zondag 23 september 2018

Celebrations


Good day, people! Here I am, writing another blog. 


The other day, I was relaxing and talking with one of my best friends. We had really good conversations about boys, work, but also spirituality and life. At some point, she mentioned that she wanted to raise her kids with a lot of celebrations. Celebrating small things, in addition to the "usual" birthday or graduation parties. She told me how much she liked it that in some environments, there was a small and simple celebration for the smallest accomplishments.

It made me think of a podcast by Sahara Rose (check her out here, if you're interested in spirituality/Ayurveda/self-development), that I was listening to on the road in Georgia. In this podcast ("Awaken Your Powers Masterclass with Shaman Durek"), she and Shaman Durek talk about how we should throw more parties for ourselves. Sahara says that we should realise more often, how we've gone through so many things and we're still here and we've managed to be okay after. And that we should celebrate that more.

For me personally, it was very touching to hear these words at that very moment. During my holiday in Georgia, I dealt with anxiety, which I will explain a bit in another post. Even though that was hard at times, it brought me a lot on a personal level and it made the holiday one of the most beautiful and special experiences in my life.
While I was listening to the podcast, we were sitting in a 4WD car, driving on a pretty dangerous road in the mountains, back to Tbilisi. On the way to the village that we had spent three (and some of the most memorable) days in, the same road, I had been so scared. For four hours straight. After arriving in the village, I was already thinking about having to go back. There was so much fear in my system. And the moment I stepped into the car again, I could relax. For four hours straight. I surrendered to the road and the driver, listening to Sahara Rose and taking in the beautiful views.

Her words made so much sense at that moment. Yes, I had been scared and yes, that had affected my time in the mountains. But I stepped into the car anyways. I did it. And there I sat, enjoying everything about the drive.
This is just one example. I'm sure that if you read this, you can think of a similar situation in your life. You probably also had times when you thought you would never make it, times when you thought you'd never feel different again. And then, looking back, you were able to see that you actually went though it and there you were, okay.

I know that most of us have a house to sleep in, enough food and money, and therefore, we're so lucky already. But I also know everybody is fighting their own battles. We can have all these things, and still be really unhappy. The fact that you're going through that, perhaps for a couple of hours, perhaps for years, and you're still doing that, is worth a celebration.

Of course, it doesn't have to have a difficult background story. How great would it be to throw a little party, just because it's Wednesday? Just because you love your parents so much, or just because you gave compliments to seven different people today and they liked it. Why not? How big of a change would that be to our daily lives?

My friend was more than right, and we already decided to apply this to our lives. All there is, is now. We don't have to wait for an official occasion to celebrate things.


Lots of love,
Josie


zondag 15 juli 2018

A battle of suffering

Hello people,

I haven't used my blog in ages, as I didn't have anything I wanted to write about, I didn't have enough time, or I just forgot. Lately, something has been on my mind, and I wanted to share it.

A new era has begun for people around me. Fellow students are graduating, high school friends are finishing their master degrees, some are starting their first "real" job. I feel like everybody is growing a lot and changing a bit. All positive things; it makes me feel very happy and actually a little proud, too.
Also for me, a lot has changed since the beginning of 2018. I did an internship and started working there afterwards. I learned so much and I've grown a lot - I'm thankful for everything I was and am able to do there.

Due to doing a too much for a long period of time and personal reasons, I need to take a break from work now. Nothing severe, just a bit overstressed. It's a huge relief not having to worry about anything, and I feel more like myself already. And this brings me to what I've been realising for a long time now.

I feel like people are battling against each other about how miserable they are. It seems like they are bragging about their workload, about how little they have slept, how many meals they skipped because they were working. I hear it all the time; "I was working until 4 AM this morning"; "I haven't slept at all"; "I worked so much last week that my vision became blurry/I fainted/needed to go to the doctor". And don't get me wrong, it's not like I don't appreciate hard work, or that I've never worked overnight and told others about it. But I see so many people around me, almost showing off with how little they take care of themselves.

When I suffered from anorexia, this was a real battle as well. I wanted to be skinnier than everyone else, I compared myself to everyone in the streets and every anorexic girl on Instagram. I didn't put on makeup to show that I wasn't doing well; I didn't want to make myself look pretty. I felt like I didn't deserve that. Not doing well was my ambition and I wanted people to tell me I looked sick, too thin and unwell.

But people, this is the brain of an anorexic girl. A girl with an illness, sick. It's a sick thought that not taking care of yourself is something to be proud of. And I know that working hard for your goals is different than starving yourself. But I think that in essence, it's the exact same thing. A call for attention, because you're looking for external confirmation. And the funny thing is, you don't need that kind of confirmation, when you're actually taking care of yourself.

Even though I feel guilty when I'm not working a lot, even if I know that I need rest, and I can't help to feel a bit competitive when people are talking about heavy workload and little sleep, I can honestly say that I feel proud when I take care of myself. I'm not the girl who starves herself and goes to school with huge bags under her eyes anymore. I'm trying to listen to my body. I'm eating, smiling, dancing, living. And being overworked makes me realise once again how important it is to do that. A lot.
Many people from our generation (and other generations, too) are dealing with stress and burnouts, which should be taken seriously by both society and the people themselves. It's okay to take a step back, not to be super ambitious all the time. It's more important that you're able to breathe and feel like yourself.

Doing well is my highest ambition - in life, not just my career. I hope it's yours too.


Lots of love,
Josie

vrijdag 12 mei 2017

Stop! En door?

Photo by Abe Funnekotter
On Thursday evening, I attended "Plugged"; a festival at my university, that's organised by the study association of Built Environment, every year. I saw many people I hadn't spoken to in a while, one of which started talking about my blog. She said she used to read it and liked what I wrote. I had actually been thinking about it last week, because I stopped blogging about a year ago and I missed it. I told this girl I actually wanted to start again, and she motivated me to do it. So hey, I'm back!


The moment I'm writing this, is one of the relatively few ones that I've been feeling relaxed, in the past couple of weeks. I've started the last quartile of my second year at the TU/e, including an extra subject, and I'm doing quite some other things, next to my studies. Also, I just moved to another student house (which I'm super excited about!). 
Most of the things I'm doing, are fun. I enjoy coming up with ideas, being creative, making stuff, helping people. I've got some awesome friends and family members to hang out with and talk to. They get me through everything. 
Even though there is nothing really to complain about, I'm exhausted. I constantly feel like I'm behind on everything, not putting enough energy in people and things that are important to me. It all feels a little bit too much. The worst thing about this, is that I could feel myself slipping away. I became less and less in touch with myself, with my emotions. Whether these emotions and feelings are positive or negative, I don't like it when I can't really feel. Because that's not me. I'm a person who wants to experience and deal with everything that happens in her life. 

In the Netherlands, we have this well-known song, in which they sing: "Stop! En door!", which means: "Stop! And (go) on!". It was in my head, the entire time that I was thinking about writing this blog. I'm skipping the "stop" part at the moment; the only thing I'm doing is going on and on.
This week (and the weeks before), I was running around all the time, without checking what I really needed. I realised this the other day; I don't want to live like this and I need to make a change. Prioritise. Make sure I'm not behind on my studies, but also relax, smile, party, be with friends, sleep and fucking live enough. I decided to take an entire weekend for myself, to do all of that.

I'm not writing this because I want you to feel sorry for me. It's is my own responsibility and I'd rather get positive attention, than trying this way. I'm writing it, to illustrate what I can see happening to almost everyone around me, as well. It might be the time of the (academic) year, our age, whatever. So many people are working their asses off, beyond their limits. I see too many suffering from it; not paying attention to their actual needs. 
You'd probably be good enough, accepted, and loved as much, with half of the amount of time and effort that you put in your work now. It's something I have to constantly remind myself of, as well. But it's true; for you too.

When I think of the moments that I felt most loved, most valuated, happiest, those were all moments, when I didn't put effort in trying to be enough. The girl I talked about in the beginning, at the festival, said some things to me that I'm really thankful for. She was being genuine and what she said, might not have been that big of a deal for her, but to me, it meant a lot. At that moment, I wasn't thinking about stupid things, like saying something wrong or looking ugly. It made me realise that I should start listening to the real Josie again, who actually knows quite well what she has to offer, what she wants and what she needs. For now, that's a little (productive) break. Next time, it might be a nice travelling experience or a 5 hour talk with 3 litres of tea. Who knows. At least, I'll focus on the good.

So, are you also going to stop? And go on? Ask yourself what you need sometimes. And maybe what kind of (small) things you could do for yourself and the people around you, to make that happen. Good luck!

Lots of love,
Josie

zaterdag 19 maart 2016

What travelling teaches me

Hey there!

I know I didn't keep my promise to sketch weekly, as I haven't uploaded anything this week. I will do another blog post later with more sketches/drawings. But first, I would like to talk about something else, that's been on my mind for a while now. It might be a little incoherent because my thoughts are going cray cray, but excuse me for that.
Tuesday, the 15th of March, it was one year ago that I left The Netherlands for three months. It was the start of my amazing experience in Málaga. And this year, on that same day, I left Denmark after a five day trip - I visited friends that I made in Málaga. Symbolic, right?

Copenhagen
In general, my gap year taught me a lot. In the beginning, I was working on some personal issues and improved each day. I went out a lot with my best friends and worked my ass off. I became so much more confident and got to know myself better. 
Though, going to Málaga was a whole new experience and has brought me a lot more than I could have ever expected. 
I arrived on a Sunday evening, without having food or any knowledge about the city. My Chinese flatmate offered me a roast potato with mayonnaise. I mean, at least I had dinner at 9 pm! Later that evening I got to know a lot more people from our language school and that's where it all started.
Yes, I was feeling alone and yes, I Skyped home to tell them I didn't know if this was what I wanted. But I needed that talk one time and within a couple of days, I was settled, had made friends and was enjoying my time.

I remember meeting Neeta, a young woman from the USA. I had just come back from a Sunday run and suddenly she stood there in the kitchen. "Oh my god, I didn't know you were coming! But take everything you need if you want!", I said. The next day, we were lying on the beach for hours, talking about our lives. 10 years of difference in age, no problem. So much connection, laughter and love. I don't know how to describe it. She said to me: "If people aren't making you happy, why are you hanging out with them?" And as simple as it sounds, that is the best advice I've ever had. I still think about it quite often.

Then, the endless, lovely conversations I had with Sarah, on my balcony, playing Fifty Shades of Grey music. Stine and me missing each other while being together already. Sharing all the love in the world with Norah, mi hermana, in Córdoba. The parties and beach days with the whole group, eating out every other night, allll the other amazing people I have met both last spring and summer... It was all like a huge holiday. But apart from the fun, I started realising something. 
Life is so much more than just having a career, money, kids and a house. It sounds cliché, but I really felt like this when I was in Spain. People there are living, they are enjoying life. Of course it helps that the weather is very good and the beach is nearby, but it just seems like they don't need a lot to be happy - and that's how I felt as well.

Málaga
I started studying in Eindhoven in September and it took me a long time to get into the flow and step out of my Málaga dream. Though, I managed to do that and I've built up my life here quite well. We have to create a vision and reflect all the time here at university. I like to do that, and it got me thinking of what I want with my life in the future. As much as I enjoy studying here, designing and creating, I'm not sure whether that's what I want to do until I retire. Don't get me wrong, I love learning and I'm definitely not lazy when it comes to studying. I'm actually quite ambitious, and I definitely want to finish this. It's just that your studies don't necessarily define your future.

Often, I feel like I should live in a country with more sun. Get a handsome partner. Start up a small and cute bed & breakfast. Work hard (but enjoy it!). Meet people from all over the world. Go to the beach every day. Do yoga. Drink an occasional (or maybe more than occasional) cocktail. Save up money to travel. Be happy.
I know this sounds idealistic and you might think: well, Josie, don't we all want that dream life? Just finish your studies and then we'll see. Maybe we do, but we're all holding back because we think it's not possible. Or it's stupid to get a uni degree and then "throw away your life".
But no, I have never felt as happy as when I was in a foreign country, with those great international friends, in the sun. And visiting them again makes me realise even more that I may be someone who just needs to be around different languages and cultures, going back to the basics of human needs. Give a big amount of love and get a lot in return. I feel so inspired by people like Rachel Brathen (Yoga Girl) or just people who decide to risk everything that's fixed in their countries to find their happiness in something that's unknown. I want that.

I just want to thank all the people that I've met while travelling, because you've all contributed to me becoming a stronger, happier and richer girl. Including the bad experiences and the too drunk nights. It was all for a reason. I hope to meet many more inspiring people in the future <3

Norita and me in Córdoba

XO, Josie

maandag 29 februari 2016

Update + weekly sketch

Hello everyone!

I have been very busy lately. The second semester has kicked off and so has my first design project. It is a lot of fun, but time consuming, and apart from my project, I have two other subjects as well. So even though I'm super tired and stressed at times, I'm doing good. Especially now the weather is a bit more like in spring. It reminds me of how much influence the sun has on me. When I lived in Málaga, I was so happy and relaxed, partly because of that. 

Anyways, for my studies, I had to write a personal development plan for this semester. It contains information about who you are as a designer, what your vision on design and your future is and through what goals you are going to get there. One of my goals was to keep myself motivated to sketch and draw a lot. A friend of mine suggested to do a "Sketch of the week" on my blog, and I thought that was a great idea.
So from now on,  every Monday, I will upload a photo of my best sketch(es)/drawing(s) that I have made in the past week. I will start with this one, that I made last week.


It is a coffee machine; we were thinking about an alarm clock that would make coffee for you in the morning. This is just a drawing to get the feeling again. As a child, I was drawing all the time, but I haven't done it that much in the past couple of years. I hope this challenge will help me to keep  doing it and improve my skills!

Love,
Josie


zaterdag 23 januari 2016

Expectations



Hello sweeties!

I've been away for a while again and I missed writing. The past weeks were super busy and I had to study a lot. Apart from that, I did a couple of nice things with friends and family - like the day with my bro and my father visiting me.
Sometimes, writing something down in a blog post, works like an online diary. Even though I've got my little diary for every day, at times, I need to write more than a sentence. So I'm just going to share some thoughts with you.

One week ago, my father came to visit me in Eindhoven. We talked about how funny it is how much you can look like one or both of your parents. Not only physically or in your personality, but also in how you live your life. For example, my mother struggled with the same things as me in high school, also had a gap year (went to France to learn French - close enough) and started to study Industrial Design (in Delft, not Eindhoven) after that. I mean, what?! I never made any of these choices because she did so at my age; it's just how everything worked out. This is just one example, but there are many more similarities I noticed between parents and children. Fascinating.


My father told me he could really see my mother in me. On the outside, I don't look like her that much - though you can see she's my mother - but in personality, I do. I mentioned some small things that were similar, but then he told me that he sees the perfectionist that my mother was. Expecting a lot from myself and others. I agreed, we spoke about it, but I gave it some more thoughts, later on.

I do expect a lot of myself. Although I think that I've become more relaxed over time when it comes to that, it was a little confronting to notice that it's still present. Of course, it's good to be ambitious. It's not a bad thing to strive for delivering well and being critical about yourself. The problem is, I expect a lot of myself in every way.
In high school, it was way worse. Without exaggerating, I wanted to be: pretty, slim, smart, well-dressed, sporty, musical, arty, considered a nice girl, a good friend, sexy, loved and liked by boys, a good family member, good but also a little rebellious, fun to party with, funny in general, confident and at the same time, relaxed. Ha ha. It's not that I kept this list to check whether I'd done everything necessary, it's more that I automatically compared myself to everyone who was better at a particular aspect. By this, I was only focusing on negativity. In the past two years, I've become way better at approaching myself in a more positive way, and also at accepting that I can't be all of that at the same time. It's not realistic.

Anyways, what I can notice, is that I overthink a lot. I still care about how people see me. I feel guilty when I've misbehaved or been mean to someone, I feel stupid about and angry with myself sometimes. I expect myself to handle every situation in the right way and to please everyone by being me.

I wanted to ask myself: why? Why isn't it okay to do things I maybe shouldn't have done, to make mistakes? Why can't I be sad about something, or hurt? Why does everybody need to like me? Why does it need to be perfect, all the time? Because, in other people, I can see the beauty of not being perfect. The weird little things about someone, imperfect bodies, insecurities; it makes you human. Often, I like you even more when I discover something personal that's different.
So; I'm not the perfect person. I say stupid things. I can be stressed, emotional, exaggerative, unattractive, whatever. I can have no clue of how I should deal with something. I don't sleep enough and I should study more. And do more sports.
But: I know I'm valuable to several people. I know that I'm not ugly. My body isn't too skinny or too big. I can offer a lot in different ways. I'm pretty smart, mature (mostly), know what I want (generally) and I can have deep conversations as well as a good laugh with you. Sounds a lot better, don't you think?

I feel like it's very important to adapt this way of thinking in anyone's life. There's no advantage in pulling yourself down. And honestly, at times, I can be jealous of people who genuinely don't give a shit about what others think of them. You go girl/guy!

I'm sure I'm not the only one, so even though it's personal, I felt like sharing it. Maybe you got something out of it <3

XO, Josie