Realisations @ Live Poetry

I attended a live poetry night a while back for the first time and had NO IDEA what to expect. I questioned whether it was “my thing” or not, based on silly stereotypes and preconceptions that I wouldn’t fit in with the artsy crowd.

I was surprised, moved, inspired and most importantly…Proven WRONG! Isn’t it great when life gives you those little wake-up calls? I was in awe of their courage to speak such truth. To share their tears and laughter with a room full of strangers. Regardless of trembling hands and sweaty foreheads, vulnerability triumphed fear. Yassss!

Each sentence shot through me leaving a trail of goosebumps. As if part of my sleeping soul was awakening after an unintentional hibernation. Each poet could not be more externally different, yet commonalities ran through each of us like a sacred chord that connects all mankind. The audience clicked their fingers in ‘knowingness’ and support. It was a “whole new world”, to quote Aladin. I was happy Netflix didn’t lure away my attention on this occasion.

I pictured myself up there, baring my soul. Would people like me? Would they click their fingers? Would I be accepted? Understood? These thoughts must go through everyone’s mind, the difference being that some don’t let fear stop them. We all want to feel good enough, but waiting for external validation from others doesn’t really cut the mustard if you don’t believe in YOSELF first.

This enlightening evening sparked memories of my school days. Where praise was given for paraphrasing and I was told off for being too opinionated.  When I finally got the chance to express myself in the ONE creative writing assignment all year, grades weren’t so hot. Spelling and grammar seemed more important than effort and meaning. Darnit… “I guess I’m not creative enough 😦 If Mrs so and so doesn’t think so then it must be so”, thought little Niki. WRONG!

These memories made me kinda mad. Looking back it seemed ridiculous to grade creativity, it’s too subjective. Absolutely ridiculous to give ONE person the power to crush a spirit or deter a dream. I mean, personally, I don’t get Picasso but he turned out all right. Walt Disney was even fired for “lacking creativity and imagination” according to his boss. We each have an audience, you just have to find it. What isn’t your cup of tea might be right up someone else’s alley and that’s the beauty of individuality!

My point is, don’t let grades/individuals/past failures define who you are and what you are capable of. Don’t ever let them inhibit you from doing what you love. Because by doing what we love, we are doing what we are good at and what makes us happy. We each have something unique to contribute to the world that is upgradeably magnificent. Speak, write, paint, dance and create your truth, we all need to hear it ❤

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Unsocial Media

Social media – “connecting” you to people on the other side of the world but not in the same room.

When did we start living through a screen? When did we start placing more importance on our social media “presence” than our actual presence? Our filterless, flawless and fabulous selves. Our lying on the couch in our sweatpants eating sour lollies loveable selves. The answer is irrelevant, what matters is where do we go from here? We weren’t taught how to cope with this devotion to self-promotion at school. There was no “how to survive without social media 101” or “how to love and accept yourself as a real person, not a profile 102”.

Do we continue to scroll through mindlessly judging, regretting, wishing and fantasising while staring blankly at a screen? With no external expression of emotion visible beside the occasional LOL from a good meme. We all do it to an extent. Constantly compare ourselves while creating silly stories of why one’s life is somehow superior or inferior to another’s based on a photo of a beach or a freakin’ burrito. It’s a trap, a guilty pleasure that you know is wrong but you just can’t help but overindulge in the occasional serial stalk. But life shouldn’t feel like a competition of “who lives it best” because at the end of the day we are all just doing our best and that is something to celebrate not hate.

We are superficially more connected than ever before but we don’t feel any better, and no amount of new followers or likes will change that. It is up to us to realise self-love doesn’t stem from a selfie and emojis will never qualify as real emotions. If we unlocked our hearts as much as our phones or shared our feelings as much as our photos, I bet life would feel a lot less lonely and home would feel a lot more homey.

P.S. I take full responsibility for this technological tantrum and acknowledge that social media has many great benefits that come with it like funny videos, plus it gives people a chance to create their own community and the opportunity to be heard. But with every advancement, there is a dis-advancement. Balance is FUNDAMENTAL or you’ll go mental.

 

We don’t fit in boxes

Journal Entry – 20 May 2015

“I sit here in a 12 year olds room in northern Israel/Palestine smelling my armpit and pondering life. More specifically, questioning where I fit in amongst these elaborate constructions created in an attempt to organise ourselves into categories of ‘being’ in this world. It’s taken my twenty something years to realise that I simply do not fit in. None of us do.

These ill fitted models of classification were never going to define the experiences we are capable of having. Not for anything. Race, religion, sexuality, gender, diet, politics, fashion, the list goes on and on.”

The incessant need to label oneself , “hi there, I’m a bisexual, vegan, atheist”, is getting a little out of hand if you ask me (or if you didn’t).  Do I call myself an asexual vegetarian and then devote my life trying to adhere to the rules of what those labels imply and what they don’t? Or do I just do whatever feels good,  whatever feels natural,  in whatever time and space I am in? The answer seems pretty simple, but for some reason we don’t cope so well with ambiguity or uncertainty. A trait we probably should work on… Just saying.

We are constantly changing and evolving throughout our lives. That’s why it seems ridiculous to be rigid about anything in the first place!  Mate, the amount of times I said NEVER and was proven wrong, I can’t even count. For example, I used to absolutely hate blue cheese and Auckland. Now I’m eating it for breakfast in my Ponsonby flat. Life has a funny way of challenging the boundaries we place on ourselves and making us feel stupid for being so close minded in the first place. Ashamed that we ever limited ourselves before even knowing what the alternatives were and what they were all about.

Fluidity is the future, it is our past and present too. But it seems that now more than ever people are waking up. Even Miley Cyrus and Harry Styles are onto it so it aint rocket science.

I just feel like when we throw a label out there a whole sack full of expectations, stereotypes,  and potential misconception can go with it. Of course certain labels are necessary, like when you want to know how to wash your new linen shirt or when your milks gunna go bad you gotta know. But sometimes, all they do is completely limit our ability to experience life in its magnificent entirety and mystery. They can cause us to seperate and discriminate, when what we need to be doing is accepting and connecting ya’ll.

Let’s free ourselves from the overcrowded boxes where we don’t belong and learn to love and accept everyone (especially ourselves) , as we are, were and are going to be.

It’s a work in progress, but every step forward is a victorious one.

Ps. I’m well aware I’m making some bold claims here. Some that I probably won’t even agree with later on but that’s just the beauty of it. I have a right to change my mind and so do you 🙂

 

 

Guidelines for a Heart that’s been Broken:

Journal Entry – 12 May 2016

I have given you something sacred.

Not to have but to hold.

Not to be tampered with but  treasured.

It is not a toy nor a trophy.

It is a token of trust.

Trust that you will care for it.

Not take it for granted.

You see, when something has been broken…

It is sometimes harder to open.

And what waits inside will be a surprise.

Not only for you but for me too.

And perhaps it is not what what we expected.

But should be equally respected.

You’ve given me yours too, to hold.

And it is not a burden but a blessing.

A gift I am grateful for.

Who Said Diaries are Supposed to be Secret?

“The reason we struggle with insecurities is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel” – Steve Furtick

Like most young girls I kept a diary with a tiny padlock so nobody could find out all my “secrets”. Keeping in mind that the keys could open anyone else’s diary which defeated the whole privacy aspect but whatever.

Before my first kiss at 17 #latebloomer, most would deem my diary pretty damn boring by diary standards. Even if someone did manage to read it they probably would have put it down soon after.

But as I have grown and “diary” has become “journal”. My entries have become more meaningful (with the exception of a few embarrassing poo related anecdotes). I talk about my deepest fears, strongest passions, greatest lessons and new revelations all in some kind of attempt to comprehend this thing called LIFE.

Writing has always served the same therapeutical purpose for me.

It’s pretty common knowledge that reading someone’s diary is a sin with major repercussions. However, that didn’t stop me from reading my older sisters on several occasions #lifeonthedge.

Back then secrecy was of uttermost importance but nowadays my journal is a story I am more than willing to share with whoever is willing to listen. In a world full of filters and glamourised facades of perfect people and perfect lives, we could use a little more honesty.

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I truly believe that by opening up and sharing our most authentic selves without fear of judgment or shame stopping us, we allow a deeper connection with others. A sense of unity and belonging. A chance to be inspired or comforted in knowing you are never alone.

A risk worth taking wouldn’t you agree?

That’s why after much doubt, insecurity and procrastination I have plucked up the courage to just freaking do it! To share my behind the scenes instead of just the highlight reel.

Ps. The journal pictured above has been my travel companion for the last two years here in Europe where personal growth has been at an all-time high as many of you fellow travellers can relate to I’m sure.