Answering Union Jack’s call

I don’t know why I spent a good two minutes laughing at the title of this blog post. It’s probably because I thought I was being really funny and smart at 1.55am but then it hits me that it’s neither funny nor smart but I keep it anyways as a reminder of how ridiculous I can be.

Anyways, hello, I’m neither funny nor smart but I’m here to talk about probably the most exciting and scariest decisions I’ve made in my life to date: moving to London. Eeeek!

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So when did I make this decision? Well, it’s always been in the back of my mind. Since I was about 12, I’ve always wanted to go to London and Europe in general to explore castles, hilltops, visit historical spots and touch all the forbidden items in museums and art galleries and set off alarms, get arrested and deported back to my native NZ… okay I digress, but you get my point. But I never did it when I was younger because life got in the way. I was either in a long-term relationship, building a long-term career or just swimming in debt because of my shocking poor money decisions.

Now that I’m no longer single, no longer working on my career since I’ve put it on hold and a little bit better with my debts, I feel like it’s finally time to do this. I know for a fact that if I don’t and I settle, I’m always going to wonder ‘what if?’ and I’ll probably go through a painful midlife crisis that includes abandoning my partner/husband and children to go on this crazy ‘finding me’ trip. So yeah, it’s time.

I’m going on a Tier 5 Youth Mobility Visa, which entitles me to stay and work in the UK for two years. I leave New Zealand on 20 March from Auckland International and head to Doha and then leave Doha to London on 21 March. I arrive in London at 6.20am (LOL) and I know you’re probably like wtf but I chose my flight based on two important factors: price and shortest wait time. After buying my tickets did I realise I was arriving super early AND my flight from Auckland to Doha is 18 hours long – the longest flight in the world, literally (YEAH WTF). But what’s done is done and it’s part of the adventure so I’m not gonna cry about it. Yet. Maybe I’ll do a blog post on the experience… (let me know if you’re actually interested…)

I’m going to be staying with an old work colleague while I find my feet and I’m so grateful for her letting me crash on her floor. I know it’s going to be a hella busy first week filled with job interviews with different agencies, picking up my BPR (I think that’s what it’s called), sorting out a bank account, working out how to use the god damn public transport system, finding a flat, etc etc etc. Gosh I’m exhausted just thinking about it all but I know deep down that it’s all gonna be worth it and I’m gonna be okay.

I mentioned last year that I’ve been quite unwell. The bad news is that I still have my off days but I don’t think I’m going to let that get in the way of my plans. I’ll of course be discussing the trip and my worries with my doctor before I go but I’ll be sure to register with a GP as soon as I find a flat (apparently the UK have these rules where you can only be registered to a GP in the area that you live in). Worst case scenario is that I end up hospitalised in the UK or I have to cut my trip short and come home earlier and that’s totally fine because by then I would’ve done some travelling and gone outside of my comfort zone. So yeah, I’ve thought about this, I haven’t neglected this pretty significant detail.

So how am I feeling about it now that I’ve got 61 days left to go? Well, I’m shitting myself. There’s always the doubt of whether or not I’m going to find a job, of whether I’m going to find a place to stay, whether I have enough money to get by before getting a job and a steady income, and hell what if I hate it? There’s always going to be the thought of failure if I do come back early but I just have to keep reminding myself that it’s okay because I repeat, at the end of the day I’ve travelled and I’ve tried it and yeah.

There are so many exciting things happening when I get there. I’m going to see Flight of the Conchords at the O2 (I think it’s there) and I’m going to Prague in the first week of April. I’m still planning other trips away in April because it’s birthday month so why not treat myself!

While I’m shitting myself about this, I’m also really freaking excited and I think excitement outweighs fear. I’m really looking forward to the sites, the experiences, the people, the journey, the tears (I know there’s going to be lots and lots of tears be it joy or sorrow) and the memories.

I guess that’s all I’ve got to say about the journey for now. I’m thinking I’ll do like a moving blog series closer to the time but for now, it’s back to the list of things to sell, downsizing my stuff, to-do lists of things I need to do before I bail and yeah… thanks for reading and see ya next time!

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Have you moved away from your homeland? What was it like? I’d love to hear all about your experiences and if you’ve got any advice!

Oh, how I’d wish he’d go away…

Have you ever heard the poem ‘Antigonish’ by William Hughes Mearns? I feel like it’s one of those poems that we encounter at some point in our lives, be it in a song reference, a movie/TV show reference or even somewhere on Pinterest/Tumblr/Reddit.

It’s quite an eerie poem and has such an eerie feel and while it sends shivers down my spine, I really like the fact that it’s the use of words that’s making me feel that way. It basically reinforces the power of words and how it can affect emotions, moods and the imagination.

Anyways, the point of this blog is that in the last week, I’ve been feeling rather bleak and empty. I feel like my emotions are best represented by this photo – we found a wreckers yard somewhere in the middle of nowhere. It was raining and misty and the yard was so empty, so abandoned and so creepy.

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Anyways, back to what I was saying; the nasty voice inside my head has been making frequent visits and I just find I hate myself and everything about me, physically and emotionally. The other day, we had a German couple stay with us on AirBnB and they asked me how old I was. When I told them I was 27 and they said they were 21 and 20, I lost my mind. They were travelling the world and were so independent and I’m living at home with my parents. Lol. I was so embarrassed I practically avoided them for the rest of their stay. That’s another thing; I find myself being so embarrassed about the way I look and wanting to look ‘normal’ and blend into the shadows, not stick out like a sore thumb in the crowd.

Let me just say that I’m never this hard on myself. Sometimes the critic rears his ugly head but it never lasts long and the power of positivity usually kicks him back into his cave. I love myself 85% of the time and while it’s not 100%, it’s damn well better than what it’s been in my younger days and I’m still working on my self-love. I also want to point out that I’m not embarrassed about my current situation of being at home with my family; it’s great being able to spend this time with them before I head off overseas for god knows how long. I also really like my blue/green hair because I feel like a magical unicorn and I like being different and being able to express myself with my style but today, oh today…

What does this have to do with ‘Antigonish’? Well, the man that keeps appearing but isn’t there reminds me of that negative, self-loathing voice that keeps appearing but really isn’t there. He rears his ugly head, says some nasty things, but at the end of the day, I tell myself he’s just a voice, he’s not really there and he’s only as real as you let him become. He’s also as present as you let him be.

I know it’s never an easy feat dealing with him when he arrives. This is what I do when he visits: I sit there, listen to everything he tells me, mope around, shake him off, make a plan on what I’m going to do to address his words so I can make a change and prove him wrong, sometimes I end up feeling helpless because I’m weak so I let his words linger and I mope some more but when I’m finally done with moping I get up and get on with it and do something I love, such as:

  • Walk/wander/run
  • Listen to some guaranteed happy tunes
  • Write
  • Harass my family
  • Play with my cats
  • Nap
  • Read
  • Practice a craft I’m trying to master
  • Chores
  • Have a bath
  • Binge watch something

Not gonna lie, some of these things I don’t actually love but they serve as fantastic distractions.

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It’s never easy when he rears his ugly head to belittle you and make you feel hopeless and ugly. But you gotta remember that he’s only as strong as you let him be. Have the courage to step back and say fuck off because while the man is waiting there for you and you’re looking for him in the hall, you won’t be able to see him at all.

So, go away, go away, don’t you come back anymore…

Go away, go away, and please don’t slam the door…

Do the dark days hit you as well? What do you do to get rid of the little man and his hideous words?

Reflections

Wow. 2018. You’re finally here. I must say I’ve been really looking forward to you. I’ve got so much planned and I can’t wait to create new memories with you.

2017; you’ll always be a bittersweet memory. We went through many highs and many lows (let’s be honest – more lows than highs). But you’ve made me stronger. I’m glad you happened and you’ll always serve as a reminder of the strength that I have within myself; of the courage that I can call upon when shit really hits the fan.

IMG_3167The sunset out at Oakura, New Zealand

I hope you all had a safe and merry New Years and a wonderful 2017 Christmas. Here’s to a 2018 that will hopefully raise the roof.

I’ve always found it interesting that when we’ve had a shitty year, we just can’t wait for it to end because we want to start fresh. So when the countdown starts, we’re all waiting in anticipation for something incredible to happen when the clock hits 12.00am. What we’re waiting for, I have no idea. A router reset? For our memories to fade? For everything to just change? Let’s be honest though, nothing really changes. Fireworks may go off, we’ll cheers to a better year and we’ll sing and dance. But our problems are going to follow us into the new year if we don’t acknowledge our troubles or strive for change. Perhaps it’s the comfort of knowing the year has come to an end and a new one has begun. But the thing is, we can always start fresh at anytime, we don’t need to wait for the new year. Anyways, I’m going off on a tangent, I’ll stop here.

I’m sure many of you can relate when I say that a lot has happened last year. Towards the end, I did a lot of self-reflecting about what I wanted, what’s important to me, what I hoped for and what I need to do to get to where I want to be. I made some changes for the better; acknowledged that some things needed to change but I’m still trying to work out what I need to do to change it; cried a lot; laughed a lot; held on to bitter memories; let go of said bitter memories; prioritised my family and myself; finally went paddle boarding!!! – The list goes on and on and I don’t want to bore you.

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I think my year started right – I explored my creative side by setting up my bullet journal, I went for a swim at the beach, I ate fish and chips and I saw Bryan Adams perform live at the Bowl of Brooklands in New Plymouth. Mind you, the weather was absolutely shit with rain and wind and I got absolutely saturated. But hey, I had some sweet gumboots on, gems on my face and I got to dance to ‘Summer of 69’ in the rain, along with everyone else. It was incredible.

It was kinda hard to get a decent photo since it was such a wet, wet evening so please don’t laugh at the poor photography skills (or do laugh, idk).

I’m thinking that this year I want to experiment more and do things that scare me, even if it’s a slight scare.

So what does this mean for this blog? As you can see, it’s undergoing some changes. I’ve created another logo which I think is a huge step up from the last one (haha) and I’m working on changing the look and feel of the blog. I’m also planning on trying out different content and seeing how it goes. I guess it’s going to be a time of trial and error and I hope you stick around for the journey to give me feedback on my content and share your thoughts on what you’d like to see more or less of.

Before I go, I just want to quickly announce that in three months, I’m going to be embarking on probably one of the most exciting and scariest adventures: I’m moving to London. More details of the planned trip to come!

LONDON CALLING

And of course, more blogs coming your way too!

 

No BS affirmations singletons need to remember

Listen up single people; we’ve all been there. We’ve had days where we know being single is awesome and we value our independence and freedom and we have days where we drown ourselves in a pool of our own tears because shit, why are we single and why won’t anyone love us?

I’m definitely one of those people. I spend more time embracing singledom than I do worrying about not having someone to love and to look after me and cuddle me when times get rough. But even though I’m happy with my single status, sometimes I need to remind myself that being single is all good in the hood. More often than not, we’re single because we choose to be! So before you wallow into your pillow and tuck into a huge tub of Ben and Jerry’s, I’ve compiled a list of no-bull affirmations to remind you that hey, single is actually okay.

You’re not going to be single forever

No, I’m not saying this just to make you feel better about your current situation. You WILL find someone when you’re ready. Hell, you’ll probably find someone when the last thing you want is to find your perfect match! I’m a firm believer of there being someone for everyone and right now, you may not have someone but that someone will turn up and you’ll be like “OH HEY YOU’RE MY SOMEONE” and then you’ll remember this post and be like “OH THAT PERSON WAS RIGHT”. I love happy endings.

You can be selfish and look out for number one guilt-free

It’s important to always look out for number one – no I don’t mean partners, I mean you. Being single is good for the soul because you can be selfish and do things for only you. You don’t have to factor someone else’s’ thoughts and opinions into your decisions; the only one that matters is yours.

Want to buy that Louis Vuitton bag? Fucking do it. Want to stay out with your girls until 7am in the morning and make poor decisions and wind up waking up in some hotties bed? Who’s gonna stop you? Want to dye your hair fluorescent green? YOLO dude, YOLO.

The point is you don’t have a significant other to influence your decisions. You’re making decisions for you. Besides, you end up learning more about yourself, what makes you tick, have a stronger sense of self and end up being completely self-relient which is very sexy might I add. These are very important qualities to have, not just as a single person but for when you’re in a relationship as well.

And besides, you can order all the foods and enjoy it yourself without having to share with the other person… most important point…

You could be in a relationship if you wanted to

And you know I’m right. You could download Tinder or Badoo or OkCupid, hit people up with some smooth pick up lines, go on a few dates and presto, suddenly you’re in a thing. Long or short term, the point is you’re in a thing.

But you’re not. You know why? Because you don’t want to be. Because you don’t want to lower your standards or make compromises because you know your self-worth. Better yet, you’re still trying to work it all out so until you do, you’re just going to stay single. And hey, that’s totally okay.

Relationships are HARD

And that’s the reality of it. We ALWAYS see the good parts of relationships, whether it’s in rom-coms, sitting in the theatre or at dinner next to a loved up couple or even when we’re at work and our co-workers give us the 4-1-1 on all the romantic things their partner’s done for them.

DON’T DESPAIR. Deep down you know it’s not all smooth sailing and it takes a lot to keep a relationship afloat. You gotta take the good with the bad. When you’re single, you’re investing your emotions and energy on yourself, your family and your friends and let’s be honest, sometimes that’s more than enough. So embrace your somewhat free time while you can because as soon as you get into a relationship, you know it’s going to take a lot out of you.

And just think about the time your best friend and their partner were fighting over something petty and then they tried to get you involved and you’re like HELL NO and then you bolt and then think to yourself “thank fuck i’m single”. Or the time you had to comfort your friend because their partner was out drinking and didn’t tell them and they’re currently experiencing trust issues? Yeah, just keep hold of that memory. Here’s a lil lol for you:

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Good things take time

This is applicable to so many things, not just relationships. It’s important that we don’t just settle for the sake of settling. It’s also important that we take the time to look at ways to get to know ourselves and love ourselves. Because it’s true what they say: how can you love and appreciate someone else when you can’t even love and appreciate yourself?

Take the time to cultivate and nourish yourself before you commit to cultivating and nourishing someone and something else.

So there you have it people – my no BS affirmation list for singletons. Hopefully you found it useful. Little reminders are so important! I know my single friends definitely need these reminders from time to time and it’s totally okay.

If you’ve got something else to add to the list, I encourage you to do so as I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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… cheese I know but dat accuracy dough…

Oh hey, I quit.

Guess what? I’ve been unemployed for over a week. Wow. It feels really surreal saying that out loud (or typing it for that matter!). It’s still sinking in. I remember before I got sick, when my alarm went off it was such a struggle to get up and I’d lie in bed starring blankly at my ceiling wondering if I really needed the job. I’d daydream about the unemployed life and it’d leave me with a smile on my face… until I realise the reality is I have bills and responsibilities and I’m an adult (more like a bad-ult). Then I’d roll my eyes, grunt loudly and get out of bed. It was never easy and to be honest, it still isn’t easy.

But since being unemployed, I never thought that I’d actually miss my job and making money. Like seriously. I feel kind of like I have no purpose and that sort of makes me sad because I think as humans we need to have a purpose to feel somewhat complete.

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So why did I quit my job? There were a number of factors that came into play and the decision wasn’t an easy one at all.  In fact, the thought never crossed my mind until my sister suggested I quit my job and move back home to focus on my health and getting better. So as you can see, health played a major part in my decision.

I loved my job. I loved what I was doing. But I found myself loving it less and less and feeling more and more unmotivated and that was because I was too busy thinking about the implications my health was having on my life. I couldn’t come to work so I was letting my team down and I wasn’t there for my stakeholders. I couldn’t design and deliver communications plans if I wasn’t there to understand a project and think of radical ways to market and engage with the audience. It also felt like there were some radical changes coming up in the organisation that could have a negative impact on my role and I. I also felt lost 99% of the time.

My mental health started deteriorating because my brain was on overdrive thinking about pain, letting the side down, not feeling inspired, wondering how I was going to pay my bills because I was on unpaid leave and wanting to literally give up because being optimistic felt 150% harder when you’re unwell. If you’ve read my ‘They’re definitely two of the hardest things’ blog, you’ll also know that I was trying to keep my emotions at bay (and failing miserably).

So yeah, I took the plunge and handed in my resignation. I left my flat and moved back to a small city to live with my parents. Yes, I’m 27 and I’m currently living with my parents.

I have days where I feel like it was possibly the worst decision ever particularly because it felt like I’d given up on my career. BUT deep down I know that’s not the case at all and I’m doing it because I’m focusing on getting number one (me!) better and ready for my next big adventure.

It’s hard when you’re an ambitious workaholic like me to go from spending ten hour days in the office to spending no days in the office (unless blogging counts as a day in the office?). But I know that this is possibly the best decision for me and when I’m doing better, I’ll return to the workforce, guns blazing and ready to conquer the world. Plus this gives me time to focus on the things I enjoy… like reading and writing (yay more blogs!).

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Oh! You wanna know something funny? I was completing a food/stress diary for my nutritionist and it’s incredible to think that I haven’t been stressed out in the last week. It’s such a strange feeling to not be stressed, worried or upset about something. Methinks I could get used to this life.

Tell me, have you had to take the plunge and take some time off to focus on you?

Today, I’m choosing myself

Today’s blog is a creative piece that I felt I needed to write. It’s almost like a letter saying hello to myself and goodbye to the old. I hope you like it as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it.

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There have been plenty of days where I’ve thought about you and wondered how you were doing, what you were doing, if you’re thinking about me, if you’re thinking about us and if you’re counting the hours, minutes and seconds until we see each other again.

Today is not one of those days. Today is the day where I’m going to think about how I’m doing, what I’m doing, what I’m going to accomplish and who I need to be. Today is the day that I’m going to stop wasting my time looking at my phone, waiting for your message or worst yet, waiting for you.

Today I’m going to scroll through memes and enjoy them without thinking of sharing them with you; I’m going to lie in the spot that you used to sleep in and enjoy the space instead of wishing you were in it. I’m going to text my friends and get excited when they reply without wishing it was you I was texting. I’m going to walk through the park in the rain with a smile on my face without wishing you were there with me. Today, I’m going to do everything for me without you having any power or influence over any of my decisions and my happiness.

I know it’s not going to be an easy ride but it starts with one day; a day to acknowledge that you’ve had plenty of chances and opportunities, that I’ve given you so much more than you’ve given back, that I’ve lost myself with you and that I’m better off without you. Today I’m choosing myself; I’m going to let go of all the thoughts in my head and the heaviness in my heart and I’m going to heal and come out stronger.

It’s easy for us to choose others’ happiness and thoughts over our own; it’s harder to focus on living and enjoying life when we’re too busy thinking about what we’ve done to push someone away. It’s not easy loving yourself when you’re busy loving someone else and blaming yourself when they don’t return the feelings because you feel like it’s your fault. Of course it’s your fault; why aren’t you perfect? You need to be more perfect. You hate yourself for not being their idea of perfection.

But that’s no longer going to be case. I am perfect; they’re just not perfect for me. Today I choose to accept myself and my shortcomings and I’m going to listen to myself. I’m going to learn to love myself and work through my flaws and I’m going to grow and become stronger. It’s the beginning of a decision that will last forever. It’s the beginning of me choosing to no longer put you ahead of me. It’s the beginning of me forgetting you and choosing me.

Today, I’m choosing myself.

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They’re definitely two of the hardest things

In the last month, I did two of what I consider the hardest, scariest things: one, I put my heart on the line and told a boy how I really felt rather than dismissed my feelings and running away from them and two, I let him go.

In my 27 years of life, I’ve never actually told a boy how I felt. I’m the type of person that doesn’t like feeling vulnerable and exposed. I like to give the façade that I’m unbreakable and strong, but deep down I’m a fucking marshmallow. Now dear reader, you know the truth.

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If you read my last post, you would’ve guessed that being sick made me realise that life is short and that I need to get my shit in order. One of the things I thought was to tell this boy the truth and let whatever happens, happen. It went well at the time… and then it didn’t a week later.

In the last month, I’ve been through a tumultuous rollercoaster ride of emotions. I’ve been very high, very low, very neutral and I never know what to expect when I wake up in the morning. While it may seem normal and exciting for us as humans to wake up and live for the unpredictability of life, it’s actually quite scary when you’re a bit of an emotional wreck like I’ve been lately. I’m not myself.

I knew that I was putting the poor boy through my emotional hell. And I couldn’t allow myself to leave my emotions in his hands because I was incapable of looking after it myself. Then I made the rash decision to end things. I walked away.

I walked away because I wasn’t doing him any favours and because I wasn’t doing myself any favours. It’s true what they say – how can you learn to love someone else when you can’t even love yourself?

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Walking away is hard because you don’t want to seem like you’ve given up but you also don’t want to be stuck in something that can’t go forward because you’re busy trying to keep it and your life afloat.

While I’ve spent the last few days allowing the reality of what I’ve done sink in and wondering whether or not I’ve made the right decision, ultimately I know I need to remind myself that I need to do what it takes to make sure I’m happy. While it hurts now, I’m proud of myself for doing these two things and owning them. I know it’ll get easier.

Right now, I need to give myself the time and effort I need to grow and be happy. And while I don’t believe in fate or destiny, I know that if things were meant to be, they’ll be. Now I’m signing out to go make some more important decisions… watch this space.

I will however leave you with this message:

Dear reader, never give up on yourself. You were destined for great things. If you’re going through a rough time, remember to give yourself the opportunity to show you that your life can be better and everything will be okay.

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