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Betrayal is the worst.

It really is. There’s never a right time for it to come about. And the worst thing about betrayal is it comes from those who you love the most.

You can give someone everything – give them hope, real love, a future; bring them back from the brink of giving up; promise them everything they’ve ever dreamed of – but they can still betray you. You can’t control someone’s loyalty. Some day or another, I guess I’ll realize it had nothing to do with me. You were selfish or greedy and you sure as hell didn’t appreciate me when you had me in your life.

I can’t say it was always like that. I know you did love me at one point. You would tell me as often as you could and I could see the happiness sweeping across your face as you did so. The content you would feel when I got in beside you in your car and you could rest your left hand on my right leg. The warmth you’d bring me in a hug when we had run to a late showing at the cinema in a queue for nachos and a hot dog and it had be windy or raining. The way you always made sure you were on the left side of me to hold my hand and avoid knocking my handbag. Sometimes you’d even bring our holding hands to your lips as we walked and kiss mine with the gentlest kiss. It always made me feel special. You knew how to do that really well. We went on adventures in all weathers and did the most inane things with the biggest smiles. We enjoyed our time together and the hours would pass like seconds. Looking back on the past year, I now question it. Was any of it real? Were they just words you repeated again and again for the sake of it – and to who else? Were you only discovering things with me? Did you ever love me at all? Do you even know what love is?

I gave you all of me. My secrets and imperfections and flaws were all open to you. You saw it all. You never really gave yourself to me in the same way. Some might say I blinded by your lies and the way you always made me feel sorry for you in a way I thought I was getting to know the real you but it wasn’t like that at all. You were just trying to pull me in and pull me closer without coming any nearer. You promised me roses but you only held thorns.

But the very worst thing in all of this isn’t the betrayal. It’s the fact I’ve lost my best friend. Someone I trusted and someone I loved incredibly deeply. You were my everything. I’d only have to think of something about you and I would be smiling for the entire day. I gave myself to you in a way I had never given myself to anyone. I discovered things I never even knew about myself through meeting you. You gave me so much love at one point and now it’s completely erased. When I met you, I was a completely different person. I wasn’t happy and I couldn’t take a joke and I felt this sadness in me I never could really explain. You gave me life. A meaning to wake up in the morning and feel happy. I guess I’m forever changed in the opposite way again. I think of you and I only feel loss. I feel hate. I feel sadness.

You want to talk about things and explain and yet there are no words you could say to take away my hurt. Somewhere along the way, I shouldn’t have forgotten I’m the only one responsible for my happiness. I need to remember that again. I’ll miss the person you used to be and even though I can’t have you in my life in the same way anymore, please know I forgive you. You know I’m not a bitter person and I won’t start becoming bitter because of you. I forgive you for hurting me and I forgive myself for ever trusting you. I’ve promised myself I’m going to move on, love better and do better – and I hope to God no one betrays me like you did ever again.

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25 things I learnt by 25. [LONG READ]

Someone asked me the other day what advice I would give my younger self. It really got me thinking. I’d have a lot to tell her! I was a completely different person then and I don’t think she would recognise the person I have become. Turning 25 in particular has such a huge turning point for me and I know more about myself and the world than I ever have so I thought I would share some of the things I’ve learnt along the way. Who knew I would have learnt so much in my quarter life? Ha.

If someone you love hesitates to choose you, don’t choose them.
This goes for friends, lovers and sometimes even your own flesh and blood. You shouldn’t have to convince someone to love you. You shouldn’t have to show them you’re worthy of their love. If you ever find yourself in this position, let them go. You don’t have to keep trying to convince them that you’re extraordinary. They should be able to see it for themselves.

Getting no message is also a message.
The pit in your stomach when he/she doesn’t text you back shouldn’t be there. No one should be able to control you like that. It’s not healthy.

You will fail again and again and again.
And you might never ever win but that’s not the point. The point is the journey. If it was ever so easy to go from A to B without struggle, what would life be? It would definitely be boring, that’s for sure! You’ve got to learn to enjoy the struggle. Trust it. And one day, you’ll look back on it fondly and think of how much you gave it. If that’s not winning, I don’t know what it is.

It’s okay to spend money on things that make you happy.
Don’t ever let anyone tell you how to spend your money. If you earnt it then it’s your decision to make on how you should spend it. Your late teens and early 20s are when you are getting to know the adult you are becoming. Sometimes you’ll make great choices and sometimes you’ll make silly choices but it’s all part and parcel of knowing yourself. So if you want to buy that 6ft tall inflatable flamingo then you do it – and don’t you dare let anyone tell you that you shouldn’t!

Everyone (including your family, your colleagues and your best friend) will talk about you behind your back.
This doesn’t mean you don’t love each other. Just learn when to stop.

It’s never too early or late or a bad time to start anything.
If you’re anything like me, you’ll put off things because you can’t find the time (things like this post – I’ve been 25 for two months!) so let me tell you one thing: there’s never a right time. When you’re young, you think you’ll get to a certain age and then begin your life without obstacles but before you know it, you become that age and there’s other obstacles to do. Sooner or later, you’ll realize these obstacles are your life. Take your opportunity while you can because someday soon, your time will come to end and you’ll regret not doing those things you put off for years. Do it while you can.

Apologize without regret.
It’s understandable that as you grow into a fully-formed adult, some people may not see the world as you see it. You may grate on them and annoy them and possibly become their arch nemisis but don’t let them bring you down to their level. You’ve got to learn to rise above it and be the bigger person but learn how to say sorry and really mean it. And remind yourself not to be so careless with your words next time; they will make people love you a little less.

Don’t tether yourself to people.
Love people and make bonds but never solely rely on someone. Learn how to love with both of your feet steady on the ground.

People will change and forget to tell you.
It’s pretty common in life that people grow up. Ugh, I know. They change and they move on and they forget little ol’ you ever meant anything to them. They forget you were a shoulder to cry on at 3am or that you bought them that thing for their 20th birthday they always wanted and they’ll move on. But it’s okay. I can tell you from experience that you will cope and you will survive. It can happen to anyone at any age – whether you’re 25 or 85 – but you will be okay. Don’t let these losses keep you back from new gains.

Being smart is better than being beautiful.
I remember when I was younger and I wanted to be beautiful; now I’m older and I want to be intelligent and charismatic. Beauty only lasts so long but intelligence and charisma last forever. I want to be loved for my thoughts and nothing else.

You will break at some point.
As you grow into your twenties, you’ll realize that some people may be broken and the sad thing is that they can’t ever be fixed. You wonder when your turn is going to be – or if it’s already happened. What you’ve got to remember is that whether you’ve been broken or it hasn’t happened yet, you’ll be okay. Just like everyone else around. You’ll learn how to paper over the cracks in your heart and you’ll find the strength to face the world once again. You’ll be changed but you’ll keep moving. Trust the struggle.

Your gut is ALWAYS right.
Trust it and you’ll never go wrong. When I have gone against my intuition, it has always ended in disaster.

Put your career above a relationship.
Hold on! Just hear me out out. I don’t think this can be said once you’re on the wrong side of 30 but your early life is most definitely your time to be selfish. Don’t put all your time and effort into one person. If they up and leave, you’ll have nothing. Your career, however, won’t wake up one day and tell you it doesn’t love you anymore. Love will wait if it’s worth waiting for.

Time is not a measure of love.
The longest relationships are not always the strongest. You can be in a relationship for 2 years and feel nothing; you could be in a relationship for 2 weeks and feel everything. Time is no measure of love. Even within friendships, the ones with the most strength can sometimes be the shortest. It’s all about what time in your life you meet that particular person with that particular way you feel about one another and how much you need them to stay.

Say no and don’t feel guilty about it.
You don’t want to watch that movie your friend has begging you to see with her? Don’t. You don’t want to date that guy who everyone thinks is so perfect for you? Don’t. You don’t feel like saying yes anymore to a job offer you wanted months ago? Don’t. Say no. Don’t live a life you don’t want to live. Say no – to things that hurt you, to people that extinguish your fire, to jobs you hate and to places that don’t make you feel good. Say no until your yes is filled with strength.

Facebook photos suck.
Some of the “unflattering” photos of yourself that you untag yourself in on Facebook are actually a more accurate representation of what you really look like. UGH. I KNOW!

It’s not your responsibility if someone finds you attractive.
That’s not your purpose in life. Your existence is not defined by how desirable another human being finds you. You are worthy of life regardless. It took me a really long time to figure this out for myself but now that I have, the world is a very different place. Tbh it’s not really about how other people feel about you. It’s about how you feel about YOU. People will love you and people will hate you and none of it will have anything to do with you. You mean more than the amount of people who would have sex with you.

Society doesn’t like it when you like yourself.
There are actually people in this world who feel threatened by the idea of you liking yourself. Crazy, right?! They think if you like yourself, you’ll believe that you deserve to be treated well so you won’t tolerate it when they treat you badly – and they either don’t know how to treat you properly or don’t want to treat you properly. They know you liking yourself means that you will invariably leave them or stand up to them. When somebody wants you to doubt yourself, it’s because they want to use those doubts against you. To hell with those people! They don’t care about you. They just want to be able to treat you like dirt and they’re scared you won’t let them so go ahead, scare them; love yourself.

Only you can save yourself.
You might think to love and to be loved is the greatest thing in love but it can’t fix you. It can’t fill those cracks you keep finding inside yourself and it can’t take away the ugliness you see when you look at yourself in the mirror; you have to do that. They can tell you they love you every second of every day but if you don’t love yourself, you will never understand how it is possible for them to do so either. They can’t pull you back from the edge unless you hold out your hand.

There is more than one way to do things.
Aka there is more ways to do things than YOUR way. Learn to compromise and try not to feel so resentful. It’s so tough (trust me, I know this from experience) but it gets easier the more you do it. Try it out for a week then a month then it’ll become a habit and a huge weight will be lifted off your shoulders.

Let go of shitty friendships.
Over the past few years, I’ve lost friends constantly. Friends I studied with for years, best friends, childhood friends; a whole array. The reason? Me. I guess. I grew up. I outgrew them. I needed new friends. Our friendships had run their course and I let go. It was the right thing to do. There was no point in holding onto friendships that no longer served a purpose. What you’ll realize sooner or later is that you shouldn’t keep friends just become they’ve always been in your life. Question their role. Do they want the best for you? Do they clap when you win? Do they support you when you fail? If they don’t, let them go.

Some people won’t ever think you’re good enough.
There are many people that have created leagues in their mind and have judged you as completely below theirs. That won’t change; you can’t fix them. They will give you signs that they consider themselves above you and that you should run away from them as quickly as possible, and if you don’t follow that lead and stop degrading yourself — you will only ever be unhappy whether it’s in love or in friendship. Find someone else.

You are more than your title.
Whether you love your job or not, you are more than your career. If you don’t love it, people may judge you. They’ll ask why you’re not anything with your degree or trying to break into the industry you once yearned but times are tough. Ignore them. You have so much more to offer the world than a 9-to-5 job.

Travel every chance you get – and especially while you’re young.
My dad said something very similar to me when I turned 18 and I have very much taken his advice. I love travelling! It’s probably the thing I spend the most money and actually save for. The experiences you encounter while you travel are incredible, unique and occasionally not-so-great but nonetheless unforgettable. And do it while you’re young! My father travelled the world when he was much younger and, as he says, “one day, it’ll be too late and you’ll be too old to do the things you wanted to do and see the things you wanted to see.”

Finally, and most importantly, don’t take yourself too seriously.
It took me the longest time to learn this one. Looking back, I was very pretentious and occasionally came across as uptight. I think it was because I didn’t really like the person I was. Now I’ve grown up and I’ve achieved things I thought I never would, I have a different perspective on life. I laugh when I can and as much as I can – especially at myself. Laughter really can get you through tough times.

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An open letter to my ex-best friend.

Sitting down to write this post is probably the toughest thing I’ve had to do in a while. It’s not that it was scary to face or that I didn’t want to remember the past – I guess I just didn’t want to think about the good times. That’s the hardest thing to face really.

We were the best of friends for a good few years from the end of school, all the way through to university and beyond graduating. We loved spending time together and escaping our lives at home and school to dream, discover and talk. And boy, could we talk. We talked about everything – school, guys, growing up, battles we faced with the clash of cultures, the future. You were there for it all but it wasn’t long before we started to drift apart. You were growing up and began to live parts of your life without me and the time you gave me grew shorter. I’m to blame too. Maybe I didn’t call you enough or visit you enough but I was living too and there was only so much I could take of knowing how “perfect” your life was with my part in it growing smaller by the month.

Soon enough, we stopped talking at all. You had stopped asking me how I was a while ago. You had bigger fish to fry and I was just another person you could lean on when you needed to but I didn’t want to be that kind of friend. Friends are supposed to support you through tough times, build you up when you’re broken and stay by your side when the world is against you. You stopped doing those things before I ever did. You stop fulfilling your role in my life. You began to turn against me and then tried to blame me for my defensive behaviour towards you. I may have willfully let you go but you checked out a long time ago. You just didn’t realize it – and, unfortunately, neither did I.

Looking back on it after a year, I can’t pinpoint a particular day when I had had enough with this so-called friendship. I guess it was an accumulation of events. The fact that I was also starting to realize my self-worth around the same time was enough reason to know I deserved so much more than a friend who was only half there. When I first lost contact with you, I didn’t feel “lost” – in fact, I felt like I was finally finding myself. The me without you by my side and I actually liked the person I was. I had never really gotten to know her before I met you. Maybe our friendship was just one of those things that happen that you can learn and grow from – and then move on. Regardless, I’ve made a lot of friends in your place and they are better friends than you ever were. This is why I haven’t contacted you since and why I never will. I deserve so much more.

But it wasn’t all bad. I want to thank you for your kindness and for giving me the courage to face things even though I was terrified. You taught me the meaning of real friendship and when it really isn’t worth fighting for. You taught me how to love myself and to recognize when someone treats me wrong. You taught me never to compromise my wellbeing to fulfil someone else’s needs. I wish you the best and I hope the sacrifice of our friendship was worth it but most of all I hope you’re happy.

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First things first.

Having a voice. It’s got to be simple, right? I mean, it’s only one of the most natural things in the world so why is it so damn hard for me to find mine? For the longest time, I didn’t believe my words were important. (Stupid, I know.) I thought everything I had to say had already been said and everything I was thinking had once been shared but I was wrong. The truth is there is no one like me – no one who thinks exactly like I do, no one one who expresses their words like I do. We all have our own voice. And even as a Journalism graduate, it has been difficult to find mine.

I’m only just recently rediscovering the voice I had when I was a young, carefree teen who had no qualms about speaking her mind nor worried about whether anyone disagreed or supported her. I’m glad she’s back. And like my girl, Iggy Azalea, says; I’m the realest. Or try to be anyhow.

I hope you enjoy what I write so without further ado, welcome to my way of thinking. Have a nice stay… 😊