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Awkwardly adulting

(I'm trying my best)

Nice to meet you *firm handshake*

The title of this post is how I greet new people that I meet. Many of them are a little taken aback by the formality of it especially if they are only my age. A hug or a friendly wave would be considered more appropriate in many cases. I didn’t get into the whole hugging people you’ve only just met thing, until I moved to New Zealand alone at age eighteen. It seems to be the done thing in this country. I feel people express their emotions more here than where I grew up in Ireland, in particular when it comes to how they feel about you. If they love your personality they will tell you, and if they seem annoyed by you it means they are.

When you move to the other side of the world the only people you meet are ‘new’. Since I’ve been living here for just over a year now, the people in my life are no longer new but have taken on a new meaning for me. They tell me I’m positive, outgoing, and crazy. Their support is the reason I continue to awkwardly adult on my own. If I ever doubt myself they will always remind me about the 18,628 kilometers I have traveled to be here. Thank you to all you wonderful people who have influenced my choices and experiences so far. It’s a privilege to have you all in my life!

My goal was not clear at the start. It was all a blur really, a gap year I had talked about taking for so long that people didn’t believe it was really going to happen. Suddenly I was sitting on a plane, traveling to Dubai with a man sitting next to me who was educating me on the mountains in the desert as you fly into Dubai. When I hit land again I was greeted by palm trees, stunning sea views, huge motorways, all manner of high rise buildings and SO MUCH TRAFFIC. I was alone, everything was new, a tad homesick; but overall I was happy.

Travelling, going to music festivals, and just meeting people on the street opened my eyes to a whole new adventure that was mine to take. So I did.

I do a lot of things on impulse and other people may call these decisions mistakes, but I don’t see them that way. I see these irrational experiences as part of me just like my smile or my eye colour. This blog is basically my attempt to share my funny/crazy experiences with anyone who is interested.

Hope you enjoy 🙂

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Burned out 2017

Everyone said it would happen, and when enough people predict the same thing it usually comes true. There I was believing I was invincible, how wrong was I? Allowing my motto to be ‘work hard, play hard’ I really tested my body and my sanity to the absolute limits this year.

For the past eight months I have studied full time, worked part-time, held a lead role in a play, and set up my own positive mental health business with my best friend. That’s only the work side of things! On top of this I continue to party hard on the weekend and sometimes during the week too; I hang out with friends almost every day; write this blog; and exercise regularly. The end of 2017 is fast approaching and I have finally burned out. I say this with an underlying happy tone, quite the opposite to what you would expect. If my health and my body had not given up on me I would have continued to thrash myself to work even harder and faster under more pressure than ever all the way into 2018.

Although I did not see this burn out stage coming, I am not shocked. Prior to being sick I was only focusing on the next plan or goal and what I was doing to make it happen. Burning out has allowed me to reflect on what I have done this year, and I only realise now that I did a hell of a lot more than I set out to do. When you’re in the midst of a world fabricated from an endless abundance of to-do lists you don’t tend to do much emotional processing or be very kind to yourself.

I wish I could say that I am proud of myself for all the great things I achieved this year, but I honestly have not reached that level of self-compassion yet. There is still that niggly negative voice in my head telling me that I failed in some way because I didn’t do enough. No matter how many times I push that voice to the side or tell it to fuck off, it is always there, just with the volume turned down. There is no permanent mute setting that I have figured out. The volume is on high right now because I am sitting down typing this aggressively and licking my wounds as I feel I have failed in some way.

I’d like to thank all the people who told me I would burn out, because you were RIGHT. Should I have listened to you?

Absolutely NOT.

I’m saying thank you, because now I know:

All it takes to be ‘good enough’ is to be alive.

Break the mould

“Useless, stupid, spoilt bitch” the words flowing through her bloodstream,

as she physically exhausts herself for being this way,

Moulding herself to perfection through negative reinforcement.

The pain shooting through her legs tells her to stop,

but her brain tells her she deserves it,

Every step a concoction of emotional and physical pain.

Wounded by a mixture of words, mistakes, and failures,

Chipping away at her personality until she is free of vices,

Perfection is impossible: she knows.

But she can not break the mould.

 

Shine

I feel like I’ve met you before.

Your bright eyes hiding a sad smile,

Your tormented thought patterns tossing you to and fro,

Your shimmering laughter sounds shallow now,

Looking lost and I bet you feel it too.

 

That’s it!

I met you last week when the world was dull and grey,

I met you on your fall, your cyclical, infinite fall into darkness,

I met you and you told me it would never end,

and you believed it.

 

Since I first met you I’ve seen you glow.

Put on a show for the whole universe,

The fate of shooting stars is always a curse,

Fading and fizzling fast,

memories created soaring past.

 

But don’t be afraid, you’ll shine again my friend.

Under the deck and on the stars

It’s my fault that these people believe me,

It’s my fault they believe in me

I cause the busiest buzz

and they come expecting my love

But the truth is it’s tiring

Living for others, always inspiring

While still aspiring to be something great,

No.

Better than great

Something that no one can hate,

Well it’s too late.

Holding their opinion above my own

Wondering why it even mattered at all.

If I can just think for myself

Let my faults evaporate out of my breath

Take only the best of me and think that it’s true

Not just a lie made up from day one,

But that it’s within me sparking the fire, creating the hum, making me happen.

Living.

“Treat yourself”

There are certain times in my twenties when “Treat yourself” has been my motto for impulse purchases. Most of the reasoning behind my impulse purchasing stems from being disappointed by boys. I feel like I am most likely not alone in my thought process here.

My latest impulse purchase was a beautiful, sexy, auburn one-piece swimsuit for Summer. Yes, it was expensive. Do I regret it?

Absolutely not!

I did not need a swimsuit. Before I saw it, I had not even thought of purchasing a swimsuit. A very encouraging and persuasive friend told me to try it on, as she was trying on lingerie, and that was that. I pretended to be stubborn by not buying it straight away. Fooling myself into thinking I have any self-control, I asked the lovely lady to keep it aside for me for an hour. An hour later we returned and my next pay check disappeared.

Treating yourself is not a bad thing, but if you start compulsively buying food, alcohol, clothes, or make-up every time you have a bad day, you might want to find a cheaper way of consoling yourself. I am trying to find ways of cheering myself up without buying a bag of nuts, or a large sweet & sour pork. So far I’ve found that any physical activity helps: dancing, running, walking, yoga etc. it all makes me forget what I’m sad about.

Post swimsuit purchase I had a burst of happiness and excitement from the adrenaline rush that substantially depleting my bank account gives me. When I got home I was still feeling weighed down, especially because I hate letting my happiness depend on other people. I like my happiness to come from myself and the world around me, and not be tied to the expectations I have for people around me, but it’s a very hard balance to achieve. No matter how independent you are, it is impossible to never depend on anyone else. This was where the physical activity came in and boosted my serotonin. A best friend of mine took me on a random adventure playing football, climbing to secret spots, and rolling down hills. I was cured.

I won’t be treating myself or depending on anyone for a long time, but treating myself is something that I should probably do in response to positive feelings rather than negative ones.

 

 

Be alive

The moon shone golden against the shore.

Bold, confident, unable to be ignored.

The stars were my company that night, watching the splendour

as I gained the courage to let myself be.

Be still and silent with no hum or buzz of busyness,

Be without thought or feeling,

Be without myself.

Alive.

20 years old

You are 20 years old, probably the most free you will ever be in your whole life. The only obligation you have is to be good to yourself. Allow yourself to jump into whatever feels right at the time. Don’t hold back out of fear. Live dangerously and boldly, but try to see the consequences. Try it all and try it now, because now is the only time you have. Have fun, and be grateful about it. Tell people you love them when you feel it, don’t let it become an impossible lump in your throat. Create a flow of conversations connecting with those around you. You never know what or who they might know. Remember you can’t do it all alone. Allow yourself to rest, it’s part of the adventure too, don’t worry. Build yourself a strong support network. Be resilient. We are always going to be figuring it out, we’ll figure it out together. Don’t have your shit together, because there is no such thing and if there was it would be boring and predictable. Judge people only when you really know them, and even then try to understand why. Believe that you are beautiful, you never really see yourself anyways. Open up to every experience, so you are not craving more. Goodbyes are hard but sometimes you have to hurt. Laugh, dance, lose yourself amongst the stars. Try not to overthink, you can never feel the way you felt.

You don’t know if a world without you exists, so while you are here: Be here.

What’s left?

When I am not working, studying, partying, acting, writing, hanging out with friends, running, meeting people, cooking (the list goes on and on), what is left? Materialists find value in things, so they struggle to see what is left after their possessions are gone. Is there a word for someone like me who struggles to see what is left of themselves after they stop doing?

Although I am consistently checking off to-do lists and making plans, I am also a rather spontaneous person. Whether I live in the moment, I am not so sure. On the spontaneous trips away I make sure I am present in every moment, so these are always refreshing adventures for me. For some reason I struggle to do this if I am in an ordinary, every-day situation. I find it almost impossible to switch off, because there is always something to organise or do. This is the downfall of being a doer: You can not just think of an idea and let it sit with you; immediate action is required or you are not good enough.

Other people can probably see that there is a lot more to me than the things that I do, but I can’t. I will never understand their compliments or praise, because I will never see myself like they do. I do see myself as motivated, hard-working, and reliable as these qualities relate to getting stuff done. If I do not find value in myself in the other aspects of my personality I fear I will be perpetually busy. Unstoppable. If you have ever had the terrifying experience of a horse galloping away with you on it’s back, you will understand my feelings. For the first thirty seconds it is exhilarating. You feel like you are flying and the adrenaline rushes to your head. But the wire fence at the end of the field is approaching far too quickly. You know you need to stop, or you will be thrown out over it. You try pull back on the reins and say “Whoa”, calmly like you’ve been taught. No response. The horse thunders on like a freight train, and you are paralysed with panic.

Panicking about the inability to come off the Ferris-wheel, as my mum says.

I have always had this motto of living a full life, but it seems I have taken that to the extreme. I am very happy with everything I am doing and all the people I surround myself with, but I can not actually call this living if I am never happy just being.

Being is a complex simplicity that I am slowly learning.

 

Time

Time

Some people measure their life in time, probably the most common system. How many days, months, years, decades will you get to spend alive? Always counting towards something, or rather counting down. You can easily spend years doing the same thing, or in the same place, because as humans we are drawn to safety, habit and comfort. Those years spent doing the same thing still count. They add on to the measure of your life making it seem full. But it is just the same as whenever you gave up what it was that made you happy. Time is not a fair measurement for life because it cheats. It keeps moving forward, and you automatically think you are moving, growing and learning at the same time but actually you are stuck. Stuck in routine; stuck because things got too hard and you gave up. It was easier to stop really living than it was to change.

I think life should be measured in stories. You can see yourself in stories, but you can’t see yourself in numbers. Stories make you feel the extremities of love and loss, happiness and sorrow. Stories are told from experience, and experience creates memories. Our lives are a memory, a passing phenomenon. No one can tell our stories better than ourselves. Whereas anyone can say how much time we have spent here. Start by making plans, and never stop writing stories.

 

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