Europe, My Love…

1120c225bef3d92a66a30a48945cbcc6.jpgRudesheim, Germany- Photo by Tio Ceho on the Fivehundredpx/Jose Plaza Photography

It is pictures like these that remind me that I am meant to live in Europe. How do I know it? I can just feel it. Whenever I see a photograph, hear a song, catch a phrase in a foreign language, my heart starts to beat faster. It is a dream so strong and so precious, that it physically hurts to not be living it. I lose myself in the possibility that, perhaps, this could become my reality.
So what do I do? I come back down to Earth, adjust my bearings, and fall in love and in purpose with Europe all over again.  I formulate my plan.
Now if that isn’t a sign then what is?
I don’t know when or where or how I am going to get there…but I will get there. One day. Some day. Soon.
LoveUntitled @_@
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#A Poet’s Piece#

imagePoetry by Nayirah Waheed

I sent this piece to a friend today, a budding Poet who’s love for words rival my own, and her reaction was just lovely.

Here’s what she texted me…

“Honest to goodness gracious. These words are exactly what I need right now. Thank you sooooo much! xx”

That’s the beauty of the words of Nayyirah Waheed-there is always a verse to move your soul to peace. For me, she generates hope. And at the end of the day, hope is where my faith lies.

LoveUntitled @_@

 

 

#Depression-It’s Ok#

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Poet Nayyirah Waheed

 

I’ve always wanted to get into poetry, and just for that I have found it to be one of the hardest things I’ve ever undertaken. I’ve read a variety of poets but somehow I never felt a connection.

You know that feeling of sudden awareness when a word or phrase reflects perfectly your immediate state of being? And your eyes widen and your heart contracts almost painfully with the knowledge that someone out there gets you? That connection. I’ve had it with many authors but, scarcely, with poets. Until now.

Nayyirah Waheed gets me. Or I get her. Or it’s a mutual ‘I-get-you’, I don’t know. But when I first read this verse, my heart skipped a beat in recognition. I felt relief. I am not a freak, I am not crazy, I am not scary. I’m just sick-and that is ok.

I write a lot about Depression and Mental Illness and i worry sometimes that I am dragging my readers down. My blog is about expressing things I love, and I try to keep it upbeat and fun and positive and whimsical; but I also want to keep it authentic and true, and for me Mental Illness is real. I suffer from Chronic Depression and Esteem issues which have directed me to make bad choices for myself and have created the rut i find myself stuck in now. And so I write about it, with the hopes that people will find comfort, relief and inspiration to avoid my mistakes and be comfortable seeking help for themselves.

Sometimes I browse online for information and I only find the how-to’s and success stories of Depression, rarely the struggle-in-the-trenches ones, which makes me feel even more distant from achieving that success myself. So I figured If I share my own stories-the really dark, deep, painful, tearful, debilitating emotions I feel with each episode, maybe another patient out there will relate and feel less alone, less afraid and just…relieved. Relieved that someone else out there understands. Relieved that he/she doesn’t have to suffer alone in silence And relieved that one can talk about it openly and seek help.

I made my first appointment with a psychiatrist for August and I am nervous. How much should I reveal? What will she say? What if I just cry through the whole thing? What if I have to take medication? Nervous much? Yeah, I’m nervous. But I’m tired of trying to handle this alone. I need help. I am very relieved to just say that-I need help.

And as Nayyirah Waheed says, “It is okay to hold your hearts outside of your body…”. That’s how you Heal.

And so, I’m going to continue with that first step, my heart on my sleeve, and start to heal too.

 

LoveUntitled @_@

 

#One Day-Cornwall, UK#

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A breath-taking landscape from Cornwall England

 

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….and a lovely painting of  Cornwall England by a Ms.Mary Maddox

I am a huge fan of the British tv series Doc Martin starring the immensely talented Martin Clunes; and as a result, I fell in love with Cornwall England. I came across this painting on one of the Doc Martin Fan forums so I thought I’d share. The artist really did a wonderful job!

It’s places like these that make you want to get up and travel, doesn’t it?

One day Cornwall, one day…

LoveUntitled @_@

 

#The Beauty of The Storm#

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It’s amazing how Nature can mirror one’s soul at a single moment in time. I found this photograph on Pinterest and was struck at how much I resonated with it right now. There’s a storm brewing in my life. The wind is picking me up, blowing me nowhere in every direction. The rain has started, beating down steadily, unflinchingly, until I’m reduced to a crawl. It is hard, scary and difficult.

However, there is beauty in the storm as well. While it is wild and frightening, it is also temporary. And in this fleeting moment, it presents the opportunity to breakdown and face the fears, doubts, insecurities, anger, frustrations and tears that built up the storm in the first place. The process is not easy; on the contrary, it’s hurtful and shameful and remorseful and all types of pain personified, but it is also hopeful, and for that I keep going. One step at a time,  I trudge through each and every feeling until eventually, the storm stops. The skies clear and the storm calms and in a strong voice full of pride and and warmth, it says to me ‘Congratulations, you made it through. You looked it in the eye and you let it all go. Now you can start anew’.

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In this day and age where people are expected to display only the fun, bright, exciting sides of life, this is actually a beautiful gift.The opportunity to breakdown and rebuild oneself-therein lies the beauty of the storm.

LoveUntitled @_@

 

#Small Days#

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Today was a small day. Or at least, I felt small today-hence it was a small day. I know social media is generally used to display only the ups in life-the weddings, the birthdays, the promotions, the vacations, the fancy bags, the love stories, the fun times etc. But life isn’t Facebook. Sometimes there are the down days, and by talking about those down days too hopefully someone else out there can take comfort in the fact that they aren’t alone in living them.

Lately, I’ve been feeling very anxious about life. Scared for my family, my friends, my puppy. Ashamed and regretful about the stagnant place I am in right now, while others are moving forward in life. Anxious about the daunting goals mapped out that I must complete. Uneasy about the uncertain future ahead of me and apprehensive about the changes to come. It was all very overwhelming today. At night, I can feel it right in the middle of my chest- a pressure on the brink of a dull ache with my heartbeat drumming in my ears.

I went for a drive, but it didn’t really help. I took a break from my diet and indulged in some Micky Ds; not so hot. And finally, I came across my copy of the Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery. I had started it earlier today just for the heck of it and then picked it up again to finish, and…it helped.

So how did it help, you ask? It didn’t shed some magic wisdom and erase my anxiety or depression. It wasn’t so riveting that it distracted me from my own reality for a few hours. No none of that. What it did do was describe the loneliness, the regret, the confusion and the sadness of the Little Prince very sensibly and very simply. And in that description, I felt like someone else understood me. They also knew what it felt like to feel sad and confused and alone and scared. The camaraderie in that made me feel less isolated in my own smallness-I’m not alone in it. And the matter-of-fact demeanor in which it was told, made me look at it objectively so I could tell myself, “This will pass. Tomorrow is a new day”. There is a lot of comfort in that.

All in all, it was a small day today. I felt down, alone, weak, scared, anxious, ashamed, guilty and despairingly hopeless. But knowing that I am not alone in this made me feel less isolated and allowed me to look at my illness more objectively which in turn, kept me open to seek help when I am ready. And that keeps me hopeful for another tomorrow t

Hopefully, this isn’t too much honesty here but I did open this site to be as authentic as possible, so I thought I’d share this too.

Thanks for reading, good night.

LoveUntitled @_@

#Sakura In Japan#

 

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The cherry blossoms in Yoshino, Japan captured by Paul Hillier.

It’s that time again-spring is around the corner and the cherry blossoms are about to arrive. In fact, they’ve already hit the west coast of Canada, bursting into bloom in Victoria, British Columbia.

As lovely as they are here in Canada, one day I would like to travel to Japan just to see the Sakura come to life. Like this photograph, it must be breath-taking!

One day, one day….

LoveUntitled @_@

When Two Book Lovers Meet…

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It’s an amazing thing really, when two book lovers meet. Only good things ever come out of such an experience, and the energy from it radiates out far longer than one would imagine.

I was at the store the other day and I came across a young lady in the Teen section, browsing our selection. I asked if she needed help. She asked for some suggestions. And pretty soon we were declaring our love for books galore. We exchanged opinions and ideas about our favourite books, chattering excitedly about why we liked this one and why we hated that one. We pulled out our book lists we always carry around, she at 252, me at 327, and wrote in some must-haves to eachother’s collection. We laughed over the countless sleepless nights spent reading  just because we cannot bear to return to reality just yet;  that world between the pages refuses to let us leave. It was just a really great conversation and I left her with, hopefully, some great reads and a big smile on my face.

Little did I know, our conversation didn’t end there. I was called up to Front Cash later and when I approached the desk, my friend said that very same customer bought me her favourite book, Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas, as a thank you for such a great experience. I was so touched.  Never in my time at the store have I experienced such a kind and amazing gesture from a customer. I was happiness personified.I couldn’t contain it.It was absolutely wonderful.

Regardless of whether I end up enjoying the series or not, I will always keep this book as a lovely memory of that great meeting with a kindred spirit. Books really are amazing things. Not only do they introduced us to colourful worlds and vivid characters, they bring people together. That experience has carried me on cloud nine throughout the week and will probably keep me going throughout the year because, well let’s face it, only good things can happen when two book lovers meet.

 

LoveUntitled @_@

 

 

 

#Europe My Love#-Leeuwarden, Netherlands

lights of ljouwert (leeuwarden, netherlands) bas meelker

When I was a teenager I fell completely under the spell of romance author Betty Neels, a retired nurse who started writing romance novels in the 1960s. The main character was always a young nurse, well-built, not too pretty but with beautiful eyes who somehow got tangled into a sweet romance with a handsome Dutch physician in the Netherlands. I liked her books so much, I bought out my local library’s entire collection at their annual Summer Sale! I still have a drawer filled with her books.

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However, like most Harlequin Romance fans, I outgrew Betty Neels’ books, but her description of the Netherlands stills stays with me and has become a significant stop on my Europe Bucket List.

Photographer Bas Meelker photographed the winter canals of Ljouwert , Netherlands (Leeuwarden in English)  just beautifully. As soon as I saw this, I had to share it. It captures the Dutch city exactly as Betty Neels described it in her books.

One day. One day…

In the mean time, maybe I’ll pull out one of Betty’s old books and go back in time for awhile…

Enjoy!

LoveUntitled @_@