It’s Motivational Month on my blog, so it felt fitting to do a Motivational Speech! Look, I’m not in any way qualified for this. I mean, I work in marketing. But, BUT, I am quite a freakishly motivated, determined individual (if I say so myself), and I might have good little tips for you on how to stay motivated. So, here goes.
Firstly, a small history is necessary.
I have literally every single reason in the world not to be motivated. A few weeks ago, someone I work with told me if they were me, they’d never leave the house because they’d be so depressed. At first, I was extremely offended, not leaving the house would deprive the world of THE JOY OF KNOWING ME, but on reflection, I understand why he could believe that.
During my second year at university, I starting getting severe back pain. I went to the doctor. They gave me co-codamol. This dance went on for a few months. More pain: more codeine. Then, I started to fall over a lot. I was in my early 20s and, well, just falling over. Then my left leg starting to give way underneath me – in Asda, in the pub, whilst casually walking along. It happened once in the gym so severely that I went to A&E. The male (lol, of course he was) doctor, told me ‘to just have more confidence when you walk’.
After a YEAR of endless A&E, doctors, physios, walk-in clinics, I FINALLY sat in my shitty GP’s office and told her I wouldn’t leave until she DID SOMETHING ABOUT IT. She sent me to A&E for an MRI scan that evening.
The next day, a nice doctor sat on the edge of my bed and told me I had a tumour on my spinal cord compressing my nerves. I needed an operation to remove it as soon as possible, but it was routine and I’d be out in about 5-7 days.
It didn’t really go to plan.
I woke up paralysed. Being mis-diagnosed for so long had enabled my spinal cord to get so swollen that, guys, I WAS IN A REAL FUCKING MESS. I was in hospital for 3 months, then back the next year for another op. I was mentally fucked up for about 4 years after that and I have been physically screwed for life (odd choice of words, yes).
Today? Today I can walk, and it literally feels like a miracle, sometimes when I’m walking along I genuinely look at at the sky and whisper ‘thank you’. But I can only walk very short distances, I can only stand for very short periods of time and I am in horrible muscular and neuropathic pain. My body sometimes feels on fire, sometimes like I’m in ice cold water and often like I am dragging the entire thing through extremely thick treacle. BUT IT’S NOT ACTUAL TREACLE, so there’s nothing to even SNACK ON.
If I listed the shit I couldn’t do, it would probably bend your mind a little bit. It’s such a long list. The things I miss the most are the pedestrian things. Give a fuck that I can’t skydive, I just miss nights out DANCING all night. I won awards for dancing when I was young (actual awards) and it was my favorite thing to do. I miss shopping sprees on high streets, I miss getting grimy and too close to other humans at gigs, I miss walking in the countryside. I miss knowing what’s it like to feel like you truly belong in your body. I miss going on dates with men whose eyes don’t cloud over when I tell them. I miss being able to eat food properly (it’s fucked up my digestion. Long story). I miss not feeling like a burden. I miss feeling free.
Sometimes I feel like my soul is trapped. My mind is always so happy, so ambitious, so greedy for life and knowledge, and my body is it’s cage, holding it down, keeping it back. Catching my breath.
Okay. So. There’s that long list of reasons why I should be a Miserable Witch. When you live with so many obstacles and limitations, it could be extreeeemely easy to just say ‘okay life is a big bag of dicks, I am DONE’ and just, well, give up. But I believe (lol) that I actually have something positive to offer the world. Yes it’s small, and probably frequently annoying, but, it’s something and it drives me forward.
So I thought I would give you some of my tips on staying motivated, to hopefully help you guys believe in YOURSELVES a little more.
Live YOUR Best Life
Sometimes, I look at people’s fun instagram lives and feel like a gigantic boring failure. They’re out all the time, they have close knit families and supportive friends and gym clothes and go to climbing walls and and and… But, I have come to terms with the fact that physically, certain lifestyles are just out of my reach, I don’t have the energy to keep up. But I sat back and thought about it and realised I actually enjoy what I do NOW. I LOVE watching TV and film and going to the theatre and playing board games and drinking coffee and sitting with people I love and gossiping – and luckily all that’s required for these things is a nice comfy chair. The moment I stopped comparing myself to others, the more motivated I was to enjoy MY life and MY choices.
A lot of people say to me ‘I never could have coped if it was me’ – but here is the thing: human beings are incredibly adaptable, so don’t sell yourself short. We are all capable of incredible things. I have just had to adapt my goals to the limitations I now have. I can’t have a hugely physical life and run marathons, but my mind hasn’t been affected so I am damn well gonna use it. I am writing a book, I am working on creating two TV shows, I am trying to design an app, I love this blog and want to focus on it and I am always looking for my next project. Maybe if an idea you have isn’t working, adapt it, just whatever you do, don’t give up on it!
God I know how saccharine and awful this is, but, I promise it actually works. I have a small chalk board (shaped like a cat, just some anecdotal info to help you form your full picture) where I have written the main things I want to achieve. I move it every now and again so it doesn’t just become ‘part of the furniture’ but it’s also in a place I see regularly (it spends time in the kitchen and the loo!). And the freakiest thing is, it BLOODY WORKS. I’m doing more now than I ever have.
Make Hay Whilst The Sun Shines
I am physically USELESS in winter. My muscles cannot handle cold and often spasm. My circulation is so poor my feet regularly lose feeling. It’s Not Fun and I have to spend a lot of time bored at home. BUT this means I have more time to spend writing and doing other things I love. And then you better believe when it comes to summer I’m going to spend AS MUCH TIME as I can outside having FUN. Maybe you work best in the morning, maybe in the evening? Maybe on Tuesdays? Seize the time when it comes along, don’t waste it.
This may be a little controversial, but channelled correctly, fear is the most powerfully motivational energy around. The key is, channeling it rather than letting it eat you alive. Once you’ve had the rug pulled from under you once, in a dramatic way, the fear of that happening again, should be used as something that pushes you forward and doesn’t drag you back. I’m actively scared at wasting my life and waking up in ten years time not having achieved anything and it’s that fear that motivates me to keep hustling. I often think ‘if I was suddenly back in a hospital bed, would I be proud of the life I had been living?’. Ultimately, I was given a second chance at life so I don’t want to waste it. Remember, anything can happen to anyone, at anytime. Don’t waste your seconds.
Recharge Your Batteries
There is literally NO SHAME in needing some down time, alone time, drunken time, dancing time. Whatever represents ‘switching off’ to you. Recharging your batteries is as important as DOING STUFF and you can’t do one without the other. About 4 years I was wildly unhappy and felt disconnected from the world around me. And then I went on holiday. It TRANSFORMED my perspective and made me realise I CAN do ‘normal’ stuff.
Someone, Somewhere is Praying For the Things You Have
I know for a fact (because the charmers alwaaaays tell me) that some people consider my life to be absolutely awful and The Worst Thing Ever. But, I have a beautiful flat that I ADORE, a comfy bed, a wardrobe of clothes I am exceptionally into, friends who are kind, friends who are hilarious, friends who make me think, friends who I can talk about poo with, the cutest nephew and niece on earth, an awesome job, a phone, a laptop, running fucking water. I am INCREDIBLY lucky. I try and remember that as often as humanly possible because it’s very easy to fall into a Moaning Myrtle toilet cistern of ‘my life is awwwful’ and it’s not helpful.
Change the things you can
I’ll never be able to change my health, but I *can* make a lot of changes. I can move house if I don’t like my flatmates, I can change jobs if I start getting miserable, I can choose to walk away from friendships that make me unhappy. If you’re miserable, make a CHANGE. We all tend to feel trapped in situations, that we aren’t actually in any way trapped in. Humans are great at creating barriers that don’t actually exist.
Nothing on this earth, NOTHING (!) gives me a bigger buzz than helping someone out. In a world where I sometimes feel incapable, it makes me realise I have value. Seize every opportunity to help others. If someone reaches out to you for help, realise how LUCKY that makes YOU. They trust you so much they’re prepared to show you their weaknesses and vulnerability. It’s an honour. And it will always give you a buzz of positive energy.
Believe in YOU
I get told I’m ‘weird’ a lot. Like a lot, a lot. 9 times out of 10 it’s meant to disparage, 10 times out of 10 I take it as a compliment. Embrace that shit because WHO WANTS TO BE THE SAME AS EVERYONE ELSE? How BORING!
Work Bloody Hard and Don’t Give Up
After my operation, my surgeon told me I’d probably never be able to walk again. I’m not gonna lie, it’s spectacularly dark when you hear this aged 23. One moment, I was graduating uni with a First Class Honours degree, the next I was confined to a hospital with tragic steroid induced acne and FACIAL HAIR.
I attribute being able to walk again now to 90% luck and 10% effort. It would be a gross insult to all wheelchair users to suggest they’re just not working hard enough. However, I could have given up and I didn’t. I was the one lying in that hospital bed repeatedly (for weeks on end) trying to move to move my feet – retraining my nerves. I’m the one doing physio every. single. day and not letting myself have a day off, ever. I’m the one getting off the bus a stop early every day to strengthen my muscles, even though I am in pain. I’m the one forcing myself to walk up and down the stairs in my flat instead of the lift because I want to keep my strength. And that I will take credit for. Because that’s sweat and driving through pain barriers that requires huge determination. So work hard. It pays off.
One Bad Day doesn’t mean you have a Bad Life
One to remember always. You literally never know what’s around the corner. Maybe tomorrow will be a fucking awesome day.
Thanks for reading guys! To see more of me, follow me on Twitter @ or on Instagram @susiebluesyy