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Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Letter 27: Negativity Detox

Dear 16 Year Old Self,

As 2016 draws to its slow, inevitable end, I have been thinking about what this year has taught me. It’s a given that majority of people did not entirely enjoy 2016- but the year wasn’t that bad for me. I made a lot of personal life changes and achieved almost 99% of my goals for the year. What did I do different? Well for starters, I made the conscious decision to steer clear from negativity at all costs. A task that I would learn was a lot harder than it sounds. 

You might be asking why I chose to do this, well for starters; I realised that if I spend less time being negative and complaining, I’d have more time to be positive and pour my energy into tasks and projects that would benefit my life and goals. It helped me gain a clearer and more detailed image for what I want in my future. 

So I thought I’d write you a letter on the ways you can conduct a negativity detox on your life.

  1. The first thing you have to do, is start with yourself. You are the root of all the negativity in your life. You control what energy you’re allowing into your circle. Start with your thoughts. Try not to have any negative thoughts in your day-to-day life. - I know this is impossible, so my trick is this; whenever I have a negative thought, I try and think two positive thoughts to override it. It will put you in a more positive state of mind and improve your mood as a whole.
  2. Start removing emotional clutter from your life. Start with your Instagram and Facebook accounts, your ex boyfriends do not need to be on your friends list anymore. Scroll through your feed and see which and who’s posts make you feel bad about yourself and remove them. (You do not have to unfriend them, just click on the options panel of their post and ask to see less from the certain person. No one’s feelings get hurt and you get to scroll your feed without feeling bad or insecure.) You may think this is a silly task but it’s a good one- most of us don’t even consider how social media affects our self worth and mood. 
  3. Poisonous people have a special place in your life: Out of it. This might be hard because you might actually be really good friends with a poisonous person but you have to ask yourself the following questions; Does this person always complain? Does this person change your view on other people? Is this person always in the middle of the drama? Does this person make you feel inadequate by the way they treat you? Does this person only speak to you if they need anything? - If you answered yes to any of the above questions chances are you don’t need them in your life. You don’t have to cause a scene and publicly unfriend them, just start distancing yourself, hang out with other people but be civil and be polite towards the PP (Poisonous person), you’ll start to notice that you’re no longer involved in drama or forced to be someone you’re not. Your self-confidence will also increase by like 100%- **STORY TIME** One of the people I really looked up to in the past, put me down a lot this year and made me doubt my abilities, when they knew very well what their opinion meant to me. This almost crushed me and made me live in fear of moving forward with my life. When I realised what this person was doing (Whether they knew they were doing it or not) I avoided contact at all costs and stopped regarding their opinions so highly. Suddenly the lack of self-confidence and fear disappeared and it was all because that PP was cut out of my life.
  4. Know your goals. Focus on your goals. And don’t get distracted. People often get sidetracked off their planned course because of trivial matters. At the end of the day what matters is you and your knowledge of your abilities. If you know what you bring to the table, nothing can get in your way- not even a PP!
  5. Be a nice person. Try to be empathetic to what other people are going through, whether you know about their life or not. Don’t go out of your way to start or get involved with arguments. Compliment people more. Don’t try to get even. Forgive those who have hurt you, even if it’s hard. Remember positivity starts with you, the energy you emit to those around you is the energy you will receive.

Of course I haven’t been able to commit to this path 100% this year, but every time I felt myself stray from it or indulge in negativity, I gave myself a little talking to. It’s a hard thing to do and the people you leave behind may not understand your reasons for doing so, but if they really want you in their lives, they’ll talk to you and find out more about your dedication to being free of negativity. 

Just remember, 16 Year Old Me, it starts with you. Once you have envisioned who you want to be, nothing can stop you

I’m going to have a great 2017, I’m positive. (See what I did there!)

Till my next letter.


22 Year Old Nadine

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Letter 26: Time To Jump

Dear 16 Year Old Self,

I'm sorry I haven't written in a while, life has been a bit hectic. I literally haven't stopped working since my last letter. Fourth Year of college is hectic, but luckily I am doing something I love. Despite the busy schedule, I still find time to get anxious about the future. For the past 3 and a half years, I have been comfortable in the safe space of my college. But at the end of this year, that all comes to an end and I am going to be thrust into the big, bad world and forced to start adulting.

I know I've written to you in the past, saying that change is good and that you shouldn't be afraid to fall, because you might fly. But for some reason I am terrified of falling. I literally get anxiety every time I try to do something new; which is strange, because I love change. I guess, this has just been the moment I've been building up to my entire life and now that it's approaching, I'm kinda getting cold feet. What if it isn't everything I imagined? What if I fail horribly? There are so many things that could go wrong.

But at some point, I am going to need to get over these anxious thoughts and just get out of my own way. All the negative thoughts I've been having could become reality if I am not careful. So although I am still nervous about the future and what's to come...I just have to find ways to work around it because this might be how I feel for the rest of my life...But I can't let it stop me. I'm at a place now where I understand that the only person who can stop me from actually making something out of me. I can't blame my parents or my lecturers or my friends anymore. It's big person time, and that means taking responsibility for my attitude and the direction my life will take from this point.

I'm writing you about this to remind you not to be afraid of the unknown, maybe I'm writing you to convince myself that too. If you stay in your comfort zone for too long, you'll never get out. Your comfort zone, while a safe space, is dangerous- at least when you're still young. I think you're meant to feel anxious before you take big steps in life, I think it's the most natural thing ever. You can't let your fear of the unknown stop you from taking the next step, you just need to tell yourself that it happens to everyone and that your fear is just that, fear. It's not based on anything real, it's just based on what you've come up with in your mind. But remember, positivity breeds positivity.

So if you're going through anything terrifying right now, find a way to get over it. For every negative thought, think two positive thoughts- It sounds silly but I promise you, it will work. Yes, you don't know whats going to happen next but I think that's part of the fun, what keeps life interesting. So stop procrastinating, 16 Year Old Self. It's time to jump.

I hope you're ready to fly.

22 Year Old Nadine

Sunday, 15 May 2016

Letter 25: Friendship Break-ups

Dear 16 Year Old Self,

We often only hear people talk about break ups in the sense of losing a boyfriend or girlfriend but we do not spend enough attention on something which can be equally as heartbreaking: The Friendship Break Up.

Throughout your life you're bound to go through different friends, some people stay in your life and some move on to other things, it's a scary fact to accept but sometimes you have no control over who stays or leaves. The worst thing about friendship break ups is that they happen out of the blue, there's no actual decision to break up, unless it's because of a fight, but usually, the two of you drift apart, until you wake up one morning and realise you aren't friends anymore.

Between high school and college you're going to lose a lot of friends, this is a given with any major transition in life. But nothing can really prepare you for losing your best friend. I think the biggest problem is that between your teens and early twenties, you do a lot of growing and evolving as a person, this will lead to you out-growing certain people or vice versa. It's no one's fault and trying to shift the blame onto someone is never a good idea.

It's easy to get angry or feel sorry for yourself and play the victim. You might even try to convince yourself that they're not a very good person anyways and you're better off without them...but none of this helps when you find yourself wishing you could tell them something that happened to you but you can't because things aren't the same.

There are thousands of reasons you could lose friends: You both want different things from life, You have different views and morals for example; she likes to party, you prefer to stay home, Both parties stopped investing in the friendship or allowed other circumstances to get in the way etc. The list could go on and on.

Losing a friend is a bit easier when you don't have to see them everyday because you aren't constantly being reminded of the friendship or how close you used to be. But seeing them everyday after the friendship dynamic has changed is very hard and not to mention awkward. Its like going to school with you ex-boyfriend but instead of pretending they don't exist, you engage in awkward conversations in order to make things look less awkward.

It's crazy, how one day you can go from telling someone everything, knowing every detail about their lives to not knowing if you should hug them to say hello.

You have to accept that somethings are just not in your control. But as soon as you notice the dynamic shifting, talk to them, maybe it's all a misunderstanding, no matter how hard it is, it's better to do damage control sooner than before it's too late. Maybe they just need sometime to figure out who they are and who they want to be and you no longer fit into that picture anymore... Maybe they're just not into long-term friendships. Or they get along with someone better than they did with you. You'll never know till you ask and you'll drive yourself crazy trying to come to a conclusion alone.

Remember everyone comes into your life for a reason, sometimes, once they've fulfilled their purpose in yours, they have to move on and play a role in someone else's life. Try to understand why certain people have come and gone and maybe that will offer some sort of closure.

When you lose a friend all you can do is wish them the best, hope they've found whatever it is they're looking for and be there if they ever need you again. It's going to hurt like hell, but I didn't even know this was a thing till it happened to me, so I thought I'd give you some fair warning.

May all your friendships be forever.

22 Year-Old Nadine

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Letter 24: Accept Your Truth

Dear 16 Year Old Self,

It's been some time since I last wrote you, my apologies, life has gotten quite hectic these past few months. I'm finally in fourth year of studies and the work is more demanding than ever. As it is our final year of college, we've been told to start determining what our product is and what our raw form truly is - basically what we have to offer the industry. It's been hard because what we think our product is, is not always what we really have to offer but instead, what we would like to offer.

The exercise has been especially challenging as we have been forced to confront who we are, how other people interpret us and what aura we give off - whether we like it or not. When I started I drew up a list of who I think I am and I realised how different I am now to who I was a few years ago.

Since I left high school I've been a thousand different people; the loud theatre girl who loved singing and dancing, The girl who partied every single week, the girl who isolated herself so she could focus on her goals, the girl who became extremely conscious of who she was in other people's eyes and tried to change it to be liked and finally, the girl who accepted the things she didn't like about herself and learned to work with it to benefit herself and her goals.

Its very easy with Facebook and Instagram to feel the need to keep up with others and to become a certain type of person, a lot of people these days base themselves on who they follow on social media. We edit how we dress, how we talk, places we like to go, the music we listen to and the people we hang out with in order to fit in to the growing global community that is social media. As much as we like to say it will never happen to us, somehow it does because whether you know it or not, people judge you every time you upload a picture on Instagram and you know you can control their thoughts of you with what you post, whether it is true or not.

But at the end of the day, that is not a life, at least not a truthful one and I am a firm believer that you won't find happiness until you've found your inner truth and lived it. Ask yourself, what do you like when no one else is watching, what clothes would you wear if nobody else was looking, what music would you listen to if the radio wasn't dictating your playlists - these are the things that will bring you happiness and believe it or not, the right people will accept your truth and accept you.

We're so conscious of what others think, I get told I'm too loud, my accent is too 'coloured', my views are too feminist, my hair is too bushy, I'm too sensitive, I overdress, I underdress, I dance too provocatively, laugh too loudly, that my boobs are too big, that I'm losing too much weight - honestly I could go on for days. But the thing is, I'm okay with all of those things, I don't get offended when people tell me these things, they're just not at the right point in their lives to accept my truth because they haven't yet accepted theirs. That's the thing, until you accept your own truth, you'll be unable to accept the truth of anyone around you and that is the truth.

It's easy to say, but accepting your truth can be very hard because you have to accept yourself in your true state, under the make up, the hair, the clothes and the fake smiles. You need to change the voice in your head that tells you that you're not good enough and make it like you, make it cheer you on. Like I said before, you need to be your own best friend.

I know at 16 you may not understand what I mean just yet, but one day you will and hopefully you'll be thankful that I warned you well ahead of the time... your 20s is all about discovering who you are, you have four years before you get to board this rollercoaster, I hope you're preparing for it.

When I did "Legally Blonde: The Musical" in my second year, they quoted William Shakespeare; "To Thine own self be true" - my new motto in life.

Until next time,

21 Year-Old Nadine

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Letter 23: 10 Things 2015 Taught Me

Dear 16 Year Old Self,

So 2015 has been an extremely challenging year, just when I think I've got this life thing down, a new year comes in with new challenges. 2014 and 2015 have been two of the most challenging years of my life, so I thought I'd draw up a list of things I learnt this year:

  1. The less people know about your relationship, the better. You do not need to update your status every time you and your boyfriend have a fight or a break up for a day. In fact, keeping your relationship off social media completely, is probably the best thing you could do for it.
  2. Not everyone is going to like or understand you and your goals - that is okay. Focus on the people who love and support you no matter what, they're the only people you need. 
  3. Sometimes you just need to block out all the negativity being thrown at you, whether it's coming from friends, family, teachers or even yourself, you need to fight the urge to break down and runaway from your problems sometimes, in order to get the job done. No matter how exhausted you are, you can do it.
  4. Some friends aren't forever and you're going to lose people you expected to have in your life for years. But people grow, people change. You grow and you change, and this may mean you outgrow certain friends, this is okay. No matter how heartbreaking it may be, it is a part of life.
  5. You are the only person who knows exactly what you are capable of and you need to believe in your abilities 24/7, you cannot allow doubt to creep in because that will cause others to doubt you. You need to start everyday by giving yourself a little pep talk in the mirror, hold your head up like the queen you are.
  6. You cannot control everything in your life. Believe in what you want and that, when the time is right, it will come to you.
  7. There is no need to judge people all the time, what is the point? All judging others does is bring unnecessary negativity into your own life. You need to stop looking for something bad to say about everyone you come across, stop trying to label people and accept them for who and what they are. 
  8. Social Media is the devil. If you're going to participate in social media activities there are many things you must remember: You do not know how your negative comment on someone's picture is going to affect them- if you have nothing nice to say, don't say it. Secondly who people are on social media and who they are in real life are two different people, don't decide you hate the one when you haven't gotten to know the other. Thirdly, I've said this before but it's still relevant, your self worth is not determined by the amount of followers you have on Instagram. 
  9. Lately it seems that Facebook is flooded with pictures giving us advice and life lessons etc - this is dangerous. You cannot follow every piece of "advice" posted into your Facebook newsfeed, it's silly - those pictures were made by one person with an opinion that they thought was important enough to share. If you need advice talk to a friend, a family member or someone who knows what is best for you.
  10. Your parents have your back no matter what.
It's okay to cry.

I hope you're starting to figure things out, 16 Year old me, and that my letters have been helping you. 
I know you cannot wait to grow up but don't, it's a trap...stay 16 forever, this adult thing is hard. But luckily you have me to help you.

Until our next letter,

21 Year Old Nadine

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Letter 22: Focus on You

Dear 16 Year Old Self,

Starting the third term of my third year I asked myself what I could do differently to relieve some of my stress in my everyday life and help myself get forward towards my goal. After some soul searching and countless hours of thinking about it in the shower I came to the conclusion that I worry about the people around me too much. When I realised this, I wanted to laugh at myself for putting so much time, energy and unnecessary stress into the actions and decisions of the people around me, when in actual has nothing to do with me.

For example, I've spent my time at college trying to help everyone around me and in my year do well. People who were lazy and unmotivated always had my help. I think I have quite a good work ethic and manage to stay on top of everything I have on my plate, so naturally I wanted to help those around me who were struggling. Which is perfectly normal. But are you really helping someone when they spent the entire year doing nothing in class, and then at the end of it they want your notes? Are you really helping someone when they are never in class and expect you to keep them updated about what they're missing? No. You're not.

And more than that, I took it upon myself to try and change the attitudes of the people around me, trying to help them see the point of the classes we're taking and why we should stick it out. The problem is majority of the people I study with will give up at the first indication that they're not going to get it first time, at the requirement of hard work, irregardless of the benefits. I am just not like that, I don't give up. But the amount of countless arguments and discussions I've had trying to change the minds of people who are too stubborn to see any point of view that isn't theirs, was too damn high.

So I stopped...or at least I am trying really hard to stop. When I hear people complaining, I try to brush it off and ignore them. You can't show people the rainbow if they're too focussed on the clouds. People choose what side of the world they want to see, for some, it is a horrible, gloomy place that is just out to get them. For others, like us, it's a bright and beautiful place where seeing the positive side of situations makes life great.

You may be too young to understand this, but you do grow up with a great ability to separate your personal life from your professional life, although sometimes you do let this slip up every now and then. But you need to focus, even when it's hard to get out of bed in the morning, even when you'd rather watch series instead of work you need to get yourself up and do what needs to be done, no matter how you feel. And I am telling you this now so that hopefully you'll be able to not repeat my mistakes, do not compete with anyone else. Your journey cannot be measured by the people around you, your journey is yours and yours alone. There is always going to be someone better than you, prettier than you, smarter than you but there is never going to be another you. And that is your strength, you are your own secret weapon. Sure using other people to push you to do better is always a good idea, but don't make someone ahead of you your focus, because you'll beat them and find that they had someone they were competing with. It's a never ending cycle. If anything, be better than the person you were yesterday.

I can tell you once I made these few changes I felt 100 times lighter and happier. Don't let other people's negativity affect you, they are just distracting you from achieving what you've set out to achieve for yourself. You're doing this for you, never forget that.

21 Year Old Nadine

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Letter 21: it's going to be okay

Dear 16 Year Old Self,

I write this sitting in the waiting room at Tiger Wheel and Tyre, where they are attaching and realigning my new tyre to my fairly new car. You see, the week I've been having hasn't been going too great. I'm stressed with exams, trying to piece together the remains of my social life plus I just got some really bad news about someone I really love... Then this morning on the way to college, actually when I arrived to college, I punctured my wheel on the pavement because of course, the parking was closed today. Then while trying to call my roadside assistance, I ran out of air time. 

Of course I just burst into tears right then and there. It wasn't just the tyre it was just everything. I just feel so exhausted and today, was just a bad day. 

Anyways, why am I writing you? Because on my way to Tiger Wheel and and Tyre, I was barely keeping it together... I was angry and sad and emotional, I guess you could say I was a cocktail of emotions. It wasn't fun being me today. But then when I stopped at the traffic light, I looked up and noticed how pretty the clouds looked today. They were beautiful, looked like a painting done by some hipster artist...and I realized everything isn't bad. But I almost let my bad day distract me from noticing the beautiful work of the sky today. And that made me feel silly and put all my problems in to perspective. There are bigger things and although I've had a bad day, my life isn't bad, is it? 

No matter how bad your day is, just remember you need the bad days, bad weeks or months even, to appreciate the great ones.

And if you're looking for a reason to smile, just look up. It will be okay.

21 Year Old Nadine.