Being comfortable in your body

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During my visit to Budapest, I went to the thermal baths. Me and the girls threw on our bikinis and stepped into the warm water. After our amazing soak, we hit the showers remaining in our bathing suits, whilst there was an older woman who so confidently walked around utterly naked. She did not care about how she looked or what others thought about it. I was in awe. I mean I don’t aspire to be naked in front of people, but do aspire to be as confident with my body as she was.

Don’t get me wrong I’m actually really comfortable in my own body. But much like many girls, I used to be very self conscious. I used to really hate my disproportionate body (I’m bottom heavy) and the scars all over my body. I remember a time I used to hate being in a swimming suit or even showing my legs in a dress/shorts.

But over the years I’ve grown to change the way I see myself. I’ve accepted that my legs are bigger than my upper body, but my waist is absolutely tiny and I love that! I’ve learnt to dress in a way that compliments my body shape and that helps me feel more confident. I’ve come to like my scars – they add character to the canvas (body).

I’ve come to realise that being skinny isn’t something to aspire to, being healthy is. When I cut out crap food and started working out, my body toned up but more importantly I had more energy and I felt great.

Last week, I was completely comfortable walking around in my swim suit in front of loads of people, something that a few years ago would be unthinkable.

Budapest: Schzenyi Baths – amazing place!

Boys and girls: there is no ‘perfect body.’ We are all built differently and we should not be concerned about what other people will think of our bodies. 9/10 times the people you think will be judging you are just as concerned about how you will judge them.

As my friend would say: this is the era for celebrating all shapes, sizes and colour! So let’s rejoice in our differences 🙂

xo

 

The inconsiderate kid on the train 

There’s a boy on the train sitting opposite me on the dlr. He’s got his massive raksake on the seat beside him and everyone around us are standing up. Tired Londoners who also have an early morning. What an inconsiderate little kid. He’s avoiding eye contact with everyone so that no-one asks him to give up his seat. Anyone experienced this?

A girl on crutches walks in – I wonder if he’d move his gigantic bag now?

The boy suddenly got up and ran up to the girl grabbed her hand and helped her to the seat he’d been sitting down on. He gave her the rucksack and let her mum sit down next to her. He smiled and said he’d be standing ‘over there mum’. The mum replied, ‘Thanks Liam!’

Me: fuck. Sorry!!

Moral of the story: everyone has there own reason. Everyone’s going through stuff we do not know about. So let’s stop judging people. If anyone had asked the boy I’m sure he would have explained.

Hope you’re having a good day Liam. You’re a good kid!

This is a true story!

Xo

Budapest: travelling with social anxiety

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If you’ve met me, odds are that you would say that I’m a social person, but did you know that I have social anxiety?

To most people going away on holiday with friends is exciting and it really was for me, until a few days before I was set to go to Budapest. The truth is when we had to check in – PANIC! I really wanted to cancel my tickets, stay at home and paint. For me it was not the thought of going to a different country (I love travelling) or even flying. It was spending time with people that was overwhelming. It wasn’t that I was spending time with people I didn’t like or even strangers. I was going with people I have known for years and my friends who up until that moment I was excited to see.

I have often had these moments. It is the reason why I sometimes cancel plans or make excuses to leave early. I am yet to fully understand why it comes but when it does the single thought that runs through my head is, ‘I can’t do it.’ Most days I am completely fine, but there are days that I cannot be around people (anyone)/ am unable to hold or start conversations (with anyone).

During my panic about Budapest, a friend of mine reminded me of my resolution to open myself up to new experiences. So instead of cancelling my tickets, I got on a plane.

Looking back now, I’m really glad that for the first time I didn’t cave and cancel – I really fell in love with the city and want to spend more time there. Lots of architecture, thermal baths, themed cafes and it’s not a busy city.

I did have a lot of anxiety on the first day, it was hard, but I still explored the city and I appreciated the beauty of it. It’s difficult to talk to people when my anxiety is so high but I am proud that I didn’t run away from conversation, or from meeting new people.


Vintage Garden – great food, great company and cute deco. Loved this place! Order the Oreo and blueberry cheesecake if you go! 
ParliamentView walking up the castle.

Day 2 was a lot easier. My anxiety went down so I was able to relax and I enjoy my company and absolutely loved my time at the thermal baths. The strange thing I have always found about my anxiety is that it isn’t constant.

Social anxiety is incredibly overlooked, which is why I decided to write about it. I have only ever met one other person who has it, but I imagine that other people do experience it, it’s just scary to admit it (I was really hesitant to post this). So to anyone who experiences it, you are not the only one who has these moments. I know how hard it is, but from someone who has been working on managing their anxiety: don’t let it stop you from meeting new people or having new experiences.

For those who want to see some more awesome places in Budapest:


Fisherman’s Bastion – view from the city is amazing at sunset
St.Steven’s Basilica – go up to the top and see the view. Students take your card you get a discount. Free to go in, money to go up. Szechenyi Bath – thermal baths. Advice: you want two towels. One that you take around with you and one that you use after to shower. Don’t take your phone with you unless it’s waterproof. Take flipflops.

Other things: walk around it’s all pretty close together and there are loads of really cool cafes so stay away from the Costa/ Starbucks that you can get anywhere. Everyone there seems to know English, but they love it when you speak some Hungarian even if what you say doesn’t fully make sense.

xo

Feeling like a jack of all trades

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Throughout my life I have dipped my toes into a number of things: violin, piano, karate, kick boxing, writing novels etc. None of which lasted more than a year and I’ve often wondered whether it is that I cannot commit, get bored easily or lack talent. It’s not so much a problem when it’s a hobby but when it happened in your career as well, that’s when it gets a bit scary. I did medicine for a year, that didn’t work out. I’ve never held a retail job for more than 3 months and I’ve never spent longer than a year in a corporate job.

A while back I spoke of feeling ‘unsuccessful,’ I was comparing myself to others who had it all figured out: gone into a field, stuck through it, through their jobs and are rising higher in their field and getting great pay whilst I still wasn’t in a job that I felt was right.

But I had one of my revelation moments. It is OKAY to take your time to discover yourself and your passions.

I did a year of Medicine and it didn’t work, but I did get through statistics and really liked it. My 17 year old self made a mistake in pursuing Medicine because I was told it was better even though Maths was evidently what I was not only good at but what I liked.

I’ve tried performing arts: dancing, singing, playing instruments (desperate to find something I was ‘good’ at). I was never good at any them but then I didn’t have the passion to become better in them. But ART I loved. Over the years I have relentlessly pushed myself as an artist to try new mediums, use new tools and become better as a portrait artist. I am no professional, but every year I have become better.

colsqualLast two jokers should be the other way around!

All the things that I have done have developed me and given me skills that I can transfer to things I do love. One of my best friends wrote a blog flagging the importance of transferable skills and I reflecting on my own experiences, all my experiences all taught me something. I may no longer be fully involved in wedding plannin but it taught me how to build something from nothing, to build relationships and solve problems quickly. Retail taught me to talk to absolute strangers. iEnergy taught me about being socially conscious. My current job helped me decide where I wanted to build my career.

Today, I’m building my own clothing line, have an exciting job lined up and am still pouring my soul into painting to be better! The network I’ve grown, the experiences I’ve gained and the passions I’ve found have all got me here. I may not be ‘there’ yet but I am well on my way to being ‘SUCCESSFUL’!

Life is honestly about finding what you love and discovering what drives you. The problem is that we all assume that everyone expects us to have our life together and it puts pressure on us. At 17 we are expected to decide what we want to do for the rest of our lives. We come out of university and we are expected to know what we want to do and get a job straight away. Some people know right from the beginning what they love and want to do and that that’s fine, but some of us don’t and that’s okay well. We’ve just taken different paths.

I suppose what I am trying to say is that it’s okay to not have your life completely figured out. That doesn’t mean sit at home doing nothing, but to pursue opportunities and not be afraid to try new things. They may not be for you. You might not be good at it. But we are not all good at everything, we can’t be.

I believe that when we find something we love we will be motivated to be better, we will push ourselves even when the going gets tough. So breathe, you’ll get there as long as you don’t give up!

xo

Living with social anxiety

I briefly touched on my anxiety before and feedback was to elaborate. So here you go:

Most people would describe me as a social being and think that I find talking to people and meeting strangers pretty easy – which is true (thank you retail). But, I go through phases and there are some days where I find even meeting people I’ve been friends with for over 10years daunting.

Anxiety has honestly been my hardest battle. It’s not a daily thing, not even a weekly thing. It’s more of a I’ll come and go as I please sort of thing. So making plans is really hard and attempting to socialise some days is incredibly difficult for two main reasons.

1. I’m sensitive. Lately, I have found myself very easily hurt. I take negative comments to heart and get very upset. As a result, I find it easier to shut myself away and not socialise as much. I get anxiety over meeting people in fear that they will say something that will upset me and I would spend the remainder of the day consumed by emotion and being unproductive. So either I don’t attend or I leave early making up some excuse and kick myself for being ‘lame’ and letting the anxiety ‘win’.

I’ve figured out that my reaction to the simplest comments are probably because I am at a stage in life where I feel a little lost with what I am doing and very unaccomplished. As a result negative comments from anyone gets to me as they (anyone) are giving me another thing to add to my ‘flaws’.

2. The art of conversation. In the past, I was never one who found silence/ pauses awkward, nowadays they are a reason for my anxiety. In those moments I have found myself wondering why we are unable to have a ‘proper’ conversation and start to ponder: am I boring? Do we not have anything in common? Do they not want to talk with me? Etc. Again, this ‘pondering’ is probably due to the same reason as 1.

Previously, my solution has been: avoid people and situations when my anxiety s comes up and sort my life out. (Unhelpful solution).

After doing some research, painting and self reflection I have a new solution.

1. Make those around me aware of my anxiety so that next time I feel overwhelmed with attending a social event I don’t need an excuse to leave early (check). When my friends say something that I take negatively talk to them about it, turn it into positive criticism or it might just be a misunderstanding.

2. Address the feeling of not being accomplished. The problem with being a high achieving goal setter is that sometime the goals are big and take a long time to accomplish. So I’m going to break down my big goals into smaller ones I can hit on a weekly or monthly basis. Keep a journal with these goals and physically tick off goals as I hit them.

For those who want to know if these work – I’ll let you know.

Have a good week  xo

‘I’m asking you to believe’

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Those who know me know how much I love President Obama, apologies, Obama. Last night I was watching his farewell speech and his ending truly stayed with me. He said:

‘I am asking you to believe.  Not in my ability to bring about change – but in yours.’

This got me thinking:

It saddens me when I see girl on girl hate, hierarchy within culture, colourism, religious hate, homophobia, sexism, judgements based on cultural differences, judgements for mental illness etc. Differences between us has for years brought about so much discrimination, but at the end of the day we are all human and we all bleed red!

I am not saying that there is hate everywhere, I have surrounded myself with like minded people (believers), people who are striving for the same ideals as me, for a world with a lot less discrimination/hate and a hell lot more equality/love. But, I’m in a culture where sexism, colourism, classism and judgements for those with mental illness still exists. A society where people have thrown away/ hidden their identity in fear. Where my male counter part still earns more than I.  Sadly, discrimination of all sorts still exists and it is us as a collective body of believers, to dissolve this discrimination. It is up to us to raise children and inspire each other to see past skin colour, culture, religion etc. The change of a better tomorrow relies on us all and we all have a responsibility to do something.

Simply liking a post or nodding along in agreement will not do. Change happens through education and actively standing up against what you know is wrong. Communication is our best tool and the internet has provided us with a medium to connect with people across the globe. We have a powerful instrument in our hands and it is our choice how we use it. Why not use it to cultivate a new ‘norm’ amongst all societies? One that is more accepting and supportive.

I can see changes already to be honest – and it excites the hell out of me!

Believe in our, no YOUR, ability to make change happen.

Shish out xo

Overcoming the feeling of being unsuccessful

Lately, I been a little ‘down’ (and I touched upon this in my first post) about feeling unsuccessful. My to do list/list of goals is ridiculously long! There’s several pages: work related (corporate and clothing), wedding related, many ideas I haven’t pursued and several things I have yet to start. Simply looking at all the things that I want to achieve is daunting and demotivating and I’m often left feeling very unsuccessful.

I’ve been speaking to people about this (who I think are pretty successful) and some of them feel the same way.

Lightbulb!

There is a tendency for people to focus on their present (the tasks they have to do today) and their future (the goals they still need to reach). But, what about all the things they’ve done. I’m guilty of doing just this. I’ve come to realise that it is not that I am unsuccessful but that I still have much to achieve. The problem is that in any one moment I am focused on achieving these goals that I often forget about everything I have done (starting a clothing line, She by Shiyaa, for example) and feel unaccomplished.


She by Shiyaa | Photographer: Refined Moments 

So I’ve decided to break down my goals into weekly targets and when I look back, I’ll be able to visually see all the goals I hit.

This brings me into another revelation. I reflected on how little I did in 2016 in my last post, but perhaps it is that right now I cannot recall the things that I did that made me happy. So for 2017 I’ve decided to make a ‘collage’ – a picture a week of something I’ve done.


Inspired by the white company 

It could be anything as long as it is something that made me happy. I think it would help me try and do new things and make sure that when I look back I remember all the good memories and not dwell over the bad.

I am determined to actively make 2017 better!  Xo