Taking Up Space

Taking Up Space

Taking up space – the one thing I am terrible at and have to work on consistently.

I never liked it when people took up too much space. When they sucked all the air out of the room and encroached on my personal bubble. As a response to this type of character, I spent my entire life trying not to be that person. What happened instead was that I did everything I could to minimize myself, make myself as small as possible and basically try to erase myself from any room I walked into.

It’s easy now to look back and point to the fact that I was shy, scared, or lacked confidence. Although, my go-to defence was that I was an introvert and I liked to listen more than I talked.

But as time passed, and I slowly started gaining more confidence, this inner conflict kept brewing. Should I speak up? Should I say what I think? Should I hide away in a corner and make myself small? Should I let the extroverts talk and silence myself? All these questions were at the forefront of my mind anytime I was in a social situation.

The root cause of these questions and the emotions I was feeling took a while for me to understand. What I was doing was perhaps a form of self-sabotage rooted in a lack of confidence, but at the end of the day I truly believed that I wasn’t allowed to take up space in this world.

I believed that if I took up any space, then I was encroaching on someone else’s space. Not yet understanding the idea that we are all here, and therefore we are all allowed to take up the space we are given. There is a clear difference between encroaching on someone else, and just taking up the space granted to you as a human being on this planet.

What took me years to learn, and is something I still remind myself daily, is that I am allowed to take up space. As long as I am not disrupting or encroaching on other people’s space, I am allowed to take it up. I am allowed to be here; I am allowed to exist in this space however I want.

So here is my small piece of wisdom to you all: You are here on this planet, therefore you are allowed to exist and take up space. You are not a waste of space, you do not need to make yourself small to accommodate others, you can be here and be yourself.

What Not Writing For Over A Month Taught Me

What Not Writing For Over A Month Taught Me

It’s been over a month since I have sat down to write something. Beyond your basic email or paragraph, I have not written anything down.

That time and space I’ve taken from writing have allowed me to understand my relationship with writing in a way I had never considered it before. For one thing, I had never truly appreciated writing until I took this impromptu break from it. Writing has not only become a way for me to express myself, but also a way for me to process information, think through new ideas and connect old ones.

You might be thinking that I sound a tad bit dramatic at this point, after all, plenty of people stop writing altogether after high school, aside from the basics. But when writing becomes such an intricate part of how you cope with life, not doing that activity can have a lot of negative impacts on you. Not having writing in my life dramatically impacted my mental health in ways I still don’t quite understand.

My time spent away from writing taught me to not only appreciate writing but use it as a resource and a tool to guide me through life. Without writing, I felt like I was floating and never truly grounded at the moment. A moment would pass, and it was as if it floated away too quickly, I would never get the chance to hold onto it. Writing allows me to process those moments, cherish them and above all, remember them.

There is something so relieving about putting pen to paper or typing your thoughts away on a keyboard that unless you cope with life this way, you may not understand.

This mini-break also made me realize how harsh and critical I was of my writing. I liked my voice and the tone that I used, but if someone didn’t then for some reason their perception of me became my reality. I learned that I put a lot of pressure on myself when I did write and that if I was simply writing a blog post it had to contain all the wisdom of the ages in it – spoiler alert, it doesn’t need to. The posts that I wrote from the heart, that detailed my experiences or even small snippets of lessons I had learned along the way were always the ones that resonated more with people.

I wish I had kept writing since the last time I posted here, but I haven’t. But it still taught me that writing is a part of me. That is not to say I am branding myself as a writer, but I am someone who writes. I am someone who writes to learn, to process, to understand, to think and to connect. Writing is so instrumental in my every day-to-day life, that it baffles my mind how little I used to appreciate it.

So to anyone who has stepped away from something they love for a while, here is your reminder to get back to it. It will make a world of a difference, I promise.

What If?

What If?

I’ve been thinking lately about what could have been. What would happen if I didn’t run in the opposite direction? What if I just took that one step? What if I was bold? What would my life look like if I had done certain things?

I think we all get lost in the ‘what if?’ question from time to time and so many people will tell you to not dwell on what could have been, but it’s not that simple. Of course, we are going to wonder what would have happened if we had just done one thing differently. It’s normal to wonder and to think about how things could have gone differently.

So, for a few moments, I want to create a small space where you can freely wonder what would have happened. Not because I think it’s healthy to dwell on the things we can’t change, but so that you can learn from those what if moments.

Take a few seconds and let yourself think of that one ‘what if’ moment that is always in the back of your mind. Reflect a bit, think about it and now take a step back from it. Would you change anything about what you did? It doesn’t do anything to dwell on what others could have done differently, but instead, it’s more fruitful for you to think about what you would change. Whatever you would change about that moment, remember it and turn it into a lesson to save for your future self.

People often forget that there is a lot to learn from questioning or examining what we could have or should have done. From my personal experience, when I look back at those big ‘what if’ moments, I have noticed that they all lead back to the fact that I wasn’t bold enough. I would let fear take over and dictate my actions even if it wasn’t what I wanted. But when I return to those what if moments, I remember how I felt, and I can learn how not to do that anymore. I can understand where that fear came from and knowing that means I can try and react differently to it next time.

I am not suggesting drowning yourself in the what if moments of your life, but I think there is something to be learnt from those moments. Tossing it to the wind takes away a chance to grow and change that would be beneficial for us.

Once you understand and have learned from the ‘what if’ moments, it’s time to put it to rest. You have learned all that you could from that moment and dwelling on it won’t do much. It happened, and now you have given yourself the chance to learn from it and that is what matters the most.

Becoming Who You Want To Be

Becoming Who You Want To Be

Becoming the person you have always wanted to be, is a long process. It requires you to make a promise to yourself every night before bed that tomorrow you will try again, and it requires you to act on that promise every morning. It’s not an easy promise to keep to ourselves, and oftentimes it’s one we won’t keep. But that doesn’t mean you should stop trying to be the person you always wanted to be.

But getting back at it and motivating yourself to try again becomes easier when you have the following things in mind: a reason behind why you want to become that person, consistency and a core set of values. Here’s a little bit more of an explanation as to why you need these three things in your life when you are trying to become the person you have always wanted to be.

1)      Establishing a ‘Why’

Why do you want to be this person? To live a happier life? Perhaps, to live a more balanced life? To be more present? The process of becoming the person you always wanted to be is challenging and exhausting but having a solid reason as to why you are becoming this version of yourself can save you in more ways than you know. When things get tough, or you feel like giving up, having that ‘why’ to catch you is crucial to continuing the lifelong journey of becoming who you want to be. Starting things without creating a solid foundation first, often leads to things falling apart faster than you wanted.

2)      Consistency

In most endeavours in life, people will tell you that consistency is key. It also applies to this matter and is one of the few ideas I try to follow every single day. When creating anything, a project, an idea and yourself keeping up consistent habits that you know add a tremendous amount of value and joy to your life is key. Doing those all the time is the tricky part, but I can tell you that forcing yourself to keep up healthy habits, whatever they may be, is key to becoming the person you want to be. Eventually, they will become second nature and you will be one step closer to being that version of yourself that you know you can be.

3)      Establish a clear set of values

When envisioning this version of yourself, it’s easy to imagine where they will be living, wearing, eating, who they will be surrounding themselves with, etc. But as we all know, life is a lot more complex than that and can throw a few curveballs at you. Through time, that ideal version of you might change or evolve and that’s completely okay. Adjust, pivot, try new habits that would align with that version, even if it’s not the one you started with. More often than not, pivoting and readjusting is a lot easier when you have a clear list of values that you want to live by. Values can change, everything does, but more often than not our core values are with us for the long haul. Having a clear idea of those core values can allow you to work towards that person you want to become, but also allow you to change course whenever you want or feel the need to. Because you aren’t changing absolutely everything, just the direction but not the core of who you are (but between you and me, you can change that too – it’s your life after all).

The journey is tough but you can do it. You can and are allowed to be the person you have always dreamed of being.

How to Stop Living a Passive Life

How to Stop Living a Passive Life

Have you been living passively for the last year? For the past year or so, I have been watching the days, weeks and months, fly by without even realizing it. Time has flown by so quickly, and I genuinely cannot tell you where the time went or what even happened. Which got me thinking, what was doing in the past year? Why was I living such a passive existence? What happened to my life? The pandemic presented a strange set of circumstances that were different for each person, and the way we all responded to those circumstances differed as well. Today I want to share how I slowly climbed out of this habit of living life passively to one where I am actively living my life.

For an entire year, I stopped myself from feeling any sort of joy because I thought it was going to be taken away from me. For a year, I held in my grief because it hurt too much to feel anything. For an entire year, I let things happen to me and didn’t even bother reacting. I let life pass me by. Even though it was a horrible year in so many ways, it was still a year of my life. I still passively lived a year of this precious life that I have. Quite honestly, I have reached a point where I do not want that to be who I am or the type of life I live.

So, what changed? A few weeks ago, I reached a point where I was getting sick and tired of my daily routine. It was chaotic, boring, and quite frankly not helping me live my day-to-day life. So, I decided to challenge myself. For three days, I would try hard to create a daily schedule that was balanced, healthy and made me excited to wake up in the morning. For those three days, I made sure to carve out time in my days to do things I know benefit my mental and physical health, but that also allowed me to balance work with hobbies on the side. Was it easy? No. A part of me wanted badly to revert to old ways, and the next week I did. But I also realized how awful I felt living passively after I experienced three days of actually enjoying my life.

Now the question remains, what can you do about it? For one day, try to create a day that makes you truly happy. I am not saying you must ignore work and responsibilities but create a day that makes you feel balanced and happy. Think carefully about how you want this day to look. Think about how you want to feel. I would recommend writing it all done on a list because trust me there is nothing more satisfying than checking things off a list.

Once you have your list of all the little things that you can do in a day that would make you feel full, happy and balanced, it’s time to do it. I don’t have any secret how-to for this part because it’s up to you at this point to decide that you want to try. You wake every single morning and give it all you got, so why not try doing something you like? Take the list and go through it throughout the day and check things off.

I hope that at the end of the day, you feel happy and full. I hope you realize that little things throughout the day can make us feel just as satisfied and happy as the big moments in our lives can.

The secret to actively living your life and not passively going through it is that you must choose to live your life. You must actively choose small tasks or moments throughout your day and fill them with something you love. Living doesn’t have to be going on crazy adventures it can just mean living intentionally and fully.

I hope you take a few months to realize that if you have been on autopilot for the past year or just not happy or disconnected, that it doesn’t have to stay that way. You do not have to watch the rest of the world go on without you. You can be a part of it.

The only way you can create the life you want or the life you dream of is by deciding to live your life.

Why Am I Scared Of Growing Up?

As a kid, I had high hopes and expectations for adulthood. I was the one kid going on and on about wanting to grow up and how it would be so freeing and liberating. In some ways, it has been, but in other ways, it has been a tumultuous roller-coaster filled with so many highs and lows I can’t keep up anymore.

For some reason, the older I get, the more terrified I am to grow up. Not necessarily physically age, but of just taking on more responsibility and having to make harder decisions. But why is that? Why am I scared of responsibility and life-altering decisions?

As I was pacing around my room last night it dawned on me that I was scared of growing up because I had convinced myself that every decision, I would make at 22 years old would be permanent. Somehow, I had told myself that any decision I would make right now is what my life would be, and there would be no wiggle room to change in my future.

Which after some reflection, I find a bit ridiculous? Why do we think that most of our decisions are so permanent when everything around us, including ourselves, is constantly changing? Society has conditioned us to think that the box or category we fall into at the age of 20-something is the same one we will be in when we are in our 30s or 50s. But that could not be further from the truth. First off, you are never constrained to a box or category. Second, you are allowed to change and grow, and the decisions you make now can also change and grow with you.

This idea that I would be constrained by the decisions I made as a 20-something year old for the rest of my life is terrifying. But that idea is simply not true.

The decisions you make at this point in your life are not always permanent. Yes, some things are permanent such as having children or taking care of an elderly family member. But there are so many other factors of your life that can change and grow with you as you change if you let them. If I have learned one thing, it is that nothing is permanent. Nothing is guaranteed, and everything is subject to change. Understanding this has eased my anxiety that was so intertwined with growing up and all that it entails.

Take comfort in the fact that growing up does not necessarily mean making one big decision after another and never having the ability to change it. You will always be making life-altering decisions, but that does not mean you can’t change your mind.

There will always be that opportunity to change direction, to try something new, to grow. 

Embracing Our Complexity

Embracing Our Complexity

Do you ever feel constrained by society? Do you ever feel trapped inside one box that you can’t ever get out of? Do you ever feel like there is so much more you want to explore and are interested in but you can’t? Chances are, you are not alone in feeling this.

Society has a way of ensuring that you stay in one lane or path for a very long time, and diverging from it can cause some strong reactions both from those around you and society in general.

There are so many things that we are constrained by, and I never understood why. From a personal standpoint, I feel as if I cannot like makeup and also be a woman who argues about politics. I feel like I can’t enjoy baking and be someone who loves to study history and read books. It’s as if anytime I try to break out from the one box or thing I am suddenly faced with a heavy dose of criticism. The truth of the matter is society has not yet evolved to understand this idea that we are more than the one thing they label us as.

The only conclusion I can render as to why society functions that way is because it’s simpler. It’s simpler to see someone and immediately be able to categorize them into one box, even though there isn’t a single human on this planet who is that simple.

So, I am here to remind you that you can love more than one thing. You can love sports and makeup. You can enjoy dancing and be an electrician. You can enjoy the piano and still attend rock concerts. You can be multifaceted.

Categorizing people under this one thing harms the beauty and complexity of what it means to be human. It strips us of this ability to embrace the different aspects of ourselves and trains us not to see that complexity in others.

However, things don’t have to be this way. We don’t have to just love one thing or fit it into one box. We were never meant to be on one path and only do that one thing; We were meant to grow, change, learn and explore anything and everything that piques our interest.

It’s okay to love more than one thing. To be interested in more than one thing should be seen as an opportunity, not something to be looked down upon because it might require a few extra seconds to wrap your mind around it.

For a long time, I thought I couldn’t blog about life, organization and motivation because I was studying political science. I thought I could not love makeup because I loved to read; I believed I couldn’t care about my appearance because I was a feminist. But the truth is, you can do everything and anything you want. I came to understand that in this world, I could blog, study politics, care about my appearance, be a feminist and still spend hours watching makeup videos for fun. I have come to understand that life is so much more complex than society makes it out to be and that you are allowed to be as complex as you want to be. It is not up to anyone else to constrain you to one thing you can love everything and anything – it seems complicated but choosing to embrace every part of who you are is one of the most relieving and beautiful things you can ever do.

The Consequence of Not Facing Your Fears

We have all had moments in our lives where our fears were staring us right in the face and we had a decision to make. Did we face them? or did we turn away from them?

More times than I can count, I have chosen to run in the opposite direction. At the time, running in the opposite direction felt like the right thing to do. In those moments, it felt safer and easier to run. I will admit, the relief I felt after not facing those fears was indescribable, but there was always a small voice in the back of my head telling me I had made a mistake.  

Little did I know that voice in the back of my head was on to something. At that moment, I would feel relieved, but in the long-run, I would pay a price for never facing my fears. This leads me to the point of today’s post. What happens when we don’t face our fears? What consequences do we face instead?

You see, when we run from our fears, we are essentially running from an opportunity to grow as a person. We take away the option of change or just seeing something different. I get it, change and growth are messy and difficult but they are vital to all of our lives. Just think for a moment, if you did not face your fears ever, who would you be today? How would you act? Who will you become?  

Things in life are meant to be done even with fear at the forefront. One of my favourite quotes about fear by Meg Cabot and says “courage is not the absence of fear but rather the judgement that something is more important than fear”. Your growth, your happiness, your development as a person, is more important than fear. There is an endless list of things in life that are more important than fear. But when we come face to face with fear, we are reminded of how easy it could be if we just backed down and turned away from it.

But unfortunately, as we will all come to learn, sometimes you can’t run from fear. You will be put in circumstances or situations where facing your fear is quite literally the only option. But you shouldn’t wait until that point to face your fears or develop the tools you need to face your fears.

It is not easy, but that’s the point, it is not meant to be easy. But turning in the other direction can harm your growth and life more in the long run. Not facing your fears stifles your growth and impedes your development as a person.

Fear can stop your life from becoming better, it can stop you from doing what’s right by you and by others, it can stop you from chasing after the life you have always dreamed of. But it doesn’t have to be that way. The consequences you will face by not facing your fears are far greater than the ones you will