My body, my home

my-body-my-home

Mirrors, they are forever betraying me.

Enlarging my flaws.

Highlighting my weaknesses.

Pinpointing my insecurities.

A sheet of glass that always manages to find my achilles heel.

 

Why are my eyes so puffy in the morning?

Are my thighs really always that big?

I scrutinize every inch of myself until my stomach feels sick.

 

But it’s not the mirror who despises me.

It’s not the glass that leaves me feeling this way.  

It’s my own head, my own thoughts that betray me, conditioned to believe beauty is only skin deep.

 

I shake the horrible thoughts out of my head. I hug my arms around myself.

I will not fight my own flesh anymore.

This is my body, this is my home.


 

I have always had a tentative relationship with my body.

 

There have been times when I have treated it poorly. Depriving it, over exerting it, attempting to squeeze it into jeans that were never designed for these hips.

 

Our relationship is one filled with one-sided animosity.

 

It seemed unfair to me that as I grew up, I expanded in some areas and not others. Like a balloon blown up all wonky instead of precisely into the standard shape.

 

I thought that women came in a standard shape too.

 

Blonde hair, check. Blue eyes, check. But what happened to my large breasts and tiny waist? Where is my golden tan and long, lean legs?

 

It seemed some pieces were missing from this perfect puzzle.

 

So I wrestled with my body for years. Desperately trying to manipulate it into that ideal shape and degrading this home of mine in the process.

 

Allowing weeds to take over the flowerbeds. Letting paint start to chip. Not worrying about the cracks in the ceiling or wallpaper beginning to fade.

 

Making it look from the outside as though everything was as it should be but on the inside I was crumbling into disrepair.  


 

But I thought I had put all of that behind me. I thought I had made peace with my body. I thought I was finally free from this crippling, self-loathing mindset.

 

In the back of my mind I always knew that my body would eventually change, I was under no illusion that I would stay the size of a twenty year old forever. I just didn’t expect gaining weight to affect me so much.

 

But it has.

 

I was surprised how quickly the tears would come when I looked at myself in the mirror. I was shocked just how easily I allowed guilt to dictate what I ate. I was saddened to watch myself slipping back into the same old habits and not knowing what to do to stop it.

 

Because it’s easy to love your body when it fits the mold. It’s not difficult to have self compassion when you believe you are the right size.

 

It’s when my jeans began to feel too tight and my stomach still stuck out a little even when I was sucking it in that I discovered how difficult self love really is.

 

Self love is not something that comes naturally like taking a breath as you come out of water or blinking when a bright light flashes.

 

Learning how to love myself, my new self  has been hard.

 

Possibly one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. Which perhaps makes me sound vain and conceited but in a world which constantly reminds me that I need to change in order to fit in and be lovable, it’s not surprising at all.

 

self love, self compassion, body positivity, learning to love yourself, love your body, changing body, twenties body, love yourself,

 

I’ve been down this road now a few times and I’ve learnt that restriction and shame are not the answer. Loathing myself or fighting against my body just doesn’t work.

 

So it seems that a new attitude is in order.

 

I cannot be at war with myself anymore. It’s too exhausting. I cannot just sit idly by while the place I live begins to fall apart.

 

This is my body, this is my home.

 

And so I remind myself each and every day…

 

My worth is not dependent on my weight.

 

While this body is my home, it is not my full person.

 

I am singing along to country music with the windows down driving along the highway. I am laughing at the ocean waves lapping around my ankles and squealing when the water gets too high. I am giving a cheeky wink to my Father on stage at our school production. 

 

You cannot contain me within the walls of this body, I am more than layers of flesh and a foundation of bones.

 

I am a gentle warmth, a cool breeze, a soft whisper.

 

My body is remarkable and it deserves my utmost respect.

 

To diminish its purpose to simple aesthetics is outrageous.

 

This body can run for miles and miles. This body can hear a rhythm and melt into the music. This body can heal itself, transform itself and grow another whole human being inside of it.

This body is incredible.

 

Change is inevitable, adaptation is crucial.

 

Nothing in this life stays the same forever. It has often been said that change is the only constant.

Therefore, I will not be surprised nor phased by change, I will simply adapt and move forwards.

 

A changing body means a life that is progressing. We are growing older and wiser. We are tracking towards new adventures and achievements.


 

Women aren’t like balloons. We don’t come in a standard shape or size. We are unique and that is something that should be celebrated rather than diminished.

 

Trying to squeeze us into one mold is a crying shame. There is so much beauty in our diversity. There is so much wonder in our individuality. 

 

When I look at the women in my life I feel that this is a battle that might not be won overnight. Because I’ve seen these precious ladies fighting against their bodies my whole life.

 

But that makes me no less determined to win this war of self compassion.

 

If not for me than for my daughters, my nieces, my best friends. For every woman who looks up to me and watches how I treat this place I call home.

 

I hope they will see something different in me. A deeper respect, an honest disposition, an abundance of grace.

 

A woman who bears the wrinkles of decades of laughter. Who proudly wears stretch marks from bringing new life into the world. Who has freckles from glorious summers in the sunshine and perhaps carries a little extra weight for all the meals that make life worth living.

 

I believe that in the end, the struggle is worth it.

 

Because this is my body, this is my home.

To all the boys I’ve loved before…

love-lessons

I have spent much of my life trying to figure out what love looks like.

 

For so long I was mesmerized by the Disney princess tales of Prince Charming and knights on white horses. I lived for the glittery romance and thrilling passion of these love stories.

 

Over the years I have discovered that the real life versions of these stories come with so much more trials and heartbreak.

 

The frogs seem to outnumber the princes.

The days spent in high castles waiting to be rescued seem to be endless.

The happily ever after often requires tears and compromise and a whole lot of things which must be written in the fine print in the Disney tales.

 

But as brutal as it is, I love the tragedy of our real life love stories. I love the high stakes, the tangible expressions, the depth that cartoons cannot begin to capture.

 

I just wish I had known love wasn’t meant to be hard.

 

I think love should be soft like freshly washed sheets and warm like the morning sunshine on your back. Love should be gentle like a boat bobbing along a small stream and safe like your bedroom when a storm is battering outside on the windows.

 

You shouldn’t have to make them want to be with you. They should just want to be with you.

 

You shouldn’t have to become someone else for them. They should just love you for the wonderful person that you are.

 

You shouldn’t have to try so hard because love should be easy.

 

And so with this in mind I wanted to reminisce on my past loves…the lessons I’ve learnt from them and the poems they inspired.

love lessons, heartbreak lessons, to all the boys I've loved before, relationship advice, relationships, love, finding love, poetry, love poems,

To the ones that didn’t know I existed…

 

Oh how I obsessed over you. If you only knew all the silly nicknames I gave you. If you could only see all the journals I covered with your name.

 

You gave me a first glimpse of the intensity of love.

 

You showed me just how overwhelming, confusing and all-consuming these feelings can be. You taught me that I can bounce back rather quickly from heartbreak and that crushes aren’t really love at all. 

 

Crushes are superficial and hardly ever based on facts. Whereas, love is substantial, built on truth and knowing more about someone than their favourite ice cream flavour.

 

To the one who didn’t want me…

 

I tried to be the girl for you, oh I tried so hard.

 

I laughed at your jokes before I understood the punchline. I walked at your pace even though my legs were working twice as hard as yours. I listened intently when you talked about politics though I thought it was about as interesting as watching the washing machine swirl my clothes around.

 

I suppose it’s not your fault, I fell for you and you didn’t even know it. But that’s the way you are, stuck inside your head you leave little room for emotions. So of course you had no inkling of mine.

 

But you taught me what a gift it is to feel so strongly. What I take for granted is such a struggle for some. You reminded me how precious it is to know love and how difficult yet thrilling it is to express it.

love-lessons

 

To the one who wanted to be ‘just friends…’

 

I thought you were different. I thought this time it might stick. I thought perhaps if I wished it hard enough, you would want me enough to stay.

 

But I was wrong.

 

We should have only ever been friends. You shouldn’t have toyed with my heart the way you did. You should have been honest from the start instead of allowing me to push you into a relationship you weren’t interested in.

 

But you taught me how much it hurts to love someone that doesn’t feel the same. And you reminded me how good it feels to love so even though losing you almost tore me in two, I knew I would search forever to find someone who would let me love them like you couldn’t.

love-lessons

 

To the one who loved me back…

 

I promised myself I’d never write soppy love poems or I’d certainly never publish them but for you I will make an exception.

 

Because I cannot talk about heartbreak and hopeless love without mentioning how it feels when it goes right.

 

So here it is. You are my sunshine, my safe place and my favourite song I could keep singing all day long.

 

You taught me how to love myself again. You showed me what trust looks like. You made vulnerability seem so effortless. You took the hardest thing in the world- opening up my heart again- and made it feel like the easiest.

love-lessons


 

It has always frustrated me that we have to live life forwards. With the knowledge we gain, in hindsight we would do things so differently.

 

But that’s the way life is. We can’t dwell on the past but rather try our best to make the future better.

 

It gives me great joy to know that the experiences I’ve had and the lessons I’ve learnt because of them have shaped me into the person who I am today. And that through these experiences I can help others learn from my mistakes and hopefully do better than me.

 

And so I hope that this will be true for you.

 

That you will continue to love with your whole heart but to only share it with those truly deserving of it.

 

Remember, love is really quite simple…if they love you, they’ll make sure you know it.

Feeling like a failure… when life doesn’t go as planned

feeling-like-a-failure

Yesterday I tried for the third time to make chocolate eclairs.

Because is there anything on this earth more divine than the combination of the light, fluffy pastry, thick, rich custard and silky, chocolate ganache?

Eating an eclair is such an alluring prospect that I am willing to struggle time and time again to make them perfectly.

 

And each and every time, I am stumped as to how it all goes so wrong. The first two trials I followed the recipe to the letter and still my eclairs looked disappointingly nowhere close to the picture.

 

But in my flurry to bake yesterday I misread the recipe and accidentally missed out an entire cup of flour from the pastry. And even though I noticed and quickly tried to make amends it was too late, the mixture refused to thicken.

 

I thought that adding the eggs would help coagulate the dough but to no avail. I then put my hopes in the cooking of the pastry.

But unfortunately, they came out of oven looking deflated like a rugby ball that had been mistakenly driven over by a truck.

 

By this point I was extremely put out. I’d already used far too many eggs and a tonne of butter so there really was no going back.

 

After a brief reprieve I returned to tackle the custard filling. I then carefully sandwiched pairs of the flattened, pastry blobs together and merrily sprinkled the whole lot with icing sugar.

 

They weren’t chocolate eclairs but the custard provided an adequate distraction so that everyone ate them without complaint.


 

If there is one thing I have learnt over the past year it is that life is full of these kinds of setbacks and surprises.

 

When embarking on new adventures and sailing into uncharted territory, we are bound to make a few blunders.

 

We hardly ever get things right the first time around. More often than not our chocolate eclairs look more like flattened footballs than the perfect image we found in a recipe book.  

 

What has taken me by surprise is that the setbacks I most often come across are due to my wayward imagination and lofty expectations.

 

I’m a dreamer whose eyes are always starry with thoughts of the future. With dreams so vast and expansive it is hardly surprising that I find reality to be bitter and unkind.

 

I thought the year after graduation would be different. I thought I would breeze into a job and finally find my place in this world. I thought I would know what I want and I’d hop onto the career ladder just the same as everyone else.

 

But this year saw me working part time as a shop assistant, then unemployed for three months and finally working again as a waitress.

 

And a little part of me feels like a failure.

 

Because college graduates are supposed to have real jobs. Because adults should be working 9-5 and focusing on serious, obtainable goals. Because by now I should have a plan, a path forwards and an answer for when people ask me what it is that I want to do.

 

But I still have no answer. I still have no plan. I still don’t have a real job.

 

I’m not the woman that 12 year old me hoped I would become. As far as she is probably concerned, I am a failure.

 

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But who decides what is success and what is failure? Who sets where the goalposts lie? Who has the right to tell me how I should live my life?

 

I do.

 

I’m only a failure if I believe so. I’m only a loser if I give up on myself. I’m only hopeless if once I fall, I refuse to get up and try again.

 

I suppose that success looks different to me now then when I was a little girl. It’s less about finding the perfect job, husband and house.

 

Success for me now means knowing who I am. It means being true to myself and living each day in a way that makes me proud.

 

Loving people even when I feel tired and impatient.

Creating something out of nothing and sharing it with the world.

Challenging myself to face my fears, push the limits and try new things.


 

What I am realizing is that following your own path instead of sticking to the status quo does not make you a failure.

 

Success doesn’t necessarily look the same for everyone so comparison is fruitless. 

 

The truth is, nobody really has a clue what they are doing. Most of us are stumbling along, figuring it out as we go.

 

So perhaps my life doesn’t look they way I thought it would at almost 22 but that’s part of what makes life beautiful…its total unpredictability.


 

I’m going to attempt to make eclairs again. I cannot resist, the sweetness or the challenge.

I’ll probably fail a few more times but one day I won’t.

 

One day the choux pastry will rise and stay crisp. One day the eclairs will retain their proper, elongated shape. One day I will bake them, fill them, ice them and present them to the oohs and ahhs of my loved ones.

 

That’s what success looks like to me.

 

Never, never, never giving up.

Letting go of control and making peace with uncertainty

letting-go-of-control

There is a place for everything

and everything should be in its place.

 

Dinner comes before dessert.

Drinks served before dinner.

 

Jumpers should be folded.

Shirts should be hung.

 

Socks must be matching.

Shoes lined up beside the door.

 

Switches should be off when not in use.

Curtains should be drawn after the sun sets.

 

I find peace in rules and order.

I find rest in the harmony of precision.

 

There is no clutter I cannot tidy up.

No chaos I cannot return to calm.

 

But my rules they are a prison. 

I am chained to them in fear. 

 

Because I hate what is uncertain.

And I hide from what is not clear. 


 

One of the most infuriating realities to stumble upon is a reminder of our lack of control.

 

We merrily amble through life, foolishly believing that we hold all of the keys to our future and we are in charge. But every now and then this fantasy is disrupted by an unfortunate event which leaves us teetering on our tiptoes.

 

With just a single phone call, a simple conversation, an unexpected, interruptance to our day we find ourselves very much in circumstances out of our control and it is utterly unnerving.

 

I find it particularly distressing as I am a grade A, run-of-the-mill, control freak.

 

I crave order, productivity and common sense. I am highly strung and up tight as they come. I need plans and certainty and I don’t work well if boundaries and guidelines aren’t clear.

 

I hate that off-kilter feeling that comes with wading into the unknown.


 

It has been a slow process but I am finally discovering how to let go of control and make peace with uncertainty.

 

I am learning how to delegate. 

 

Because I can’t take responsibility for everything, I simply do not have the time nor energy. I know now that I really do need help and asking for it really isn’t as difficult as I once thought.

 

And when I do pass on the baton to someone else I am trying my best to release my grip completely. Forgoing the temptation to demand the task be done MY WAY.

 

So what if the potato wedges are cut thicker than I would have done them? Who cares if the laundry detergent is orange blossom scented instead of lavender?

 

I can see how silly it is to get caught up in the nitty-gritty details of life when the help I receive is worth so much more than the perfection I seek.

 

I am learning to be less possessive of the things that I own.

 

To share what I have with a generous spirit and to bite my tongue rather than remind the person to take great care with whatever it is that I loan them.

 

And when something breaks as it inevitably does, I am learning the art of shrugging my shoulders and saying, ‘oh well, it’s okay. Mistakes happen.’

Because things are not what are most important…people are.

 

I am learning how to go with the flow.

 

To appreciate that not everything need be done in a rush. Not every hour need be productive. Not every task need be completed today, THIS VERY MINUTE OR ELSE.

 

Taking the time to appreciate my coffee instead of gulping it down. Being flexible when people change plans. Accepting apologies and extending grace. These things are a sign of maturity.

 

See, I am learning to let go of control.

 

I am un-clenching my fists and extending open palms.

 

I am making peace with uncertainty.

 

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Art and creativity have been healing for me.

There is nothing safe or certain when it comes to art. We often start creating without a plan or picture of where we are heading. The pieces fall into place as our paintbrushes strike the canvas and our fingers stroke the keys.

 

Perhaps this is why creating feels so risky to me. Every time I am breaking myself open and waiting to see what spills out.

 

It’s daunting even without an audience, but with a thousand eyes on me the feeling can be described as nothing short of terrifying.  

 

Writing is painful in ways I cannot even express but it has cured me of my need for control.

 

Because as a writer I sometimes feel that I am under a spell. I am simply a messenger and how and when the words choose to come forth are not up to me.

 

There are days when I would love to publish something but try as I might, I cannot write a single word. And then almost arbitrarily there are days where I wake up before the sun and I’ve got so many ideas my fingers can hardly type them up fast enough.

 

So I have learnt that pressuring myself to write is no use. It’s as fruitless as trying to push toothpaste back into a tube once it has all been squeezed out. 


 

Within all of us there is this pull to take control. A natural instinct that beckons us to bow to fear and wrestle for the reins.

 

But evolution calls for adaptability. There is no space for inflexibility.

 

To keep moving forwards we must let go of the monkey bars behind us. We must swing forward, stretch out a hand and hope with all of our hearts that someone thought to build another bar after the last.

 

It seems absurd and careless at times but in truth, abandoning the need for control is the most freeing feeling in the world.

Authenticity and finding happiness by accepting myself

authenticity

There is a temptation we face when we meet new people to put on a mask.

Strangers are blank slates. Yet to witness our baggage or keep a record against us. It is all too easy for us to morph into someone we’ve always wished we were.

 

If you are of the obliging sort like me, when you meet someone new you will agree to almost anything.

I so hate making waves that I will bend over backwards just to keep the peace.

 

I will nod along to their every suggestion. I will eat whatever is placed before me. I will go wherever they want me to go and do whatever they want me to do.

 

I’m a puppet on a string with a clumsy, oblivious master.


 

But after awhile of this masquerade I begin to feel exhausted. Worn out from pushing myself to be an extrovert, an adventurous type or the kind of person who stays up past midnight on weeknights.

 

I get this icky, sticky feeling of something not being right. The uneasy, conflicting feeling of not being true to myself.

 

Authenticity it seems is a necessity for me. Much like a lack of oxygen, without it I am breathless. Like an absence of food, I get queasy in my stomach. Like the deprivation of sleep, I get sharp and unkind.


 

I have been out of town for the past couple of weeks and with the change in routine I’ve found myself withdrawing from my blog and social media.

I haven’t written at all since I left and it has made me feel smaller and less valuable.

 

Because writing is a part of my identity. The part that makes me feel most connected to the world around me. The part that allows me to create and add something rather than just taking all the time.

 

Without my blog to fall back on, I have felt dry and empty. And like a vicious cycle, the worse I feel the less inclined I am to write which in turn makes me feel less and less useful.

 

On the other hand, my absence from social media has been refreshing.

 

I hate uploading every part of my day on Instastories. I hate retweeting pointless things on my Twitter feed. I hate the edited, filtered, lack of spontaneity that I see all over Instagram.

 

It just isn’t me.

It doesn’t align with my values. It doesn’t fit my brand. It doesn’t fill me with joy.

 

And yet as a member of the millennial generation I don’t know how to escape it. As a struggling creative who is desperate to share her work, I don’t know how to avoid it.


 

Authenticity is an internal struggle. A fight to remain the truest version of ourselves when all around us we are tempted to fix our flaws, patch up our problems and become someone better.

 

I have discovered that a lack of authenticity breeds discontentment.

 

It fosters ideas that something is missing from our lives and if we just had that one thing, we would finally feel fulfilled.

If only we could lose that last 5 kgs. If only we had a wider social circle. If only we had a supportive partner. If only we had more time to pursue our passions.

 

But it’s just a mirage. Chasing after an ideal that we can never obtain.


 

The pursuit of authenticity leads to increased creativity, deeper relationships and an abundance of new ideas.

 

When I am being myself I feel happier. Because I don’t waste energy pursuing things that drain me. Because I use my time to write, create, bake, and share, to do the things which make me feel alive.

 

When I am being myself I find more pleasure in the company of others. Without the fear of judgement or pressure to perform I find I have more patience to listen to other’s stories and more compassion for them.

 

When I am being myself I feel more inspired. Because I take the time to notice things I might otherwise miss. Because I feel confident, secure and comfortable in my own skin which enables me to stretch out, take risks and explore new ideas.

 

Authenticity requires courage. Looking in the mirror and accepting myself as I am. Going out and facing the world without make up to hide behind. Speaking up and sharing my opinions even though I could get shut down.

 

authenticity, being yourself, accepting yourself, finding happiness, love yourself, just be you, self love, be authentic, be yourself

 

I’m a big fan of self improvement so I’m always looking for ways to extend and grow myself. I want to increase my productivity. I want to tap into my creative side more. I want to push myself to try new things.

 

But perhaps an even greater challenge is to grow into myself rather than trying to imitate someone else.

 

Maybe what I really need is to become more self aware and to live from a place of authenticity everyday.  

 

For me I think that looks like withdrawing in social settings because I am an introvert and being around people for too long makes me feel exhausted.

Or making the time to write because of all of my hobbies it is the one thing that makes me feel most alive.

Or not posting all the time on Instagram because it feels like a chore to me. And when I do, not being fussed that it makes my feed look scattered and unplanned because that is what real life looks like.

 

Authenticity is a daily practice of accepting who I am and finding new ways to allow myself to shine.

Because I have spent a lot of time trying to change myself but I’ve never been happier than when I was just being me.

 

To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Daring to be vulnerable and my fear of feeling joy

Behind every sun lit tree there is a lurking shadow.  

Beyond every summer breeze there lies a winter chill.   

 

No matter where I try to run, the sadness seems to chase me.  

It’s a cumulus cloud, a tenacious oppressor,  

Always on my tail.  

 

All that is good is tainted by the darkness.  

Everything sweet is shadowed by bitter.  

All that is living is fleeing from decay.

 

These shadows they haunt us,  

A reminder that everything is ephemeral.  

 

The flowers will fade.

The grass will wither.   

Our skin will become dust.  

And these shadows too shall pass.  


 

There is a feeling that rises within me every time I feel great joy. A sense of haunting sadness and a chilling panic. A cloud that sweeps across the clear blue sky and leaves goosebumps on my skin.

 

An awareness that soon the joy will pass. Without notice, the blinding happiness could be taken from me.

 

So I am quick to extinguish the joy rather than dwell on it. My mind scurries to latch the windows and draw the curtains.

 

I have this firm belief that it is better to shield myself than feel these overwhelming emotions.

 

So I smother them. The darkness and the light. The joy and the grief.

 

Brené Brown talks about this concept as a shield of armor we use to protect ourselves from feeling vulnerable. She calls this sensation, foreboding joy. In those moments of absolute bliss we are exposed, laid bare and defenseless.

 

When we feel love, connection or a sense of purpose, we are vulnerable because we have something to lose.

 

So rather than taking our time and sitting in the joy, we trample over it quickly with fear and sadness.

We picture these worst case scenarios. Our partner leaves us, one of our parents passes away, we lose our jobs, our plane goes down.

 

We prepare ourselves for the worst instead of living our best.

 

We think it is safer to keep our expectations low so that we won’t have to face the awful pain of disappointment.


 

I didn’t realise how often I was doing this until I recently read Brené’s book, Daring Greatly. I thought this shield of foreboding joy was just another idiosyncrasy I possess. That for me, everything was just a little bit tainted by sadness.

 

But as it turns out, I’m not the only one who lives this way. Darting from joy and dwelling on sadness.

 

It’s just another way that we try to escape that missing-the-last-step-stomach-drop feeling that comes with vulnerability.

 

None of us are particularly fond of the delicate balancing act we must undertake in order to find connection and meaning in this life. Wearing our hearts on our sleeves, sharing our art with the world, showing up wherever we go.

 

There is so much at stake. Sometimes the risk feels like too much to ask.

 

I’d rather stay in bed than face the fear of rejection or open myself up to the judgement and criticism of others. 

 

Unfortunately, as I’ve got older I have come to realise that all the best bits in life require vulnerability.

 

Those laughing-until-you-can’t-breathe friendships. That flying feeling of sharing something you’ve created with complete strangers. The dizzy dancing rush of saying I love you for the first time. Blushing when someone compliments your cooking. Traveling some place not yet explored and losing your sentiment in translation. 

 

vulnerability, feeling vulnerable, feeling joy, courage, brave, daring greatly, brene brown, inspirational, motivational, joy, intentional living

 

I used to hide from the joy because I wasn’t brave enough to reach that depth of vulnerability.

 

But now that I recognize this problem I’m striving to have the courage to feel joy.

 

Whenever I find myself softened by happiness, instead of allowing the sinking feeling of weakness to set in,  I’m practicing the art of gratitude.

Giving thanks in that moment for the joy. Taking time to lean out onto the ledge, the uncomfortable, unknown abyss that stretches before me.

 

Observing the way it makes me want to squirm and choosing to bravely trek onwards regardless.

 

So I’ll hug my friends extra tightly. I’ll smile even wider at the words I write. I’ll unclench my fists and relax my tense shoulders.

 

This is what it means to love loudly, to live wholeheartedly.

 

We share all of ourselves with others. Every last messy, imperfect bit. We know that vulnerability is strength not weakness so we force the shadows back and allow ourselves to feel the light.


 

I know now that feeling joy is incredibly courageous. It’s so very brave to allow ourselves to dive headfirst into such a powerful and unpredictable emotion.

 

But in the end both the joy and the sadness teach us what is truly valuable in life.

 

I consider it a privilege to feel sadness and to fear loss because it means I have something worth fighting for, living for, and loving with all I have.

 

For me, daring greatly means dropping my shield and welcoming the joy even though it terrifies me. That’s the most challenging, audacious and rewarding work that can be done.