spoiler alert: you’re not a big deal.

And here we are, making it all about us. Time and time again, without fail. It’s just so easy. But what if we stopped doing all of that? Because spoiler alert: you’re not a big deal.

For some reason, we have to make sure we leave all the baggage, put on a mask and pretend like we have it all together. We have to dress a certain way, post the best picture out of the hundred we have taken and let everyone know where we’ve been and who we’ve been with. I mean, did you really go to Bondi if you didn’t post a picture of the Bondi Icebergs? #DoItForTheGram.

Real talk though. I do all of these things and more. One thing that I constantly tell myself is: “I don’t care what other people think”. But the funny part is that the one thing I know I tell myself, but don’t really mean is: “I don’t care what other people think”.

Yep, I’m a full-time people pleaser. To see perfectly curated social media feeds. To compare one lifestyle to the next. It’s no longer just a quick filter or photoshop, it’s “lifeshop”. We pick and choose the best parts and conveniently (intentionally) skip all of the heartache, the pain, and the daily struggles.

But why? To achieve what? To be happy, or to appear happy? 

For some reason, we often think we are a big deal (guilty)! But spoiler alert: you’re not. You matter, yes. I’m not trying to tell you that you don’t. But sometimes we need to be reminded that the world doesn’t, in fact, revolve around us.

We can get so big-headed and forget that there are other people struggling too. Other people that also matter. This world is so huge and I often forget how small I really am. It takes a whole lot of perspective, with a sprinkle of humbleness to really grasp it. You are no greater than any other individual. Likewise, your worth is no less. 

So here’s my question. What if?

What if we treated each other as if we were equals? Seeing anyone and everyone we came in contact with as a human. Race, gender, religion, sexuality, personal history, job, income – all of the nitty gritty things aside – human.

What if we acted as silhouettes, stripping away the facade? What if we were raw and authentic? Imagine what the world would be like if we were all genuinely ourselves? We would see each other’s mess and not only accept it, but empathise, because we would know that other people are going through a difficult time, too.

What if we didn’t judge people we had never met, let alone friends, through our screens? What if we stopped using social media as a grading system; as a way to measure up to other people? What if we acknowledged and appreciated each other’s flaws, rather than criticise them?

What if we stripped it all away and uplifted, encouraged and empowered one another? What if we stopped picturing brokenness as a sign of weakness, but rather that of strength and perseverance?

Ha, what if.

Keep smiling. x

5 things I wish I knew before leaving school

I witnessed my sister heading off to her Year 12 Formal the other day and I felt so incredibly proud. The beginning of the end to a long thirteen years of schooling and turning the page to a new chapter post-HSC exams. I came home from work the night of Aimee’s last exam and she was glowing. The freedom she had only been waiting forward to was now a reality. I hugged her, welcoming her to this new and exciting journey. I explained to her that while she may feel like a huge burden had been lifted off her shoulders, it is not all cruisy from here. Life throws lots of curveballs and you need to be prepared to face them head on, instead of let them overpower you. 

Later that night, I laid in bed thinking how that was me two years ago and how much has changed in that short period of time. I reminisced about the challenges that I faced as I completed my exams and my personal experiences of that taste of ‘freedom’ that followed. I quickly wrote down a few things that I wish I had known when I waved school goodbye, with the intention of sharing these pieces of advice with my sister.

1. Be open minded. 
You’ll meet new people with different values and morals to you. Don’t let that dishearten you, but rather listen to their perspectives, explore new avenues and deepen your own understanding. Don’t be stubborn and close-minded. Always be willing to learn and grow. Knowledge is power. Stand up for what you believe in, but don’t shut down others for their beliefs. 

2. Embrace challenges. Acknowledge that things won’t be easy, but when difficulties arise, take those moments to pause and evaluate the situation from multiple directions. Sometimes we limit ourselves to the things we want to see and are oblivious to the things we should or need to be focusing on. Your attitude and perspective changes everything, so adjust them accordingly.

3. Find your passion and run with that. Do something that you love, but also try new things – you may love something that you don’t even know yet! The first step is finding something that you love, but the most important thing is believing in that. Never be scared to step outside your comfort zone. Often, you will find that you will make new experiences, meet new people and have the opportunity to reveal your hidden talents when you take a risk and try something different. 


4. Make time for your friends. It is different after school, because you have to put time and effort into maintaining your friendships. You grow up with these people and you learn from each other. These relationships are important and you will find that once you go your separate ways, it is much more difficult to hold on to those special bonds you have created. All relationships work better when equal amounts of effort is put in by everyone involved.


5. Remember that you are Loved. You will quickly realise that this world is messed up. There are so many things going on, not only on a global scale, but even within our local surroundings. It is okay to feel overwhelmed by all of these things, but also remember to have faith that there is something much bigger and greater than all of these materialistic and temporary things. In a world full of chaos, let this reminder bring you peace. 

Growing up is an exciting, but scary and fun, yet challenging experience. I have realised in the last two years, that I have already grown and matured so much. But more importantly, I have realised that this growing and maturing never stops.

Keep smiling. x

Future Avenue

So I recently got my P plates and have come to the conclusion that despite that awesome feeling of finally having freedom, I actually prefer driving with other people in the car. I love driving and being in control, but I feel more secure when I have someone in the passenger seat. Probably because there is actually someone there listening to me talk. Driving by yourself can be daunting when you don’t know how to get somewhere. No road map or GPS. It’s just you and the road. All of a sudden, your mind starts to become hazy and you are unsure of where you are. You are lost and you don’t know what’s going to happen next.

Don’t get me wrong, the fact that the future is unknown is exciting, but it scares me too. We spend all our childhood years wishing that we were all grown up and out there in the real world. Then we finally get there and can’t help but ask ourselves why we were so silly. We long for the days of being six-years-old again, where tying our shoe laces was the biggest of our problems.

I wish life had a pause button, so I could really soak in and enjoy what life has to offer at the moment. Before I know it, all my friends will be going their separate ways, ready to embark on their own amazing journeys. Some will go overseas, for a short time or maybe forever; others might stay here, score their dream job and raise a family. Truth is, I have no idea where my friends will be in the next five years, let alone this time next year, but I know for sure that God has some incredible plans for them.

I guess it is hard to comprehend how little we actually know. I suppose I find it difficult to get my head around the uncertainty. The possibilities are endless. If someone came up to me right now and asked me where I see myself in the next couple of years, I would probably answer something along the lines of “I would love to inspire people through what I write, because I love making people smile.” I honestly don’t know if I have any other talents or if God can use me through writing. It’s times like that where I need to stop and think; if God has a plan and a purpose for everyone, He definitely knows what He is doing with my life. I just need to let Him jump in the passenger seat beside me and be the GPS. And yes, sometimes there will be dirt roads along the way and I will lose satellite reception or I will run out of fuel and have to get out and push, but those are the times I will need God the most. Those are the times I need to let Him take the wheel and trust that He knows the way.

Keep smiling. x

The light of the world

“Every time you look at the stars, it’s like opening a door. You could be anyone, anywhere. You could be yourself at any moment in your life. You open that door and you realise you are the same person under the same stars. Camping out in the backyard with your best friend, eleven years old. Sixteen, driving alone, stopping at the edge of the city, looking up at the same stars. Walking a wooded path, riding a rowboat, staring out the back window of a car, you’re eleven again. Out here where the world begins and ends, it’s like nothing ever stops happening.”

This quote made me realise something. I realised that we are looking at the same moon, the same stars and the same galaxy that visits other people all around the world. I know you’re probably thinking, “Um, thanks Captain Obvious!” but this time I really thought about it; and not just for five seconds. It is so difficult to fathom how incredibly huge our world is. There are so many people and not one of us is the same as another. Not even identical twins are the same. My fingerprint is different and unique to your fingerprint and I don’t know about you, but that does my head in. There are over 7 billion people on this planet and not one person leaves the same kind of inked-swirl on a page as I do. It blows my mind.

Next time when you are outside looking at the moon and the stars, remember that we share that same moon with every other person in the world. The same moon as those in Africa for example, that are starving and trying to fight poverty. Put yourselves in their shoes perhaps, because let’s face the facts: if you have food in your fridge, clothes that you can wear, a roof over your head and a place you can sleep tonight, you are richer than 75% of the world. Doesn’t that make you feel so blessed, yet so sad. When you look at the moon next, I encourage you to recognise the blessings you have. Recognise the fact that just because you simply have some money saved up in the bank, a few coloured notes in your wallet and some spare change lying on your bedroom floor, you are in the top 8% of the world’s wealthiest people. Thank God for these things you and I take for granted every day and pray that His love and light will overcome the darkness that is evident in other parts of the world; darkness that does not only exist at night.

14 “You are the light of the world.<sup class="crossreference" value="(A)”> A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.<sup class="crossreference" value="(B)”> 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others,<sup class="crossreference" value="(C)”> that they may see your good deeds<sup class="crossreference" value="(D)”> and glorify<sup class="crossreference" value="(E)”> your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16

Keep smiling. x

Roller coaster ride anyone?

I’m scared of roller coasters. They legitimately freak me out. I will sit down and either:
a) scream the whole way or b) say nothing and be completely still, because I am afraid that I am going to die. Despite this, somehow I still manage to enjoy the adrenaline rush that comes along with the screaming. This said, I only realise I enjoyed it after I have come to the conclusion that I survived the ride. The first roller coaster I ever went on was one in Movie World aimed for six year olds. I was thirteen at the time…

I don’t know why, but roller coasters are so scary. I have never been able to completely understand the concept of “having fun” while you are being thrown around at the speed of light. You can’t see anything, because everything is either a blur or you have your eyes shut. The only things you can hear are people screaming or being violently ill in the seats behind you. You line up in queues for what seems like days just to get on a ride that lasts a minute. I probably could have walked the entire theme park three times in the period of time it takes to wait your turn. This is why they have never made sense to me. 

Three years later, however, I am proud to say that I have been forcefully dragged, pulled and pushed on to plenty more roller coasters after a holiday to America where we spent a few days in Disney World. 

I have come to realise that life is very much like a roller coaster. One day you can be so happy, then without warning, in the blink of an eye everything changes. It’s as if we are given a compulsory ticket to get on this crazy upside-down, curvy roller coaster we call ‘life’. There is no escaping it. Once you sit down, you are strapped in for good and you have to wait til it is over. 

If there is one thing I have learnt about my roller coaster ride so far, it is that I couldn’t have done it alone. Roller coasters aren’t fun without your friends beside you; there would be no one to potentially make deaf through the constant yelling. You need to be surrounded by other people in life for both support and encouragement. They are the ones screaming next to you; they make you feel better and help you remember that they are always going to be there for you, through the ups and downs.

But you also need to lower the handle bars. They keep you safe and protect you. God protects me. He looks after me and He is my handle bar. I can hold on to Him when I need Him the most. And you know what the best part is? Even if I throw my hands up in the air and scream the loudest, it’s okay, because He will always hold on to me. I have learnt that there is no reason to be scared of life’s roller coasters, because God will never let me go.

Keep smiling. x