USE YOUR VOICE (social media… I’m not kidding!)

A Single Quaver - Gael Turnbull

A Single Quaver – Gael Turnbull

Well, it’s been a while.

Almost a year since my last blog!

Adult life is hard. Adult life is tiring and exhausting and painful. It has also been beautiful and inspiring.

I guess the correct thing to say is that adult life is intense, because while the challenges get harder the rewards also become bigger. As we get older and gain more control and influence of our own lives, we also gain the power to spread out our influence to others. Our elders start to take us more seriously and people younger than us start to look up to us.

Add to this the fact that we now live in a world where anything we say can instantly be put on an easily accessible platform to spread a message to the entire world (a.k.a. social media) and we now more than ever have the ability to exert change.

This is one reason why I hate to see people using social media to post content that is vulgar because they think it is “funny” or “entertaining”. 10 years ago, if you had a chance to send a message to everyone you know, what would you say? Would you say, “look at this funny video of a girl falling over and accidentally flashing everyone!” or “look at this video of someone so drunk they passed out on a bench!!” Do you realise how absurd and stupid that sounds? Have you been living under a rock for so long that you have never ventured out and seen this yourself on any Friday or Saturday night? Anyway, I realise most people who post these things probably would not come across my blog on any of their usual searches, but in case they do, then the above message is for them!

My point is, each of us now has a voice. Each of us now has a platform. Please use it for good! Use it to start conversations that mean something!

I am so pleased to say that the majority of people I have on my news feed use this platform for positive things. They use it to spread awareness of things we should be angry about and also things that should be celebrated. This is why I feel positive change in this world is so imminent, despite whatever horrible things I am hearing on the news. MY generation is displaying itself to be a caring, passionate and conscientious generation, and what we have that previous generations didn’t is a platform!

I hear so many people talking about how terrible “kids these days” are, and how the world seems to be getting worse, seems to be filling up with more and more “sicko’s”. Puh-lease. The sicko’s were always there. Where do you think the terrible “kids these days” learned it from?? The difference is these sicko’s also have a platform, just like the rest of us. We also can use this platform to expose them and demand justice where it is necessary. We can also use this platform to show how amazing our generation really is. But if you don’t use it, then all people will see are the sicko’s!

I may have been quiet on the blogosphere for a while, but trust me, my facebook page is FULL! I intend to keep it full because I have a lot to say!

We have an amazing opportunity for our voice to be heard each and every day. Please do not waste it.

With Love,

S. :)

Time to be Cheerful Again

In Preparation

In Preparation

It’s been a while – and I realise the year has almost finished and I have only written TWO full blog posts!

Well what can I say? 2014 has been so incredibly up and so incredibly down. I will say that this is the year that I turned 25, and then turned 30. About 5 years of aging… seems about right? Hopefully it was only mental – having a 54 year old mother who is frequently mistaken for 34 means pressure – I have some very youthful shoes to fill (sexy strappy sandals with a 5″ heel, to be precise). And the only things she credits are: sun block, excercise, and plenty of fruits and vegetables! Thanks Mum. :P

A’s due date is fast approaching. We named her. It is a beautiful name and I will tell you that it begins with the letter A. I worried that I would be falling apart this month but really – I have reached a space. Memories of my pregnancy are filled with joy, so I feel joy when I remember. Memories of my miscarriage and the months following are filled with pain, so I feel pain when remembering. I can feel both emotions fully and completely and still continue to feel and experience what is present, whatever that is. Thoughts of the future… well I have so many scenarios in my head with so many different emotions.

I take care of my health more. I’m more paranoid about pills, herbs and meds. I was never a big drinker of caffeine or alcohol but I have cut down even more now. And I feel kinda weird around 2nd hand smoke – like – the Crazy in me starts to yell out “GETAWAYFROMMEYOUAREKILLINGMYOVARIES” even though my logical brain knows that 2nd hand smoke exposure has been found to be dangerous during pregnancy when experienced daily, I think the number was about 4 packs of 2nd hand smoke a day?? YES I have checked the facts. A couple hours outdoors, around smokers, one day a week, is not going to hurt me or any unborn babies – according to the research.

But generally speaking, I am more paranoid about my health. I spent 25 years with a strong sense of trust in my own body and that suffered a major blow. I question EVERYTHING.

The miscarriage and the months following were the hardest in my life so far. I got a crash course in emotional management. That is: cry 1 hour before work – go to work and go HAM – go home and cry for another hour… or however long I need to for the evening. I actually allocated slots of time for myself to just cry non-stop… I had no idea I had that much control in me but it’s what I had to do, so I did it. Eventually, that daily schedule turned into an every-other-day schedule. Now its more like an evening once or twice a week. There were some adjustments along the road as well. Eventually I had to toughen up for my husband who was also suffering but differently. I’m not saying anything very new here but it should be said nonetheless: two different people in a relationship will react to everything differently. Relationships survive when you understand this fact and do not try to fight it. The emotional consequence of losing a baby can be equally as painful for men as it is for women. Because of our macho culture, men can feel very caught off guard to be feeling such pain after a miscarriage (not that we aren’t caught off guard, it’s just that the emotional pain is a little more expected of us), but for many men it is still there nonetheless. They may not all show it the same ways we do, but it’s still there and it still hurts.

To say work was crazy when I went back after my week off is an understatement! Whether this is coincidence or not – I have no idea. But professionally, I have grown a LOT. Once again – out of necessity, being thrown into the deep end and all. My boss resigned days before I found out I was pregnant and for the next couple months it was all easy and quiet despite being the only employee in my department. Then, somehow, I came back and major presentations and deadlines just APPEARED! I worked a tonne of extra hours that first month in order to take part in my first ever presentation as a professional. I’ve been going to fancy meetings, taking control of several projects… I have crossed several milestones in just 6 months… and I am very impressed with myself. I can even say the same for my husband experiencing the same thing! All this acheived while sorting through so much pain. I actually felt like I was losing my mind through all of this and that is not an exaggeration. Seriously considered going to therapy, however that would have meant taking more time off work as NO ONE makes appointments past 4pm. Plus, that sh*t is EXPENSIVE. Husband and I decided to tough it out with friends and family. Whether we would have benefited from therapy, I don’t know, but we have survived.

The reason why I have named this post “Time to be Cheerful Again” is because finally, I feel like my husband and I are in sync again. I feel so loving towards him and I feel so loved by him. After months of distance between us when neither of us felt much of these things towards each other, I feel so blessed to be back here again. We are not perfect, we never will be, but we work and we are in love again.

My parents and brother are coming to visit in 5 days and I cannot wait. I have missed them more than ever, I just wish my sister was coming too but she has a dissertation to write :P so I understand completely, having been there before!

Praying for health and love through the next step.

A’s Mother.

Pope Francis Takes Aim at Ideologically Obsessed Christians, Says They Have Illness.

YESSS!

Thank God for Pope Francis, keep it up!

Read article here: Pope Francis Takes Aim at Ideologically Obsessed Christians, Says They Have Illness.

Purpose and Influence

So you can’t (or won’t) get away from negative influences?

The problem is what this does to your mind. More specifically, your thoughts.

Our minds are always buzzing with things, big or small. Whether it is your plan for the next 5 years or simply the show you are watching which you aren’t the least bit interested in. One of my favourite moments of “empty” mindedness is when I notice the pattern in which the couch fabric I am sitting on happens to be weaved, or the strokes of paint on the ceiling. This might make me sound very simple minded! ESPECIALLY when my fiance catches me staring and says “what are you thinking about?” as if I appear to be in deep thought, and all I can answer is: “well I noticed that the brush strokes on the ceiling have made an interesting pattern and I am watching it.”

If I dig deeper though and really feel like putting in the effort, I can then go on to explain that I stare at these things because I am a visual person. I dissect every day objects and patterns in my mind not only because I am an artist, but I like knowing how things are made and how they work. When I stare absent mindedly at the brush strokes of paint on the ceiling, I am visualising the order and flow of which the paint was applied onto the ceiling, where the brush was lifted up leaving tiny raised dots of paint where the bristles were pulled away, and where the more broken up strokes indicate that the painter might have been in a slight hurry or running out of paint near the end of the day.

The point I am making is how the tiniest details can be pulled apart into a million pieces and into a million further thoughts. Small things can become bigger. We may not even notice. I often don’t notice when my mind has become lost in the weave of a basket, but it happens! Before I know it I am thinking about making my own basket, then about home decor, then about paint, then paint fumes and then health.

So anyway. We can’t turn away from negative influences without replacing them with a positive influence. And if we won’t turn away from our negative influences, then we can’t discard the negative thoughts that result without choosing to divert our attention to a positive thought.

The incentive to control our thoughts is nil unless we have a goal or a purpose to direct our thoughts to.

We need a long term goal. I don’t want to say we need several long term goals because they will end up conflicting with each other and when that happens we need to find a way to prioritise which one will be the winner. We need to figure out our one overall ultimate long term purpose in life.

If you can’t figure out what your purpose is just yet, then make that your number one goal for now: to find out what your purpose is!

When we have found that purpose, that number one priority, it simplifies your life! As you go over the decisions of your day, ask yourself “will this bring me closer to fulfilling my purpose in life?” It can take a lot of discipline to answer this to yourself honestly but it reminds you of your priorities and how the actions you make affect each of them.

Why has God given you life and put you in this world?

What did He envision you doing to contribute to this world which He made?

It could appear big or small to others but this is only about you. No one else.

I know mine would actually seem quite small in many peoples eyes, but I know it’s worth and if I manage to live it out until the day I leave this world then I will be as happy and content as I ever could be.

Sincerely

Smileyface :)

P.S. I wrote this while listening to Alicia Keys. Her music has been a positive influence for the past 10 or so years of my life!

My Dark Side Helps Me To Forgive

Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us…

My Dark Side helps me to forgive.

Or maybe I should say “awareness of My Dark Side helps me to forgive”?

I can’t say I’m an expert, that’s not why I started this blog.

I think forgiveness has layers. If someone wrongs you, you have to choose whether or not you want to retaliate.

Someone may say that choosing not to retaliate may be forgiveness… but is it really?

I would like to describe myself as a generally calm person. In fact, I often do! If I’m having a good day or if I am in a situation where I NEED to appear positive a.k.a. job interviews, meeting new people, bla bla bla… I describe myself as someone who is “calm” and can stay “calm” in many situations.

This doesn’t mean that I won’t walk away and spend the next 3 days plotting my imaginary revenge or re-playing countless witty comebacks or even cat fight techniques that I should have thought of hours/days ago.

That’s right, I am not a calm person. I am VERY passive-aggressive!!

But on the outside, I really do look like I have forgiven the person! I look like an angel. And oh, don’t I wish I was :'( sadface.

And no, in my grown up years I can say that I have never gone out specifically with the intent of acting out revenge on an annoying acquaintance/friend/loved one. But I have on many occasions “slipped out” an action, word, face or whatever to portray that I really am not happy and that if I were a little more gutsy, maybe I would have thrown a real temper tantrum and thrown my dinner plate all over said acquaintance/friend/loved ones face!

One thing leads to another, bing bang boom everyone hates each other and we are all throwing imaginary dinner plates across the room.

SNOWBALL.

I’m making it sound funny, but it’s not. Relationships, families, communities, nations have broken down this way throughout the history of humankind. Sorry if I sound like someones Mother right now but hey, it is what it is.

I often think I am good because I haven’t retaliated, I have shown “forgiveness”.

But in the end it always comes out.

Those darn emotions get the better of me again :-s

So, anyway, My Dark Side had a (few) big snowball fight(s) and I’ve had time to recuperate. It is The Thorn In My Flesh. It is there to keep me from being conceited. It is there to remind me that I am flawed, I am weak, I am imperfect. I am reminded every day that I need to forgive or else I should not expect to be forgiven. I am reminded that this is something we all go through and that this is something we all need.

This helps me to forgive much more wholeheartedly than I ever have before.

The very freeing thing about this which I am sure has been said before is that forgiveness makes love so much easier.

I can’t stress this enough to anyone. It allows you to give knowing that what you get in return may not be immediate or perfect, but that’s O.K. because we all have our Thorns to deal with and you are going to be a part of the process.

I don’t think this is something I would be able to feel or understand without having to deal with my own Dark Side.

So there we go. My Dark Side helps me to forgive.

“…my power is made perfect in weakness.”

2 Corinthians 12:9

A little elaboration for you :-)

Quietly thanking God for this, although not rejoicing just yet. This was a friggin hard lesson to learn and I still can’t get it right as often as I should. SMH!

Yours Thankfully,

Smileyface :-)

Small Victories: Taking My Own Advice

I have this new trick I’ve discovered. It’s fairly simple but it works for me.

I like to think that I am a fairly good advice giver, particularly when it comes to relationships. I give good advice by trying to relate to the various people involved in whatever dilemma is being presented to the person I am advising.

My issue is that I am not very good at taking my own advice.

I know I can’t be the only one!

I get a kind of “fight or flight” adrenaline feeling where I believe I have to do whatever comes to my head first to get away from the situation at hand. This gives me absolutely no time to really think about how I am going to handle anything. All I am looking for is a quick way out whether that is :-

  • Defeat: Agreeing with something I really don’t understand.

or

  • Victory: Fighting until I feel I have “won”.

Dealing with anything in this way leads to a pretty hollow result, and chances are that when I deal with something in these ways it is never really finished. Whatever the issue is, I feel it hovering over my shoulder until My Dark Side decides to jump out again and restart the entire cycle.

So recently when I was presented with one of my own dilemmas to deal with I took a moment and thought to myself “what would I tell someone else to do if they were in my situation?”

Sounds simple, but it actually worked!

This was a few weeks ago, and I can’t remember what the actual dilemma was. All I remember was that after I took a few moments to reflect inwards and take the advice that I would give to someone else in my situation, everything just felt much clearer. I also felt like I had finally overcome a piece of My Dark Side that had been bothering me for a very long time! These are fairly small things, but the end result when coming peacefully out of a dilemma is a feeling of true victory. This brings confidence, an ego-boost, harmony amongst all involved (at least for a little while!) and in this case a few very happy days :-D

The fact that I am a pretty emotional person means that I do really appreciate small victories!

Tillah Willah

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