I commenced full-time employment earlier this year - super duper grown up - and found the balancing of #Adulting incredibly challenging. As a result, my hobby (blogging) sadly had to take a back seat as I struggled to find the time [or strength] to draft posts, take pictures, attend events, all of which I would normally enjoy & discuss its connotations openly. So I decided to take a time-out and reboot, initially intended only to last a week, and then had to overcome the anxiety of returning each week. During my time-out, I intended to reassess BLEURGH's direction, get on top of life admin, and pull my life back in shape, in the same way I had after my rough year. I eventually achieved this by breaking down what SHAPE meant to me i.e. Spirituality; Heart; Ability; Personality; Experience (paraphrased from Rick Warren's Daily Devotional).
SPIRITUALITY - I was tried and tested for most of last year; I was down in the dumps in terms of self-worth, having reached a crossroads in my career path between what I always envisioned and what I felt was my greater purpose. In the process, I lost a lot of what I thought I loved, who I loved, and that caused me to have a real life crash. Mentally, I was in a rut, and would talk myself out of resorting to drastic measures one too many times. I would breakdown in public (and private), and would be consoled by strangers, as well as family on countless occassions. I would find myself in the middle of nowhere at unearthly hours, all in a bid to flee from my reality. And quite honestly, that was my reality for a very long time. It sounds dramatic, but I have always believed that everyone's struggle is relative, but I thought I was invincible because I was a Christian. I learned the hard way that it was far from the truth. However, through my struggle I found strength in my source. I have spoken time without number about the importance of understanding the limit to our strength, and learning to relinquish control where our strength fails us. This post is yet another plug to indeed, plug into a greater source. Understand that we are not alone, and that we are created for a greater purpose than what our present circumstance would have us believe. Believe that.
Collagen Beauty Milk c/o The Protein Drinks Co.
HEART - I was happy once, not content. I picked, until the scab bled far too deep to heal. The scab eventually lost tac, and as you know, it's almost impossible to patch it back past that point. I am sure there are more than a few readers who have experienced heartbreak. Well, let me share how I healed. I got lost in myself. As a Christian, I believe Christ's command was to 'love your neighbour', with its suffix stating 'as you love yourself', so I embarked on the true meaning of a 'Self-Love Journey'. I realised I knew who I was, what I enjoyed, the company I preferred to keep. What more did I possibly have to discover about myself? Well, I learned how to love my own company, and not query what watching a movie solo made me to society. I trimmed my bad attributes; understood how my flaws affected others; and worked on becoming a better version of myself. I served better. Was better. Am better. By giving what I could of myself, and not too much to a fault, I felt more valued than worn out by relationships. This is still a HUGE learning curve, but as a result, I have been blessed with the most giving souls, the most understanding network, and the most supportive web of friends and family I could have possibly hoped for.
Benefit's 'Bold is Beautiful' March
ABILITY - We are limitless. We are created to stretch the hem and break boundaries. Refuse to be caged by definition, or zoned in by expectation. We being women. We being human. We can do whatever we set our minds to, literally. So be careful what you state is impossible, because you will believe it. I have always known what I wanted and gone after it. However, last year shut down all I knew about myself, and I looked like a different person to me. I lost my confidence, and my ability to surmount challenges. I looked at everything as difficult, and people, beyond relation. I could not find common ground in discussion because the whole time I was second-guessing my worth to be party in the conversation. I suffered a real life crisis of confidence, and I am writing this particularly vulnerable post in the hopes that others who are currently in this period can seek solace in the fact it is surmountable. You CAN come out victorious, and climb every mountain, cross every sea, you are yet to set your sights on! You have the ability to do it ALL. Start mapping out where you want to be a year from now. What does your future look like in 5 or 10 years' time? Don't let your present situation blind you from what the future holds. It is bright and within reach.
Benefit's 'Bold is Beautiful' 5 mile March
PERSONALITY - I was once bubbly; the life of the party. As stated above, the dip in confidence led to reclusion socially, and the financial constraints meant that my network dwindled and what I did for fun was rationed. As a result, my correspondence with others was limited to my closest friends and family, and wherever possible, events. This meant that aside from those who knew me, I only ever spoke to those who knew nothing of me for little or no time at all. I lost myself and found it incredibly difficult acclimating into a regular routine; seeing the same strange faces everyday and building new relationships. Much of the interaction was second-guessed and tirelessly processed in my psyche to a malleable pulp. Thankfully, I was blessed with a team of kind-hearted folk who treasure my oddities & quirks, rather than branding me odd. Know this, (without meaning to sound like the match.com advert) your imperfections are what makes you perfect to others.
Benefit's 'Bold is Beautiful' March and After Party
EXPERIENCE - During my time-out of full-time employment, and without study to fall back on, I could have quite easily fallen off the radar (and on to the tracks, but let's save that for another time). However, I was blessed to have a supportive network who urged me to think outside the box, and utilise my time off to do the things I loved, and try out new experiences. What didn't I do in 2015? I watched plays, viewed art exhibitions, indulged in fine dining with those I love, joined a blogger network, was featured in other publications, attending private events (beauty; fashion; lifestyle), became a sought-after book reviewer for publishers; in essence, saw the world around me through different eyes. I thought 2011 was the best year of my life, but my worst year wasn't so bad in comparison. I saw that even among the muck, I could rise like a phoenix and bud like a lily. Experience is the best teacher, but a fool refuses to learn from another's experience. I am here to point out what is achievable when stunted. I was living on the breadline, and still had people claiming to envy my life (don't be fooled by what you see online). Understand this, do NOT live your life for others. I was not experiencing all these different things in a bid to gloat, or flaunt a fake life online. Neither did I ever live beyond my means. What I did, was try to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Try to see past what was plaguing me on a daily basis, and see that I could overcome it. By getting out of the house everyday, I was exposing myself to new things, meeting new people. Living anew.
Superhuman Cape c/o Benefit
That's how I got in SHAPE; by overcoming my past, seeing past my present, and living for the future. If you are bent out of shape for whatever reason, see me as your ray of hope. Understand that those jeans you can't fit into, even though you are on an endless bid to lose weight but are depressed and keep regressing to the chocolate bar aisle. Your goal weight is within reach. Look at practical means of dealing with the issue, like investing in healthy supplements like the Collagen Milk featured above> each handbag sized bottle contains just 112 calories but is packed with 12g essential protein, 5000mg skin firming collagen, antioxidant green tea extracts, vitamins and minerals; an excellent meal supplement. Likewise, if you are currently battling with heartache because the man you thought was the one broke your heart, then understand that either it was not the right time or there is better still to come. Focus on yourself and invest in learning and loving yourself more. Whatever your circumstance, know that you can pull through, if you get your ducks in a row and displace the responsibility of doing it all solo. Cast your net and allow your network to catch bait. Seek root in a higher power source in order to find (and maintain) inner peace.
"Let your hopes, not your hurts, shape your future"Robert H. Schuller