18 November 2015

My Happy Place

As part of their #MindYourself campaign this week the Independent.ie, an Irish online newspaper has asked me to write an article discussing " My Happy Place". The purpose of this campaign is to bring awareness to mental health by sharing advice and anecdotes regarding individual acquired paradise in the midst of mental chaos. In order to help the readers deal with bad days, anxiety, depression etc. Search #MindYourself on twitter for some great posts from other collaborating bloggers and follow their stories and tips.

A happy place is a mental state achieved when one wants to avoid the unpleasant or uncomfortable. Everyone's happy place is different and consists of thoughts or places that make them happy. So even in the midst of chaos, own your happy place for it is yours and no one can ever take that away from you.

This articles has been one which I've struggled to write due to its significants. I typed and deleted for two days before it dawned on me that my happy place is not a destination, it is a journey of decisions and actions I incorporate into my daily activities.

I write this knowing life is no walk in the park, we all experience tough times and sometimes get stuck in a funk we can't seem to shake. But it's important to acknowledge how you feel and gain clarity as to why you feel that way in order to accomplish the peace and joy we all desire to discover. Happiness rests in hope and as long as one has hope, there's always a way to unwind.

Within passion and purpose one finds their happy place or places. Mine happen to roam around sky, earth and within. The sky where people look miniature and all of life's problems seem significantly smaller, looking down from a birds view at patterns of green,brown and blue. The gym where everyone seems to arrive equally  in touch with their troubles yet leaves having unconsciously shed the tense weight of the world on their shoulders and my journals where I write drafts combining my gratitude, plans, thoughts and experiences to discover the possible lessons in each mystery.

Sometimes you find the most beautiful understandings within unexpected places and experiences.  Everyone has a happy place whether its a latte and a good book on the beach of a foreign country or the adrenalin of driving your dream car. Within each moment lays a seed of happiness waiting to be sown and watered, allowing you to release your anxieties and breath. Think of memories or goals that bring you joy even if you aren't in a position to physically be at place of peace and tranquility.

The saying goes " A healthy outside starts from within" nurture your environment by adding good qualities to your life one at a time and make time for the things that allow you to calmly inhale the goodness and exhale the bad.  Remind yourself that you are enough, daily and when anxiety creeps in bare in mind, better times are ahead.

8 March 2015

" But You're So Smart "

 I've decided to share a part of myself, that I've never really brought to the light, not out of shame but out of fear and disappointment at the judgements which ALWAYS left me feeling inferior. I'm twenty-two years old and this is the first time I've ever boldly said
 "Yes, I'm deaf, So what??"

Going back to what I said about " fear and disappointment" , It all started as a kid, my experience was the same in both South Africa and in Ireland. Every time I went places where other kids were they would all warm up to me and we would have so much fun. That is until one person would see a little brown "thing" sitting comfortable in my ear and start pointing and asking me, 
"What is that?, 
why is it in your ear?,
 what does it do?" 
Before I could answer these queestions myself, A kid beside me would whisper as if it was a secret I couldn't know about,"Its called a hearing aid, it means shes deaf and she cant hear without it" and just like that, a switch would go off in all the little heads around me that I was the "disabled one", and that everyone would have to scream or move their lips dramatically for me to understand. I remember my little self thinking "one, I'm pretty sure I could have answered those questions myself and two werent we all having normal conversations and playing five minutes ago?". From there on I hated having up-do hairstyles or short hair, my ear just had to be covered at all times. Regardless of what my mum or my brother said to me about how capable I was. I wouldnt change my mind, because to me it was simply a matter of  less stress. Hide it and be treated equally, problem solved.

This didn't get any better as I got older, being in a school for the deaf meant  I was constantly in 2 worlds, and finding it hard to fit into both. In the deaf world, teachers and friends constantly asked why I was there  because my hearing didnt affect my speech or my learning ability, to them I was smart enough to "survive" in a mainstream school. In the hearing world, my personal rule was no one was allowed to know, until they knew me well enough to not treat me differently. Up to this day atleast 65% of the people in my life still dont know and they probably will after  reading this, But... I don't care any more.

 I went to a boarding school. One day I was out with some friends of mine and naturally we would tend to "turn off" our voices and just sign to eachother.  I remember one particular day we were in the toilets of McDonalds and a group of girls walked in and having seen us they started laughing, doing mocking hand gestures and saying to eachother "They're deaf and dumb, I wish we could understand what they are saying, theses b*tches are probably talking about us. They're so stupid". We all turned around and each of us spoke to them as calm and as humble as we could, informing them that yes we were deaf but not dumb, everything they had said was heard and even better we could speak back to them, so next time they decided to embarress themselves using stereotypes, they should take a second to recall that day" and with that being said we left, feeling happy about how our fifteen year old selves handled the situation.

 In my final year of secondary school, I remember being out with one of my best friends, Kate. As we walked down henry street signing, we happened to bump into two girls who knew me and without even exchanging greetings one  of the girls looked shocked and immediately went on to ask me,
"Lily how do you know sign language?"
"why are you with her?"
"can she hear me, poor thing?" 
Before I could answer for myself, the second female decided it was her place to jump in. "Shes deaf. They both are. she wears a hearing aid" having heard this the first female looked at me in shock "No way! but you're one of the smartest people I know! your english is so good Lily, you speak so well omg! no I dont believe you". Being me, I always avoid confrontation and my friend knew this so despite how offended we both were at the ignorance and perception that a hearing loss means you're mentally a vegetable that cant think for yourself. she just looked at me and purposely kept quiet as I laughed, lifted my hair and showed the girl my hearing aid and told her yes I was deaf and no it didnt affect my capability. With that said we left.

Ever since finishing secondary school, my hearing has always been something I've pushed to the back of my head. I moved away for a year and even at 19, I told no one, then one day I decided to tell a friend and she told me they all knew, in my absence everyone had spoken about the little whistling sounds my hearing aid made from time to time but no one thought to tell me what they were hearing or ask me about it, They spoke amongst eachother in my absence and exchanged looks in my presence.  I didnt realise then, how hiding a culture I was accustomed to because of people who werent, wasnt living MY life. I wasnt born to fit in and I had to accept that.

 Two weeks ago I walked into college and my hearing aid snapped and I went all around the city trying to find a place to fix it and every where i went told me they couldnt do it. I found myself feeling alone and locked up in a college toilet cubicle crying and having an anxiety attack feeling as if I had no solution. At that moment not being able to hear my lectures meant there being no point in attending classes, especially since my college doesnt provide note takers, so I would be sitting in class listening to monotonous voices and not being able to take notes. Fortunately that evening I had plans to have lunch with Kate and she told me where I could have it fixed. I felt so much calmer and having a solution made me realise my anxiety attack was not because I wasnt able to hear my lectures. It was because in my isolation and hiding, this part of me. I felt like I had no one to talk to, which was the real frustration and I didnt want to call my mum because of my own pride.

Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet.
Only through experience of trial and suffering 
can the soul be strengthened,
vision cleared, ambition inspired, and success achieved. 
- Helen Keller. 

I dont feel like I should give people the power to make me feel like someone I'm not.
I'm finally letting go and realising I cant be the little girl shyly hiding behind mum with anxiety whenever I feel vulnerable over situations that never bothered me but people who did. I have too many scars to be breaking my bones just to fit into places or in with people that werent meant for me. Self -love, self respect, and self worth... Theres a reason that they all start with self, you cant find them in any one else.  I've always been the kind of person who uses her pain to fuel growth.

I'm a firm believer in the fact you determine your own ability not society's stereotypes. 

My 2 female best friends are an example of how strong women can achieve what they dream of regardless of what the voices utter. Kate who is deaf and Nicole who isnt.

Kate has a degree in Geography and is in the middle of doing her masters in Community Education, Equality and Social Activism at National University of Ireland Maynooth. Shes been to 26 European capital cities, 33 countries in total. She was one of seven women to swim 35KM across the English channel as a relay team and has recieved numerous swimming awards having swam for our old school and then gone on to swim for Maynooth with a scholarship. 

 Nicole has a degree in Psychology and a masters in Human resources. shes an intern at one of the best hospitals in the country and a part time employee there too.
Sometimes you just need to forget everything and try to be a stiletto in a room full of flats rather than conform.

As for me, I've been through so much but I've also accomplished so much. Theres great things I'm about to show the world and I'm still growing. I'm going to be a doctor in Psychology, I'm going to sit and I'm going to listen to every little voice better than I've ever been heard. Then I'm going to make sure each child that comes to me learns to gracefully embrace every little detail about themselves without outside influence. They will understand that your circumstances nor the people around you determine who you are. My deafness doesnt affirm my capability, infacts its my motivation to show the world a culture that not only is beautiful but also capable of tremendous things.

" Confidence isnt walking into a room with your nose in the air, thinking you are better than everyone else. Its walking into a room and not having to compare yourself to anyone in the first place. "

Thats what I am, Finally. I'm confident. I know my ability and I know who I am and I dont care what people have to say, I dont care about stereotypes and judgements because I've found my voice. I love the woman I'm becoming because I fought to become her and I know now that nothing can dim the light that shines from within. 

15 February 2015

Compatibility, Imagination And The Future (4)

Dear Future Lover,

Happy Valentines day!
I've been thinking lately and it hit me the idea of someone out there being so compatible with me is quite oddly fascinating. It really hit me, each life experience molds individuals into the their true selves, before making them one. I know it sounds corny lol but I find that intriguingly beautiful.

I don't quite know if this makes any sense whatsoever, but, sometimes I feel as if I'm in the ideal long distance relationship, you in my future. 
I like imagining it with everything I've accomplished and everyone who loves me endlessly. I’ll be waiting for you. Not waiting, in the sense that I’ll be X-ing days on my calendar, pausing moments in my life or keeping my arms wide open just in case you happen to decide, its time to come running into them. But waiting, in the sense that the idea of ‘us’ will always be present in the depth of my mind. Waiting, in the way that we don’t really expect it to, but know it’s possible that the rain will stop, the sun will come out and the pain of past sadness will be a burden no more. Waiting, because I choose to believe in ‘whens' over ‘ifs, when talking about ‘us’.

If there ever comes a day that you find yourself feeling boxed in, please do tell me. I find myself reflecting and wondering how many people I've looked at all my life and never seen them. Caught up in isolation trying to learn how to heal without depending on another individual. I guess I'm old in some ways but in others I'm just a little girl. I like flowers, butterflies and parks on spring mornings. I'm trying to be the person I needed when I was younger. Even though I want my King to treat me like a Queen, please promise to protect the little girl within me.

I've seen so many men want to lay a girl down,
I want someone that can pick me up,

All ways, 

29 January 2015

Peace And Clarity in Solitude

IBeing an introvert, suddenly thrust into a position of confinement, away from friends and family for the first time ever, to discover my own world. I couldnt think of a better article to write. I like to reflect on what I've been though and how I can use those experiences as empowerment rather than giving them the power to demoralise. 

Which leads me to my theory that most people don't know how to be alone, or how to be  happy with their solitude. Up until last year I was one of those people.

The one thing I've learnt in the past 4 years, and I'm still learning is to never solely depend on any one because people can be with you today but gone tomorrow regardless of whether its their choice or not. Loneliness is sometimes needed to grow.

"I think I'm learning that sometimes the bravest thing is not to face the world, but to turn away from it" - Charlotte Erikson.Its like a detox. The first while is the hardest but as you begin to adjust and become one with your thoughts gaining clarity about yourself, other people become extras rather than the stars of your show, your life story.

It takes so much courage to be honest and authentic with yourself in all aspects of life. Everyone's aloneness breeds an entirely new and different discovery... And here I’m certainly not advocating that we should all turn into cavemen/women and hibernate. What I'm saying is get to know yourself entirely, acknowledge your story and grow, without outside influence. "Sometimes reflections are only visible                                                          in the presence of absence" - Michael Carini

There is an old African proverb that says "when there is no enemy within, the enemies outside cannot hurt you". I strongly believe that once you really know who you are, that is when you have learnt to climb the mountain so you can see the world. not so the world can see you. 

Solitude does not necessarily mean loneliness, Its the positive state we all need to reflect, to create, to imagine and best of all to enjoy the beauty of our own nature in peace and silence. Its only when we silence the echo of the world that we can hear better the little voice within. Its okay to be alone, if you cant enjoy being with yourself, why should anyone else?. After all, you're suppose to build a home where there is a foundation, not wherever you decide.

Being able to be alone is how you beat loneliness. Inability to do so is when you lose. Don't allow (the choice is yours after all) your own inner demons to lead you towards repeating history, its rarely a happy subject. They say charity begins at home, Don't ever forget, you are your first home...

Be able to wake up on a day where you have no places to be and make the decision to take yourself out. Rise and shine.  Look presentable, for you. Take yourself to a cafe, order your favourite beverage and read a book then go to your favourite place be it a restaurant by the sea side to watch the sunset or an art museum. You'll find bliss in the ability to be okay with that rather than starting your day miserable because you simply cannot find someone available to explore the things you love.  I'm a strong believer that words, emotions and vibes have a boomerang effect. What you put into the world is also what you get back.

I believe in personal growth. Its in solitude that we discover things really are not as terrible as they feel. Its in solitude that we de-clutter.

"When there is no enemy within, the enemies outside cannot hurt you".

18 January 2015

10 Things 2014 Taught Me

Hoooney I'm Home!

Hey guys, I'm back, its been  three months and boy did they fly by!
I don't know about y'all but I'm still shocked about how fast 2014 flew by.
Around  my birthday in October I decided to take a little hiatus from posting and just write for three months because I felt as if I needed to focus on other areas of my life before I could give blogging 100%. But here I am and I've changed my blog name. I wanted something that was less about me and more about reaching out and extending some good vibes. Chronicles of A Blossom seemed fitting. A story of each new bloom. 

Since its a new year I figured I'd start of with a philosophical throwback!

Ten things 2014 taught me about life.

Um) Spend more time accomplishing than complaining.
Despite how unfortunate you may think your circumstances are, If you have the opportunity to accomplish something, you're already blessed. A set back is better than completely not having the opportunity to accomplish your dreams. Bare in mind challenges are for champions, find several ways to accomplish what you dream of rather than allowing a set back to make you fall back.

Dois) Find what you love and stick to it regardless of who says what.
Small minds find it hard to comprehend big dreams. Your visions were given to YOU for a reason. Dont wait for someone elses approval or encouragement otherwise you'll be setting yourself up for failure. If you wait for the support of others you'll never start. Put your all into your passion and watch yourself blossom. Paolo Coelho says it best in one of my favourite books The Alchemist, "
“When a person really desires something, all the universe conspires to help that person to realize his dream.”

Tres) Misfortune is the servant of your growth.
Through each problem you face, face it head on. You may cry and crumble but after, you put your crown on and inspire. You can never take someone somewhere you have never been so use your misfortune in a fortunate way to encourage and inspire people who feel hopeless. You can learn something from every situation if you want to. "

Quatro) Patience.
I've had my life planned since I was sixteen. What I wanted to be when I grew up, Where I wanted to go to college, when I would finish my masters, where I would live after graduating. what profession I wanted. when I wanted to start my PHD. None of those things have happened how I planned them to. But each set back has been turned into a comeback. I want to be a Psychologists and I'm working each day to get a step closure to each of my passions while patiently living life, rather than trying to control the bigger picture which is in God's hands and I'm ok with that.

Cinco) You will Break, But You Will Heal Again.
In order to get past pain one needs to invision a brighter future and realise that they're not dead yet so do something with that gift. "Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." - Martin Luther King, Jr. Be better for yourself and this will inspire your loved ones to do the same.God never said the weapons wouldn't form,
He just promised they wouldn't prosper.

Seis) Enjoy The Journey.
If you cant be happy now, you never will be. One cannot expect themselves to appreciate the big things if they cant have gratitude for the small. Wherever you go carry around positive energy. Most of what happens to you in life, if you don’t choose, is mediocrity, So pay the price to get to where you want to be or you'll spend your life helping someone else get to where they need to be. 

Sete) Good Vibes and Faith Go Hand In Hand.
Sometimes we have to let go of our idea of perfect and have faith that a better plan is in store. At the end of the day, everybody is in their OWN lane discovering their OWN destiny. No two stories are ever identical which is why its not a race.So wake up on a positive mental note and give out good vibes all day...The hardest thing in the world is to remain positive and upbeat during times of trial or adversity.But, feelings and vibes tend to have a boomerang effect. You cant expect greatness if you don't faith it.

Oito) A soft woman is simply a wolf caught in meditation.
Forgiveness takes courage. Never let anyone convince you that the ability to cleanse your heart, release the anger or pain another person caused you and peacefully be in their presence is weak. Bare in mind you are not forgiving to help your transgressor feel better about their transgression. you're forgiving so nothing is still held in your heart and head. "The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is an attribute of the strong." ~ Mahatma Gandhi.

Nove) Explore, Love and Appreciate
Each year is merely a chapter in your life and alot can change in a year. You have to keep reading to find out more. Use your passion to find out your purpose and cheer on the people you love as they do the same. 

Dez) Find peace in Your Solitude.
Learn to be alone with your thoughts, Gain clarity. Accept who you are and where you've been. One can simply not be upset about something they have clarity over. Sometimes being selfish with your emotions is the most empowering thing to do. Declutter of all the negativity and situations that don't bring you joy. Thats just the bottom line. If it doesnt nourish your soul get rid of it.

Theres definitely alot more but I think those were major ones for me.
You're all probably wondering why I'm counting in Portuguese lol, Portuguese is one of the things I hope to learn this year. Whats on your 2015 to do list?  

Lily Aaliyah X