute my last essay was handed in life started getting back on track. Seeing all my friends again was amazing and the hugs I got made everything okay again. ❤️ This Christmas was extremely busy between seeing everyone and working a lot and I’m pretty worn out. Exams start next week but I haven’t even had the time to panic about them yet, so I’m really hoping that the ol’ anxiety decides to behave! Two days after my exams end I’ll be on a plane to Slovenia to be reunited with Alisha and Cathal which is super exciting and I’m hoping will give me something to look forward to during the exams; so much so that I’ll be able to continue eating and sleeping during this exam season and remain somewhat sane. whether that will happen or not, I feel is possibly wishful thinking! 😂😴😳😥

I think this semester kind of reminded me how strong I am, as cringe as that sounds.

I spent New Years in Edinburgh for a camp reunion. I was extremely anxious before I left and had basically decided by the night before I was due to fly that I was not going. My anxiety was just debilitating and I had overthought the whole weekend so much that I wasn’t sleeping or eating and I couldn’t stop crying or getting sick. The Joys!

Anyway, once again my friends were quick to remind me that after America I can do anything. That if worst came to the worst I could just stay in my hostel room and catch up on some much needed sleep and that I was only an hour’s plane journey away from home.

I ended up going and having an absolute ball! I kind of reminded myself that I am much braver than I give myself credit for and that when it comes to being independent, after I’m done with all the overthinking it’s actually kinda grand! I came home absolutely delighted with myself and the really big, not so baby step that I had just taken.

A few days ago I went for a proper lunch in a little restaurant all on my own! This time one year a ago I would never have dreamed of doing that,  I just found myself being so hungry that I barely gave it a second thought. All these things seem so little but are all adding up. And I’m not going to let last night’s panic attack set me back. Alisha, my soul sister is constantly pointing out little things that I’ve started doing that I don’t even notice I’m doing, that before I never would have done, or at least done without freaking out. Just, like saying things to people that need to be said, or – eating in a restaurant on my own!

But the bottom line is that I made it, purely just by taking constant baby steps and now they’re all slowly turning into one big, giant step. I’m still here and still smiling. Mostly.

I’m pretty emotionally and physically exhausted at the minute but feeling so grateful for all the insanely amazing people in my life. (Sobbing a little rn..) ❤️😂

2017 was the most intense yet amazing of my life. I accomplished so much but I’m absolutely by no means done yet! 2018, I hope you’re ready for me and all of my goals.

I wish you all a super happy and healthy New Years filled with lots of luck, laughter, love and PLENTY of baby steps!

I promise I’ll get back to my blog more regularly after Slovenia. For now though, lots of love and for everyone facing into exams, best of luck!! It’ll all be over soon. We got this! ❤️ Also, never forget, no matter how hard things seem,

Smile Always,

Kimbo. X 🍃🍄🌟🌸🌼✈️💖✨

Oh, we can be stars. ✨❤️

It’s been a while since my last post. I just had a bit of a mind block and couldn’t figure out if I had anything worth reading to write about. That’s when I realised that my feeling like I had nothing to write in fact gave me a lot to write about. Does that make sense? No? Let me explain.

So since getting home from camp life has been crazy. An awful lot of both amazing things and bad things have happened all at once. I’ve coped, generally quite well with it all, I think, especially with the weather changing. ❄️ But lately, I’ve come to question whether I’ve actually been dealing with it all or just pushing it all to the back of my mind for another day? My mind it seems, is a really complex thing to understand and while I’m slowly learning to get to grips with how it works, I still have a long way to go.

It’s all a little bit scary because if I am ignoring all my emotions then I know it’ll come back to bite me. But what if I’ve dealt with them how I need to and I’m just being paranoid and pessimistic and not having faith in all the progress I’ve made.

I keep getting these crazy and totally irrational ideas to say things to people and do things and go places- all bonkers ideas that I definitely should avoid without thinking them through. I get so close to doing them all (running away to camp for the rest of my life etc,) and then Ellen, the functional and rational part of my brain 😉 talks me out of my stupid missions to change the world. Thank God!

But all these irrational thoughts have got me questioning loads of stuff. Myself, my motives, how I’m feeling, my plans. But it’s not in a bad way either. Maybe it’s time to question things- situations, relationships, everything. Maybe I’m having a pre-adulthood life crisis? Is that a thing? Maybe it’s just third year driving me crazy even though it’s barely started? That’s a worrying thought LOL.

It’s all kind of exciting though. I’m beginning to realise that I like things that challenge me. It sounds so cliché but I’m forever surprising myself.

America being the biggest surprise of all. Like I’ve said before, I never really thought that I’d make it to America and even when I was there I was constantly doubting myself that I would make it to the end, although deep down I don’t think I was ever going to quit. I suppose it’s all just a confidence thing. Every five minutes on the plane home I burst into tears. I literally just could not believe that I, tiny, super awkward, Kimbo had done this huge thing all on my own despite being uncontrollably riddled with crippling Anxiety less than a year previous.

I’m not even to sure how I did it. I think having this blog has given me the space to write about my mental health enabling me to understand better what’s going on in my head and why I’m feeling how I am. It’s also given me a lot of confidence, finding that I’m good at something that I enjoy and feel passionately about, whilst knowing that other people enjoy and can sometimes relate to what I write about.

College has also definitely made all the difference too. Finding a bunch of people who love me for exactly me has been fun. I suppose it has taught me to stand on my own feet and to prioritise my own interests, morals, insecurities, fears and  goals first. When I feel great I’m much better company!

Learning about my brain has helped a lot too. Now that I have a better understanding of what’s going on in my body and why it’s reacting in specific ways helps to give me control over my often irrational anxiousness and many emotions. It’s given me the option to discover coping mechanisms that I can relate too; meaning they help.

But I also go through patches when I feel deflated and begin to question my perceived control over my mind. Like, for instance now. I feel like maybe I feel too ‘calm’ at the moment, considering the past two months and all their events.

But I feel fine and content, which is kind of scary. It’s just scary not being entirely confident in how my brain is going to react next. Does that make more sense?

If not don’t worry, I’m not even really, entirely sure what I’m getting at here either.

But directing back onto the topic of liking a challenge and constantly surprising myself, I think that’s what I’m going to focus on doing. I made a little set of goals for my final college year and so far I’ve slowly been achieving them. It’s early days yet, though. My No.1 goal of course being gaining ever more knowledge and understanding of my own mental health. Even when they’re only small, achieving little goals keeps life exciting and slowly aids to building my confidence as I see small but rapidly growing results.

I’ve discovered that the more sure of myself I feel, the more I can conquer and the less my anxiety drags me down.

Being 100% yourself to the best of your ability,  I think is key.  🌸

I’m going to start including The Samaritans number at the end of all my posts. For anyone who doesn’t know, they’re a wonderful organisation who provides, along with other amazing services a free help-line for everyone about anything. If you ever find yourself in a situation when you need to talk to someone kind who will listen, give them a call. It’s a number that I would recommend everyone to have on their phones.

Look at it this way, ringing can’t make anything worse but it could make things a little better. X❤️

  • 116 123- The Samaritans.

 

For now, know that it’s almost the weekend and on Saturday and Sunday the sun is supposed to come out! 💛☀️😮 I hope you all stay happy and healthy and safe and above all else,

Smile Always,

Kimbo. X 🌼🌻⭐️💖

 

REPEAL THE EIGHTH. 💛

“Scream so that one day a hundred years from now another sister will not have to dry her tears wondering where in history she lost her voice.” – Jasmin Kaur.

Okay, so yesterday was the 6th annual Pro-Choice march in Dublin. Unfortunately I couldn’t make it into the march despite my best efforts but given the occasion, I thought I’d write a blog post on some of the reasons I feel so strongly about repealing the Eighth amendment in our constitution.

(For anyone that isn’t aware, The Eighth Amendment of the Constitution of Ireland recognises the equal right to life of the mother and the unborn child. This amendment created a constitutional recognition of an unborn child’s life and so makes it impossible for any government to introduce legislation allowing for terminations in the womb except in exceptional circumstances.) Also, I feel like it is relevant to mention that this legislation was approved and brought into effect in 1983…

*Trigger warning, this post includes references to sexual violence, abortion and rape.

So, this post has been particularly difficult to write and I have not written it alone. I wrote it alongside a very close friend who, some time ago was sexually assaulted. This friend wants to keep her anonymity but she has both given me permission to write this post and she has read it over and approved it.

For the sake of the post let’s say her name is Mia. Purely because I don’t think I know any Mias and I don’t want to use anyone’s name that I know, given that it’s such a sensitive subject.

The exact details of what happened aren’t relevant but ‘Mia’ was raped by a stranger one night, in a place that was well-known to her, a place where she should have been safe. The person who raped ‘Mia’ did not use contraception.

Initially ‘Mia’ felt guilty, afraid and ashamed.  She blamed herself and told me that the attack left her feeling dirty and embarrassed. It took over a year before she reported what happened to the Garda and even now, very few people know about the assault. Unfortunately because of the time it took her to report the incident, alongside the fact that it was a stranger there wasn’t a whole lot that the Garda could do.

It has taken ‘Mia’ coming up to two years to come to terms with what happened to her. Two years to even be able to say the words “I was raped” out loud. Two years to feel like she has reclaimed control over her sexuality. Two years of her life to stop questioning herself as to whether or not she is safe and whether or not she should cross the road every time a man she doesn’t know walks past her on the street. It has taken ‘Mia’ almost two years to begin to leave what happened behind her and to really start enjoying and living her life again.

“There have not been the words or phrases that can accurately capture and display the trauma of what were the worst moments of my life. There have never been words invented for feelings that should not exist. Situations that should never be allowed to happen can’t be explained in ways that people will understand because they surpass human comprehension.” (‘Mia’)

The trauma of the assault was almost enough to cause ‘Mia’ to end her own life.

It was just out of total luck that she didn’t fall pregnant. By that I don’t mean that she was lucky because not one single bit of what happened was lucky, but the whole situation would have been made 100Xs harder had pregnancy been an issue!

Now, can you try to imagine what ‘Mia’ would have gone through if she had fallen pregnant. On top of the unimaginable horror she was forced to go through, imagine if she had been faced with the idea of having a baby, unplanned, by her rapist.

‘Mia’ hasn’t even told her family about what happened, after almost two years. She says that she still, after all this time struggles to say the word ‘rape’ because that makes it too real. She still faces regular nightmares about what happened. Two years on and her life is still being impacted by the assault.

If ‘Mia’ had fallen pregnant I’m honestly not sure if I’d still have my amazing friend by my side.

I like the idea of living in a country that could give both girls and women who fall pregnant, both those who have experienced sexual assault and who haven’t, a choice. I like the idea of living in a country where if ‘Mia’ had needed it, she could have had access both to clear and accessible information and to a safe abortion within her own country, that she could have afforded, where I could have gone with her; if she needed me.

I like the idea of living in a country that prioritises it’s women’s health and safety over completely out of date religious views that I don’t understand and am quite frankly appalled by.

I like the idea of living in a country that would provide me with safe health care if I ever got into a situation where I decided an abortion was my only option (a decision I hope I never have to make and would definitely not take lightly).

I like the idea of living in a country that I feel prioritises my health, physical and mental and my safety.

Right now, I do not feel like I live in such a country.

Until the Eighth amendment has been not replaced, but totally repealed I don’t think I’ll feel safe and content in the idea that I am an equal citizen who is cared about, and who’s welfare is a priority to her countries’ government.

In a Pro-Choice post one of my friends shared on Facebook, he wrote about how he wasn’t pro-abortion. How no one is pro-abortion. He said that doctors don’t want to give abortions and women don’t want to have to have them. But how it is so important that legal, safe abortions become an option for girls and women who need access to them.

I couldn’t agree with this more.

The reality is that on average 12 Irish women are forced to  travel abroad every day to access abortion services. That is 12 women too many every day. Abortion in Ireland is illegal and a woman can face up to 14 years in prison for having a termination. 14 years for making a very hard and personal decision over her own body. These statistics are disgusting.

Our country has an awful habit of concealing it’s ‘problems’ and pretending they don’t exist. Well, they do exist and Ireland’s government needs to stop ignoring the fundamental needs, and my opinion rights of its citizens and repeal the Eighth amendment.

Being Pro-Choice doesn’t mean that you are pro- abortion. It means that you agree that women should be trusted to make their own decisions over their own bodies and that we deserve a choice. That women deserve more than to be owned and controlled by the Catholic church as they have been traditionally throughout Irish history.

If you are on the fence about this issue or simply just don’t care enough to have an opinion, it is my hope that after reading this post and hearing about ‘Mia’ and just some of what she went through that you will at least educate yourself enough on the issue to form an opinion. The women of Ireland need everyone on board with this and we need to all fight together. We need to force our government to listen and allow us to live in a more just and humane society.

Simply not having an opinion on this issue is not an option. Women are worth more than that! We all deserve more than that!

‘Mia’ deserved to have a choice if she had needed one, I deserve a choice, every woman in Ireland deserves a choice.

#RepealTheEighth

Smile always,

Kimbo. X ✨🌻🌸💖

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WONDERLUST ✈️🌍👒

So I’m well and truly home now and life is beginning to get back to normal. It’s been weird. I guess it’s a side they don’t really tell you about travelling. I went from being happy and tired all the time, care free, having the most wonderful adventure to back to normal life.

The first few days were great; I saw and caught up with everyone. I was kept busy.  But now things have settled down and since uni hasn’t started back there’s not much routine. I’m kinda bored and my mind is in over drive simultaneously missing camp- all the people, the weather, the fun, and dreaming of my next adventure. I miss the excitement of not knowing what’s next. I miss not having real adult worries.

I’m so happy to have been able to see everyone and get all my hugs ❤ but now I’m ready to run away again and see the world.

I’ve kind of come back from America with a new perspective on everything.  I’ve had a taste of what being so happy all the time feels like, and now that’s what I’m determined to work for. In every aspect of my life. Not that I wasn’t happy before hand, I absolutely was! I’ve just woken up to the idea that there’s a whole world out there that’s so different to my little Dunboyne. I feel so ready to just kill it this college year and really start working towards all my goals and dreams. Also, I am totally aware of how cheesy all this sounds!

My anxiety has definitely gotten better. I’ve found myself really starting to recognise when I begin to get anxious, so that I can question myself as to why I’m anxious, take a few moments and just breath. This usually stops the anxious thoughts from spiralling  and gives me the chance to deal with the situation and move on; rather than to just ignore all my problems into a state of absolute panic.

I don’t think I’m quite as naive as I was before I left.

I am happy, just in need of a challenge.

With college starting back soon, four of my best friends are going on a year-long Erasmus adventure, one has moved to Scotland for three years to  get a nursing degree, (go you, Caoimhe! 💖😉) And lastly, one of my college girls is leaving to join the army. 😮

I hate goodbyes so, as you can imagine, six goodbyes to some of my favourite people has been a little heartbreaking. 💔  *I’m gonna miss you guys so much but I’m endlessly proud of you all! ❤

However, life goes on and as I said, I’m really looking forward to getting back to college and making Third year count!

At the start of second year I wrote a blog post with a few goals for the year. I can’t remember what they were, just things like: keep taking baby steps, get involved with a new club (Whoohoo Drama!) ❤ , things like that. But I remember reading over the blog post on the plane home from America and feeling so happy when I realised that I’d completed them all. I felt so proud of myself for getting to the place I’m in today. It took a lot of work, but I feel like right now life is good! And when things get bad which is inevatible, hopefully they won’t ever be quite as bad as they were before!

People have always been so lovely about my blog. At camp a few people told me that they  liked my blog, that they could relate to how I was feeling, that they too have struggled with mental health issues. It came as such a compliment that these people trusted me enough to tell me that they could relate to how I was feeling, which isn’t always easy. I know.

It genuinely makes me so happy that what I write is a small comfort for some people. As selfish as it is, it also reassures me that I’m not on my own either. Sometimes it’s a bit scary writing so publicly about the things that go on in my head; so it’ s such a relief and a lovely feeling when people tell me that they liked reading what I had to say. So thank you, I really, really appreciate it. 💛

As for this college year, my plan is to work hard, keep taking baby steps, start taking bigger steps, stay healthy(ish) and I suppose just to be happy and have fun. And when the thesis starts stressing me out, or the weather has me a bit down, I’ll start planning my summer 2018 adventure.

(So sorry for all the cheese!)

Have a wonderful week everyone.

Smile Always,

Kimbo. X 🌹🌻👣🌸🌼

Homeward bound! 💪🏼🌅👒💅🏽🇺🇸

Well here I am, about 3/4 of the way through my flight back to Ireland. I haven’t managed to get a wink of sleep because I’m so excited to get home, so with just over an hour left of the flight I’ve decided to turn on some Westlife and write a post. ✨

Dad currently thinks I’m in Long Island partying it up and isn’t expecting me home for another 5 days.
I changed my flight home and decided to surprise him pretty last-minute. It wasn’t because I wasn’t having fun, it was just because travelling and living out of a big, heavy suitcase on a budget is tiring. It’s amazing, but tiring. It’s been a long summer, as fantastic as it’s been and I am just in desperate need of a cuddle from my pup. ❤️
Travel plans were starting to get messy so I just decided that good old Dunboyne was calling me too loudly to ignore anymore. 🇮🇪💕✈️
As I said, I haven’t slept on the plane yet and I’m exhausted. Not only from today’s journey but from the last week of travelling and from the whole summer in general. Every time I go to close my eyes I start imagining the moment in about 3 hours when dad opens the front door to me. Then I imagine Sally bouncing over and I start tearing up. (It’s happening as I write this.) The anticipation is killing me.
This summer has made me realise how lucky I am to have a home and friends and a family that I miss so unbearably and am so excited to get home to. And of course, the greatest dog in the world! 😍🐶❤️
Getting slightly off track now, but one of my first days at camp I found a dirty old squeaky dog ball in the high ropes shed amongst all the equipment. I joked about how squeezing it would keep me going while I had to be without Sals. It stayed in the shed all summer, with my team occasionally taking it out and playing catch with it while I got to squeak it a little. I’m not sure why but I ended up getting so much comfort out of such a small, insignificant, slightly disgusting item. The ball is currently in my hand luggage ready and waiting for Sally. 😂😎
I’m writing about the ball because it meant nothing to the others on my high ropes team but regardless they never judged me for having the occasional squeak (lol) and always joined in when I took it out to play with.
I talked about home constantly in America. I’m sure it got annoying for the others but they were always enthusiastic and supportive and  listened to my stories about home and looked at the 1000’s of Sally pictures I showed them daily.
It’s because of these amazingly wonderful people that I got through what was a seriously challenging but seriously fun 3 months.
I’m pretty sure I’ve said this in another blog post, but it’s funny how I’ve known these people for such a short period of time yet, they genuinely feel like family.
I feel like without knowing one another very well we’ve been through so much together and I have no doubt that when I get home I’m going to struggle adjusting to not being with these people everyday. I feel genuinely privileged to have made so many new, super fantastic friends from all over the world. All of whom I will never forget and really hope I get to see again very soon. 🌼💛
Camp was tough! Going over I’d heard so many positive stories of people’s experiences of different camps. I don’t think I actually heard one bad report. I now fully understand why, although I don’t think it’s fair to talk about the camp environment without reiterating how hard it is.
I struggled with the lack of alone time. It was very rare to get an hour to myself.
I also struggled a lot with feeling home sick. The hours were extremely long and the work was hard but every minute kind of seems to have been worth it.
Summer has been filled with a lot of really high highs and also a lot of really low lows but I don’t think I would change a single thing about it. ✨ (Apart from maybe packing more socks…)
I’ve worked so hard the last couple of years to get my mental health under control. I decided early on at camp that I was going to finish this summer no matter how hard it got. That if I arrived home in August with a smile on my face that I could officially do anything. Well, here I am!
I kind of feel like this is the last chapter of what has been an incredibly tough few years.
***Here comes the plot twist.***
So, as most people know, I’ve been on medication to control my anxiety and depression for a very long time. The dose has been lowered and I came off the meds for a while before I started college but I don’t think I was ready at the time and I ended up being put back onto them.
I’ve been wanting to come off the medication for a while now but the doctor advised me that with camp coming up I should stay on them as none of us knew how my body was going to handle the new environment.
I kind of went to the States with the idea that camp was going to be the official test. If I could handle it, well then I had definitely put the worst of my mental health problems behind me; if I couldn’t then I still had a lot of work to do on myself.
About two weeks into camp going to the health centre everyday to take my medication just became too much of an effort. The weather was generally amazing so I figured in that respect it was definitely an ideal time to come off them. I came to the conclusion that  if I was going to get through camp it was going to be on my own. Due to my own strength. So, maybe slightly irrationally I decided to stop taking the medication entirely. This was either going to be a really good or a really bad idea.
I have now been off the meds for 7 weeks and during that entire space of time have experienced just 2, well more kinda 1 and a half panic attacks and my mood has been generally fine!
I know that I will always have to look after myself and my mental health and I know that this isn’t a total end to all panic attacks. What I do know though is, that I am strong enough to take on anything now. I know how to deal with my attacks and I know that once I’m careful and ensue to give myself regular breathing breaks, I can now take on the world entirely on my own!
I’m not entirely sure yet how camp is going to have changed me but I know that it has. I know that I am a better, stronger, happier and more confident and in control person because of this summer and that is more than I could ever have wished for.
I never fully believed that I would get myself to America, never mind get to the end in such great form. This is a pretty cool feeling, not going to lie.
So, when I said thank you to my high ropes team, and to all the amazing friends that I made and to the leadership team and to everyone from home that encouraged me to go to America, and when I said that I would never forget any of you or what you guys have done for me, I 100% meant it!
This has been the hardest, greatest and most unforgettable 3 months of my life and I don’t have a single regret. 💫🇺🇸🌈❤️
As for college and winter and everything else that is about to come at me, I am ready! I’m already looking forward to next summer and whatever adventures it has to bring.
For one final time, thank you again to everyone. For all the little things. For being cool about my squeaky ball. You guys all helped me to get to the place I’m in right now. You’re all superstars. 💫😉
Hope everyone, home and abroad had an incredible summer and I’m looking forward to seeing and catching up with everyone. I love you all.
Keep adventuring and having fun and last but not least,
Smile Always,
Kimbo. X ✨🍄💖🌸🌹💛

We got this, kids! 🌈☀️🌼👌🏽❤️

12 days left of camp and my first panic attack of the summer is well and truly under my belt. That being said though, one this whole time is still a huge achievement, I feel. Tiredness was a big factor in what happened along with feeling super homesick and anxious for a couple of days previous.I mostly managed to calm myself down before anyone really saw me too upset and by then I was just a bit teary and totally worn out. I was allowed some extra time to ring home and take a breather which helped a lot. ☎️✈️❤️  

For a couple of days after the incident I was so angry at myself. I was disappointed that I had come so far without having an attack and couldn’t get my head around how I had let myself get into such a state. I really felt like I had let myself down. Everyone else can hold their shit together, why can’t I?! 💩🙄 

This is a problem. This is one of the main reasons I write this blog. Stigma! 😡😡😡 

The actual truth is that no one really has their shit together 100% of the time. Everyone has a breakdown every once in a while; especially in an environment like camp. In reality, a lot of people have anxiety and panic disorders. A lot of people experience panic attacks. People just don’t realise this because of the stigma surrounding mental health. These type of things are not talked about sufficiently so when they do occur, people like me are ashamed and angry with ourselves. FOR REACTIONS OUR BODIES HAVE BECAUSE OF CHEMICAL IMBALANCES. 

Panic attacks are nothing to be ashamed of. Sometimes they happen. We can learn how to reduce them and cope with them, but sometimes they happen. And you know what, that is totally okay! 

Now, taking a step back and reevaluating the whole situation, I’m mad at myself for originally being mad at myself! Before summer I was having like 3 panic attacks a week. I have been in America almost 2 months now and I have had 1. Even without taking into account how out of my comfort zone I am, that is pretty awesome! 💪🏽

One of the first weeks of camp, I was on my own with my girls for evening activity. The prospect of spending an hour and a half keeping 13 eleven year olds safe on my own terrified me. I totally freaked out and my anxiety levels were sky high. One of my friends saw that I was panicking and stepped in to help me out really early on. If she hadn’t I would have definitely ended t up in a state. 

A couple of days ago I was on my own with the girls from 6pm until past 11:30pm. When I first found out that I’d be on my own, I started panicking. Then something clicked inside me. I realised that we were all sitting down having dinner, my girls were all chatting amongst themselves and there was no issue. There was no need for me to panic! I decided that I was going to take the evening one step at a time, keep breathing and just ask for help if I needed it. 

By the time we got back to the bunk for bedtime everyone was happy. I had stayed calm the whole evening and the girls had all been superstars every step of the way. I was so happy with them and myself that I let them have a sleepover in each others beds. 😴🌈🙂 

I went to bed feeling like an absolute champion that night! 

Like I’ve written before, I started ‘College life when you’re 5″ nothing’ with the intention of helping me to discover more about and how to manage my chronic spells of anxiety and depression. Since beginning, I have done so much research and learned so much about mental health. I genuinely believe, among other factors of course, that my blog has been an essential element to my recovery. 

In saying that, I genuinely think that this summer has helped me to overcome so much! It’s definitely been the toughest thing that I’ve ever done but I feel like I’ve gotten so much out of it. 

Being in such a challenging environment and being away from all my loved ones I’ve started implementing coping mechanisms that I’ve read about, just in a bid to get myself through this experience day by day and I really think that I’m stronger. 

The fact that I kept 13 very headstrong young girls happy and safe by myself without panicking totally outweighs my one panic attack. 

There’s been a few people, both here at camp and at home that have disclosed to me about their person mental health struggles. Some of these people haven’t told many others for fear of being judged or looked at differently. I hope that if you’re reading this and that if you’re feeling a bit alone, that you’ll get some comfort out of knowing that I struggle too. That a lot of people struggle. You never really know what other people are dealing with. Don’t be ashamed. Don’t feel isolated. Please. 💛 You got this. We got this! Recognise you’re achievements, no matter how small they are. 

Aside from the anxiety, I’m generally doing great. Still missing home and Sally a lot, but I know that soon I’ll be home and wishing I was back in 🇺🇸 so I’m trying not to wish my time away. 🌼 🐶❤️ 


I’ll be coming home with plenty of stories, plenty of new skills, a whole new outlook and some horrifically bad tan lines. 🍊🍊 

Really looking forward to seeing you all back home. Nearly there now guys, no giving up now! 🔥 

Have a great day, 
Smile always, 

Kimbo. X 💕🦋🌺🌸🌻🍇 

Emotional breakdown no. 264749497494957391 😴😆😑🤒😷🤧🤕⛺️🏕🚦

So this post is going to be a bit more emotional than the last because since the kids arrived at camp emotional is exactly what the time has been. Extreme emotions, both happy and sad. 😂😥😴 Although, I’m not going to write about any of the stories involving the kids. 🙅🏻

Camp is seriously full on. We are basically working from 7:30am when we wake up until 11:30ish pm, when we finally get to go to sleep. With just breakfast off, where we get to eat away from the kids and one rest hour after lunch; It’s exhausting and quite often gets too much. When around the kids which is almost constantly, you’re expected to be happy and patient and fair all of the time. This sometimes is just not possible. But the kids here are the most important ones, not us. We’re just the staff and that gets hard sometimes.


The camp bubble has started to get to me. I sleep talk a lot, all my friends will tell you. But now not only do I sleep talk but I give out to my girls in my sleep. The other night I got out of bed at 3am and started shouting at my girls to be quiet and that it was really late and that they needed to get into bed and go to sleep. They were all fast asleep at the time. I woke 2 of my co-councillors and 3 of my campers up in the process. This has since happened again. I also had a nightmare that we failed cabin cleanup. 💔😥
Camp is like nothing I’ve ever experienced before. It’s crazy! Like I said, so tiring and so emotional but also so much fun. 🎉🌈
Some of the things I’ve seen and experienced here so far are nothing less than crazy!

Get this, so one of the girls in my bunk goes to school with Britney Spear’s kids.. like what! 😮

Being away from home has been hard. I am super close to my friends and family back home and I am missing them all a lot. Especially Sally! 🐶 💔 There are days when I really struggle to keep up the smile. When I just want to run and sit in a corner by myself and cry while booking myself a plane ticket home. But there are also days where I laugh and smile and dance the whole day through. There are a lot more of the latter of course but the hard days are amplified in a setting like camp and everything just seems 100Xs harder. (IJC – It’s just camp, as they all tell us.)

The extremely challenging environment that is camp also has it’s benefits. I feel like I’m learning a lot about myself, my capabilities, strengths and my mental health here. Every so often I find myself taking a step back and just being amazed that I’m still here and that I’m still smiling (mostly) and that a lot of things that bothered me before camp don’t bother me here at all! While of course, some of my insecurities still get to me everyday, some of them have faded away.
Like I said before, camp is a bubble so maybe when I get back out into the real world I might be a little more conscious than I am presently but some of the steps I have taken here are huge for me!

I hate my toes and my feet. I legit freak out about people seeing my feet without socks on. For the first week or so here I kept my feet 100% hidden at all costs. Today I took the nail varnish off my toe nails and have been in flip-flops/ bare feet for the majority of the day. This sounds so trivial, but for me it’s huge.
Half the time I’m so late waking up in the morning here that during the 5 minutes I have between getting out of bed and leaving the bunk I don’t have time to even check the mirror. This is something I’m not used to at all. At home I require at lease a half an hour to obsess over every one of my perceived flaws before I leave the house.

Also, I’m going to throw in here that I haven’t had a single panic attack since getting here! I almost had one a couple of days ago but I managed to calm myself down in time. That also feels like a massive achievement! 🥂💪🏽💪🏽💪🏽

Today was a rough day. It’s a really busy time at camp called college week. I was up until like 3am last night and then up at 7:30am again this morning for another full day of pep and cheer. But I didn’t feel cheerful. I was exhausted and run down. My girls were being difficult and it’s super hard to motivate a bunch of young children when you don’t feel on top of life yourself. I took some time and just cried. I didn’t have wifi so I couldn’t contact home which was all I wanted to do. I began questioning if I could do this anymore.

About an hour later my girls all gathered around me and apologised. That made me feel so much better and helped to put the smile back on my face. 🙂

All the staff have these days and we are all struggling at the minute with the lack of sleep resulting from college week. Everyone today gathered together, gave each other hugs at every opportunity and just pulled one another through. We are all in this together. ❤️ I have known these people for 5 weeks and they already genuinely feel like family. ✨🇺🇸💛 

Don’t get me wrong, camp is amazing! It’s a beautiful place with some beautiful people and it’s been such a wonderful experience so far. I’m having the time of my life. The adventures have been incredible and I have no doubt that the memories so far will last forever. I’m looking forward to all the challenges and surprises that the next 4 weeks throw at me. I am ready for it all. 

Being so far from home is difficult but I have no intention of giving up. Just a warning though, for any of you back in 🇮🇪 reading this, be prepared for the biggest hug of your lives and unlimited happy tears streaming down my face the next time I see you all. ❤️ Hope everyone’s having a great summer! 🌟 Don’t miss me too much…😉 Also hope you guys, young (over 18 young) and old are all having plenty of 🍻🥂🍷🍹🍸 in Slevs for me! 😂💛

Genuinely love and miss you all endlessly. Keep shining and remember,
Smile Always,

Kimbo. X 🌸🍎👒🌈✨🦋🌷🌼