Thursday, May 31, 2012

Lesson 44. If you have to stay up 'til 2am studying, do it with a friend.

The title says it all. Excuse the short post, exhaustion has once again got the better of me. Thursday nights seem to be my weak point on late night happenings. If you have to stay up 'til 2am studying, do it with a friend.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Lesson 43. Set at least two alarms. Be grateful for the ones who love you at your worst.

You know that bad dream you have the night before a big day?
The one where you wake up 15 minutes before you're supposed to be at there. You're in your pajamas and you almost run down the street. The one where all logic is tackled to the ground and disposed of promptly by his nemesis panic. You pull a stunned possum and forget your name and which foot goes first. Today, that dream became a reality. I woke up 15 minutes before a 30% test. Luckily my super great flatmate was home and helped me/took our friendship to the next level by getting me dressed and suggesting deodorant. Make-up less with a pencil, a swipe card, and a tiny shred of dignity still intact I galloped my way down Symonds street. I arrived just in time for my test, I sat down and I did it. I was flustered, a little bit sweaty, and a little bit teary but nonetheless completed my test.

You're wondering where I'm going with this aren't you. Well, we're going two places. First stop is where I become your mother. I've asked you to stay at the dinner table after we've just finished a hearty plate of spag-bol so that I can have a talk with you. You're twiddling your thumbs and because I'm your mother I know the crease in your brow tells of worry, I assure you I'm not about to tell you off. I've just decided it's time to pass on a pearl of wisdom. I reach over, squeeze your hand and I say "Don't make the same mistake I did, set at least two alarms." And now you breathe a sigh of relief. You give my hand a firm press and nod "Always Mum."

Good. I'm glad we had that chat.

Second place is a little more simple and doesn't involve anything remotely familial- at least between you and I. I think we often take for granted the people in our lives who are willing to step in at our worst. The bedroom that you can run into with your polkadot nana nightie with the fluffy sheep on the front in a mad panic and the inhabitant knows exactly how to deal with the situation. The boy who hears you hurt and tells you you are of worth until you start believing it. The sister who will stay in your bed 'til the tears lull you to the land of sleep. Appreciate them, they are the ones who know you and love you not just in spite of your flaws but through them.

Good. I'm glad we had that chat.

Moral of today's story: Set at least two alarms. Be grateful for the ones who love you at your worst.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Lesson 42. Yes you can. You just did.

I've been cramming and craving and slightly crazy. Inspiration seemed to escape me today, the day itself has been full of here's and there's and lists and un-ticked boxes. Unfortunately none of these tickled my fancy and my thought process has been rather bland.

I was discussing this with my flatmate about 5 minutes ago. This just was after we'd put on the Greys Anatomy soundtrack and she sat on my bed while I read out some blogs in my best Meredith voice. (It's fun, try it.) Anyway, I was prying for a key phrase to base tonight's blog on. I begged dear sweet Lou for some inspiration and she simply replied "I can't do it."

It's an automatic response. When pressure is applied, the barriers come up and any faith goes down. We somehow suddenly lose any previous knowledge of the said topic and retreat to our shells of self doubt. I experienced this today in a test, although I'd studied and knew all the answers, I fumbled and I fell. I have another big test tomorrow and I've decided to come at it from a different angle. I've decided to say that I can. I can do it, I know it and I've learnt it and I have what I need to get it done. We need to retrain our automatic response to being one of confidence and assurance in our giftings and abilities. How much further would we get if we exchanged I can't's for I can's?

You are capable Negative Nigel, be Positive Paul. You can do it. Take a deep breath before your response and recall what you've invested time into. You will be strides ahead of sad lonely Nige if you simply believe that you have the strength to press forwards it. I know you can. I know my slightly batty but still very beautiful flatmate Lou will be reading this about now- well, in response to your earlier statement:

Yes you can. You just did.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Lesson 41. Try to see the good in someone suspecting you of terrorism.

I dragged my tired, tuckered-out tootsies onto the bus today and stood way too close to numerous strangers. Some of you may find this an enjoyable experience, I suggest you see someone about this and I inform you that I most certainly did not. When a seat freed up I leapt at the opportunity to rest if only for a few minutes. I positioned my guitar in a way that would not bother anyone and took my seat beside a fairly normal looking elderly man. Oh how wrong I was.

"You could be a terrorist! You could have a gun in that case! Is that a gun?"

My new bus buddy was not at all hesitant to speak in a very loud voice and declare his suspicions about terrorist activity taking place next to him in the form of a 18 year old middle-class female. He succeeded in gaining the attention of the majority of the vehicle and seemed satisfied with my awkward mumbled explanation of how it was just a guitar. He muttered a few things to himself and then his shifty eyes followed the sidewalk instead of my movements. I breathed a sigh of relief and then realised that I was still sitting on a bus that 90% of passengers were suspicious that I was in fact the next Osama Bin Laden. At least this anecdote provides comic relief for you and potentially me at a later date. Anyway, because I wanted to share this peculiar happening with you, I was forced to find the good in a somewhat odd situation. 

What were my findings? Well for starters, it made an excellent facebook status. Just joking. (But not really, who doesn't love a successful facebook status?) However, it did teach me a few things about life. 

1. Some people still have safety at heart. I know, accusations of terrorism is potentially the worst way to portray the interest you have in the safety of the people around you, but nonetheless, it is a way. My friend was aware of the people around him and was willing to speak up for them. The world is a slightly brighter place when someone is willing to put themselves on the line for the sake of your safety.

2. The embarrassing things occasionally work out for the better. Because everyone thought I might take them out with my 13kg guitar case/bomb, no one spoke to me the whole way home. This meant that after my exhausting 8-5 day, I could sit on the bus in peace.

See, there are good things on every bus if we only look for them. I hope this journey you and I have been on is starting to open your eyes to the beauty in everyday and the opportunities to learn, I know it's constantly opening mine. When something embarrassing or startling happens, consider it a challenge. Try your hardest to find the good in it, I promise it's hiding in there somewhere. It might be hiding behind the baffled looks of other passengers, but I promise it's in there. Try to see the good in someone suspecting you of terrorism.  

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Lesson 40. Pre-order on iTunes.

It's been a long day. It's 11.30pm and I've just arrived home from University. It's also a Sunday. I'm a little cranky and a lot sleepy.

My cranky has been diminished greatly by the discovery of a delectable wee musical ditty that I had pre-ordered and disregarded. My head hit the keyboard in great frustration this evening to be met by the light of my screen and the sweet love of John Mayer. The download began. As did the first date-esque feelings: numerous heart palpitations, sweaty palms, woozy mind, fluttering eyelashes. My expectations were more than met by John donning a cowboy hat and working a harmonica. I do love me a man with an accent and a hankerin' for some line dancing. It was a similar discovery to the $10 dollars in your back pocket you forgot about last week, and it was a sweet startle to my somewhat stressful evening.

Do yourself a favour and pre-order, surprise yourself or someone else. There's nothing better than a  'just because' few words or few things or few songs. Maybe you should choose a random pair of pants and put some money in it simply because it will seriously raise your cloudy mood next time you're wearing them. Maybe you should leave a post-it note for a friend letting them know they're celebrated. Maybe you should pre-order on iTunes.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Lesson 39. Company makes the load lighter.

You are tired? Rest your head on the shoulder of a friend.
You can't think straight? Throw a few thoughts out and let a loved one catch them.
You have a lot to do? Do it beside someone who makes your heart happy.

Knuckle down, work hard. Talk about it, talk through it- you will get there. When given the choice between tears and laughter choose the latter. Squeeze the hand of the hope that you hold. Company makes the load lighter.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Lesson 38. Have a night off and in.

I write this post with blurred eyes and slurred speech because weariness has taken it's toll.
On one side I have my friend chocolate and on the other side I have her sweetheart, hot chocolate.
On my bed awaits a sweet Snoosan, my exceptionally handsome main squeeze.
Beside Snoosan snuggles my warmth for the winter, my hot water bottle with the cover that my mother knitted.
Pillow awaits the fall of my head, blankets pull me towards bed.

My eyes are slightly puffy and sleep is employing his charms. My heart is at rest and my mind is at peace. There is chaos outside but it does not belong with me. I am at ease, ready to bid goodnight to the wild world. What a glorious way to spend a Friday evening after a hectic fortnight. Have a night off and in.

Goodnight wild world. 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Lesson 37. Slippers are imperative.

I crawled into bed at the ungodly hour of 6am this morning after doing an overnighter in the studio with my musically bad ass boyfriend and his awesome amigos.

By doing an overnighter,  I mean I recorded a guide track and them wriggled into a sleeping bag and left the boys to it for a few hours. I awoke distressed to find my baby blue Winnie the pooh slippers no where to be seen. I could've sworn I'd stepped out of them only centimetres away from my sweet dozing destination. I began to ponder the greatness of my slippers.

Many a chilly night my toes are benumbed- who do they long for? My slippers. Many a lazy morning where shoes are not appropriate but footwear is beneficial- what do my little piggies cry for? Not roast beef, no no, my slippers. They make my tootsies toasty, bring lovin' for my little ones and warmth for my walkers. Slippers are imperative to life in general.

We all need something to make the walk a little easier. A little something to step into when you wake up in the morning to add a little bounce to your step. Maybe it's reading something that reminds you of how much you are worth every morning. Maybe it's a friend you can rely on not only when you're in need of some easy Sunday morning company but who waits for you when life gets cold. The little things can often make all the difference. Don't lose them, appreciate them and love them. 

Soon enough my slippers appeared. Although a little out of sorts because of their inhabitants. Yes, that's right, my boyfriend had discovered how excellent slippers are. I told him he needs to pick up a pair of his own, slippers are imperative. 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Lesson 36. A slight improvement is still an improvement.

I failed a test miserably about a month ago. Today, I got a similar test back and I passed this time round by the skin of my teeth. I should've scolded but I stopped myself. Instead, I internally sung myself a happy song and created tiny applause with my two index fingers that sounded like an overenthusiastic crowd on a sitcom in my mind.

Let the smallest of victories encourage you to win your bigger battles. A slight improvement is still an improvement.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Lesson 35. Remember what your Daddy told you.

I got distracted today. My head decided that a stroll down memory lane was more than overdue and thus began it's meander.

My mind seemed to search the archives for pivotal moments in my childhood. A few cringe-worthy recollections down the track, my wandering wit landed on one it hadn't encountered since the day itself. The final year of primary school holds many painful jabs and jolts. I was awkward, outspoken and somewhat resembled a member of the opposite gender. This situation however, marks a moment that my father stood out as a hero in my time of general gawkiness.

Let's give you a bit of background info. I used to play hockey. Sports? Yes, before I figured out that I hated them with a deep firey passion, I used to whack a ball around here and there. It was year 6: the semi-final match of the season and my coach was not a fan of the Lydia experience. She did not like me in her team, she did not like me on the field, she especially did not like me at halftime- I know this because when they passed around the halftime oranges I would somehow always get missed. We were about 10 minutes off finishing our game and I had not yet set foot on the turf. I sat with one arm draped around my hot pink hockey stick and the other lay almost lifeless in my lap, my eyes fixed on it. I kicked the ground every time I swung my foot back and forth and each swing seemed to pass the time just as slowly as my "Bugs life" watch. My hair wasn't even long enough to cover my face so when the tears of frustration and shame came, they came unmasked. They slid down my ruddy cheeks and into my curled up hand. I didn't dare look up, things were embarrassing enough as they were without people meeting the eyes of my unwanted feelings. It was not until I saw a familiar hand reach for mine that I had the courage to raise my chin. The hand of my father. He took it and he marched me off the field. He told me that we would not put up with this, that would be my last game, and he would be taking me home. My Dad is not a charmer, he does not paint pretty pictures with his words, but the words he said to me that morning are framed in my heart to this day. He taught me a lesson about courage, about standing up for the people that you love. My Dad taught me that it's not okay to let people underestimate you or take you for granted. He taught me the importance of believing in your value and worth so that you know when enough is enough. My Daddy swooped in and saved me like the hero that he is.

He probably didn't mean to instill such a spirit of stubbornness and justice in me that day, but I think it greatly contributed to the way I am. I have rarely played the role of the doormat because of what my father imparted to me that day in Blake park. I am so blessed to have had a father who stood up for me. I don't know if you have or not, but I know that at some stage someone significant has pulled you off the turf. Someone has fought your battle, has taught you about standing up. Believe that you are worth more, trust in what you know about yourself. Remember what your Daddy told you.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Lesson 34. A change of heart could save your limbs.

When we look at our lives and the problems that arise within them, we often look so quickly to cull people and things. It's all too common to just eliminate the troubled area altogether, sometimes cutting off altogether is the easy way out. If we treated our bodies the way we sometimes treat our feelings, we'd be losing limbs left right and centre. Don't become an amputee to your emotional tendencies, simply change your heart. 

A fresh take, a reflective gaze. Look at your perspective, it's likely that ninety percent of the problem lies there. Open your eyes once again and see the world in a new light. Instead of losing some of the great things in your life, lose your attitude. A change of heart could save your limbs. 

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Lesson 33. Commit, don't quit.

I'm a University student. I know the Monday-is-coming-and-I-want-to-drop-out-and-go-to-live-back-at-home-in-the-fully-catered-bliss-of-my-parents-warmth feeling all too well. 

Many nights I've told my flatmates that I'm quitting as soon as the sun rises in the morning. They okay me for lack of a better way to deal with my defeatist attitude. They know me too well to challenge or actually believe my melodramatic statements when it's late and they've heard me listening to Westlife's 'Home' through the wall. Sometimes life seems to bog me down so much my shoulders almost cave in. I occasionally indulge in the thought that I'd be better off just letting them fall and accepting a gradual failure. Luckily, these lapses of sanity are only momentary. Another side of me steps in with great gumption and stomps that thought to dust; this side is called stubborn Lydia. I think you'd probably fancy stubborn Lydia, she's great. 

Dig your heels in and do your best. Invest everything into what you're doing and who you love. If it still falls apart, you can walk away from the wreckage knowing you fought your fight with the strength of more than a soldier. Get your stubborn on and say "No!" to the someone inside of you who tells you it's okay to give up. It's not okay to give up until you've given all. I think you'll be surprised at the results if you use that sass for good. Put your hand on your hip, point your finger out, tilt your head and pout at that assignment until you've owned it like the strong independent woman/man who don't need no man/woman that you are.

You just can't afford to walk away with regrets. What if's have no place in your life. Do all that you can to do all that you want. It is only then that we discover what we are capable of and where our hope lies. Commit, don't quit. 

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Lesson 32. Tomorrow is not a guarantee.

Forgive me if this post seems a little on the heavy side. I don't mean to be morbid but today was a day that caused me to consider life and its ins and outs.

Today I walked a lifelong friend through the loss of a loved one. We stood through the awkward conversations with people who remember you when you were 'just a peanut' but still can't quite remember your name and stomached the slightly warm savouries the well-meaning ladies from the parish popped in the oven for a few minutes. We waded through tears, the silence that follows the casket, the grief.

The funeral itself was beautiful. So much warmth can be born from a life so full of love even after the road has turned heavenwards. It's a strange occurrence when a death can bring hope, not for the life lived but because the life was so well lived that it leaves a legacy of knowledge and encouragement for those to come. A life that inspires even the least of people. Today was like that. I want to live a life of love that changes things. I think that's all we should hope for. Yes, we have to do our best with right now, but no, we don't have all the time in the world. As terrifying as it sounds, tomorrow is not a guarantee.

I want to bring hope. I want to see a struggling child smile. I want to see my friend who battles with depression defeat it. I want to dance with my best friends to ridiculous music from my childhood on a regular basis. I want to share too many kisses and hugs with the people I cherish. I want to tell the people I love that I do, every single day. I want to write brilliant music and even better blogs. I want to change the world and hold the hand of a friend in need and do everything I've written on my bucket list. Thing is, tomorrow is no time to start- today is. Maybe we wouldn't be so scared of the world ending if we lived like it was about to. That does not give you license to go wild by the way, I'm simply suggesting that we rid ourselves of our day-to-day heaviness and start living in the light. Tomorrow is not a guarantee, be a person of hope today.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Lesson 31. Appreciate your staircase.

My stairs are much like yours. They're a teeny bit awkward, they jut out, they're very much up and down, and most of all they are crucial from getting from A to B in our household.

I trip up my stairs a lot. I even cut my hand on the railing once in a riding the mattress down incident. Sometimes they feel like forever when I'm descending to my bedroom after a rough day. They are only short but occasionally on my way up I feel as though the final stair will always be a little out of reach.
Today was one of those days. My feet were heavy, I hadn't been home since early morning. I was tired and I was not in the mood for a trek upwards. I staired (Why yes I am also a lady of wit, even at 11.34pm) up at my nemesis, the peak and turn of the staircase. I stared long and hard and then committed to taking the first step. Before I knew it, the large majority of blocks were behind me. Before I knew it I had conquered my Everest and I was outside my bedroom door. I collapsed on my bed with great satisifaction. I could lay my weary head down with the knowledge that I would not have to clamber my way up another set of stairs 'til a new day had come and with that would come new energy and strength to do so.

No, I'm not just talking about stairs anymore. I'm talking about the stairs you and I climb on a regular basis. Life's stairs. They are hard sometimes. They're a teeny bit awkward, they jut out, they're very much up and down BUT, they are also crucial in getting from A to B. Too often, we forget the last phrase. We forget the critical role stairs play in our lives. They teach us to keep going, to conquer our demons and dance on the landing. The tough bits that seem never ending are often what take us from the bottom to the top. They might seem difficult now but I promise you will look back with deep appreciation and the warmest affection for your climb. You would not be who you are and your smile would not have the same slant without knowing that you did it, you made it up and through. They will get you from the lowest of lows to the highest of highs in your life. So please, appreciate your staircase.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Lesson 30. Please, thank you, bless you, good day.

Nothing strange or startling here today folks, no grand anecdote or profound discovery. Just a simple hint to make everyday life a little sweeter. Consider this a little sugar sachet that you might tip upside down back into the container for a giggle at a cafe. 

The little things you say matter- whether you choose to acknowledge it or not. The use of niceties in day to day conversation can make this whole wild ride seem a little less lonely and a little more lovely. Like we all understand a small thing about one another, we all speak a common language of politeness, of care, of willingness to take little steps out of the way in order to make someone else's paces a little easier.

Take pleasure in the niceties. Smile. Dot your I's and cross your T's. Please, thank you, bless you, good day.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Lesson 29. Make pretty bows out of kitchen roll.

This is perhaps the most bizarre title we've seen yet. I had a particularly delicious encounter today with slight insanity and a large roll of hand towel. What was born was something quite unique. I may or may not have been dressed up like Britney Spears (in 'Hit Me Baby One More Time') and shakin' the junk in my trunk to a bit of Beyonce for my all too amused/slightly scared flatmates. Again, it involved a few moments of slight insanity but I like to think we can bring something quite special out of the madness.

On my floor lies the bow that I fashioned as a fabulosmic accessory for my little skit. It is made out of mere kitchen roll, but it's quite something. It sits well because the material is made to be somewhat rigid, it seems to work well and stay in place. The madness somehow meant I could imagine something better out of something everyday. Take advantage of your moments of madness, let them inspire and spark you. Do something creative with the crazy. You might make something average quite sensational.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Lesson 28. Let old friends know you miss them.

It's no secret that I am a rather nostalgic idealistic lass.
I cherish friendship and often hold on too long. I'm guilty of not wanting to accept Leaan Rimes' hit single 'Life Goes On' because I don't think her hair looks natural and I hate the thought of letting go.

Though today I came to the conclusion that it's not always a terrible trait. A dear friend of mine who also moved away to the other end of the country sent me a text. It was a simple missing you kind of text but it meant a lot to me. The very fact that she missed me made me think that I did make some sort of a mark. It sparked something in me that although we weren't as close as we used to be, she still valued me and our friendship. It's a very precious thing to encounter and it's something that often goes unvoiced. It's as simple as shooting off a text. Let old friends know you miss them, you never know what it might mean to them.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Lesson 27. If we never tried we'd never know. If it never rained we'd never grow.

Sincerest apologies for the behindhand post. A series of events last night meant all I could manage was a title before collapsing into a little sleep ball.

I was lulled into the land of snoozing last night to the sound of rain. I awoke to the same constant falling of water on the roof outside my bedroom. I have learnt to love rain for the way it seems to bring life to things. I have learnt to love rain for the promise that it will stop, and a rainbow will come.

I have known saturation a little too well over the last few weeks. I have felt the rain seep in deeper than my skin. I have had my moments of hatred for the very liquid itself. I have wondered why it has been raining. I have questioned why I must be in a place where clouds exist. It's hard to understand why life can be challenging sometimes. But I've realised that rain is absolutely a necessity in order for us to ever grow. We must endure times of rain and hardship in order to become something more beautiful. I want to run and skip and dance in the rain because of the way it is shaping me. I will rejoice in the trials that life throws at me only because I know that I most definitely will come out the other side better for it. Your rough parts are being bumped off, the rain in your life is sanding you. It's uncomfortable because hardship is well- hard, but there is so much beauty to be seen in the rainbow. You might have put your heart on the line and it might feel like the line itself snapped. You might be feeling as though you tried and you failed. Get back up, learn, see how you've grown from the fall itself.

I just looked out my window. There is a rainbow and it made me cry. There is so much beauty in the other side of rain. Look forward to it, hold onto it, rejoice in fact that you are learning and growing, possibly more now than ever before. I see it, I see the rainbow and I hold it in my heart almost as dearly as the double-rainbow youtube sensation. There is hope. If we'd never tried, we'd never know. If it never rained, we'd never grow.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Lesson 26. Let the past spur you on.

I've been reliving the glory days over the last 48 hours.
My trip home included a visit to my former place of education, which all of a sudden felt like a walk in the park. I'm sure it wasn't all sunshine/lollypops/rainbows when I was actually there, but retrospect is a blinding and beautiful thing. High school began to look like it was my very own cloud nine, I just no longer belong there.

I finally received a copy of the Stage Challenge production that I directed in my final year of greatness. I watched it this afternoon and got slightly emotional, it was inevitable that it would cause a few leaks in my tear ducts. I look back with fond memories but I know it wasn't all cheery. I shed many a frustrated tear over the process, I yelled, I got serious, I got stressed. I thought "How the heck am I going to pull this off?"

Watching it this afternoon brought a sense of enlightenment. When I was in year 13, Stage Challenge was my giant. It stood before me so daunting, I had no idea how to tackle or maneuver it. But guess what? I managed. I'd probably even go as far to say that I more than managed, I was successful. It was encouraging to realise that I excelled at something that felt so distant and difficult at the time. I finally feel like I can tackle my University work with full force, because yes, I am that strong. So are you.

If you feel like you can't do something- look back, I'm sure this isn't the first time you've been taken over by some delusional defeatist. Realise that you've felt this way before and you have done it, you have won over your giant. In fact you've skipped through the meadows swinging the right hand of your giant. Let the past spur you on.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Lesson 25. Give yourself some time.

I took a rather spectacular walk through my semi-rural Eden at dusk today.
The leaves have turned and flitted away, though all the more beautiful for the way they paint the ground. The road was the same as it's always been, it is consistent- slightly rough, but still the same road I've known my whole existence.
The only sounds were the occasional cars and the birds nodding off. The wind dancing with the forestry and the river lapping its sides. I sat down on a park bench and pondered. Isn't life the most crazy beautiful heartbreaking thing?

Oh to feel heavy and light, happy and sad, bitter and sweet at the same time. How complex we humans have turned out to be. In a world of chaos we so often neglect actually dealing with these feelings. We just keep chugging along in hope that they might disappear somewhere between the 11am lecture and 1pm meeting. Well I have news for you, they won't.

Give yourself some time. Take a break and process. Breathe in fresh air from a place of home. Walk it out, get some relaxation time in your system. The things that are hard to deal with will not just go away, they will only begin to close in even more. It's going to take time, but you need to give yourself that if you want to give yourself a chance. Life is so breathtaking if you learn how to lean through the bends. We're in for a pretty remarkable ride. Give yourself some time.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Lesson 24. You are loved.

I came home. I packed my bags and I got on the bus and I walked down Spring, up Wharf and along Monmouth. I surprised my Mother and it was the best feeling ever. I laughed with my Father and it did my soul good. I have missed where the sky meets the water at sunset. I have missed knowing the exact route home. It is good to be back even though it's only for a day.

If I'm being perfectly honest with you part of the reason I'm home is because I'm escaping. I was discussing this with dear ol' Da on our way home and although he made light of it he knew that I was running from my cloudy head and weary heart. I have been weepy for the last week. I have been exhausted for the last three days. I have run circles around logic and squares around my heart, none of my paces seem to make anything fit. So I decided to escape the clutter of the city and return to my semi-rural paradise that houses the best parents in the universe for a few days. Clarity, here I come!

Today's point of clarity: You are loved.

I can't say exactly how I know, but I do. I know that you are loved. And because of this I know that things will be okay. No matter how hard they feel right now, someone loves you. Maybe more than just someone, maybe 203947923748293847923857 someones love you. But one person loving you should be enough to spark a little hope, make you want to take another step, breathe another breath, love in return for another day. I aired the entirety of my life out with my parents tonight and although no conclusions or direct courses of action were reached, I arrived in a pretty striking place.

Things are hard, I get it. Things don't balance or sit right and there's a hair out of place on the left side of your head. Your heart might feel like it's about to split into straight twos but let me tell you, you are loved. My parents reminded me of that tonight without even saying the words. Realising that I am blessed enough to have the love of two awe-inspiring people suddenly woke me up. No matter how big my problems are I can count on the love of those who have raised me crazy-and-all. No matter how big my problems are I can count on the love of the one who knows me, my flaws and their burden yet still chooses me to do greater things.

Maybe your love is from someone else. I don't know who, maybe it's your best friend or your boyfriend or your Auntie's homegirl's goddaughter, but I know that you are loved. Know that being loved is precious, know that it is NEVER something to be taken for granted. Love will get you through this season. Appreciate the love of your Mother, your Father, your siblings, your dearest friend. Today's point of clarity: You are loved.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Lesson 23. Tell someone they're the height of excellence.

After an occurrence involving the sweetest dusky pink hair bow and a letter from an angel face today, I felt compelled to pay it forward. A girl in my class had singlehandedly changed my attitude towards my day and myself by gifting me with two small things. I realised that I now carried a mandate to bring light to someones dull day. Let me tell you, it doesn't take much to flip someones day from being average to awesome. I decided to tip a few people off that I think they're the bee's knees. 

It felt good to bring a little bit of lovin' to a little bit of lonely. Why is it so often we hold back? What is so wrong with telling someone that they are feline sleeping attire? If someone in your life changes it, let them know! Release a little adoration out into the world. We are so quick to let snappy retorts fly out in moments of anger or just plain negativity- counteract it. Be someone's pick-me-up. Let's do this together yes? I'm going to start letting at least one person know that they are in fact the greatest thing since sliced bread every single day. I promise it will begin to change you if you let it. Everyone needs your pat on the back, your shout from the sideline, your whisper of reassurance. Tell someone they're the height of excellence, you'll both feel all the better for it. 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Lesson 22. Don't let one topple get you down.

I'm horribly klutzy. Hideously clumsy/physically awkward on the best of days. 
I should try watching where I walk? Yes, my nature will take that challenge and I will most likely land somewhere in the facial region. No need to go into great detail, but let's just say many a body part has suffered due to my graceless two left feet.

I find myself tumbling around most of the time. Not in a playful-cute uncoordinated way,  but a Miranda Hart meets a flailing fish kind of way. Sometimes I'll be walking somewhere and I'll have a wee topple. I try to brush it off with a giggle but it is all too easy to let it determine my attitude towards the rest of my journey. It's so easy to let one topple determine the way you walk everywhere. One little niggle- a bad start to the day, and we create an attitude of "I'm having a bad day. Everything bad is happening. Why?" Which is ridiculous really. Because a topple is simply a moment. It's a little stumble, a tiny fall. It's something we should be able to get back up from and forget about, rather than letting it define our attitudes towards life.

Maybe you have something in your life that you are clumsy with. It might be walking or it might be a relationship. It might be something you are finding hard to process and you feel like no matter how hard you try you keep landing on your behind in the middle of the street. So I challenge you, don't let one area of your life define all the others. I know you are struggling, I know that it gets hard and confusing. But I also know that if you let it, it will dominate your existence and that is no way to live. Be a person of courage and wisdom who can acknowledge when things are hard but can also pick things back up and piece them back together. Be someone who can move forwards instead of living in a fumble of a momentary fall. Don't let one topple get you down. 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Lesson 21. Let a little nonsense out.

Me and my lovely ladies sat down to dine tonight having had average days at our various educational institutions. Not bad days, just dreary glum days. The weather got the better of my fragile heart today.

We began with the de-brief of the day. I poured out my insignificant woes and then ended up pouring out various other nonsensical things. It was brilliant. I made up all sorts of ludicrous yarns and spun them 'til they were dizzy. We laughed so much my very composed flatmate almost spat her yoghurt out. I feel like that detail is necessary because if you knew Jasmine you'd know it was a bit of a rarity for her to have such an outburst.

Talk nonsense every once in a while. Make light of a situation, have a laugh about something that may seem too serious to handle. Tell stories, fiddle with fiction. It always puts a heavy head at ease when it is able to express the strangest of emotions through absolute claptrap/balderdash/hogwash. If today has been one of those days, let a little nonsense out.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Lesson 20. Talk to strangers.

Here's a piece of advice your mother never gave you: Talk to strangers.

Today I plumped myself on the dirty park bench by the bus stop with every intention of putting my iPod in and wallowing in some mildly depressing melody by the very man I blogged about a few days ago, my pal Ed. However, a spritely seventy something man with a Dublin accent approached me and quizzed me on the red bus and its whereabouts. Having a spongy spot for anyone that comes from that particular region due to my heritage, I struck up a conversation. We discussed the weather, reasons he's never been to belfast, and then the airport bus schedule. Nothing brilliant or spectacular, just a sweet conversation with a gentlemanly stranger. He then stepped aside and let me on the bus in front of him, simply because he was a man of chivalry. He made my day by the smallest of gestures, by the shortest of conversations.

Never underestimate the power something as simple as letting someone on the bus before you or a brief spot of small talk banter can have. My load was somewhat lightened and the world didn't seem as dark or as scary as I knew before. It helps to know sometimes someone is just as lonely as you are sitting at the bus stop. I dare you to do it today. Talk to strangers.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Lesson 19. When one excellent bagel selling establishment is closed, another is open.

I had a mighty hankerin' for some bagel action at around 11.17 this morning.
So I explained to my flatmates how a short stop at this great cafe I knew would be the best route to the supermarket and would surely enhance the grocery experience as whole. Luckily my flatmates listen to their stomachs as often as I do and understood the urgency of my needs.

So I popped some appropriate clothing on and we toddled on down to my favourite bagel selling establishment only to have our hopes dashed- It was shut.

We debated for few minutes. Dunkin' Donuts? Some other circular food item with a hole in the middle resembling my stomachs desire? Alas, it would not suffice. I had eyes for one tasty treat only, bagel bagel bagel. Once again, my flatmates displayed their deep compassion and understanding of cravings and held my hand in my hour of need. We began the quest to find somewhere else.

We almost walked past a small/empty cafe on one of the side streets. However, as we drew closer, one of my girls pointed out a toasted bagel option on the menu. And believe me, it just got better from there. We were greeted by the sweetest fun size asian lady I've ever laid eyes on. She was so happy to see us and relieve us of our ache for toasted goodness. The bagel was well, the bagel, the service was the cream cheese, and the company was without a doubt the bacon to my morning.

Don't be disheartened when a door is closed. When our most obvious option does a disappearing act, it is so easy to lose hope in ever getting what we want. It's so easy to sit down on the pavement and hold your overly vocal belly. It's so easy to settle for less. Well maybe it isn't a case of doing that, maybe it's just accepting that what you want might be somewhere else, in a different form, in an even greater moment or place. It's about holding to hope with sheer force and battling through. Believing that you want something for a reason and pursuing it unswervingly. Go get your bagel! Have faith, when one excellent bagel selling establishment is closed, another is open.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Lesson 18. Ed Sheeran rules at life.

I am emotionally exhausted.
This lesson is not a life gem of great depth. I do however suggest that you take note of it because I tell you, it will come in handy. It might be brief, but you have to know the fact from the fiction in our fickle world. So here's a fact for you: Ed Sheeran rules at life.

 He's been making me swoon all day long. Strange considering he's a pasty fire-headed man with a face that seems to be slightly compact, perhaps this makes it even more spectacular that just his voice sends my heart a flutter.

Ed Sheeran rules at life. 

Friday, May 4, 2012

Lesson 17. How you gonna do it if you really don't want to dance?

I used to be the awkward wallflower girl. When people tried to make me dance I would literally turn and head for the bathrooms until I'd been in there long enough for them to think I'd left. I would then emerge timidly and stand in the shadows hoping no one would notice that I, unlike them, was not eager to join in the arms and legs flailing situation of the dance floor. 

Until one day I tried it. I just stopped thinking about what my fellow wallflowers would think once they watched me get down on it and well, I got down on it. 

Last night was one of the situations where I had to abandon my former ways and move (literally move) into a little bit of somethin' somethin'. There was a row of people standing with drinks doing the relatively standard left foot stomp and occasional move of the glass. And then there was my friends doing their thing without a care in the world. I had a choice, to either join the foot stompers or get my dance on. I luckily chose the latter and I assure you it was much more fun than standing watching. 

Sometimes in life we have to let go. Drop concerns about who may or may not be mocking you and just go for it, do you really have time to waste? Lose the awkward wallflower thing, it's highly overrated and you're only gonna regret it when you're forty-something and you have no embarrassing moves to bestow upon your children. Yes, make a fool of yourself today not for the sake of others but simply for the sake of yourself. It will do you a whole lot of good to take yourself a little less seriously. How you gonna do it if you really don't wanna dance?

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Lesson 16. Fresh air is good for the soul. Even if it does mean lying underneath your air vent.

A few hours after sunset this evening, I found myself in a fuzzy state of mind. Today was a day of confusion. There were so many different things to breathe in and then somehow navigate their way back out again. My head was aching and my heart had been tossed about so much in my current position that I had to stop and breathe. However, this created a slight issue because I was in the lounge and our lounge just happens to be internal. No windows, which gets a teeny bit claustrophobic at even the best of times.

Before I knew it I was lying on the floor with two of my best friends trying to inhale the seemingly 'fresh air' from our rooftop air vent. We debriefed our days and had a good lol at the more jovial aspects of the last 24 hours. Then came a moment of clarity. I remembered just how good I had it. Even though today was one of those days, I am finally beginning to find my feet in this whirlwind and I'm doing it with the most stupendous of people by my side. Don't let these four walls cloud your judgment or make you feel trapped, fresh air is good for the soul. Even if it does mean lying underneath your air vent. 

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Lesson 15. Don't forget your lunch.

Wednesday lunch time is my favourite of the weekday/midday selection. This is because I eat with first class pals from numerous areas of my life. Today was no exception, it even had added greatness because my little-big sister was thrown in the mix. I would go as far to say it was perfect in terms of lunchenating standards, but I made a fatal mistake in my mid-morning rush to get ready for my 11am lecture. I forgot my lunch.

My belly bleated throughout the 2 hour lunch period. Although the superb company kept me occupied, my stomach cried out for my attention only to be covered by awkward coughs and sneezes so that people wouldn't think my digestive system was always this vocal. I arrived home from lunch and I ate anything and everything. Some crisps, my last packet of biscuits, I even bought some tasty little chocolate morsels on my way home. This resulted in me being as bloated as a beached whale. I cursed the moment I shut the door on my way out this morning simply because it made me make poor decisions in my eating habits. Don't forget your lunch and then come home and binge.

Fill yourself up on the solid things and do it at the right time. Don't try and fill your hunger for true substance by chowing down on temporary fixes. Plan ahead, do things the correct way and at the right time and I think you'll find your life will be a lot more balanced. Apply it to all areas of life. Don't go looking for love in one night stands, don't go looking for a full stomach in a bag of mini chocolate digestives. Don't go looking for meaning in things that are meaningless, don't expect to stumble across a sandwich at your over priced one-stop convenience shop. It's as simple as that really. Don't forget your lunch.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Lesson 14. Sometimes you are due a no-work Tuesday.

I had another day of the splendid range today. I decided to take a no-work Tuesday.
I will spare you the details so you don't faint with jealousy and you can continue on with your online quizzes/statistics research/serious University work once you've feasted your eyes upon this blog.

Needless to say I was quite encouraged by the end of it. I made some good music with some good people. I had some good conversations with some good people. I had some good food with some good people. Success! I have actually made good friends in this foreign region. 

Sometimes a no-work Tuesday is what you need to get your head back. Feel like you can't? I dare you to. Shut out the pressures of your day to day life and have a wee pamper. Treat yourself. It might be just what you need to face the all-work Wednesday. Sometimes you are due a no-work Tuesday.