CTRL + ALT + DEL

I recently took a break from social media.

Technically I’m still on this break but a few experiences I’ve had whilst keeping myself on the social media down low have got me thinking and even taking action.

I decided to minimize my use of social due to having some major things going on in my family life. I won’t explain or divulge what these things are, purely because my family is my business, and if you hadn’t noticed my absence or lack of interactions of late and asked if I’m okay, then you really don’t need to know because simply, you don’t care 🤷🏼‍♀️

I haven’t been posting at the rate I normally do and I don’t check my social media feeds as much. I’ve been too exhausted in the real world to deal with the virtual world.

What I found though, was that only a select few people noticed it was out of character for me to be so absent and they reached out to check in and even offered a helping hand if things became too much to handle. I was grateful for this and it made me appreciate these friendships more ♥️

The flip side of this though is being taught who my surface friends are. The ones who want to show up for a good time only and don’t actually have any investment in me or our friendship. I have no qualms with surface friends in general, we all have them and they’re fun to be around, but I do have qualms with people who shout from rooftops they love me and have my best interest at heart, but don’t pick up the phone to text or call to see if I’m okay since I’ve basically gone MIA.

In turn, I’ve become a bit savage in my approach to my social media going forward. An example of this is last night, for the first time in a month, I posted something to social because it was the anniversary of one of the happiest points in my life. Anyone who knows me well knows what that period meant to me and how it touched me.

Well, one person decided to make a remark that, to put it simply, offended me.

It doesn’t matter what they said, but it proved that if this person knew me even remotely, they wouldn’t have sought cruel humor in a situation that was clearly very dear to me, especially during a difficult time.

So to cut a long story short, I deleted the comment and I deleted them.

Why? You may ask.

Seems a bit rash?

The older I get, I’ve become less tolerant of behaviors I don’t want to be exposed to and if you only pop up in my life when you need something or to make a jibe at my expense, Bye Felicia! 🙋🏼‍♀️

I don’t want to be that person who writes essays for someone who can’t even string two sentences together for me. I don’t want to be that person who lets someone be disrespectful and continue to have access to me and my life. And I certainly don’t want to be that person who cultivates relationships that really aren’t good for me.

So I’m taking the CTRL + ALT + DEL approach.

I’m taking control of what I want.

I’m altering my focus and in turn, hoping those who maybe weren’t so thoughtful or nice in the past can alter their behavior.

And if in turn these things I want to alter only bring me negativity and pain; delete.

Remember that detachment isn’t selfish when rooted in self care. Every single one of us is worthy of everything good in life and we all deserve to be happy. This sometimes means letting go.

xoxo Natalie

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Random Acts of Kindness

So it turns out today is my one year anniversary on WordPress!
Whoop! Whoop!
Queue the confetti and streamers!

In celebration of not packing it in and deleting this blog (even though at times I almost did), I have decided I am going to write myself a list of goals to spread some kindness to the world….and by world I mean those around me…but you gotta start somewhere right 🙂

See recently I have been reminded that sometimes just being nice and genuine to someone, means more than grand gestures and gifts and trimmings. So I have created a bucket list of the things I would like to do to bring some happiness to somebody else’s day.

Here goes:

  • Offer to help my grandparents when they least expect it.
    My grandpa probably won’t expect it since he has dementia 😉 but just wanting to be there instead of needing to be there is a huge difference.
  • Surprise a friend with a thank you note just because or a small token of gratitude. You don’t need special occasions only to make someone feel appreciated.
  • Make an effort with those who are more socially awkward at large events.
    I work many pop culture events throughout the year and see people struggling in big group scenarios, so a simple gesture of kindness might make them feel more at ease and welcome.
  • Keep supporting Youth Off The Streets and be an ambassador regardless of whether others come on board or not.
    I may not have the platform I used to have at my old place of work to champion the charity work they do, but it won’t have me give up on them. They are an important organisation making a huge difference for kids less fortunate.
  • Buy our local homeless person Kevin a water or drink the next hot summers day I see him.
    Most people are mean to him and some local school kids pick on him and it frustrates me that they can be so awful. So I’ll do something to make his day more comfortable, especially since we have been having a heat wave this summer.
  • Forgive those who have hurt me, whether big or small.
    You don’t forgive another for their own good. You forgive them for yourself.
  • Spend one day saying only positive things to myself.
    Sometimes the best way to be kinder to others is by starting with being kind to yourself.

So there you have it.
It’s a simple list. It’s not something that is hard or unachievable, but it is something that I hope will make a difference.

What is on your kindness to do list?

xoxo Natalie

Thought of the day…

‪If your generosity comes with a price tag, you don’t understand the purpose of giving.
It is selfless, not selfish.
It is paid in thanks & that is reward enough.
When you start expecting more, that is when what you are doing becomes about your gain and not what you can do to make a difference in someone else’s life.
Generosity isn’t about power.
Generosity is about giving hope & comfort & strength to someone else.
It is from a place of love, not from a place driven by motive.
It is safe & it is pure.

You don’t have to be rich to be generous, you just need to understand that it stems from the heart.

“The heart that gives, gathers.” – Tao Te Ching

xoxo Natalie

A Good Heart These Days….

Sometimes all it takes is someone not having the decency to show some respect and treat you like a person to remind you that the things we thought were a good idea were rotten after all.

Not everyone will keep your feelings in mind when they need to the most. You can’t make chicken salad out of chicken sh*t and you can’t expect an a**hole to be anything but….no matter the thoughtful things said when nobody is around.

All these things were brought to mind as I:

  • Was walked from my job
  • Decided after 3 years to let someone in who I was afraid to allow past the wall I’d built around my feelings
  • Saw someone who could have been all of my yeses but who pushed me away and turned into all of the noes

Whilst each situation is totally different, they all came back to one thing – a good heart these days is hard to find (bless you Feargal Sharkey).

Have you ever had someone completely break your heart and yet you wish it was them who would put it back together? I battled with that feeling through each of those moments mentioned above even though I knew it wouldn’t/won’t happen. My ex workplace treated me like a pariah when I handed my resignation in, the person who I allowed in after 3 years has taken to ignoring me and the one who could’ve been all of my yeses continues to exist on a different planet to me where I’m but a mere tumbleweed in the background.

I’ve come to terms with the thought that I don’t hate those who have broken my heart, I don’t think I ever could. I’m disappointed and hurt and can’t comprehend some of what happened, but if I spent my energy hating, the emotion would consume me and I would be broken to a point where I would be accepting less. This way I am letting go and trying to just be. I’m doing things for me, I’m keeping my heart in mind and this way it gets better…in time. I can walk away knowing I didn’t tear others down going tit for tat and I was kind to my own heart and to theirs in the process.

The ex-work drama, whilst it still burns, is easier to accept as done and dusted. The feeling of betrayal and unresolved issues has dwindled because I know there will always be another job…a better job…a more fulfilling job.

As for the 3 year itch and the yay turned to nay….that’s harder to bear. Matters of the emotional heart often linger and I think always will.

However…..when you give your heart to a boy…more than likely he will crush it…why???

The difference between a boy and a man:

A man will look what he is facing in the eye. He won’t shy away from a challenge and he approaches what he wants head on. He’s willing to pick up the pieces and try and fix what may be broken. He’s not afraid because he’s secure in himself.

A boy will run and hide. He will take a crayon out of the box and press it so hard while he colors that he breaks it. He’ll then toss the crayon aside because he thinks it’s no use to him anymore.

If some boy has broken you, don’t despair. Always remember, broken crayons still color the same. A boy just doesn’t appreciate that the broken parts of us are what make us who we are. Never let some boy dull your vibrancy. He doesn’t know what he’s holding in his hands because he doesn’t understand…he’s still unsure of himself, therefore how can he be sure of you.

xoxo Natalie

Dear 13 Year Old Me

There are so many things I want to say to you. I wish I could go back in time and hand you this letter because I want you to know things won’t always be bad.
I want you to be prepared.
I want you to know you have a chance.

The people who are currently your world….they won’t be in the future.
And that’s ok.
They chose their way and you chose yours. You stood alone and you were and are true to yourself. You didn’t do the expected things, you didn’t become like everyone else. Be proud of that because trust me honey, you and pack mentality do not mix!
Your individuality and independence will be one of your best attributes. Embrace it.

Always remember what Oscar Wilde said: “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”

As for that family member who always pokes your stomach and calls you Miss Piggy, they don’t do that anymore. They don’t do it because they can’t. All that puppy fat and all that teasing goes away because at 18, girl you changed! You turned into a beautiful woman and shed all those puberty blues. So pay no heed to the a**hole who really should look in the mirror.

I know he’s breaking you but he won’t win.

I also know you had a plan for how your life would turn out. I know you wanted to fall in love and get married and have a family of your own and you put such high hopes into that dream. I know you gave yourself a timeline. You wanted all of that by 30.
Wow….30….
It almost turned out that way but fate had other ideas.
Well….actually…he had other ideas.
See, you’ll meet ‘the one’. You’ll be in your mid twenties and you will love him more than you have ever loved anyone. He will be your everything. There’ll be talks of the future and everything will feel perfect. But he won’t love you like you love him…..
He will shatter your heart the day he walks away. And as incomplete and worthless as you’ll feel for some time, you will survive.

You will learn that sometimes the plans we make don’t turn out and maybe they don’t work out for good reason.

Have faith.

You will face hurdles, you will carry burdens and you will feel lost.
But there will be laughter, there will be amazing opportunities and most importantly you will have many adventures.

Try and remember your fears are only in your head. Your head seems to be your worst enemy. Try and squash that voice telling you you can’t, because I know if there is anyone on this earth who can do anything, it is you.

You are strong.
You are resilient.
You are fierce.

So keep writing in your notebook. Put all those emotions on paper. They are your story. They are your salvation.

Until we meet again, remember I love you, I wish you well and you’re not alone….

I got you…..

xoxo Natalie

Maybe She’s Born With It…

A few weeks ago I decided to run an experiment. I used myself as the Guinea Pig.
I wanted to see whether or not we really are moving forward and embracing people for who they are, or whether we still prefer the edited and filtered version that is most appealing and “cute” to the eye.

I first posted a photo of myself, makeup free, hair not done, just sitting like a bum on my day bed staring out the window like a usually do on a lazy Sunday afternoon.


I captioned it “Funny how it’s photos like these that are the hardest to embrace”.

I said that because it is true. It is hard to look at a non-primped version of yourself and accept that that is what you really look like when you are confronted by images in the media that are always on point and celebrities who appear to be slaying 24/7.
Expectations become unrealistic and so looking at a raw photo of yourself can be cringe worthy. So you pick yourself apart because who better to be your own worst enemy than yourself!

I posted the photo to Instagram and to Facebook and waited for the responses.

29 likes on Instagram (I’m not Nick Bateman ok…I don’t have that many followers) and 51 likes on Facebook later, I was actually pretty surprised with the response. I really didn’t think the reaction would be so positive so I was quite taken aback by the love and support and the high fives for posting me as I am when nobody is looking.
Lots of kind words were said and it was refreshing and encouraging.

My next step was to test the waters with an edited photo where I tweaked my skin tone, smoothed out some imperfections and ensured the pose was one of those cutesy AF types that makes girls with self respect cringe (look it happened guys….I’m not gonna say I hated doing it….but I’m not gonna say I’m ashamed either…lol).


I captioned it according to my upcoming leave from work and it was a little sassy to match the pose.

33 likes on Instagram and 54 likes on Facebook later, I realised there wasn’t much of a difference in reaction to either picture.

Both received a similar amount of traffic.
Both received a similar amount of interaction.
Both received a similar amount of love.

My conclusion…..nobody actually gives a sh*t.

Now I don’t mean that in a bad way at all!

Basically I found that whether I was being myself or being the airbrushed 2.0 version of myself, the same people still gave love and still gave a thumbs up because it wasn’t about what they were looking at….it was about me.
They interacted because of who I am not what I looked like in the pictures.

That is what counts to me more than anything.

I’ve seen the ugly side of the internet and I’ve experienced it.
It wasn’t easy to deal with and it was hard to get to a point where I felt comfortable putting myself out there again on many levels, not just photograph wise but blog wise. It was actually my first ever blog and twitter account that were attacked repeatedly by an individual some years ago and so for a long time I stepped away and didn’t engage on that kind of a platform. At the time it just wasn’t worth it.

But I grew and I moved forward and I’m no longer discouraged.

This little experiment helped reiterate for me that not everyone is toxic and not everyone expects the polished veneer to be in place all the time.

It helped remind me that it is more important to work on being beautiful on the inside.
The more you show who you are, the more beautiful you will be to yourself and to others.
You create beauty with your attitude, your actions and your behaviour.
Be the best possible version of yourself.

Be-You-Tiful

xoxo Natalie

 

 

 

I Am The Echelon….and Proud

Two years ago on this date I made a dream of mine come true.
I met Jared Leto and Thirty Seconds To Mars.

I don’t think much can compare to the experience of that whole day that started with watching Artifact, followed by a Q&A with Jared then meeting him, then making my way to the concert venue to meet the band and then watch one of the best concerts I’ve ever had the pleasure to be a part of.
It was magical, real, honest, genuine and most of all, it was having a place to belong.
This experience and talking to others the world over prompted my being asked to contribute to a blog and share my story of what being a part of this bands family (The Echelon) means.
So in celebration of my Thirty Seconds To Mars-aversary 🙂 I’m going to post my contrbution here.
I hope you enjoy….

Posted May 18 2014

Over the years I’ve had the pleasure and sometimes unfortunate displeasure of being a part of different fan bases music wise as my taste in music spans many genres. One thing though has stood out to me over the years and that is The Echelon. There is nothing like it.

So what sets The Echelon apart?

Is it the sense of family and community and having a place to belong?
Is it that we are all dreamers and believers and support each other?
Is it that we have this amazing platform at VyRT.com where we come together to celebrate this sense of constant connection and have a dialogue directly with the band where our voices can be heard?
Or is it because we’re all just a little bit inappropriate and pervy? I mean who doesn’t love a bit of Hurricane uncensored ;o)
I believe we, The Echelon, are all that and more. We can appreciate that we are all different and unique and that’s what makes us one. We come to this with no judgment and we celebrate each other. We celebrate our achievements, our moments with Thirty Seconds To Mars and our belief that this is more than just a band. We live loud, we make mistakes and sometimes we fail, but we pick ourselves up and reach for whatever is our personal success.

The best example I can give as to why I am The Echelon and proud is the reaction a friend of mine had when I took her with me to a Meet & Greet and show. She wasn’t a Thirty Seconds To Mars fan before this and didn’t know any song so was going into the experience blind. She looked at me at one point and said “I’ve never seen anything like this. It’s like a religious experience.” Part of me giggled because we all know ‘This is a cult’ but part of me also stood there and thought, this is what sets us apart. The core of it all is that my friend felt welcomed. There was no cattiness, no jealousy and no person taking away from any others experience during the Q&A and Meet & Greet because it was about all of us. We all mattered. This value stems directly from Jared, Shannon and Tomo and this is why I think we come together as one.

We connect the world over. One of the sweetest people I’ve met lives on the other side of the world in Russia but what brought us together was Thirty Seconds To Mars. And I’m grateful. I’ve met and had comments on my posts on different social media from creative and positive people and the messages are always sent with love.

So thank you Echelon.
Thank you for 12 years of a place to belong.
Thank you for 12 years of positivity.
Thank you for 12 years of making something that is set apart from the rest.

Jared put it best when he said “We have something special. It’s not for everyone. Not everybody will understand it and that’s fine with us. It’s just for the people that do.”

I am the Echelon and proud.

Original post found here

xoxo Natalie

Wellbeing Stocktake

We all get caught up in the whirlwind of our daily lives that sometimes we forget to stop and check in on ourselves. We overlook our own wellbeing for the sake of our jobs, our families and others.
It isn’t bad practise to put others before yourself, but it is bad practise to forget yourself completely.

Never forget that you count too!

I realised that I spend a lot of time looking out for others, both family, colleague and friend alike, and in some areas I have ignored my needs.

It was time to do a stocktake of the things I am neglecting.

  1. It’s Ok To Say No

    You’re allowed to say no and you don’t have to explain yourself when you do.
    So many times I have agreed to things and in doing so have sacrificed my own needs or wants. Just because it may be easier to say yes doesn’t mean it is right.
    Learn to say no if it isn’t in your best interest.

  2. Be Generous With Yourself

    Countless times I have paid for dinners, getaways or concert tickets and been promised “I’ll pay you tonight/tomorrow/next week”…in some instances I’m still waiting.
    Not to mention gifts purchased for special occasions or to just do something nice for someone and my generosity has been taken for granted.
    I don’t work hard for the little money I earn to have it wasted and neither does anyone else who finds themselves in the same situation.
    Be generous with yourself first.
    Then those who are deserving can follow.
    But your generosity should not be expected. It should be earned.

  3. Put Your Heart First

    If someone says something insensitive or awful, don’t bow your head and cop it on the chin. That condones the behaviour. Your feelings count too.
    You can only be the good thing that happens to people for so long before it takes its toll.
    There will always be someone who is too selfish to think before they speak or too ignorant to consider another persons situation/feelings – that’s just human nature. The difference however will lie with you and whether you condone the actions or not.
    Don’t let anyone dull your light.

As a little exercise, take a moment and give yourself a chance to see where you need to take stock. Make your own list and assess what you can do to make a difference for yourself. Think of the moments where you thought “Hang on a minute!” and take note of the situation. Your own checklist of the things that were negative choices or impacts can help determine which positive choices you need to make to improve your own wellbeing.

nobody-is-in-charge-of-your-happiness-except-you-quote-1

xoxo Natalie

 

Today I Got Roses…

I don’t have a husband. I don’t have a boyfriend. I don’t have a secret admirer.
What I do have are friends who are like family.
I have people who care and love me and take the time to reach out with gestures like these to remind me they are there, that even though things may not always go right, that there is always light and there is always love.

Today I got roses….

I don’t have all the answers right now for everything I am going through, but what I do have is a new day, a new perspective and a new outlook.
I may not be able to fix everything overnight or make it go away, but what I can do is persist and not give up because I can and I will.

Today I got roses….

I don’t know where tomorrow will lead or whether the things I want to achieve are going to take a week, a month or years. What I do know is if I don’t keep myself in mind, who will?
Nobody will reach your goals for you and nobody else will make your dreams come true.
So I will do what I can to get to where I want to be. I will do this without placing unrealistic expectations or pressure on myself and I will do it with the mind set that every time line is different.
Every journey is unique and that is okay.

Today I got roses….

Grand gestures are nice but it’s the little things like receiving flowers with a heartfelt note that mean the most. I never have flowers sent to me. I never receive them unexpectedly.
But….

Today I got roses….

xoxo Natalie

Prescription for the Soul

Over the past ten years I’ve been through a lot.
I don’t often speak about all of it because not everyone needs to know everything and some experiences are mine to own whether good or bad.

What these moments in time have done though is give me a list of guidelines to try and live by.
My prescription for the soul 🙂
Some to be taken daily.
Some whenever the need arises.

I’ve decided to share some of my guidelines with you today.

Prescription For The Soul

  • Never tell someone I told you so. It is not welcome and not your place.
  • What is good for your family isn’t necessarily good for someone else’s.
  • Not everyone believes everything is either black or white. Some people live in the grey areas. Don’t judge them for it just because they sin differently to you.
  • Don’t underestimate the word sorry. It may not get you the forgiveness you desire but it should be said. Have the strength to do so.
  • An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind. Try and see the good and move on.
  • Being somebody is far more important that being somebody’s.
  • Learn that you don’t always have to explain yourself. The only person you answer to at the end of the day is yourself. If you can accept who you are then that is enough. If not, change.
  • A backhanded compliment is never a compliment. If you can’t say something purely nice to someone, don’t say it at all.
  • Snark and sarcasm isn’t always endearing or funny. Learn tact.
  • Everyone grieves in their own way. Never tell someone to get over it. Two people never heal at the same pace.
  • Respect someone’s honesty and truth even if it isn’t what you want to hear. They are being upfront and respecting you. It is better than them telling you a lie to appease you.
  • Be careful what you say to people and how you treat them. If you are someone who has a tendency to be cruel or disrespectful or misogynistic, one day when you have children of your own, someone will speak to them the way you to spoke to others and you will see what you have done reflected in your children’s eyes.
  • Eventually the scales balance. There is always regression to the mean.

This list may not be for everyone but it works for me.
Maybe some of it will work for you……

xoxo Natalie