Please do not assume.

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We live in a generation where we find ourselves constantly locking our phones, only to unlock them a few moments later to check for any recent updates from our favourite celebrities, friends, and the rest of the general public we choose to follow on social media.

I know many of us are guilty of looking way too deep into people’s posts on social media and making assumptions based on the content they choose to post. Social media has allowed us to take a look into peoples lives and make us feel as if we know them better than we really do, or in some cases, like we even know them at all.

I’m all for social media and using them to share great news and memorable moments or for using it as a platform to showcase work and talent, but what I don’t like, is that there are some people who take it way too serious and believe that if you haven’t posted it online, then it didn’t happen or it isn’t true. Then, there are people on the other end of the scale that just make up their own stories by piecing together their own puzzles from the content you do post.

If you know me, you’ll know I like to keep my personal life private. Some may think the way I like to keep my personal business private is a bit excessive, but that’s just my choice and I really couldn’t care what anyone else thinks, but being private has lead people to make assumptions of myself based on the posts on my Instagram. 

So if you follow me on Instagram or find yourself scrolling through my page, I politely ask one thing…

Please do not assume.

Please do not assume that I “think I’m nice”.

Please do not assume that my hair is a big ball of curliness everyday.

Please do not assume that I have a fairytale relationship.

Please do not assume that I am no longer with my partner if I delete any pictures of us or don’t post a picture of us together in a while.

Please do not assume that I “only like Black guys”

Please do not assume that I am a confident person.

Please do not assume that I personally know each and every person on my follower/following list.

Please do not assume that I have the time and patience (or even want) to do any creative work for free.

Please do not assume that I am always happy and smiling.

Please do not assume that I’m always made up and photo ready.

Please do not assume that I care about my follower to following count.

Please do not assume that I care about how many likes I get on my pictures.

Please direct message me @sweetnsawah on Instagram if there are any assumptions you would like to clear up.

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Fake Love vs. Real Love

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I don’t believe we choose who we fall in love with, nor do I believe we find love if we go in search of it. When you know, you just know, and when you’re in it, you’re so deep in it, that it requires great strength to get yourself out of it.

Learning to love others as well as learning to love myself was something I really struggled to grasp. I spent a lot of the time putting myself last and looking for acceptance from others. I wanted to be loved by somebody but had no idea how it felt to love myself. In order to love, we need to experience how it feels to be loved, we need to be shown first-hand what real love is, before being able to demonstrate love to others. The most disappointing part of experiencing love, is thinking we’ve found real love, to only realise it wasn’t real all along, but in fact it was just dishonesty, negativity, jealousy, aggression and criticism all covered up so well with what seemed to be love.

‘Fake love’ can be so misleading, just like how people can be so convincing. We may find that people will do the most to put on an act, in the hopes that it will impress us. Good looks, great sex, material things, sense of insecurity and fear of loneliness can make falling into ‘fake love’ even easier, and still months, maybe even years later, we find ourselves standing in front of a complete stranger, realising it is indeed everything love isn’t.

After dealing with my own experience of ‘fake love,’ I told myself not to get attached to another person for a long while. I just wasn’t ready, I needed some time to myself to find who I really was. I’m somebody who likes to invest a lot of time into the people I trust, so getting attached for me, is one of the worst things I can do. I get frustrated with the thought of wasting a lot of my time in the past, which then leads me to waste even more time in the future questioning the shoulda, woulda, coulda’s. It often takes me a while to tell myself the truth as I’m quite a stubborn person and hate to admit when I am wrong. After I eventually told myself the truth and admitted that I was in ‘fake love’, I became so uninterested in males because I had convinced myself that every single guy that would approach me had some sort of ulterior motive.

After being deceived, the thought of trusting another person enough to share our love with them again, can seem so discouraging. There’s nothing worse than having so much belief in someone, for us to only be let down. When close ones let us down, it puts us in a predicament of not wanting to trust people, and at the same time, not even wanting to trust ourselves when it comes to our own judgment. Learning to love and learning to love again are both bitter sweet lessons in life. A bad break up will always seem like happiness is so far away and the journey to becoming a better self is never ending, but great things happen to us when we least expect it, and staying optimistic allows incredible things to approach us, whilst at the same time, giving us a sense of hopefulness.

Some of us may be guilty of diving head first into something we’re not really ready for, especially when we meet somebody new (myself included). When I love, I love hard and through doing this, I’ve learnt that as much as love can fill us up with such amazing feelings, it can also empty us. Love is such an unpredictable force, that it has the power to elevate us to some of the highest points in our lives but also take us to some of our darkest places asking ourselves “how did we get here?”.

Love is the ingredient which makes human beings such beautiful souls. From the very first moment we bring our children into the world, we fill them up with huge amounts of love, with gestures such as kisses, cuddles, smiles and laughter. We teach them the signs of love from an early age so one day they can express their love for us in their own way. This carries on with us through to our adult life and we apply it to the people we meet and have a close connection with.

It’s an amazing feeling to look back at something we were once in and be able to piece together the missing parts from our puzzle. After waking up from being struck by ‘fake love’, I discovered so much about my true self and what I was looking for in a partner, everything that was once attractive to me turned out to be the complete opposite. Break ups are way more than just heartache and negative emotions, they are an opportunity to transform, to take a step back and reflect on the person we used to be, they are a gift which allows us to accept who we are and what we can offer to our future partner. We should not let our bad judgement from the past discourage us from falling for new people, without the experience of fake love, we may not be able to find the one who will accept as a whole, flaws and all.

Know your worth.

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Majority of the time the phrase ‘know your worth’ is referred to by women, in relation to how their partner(s) make them feel. It is so important for all of us to know our worth, whether we are male or female. Knowing our worth is vital when it comes to the decisions that we make in our life especially when it comes to choosing our friends, lovers/partners and careers.

Without even realising, a lot of us may find ourselves making decisions based on how we value ourselves. For instance, if somebody were to have very low self esteem, were unhappy inside or had a sense of loneliness, they may find that they will tolerate being treated badly by the person that they are in a relationship with a lot more than someone who is happy with themselves as a whole. Even when it comes to friendships, someone may find that they’ll stand for fake behaviour, disloyalty and/or bitchiness from the people they consider to be their ‘friends’. These are all more than enough reasons to make any normal person feel down. 

I started to grow tired of the direction in which I was heading at one point. I touched up on this briefly in my previous post but have decided to go into it in more depth here. All of a sudden, I got this urge that something(s) needed to change. One of the biggest things that helped me to pick myself up, was learning to let go. I let go of all negativity around me. This included a toxic relationship, toxic friendships and negative distractions. I’m somebody who doesn’t like change, so letting go has always been something that I would find difficult. Most of the time it was just because I was unsure of what it would be like to no longer have that person there. I would constantly ask myself “but, what if?” I guess this was just because I was afraid to one day regret leaving that person behind. These were all questions that were just distracting me from the truth. I had a really bad habit of keeping unnecessary people around. I would hang on to anything that I could, just so I could keep myself from letting go. I was a victim of the “hey stranger” and “long time” conversations, and would entertain them whenever they popped up. I wish I’d had known then, what a waste of a conversation it was about to be. Unfortunately, back then, it took me a lot longer to be able to recognise when somebody was being genuine or not. I’m SO thankful I woke up when I did, and I was able to shake off these bad habits, because letting go allowed me to make room for better things and it allowed me to get to know myself again.

There was a large part of my life where I didn’t know my worth, I didn’t love myself as a person nor was I the biggest fan of my looks. I always had a lot of doubt in myself and my insecurities would always get the better of me. I wouldn’t believe the compliments that people gave me, and would always act awkward after receiving them. At the time, I surrounded myself with people who didn’t tend to bring out the best in me and I didn’t even realise I didn’t know my worth. Over time, I learnt that the phrase ‘love yourself’ meant way more than actually being in love with the way that you look. Whilst transitioning into the person that I am now, (which I’m still nowhere near close to being the person I aim to be) I eventually began to understand how some people were so confident in themselves, yet not one bit obsessed with their appearance.

Once I became happy with who I was as a person, everything else became clearer, and I started to see things in a more positive light. I started to count my blessings a lot more and realised how grateful I am for everything that I have and the few people I have in my life. Not everybody is lucky enough to have good opportunities and genuine people fall into their lap, and I don’t consider myself to be one of those fortunate people. It has taken me a couple of set backs, lots of changes and a few sacrifices along the way in order for me to find my place of happiness, that I am at now.

When it comes to jobs, careers and education, I’m one to take a gamble. I hate feeling tied down to anything that isn’t what I want to do, wasting my time or doesn’t make me happy. I hate complaining about doing something, knowing full well, I have the power to change it.

I remember the first ‘proper’ job I got after I left university, It was non-degree related, but it was an office job (my first office job), and boy did I HATE it. It was customer service, I’ve always hated people so I don’t even know why I even wasted my time providing customers with my service lol. I would dread going into work and when I got there, I would just think about all the goals that I’ve set for myself. On non busy days, while I was waiting for calls to come in, I would scribble down ideas for my portfolio and doodle design ideas for potential project ideas I came up with. I lasted about 5 months at this place, (I knew within the first 3 weeks of being there, that I didn’t want to stay) before getting up and leaving. I stayed long enough to save sufficient funds to be comfortable enough to get up and leave. All because, I knew my worth! I knew I was way better than being spoken to like shit over the phone by such horrible, miserable people, who had no idea who I was. I didn’t even hand my notice in, I just told myself I would quit by a certain date, and thats exactly what I did. I knew I no longer wanted to be coming home so miserable over a job I didn’t even like. I knew this job wasn’t going to take me anywhere far and I knew I had way too much ambition to be working in a call centre. I knew I didn’t spend 4 years at university and however many years before that, in education, to waste my time stuck in an office, wishing I could do more with my time. I remember being so hesitant as I didn’t actually have a plan. I was complacent with the money I was receiving each week, and hadn’t actually found another job. I took full advantage of living with my parents, and used the time I wasn’t working to work on my portfolio and to also move in with my partner, which gave me the opportunity to finally be able to pursue my career as a Graphic Designer! The majority of us that work full time in this 9-5 world will find that we will spend most of our life at work, which is why we need to find something that makes us happy.

Taking chances in anything we do, will always seem daunting. The unknown can be off-putting for a lot of us, especially for someone like me. Although taking chances can lead to happiness, it is not always going to guarantee a great outcome first time round either, we need to prepare for setbacks. Along with high expectations, can come great disappointment, but we should not allow this to discourage us from setting ourselves big goals. Personally, I’m someone who would rather know that I am in control of my happiness, rather than feeling like my emotions are in somebody else’s hands. So with that being said – whenever my crown begins to fall, whether it is somebody else knocking it off or I am just not giving myself enough credit. I push it back on and remember that I’m doing just fine. I tell myself that the obstacles that I am facing are all because I refuse to settle for less, because I know my worth. I am protecting what’s mine, especially my sanity.

“Real friends, there’s not many of us, we smile at each other, but how many honest?”

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I’ve reached a point in my life where I am beginning to find myself. My beliefs, morals and my whole outlook on life have all changed. I no longer care about how many friends I have or what people think of me. I no longer care about social media statistics or my phone not blowing off. I no longer care about what people think of my make-up, hair or style. Everything I do these days, I do it for myself.

This is the most confident I have ever felt in my own skin. I feel like I can be my weird, crazy self around every person that I call ‘my friend’. It took me a while to get here, but with the right people around me, I’ve made it this far, and it feels so. Damn. Good.

Over the past few years I’ve left behind so many people (or got left behind), and it is honestly one of the best decisions I have ever made. This included ex’s, school friends, girls and guys I used to call ‘my best friend’ and people I once used to have so much love for. For me, it was like anything or anyone that was toxic or not benefiting me, had to go. I was so unaware of the negative energy surrounding me, that I didn’t understand why I was so mad at the world. I found myself doing things that were so out of character. It was things like starting arguments or picking fights with people that might have annoyed me unintentionally, but didn’t necessarily do anything wrong. It wasn’t until I let these people go that I began to feel better about my self and the direction in which I was heading. You can have all the friends in the world, but if these friends don’t make you feel good about yourself and motivate you to achieve your goals and dreams, what are they really doing for you? Time spent worrying about what your friends think of you or complaining and bitching about what they do or don’t do, is time well and truly wasted.

When it comes to friends, I feel like I’ve had them all. I’ve had so called ‘friends’ that would give me the worst advice because they didn’t care, ‘friends’ who were deep down envious of me, who would put me down, in person or behind my back. I’ve had ‘friends’ that wouldn’t want to stand up for me when being involved in any type of altercation, physical or verbal, but would be the first to run and tell everybody what just happened. I’ve had ‘friends’ that would pretend to care, but only wanted gossip, I’ve had ‘friends’ that have left me on my own in a nightclub or only wanted me to go out with them because I was ‘pretty’. I’ve had guys that have said they are my friend but low-key thinking of ways to put it on me. I’ve had ‘friends’ who would only speak to me when they needed something or when it suited them and I’ve had ‘friends’ who would think it’s funny to make racist remarks. These ‘friends’ that weren’t really my real friends literally sucked the energy right out of me. I found myself trying to keep up with these people whilst deep down, not being true to myself.

Growing up I’ve realised that friends aren’t as important as they once were to me when I was younger. It’s like as soon as you leave school, college and university – you’re in this big, mean world by yourself. Your friends choose different paths, move away to different countries or change their circle of friends, and you find yourself making new friends. It becomes a cycle throughout your whole life from changing jobs to moving houses to taking interests in different hobbies. I was told this a lot when I was younger, but it’s true, friends really do come and go, but real friends make it through with you despite the obstacles that may come in between you both.

I get called “anti” on a regular basis.  But I personally just feel like the people that call me ‘anti’ don’t know me as well as they think they do. If you follow me on Instagram you’ll probably notice frequent posts that scream out “I LIKE TO BE ALONE, I HATE PEOPLE!” lol. Let me just clear this up, this whole ‘I hate people’ phrase doesn’t actually mean I literally hate people. It just means that I simply cannot stand people who do not understand me or are not on my level. I have very little patience, therefore explaining to people why I think the way I do or do things the way I do, is a chore. Believe it or not, I actually really enjoy meeting new, genuine human beings, human beings that I can learn a thing or two from, that I can discover new places and explore with, human beings that I can have in-depth conversations with, about the World, life, religion, culture etc, I don’t want to hear about irrelevant people, Facebook, who’s come out of prison or who Thumbelina’s baby daddy is sleeping with. Count. Me. Out.

I am not the easiest of people to deal with, especially when things don’t go my way or if I have a lot going on. But I am thankful for the very few that have made it this far with me, and are continuing to join me on this journey of finding myself. To them I have probably changed a huge amount, some for the better, others for the worst. But who cares…

I am happy.