Day 54 – One call away

In a world driven and divided by selfish motives, corporate greed, extremist religious beliefs, radical political ideologies, online bullying, and war, embody the morality you believe in. Your wellness and that of others rests in your hands as much as it does in those with the power to implement change. You and I can make a difference to worlds that are otherwise challenging, conflicting and chaotic. Practice random acts of kindness for friends, your family and strangers. You are a spoke on the wheel of growth, development and love. The greatest innovations came from the homes of compassionate yet driven individuals. Social activists were once young readers challenged by authority too. You are not alone, your fight isn’t just yours alone.

Be the change you want to see.

Today’s tune: One Call Away by Charlie Puth.

Day 54 – 8 October 2017.
312 days to go.

Thanks for listening and if you relate, say hello, please and thank you.

Photo by Vero Photoart on Unsplash

Day 53 – Group chats

From rationing 160-character texts to instant messenger chat rooms to group chats and voicenotes, communication has come a long way. There is no better way to raise your spirits than to have the most random conversations with your friends, all at once. Personalities with their own quirks and opinions. It is never dull and you are never alone. It is your gateway to vent, share and listen. It is the doorstep to your best friend’s heart and life (especially with distance). It is in these conversations that you often tease each other but also comfort and fight for each other. Group chats are now my meme banks and reason for laughter. They are also my source to daily affirmation, motivation and love. They are a reminder of all that is good.

No filters or bad blood, only love.

Today’s tune: Umbrella by Rihanna.

Day 53 – 7 October 2017.
313 days to go.

Thanks for listening and if you relate, say hello, please and thank you.

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

Day 52 – Be as you are

Attractive waist lines and skin tones. Melodious voices and wired brains. Good hair and sun- kissed smiles. Defined gender roles and ideal sexual orientation. What if, in an alternate universe, everything that we’re conditioned to thinking is wrong with us was right?

In a world telling you who to be, live your truth.

We are slapped with labels, stereotypes and expectations. We are told everything we’re not instead being celebrated for everything we are. Life will not always be comfortable and there will be good and bad days. What makes life easier is when you stop trying to be someone you’re not because the world appears to be nice to a certain kind of person. You will be happier when you start living your story as it is, as you want to tell it to the world. Life will be easier when your behaviour and attitude is a reflection of what you want and who you are beneath all those layers and labels for the world. Being comfortable in your own skin is a grace. Something I often struggle with but I am trying. If anything, I know that that accepting your flaws and mistakes only makes you stronger. It only makes you happier. It sets you apart in a way that cannot be broken to please the world. It cannot be replaced.

There are moments when you fall to the ground
But you are stronger than you feel you are now
You don’t always have to speak so loud, no
Just be as you are
Life is not always a comfortable ride
Everybody’s got scars that they hide
And everybody plays the fool sometimes, yeah
Just be as you are

Today’s tune: Be As You Are by Mike Posner.

Day 52 – 6 October 2017.
314 days to go.

Thanks for listening and if you relate, say hello, please and thank you.

Photo by Alessio Lin on Unsplash

Day 51 – Change might be the only constant…

…but that doesn’t include your heart.

In a world reminding you of everything that is wrong, hold on to and fight for the good within and around you. Spread love and kindness in a world filled with a war of words and terror. For when the world ends, you will remember the love you shared not your fear or hostility. You will remember the hearts carved on barks in the wilderness or the strangers that moved you. You will remember the times that made you smile and the people who were there for you. You will remember your childhood and its innocence, not the obstacles that made you doubt yourself. When the world ends, you won’t remember the heartless moments but those that were honest and full of soul. No expectations, just smiles. In a world trying to change your heart, fight for you.

You are your hope, you are your light, you are your heart.

Today’s tune: Awoo by Sofi Tukker teat. Betta Lemme.

Day 51 – 5 October 2017.
315 days to go.

Thanks for listening and if you relate, say hello, please and thank you.

Photo by Eric Ward on Unsplash

Day 50 – Time is too short

Sunsets are proof that there can be beauty in goodbyes
— Beau Taplin

The sky paints hues of warmth that speak to my being despite the chaos and voices in and around me. Knowing that someone somewhere is watching this beauty unfold with you, is reassuring and beautiful.

Wait, stop, hold on for a moment.

As the sun sets tonight, take a moment to watch the sky turn to dusk. Watch the moon blend with the purple pink hues of the night, as the wind teases your skin. Watch the stars shine against the depth and darkness of the night, and hold on to that light and feeling that shines within you, under that starlit sky.

Hold on to that. Nothing more, nothing less.

Today’s tune: Every Breath You Take by The Police.

Day 50 – 4 October 2017.
316 days to go.

Thanks for listening and if you relate, say hello, please and thank you.

Photo by Markos Mant on Unsplash

Day 49 – To my past demons…

…you don’t control me no more.

The past will always find a way to weave itself back into our lives. You will have dreams (or nightmares), conversations and occasional confrontations. You will be made to believe that you are wrong or at fault. You will be made to question every action and relationship. You will be pushed into having an existential crisis. You will lose faith. You will lose you.

From being naive and awkward in school to now being somewhat self-assured while pursuing a Master’s degree, what I learned is that your past will only hurt you for as long as you let it. Much like with your demons, face your past with strength and dignity. People in your present are not the demons from your past. Open your heart to possibilities and let go of the negativity. I know this is not easy because the past can be daunting – it could be school, a job, a person(s), an event, a taboo or a habit. It could be the journey from ignorance to awareness. It could be the process of denial to acceptance. I know this is not easy because it is easier said than done. I know this is not easy because history can always repeat itself. But would you rather live the rest of your life in fear of a disheartening past or in anticipation of a glorious future? Let go and seek your light.

Sunrise, sunset. Good vibes, beautiful human, good vibes only. 

Today’s tune: Glorious by Macklemore ft. Skylar Grey.

Day 49 – 3 October 2017.
317 days to go.

Thanks for listening and if you relate, say hello, please and thank you.

Photo by Nitish Meena on Unsplash

Day 47 – You’re my best friend

I have always been most comfortable in my own company. Very content too. Friends often mistake this for not being social or for isolating myself from reality. I’m really not. I genuinely enjoy spending a quiet day by myself every now and then, watching a movie or reading a book. Some days when I feel low, I enjoy my own company even more because it is on those days that I’ve connected with the best friend I know – me.

A few months ago, I wrote about this way of life. The one I wouldn’t trade for anything because it has helped me get through the most challenging times. It also led me to some of the happiest and adventurous moments. Lately, I’ve been questioning if this very path or comfort that helped me get through the toughest times has now become my worst enemy. What if being too comfortable in my own company led me to being isolated from everyone and everything? from life?

I’ve learned this before and it’s sinking in now again. Everyone has good and bad days. And just like the seasons, they all pass. You will be your worst enemy if that’s who you choose to be or you will be your own best friend and saviour. I choose the latter, for better or for worse.

I do.

In the last ten years, there have been times when I’ve let myself down. There have also been days when I’ve lifted myself from piles of unwarranted pressure and pain. It’s not that I buried emotion or didn’t face the reality of the situation. I simply addressed the issue and moved on. There have been deaths and heartbreak. We’ve moved homes, had old and new friendships break and make up, and so much more. None of it was easy but none of it was impossible to get over either. I mean, I am here. Right?

Defence mechanisms are easier because running from life is easier than chasing it. Just because it is easy, it doesn’t mean it’s right.

I have been reciting and repeating circumstances as I perceive them to be to make myself believe that I am in a bad place. It’s the case of the glass being half empty instead of being half full. It’s not and I’m not (anymore). As I’m reading things from days before, I see that I may have led you to believe that I have fallen down a dark hole or am really hurting. Forgive my words for making things seem worse than they are. Yes, I’ve had a hard time but we all do.

Excuses and an escape – I’m guilty. I have been telling myself that things are hard so I can run away from responsibility. To the extent that I almost believed it too. Yes, they have been hard but I’ve through worse. Far worse. Maybe it was easier then because I was able to cope with the comfort of home. That said, I know I can and will cope now too because I am my homeI am lucky I was able to seek help, as one should. I am lucky that through these conversations and posts, I was able to reflect and find my way back to light.

I am inspired and inspiring.

All of this crying, chaos and confusion has taught me that the shore is always within our reach. We just need to keep swimming. I need to keep swimming. I can’t promise that I won’t make things seem worse than they are in the future. But for now, I am in a really good place and I am grateful for it. I am so grateful for you. Most of all, I am grateful for me.

Happy October, y’all. Two months to my favourite time of the year, and cake soaked in rum. I’ve got my Christmas playlist ready. What about you?

Today’s tune: You’re My Best Friend by The Once.

Day 47 – 1 October 2017.
319 days to go.

Thanks for listening and if you relate, say hello, please and thank you.

Photo by Brianna Santellan on Unsplash

Day 43: Is grief a new-age fad – what do I know?

Food for thought from one of my favourite humans, “Why does figuring and coming up with what’s wrong in our lives or even creating situations that make our lives seem bad come more easily to humans?”

I don’t know. It just does.

Lately, I have become more cynical about everything and everyone around me. My recent posts have even urged people to worry for my well-being. There’s the occasional “I think you are depressed”, or the “don’t do anything stupid”, or “why do you need a counsellor, things can’t be that bad”, or “calm and be positive” and so on.

Maybe it’s me, maybe it’s not. Maybe it’s to do with being human and our unsaid attachment and love for pain. We’ve got a million things to be grateful for. I know I do. Yet, beneath that surface, there is always that one thing that upsets you. And as much as we crave for happiness, pain stings and stays a lot longer with us (with me). One thing I’ve realised is that most of this pain stems from comparison. With oneself, with others. It inevitably sets this foundation to set ourselves up for disappointment no matter the good.

Coming back to the question. Are we really unhappy or is grief the new rage? Does our generation succumb to peer pressure when it comes to feeling sad?

Yes it is in everyone’s faces at all times. Insta stories are canvases for our woes, and Facebook an excuse to vent. Snap filters a reflection of our emotions every now and then and captions a gateway to the daily dilemmas. As you read this, you’re aiding my path to sadness. Or maybe, this has to do with the content we read or the conversations we have. We tell ourselves to be grateful for life as we know it to shelve other emotions. Are we being grateful because we truly are or is it because we want to avoid feeling like shit instead?

What do I know?

I bought a gratitude journal a few months ago and I haven’t written a word in it. Not because I don’t have things to be grateful for. I do. The list doesn’t end as they flash before me right now (including “urgent” texts from my mother at this very moment and through the day; hi Ma). It’s because it comes more naturally to me when I wake up every morning or when I’m about to call it a day. Growing up in a Catholic family, we prayed before getting out of bed and before tucking ourselves to sleep. Short prayers thanking God for everything that happened and was meant to happen. The concept of prayer was a conversation in our home (it still is), and again I have my parents to be grateful for for the liberty of practicing my faith in a way that has only strengthened it over the years. That book is blank because my gratitude journal is my daily conversations with God every morning and night. Shorts prayers of gratefulness and affirmation.

It is better to be happy than to be sad. No doubt there. Be happy for those around you and be happy for yourself. And I am. But writing about things that bother me also makes me happy in a strange and twisted way. My recently pointed out that I should write about happier things. She seems to think I’m using my words (and talent) in a dark place and I know she means well. I seem to think that my words resonate with others in my place. This isn’t talent or love for literature, it’s pure honesty.

For over seven years now, my blog has been the bonfire I burn my secrets, confessions, struggles and joys in. During one of my confessions in church, the priest suggested I write things that still hurt me and burn it in flames. This blog and you are those flames.

“Why does figuring and coming up with what’s wrong in our lives or even creating situations that make our lives seem bad come more easily to humans?”

I don’t think it is about making our lives seem bad. I think it about voicing out what upsets us because, whether we like it or not, pain is more powerful joy. Pain can be motivational. Occasionally, it can be aspirational. Pain is what draws us together. I think it is about seeking out voices of assurance that we are not alone and that life’s obstacles, no matter how big or small are common to all. I think it is because it is easier to complain about the rocky road ahead than it is to accept the bed of flowers. Maybe grief is the new-age fad, maybe it’s not. Maybe it’s an escape or maybe it’s comforting. Maybe it’s easier to feel insecure than it is to feel confident. Maybe it’s is easy to be a victim than to wear a cape.

What do I know?

I also don’t think my opinion should have a bearing over anyone else’s. I think it is great to be grateful and happy or to share our lives in all its greatness with the world. I also think it’s okay to cry over the smallest fears. Some days we’re wrong, some days we’re right. Either way, most days, we’re getting through because we have each other. We always will.

You and me, and my soulful (WhatsApp) groups. You know who you are.

Today’s tune: What Do I Know by Ed Sheeran.

Day 43 – 27 September 2017.
323 days to go.

Thanks for listening and if you relate, say hello, please and thank you.

Photo by Luke Ellis-Craven on Unsplash

Day 41 – What is self care?

Sometimes self care is exercise and eating right. Sometimes it’s spending time with loved ones or taking a nap. And sometimes it’s watching an entire season of television in one weekend while you lounge around in your pyjamas. Whatever soothes your soul. — Nanea Hoffman

Sometimes self care is writing or drawing. Sometimes it is fighting for what is right for you. Sometimes it is saying no. It could also be travelling to a new city alone. Sometimes it is doing absolutely nothing. Self care is also telling yourself it’s okay to make mistakes; it’s okay to not know. Sometimes it is letting people see you for who you are. It is also not being ashamed of being weak. It is also accepting that you are strong.

I often feel the need to be what others need me to be. This at the cost of being exhausted – mentally, physically but mostly, emotionally. I’ve always been fine when asked, irrespective of the reality of the situation. I don’t know if I say this to make myself believe it or just to be what others need me to be. Either way, I’m fine.

Here’s what I didn’t see before – being in the now with how you feel instead of ignoring your emotions can go a long way with feeling good. You’re not always fine and that’s okay to. You will be.

Taking time to yourself to do simple things and just being is as important as fulfilling your daily basic needs. Last weekend, I read a book, binge-watched movies and tv shows, slept during the day, and read some more. As this week began, I felt a lot healthier than I have in the past few weeks. I felt like I was finally in tandem with my emotions. I woke up with no alarms or deadline pressures. I simply took the day as it was and bloomed.

For most friends who’ve struggled with any personal conflict, I’ve always told them to put themselves first. Even then, my biggest struggle has been to practice what I preach; to put myself first. Now…no more.

Here’s to doing what you need to do for yourself. Big or small, do it. Do it for you.

Today’s tune: Reflecting Light by Sam Philips.

Day 41 – 25 September 2017.
325 days to go.

Thanks for listening and if you relate, say hello, please and thank you.

Photo by Tom Ezzatkhah on Unsplash

Day 40 – No shame

Someone very close to me recently suggested that going to a counsellor meant being dependent on a form of medication, and that it wasn’t healthy. That counsellors were mere voices to our thoughts rather than the solution to our problem or conflict. That we could identify the problem ourselves and talk to friends and family. Someone else seemed more concerned with me going to sessions because it meant something was wrong with me.

Yes and no.

Counsellors are voices to our conflicts or internal battles but they’re also the starting point and your support system to being and feeling healthy. Often, we need people in our lives that don’t sugarcoat our struggles or points of view in a matter. We also need people helping us identify what might be bothering us. No doubt we need our friends and family to help us in the process. We also need unbiased professional help that guides you find what you’re looking for. Problems aren’t meant to be suppressed and they can’t always be resolved. But they most certainly shouldn’t be ignored. You won’t always have the answers, nor will your psychologist. Together, however, you may be able to find what it is you’re looking for.

Seek help.

Eventually, you will find that you are the means and the end. You and only you can enable your path to feeling healthy again – mentally, emotionally, physically. However, during that process, there is no shame in seeking help in any and every form. There is no shame in going to therapy. There is no shame in saying that you might be sick or that you simply don’t know. And there most certainly is no shame in putting you and your health first.

There will always be people telling you they know better. There will always be people finding shame in your struggles and achievements. There will also always be you who matters most. There will always be voices of self doubt. There will always be cheers for self love. On good and bad days, there will always be love for you, from your family, friends and strangers alike.

If you or anyone you know is struggling with mental illness or facing any form of conflict, visit a psychologist/counsellor/therapist/psychiatrist, and prepare that road to health, life, light and laughter.

There is no shame.

Today’s tune: Ain’t No Mountain High Enough by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrel.

Day 40 – 24 September 2017.
326 days to go.

Thanks for listening and if you relate, say hello, please and thank you.

Photo by Bryan Minear on Unsplash