Children, people with special needs and animals are my favourite. They are true and pure and innocent and their ulterior motives, if they have any at all, are as transparent as hell. I honestly believe that they were given to the world so that the rest of us losers can be reminded of what true purity is. I fully see this when I look at our dog. She makes me laugh every day, gets in the middle of a contention between me and my husband to calm us down, licks us when we're sad, waits for me outside of the bathroom door (even if I haven't seen her for five minutes) and my husband and I find her incredible gentle and kind nature (even though she is ONLY a dog) as one of the most powerful daily injections of inspiration. So I guess this has turned into a post of gratitude towards innocence, it's purity and well towards our dog; Thanks Ellie.
Sometimes all we can do is to just carry on. We get inundated with thought, with to-do-lists, with to-don't-lists with what-if-lists and with what-if-not-lists. We can stay still for a short time or for a really, really long time: just contemplating these things. The short term future, the distant future, what happened yesterday and how that effects us today, or tomorrow or a week or a thousand weeks from now and it's all just a little bit tiring when we think about all that really isn't it. Sometimes all we can do in these moments is carry on. Carry on with what we do know how to do right now. Calm down and make it small, wash the dishes, put on the laundry, anything to stay grounded in these moments and not let the big thoughts overwhelm our day-to-day and carrying on. Even if that's all we can do in these moments; that's a good thing, that's okay.
"There is a saying, 'Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift! That is why it is called the present."
- Oogway, Kung Fu Panda
I have a plethora of subjects I want to talk about today but mainly I want to talk about progress and change. Last night I impromptu decided to go through and read some of my old blog posts. I haven't really done that.. maybe ever? It was so interesting to me all the things that have happened since I started this blog and I am so, so glad that I started this blog when I did and although I haven't posted regularly I have definitely posted regularly enough that the main updates in life have been picked up. All the parts in between also log a feeling I felt in the moment and as I was reading, everything was coming back to me. I remembered where I was physically when I wrote the posts, where I was mentally and emotionally when I wrote them and where I was in my life in terms of where I am today in my life. 'Joining up the dots looking backwards not forwards' as my dad likes to summarize quote from Steve Jobs. The concept of which has actually become one of my favourite mottos too over the years...
As I was reading events from when I got married, to when I got my residency, learnt to drive here and got my Utah license, got a job as a special needs aide, then stumbling across the opportunity to take a shared scholarship with Juan at Snow College, landing Carlotta in Phantom, then feeling we had to move from Ephraim, then getting the opportunity to transfer to UVU and move to Orem, the dots where all just there and me reading back I'm just there drawing the lines.
One of the reasons this is so particularly interesting to me and so poignant to me at this moment is because I wrote a post around a year and a half ago about the cusps of change. The concept in that post was that we tend to talk about pre-change or post-change but rarely during change and at this moment I had made a post during the change and the unknown parts. What was interesting to me is that when I wrote that post I sort of didn't really know for sure what the change would exactly as we didn't even know if we could find a place to live near my new Uni and there was a period in that where I didn't know where I would continue to study or even if I would, and I had written in one of the posts that I hoped that the place that we moved to - that we would be content there. And we have been, we really have been. We also got a puppy who is now a dog who I definitely love more than a human should probably love a living thing that isn't their own human child.. (ramblings for a different sort of post!) But what is most interesting here is not just simple hindsight "oh this happened and then this happened and past Talia had no idea etc.etc." but that I also remember Juan and I acting on a feeling before we knew the outcome and we find ourselves having these sorts of feeling again right now. I can't really pin it.
For example: We felt really strongly that we needed to move away from Ephraim without having the next thing in our lives lined up and it was quite scary and I remember some of our family members were a little worried but it worked out, like we knew it would, even though some nights we would let the fear get the better of us "what have we done, was this a really big mistake" but it turns out that we made the right decision and would have needed to have moved first in order to be in the spot to move on to the next stage in our life anyway and well like I said we're sort of at that kind of a "feeling" crossroads again. I say sort of, because we're not really fully in that mental space yet but we can DEFINITELY feel something looming and we have NO IDEA what that is.
It's this double sense that we are joining up the dots looking backwards and that's really cool but at the same time feeling them lay out in front of you with no clue how the future ones might be joined.
And the coolest thing to me is that I will probably read this in the future just like I read a past post yesterday and feel EXACTLY the same as I did when I was reading through old posts last. (Which by the way: Hi future Talia, how you doin'? You lookin hot??! Yeah, I thought so;))
We do have a penciled plan (only ever penciled, that's our style I'm afraid, sorry for all those 5 year, 10 year at a time ahead planners out there. Living with Juan and I would give you MASS anxiety).. but then there is the feels again. The feel that something else might come up. Now we may be wrong and it might just be that we do that penciled plan and the thing we're feeling is after that plan unfolds but gosh this feeling is strong and present.
Anyway, I could ramble about this concept all day and all night long. Needless to say I AM EXCITED for this change as it feels like a gooden.
Peace and Love and keep letting those dots lay ahead of you and only ever join them up looking backwards, never forwards or you might just loose your mind.
These people right here ^^
Well, these are my parents. My dad is a professional graphic designer. My mum, although she grew up being a nurse, in the last few years has payed attention to her urge to draw and to express herself on canvas and in my opinion I don't think there's any better profession that fits her more. Only today did it dawn on me that both of my parents are artists. Like really, really good artists.
They're my artists:).
I must admit when I had this realization I did have a go at them both as clearly neither of them passed any of this artistic talent on to me genetically! (My dad at this point was quick to remind me that it does skip a generation so suck it basically hahaha!!!)
I have actually been keeping these pictures on my desktop quietly waiting to make a post about them for a while and I think it's time for that post today.
My parents, my artists, to me are the best people in the world. And I know people are meant to say that about their parents or close family members etc. etc. whatever but I really, really mean it. And when you know inside and out what people's flaws are and are still able to claim this fact, well there's a lot of strength in that I think.
My mum has taught me to be kind, not in a superficial way but in the real way. How to be truly, truly kind. The kind of kind that you wish people were to you, which is very rare. She has also taught me that a human can attain the most incredible amount of emotional strength.
My dad has taught me how to love people, all kinds of people and how to empathize with people, that not everything is black and white and that there is so much grey in the world that everyone should be given the benefit of the doubt again and again. They are also both incredibly talented artists and I love this adjective for them because it describes them both perfectly. They are both creators. And they're both bloody good at it too.
Of course I do not think they are solely (or at all really) defined by what they do, but to be able to use the term "artist" helps me to better understand and realize the concept that they inspire me. They inspire me with their physical art because it astounds me how they are able to create things and use tools in a way I will never be able to, but they inspire me in their other art, their emotional creations and realizations too. They inspire me to try, to be strong, to get up again and again and keep trying. They inspire me to follow my passions and dreams and encourage me to say no to the world wherever I deem it right to do so. They actually, truly, properly believe in me and this concept keeps me alive and helps me to be kind to myself and to continue whenever I want to give up (which happens almost weekly at the moment I'll be honest!! haha).
They are two of my favourite people to be around, to discuss concepts with, to laugh with and to learn from and I know that they had to be my parents as they are able to understand me like I don't think any other set of people could do. So to my artist's: I love you both. I miss you always and your artistic flare continues to inspire me. It is because of you both that I am able to believe in myself. I am SO PROUD of you, BOTH of you, and hope that I can make you feel the same.
Today I found joy in the mundane. I find it so odd how things like simple housework, laundry, clearing the kitchen or even clearing your desk after a long days work - how those things can keep us grounded. Some of the most human tasks, the action of organizing and caring for your environment and preparing it for more mundane human tasks to commence the next day is one of the things I take real tangible delight in. I think I’ve always taken delight in these simple tasks but never noticed this until I was older. Even something like keeping up basic hygiene is enjoyable. Things you sometimes feel obliged to do because it’s what you need to do, these things I find such peace in and these things I find myself relying on in the hard times. I also want to be careful to take them for granted. One day maybe the world won’t allow us to do these tasks in such peace and normality or maybe my body will decay to the point that I can’t do them myself anymore and will long to be able to rewind the clock and be able to again do them myself. Gosh I’m so grateful for the mundane normalities of every day, they keep me grounded and help me find peace, even if for a little moment. Thank you.
Today I watched ‘The Kindergarten Teacher’. I don’t want to spoil any plot but I found it’s message incredibly inspiring. What lengths are we willing to go to to keep language and art alive and talent thriving? The world we live in with social media gnawing at us at every edge and numbing our senses at every turn. It’s disgusting and intrusive but more than anything it helps us to be numb and even worse dumb. What hope does our younger generation have to grow up as individuals with individualistic thoughts, traits and talents when the world tries to crush them whenever it gets the chance. Please watch this movie, it is uncomfortable at times but the ending with Jimmy’s last words ‘I have a poem, I have a poem’ says everything that is important for us to remember. We are on the verge of losing something forever if our values as a collective don’t change soon.
Although I find it hard to be peaceful at the moment I find myself being grateful for things and being able to channel some kind of peace through giving thanks for those things so as to make the other - not so peaceful - things feel not so bad and less consuming. I don’t know if this makes sense?
Okay a literal example. Today I was so overwhelmed I couldn’t face the day, so I stopped and cried about it like a complete baby (it was only a matter of time it had been building for weeks). My husband took me out for lunch and told me to nap before I had to clock in for work and although there were a plethora of other things to worry about and obligation was telling me to do instead I did as he said and felt much better and afterwards found myself listing off things I was grateful for. Living with my best friend who understands me and likes the same lifestyle I do, my dog who makes me laugh ALL the time and then from these big things down to the small things like my new-ish tea mug and how cozy it makes me feel and then before you know it even the negatives become positives, I miss my family back home in England but Christmas with them last year was so wonderful and there will be more Christmas’ with them in the future and how blessed am I to have a family that love and miss me so so much back. And thus.. peace can be found when you’re not feeling so peaceful by just shifting the focus from the some not so peaceful anxiety filled made-up truths to the nicer, truer and more peaceful truths.
And that’s my piece for today folks.
One of my favourite youtubers bestdressed recently uploaded a monologue video. In that video one of the things she mentioned is that if she heard someone use the phrase 'a new normal' or 'alone together' one more time she would go outside and get a stranger to cough on her. She's done. And I DEFINITELY relate to this. In fact I think most of us do.
However no matter how much being in public, at work or at school at this time can really suck (especially when you're studying for a vocal performance degree and having to sing and perform through masks!!!!!!!!!) at least we're here. At least I'm here. I am honestly so grateful to be at college studying alongside other masked educational soldiers right now. After so many months even this half life is so so refreshing to me and this morning I just woke up and walked through school enjoying the scarcity of it all instead of letting it make me feel miserable.
Today I feel drive.
I wouldn't call myself an optimist, nor would I call myself a pessimist. In fact I wouldn't even call myself a realist. Maybe because once you adhere yourself to one of these titles there comes a certain pressure to maintain it.
BUT, I do like to find the positives. In fact my day-to-day life sort of revolves around it sometimes. I, like everyone else, have gone through hardships in life. I specifically remember a span of time about 8 years or so ago that lasted for a long time where I was permanently low. I remember I had a job that was challenging, which admittedly did help take my mind off of things, but some days that wasn't enough. I remember specifically a thought and feeling I had one lunch time whilst washing some dishes at work, the weather was so lovely outside the kitchen window and the work place had a lovely garden. I was looking out the window seeing how luscious all the greens were and how the sun was illuminating everything whilst simulataneously moving my hands through the warm bubbly water of the washing up, none of my colleagues were in the kitchen at this time and I was so peaceful. I remember thinking how good that warm water felt on my skin in that moment, how I was being physically and visually stimulated and how nice that felt. Then a thought came to me that 'this might be the only good feeling I feel today' and then shortly after that 'and that's okay, that's a positive'.
After this, I started to look for these moments in the every day. And it sounds dramatic but these things carried me through a period of life that was hard to live through until it wasn't so hard to live through it anymore. But after that period was over, I still never stopped trying to look for the positives.
I have shared this with various people over the years and some people focus on the 'crap, you must have been pretty miserable for that to have been the best part of your day', but others find it inspiring so as to find ways to look for the parts of the day that make you feel good, because they are there.
As life has gone on and morphed, I have realized that big or small there's positives and things that make you feel better (even temporarily) to be found everywhere. Admittedly, these positives are often a lot bigger than simply running my hands through warm water, and that's a wonderful thing to now be able to admit.
Why am I writing about all this now? Because. Coronavirus. I know right, I'm writing about it along with the rest of the world and it's brother that won't shut up about it. But, it sucks. It is keeping people in quarantine, killing people in some extreme circumstances, pooing all over our economy and making the world go crazy. But you know what, for me personally it has been a bit of a blessing. That sounds awful doesn't it and I might eat my words. But as gutted as I initially was to find out that Uni had been cancelled and that the church I attend has ordered it's members to carry out meetings in their homes. I suddenly find that I have a ton of time off at home to do things I've been wanting 'to find the time for' for ages and now I can do them. My husband also works from home and so we get to have our days together. And church at home on Sunday was awesome. I know I'm not the only one that has experienced positive effects from this. I have family members both back home and here that are enjoying the excuse to put a bit of a stop on life.
Sometimes good things come from not so good things.
As time goes on I have found that there's always something. There's always something going on in life that is bothering us. Something that 'could be better' that 'could be resolved', that 'could be different'. This thing quite often changes into another thing, it might even go away completely and sometimes it's the same thing that simply never goes away, but there's always something. An example. My life five years ago; I wasn't really working towards anything that I wanted to be working towards and I had just got out of a relationship that broke me a little bit. These were my 'somethings' that would get me down if I payed attention to them and never felt like they would go away . BUT at this time I was surrounded by my family and amazing, AMAZING, friends that I was constantly laughing with and going on adventures with, these were the positives, the things I liked to focus on. Now, five years later, my somethings from back then aren't somethings anymore; I'm working towards a career that I'm incredibly passionate about and I've been married for four years, not heart broken anymore. But, I have acquired different 'somethings'; I'm constantly thousands of miles away and have a fat off sea between me and my family and years of laughs away from my friends. But I have just learnt that we can never have it all and that there will always be something that bothers us. Fortunately, human beings tend to be quite adaptable and we learn to continue and make do, but I'd like to to raise the bar on 'making do' to even finding positives within the negative. Although I miss my people all of the time and that never goes away, I have learnt to become stronger and more independent because of it and I have had the opportunity to work at a career I have been itching to pursue for years previous.
Don't get me wrong focusing on the positives is a lot easier said than done at times.
Things change for good, things change for bad, sometimes they just change to be different. But there is always a positive that can be found and we should not only find it but focus on it, no matter how little it may be, because it's there as a gift, it's there to bring us joy and who knows it might just save us and carry us through something one day.
Days like this, amongst other days.
Days where you allow yourself to take it slow. Make good food. Eat good food. Enjoy nature and the people (and animals?) you love the most. Days like this recharge the soul and rekindle your love for the significant insignificant things in life.
I love days like this.
Brit. U.S.resident. Lover of Opera. Believer of dreams.