This past week went pear shaped to say the least. Every day felt like a mystery and I the poor amateur sleuth tasked at solving it. Quite frankly, it was madness. It started off innocently enough though. My grandma and I went shopping and I picked up some undergarments and a new summer piece from my favourite boutique brand Review. They have the most darling vintage inspired range. Their fashion is modest, classy and definitely an ode to back in the day. I’d been eyeing off their Quay To My Heart Dress but hadn’t caved and purchased it for a few reasons. Colour wise it’s quite bright and out of my comfort zone as I usually opt for a more muted neutral palette. It was also on the pricier side and would’ve been quite the splurge. However, I found it on the final sale rack and was delighted to see my size available. It had been dropped to just over a hundred dollars from almost three hundred which is such a bargain.
It has a square neckline with thick straps, a gathered skirt with pockets- always a winning feature- an all over blue striped floral watercolour print and is a midi length. All review dresses come with a belt in complimentary colours, this one being in cobalt. It cinches in at the waist and gives you a really flattering hourglass look. Review are also famously known for their Haisley cardigans. I must say, they are definitely a wardrobe staple- effortlessly comfy and cute with a button through front, scoop neckline and diamond rib stitched pattern. They are also oh so soft and have a flattering slim fit. Perfect for those in between days is the three quarter length sleeves and subtle crop. I have one in a baby pink colour currently. I felt inspired to pick up another seeing as all separates were on sale and my new dress called for something fresh. I debated between fuchsia and navy but ended up opting for the latter as it’s more versatile. I have a few other dresses from Review and most are some shade of blue. This selection made the most sense.
Afterwards, we went for lunch at Nandos. I know a lot of people find the restaurant overrated but their food has never disappointed me. I tried their newest meal deal and got chips, a coke, three chicken ribs and a mild chicken pita with added halloumi. I did request that they not add tomato as it makes the bread soggy though, haha. We ate our meal in relative peace and with significantly less restrictions than last time around. Afterwards, we went to muffin break and picked up a six pack to have for brunch and dessert at home. I got two of the chocolate muffins, two of the apple and cinnamon and two chocolate chip. They are just perfect with a warm or iced coffee and a dash of cream cheese icing.
The next few days were fairly rush rush and I struggled to use my time effectively. I could feel myself getting stressed and frustrated a lot and would pour my emotions into workouts and cleaning. It was quite beneficial for getting my steps in and creating a chiselled figure though, I will say that. I walked to our local lake and made a full loop around some back roads to my house. I also worked consistently on abs, legs and so on!
The moments of solitude I did carve out were spent having warm spa baths, colouring, watching Allison Bickerstaff’s vlogs on YouTube and talking to my loved ones. As always, I had a lot of assessment progression to be done. It was coming up to the due date for a major assignment I’d been chipping away at for the last six weeks. Compiling that was easier said than done and I lacked motivation. That made it hard to build momentum. Nonetheless, I persevered and managed to surprise myself along the way. The relief I felt after finally turning in my work was like no other. The final presentation came to about fifty slides, to give you an idea of the magnitude of this project. Madness!
I then had a few pictures that needed tracing. That was easier said than done because light conditions play a big part in how much detail you pick up. I’d basically preview the picture on my laptop and then stick a sheet of paper over the screen, trying my best to make out accurately what’s underneath. The good news is that in the dark this task is very much doable. I’d made attempts at completing it in the dark room at college but the lights kept turning on. There seemed to be some unavoidable sensor that would trigger with motion. Something else I worked on this week was a mood board for my graphic design class using different fabrics, tiles, decorative papers, paint samples, rugs and the like. I had a lot of fun going through our equipment room and rifling through all the different options available.
On Thursday I was hit with some bad news from a couple of different angles. You may be aware that my partner has a terminal lung condition. He had just received a second dose of the covid vaccine when he came down with an extremely high fever and had to be rushed to hospital. We were keeping our fingers crossed and hoping for the best as he’d dealt well with the first shot. We think it was the buildup of the virus percentage in his body. It must’ve overwhelmed his system. His medical team and pulmonologist had different ideas as to what his care should be. The hospital believed he’d do fine with ice baths while the respiratory doctor made an executive decision to put him in a hyperbaric chamber for a few days.
This was meant to do his essential organs some good because it puts them on pause whilst keeping the brain, heart and lungs going. He came out of his sleep yesterday and we’ve since joked that he was like sleeping beauty but I was nothing short of terrified for a few days there. My only communication as to his updated status was through his cousin, the head doctor. That was quite uncanny because my partner and this doctor have an almost identical texting style, right down to the words they abbreviate and sentences they use. Besides that, I was never sure what he knew about me and therefore didn’t know what to say.
Also on my mind is my partner’s grandpa. He’s quite an elderly man, almost ninety eight. Lately he’s been unable to form full sentences and can go from completely awake, alert and talking to being fast asleep in a matter of minutes. None of us can bear the thought of something happening to him. My partner would lose his best friend and life mentor. It would be the ultimate heartbreak. Please keep us all in your prayers!
Tomorrow I meet my stepmother for the first time. We will be picking her up from the city hotel she’s quarantined in alongside her sister’s family. It feels surreal having a new stepmother at almost eighteen. I suppose I have someone to level with rather than be parented by. My brother was finally honest with me as to how he feels. He’s been brushing it off and repressing feelings for so long but reality hits eventually. He’s worried that my dad and his wife will have a child and stop loving and care for him. Essentially that he’ll be replaced.
I’d say it’s very much a coming of age problem. I know I probably thought along similar lines when my brother was born. When you’re still growing into your person and establishing a sense of self, of identity, of place. At almost eighteen I wouldn’t say I worry about that in any sense other than perhaps a romantic one. I think most people have that insecurity deep down though. I look at myself now and it seems ridiculous to even think I could be replaced. At some point you’re just such a full person. So many experiences, so much personality, solidified beliefs and morals and whatnot. Who could mirror that exactly?
As always, I’d like to leave you with these empowering excerpts from Morgan Harper Nichols Storyteller App. This week’s series is called Embracing Beauty Where You Are and is a timely reminder that the present can fulfill you if you choose to see it as a gift.
Just in case no one has told you lately, it’s okay if you don’t have it all figured out. It’s okay if you are still learning how to breathe while making it through the wilderness of things. When the days turn into weeks and the weeks into years and you begin wondering how long you will to have wait, ‘making the most of life’ right here, believe that light continues to pour through. It shines oh so brightly in unexpected places, and after all this time, is most worthy of delighting in.
For just as darkness has taught you so many things, light will reveal all the more to you. Only this time, nothing will be overshadowed by negativity. Light will show you that even in the most dim and ordinary rooms, there is still space to heal. When you don’t feel as confident in the present because of an unknown future, take heed and hold these reminders close to your heart. Finding joy in the waiting does not and has never meant that you are giving up on having and being more. It is a simple grace wrapped reminder that this reality right here is enough as you wait for what’s to come, new stepping stones forming each day.
May today be the day you find joy while you wait. May you breathe, just breathe. Inhale and exhale with the utmost intention you can muster. This small act of release is a definite way of finding peace. You do not have to have the answers to everything to live a wholehearted life right here in the present moment. When you are faced with indecision, you are free to take deep breaths knowing that there will always be mountains and valleys but you will inevitably learn something with each season.
You will find that confidence grows not when things are perfect but when you learn to fully embrace who you are, where you are. So come out from behind the worry that you are not good enough, smart enough, ready enough. It is most natural to enter new experiences unready. It is our willingness to absorb knowledge and better ourselves that lends itself to magnificent growth. Come out into the wide open landscape of gloriously abundant peace that goes beyond your understanding. It is in this space that there is room to be, no matter your uncertainty.
You belong on this journey just as much as anyone else, no matter how others see you or how you have been made to think less of yourself. No, this journey has not been easy, but a few things remain true. Beautiful strength and courage is rising up within you. The mere fact that you’re here is a gift. No matter who sees through you and for all that is unknown, you are still free to have hope and remain steadfast in your belief. Hope is the ultimate act of courage, of human vulnerability. After all, you don’t actually know how it all plays out. You don’t know exactly what lies around the bend.
However, you are free to trust that you will keep growing, over and over again. The sun will still rise. Light will still pour in. In that morning light, may you be reminded that you belong. Wake up at dawn and feel the indiscriminate warmth in the bird’s early song. For perhaps even without knowledge of what tomorrow looks like, you are here and it matters. You belong in this life. You belong on this journey just as much as anyone else, no matter how others see you or how you have been made to think less of yourself.
The uncertainty is overwhelming, yes. Sometimes it leaves you with more questions than answers. It makes you wonder if you are headed in the right direction. It makes you wonder if you should be trying to push forward a little more or if you should learn to be still more often.There’s all this back and forth, to and fro, like waves tossing over one another in a tireless sea. I understand that it weighs heavy on you.
Know this. For all that has changed and all that has stayed the same, for every mixed feeling and all the words that went unsaid, you are still being led into the arms of boundless peace. You are allowed to rest, breathe deep, take heart and keep going. For in all that is missing, you do not have to miss out on the opportunity to have hope. To have hope that you have not seen everything you were meant to see. You have not met everyone you were meant to meet. You have not done all the things you were meant to do. You have not traveled to all of the landscapes you were meant to travel to. You have seen a lot of the ocean but there are still further depths.
Take heart, breathe deep. You are far from finished yet.
Be gentle with yourself when you feel overwhelmed by what you don’t know. You don’t have to have a dream career or a perfectly planned out path to live a meaningful life. The reason why we form identities around what we do and not who we are is because answering the question of what we’re good at is a lot easier than answering the question of what makes up. I beg you to beg of yourself this question. Ponder it, mull on it, let it marinate. Who are you? Beyond your name, who are you? Sit with this for a while. Sit with it for decades. Allow yourself to go deeper every single day whilst being okay with sitting on this question for a while. It is a journey of miles to finding the truth.
Small changes may not mean instant transformation or overnight success but they do allow room for beautiful, sustainable growth. So, whenever you feel discouraged by all you have not achieved and you feel shame or guilt for what goes unresolved, remember the rich, lasting nature of slow and steady self development. Remember all of the lessons you have learned while traveling. The wisdom you will continue to gather as you go.
Whether we are alone, cooking in the kitchen, in the bathroom braiding our hair or by the washing machine, sorting laundry, we may have an end goal in mind. At the very same time, there may be this question. What if this in-between space is a sacred place? What if this mundane middle could be something more than a moment to try and escape?
May today be the day you mindfully tend to the in between spaces. For perhaps, sometimes, the spaces where it seems that all you need to do is to get to the next thing is right where you need to be. Even if it’s only for a moment. Even if you can’t quite articulate it in that moment, you are allowed to let this space mean something to you. Remember that you are worthy of the same love you give. You are still blooming, even while you’re waiting. You have grown so much since April of last year. You are loved, even while you feel this muddled up way. You will arrive where you are meant to be when you are meant to be there. You are not weak for needing time to rest. You are worthy of the time it takes to heal. You are worthy of being free from things that broke your heart. You are worthy of new beginnings. Finally, you are wrapped in endless, boundless grace.