6 Months Soul Searching

Yes, soul searching, you read it right. Most people would say I spent 6 months doing nothing, which to them not knowing what I’ve been debating and thinking through in my mind is probably correct. But to me, it was 6 months I needed. Time to think, clear my brain of everything and really truly decide where I want my life to go and how I’m going to get there. And now hopefully, I think I have finally figured out some form of life plan for myself (or at least for the next year or so).

Someone recently reminded me that this is the first time in 10 years that I haven’t had to do summer exams, and yes I keep repeating that fact, because it’s crazy. Sometimes, usually always, I just need to remind myself of how far I’ve come and what I’ve achieved just so I know I can do it all over again if I have to. For the first time in 10 years I’m not stressing or panicking over exams in which the outcome will affect my future or what I can do next. Yesterday, I read an article about the importance of not only taking sick days when you’re physically ill but also for your mental health, just taking a few days to regroup, relax and restore your brain up to full capacity. I feel like after all my brain has been through over the past 10 years, and especially the last 5, it also needed a break – 6 months worth of sick days to be precise. After graduation, I knew I just wanted to take time to myself and figure everything out (I didn’t realise it would take quite so long, but I needed it). So, it really is no surprise to me that I’m currently unemployed. Do I wish I could have figured everything out sooner, got an ‘adult’ job and started the rest of my life like all my friends, yeah I do, but it’s just not me and where I wanted to be right now. It’s not where my brain or my mental health priorities needed to be. But, here I am now getting my brain back to full capacity and ready to get my life back on track.

After returning from Nicaragua I struggled to settle back in, I just felt like nothing could ever be as amazing as the experience I had and that my life in England would never live up to what I’d achieved in the past 3 months. It was the most fulfilling and purpose-full time of my life, for the first time I felt like I was doing something good, something true, something important. It was as if I was living my best, fullest, most honest life – I’d found my purpose. That probably sounds ridiculously stupid and utterly sad, but it’s the truth. It’s taken me this long to say it out loud to anyone – that making a difference in the world, however small, means more to me than success, money or fame. People have outrightly said to me that there’s no money in your dream profession, I’m crazy for pursuing it and that I’m creating a pointless student debt that I’ll never pay off. And I listened to them for months. That whole wrestling with whether to go with your heart or your brain, yeah it’s true. My brain was like, money I need it to live and the people telling me I’m stupid for throwing that away must be correct. But my heart believes that finding my purpose and living according to what sets my soul on fire, that makes me impassioned and fills me with the most joy, is what’s most important. To me, that is striving to find my place in making a difference in the world.

I finally decided to go with my heart and see where it took me, and I am so happy I did. It meant applying for postgraduate study in International Development, despite it not being what everyone thought I should do and also something that I personally thought I wasn’t smart enough for. But I did it, got accepted and I now I can’t wait to prove to myself that I am smart enough and also good enough and strong enough to succeed if I really truly want to, and I do. This masters is the start of my adult life, listening to what I want instead of what others believe is best for me. Not worrying about whether I’ll be rich in monetary ways but whether I’ll be rich in happiness. What has come back tenfold since I started admitting this, is friends who understand and agree with what I’m doing, who themselves have had people tell them they are making the wrong career decisions and wasting their degree. But they persisted with what they believed anyway and they are happier for it now. Having these particular people around me, to guide me, to experience life with – well I must’ve been one hell of a person in a previous life to deserve them, thanks universe (again).

Who knows where I’ll be after I (hopefully) graduate in a year and a half, who knows if my dream profession and chosen career path is even attainable for me. But, at least I know that, for know, I’m trying and that’s all I can do.

The final note I want to leave this post on is that of a thank you to my parents, they might not agree with some of the choices I’ve made and will make in my life, but they are always by my side and will support me regardless. However, I especially want to thank them for what they’ve allowed me to do over the last 6 months and how they’ve allowed me to do it. I’ve been living rent free, provided with food and been taken on holiday, and believe me I realise how lucky I am for that and I honestly don’t know how I’ll ever repay them. So I guess I just need to go out into the world and find my fire, my purpose, that which makes me truly happy, to hopefully make them proud.

adventure awaits,
Becca xo

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Ruthie Lindsey: Why You NEED To Know Her

Through pain, darkness and personal struggling comes truth, bravery and strength – Ruthie Lindsey is the epitome of this. I don’t know how I discovered this magical human but I thank whatever universal forces brought me to her, her honest, beautiful soul is something I admire and have learnt so much from in such a short time. So, in her own words “when you see something beautiful in someone, speak it”, here is why I believe you need to hear her story and learn from it.

When Ruthie was in high school she was involved in a car accident that left her with a 5% chance of living and 1% chance of walking again. Part of her hip bone was fused to her neck with a metal wire and a month after surgery she was able to walk out of hospital with only a neck brace. Miracle number 1. She graduated high school and college, got married and then a year into her marriage Ruthie started to feel the most debilitating pains. The x-rays showed nothing so doctors just prescribed her very strong pain medication. This was when everything changed. She withdrew from her life, from everything that made her herself. Four years later, countless doctor’s visits, the physical and mental toll it took on her and all it took was a $50 x-ray to change her life. One of the wires from her neck surgery had broken and pierced the brain stem, somehow Ruthie was still alive. Miracle number 2. During all this, and struggling to pay for an unfunded treatment to stop possible paralysis, Ruthie’s father sadly passed away. The nightmare kept getting worse. Until a medical fund was set up in her dad’s honour, the kindness Ruthie experienced at this time was unparalleled – humankind showing their true colours and helping save someone’s life.

The surgery was a success, no paralysis but major nerve damage. In Ruthie’s words “my right side feels like it’s on fire at all times”. Soon her marriage came to an end, she started suffering panic attacks and experienced a nervous breakdown, so she moved home to live with her family. It was only in her deepest darkness that she saw the light, Ruthie knew she had to change everything, she wanted to change everything, she wanted her life back. The first change was to tackle the pain medication addiction which took 4 months, she was also single for the first time in 10 years and bills were accumulating. This is when Ruthie found her love of design and never looked back. It took years for her to become comfortable enough telling her story and letting everyone know that you can lead a happy existence while also suffering from pain everyday. But, I for one am so glad Ruthie opened her heart and her life to us, because her strength is inspiring. She has turned a string of miracles, what could’ve beens and years of pain into ensuring she is surrounded by a community of strong, vulnerable, kind, loving, fearless humans who support each other through happiness, darkness and everything in between.

 

 

Regardless of whether you’ve experienced physical pain on the scale that Ruthie has or if you haven’t, you can still learn from her and her truth. Hers is a story of true mental resilience and inner strength that everyone can take something away from. For one, we should learn to appreciate the everyday things – sunsets, flowers, laughs, tears – it is all equally as important and is what makes up life so we need to start loving it a lot more. The most important lesson I’ve personally learnt from Ruthie is honesty and transparency in life. In this social media obsessed world we are constantly focused on showing everyone the best of us, our prettiest and most perfect selves possible. But it’s all a lie and why lie? The reason Ruthie opened up about her life despite her seemingly happy, adventurous and normal life on Instagram is because her followers didn’t know why her life was so happy. The world didn’t know the nightmares she had lived through and everything she had done to change that and truly experience the happiness and magic in the world once again. So she told the world, and with her vulnerability came an abundance of courage, people whose story resonated with hers and an online following who were drawn to her honesty and strength.

 

“You get what you put into the world … when people leave me I want them to feel seen, to feel cared, to feel known and cared for, for them to know they have space with me. And when you put that out that’s what comes back to you. It could feel really vulnerable at first, but it’s just a reciprocal life giving”

– Ruthie Lindsey, WeWork Creator Awards, June 2017

 

That’s what this blog is to me, my honesty, my life, my vulnerability. I am unabashedly free for the first time in my life and there is nothing more important to me right now than that. When I started to show everyone what I loved and who I was instead of worrying how people would react I started to become truly happy for the first time in years. The friends I gained because of it and the memories I have made with them, they’re the community of strong, vulnerable, kind, loving, fearless humans that I want around me. They may live in the same village as me or in a different city or even a different country, but they allow me to be me without judgement and always with love and support. I’m 22 and still trying to discover myself in this big wide world full of life decisions, but where I’m at right now and who I’m showing to the world, she’s the most honest and transparent version yet and I think she’s pretty awesome (by the way self love is pretty darn fantastic, so feel free to jump on the bandwagon with me).

I cannot thank Ruthie enough for putting out such beauty and positivity into this world, her story, her pain, her strength, it has all inspired me to become a better person and I cannot wait to continue learning from her for many years to come. I see the beauty in her and in this world, but the most important thing I’ve learnt is that for the first time in my life I also see the beauty in myself and I’m ready to speak it, live it and love it.

adventure awaits,
Becca xo

If you want to know more about Ruthie and read in her own words about her life you can find more at http://www.ruthielindsey.com . You can also follow her on Twitter (@lindseyruthie) and I cannot stress this enough, you MUST follow her on Instagram (@ruthielindsey). Her words are so important and her dedication to experiencing all of life’s beauty despite her pain is something I am more and more inspired by everyday, so please get to know her, you won’t be disappointed.

Regret-FULL

Over the past few weeks I’ve been struggling (to myself obviously, because people don’t like to openly discuss their feelings out of fear of seeming weak or being ridiculed). I’ve been worrying and panicking over certain decisions I’ve made and actions I’ve taken in some aspects of my life, ones that I cannot change or even alter in a small way now. It’s not been fun, it’s most definitely not been positive and the mental toll it’s taken on my self-belief and trust in my future decision making is the hardest part.

re·gret  (rĭ-grĕt′)
v. re·gret·ted, re·gret·ting, re·grets

To feel regret.
n.
1. A feeling of sorrow, disappointment, distress, or remorse about 
something that one wishes could be different.
2. A sense of loss and longing for someone or something gone or 
passed out of existence

Remorse, that’s the aspect of regret that my brain is stressing about lately. The idea that I have spent too much money on things that do not matter. Worrying that I have made the wrong decision about where to study my masters. Thinking that I’m a burden and that my indecisive nature has cost my parents too much. Doubting that going back to university is right for me, that I’m not smart enough and that my dream career path is just that, a dream and not reality. Worry, worry and more worry, thanks brain for being like this! But, don’t get me wrong, I’m not looking for sympathy, I’m just being honest. It’s nothing new to doubt yourself so I know I’m not alone in feeling this way. I guess I just wanted to write it all down to make sense of all these thoughts flying around in my mind.

I’m never entirely sure what triggers my brain to spiral, worry and over think everything, I’ve just come to accept that it happens every so often. However, I think the main contributing factor is the judgement or fear of judgement from other people. I have always, without fail, been someone who hates conflict, wants to please everyone and needs the approval or support of others for reassurance in making most, if not all, decisions in my life. It’s one of my least favourite traits, but one I just cannot seem to shake. I think everyone hopes in some way to be able to please everyone else and make everything the best it can be, but it’s really not possible and I know that but I can’t stop myself from also thinking otherwise. Thinking, as in wishing or longing that I could go back and make a different decision, be more persistent, believe that I am good enough for the job rather than doubting myself and just giving up. All of which cannot be changed now, but I worry about anyway.

I’m just lucky that throughout the past year I have met some truly amazing people with the kindest souls who are always there to support me. So I leave you with this, something a friend, who I have only really known for a month or two now, told me when we were reassuring each other that how we feel is not strange, it’s really very normal to have ups and downs. We just need to believe in our own strength to get through this and learn from it for the future…

“Making a decision isn’t always easy but you need to trust in yourself. Do what’s best for you. Even if in the end you realise that you should have made another decision, it’s okay. We can’t always make the best decisions but at least you can learn from them. …believe in yourself!”

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I actually wrote everything before this paragraph a few weeks ago, but the feeling of regret still hasn’t faded and I guess it won’t until I start trusting my decisions and believing in myself in a little bit more. But the main reason I wanted to add this kind of reflection section at the end is because I read something Sophia Bush wrote on her Instagram after I wrote this post and it truly resonated and started a real conversation in my mind of so many more things. So here it is, it may be long but it is well worth reading…

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This thought has been resonating with me so hard the last few days. On Tuesday night at the Creator Awards, once Ruthie Lindsey and I finished our masterclass, the room opened up for a Q&A. One woman asked such a thoughtful question, and to sum it up, basically wanted to know we each got to the point in our lives where we stopped being afraid. How we pushed past fear and came into confidence.
Now. Here’s where shit gets real. We didn’t. That whole “get past x and you’ll be onto y” thing? It doesn’t exist. No matter what you achieve, you’ll set a new goal that will be out in the distance. You will never “arrive”. No matter how much success you have – or in many cases the world perceives you to have had – it comes with a shit ton of failure too. But you definitely miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. So you’ve got to choose to take the first step. The big leap. The one that feels so scary that you shut your eyes and scream when it starts. Do that.
Whatever you’re afraid of – the questions usually look like this, right? “Can I do this? Who do I think I am to try to do this? Why would he/she pick me? Am I crazy to think this might be something? How do I ask? How can I tell them? How can I get my foot in the door? How can I get on that plane?” The list goes ON.
The fear won’t magically subside. You’ve got to pick it up and carry it i your pack with you. Roll it up and carry it in your pack with you. Roll it up next to your ambition and your tenacity. Tuck it in with the confident thread that runs up your spine. Right next to your big idea. Your big love. It’s part of you. The sooner you make yourself acquainted with it and quit trying to pretend like it’s not there, the sooner it becomes just another piece of you instead of a larger than life monster in your closet.
You’ll rack up successes and failures in your life. They’ll all be pieces of your puzzle. Regret will be a thing that keeps you awake at night. It’s the thing that makes you ask the unanswerable “what if?”. Next time you as “what if?” finish it up like this… “What if I AM as capable, smart, loveable and worthy as my best friend says I am?” Yup. Now leap. Fuck regret. Don’t let it own you. You’re worth so much more than that.

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Sophia’s words made me realise that it is not regret that I am struggling with, it’s fear. Fear of the future. Fear of not being the successful child my parent’s are hoping I’ll be. Fear of being unhappy. Fear of feeling like I’m not enough. Fear of failing. Fear of the unknown immensity of life. The list goes on. So, I guess this post should now be called Fear-FULL, because I’m definitely feeling a whole lot of it. But the same outcome still stands, I need to believe in myself more and trust the decisions I made and will make in the future. I won’t let regret, fear or even the fear of regret own me, I will fight it and believe that I am enough, even if it doesn’t feel like it sometimes, it’s the truth and I just need to remind myself of it.

adventure awaits,
Becca xo