Motivation and changing habits.

There are some things in my life that I want to do more often because of the positive impacts it has on me, but I find it hard to motivate myself to actually do it.

Take running as an example. I like running – once I get some great tunes going, I’m all set. I’ve got the gear, i just don’t have motivation.

I’ve never been a sporty person; I was the musical kid at school. Yet the days when dad and I would go cross-country training are some of my favourite memories and I actually enjoyed doing them.

I could go on with other examples, but what really is important is this: sometimes you need to put effort into it to do things that don’t come easy to you. Sometimes you actually need to just do it. Your body may be completely filled with nerves and you may feel ill at ease, most days you’re going to have to fight through that.

Something worth fighting for won’t come easily, but it is worth the effort you put into it and the motivation you get out of it.

Yours,

Sophia x

Love, over hate.

This letter has been sitting in my drafts since October 2017. I wrote in the evening after I was verbally harassed because I didn’t give someone my attention as I was walking down some stairs on the way home

It sat in my drafts because I wasn’t sure if I should post it, and had several doubts about it. But I’ve decided to post it because I don’t want to let a single post control my doubts.

So without further ado, here is the letter:

Today, I was yelled at for simply walking downstairs at the train station. Words like “b*tch”, “c*nt” and “I’ll kill you” were lobbed at me. All because I walked down the stairs with earphones in my ears, listening to Paul Kelly.

Did it make me scared? Did it make me feel vulnerable? Yes, it did. It made me assess where I could sit on the train, where I should stand on the station for protection because I did not know if the person would follow through on their threat or whether the person (like I suspected) was all bark, no bite.

Yet what makes me mad, is that this is not a one-off moment, but rather a common occurrence for women. Far too many nights have I walked home in the dark, or walked through Northbridge alone with keys in my hand as a self-defensive measure, being aware of everyone around me.

I don’t get harassed, name-called often to my face, but I know that I am privileged and that for my sisters of colour, it is a common occurrence.

We all need a bit more love in the world, less hate and more acceptance of who we are as humans.

So I didn’t dwell on today’s occurrence for long because I don’t need that negativity. I’m only posting this because I need to see written proof that I’m not at fault, nor should yelling at a person for choosing not to give your their attention be acceptable.

But I wanted to leave these words here – let’s share the love more than the hate. Because we all are important and valued, no matter our gender, sexuality, or background.

Love,
Sophia
X

Being okay to say “I’m afraid”

Learning to be comfortable and okay with being vulnerable on a daily basis has been a challenging journey this year.

I needed to learn to be comfortable with acknowledging my fears. In doing so, I needed to move beyond my comfort zone to face those fears.

Yet the most challenging thing this year has been letting go in order to grow. Letting go of fear, of insecurities, letting go of worries and learning to trust me in the face of the unknown. I haven’t been good at that recently, and it’s not going to be an easy road ahead.

They say that growth comes from reflection and vulnerability. They say that perfectionism blocks us from self-acceptance. I’ll be honest – acknowledging and seeing these barriers that my scarred and hurt heart has put up has been the scariest.

There’s this episode in Doctor Who, where the 12th Doctor is stuck in a tower within a time loop, and he is forced to find his way out. The only way he can get out is by punching his way through a solid wall of diamond, all whilst retelling the story of a bird who sharpened his beak in a mountain of diamonds. By the end of the episode, it took him over 51 million years until he finally broke through.

Whilst my barriers aren’t as thick as the barrier in the Doctor Who episode, nor do I have a time guardian monster chasing me, but fighting those fears, insecurities that are these barriers, feels a lot like that episode. At times it feels like no matter what I’m doing, the punches to break the barriers seem ineffective.

Yet I’m determined to continue to let go of my perfectionist nature, and simply grow, no matter how bumpy the road gets. Because this year is about growth, and I need to make some tough decisions ahead if I want to get where I want to be.

Love,

Sophia
x

Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it. – Rumi

Bravery, not perfection

Dear Reshna,

I watched your TED talk after a particular tough day at work. Someone had shared it on Facebook, and as you do, I clicked the link and watched it.

I’ve identified as a perfectionist for most of my life – things had to be done the right way, in a particular manner and had to look like perfect.

How many times have I sat in front of the computer, starting a blog post in a word document but then erasing the work because it wasn’t perfect?

How many times have I not applied for the job because I don’t match 100% of the criteria? Or simply because I gave into the negative voice that nagged me saying “you’re not brave enough to apply for that job despite having no qualification”?

Far too many times.

How many times have I set unrealistic goals and expectations when I’ve applied my perfectionistic mindset to how I relate to the world and then been disappointed?

How many times have I let the mantra “perfection or bust” guide my life?

Far too many times.

Part of it stemmed from a childish need for validation, and if I got perfect marks than, according to my perfectionist logic, I’d get the validation I was hoping for.

Part of it stemmed from the comfort of being able to control something when I felt unsettled and it looking perfect.

But most of it stemmed from my doubts and insecurities, hoping that if things were done perfectly, I led the perfect life and things look perfect, I could hide my doubts and not have to deal with them.

But the more I deal with my doubts and insecurities, and the more I make sure that I am not letting them rule my life, the more I realise I need to be more brave, and be less perfect.

I need to be comfortable with imperfection. But most of all I need to be brave. Brave enough to trust myself, my abilities and to trust that I am good enough. I am confident enough.

So thank you Reshna for the timely reminder to be brave, and to be comfortable with imperfection.

Yours,
Sophia
x

Dear World

Dear world,

I’ll be honest – I’m struggling to write letters the past month or so. My best writing is when my heart is there, but lately, my writing has been for work.

But that’s not the main reason. I’m struggling because I doubt myself. I doubt my relevance, I doubt my ability to be meaningful.

Doubts that have filtered through to, well, my internal sharing filter. I hold back because I seem to have no concrete point so I ramble. Because of my tendency to ramble, I hold back in conversations.

Doubts that have me questioning my ‘right’ to share my struggles with others, because  I should be the strong person, and strong people don’t share their struggles.

Doubts that have me questioning my ‘right’ to contribute to the creative field. Despite being a creative person.

Doubts that let my inner nagging voice constantly ask me “What right do you have to contribute to this decision? You know nothing” or “Why didn’t you get this right? You should have gotten that right on the first try!”

So I did something, admittedly a while ago, that I’ve been holding back on – I started a Facebook page for this project. (It’s a bit empty, it needs a whole lot of love.) And honestly, I never fully understood the bigger reason why I felt I needed to be publishing letters on a public blog, or starting a (public) Facebook page.

Until yesterday. When I was sitting in front of the window staring out into the backyard, with my playlist of Passenger and Ed Sheeran playing in the background. When I realised that the whole “Liebe + Letters” project started from a love of writing letters, but it ended up in a journey of rediscovering myself. A journey of not letting that doubting, nagging little voice win.

Yours,
Sophia x

Dear Headspace.

Dear headspace,

I’ve missed you. I’ve missed having a reason to light a candle, sit myself down and open up a new word document … and simply write.

You’re an old friend where written down transcripts of our chats somehow end up in a piece of writing. You’re a blast of fresh air, the sounds of laughter, and the smell of baked goods and freshly brewed coffee in the air.

I’ve missed the nuances of the words you choose to give me. The difference between when there is no filter and when there is a filter is in place.

You know, there’s an art to epistolary that I haven’t quite discovered; an art that earlier generations seem to have perfected. The art of writing that makes you feel like you were right there sitting with them at their writing desks.

How do I find that art again? Is it through practice? Must I write when you are not visiting, and it feels like I’m living in an empty house too big for one person?

I know, I know. Practice makes perfect. But I’m scared that my writing is just too dull. Not interesting enough to be captivating. I guess there is my communications side reminding me constantly that the “topic is not meaningful enough” to translate into likes, comments, and page views. (ugh, seriously, just let me be!)

Also, I guess I’m struggling to differentiate writing for fun and writing for work. When you’re here and we are having a conversation over a cup of coffee, that distinction is a little bit clearer.

I’ve missed you headspace. You’ve been a bit of a slippery eel, always disappearing when I thought I caught you long enough to stay. But that makes your visits just that little bit sweeter.

Yours,

Sophia

x

PS: Stay long enough next time to teach me a lesson on the art of letter writing?

Dear self

liebe + letters blog photo (1)

Dear self,

Clean room, sunshine, coffee, different shades and hues of purple and pastel pink. Remember this combination. Because someday you’ll need something to calm that panic attack brewing within you.

Sit, breathe, pray. Feel the last remnants of stress ebb away, the way the ocean waves ebb away from the shoreline.

Always, always remember that you are loved by so many different people. You can’t control everything so just sit and observe. Observe how the world continues turning and you’ll come to the realisation that you can only control how you react to events, so you may as well react with love.

So this is your mandate for this week – sit, breathe, pray, write. Laugh, cry, smile, frown.

Breathe, smile, pray and laugh your way through the week.

Yours
Sophia x