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A Letter To The Past

5:56 pm Fri, 19th February 2016

I wrote a letter to my past self during a self development online course I did last year called The Joy Equation. This letter was our homework exercise for the first week “Develop Fierce Self Love”, which focused on cultivating a strong sense of self-worth, developing inner resilience and practice kindness towards yourself without an agenda of improvement. It was truly an eye opening week for me, opening me to some pretty deep soul searching down memory lane. One big AHA moment was the realisation that my high school experiences when I was 14 (lasting 2 years) lead me to form a certain belief about myself that simply was not true.. it was where I lost my sense of worthiness. And it was a belief that rooted itself deep within me, forming much of who I am today – and though my adult mind knows it is not true, changing it is not easy and is a work in progress. The task was to write a letter to my past self – showering her with understanding, forgiveness and hope.

Dear 14-Year-Old Me,

I know that right now, you are feeling completely alone, rejected and unwanted at school. That you cried your eyes out in the toilets when you found out your “friends” actually weren’t your friends and really didn’t like you much at all. You feel embarrassed and ashamed that your class mates tease you for having no friends, call you names like “Sony – The one and only”. Your self-esteem is pretty much rock bottom right now. In fact, it’s been torn to pieces. And you cry yourself to sleep night after night, wishing, hoping, longing for friendship and love. You daydream about belonging in a group of friends and being loved.

I know that during this period you come to believe that you are, at your core, simply unlovable. That there must be just something wrong with you. Because this is the only reason you can think of, or comprehend why everyone has rejected you. Why nobody likes you or wants to be your friend. For two whole years you will suffer through this. But sweetheart, THIS IS COMPLETELY UNTRUE!

You probably will never really know WHY your school peers did what they did. Kids act in strange ways – people are cowards and they follow the crowd. For some reason this idea of “not being her friend” caught on with the whole grade and you were left to struggle through it alone. But you cannot blame yourself! I’ll tell you why.

You are absolutely loveable: Yes you are. You are a precious happy-go-lucky girl who was full of hope, optimism and sunshine. Remember how infatuated R was with you in the 7th grade. He even bought you a gold bracelet, he was so in love! And how L gave you that rose on valentines day in 8th grade? How you treasured your first ever rose, breathing in it’s sweet scent, hidden on your window sill every night. Your heart is tender, sensitive, vulnerable and shy. These are beautiful, innocent things about you – but that light within you became dark over those two years. Don’t believe for one second that you are not worthy of friendship, acceptance, belonging and love. Because remember – you were loved by those who mattered. Your family and your church youth group friends who totally saved you – those fortnightly youth group meetings became what you lived for, always counting the days until the next one.

You are strong: You know what – sometimes it is better to stand apart and follow your own path. Doing this at the tender age of 14 is a bit of an ask. But in the end, guess what, it just made you into a strong independent woman! Heck – things like going to the movies alone or eating out alone – so many girls were scared or self-conscious about doing that, but not you! Pfft.. piece of cake (yummy too!) More power to you girl! You realised that if you wanted to do or have something, you could just go and do it – without someone to hold your hand. So what if you weren’t popular or adored by others, didn’t have your “clique” – that shit is shallow and fickle as the wind. This experience taught you to start journalling, something you carried through many years. Sure some stupid kids stole your diary and made fun of your heart felt writings one day. But you rose above that. You didn’t retaliate – that is quiet inner strength right there. It also made you appreciate and love music and books which you used to escape. A healthy outlet – much better than turning to alcohol or smoking or drugs.

You are awesome: You have no idea girl of the amazing life you are gonna live in the next 20 years. How you will grow up out of your awkward teenage years, and truly blossom into a stunning sexy woman. Beautiful on the inside and out, deeply loving & passionate, smart, funny, talented, creative soul. You are gonna have some pretty cool experiences – and in a way, you have these two difficult years to thank for that. Because this experience drove you to push yourself to achieve things, to put yourself out there, not be afraid of trying new things – and you discover that heck, you love a challenge! You love dancing and go on to dance on a near professional level even though its only a “hobby”. You enter street dance battles and even win one! You perform. You start learning circus aerial arts – a huge physically challenging activity, which only makes it even more appealing to you. You get into music through your piano playing, discover your love for jazz and even form a jazz trio for a bit – and get paid to perform in a restaurant in Soho in the West End. All the while, enjoying a thriving career as a successful web developer in one of London’s best digital agencies. Umm… hello awesomeness?

You are most definitely ENOUGH: Those are some pretty huge achievements and talents you have. So you have absolutely no reason to believe that you are not worthy of love. Or that you need a boys love or lots of friend’s approval and admiration to make you feel validated. You definitely get your fair share of men’s attention (particularly in your late 20s and 30s) – but don’t base your self-worth on that. Or your achievements. Because your worth comes from within. And at the core, you are an amazing, loveable, strong, awesome human being. YOU ARE ENOUGH. As you are, right now, in the past, in the future. All your flaws, imperfections, selfishness, vanity… you as a Work In Progress Woman are ENOUGH!

So hey, go easy on yourself ok? Be kind, be compassionate, be gentle. Gift yourself that love you lack from your peers. Because true self love comes from within.

Lots of love,
36-Year-Old Me

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I am enough – My Manifesto

6:08 pm Thu, 11th February 2016

I am enough

I am radiant and delight in experiencing life’s journey to the full. I wholeheartedly give love and crave being loved. I long for authentic, meaningful, intimate connections. I am kind, genuine and sensitive. I am also insecure and needy. I am still enough.

I can be quite reserved and shy, and maybe it makes me come across as unfriendly. But I can also be completely uninhibitedly silly around those I trust. I let people in with my whole heart once I trust them. I am playful, witty, affectionate and sometimes downright childish. I am afraid of confrontation and conflict. I am still enough.

I am a woman. The divine feminine, emotional, sensual. I love feeling beautiful, sexy and strong. I am indulgent, sometimes vain and attention seeking. I am also highly logical, geeky, slightly Type A and I love to plan. I can be controlling, overthink things and a perfectionist. I love with an open heart even if I am hurting. I am messy, usually running late and have a terrible tendency to hoard stuff. I am still enough.

I am intelligent, hard working, driven and push myself to do my best if I am passionate about what I am doing. I believe I can do anything I truly set out to achieve. I am capable and I am badass. But if I am unstimulated I lack self control and easily become bored and unmotivated. I too often procrastinate boring “adulting” tasks. I can be overly critical and judgemental – of both myself and others. Yet I am still enough.

I accept that practicing joy and gratitude when things don’t go well is never going to be easy. I too often compare myself with others or seek external validation. I accept that sometimes I feel so isolated, depressed and lonely that I don’t know what to do with myself. I accept that life is messy and painful, sometimes as the result of my own big mistakes, and I am going to inevitably feel sadness and regret as a part of learning and growing. I also know that I can find peace and centering in healthy activities like yoga & meditation, and I am grateful for emotional release in artistic expressions like playing piano, dance and aerial arts. I also accept that sometimes I just need to distract myself with some netflix, a glass of wine or indulge in a pampering massage. I am still enough.

I am obsessed with good coffee, good food, yoga, doing physically challenging things in general, journalling and my gorgeous kitty cat Miss Ella. I love feeling the warm summer sun on my skin and swimming in the sea. I am an Aussie beach babe at heart. I am a city girl too. I love deep soul baring conversations. I love travelling and exploring this wonderfully beautifully diverse world around us. I love just being at home, cooking a delicious meal and snuggling with my man. I am warm, present, introspective, joyfully appreciating, soul searching, loving and living. I am an introverted, artistic ISFP in love with the world around me – it’s taste, touch, smell and sound.

And I am enough.

(Inspired by a blog post written by the amazing & inspiring Molly Mahar, founder of Stratejoy.com, whose courses & encouragement has helped me over the past 6 or so months get through one of the most difficult phases of my life.)

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Any Day Now

11:54 am Thu, 5th May 2011

How long, how long, how long will we take to come undone?
If you know the answer tell me now and I’ll write up a calendar for our count down.
‘Cos what if what we see is all, is all we’ve got?

Say you’ve kept some fire aside to set light to me some surprising night.
And say you’ve locked some fire away to set light to me some surprising day.
To me some surprising day, any day now…

How come, how come, how come I’m now on a road holding out my thumb?
If you know my destination please buy me the fastest car and throw me the keys.
‘Cos what if what we see is all, is all we’ve got?

Say you’ve kept some fire aside to set light to me some surprising night.
And say you’ve locked some fire away to set light to me some surprising day.

‘Cos finger by finger we’re losing grasp and
I’m questioning the reasons why nothing beautiful does last…

Say you’ve kept some fire aside to set light to me some surprising night.
And say you’ve locked some fire away to set light to me some surprising day,
To me some surprising day… any day now.

Missy Higgins – “Any Day Now”

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The Journey

1:15 pm Wed, 16th March 2011

Heart, don’t fail me now
Courage, don’t desert me
Don’t turn back now that we’re here
People always say
Life is full of choices
No one ever mentions fear!
Or how a road can seem so long
How the world can seem so vast
Courage see me through
Heart I’m trusting you
On this journey…

One step at a time
One hope, then another
Who knows where
This road may go
Back to who I was
On to find my future
Things my heart still
Needs to know

Courage see me through
Heart I’m trusting you
To bring me home…
At last..

(NB: Lyrics modified slightly)

Aaliyah – “Journey To The Past”

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5:37 pm Mon, 7th March 2011

(Warning: melancholy ruminations ahead)

People have sometimes wondered, have even mentioned to me in the past that I come across a bit reserved or closed. That it’s like I’m holding back.

I’m not like that with the few people I trust and know very well (quite the opposite in fact), but I guess I’ve just had too many bad experiences with “friends”. Where I start to become comfortable with people, showing who I really am… I let my guard down, I become myself, I start to trust… and time and again (for reasons unknown to me) it’s turned people away. People that I thought were my friends. And I wonder if people will ever like me for who I am. Or if there is simply something wrong with me. It’s an experience I’ve had since I was a child. I remember very well the first time it happened. I was 11 and in my final year of primary school. For reasons still unknown to me, my friends turned against me and I was alone. I thought to myself – well that’s fine, I’m leaving here soon to go to high school, I can leave all this behind and start fresh. But it happened again. This time I was 14. I remember the day it happened. All too well. It was worse this time – for 2 years I was “friendless” at school. Do you have any idea how this affects your self-confidence at that tender age? I don’t think I’ve ever fully recovered from it (ha.. obviously not judging from this blog post). And again I don’t know what I did wrong. Why it happened.

This never really happened to such extremes again – I guess because as people grow older they become a bit more aware of socially correct behaviour and less peer pressure minded, and also I eventually learnt to put up a barrier. A version of myself that was safe.. that people seemed to like. Though it took a while for me to develop this, working through many insecurities along the way. And I must admit, I have long lost my trust in “friendships”. It’s funny many girls lose trust in guys. I lose trust in… people. But strange enough, my romantic relationships are fine!

Anyway.. back to the present. Even now, sometimes, I have seen “the change” in people, a subtle change in their behaviour towards me. And I still experience disappointment when I let my guard down. Gosh I make it sound like I’m hiding a monster inside but it’s not the case at all. At least I hope not (ha see I can even joke about it a bit now)! It’s a lot more subtle now, to the point where I am not even sure if I am being overly sensitive and imagining it.

This post wasn’t meant to be all about my demons from the past. But I guess the memories were stirred by recent experiences in my life. My feeling/dread that maybe some things will never change no matter how old we grow. That maybe I will never be able to be myself with all my friends. Should I even call them friend’s if this is the case? And that perhaps I’m in for a long and lonely existence. Maybe it’s partly self inflicting. Maybe it’s a vicious circle? I thought I had broken out of it for a few glorious months during my last few months in Sydney. They were the happiest months of my life. But since coming to London, that all evaporated. What I do know, is that most people I know would be quite surprised by all these.. thoughts.. of mine. Maybe they just have the wrong girl.

So the floodgates open but nothing comes out
I’m feeling no relief in my head, just doubt
But my heart keeps telling me ‘hold your ground
You’ll never learn a thing if you bail out now’

And I’m lonely again tonight
I can feel it like a knot in my side
They keep saying this is part of the ride
But I’m not getting stronger

Yet hold me against the light
And do you see any bullet inside?
Wouldn’t find one if you magnified
Because you’ve got the wrong girl

Missy Higgins – “The Wrong Girl”

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