It’s been a weird year for me. Looking back, I don’t have a whole lot of tangible achievements to show. But when I think about what this year has brought me, all I keep coming back to is myself. It’s been a year of progress at varying speeds. It’s been super highs and deep lows. Most of the time I’ve had no idea what the fuck I’m doing, but I’ve learned to be okay with that.
I jumped into my own soul to see what I could find and the results have been a complete whirlwind of emotions. I put myself out into the world in an effort to connect, to learn and to grow from creating opportunities and experiences for myself. I was fortunate enough to be guided to some incredible people who have truly helped in shaping the person I am in this moment.
I put up with some shit from people who couldn’t see my worth, but I felt more comfortable than ever in standing up for myself and using my voice. I also learned the true value in listening, and the importance of making connections with people from all walks of life.
It became clear to me that I’m meant to help people. That what life has given me and what I have to say will mean something to someone. The more I move forward in this journey, the closer I am to figuring out how I’m supposed to do that.
It feels surreal to look in the mirror and be the only one who knows just how much I’ve evolved over the past 12 months. I can’t wait to see who I’ll be next year.
A few nights ago I was getting ready for a gig. One of my favourite bands was playing in my small town, which wouldn’t have been a big deal for a lot of people but I was very excited. It was a warm night, so I opted for a band tee, skirt and boots combo over my usual gig attire of jeans & Vans. But as I was getting ready, a thought slipped into my mind. A thought that I had no control over, that came from a place deep inside of me past rational thinking. Something that had been ingrained into my subconscious over a lifetime.
As I surveyed myself in the mirror, a pang of anxiety hit me as I wondered “Is my skirt too short?”. I’ve been to a lot of shows now, and I’ve seen my fair share of drunken idiots being creepy to girls in crowds. I thought that my skirt was fine, and I looked damn good. But I started second guessing my outfit choice as all these what if’s started running through my head. ‘Maybe I should just wear jeans, that way even if something did happen then at least I can’t be blamed for what I’m wearing.’
This series of thoughts lasted about thirty seconds before I caught myself and snapped out of it. While I said ‘fuck it’ and wore the skirt, the whole thing left me wondering how much this happens to other women. Have you ever changed your outfit for the sake of not wanting to draw attention to yourself, even if you felt comfortable and looked great? I know damn well that whatever could have potentially transpired that night would in no way have been my fault, but the victim blaming mentality is still so deeply rooted in today’s society that the onus still seems to somehow fall on women to protect themselves. And it’s been this way for so long that now women are programmed to see themselves as potential victims, so we feel like we’ve got to do or say certain things to try to prevent anything from happening to us.
I want to make this clear: it is not up to women to dress, to behave or to NOT behave in a certain way to ensure their safety. It is up to men who feel they’re somehow entitled to these women not to sexually harass them. In any way, shape or form. I honestly can’t understand how that’s such a hard concept for people to grasp.
I had an awesome time at the gig and thankfully nothing untoward happened. But I’m sure this won’t be the last time I catch myself wondering about the ‘safer’ options.
Working in customer service can be stressful at the best of times. And yet the craziness of Christmas really tends to kick things up a notch. Streets get busier, people get ruder and patience gets tested on all levels. As joyous a time Christmas can be, it can also be hell for a lot of us.
Which is why it’s so goddamn important to protect your energy. Whether you work in retail, hospitality or any other branch of the customer service tree, you’ll know how taxing it can be on your physical and mental wellbeing. You work long hours, you help endless amounts of people and you do it with a smile for very little in return. So you have to make time to ground yourself, be present and feel.
Make a cup of tea. Have a 2 minute cry on the toilet. Step outside for a moment and take some deep centering breaths. Whatever you need to do to get through your shift. And then go home, make yourself food that you enjoy. Take a long shower and wash the day off. Go to bed early. Get ready to do it all again.
Christmas really is a magical time of year. Don’t lose yourself in the grind.
A trap so often laid out by spiritual teachers and the wellness community, while well-meaning and reflective, ultimately largely unhelpful. The notion that what is meant to be, will be. I’m not saying that there isn’t merit to this statement, but where the trouble arises is the idea that whatever is planned or destined for us will definitely happen. I believe that a portion of our lives is predetermined or roughly sketched out for us. But what I didn’t realise is that we also have a responsibility to take action and make decisions to get us there.
This is where I became unstuck. While I didn’t quite know what I was working towards, I was doing the work. Putting in the time to write, to reflect and to grow. Then I slowly began to falter, but I thought this was okay because I’d been working very hard and that meant that something was coming, I was going to be rewarded for my efforts. I believed that I’d started the ball rolling, cleared the path and all I had to do was sit back and wait for the rest to come to me.
When the guiding signs I was hoping for failed to present to me, what came was the overwhelming sense of failure and uncertainty in what I was doing. When all I received was doubt and fatigue, I questioned what it was all for and why I bothered. It took a while and a hard-hitting podcast to bring me back to reality. To make me realise that life is part fate, and part choice. Opportunities will come to you, but it’s up to you to take them. They aren’t going to hang around and wait until you feel like you’re ready and they aren’t just going to appear if you don’t show that you want them.
“If your intention is not there, it’s never going to happen.” – Sahara Rose
It’s a trait of highly sensitive people that when we become overwhelmed, overstimulated or we over-exert ourselves, we need to take some time to recharge. To put ourselves back together and start again. I’ve just returned from a short holiday with my partner, where we had a great time sleeping in, lazily wandering through the small city streets, rocking out at a music festival and getting tattoos. It was exactly what I needed, some time to just check out of my reality for a while.
But for me what always comes after the holiday, and even at times throughout, is the need to spend some time on my own and recover. Often I’ll become tired, irate or unable to focus. I tend to feel like all of my energy has been sucked from my body and I just need to find myself again. I’m a big self care advocate, but for a long time I just thought that meant doing something nice for yourself every once in a while. More recently I’ve come to realise that practicing self care is vital for me to be able to function at my highest capacity.
My methods can vary from reading a book, taking a long bath, journaling, or meditating, to just tidying my house at my own pace. Having the time to do whatever it is that compels me and allowing myself to do it. Sometimes honestly I just crawl into bed with my cats and watch Netflix. What often happens if I’m not grounded is my mind will constantly flit between tasks, like it’s trying to catch up on things that I’ve been putting off.
Today I did the dishes, then started to unpack our bags. I put on a load of washing, then sat down to watch some YouTube (I still manage to fit in procrastinating). I then felt the need to tint my eyebrows, soon after going back to unpacking, during which I got distracted by the new things I bought on holidays. I have now just put on dinner while leaving the half unpacked bags on our bed. All the while, every room I went into I saw other things that I felt I should do but I didn’t. Thankfully my brain knows this is me time, not overwhelm me further time.
Any of my fellow HSP’s have any self care rituals or practices to recharge yourselves? Does your brain run wild on you like mine? Or do you have your energy under control? I’m off to have one last go at unpacking before I give up and succumb to bed and Netflix.
A few days ago I received a message from the Universe telling me that I needed a workspace. A designated area for me to sit down, tune in and do what I need to do. So today I went out and bought a brand new desk, and started to clear things out of my “office” that didn’t fit with my vision. I know I haven’t been in touch with myself lately and I believe this is part of the reason why. I need a place to write, to think and to dream, free of distractions and loveable but often annoying cats.
This is how I move forward. By listening to myself. Trusting my intuition. Following my feelings.