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The beginning of the end (Cliché, I know)

Nothing shakes my bottle more than hearing overused and cliché phrases but I had to! 2017 marks the beginning of the end for my university career. It has been three years since I packed up my pretty little room in Durban and headed off with a truck full of boxes to my dorm room at Rhodes University, Grahamstown. A big move for someone who could’ve been labelled a spoilt brat back then…

Since the big move, I have shifted my life into my own warm and comfortable home, I have changed a tire, I have cooked my favourite foods from scratch, my sister got married, grew my hair, watched Paul McCartney live in Prague, started a blog, loved, lost (lost a little more) and been published in two newspapers! So I think it is safe to say my journey so far has been one helluva ride! As with anything in life, there are a few things that I think could’ve gone a little better for me, but everything does happen for a reason, right?

Living in Grahamstown away from my family has been one of the biggest challenges in my life thus far. For some, leaving home is easy and if not easy, anticipated. But for me it was a lite different. Prior to leaving home, I literally couldn’t even wash a spoon. Well, not couldn’t but wouldn’t. It took a lot from me mentally to realise that I cannot live a healthy and enlightened  life if I keep babying myself and expecting those around me to do so too because I am the youngest. This was a decision I made for myself to start being more independent. Yes, some might argue that leaving home grows anyone up but I disagree. I have seen many people lose control or confuse priorities because their “policeman” (so to say) is back at home. My point of this isn’t to put myself on some sort of pedestal, instead I think it is important for us to always realise that change is good, even if we don’t see a need for it. Change scares everyone but the amount of good that can come out of an improved situation is infinite.

During the process of change and growing, you will always fall down a few times. You lose love, you lose relationships, lose friends and sometimes you even lose control because you can’t figure out where you should draw the hypothetical line that everyone always speaks of. This is what creates an unidentified fear in us and we end up in a state of comfort and stagnation, but trust me; any downfalls are worth the reward of turning your life around. Getting off that sofa to get the TV remote YOURSELF is worth it. Taking YOURSELF for that McDonalds McFlurry is worth it! The less you depend on others, the  capacity for a Joie De Vivre mindset in your life expands beyond your control because when you are able to be there for yourself, then it is more than okay to live your life as you please. This doesn’t refer to monetary aspects but rather the way you allow yourself to grow.

My point is that there is so much you can do for yourself and it took me a good three years to appreciate and recognize the power I have as an individual to better myself, to leave my lazy comfort zone and grow up. I am so excited to tackle my last year as a student because once I cross the line and become a working class grown up things are going to get a little more challenging, and who doesn’t love a challenge? (me, I don’t… But what choice do I have?)

After all the really morbid posts and remarks about 2016, I must say that I couldn’t agree. Yes 2016 was a year of crazy things happening, but for me personally it wasn’t all that bad… Here’s to better things, more accomplishments, a Bachelor of Journalism and turning TWENTY TWO! taylor-swift-22-gif

My sister loves trying new places but she never forgets to include me in her plans when I am in the same city as her. Things have been a little overwhelming for me on campus so my parents suggested I study from home for a while.

We went for coffee together a week ago and stumbled across the most enchanting salon I have ever seen! We knew immediately that we had to invite my eldest sister and plan a little sisters pamper day, so we booked an appointment and counted down the days till we could relax in this beautiful salon.

It is called Buff Parlour in Umhlanga Rocks, Durban. It is something out of a movie. The staff was incredible and an abseloute delight. The products they use are of great quality and the entire experience is just mesmerizing. My sisters and I had a lovely time and although their prices are a a bit high, we will definitely be going back!

Follow them on Instagram @buffparlour or call them on 087 2879 878

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A little kids chill area.
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Their retro coffee shop area.
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The reception area.
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These light fittings are clouds made out of cotton wool, so smart!
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My middle sister and I ready to get pampered.
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There’s also a tiny malt cafe with vintage Archie comic books.
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They also offer hot drinks, cool drinks and doughnuts! YUM.
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My eldest sister and I.

 

 

 

 

The Baked Life

If you follow me on Instagram or Snapchat, you will see that almost EVERY week I am baking something. I am not a fancy baker where I try weird and wonderful things. I actually just stick to the basics; cupcakes, one-layer cakes, cookies. I have never tried venturing out to the rainbow seven layered cake or the cupcakes with a surprise in the middle! Ingredients are way too expensive on a student budget to deal with anything that MIGHT end up inedible.

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Many friends and family have asked why I bake so much and if being a student is so ‘stressful’, where do I find the time? I guess most people assume baking is a tough job and when you have term tests or assignments, you wouldn’t really expect to see a student spending afternoons whipping up a batch of choc-chip cookies. But I find baking very therapeutic and it also helps me save money. I am a stress eater, so when my workload gets heavy, I am the person who lies in bed with a slice of cake, pretending as if nothing else exists! This is where my love for baking comes from (apart from learning everything from my mom). With baking, I can save money by buying a batch of ingredients once a month, instead of a slice of overpriced cake once a week…

Baking isn’t like cooking because you are able to (or you have to)  follow a strict recipe with exact amounts. So if you just stay true the recipe, nothing can go wrong. I suggest baking to any sweet tooth who feels a bit distracted by life. Buy some flour, eggs, butter, vanilla and there you have it; CAKE!

Here are a few simple recipes I have tried and they have never failed. They are not my own recipes, I get most of my ideas off Pintrest. So just click on the link below the pictures and get your wooden spoon ready because these are easy peasy!

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Lemon and Poppy-seed muffins, topped off with some lightly sweetened cream cheese frosting.  This is the perfect quick breakfast or tea-time snack. The muffins are moist and really good for you! If you want to take it easy on the fattening stuff, minus the cream cheese frosting and try a simple glaze instead.

Lemon and poppy-seed muffins; http://www.food.com/recipe/lemon-poppy-seed-muffins-100943

Cream cheese frosting; http://www.dessertnowdinnerlater.com/best-cream-cheese-frosting-recipe/

Alternate frosting (glaze); http://www.bettycrocker.com/recipes/lemon-glaze/6aa29b08-da0e-442b-ac25-a2975a72f381

 

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Mind blowing custard cookies. These are the most divine cookies I have ever tasted. And every single time I have made it, it always tastes the exact same way! It takes a little kneading so this might scare you, but trust me; it takes about 5 mins and your dough is ready! 

Custard Cookies; http://www.kannammacooks.com/eggless-custard-cookies/

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Carrot Cupcakes with cream cheese frosting (yes, I love cream cheese)

Carrot Cupcake; http://gimmedelicious.com/2014/07/21/easy-carrot-cupcakes-with-cream-cheese-frosting/

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Everyone’s favourite M&M peanut butter cookies. 

Peanut Butter cookies; http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/soft-and-chewy-peanut-butter-cookies-mms

 

 

 

 

Pierce Brosnan goes Desi

Ever since Die Another Day (James Bond), I was smitten by Pierce Brosnan. Yes, I was really young… So he might have been my first old man crush! But can you blame me? He is a beautiful salt and pepper man. Imagine my surprise when I woke up on Saturday morning and while doing my early social media checks I see tons of tweets and tags about  James Bond going desi. Yes… DESI!

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Indian products have never been endorsed by Hollywood actors so this has taken India by surprise. We have often seen the Western world borrow Bollywood beauties like Aishwariya Rai and Sonam Kapoor, which is why this has been pretty entertaining for me. Also because the product is called Pan Bahar, it is a brand of the infamous chewing pan masala that is widely used around India. It is a bit like the habit of smoking but often has no tobacco or nicotine, although it still contains harmful ingredients that can be injurious to health.

If you have ever traveled to this part of world, you would be familiar with seeing men and some women randomly spitting red stuff on walls or on the ground (while you are walking) .

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Because of the harmful effects of this product and the infamous reputation it has in India (although extremely popular), the tweets and memes have been hilarious! My favourite headline was “Licence to spit” (you know, like James Bond licence to kill?, pretty funny, right?)

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This is what you will probably look like if you are a pan chewer!
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Since the product is made out of something called ‘Beetle Leaf”

Nevertheless, I am still in love with the advert and I think it is time India made use of some Hollywood faces!

Take a look at the super bad(ass) video here…

Expressing your stress

7 ways to relieve stress (creatively)

Stress is an emotion we all experience when we feel something has become too much for us. It is a mental message from our body telling us that it is time to take a chill pill!  Every so often stress can be detrimental to our health and often causes physical and psychological illnesses, which becomes even more stressful since we are unable to perform. Discovering ways to manage stress can actually just supplement the stress and become equally time consuming.

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With 2016 coming to an end, students are dealing with final exam stress and the working class is dealing with deadlines and a heavy workload before getting your boss to sign off the request for Christmas vacation! Doing two things at once might just help you cross a few extra things off your to-do list, so I have attentively gathered a list of seven ways you can relieve stress (without a stress ball) and express your creative side at the same time.

  1.    Invest in a mini Zen-Garden

As a child, I would watch my sister use her little Zen garden after school and I was quite amused by the fact that someone would actually gift her something that I considered a very peculiar item. So I decided to do some research around this.

The ‘Zen’ tradition is commonly known for expressing mindfulness, peace of mind and letting go of the negatives that surround you. Creating your own mini Zen garden is a useful way to bring about some of these qualities in your life. The expressive part is that you can design the mini garden in your own personal way and add a touch of what you are feeling through the design of your garden. A mini Zen garden generally comes with stone, sand, gravel and a mini rake. Some also come with miniature plants or a miniature Buddha. The size varies but they are never bigger than an A4 page, which makes it easy to keep on your desk or bedside table.  You can purchase one of these for about R130 at bookstores, home stores or online! Ps; if you don’t want to spend any money, you can find a free desktop zen garden or an app for iOS and Android.

2. Writing in a journal

As children, many of us had diaries in which we would write a few daily rants about the girl who was nasty to us at school or our secret crush. This was because writing is an outlet that anyone can use. It is simple and accessible. Journal writing has been used as a form of therapy prescribed by psychologist to those experiencing mental distress, so why not pick up a pen and jot down some feelings? By making yourself aware of what happened in your day or by writing down a few thoughts, you will find that this makes tackling the next day easier. Especially if you aren’t one to share your work stress with a loved one, a journal will be you best friend and you might even get to know yourself a little better.  Admittedly, I find it hard to write down what I feel, because once you put pen to paper, seeing the words on a page make it real. It puts your emotions or distress in the real world, and sometimes this is difficult to deal with. But on the other hand, this is also a better reason to do it because you can then deal with the issue instead of blocking it out.

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3. Dancing

Undeniably, this one might seem a bit weird and maybe even seem daunting. But I don’t mean join a class and become a professional dancer. I simply mean just put some music on after your long day, lock your room door and shake off the stress! Dancing has been known to have the power to take your mind of the ‘now’ and help you enter a new world. Taylor Swift explains how to shake if off pretty well, so if you are stuck for some music options then this might be a great start.

4. Colouring In

 At least one person we all know of is a colourer, this has to be a good sign, right? One of The Expresso’s (my shared blog) first series were about the benefits of adult colouring. Adult colouring is a new craze and it doesn’t go unsupported. Plenty of research and experience has encouraged adults to partake in this activity. Adult colouring creates a peaceful and serene environment and the colourer feels at ease with themselves. It is ideal for stress relief and you can personalise it to suit your mood. Take a look at our series for more scientific facts and testimonials from passionate adult colourers. Colouring books are easy to carry around with you so they’re perfect to take to work and they are well priced. You can pay between R30-R100 for a colouring book from any bookstore.

5. Marbling

Marbling is a simple yet beautiful form of art. It is not the most popular art form but it provides the similar comfort and peace of mind as colouring in does. But if you find colour pencils or crayons a bit too juvenile, this is definitely for you. Marbling is similar to tie-dye, it is the art of printing multi-coloured swirl-like patterns on any piece of material using little tubes filled with paint and inserting tiny droplets of the paint onto an oil or water like base. You can either place a paper on top of this liquid (which now has your pattern) or any form of material. The stress relief comes from the creation of a unique pattern, some find it relaxing to mix and create colours. The best part is that you could print coasters or plates and keep them around the house. They can even be used as gifts, how nifty! When I was in high-school, my mother would watch DIY shows on TV and she used to help my sisters and I make the things she learnt about. One of which was marbling items.  The only downfall is that you have to be at home to do this and it gets a bit addictive. Marbling sets sell for about R125 at any art or stationary store.

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6. Yoga

Yoga is one of the most common forms of stress-relief for the working class women. Some take a class at the gym or they try it at home. It is also very useful for men but a but mostly favoured by women. Yoga helps one find inner peace and assists you in separating yourself from reality. It is also beneficial for physical health and even weight loss. If you don’t have a gym subscription, you can use your smartphone to download a free app which will guide you through a step by step yoga session. You can practice this in your office (with the door closed) or in your bedroom, it might even be a good idea to try your garden or balcony. If you do not have a smartphone, you can google a workout session step by step diagram and stick it up onto your wall.

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7. Gardening

Gardening is a hobby and a pastime that creates mindfulness. It helps you become aware of your surroundings and the combination of fresh air and sunlight releases toxins in your brain that assist with relaxation. The mental focus one invests when taking care of a few plants is enough to set the cause of your stress aside for a few minutes. Gardening doesn’t have to be growing tomatoes or pumpkins! It can simply be having a few small plants in your garden or balcony and taking care of them. You could also invest in a bonsai or an orchid and dedicate some of your time to growing it beautifully.

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Fees Must Fall- My second piece for the POST

After my first article for the Post newspaper, they asked me to write a little something for them based on the awakening of Fees Must Fall. I was hesitant because although I am a student of Rhodes University, I tend to steer clear of controversial topics if I haven’t immersed myself in the concept. But after a few interviews and reading, I managed to put together an article I was proud of. Have a read 🙂

 


Fees Must Fall has become one of the greatest student revolutions of the 21st Century in South Africa. A complex matter that has been of great contestation and examination by the public but few fully understand the details that make it more than just a protest. With the movement arising again, it is useful to unpack the dynamics of the concept.

University students began the Fees Must Fall movement in October 2015 as a response to the increase of tertiary education fees. The protests lifted off at The University of Witwatersrand and almost immediately touched base nationwide. At the beginning of October last year, it was announced that fees will increase by 10.5% the following year although the inflation rate headed to a round number of 6%. The first part of the movement ended after the president announced a zero fee increase. Parents of university goers are mindful of the extreme costs that encompass university fees. At the moment is costs about R120 000 per year to send your child to university. This includes residence, transport, tuition fees and general living expenses. As students, many of us were not aware of the hardships more than half of our fellow university goers and their guardians face, Fees Must Fall brought to the surface more than just the fee increase. In a total of about twenty days, we learned about the deficiency in funding provided for poorer students to attend university, the deterioration in the source of economic funding from the South African government, the excessively high incomes received by those in university managerial positions and lastly, the infamous racial inequality matters. This month marked the reawakening of Fees Must Fall as The South African Union of Students (SAUS) have been discussing and implementing the shutdown of universities once again after being dissatisfied with the lack of a response from Minister of Higher Education, Blade Nzimande regarding where fees will stand in 2017. After the presidents announcements last year, there has been a constant state of tug of war between the government and universities, in attempt to numb this war, Nzimande announced that there are several other tertiary options for students after school other than attending universities to obtain degree. He merely just added salt onto the would instead of healing it. Students at the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal have already began protests but some universities have been struggling to follow suit. Students from The University currently known as Rhodes (UCKAR) for one, are silenced at the moment out of fear as they still have an interdict against the student body from the university itself following the #RURefrenceList movement.

David Fryer, a senior economics lecturer at UCKAR explains that arguments such as free education is not possible in middle income countries are due to the lack of the intellectual effort that we need to assist the situation. He continues by adding a solution to the current thought process that some individuals include in their arguments, “Another thing that I think we need to fight is the idea that the rich ought to pay fees even if education is made free to the poor. This is just sneaking means testing back in, and we will still have the missing middle. The top ten percent of the population owns 90% to 95% of wealth; so a means test that excluded half of the population would be a disaster.”

Some students have taken to social media to express their distress with the term Fees Must Fall Reloaded, explaining that this is not a ‘sequel’ and shouldn’t be referred to as one, it is rather a continuation of a battle for the greater good. The mainstream media have been under relentless scrutiny by the movement itself due to their incorrect depiction of the events that take place. Fryer interestingly describes this portrayal as being fairly similar to the way the mainstream media portrayed the Marikana Massacre.  A different opinion on free tertiary education comes from a historian at UKAR, Craig Paterson. Paterson explains that free tertiary education is not the way to go in our society being that we live under such unequal circumstances, instead he believes that the threshold of support of our government should be raised. “The real question is where do we find the money to support students who can’t pay? The constant line of government is that there is no money for this. But this simply not true. It is just in the wrong part of the budget. Their priorities are skewed”, continues Paterson.

Fees Must Fall will continue to grow as a movement until the government makes the decision to meet the pending demands of students instead of attempting to pacify them with temporary solutions.

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A photo of my article. I wasn’t home to see it myself so my proud mommy sent me a picture.

 

Spring Cleaning

It is already a new season and we are nine months through this year. So much has happened and it feels like it was just yesterday that The Vision of Iris was introduced to the internet. It has been a rough ride and a busy year. From weddings, to tragedies, to the constant stress of academics; there’s just three months left so let us call it the final stretch. I have apologised many times for being slack with my posts, but after the June vacation, things got a bit overwhelming and I have a had a pretty tough few months. But during this, I have been working on my freelance portfolio.

This is a compulsory requirement for my course (yes, another one), but it has opened so many doors for me and I am so grateful for my recent achievements. My third year so far has really taken a toll on me emotionally. Our course is structured very differently from what I am used to and to be honest, I was constantly under the impression that my work was unsatisfactory because of the opinions I received. But after some heartfelt conversations with family and friends, I have realised that as I go through life, not everyone is going to like what I write and it is okay! After this mental spring cleaning, good things started to happen. My freelance portfolio started accumulating and it occurred to me, some people do actually like what I write! So maybe I will make it somewhere after all 🙂

Below you will find a little fashion piece I wrote for the POST newspaper. It is not really what I am used to, but its being published so I hope this means I did a good job! Spring trends was a tough concept to tackle for me because I don’t really confine myself to seasonal trends. I kinda just wear what I like. But have a read and I will post pictures of the published article soon.


Spring is finally upon us but this is a season that is always a little confusing. Most days it’s neither hot or cold, it’s not summer or winter; we are just stuck in the middle of the two with hay fever, wondering what to wear. But the exciting thing is the days get longer and after the torturous winter that has just passed, we can finally take out the flowers and dresses! Spring-wear is just about versatility, so instead of skimming through Pintrest the night before; just make sure you have a few essentials in your closest.

The denim jacket

No matter what year we are in, the one thing every student needs during Spring is a denim jacket. The uncertainty of the weather can simply be conquered with a denim jacket. It can be paired with a summery dress, a pair of shorts and a vest or literally anything else. The best part is you can keep it in your backpack or around your waist when it is not in use. It can also take you from casual to semi-formal if you have any plans after campus.

Off the shoulder

This is my favourite item for spring. The off the shoulder trend can be found in dresses or tops and adds just the ideal combination of casual, chic and bohemian. These mostly come in light fabrics so pair it with sneakers or gladiator sandals, and it can leave you feeling confident and comfortable to combat a long day of lectures.

The Ripped Jean

Another extremely versatile item that be worn in so many different ways! Perfect for Spring because if you aren’t sure what the weather is going to be like, you can throw it on with a vest and a pair of boots.  Ambiguity is the biggest problem solver.

Sneakers and Chockers

Chockers are the easiest accessory for campus because if you’re feeling like getting a bit dressed up but you are a tad lazy, you just need to add a velvet or wrap choker to your outfit, and there you have it, you look as if you spent all morning planning that outfit. Sneakers are not a spring trend, they are an everyday, every hour, any weather trend! Trying to be comfortable and looking moderately good when you have to wake up in time for that 7:45 tutorial is tough! Sneakers can be worn with absolutely anything, from jeans to maxi-dresses. Comfort is key, so sneakers all the way.

Fashion trends are difficult and expensive to keep up with, especially as a student. The only reason I feel we should adjust some hangers in our closest for a season change is so that we aren’t miserable in 30 degrees wearing a sweater and boots! The only time we actually see ourselves as ‘fashionable’ is when we are comfortable with the way we look, remember; you only look as good as you feel!

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My surname had a bit of an error here… but it was still so exciting to see this in the paper!

 

 

 

 

 

Happier days- I’M PUBLISHED

The last two weeks have been pretty great for me, and I’ve decided to share my news with my readers. As part of my Journalism course (again) we are required to put together a freelance portfolio. This actually made me fairly uneasy because all I could think was,  who on Earth would publish my stuff? I am a student, and I know I haven’t reached my writing capacity yet. So I started to ask myself, do I even want my work published right now? But then it occurred to me that my best pieces are usually about things I am passionate about. One being people and their love for what they do. I love writing about happy, successful people.

I then proceeded to send a pitch to four newspapers in my hometown, Durban. All four of these newspapers we grew up reading as children, and my parents still subscribe to them. So it was a long shot, but I gave it a go anyway. To my surprise, my piece on Iqraam Rahim was accepted by TWO newspapers and published in the same week. I was beaming with excitement all week! I am not really one for the mushy stuff, but this made my family so proud and it made me feel accomplished, I prayed night after night that this works out and it did!

I know some people might be like yeah it is just an article, but from day I decided to study Journalism, so many people were telling me that I am wasting my time because everything is online and I will never get anything in an actual newspaper. WELL!!! 😀

Moral of the story; self-doubt is okay, but don’t dwell on it. You’re always worth something to someone, even if you can’t see it yourself.

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I don’t usually do this but…

As we all know, I am currently surviving on just my phone to deal with all my admin. So the actual content of The Vision of Iris has been down.  This blog is my personal project but it also falls within the academic chapter of my life. With that said, we have been advised against using our blogs as a “diary entry” or a place to project emotions.  (Getting a sense that I’m about to do exactly that?)

Well I have been thinking about something lately and I’ve been jotting these thoughts down in my “before bed” book, but tonight I felt like that just wasn’t enough.  And I really want to share this with my followers and occasional lurkers (Yes, I see you. Hit the follow button.) 

I need to first add a disclaimer here to say that what you are about to read is not what I am feeling. But rather it’s a thought that I’ve come across which seemed to make a lot of sense to me when I look back at emotions I’ve felt in the past.  On the contrary, I’m actually in a very emotionally neutral point in my life so the relevance to this isn’t very current in my own context.  So…

Have you ever felt so content loving someone from a distance that not receiving their love in return is okay? Almost as if you love them enough for the both of you and you have no desire to force it upon them or even look for anyone else to fill that void? I think this explains some confusing paths I’ve been through in the last two years. But it suddenly dawned upon me and really made sense in my head.

Just knowing that what you feel is real makes it all okay.  I’m not saying you don’t yearn to be with person, who wouldn’t yearn for the one they love? But you are satisfied and have accepted that life doesn’t always go as planned. I think if anyone has felt or is currently feeling this, it’s a great thing.  To know that your love for someone is so powerful that you don’t NEED that love in return is comforting.  Or I might be crazy.

Someone once told me that the universe works in mysterious ways and I’m slowly starting to see that. The universe will always conspire to give us what we want, maybe not exactly when we want it, but when we are ready for it.

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Basically me.

 

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