inspiration

THE BEST AND WORST OF TIMES

On the evening of June 3, 2016, four of my closest friends and I sat in a restaurant off Borough Market celebrating a Hen party for the first one of us getting married that summer. We drank wine and reminisced about that time we locked our history teacher in his store cupboard, and the time the bride to be laughed so hard in a café that hot chocolate came down her nose! The times we had late night BBQs on the beach, the time we arrived in Florence and let a random Italian man we’d just met take us in his car to his favourite pizzeria, our sleepovers, our fallouts, our break ups, all these important memories that made us who we were. But more importantly, we made plans. We planned out when the rest of us would inevitably meet “the one” and get married. We planned which country w...

YOU CANNOT ALWAYS BE THE FIRE TYPE

I’m glad that you’ve finally begun to understand that you cannot always be the fire type. The wild, sparkling, bursting, high and superior type. You cannot always be the wanderer walking on a faint road in the middle of the night. You sometimes need to nestle yourself into the soft blanket, lose all the weight of your head to the soft pillow, close your eyes to all the hardships of your life and let relaxation fill these moments of silence. I know you sometimes like to sleep and not go out to a nightclub till 4 a.m. in the morning. I’m glad that you’ve finally begun to understand that the tent in the most beautiful part of a forest can only be adventurous for a night or two. That adventure can never give you the contentment that you get from lying on the floor of yo...

THE WOMAN I WANTED TO BE

Diane Von Furstenberg wisely said: “I didn’t always know what I wanted to do, but I knew the kind of woman I wanted to be.” Each and every single woman has special traits that distinguish her and set her apart by her beauty and singularity. There is no woman like me, just as there is no other woman like you. An even though we might not be where we are meant to be yet, we all know who we are and who we want to be. This, by itself, already gives us an immensurable value. When I was younger, in my final year of high school, I acquired the habit of searching for inspiration for everything I would do. I knew the kind of woman I wanted to be: elegant, intelligent, career-driven but still quite feminine – yet, I didn’t know how to become her. I would read books and b...

IT’S OKAY TO NOT BE OKAY

“Love yourself—accept yourself—forgive yourself—and be good to yourself, because without you the rest of us are without a source of many wonderful things.” ~Leo F. Buscaglia  It’s okay to not be okay.  I know that might be hard to believe sometimes, but it really is. We’re in the age of social media, where you follow people who seem like they have this perfect life, the life you strive for, but sometimes we forget that those people are the same as us. Social media is just a small glance into someone’s life and they only show the part they want you to see. I’m here to remind you that it is perfectly okay if you don’t have that glamorous life. It’s okay if you don’t take those flawless pictures and get to travel whenever you please. That might sound silly to say, but I know that I am one of ...

THE THEORY OF “THAT GIRL”

On any given day in any given place, there are girls; girls that are talking, girls that are eating, girls that are laughing, girls that are simply existing. Being a girl myself, I notice other girls. Maybe I look at the way they wear their hair, or internally compliment the shirt they’re wearing, or wish that I had a figure like theirs.   Some days, all I can think about is the fact that I’m not “that girl”.   I’m not the girl who is five feet two inches tall with a petite frame. I’m far from it. I’m five feet eleven inches with legs that crash together at the knees and a crooked spine that never got a chance to straighten out. You can’t pick me up and carry me around on a whim. If I was shampoo, she would be travel sized and I’d be shoved in your luggage. Sometimes, I wish I was a cute s...

IS YOUR BUSINESS WORTH IT? (A HARSH LOOK ON THE REALITY OF BECOMING AN ENTREPRENEUR)

I remember the first time I thought of my supposed million-dollar business. No, it didn’t come to me in a dream, and I didn’t know I’d be quitting my job two days later. All I knew was I was unhappy, ready for a change and knew it would be worth it…or so I thought.   Before I make big changes in my life, I always think back to a moment I had during my youth group at church many years ago. I was in middle school and just started going to youth group with my older, wiser and cooler sister. We came in late and sat near the back. I’m not sure what the actual lesson was about, but I remember how the youth pastor ended his teaching.   “You all sit silently while I share records of people risking their lives for their beliefs but no one ever asks the question that most of you are thinking right n...

AN ESSAY ON FATE

Fate is contradictory; either you’re told that you must decide your own, or someone will sigh, bat their eyelashes dramatically at you and say, “It was fate.” Ultimately, who is it that decides? Are we to accept that there is a semi-controllable force directing our lives? You could say it was fate that you ended up in the same elevator as the cute guy from work, but you could also argue that your inner drive pushed you to it. Which is it?   It’s both.  Fate is the collection of every decision you’ve ever made. What you’ve been told about choosing your destiny is essentially true. It’s controlled by your choices. These choices could be as simple as going right instead of left at a stop sign, or as momentous as quitting your job. The difference is that each one leads you to a new realm: a pl...

THE THINGS THEY SHOULD HAVE TOLD US: POETRY SERIES

Versions of Beauty  Ladies,  please stop thinking that the only version  of beauty is plaster on billboards  and strung between the covers of magazines.     Your freckles?  They’re your own personal constellations.  Your love handles?  Just a little extra you to hold onto.   Your frizzy hair?  The lioness inside you struggling for freedom.    You are so much more than  what the world says you can be.  You are stunning,  inside and out.  Cherish the   boundlessness  of your beauty.     The Beauty in the Breakdown  Things fall apart. But that doesn’t mean they’re no longer beautiful. – WRDSMTH  Just because you are broken, does not mean you are not beautiful. In fact, you are beautiful because of your brokenness. Your beauty lies in the unique way you’ve fit your jagged edges back together t...

FOR BETTER OR FOR WORSE: THREE WAYS I’VE CHANGED SINCE MOVING ABROAD

  After moving to Stockholm this past spring, I’ve tried my hardest to dive right into the Swedish lifestyle. I haven’t exactly bought myself a Volvo yet (the beauty of living in a city with public transport!!) but I’ve definitely become more “Swedish” than I had realized. As a dual citizen (thankful an American met a Swede in the 90s, and I now have two passports) I’ve lived in the US for 15+ years and visited Sweden annually, so I’d always seen myself as something of a mix between the two. While in the States for a few weeks in July, it struck me that my thoughts, opinions and actions on certain things have done a complete 180- simply by osmosis is in my newfound home. Some of them I’d say are pretty positive, while others show me how great aspects of American life can be. Here are ...

HOW TO OVERCOME THE FEAR OF JUDGEMENT

Every painting session for me is a life lesson. It’s my subconscious guiding me towards what it wants me to change in my world view. This particular watercolor sketch, created while sitting on a windowsill in Paris, amidst a heat wave, was a huge breakthrough. Perhaps it’s a realization, to which all almost 40-year-olds arrive. It’s quite amazing, however, to witness it manifest itself while painting. I guess I call it “letting go.” I tried so hard to measure out axis and relational positioning. I was mindful of perspective and the direction of all lines. Yet, there’s always room for human error. Your hand wants to keep going, not constantly stop for the math to catch up. Therefore, there were tons of mishaps, tons of re-dos and not having an eraser drove me insane. I gue...

FROM MAJORITY TO MINORITY

I remember being warned several times that culture shock was sure to occur when I set foot in India. I was a little nervous, a little skeptical, but very excited to say the least. I personally feel that I am open-minded and accepting of other cultures and beliefs even though they may be different than mine. It is our differences that make our world so interesting. If we were all the same, how boring would that be?  Back to culture shock. At our orientation in Des Moines, we even had a seminar about culture shock and what to do when it occurs because it can be quite debilitating to some.  Culture shock: a sense of confusion and uncertainty sometimes with feelings of anxiety that may affect people exposed to an alien culture or environment without adequate preparation.  However, I do not bel...

A POEM SERIES: TEN MINUTES, MY FATHER’S SON, MAUD

Ten Minutes In the next ten minutes I have to go, and you can’t let me just walk out of your life again.   Can’t let you! Can’t stop you, I said, and I won’t try, won’t try. How can I? What should I do? Follow you from place to place? Sit outside your house and chance being turned away, by someone? I don’t know where it is, in any case and I don’t want to know.   So what’s it to be? A thread? An occasional e-mail to keep in touch? I don’t think so! Our lives are so distant in every way, how to join them up?   The trick would be to store the memories and leave behind the sense of loss. Ditch the sadness. But we’ve tried before. And failed. And we’re running out of years. If we meet a next time, the chances are we’ll be too old to care.   We need to achieve a modus vivend...

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