Love is… accepting the Glorious Mess

We often talk about loving our Selves. Self Care. Nurturing our Selves. But which Self? The one that tries to earn its own worth? The one that fears failure so so much? The one that is undisputedly worthy? We focus our energies on the face that we make up, expertly hiding imperfections and flaws we feel would offend the world.

Some of us are such chameleons that we wouldn't recognise our face without the disguise. We have made ourselves up through fear; fear that without our amendments we simply wouldn't 'pass' in the world. We fear our original faces would deny us love and acceptance. So we deny ourselves; an ultimate betrayal that beats the world in the race to reject those 'unacceptable' elements of ourselves.

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Love is… scary.

I didn't expect to write that title. It just came out as I began to type. The last decade of my life has been dedicated to the pursuit of deep, meaningful and (wait for it...) lasting relationships. I grew up as a Third Culture Kid, like many of you readers, and mobility was my stability. I knew that I was good at initiating friendships but long-lasting ones were less comfortable for me. For a start, they were unfamiliar. Either they left or I did... this was the rhythm of my life. While this sounds painful, I'd built up some pretty sturdy callouses. Goodbyes weren't that hard for me and I was confident in my ability to rebuild social connections at will.

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Out of Balance? Are you a tightrope walker, elephant or swing?

"Balance". It's been a buzzword for a while now, but especially comes into its own around January. The core of so many of our resolutions aim to bring life "back into balance" in some way. So, on this last day of January, how's it gone for you? Are you feeling more balanced? Or are you still feeling wobbly, precarious, about to topple? For Third Culture Kids, and any others who have lived through multiple transitions, balancing all the varying expectations and demands of life can feel like a game with perilously high stakes.

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Vision Boards and Joy Jars… what are they for?

Morning all! Or whatever greeting is appropriate for whatever time of day it is while you are reading this! Welcome to this corner of my mind. Pull up a chair, grab a coffee (I'm nursing a honey and lemon drink) and let's allow our minds to wander together... When working with Third Culture Kids, we often discuss Identity Props. This is a term I use to describe those things (both physical objects and behavioural characteristics) that we possess that communicates our identity to those around us. Part of our identity challenges stem from the fact that so much of who we feel ourselves to be is invisible. I don't look any different from my peers, nor do I sound different. So how will they understand that I am different - and how can these differences be explained? So I use art from my host countries as identity props. Someone enters my home and they can 'see' that I have experience from elsewhere. When parts of our stories feel so otherworldly that they almost feel unreal, even to us, it's important to seek out and nurture identity props. And this is where vision boards and joy jars can come in.

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Treasure Bridges: connecting Past and Present

There is something about this time of year that encourages a shedding of past experiences. We are told to leave the past behind us and to look forward towards a new and (hopefully) better future. I'm not disputing the validity of this approach, but I would temper it with a little moderation.

Too many backward glances causes us to stumble. How many times have we watched children especially collide with lamposts because they were looking behind them whilst walking (or even running!) forwards? Indeed, for fear of falling, some of us have learnt that we can keep safe by standing still whilst we cast our backward glances. In this case, we are safe but we are also static. And so, in a bid to encourage growth and movement, we cast our eyes ahead of us, resisting the pull of what lies behind.

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Is Being Enough, Enough?

On the brink of change, of conflict, of transition, or of loss? Perhaps you are less on the brink, and more caught up in the irresistable flow of life’s medley of challenges – and you feeling thrust into a future you aren’t quite ready for?

You aren’t ready to let go? You aren’t ready to enter the next bit that’s looming around the corner? That’s okay. You aren’t expected to be anything but what you need for right now. Now matters most. You can’t be equipped for the past, and you aren’t ready yet for the future. But you are here, right now.

Breathe in. Breathe out. Be. Keep being. You are the only you that will ever grace this messy, wonderful world. And we need you. So be. And breathe. Breathe out all the ‘should’s and the ‘try harder’s.

What do you need right now? Who do you need to be right now? Moment by moment our lives play out their journeys, and we wouldn’t want to miss anything.

It is enough to be enough right now. Fill up your life right now with the force of your own presence. Breathe deep and breathe big. You are enough for this moment. And then you’ll be enough for the next moment. And so we will move through our lives… gloriously, bafflingly Enough.

 

Moving… again. It’s actually a Big Deal.

So, it's just occurred to me that I'm going through transition. I know, doh. Due to my impending nuptials, I'm planning on moving house in the next three months. I suppose it snuck up on me. I mean, I've done house moves. I've moved between countries, between cultures, as a student, as a newly wedded wife, as a new mum, as a divorcee. They've been routine, life-changing, hard work, and significant life events. So how did this one sneak up on me?

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