the stagnation of ‘having it all’

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I was really, really happy before Christmas. The happiest I’d been in years. Life was gliding and it felt fantastic.

You can guess where this is going. In January of this year, things went downhill and life got bleak. Again. There was no life; I breathed, ate, slept, but nothing more.

Thankfully I have readjusted, and life has colour again. I want to savour, not survive. In the past three months I have done more than I ever did in the five-ish months before Christmas. There have been dips and dark days, but I plough ahead because I know I want to, not because I have to.

I truly believe that I ‘had it all’ before Christmas; the soft contentedness was almost childlike. Nothing could – and nothing did – harm me. This was wonderful, but it was stagnant. Deeply, deeply stagnant. I relaxed into complacency, dropping me further into stagnation.

Fast forward to this year in all its painful glory, and I have accomplished far more. Searing trauma has provided me with contrast; if life can be terrible, life can be great. If I plough ahead and focus on this greatness, the contrast intensifies and life gets better. Of course no-one would want the pain to get worse, but viewing it through the lens of contrast can make the great even greater.

What I’m really trying to say is that ‘having it all’ is not what ‘having it all’ is built up to be. All you need is a taste; any more and you are sucked into a life unlived. A content life unlived is still a life unlived.  We need the pain to encourage us to live our lives out of our own accord.

Don’t let your life glide past. You really don’t need to have it all.

Love and luck,

Clodagh X

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a bad day

This video is literally just unedited venting on my part, but there is something of substance to it. Enjoy + I’ll be back with more written posts soon!

Love and luck,

Clodagh X

(e)motion

Something I’ve only come to realise in the last year or so is the importance of feeling. No matter how crushing, you have to feel something to move on. To keep in motion. If you deny an emotion its breathing space, it will stop you in your tracks, entangling you in a numbing rut. Life stops.

Recently my personal life has taken an unpleasant turn, and to say that I am upset is an understatement. I have no idea what the future holds, nor do I particularly want to know at this point. The sheer anguish of uncertainty is awful, and I really hope things turn in my favour soon. But for now, I am sad.

On paper, this sounds grim. And it is. However, there is an unexpected positive amidst the grief. I am feeling again.

For a long, long time, I had convinced myself that emotion and resilience did not go hand in hand. In my mind they were poles apart; if the two came together it could only mean the destruction of resilience. The flow of tears washed away any and all effort to live through challenging times.

It is this idea of ‘living’ that has become clear to me. In order to live, we must experience. We must feel. If resilience allows you to ‘live’ through adversity, resilience must involve emotion. In truth, we feel our way through life; in order to be happy, we need to know what sad is. When we numb emotion, an experience gets lost in time. Our course of life is stalled and we don’t move as we should – or as we could. We cannot move on from sadness because we didn’t acknowledge the sadness to begin with.

Of course, the opposite is also true. If we stop ourselves from feeling happy, we cannot progress to sadness. Although derailing the course of emotion is tempting, it is an unhealthy coping mechanism acting under the guise of ‘resilience’. Unfortunately, this is a trap that I have fallen into.

Under no circumstances am I ‘grateful’ for this sadness that has taken hold of my life, but being able to comprehend the course of my life is something I am absolutely grateful for. I feel as though I am moving again. The true nature of resilience is clear to me now, and with a little bit of luck, this will only serve to benefit me in the future.

Love and luck,

Clodagh X

bonus post! | how to get through a hard time

I debated whether or not to post this today since I already have a post up, but for the day that’s in it…

If, like me, Friday the 13th is hitting you hard, this is the video for you. Keep on going.

 

Love and luck,

Clodagh X

dynamics and identity | you are your own person

We are all sorts of things to all sorts of people. The ‘loud one’ in our friend group, yet the ‘quiet one’ at home. It is phenomenal how one person can assume a myriad of identities dependent on setting and circumstance. What’s even more fascinating, however, is how little control we appear to have over our place within a group. Without even realising we slot neatly into a jigsaw, twisting and curving to make room for others in spite of oneself.

There often comes a time at which we no longer want to be a part of the jigsaw. We want to clip a corner here, an edge there, all in an attempt to become a better person (or so one hopes). This isn’t always easy. In fact, it’s never easy as far as I’m concerned. You can reshape yourself as much as you want, but you cannot reshape others unless they want it for themselves.

This in turn means that it is incredibly difficult to change how you are perceived within a group. No matter how few arguments come as a result of your character, if you are perceived as ‘the one who starts arguments’, that is how you will be identified. If you are ‘the peacemaker’, you can start as many arguments you like without turning a hair, all because of your perceived identity within the group.

Grim and all as this may sound, there is something liberating about this realisation. Freedom accompanies the notion that battling others is futile. Your real target should be yourself. Changing yourself means changing your world, not the world we share. The people and events you attract will come as a result of said change, in stark contrast to what came as a result of your place in the jigsaw.

You are your own person. You are free.

Love and luck,

Clodagh X

when I’m ready | just do it

You are never completely ready for anything, ever. Never ever. A curveball can hit you square in the face at any given moment, so there is never a ‘right time’ to get things started. Particularly when you feel something in your gut, a stirring that could become something great; it takes courage to pounce on this and just do it.

The art of ‘just doing’ is, in my opinion, a skill that can be honed. Some people are born with it – a little to much of it, at that – and some people need that extra little push to get things moving. Either way, you can always improve on your ability to do rather than think.

There will always be a reason not to do something. For me, my main challenge is getting past the initial stages of a project. I know exactly how it feels to ‘click’ with something, that feeling of not wanting to stop no matter what comes your way. It’s a great feeling, but it doesn’t always come about. There are times when you need to find your groove. Or maybe there isn’t even a groove to begin with, and you have to carve one out with your own two hands. In ways the latter can be even more beneficial; you end up establishing a niche for yourself without even realising. A niche you would never have found if you hadn’t stepped up and done something.

If by some fluke you are reading this, do not be afraid to do. Go for it. Even if you fail spectacularly, you’ll live to tell the tale. I wish I could think of an ending to this post that was a little less cheesy, but a cheesy ending isn’t always a bad ending.

Love and luck,

Clodagh X

(P.S. This post was not sponsored by Nike, I promise! But still. Just do it.)

hyperaware | productivity smells more grounded than achievement

Some may consider it neurotic to believe that the coaster facing the wrong way round on your kitchen table is having an impact on your thought process. At one level, maybe it is a little neurotic. Maybe you’d still rather have toast than cereal for breakfast. At another level, it is adding to the collection of thoughts circling your brain at this very moment in time, for better or for worse. Granted, a coaster isn’t going to radically change your world view, but let’s not be too literal about this. The point I’m getting at is that every thing, absolutely everything you see and do has an impact on your life, no matter how tiny that effect may be. The colour of your bedroom walls changes how you see the sun every morning, which changes how you wake up, which changes how your day begins. The misplaced coaster may bring you back to long-forgotten lost items, or times when you yourself were a little lost. Even the phrasing you use – lost, misplaced, wrong way around – can impact upon your mind in ways you wouldn’t normally consider.

Approaching our lives with this level of hyperawareness can be very useful. We become acutely aware of what lifts our mood, or what pulls it down.

We also gain the ability to construct an atmosphere that is conducive to a particular outcome. It can be as loose or rigid as it needs to be. For instance, I’m at my most productive when my jeans are tight and my hair is freshly washed. Perfume has to be pleasant ,but nothing fancy. If I smell ‘too nice’ I’m reminded of euphoria, the end result, something I mustn’t visualise until the work is done. Productivity smells more grounded than achievement.

If I want to feel creative, it’s ok for my hair to be a little greasy. Bare feet are a help rather than a hindrance, brightness is essential. I need to feel pleasant and at ease before I allow a rush of excitement to come through; the more relaxed I feel, the stronger the rush.

Sensitivity to one’s surroundings provides focus and, by default, allows for development in other areas. The capacity to conjure a feeling at will might just be what pushes you across the line. Or perhaps it simply gets you through your day. In any case, that upside down coaster could be doing a lot more than you think.