23/08/2013: One Wedding and A Funeral

Today was the funeral service of my Pastor, Dr Tayo Adeyemi.

There was so much preparation for this event and there was a lot to take in.  I have never been to a funeral so I was really apprehensive about what It would be like. I had thoughts of people heaving. wailing and crying but although people did cry it was more uplifting and a reminder of what kind of man he was.

I’ve spent all week preparing with the choir to sing today. I went to wedding on Saturday which was beautiful and it was very strange to be celebrating and also preparing to say a final goodbye to somebody as well. Joy and sadness. Crying and laughter. It’s strange what life throws at you sometimes.

There was a lying in state before the funeral service and we got to walk by his casket to pay our last respects. It was strange to see his face – he was still wearing his glasses! I thought it would be really difficult but somehow it wasn’t, it was just peaceful.

As the choir were needed throughout, we stood for almost two hours with his casket right in front of us it wasn’t easy but it was worth it and not as emotional as I thought it would be. I think that was because of the man he was and the legacy he left and the fact that the memories I had of him were good ones of warm and loving, caring and funny man.

Today taught me how important it is to spend time with people and leave a positive impression and legacy not only by what you do but by touching their hearts. Through the service we remembered his funny sense of humour and his unique laugh. We remembered the important messages he preached to lift us up and guide us in our daily lives. We remembered his warm hugs and work in the community. His drive for excellence in all that he did and his passion for what he did.

Although he has gone, he has left a huge positive legacy which I hope we will continue and his life is an example – something I will take forever. I am so glad to have grown up with him as my Pastor and to have known him during my life, for because of him I am a much better person today. He was a great man. One of the greatest.

01- 22/08/13: The Long Post

It’s been 22 days since I last wrote something on this blog. Not usually a good thing but for me has been good. Life has happened and I have learnt a lot.  I finally feel the need to share things again and enjoy it while I do it.

This month I started writing these things called the morning pages which are supposed to be a three page stream of consciousness spiel first thing in the morning. This first came to my attention after reading an article via Smart Pretty and Awkward one of the blogs I follow. The Morning Pages are a tool that was originally developed by Julia Cameron founder of The Artist’s Way. I try to do it everyday and I must say it has really impacted my daily life. I have worked out quite a few things even after only three days of trying it because it really helps you to flush out ideas, slow down and vent all the frustrations, worries, and cares that go through your head so rapidly you don’t even realise you’re carrying them around.

We think so fast and I have found that in the space of 20 seconds I can go from thinking, to singing a song, to seeing an image, to remembering a scene from a movie, to being annoyed about what a random person did on the road yesterday, to making a list of what I need to buy to make dinner. When it’s written down it helps you to de-clutter and get you priorities straight for the day. It sets a different mood and gives you clarity. One could say that it is a therapy session every morning.

Over this month I first learnt that I can’t judge myself by another person’s view of me:

Everyone has thoughts. Those are the only things you can’t see, or do anything about and you have no right to intervene in. I have spent years using what I think others are thinking about me to affect my decisions but from this month I will try my hardest and I will do that no more.

The last straw started with a few comments Sibling One made to me about my recent increase in shopping. Unfortunately I had lost my focus and was living in dream land trying once again to create an image of the woman I wanted to be through clothes rather than work. It’s much easier to shop than to make your dreams come true.

There was truth in what was said but it was the way it was said that sent my mind into overdrive – “Does she think I’m a bum? Does she not know I have things I want to do also in life? I do work, and I’m working towards achieving things. Does she think she is better than me?” I started to get annoyed with her and take her curt comments to heart but then  it hit me:

“Why am I doing this? I am reacting to her based on what I think she may be thinking and not what she is actually thinking. To be honest I don’t know what she is thinking. I will never know unless she tells me so why am I worrying about it?! All I can do is tell her how I am hurt by what she has said then move on. It’s for her to deal with her thoughts and actions not me. My life can’t be determined by reacting to what I think she is thinking of me. I just have to do my best.

I also learnt that I can’t let someone hold me accountable who isn’t worthy to do so:

When I bought some items recently to aid the redesign of my bedroom Sibling One called me out on it demanding that I justify doing so. She had already done this with my clothes – berating me for buying the items I’d bought but on the other hand borrowing my clothes for her own benefit (rude!).

I started to explain, as is my natural reaction, when mid-way through I stopped and thought: “Why? Why am I explaining this?” Do I need to justify it to you? For what reason? What outcome will this have? What are you intentions and why do you need to know? Why have you asked?” (I have just figured out that by replying I was just setting myself up for my siblings to make fun of me or make unnecessary or unwanted  comments which usually starts an argument and makes me second guess myself).

Honestly sometimes you have to think: Are you me? Do you live as me 24 hours a day or even 1 hour a day? Do you know what I need? Do you know what goes on in my head? Do you help me get my money or pay my bills? No..so I don’t need to justify anything to you.

So I stopped talking and went to rearrange my (now) fabulous and neat room. I realised that I have been doing this other aspects of my life too and I am determined to put a stop to it.   Why should I let someone hold me accountable that is not qualified to?

I can’t compare myself to others, as each person is living their own life and is thinking of themselves most of the time not you!

My sister has been learning Spanish because she will be going on a tour to South America and I was getting a little irritated jealous of her – that was supposed to be my thing!  I really want to learn Spanish and I am planning to go to South America next year.  I checked myself though and thought about how each person only has one life and although I may have a dream it doesn’t mean someone else can’t have the same dream. The only reason she’s going now and I’m not is because she dreamed then planned to make her dream happen now whereas I only dreamed that it would happen but didn’t plan for it to happen now. I need to make my dreams happen and not worry about others but only help them to make their dreams come true too.

Life may not be where I imagined it would but it doesn’t mean I can make the dream happen.

When I wrote my pages this morning I was thinking about how life is so different  and remembered a conversation I had with one of my friends on Sunday about how life is so different what I imagined it would be when I was younger. As I was writing I realised that subconsciously  I had been worried. Worried about my future, worried that life is just not what I imagined it would be for me at age 24, worried about if I could every get there and worried that I wasn’t doing enough but it was too much

I notice that I go to either end of the spectrum: Trying to plan my life to the minute – what I will do daily, weekly, yearly and trying to stick with it but when I fail to achieve my plan I shift all the way to the other end and live with complete abandonment and resigning myself to doing what I feel like for the day wich usually involves copious amounts of online TV. Watching TV all day doesn’t make for great writing or blog reading and leads me to nowhere.

When you’re younger you look to people around this age as mature, amazing, fully embracing life, the epitome of ‘Young and fabulous!’ or ‘What I want to be when I grow up’. But having reached it I am nowhere near any of those things. I can see that it is partly because I didn’t make what was in my head happen and also because I didn’t factor in that life happens and things change.

I have come to realise that I need to pursue a happy medium. A balanced view of life where I am planning for the future but also enjoying now. Facing reality that I am not where I want to be but not resigning myself to never accomplishing the dream I had of where I would be. So it hasn’t all happened at 24, but what about the dream of what life looks like at 26?…I can still make that happen. When I look back at my 20’s, I don’t want to look back at a girl who spent time constantly worrying what the future would look like, then subconsciously wallowing in self-pity only to waste time and not achieve anything. There is so much to enjoy. So much to appreciate. So much to see. So much to explore.

I need to be comfortable being ‘me’ and express ‘me’ as much as possible

I want to do things because I love them and not because it is a chore. I like blogging but I have come to realise I love it more when I have a torrent of things to say than when I am struggling to try to fill up empty space just because I fear losing readers. That’s not even why I started it. So I’ve learnt to keep reason in mind and listen to my intuition.

I made some decisions this month, to leave the group I was in and didn’t like, to stop working in a job I hated and to rejoin my choir based on my terms. I hope I don’t sound arrogant because that’s not how it is meant but this is a big deal for someone who is usually not assertive enough and feels as though they should pander to everyone else. fells as though everyone, is more stylish, knowledgable, confident, where they should be and leaving you behind in life. It can be hard to really accept your reality and then make the decision to change it for the better.

I will be trying the Artists Dates just to get my creativity back. I felt so much more creative and inspired when I was younger and I want to get it all back. I don’t think I was as worried or lost or wallowing back then. It may have been the structure and support that school gives but I guess this period is part of the territory of going it alone and forging your own path.  You find out what is really you and what you need to fully get the best out of yourself.

I really felt like ‘me’ on Saturday. My family and I went to a wedding and we got all dressed up. I felt good, confident, and approachable not because of what I was wearing but (cheesy I know) from the inside. I’ve been searching for this for a while and it kind of snuck up on me. At the end of the day I felt really good and reflected n what it was and realised that it was a ‘me’ feeling. fully engaged, confident, knowledgable, fun and inspired. It first started with meeting someone new – one of my friend’s sisters.

We struck up conversation easily and I joked around with her and my sister without feeling self-conscious that my jokes were bad or comparing myself to her. The people on the table we sat at were people I knew but didn’t hang out with often and it was really nice to be able to talk all night with them. Usually I feel awkward – they are older than me and know each other, I don’t feel that I am quick-witted as my friends  are and someway somehow I and usually comparing my self to the stylish people around. that I wasn’t pretty enough  I think I usually use clothes to help me to do that but it hasn’t worked. On saturday I met people who were new and just struck up a conversation.

I acted on my intuition and it was fun, exciting. I didn’t compare myself to others but appreciated their sense of style and look just took inspiration from it rather than comparing myself and wanting people to think of me as stylish. I was open and honest and I felt mature and confident (well except for that one time where I got embarrassed at getting someones nationality wrong and dug myself a bigger whole as I tried to back out of it).

That being honest with yourself and with others is a key to fully living out the life you want to live.

In the past 22 days I have found that being honest, with myself and with others has really helped me feel relaxed. Talking through things by writing it down and slowing down to look at it objectively and rationally has helped me to deal with situations. Being free in myself and not being concerned about what I think they are thinking of me and jus doing me has helped me relax. It’s like a weight has been lifted.  I am not them and they are not me. I don’t need them to be unsuccessful for me to be successful I just need to live my one life well, enjoy all it has to offer and hopefully we will all be successful together. I need to have my principles and not let myself be accountable to everyone. They are not paying me, helping me, living with my thoughts and dreams, so no, I don’t need to justify my decisions and actions to those who have no bearing over it but I do need to consider what I do and make sure it is beneficial to myself and others. When I am happier then it is easier for me to help others. I don’t mean happier in a self-gratifying materialistic way but in a change of thought and pursuit way. So hey, 24 wasn’t like I imagined it would be when I was 16 but I still have a few months to make it awesome and memorable.

31/07/2013: The Swim Team

Ohhh my legs hurt!

My parents and I started our swimming lessons today and although I already did them when I was at school, it was really nice to do it again with my parents – especially my Mum who is actually only just learning now. There is never a time to count yourself out, all you have to do is get up and go!!!

It was only after I got into the water that I realised just how unfit I was!

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Swimming requires strength and stamina, neither of which I have but hopefully by the end of our 10 week course I’ll be able to lift weights like they were feathers!

I got water up my nose, in my ears, down my throat… it’s been so long that I’ve forgotten about the after effects of swimming as well (blood-shot eyes are not a good look) but if that means getting fit and healthy imma’ do it.

I’ve found that the best way for me to exercise is to do something fun and varied.  So I have swimming , my beloved Ice-skating and Pilates Fitness DVD’s for those calmer times. Who said being fit had to be boring or routine?

Doing them with my family means we get to spend more time together and I get to see someone like my mum start a journey to learn something new so it’s excellent.

I’m sure she’ll be riding a bike next!

Good thing of the day:  Swimming with Mum and Dad! Great to see it happen!