Let’s get real about: Body Image

It’s been a while since I’ve written – well I’ve written of course, but I haven’t posted anything for way too long. Between packing up the entire contents of my life in London and locating it to Surrey, I’ve been spending a lot of time getting myself together for the next academic year – Year 2.

I’ll obviously document my journey as I go along but I logged on today to talk about something that has been affecting me for a while. Body image. Something that is spoken about A LOT but with so many different points of view it’s sometimes difficult to know where you stand in it all. So I’m going to talk about my own body image, subjectively, because we’re all different, but maybe you can get something from this.

I know that my body is strong and beautiful. Sometimes I have a hard time accepting it, but I know the facts. As a young woman who has undergone A LOT of body changes in the past few years, it becomes hard to understand how the body I had when I was 15 years old has been completely transformed into something that I don’t recognise. It’s a normal part of growing up, your body changes to meet different needs that you may have not needed when you were younger. Believe it or not most of my body confidence issues came after I finished puberty. Besides having acne and being incredibly tall in lower secondary school, I wasn’t constantly obsessed over the way my body looked like I am now.

Despite visiting a doctor and being told that I’m perfectly healthy, I can’t help that I sometimes over-analyse every minor change that happens to my body and let it ruin my day. Example: The other day I bought some new jeans from a shop that I have never bought from before. I bought my regular size that I usually wear in EVERY OTHER SHOP and guess what? Yep, they didn’t fit. So I got so worked up about it, started thinking I was too big and that I had gained weight from the last time I wore jeans, which was like 2 days before. I didn’t even consider the fact that since I had never bought jeans from that shop before, they may have sized the clothes differently which is why they didn’t fit me.

After I accepted this, I returned the jeans and got another size and it was all fine. I know it sounds superficial, there is way more important things in this world than a pair of jeans but it’s things like this that can spiral out of control and create havoc in someone’s mind. We all go through body image issues at some point in our lives. The end goal isn’t having a perfect body, because that doesn’t exist in real life, what is perfect? But we’re aiming for acceptance, acceptance of ourselves, accepting what we may need to change, accepting what we can’t change and accepting what will change inevitably.

You’re all beautiful!

Love Always,

Shadz xo

Quarantine Update: What’s Next?

What’s lockdown looking like for you at the moment? Have you got back into swing of a normal life or are you still feeling really cautious?

I’m sort of in the middle. Of course I’m still cautious and careful but yet I am thankful that I have been able to get back to normal living in some ways. The start of quarantine started off very slow. Family walks, endless Netflix, university assignments, blogging and filming at every possible chance. Things are looking a bit different now. I’ve been to see friends, I’ve completed the majority of my driving lessons, I’ve finished first year and passed with a 2.i!

During lockdown, one on the things I had time to give a lot of time and attention to was my relationship with God. After the ups and downs of first year, I felt very distant from God. Delving deep into His word, spending time in prayer, finding guidance in older mentors and sharing struggles with my Christian friends that a lot of young adults can relate to has really given me the push in my Christian life that I need. When a lot of people prophesied “2020” vision, I didn’t think this was what was meant, but now I understand. My eyes have been opened.

I am relatively excited about moving into a house next year. There will be challenges, I am sure of it, but I am confident that I will overcome them because of my reignited faith and not be overcome by them. I believe the next year will fly pass and I am excited to get stuck into some new books on my course as well as some personal reads.

In terms of my blog, expect to see posts, same with my videos, maybe not so frequent as you’ve been used to, as I would prefer to take my time to write genuine, honest blogs and create videos that will actually have some lasting impact.

Overall, I’m doing well, I can’t complain and I hope you all are making the most of your time right now!

Love Always,

Shadz xo

Complacent Christian – Part 3 – To this day

Fast forward many years and many ups and downs that I will cover another time, we get to the present day. I am very much walking with Christ. Sometimes I’m vigorously sprinting, sometimes I’m reluctantly crawling. Sometimes I’m so hungry for the Word of God, sometimes I’m merely peckish, sometimes I feel like I am full. This is what this three part blog series is actually about. Feeling full. The truth is I can never be too full with God. When God is in it, there is no limit – ever. That’s even for those who know the Bible back to front and can quote scripture faster than I can quote Drake lyrics. I’m definitely nowhere even near to being that kind of person in my journey with Christ yet. I’ve fallen into laziness, relying on the fact that I have years of church experience and years of being in a church environment to get me through this Christian life. And it is not enough.

Here I speak with complete honesty. I have met someone who is an example of being absolutely hungry and thirsty for the Word of God. Someone who has not had the same positive life and church experiences as me. I love this person very much. I can honestly say that in the beginning, when I started sharing my journey to faith with him, and he shared his journey to faith with me, I thought it was me that had the passion and hunger for Christ all the time. Plot twist, it most certainly wasn’t!!!!

God has humbled me so much and allowed me to realise that me intensely studying the Bible, praying, fasting and living according to grace and the Word of God in one breath whilst relying on my upbringing and prior experience in another breath, when I perhaps feel down and deflated spiritually is not enough. This is not the way I’m suppose to live! Maybe this is perhaps where I fall into temptation?

I want to understand Christ more, I want to live in the truth of the gospel day by day, to glorify His Name and to live a life according the purpose that He has given to me, but the battle between spirit and flesh is ongoing and rather intense. This is not an excuse, but a reality. Fellow Christians, can you relate? Of course you can. This battle is written about in the Bible so many times – read Paul’s letters in the New Testament, it is a battle that is not and will not be hidden from us because it is so real to our very existence. But Christians are also called not to be of the flesh, but of the Spirit. In fact, we are told that we are not of the flesh, but of the Spirit (Romans 8:9). This indicates to me that is a choice, a choice that I will live to make everyday of my life, everyday of my life. I refuse to define myself as being a complacent Christian as I seek everyday to be more like Jesus.

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:7 NIV)

Love Always,

Shadz xo

Complacent Christian – Part 2 – Back to Christ

Growing up as a teen was difficult. I won’t lie, I can’t lie but during a lot of secondary school I didn’t connect with God, I was too concerned with friends – who weren’t actually friends, cute boys *eye roll*, my appearance, popularity, gossip and all the other things teen me indulged in. I used to be the kind of person to mumble something that mildly resembled a prayer before I went to bed each night, as some sort of recognition of God’s presence but during the day, it was all about me. I thought all the excitement of school and teenage life would be all I needed to live a cosy life. I’d keep going to church on side, because mum and dad wouldn’t just leave us home alone every Sunday, but I wasn’t really exercising my faith. My Bible had collected more dust particles than an old doll in an antique shop and I was pretty sure my prayers were as genuine as some reality TV shows I watched. I watched the relationship I had with God crumble right before my eyes, because I was too concerned with what everyone on the outside thought of me. I became so distant with my parents and my older brother because of my selfishness, my self-absorption and outright denial of having an issue in the first place. By the grace of God alone have those relationships now been fully restored to above and beyond what I could have imagined.

Around about the age of 14, I experienced the lowest point in my life so far. Call it a teenage meltdown, hormones, teen anxiety or whatever you like, I was low, and I was very unhappy. I’m not going to go into details about it, maybe another day, in another blog, but just know, I was in a very dark place. I didn’t call out to God in this time, I didn’t think He was there, and if He was, that He would be interested or that He could change my situation. I looked for healing in people and their approval, which could have never in a million years fill the void that was in the middle of my being. I went to a church festival at the age of 15 with the church my family had recently relocated to. It was not long after I had the complete breakdown, I think it may have been 2 or 3 days after it, but I went anyways, feeling broken and completely helpless.

I’m confident in the fact that I did not leave that place in the state that I had come. I felt the Spirit of God moving in me, literally, I didn’t know what it was then, but looking back in hindsight, I can confirm it was God. I was led to speak to this lady, to this day I cannot remember her name, but she led me into a prayer that allowed me to allow God in to change my life. I remember I was shaking heavily, I had never asked for prayer over my situation, I hardly spoke about it in full with anyone to be completely honest. Apparently I didn’t need to tell her everything either. She asked me straight away whether I had anxiety and whether I wanted prayer. I told her yes and yes please. So she prayed and I responded. From that moment, I stopped shaking and felt this inner peace that I only remember feeling at the age of seven when I came to Christ and was baptised. I felt like a child again, His child again.

I went back to school a different person, a new creation as the apostle Paul refers to it in 2 Corinthians 5:17. People noticed the change in me, some rejoiced with me, some weren’t too keen on it, which did discourage me and some were open to understanding why and how everything had happened. I had highs and lows throughout my journey as a re-committed Christian, lots of highs and lows. I still don’t always make the right choices – I have often made very wrong ones, to say the least. But I can honestly say that since that day, I never felt completely separated from God like I once had.

Part 3 is out now!

Love Always,

Shadz xo

Complacent Christian: Part 1 – Growing up “Christian”

These two words shouldn’t really co-exist. A Christian really shouldn’t be complacent. However, I can be very complacent….. and I’m a Christian. I grew up in the church, different church assemblies, but I was always in church. I know that doesn’t equate to me being a Christian. It doesn’t matter if I spent every spare minute I had in church. Standing in a church doesn’t equate to my salvation, nor does spending time in church equate to me actually being the person that God has called me. The fact that I was brought up in church does, however, add to the reason why I, personally, have become quite complacent. Here’s why:

Being in the church environment literally from my first days even breathing independently from my mother meant that I was always surrounded by the Word of God. As in always. My parents are both committed Christians with incredible testimonies of their own. Without a doubt this became the foundation for my understanding of the Bible and of God himself. Thankfully, being a Christian was never forced on me, or my three siblings. In contrary to many claims about kids raised in church being “brainwashed”, I can wholeheartedly confirm, that we were not! We were always taught that we were to make our own decisions regarding our faith as in the end it was going to be our choice. Believe me, we all have our own personal journeys and all four of us has made both a personal declaration and public declaration (through baptism) of our faith in Jesus.

I chose, as in actually chose to be baptised at the age of seven. Yes, I was young, I’ve been told that so many times, but I vividly remember when I first believed in God. I asked my parents if I could get baptised, assuming they’d say no, because I was young and inexperienced (my older brother was actually younger than me when he chose to get baptised!), but they didn’t say no. Instead they ensured that I knew what I was declaring and understood my personal reason for becoming a Christian. I was a bright kid, some would say I was years above my age, so I could honestly say I was ready.

Part 2 is published now – didn’t want to make the blog too long!

Love Always,

Shadz xo

Strong Black Woman

This one may be less informative, less powerful, less valuable to you, and to the cause. But this is what is on my heart. And this is what I want to share.

I cannot speak for the whole of the black community but I can speak for myself. I am a black woman, and like many other black women (and men too), I have endured both overt and covert racism. I won’t get into every single incident, it’s painful to repeat, we’ll be here all day, and I don’t think I need to relive it all to make a point on my blog. It happened, to a lot of us, full stop.

It’s not something that’s “over there”, far away, unreachable to you. It’s something very real to the people around you in this world, and to the person who is writing this. I’m not an “aNgRy BLack wOmAN”, I’m hurting, I’m hurting for the black community. Every time I think about it, I want to cry, but I can’t, because we (black women) are told to hold our head up high, and not let things bother us. I’m meant to be a “strong black woman”.

We don’t have to fake it. I don’t have to fake it. It’s okay to cry, it’s okay to be angry and it’s okay to acknowledge the pain that you feel. Did you know that the current Black Lives Matter movement is the largest civil rights movement in the history of forever?! It’s okay if this is the first time you’ve sat and actually allowed yourself to feel anything in forever. Everything you’re feeling is valid, whether that be pain from trauma you have been through or empathy for those who have experienced it.

Let’s continue to work together, support each other and keep pushing forward.

Love Always,

Shadz xo

You’ve posted a black square…. now what?

Tuesday 2nd June saw thousands of Instagram users posting a black square. Thousands of people standing up for Black Lives Matter, refraining from posting personal pictures, videos and stories, hashtags reading “#blackouttuesday” and “#theshowmustbepaused”. If you didn’t have a feed filled with loads of black squares, I’m convinced you’re living under a rock!

Although this was a powerful gesture, it is still not enough. You can’t just post a black square and say “yep my jobs done”, because it’s not. The fight for black rights must go beyond a singular day of posting a black square and a few quotes on your story. It has to be something you live out every single day.

I am flooded with joy when I see the amount of people supporting the movement, big companies and businesses, churches, schools, individuals all coming together to fight for equality.

Don’t be a person who posts something to jump on the trend – this movement is not a tiktok dance challenge, it’s people’s lives. Don’t remain silent when it’s time for you to speak up.

Keep posting, keep spreading awareness, keep defending, keep moving forward!

Love Always,

Shadz xo

Late Night Shenanigans: When you’re not the best at the party.

I’ve been thinking recently about the things that I am grateful for. The list is vast, but sometimes I pause to give God thanks for the beautiful and amazing things that I have been blessed with, it always seems as if my mind wanders into dangerous territories. I start dwelling on the things that haven’t made me happy, the people who have said things to hurt me and the awful things that I’ve seen, heard and experienced. Suddenly my intention of acknowledging the many great things in life turns into an internal rant about the challenges I face. Anyone relate?!

Whether or not you look the best at the party, whether or not you aced a first or an A in your assessment, whether or not you have the latest, most fashionable clothing doesn’t compare to the things that actually matter. Sometimes I go to parties and feel like the most unattractive person in the room regardless of what anyone says – it happens sometimes. But when I compare that to the wonderful gift of family that I have, my hairstyle and makeup failure at one singular party doesn’t matter anymore. There have been times where I’ve felt like the outsider within friendship groups, but when I think about the people who feel they can lean on me when things are going downhill in their life, whether or not they post memories of me on their story becomes so very small.

Don’t let the little things (that without a doubt seem big at the time) get in the way of all the incredible things you have to be thankful for. Show gratitude always, keep your head up and don’t let anything or anyone steal your joy.

Love Always,

Shadz xo

Stop putting them on trial!

In the last few weeks or so I’ve seen so many posts on Instagram and Twitter that say something along the lines of:

“If you haven’t bothered to check up me during this pandemic, I don’t class you as a friend”.

Or something of a similar flavour. Have seen them too? Gratefully all of these posts have been met with backlash which explains that at this time, EVERYONE is struggling and it is quite selfish to cast friends aside only because they haven’t put you above whatever they have going on. Times are tough, and it’s probably a nicer gesture for you to go out of your way to see if someone is okay rather than expecting it from them.

These posts has led me into thinking deeper about what true and honest friendship is. I’ve realised a lot of this generation are constantly putting people on trial. Their friends, their significant others and even their families. Always checking people’s behaviour to make sure that it always works out to be in their favour. I’m not saying to let people treat you like rubbish and walk all over you, of course not. But I feel like we should really examine ourselves, our patience and our tolerance with the people we love and who love us before criticising them for not treating you in a way that benefits you or for not acting the way you want them to act. Should we show more love and attention to the people we care about? Absolutely! Should we be putting our friends on trial and threaten to end the friendship if they don’t check up on us as much? No way! Pride and self-absorption is a killer to relationships, so aim to give more than you wish to receive.

Check up on a loved one that you haven’t heard from for a while today, believe me, you’ll feel better for it.

Stay safe!

Love Always,

Shadz xo

Change of Plan

I’m so glad that I enjoy writing on the spot. Today took an unexpected turn. I planned a blog to write on “Redefining Feminism”, I scheduled it to be written, finalised and publish by 10pm tonight and as you’ve probably noticed – it hasn’t happened.

My day just went differently, and although I could be writing something engaging and meaningful about how there have been multiple waves of feminism which have all been a refinement on the last, I am instead writing about why that hasn’t happened. I planned to be home by a certain time tonight, I had a list of things to do and suddenly me and my housemates for next year get a call from the landlord of the most ideal student property for our second year. Of course we rushed at the opportunity, put an offer for the house and sorted out our finances surrounded it. That was the first thing.

Secondly and lastly actually, I realised I had something to prepare for one of my seminars tomorrow morning. I realised halfway through that I’ve missed the point completely and had to start all over again! I can be so clumsy sometimes but I’m also incredibly particular when it comes to being thorough and correct in my work.

This blog means a lot to me, and although few at the moment, I love my readers too. I can’t promise to always be on time or to have things completely together despite my constant and endless creations of list. This blog is my life, my real life, the good and the not so good. I will always update you on my Instagram but I will be always posting something on the days I’ve planned! I can’t promise to always have it together, plans sometimes change.

Love Always,

Shadz xo

1 Day of Love?

February 14th. The best days for some, the worst for others. Some hate it… too much, some love it… again, too much. For the whole of my teenage years I hovered somewhere in between. Regardless of whether I was talking to a guy during that time or not I never really saw it as a big deal but I definitely wasn’t the grinch of romance.

I love romance, I love romantic novels, romantic movies and hearing about other people’s romantic dates but Valentine’s day was never a reality for me. I feel like love should be displayed every single day to family and friends as well as towards significant others’. Aside from the historical significance, I never understood, and still don’t understand why one day of the whole entire year is centred around romance. At the same time, the idea of a day dedicated to flowers, teddy bears, chocolates and restaurant dates really does entice me.

For the first time in my life I had a “real” Valentine’s day experience with someone really special to me. It was the most amazing day, something I had never had before and I will never forget it. However, the day itself was merely an expression and an enhancement on what we already were building between us. It didn’t necessarily change how I felt about him – not that it was meant to. He was amazing before and he is amazing now. I feel like what you have with another person, be it a friend, family member or a romantic interest overrides everything that is external e.g. fancy dates and gifts.

It may be so much different for you, your outlook on the day may be so much different to mine. What I took from it is that the concept and the whole season of Valentine’s day is lovely – at face value. What I also learnt is it has nothing do with what you do, what you receive and where you go but has EVERYTHING to do with who you do it with and how you feel.

Love Always,

Shadz xo

Take Time

Yesterday, I went back to my home town to visit my family. I havent’t seen them since Christmas time and had been missing them all so much. Despite having tons and tons of reading to do, having some events to squeeze in and having some jobs to run, I was determined to see my family this weekend.

I think it’s important to take time to do things that we genuinely want to do. Not because we have to, but because we want to. We get so caught up in doing the things on our list, sticking to our schedule and being productive that we forget to take time to be with the people who really matter.

As a university student, time isn’t always on my side. Whether it be completing endless reading lists, rushing between lectures or deciding which societies to go to, it’s so easy to forget where I really want to be. And that’s at home. Don’t get me wrong, I love uni, I love my course and all the wonderful friends I have made, but there really is no place like home.

Remember to take time out form your busy schedule to do the things that really matter this weekend!

Love Always,

Shadz xo

A Few Words…

You are you.

No one will ever be you.

No one can ever replace you.

And THAT is your STRENGTH.

Love Always,

Shadz xo

The Art of Pursuit

First things first, I am incredibly sorry for the extremely late post. I was meant to post yesterday but life took over – you know how it is.

What I want to talk about today is pursuit, the beauty of it, the art of it. Throughout my life I have pursued so many things. People, business ideas and new experiences. Some of them succeeded, some didn’t – but that’s because I gave up. The beauty of pursuit is that it never has to stop. There’s always more to learn, more to find, more to build.

Whether it’s a new business venture, a new career or a new friendship/relationship, the trick is to never stop pursuing, never stop striving and never stop growing.

Love Always,

Shadz xo

Girl, those red flags…

I know first hand that it is so easy to ignore such explicit red flags when it comes to guys and dating. Sometimes it’s easy to not see red flags, but 9/10 times, we see a red flag…. and then ignore it. This is down to a number of reasons. We might reallyyyyyy want a guy to chat to, we might really like him, we might think we can ‘change’ him or we may just being ignorant.

I have been all four of those, many times over and it’s left me in the same position every time. Although people may say otherwise, I don’t think it’s bad to set high and strict standards when it comes to dating. I personally have a physical list, full of personal requirements that I would want a potential romantic interest to have. Some have a mental list, some just go with the flow.

However, there is a list of questions to ask yourself to notice red flags as early as possible.:

Do you trust him?

Do you feel safe with him?

Does he respect you?

Can you tell him the truth?

Obviously there are many, many more things you should look for in a relationship, but a lot of them are relative to each person. Don’t compromis your standards for anyone, date smart.

Love Always,

Shadz xo

Self-Image

Everyday many of us tend to maginify the parts of ourselves that we don’t like. We sometimes become so obsessed with the parts of ourselves that we don’t like and subsequently let these parts define us.

I think that we all need to develop a positive self-image. In an world that is so revolved around aesthetics it is almost ineviatble that we as a result let these pressures impact on how we see ourselves.

But what society thinks matters, doesn’t really matter. Look yourself in the mirror, write it down, it doesn’t matter how you do it, what matters is you remind yourself everyday that you are beautiful.

Love Always,

Shadz xo

Relationship Advice: Let’s be real

I am only 19 years old and have my whole life ahead of me. Despite not being extremely experienced in the adult dating field, I still believe I am qualified to give advice based off of my own experiences. The idea of having a boyfriend or a girlfriend as a teenager can be thrilling, exciting, dreamy – but also anxiety-crippling, confidence-shattering and yes – heartbreaking. 12-17 year old me knows this first hand. Regardless of my parents advice to not have pointless, meaningless, teen relationships, I had my own ideas! Although they weren’t serious relationships, and I wasn’t actually heartbroken when they ended, there was probably a lot of stress that I could have saved myself. I don’t regret them at all though. Looking back in hindsight, I laugh at myself because at the time I probably thought they were the absolute love of my life, knowing full there was not a chance of it lasting more than a few weeks or a few months. However, there are some teen relationships that do go the distance, which is a rare and beautiful thing to find!

Having got out of such a childish cycle and mindset, I’ve began thinking more deeply about what relationships, in the romantic sense, actually mean and what I would want in the future. After talking with one of my good friends about this the other day I decided our conversation would be inspiration for my blog post today. This is all from my personal perspective, I believe everyone deals with things differently. And that’s okay. Our difference is what makes us beautiful as individuals!

Nowadays, I never see the point of setting myself up for heartbreak. If I know from the start that it won’t work e.g. if there are character traits that I can’t overlook or our intentions are not aligned, I don’t see the point in pursuing it. I’m ruthless in the sense that I will end something, whether it be a talking stage or anything else, as soon as I see signs that it isn’t going to work out. It’s harder when it’s an established thing, but I believe the quicker you are honest with yourself about a potential unresolvable problem, the less it’s going to hurt.

This generation is so driven by ‘the right timing’. It’s over generalised. “It’s too early to make it official”, “it’s too early to say ‘I love you'”, “it’s too early to catch feelings”. Now I’m not saying to marry a guy after talking to him for a day or so, that would just be a bit thoughtless, but at the same time stop being held down by societies perception of ‘the right timing’. Everything is relative. What is too early for one person is too late for another and vice versa. So long as it feels right for you, and whoever you’re engaging with, that’s all that matters. Stop worrying.

I also want to mention is the whole concept of being on the same page. This is so so so so so important. I cannot stress it enough. If the person I am talking to likes to get around a lot and doesn’t intend to stop, why would I, a person who is more inclined to settling, decide to take things forward with them. And vice versa. If you like to get around, explore a bit, I wouldn’t advise getting with someone who intends on getting into a serious relationship and settling down for the future.

Lastly, why are you getting into a relationship? Ask yourself this. If it’s because you are lonely or bored, it’s probably not a good idea. Using a relationship to fulfill your emotional needs can lead to disaster. Likewise if it’s just because you want someone next to you to make cute Instagram posts or to show physical affection to; these are not sustainable foundations for a relationship. Sure they can be bonuses within a relationship, but if it’s built solely on these things, it probably isn’t worth it. If you actually want to bulild something with a specific person and you can see them perhaps being in your future then you probably have a good thing going.

Romantic relationships are not the be all and end all. Ultimately, being young and single has so many pros. Get to know yourself first, make yourself into the person you want to be, and the right person will find their way to you.

Love Always,

Shadz xo

My faith and me: What do I believe?

The connatations of Christianity in the Western world does not euqate to it’s meaning or value to those who actually believe. Being born and raised in church I have seen so many variations and ideas regarding being a Christian. Living in a secular society, where faith and belief is seen as an outdated concept, it’s sometimes difficult to convey and declare my faith without being met with a bunch of complicated questions.

I can stand and say that now at the age of 19 that I am a firm believer in Jesus. He is my God, my saviour, my helper, my healer, my peace, my joy, my strength and He calls me His friend. I am who I am because of my faith, and I will never be ashamed of it.

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes” Romans 1:16 (NIV)

I love all people, that’s the main value of Christianty, and one of the most important commandments. I aim through my life and through my blog to spread the love that God has given to me.

Love Always,

Shadz xo

Be the person you want to meet

Would you want to date or marry yourself?

Weird question, I know but hopefully I got your attention. There was an episode of First Dates where the woman had on a wedding ring and told her date she was married to herself. Different right? Search it up if you don’t beleive me! Aside from that crazy idea, I think so many of us would avoid seeing singleness as such a terrible state if we asked ourself that question more often. There are so many amazing examples of single people I know who are so career or education driven that their desire for dating or marriage isn’t at the forefront of their minds. Of course you get the few indivuals, (well actually quite a chunk), girls, in particular who scream “I don’t need a man” on a daily and to them I say “Yes, I love you independant women!” You queens are killing it out there! But this is for you lovely ladies (and lads too) who feel so held down by your singleness. Perhaps you feel unattractive, boring, unloveable, or as if you’re too difficult or complex to find someone who a) understands you and b) wants to be with you regardless.

First things first, you are beautiful, you have purpose, you are interesting and you are loved beyond all measures. Second of all, do not be defined by your relationship status. I know it can be hard when all we see in the media is: “baecation”, “cuffing season”, the dreaded “#relationship goals” and whatever other cringe-worthy trends that have found their way into our lingo. The next day we’ll see non-stop quotes about how “men (or women) are trash” and how relationships are a waste of time. We need to stop succumbing to what is seen as approved of at any given time. I am 100% that some people have never had an issue with this and we need to honestly take a leaf out of their book because they are the ones who are winning, whether single, dating or married.

The point I’m trying to make ultimately is that instead of constantly seeking the next best thing, particularly when you’re unhappily single, is to start not only appreciating the time you have to nurture and develop as an individual, but also to work on becoming the person that you would want to meet. Look at it this way, would you be attracted to someone wallowing in a pit of sadness because of their relationship status? Waking up everyday complaining about their singleness? If you’re answer is yes to that, I mean – I guess everyone’s type is different…. But I am assuming that at least 97% of you wouldn’t be attracted to someone like that. Sometimes it’s hard to look at ourselves, reflect and critique parts of us that we could improve on. For me it’s my lack of patience, self-doubt and wavering self-esteem that I need to get a grip on before I can even start looking to spend and share my life with somone. But hey, that’s just me.

Lastly, be you, bright and beautiful you. Your skin is fine, your hair is fine, your height is fine, your body is fine. There’s nothing more attractive than a person who appreciates themself for who they are. Accept the things you cannot change and have the wisdom to change the things you can.

Love Always,

Shadz xo

Give or Take

I often find myself wondering why things don’t go the way that I want. Sometimes I work towards things that I want to achieve and for one reason or another, they just don’t work or even happen. It’s as if I think that the world owes me something and when I don’t get it or things don’t go to plan, I throw a strop, like a toddler who doesn’t get their own way.

One of the most valuable things that my beloved mother has taught me in life is that you gain so much from giving. By ‘gain’ I don’t mean gaining assests, appraisal or pride but rather character, genuinity and selflessness. My mum is such a giver: not only to my family, but to her friends, the strangers around her and the church family she is in. I’m learning that you get so much more from giving than you do from taking and recieving. I’ve found that a life without giving to others is not a life that I want to be a part of – it’s somewhat miserable.

Me and my beautiful mum, 2004

Obviously there’s limts, there’s no point rinsing yourself dry and not be able to sustain yourself because you’ve spent your weeks wages or student loan on surprising people with gifts. I’m not saying to sacrifice the time you should be spending working or studying to be running errands for every OAP on your street either (no matter how much of a procrastinator you are)! But in the times where everything on your mind is saying “me me me” – “my benefit”, “my desires “, “my satistfaction” are the moments where you maybe should consider “What could I do for their benefit? What do they desire? What would satistfy them?”. You may gasp and shudder at the thought of putting someone else’s needs before your own, believe me I can be very much like that, but in being self-sacrificial, that is, putting others before yourself, the effects can be powerful towards your own unconcious needs. Give more, take less. Thank you Mum for teaching me this.

Love Always,

Shadz xo