You’re not going to be 100% all the time

Over-emphasis on productivity can be toxic. An excess of anything is toxic. It’s important to not overextend yourself. No one is functioning at 100% all the time.

Mike Tyson once said, “Everyone has a plan until somebody punches you in the face.” It is impossible to plan for every outcome, so it’s better to be realistic and have some wiggle room in your daily plans.

We all have bad days, but bad days don’t last. Good days always come around.

It doesn’t matter if you’re sick, injured or having a personal crisis. Better days always come around.

It’s possible to find good moments in the bad days. Use the days to take care of yourself. You won’t always want to if you’re feeling crappy about yourself, but chances are you have people who care about you. If you’re not able to do it for yourself, do it for them. Take time to rest and recover. Recognise your accomplishments. Reflect on what you need to do to reach your next goal.

Sometimes in order to keep going you must stop and take a moment to get your bearings. Life isn’t all about moving at breakneck pace to accomplish goals. It’s imperative that you take a step back. If you’re not feeling okay today, you should only do what you have the energy to do – and do the things that are the most urgent.

Get better, gather your strength and move forward. A better day is on its way.

I Don’t Want a Job Anymore

I have a confession to make. I don’t want a job anymore.

Let me explain.

I’ve had jobs before. I worked my ass off in these jobs. I get satisfaction from doing a hard day’s work, even if it’s not the job I want.

I’ve been unemployed for over six months now. It feels a lot longer than six months. While I’ve been grateful for having this time to work on myself and improve my mental and physical health — I feel ultimately lost.

I’m not annoyed at the lack of response from employers anymore. I used to be, but now I’m just apathetic. I’ve got to this point where I can only spend half an hour each day searching and applying for work. Whenever I apply for jobs, existential stress floods my nervous system to the point that even the smallest error in an application makes me want to throw my laptop across the room. I’m no longer surprised when I see another rejection email in my inbox. At least they took a whole 2 minutes to write an email to let me down easy.

When I talk about existential stress, it’s more like my soul is crying out ‘Stop it! Why are you doing this to yourself?!’ whenever I apply for a job. I listen to that voice but apply for jobs anyway. Why? It’s what my family want, its what society wants and if I don’t do it, then I don’t get that welfare payment every month that allows me to buy the things I need to stay sane in my current position.

I’ve spent a large chunk of my life so far living for others and doing things that I think people want from me. I’ve spent the last year and a half cultivating a disciplined life and a better mental state after my breakdown. It’s not enough, though. I’ve helped myself to a point where I can help others and do some good in society. I don’t think my role in society is a typical 9–5 one.

Everyone has a part to play in our society, and it’s more than our job title.I used to think that I was worthless without a job, but I know that’s wrong. When I say I don’t want a job, I don’t want a job to take away the time that I’ve spent working on my writing and my art. I want these things as a job. I want to go freelance. It’s something I’ve thought about for a while now, and I’ve been afraid of being successful in my passions. Now that I’ve written it down I’m not so afraid anymore. I think I can do this!

Written by Miss Wren

Celebrating the Little Victories

Image by author

Today has been tough but rewarding.

It’s good to finally have created an illustration just for this article!

I thought about writing a full-length article, but that can wait for another day!

I’ve been nervous about posting my own art online for the last few weeks. Whilst I’ve been sketching in my sketchbook most days, I had lost my confidence to actually post anything.

I didn’t believe that my art was any good.

Not thinking your skill is good enough to be shared stops many people from progressing in that skill. It doesn’t matter if you draw, write or play an instrument. It’s prevalent in all creative pursuits. When you demonstrate your skill to the wider world, we expose ourselves to rejection, criticism, and ridicule.

It’s not easy to overcome.

So every time you do share a song you’ve made, a sketch you’ve done or a poem you’ve written, give yourself a pat on the back! Treat yourself! Quite often the anticipation of showing someone your work is worse than the act.

The only way you can overcome your fear is to keep sharing the stuff you make. The more you do it, the less scary it becomes. That’s not to say that the fear completely goes away — your mind is just able to handle it better. I’m less nervous about sharing my writing than I am with my art.

Creativity is an expression of the human soul. We are vulnerable when we show our talents to the public. It’s okay to be a little scared. Most other artists understand this and tend to avoid being too critical of other artists in the same field. We’re all in the same boat.

So I’m giving myself a pat on the back for sharing this illustration! I hope to do more illustrations for articles in the near future!

Written by Miss Wren

An open letter to the awkward – from an awkward person

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It’s okay to be awkward, it’s okay to be different. I’m awkward too.

Sometimes it’s a defence mechanism, protecting you from saying the wrong thing at the wrong time.

Sometimes you might not have a lot to say. Maybe you’re thinking hard on things.

Maybe you just want to be left alone.

While awkwardness doesn’t mean that you don’t have friends, you may find it hard to interact with them if you have them. You may feel like you’re being judged, but if they’re really your friends, they won’t mind if you show a little of your awkwardness. Try not to worry too much about it.

Maybe we’re not as good at talking, writing or expressing ourselves, but our thoughts and opinions are as valid as anyone else’s.

Our opinions might be a little out there. They might be a little unconventional. We may just blurt them out without thinking. Sometimes we can be a bit thoughtless.

We may be dreamers that don’t interact with the world that well. We may struggle with mundane tasks. The only way I can remember to do chores is if I put reminders on my phone.

We might like things a certain way, and don’t like our stuff moved. We may be protective of our belongings. We may have a lot of boundaries to protect our more vulnerable selves.

We might be quiet around new people. We’re not comfortable jumping into conversation and many of us aren’t great conversation starters, either. That doesn’t mean we don’t like new people, we just need time to make up our minds if a new person is friendship material.

Some of us may have a mental health issue that can make life a bit more difficult. Some of us may have a learning disability. Some of us have difficulties with past traumas and have specific triggers that people may have to know in advance before interacting with us.

I know I’m difficult. I know I’m awkward. My blank expression and monotone voice don’t mean that I’m incapable of feeling (even though it might seem that way). I’m human. You can still hurt me. My lack of enthusiasm in conversation is a default setting until I’m sure of how to react in an exchange. Sometimes the topic just bores me, and I have nothing to say. I try not to be an asshole. If I’ve been an asshole to you, then I’m sorry. I’ll try and be better.

I’m not speaking to every awkward person out there. I’m not an awkwardness ambassador. Your experiences may be very different from mine, and I’m writing this because all the above has happened to me and maybe you can relate.

It doesn’t matter if you describe yourself as awkward, or eccentric, or difficult. We are all human. You are no better or no worse than anyone else. We’re all in this together.