Category Archives: Life lessons

How to Avoid a Flatting Disaster

Moving into a flat can be an exciting time for any teenager. You finally get to have a slice of independence, have your own room, and begin your life of adulthood. When you meet your flatmates everything seems great at first and they seem so wonderful to live with. But soon enough you’ll realise there are many types of flatmates out there that are difficult to live with. The friendly atmosphere can come crashing down at any minute.

While I was at University I learnt that flatting can sometimes be a nightmare, different personalities clash, and some people just don’t see eye to eye. It can be rather scary adjusting to a new city, a new job, and living with strangers/friends. So what can you do when you get bad flat mates? How can you keep the peace? Over the years there are a few things that I’ve learnt. Here we go:

  1. Choose Carefully

Sometimes you might not always be so lucky to share a flat with people you know so well or get to meet them first. Especially if you’re studying and desperate for a flat. If you are looking for a flat look at the job advertisement first. This will usually have keywords like respectful, considerate and so on. Do you fit what they’re searching for? Then again if you’re searching for a new flatmate a good question can be, tell me a bit about yourself? If they don’t meet the criteria or if they send off negative signals, pay attention! Once you sign a 12 month contract, or a long flat contract, that’s a long time to live with people you aren’t so fond of.

If my experiences have taught me anything it’s that you should never live with (some) friends. Even if you think you know them things can turn ugly. Until that person is in your face 24/7 and you start to see their flaws you might be in for a big shock. You eventually have to learn how to stand up for yourself otherwise you get walked all over. There can be tantrums, arguments, and all sorts and you really wonder why on earth you agreed to live with that person in the first place! It’s just not worth ruining a friendship by living together. Then again it’s not all doom and gloom! Living with some friends has been a breeze. We got along well because we were similar people, I suppose that’s what it comes down to.

2. Hang Out

If there are different cultures and people in a flat it can be really good to just hang out with each other (if you want to). My friends and I would cook dinner together once a week and have a good old chat. We would bake some muffins or go to the movies. Celebrating birthdays was also another big thing! If you happen to be living with strangers there are a few things that can break the ice. I remember watching TV shows with a girl I had just met and eating junk food together. Perfect. There are always going to be people you just instantly click with. Another great way to get to know people is to have a gathering, some call it a flat warming. It gives people a chance to bring their friends round and just chill out. Anyone for cheese and crackers? Yum.

3. Have a Cleaning System that Everyone Agrees on

dirty-dishesWhen there is a system failure in a flat it usually comes down to cleaning. People eventually end up yelling, “Did you do the dishes, did you REALLY do the dishes?” These type of people will leave a mess everywhere. Their room has a stench in it that is slowly wafting down the hallway, and you’re terrified to even think about what is under their bed. As a rule of basic hygiene if you make a mess you clean up that mess. You’d be surprised at how many people cannot do this.

I’ve seen people leave unspeakable things in the toilet, on the toilet floor, and on top of the toilet yet they just leave it there even after they are politely asked to clean it. WHY. Were these people not potty trained early in life? Have they no decency? I admit I’m a tidy person but that does not mean I want to clean up disgusting things. It doesn’t matter if you’re lazy or if you have different levels of hygiene in the flat it’s a team effort. Anyway, morale of the story is that you should try to lay out some ground rules for cleaning. Maybe a roster (if there are like 8 people in one flat) or a quick chat as soon as you move into a flat to see what works for everyone. Otherwise the arguments over cleaning will never end.

3. Be Considerate of Others

You’ve just settled into bed and you’re about to fall asleep, when BAM loud music starts playing and the house starts shaking. When you have to get up early for work the next day or you have an exam what can you do? If you’re losing sleep it can cause bloodshot eyes and grumpiness. Not good. It’s all about the golden rule; be considerate. It’s handy to know when people in the flat work, when they need their sleep, and when it’s appropriate to have friends round. Say for instance if there are quiet people in a flat versus loud and outgoing ones it can be a bit of a clash. If people continue to be inconsiderate and throw loud parties and you don’t like it, perhaps that flat culture isn’t the right one for you.

A Happy Home is a Good Home

There are some big clues as to when a flat is not a good place to live. It really isn’t worth staying somewhere that makes you feel like you have to hide in your room or avoid other people. I’ve met some really cool people while flatting, and others just don’t gel so well together. Flatting can be really fun when you find the right people to do it with.

I hope this helps anyone who might be flatting for the first time, or anyone struggling who is on the verge of tears. If you do end up living in a bad flat hopefully one day you can look back and laugh about it. After all flatting is only temporary. One day you’ll have your own place and it’ll be pure bliss.

Mental Illness: Let’s Talk About It

Mental illness. These words are often the elephant in the room. When these words are spoken it’s as if no one knows what to say. What if you say the wrong thing? It’s not unusual to tread carefully with your words. But what I’ve noticed is the silence. The silence is worse than anything. Mostly because people shuffle around awkwardly and they prefer not to talk about such a thing. Well, I want to talk about it.

I have known people close to me that have suffered from mental illness. Only with time did I realise what was occurring. As I grew older, I began to understand from my own experiences and from seeing others go through it, that when bad things happen in life, a bad break up, a death, or a loss of a job, depression can kick in very unexpectedly. I know that New Zealand as a whole has some of the highest rates of suicide and depression. Now is the time for us to talk about it more in every day conversation and to give people the hope they so desperately need. So that no one feels like they have to suffer alone.

I wanted to do something a bit different with this blog and something more personal. I interviewed some friends who have kindly shared their experiences about their mental health/illness including; anxiety, depression, and bipolar. I’m very humbled that they’re letting me share their story, so thank you again. I’m sure their experiences will encourage people who might currently be struggling. Read on to find out about their inspiring journeys.

Bipolar

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I thought it would be interesting to speak to Raz, 25, because he is a true friend, he is full of energy and he has a very captivating personality. Most of all, he is very straightforward and upfront about his ups and downs with his bipolar disorder. It’s both admiring and encouraging! Check out how far Raz has come and what he thinks about bipolar:

When did you first notice any signs or signals that you had bipolar disorder? 

I first found out when I was diagnosed while in rehab for drugs. Prior to this I didn’t suspect I had any type of disorder.

Did it take a while for you to accept it or were you ready to seek help?
I didn’t want help, at the time rehab felt like a prison. Being strapped to the bed so I wouldn’t hurt myself.
Was it quite scary to deal with at first?
Not exactly scared, I didn’t want their help. I was young and dumb, there was a twisted pleasure from denying their help. Having to get used to taking all these different type of pills, therapy and just in talking things out instead of resorting to violence was something completely foreign to me.
Are your moods quite unpredictable and is there a sense of mania or depression?
Yeah, my mood changes a lot. I can wake up happy and by the end of the day I can be depressed, even suicidal. Generally, I can’t tell if I’m going through mania or a depressive state until it’s over. While in one of those states it feels as if you have been like this your entire life, at least that’s how I feel.
Have you pinpointed certain triggers that make your bipolar more intense, like lack of sleep or stress?
Triggers can be anything really. Something I see for example, can trigger a memory and that in turn triggers an episode. Stress not so much for me personally. I learned how to deal with stress but sleep deprivation does. The medication I take sometimes causes insomnia, so it’s like a vicious cycle.
Do you take medication, and has this improved or helped you a lot?
I take anti-psychotics and mood stabilizers. They have helped, episodes rarely happen but the feeling of depression that sometimes happens doesn’t really go away.
Are your friends and family supportive of your journey? 
Yes, every one has been really accepting. If not for some of my friends which I consider like family I probably wouldn’t be alive right now.
Have you always felt quite comfortable to share your story with other people and if so why?
I don’t have anything to hide. I’m not ashamed of having Bipolar disorder. I’ve always being straight forward with people. What you see is what you get, you either accept me for who I am or you don’t.
Have you ever had a breakdown or had a moment where your bipolar felt like it couldn’t be controlled?
Yes, when I had my two suicide attempts via overdose. In those moments I just couldn’t see any way out of the situation apart from death. I was exhausted both mentally and physically. Ending it all seemed the only way I could be at peace.
How do you put yourself in a good mood or pull yourself out of a negative space?
I call a couple of my mates who I mentioned are like family to me. Talking to them always calms me down. I also think of the best thing that happened to me that day and just focus on that.
For people who might not know much about it how would you explain bipolar in your own words?
It’s hard describing it. Unpredictability, self-destructivness, one moment you feel like you can take on the world and start doing reckless shit like “Yeah, stealing this car and driving it off the pier sounds like an adventure” and you can’t hear how crazy that sounds. It just sounds normal to you. And then when mania ends you’re on the floor crying because of depression.
What would be your advice to those struggling who might be afraid to tell other people or don’t want to get help?
Please get help, I couldn’t have gone through some of the stuff I did if it wasn’t for people willing to help. Don’t be afraid to tell people. If they distance themselves from you when they find out, it just proves they weren’t real friends to begin with. And you need as little negativity in your life as possible.

Anxiety & Depression

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Now dealing with mental illness is one that is not easy and one person I spoke to has anxiety, depression, and bipolar. We’ve had good chats in the past about mental illness and Hannah is very brave for opening up about it. Read more on Hannah’s personal experience and how she perseveres:

At what age were you diagnosed with bipolar, depression, and anxiety? 

I was diagnosed at 16.

Having all three must be a struggle, are there days where it becomes to much or you break down?

I break down quite frequently. I am seeing a psychiatrist weekly though for more help and as someone I can talk too. And I get support through medicine.

Is one thing more present than the other sometimes, for instance one day do you feel anxious and depressed or does it happen all at once?

The depression is definitely more present than the other. Anxiety comes about only in situations where I feel extremely uncomfortable.

When did you think to yourself that it was time to start medication and to see a counselor?
I didn’t think anything was wrong with me. My parents saw that I was suffering and forced me to go get medical help.
Are you surrounded by good people such as friends and family that support you?
My family is very supportive of my condition, and they try to make sure my days are full of things that make me happy and put me in a positive place. My friends likewise know about my condition and are very kind towards me.
What helps you to calm down or to put you in a positive mood when you’re feeling quite down?
I listen to music that I can sing along too or have a smoke and talk to a friend on the phone, it calms me down the most.
What triggers you to self harm or to think of suicidal thoughts and how do you get out of that state of mind?
I haven’t self harmed myself in quite a while now and I think it’s due to the medication I’m taking. What would trigger me to hurt myself is thinking about little things I’ve done in the past which make me feel very low about myself and my self esteem. Once I’m in that mood it’s very hard to come out of it. If I get that way I will end up hurting myself in one way or another.
How would you describe an anxiety attack for people that don’t know what it really is?
I get really really scared all of a sudden, my breath becomes short and at times I feel like I can’t breathe. Quite similar to a panic attack which I suffer from as well, but if you have them both you know the differences.
Having these mental illnesses, does it make things quite difficult such as being in a relationship or having a job?
I think I find it a bit tricky being in a relationship because I want things to be serious and always positive. With a relationship there’s always going to be ups and downs and with my insecurities that come along with these mental issues that I have, they put up a barrier at times. I find it hard to fully trust people.
Do you ever feel afraid to tell people about your condition in case they judge you or don’t understand it?
Yes! I am always careful with who I tell because people brush it off and say “there’s no such thing, she just wants attention” and it’s things like that which really hurt someone like me and brings my self esteem down even lower.
What would your message be to people who are struggling with anxiety, bipolar, or depression?
Get help! The sooner the better. People are there who want to talk to you and help you sort out your problems. Don’t bottle it all up, get it out!
After what you’ve gone through do you feel like a stronger person and has it taught you a lot about yourself?
I’m still recovering and getting the help I need from doctors and my family. It will take a lot of time but I am fully committed to getting the help and to get better.

Depression

13329617_1427046547321282_6292145216688342401_o.jpgNatalie Lanfear, 23, is a huge role model to me and a great advocate for mental illness. Natalie has a YouTube channel/series that looks at her experiences with depression as well. I’m excited to be chatting to Natalie today! Read on for more about her plans for the future:

When did you first know you had depression, and did you recognise it as depression?

I’d most likely had depression for around two and a half years before being diagnosed by a doctor with depression (although I have experienced diagnosed anxiety since the age of 14). I had no idea for those two and a half years prior to being diagnosed that depression was something I had left alone, something I would experience or have to go through. Even when being diagnosed with depression, it took me a long time to accept that I had this illness, (mostly due to myself being a stubborn person) and that it was in fact something that I had.

However, deep down I knew something wasn’t right. I was having more bad months and seasons (rather than just days) than good, and life became a chore to do rather than be lived. Hiding the pain was something I’d somewhat become the master of, so other people didn’t know that I had it. In real terms this actually made my mental health heightened and worse by covering it up.

Do you think having depression changed your life dramatically?

Yes depression for sure changed my life dramatically. My first bought of depression happened when I was quite young at seventeen years old after a sporting injury. I had to take an entire year off school in year 12. It really changed my life and the relationships between people in my life at school. At the time I had no idea what I was going through and having to balance the act of typical teenage highs and lows whilst battling my mind was a never ending cycle of inner turmoil. I relapsed twice in the three years following this time. This is why I am partly so passionate to talk about mental health especially towards young people.

Are there some days that are harder than other days?

Without a doubt some days are harder than others living with a mental illness. A common misconception I’ve found in the past year, as in 2016 I have been speaking more about mental health on a public scale, is that because I am in recovery I am magically cured! Usually this misconception is fuelled by ignorance of mis-education that has been placed within society. Granted the recovery is not even comparable to living through depression, I would not wish that upon anyone. But with recovery you have tools in your toolbox that you know will work for you. And you are more aware of your own signs and signals when your mental health is detonating. By experiencing mental illness you don’t just get over it, you work with it and become a newer, improved version of yourself when embarking upon recovery.

What things help you get through or put you in a better mood?

Things that help manage my mental wellness are exercising regularly, getting enough sleep, attempting to have balance in my life with trusted family and friends. Being extremely honest with myself within how I’m feeling, saying no doing tasks or events where appropriate, doing hobbies that I enjoy and knowing my personality, which lies towards ambivert qualities. For example, I love being around people but also know my limits and need time and space to be alone to recharge whilst knowing within myself this is alright.

Were your friends and family quite supportive when you told them?

I was very lucky that I had an extremely supportive family and close group of friends. Although my family and friends knew long before I did, or wanted to accept that I had depression, that I wasn’t myself. At the age of 17, it was a time when I found out who my true friends were and I am lucky to still have these people in my life today. Although we don’t live close anymore with our lives having gone in different directions. Our bond as friends is strong because we have all gone through our fair share of ups and downs, mental health struggles included!

Are there certain triggers that might make your depression harder to deal with?

One trigger that makes it difficult to manage my depression is change. Change in relation to everyday life events, major life events, and seasonal change. Change is inevitable within life and change is always to going to happen. I can’t speak for the future and predict how having been through depression may help or hinder changes in future events. But being aware of my triggers and how to best respond to them, will assist in preventing a relapse and managing my mental wellness for life.

I think it’s also important to note that depression can affect people in a number of different ways, noticeable triggers may not be evident for all people experiencing depression and triggers can be hard to pinpoint.

What made you want to share your story to the public?

I have been running my YouTube channel for the past three years. I always knew I wanted to talk about mental health in some form but timing is everything. I had to make sure I was in a suitable head space to be able to talk about my mental health whilst safeguarding and protecting my mental well being at the same time. I ran a mental wellness web series on my YouTube channel this year which was well received, and also shared my personal experience with the black dog. I was extremely nervous to do this but felt I was at a point on my mental health journey that I could manage it.

I had a great desire to share aspects of my story in hope that it would help others who are experiencing/experienced their own mental distress. I wanted to provide them with hope and a form of comfort that mental illness can be recovered from.

Have you always been quite open to discuss depression if people ask about it?

Yes I have been quite open in discussing depression if people ask about it. I’ve always been the kind of person who is comfortable in discussing difficult topics with others when it is right, mental health is no exception. Mental health and depression aren’t dirty words, we all have mental health. It is something that should be discussed, in good times and bad.

Do you think the stigma around mental illness makes it hard for people to open up about their struggles?

Absolutely. Although I was happy to discuss my struggles with mental illness doesn’t mean I wasn’t apprehensive about the stigma that is associated. and continues to be associated with mental illness/health and wellness. However, I do feel like with myself , and many others, who share their stories about their experiences with mental illness, that the stigma does have less chance of thriving with the more people who discuss it.

You’ve done some amazing work raising awareness for mental health/illnesses in Taranaki, what do you hope to achieve next?

Thank you. That is very kind of you to say. It has been without a doubt an incredible year on with working on my mental health awareness projects that I have been lucky to be part of. I wouldn’t have been able to do any of it without my strong support crew around me and people within the community who have been backing these projects as well.

Big City Big Dreams

The bright lights, the smell of a new city, and a fresh start. By day downtown is the heart of this booming city. Cups of coffee, greeting friends with a smile, and a biscuit in one hand. Crumbs fall on my lap as I watch the people go by in the street. A lady asks for peoples signatures to support a protest. People sit on corners of the street with their eyes closed as they play their instruments. The melody echoes down the road right into my ears and it’s a lovely sound. I give some coins to the man who is content with just himself and his music. Pop up stalls and passionate people with a cause often linger around. One group tells a crowd about the ice melting in Antarctica. I am approached and given some sort of new 3D gadget, where you watch the documentary in virtual reality. Things jump up on the screen and a polar bear is just a few meters away from my vision. I take the device off and squint at the sky. Then I am back to reality and hike up Queen Street here is a tip; do not wear heels up that steep hill.

lights

At night time Auckland is full of decorations where the trees are covered in lantern lights and drops of light sprinkle the streets. The Sky Tower stands proudly in the center of the city. I remember having dinner in the Orbit restaurant where the place rotated once every hour. It was a wonderful view alongside a good steak, but I did get distracted by the spinning it was very amusing. In town an ice rink sees a crowd of people fumbling around trying to ice skate, but they have a fun time anyway. I glance at all the shops as I wander by. Quirky coffee shops are hidden on each corner, food and more food is everywhere. There is so much to choose from how can I not feel greedy with all the options? Finding my local place to go is a must; a pub, or hang out spot. It is something special to have a little getaway.

 Straight Outta University

Some people travel and others get the chance to do what they enjoy. Others may relax or work for awhile to reach their goals. There are many times when I have gotten the common question after studying:

What are you going to do now?

Well I can tell you what happened it occurred in a bit of a blur. I packed my suitcase and was off. My lovely regular customers were shocked to hear I was leaving. The ones who come in at the exact same time every morning with the usual set of groceries. I was wished good luck by family and friends. I heaved my suitcase that weighed a couple of rock, and landed in Auckland. I’m happy to have joined the team at Prominence as a Content Writer. You can even view my little welcome blog here. I’ve learnt the team are a cool bunch of people to work with and a cute office dog often visits. I think my fascination with Star Trek, Star Wars, and cups of tea has helped me fit in a bit.

When it comes down to it, I have do that whole “grown up” thing of making wise choice and standing on my own two feet. I did get a bit lost on my first day and was feeling a bit mortified but I am getting better. Embarrassment is all a part of it right? In saying that I did just drop some food on myself while writing this. So if you are eating and typing do it with caution. Anyway, I think I’ve done a good job of surviving when I was a student. What do I refer to myself as now? A graduate? Still figuring out bus routes? No longer can I purchase a student movie ticket which means I am on the path to officially being a young adult. I have being equipped with knowledge from those who have it. The adult world is a step up but not all so different. It still includes multi-tasking, coffee, and grades on performance.

New Dot On the Map

I have lived in many places including England, New Plymouth, and Wellington. It is Auckland’s turn this time. I have visited this city yet never pictured myself living here. Now I am another one to add to the population of one `million and it continues to grow. By 2020 the population is estimated to reach at least four million. We will all have to squeeze into this city where everything is at a persons fingertips. I still feel like I’m on holiday and will be leaving soon it’s a strange thing. The best part is the chance to explore and wander as far as I want to. I’m still doing some sightseeing and finding quirky things in the area.I am off and out into the real world where people can be harsh, but really they are just being honest.

I bumped into a friend today out of all the places it was a sense of something familiar. Although I rushed to a new town I am having a good time so far. It can be overwhelming sometimes, but it is comforting to know home is never to far away.

Twenty two

Well I’m now twenty two. There have been plenty of milestones and great memories. A few fashion disasters, and a mullet at some point in my childhood due to an accidental hair cut. Most of all in this post I wanted to share a few things I think are important.

1) Believe in yourself. You have to start by raising, and building yourself up when others don’t believe in you. The people who achieve amazing extraordinary things are the ones who were told they couldn’t do it. Be confident in everything you do. I believe you can fly, and yes you can touch the sky.

2) If you’re having a bad day, remember it will pass. Some days you may feel like there is no point getting out of bed. You feel like you’re not where you want to be in life. You’re happy for others who are doing well but wish you could reach that level. It all takes time and everyone works at their own pace. Don’t sweat too much. Try again tomorrow.

3) Find kindred spirits. We often connect to people at different levels. Finding people who are eager to talk about similar interests, and having intellectual conversations is probably the nicest feeling where you’re both on the same page.

4) Don’t be consumed by technology. There are plenty of people who can’t stay offline. We live in a digital age where people are addicted to technology. We can’t go anywhere without phones or taking a selfie on holiday. Sitting a few inches away from a performer and we still somehow have our phones out.

Some wander the streets and get injured playing games on their phones. Families sit in a living room all on their phone, iPad, or other device. It shows how sucked into technology we are. Bring it back to the old days. Write letters or send a card. Read the                       paper. Could you last without a cellphone in your hand?

5) Mental illness. A person may just be feeling down and we can never know the pain of what someone is going through. It could be anything from a break up. Feeling depressed, anxiety or any form of an inner battle. It doesn’t define them the label is what society has created. They’re afraid and they may not even want to tell anyone about it because of the stigma around mental illness. I know people who are affected in different ways but I will always be a friend if they need to talk. During research for study I found Sir John Kirwan to be a great advocate on the matter as someone who has gone depression himself. He says depression is not a weakness. You can check out more of his talk here. 

6) Don’t think just write. My friend gave me an inspiring book by Steven Pressfield about creativity.

One of the first things Pressfield talks about is resistance. He basically sums up my problem when it comes to writing; procrastination;

“We don’t just put off our lives today, we put them off until our deathbed. Never forget: This very moment, we can change our lives. There never was a moment, and never will be, when we are without the power to alter our destiny. This second we can turn the tables on resistance” – The War of Art; Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles. 

7) A higher power. Some meditate and find peach within. Whereas others still search for that extra thing that seems to be missing from their life. Whether it is faith or religion everyone has a different opinion. People seem to be on the same path of trying to discover the meaning of life. All of the various religions lead to the one conclusion of finding a higher power. Many people feel at ease knowing someone is guiding, and watching over them no matter what. What do you believe in?

8) Share the love. To many people bring each other down because of jealousy or hate. The pressure from the media is always telling us how to act, look, and feel. Share the positive attitude. Women, and men are constantly battling with self destructive thoughts and you might not even know it. The world is a dark place to live in right now. There is a lot of negativity in the news. Martin Luther King Jr and his wise words resonate today more than ever.

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.

9) Spend time alone. You don’t need to chase after people to prove you’re important. Focus on yourself. Practice what you enjoy to do. When I’m older I will probably want to have told my younger self don’t waste time to just try to put effort into pleasing other people, men, women, friends, relationships. It will be there for you to pursue when the time comes.

10) A balanced mind goes well with a balanced body. If you look after your mind then the results show on the outside. Good food with a few treats. Now it may take me a while to get rid of some dark eye circles due to years of studying, but hey the crinkles and wrinkles show character right? I enjoy a nice face mask at the end of each week from LUSH, and a chance to detox all the stress or jumbled thoughts. A cup tea with a good book is a nice little getaway.

11) Love. The word has been thrown around so much by people who don’t know how to express or show it in actions rather than just words. It can be used against someone, and an excuse for bad behaviour. I don’t think it’s fair to settle for less if someone gives it their all, and in return they get half attempts at romance and no effort. Today’s generation confuses short satisfaction with real relationships the notion has become so twisted that it’s all turned into fun and games. There are shortcuts and cheats to trying to win someone’s heart just for a “laugh.” I give a round of applause to the good gentleman, and kind women who respect and value the word love. So when can you know what on earth the mystery is? The four letter word that has had people puzzled for centuries it remains an unsolved riddle for many.

12) Laughter.  Sometimes a sense of humour is the best type of charm. Those quirky and fun people you meet who dazzle everyone with their wit and charm. If I’m remembered for one thing I hope people say I made them laugh. I once dreamed of been a comedian but performing in front of people is not a strength of mine. I do enjoy it when people make me laugh. You’re doing something right.

13) Forgiveness. Whoever did you wrong, stole your barbie, and called you names or bullied you in school. Whoever hurt you do your best to forgive. It doesn’t mean they need to know or that you need to get in touch. Some people do enjoy upsetting others, and if that’s how they treat people that’s their problem not yours. Let it go and feel at peace.

14) Speak up about causes. Save the animals. Stop the violence. There are plenty of things to fight for in today’s society. Since when did violence and hate become the norm? It’s the few people who speak up that make a difference. Peaceful protests, and positive leaders who inspire those for generations to come.

15) Friends and family. They are always there for you and see you grow, and become who you are today. Encouraging and also many laughs along the way it always a blessing to have supportive friends and family.

16) Never stop learning. Education doesn’t stop once you leave school or stop studying. Going out into the world with new experience is where the learning begins and it never stops. The thirst to know more about life is always there.

17) Have good role models. Looking up to people who are down to earth, and kind can influence a person a lot. They can be inspired by those around them, and influenced in a positive way that makes them strive to achieve great things. I’m inspired by women who continue to fight for their rights for equality and everyday people who try to make a change. We wouldn’t be where we are today without the sacrifice of those people.

18) We are all geniuses. Some of the people considered to be the smartest in the world were ridiculed, and laughed at. It’s the people who think outside of the box that make you really sit up and listen. Everyone is good at something, and has different talents. We all have something to offer.

19) What is an empath. A great quote from Sylvester McNutt says;

My superpower is the ability to feel. I am an empath. I relate to and feel other’s pain, joy, and happiness. It’s a gift and a curse.

Empaths often have great hearts, and people feel comfortable opening up to them. Showing emotion is seen as a sign of strength, and consideration of others. It seems that often these people put others happiness before their own so it is important to take care of yourself as well. If you’re interested to read more about empaths this article by Christel Broederlow is quite interesting. I can relate to some of these things, and I’m sure many others do as well.

20) Enjoy every birthday. As the years go by I still like waking up to balloons. Eating cake, and having a jolly good time whether I’m ten years old or fifty. Yay for Disney movies.

21) Embrace yourself. Imagine if we were all content with how we looked. The scars and the quirky things about ourselves. Would you hide that cute laugh that sounds a bit like a seal when you get excited or would you embrace it? Would you step outside without make up on? The truth is we’ll always feel a bit insecure. Learning to love yourself is like climbing the mountain of self acceptance you will fall a goat may get in your way, and one day you will reach the top. You are you, and I am me. How brilliant is that?

22)  Take a step back and see how far you’ve come. The ups and downs of life have made me hopefully a bit wiser. Knowing right from wrong. Things could have gone different and sometimes things happen that are out of my control. I am always taught a lesson by life whether I like it or not. I have achievements behind me which I am proud of. They’re milestones to look back on to say hey I actually did that! If something embarrassing happens I try to laugh it off. There are fails and triumphs. As a huge Lord of the Rings and Hobbit fan I shall say each day has an unexpected journey around the corner so let’s go on an adventure!

Happiness

Is it a just a word, a feeling, can you taste it or see it? I have always struggled with the word happiness. Some days it embraces me, and other days I wonder if it even exists. I guess I’ve never really sat down and asked myself if I’m happy. I had a think and came up with a few things that contributes to a better mood and overall positivity when I’m by myself, things are hard, or I feel like eating a tub of ice cream.

Have a balance

When I wrote down on paper what was important to me and then put a number next to it based on how much effort I gave it such as study, job, etc, it certainly wasn’t balanced. We give our time to further our careers, and our hearts to people to show them we appreciate them. Sometimes we get so caught up doing other things that there’s no curfew. No proper bed time or enough food. It’s important to get enough of both. Balancing work, or study, and a personal life can be done. There may not always be a perfect balance, but sometimes re evaluating or creating a schedule can take away some stress. I myself love some pen, paper, and making lists.

Have some “you” time

It feels great caring for others and been there for them but it’s also important to appreciate yourself as well. Whether you’re busy all the time, in a relationship, or just never have time to relax ask yourself when was the last time you did something nice for yourself? Can’t remember? Shopping sprees are fun yes. I’m thinking smaller here like little acts of kindness. Maybe a bath with some cucumbers on the eyes, and I know how fabulous I feel after a haircut. No harm in having a glass of red wine (or grapejuice) or getting a nice massage. Buy yourself some flowers next time you walk past some bright pretty ones, a gift to yourself because why not? Treat yourself once in a while. 

Don’t give up

So I’ve looked back on this year and the achievements I’ve made. I stepped out of my comfort zone and got to learn about my family history and myself whilst writing some essays for University. I know that a relationship can’t always be perfect, but it’s worth it if you care about each other no matter what. I learnt that you’re not always going to get along with everybody. There are things I’m proud of and maybe not so proud of. There were good times and bad times. No matter what happened I learnt that…

You can’t change the past, but you can change the future

Do more of what makes you happy

  • Singing is something I truly miss doing. Just in my own time. Something about it is so peaceful, the way you can change a cover to make it sound like your own or just sing a long to a favourite artist. Writing songs though is not my strong point.
  • Cooking. Before I went to University I used to cook more and experiment with recipies. Now I’m lazy and buy ready made pizza or just make simple dishes. Alas it is time to get creative in the kitchen again.
  • Bikes. One day I want a bike with a basket so I can take my picnic in it to the park. Perfect.
  • Reading. I haven’t gone to a library in months expect for study. So to be able to get books out to read for leisure was rather glorious. How could I forget how great books are? They’re inspiring. I can just shut out the world and get lost in a good novel. Beats technology any day.
  • Excersize: Dance around the room! It’ll make you feel better and awesome. Even just a walk around the block on a sunny day is said to improve a persons mood, so I shall be sure to get my dose of sunlight.

Walter Mitty

Don’t stay angry

To often I focus on the negative, over analyze, worry, and get over emotional. I read somewhere that you shouldn’t let the sun set on your anger which is very true. Probably why I can’t sleep very well because I worry about silly things. Is something bothering you that you need to let go of? LET IT GO. Let it go. Can’t hold it back anymooore.

Keep your friends close

Having close bonds with other people can be a key to happiness. Even just sending a text or catching up with an old friend is a great feeling. It’s like nothing has changed even if you’re apart for long periods of time. The friends I have known for years have been there for me in times of need, they give me advice, have got me through some rough times, and I’m there for them as well. If people want to be in your life they will be there. I can count my close buddies on my fingers because that’s how many I need. Cheers to friendships.

Give more

So I’ve only ever really donated my clothes. I suppose that makes me sound lazy when there are many people in need. There are foodbanks around, the SPCA, and charities. Maybe I can do my part and something more to help no matter how small or large the gesture is.

Be happy with yourself first

Happiness begins from within which is something Yoda would probably say. If the bright beams of positivity shine from you and you’re happy with yourself, then you can spread the good vibes to other people as well and everyone shall feel the love.

Listen to some good tunes

There are a lot of great happy songs to brighten the mood but the one I always come back to is this one by The Fray. The meaning behind it and it’s message is just perfect really. Give it a listen 🙂

Start the new year with a smile

It’s nice to have a fresh start and a new year. Everyday is a new start though really. I’ll be 21 next year and in my last year of University. I know life will throw things at me and that things won’t always be easy. I hope to find the strength to get through whatever happens and be grateful that I am waking up each day alive and well. What more could you ask for really?

2014

Here are the top twelve resolutions I have found along with a few of my own. This way seems easier to focus on with one goal per month. I use the word goal because it reminds me of football. Once you complete it you can run around with your shirt over your head Kidding. Alas, at the end of the year I will reflect and see how many I completed. Some keep notebooks, but I saw this is quirky artistic way to remind myself of my goals with a vision board

Get creative and make a collage like this lovely person!
Get creative and make a collage like this lovely person 🙂

1) Only you are the reason for your happiness.

We live in a world where it’s drilled into our minds how to look, talk, walk, and dress a certain way. People think you need a good job. A partner or a family, and a house to be happy. What if you have one of those things yet you’re miserable? Big, small, round, or thin be happy with yourself for nothing is nicer than a smile that radiates from the inside to the outside. Be a bundle of joy this year. Let know one come to you without leaving happier. 

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2) Spend more time with friends and family.

I’m rewinding and bringing it back a few decades. Fade technology because I want to write letters to people. Not typed, but handwritten. With a feather and ink if I’m feeling a bit fancy. I was seriously born in the wrong era. I used to have many pen pals. It was a easy way to stay in touch with my family who live mostly in Europe. A letter feels more special than reading back on an email or text especially if there’s a dramatic tear on one of the words. In general I hope I can do better this year, and keep in touch with the people who are special in my eyes.

3) Make peace with your past so it doesn’t spoil your present.

What I’ve done in the past I have learnt from, but it doesn’t mean it has to be brought up everyday to get back at someone or to feel sorry for myself. We question what is going to happen then get all caught up about it when really who knows what on earth will happen. I know friends fall apart and fall together. I have learnt it is best to leave some of them be. You can’t please everyone, but I’m the type of person who just can’t leave an argument hanging. Make peace so you can have your present.

4) Don’t just exercise, have fun.

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A good body is 80% diet,10% genetics and 10% exercise. This doesn’t mean starve yourself. I have heard people not eating after certain times of the day or working out at the gym for eight hours. Get fit not sick. Also sitting around liking photos of girls/guys who have intense abs well they certainly did more than sit around to get where they are today.

Arnold Schwarzenegger is another good inspiration for myself at the moment. After watching Pumping Iron with the men and the sequel with the women. It is truly insane to see what lies underneath the body, and I respect people who do it the natural way. There is a difference between looking strong, and being strong.

Exercise. Arnold is on to something when he states you can’t tell someone to exercise because it’s a put off. Do what you find fun! Instead of doing the same thing at the gym change it up, go for runs, boxing, like hikes? Go hard. Run around. Kick a ball. I do Pilates. I run to change it up because I prefer to be outside than in the gym unless I have to be. The biggest motivation is you it’s all in your mind. You’re stronger than you think! If I throw up after an intense workout like Arnold so be it…

The last three or four reps is what makes the muscle grow. This area of pain divides the champion from someone else who is not a champion. That’s what most people lack, having the guts to go on, and just say they’ll go through the pain no matter what happens.

5) Don’t compare your life with others, you don’t know their journey.

In other words don’t be a “closet hater.” I saw a video about this and loved it. We revolve our energy and emotions so much around hating other people because they they may have something we don’t have. Rich parents. A good job. No debt. A better body. Guess what? If you want it so bad go and work for it instead of hating from a distance. I was brought up with this word meaning to kill someone in your heart. Even if I wasn’t I just really dislike the word. So stop saying that word unless you’re talking about hating spiders, go ahead. Give someone a daily compliment instead and see how much better you feel. 

6) Save money

I need some back up money because I have been in awkward situations where I have had to go into credit card zone when I really didn’t want to. When I tell this to people they say you’re young! You have time to save! I’m a student and having fun. Worrying about money is all I do sometimes so it’s time to put a bit away each week because my goal is to go overseas next year for my 21st. Money is a big barrier but at times it can be a blessing. I’ve spent over a grand on my tattoo and it’s the most special part of me. I would rather be broke and happy than be rich and miserable. 

7) Only have a few glasses

This is a personal one for me. I did a three month sober challenge last year and want to up my game and try for a year. We shall see what happens. I may not quit forever but I feel so much better when I don’t drink. One of the main reasons is it’s the biggest barrier to becoming fit. I can’t make you give up alcohol, I just hope to inspire people who think they can’t do it. Only you can change you. As for me? I want to explore the world not the bottom of a bottle.

8) Learn something new.  

Do you always trudge to the takeaway pits of doom? Pizza Hut, McDonalds. Halt my friend! It really isn’t that hard to make. I for one am addicted to Asian food. However, I can’t handle anything spicy. So I’m starting to learn how to cook it myself. I realize how cool it is to actually know what’s going into my food and alas I now have some quirky recipes to experiment with. Everyday is a new exciting adventure with these people! Bring on 2014.

  • I want to learn how to do the splits, without breaking my hips
  • Maybe learn some Muay Thai and boxing, self defence could come in handy
  • Learn how to eat/cook fabulous healthy meals/desserts/snacks.

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9) Help others.

I always see videos of kind strangers helping homeless people on the street in the right way. Not handing them money but giving them a day of luxury. A day in a motel. Taking them shopping for clothes and food. I want to do this. Give someone food some clothes, and see a smile on their face. Instead of judging them for sitting there, and taking up the sidewalk. People are to quick to judge. Many homeless people do have qualifications or can get a good job but hey things are tough. I always walk past them with no change in my wallet and feel terrible. So this is my goal for this year help a brother out.

11) Read and follow these awesome top ten tips from my favourite blogger

I know I post a lot of her work but I truly admire her advice and want to follow it because it’s the dang truth! Especially this one…

Don’t lose yourself while trying to hold onto someone who doesn’t care about losing you.

12) Live life on your own terms

I really admire people I met who live life according to them, they break the rules but hold the best conversations. I want to do this, this year is my year, in every way. I am in control of my body and my mind. If I say this people call me a hypocrite for something I perhaps didn’t achieve.

Take it one day at a time,  I wish you all the best for your year ahead may it surprise you, challenge you, let you meet good people, and make you laugh more because..

The meaning of life is not simply to exist, to survive, to move ahead, to go up, to achieve, to conquer.

 

Don't be like this, step away from the computer and enjoy life instead of posting about it!
Don’t be like this, step away from the computer and enjoy life instead of posting about it!

Drink Before You Think, or Think Before You Drink

I sit on the edge of a couch eagerly awaiting my next sip of the drink I hold in my hand. Wine. The warm liquid flows down my throat. I relish the taste and devour as much as I can as if it is water. I fall off the couch with no elegance whatsoever. Bursts of giggles escape my lips with no control as I crawl around on the ground pretending to be an animal of some sort.

I struggle to my feet and look around me. I knew only a few people when I first arrived at this rowdy gathering. These strangers have morphed into my best friends for the night. The music and alcohol unites us.

The club we arrive at is where it all begins and ends. We look at one another and nod our heads. Our bodies flowing to the music. Sweat and lust linger in the air the locking of lips begins, tongues dance, groping, determination. An abrupt pause occurs, this is it. The song reaches its climax. The music travels across the room touching each person as it goes. It lingers on their skin transforming them from stiff statues to exotic dancers.

The beat of the song is my outdoing. I close my eyes, and tilt my head back creating invisible lines with my hands. Flashes, strobe lights, laughter. I am in my zone dancing terribly, but not caring at all. I feel a sudden rough hand creep up my leg and grab me. I jump and turn around on full alert. An old man who resembles Santa Clause gives me a creepy toothless grin. I am about to give him a piece of my mind but the music booms over my loud thoughts. I walk away fuming. My mood has spiraled into a sour one no one notices my absence as I stumble out of the club and onto the sidewalk.

Coldness slaps me, clinging onto me, begging me to wake up and gain some sense. My subconscious shakes its head at me. My body has had enough. I sit on the sidewalk, holding back vomit. I rest my head in between my knees, hoping for a magic carpet to take me home.

I end up in my bathroom curled up on the floor by the toilet attempting to make myself throw up to get rid of this dreadful feeling. I cough violently as I stick my finger down my throat. Nothing comes. I give up and look in the mirror. It looks as if a raccoon has done my hair and makeup, I wrinkle my nose in disgust. I don’t want to feel like this anymore…

I am NEVER drinking again.

We’ve all said it. The “I’m never drinking again” Like a failed glue stick I would never stick to this line. So after living in a town where the student culture always drinks I decided to do a sober challenge for three months. Every time I told someone they would look at me like I had just morphed into a bird, and crapped on their face so let me elaborate as to why I did it.

Binge drinking

New Zealand values sunblock, slip, slop, slap, and wrap, it protects them from the sun. We also value alcohol, it protects us from reality and life’s problems.

  • 1.2 million believe it is OK to get drunk,
  • 350,000 binge drink on their last drinking occasion
  • 275,000 setting out to get drunk on their last drinking occasion.
  • Many adults who currently drink do not appear concerned about their physical or mental wellbeing
  • Many parents do not know much about their children’s drinking
  • The benefits of alcohol as a ‘lubricant’ and ‘relaxant’ are well recognized (Alcohol Advisory Council of New Zealand, 2004)

I was over being part of the 1.2 million. I wanted to be whisked away to a classy place where drinking was frowned upon. To experience what would be like living in a different country where most of the nation did not get hammered. 

Health

Drinking too much can weaken your immune system making your body a much easier target. I would never wake up and stretch dramatically like they do in those cereal advertisements smiling because some Up N Go had magically appeared in my hand. I woke up bleary eyed with a throat like the desert. I was never one to vomit after drinking, but my body and stomach started to have zero tolerance for alcohol. The scary facts is that high consumption of alcohol can lead to some depressing things in the future which people never think will happen to them. Heart and liver damage, cancer, and let’s just say the list goes on.

Family

I was raised in a Christian househould therefore drinking was off the agenda. When I got introduced to my first sip of alcohol I was intrigued. I wanted to fit in like everyone else. I would get laughed at when I tried having a party because I wasn’t allowed alcohol. Even at such a young age it was drilled into my mind a party without alcohol. What nonsense. It was a wake up call for how much it was affecting my family.

Happiness

Indeed I had wonderful times with friends and some hilarious memories alongside it.I just wasn’t happy. My life was like the Pursuit of Happiness, except instead of finding happiness all I found was a bottle in my hand, hoping it would transform into Jeremy Kyle so he could yell some sense into me.

Peer pressure

Alcohol is easy to access. It’s in the media, with advertisements, billboards, and songs dedicated to it such as this one by Kendrick Lamar, Swimming Pools (drank);

Pour up drank, head shot drank

Sit down drank, stand up drank

Pass out drank, wake up drank

Faded drank, faded drank

Kendrick wrote it based on his experiences with alcohol about his Grandfathers drinking resulting in his death. How there is peer pressure accompanying drinking and wanting to ‘fit in with the popular’, that no one drinks in moderation anymore,leading to swimming in a ‘pool full of liquor.’ I realize it sums up the world we live in.

If you go out to get black out hammered no one bats an eye, go out and tell people you’re sober and everyone goes crazy.

Excuses

My friend is visiting/it’s their birthday/they just won the lotto/they’re moving to Alaska so it’s time for leaving drinks. There is always an excuse to drink. Had a bad week?  Broke up with someone? Heck, might as well buy the whole bottle store. Whatever happened to celebrating and having fun with friends via a good ol’ nonalcoholic event? Like a sleepover and huddling under the blankets with a Disney movie. Or having a birthday with the best excitement of the night a game of twister. 

Town

Alcohol + ego = not good mix

I used to play a game when I was younger called Zoo Tycoon, and I realized town is in fact a zoo. Like the game you have a choice of animal you want. In this case it is a person who you shall corner in a club attempting to woo them or get their number. Males come out of their sober cages dropping drinks down their shirts and grabbing female’s. Females run around screaming at people “Girl I haven’t seen your face in ages!!” deafening anyone within a miles radius. Like a friend said they go to town to…

Have fun, meet someone new, get lucky. 

Drunk mind speaks sober heart

Alcohol interferes with the brain’s communication pathways, and can affect the way the brain looks and works. These disruptions make it harder to think clearly and move with coordination. Therefore this drunk mind speaks a sober heart saying is simply used to comfort those who do ridiculous things whilst drunk. There is no other logical explanation except to blame it on the alcohol. Newsflash, if you are repeating the same ‘mistakes’ because you know you will get away with it because of liquor? Well then you know the problem most likely lies with you whether it is alcohol abuse, dependence, or you simply don’t know the definition of the word moderation. Basically ask yourself if you were sober would you do these things?

Drink driving
Violence, starting ‘scraps’ with everyone
Taking advantage of someone
Spending all your savings 
Claiming you love everyone that walks past
Drunk texts

Hello Sunday Morning

This website was the main reason I did this sober challenge. It was created by a young man in his twenties who decided to put down the drink for a year. To really study to look into why people pick up the drink in the first place. He created a movement that started with a few people, and has now expanded to thousands across the world. HSM offers people a chance to keep a blog and set themselves a challenge of been sober for as long as they wish, weeks, months or years. It is a connection of people with different journeys. I doubt I would have got through without the kind strangers all over the world commenting and encouraging me to keep going, so thank you to you all.

The end

People often have to have a bad almost death experience to appreciate the life they have after abusing their bodies with drugs and alcohol. Now I didn’t complete this challenge to preach to people to not drink. I simply wanted to make a change in my life. Alcohol no longer tells my mind or body what to do. I tell myself what I want to do.

During this sober challenge HSM caused me to be put into sometimes awkward sober situations where I was tempted to drink. I am glad I persevered and ignored the pressure to “drink to not get drunk” or have “one shot” I had the best twelve weeks of my life;

  1. I welcomed Sunday mornings with open arms.
  2. I learnt self-control which was the biggest challenge for myself.
  3. I learnt how to be enthusiastic, confident, and no longer have to drink to find happiness.
  4. I was simply myself, instead of hiding behind my drunken blanket that once surrounded me.
  5. I learnt how to say no and stay home with a movie and junk food on a cold night, no regrets. 
  6. I realized how much time I wasted instead of spending time with my family.
  7. Having control made me take a step back and see how much we never I used to care about alcohol and now it’s like we can’t survive without it.
  8. I made good friends, sober. 
  9. I saved money!!
  10. I proved to myself and everyone else I could do it. 

If you really think about it when was the last time you went out and had fun sober? Ladies and gentleman stop saying you can’t do something or you wouldn’t be able to live without whatever it is you feel you can’t It’s just like breaking up with someone. You were fine before them, so you shall be fine afterwards. You lived once without alcohol, so you can live without it for awhile if you commit to it. I know you’re survivors you may not be dancing around in a jungle. but if you ever decide to give Hello Sunday Morning a try you may just change your life forever.

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I ordered this Hello Sunday Morning singlet to remind me of what I achieved

Twenty Seconds of Courage

There is no certificate, medal, or trophy to award one for having courage. I for one would not have shelves stacked with trophies listing each courageous thing I decided to do in my life. Courage is something I wish I had more of. I look back at my life so far , and I could write a novel longer than Lord of The Rings of all the times I never stood up for myself in situations that arose. There is a proverb that says;

“Fear and courage are brothers”

I let myself be treated a certain way because I felt afraid. Afraid to speak my mind and stick up for myself for fear of losing something, a friend, a job, memories to cherish. Some people drift apart never to speak again each person rowing their boat down a different bend of the river, never crossing. If they do cross they hit each other with their oars capsizing one another stubbornly. I lacked the courage to ask for an apology from people who should have given me one. I backed down from the fight like a hopeless predator trudging home with no prey. I have had people take advantage of me to get what they want they may not spell it out but their actions speak otherwise. Courage is what I need to do the right thing. I want the courage to erase people from my life and so called “friends” who should have not stayed in it to begin with.

“Courage doesn’t always roar, sometimes courage is a little voice at the end of the day saying, I’ll try again tomorrow”

I want the courage to conquer fear when it arises to welcome something I am afraid of doing. To run into it’s arms in slow motion throwing flowers behind me because I am that joyous for the challenge ahead. It is time to battle whatever problem occurs, and not let it ruin me. I need to remind myself it will not go away on it’s own. I often talk to people when I am feeling sad, happy, angry. I can tell the whole world if I felt like it, but it does not solve anything. I do this to much, I lay my issues on other people then feel as if I talk about myself to much. Yet talking to them is a good outlet it keeps me from going insane. Perhaps all I need is to find a balance, and find more courage to sort my own issues out by myself. Because confiding in the wrong people has had it’s consequences in the past.

“When you try your best but you don’t succeed” – Coldplay

At times when I feel as if I can never succeed or get to where I want to be I think of this song by Coldplay. It reminds to have courage to persevere in hard times to not give up. I have come to far to give up now on what I want to do. When a task seems impossible there is no time to brush it aside. I break it down every corner every inch of it to get to a result.

It is time to have courage for my future instead of being terrified of it or worrying. Wondering what to do next. I suppose I plan ahead to much, and over analyse every little thing because I need to know what is happening. It causes me headaches. Migraines. It is about the here the now, and making the most of what is before me. Enjoying every moment every bite of a meal everything I hold close to me. It is then that I can hopscotch onto the next step in life eagerly.

“It’s like you embarass yourself if you say something, and you embarass yourself if you don’t.”

I embarrass myself a lot. Brewing up the courage to talk to someone I don’t know, well it is frightening. I sometimes observe people as they walk by and wonder what is going on in their life. It may be that there problems would make mine seem insignificant. That is why having the courage to smile at a stranger or passerby, even a small glimpse of hope could make their day that much more meaningful.

I want to erase the word rejection from my mind, because I always sit around,expecting something extravagant to happen. Don’t go looking for it they say the right person will find you. Sitting around twiddling my thumbs? I’m over doing that. Although this doesn’t mean I run around in a loin cloth like Tarzan looking for my other half. I just want the courage to be able to be honest. To stop making situations up in my head. Instead I want to make them happen and say when the time arose, “you know what, I like you.” Then walk away, leaving a trail of mystery behind me. In reality my throat turns dry my heart seems to beat faster than the beat of a dubstep song. I walk towards them then turn around, and shuffle away awkwardly. Like a lost duck I proceed back to my cave of shyness.

“For my life is simply unbearable without a bit of courage.” ―Cowardly Lion

I no longer want to be Courage the Cowardly Dog hiding from everything. Nor do I want to be the Cowardly Lion from the Wizard of Oz. I want to be the courageous person who has a name that sounds like Narnia. Great things happen there animals speak and dance. People take risks they never would in reality. I need to find my own Narnia on Earth. To step inside the magical wardrobe and step back out full of courage.

The next time I am in a situation where I am full of doubt or fear I shall remember the twenty seconds of courage rule of pure craziness because it’s what I need. To stop worrying about how stupid I look or what someone might say. Even if I lose a bit of pride. My new goal is to try twenty seconds of courage whenever the feeling of doubt creeps down my spine. I may meet amazing people from it accomplish and do things I never thought I could do. Perhaps gain a life lesson. Whatever it is something great will come out of it. If you fail once fail again better. Try again and again until you succeed. I hope I have left you with some wisdom tooth, minus the tooth. And something that will help you be Courageous with a capital C.

“If you summon your courage to challenge something, you’ll never be left with regret. How sad it is to spend your life wishing, ‘If only I’d had a little more courage.’ Whatever the outcome may be, the important thing is to step forward on the path that you believe is right.” — Daisaku Ikeda