Note to self:


Make lists. Always make lists. Make lists for the things that bring you joy, for planning a punctual trip, for the amount of dogs you've spotted that day, for the foods you love, for the books you aim to the read, the places you want to go, for the hearts you've stolen, for all the things you need (and want!) to do – and make them work for you.

Celebrate small successes. Hey look, you did something! And that 'something' might be considered minor, but on your terms, it's an accomplishment merit yourself that. Before you did it, the very thought of executing it was petrifying. But you managed to talk to that stranger, and he even laughed at your corny joke. You managed to make it to your final kilometre. You managed to make dinner, and it didn't burn (and hey, it tastes quite nice actually). You managed to get that question right this time, after multiple tries. You managed to do a killer job at that explanation! You managed to get it through another whole day, without lashing out at yourself once.
Do not forget your worst days, for they will exalt your best. You'll be happy you hung on, so you could catch that sunset, find that jacket at the opshop, see those gradual improvements of hers, feel the sun caressing your face, laugh until you felt giddy, sample the ware from that ridiculously good fusion restaurant (you'd been meaning to try for ages now), and be able to kiss them goodnight. You're here, and that's what matters. You are not impeded by the force of any passing second; you are redeemed by the will of your following moments, for all the hell you may have endured.

Keep doing what makes you tick. You know what you love to do. Whether it's stamp collecting, having a mad yoga sesh, making short films, writing lyrics or even (dare I say it) working out. And sometimes, you put that shit off. But please, a word of advice: don't. You deserve to be doing what you love  even if that's just confined within your sparse free time. You have this incredible power to lose yourself in something you deem to be so mesmerizing, so lucrative, so much so you should utilise it to the very best of your ability. You can make yourself happy, by paying homage to you.

Take a masterclass in the art of the eyebrow. Please. (I'm thinking post-ATAR.)


P.S. stock photo of me admiring a pizza slice, thanks to Vicky

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Forthright #2 // Katie.


  Meet Katie.

  She's a breath of fresh air, a sprig of mint. She's a true friend who keeps me afloat, and teaches me that (as much as it is an unpredictable looming cloud) life really can be a beach. I can say upfront that I have never met anyone more empathetic. She's a vessel of hope and inspiration to me, just as she is to many others in her life. She's also the equivalent to a comforting cup of tea; every time we talk, our liveliness and love just brews. It's a wholesome kind of love. Just as she accepts me whole and helps me strive for the better, I aim to be as much of a guiding light for her as she is to me. Funnily enough, our friendship bloomed as a result of connecting over mutual experiences with toxic friendships. And shortly after, we began our sisterhood with a string of Nandos runs. Who would've known?
  Poetic and beautiful as can be, she has an unmatchable flair. She proves that blondies really do have more fun. She's that aunt that visits every now and then, leaving her loved ones in awe, as she recounts her opulent adventures all across the globe. As I've been not been in my element this year, she encourages me to write, because she knows that's where I feel at home (besides being with her). She's one of the many reasons to stay alive; she's just that wonderful of a human being. I know this interview has been too long-overdue, but that doesn't take away from the undismissable magic of her words – all straight from the heart.


GETTING TO KNOW YOU

Tell us something most people wouldn't know about you. Oh goodness, I'm a fairly open person so most people would probably know most things. Hmm, I'm probably not as open with my faith as I could be, so people might not know that I'm a Christian. That's a big part of me, so there's that.
I'man open book; personally, I don't even think that's a bad thing. As a result most people get to know me fairly easily. But I have noticed lately I've been a bit more closed off  most people don't know my 'inner' conflicts  as you know, there are things that you prefer people to not be aware of. Not even because they're that bad, but because it's not necessary (for people to know) all the time.

What is most important to you? Definitely relationships. Between me and my friends, and my friend. and my other friends as well... me and my family  which makes it a bit of a struggle, with school and stuff, because that's not really a place to properly nurture relationships. And neither is making money actually, most of time. These relationships of mine tend to get prioritized in my life rather than other things like school.

What's your ultimate strength, and underlying weakness? My ultimate strength is being able to find the best in others. It's very hard for me to stop loving people, because even though people can be kind of shit sometimes  not that I tend to take that stance  I'm always coming round to the fact that 'Yeah but they have this uplifting quality'. And so I find that's an immense strength, since I find it easier to love people most of the time.
My underlying weakness is self-doubt, 'cause as much as I love relationships being really self-deprecating can damage that, especially  when both of you don't feel very sure of yourselves. Relationships aren't about co-dependence so much as intertwined independence. And for me, I sometimes need people to assert me and that's not necessarily the best trait, so yeah, self-doubt is a weakness of mine.

'Don't blame the time on your wrist for not doing what makes you tick' (Swim Deep)  agree or disagree?  Like I've said many a time, I believe that 'if you want to, you will' and time isn't going to stop you, in my opinion. If you have a true passion you'll give it the time it needs to develop and grow, and not to be offensive, but if you aren't prepared to give it time how passionate are you about it truly?

'I didn't know I was broken till I wanted to change' - Bleachers  Self-improvement is my ultimate goal in life, and I try and be a go-getter in terms of that. So lots of goals, and lots of self-reflection. But I think that we're all broken, and in times of change do we really notice it the most. 'Cause all of a sudden you're like 'There all these things that need to be fixed'. And they don't necessarily need to be fixed so much as accepted.

'There's an art to life's distractions, to somehow escape the burning weight' - Hozier  I'm so easily distracted and have zero concentration but as a wise woman once said, being distracted is what keeps us alive. If we didn't notice the car in the corner of our eye and stepped out onto the road we'd be dead. It's just important to make what you are distracted by matter. Procrastination for example can be terrible, think Facebook scrolling or Reddit, etc, but it can also be terribly productive, for me it's poetry and reading, or tidying my room and calling friends.

'Were you lonely looking for yourself out there?' - Train  The only answer I have to this is 'Yes, always.'
What do your faith and vision encompass? My faith is very similar to my vision. For me, I believe in an eternity. My goal for my life is to almost, earn that eternity; to make my life worthwhile, and make it count for eternity. So that encompasses encouraging others in their faith, encouraging others to faith, and so forth. That can be really challenging and I never really feel competent enough. That's where prayer comes in for me. I do believe in a higher power. That gives me a lot of hope in my life as well, 'cause I feel like there is always a purpose. Even if I don't know what that purpose is at that moment, I know that I'm where I'm supposed to be  as hard as that can be to accept at times.



THEME ONE // POETRY & BOOKS

How do you think words influence the world, you and/or others around you? This is one of my favourite things. I believe that words carry a lot of weight  as a poet, I would of course be inclined to say that, beause it makes what I do seem meaningful? *laughs* But yeah, I do believe everyone has a story to tell, and my ultimate life goal is to not only tell my story but encourage other people to tell their stories. Words can be so powerful, and so releasing as well as relieving  to have someone listen to your story and share in your joy  that's just like, doing life together, which is really important. Also I think that great change can be made with words. All of the greatest speakers have encouraged people and uplifted and provoked change not only through their actions, but through words. Language is just  ohmygosh  I'm freaking out right now.

Who is/are your favourite poet(s)/author(s), and why do they carry meaning for you?
Okay, I love Harry Baker, just because he's hilarious and British and he raps well. His Spitting It Darker sequence is one of the greatest of all time in my life. When I watched that, I was like 'oh my gosh, yes. Rappers!' I also love Sarah Kay; she writes a lot of great poetry. Hmmm, who else do I like...

I really like Ray Bradbury. The reason I like him is because he makes really great, profound statements with what he writes, and his pieces are mostly science fiction which is really unique. I find that really encouraging.

And, I mean, I just love beautiful writers; so people who write really beautifully. Cormac McCarthy, I really like his style - even though The Road is the most nihilistic, saddest, bleakest book ever. I just really like the beauty in his writing.
And C.S. Lewis - holy shit. Like, C.S. Lewis is the goals. He just writes with this kind of 'shimmer' (inside joke) - and you think I say that ironically, but when I think of 'shimmer', I think of him. It just has this kind of magical quality. I guess because it isn't a very fictional world that he's created, it has such parallels which is really powerful.

I also adore Anis Mojgani and I'll leave a link to one of his features (here!) because he is my ultimate inspiration. I even emailed him and he emailed back kids! A famous person! Got in contact with yours truly! I had a whole night of writing in a similar style to him and it's some of my favourite work so far. I really struggle to enjoy my own poetry but there's just something about pulling off a near perfect rhythm or half rhyme that makes me a bit smug.

Then there's Today Means Amen by Sierra DeMulder. She talks about how each moment has worth, and that's really my current mantra. That, every moment has had to build up to this current moment, and therefore, this moment is really important.

To view some of Katie's original poetry, CLICK HERE

Being able to string words together is a beautiful privilege. When you write, is it a process of internal collectivity or sheer impulse? Mine tend to be very impulsive; I have ideas and if I don't have a pen with me, (I'm super lazy so) I don't get to jot them down. I have so many poems  potential poems  that I could write, but because I didn't have the pen in my hand at the point, it was kind of like 'Ha ha, I shall save that for later', and what do you know, later never comes. So, mine mostly come out of experiences, or immediate feelings, whilst lots of them come from relationships as well, or beauty in nature. So you could say the distance between my brain and paper is almost nothing at all. They have very little flow, very little actual thought process  it's really more just about getting the feeling(s) down onto the page.


THEME TWO // SELF & OTHERS

What are the utmost quintessential qualities in a friend  that you seek in others and yourself? For me, it's being able to hold conversation, because I love words  and I love people who really have a zest for life. By that I mean they're observing, seeking revelation and all that. I love people who are into adventure as well. I'm the kind of gal who would get up at sunrise and go to the beach (you know, lots of my adventures involve beach time)  and yeah, I'm happy to go hiking! So the bottom line: people who like adventure I guess, and those who love life.

Are you at peace when you are alone or with company? How does one achieve the balance? I have a lot of trouble being at peace alone, 'cause self-doubt can lead to self-loathing, so I'm trying to make peace with myself and be like, 'I'm going to live with myself my whole life. Get over it!' I'm slowly finding that as I'm discovering more things that I enjoy, which just involves 'me time'. For example, binging poetry, and writing it as well  and reading, more and more. But I'm so much more at peace in company. Like, I'm happy to be myself in company (most of the time) so even if I'm not having a great day, I'll just sit there and absorb everyone's energy.
What is the best thing you have ever done for yourself? Hmm... See a psychologist. Seeing a psych  not necessarily to even 'fix' myself  to just acknowledge that you have a self, if that makes sense? Our inner being is important. Mental health is actually important, as cliché as it sounds, but it should be looked after. It's honestly made a lot of my relationships stronger. It's aided my understanding of people as well as helped me understand myself more. There's a quote in the Bible, actually, something along the lines of: I go through this, therefore I will be able to empathize with someone else. And that's my ultimate philosophy. In essence, going and seeing a psychologist has really helped me understand how to help others better.

Where would you like to be years from now? I would like to be contributing. Annnd I would probably like to be in another country, or another city – I'd like to travel a lot more  and I'd probably like to have a significant other. That would be nice.
But yeah, I have lots of significant others! I'm into that polygamy life. (I am one of her many loves, I can attest to that)

What is your ultimate hope for the future? Mine is probably a) to contribute, and b) to make others feel like they're worthy. I feel like everyone has their place in the world, and if they weren't here, it truly wouldn't be the same.


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The truth about having a rescue dog.


  Once when I was about six years old, I came home to an Australian silky terrier we were to name Scruffy. My Mum had found him ambling along the road, and he subsequently decided to follow her. He had no collar, or microchip, and had clearly been stray for days (even weeks). Henceforth my mother made the decision to introduce the first-ever dog to her own family. His stay with us was short-lived, due to complications, but nonetheless he gave us the most remarkable experience. Years later we went on to have Ruby the beagle, and Sandy the American cocker spaniel  both of whom had made their lasting impression.

  The sad truth is, millions of incredible dogs are left without a home, or find themselves subjected to improper treatment. (The latter which I find to be absolutely infuriating.) Dogs are the most beautiful creatures; ask anyone and you're likely to receive a consensus. So, to commemorate the very existence of canines, as well as the five months since Honey's adoption, it's about time I got gushy.
  Rescued by the RSPCA late last year, 2-year-old Honey was heavily pregnant and soon gave birth to seven gorgeous puppies. (Yep, that's right: a puppy having her own pups.) One by one they were adopted, leaving Honey for last. It was around January that Mum had considered getting another dog, so she started looking around. Upon my suggestion, we took to looking for dogs at the RSPCA. And so our search ensued, and ended promptly. The RSPCA had done such a fantastic job looking after Honey in the meantime. Just meeting her had my Mum convinced. As a mother herself, she fell in love with Honey's spirit and beautiful character (and vice versa!). I met her the day after, and never before had I encountered a Staffy x Kelpie cross. She was – and still is  stunning. We just knew we couldn't wait any longer to have her. 

  On the way back home, Mum sat in the backseat and held her quivering body. She had calmed down and for that entire week, I just could not leave her alone. She was a dream come true. She lived up to being as sweet as her name suggests, and in no time she became increasingly confident, exploring her new environment without fear.

  Yet, it is unknown what sort of trauma befell her, and quite frankly, it's the most excruciating thing to even imagine. No dog deserves abuse, nor neglect. Sometimes I'll still see her tremble in her dreams. She'll even bark, in muted horror. At times the only thing I can see is a past that's unerasable.

  Till this day her title as our little-but-not-so-little heart-stealer remains. With us, it's effortless. She's more than just a dog. She's an angel. Not once has she showed us a single speck of spite, but rather just, well, unconditional love. She's super affectionate, and fancies herself as a bit of a lapdog. She makes a great alarm clock every morning, too. (Did I mention she loves her baths?)

  She's not only intelligent and inquisitive (you'd best bet she's one heck of a sniffing detective), but she also has the most charming personality. She's a big fan of cuddling, as well as showering us with licks. She loves running marathons in our backyard, digging up holes, and discovering new toys she's never seen before. She knows when we're leaving, or when she wants to go for a walk, and she'll groan in intervals indicating her sentiments. Truly, yes, we do communicate! She really listens to us, is good to us, even if she is a bit playful or attached. Yet there's no doubt she's insanely protective, too.

   Why so? The simply answer being: she's lost trust in others. And for some reason I am still racking my brain for she had managed to open her heart to us so quickly, and not once has it faltered. Sadly, she is the most insecure girl I have met. Nothing comforts her more than our company. Her anxiety has been a prime issue, particularly the first couple of months after we adopted her. It wouldn't be right, of course, to not mention the days where we had our doubts and off-days. Socialising her is a risky task, and previous attempts have ended in major distress, as well as lots of tears on our end. We know it's not her fault, as she is a dog, and she's not brave enough to see beyond the worst of her experiences.

  Despite her still not being particularly friendly upon the introduction of strangers, we've been working on it patiently and have since made leaps and bounds. When she does eventually come round to someone, she's back to herself!










  Though we do we have the responsibility of making sure awry incidents don't occur again, she's certainly proven herself. She's given us hope, every single time she accepts one of our friends, or lets the neighbour at the corner of the street pet her.  Her approach to humans and calmness during walks has improved tremendously. I get so excited to see her thrive, and the best part of the day? Coming home to an excited Honey.

  I love her with all my heart, (and not just for the fact that we'd let her into our lives on Valentine's day, but purely) due to our undeniable bond. I've never met a dog like her, and in all respects she is certainly the most unique. She's really not just a pet, but a valuable member of our family.

  You see, having a rescue dog isn't just about giving them a second chance. It's about being willing to give them many more, with the right love they deserve. It's about making a commitment  to a sentient being that is so incredulously willing to dedicate themselves to you.

  Right now? She's being the puppy she was never allowed to be  and there is nothing more that makes my heart sing. Of course there is the innate fear with new situations: but we're all in it together. I can't imagine a life now without her; she adds so much colour to our lives. She's also unknowingly strengthened the bond between my Mum and I, which is absolutely priceless. In some ways, change brings on the most cherished of times.

  For both her, and us.

  If you're looking to get a dog, don't be scared to visit a shelter and meet the lovely dogs you'll find there, who are all in dire need of adoption. Don't be quick to judge, especially if it's based on breed, or put dogs from breeders on a pedestal, for you might find your canine best friend (or other types of pets) waiting for you  and for their second chance at life.

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Meet in the middle.

Without the fall of light, there would be no beautiful sunsets, nor the visible passing of time to praise.

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A huge shoutout to my readers who acknowledge my efforts, and continue to spur me on. I can't thank you enough! The words I receive in turn are so heartwarming. To have come so far from a homemade blog back in 2011, to know that I have reached out to others - it fills me with mirth; say, a cause for my existence. I hope you enjoy paging through this blog, as much as I find repose from pouring myself into it. And don't be shy, I'd really like to hear from you!
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