Me time is so underrated

IMG_9755

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.

2016-08-06 16.56.09

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.

Feeling like a jack of all trades

img_2316

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

‘I’m asking you to believe’

4239a341-9c85-4a4a-9e66-9b17ec5a7d78-7711-00000767ec047f8a_tmp

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

Invest in yourself

original_2016-balloon-set-in-gold-silver-or-bright-pink

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.