Dress for yourself

This Wednesday I had a civil wedding to go to and I had what was a most confusing predicament: I wanted to wear a lengha, but no-one else (that I knew of at the time) was, they were wearing a saree.

When I first considered outfits, the beautiful red lengha sitting in my cupboard seemed like the obvious choice. But when I heard everyone else was wearing a saree, I started to consider other options. I got worried that I would stand out and look odd. I was scared that the aunties would make comments that I was trying to ‘show off’ or that people would think that I was trying too hard.

The night before the wedding I tried on 3 different sarees, none of which I was feeling and let’s not even get into how bad my pleating game was. I’m assuming that this was because my heart wasn’t into wearing a saree. I wanted to wear the lengha, but pressure to look similar to other people was driving me to pick a saree. So I did what any girl would: tried the sarees on, took a picture and sent it to some people on whatsapp to get opinions and then threw the outfits on the bed while they awaited judgement.

I have some pretty awesome people two of whom I’m going to quote – who were real game changers in my choice of outfit.

Shaan: ‘Wear what you want to wear. Don’t look at what other people are wearing.’ 

Suna: ‘Since when does Shiyaa conform to what is ‘supposed’ to be worn?’

They both struck a chord with me and I felt empowered to just halt, breathe, stop caring about what other people MIGHT say or think and just do what I KNEW I wanted to.

The day of the wedding
I threw on my lengha and looked in the mirror. I have not worn a lengha since I was like 8 years old and have always felt self conscious about wearing one (showing stomach, looking like a kid etc), so this was a big deal. But I felt confident with what I was wearing, and I felt bloody happy to be wearing what I wanted.

When I got to the wedding and met other people I wasn’t even thinking about the fact that I was wearing something different. I was so content with what I was wearing and how confident it made me feel I didn’t even wonder what other people could be saying or thinking. Truthfully though, the only only thing that I did hear about my outfit was compliments (yaay)!

So what did I learn: 
a. It’s okay to stand out, it’s not always a bad thing. It’s possible to stand out in a good way.
b. Wearing some thing you feel happy and comfortable with is much more important than trying to dress to fit in


Details are so important. I accessorised with gold and pearl 🙂
Earring: Shriba Creations
Choker: stolen from my Chitthi in Canada
Waistchain: DazzlingDarling
Outfit: ShebyShiyaa

P.S. CONGRATULATIONS THANU AND THUJEEE!!!!!

Me time is so underrated

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This picture was taken at Battersea Park, somewhere I have explored on my own but obviously this picture was not taken when I was alone. It looks like I’m being all reflective and thoughtful on my own so let’s pretend it fits.

Though-out my years (I make myself sound old) I have changed my view on ‘me time’ dramatically. When I was younger, I had a lot of ‘me time’, predominately reading, drawing and getting on with my academic learning. As someone who struggled with anxiety being alone was sometimes the easiest option. Getting close to people was scary.  This kind of ‘me time’ I would not say was healthy at all, it was driven by fear not a love for my own company.

A few years later I then did a complete 180, I became so dependent on people. I was always speaking to someone. People became a distraction from the negative thoughts I was prone to when alone. Even after I started to be a more positive and mindful person, that dependence that I had grown accustomed to stayed. It was a habit.

The concept of going for a coffee or seeing a film alone was bizarre. If I was going out, it was to see someone. I mean why would you do those activities on your own? What was there to enjoy? Even if I wanted to really go somewhere or see something I wouldn’t if no one else would come with me. I wouldn’t want to be alone and have that experience alone. Isn’t that crazy? But I think it’s something that many people probably feel. I have met people who have wanted to go somewhere, try something, travel somewhere but didn’t because they couldn’t find someone to go with.

I decided to change that part of me.

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Caramel Creme with Shia, on a stroll through Greenwich!

I started to go places and explore things on my own. I started small: grabbing a coffee on my own, then sitting in a coffee shop to working there on my own. Next I started shopping on my own. This was truly an eye opener because it allowed me try new things, things that I would have felt uncomfortable trying with others because it may have been ‘judged’. I could take my time to explore stores I liked which sometimes isn’t to the taste of my friends. I could experiment with my style and find myself without the input of others and this has really helped me to find my style (something I am still doing).

I then started to write lists of places I wanted to see and started to explore them on my own. There were a lot of parks and art galleries. Most of my friends aren’t the type to travel and spend hours at museums but I find it quite peaceful to go there and sketch. V&A is one of my favourite places in London and was conveniently quite close to my university.

Whilst at first I had to force myself to try doing things on my own, I found that I ended up rather enjoying my own company. I discovered that you could still enjoy places even if you weren’t with other people. I still love socialising; catching up with people and trying new things, but the point is that I am not afraid like I once was of doing any of it on my own.

This whole process has been a long journey (we’re talking at least 8 years) but one through which I have learnt many things:

  1. I have come to appreciate my quirks and accept myself
  2. It has helped me in my commitment to love myself
  3. It has allowed me to explore new things and meet new people
  4. It gives me time to reflect and work on myself and my goals

Essentially, I think everyone should learn to love ‘me time’ – it’s really helped me. And everyone who feels judged for doing things on their own – be that sipping tea in a Coffee shop, going to the movies or reading a book quietly under tree – it’s completely healthy.

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

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