The beauty of failure

Hey all,

There is a thing I have been thinking about a lot recently and the clue is in the title so this should not be a surprise but it’s the idea of failure. Failure can resemble certain people, significant events, targets, anything. Whatever it resembles to you, failure should not be feared. It is as inevitable as the next breathe you take (and now become hyper aware of). I feel that as a whole, the majority of people I know, fear failure for the fact that they perceive the outlook others will have on them and because of the deskilling factor it plays. But when you look deeper, I don’t remember constant success growing development and resilience. It is within the failure that we learnt the lessons that form our values and our identity. The ethical guidelines that we internally adhere to become the cornerstones of your identity, both professional and personally. And it is within these failures, do you realise what we desire the most. The things that we are willing to let life kick the crap out of us for day after day. Success is great, but failure is damn right beautiful.

This made me think about the failure as an event. If it is as inevitable as I think it is, then it is actually the event more than the emotion. Why? Because everyone will experience failure in their life, that will happen. If you haven’t yet, brace yourself. Someone may fail to meet you, you will fail a job interview, your jeans will rip. These are all examples of failure. But those are all not individualised and you cannot change the presence of these failures when they come. But what is different is the emotion that it provoke. The emotion that you choose to react with is what we do have control over. The thinking between the failure is also your responsibility. So what I am saying is that if you know you cannot change the event (failure), then it’s the thoughts and behaviours that we associate with that are our responsible and so our the consequence that follow those behaviours. If you fail and then you self destruct then you are responsible for the aftermath. The red button will only activate when you push it. I think what I ask myself all the time is what is I never pushed the red button again? What would happen to me? I think it’s time to re-evaluate my own rule book.

Despite this spontaneous re-evaluation, I still choose not to be afraid of failure. I like the growth that parallels failure’s presence in my life. I do one thing that scares me everyday and sometimes hope that I fail. I learn the rules better than way. I learn where I can push the boundaries and where I stand with people. Apologises are not hard to come be with me around and I would much rather ask for forgiveness than permission. To failure is to ultimately succeed. You cut your hair often to make it grow, and the more your fail is the more you learn. I don’t learn through my successes. That’s a reinforcement of what I already know what things I am good at. Why do we as humans think that we must be perfect? That we will get it right without practice? Is everyday we walk this earth another practice day? And when you fail, who’s standards are you failing by? If the answer is not your own, stop whatever you are doing and look in the mirror. You should always and only set your own bar. You do not owe anyone anything.

Screw the others I say. Fail gloriously and as often as you can. The beauty of failure will forever outweigh the dizzying unsteadying heights of success. Your platform will be more stable with deeper roots and a familiar face. Someone said to me once, “don’t judge someone by the successes under their belt, but their reactions to the failures they experience”. I finally get it, I finally see the honesty in that. Failure hurts in the moment you experience it. I don’t love those moments. But what I do love if the thought I have directly after it. The “I am never wanting to experience that again” and the “what can I learn from that?” That’s where the success happens. That’s where my identity is taking shape from. Bruises are only so deep but values run to the core. Failure makes me build myself from the inside out.

Today, I failed, I failed little and often. But I learnt things by doing it. I learnt that I do really value my space. My me time is my favourite time. I realise I give myself to a lot of people, and I don’t want to change that. Maybe I just realise that that requires me to take more time hiding away. A lesson can only be learnt when thought about and reflected upon. So here I am, thinking about it.

Time for sleep,

Ivy xx

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Hail to the victor

Evening all,

What a week this has been. The highs were Sam Smith – he was incredible, great company, great music, and I saw an overwhelming support for the LGBT community. It blew my mind to see a proud gay man receive love from a sea of faceless fans. Then I went to some work related events and then, the best part…. coming home.

I love coming home. I love getting into my bed, having both sides to myself, having the duvets to hog, having my lights and candles on, having time to let it all go and be me. It’s when the makeup is removed, the door is closed, and the world is shut out, is when I feel most authentically myself. It’s not that the world doesn’t get to see me, it does, it’s just it’s these times that I don’t have to share me, I get time all to myself. No demands, no emotional knife fights, no hawks circling ahead. It’s just my feelings, my own emptiness. I like emptiness, it is ever eager to tub-thump it’s way into me. Despite the universal connotation that emptiness is solely negative in experience, I feel the positive and the quiet it brings to my life. The empty is to be vacant or unoccupied, to be without a load or cargo. Is that not a majestic feeling? How can that be a bad thing? This feeling is Christmas for the women with a million and one thoughts a second. For the women that needs to know “what it all means”. For the women that gives all to everything I do. To be empty, to be null and void is what I strive for every day. It means I did well, it’s my “job well done” feeling. The you did good kid. It’s the moment I put my sword down and celebrate victory. I made it home, I made it back to me.

My jewellery says a lot about me. I have two necklaces that I wear every day. One necklace is a mountain range in a circle. I wear this because I lost and, more importantly, what I found. I found myself on that fateful mountain. The mountain cleared up my scars and made me realise how beautiful I am and my life is. I will never forgot what I found up there. My other necklace says one word:

Querencia (n):

Pronunciation: kɛˈrɛnsɪə

A place from which one’s strength is drawn, where one feels at home; place where you are your most authentic self

I got this from an amazing company that I have followed and wanted a piece of their collection for years – Speechlust. They put the word ikigai on a necklace, they put several words – meaningful words onto necklaces. Anyways I spent a considerable amount of time (months) on this choice because I wanted to make sure I had the right word. Why I love this querencia so much is not just between of the definition. That is simply beautiful in itself but is the deeper meaning behind the word. It’s a Spanish metaphysical concept. The origin of this word comes from the verb “querer” which means “to desire”. But what is really interesting is that in Spanish this word means “to haunt somebody” however when in English, it means “to be safe”. This discordance is something that I resonate with on such a deep level. I use to be haunted by my experiences, my mistakes, my own self destructive behavior that have left some fathomless scars. I haunted myself for far too long and to be honest, I didn’t care to find a home. I didn’t care about what I put myself though. I floated through life without a care for a consequence and although I didn’t do any permanent damage to myself – I will never forgot the hurt I caused, the mistakes I made and the people I have lost along the way. Then I woke up on a mountain, broken, alone, scared and fearful that my life as I knew it was over. Slowly but surely, I started again. When I was learning to walk again without my brace, I learnt how to be human again. I began to feel the reality of life. I let go of my hurts and patiently healed my open wounds. In terms of querencia, I felt like I was learning to speak English, I learnt who I was, who I wasn’t, who I wanted to be, and how to be that person. I learnt to be safe to myself. I found my home. Crap, I actually wanted a home. So when I get home now and I feel empty, when I make it home, I celebrate because this is for me. This is for all of the things that I found when I stopped being my own ghost. When I stopped saying it’s not okay to be the authentic Ivy, don’t be that person. When I stopped all that, I found my home, my safe place, I found me. The strength this place gives me makes me wish I found it years ago, question why I ever let it go but glad to be back.

So celebrate your victories, find what makes your feel most strong, your home and be you.

Ivy xx

Smoking it

Good morning all,

The coach has just left the station and away I go. London is calling again, she missed me and wanted to catch up (and apparently a phone call won’t suffice).

What will the capital bring to me this time? What tickles my fancy? The cobbled street of Covent Gardens where raw talent is found in abundance and the sun always seems to shine? The culinary demises of Borough Market where I always wonder why my food never turns out this good? The eclectic delight of Camden Market where the price are always good and we hold out for all things beautiful and loud? Or do the squares draw my love for people watching out of the closet again? Where I can grab a cup a coffee and my notebook and watch life being lived around me? God I love London. Never bored, never too tired of seeing all she has to offer me. In exchange I promised to visit more regularly. So here I am fulfilled my promise. I found my cosiest jumper and jeans, my hat is at hand, notebook, too few a books (only brought three!), tickets to see Sam Smith, and a need to reboot.

Recently things have been messy this end. I started to see my “areas of improvement” take over and I’ve been, well, stopped in my tracks. I just sat and seen the effects of the chisel. I briefly let the chips occur, I let the world take its pieces, I stopped fighting. I didn’t feel like me at all. I have never just rolled over and played dead. I don’t do being dead well. Doesn’t mean I do living well either but that’s a development point from these last few weeks. It’s finally time to hit refresh with intention this time. Be the change Ivy, be the change you are living so copiously to see.

In light of this, think I am going to back to my roots today. It’s time to feel my second skin again, rebuild the protective shield. What better way to take time out then lose myself in a sea of people and didn’t even need to pack my invisibility cloak. Coffee and Leicester Square seem to be pulling at me trouser leg. I want to watch how others are doing it, gather some tips, amend some rules in my own head. Remove some old thoughts that I will not be needing anymore.

Lesson truly learnt,

Ivy xx

Silence is golden

Good midnight all,

It’s half past one in the morning and the world is sleeping. It may not be evident by my quality of writing but I am indeed awake. So awake that I cooked (warmed) some poptarts up and have been sitting in bed thinking about my life. Why does my brain feel it appropriate to switch up the gears now? Was it the coffee? Was it the over played repeats of past interactions? Is it the worried of what is yet to come? Maybe it’s the poptarts? It’s chocolate by the way.

They say silence is golden, but why does it feel so deafening tonight? Why do my thoughts play me for the fool today? This is not okay, I keep telling myself to stop thinking but I can’t. As I type to possibly incoherent post, a part of me realises that I don’t think I want to stop thinking. I have taken comfort in my own thoughts for years. I have retreated to be place, my rabbit hole for years and years. My relationships have previously taken me away but they always end and I retreat to hibernate. I hibernate until I am ready for the world to see me again. Until I feel strong and brave enough to be seen again. Tonight I reached out to the world, already knowing it wasn’t vibing with me, only to be matched with my expectation, to get a wall of silence. I felt the coldness of the moon and all of the lights went off. I have left myself outside alone but I’m holding the keys. I see the warmth of my bed, the duvet and my pillows and my fart lights sparkling at me. Oh it’s such an inviting scene. But I am still standing in the doorway waiting for something. What am I waiting for?

1:48 on the clock now and my thoughts are so fast and furious. I hear the gentle busy of a distance world outside of my walls. The rare light passing my window. I wonder what is keeping you up sir or madam? Are you driving to see a loved one? Are you going home from work to an empty home with a unsympathetic cat who wants feeding? Are you wide awake like me driving to figure it all out? Do you stop and see my light and wonder the same about me? Well let me be the mythoclast and tell you that I am just a wandering soul looking for a cup of coffee and an ear to bend. I am looking for myself in amongst the visible. If you saw you, you wouldn’t miss me but I’m not easy to spot. It’s like the hardest game of Where’s Waldo you will ever play. That’s simply my anecdata of my own situation but I ironically feel it is spot on. But anyways, I’m up. I’m awake, I’m verbally wandering the street, driving stolen cars and causing havoc on my own virtual city. I am doing all this without leaving the bed, and wow it’s a miracle – you really can be in two places at once. It’s like my thoughts have been my feet and I have walked for miles and suddenly realised how far I am from home. I didn’t think to stop, turn around, do a lap. In this moment, Forrester Gump popped into my head. You know when he has been running and running and then he just stops. That’s me, right now. I have stopped. I have stopped running and I have turned around to face the followers, the world, the miles travelled. I am looking but just don’t see it yet. I need to stop looking so hard, so deeply, so frantically. I need to merely observe, to stand and observe what I have achieved and not what I have still to travel. Changing direction hurts but it’s then changes you. I want to be the change I seek. I want to see the beauty in myself every damn day, not just the really great days.

So, I am buying a bike in the morning (or this week), and I am going to change the transportation. I never liked running anyways. I want to ride a pretty bike with a basket and a bell and a leather seat. I want to see the distance back in a new light, at a new speed, at a different pace. I’m crapping my pants but I am heading home. The bed is calling and I want to dream. I want to be my dreams one day. I want to say “holy crap, this is my life” and really mean it. Really feel it. This transformation isn’t going to be beautifully done. It’s going to be bunny hopped and gasping. It’s going to be the “will she, won’t she?” story! Let’s find a daisy and pluck out each petals one at a time and place our bets and who will win, just like when we were children. Will she? Will she not. Will she? While she not?

Guess what, I will,

Ivy xx

The coffee pot

Afternoon all,

First thing is always first, this week has been hard. I don’t really know why but I have self-sabotaged myself more than usual. Maybe I have felt myself doing too well, feeling too good about myself, maybe reality is about to hit me in the face. I’m just not sure. But to be honest I haven’t wanted to delve too deeply into my thoughts, I haven’t wanted to see what really might be there. That I feel like I have such a long way to go. I don’t want the magic wand yet, I don’t even want an easy road. I just feel exhausted. Fighting urges the whole time and self-striving is hard work. It’s constant and tiring. So I gave up on myself this week a little, no, I think that’s not fair on myself, I just took my foot off the accelerator this week. I thought I was ready for autopilot and I realise I am no where near. I’m not ready for that.

So after tears and mascara stained cheeks, I stopped, I stopped my self pity this morning. I stopped my vicious self-destruction circle. I stopped being the cause, the red button, the just because’s that I hate. I turned off my alarm, I snoozed until I was ready to get up, I made breakfast, I put my “fuck you” playlist back in repeat, and yes my playlist is actually called fuck you, and I gave a damn about myself again. I told myself stop and I saw the other side of the coin.

I saw my coffee pot. Hahaha okay that sounds so strange, but I saw my coffee pot. I thought about my morning routine and how I had and make a pot of coffee every morning. It’s a big one and I fill it with my favourite coffees and it’s all mine. When I stopped pressing the red button, I realised that I have my coffee pot and it’s all mine. I always get the last bit, I always get to press it, I always get to another cup. It’s all mine. And this morning, I saw the pot and thought “win! I will have that second cup!” No guilt, no shame, no sharing. It was all mine and it was so incredible when I realised that. I really do take that for granted.

This led to a bullet journal update session. I updated all the events and things I have to do. Wow! I am busy! I mean like busy busy. Maybe even warranting a third busy. But I like being just, they are all my plans, things I WANT to do, not have to, need to, have been requested to, nothing. It’s nothing for anyone but me. I realised this life is not a race, I don’t have a clock I am racing against, my time isn’t borrowed, it’s not for someone else to dictate. My time is my own to fill. What a beautiful thought. I turn left when I want to, shuffle right when it suits me, and even head out to head home when I am ready. I am happy. I am not ruined. I am not a failure. I am living even when I am just wanting to get through the day. I am declining offers when I want to be at home, I am being unavailable, I am showing myself the door. Life is looking better, it’s looking better without self-stressing behaviours. It’s looking like my favourite shape on my favourite colour, with my favourite blanket.

I need flowers, I want flowers in my room, I deserve flowers so flowers will be purchased. And I’ll get the good bunch. The pretty ones. Maybe carnations, as it’s not peony season. I like having the coffee pot to myself, and I like that I buy my own flowers. I’m not helpless. I’m solely surviving. So watch me go pick my favourite bouquet out.

I see the stall, got to go, flowers to purchase,

Ivy xx

The just because’s and the I don’t know’s

Hey all,

There is something about travelling that allows me time to process my feelings, my state of mind, my position in life and how I got to this point. That’s a huge thought for me, how did I get to this point, being in Riga, independently escaping my world for this huge one? What meant that I took this path over along?

My whole life, even from a child, I age always questioned the “just because’s”. You’ll know the questions I mean. You know, when you are younger it was, why can’t chocolate be for breakfast? I’m still unsure as to the answer as pan de chocolates and coco pops are immensely popular. FYI mom, a morning treat is still a breakfast. I’ve also been one to question the “I don’t know’s”. The ones those kids ask that Mr Google love but parents dislike. “Why do some eggs have a brown shell and some have a white shell?” Or my personal favourite “What happens when an unstoppable object collides with an immovable object?” (Cue imagine me with you – amazing film, need to rewatch that)! These questions always got answered with I don’t know darling from my mother. There are now the questions we as adults debate in pubs over a glass of wine and someone ALWAYS has to google it. Annoying.

However, nowadays, I question the bigger pictures. Why should I forgive you just because you forgave me? Why do you think that’s okay just because it’s me? Why should I be sad to be single just because society says I should be? The answer to these questions in normally “I don’t know” or “I didn’t think about it” or “just because I am sorry” or my personal favourite “I don’t know if we work anymore”. I don’t do things just because society demands that of me or all my friends are doing it. I do what I want because it gives me a good feeling or be a sue it was the right direction made by me in that moment. I behave a certain way because that was my best course of action when I considered the options. It wasn’t some rash decision just because someone said I should feel that way. I think the “just because’s” and the “I don’t know’s” are the excuses, the tickets out, the I didn’t think, maybe even the “shut ups”. The adult and parent versions of a lack of patience. I chose to think more, explore deeper and find the answers. I know myself, I am starting to do me better. Why should I do things another way just because that how it’s always been done? What am I a sheep? Why should I deny my own self-identity just because I am trying to fit in with the crowd? I am the only one missing out and I have a secret for you! The crowd isn’t that great anyways! Why should I feel bad just because you screwed up? I shouldn’t. There is nothing wrong with me. Some people may not agree with my choices and my views but that’s the beauty of society. We can disagree. My views and my choices are my responsibility. Bigger than that, my identity is my responsibility. I owe it to myself to own it. Why would anyone do them difference just because it’s easier to be a sheep? I don’t need to justify my life choices, only to myself.

So in this realisation I purpose someone to all those I know and to those I don’t know. To the girl who looked at my outfit and said you cannot wear that? To my best friend who say you’ll find someone? To my mother who I love and is truly my best friend. This is me. If you like it, the door is open and come on in. If you don’t, the door is open and I’ll let you see yourself out. If you’re sure, move out the way, you’re blocking the flow. I don’t care who you are and how we crossed paths, whether your my family, my friend, a love interest, a stranger, the person at the next table judging my coffee order, I’ll let you in on a secret, you’re not the one drinking it. No justification required here. The door is open my friend. Your choice, your responsibility which way you are going. You cannot change anyone in this world, only yourself and how you react to them. This is one hundred percent true without a doubt. This world that I have created around me is for me. My life has room for company, but not for judgements and egos. Self-preservers and doubters – I come with a health warning. I don’t cater. Approach my table with caution, I will not bend or break to mend you. If you pull up a chair at my table, don’t then ask me to join a different one. You do you and I’ll do me and we friends, lovers, strangers either work or don’t. I have flaws and I love them. They silence the haters, outweigh the doubters and stay around well after the party has ended. I like being unconventional, a dreamer, self-discoverer, it’s something I’m good at. So why do we as society think it’s not okay to be exactly who we want to be? Every person is different and for me if because I never think that I deserve them. I am starting to feel the shift in the winds. And I got some words of wisdom to share: if you cannot sit in it, don’t settle for it. Sit at your own table, start your own self revolution, be exactly who you want to be. Do it with kindness and honesty and you’ll never go wrong. Your ideal world, table, setting, whatever you want to say it is, will ‘you start with you being happy being you. So give society the middle finger because being you is so much better.

Just because it’s for me,

Ivy xx

Provoke

Patience

Faceless

The dangerous game

Morning all,

Isn’t it funny that the environment around your life has change in a matter of days? That everything you thought you saw around you plays a game of spot the difference upon your return. Or that even your autopilot mode forced a change of cards. Either way, when you next look up, it’s the end of the line and the conductor is shouting “all change please”.

One thing I have learnt over the years and it recently hit me when I said it to a friend was that I know the true meaning behind “be careful what you wish for”. I have learnt the value of these words separately and as the string. I don’t know about you guys out there, but when I wish, I ask the stars for what I want most in that moment. I have never wished to win the lottery, for world peace, or for things like shoes. I’m not that way inclined. This may not be a shock anymore, but I have always wished for love. Even writing this now sounds pathetic but I think I have to let this all go. I have had some incredible people try and love me over the years. I have had different version of love stories that all could have been beautiful variances of something that could have resembled the happy ending. And at those times, I think I attracted what I was ready for, the first love, the ideal woman, the lover’s leap, and the best friend turned lover. I had all of the main themes covered by love stories. I’ll describe them one by one to help you understand their characters and that chapter:

  • The first love – first relationship with a woman and together for 4 years. We were that couple that met and everyone knew we would get engaged and when people asked “how did we know that we didn’t want anyone else” we said we just knew. In my head, we were the couple that didn’t “need to date around” and we would make it. God I was so wrong, and a month after we got engaged, we ended and tried to be friend years later but well we just don’t work as friends.
  • The ideal woman – one of the more recent woman in my life, a work colleague. When I thought about my ideal partner, this woman ticked all the boxes. Clever, reflective, similar job, independent, beautiful, honesty every box was ticked. We were getting to know each other and well, all I can say is that weeks of hurt and uncertainty later, we ended. I pushed too hard for her to give me more far to soon, much sooner then she was ready for and she broke my trust. Safe to say we ended before we began and now it’s feels like we never existed.
  • The lovers leap – this is my aka ultimate love story, the one I wanted all along. From a young age, my favourite love stories were those where the couple married soon after meeting, days, weeks or months later and then loved happily ever after. I had this. 3 months in and I was engaged and buying a house. The story was beautiful to me. However, a beautiful story has to have the right characters. When it came down to the wire, I knew it wasn’t right. I left everything and walked away.
  • The best friend turned lover – the one I didn’t see coming but has stayed around for years. The one where our kids would be picture perfect and inevitably the road to an us was future focused but rocky. The permanence of a future was something I didn’t doubt and her love was my backbone. I will never doubt what she felt for me, and no doubt still feels. But we ended and the road to us currently seems to have been more of a cul-de-sac. We go around and around the house but never get anywhere. Safe to say, she spoke and I have finally listened.

So why am I explaining this. Well I think I have lost these individuals along the way, these stories will forever remain chapters in my book that have ended. So I was thinking about it. At one point in my life, I wished for all of these loves. I wished for these stories to play out. Was I watering the plastic plants thinking they would grow? I have had the love I wished for and I lost it. Whatever you have, you only lose what you cling to. But what if what you cling to, wasn’t never yours? What if I wasn’t meant to have any of them, what if I was just a chapter in their books?

So the wishing game needs to come with a health warning. The dangers are occurred by just playing. If you put your desires into a box and say that is what you want, you limit yourself. You are the only limit to your life. You set the pace of your life and I know what it means now by you have time. I have time to find out what character the next person will play, or if any of the above will make a comeback, who they will play. I just don’t wish for them anymore. I will take my time on me. Someone once wrote “working on myself, by myself, for myself” and I don’t know who it said it. However, may be that is because it is the determined voice of every person who wants to find themselves and their place in their own story. I go back to the conductor who is saying “all change please”, well shouldn’t that be me in my life? It won’t get any better than this. This is the “one time” performance and the world’s eyes are all waiting for me to take center stage. They will take you on my own estimate of my worth and on the performance you give. I will be the one winking back when looking directly into the eyes of the biggest storm. Maybe, for now, I am just looking for my lines. Maybe I just want to find myself and be her. I know I want love. I don’t want to be single forever but if that’s the cards I am dealt, I will play my ace.

I would like to apologise to all those people named above for the role I played in our demise. I was one half of the problem. Thank you for trying to run with me when your legs were tired. I hope life is good for all of you, and if not, I hope it gets better. If any of you ever come back, the kettle is on. There will be no more scripts for you to have to memorise, no more obstacles. If not, then I respect your decisions. This isn’t an invite for you all, and I won’t be sending this as a letter and making contact. It’s just an invite to say that if you still feel our chapter isn’t done, the ink is still wet, then pick your moment, say hello. I don’t have the script to say this is a happy ending but everything starts with a hello. To the next character to want an appearance, tread with caution and actually, hold off for a while. I’m not an easy person. My own mother calls me hard work but I’ll bring a love you have never seen before, shall we get there. Give me time to warm up to an idea of unscripted life, I’m currently licking my wounds in my rabbit hole but I’ll be back. That all sounds like a contradiction but I guess what I am trying to say is that, I am open to whatever life has to throw at me. I am letting go on my own narratives and letting things just play out now. I’m lost for words and I have to rely on myself.

Letting it go,

Ivy xx

Suddenly

Meander

Captivating