getting off the ‘gram

some time last year I wrote the post mirror, mirror about my rocky relationship with social media. thought it was time for an update

in January I deleted instagram completely on a whim, it was during church and came out of nowhere but in that moment I was just done. I was done with not feeling good enough and pretending I didn’t care that I wasn’t good enough while knowing I cared too much.

instagram is a world of its own, I went into it soon after it launched when life was much simpler. my first picture was actually of the trees behind my school and the only people I followed were Justin Bieber & my then best friend. the place I left was very different, one full of pressures coming from all directions (a whole post by itself).

this small act is what I needed to do to help myself. in the last few months I have found myself comparing so much less and relying more on my faith (which I’m aware not everyone has) to affirm who I am. I am not perfect, but I never needed to be, there’s a verse in the bible that reminds me of this every time I read it

When Jesus heard this, he told them, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor – sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.”

bible NLT, Mark 2:17

disclaimer: struggling with comparison or any self worth issues doesn’t make you a sinner. what I love about this verse is that it’s literally saying that my faith is based on saving those who do not have it all together (me).

to make all this official I re-downloaded the app to say my goodbyes (since I had left abruptly) then deleted it again. these are the words I shared and they are so true to what I’m feeling.

apparently, a picture says a thousand words, but too often on insta those weren’t always the words I wanted to hear or say. my relationship with the app has changed the older I’ve got and that came with unexpected & unnecessary comparison. so I’m officially taking a break, I’ll be back when the times right.

K.C.

this isn’t a call for all people to delete instagram, plenty of people use the app well and enjoy it but I know that too many people stay even though its hurting them. if you’re one of those people it’s okay to take a break, even if its just for a day.

generally, things that make you doubt your worth don’t deserve your time. sometimes you realise that something/someone you thought was neutral or even good for you has moved into that category. when it’s a thing, feel no guilt about removing it from your life. people are obviously more complicated but unless its abusive I would always go for dialogue before distance.

a friend in the same position as me sent me this video, it expressed everything I’ve been feeling but struggling to express. watch and share, then remind yourself and your friends that they’re beautiful, whenever you can, and watch them bloom

photo cred: lalo Hernandez 

busy busy

to my detriment, I have always been one of those people who absolutely destroy their sleep, eating and social cycles in the name of a good grade. I obviously don’t know what ‘balance‘ is or should look like in my life because I just keep doing what I’ve been doing all year, all while being more stressed.

as I go into exam season, I worry I’m just going to fall into the same cycles and crash the moment I’m home for summer. the things I don’t at all want to let slip are revision, going to church and making time for my friends, but from the sounds of that I need to give up sleeping and food which isn’t sensible. everything I am juggling feels too important to drop, even if it’s just for a season.

I could argue though, that it’s worked for me so far… but I want to move away from always being busy, not really being interrupt-able (for good reasons not procrastination, another problem of mine). I am already sick of being stressed and worried, and I’m yet to receive 2019 shot of both.

if anyone has any tips on how to survive the next three months of uni please send them my way. at this point I will try everything. and if anyone wants to pray for me, I’ll be eternally grateful!

photo cred: Angelina Litvin 

April 2016

Every day, month and year I have lived since then has been an utter blessing. Even if it didn’t feel that way in the moment.

The months leading up to April 2016 were my hell, I spent every day wishing that it was my last and praying for the deep brokenness I felt to end. But it was relentless. Life was relentless with how it held onto me despite my battle with it.

That April was rock bottom, I lost one of the most important people in my life without the chance to say goodbye. I felt guilty, robbed and taunted simultaneously, like God was pushing buttons up there waiting to see which one broke me.

In hindsight though, losing Gogo – who this blog is named after – was also what starting the long process of healing me. It somehow saved me and I’m forever indebted to her for that.

In 2019 this healing process is still incomplete but I’m so much more patient & hopeful despite the lows. And I pray that whatever you’re going through, you get to see it through with God leading you every step of the way, however that looks for you.

photo cred: Karolien Brughmans

practice

when I was younger, I threw myself into EVERYTHING I loved with the most intensity I could muster. be it reading, fashion illustration, sewing, vampires and other science fiction or blogging. it was all I loved and lived, until I had ‘mastered‘ it, as best as 8 or 14 year old me could.

somewhere along the line though, those passions were left behind. things that weren’t left behind pre-sixth form were soon dumped too because of mental health issues and the huge workload. there was no more time for fun, I needed to be efficient, get the grade or pass the test so I could get on track for the future of my dreams.

only now am I realising that I needed those passions to keep me sane. work hard, play hard is the saying. and I’ve been all work no play for too long. I’ve learnt that with most things, you can’t just pick where you left off.

I need to practice relaxing, practice taking time off where my brain is not on overdrive, thinking of everything I must achieve when I’m next working. that’s before I’ve even started the fun stuff!

christmas (2018) was spent devouring books, I got through 5 books in a three week break and it felt like HEAVEN. yes, I am still behind in my uni work because of that, but it was so worth it – worth the peace I felt at the end.

I think 2019 will be the year of being intentional about relaxing, spending time with God and looking after my mental and spiritual health. it’s a journey I’ll share, to hold myself accountable and to get back into my old love – blogging!

photo cred: Brooke Lark 

marriage I

what is marriage?

according to the dictionary it is ‘the legally or formally recognised union of two people as partners in a personal relationship‘ which sounds simple enough while also encompassing the different types of marriages around the world.

we don’t tend to base our opinions on their official definitions though, we base them on our experiences. for marriage, that would be how it’s been modelled to us by those around us or on our social media radar.

when I was younger, I thought marriage was all about the huge party and proportionally huge dress (I’m talking below 10yo, don’t judge). having a companion for life was a peripheral side perk, growing up an only child I didn’t really see the benefits of having someone else around. I did ‘notice’ that nearly all the adults around me were married and loving it or hoping to get married so they could join in on the fun.

then my parents got divorced and a seed of doubt and suspicion was planted. the only way teenage me thought was appropriate to respond, in regards to marriage, was to forgo the whole mess. skip the huge party and the more figure hugging dresses I now preferred, maybe have over the top birthday parties instead?

once that seed was planted, it didn’t take long to grow into a full blown forest. more people around me started getting divorced, but I didn’t find it as shocking anymore. I also started learning about the reality tv worthy dramas that had occurred in marriages that were still going strong. in the background to all this, celebrities who had been together my whole childhood were getting divorced, while other celebrities got married for about as long as I liked flared trousers (v. short flirtation). it really did all seem doomed to fail.

I’m going to give marriage a second chance though, a second look with my soon to be 21 yo glasses. through the lens of my experience, my faith, those around around me, what podcasts or books I happen to absorb … and see what comes out the other end.

it’s gonna be a slow journey, but hopefully a worthwhile one.

photo cred: Beatriz Pérez Moya

mirror, mirror

she’s the ultimate contradiction, my social media persona.

I disprove of overly perfect, filtered lives, but only show my best side. when I see a negative post, without a happy ‘but everything’s okay now’ ending, I skip over it, and sometimes even complain about it. but somehow, I still expect others to keep it real.

I tell myself that my value lies in the fact that I am a christian, then wait anxiously for the likes to stream in after posting a picture. those who know me, know that I am very passionate about politics, music, injustice and inequality etc… but to those who follow me, I am as shallow as a toddler’s paddling pool.

why do I make myself less – is it to be modest and not overshare my personal business? or maybe it’s because I don’t want to stand out online, don’t want to create any waves, give anyone a reason not to give me a like.

then I stop and think, maybe I am making myself not less, but more. choosing only pictures that I look good in. sharing only my most interesting days (especially those taken while abroad). not sharing that most days I’m stressed about uni and only shuttle between home, my lectures and the library.

the tug of war between real me and social media me will continue, and I’m not sure there will ever be an outright winner. I guess what matters in the end is never letting apps run either of us

photo cred: drmakete lab

 

national youth

it seems to be the season of elections around the world, and one election that has been on my radar is the one in Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe is my country of origin, it’s where I was born and where my heart will always be called to. the country has had a turbulent history, full of major highs and heartbreaking lows but I claim them all because they made it into the country I love and shaped the upbringing I had.

my knowledge of current Zim politics leaves much to be desired, so I won’t offend anyone by giving a political commentary on who’s running, what they stand for or where my support is. unfortunately this doesn’t stop many people, often not Zimbabwean, giving their two cents on the whole situation. this post is for people like me, also people like them, and extends far beyond politics.

Zimbabwe, in its current form, is only 38 years old. a quick google search will show you the rich pre-colonial history, starting with the arrival of the bantu people around 2000 years ago. we then tinkered along doing our own thing, until the 1880s when Cecil Rhodes and the British Empire came along and made us a colony. it was only in 1980 when we (re-)gained our independence and Zimbabwe was born.

if you open up a history book, and look into the history of the UK, Europe and the US, you’ll see that they all rose and fell. from a colony of Rome to the dark ages then the rise of the renaissance. civil unrest, leading sometimes to civil wars and unequal distribution of power and wealth because of crime and corruption were rife. they had the time to make their mistakes and learn from them without harsh judgement and debilitating economic sanctions.

now, I’m not advocating that we ignore humanitarian crises in the name of allowing countries to ‘find their feet’ because that would involve ignoring peoples real and often unnecessary suffering. what I would like to see is less comparison made between more economically developed countries (many of whom owe that development to the colonies they used to control and/or slave labour) and less economically developed countries (who in turn were the victims of those abuses of power).

you wouldn’t give a 5 year old and 35 year old the same maths test, then be surprised when the 35 year old passed with flying colours and the toddler only scrapped a few lucky guesses.

context is vital, critical when developing your opinions on anything in life.

my home is beautiful, full of kind loving people who love welcoming others. if life was fair, these are the people who would run the country and ensure that we all moved up in national prestige and economic wealth together, not leaving people behind in poverty. that’s not how it is at the moment, but I have faith that with time we will prosper and not at the cost of other nations.

so in that context, I will not stand for unjust comparisons and dismissals of my home. and I hope this will make everyone think twice before they voice opinions on any young nation that is currently having problems, without first understanding the historical context and complex issue currently grabbing the headlines.

photo cred: Annie Spratt