Life

Learn to enjoy every minute of your life. Be happy now. Don’t wait for something outside of yourself to make you happy in the future. Think how really precious is the time you have to spend, whether it’s at work or with your family. Every minute should be enjoyed and savored. ~ Earl Nightingale

How did we get here?

Mojo is a funny thing. Sometimes I have so much of it overspills out of my pores. Sometimes I have none at all and all I want to do is lay in my room in the dark and not do anything. That’s how I’ve been feeling lately, mainly due to external forces but partly my own doing, as well. 

But here I am, writing a post after what seems like a lifetime. How is everyone? What have I missed? I’ll be attempting to catch up with the blogosphere once this is posted. It’s not that I haven’t missed the blogosphere, it’s just that I got to a point where I couldn’t bear to do anything. All I wanted to do was watch TV (mostly Steven Universe) and eat a lot of crap.

My writing has suffered so badly because of this. I haven’t written properly in months; not even a smidgen. Camp NaNoWriMo is next month, so I will be attempting that in order to get my creative juices flowing.

It’s been hard, people. I cannot lie. Even writing this now requires a lot of effort from me but the thing is I do want to do it – I just have no energy. I have been drained. It’s so weird. I’m slowly getting back to my old self, though. It had gotten to a point where people at work were starting to notice that I wasn’t myself but slowly but surely. I’ll be fine. Self-care is so important.

So, where do we go from here?

Blog Revamp โœจ

As I’m sure you’ve noticed I have a new blog layout! It’s nothing fancy and if you’ve followed me for a long time, then I’m sure you know I love a minimal design. But seeing as I’m trying to creep back into the blogosphere, I thought I might as well come back with a new look. 

Writing ๐Ÿ–Š๏ธ

As I mentioned, I’ll be attempting Camp NaNoWriMo next month. I really want to make some headway on my book. I have 50k+ words down already, for God’s sake. I hate myself for being such a procrastinator and I know the book will not be written by itself. I’m doing some brainstorming and coming up with some new ideas. I’m refusing to go back and touch what’s already been written because I know I’ll get sucked into a black hole and never come out to actually continue the story.

I’ll also be making a conscious effort to post more on the blog and my portfolio. There was once a time that I could churn out 3 blog posts in a day and nowadays it takes me a whole day just to think of half a post. That needs to change. Writing has always been my first love, and need to keep nurturing that if I want to get anywhere in life.

Reading ๐Ÿ“š

I’m the sort of person who reads about 50 gagillion books at the same time. At the moment I’m reading:

  • This Is How You Lose Her by Junot Dรญaz
  • Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge
  • The Waste Lands by Stephen King
  • How to Be a Bawse: A Guide to Conquering Life by Lilly Singh
  • Altered Carbon by Richard Morgan

I also still have a summer reading list from like 2015 that I have yet to complete. To be a bookworm. If you have any other suggestions for new reads, though, my inbox is always open. ๐Ÿ˜ฌ

Fitness Journey โ›น๐Ÿฝ

I attempt one every year and it always fizzles out, but I’m trying really hard this year guys. I’ve been to the gym more frequently with Mutay and it’s been amazing. I’ve found I don’t have to post every time I go to the gym just to hold myself accountable. Not everyday social media. Do the #gainz for yourself, right? Been busting that 4.4L of water every day – my skin is a lot clearer than it used to be, although not the best. I think it’s because I love alcohol too much, but irrelevant.

Self Care ๐Ÿ’†

I’ve realised that self-care doesn’t mean locking yourself in your room and wallowing in self-pity. Actually, I knew that already and I’ve written before about what to do to cultivate positivity. I must confess that I sometimes don’t listen to my own advice. Have you ever found that it’s so much easier to give other people advice, but when it comes to listening to yourself it is so much harder? Television is so cathartic for me. It is my greatest escape tool and I will always default to it when nothing else works. I’ve been listening to podcasts and music. Simple pamper sessions: sheet mask, painting my nails, bubble bath, Netflix – they do wonders for me. Little, little things to try and get me back on track.

Clear Out ๐Ÿ—‘๏ธ

The thing I’ve been attempting to do since last year is clear out my wardrobe. There are so many clothes that I own that I know I will never, ever wear again but for some reason, I’m still hanging onto them. I keep telling myself that on my days off, I’ll start my clear out but I never do. I have no idea how I’m going to get around to it, I just know that I need to. Especially as I basically just wear the same clothes everyday, anyway. It’ll be so refreshing, as well.

That’s where I’m going from now on. You know that song by Miley Cyrus? The Climb.

There’s always gonna be another mountain
I’m always gonna wanna make it move
Always gonna be an uphill battle
Sometimes I’m gonna have to lose
Ain’t about how fast I get there
Ain’t about what’s waiting on the other side
It’s the climb

Hot damn. Deuces, for now. โœŒ๏ธ

 

… can be difficult especially in the age of social media. So often, I’ve scrolled through my Instagram feed or Twitter timeline and felt myself sinking into an abyss because I see that people are having a better run at life than I am. But then I remember that social media is a highlight reel, and unless they turn around and show it then I’m not going to see that person’s bad days. 

But how to cultivate positive thinking when my phone is an extension of my hand and I have no self-control to speak of yet, so can’t just switch off just like that? I try to use it to my advantage. I listen to podcasts that get me pumped throughout the week (The Receipts Podcast, Say Your Mind, 2 Dope Queens (as of recent)) and I try to focus on social media posts that talk about the person’s achievements or specifically positive thinking.

Outside of that, if I’m feeling down I resort to my go-to definitely going to put me in a positive mood – reading. My cousin recently gifted me Lilly Singh’s book ‘How To Be A Bawse’ (thank you so much, bby girl, I love you, you the best) and whilst the majority of it is stuff I already know, the way she writes make it so relatable and got me thinking, “Okay, Chynna. Don’t just soak up this advice. DO something with it.”

This past week has been so up and down internally for me. So despite getting good news during the middle of the week, I was still in a foul mood all day. It wasn’t until I listened to something that my mood immediately lifted. I ended the day laughing and smiling and feeling so inspired. It’s amazing how a little thing can immediately turn your mood around.

It’s not going to be easy to be in a positive mindset 24/7. Allowing yourself to have a ‘bad’ day, so to speak, is still good for you. Just to acknowledge that these are feelings you are allowed to have. 

Small ways to cultivate positive thinking:

  • Listen to a funny podcast like 2 Dope Queens
  • Read a book and get lost in a new world
  • Write down what you’re grateful for
  • Crank up some happy music and have a boogie
  • Read more of my blog ๐Ÿ˜‰

Dear Chynna,

I’ve always written letters to our past selves, but really what good will that do? We can’t go back and change the past, we can only learn from it. I thought that this time around, we’d have a go at writing to our future self.

I also didn’t want to write a generic letter that states the goals that I want to be achieved at this certain time, blah blah blah. I’m still at a stage in my life where I don’t know exactly where I want to be in say 5 years time. I just know that I want us to be happy, as cheesy as that sounds, and have a book published. Whether we’ll be in a long-term relationship or by ourselves, as long as we’re happy that is all that matters.

Ideally, we should be settled, living away from home and in a job that makes us financially stable. I think those are realistic expectations, so it’s all about taking the steps to achieve these goals. 

In the pursuit of happiness, things get difficult but it’s what we do that makes the difference. Do we just sit there and moan and complain that nothing is going right? Or do we stand up and do something about it? 

Life has its ups and downs but with a good support system then you know that things are going to be okay. Life is not perfect but that’s what makes it fascinating, exciting, amazing. If we let all the bad shit that happens to us get in the way then we would be worn down to a husk of a human being.

When we feel like crying, let it out. When we feel down, find someone to talk to. When you feel happy, share that with someone. When something good has happened in your life, shout it from the rooftops!

I am a firm believer in karma – put good into the universe, and you will be rewarded, no matter how small. No one needs negative vibes – we only subscribe to positive ones. 

Of course, not every day will be a good day – it’s unrealistic to expect that but if we go about life with a positive mindset and just keep doing us then it’s going to be alright. The goals we’ve set, we will have achieved by now because you know what? We. Got. This. 

Love and peace, baby girl. We the best.

Chynna x

A Letter to my 16-year old self | A Letter to my 18-year old self

January went by in a haze of brokeness, post-Christmas blues and feeling a fat lump because I ate too much. Doesn’t the winter make you want to hibernate and do nothing else? The way London is moving these days, as well, I actually can’t deal and I need a sun holiday ASAP. (Does anyone want to buy me a ticket? Anyone?)

Did anyone feel like January is always the longest? “What day is it?” “January 74th.” Wheeew. Despite the longness of January, let’s move onto some of my favourites of the month!

Notebook Therapy

I love stationery. I have tons of notebooks, coloured pens, pencils, coloured pencils, everything and I must admit it is a bit ridiculous but I can’t get enough. I don’t remember how I found out about Notebook Therapy but their site had me wanting to buy everything on it. 

In the end, I settled for their star sign collection and now I’m practising bullet journaling. Don’t ask me how long this phase will last (I’ll be the first to admit that I get hyped about things and then I get too tired) but I hope it actually works out. I tried out weekly spreads but realised monthly spreads are better for me. I’ll be using in conjunction with my Trigg planner, so I feel extra organised.

Trigg Planner

Speaking of Trigg planner, I am absolutely loving mine. I did mention before that it was a bit daunting because there’s so much in there, but now that I’m in the flow I can’t get enough! I just love that it’s split into sections that really allow you to focus on what you want to focus on and each month has different intentions. So, January’s intention was ”, and my planner really helped me to hone in on that.

eBooks

Tara was kind enough to share with me her library of eBooks, so I’ve been having fun delving in there and trying to reach my book target for this year! I started reading Animorphs, and I’m also rereading Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief. I have an eReader, but I haven’t used it in ages. I don’t even know where it is, to be honest, but I have the Kindle app on my phone, so I can read on my journeys to work.

Say Your Mind Podcast

Say Your Mind, unofficially known as Suck Your Mum, is a podcast by the amazing Kelechi Okafor. She gives her unique take on current events and it is giving me life. I don’t listen to a lot of podcasts, but this one has me looking forward to tuning in on Mondays. I must say, though, that listening to this on the bus is HARD because most times I want to start jumping up and hollering or cackle like a mad woman because Kelechi is so funny and relatable.  

My wig gets snatched every time I listen to a new episode. Kelechi is witty, insightful and just a baby girl. I love this podcast because it is unfiltered and people need to be slapped with the truth, let’s face it. She gives me so much Monday motivation and I love that she reads out tarot cards on her show, too. When she explains the meaning behind the card that she’s pulled I am genuinely like: 

Korean Dramas

This was inevitably going to be on this list because if you follow me on Twitter then YOU SHOULD KNOW ALREADY. January dramas included:

  • Goblin
  • I Am Not A Robot
  • Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo
  • Cheese In The Trap (still watching)
  • A Korean Odyssey (still watching)

I won’t go into too much otherwise this post will go from 0 – ๐Ÿ’ฏ real quick and let’s face it I’m sure the majority of you won’t stick around for that. But to boil it down, I’ve basically been in my feelings the whole of January. There’s nothing like coming home, eating dinner and then throwing on my onesie on and snuggling in with a drama. NOTHING LIKE IT.

What are some of your January favourites? 

I’m planning to write a post about my reading goals for this year. I was inspired by Rezina who managed to read 88 years books in 2017! I did set myself a target of 50 books last year, but I didn’t manage to reach it. This year, however, with the help of Tara and her library of eBooks, I am totally gonna smash my goal.

Have you ever read a book and after you read it you felt like your whole life changed? Or you started questioning your existence? Or ultimately just stared into space after reading, wishing that you had the chance to read it all over again for the first time? There have been a few books that have done for me, and these are books that I know even if I read them, again and again, I will never get bored.

Harry Potter Series

Harry Potter had to be mentioned first, especially as J. K. Rowling is the one who inspired me to write. Rowling built the perfect world for me to escape into – witches/wizards, spells, potions, fantastic beasts. She had me wanting to whiz down Diagon Alley, play Quidditch and sincerely hope that I would receive my Hogwarts acceptance letter when I turned 11 (Iโ€™m still waiting).

It was always such a joy to follow Harry on his adventures at Hogwarts and subsequently watch him grow up. It wasn’t just the fantasy part that was good; I loved how it tackled relationships both romantic and platonic, those awkward teenage phases, school stress, etc.

Harry Potter is no doubt one of my favourites and I will sincerely miss the feeling of a new book being released.

Captain Corelli’s Mandolin

Image result for captain corelli's mandolin bookI’m going to tell you a secret (well, it’ll no longer a secret once this is published): I had a crush on Captain Corelli. ๐Ÿ˜‚

I remember having to read this book for English GCSEs and I don’t know what it was, but I absolutely adored the character. I even wrote ‘Captain Corelli <3’ in pen on my Converse. I don’t blame you if you’re judging me, right now.

This book was one of the first historical fiction books I read. Before I had mostly been reading YA books, but when I read this book I was immediately sucked in. It has always been the book that stuck out to me whenever I think about books that have changed my life – it left a deep impression on me because of its themes of totalitarianism such as Fascism, Nazism and Communism.

The Color Purple

Image result for the color purple book coverI remember after finishing this book, I was sat on my sofa for a full 10 minutes thinking, “Wow.”

When a book makes me cry, I feel that sadness all the way to the bottom of my heart that sometimes it actually hurts. The relationships that Alice Walker forges throughout the book, specifically the female ones are so strong. I love the female bonds formed to allow women to help each other fight the oppression and dominance by men.

This book spans over 30 years and is told through letters that Celie sends to her sister, Nettie. I like that the point of view is from Celie and because of the letter format, it made the book confessional much like a diary.

The Handmaid’s Tale

Image result for the handmaid's tale book coverI am a big fan of dystopian fiction – The Handmaid’s Tale was the first dystopian novel I read and it’s left a huge mark on me, especially in the current social climate that we are living in. It may have been published 30+ years ago, but it’s still relevant today.

There are many themes that Margaret Atwood covers including gender, class, religion. Just one of them covered is the culture of victim blaming that Offred, the main character, highlights through a flashback – something that still happens now. The Handmaid’s Tale is one of those books that could be served as a prediction – much like George Orwell’s 1984 – which also makes it slightly terrifying. Nevertheless, this book is high on my list of books you must read before you die!

Even though it has been made into a TV series, I’m still cautious about watching it because many a time have my favourite books been turned into live action and just bombed. I’ve heard it’s good so I may give the first episode a try.

The Secret History

Image result for the secret history book coverThis book knocked me out.

It is one of the lengthiest books I’ve ever read, and it took me a while to read – a shock because I usually devour books as fast as I devour my food (0.02 seconds flat), but this is the sort of book that I had to take time to get my head around.

This book isn’t a ‘whodunnit’ but rather a ‘whydunnit’. From the get-go, you know exactly what has happened, but the book delves into the why this happened and weaves a tale of the many complicated main characters. It was hard for me to feel sorry for some the characters, but I think that a writer that skilfully makes you hate a character with the fire of a thousand suns has done well. You can’t like everyone – it’s a reflection of real life.

Half of a Yellow Sun

Image result for half of yellow sun book coverFor someone who didn’t know anything about Biafra, this book opened my eyes and then some.

Centring on twin sisters, Olanna and Kainene, the book not only covers the ruinous effects of war but also love, loyalty, betrayal, and how complicated relationships are. There’s something beautiful in the way Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie writes that sucked me right in and I felt like I was living in that world in the book I was reading.

The book for me is a history lesson but something that I can get behind because the way it is written is so much more immersive and engaging.

I developed such an emotional investment in the characters, that I was really sad when the novel came to an end. I found myself flipping the pages with vigour, wanting to know what was going to happen next now now now. I would highly recommend you read this book as it not only educates you but because of the passion behind it, as well.

Have you read any books that have changed your life? Let me know in the comments below! 

Follow me on Goodreads ๐Ÿ“š