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.

‘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

Invest in yourself

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With the beginning of a New Year I thought it was a good opportunity to start blogging again.

Reflection
Looking back on 2016, I have to say that it has been a memorable year and in truth as I look back it’s been a pretty *beeping* terrible one from Trump, Brexit and the passing of many beloved individuals to name a few. This year, particularly the last few months, have been difficult. My anxiety is sky high and as a result I am insanely sensitive and get upset very, very quickly. I am constantly worrying and as a result socialising and holding conversations has become incredibly challenging. I now prefer to not stay out long/ not at all, cancel plans and not talk to people. It’s not healthy, it’s my defence mechanism – I’m trying to play it safe.

Puzzle
Recently, I have been reading ‘Facebook’ and ‘Instagram’ reflections on the year and curiously even with the all the crap that 2016 hurdled our way, there are some people who claim that it has been their best year yet. Honestly, at first I was truly baffled (refer to my own reflection), I could not comprehend how anyone could say 2016 was a good year.

Revelation
But then it suddenly hit me, there was one big difference between myself and them. They have travelled, they have taken risks, grabbed the opportunities that have come their way and surrounded themselves by people they love. In 2016, I played things pretty safe and sadly I said no to great opportunities to explore, network, grow myself because I was saving towards a ‘tomorrow.’ Whilst, I still believe that saving money for the future is important, constantly refusing to pursue opportunities that I would love and would make me happy is not the way forward. 

Resolution
I’m not usually one for New Year’s resolution as I think that you can make them on any day. My resolution is therefore my Life’s resolution: INVEST IN YOURSELF!

  1. Saving money is important, but spending money to further your knowledge in education, attend that once in a lifetime event, to travel and grow your horizons or to pay for private healthcare IS NOT A WASTE OF MONEY. You are investing in yourself and your happiness.
  2. My anxiety is something that I am still learning to manage and some days it is harder to cope with than others but staying indoors being afraid to socialise is not the solution. I want to slowly learn to ignore my instincts to lock myself away and to have the courage to openly tell the people who care about me why it is that I cannot meet up with them or have to leave early.