Spectrum of Consistency: The Power People Hold Over Us

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It’s funny that the posts I intend to write are never the ones that end up being written – at least right away. There’s usually something else on my mind, something deeper that I have to dive into. Something I haven’t acknowledged in my conscious state that finds its way through this mode. Today I was hoping to talk about shame in relation to work, which is definitely coming soon, but instead, I’m going to discuss power. Specifically, I’ll be talking about the power people hold over you. Or rather, the power we allow people to hold over us.

Power is an interesting thing. As a child and growing up, I recognized it as something fatalistic; an egoic way of being. If your life were directed towards gaining power, then you were likely on the wrong path. I understood power in relation to anger. Both of them must coincide, I assumed, mostly because that’s the way I saw it play out in my own home. Power was inflated with money and anger. Power instills fear in others. In the spectrum of a black and white world, power is the most negative of them all.

As I grew, I found myself battling others in a way that I refused to let them have power over me. I was a variation between a pushover and someone who was obstinate. I became better and better at catching someone when they were trying to take advantage of me. In the same respect, I put myself down every time I let it slide and forgave them without even acknowledging the matter of fact. In some cases, I find that I really was getting better at recognizing the parasites I allowed into my life. In other cases, I was only inflating my triggers.

I was an extremist – either letting people walk all over me or cutting them out cold. There was no room for compromise. In my world, there was no reason for it to exist at all. I like giving everything I have to the people I love, but I found that I often attracted those who simply liked to take. So my theory of power therefore was proven time and time again.

In psychology, this sort of behaviour is theorized as the confirmation bias – aka, as the tendency to interpret new evidence as confirmation of your existing beliefs or theories. I was looking for these people, attracting them, for the sole purpose of remaining consistent in my belief.

These people in my life were power-hungry, I imagined. That must be the case. And I, aloof, ignorant, and not nearly as self-aware as I am today, can only continue to get caught in their web. There are only two types of people in the world: Those who want power, and those who want freedom. I, of course, fell on the latter. That’s the way I understood things to be. It was easy, simple, and black and white. But now I understand that it’s also not true.

I think I reached a point where I was willing to be more openminded with what power can actually mean. And from there, I learned that power has its own spectrum and that spectrum is dependant on intentionality. The truth is, there is nothing simple about what this word really means and similar to success, it can vary from person to person, depending on their beliefs and experience in the world. But in general, I think of power as the ability to have an effect on others whether that’s on a small or large scale.

If that’s true, then where power is rooted from is really who you are, because as we all know, our energy transfers and connects. Our effect on others, therefore, is contingent on our relationship with ourselves. Funny how everything always trickles down to this.

Whether we are aware of it or not, we have an effect on every person we meet, and even those we just walk next to on the street. We have an effect on our friends, our family, our partners, our neighbours, our co-workers, our clients. That is power. How we use that, and what we use it for, well, that’s dependant on our own nature. It’s easy to presume a negative connotation of power, but it’s like the sun. It can give you nutrients. It can shine light on your day. It has been proven to have a huge effect on your mood. But then again, it can also burn you. It can blind your eyes. It can do a lot of damage. But experiencing any of these results doesn’t make us turn to the sun and instill some sort of persona upon it. It just is what it is. Not good or bad, but whatever you make of it.

Another example being money – something many of us, myself included, have had a negative mindset about or maybe still do. But money is just a resource. How you use it is dependant on you.

When I understood ‘power’ in that same manner, it felt like everything shifted for me. For one, I didn’t feel like I had to submit to weakness only to avoid being egotistical. And secondly, I felt this sort of strength within myself (that was always there) finally find a space to expand itself. Having this belief system not only meant holding myself back, but it also meant actively suppressing certain parts of myself simply out of fear.

Like Leon Brown once said, “It all begins and ends in your mind. What you give power to, has power over you, if you allow it.”

two strokes ahead of time: where i’d rather be

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One of my biggest hurdles and life lessons has been learning how to stay in the present moment. It’s something I struggle with every day and have to work with differently each time the thought comes. I’m not where I want to be. I haven’t achieved what I wish I had. I should be somewhere better by now. I should be more.

I think we all cross these moments of anxiety, of our ego’s talk taking over our frame of thought completely. How do we step back into where we are? How do we get out of that never-ending belief that we aren’t enough right now?

In terms of writing, I made a decision not long after I completed the first draft of my novel and was led to the big move across the country. I made the decision that if I wanted to be in the right place, I had to put all my energy into this move. Into finding an apartment, researching neighborhoods, inspecting the details of who I needed to contact, what changes I needed to make. For the past few months, this big transition has been my sole focus while my book’s progress had to be put on pause.

Now that I’ve settled in, I find my inspiration at a high peak which should be exciting. But instead, it’s just led to this trickling thought of where my draft would be if I had worked on it this whole time. If I hadn’t put it on pause completely so that I could use my energy on moving. How far would that girl have come with her writing? Am I a failure as a writer for making that decision? Could I have just used 50% of my energy on the move and 50% on editing?

Though the inspiration should be exhilarating, it just brings me back to this belief that I’ve fallen behind. But then I ask myself, who am I competing with? What am I racing for?

I’ve worked so hard on this book and I know I’ll continue to make it better with each draft, but the other part of me just wants to get it out there to the public. I want to show you guys this project I’ve been working on for so long. I want to introduce you to my characters. I want you to see all the research I’ve done for it. I want you to know the people I interviewed who played a big role in making this happen. Except it’s still in the works and I still feel behind where I’d like to be.

When I fall into this pattern of feeling behind myself, I have some tools I use now that help. One is blogging, the other journaling, meditating, listing my gratitude, yin yoga or just sitting down and listening to music. All of that helps, but they are also all practices of mine. To slowly get myself back into the present, I have to practise these things every day, utilizing whichever feels right at a certain time.

What I’ve found is that when my scattered mind takes over, it’s usually because I haven’t given enough space for my body to have some control, too. And the great part about bodies is that they usually know what they need. The hard part is learning to listen.

not everyone is as lucky as a writer

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Getting my hair done is one of the most therapeutic things for me. Not only because of the obvious: that afterward, I’m always left feeling more confident and peppy, but the process itself is soothing for me. I think one of the most important things for me is finding the right hair dresser, someone who genuinely enjoys her work and one I can have a good, honest, and friendly relationship with.

The process of getting my hair done takes three hours minimum, so it may sound pretty obvious that I want to like whoever I’m spending time with. The woman I go to is an expert and lover of colour. You know, I used to walk into any hair salon and have an itinerary of how things are going to go and what I wanted the outcome to be. I always left disappointed but too afraid to say anything that might hurt their feelings. And then something changed these past couple of years when I realized that just like I want freedom with my craft of writing, why wouldn’t anyone else want it with their passion?

About a year ago, when I was searching for a new hair dresser and finally found one, I walked in telling her an idea I had and then said, “But do whatever you think is best. Have fun and just play. Hair always grows back anyway.”

I think that was the moment of liberation that my hair stylist needed. Sometimes when working in any field for so long, you start adhering to the demands. I mean, you can’t exactly say no to a customer when they tell you they want something. It’s their hair. It’s their body. And you are the one doing the service.

So I wanted to try it out. This thing where I let go of my need to control and let her just have fun with my hair; do whatever she wanted with it – with the exclusion of dying it pink….you gotta draw the line somewhere.

She kept checking in with me, asking if it were okay if she were to cut it shorter, dye it darker, maybe do a balayage. I just smiled and told her to do whatever she thought would look best.

And then her shoulders loosened their grip. Her fingers mangled themselves into my hair, brushing the roots to lift them. When I tried talking to her, I realized that she didn’t respond which was concerning until I looked at her face. She was in the zone.

If you’re a creative person, you know the zone. We always want to be in the zone. We live for the zone. We live in the zone and when we’re not, we’re trying to get in it because it’s the most gratifying place to be. It’s where you feel the most alive.

When I saw that transcended look on her face, a weight inside of me lifted too. I felt like I was in good hands. I felt safe because anyone doing anything for you with that much love and passion will make you feel safe.

A friend of mine also works at the salon and it was nice having the three of us women talk, laugh, and be in this great wave of energy together. Now every time I walk in, I see my hairdresser’s eyes twinkle because it means that she gets to play.

The reason I’m telling you this is because it gave me a greater sense of gratitude towards my own passion, which is obviously writing. I realized that not all passions have the option of feeling this sense of freedom and playfulness every day like I do. I mean, with writing, all you need is a pen, a paper, and your imagination. That’s really lucky. I can play whenever I choose too. I can make up stories and write lyrics or poems, maybe even a funny rap here and there. But not all passions can have that option on a day-to-day basis.

I mean, I obviously feel less creative on some days. I feel like I don’t have any downtime on others. But the option is always there for me. I can take 10 minutes out of my day to have the same kind of fun that my hairdresser might have been waiting months for.

It’s crazy for me to wrap around my head why more people don’t trust someone completely with their craft, especially someone with 15+ years of experience and someone who still finds so much joy in her work. I mean, every time she’s finished with me, I’m so SO happy with the outcome (which has not always been the case).

But it hurts to think that she doesn’t have the same option as me. I mean, you have clients who have very specific notes on what they want and hair color and cut isn’t exactly something you can take 10 minutes out of your day to randomly do freely.

But this is something I want to bring and seek out more and more. That when I need any service, to take the time to look for someone who truly enjoys their work and cares about me. That’s all you need to get a better outcome than what you expected as well as an added bonus: you get to be in the zone with them.

Unreliable Sources: A Note On My Writing Process

I started this blog as a way to document my life, keep track of my growth and let out all that I once bottled inside. I do the same with my journals, though it’s a lot harder for me to read back on those entries than it is to read my old posts here. The great part about having old work is that you’re able to compare not only what your life once looked like, but also the progress you’ve made in your writing.

When I write a post here, it’s not scheduled. It’s published shortly after I write it and quickly edit. I like writing in the mornings and clearing my head-space, so sometimes I don’t even remember what it is that I wrote about. More times than not, I have to read back on the post before publishing to find a common theme that I can use to make the title.

The great part of this process that I chose is that I trust in the flow of it. Writing is the one place I can trust myself in, while other areas of my life carry a lot of doubt. Sometimes I wonder if I’ll have anything more to say, but as soon as pen meets paper, I find that I always do.

Some things written here are rough, choppy or not true to what I believe now. I don’t hold myself to the person who writes my blogs posts, my journal entries, my stories, or my poems. That’s because after I’ve written anything, it is now in the past.

I’m glad I get to bring you guys with me: readers, bloggers, and fellow writers, because you know exactly what I mean. Sometimes you write something that moments later, you don’t agree with anymore. Sometimes you need to write things that are true. Sometimes you need to write things to get more clarity on whether or not they are true. Sometimes you have to tell lies to tell the truth. Sometimes you have to be vulnerable to see your own truth.

I think that’s the most beautiful thing about any kind of art. It’s a courageous act, not because it’s hard to do. But because it opens up every part of yourself, even the parts that you don’t like to shine the light on. Those are the most interesting parts for me. The dark, the broken, the lonely.

I wrote a post once about how the things that I write are not who I am. I think sometimes when I try to explain this, it comes off as being unreliable. I don’t know if that’s accurate. I think it just shows that we’re a lot more complex than we make ourselves out to be or perceive others as.

Why I Don’t Tell Everyone I Write

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I used to be embarrassed by it, the fact that I wrote. I guess I felt too exposed, too myself, and in certain points of my life, I found that most people didn’t want to hear any of that. They didn’t want to know and so I reached a point where I just stopped telling them…and everyone else.

The more secret I kept this huge part of my identity, the more misunderstood I felt. To be honest, I think a part of me likes being misunderstood. I feel like I embody the archetype of a writer when I’m hidden, alone, and secretive, making my craft in the dark.

When you first meet me, there’s the person that you think I am: bubbly, excitable, too optimistic that I might even be naïve, so nice that I must get walked on quite often, that I must be fragile, weak, and that I must have lived a very sheltered life. There have been a lot of times that I shared my passion for writing and it usually comes bombarded with its own set of questions.

I always cringe when it comes time to answer those questions, but I do (mostly). And when I do, suddenly the person that I’ve been made certain to be gets questioned. Suddenly they don’t know me anymore like they thought they did. Suddenly I might just be a lot different than what I make myself out to be. And suddenly, our relationship either shifts or ends.

With writing, my mental health comes into question, and so does this overtly positive outlook people assume I have. It’s not that who I present is false. It’s just that it isn’t all of me, just like who you present initially to anyone typically isn’t all of you either. What I’m interested in is the whole, but what I’ve learned very quickly is that most people aren’t.

I’m still learning how to show people who I am, to trust that they won’t always walk away from it, but I know that not everyone needs to be trusted with that. And as I’m still learning who I am, I’m beginning to understand and become more and more clear on who I can and can’t trust.

But I still don’t tell everyone that I write. It actually takes me a lot to get there and maybe it’s because it still feels too personal, maybe it’s because I feel silly about it. Like there are people out there doing real work and my passion is making up stories and talking about my own. I hate that part of me that feels silly, stupid, and illogical because I know this is something I should be proud of. This is a big part of me and it always has been. This is something that has set me free time and time again. This is something that makes me clearer on the person that I am. Why should I be embarrassed or ashamed of that?

I shouldn’t, right? But I still am sometimes.

Creating Stories: What My Life Could Have Been

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A lot of stories I create come from what my life could have been if certain things had worked out and others hadn’t. I think about it a lot. How different my life would be, how different a person I could have become.

It can be terrifying looking back and noticing how each moment has made such a profound impact on us. How these crumbles of pain, happiness, anger, and fear all came together in some shape or another to create this soul that we currently have. But knowing this has its own set of consequences and sometimes I find myself paranoid at each detail because I know that it can do quite a lot.

I’m a bit of a nit picker. I pay attention to details the way a detective would. Maybe it’s my scorpionic nature or my curiosity towards all that which creates a human experience, but I’ve always been observant. The thing about being observant is that most people will assume you are aloof, mostly because observation requires little speech and more listening. I won’t remember how a stranger looks, but I’ll remember their insecurities. I won’t remember your name but I’ll remember how your eyes dampened when you saw a cat wandering the streets alone and all you wanted to do was take it home and love and nurture him the way all living beings need to be loved and nurtured. I don’t know your favourite colour but I know that your face lights up when you see a young couple who are in the early stages of falling in love. And I know that deep down, you want that for yourself.

I notice people, mostly because I know firsthand that people want to be noticed. We walk around feeling misunderstood, wearing the face of our representatives so that people don’t have to worry about what lurks inside of us.

I think that’s why I fell in love with writing at a very young age. It’s because I wanted to be understood and not feel so alone anymore. But observing everyone else around me was a constant reminder that we all feel that way. That maybe we’re all connected in our aloneness. That my story could be told through any character. That your story could, too. Because when it comes down to it, we’re all the same. We all want the same things, we just have different strategies, upbringings, stories, experiences, relationships that shape the way we go seeking whatever it is that we want. And that thing that we all desire is ultimately happiness.

So I think about it a lot. What other lives I could have lived if certain moments were different in my past. Whoever I became because of those differences, I wonder, would that person be happy? Maybe who I am now wouldn’t be, because I like my life and I like who I am and even though it took a long time to get here, I know that I wouldn’t replace this inner joy inside of me for anything. But I ask, would that person that I would be in that life, be happy there? Would they have a different soul that yearns for different things? Or would we have the same?

I don’t know, and I don’t think that I ever will. But I think that’s the magic of creating stories. We can live all of the lives we could have lived and in the end, still end up inside of our own.

On Writing and Second Chances

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I didn’t always know how to speak. How to convey what it was that I was thinking or feeling, probably because I didn’t always understand it myself. There are still times I find myself in this place. Often when I haven’t given enough time to reflect because everything else took priority. It didn’t seem important enough to put at the top of my list. Or rather, I didn’t think that was important enough to put at the top of my list.

So I listened to music and found that the lyrics I gravitated towards typically felt the same way. I would sit at the foot of my bedroom door and place my headphones into my ears, a disk into my walkman (because yes, those existed and I totally had one) and just let it soak in. I let myself understand. That was my time for reflection.

Last night was a turning point for me. I found myself in a dark place, having given another chance to someone who doesn’t want to change. And time and time again, I fall into this illusion that maybe this time will be different, but it never is. That this instance has replayed over and over too many times that I don’t think I can do it anymore. I reached a point of breaking down until I started hearing rain shooting at my windowsill. I heard thunder and saw flashes of lightening. I laughed because I had just written about energy matching energy and it felt like the universe got me. Like it knew exactly how I felt and it wrestled into a storm, showing me that it’s okay.

It was a permission slip of sorts that reminded me that everything can spiral. Everything can rage. Everything can cry, even the sky. And then, when it’s all over, the world becomes quiet, just like my mind.

So I thought about it all last night as I was trying my best to fall asleep and then again this morning. How many chances do I hand out before I am left with nothing? How many times should I let myself get back down here, back to drowning? How many times do I let my own perception cast a filter on someone else’s truth? And how many times am I going to let myself feel defeated when mask that I put on their face comes off? Because it always does. And how many times am I going to blame them instead of taking a look at the part I had to play in this?

Maybe a lot of us do this. We see what we want to see. We see what we hope. We see through our own intentions instead of another’s. And then we fall flat on our faces when we learn that they weren’t how we imagined. Or that they didn’t change like we thought. And the thing that keeps us on this rollercoaster of letting the behavior pursue, or continuing to hand out these chances is this scary thought that what if we don’t and this time is when it’ll actually be real.

When I started thinking about second chances and false perceptions, what came to my mind was why I’ve always found hope, trust, and love in writing. How time and time again, it has saved me. How many times I’ve clung onto it with my dear life because it was all I had. Books, journals, blogs, essays, stories, quotes. Words.

How words can be so much like humans. They can flirt and flutter, or lie and deceive, or give you hope and love. It’s the words you choose to read, the words you choose to write, and the words you learn to trust. Because in the end, words can heal just as easily as they can betray. But words are words and humans are humans. And if you cast your own filter on either, they won’t get to tell you their truth, so why would we expect to see it?

If we’re seeking to become the most authentic versions of ourselves, I think we also have to remember that we have to allow others to be the most authentic versions of themselves, too. And the truth is that sometimes that’s going to hurt, but it can also be humbling and magical. What I understand now is that maybe to see things as they are, we have to simply let them be. Let words be words. Let humans be humans. And then decide, what do you want to be a part of?

What Happens When Your Daily Routine Doesn’t Work Anymore

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I get really attached to my routines. There’s this sense of order I thrive off of in my mornings that I haven’t really gotten or perhaps even wanted in other areas of my life. But this little daily structure is what has let me feel free in all other areas, even when I feel stuck. So as you can probably imagine, it was both frustrating and stress-inducing when I began to wake up day after day and realised that my morning routine was no longer enjoyable for me. It was instead, a burden.

It became this thing that I held myself to. If I didn’t accomplish all of these things in the morning, then I would deem myself a failure. I would feel down and scrutinise myself for the rest of the day. I would tell myself that I’d make up for it by doing twice the work tomorrow.

The day after I finished the first draft of my novel, I sort of went into what I like to call my “mourning period”. Writing it was such a significant part of my daily routine and when it was over, I knew it needed to rest before it was time to edit.

My full-time jobs have never really been my passion, but simply a means to make ends meet. I never wanted to rely on my creativity to compensate me for its time. I don’t expect for it to provide me wealth or fame or whatever else. I’ve always known how to work to make ends meet so that I can give any open time to my writing and other creative pursuits. I know that if I don’t have other jobs that help me provide for myself, I’ll be too stressed to create anything at all. And the deal I have with my creativity is just to spend time together. There’s nothing else I really need from it to feel satisfied. No money, no attention.

So when the first draft came to an end, I felt like my morning routine became burdensome. It wasn’t fun. It was just tasks that I had given myself. Tasks that were once enjoyable, but now, a chore. I realised that writing the first draft of my novel was what really fueled me above anything else. Everything else in my morning routine was tied to it, too.

I did yoga before and after writing because I’d be in too deep in the emotions of the characters. I would feel everything and too much of it, so doing yoga put me back into my present being. I would brew a cup of coffee and light a candle while I journaled to let out any of my own thoughts and feelings so that I could fully immerse myself into the story right after. And then after writing and doing yoga, I’d make breakfast, pack my lunch and dinner and head on to work.

When my first draft was over, suddenly all the other parts of my routine didn’t make sense. After four months of writing day in and out, working full time, volunteering, and having a steady routine, I felt like when I was finished writing, I was in need of rest. I needed to let the first draft sit there for a while. Maybe a month, maybe two depending on how I felt. But within this period of rest, I’ve felt more and more scatterbrained. I’ve also learned how bad I am at resting.

What I’m trying to understand now is how to restructure my mornings. I had gotten so attached to my routine that when it couldn’t work anymore, I felt like I lost a part of my identity. I felt like I was all over the place, lost and bored. There was no meaning behind it anymore. My days just felt like work, sleep, wake up, journal, yoga. There was nothing enticing me to move forward.

And with that, moving to the other side of the country in two months has been a little stressful. I keep telling myself that this is the worst time because I feel lost and scattered. I keep telling myself that this might not work the way I want it to. And then when I catch myself admist all this scrutiny, I remember that everything that is happening now is just new. It’s not that I am lost or scattered. It’s just that I have never moved across the country by myself before. It’s just that I have never written a novel before and understood what it looks like to be done the first stage. It’s just that this is all brand new for me.

Somewhere along the way, I forgot that this my first time doing all of this and instead chose to call myself a failure or a lost child who didn’t know what she was doing…amongst other things. Somewhere along the way, I forgot that this is progress. That in two months, my life will look completely different than it does right now. That it already does. And that growth is scary because it’s new. But fear is fear and it has such a negative connotation that it becomes our initial instinct to label our lives as failures just because we don’t have all the answers. But the thing is that you create answers as you move along and try different things. You grow by doing something you’ve never done before.

That’s not failure. That’s not even being lost. That, my friends, is transformation.

When a Cycle Ends and the What Nows Begin

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This morning and the morning before, I’ve been waking up with anxiety. I’ll shake in my bed for a few hours and I don’t necessarily know what is happening to my mind or body. All I know is that I’m afraid, but I don’t really understand what I’m afraid of.

In a lot of ways, within this past month, my life has changed dramatically. In other ways, it’s exactly the same. I finished the first draft of my novel on April 21. I was finally able to move out of a toxic environment. The weather has gotten much warmer. I no longer have relationships with many people I once considered my closest friends.

But a lot stayed the same. I’m living in the same town. I wake up at 5-6am every day. I do my pilates and yoga (mind and body) workouts. I let my coffee brew as I go to take a shower and when I come out, I meditate for as long as I’m able to that day. I make breakfast, pack my lunch and dinner, and then begin to get ready to go to work. I usually come back from work at around 9:30-10:30pm and then try to read for a bit before I pass out, and then the day begins again.

It feels as though my life is much different, but my days are all beginning to look identical. I like morning routines. I like waking up early to do all the things I want to do before I do the things I have to do (like go to work). But after finishing the first draft of my novel, writing is no longer on the list of things to do, and that was by far my favourite. Even in the groggiest, tragic, or boring and uninspired days, learning how to write this first draft is what has held me together. And now, it’s over.

I wanted to go back in and start typing out the handwritten draft, but it didn’t want to be typed just yet. I felt a dragging of words that needed time to just sit and rest, and so I let them. In the meanwhile, I’ve had some thoughts of the next book that sprouted a while earlier that I’m beginning to make sense of and research.

But there’s this sense of a cycle’s completion that has been giving me a lot of anxiety. A lot of, “what nows” and “Now that this is over, is this what my life is going to look like?” And of course, the “Am I always going to live in this town and have to work this job?” When am I finally going to save enough to travel? Why can’t I afford to have the type of adventure I crave? What if this draft never wants to be edited? What if I never write again?

The day I finished the first draft, my housemates moved out and I had to pack the rest of my own things. I went to a goodbye dinner the next day for all the people at my work who were 4th-year university students graduating and moving on. Waking up to empty rooms and going to work with new faces, all I felt was lost. All I couldn’t make sense of was why I was still here and everyone else got to move on.

I’m now subletting a room in an apartment for the summer with strangers who complain that I wake up too early or that I need to close my bedroom window at night because they can hear the wind rustling. I moved out of a toxic environment into a place that scrutinises the way I go about my days. All I feel is groggy, meaningless, and like whatever this next phase of my life is going to be, doesn’t want me either.

I’ve been talking to my counsellor about it who is also a very spiritual person and made sense of this in a way that I want to share over here because maybe it’ll do something for any of you who feel as though they have completed a cycle or season of their life. She talked about how there was a time in her life where she explored Paganism and how that helped her understand the cycles of each of our journey’s.

Samhain (in the Pagan Wheel of the Year) is the ancient Celtic festival marking the end of harvest season and the onset of winter. It’s this sort of in-between time, a time right after a cycle’s completion, celebrated October 31st to sunset on November 1. It’s supposed to be a day and point of time when “the veil separating the world of mortals and the world of spirits is at its thinnest, enabling the souls of the dead, witches, and faeries of all sorts to mingle with living people. Even though it’s a cycle’s end, it’s not a sad time but rather it’s considered one of the most sacred. It’s more of a liminal time when the veil between life and death grows thin. It’s considered the most powerful and spiritual time of the year.

If we look at the periods of our lives, the endings of cycles, in a celebratory way, I think they can make room for magical things. Instead, I’ve been struck with anxiety and fear, which is okay and pretty normal. But if we shift our western ways of thinking and see any time of completion with eyes of wonder instead of eyes of fear; if we let ourselves rest and mourn this time and celebrate it all at once; if we look at it as a sacred time instead of a scary and sad one, what would happen? I don’t know about you, but I’m curious to find out.

 

 

Update: Where I’ve Been and What’s in the Works

Hello beautiful humans! I wanted to make a video for you guys just as an update about where I’ve been for the last little while. I didn’t want to abandon my blog and I also felt a little guilty just diving back in without an explanation so I wanted to make this video to let you guys know about this project I’ve been working on. Let me know if you want to see more updates or videos! I’ve never done anything like this before so it’s a tad awkward and weird (kind of like yours truly). I know this isn’t a big blog, but I value those who come to read what I have to say SO SO much and I wanted to get more personal and make this video for you guys.

Truth: A Principle of the Past

It’s been a little while since I sat down to just sit and chat with you guys. That’s what blogging has always felt like to me: a conversation I feel capable of having. I’m not typically the best at conveying my thoughts through speech so this has always been the best form of conversation I’ve ever had.

Lately, I’ve been consumed by the novel I’m writing. It feels like the healthiest addiction I’ve ever had and for once, I feel obsessed over something that’s curing me instead of destructing what I have left.

2016 ended pretty harshly. It was a loss of some friendships that were really important to me, but got lost along the way as we grew in different directions. What’s been more difficult, or what’s supposed to be more difficult is to be living with the friends you have lost. This is a challenge I’ve met a couple of times before (in different contexts of course), but always handled poorly. My go to is to run. When conflict arises, I vanish. But this time, I spoke my truth and now I am living in it.

I’ve always wondered what the end of suffering looked like and I guess I’m learning that it’s the beginning of truth. That doesn’t mean that truth lives without pain. It doesn’t even mean that truth removes pain. To be frank, it actually creates a bigger mess than there was before, or at least it looks that way because now it’s out in the open instead of just in your head. Now other people get to see it and admit to their own truth as well, or maybe continue trying and denying their way out of what’s standing right in front of them, and always was.

The thing about the truth is that once it is told, it becomes a part of your past. Coming from someone who has lived anywhere but the present, I feel cleaner with a mess in front of me that I can now choose to put behind me. The other option is to dwell on something you’re too afraid to admit and living in the anxiety, which becomes a part of your future.

I’m not sure if any of this will even make a lot of sense to you guys because I’m just rambling on, but I wanted to take some time to reflect on my life, on the past year, and on the past month of December. I wanted to see what contribution I can make through my blog now as opposed to what I was able to do before. What more have a learned that I can bring to the table? And what kept ringing in my head was this book. This book that feels like my own secret journey or escape that I can take in my room. It’s an invisible cape I wear that drops me into a different world, one that I get the opportunity to learn about first hand. It’s the feeling I always get when I read a book and now I’m here, 40,000 words later, still smitten, still writing. Right now, this is my dedication and my focus, but I don’t want to leave this space empty so I realize that I have to work around my schedule and find time to tend to it at least once or twice a week because I miss this far too much if I leave it for too long.

I know this isn’t as long as my normal posts, but I wanted to check in and say that I’m not going anywhere. I’m actually realizing that where I am is exactly where I need to be.

Reconstructing Criticism: Not Everyone Will Like What You Create

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I like alone. I do well alone. I like keeping a distance from the world because to me, the world has always felt unsafe. People have always felt unsafe. Criticism has made me feel unsafe. Life has been unsafe.

I have done a very good job at keeping my distance from reality, even I was a kid. I daydream, I read, I listen to music, and I create stories. Anything and everything I have ever done to keep myself sane has come from that form of distance.

Drinking was once an escape for me, but not exactly an escape from reality. That was what I did in my sobriety. Drinking allowed me to enter reality in the safest way I could imagine. It was my easy button; an escape from my mind and a release into reality. Though alcohol often gives you a heightened experience of every emotion – happiness, excitement, temptation, and more often, depression – it never heightened any of that for me. The world was already at that level when I was in my normal senses. But what it did was heighten my ability to express how afraid and alone and unsafe I felt, and continue to feel.

Now that I rarely ever drink and am learning how to change my relationship with alcohol, writing is what I depend on for my safety. My writing is my safe place.

So now, let’s talk about what happened just the other morning. Yesterday, I read my mother a very small portion of the novel I’ve been working on and in an instant, my safe place became cluttered with doubt. Why? Because she didn’t like it.

Before I had even gotten to finish reading the first paragraph aloud to her on FaceTime, she interrupted with some adjustments, tweaks, and suggestions for me.

Now, in the early stages of writing – ESPECIALLY during the first draft, it’s been advised over and over to NOT share your work because it might halt you from continuing. My problem is that I tend to not listen to this kind of crap and it comes back to bite me in the ass.

I was so excited for what I had written because I LOVED what I wrote. I loved the way I wrote it. I loved how my main character was teaching me her ways through her words and actions. After writing it, I read it over and over so many times that every single word in the first chapter got sewn into my brain. I needed to read it to someone. This was something I was so proud of and I was more than ready to just share that feeling with someone else.

My mom is a very genuine, kind-hearted, compassionate and loving person. She is also the most honest human being I have ever met. She lives to tell the truth and I admire her so much for that. Being raised by a woman who will always tell it like it is, is the reason I turned out to be the way I that I am.

But this is my work. This is what I put every fibre of my soul into. This is my pride and joy, my taste of liberty. This is my safe place. Needless to say, I didn’t read any more of it to her. I know when to stop because I know how poorly I handle any sort of criticism, especially when it comes down to my writing. After our conversation, I quickly hid my book in a drawer to keep it out of my sight – not too sure what I was trying to accomplish there, but that was my go-to action. I guess I just needed to distance myself from it. I needed to recollect my thoughts because suddenly my safe place wasn’t so safe anymore. Now I needed to hide from this, too.

Once my initial surge of panic and doubt and fear dissolved, I began to gain a hint of clarity. I really had to dig down inside of myself to understand why it is that I write in the first place. What made me begin? I didn’t start sharing my work until I was 13, which was when I began experimenting with the world of blogging. But I’d been writing since I was 7 years old.

The reason I do this is not exactly for other people. Being someone who tends to bottle everything up, I write to find a way to understand my thoughts and emotions. I write to release. I write to understand the world around me. It’s a way to put my thoughts and opinions somewhere other than my head, so they don’t just get to live in there. It’s a decluttering of my monkey-brain. Writing brings me joy. Sharing it gives me the opportunity to voice my opinions, my emotions, and my feelings. That doesn’t mean that people have to agree with what I have to say or even like the way I say it. It was simply the way I learned, and am continuing to learn that what I feel and what I believe in matters.

I can sit here in the sharp table of doubt, questioning myself and why the hell an overly sensitive empath like me would ever, in her right mind, even consider sharing her work. Because my mom is not the only person who is not going to like it, and that’s okay. My writing is not everyone’s cup of tea. But my opinions and means for sharing are also not for anyone’s approval. You may have your own opinion, and you may voice that opinion, but that doesn’t make mine any less significant.

Of course the “me toos” and “I relate to this” comments have a special place in my heart. They are incredibly encouraging and a great source of motivation for me to continue writing. But they aren’t the only source of encouragement and motivation for me to write. If they were, the critcisms would be far too unbearable and I would have probably stopped writing many many years ago.

But this is my outlet. This is my freedom and this is my creation. The doubt and fear will always crawl their way back in through the hidden side-doors, windows or attic. The voice that mocks my efforts will continue whispering the “you’re not good enough’s” and I’ll just have to calmly ask it to quiet down because some of us have work to do and can’t spend their days sitting around, judging other people.

It’s okay not to like my work. Of course I would rather people enjoy it, but I understand that everyone has their own interests and opinions. However, if your motive is to get me to stop, it’ll take a hell of a lot more than just that.

*Also, this is in no way a bad note on my mom. She is a brilliant, strong, vibrant woman and an insanely talented artist. This is a note on criticism and my ability to cope with it. It’s important to listen to criticism that is constructive, and put that in your file of collected information, applying only what you feel is best for you. Always know that what you create and what you have to say won’t be liked by everyone and that if you live to please everyone else’s likes, you will not only face constant disappointment, but you will also be doing a great injustice to yourself and your work.

Not everyone will like what you create. Quiet the noise and do it anyway. It’s that easy and that hard.

Why I’m Not a Writer

Welcome to my newly renovated space! I decided I wanted to change up my blog to reflect the personal changes I’ve been making in my own life (which you can read about on my updated about me page).

So, you might be wondering what the title of my post means exactly. Why am I not a writer? Do I not write anymore? Of course I still write (hence this blog, silly billy!) Is there some weird negative connotation surrounding writers that I’m unaware of? Other than the whole unnecessary tortured artist thing that’s been floating around since forever, nope! No conspiracy theories that I know of – yet! I just don’t call myself a writer anymore, and here is why:

Last November, I made the decision to begin writing a novel. Since then, the amount of writing that I did increased SIGNIFICANTLY. I began writing more poetry and I researched like a hound dog while simultaneously writing my book. Not only that, but I also found myself the most amazing writing mentor and friend. I began reading my work at open mic nights and I swear I wrote more than I spoke, until one day I just stopped.

You can call it writer’s block but it wasn’t really writer’s block (and to be honest, I don’t even know if I truly believe in writer’s block), but I basically just didn’t feel the need to write anymore. Instead, I started getting really interested in visual merchandising and the work that the creative directors of Bergdorf Goodman and Selfridges do. It was a magical and challenging idea for me to learn how to tell a story, and for once, do it without using a single word.

This was all exciting and definitely a fun new challenge to take on, but for someone who has been writing since the age of 7, this was also very confusing. It took me a long time to give myself permission to call myself a writer, and now I just didn’t want to do it?

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The good thing is, I have a lot of practice reflecting and analyzing. I mean, I am a psychology major for a reason. The bad part is that I typically do that through writing, and I didn’t want to write. So now what?

I meditate.

I actually dove into the art of meditation this summer, and for someone as scatterbrained as myself, it was quite the learning experience. Eventually, I completely made it my own. If you want to learn more about that, I can make it a blog post in and of itself, but for the sake of this particular story, I’ll leave it at this: When I need to gain more clarity, I either write or meditate. This is what I came to understand through that:

Every creative pursuit of mine, whether long term or temporary, has enabled some sort of growth in areas of my personal life where I felt I was lacking in.

13 years – almost 14 years now, of writing. This is typically when the ego chimes in. What was all that for if I was just going to stop all of a sudden? Well, I can actually track back to each and every one of those years that I spent feeling the need to write and what I have come to learn is that it took me that long to learn how to voice my own opinion without needing a piece of paper to do it. It took me that long to stop living to please other people, to stop hiding my thoughts and opinions, and to start speaking up more. The greatest thing I learned how to do was something that I feared the most: confrontation. In the past month, I have had to confront people and stand up for myself more-so than I have in my entire life. And so I learned that although I still love to write, I no longer NEED to write. When I finally learned how to put my voice in my mouth, I didn’t feel like I had to put it on paper anymore.

Then came the curiosity to take a closer look at visual merchandising, something I’m grateful my job has allowed me the opportunity to learn, along with many other things. A giant factor that comes into play with visual merchandising is that you are in a time crunch. You will never feel like you have enough time to plan things out to your liking. What that requires of you is to really trust your instincts and make firm decisions based on those. Terrifying, but you also have no time to worry or overthink anything.

Side note: I can’t speak for all places, but that is what visual merchandising has been like for both places I’ve worked.

Anyways, for someone who has always been pegged as the indecisive junkie, I’ve found myself to really learn how to trust my gut instincts and make decisions according to those instincts in every area of my life. I’ve gotten better at saying “no” to people, prioritizing and giving my time and energy to things that bring me joy rather than things that feel obligatory in order to please others. After getting offered a better position that offered better pay and came with more opportunities from a different employer, which at first seemed to be everything I could ever want, I quit after 3 weeks (which is the least amount of time I have ever spent at any job). I did that because I became very self-aware of the extent to which both my mental and physical health were deteriorating from being in what I now can understand was a very emotionally abusive environment. Like I said, I have never left any job that quickly, but I’ve gotten better at taking care of myself and making decisions that are best for my own well-being. Had it been even 6 months ago that I got that job, it’s likely that I would have stayed regardless of what was happening to my mind and body.

So basically, I don’t call myself a writer anymore, because I’m not just that. That isn’t my complete identity, and it’s not anybody else’s either. We’re humans and we’re complex and we are more than just one thing.

I have a lot of interests and my curiosity directs me from one thing to the next. Right now, one of my good friends from work who is a brilliant artist with such a wild creative mind is teaching me how to play the guitar. I’m also learning more about how to code and diving more and more into photography. The great part about having a blog is that it allows you to have a space for all of your interests. But these creative pursuits are things I’m just curious to learn more about. I’ll get back to you guys once I learn the unexpected life skills that come from them.

What I’ve learned from all of this is that I’m not just a writer – I’m a creative human being.

The Things I Write Are Not Who I Am

Being someone who constantly overthinks everything, sometimes I need to declutter my mind, so I’ve been sort of training myself to write without thinking. I don’t really know what I write, even while I’m writing it, and it’s been a good exercise for me. You’d be surprised at what comes out when you put pen to paper without thinking about it, and just write. Maybe it doesn’t always flow. Maybe it doesn’t always make sense, but that’s the beauty of it. So, here’s a passage from my journal, unedited:

The things I write are not who I am. They represent who I once was, whether that be 5 years ago or 5 minutes ago. So when I write a piece filled with sorrow, don’t waste your time pitying me. I am not who I once was. I was once a girl filled with insecurities. A girl in fear of the world. A girl ready to explore it but trapped in a life that was inescapable. I’m still that girl. I still feel trapped, but I’m trying to change that. I still have insecurities. Maybe even more now, but they’ve evolved. I once feared I would never know what I wanted. Now I fear that I am not good enough for it, but I do it anyway. I do it because they say “practice makes perfect” and I’d like to believe I have some sort of control over myself. So even if that isn’t the case, I’ll believe it is. Even if I’m not what I thought I would be, I’m who I need to be. Even if the world has showed me its dark side and I’ve shown the world mine, I don’t hide in the shadows anymore. There is nothing I feel I can’t conquer. But then I fear I can’t conquer anything at all. What if there is nothing left for me to conquer? What if there is no room for me in the big picture? What even is the “big” picture? I’ve defeated a lot of battles but sometimes I feel more have defeated me. There is nothing I can’t do. But the problem is, will I be able to do it well? If all I have to do is compete against life, I’ll do it because that’s what I’ve always done. If I turn back now, my past will have no relevance. When you’re young, you run. I’ve always ran. I ran from my fears. I ran from love. I ran from my family. I ran from my future. But I came back. This time, I chose to face it all. This time I chose to walk. This time I chose to live. 

Forced Writing Isn’t Always a Bad Thing, I Do it Everyday

There is a moment each day when I begin to question why I do it, why I write. There are instances when I wonder if I even have enough thoughts that are meaningful enough to display for the world to see. I wonder if I have enough to say, or if this is it. This is where the motivation ends. This is when my voice vanishes. This is when I have no more left to say. Each day, I have this moment. Each day, I wonder why I write and if I have the momentum to continue doing it for the rest of my life.

I’ve mentioned quite a few times on twitter chats and even in a few of my blog posts that when I write on my blog, it’s always spontaneous. I never plan out what to say. I don’t know what I’m writing about until I’m finished. I don’t even create a title for my posts until I’m done reading it through and find a theme in my words. Then, I just quickly edit any grammatical errors and hit the publish button. It doesn’t take much thought. I just write and the words just flow, but there is always that fear while I’m writing, that it might all be rubbish. What if nothing I say makes sense? What if there is no meaning or message to send off? What if it’s all just stupid ramblings that no one will care to read? The reason I hit publish right away is because I know if I wait any longer, I won’t publish it at all. Doubt will get in the way and a piece of writing that has the potential of helping someone out will vanish. It will be non-existent.

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The most terrifying thing about writing is the freedom that comes along with it. But that is also the excitement of it. There are days I wonder why I write, but that feeling goes away once I force myself to do it anyway. You may think writing comes naturally, but that isn’t always the case. Sometimes you have to force out the doubt to get to the good stuff. I have pages upon pages in my journal with: “Why am I doing this. I’m stupid. I’m not a writer. There are so many people our there who are better than me. What makes me think I can do this? I’m stupid. This is stupid. I suck. I suck. I suck,” written repeatedly. Then, out of nowhere, something blossoms out. It’s unexpected, it’s random, and it doesn’t always flow, but it comes out.

Writing has a lot to do with release. Often we think this release is simply of our rummaging thoughts or hidden agendas, but the greatest release is that of doubt and fear. Sometimes writing “I suck” over and over on a piece of paper will finally release that sense of doubt so that you can continue writing about what is really on your mind. Then, the writing becomes natural. But writing about doubt, I find, is often forced. It’s forced because when we question our abilities, we run away from our passions. When I begin to fear my future, I don’t want to write, but I force myself to.

So don’t waste your art. It’s easy to forget the importance of each and every one of our voices. We have seen things from a perspective nobody else has. We have a way of speaking that nobody else shares. We have stories that nobody else knows. But in the end, we can all relate to the emotions that have been felt. When fear creeps up and doubt clouds over you, don’t run away thinking that you have lost your natural ability. Remember that sometimes, we have to force out the doubt to get back to doing what we love, naturally.

Why I’m not a Blogger

I just want to give a quick thank you to Taylor from TheDailyTay who inspired this post and made me realize something that’s been bothering me since I began this blog, or just began blogging in general. I’m not a blogger. I’ve never really been much of a blogger. Here’s the situation: I don’t write about the same things that other bloggers write about. My blog has never incorporated too many how-to guides, tips and tricks, or marketing strategies. It’s never had a particular niche such as beauty, fashion, or lifestyle. Okay, I call my blog a ‘lifestyle’ blog but can we all just be real for a second and admit that nobody really knows what that even means?

There are particular topics for blog posts that go viral instantly and certain readers, myself included, who crave those types of blogs. I love reading about beauty tricks and tips on how to improve my blog, but I have never been one to write about those types of things. I love reading about them, but I don’t really enjoy blogging about them all too much.

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What I do enjoy is writing and that’s the way it has always been. But, for some reason, I’ve always felt a tad insecure about this blog, or any of my past blogs for that matter. Perhaps it was the human need to find words to define it so to simplify what it is that I do here. But the only words I can come up with are that this blog is just me, writing. It’s about things I go through in my life, things that I see other people going through, lessons I’ve learned, strangers I’ve met, and how I interpret all of it. I guess in simple words, it’s just a blog about how I interpret life. And that scared me. It scared me because for a while there, I felt out of place in the blogging world. Sometimes, I even felt the need to force out a tutorial or two just to fit in. It’s like my 12-year-old self took over and I was left feeling out of place, like I had to spend recess alone again.

I guess maybe that’s also the reason I’ve resorted to taking blogging breaks on occasion. It’s not that I didn’t want to blog, it’s just that I wanted to spend time away from it to figure out where I wanted to go next. I wanted to plan out a schedule like a real blogger (Fun fact: I write my posts within 20-25 mins and publish them right after) and have tutorials and how-to’s and I wanted to find a niche. But each time I came back, I just kept writing the way I always had. Maybe it’s because this is just the kind of stuff I’m meant to be writing about. Maybe it’s because this is just my voice.

I guess after reading Taylor’s post about why she decided to stop blogging (which you should read if you haven’t already), I began to make sense of what I’ve been doing this whole time. She just had this way of putting into words something that I’ve been going over and over in my head for years. I’m not a blogger, I’m a writer. And BOOM SHAKA FREAKING LAKA, I finally figured it out. I found the reason why I felt so out of place, why I had to force content that regular bloggers just whip out, why I couldn’t find a niche, and why I had no idea what I was doing. It’s because not a lot of people do this, and it took me a long time to feel okay with that.

I guess it was just the little elementary-school-girl in me that wanted to feel like I was a part of something, that I wasn’t the odd one out, again. But the thing is, I am a part of this blogging community and I have made so many friends because of it. Maybe we don’t write about the same things, but we share this passion of writing itself, and that is what bonds us all. But isn’t that the whole point? Doesn’t the whole point of having a blog mean that you get to have your own space where you can do whatever you want? Isn’t the whole point to have your own voice and have it be different so that you can stand out? I don’t think there should be any set limitations to blogging but sometimes it feels as though there are some unspoken rules.

So what I’m trying to say is that I’m going to continue writing about things that interest me. Maybe this blog isn’t like the others, but I’m beginning to be okay with that. In fact, I’m beginning to embrace it more and more each and every day. This blog is not much of a blog, but I hope you guys will continue to stick around anyways.

The Art of Storytelling

Music has always held it’s own place in my heart. As a child, I would browse around the the music section of toy stores and the stationary sections of dollar stores. Any- and everything I owned had to have some sort of a melodic tune incorporated within it. Between writing and music, there was nothing else I needed to feel satisfied.

There was a time in my life that I like to call the ‘nobody gets me phase’ where I chose to dress in baggy t-shirts and over-sized jeans. It was the time where I wore too much eyeliner alongside an extremely deep sided part to my hair that managed to completely cover one of my eyes. The whole point was so that I had to constantly blow hair away from my face Ariel style, duh! I sat on the floor in the small corner of my room, large headphones covered my ears and were attached to a walkman the size of my father’s hand. I blared melodies sung by Avril Lavigne while reading dark and twisted novels. Ah, those were the days. To this day, I still feel the need to explain the story behind the red painted walls of my room that have black borders around them and the one wall with large black and white stripes, mimicking the image of a zebra. “I’m just a fifth-grader who wants to be different and at the same time, just like everybody else because fitting in is crucial and red is a vibrant colour and zebras are cool and nobody gets me! GOD, MOM!” 

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My point is that whatever phase I was going through in my life, music, reading and writing were always a part of it. In a world filled with magic and so much life, we are all still left a little broken, mended, and bruised. But in some way, art has a way of binding us all together. I think that is what has always drawn me towards it, even at a young age. Whether it be music, painting, writing, or anything else of the sorts, art has way of telling a story. But it is a form of storytelling that remains subjective. Once any piece of art is placed in the world, it is no longer the creator’s, but it is left for the rest of us to interpret in whichever way we choose.

Just take the story I told you for instance, about that specific ‘nobody gets me’ phase in my life. Some of you may read it only to be reminded of a time where you were almost that exact person, too. Others may recall a different phase in their life that may be just as cringe-worthy. Either way, storytelling has never failed to be the one thing that binds us all together. It is the one thing that connects our emotions to someone else’s and for a moment, may it be a split-second of time, you feel a little less alone in this world. There is beauty that comes with a simple melody, a single lyric, a dialogue in a novel, or splattered paint on a canvas, that has the power to resonate with us.

It doesn’t necessarily have to be the typical forms of creativity that can be viewed as art, or forms of storytelling. A single whiff of an old fragrance can carry the ability to bring you back to your sixth grade dance when you finally got the chance to awkwardly slow dance with your longstanding crush. Perfumes hold stories, as does the messenger backpack you lugged around your right shoulder throughout the ninth grade, regardless of the aching sensations it brought to your body. Just about anything can be used to tell a story. But it is just up to you to bring that story to life.

I Have a Crush on my Blog

“I’m sorry but what does that even mean? You’re weird.”

Well you impatient hooligans, I’m about to tell you exactly what I mean and maybe there is a slight chance that you will agree with me.

From the moment I created this blog, a part of me fell in love with it. I may not be a big-time blogger who has countless readers and numerous comments on each post, but this is my space. I write because it’s therapeutic. I write because my forms of excitement cannot just simply be contained in my head. I write because maybe even a single sentence has a possibility of helping someone somewhere. I write because I love to write.

If you have read my Blogmopolitan quiz, you know that my favourite time of day is at night when I can write about it. It doesn’t necessarily have to be on my blog, but it could be my journal or the notes app on my iPhone (which tends to happen often when I’m travelling and get struck with an idea). Every morning when I wake up, that is the part of my day I look forward to and when it finally comes, I get goosebumps and this sort of tingly feeling in my body. It’s creepy and weird, but I crave it. That’s what keeps me going. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, it is very similar to the butterflies you get in your stomach when that cute boy you’ve been talking to kisses you for the first time or you go on your very first date. It’s a magical feeling and I am fortunate enough to feel it each and every day.

I think about my blog all. the. time. I think about ideas for posts. I think about what I can improve. I think about my favourite bloggers and what inspiration I can take from them. And when I am not thinking about it, I am checking up on it — whether that be responding to emails, comments, checking stats, etc etc.

What I love the most is that it never gets boring. I am one who gets tired of routines and uniformity, but with blogging, there is always something new out there. There are always new blogs you can read, bloggers you can meet, improvements you can make and layouts you can change. Nothing is stable and I love it. There is always a new goal you can set for yourself to meet and ways to spice things up when they are starting to get tedious.

It’s not a hobby, it’s an addiction. If you feel the same way, care to share so I don’t feel alone in my weirdness?

Her Campus National Intercollegiette Conference 2014

Originally posted on Her Campus Queens
 

My love affair with New York City began before I had ever traveled there. I had always thought of it as this magical place where people with dreams reside and in the midst of all the noise and commotion of the city, it’s a place where all of those dreams have a chance of coming true. The first time I went to New York was last year with my family and I spent most of my time there observing all of my surroundings, taking pictures in my mind (and also at the time, my poor quality camera phone) to capture the beauty of it all in motion right there in front of me. This year was completely different.

I attended the Her Campus Intercollegiette Conference on Saturday July 12 and Sunday July 13. As excited as I was, I didn’t want to get my hopes up too high for an amazing trip for the slight chance that I may become disappointed with the result. But of course, I was wrong to even consider the possibility of something going wrong (other than getting lost in the subway multiple times) because it was beyond what I could ever imagine.

I attended the conference with a fellow Her Campus writer from my chapter (she’s on the right) and we decided to make a weekend out of this trip, neither of us with the slightest idea of what to expect of it.

The moment we stepped on the campus of Columbia University, I knew that whatever came next would be worth it — and if it wasn’t, we could just spend the rest of the time taking pictures #nofilter.

 

Anyways, when we finally got inside for registration, they handed us these adorable name-tags and a completely packed goody bag. And when I say packed, I mean overflowing with free stuff and everyone who knows anything about me knows how much I love free stuff! After grabbing some breakfast, we all took a seat for an introduction and the first keynote speaker. While munching away my delicious blueberry flavoured Luna bar, I took the time to look around the room at everyone who was just as eager as I was for this opportunity. I realized that I was surrounded by people with goals and dreams, those of which were similar to mine, and we had all come together in this magical city to try and make something out of them. There was something we all could take out of this conference and the greatest feeling was that we were all in this together.

The most memorable person I had met would probably be Emma Barker, Cosmopolitan’s Sex and Relationships Editor. Typically, I thought I would get a chance to meet her after watching her seminar, however, the lineup was far too long and I decided that I would talk to her near the end of the conference during the networking reception. Well, that is not exactly how it happened. My friend and I decided that during the lunch hour, we should take pictures around the campus after we eat. It made sense at the time, but come to think of it, it was probably not the best idea to take pictures the moment after we stuffed our faces with Chipotle. Of course in that moment, our excitement overpowered the functioning of our brains. After countless photo-shoot sessions and attempting to pose in every stance possible, we realized we had five minutes to get back into the conference to listen to the next speaker. While speed-walking in heels, I abruptly came to stop after noticing that I had just seen Emma Barker walk past me. I didn’t exactly know what move to make next and so I did what any rational human being would do — I yelled her name and began to run towards her. Now, please note that I am in no way a runner. I do not understand people who run or how they do it consistently and for longer than a period of two minutes. The only reason that I would ever run is if a murderer is chasing me and also I guess to meet Emma Barker. Not only did I run, but I did it in my heels. Don’t worry, the pain caught up to me moments after but I do not regret it at all. Anyhow, I realized that when I finally caught up to her, I had no idea what to say. I may have even forgotten how to speak in English for a moment. However, even though I stuttered my way through every word, she was such a kind person and still somehow managed to hold a conversation with me. Afterwards I felt a mix between a sense of accomplishment and complete embarrassment. It was fantastic.

Overall, I learned so much about different aspects of not only writing, but the whole magazine world. The marketing aspects, the photography, the digital vs print, and how it is difficult to get in the industry but it isn’t impossible. But if you think about it, struggle comes along with every part of your life so you might as well put everything into what you love and make the struggle worth it. Like I said, it was the perfect weekend and I definitely plan to go again next year!