Living According to Your Potential

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Every single day, we make decisions large and small. From what to eat for lunch (I take this one pretty seriously) to whether we should take a job offer and how to spend our money. Then there are hard ones. The ones where our wants and needs are scales apart, and when we ignore the rules of should and shouldn’t. 

At 23 years old, I’m arriving at a point where I can no longer make stupid decisions and get away with it. Well, technically I can, but it’s only affecting me. I’m still young, but my choices matter and I’m old enough to know right from wrong. I’m not 18 anymore and I actually need to take responsibility for myself.

These days I’m finding that when I stuff up, I know better and I know that I know better. Bad decisions usually come from my overpowering impulsive side instead of my wise and measured side. When I use my head, I’m smart.

But I’m human, so I have a heart which likes to pipe up every now and then (as it should). Then there’s sin which often gets the better of me, and the result is a situation where I let myself and maybe others down. So I make excuses to numb my conscience and soothe the condemning voice of my guilt. Recently as I was going through these same motions, a small and captivating whisper commanded my attention;

You are called to greatness,
and you need to make decisions as such.

There is no arrogance in that epiphany. I’m not going to save the world or become the next Prime Minister. Those words simply consist of faith, grace and hope, because I am indeed called to greatness and so are you.

There’s only a few things I am positively certain about in this life, but one of them is that you and I were both created by God to be kind, intelligent and successful human beings. All within our own individuality, none of us being exactly like another. While doing so, He knew full well it would be very hard for us to be as complete as He created us to be, for the fact that we live in a fallen world with sin on our doorstop from the moment we are born.

In a word, we all have great potential within us. I believe that in heaven we will fulfill that potential because that’s where we will flourish in all our God-given glory. No sickness or sadness or pain. Just the way God intended earth and humanity to be before the fall of Adam and Eve.

Now, I think I’m on my way to being the woman God created me to be, but I’m not there yet. I think I please God a lot of the time, but I know I’m not anywhere near fulfilling my potential. You know why? Because I continue to make choices, often in the moment, that are not leading me to fulfill my call of greatness. They stunt me, leaving me feeling unworthy to keep moving. But I am, because God says I am.

I don’t mean greatness like we are all going to be rich, famous and make a huge impact on the world. Let us not limit greatness to be only one thing. Greatness is reaching your potential, and that is not an easy feat, but it’s absolutely possible. We just need to make choices that align with this goal.

I often compare myself to other people, and think “X would never have done this”. But there’s no point in that, because other than comparisons being entirely discouraging and unhelpful, we should only be measuring against ourselves. Who we are and who we want to be. Where we are and where we want to be.

Imagine if we all made everyday, seemingly unimportant, choices with this framework in our mind. How great would we each become in our own individuality? I’m willing to put it to the test and find out.

Do you find it hard to make choices according to your potential too? What are could you make better choices? Do you believe that you are called to greatness? 

Lessons Learned from Aung San Suu Kyi

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Recently I have been learning about and fascinated by Aung San Suu Kyi, the human rights activist and politician from Burma (now Myanmar). Suu Kyi has spent 15 years in total under house arrest by the military-junta who have had government control since 1962. She was released in 2010 and was able to physically accept her Nobel Peace Prize, which she won in 1992 while imprisoned. This woman, known simply as “The Lady” in Burma, both frustrates and mesmerizes me.

After watching her Nobel acceptance speech, I was left disappointed. It was like I had an itch that was left unscratched. I pressed play and sat back in anticipation for the moment where her voice broke and the pain of the past 21 years would come flooding forward. I was practically weeping for her while I waited for her to join me. I waited and waited as she spoke of the seven sufferings, her experiences and her undying hope of a peaceful world.

I waited for the moment where she displayed that maybe it all was worth it, if only just for this honourable prize of a lifetime. The moment where she thought of her children, now grown, that she had missed out on while imprisoned in Burma. Or her late husband, whom she couldn’t say goodbye to when he died in England in 1999. All I wanted was one sweet tear.

The speech was good, excellent in fact. But no tears were shed. Not one crack of her strong but delicate voice. No emotion, just poise, elegance and passion.

The itch that is still itching is my overstimulated love of emotion and drama, and I was expecting a lot of it while watching this speech. But all I got was an extremely humble woman with a stiff upper lip, who believes her life purpose is to see her homeland Burma as a free country after being under military rule for the past 50 years.

No fuss. No drama. Just a woman on a mission.

These days with media and social networking, we are constantly displaying ourselves. Looking for affirmation. Creating drama. Yet one woman sat inside her home for 15 of 21 years and played piano, meditated and peacefully opposed the oppression of the military. She is a quiet and demure social activist in character, but she means business. She will not rest until there is peace. Her country comes first and sadly this has meant her family has come second, of which I am sure there are repercussions. And I think that’s what keeps her grounded; she had to sacrifice a lot and though she may not regret her choices, she isn’t completely proud either.

There’s a Hollywood film about Suu Kyi, called “The Lady”. I’ve added it to my Lovefilm rent list but after watching the trailer, I’m afraid it’s been “Hollywood-ified”. Her life has been made into a tear jerking motion film, when she doesn’t see it that way. I know she doesn’t, after listening to her on the BBC Radio 4 show Desert Island Discs, as she politely corrected the host any time her situation was presented as sad or unfortunate.

Anyone could argue that it is dramatic, that it’s a tragedy. But Aung San Suu Kyi will go to her grave saying is that she has made a choice every day for the past 24 years to fight for her country’s freedom, whatever the cost. There’s no tragedy, just her choice, and those are her very words from an interview. Simple.

I am both inspired and perplexed by this woman and what we can learn from her. The itch is still there, as someone that thinks family should come first and can’t completely understand her decisions, because I don’t have a whole country depending on me for freedom. It doesn’t mean for a second that I don’t respect her.

My middle name is Drama-Queen and our generation feed off heightened emotions. But Aung San Suu Kyi is the perfect example of someone who has put her head down and got on with it. Maybe we need to do the same, whatever we are doing or working on or believing for. Whether we are trying to save the world or our friend or ourselves, we should just get on with it. Without making a hoo-ha or trying to draw attention to ourselves or our good deeds, and without updating our Facebook status or Twitter feed. Just do it.

But before you do, make sure you share this  post with your friends on social media, yeah?!

Where do you stand, on either Aung San Suu Kyi or my view of our drama loving culture? Do you think we could learn from this woman?

Living the Questions

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Probably one of the greatest struggles humans face is not knowing the future. It’s obviously a good thing because all hell would break lose if we did. If you ever saw an episode of the short lived TV show “Flash Forward”, then you will know that seeing the future did not help the characters, it created more problems for them. They faced the dilemma of whether to accept their “fate” or fight it, and some even tried to make it come true. It was absolutely shambolic.

We don’t know the future for a reason but that doesn’t make it any easier to make big decisions based on an unknown future. I know I have struggled with this a lot in the past five years. Recently things have started falling into place, but not without much prayer, discussion and research. Mixed in were many moments of dejection and frustration, while I was struggling with big decisions like “what should I do for a career?” and even heart wrenching ones like “should I marry this person?”

One of my favourite people to talk life, dreams and careers with is my wonderful friend Candace. She lives big and she lives real, and she often reminds me of her favourite quote by Rainer Maria Rilke;

“Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.”

This has changed the way I see and do life. I like answers, we all do. We like to have it all figured out and know what is next, but the beauty is in the not knowing and who we become in the process. Sometimes waiting is the best thing for us and it fosters virtues like faithfulness, patience and trust.

Questions are such a big part of our lives, for we can only see what is in front of us. The more time we are spending trying to answer them ourselves in all of our limited knowledge, the less time we have to learn. There is something to discover in every stage we are in, whether we want to be there or not.

I dare you; stare your questions in the face. Don’t be afraid of them or angry at them, but make them feel at home. Set them up on your couch with a cup of tea, a digestive biscuit and a smile. Sit yourself across from them and make conversation. Be kind to them. You don’t know how long they will be around, but I can tell you one thing for sure; they definitely have the answers you need. They just aren’t very forthcoming, but you will be surprised what some gentle coaxing will do.

The good news is that the questions won’t stick around forever (not the same ones anyway). Despite how treacherous it feels, we do come out the other side eventually. Stronger and wiser, hopefully! We all have questions, big and small, but we don’t need to have the answers. For perhaps the greatest beauty of life is that we can only live one day at a time.

So quit planning and resenting the lack of answers. Don’t rush or rebuke the process. Instead, try to embrace it and live in those moments, even if they involve tears. You will be okay. Before you know it, you will be living in the answer.

What questions are you grappling with right now? 

I Give You Permission

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I unintentionally lost weight over Christmas/New Year after really struggling with my body image last year. Most people put it on at this time but I walked a lot more than I ate, which was unusual and great. It feels good to be a few kilos lighter, and as I was planning how to keep the weight off, these words came to me:

“I give you permission to not be overweight.”

I had developed a bad self-image and put myself in a box that limited me to feeling big and being big. But I wasn’t destined to struggle with my weight and over-eat for the rest of my life. I don’t have to do anything I don’t want to do, like be overweight. I just need to give myself permission to go another way; to choose another path.

In that moment, I gave myself permission to have a fit and healthy body that I was proud of and it was empowering. I felt free to be me. And that was it; I haven’t thought much of it since. If you have put yourself into any sort of negative box, break out of it by giving yourself permission to be different and to change the course of your future.

What do you need to give yourself permission for?

Whatever you are dealing with…

I give you permission to succeed.

I give you permission to fail.

I give you permission to work hard.

I give you permission to be intelligent and knowledgable.

I give you permission to rest.

I give you permission to not be lazy.

I give you permission to lose weight.

I give you permission to gain weight.

I give you permission to eat without feeling guilty.

I give you permission to like yourself.

I give you permission to forgive yourself.

I give your permission to be strong.

I give you permission to learn.

I give you permission to be a non-addict.

I give you permission to be free.

I give your permission to travel.

I give you permission to be generous.

I give you permission to be selfish.

I give you permission to take a risk.

I give you permission to love, or love again.

I give you permission to pursue your dreams.

I give you permission to laugh.

I give you permission to cry.

I give you permission to overcome the obstacle before you.

I give you permission to let go of whatever you are holding on to.

I give your permission to be healthy, in body, mind and soul.

I give you permission to ask questions.

I give you permission to be whole.

I give you permission to speak.

I give you permission to be you.

Give yourself permission.

Did I miss anything? What do you need to give yourself permission for? 

Goal Setting in the Dark

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I have absolutely no idea what 2013 holds, except that I hope it is radically different to the last couple of years of my life. Don’t get me wrong, I adore my life, but until now it’s generally been quite settled. Safe. A little directionless. I am ready for something new, particularly in regards to my career. It’s about time I took a risk and got my teeth stuck into something that I enjoy and am talented in. I am currently looking into studying, which is pretty daunting.

I’ve never considered myself a studious person because I have a short attention span and a lack of discipline. However, I love learning and advancing myself and I think it’s time I shot my insecurities of being stupid to the pit of hell (where the belong). I’m ready for a challenge. If not study then it’s time for some sort of risk or adventure. I’m teetering on that difficult edge at the moment; do I wait for God or just make a decision? (more on that next week!)

All that was to say I have goals for this year, but they have been set in the dark as I’m blind as to what my next big step is. I don’t know if all of the below will be achievable (namely the travel ones for lack of funds/time), but it’s nice to have them because otherwise I’ll float, and there ain’t nothin’ worse than floating.

We all have areas we could improve, and mine is self-discipline. So in addition to having a set of goals, my #OneWord365 is DISCIPLINE and I’m really excited about it. Self-control and discipline are the gateway to personal and professional success, I reckon.

Okay, okay, so here we go.

  • Go on one photo mission OR have one craft day a month
  • Do a walk with Met Walkers at least once a month
  • Read at least one book per month (so difficult for me these days – eek!)
  • Tick off 5 things from my Life List
  • Stay out of my overdraft every month
  • Visit Peak District (England), Egypt (dive the Red Sea), Auckland (home), NYC (meet Eryn), Copenhagen, Stockholm (visit Michelle) and Budapest
  • Buy a new DSLR camera
  • Take a really big risk (THE big risk)
  • Write write write write write
  • Take a truly phenomenal picture that I’m really proud of, blow it up and frame it
  • Plan for the week ahead every weekend (fitness, food and time to write/prepare blog posts)
  • Join a mentorship or elderly care program
  • Finish the Joyce Meyer devotional I’ve started with YouVersion.

P.s. Sorry for the inconsistent blogging over the Christmas/New Year period. My mama is in town and she’s more important right now. However I do have a lot to say and share at the moment and in order for it to be relevant, I may be posting a little more frequently in the next couple of weeks!

Do you believe in goal setting and resolution making? What are yours for 2013?

Goodbye 2012, you beauty

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Dear Twenty-Twelve,

It’s almost time to say goodbye, but first I want to say a few words. I want to commemorate our time together and dedicate a whole blog post to you, because you’re worth it. You are the year that I overcame. Fear, myself and my past. I didn’t know what you would hold at first. I rang you in rather tamely with old and special friends in Auckland City, and I wasn’t that excited. My future was a blank canvas so I was scared, trying to make sense of it all. And to be honest, I was still sad.

I didn’t set goals or make plans for you, I just decided to enjoy myself. To heal and re-piece my life together. I had decisions to make, like which church to move to. I’m on the other side of that particular decision now and it was a good one; a blessed one that was drenched with peace from Heaven. I heard a resounding “yes, you will grow here”. And I have, with friends and in community. In His Word and Spirit.

When I desperately wanted to visit Greece and Croatia but realised I had no travel companion, I was gutted. Being single wasn’t all it was cracked up to be after all, and though I could go and do whatever I wanted, I didn’t want to do it alone. Alas, I did, and it was a fantastic decision. I cruised the islands of the Adriatic Coast and I rode a 4×4 in Santorini. I made friends and I fell in love with my own company all over again. I learned that company is good but seeing the world is more important.

In a season of struggle where my confidence was lacking and I felt useless, I found what I was good at and where I could help; as Blog Editor of So Worth Loving. The cause of telling people that they are important and valuable, despite their past or the mistakes they have made, is one close to my heart. Championing this message with the ever inspiring Eryn Erickson has given me purpose, passion and motivation on the lacking days. For that I am eternally thankful. I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that Eryn and I exhibit the greatest example of team work that has ever existed.

Mostly though Twenty-Twelve, you and I discovered me, together. I accepted the things I can’t do and won’t ever be, and embraced who God made me to be. A writer, a talker, an encourager and an entertainer. I am silly and embarrassing and awkward, and people love it and now I love it. You were what I needed you to be – rest, healing and discovery. I wrestled and I ignored God and then came sheepishly back to the truth. I laughed, heartily and loudly. I didn’t achieve a lot per say because I needed the time to work out what I was born to achieve. To work out who I was and what I was here for. I’m still working that out but the foundation has been laid.

One thing I have achieved however, is writing consistently on this blog for over a year, which I didn’t think I could do. I’ve discovered my voice and unsurprisingly, she has a lot to say. I’ve been encouraged that I can stick to something, even when it’s tough. I enjoy the (sometimes challenging) task of putting my thoughts to screen through this outlet, and that people have enjoyed it. That my words have provoked thoughts and decisions. That is why I write; to push, inspire and challenge.

During my time with you, I became one of those sexy cultured girls with hobbies (or something like that). I now have this cool craft box, because I like writing love letters to people who need to be told they are great, and I even painted a few things for my bedroom. I know, ooh ahh. I made the first steps toward getting my PADI scuba license, which I plan to complete when the weather is a little warmer. I also got walking boots because I decided I’m a walker now. If I want to climb Kilimanjaro or Machu Picchu, then I have to start somewhere. May as well start with a wee hill in Surrey, innit!

Which reminds me of one last awesome thing we did together; created a Life List. I’m pretty excited about this. I even ticked a few off already, one of them being taking my mum to Paris (which happens tomorrow). Mum is sleeping next to me as I write this, which is simply wonderful. Her visit to see me in London has been five years coming so we are making the most of it. Spending time with her as an adult helps me to appreciate her more. I’m not an ungrateful kid anymore. She’s a special lady who I am growing up to be more and more like each day, in looks and mannerisms. For the first time ever, I’m okay with that.

I had fun, 2012. So thanks. I cried a lot as well but 2013 will be having a lot of that too, since it’s just what I do. It doesn’t take long for me to start smiling again though. I’m leaving the tears that I shed with you in your safe hands, so look after them for me because I can’t take them with me from here. In a few days I will say goodbye to you, and I’ll be sad but thankful. Put in a good word with Twenty-Thirteen for me, ya know, tell her to be kind. And tell her to include some career direction and breakthrough, okay? You were fun but it’s time to get my shit together and take some risks. Fun just won’t cut it anymore.

I will never forget you. I’m making a scrap book just to be sure I don’t. I told you – I’m a craft girl now!

Micaela

Top 10 Posts of 2012

1. Mosaic Art | Seasons and Stages
2. Work-in-Progress
3. I’m Walking Alone
4. The Truth About Love [according to me] 
5. I’m a Sunday Christian
6. My Body, My Choice
7. To the Girl Without a Father
8. Rat Race
9. Croatia: the Highs and Lows
10. Are you a Good Friend? 

To all my readers: Thank you for reading my words this year! I appreciate you more than you know. Share with my in the comments what 2012 meant for you, and how you would sum up your year. I would love to know! 

Reputation vs. Character

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Reputations. They are built over time and can take years to secure, but are painfully easy to taint. To have a good reputation is obviously desirable; it gets you friends, romances and jobs. It sets you apart as trustworthy. Your reputation is what lingers once you’ve left a room (hopefully not in the form of odour, but atmosphere).

Reputations are unavoidable and inevitable. If you are consistently late, grumpy or forgetful, you will be known among friends for being this way. If you regularly prove yourself as reliable, people will appreciate that in you and probably discuss among each other your proven reliability with each other. People are watching us and taking notes in their head. If someone cancels on me every time we make plans, I don’t hold their word for much when they say “lets meet up!”.

I’ve always been protective of my reputation, which essentially means I care what people think. I care about how I’m seen in social settings and what people know about my faults, which is never beneficial. We will never please everyone, and sometimes people will form opinions of us regardless of our behaviour. Being too aware of the reputation I am building has meant I’ve struggled to be myself, to have grace for my imperfections and mistakes. To be human.

I’m sure there are some people with whom I’ve earned a black mark by my name. It could have been something I said or did wrong and completely legitimate. Or it could have been a rumour. I remember one instance when there was a misunderstanding and a pretty harsh rumour spread about me. It killed me inside to think that people thought badly of me. When I found out months later, I desperately wanted to make it right; to correct the corruption. But it was too late.

“Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are and your reputation is merely what others think you are.” -John Wooden

When I think now of that situation, I shrug my shoulders. I know who I am. I know that people can vouch for me. I’m not perfect, but try my best to live openly and honestly. I’ve made some really bad calls, I’ve hurt people and I’ve hurt myself. That has inevitably tarnished my reputation with some people, and it’s a harsh fact of life.

Among other things, I’ve been bothered that I have a broken engagement in my history and worried that it will affect how people view me. To some people I’m the good girl, to others I’m a racy Christian with a past. To myself, I’m all of that and more. Just a girl who’s finding her way, tripping up and getting back up again. I’m a million things to a million people, and you might be too.

By paying attention to my character and how I treat everyone I meet, I will also gain a good reputation. But it’s just a bonus. I’d rather spend my time and energy focusing on my strength of character; on what I’m learning from the mistakes I’ve made and continue to make. Our reputation is something to be mindful of but not strive for. Our character is what we should be really concerned about, because our whole life flows from who we are.

Do you have a reputation for a reason? Do you care a lot about what people think? 

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Don’t Just Survive, Thrive

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Recently I hit a wall. I got into an end of year slump because I was tired and ready to give up. I lost all passion and motivation, and for one week, I was stagnant. Life was one big “meh” and I didn’t know how to get out of it. I condensed how I felt into a few words, which I tweeted; “Surviving, not thriving.” I was doing everything I needed to do to get through the day, but nothing more. Work, eat, sleep. No exercise, no God time, no writing. I had no emotion, just a lackluster, monotonous existence.

The truth is that it wasn’t the first time I’ve felt that way and it won’t be the last. Life can’t always be easy, sometimes it’s really freakin’ tough and that’s okay. But who wants to just survive? Life wasn’t made to be a hazy string of events and we weren’t created to work in autopilot. If we’re just surviving then we aren’t really living, and that alone is a tragedy.

As human beings, we are made to evolve and advance. We are meant to love, laugh and live in the beautiful moments to appreciate them. Our character was designed to grow, stretch and expand. We were created to thrive. And the good news is that we can do that in whatever we are doing, whatever season we are in. Even when our circumstances are less than ideal, we can still thrive.

If our soil is bad, we eventually need to change it because it’s impossible to flourish in unhealthy soil. But sometimes that isn’t immediately possible which is where attitude comes in. I’m currently not in good soil and for a while I got angry about it. I behaved like an entitled and ungrateful brat, and I wilted fast. As soon as I chose to thrive in spite of my environment, it all changed.

These are my practical tips on how to thrive in our everyday life, not just survive:

Be good to yourself – Eat well, exercise and sleep. This is a big one! Some of our greatest issues are so easily fixed with treating our bodies right. Our mind and behaviours are more affected by what we eat than we realise. Feeling lethargic? Cut down on the carbs. Anxious? Drink less caffeine. Oh, and I’m learning first hand that 7-8 hours sleep every night will work wonders.

Selective to be effective – We can’t do it all. Personally, I want to take up all the hobbies in the world and see all of my friends every week. But I just cannot do it. Zone your time, talents and efforts into a few specific areas and go for it. Give it your all. Be excellent at a few things rather than average at many. You are only human and only have so much capacity, so use that to your advantage. And also being a good friend means having fewer but more quality friends. If you’re all over the place most of the time, it may be time to make some cuts.

Connect – I cannot emphasise quite how important community is. Surround yourself with people who uplift, support and love you. As people, we need this more than we realise. Share your life with friends and family that you trust and ask them for help when you need it. There’s so much freedom in vulnerability.

Choose to be passionate – about your job, your hobbies, your dreams, your family, your church, your community, your life! If you follow me on Twitter, then you know I am crazy in love with my #swlfamily (join us!). I am passionate about this cause and these people. It keeps me going. If your day job isn’t your passion, then pick something or a group of people that need support. It isn’t hard because the need is everywhere. Have passions and be passionate!

Get organised – This is really hard for some people. I may be scatty but I am generally quite organised, and this makes life a lot easier. If you prepare yourself for what you have in the upcoming week then things run a lot smoother. Plans meals, your social life and your priorities. Make lists and use a diary, if you can! (Disclaimer: This is such a personality thing and really doesn’t work for everyone.)

Take risks – these can be teeny tiny or really big, but our lives should have an element of risk to bring about change. Just make some hard choices and don’t always pick the easy road. You will be better for it. Push yourself.

Rest – Agh, I can’t tense this enough. Work hard and rest hard. Be intentional about it – book time off to just chill. Do the relaxing things you love like play computer games, read and watch your favourite telly shows. Sleep. Stay in your pyjamas all day. Use the weekend for what it was designed for; rest. Recuperate and enjoy yourself.

Have perspective – Always, always, always have perspective because honestly, you will never ever be happy or content otherwise. Step out of your emotions, your situation and your head to see things for what they are. Truthfully, it’s never really that bad is it? For a start, if you’re reading this, then you are in a 15 percentile group of the world who have access to a computer.

In regards to my own slump, I eventually did what I usually do; I snapped out of it. After thinking about the above points and making changes to my own life, my thinking changed. I made plans for 2013, like places I want to see and things I want to achieve.

I got excited about life again because life is exciting!

Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, choose to be passionate and thrive. Make the necessary changes for 2013 and then go for it! Many things are out of our control, but we are in our control and we can thrive wherever we are.

I believe in you.

Are you struggling with the end of year slump too? What’s your advice on how to thrive in life?

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High Tea at The Ritz London

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Having afternoon tea at The Ritz has been on my Life List ever since I accepted that it was the only way my modest footwear would meet their plush carpet. If you can’t afford a night at the fanciest hotel in London, then dressing up and faking your rank in society for two hours is the way to go. Plus, I just adore the way the British do afternoon tea – it’s an event. And I suspect my first word as a baby was “scone”, or at least it would have been if I was born in Mother England.

If you know me at all, you know that I’m not exactly ladylike. I wear pretty skirts and and even lipstick on the weekend (reow) to cover up the fact that I have the manners of a child. I am learning, slowly, thanks to my friends who tell me off for talking with my mouth full and remind me to wax my legs (TMI?).

Pair my disastrous self with my friend Cate who is 8 months pregnant and one of the most hilarious people I know, and you have yourself a party. You could say this was a highly anticipated day, since we booked it in May when she didn’t have a bun in the oven. As expected, we laughed our heads off the whole way through and definitely had more fun than anyone else there. Quote of the day was definitely…

“I’m just not cut out for this posh shit. Tehehe, I just said shit at the Ritz!”
“At least you didn’t say #^*@”

Though anyone in their right mind would find the idea of paying £42 for SANDWICHES preposterous, myself included, it was worth it. The tea, sandwiches, scones, dessert AND cake was the best I’ve ever had. We ate until Cate’s babeh punched her from the inside and screamed “please, stop woman!” Plus, you’re paying for the experience, right? To be treated like you’re royalty even though they know you aren’t (they can just tell, I think).

And in case anyone was doubting that I’m easy to please; my favourite sandwich was the egg and mayo. Keepin’ it real. Holla if you want to take me on a cheap date.

I took a ton of pictures because I was unashamedly gobsmacked by the splendour.

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The last one is of me in the bathrooms, because honestly, it would have been rude not to. LUSH I TELL YOU.

My Body, My Choice

If I look at a picture of myself from 2 years ago when I was unhappy with my figure, that body is a dream in comparison to the one I’m in now. And I bet that if I look at a picture of myself now in another two years time, it will conjure the same feelings.

I’ve always been the girl that will pick the burger over the salad on the menu, because I am proud to be curvy. “Life is for eating” is probably my life motto and I’ve only really dieted once (to be a bridesmaid). I will never be ‘thin’ and I wouldn’t want to be, I just want the curves to stop, eventually. At the moment they just keeeeep gooooing. I want to be proud and strut my stuff without feeling cumbersome.

And I can do that at the weight I currently am, I just need to make the choice to.

The fact is, I will never be good enough in my own eyes. I will just keep berating myself and gaining weight. Rinse and repeat.

My poor body just wants to be loved and instead I am so mean to her when she doesn’t live up to my expectations,then I over-feed her as punishment! She’s doing her best with what I’m giving her. She has kept up a pretty fast metabolism up until now, since I ate whatever I wanted when I was teenager. I slogged her! And now she’s slowing down and holding on to the calories for company. Poor girl got lonely, so it’s time I was her friend.

Therefore I’m trying something new. I’m going to learn to love what’s in front of me in the mirror TODAY. I’ll continue working out and eating well, but those won’t work in the long term unless I alter my attitude toward my blessed body; a temple of the Holy Spirit. It doesn’t start with me saying no to temptation, it starts with me loving and appreciating what I am right now. I think the self-control is a lot easier then, because it’s not forced or used as punishment, it comes from love.

The above picture is one that my dear friend Rix of RX Designs took of me in August. Though I love the pictures and the style of them, I was sorely disappointed when I saw first them because all I saw was my recent weight gain. My friends only saw me, the person they love, but I was too busy picking myself apart. This particular picture isn’t one I’m proud of, which is why I’m sharing it here. This is me loving me, right now, exactly as I am. While preparing this post, I just stared at this picture until I could say “you know what, I look nice!”.

The only way I could do that was to look past my weight to who is really standing there; Micaela Margaret-Rose. Whatever weight you are, you can do the same. You have to start somewhere, so start with me today in loving your body exactly as it is, and go from there.

So, will you join me in making a choice to love your body even if you struggle to right now? How do you feel about yourself right now? What do you struggle with most?