Thoughts // On being ‘alone’

I’m what you’d call a serial monogamist.

I love being in a relationship.

I’ve been involved in some degree of a relationship since I was around 14 years old. My longest period of singledom was probably in 2011…when I was single for about 7 months. Then commenced a three-year-long relationship.

I’m single now. And trying to stay that way indefinitely.

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I figured out that I do this thing where I throw myself into relationships in a big way, very fast. I don’t really give myself proper time to assess the situation, or the person I’m embarking on this journey with. I love being in love, and sometimes I do it foolishly.

Add to that the fact that I actually don’t date. I don’t think I’ve ever just gone out with someone for the purpose of assessing their personality. Maybe that’s silly of me but I don’t think we have a very robust dating culture in Trinidad anyway, so I’m sure I’m not alone. Perhaps that’s part of the problem…but dating presents a whole heap of other problems for me, which I’ll discuss some other time, maybe.

Anyway, 2015 will be the year that I focus all my energy on myself. No men, no distractions. (And of course now that I’ve said that out loud, Mr. Right will come strolling into my life tomorrow self)

I told myself I needed to take the time to really evaluate what I want out of myself, and out of a partner in a relationship. Not in a ‘make a checklist’ type way, but rather, really firm up in my mind what I should be willing to give, and expect in return. I think, if I look back on my past relationships, I almost always end up giving far more than I take. It’s always an emotionally and mentally exhausting experience for me, but I stick around because I really love the idea of adding to someone else’s life. But it always ends because imbalance does that to people.

I’m just tired I suppose, of allowing myself to be taken for granted…and somehow training myself to be okay with it. Not only will people take you for granted…they will betray your trust in ways unimaginable, until the darkness comes to light and your meagre imagination pales in comparison to reality (woah Ceola, heavy much?).

I never considered myself as being afraid of being alone…but maybe I was? I don’t feel scared now though…this is easily the most exciting thing I’ve done in a very long time. Having zero obligations to anyone but yourself is a very liberating thing. That and the fact that people cannot disappoint you because you do not allow yourself to have expectations of them. I am trying now to take everything people say at face value. I’m trying to live in a black and white world instead of the shades of grey I’m constantly colouring my life with.

My friend Veesha told me the other day, ‘you are bae’ (no I’m not leaving it in 2014, language police, you and your high horse could miss meh) today, and she’s right. I am bae. For all of 2015, I will give myself as much as I am always prepared to give someone else.

In 2015, I will travel. I may not travel by myself, because I know a lot of good people walking a similar road as I right now, but I will travel for me. For the last 6 years I have put off travelling, one of my favourite things to do, because I’ve been involved with people who just didn’t enjoy it or prioritise it like I did. This year I go where I want to because I have no good reason not to. I never had a good reason not to.

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I’ll concentrate on developing and expanding my career and my blog. I need to start diversifying, trying new things, adding different media to this space. I need to write more, for more publications on a wider variety of topics. I want to start new projects with new people.

I want to focus on improving my health and my fitness and get my body where I want it to be. I want to have stamina and endurance. I want to be able to lift heavier and heavier things, and do more push ups, more sit ups, maybe even a pull up! Lol. I want to run new trails (maybe even without stopping) and try new exercises and new sports. I want to get into the habit of feeding myself better.

I’m not saying I can’t do all these things if I was in a relationship…but again…this way means less distractions, less obligations and more time for myself, ie, less excuses.

It’s important to do these things for yourself. For me it might be travel or fitness or work but for someone else it might be studying, it might be starting a business or pursuing a hobby or a past time that you just never made time for before. They say sometimes your boundaries are just a matter of perception, and they’re right.

I have no kids, no mortgage, no loans, no overheads…there is quite literally never going to be a better time than now to dedicate my life to self-improvement, and making memories for myself…by myself…maybe.

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I owe it to myself…this time to be by myself and be all about me. I deserve to be happy, and that happiness should never be contingent on anyone else. People should only add to my happiness by being in my life, never diminish it with their absence.

And even after saying all that…I say this. I have never been, nor will I ever be alone. This period in my life has taught me a lot of things, but the one thing that brings me an immense amount of comfort is the knowledge that I have a wealth of people in my life who support and care for me. People who were always there and some who came out of the woodwork just when I needed them most. People who understand. People who love me and want me to be happy. People to spend time with. People to talk to every minute of every day if I wanted to. I am surrounded.

So there it is…all my business in the road (not really) for the world to see. I hope this speaks to anyone in a similar place right now. We’re some boss ass bitches with some boss ass lives and it can only get better once your head is on straight and you flip the shit upside down and start appreciating all the perks of having no one to consider but yourself.

The Carnival Beat Up

I remember my first year playing mas. My friend Roxanne and I were so excited…mainly because ‘ohmygod this costume makes us look like we have boobs!’

So we were more than content, come Carnival Monday, to throw on our costume bra, a pair of shorts, pelt some sneakers on our feet, a dust of glitter, a dab of eyeshadow, not nearly enough sunscreen and hit the road!

Our total prep for the day was probably all of 30 minutes…

Cut to now and I literally have to start prepping for Carnival three months in advance…maybe more for certain things.

Some people book their makeup artists as early as Ash Wednesday for Carnival the following year…or so I’ve heard.

I wouldn’t call myself a particularly low maintenance masquerader…but neither am I the over the top super high maintenance diva either. I fall somewhere nicely in the middle…upper middle if I’m honest.

Right now I have most things sorted – makeup booked (two weeks ago), tan booked (first year I’m trying the no-sun solution to my natural luminescent palour), costume on lock, monday wear on lock (I think…Val, can you confirm?), tights (Carnivalista and regular ol’ Diane purchased), boots (bought ages ago), and wax appointment this evening.

The only thing I have to do now is get my bag for the road and acquire the gems to decorate said bag and my cup (because according to my friend Andrew: you can’t have an ugly cup in your pictures. Point!).

Anyway, I thought it might be fun to show you some of the new, and maybe more unusual things I’ve found myself buying this year for Carnival. Who knows, maybe I have something here you hadn’t thought of…and you can go sprint to Pennywise/Wonderful World/Starlite/etc to grab it now while you have time.

First up…

Shibue Strapless Underwear

Fascinating…no? If there are any guys reading this blog then you may be at a total loss right now, but bear with me…it will all be clear in a moment.

So ladies…some of you may know off the bat why this is even a thing at Carnival time. For those of you who don’t, let me explain.

When you wear a pair of stockings with your Carnival costume, the stocking is usually the first thing that goes on, before you slip on the bottoms. Now, if you aren’t fortunate to have a bottom piece with enough coverage to accommodate a pair of tiny underwear beneath it (and believe me, that’s getting more and more difficult to find each year) you find yourself in the conundrum of having nothing between your lady bits and your stockings. No bueno. This is no bueno for all kinda of reasons. To date, my solution has been panty liners, but those pose a problem all their own – shifting, unsticking, crumpling up from all the vigorous wining, etc. It’s a complete pain in the ass and it’s remarkable no one introduced a solution to this problem earlier.

Enter the Shibue strapless panty. It’s basically a pair of underwear with the sides missing, and a strip of adhesive silicone on either end of what is essentially two triangular pieces of fabric that are joined in the middle.

shibue

There you go! Problem solved! Well…we’ll see if it’s problem solved anyway. I got mine at the Carnival Pop Up Shop held in late January but I recently saw these for sale even cheaper in Wonderful World (Trincity Branch) at 2 pairs (one nude, one black) for $125 I think.

Pasties

If you’re wearing a wire bra, or are a particularly busty lady in one of Tribe’s notoriously padded bras, then it’s probably a good idea to premeditate your nip slip and cover those areolas up. Unless of course you’re part of the #FreeTheNipple movement, in which case, go through strong and hope you don’t get arrested.

These are pretty standard fare in Wonderful World (again, my go-to for any underwear related accoutrement) and I got three pairs for $25.

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Ignore the creepy stare…

Urifemme

I’ve been buying Urifemme for Carnival going on three years now. It’s basically a funnel to facilitate urination while standing up (for the ladies). For me, nothing is more horrific than the prospect of having to negotiate a filthy port-a-potty while drunk and wearing the equivalent of a spandex straightjacket around my waist. I haven’t always needed my Urifemme, because the bathrooms in Tribe/Bliss are actually quite clean most of the time, but it’s one of those things I need to have in my arsenal just in case. I get mine at Starlite Pharmacy.

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Flash Tattoos

So everyone and their mom have been on the flash tattoo craze. I managed to avoid it for the most part, but the drag queen that lives inside of me decided to jump all the way out and get some flash tats to match my costume in Bliss. It’s Indian Mas themed so I grabbed the Katnis and Apache sets from Flash TT. They’re selling at Bliss and Tribe distribution points today and have a few convenient locations for you to grab a set to complement your costume.

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So there you have it…a few unusual or first-time purchases for me this Carnival. May update this after tomorrow if I buy any other weird stuff…

Have a safe and happy Carnival everyone!

Thoughts // On Moving On

I’ve decided to add a new segment to the blog.

I noticed that my On 2014 post got a lot of positive feedback both on and off the blog…so I thought maybe people actually might be interested in reading a bit more about my personal perspective on certain things…like…life and such.

I mean you could also not want to read that, which is cool as well. Just ignore this post and wait for my next restaurant review or market trip.

Ok! Let’s begin thinking…about moving on…specifically from hurtful situations…presumably with people and love and all that stuff.

heart ache

There’s a running joke between me and anyone who will listen, that it takes me approximately four working days to get over ‘heartbreak’.

One might argue that maybe I don’t feel that much to begin with…so there’s that, and that’s debatable, but then there’s also the fact that I’ve learned a few secrets over the last few months.

(Really…I blame/thank the book Eat, Pray, Love. It’s cliche as all hell but I strongly recommend that book to anyone who is going through any measure of a ‘broken heart’).

Meditation is an exercise I try to do on a daily basis now. It’s a real struggle but I feel like my mind is so much clearer and so much calmer since I started. I don’t give in to anxiety the way I used to, and when I feel particularly out of control, I can put on one of my guided sessions (I HIGHLY recommend the Headspace app as an introduction to meditation) and immediately feel better.

Breathing is such an essential part of stress relief. It’s amazing, but not surprising, how we take the positive effects of controlled, concentrated breathing for granted.

It was after a yoga class one day, a while ago, that I told my yoga instructor that I found myself holding my breath through some of the more painful positions. She told me ‘That means you probably hold your breath when you experience difficulties or challenges in your day to day life as well. You have to breathe through it.’

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Gat dayum these yogis are brilliant.

I always remember her words when I find myself holding my breath, and I remember to breathe. Slow, counting down from ten and starting again if I need to.

So meditating is the first thing. It’s also, to me, the most important thing, because in order to start the process of effectively dealing with pain, you first have to stop your mind from spinning out of control, as it tends to when we’re in the midst of sorrow or anger.

Right, so you have your head straight.

The next thing I recommend you do is research oxytocin. Oxytocin is this pesky little hormone that our brain produces…otherwise known as the ‘love drug’. It’s that chemical that makes you feel the butterflies, the lightheadedness, the general dotishness that one experiences when ‘in love’, and particularly when you’re engaged in a sexual relationship with someone.

love is a drug

Research it well and understand that that feeling of love…the actual feeling, is not unique. Everyone feels it. And you will feel it again, have no fear.

Now this isn’t to say I don’t think love is more than just a chemical reaction in your brain…there is always context to consider.

I’m sure situations attribute a lot to the overall experience of being ‘in love’ with someone but it’s important to remember that you’re not going crazy, you’re just having a normal human response to certain stimuli.

And here’s the kicker – women produce more of it than men. That’s nice and fair isn’t it? Oh well…we have to learn to operate with the hand we’re dealt kids.

Another valuable lesson I’ve learned…and it actually only came to me today…when you allow yourself to be optimistic, or look forward to something, it becomes considerably more difficult to hold on to bitterness and sadness. Sometimes this is easier said than done, I know.

I was very fortunate to have been given a new job opportunity literally the day after a breakup last year…so I had this immense feeling of optimism and gratefulness that kind of overpowered my misery. I am constantly reminded that I am blessed. And when you are as blessed as I perceive myself to be, I find it kind of petty and ungrateful to spend even a minute more than necessary wallowing in self-pity.

suffering

Shit happens, yes, but so do amazing, wonderful things.

It’s important too, to note that sometimes when you’re doing said wallowing, and you’re up to your neck in self-prescribed despair, you can sometimes block opportunities or good things that are trying to enter your life.

Yes…you need to feel what you need to feel (I always tell people it’s important to feel what they need to…but just don’t drown in it) but you also need to acknowledge that life has not stopped. Allow good things to happen to you. Let them in. Allow yourself to be optimistic. Plan a trip, go hang out with your bestie, update your resume, laugh. Laughter helps a lot. You have to let the good in to work out the bad…and that’s SUPER abstract I know, but you’re smart…you get what I’m saying.

I’m constantly reminding myself to let good things happen to me even when I feel sad.

It’s ok to feel happy or hopeful when you’re getting over heart break.

Connected to this point, loosely, is perspective. I remember waking up one morning a few days after that same break up, feeling like complete crap and totally prepared to spend the day under the covers, listening to sad music, when I saw the news online that a school, which was serving as a UN shelter in Palestine had been shelled that night.

15 were dead and over 100 injured, mostly women and children. Palestinian boy scouts were reported to be sifting through the debris, trying to collect body parts for burial.

That was the slap in the face – I know nothing about suffering.

Whatever I was experiencing…it was a drop in the bucket compared to the sadness in the world. I had so much more to be grateful for than to be sad about. Losing someone sucks…yeah…ok. I hear you. But this life is too short to spend it not living for yourself and for the opportunities you still have.

Dammit I sound like a proper self-help book, and I hate pontificating, but I truly believe everything I just wrote, and I think about it constantly. Focus on the good. Focus on what you DO have, and focus on the people who choose to stay.

That is the sum of your life, that is the sum of your experiences in this world. You’ll get over it. You’ll find someone new. Someone who can love you how you deserve to be loved.

Or…maybe you won’t. Not for a while anyway. And that’s okay too. It is okay if someone chooses to continue their journey without you. That is their choice. And all it means is that you need to continue your journey as well. What they do from here on out is no longer your problem, and it’s no longer your business.

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Believe and embrace that quickly and darling you’ll be just fine. Oh also don’t let that shit lower your self esteem…that’s whack and we too old for those teenage habits. Cut that shit out.

Out & About // More Vino & Carnival Pop Up Shop

I’m desperately unprepared for Carnival.

Maybe it was the short season that left me thinking I had more time to get my shit together…but I’m 21 days out and still haven’t even been to Samaroo’s! I don’t even know who I am anymore guys.

I’ve been working out 6 days a week and I’ve been doing Slimdown 360 meals (more out of convenience than anything else) but when the weekend comes, I go H.A.M. on the carbs (kinda). I don’t know…I just haven’t stopped eating…and to prove it to you…here are some pics from my More Vino (or as I like to say Mas Vino) dinner date with my besties on Friday night.

My beautiful best friend Sandi perusing Vino's fancy schmancy menu

My beautiful best friend Sandi perusing Vino’s fancy schmancy menu

Hiyashi Wakame Salad

Hiyashi Wakame Salad

Crab Dip with Tsum Tsum Bread

Crab Dip with Tsum Tsum Bread and some next bread no one touched

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Tone Up Roll and Riceless Roll in the backround. To our credit, it was a riceless night.

Noting my significant lack of preparedness for Carnival, on Saturday I decided to check out the Carnival Pop Up Shop, which took place at Fluid Bar on the avenue. I’ve been meaning to grab some items like the Shibue strapless panty (more on that later) and check out the Carnivalista fishnet tights, and they were both going to be at the Pop Up so I figured I’d kill birds with stones and whatnot.

Shop Shari shell down the place with her amazing statement necklaces

Shop Shari shelling down the place with her amazing statement necklaces

Could totally picture a nude body suit & a Shop Shari Carnival piece for Monday wear.

Could totally picture a nude body suit & a Shop Shari Carnival piece for Monday wear.

Ear cuffs by Kimi See Tai

Ear cuffs by Kimi See Tai. Call her at 377-2557 to order your own. She does custom pieces as well. 

I've seen these Shibue strapless panties being touted on Facebook so I did a little research. Seems like a pretty nifty solution to the issue of what to wear between your stockings and your privates on the road for Carnival. God knows panty lines do us no good.

I’ve seen these Shibue strapless panties being touted on Facebook so I did a little research. Seems like a pretty nifty solution to the issue of what to wear between your stockings and your privates on the road for Carnival. God knows panty liners do us no good. May do a review of these before the big day. 

Grabbed me a pair of Carnivalista Naked fishnets in shade Toffee (because I'm getting a tan for Carnival and anticipating a shade darker). May just wear these on Monday though...we'll see.

Grabbed me a pair of Carnivalista Naked fishnets in shade Toffee (because I’m getting a tan for Carnival and anticipating a shade darker). May just wear these on Monday though…we’ll see.

BONUS PIC!

Went a smidge overboard on Zara over the holidays and ended up with apparently enough new items that I can wear an entire outfit comprised entirely of Zara. Wore this to my friend Nick's birthday lime on Saturday night. Only non-Zara item is of course my Lend & Borough bag.

Went a smidge overboard on Zara over the holidays and ended up with apparently enough new items that I can wear an entire outfit comprised entirely of Zara. Wore this to my friend Nick’s birthday lime on Saturday night. Only non-Zara item is of course my Lend & Borough bag.

My Top Monday Wear Picks

Monday weaaaarrrrrrr. Love it, hate it, doh care about it…Monday wear is here to stay! And I’m pretty neutral on the topic, I think everyone has the right to spend their hard earned money how they choose, and if that choice involves dropping a cool $10K on a costume, then another $1200 on top of that for Monday wear then do you boo!

Monday wear designers have been revealing their designs since last year August, when Monday Rocks The Runway let the bumcees loose at O2 Park.

Armchair critics had a time, complaining about who was wearing too little, who was wearing too much, who bottom was outside, who breast was in dey face. Yeah…because skin at Carnival is somehow STILL taboo.

All that noise aside, I’ve been in observation mode since then and I feel like I’ve narrowed down some of my favourites from the offerings this year. My own Monday wear is on lock thanks to my spirit animal Valmiki Maharaj, who also designed my costume, Pai in Bliss, but I’ve got a wandering eye. No harm in looking right?

Keisha Als

Hands down one of my favourites from her Bling collection. This is one of the more recent designs that she’s done for her collaboration with cANYAval, and you can colour me impressed. First up, a nude bodysuit is ALWAYS a good idea…and the crochet overlay on the nude metallic adds much-needed texture to the monochromatic look. Throw on some sparkle and you’re good to go. Understated fabulousness for Carnival Monday and beyond. Bling looks have begun selling out by the way, so click the link in the caption to go to the store.

Rebel Swimwear for Vice/Tribe

I’m not playing in Vice but for this Monday wear I just might have to sneak my name on the list. You know Vice right? That’s the costume that…well…a little vicey. The one that had personal trainers struggling to come up with exercises specifically for the pubic region and girls all over Trinidad bawling they need a ‘box diet’. Yeah, the Monday wear is no more forgiving. I love Rebel on the whole, cause Sian owns the bad bitch formula and shares it willingly with what she calls her ‘Rebel army’. Lots of combinations available which makes it even more special and I LOVE the colours and print. Can’t wait to see this on the road.

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Marie Collette

I appreciated this piece from the time I saw it at Monday Rocks the Runway. Digging the tribal elements juxtaposed with that graphic print. The extreme high cut is offset nicely by the string waist band…so you out there…but you not OUT there I guess. That waist band come like Atlas…the world rests on its shoulders. The little cutaway on the bust is also quite cheeky…but if you can make it work, do so post-haste!

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Rhion Romany

Can you talk about Monday wear and not mention this name? Rhion Romany has BEEN killing it in the bodywear game for a while now but he has some simple but very effective options for the gliteratti come Carnival Monday. I’m digging the Diana and Julia bodysuit options for Monday mas, and they come in a variety of custom prints that are hand picked by the man himself. This high cut business that happening with Diana gonna be causing real problems on the road for Carnival, I done see. But nobody minds because it’s fierce as all hell.

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Diana (left) and Julia (right)

Let me know who you’re wearing on the road for Carnival Monday, or if you’re opting for some DIY action…maybe even a lil Micles kit (ain’t nothing wrong with that by the way).

Tchao!

Out & About // Crust2Crumb Dessert Café

Hey guys! Happy New Year!

On Saturday I had the pleasure of going to breakfast with one of my best friends Leah.

She lives in Palmiste so we opted to hit up the dessert café Crust2Crumb, which located on Dumfries Road…about a 2 minute drive from her home.

As far as first impressions go, Crust2Crumb makes a good one. The interior is warm and well lit, and was decorated for the season – stacks of gift boxes, a Christmas tree, lots of Holiday paraphernalia all around. Leah told me they do themed decor for Halloween as well, so I presume it’s a ‘thing’ they do, which is great.

Interior

Interior

There is ample parking both in front and around the cafe, though it did get quite packed by the time we were leaving.

The menu is simple but effective…exactly what you’d expect of breakfast offerings in a café.

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I opted for a caramel latte and the eggs benedict. Leah had a hazelnut latte and french toast and scrambled eggs on the side.

The coffee was great. My only complaint about the food was that one of my eggs was more soft boiled than runny (I had requested them runny), but the other was exquisitely runny. I also snuck a bite of Leah’s french toast and that was quite good too, though they do the french toast (as you can see in the photo above) as a grilled flatbread almost. I personally prefer the softer, traditional style of french toast.

Service was excellent and the prices were, in my opinion, quite reasonable. I would definitely go back again, perhaps to try lunch. There’s a fish and chips option on the menu that’s piqued my interest and Leah vouches wholeheartedly for the salads there.

They also do pastries and cakes but I didn’t get an opportunity to sample any….Carnival is, after all, right around the corner.

Crust2Crumb gets a solid 8/10 from me as a breakfast spot in the Southland.

You can check out their website ::here::

On 2014

Good bye.

This year picked me up by the feet, hung me upside down and rattled me til everything I thought I knew fell out of my mind and I was forced to pick them all up and start again.

It’s hard not to get emotional writing this…and that’s weird right, because I’m sure I don’t come across a very emotional person. I’m not…I’m pretty good at being in control of my feelings but when I look back at this year I can’t help but think how fortunate I am to be ending the year in the place I am standing right now.

As I’m sure you can guess, a lot of shit went down this year that absolutely rocked my world. Bad things, of course…’bad’ because that’s all a matter of perspective isn’t it…and good things…very very good things. Wonderful things that I’m still not too sure what to do with.

I wanted to do a little run down of some of the lessons I learned this year. I’d say it’s because I want you guys to learn from my experiences, but I’m a firm believer that second hand information could never be as effective as first hand experience. You have to live something to truly believe it…and maybe some of you have already lived and learned these things, and that’s cool, and maybe some of you are yet to really get what I’m talking about…that’s cool too. Do you. Learn as you go. Don’t ignore the lessons though. Don’t become that person who makes the same mistake over and over again because you don’t want to keep it 100 with yourself.

Decide what you’re worth and stand by it

I told myself I would be ending 2014 with a new job. I’ve never read The Secret but my understanding of it was that the whole speaking something into being thing is…in fact…a thing. So I did, and in 2014 I had many opportunities come my way…but none that could give me what I felt I was worth. Eventually, in the most random week of my life, I was ‘interviewing’ (I realised I no longer have formal interviews…just really chill chats) for a job that would meet and exceed my expectations for change. I’m so glad now that I didn’t jump the gun and settle for anything less than what I wanted for myself. This, I’ve realised recently, should also be applied vigorously to your relationships as well.

Technology might actually drive you crazy

I suffer from anxiety. Sometimes this anxiety manifests itself in compulsive, seemingly uncontrollable behaviour. That behaviour is almost always centred around technology, namely, social media. Now I grew up in the era of Nancy Drew, so solving mysteries just seems like a pretty cool thing to me. And nothing’s wrong with a little Harriet the Spy action from time to time, but the real problem arises when you start to create your own mysteries for you to solve. I make no apology for the fact that I’m a boss ass internet stalker, but sometimes you need to learn when to just…not look. Obsessing over what other people are doing is a sure fire way to end up with papers in St. Ann’s real quick. Sometimes I actually have to say to myself ‘Self…wtf are you doing? Get your life…’. Focus on the people you love and yourself…that’s really all the information you need floating in your stream of consciousness. Anything else is going to poison the water for you, real quick.

Mostly...impressed :)

Mostly…impressed :)

And this segues nicely into my next lesson…

Text life isn’t real life

My friend Veesha snapped me back to reality with this one during a mini meltdown I was having. I would extend this to include social media life isn’t real life. This shit right here is something I repeat to myself like a mantra now. With the advent of the dreaded blue ticks on What’s App in particular, the neurotic just got a little more neurotic about being communicated with via this lovely channel. But the truth is…text life IS NOT real life. Stop trying to interpret every little ‘k’ or every moment of silence…more often that not, reality is trumping cyber life at that very moment. Keep your head out of the cloud folks…shit gets crazy up there.

Fitness makes you feel yourself, a lot

I can’t say I’ve ever had awful body image issues. The worst was probably in my first year of University when I dropped to 108 lbs via a weird pseudo-eating disorder. A quick trip home fixed that right up though…once people called me ‘bird foot’ enough I was like ‘nah’. I started working out…like really going to the gym regularly, about two years ago. Right now I work out 5 to 6 days a week, and I do it not because I feel like I NEED to, but because I genuinely want to, and love to. I’ve never appreciated my body as much as I do when I’m lifting. For someone with control issues like me, it’s amazing to have something that literally I alone have control over. Once you put in the work, you see results, and that’s a great feeling. Of course your body improves aesthetically along the way, and you begin to concentrate on body fat percentage instead of weight, and eat to nourish your body instead of deprive it. Long story short – if you truly want to be happy, you better start squatting.

When people show you who they are, believe them

Well boy…this one is cliche as all hell but believe you me…it is going to save you a lot of trouble down the road if you just accept that people do not change. Well…that’s a bit extreme, people CAN change, but they’ll only really do that if they’re doing it for themselves. People are not going to change for you. Believe that. Accept that. If someone shows you they are untrustworthy, please believe they will always be that, unless they see some benefit to themselves to stop being that. If someone comes across as weak…well, sad to say, but unless they truly feel the need to be strong for themselves, they will continue to be weak for you. Women in particular like to believe that love is this magic elixir that heals the lame and restores eyesight to the blind but ahm….spoiler alert…it isn’t. Pay very close attention to the red flags…they’re red for a reason.

truth

Life is going to check you

A lot of us – myself included – have these very lofty ideals. We think we know exactly what we want. Look! We even have a list! We know exactly what’s going to happen when, and with whom, and where and how. We are set on our course and we don’t usually step a toe out of line. I suspect what happens then is life sees this and is like..HA! Guess what bitch! CHECKED. And then you get checked. And the checking proceeds as such: something pretty huge and unexpected happens that makes you completely toss out every list you ever had for the way your life was supposed to go. There’s a saying – Man plans and God laughs. Well…yeah. God’s laughing. One of my biggest takeaways from the latter half of this year was to be more comfortable with the notion of not being in control. all. the. time. Sometimes you need to FEEL your way through something, ya dig?

Be yourself 

This year more than most, I realised the immense value of keeping shit 100 with the people you interact with. I’ve never been a facetious person eh, don’t get me wrong, but now I realise that a lot of the trimmings and bows we think people respond positively to, are actually holding us back from being our true, awesome selves. See this world has us thinking we need to be a certain person – we need to talk, dress, act, share on social media a certain way. We’ve figured out that if we want to appear one way we have to do one particular thing. Truth be told…that’s folly. It’s an enormous waste of everyone’s time, but especially your own. I’ve started embracing and advertising the fact that I’m weird as hell and encourage everyone to stay weird. Seriously, own your flaws…and if any of them are serious enough that you want to start addressing them…actually acknowledging them openly, I think, is a great step in the right direction for being better. Stop trying to be something you are not…NOBODY is perfect…believe that. This world would function a little more sanely if people just stopped trying to ‘sell’ themselves and just allowed themselves to be loved and appreciated as they are.

stayweird

 

No matter what happens…you’ll be just fine

I think the greatest lesson I learned, and accepted this year, is that no matter what life throws at me, I will always get past it. I may a little battered, and a little bruised, but these things heal and soon you’ll forget you ever hurt like that. We have this incredible ability to bounce back from pain, from heartache, from sorrow, from loss…when it’s happening of course, you never think you’re going to make it out alive, but then you do, and then you wonder why you ever believed you weren’t as resilient as you are. Nothing can destroy you if you don’t allow it to. Maybe you lose something huge, or something you think is huge…but my advice would be to focus on all the things you have not lost – all the people who are still in your life, and who love you and who want to see you happy. And even more than that…turn your focus inward and see that you hold limitless potential within you. You command your life because you command your state of mind, always.

eatprayloveselectyourthoughts

 

Anyway, let me stop the pontificating, y’all get where I’m going with this.

Here’s to 2014, thanks for everything. I hope 2015 can be just as convoluted, complex, incredible, surprising, earth-shattering and fabulous as you were!