I’m so excited to be working with Girl’s Girl Club and Expression Tees to bring you guys this post! They sent me the cutest shirt that is all soft and comfy, so a huge shoutout to them! This is such a wonderful initiative to share some love and empowerment, and a great opportunity to share some things that are important to me.
To be honest, I find it really difficult to be personal online. In real life, this wouldn’t be an issue at all because I love getting to know people and sharing stories, but here it’s sterile and unfeeling and I hope I don’t sound insincere or insensitive. ‘Good vibes‘ here is how I want to be seen as a person, someone who radiates joy and positive energy, someone who is bouncy and enthusiastic and so so filled with life. But the past two years have not been particularly smooth sailing, and sometimes life, and people, are not kind. Life can be a cacophony of awful voices yelling from different angles, a tedious, meticulous balancing act to please the people you meet along the way. I struggled with my friendships, my family, my relationship, sometimes all at once, all while trying to figure out how to do school. Sometimes, there’s a shoulder to cry on, and sometimes there isn’t. And many a times you have to figure out what’s worth getting upset over, and what isn’t.
The thing is, we are all fallible, and a reliance on the people around you for acceptance, happiness and contentment isn’t always going to work out. Only when you learn to respect yourself and to love yourself, good vibes is not simply circumstantial, but a choice. “You have power over your mind, not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.” This quote always reminds me that how I feel today is a choice I can make, but over the past two years, I’ve also compiled a mental list of things I could do that would make me happy. Ultimately, these aren’t long term solutions to whatever problem you are facing, but sometimes a coping mechanism can help you from feeling down in the dumps.
- Have a self-appointed dance party, by yourself. So over the years I’ve compiled a playlist of upbeat, ‘trashy’ music I can either dance to, or I know all the words to. Whenever I feel upset, or I just need to be perked up, I close the door and grab my hairbrush or whatever and I have a mini dance party for like, ten minutes. Embarrassing, I know.
- Read. Reading has always been one of my greatest joys and my parents got so annoyed at the sheer number of books I would go through in one sitting that they got me a kindle so I wouldn’t have to buy physical copies anymore. I gravitate towards quirky, non-fiction/self-help books now and it helps me take my mind off a lot of issues that are bothering me. Sort of immersing myself into a whole new dimension where you focus on other people’s problems instead of your own, I suppose. Some recent favourites are The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan (SO GOOD) and this little book on how to be mindful.
- Write. I write a lot. I keep this list of things that captivate me throughout my day, random thoughts and ideas mushed together in a list, a truly blissful, unorganised mess. Then when I feel inspired, bored, tired or unhappy, I take this list out and turn it into stories and poems and song lyrics. Being all pretentiously poetic does make me feel a sense of satisfaction. Sometimes, I do this thing where I write out what is currently happening in my life, but as a story, where someone else is experiencing these things instead of me. Then I explore what happens down the road in an imaginative, fictional sense that can be quite gratifying.
- Draw. I love fashion illustration, I used to do that a lot on the side when I had spare time, but now it’s generally reserved for days when I really do have extra time, or when I need to occupy myself with something other than my thoughts. I would grab my favourite looks from the most recent fashion week, or choose a certain designer’s work to illustrate, then I’ll spend the day with pencils and watercolours till I’m satisfied with my work. Sometimes I experiment with digital illustrations and design, but I’m still exploring that front.
- Play music. I would learn how to play a song on the guitar from YouTube, or learn how to play angry, angsty songs on the piano. It really allows a weight to be lifted off one’s shoulders when you express yourself through sound. On one hand, it makes me happier because I learnt something new, and on the other hand it makes me equally happy to channel all my angst into a piece that’s meant to sound loud, so I don’t seem like I’m bashing the piano on purpose. But I am. Even if you don’t play the piano, have a listen to songs like Scherzo No. 2 in B-flat minor by Chopin or Montagues and Capulets by Prokofiev.
- Run. If you’re metaphorically running away from your problems, why not literally run too? Just kidding, but I started running more often this year as a way to cope with stress. It’s a great activity that doesn’t take very long, and helps you take your mind off things to appreciate the greenery and sights around you, or to appreciate how your legs and arms and lungs still work good. Besides, it releases a good dose of oxytocin and endorphins in your body, natural hormones that would make you feel happier or something like that.
- Treat yourself. Online window shopping, a cone of ice cream, new highlighters that you don’t really need but they’re in pretty shades of pastel. Cheap thrills exist, and when you’re down in the dumps go treat yourself to something you normally wouldn’t do, or eat something delicious.
Not going to lie, there are definitely still going to be days when I don’t want to be rational and I’ll sit there and sulk and wallow in the depths of self-pity. But ultimately, this list always helps me to realise that there is so much more to do, learn and explore than the problems I face then and there. Once again, thank you so much to Girls Girl Club and Expression Tees for including me in this special initiative to inspire and empower girls around the globe through positivity, do check them out!