In October last year the ever so lovely Jenna of Kitty Cat Stevens wrote this amazing blog post. Jenna is spot on about how we, especially women, find it really hard to pat ourselves on the back and how it’s easier to focus on what we didn’t accomplish. Reading her blog post made me feel so happy that I was inspired to write one myself. I clearly struggled with finishing it for a while but I loved the challenge of writing this. Make sure to pop over to Jenna’s blog as well! Here are my reasons my former self would be proud of me.
Deciding to travel and see the world
There’s always been things preventing me from travelling. Not having the funds, being a carer, depression or even plain old fear. Now I’ve always had my heart set on Japan. Two of my friends are moving there soon and I’m taking that as a cue to just go. So, I’m planning to move to Tokyo and study Japanese for a while. I haven’t set a date yet and I need to research it properly but I am going to go. I also want to see France, Scotland, Ireland, the list goes on. I’m lucky enough to have friends all over the world and it will be lovely to visit them!
Moving to London on my own and starting a whole new life
I’ve always wanted to live here. When I was 13 I wrote a bucket list and the first thing on it was “move to London”. Yes, really. The small Swedish town that I grew up in made me miserable from the very start. I couldn’t get a job when I graduated from art college and there wasn’t anything for me to do there. It got to the point where I had to do something crazy. So after about 6 months of proper preparation I moved to London, on my own and without knowing anyone who lived here. Moving here is the one thing that has changed me the most and the one thing that I’m most proud of.
Developing an immense strength when it comes to dealing with adversity
I’ve been through a lot of tough things in my life and most of the time I feel like my whole life has been one long fight for survival. I wouldn’t change it for the world though, because it has made me so incredibly strong. I simply don’t do giving up.
Completely overcoming my shyness and no longer having any qualms talking to strangers
Unbelievable as it may seem now, I was really shy as a child and I blushed all the time. With age my shyness gradually disappeared but it didn’t completely vanish until I moved to London. Being forced to talk to strangers in a language that isn’t my mother tongue did me good. How are you going to make new friends if you don’t talk to strangers, right? Of course, this doesn’t mean that I’ve become a complete extrovert since being shy isn’t the same thing as being introverted. According to positive psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi creative people tend to be both extroverted and introverted simultaneously.
Improving my photography skills and finding my photography style
Photography was one of my favourite subjects at art school. Sadly, I lost the passion and the resources (read: darkroom) for it after graduating. I got serious about photography again about two years ago but it wasn’t until I bought my DSLR at the end of 2012 that I started to develop my distinctive style.
Teaching myself to crochet and getting my work featured in a magazine
It started as something I did to relax a few years ago and I had no idea then that I would one day be able to get compensation for my work. This is another area where I’ve developed quite a distinctive style. I knew how to crochet (and knit) as a child but unfortunately I forgot how to in my teens. I’m so glad that I picked it up again!
Committing to radical honesty
Radical honesty is not about saying everything that’s on your mind. Radical honesty means that no lies are allowed, not even tiny white ones. Lying is something that really rubs me the wrong way and I expect people in my life to be completely honest with me, as I am with them.
Working on improving my mental health every day
There’s a theory in psychology that everyone has a default mood that they automatically revert to. This means that some people are naturally happier. I’m not one of those people. My default setting is miserable. I’ve been fighting depression my whole life. Even when I was a child I was unhappy. I also have OCD and panic attacks both of which I’m working very hard to keep under control. I’ve learnt the hard way just how important it is to make time for self-care. Again, I simply don’t do giving up.