Today, I’m choosing myself

Today’s blog is a creative piece that I felt I needed to write. It’s almost like a letter saying hello to myself and goodbye to the old. I hope you like it as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it.

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There have been plenty of days where I’ve thought about you and wondered how you were doing, what you were doing, if you’re thinking about me, if you’re thinking about us and if you’re counting the hours, minutes and seconds until we see each other again.

Today is not one of those days. Today is the day where I’m going to think about how I’m doing, what I’m doing, what I’m going to accomplish and who I need to be. Today is the day that I’m going to stop wasting my time looking at my phone, waiting for your message or worst yet, waiting for you.

Today I’m going to scroll through memes and enjoy them without thinking of sharing them with you; I’m going to lie in the spot that you used to sleep in and enjoy the space instead of wishing you were in it. I’m going to text my friends and get excited when they reply without wishing it was you I was texting. I’m going to walk through the park in the rain with a smile on my face without wishing you were there with me. Today, I’m going to do everything for me without you having any power or influence over any of my decisions and my happiness.

I know it’s not going to be an easy ride but it starts with one day; a day to acknowledge that you’ve had plenty of chances and opportunities, that I’ve given you so much more than you’ve given back, that I’ve lost myself with you and that I’m better off without you. Today I’m choosing myself; I’m going to let go of all the thoughts in my head and the heaviness in my heart and I’m going to heal and come out stronger.

It’s easy for us to choose others’ happiness and thoughts over our own; it’s harder to focus on living and enjoying life when we’re too busy thinking about what we’ve done to push someone away. It’s not easy loving yourself when you’re busy loving someone else and blaming yourself when they don’t return the feelings because you feel like it’s your fault. Of course it’s your fault; why aren’t you perfect? You need to be more perfect. You hate yourself for not being their idea of perfection.

But that’s no longer going to be case. I am perfect; they’re just not perfect for me. Today I choose to accept myself and my shortcomings and I’m going to listen to myself. I’m going to learn to love myself and work through my flaws and I’m going to grow and become stronger. It’s the beginning of a decision that will last forever. It’s the beginning of me choosing to no longer put you ahead of me. It’s the beginning of me forgetting you and choosing me.

Today, I’m choosing myself.

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They’re definitely two of the hardest things

In the last month, I did two of what I consider the hardest, scariest things: one, I put my heart on the line and told a boy how I really felt rather than dismissed my feelings and running away from them and two, I let him go.

In my 27 years of life, I’ve never actually told a boy how I felt. I’m the type of person that doesn’t like feeling vulnerable and exposed. I like to give the façade that I’m unbreakable and strong, but deep down I’m a fucking marshmallow. Now dear reader, you know the truth.

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If you read my last post, you would’ve guessed that being sick made me realise that life is short and that I need to get my shit in order. One of the things I thought was to tell this boy the truth and let whatever happens, happen. It went well at the time… and then it didn’t a week later.

In the last month, I’ve been through a tumultuous rollercoaster ride of emotions. I’ve been very high, very low, very neutral and I never know what to expect when I wake up in the morning. While it may seem normal and exciting for us as humans to wake up and live for the unpredictability of life, it’s actually quite scary when you’re a bit of an emotional wreck like I’ve been lately. I’m not myself.

I knew that I was putting the poor boy through my emotional hell. And I couldn’t allow myself to leave my emotions in his hands because I was incapable of looking after it myself. Then I made the rash decision to end things. I walked away.

I walked away because I wasn’t doing him any favours and because I wasn’t doing myself any favours. It’s true what they say – how can you learn to love someone else when you can’t even love yourself?

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Walking away is hard because you don’t want to seem like you’ve given up but you also don’t want to be stuck in something that can’t go forward because you’re busy trying to keep it and your life afloat.

While I’ve spent the last few days allowing the reality of what I’ve done sink in and wondering whether or not I’ve made the right decision, ultimately I know I need to remind myself that I need to do what it takes to make sure I’m happy. While it hurts now, I’m proud of myself for doing these two things and owning them. I know it’ll get easier.

Right now, I need to give myself the time and effort I need to grow and be happy. And while I don’t believe in fate or destiny, I know that if things were meant to be, they’ll be. Now I’m signing out to go make some more important decisions… watch this space.

I will however leave you with this message:

Dear reader, never give up on yourself. You were destined for great things. If you’re going through a rough time, remember to give yourself the opportunity to show you that your life can be better and everything will be okay.

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You do you boo

I’m back. I realised that I lied in my last post about spamming you guys with blog posts after being sick. I didn’t lie on purpose; I had every intention of spamming you guys with blog posts but unfortunately, the sickness took over and I was left bedridden and unhappy.

Now, after two months, I finally feel well enough to get my life back on track. And part of that is getting back to blogging.

Let me tell you, when you’re sick, particularly bedridden, you’re left with a lot of time to yourself to think, worry and stress about things. I chose to view it as an opportunity to reprioritise my life and think about what’s actually important to me. I thought I’d share with you the top three things I learnt and am vowing to keep in my top three priorities.

Work is not important

I repeat, work is not important. Sure having money is lovely but at the end of the day, you need to think about you and make sure you’re well and happy before you commit to your career.

I know this seems like quite an obvious point but I’ve always been a high achiever so I ended up working long hours just to try and please and get results that are beyond 100%. A recurring theme from feedback I’d get from my managers is that sometimes 80% is perfect and I should accept that. Weeeeell, took me getting sick to learn that lesson.

Last week was my first week at work and I’ve been taking it easy. I’m slowly learning that I don’t need to stress myself out in order to get brilliant results. And I don’t need to break my back on overtime that’s basically unjustified. Like my last manager used to say to me, sometimes 80% is good enough so learn to accept that when you’ve given it your all and done your best, that’s all you can do and that’s all someone should expect of you.

You should be your number one priority

Another obvious one, but I think sometimes we need to be reminded that we should be looking after ourselves and making sure we’re our number one priority. Because let’s be honest, it’s unlikely that we’re anyone else’s number one priority. Sometimes life gets a bit crazy and we forget. And I know I’m not the only one that forgets!

Remember this is the only life you’ve got to live and it’s hard to live it to the fullest when you’re unwell. Trust me, I know.

Go home early, have that bath, buy that scarf you’ve been eyeballing for a thousand years, ask that girl that makes your coffee every morning out… (okay getting carried away). My point is, make sure you do you boo.

Life is short

A recurring theme in all these points but it’s true. Life is so damn short. Remember when you were younger and you thought life was moving so slowly and you just wanted to grow up and make your own rules and do all these awesome things? And then you finally grow up and you’re like “oh shivers, now I’m running out of time to do all those awesome things cause time is moving so fast”.

Yeah well my friend, time is moving pretty quickly but it’s never too late to do all those awesome things you wanna do.

Live your life man. Look after yourself. After all, it’s the only one you’ll get so make the most of it.

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Full-time study and work: just stick to it

If you’ve been reading my blog posts for the last month, I’m sure you’ve picked up that I’m working full-time as well as studying full-time. I’ve been doing this for over a month now and I thought I’d share my experience and some tips that might come in handy if you’re thinking of embarking on formal study without having to quit your job.

Just a bit of background on what I do and why I chose to study and not quit my job: I’m a Communications and Engagement Advisor for a government department. My highest qualification to date is a National Diploma in Journalism. I never finished my degree and thought I’d take three papers this semester to fill in some ‘free-time’ gaps since it’s not like I’m doing anything productive. I’m completing a Bachelor of Professional Communications and I know it seems strange that I’m studying towards a job that I’m already in but I thought it’d be a good way to help me understand my role better from an academic perspective.

So getting into it…

Firstly, there’s no sugar coating it: balancing work and study is challenging. On top of that, there’s life and its many attractions and disruptions. The key to success is planning and discipline. You’d be surprised at how much you can achieve if you take time to set out a schedule and (here’s the real challenging part!) STICK TO IT.

I’m not going to lie: I still find it super challenging but I’ve never been good at balancing, multitasking or general discipline. For those of you who are good at all of that, then it’s a piece of cake and you’re probably reading this and having a bit of a chuckle. For those of you who are like me, fret not because I’m telling you it’s doable.

I set my study schedule in my bullet journal – I plan out what I’m going to study and which activities I’m going to complete and when, what assignments are due and when I should start them. I also set a time to start studying, allocate the hours of study and try my complete best to STICK TO IT. I know it seems like a lot of effort goes into planning this out in writing, but it’s what works for me so find what works for you. It could be as simple as putting your assignment and reading schedule into your phone’s calendar.

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If you know that a social gathering is coming up, plan around that. Perhaps allocate two hours of study that day and then treat the social gathering as a ‘reward’. If you find you really can’t bring yourself to stick to your planned study hours, that’s okay – shift it and study in an hour or two after you’ve relaxed and done what you need to. If you’re like me and have set TV shows you just simply can’t miss, plan around it so you don’t feel guilty about not studying when you’re supposed to.

Just because planning is one of the keys to success, doesn’t mean you can’t be flexible. It’s going to be a hard time so it’s important to be kind to yourself. There are times when I want to gauge my eyeballs out and cry from the stress but I have to remind myself that I’m only human and sometimes life gets challenging and despite it all, I can do it.

So again I reiterate – planning and discipline is going to be your best friend during this challenging time. When the going gets tough, please don’t give up. STICK TO IT. After all, when you get your assignments in, get that exam done and get that passing grade, you realise it was all worth it. Well I do anyways.

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Hopefully you found this post somewhat helpful. If you’re in the same boat as me, please share your secret to fulltime study/fulltime work success!

Always remember sunscreen

The other day, my lovely co-worker sent me a link to Baz Luhrmann’s ‘Everybody’s free to wear sunscreen’. It was honestly the sweetest thing in the world given that I was having a pretty rough day at work. Oh and he sweetened it up even more by buying me a hot chocolate as well (thank you Alex!!!).

The reason why I was having a rough day was because I was filled with self-doubt about my career choice and my ability to do my job well. I guess I wasn’t getting much job satisfaction lately because I wasn’t involved in as many projects as I’d like to be and the projects that I was on were all placed on hold.

Anyways, Alex took me out for hot chocolate, listened to me moan about my first world problems and when I came back from lunch, the link was waiting for me in my inbox. It really put a smile on my dial because it put things in perspective for me and it was pretty inspirational. I sent the link to my sister and my friend and her response was “oh I remember this from high school or something… funny how it’s actually relevant now and makes sense”. Pretty accurate.

To be fair, if I read the essay or watched the video in high school it probably wouldn’t have resonated with me as much as it does now. It makes a lot of sense… especially being kind to your knees because I know for a fact that I’d miss them when they’re gone!

So what is this ‘wear sunscreen’ anyways? It’s an essay originally titled “Advice, like youth, probably just wasted on the young” (how relevant!) and columnist Mary Schmich writes it like a commencement speech. It was published in 1997 in the Chicago Tribune.

There are many elements of the essay that’s relatable to all of us. Sometimes I feel like we’re all strung up in the rat race of adult life and we start feeling weak and lose our purpose but the thing is, we shouldn’t lose purpose. Failure is part of life; success comes from learning from these failures. If you keep making the same mistakes, it’s time to sit down, breathe and work out what it is that’s driving you to make those mistakes over and over again.

And then there’s worrying. I’m a stickler for worrying about EVERYTHING… right down to the minuscule detail. But it’s true what the essay says… “worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum”. I accept it’s true and I’m getting better at worrying less so I can declutter le brain.

So what I’m saying is, when life gets hard and you feel like you’ve had enough, do as Alex says… just remember sunscreen.

IMG_2293 Yes, I went to work the next day and he left me a bubba bottle of sunscreen with a wee reminder. I have that reminder taped to my computer monitor and it has actually helped when the going gets tough at work 🙂 Thanks Alex.

Also, if you’ve succeeded in remembering compliments and forgetting insults, please share how you do this. For real.

It’s going to be okay

Hey kid,

It’s going to be okay. You’re worried about never finding a boyfriend. Guess what: you do. You’re worried about disappointing your parents by deciding to leave uni cause you’re not happy. They’re not disappointed. You’re mad because you spend monies on dumb things. Bad news: you still do.

I know it seems like life feels completely and utterly hopeless right now because you’re stuck in a ‘set room’ with a shitty roommate, you don’t have many friends, your family’s far away, you’re lost and confused because you want to study everything and nothing and worst of all, you’re still a virgin at 18. But remember last summer? Fish and chips, lying on all the grass in New Plymouth, driving missions, hanging out at beaches and Rihanna’s ‘Please don’t stop the music’? It was the best summer ever – hold on to those memories because they’ll help get you through the rough.

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Right now, you’re probably thinking about Lachie down the hall and how your floor mates thought it’d be funny to lock you in his room that night. He was so nice to you! Should’ve just kissed him. But you didn’t and that’s okay (unfortunately, you two don’t end up together. Weirdly enough, you still think about him but very occasionally. I’m still trying to work out why you do).

Let me tell you about your future. You’re going to go through so many emotions in the coming months – both good and bad. You’re going to test your friendship with an old workmate and I’m sorry to say, you’re going to disappoint her. Not once, but twice. And worst of all, over a boy. Actually, two boys. It’s okay, you eventually learn your lesson.

Right now, you feel like you’re always going to be one of the boys and die a virgin with 60 million cats. But you’re not (well the 60 million cats is still up for debate). You’re going to get noticed. In fact, the big v-plate ends with one of your best friends. You’re also going to think you love him. This is when you realise that with intimacy, comes a lot of confusion.

You’re also going to trust too easily and it’s gonna take one boy to destroy your trust. Oh, plus your low self-esteem. I’m sorry to say you’re going to carry your distrust into other relationships and it’s going to take the most patient man to tolerate you. You’re going to have to work really hard to be better at trust.

You’re going to go on a rampage where you think it’s okay to hurt other boys because you’ve been hurt. You’re going to pretend like you don’t care and you’re going to give yourself freely because you like feeling like you’re in control. You know how you’re always afraid of rejection so you don’t do anything about it and you admire people that pour their heart out and think people that reject others are fuckwits? Guess what, you become somewhat of a fuckwit.

You’ll trample on boys’ feelings when they take the leap and tell you how they feel because it’s easier for you to not care. You’re going to be the master of ‘ghosting’. Then, the tables will turn and you’ll meet someone who gives you the world and treats you the way you deserve. But because you don’t trust anyone, even yourself, you’re going to hurt him and you’re going to fuck things up. You’re going to realise what you’ve done and you’re going to go through a lot of pain. I’m sorry but there’s no going back on that one.

But it’s not all that bad. You’re going to grow closer to your family (unfortunately, you’re going to continue relying on Father). You get a proper job and you’re good at it. You’re going to wake up and learn to love yourself. You’re going to enjoy your own company and you’re going to concentrate on being a better you. And yes, you’re working really, really hard to trust again. You’re still battling confidence but you’re working towards improving it. You really are so you should be proud. The only thing you should be disappointed about is the fact that you’re still shit when it comes to money and saving.

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Remember that when the going gets tough, you get tougher. You’ve experienced and learnt so much and you survived. You’re a survivor. Don’t be afraid of what’s to come because despite all the shit, you’ve done so much good and you’re continuing to do good for yourself, your family, your friends and your future. And when you feel alone, you need to remember you’re never alone.

I promise you kid it’s going to be okay. Everything keeps getting better. So don’t be afraid. Smile.

xoxo Future you

p.s. bitch, can’t believe you cried when you turned 18. you’re now on the wrong end of 20, wishing you could go back.

p.p.s. you’re still trying to replicate summer 2007 because every summer since just can’t seem to beat it. good luck!

photo credit: the lovely dawnchapmanphoto (yes I’m her back model). check out her stuffs yo!

Don’t worry about it

I know it’s hard for us to not worry about the big ol’ F word but I’m here to tell you one thing: don’t worry about it. Too often we get caught up in an existential crisis where we have no idea what the fuck we’re doing, why we’re doing what we’re doing, when will things get better, how can we make things better and well, the big ol’ F word.

When I say F word, I don’t mean fuck. I mean the other F word: future. Kid, you have a long life ahead of you so you really shouldn’t be sitting there sweating the future. Like you, I’ve been under the pump before where you think you need to have it all figured out then you go ahead and figure it out and when it doesn’t work, you count your breathing seconds, worry about the grey hairs sprouting and freak out because of the other swear word that starts with T: time.

You have all the time in the world to work out what it is you want to do or work out how to get to where you want to be. It all comes down to working out what makes you happy and building the bridge that’s gonna take you there. Bearing in mind, you’re also gonna have to cross that god damn bridge.

When I was in my last year of high school, I remember saying to myself “listen, you’re going to go to Victoria University. You’re going to do a double degree in Law and Arts majoring in Art History and Classical Studies. As part of NCEA, you’re going to sit four scholarship exams and you’re going to ace them all. You’re going to graduate top of your class and you’re going to work for a law firm and rake in that dough.” Fast forward to a year later and I’m thinking “fuck law. I could do this but spending five years of my life doing something I’m not enjoying and having a big ass student loan and not wanting to be lawyer. Is it worth it? Fuck, what do I do with myself?” Well, I left uni and moved back home to live with my parents and worked at a supermarket while I figured out what I wanted to do with myself. I went back to uni the following year and did a BA majoring in Art History and Classics. I loved it but unfortunately, I had met a boy back home and I loved him more. So I moved back to be with him and put my degree on hold.

A year after that, I studied Journalism because I knew I loved writing and research. I’m happy to report that I graduated and won an award for best feature for an article I wrote. Six years from graduating and I’m not a journalist.

I am however working in communications. I’ve also started this blog so I’m spending my days continuing to write and share my thoughts with the world. Some days, I still want to be a journalist. Other days, I want to finish my BA and maybe be an archaeologist or a curator. Hell, I have days where I want to open a dating agency and hook people up (a la Undateables and Millionaire Matchmaker)! All of my days though, I just want to be a happy, free spirit who writes about anything and everything.

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Photo credit: the very talented dawnchapmanphoto!

What I’m trying to say is, I’m still trying to work it out. I’m about to turn 27 and most of the people I know are married, getting married, popping out babies, about to pop out baby(ies), working in a stellar corporate job or just, you know, getting high and chilling. You’re worried because some people have their shit together and you don’t. Let me tell you, those people are either good actors or have been where you’re at and have worked it out but fight the battle at least once or twice a year. It’s okay to not know what you want to do in the future. All you need to work out is what you want to do now and what you’re going to do to get there.

You’ve got a long road ahead of you kid. Don’t worry about it and just live.

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Photo credit: LifeHack @ Pinterest