XIV.X.XII

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Sometimes it feels as if there’s a space in my life forever longing to be filled. A space which only you could fill and every day I often wonder if that missing part of me will ever feel whole again. Then I remember it’s not actually missing. I remember that you’re always there, watching over me. Still and forever a part, a space, in me.

I wish we wouldn’t dare to let anyone sit and judge our physicality or base who we are on external appearance. They do not know your suffering, your selflessness, your giving, your purity, your love. Our beauty comes from within. It comes from inside, and somehow that always seems to be lost, forgotten and unheard.

If only we all realized we are so much more than what we look like and we need to stop holding beauty higher than heart. The ego of a vast majority of this word does not have the right to dictate your beauty or your worth. You are light and you are love, and as long as you’re here, your purpose is being served, know that. You are more than just a walking being. Honor yourself even though those around you may have lost what matters more. Know who YOU are inside, and what counts. The things, no matter how seemingly insignificant that no one else sees and knows, but you, that’s who you are. Do not take on the imprints of another or shame yourself because they are too lost to see your truth. You are divine and you have a purpose. We all deserve to live.

Though beautiful, you did not serve this world with your looks. With your golden hair or with your huge gazing eyes. You served this world with your heart. A heart which will forever live on in mine.

If only you knew how much you served this world. How much your light was seen, how much your heart was known and how your soul was cherished. You would be astonished if you knew how many peoples lives you touched, in so many wonderful ways.
You were always enough. More than you believed and more than you would ever accept to know.

Like the moon, you went through dark periods and you hid yourself. I wish our dark periods could have matched and crossed, and that way we could have breathed in the grass and looked at the night sky, because the stars would have reminded us of the beauty in our struggles, and maybe then we wouldn’t have felt so lost. But knowing you found that place, a place of peace, peace you forever longed and one day dreamed of having. You were found.

I’ve never really believed that the world wants to be saved. I believe it wants to be loved, and that’s how it shall be saved.
The same for us humans.

Two years on and there’s not a single day which passes were your existence is forgotten. You’ll always be a part of me and I know one day I’ll see you again and were dance the night away until our feet fall off, just like we used to.
I don’t really think I will ever come to terms with the reality that hit so many of us, but what I do know is that where ever you are you’ve escaped and you’re free, and you deserve that.


I miss you more than words will ever be able to comprehend.

Fri som en fågel. I love you Toots X

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MY idea of beauty.

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Why are there not any beauty pageants which include kids with special needs? Why is there not a craze for disabled models? Why do we even categorise people with disabilities in such a way? Because disability or no disability, we are all humans and surely that is a beauty of it’s own.

I do not believe that the term ‘beauty’ can be defined but I do believe that society has created and implanted a false idea of what it is.

But what is beauty? What do you associate with being beautiful?

In June 2014, I started a volunteering programme in Marrakesh with ‘Original Volunteers’ and met the most astonishing little girl named Hanan, and she made me realise just how beautiful the world was.

Hanan was left at a baby orphanage by her parents who couldn’t cope with the challenges she bought, only a few days after she was born. Unfortunately this seemed to be a regular occurrence for children born in Morocco with both physical/metal disabilities and seeing first hand the physical and emotional damage being abandoned can cause, had really opened my eyes to how lucky I was to have loving parents and a roof over my head to call home.

Hanan was born with webbed hands and feet as well suffering from severe asthma. She also has liquid drowning her brain, causing an abnormal skull shape.

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Whenever I came into the room where she played, her face would light up and she’d quickly hurry to sit on my knee.
She’d play with my hair and gaze into my eyes as if she had so much she wanted to say. I felt an overwhelming amount of guilt saying goodbye every time I left the hospital she was living at. I couldn’t help but feel useless and ever so lonely after saying goodbye. I felt as if I had become so attached to Hanan. I felt like a proud mother, so proud of everything she had achieved, how far she had progressed.

One of the girls volunteering with me had told me about Hanan prior to my visit to the hospital but I never imagined that I would feel so much compassion and warmth in her. She made me feel so hopeful. Hopeful of the future and also very humbled.

Though so young, I’m very blessed to have met such an inspirational and beautiful girl. She was a bundle of joy and her smile made my day, as did her laughter which was like a ray of sunshine. Her happiness bought me happiness. I thought she was beautiful. My idea of beauty.

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But does beauty even exist in reality? Or are things beautiful only because we – the collective we – say they are?

It frustrates me that we live in a world where competition always seems to a take priority. We can talk about what is beautiful only because we can talk about what ‘ugly’ is. The problem with comparison is that it creates competition, and the problem with competition is there are winners and losers; and in the competition of beauty, it’s very much the same- there are winners and losers, whether we define our beauty perspectives naturally or socially or by a hybrid of the two.

I hope that one day I exist in a world where beauty isn’t just a mere term of the physical- that which meets the eye. But I think when most of us ‘feel’ most beautiful is when we’re confident, when were happy, when we’re doing something that is kind and compassionate and loving; something that doesn’t necessarily have to do with our appearance. After all, it’s not anyone else’s responsibility to make you feel beautiful, it’s yours, and despite all the social constructs, the media and all kinds of marketing, I think feeling beautiful comes down to believing that the whole is greater than the sum of it’s parts; that you – ALL of you – is much greater than any imperfection that you may have.¬†And surely that’s something beautiful we can all work on.

There is no truth, only perception.

 

Never underestimate your being.

Boat_Studio_Leagues_You_Belong_Here_1I hope you realise how different the world would be without you in it. That you were needed here to do exactly what you do, feel exactly how you feel, and love exactly as you love. Through your presence hopefully you’re enriching the lives of another and if you’re serving valuable lessons in their life and your own. You exchange energy with so many people each and every day just by walking or driving past them. Everyone one of them is affected by you, whether unknowingly or knowingly. You extending a helping hand to someone could change their day, week, life. Please never underestimate your being. You really hold an amazing amount of responsibility here. If the universe didn’t want you here, you wouldn’t be here. Realise how incredible that is and be ever so grateful you get to experience this life no matter how weird, hard and dumb it can be sometimes. You were chosen just as you agreed to come and that is enough alone. Make the best of it and make this short little journey the best it can be for yourself and others.¬†

Every path walked is walked for a reason, and every day is full of blessings no how big or small. What you give and focus on, you receive. Always consciously redirect your energy towards what you want to experience. If you want to love, you must first embody love. If you want happiness, you must express happiness. Be kind and the world will be kind back to you, always. 

I miss you Toots. Happy Wednesday. X 

‘Girl rising’ – A film worthy of a watch.

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Girl rising is a revolutionary documentary based film which follows nine girls around different parts of the world and their fight to have access to an education. How foolish am I to have only just stumbled across this film which was released in 2013, directed by Richard Robbins. After being transfixed to my screen for nearly two hours, I fell asleep later that night on a pillow of tears and an infinite amount of sadness, as well as hope.

Arranged marriages, child slavery and an everlasting chain of heartbreaking injustices. This is what life consists of for so many young girls around our world.

This is their story.

Their story to breaking barriers and creating a change. Despite obstacles, a story of brave girls offering hope and inspiration to all. These are the girls rising.

I don’t think that many people realize the struggles girls in less developed countries go through and I believe it is down to both a lack of knowledge and also selfishness. It’s so easy to get caught up in our day to day lives where most of us, including myself, forget that we are the lucky ones. We forget that there is a world beyond our comfort zones and that there are bigger things happening as we speak, and we don’t not even speculate them.

Each of the nine girls were paired with a writer from their native country and these writers spoke the silences the girls forever dreamed of breaking. In Cambodia, Haiti, Nepal, Ethiopia, India, Peru, Sierra Leone and Afghanistan, girls are struggling everyday to have an education, a voice and freedom. All three which are basic rights. 
It’s truly amazing how different each of the nine girls stories are, yet the similarities still somehow outweigh.¬†

As so many girls are born into poverty it means they are not only unable to afford school fees, but they are needed to work to help support their families.

Suma told how she composed music to help her through the enforced servitude she faced growing up as a girl in Nepal, whilst an orphaned girl from the dumps and slums of Cambodian streets wished of one day becoming a dancer.
She done just this. A story was also told by a young girl living in the Middle East where girls are being forced NOT to go to school. If they even try to speak up they are instantly killed. Those who do not speak up are married to men double their age and even at an age of as young as seven years old. These girls do not have a childhood and rape, abuse, illiteracy and death should not be something known to them and the most startling part of the Afghan girls story, Aminia (whose real name can not be revealed in order to protect our safety and well-being), is that she is the only girl out of the nine who has an actress to playing her role. This is because her identity being known would most likely leave her husband/her community murdering her if they found out she was speaking out in a protest about and against her situation.

The film also holds the spotlight over a young girl from India, Ruskana, known as a “pavement-dweller” who’s family sacrifice the little and basic necessitates they own in order for Ruksana to fulfil her dreams of having an education which was so rare and becoming a renowned artist. Ruksana being able to go to school was a dream come true as it is, considering endless amounts of girls in India are being sold into slavery as young as six in order to provide money for their family. She was one of the lucky ones. She was a girl rising.

One of my favourite stories told, was that which was about a young girl from Haiti. Being struck by a natural disaster and living on piles of ruins, the girls of Haiti are struggling to have an education as schools simply no longer stand. Wadley and her family spent several weeks in a tent camp after the devastating earthquake hit. She was a young vulnerable girl living in a very hostile place, no environment for the upbringing of children. There was something so special about Wadley. Her strength, optimism and courage is something which has truly inspired me. It was if she had embodied the hope of Haiti. She had dreams. Dreams, hopes and ambitions. She dreamed that one day there would be change and I hope that one day Wadley thrives and flourishes, and will accomplish all of these dreams. 

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What touched me most about each of the girls was how despite the battles they we’re all individual encountering, not once did they complain or speak solemnly about the troubles they were facing. But instead they told a story about their people, their country, their culture, their families. They never once spoke in a selfish manor or begged that only they would rise. They were the voice of thousands, brave enough to speak and break the silence.

Education should not be something which girls wish to have and it should certainly not be determined by your gender. If 10% more girls were able to go to school, a countries gross domestic product could increase on average by 3%. Imagine how much it would rise if ALL girls were able to go to school. Just one year of primary education can also increase a girls eventual wage up to 15%.

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These are the girls of our future and one day they will rise, because despite these odds against them, each of the girls still have a burning fire in their hearts. They want to learn and be the best girls they know they can be and they want to help others to achieve these too. They want all girls to rise. 

I don’t want you to read this and forget about it. I want you to think and pass the message on. In the society we live in today we need constant reminding that the world has bigger things going on than that which revolves around ourselves. If we keep passing it on, these girls will realize and learn that the whole world is rooting for them.

10×10 is a global organisation for girls education and they working with partners around the world to make a change. Invest in a girl. One girl and you can change the world. Maybe not the whole world, but their world.¬†

They need hope. They need support. They need change.

This film made me feel what those girls feel. It made me want to fight for them, to fight with them.

These girls are rising.

Have a watch.

My thoughts on the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.

Please stop supporting this in this way! Wake up and put things
into perspective.

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To put the waste this campaign has caused into simple terms, let’s just assume everyone taking part in the challenge (in america for example) is using a five gallon bucket. Now multiply that number by the more than 1.2 million videos shared over Facebook since the 1st of June. Based on that assumption with 5x 1,2000,000, over 6 million gallons of water have been poured out in the name of the Lou Gehrig’s disease. The average american household uses 320 gallons per day which then means that nearly 19,000 homes daily water usage has been wasted and with that, that’s not taking not account the videos posted online which often depict multiple people, sometimes even entire organisations/large groups, taking part in the ice bucket challenge, often using more than one bucket of water per every video.

I do understand that everyone taking part wishes to be supportive of this disease and helping those who have been diagnosed but most participants don’t even follow up the challenge by donating to the cause. Stop wasting precious resources we have been given. There are humans in this world, our world, who don’t even have enough water to drink and there are areas in drought, yet millions are so thoughtlessly wasting what we are blessed with.

You could and probably will argue that the water being thrown is not a waste and that people don’t always use a large amount water. Various sizes of bowls and buckets are being used and you could even argue that outside the water falling goes into the ground which waters the plants and turns into precipitation via the water cycle etc. and I understand the point of the campaign is that ALS is so misunderstood and underfunded that if it takes the ice bucket challenge just to make someone Google or ask about ALS, then this is a step forward in the right direction.

But please wake up. Pouring and wasting a bucket of ice cold water, yes is providing your Facebook friends with a mere 15 seconds of laughter, but looking deeper into things, you’re adding to more universal problems, most without even thinking twice.

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There’s over 7 billion brains on this planet and if you don’t think one of those brains couldn’t create another way to bring this disease into awareness besides wasting such a precious resource, then I’m deeply saddened as to where our collective conscious is at. If you’ve had to live in another’s shoes and spend a day even without water I think you’d understand how serious the matter actually is.

I guess this challenge is not really the source of the problem but it is contributing to it. I guess that water is, at least, raising some level of awareness for ALS, so it has some level of purpose.. to an extent. I also acknowledge that when the ice water is poured on you your nerves¬†are¬†affected¬†just like people suffering with ALS, but still.¬†Surely¬†there’s¬†another way to¬†raise¬†awareness?

I understand that this is quite a negative post but I just wish people would think before they act.
It wouldn’t come as a surprise if our next war is over clean water and well, just water. People can and always will argue that there are other ways that we waste water, but this is wasting the resource in the most disrespectful, conscious way.

I’m certain that most people taking part haven’t even thought twice about this, but I guess this is just my opinion on the challenge. I hope all those taking part have gained some knowledge on ALS and have donated whatever viable.

Happy Friday. X

A year on from Tanzania

I tried my hardest to hold back the vomit which threatened to come gushing out of mouth alongside my heavy sobs. An array of emotions overpowered me. Confused, sad and most of all angry.

Why is our world like this? Why do I have so much yet they have little?

How can we fix it? What could I do to help?

The truth is, when we look at problems on such a large scale, we become lost in them and so frightened because it is beyond our capacity to fix them.

We can never solve all the world’s problems. There will always be something far from reach of our control. But we can make a difference. Each and every one of us has the power within us to change the world, in the easiest way possible.

I will never be able to change the fact that I was born in England, a land of plenty, whilst those who haunt us were born in different parts of the world, like Africa, a land of so little. I can’t and never will be able to understand it.

I’ve shed a million tears and have spent hours on trying to find the answers to these questions but all I can do is choose to be better. To love my life fully and to be so grateful.

Travelling¬†changes you. It causes you to look deep within your soul. It makes you question every single thing you’ve ever known and believed in.

I’m taking with me the lessons from the dusty village back roads of Kenya to the chaotic street stalls of Marrakesh, and the impenetrable forests and scenery of Tanzania I shared many beautiful moments with those who were so less fortunate than me.

Yet were they?

Because despite there lack they were always so kind an happy. They had so little but still would share with me their small and hard earned meals, shove friends out the way so I could be more comfortable on difficult journeys on the backs of pick-ups, and adopt me as their child when I was sick, healing me with their hospitality and home remedies.

My skin, my backpack, my ability to roam freely told them who I was. But they¬†didn’t¬†care. Nothing which made me so different from¬†them affected the love exchanged.

Their eyes never held bitterness. They never spoke to me of jealousy or hatred. They¬†didn’t¬†steal from me, they never hurt me.

kindness, love and so much laughter, with no days of.

Their eyes showed me how lucky I was. Their smiles told me to be grateful. Their gentle touch asked me to spend every day making the most of my life. For them.

Without a thought, they would without a doubt do anything to trade places with me, though they still wished the up most best for me.

Gratitude and living your best life I sometimes forget and end up spending endless amounts of time complaining and moaning. Sometimes it takes days, months, even years before the ghosts reappear.

I still hear the jingle of a small coin bag of a young girl begging to me, with dark pleading eyes.

I hear the jingle of the coin bag and see the dark pleading eyes of a young girl speaking to me.

“I’d do anything to have your life for a second. Anything. You are lucky only because of the nature of your birth.
If I were you I would be kissing the ground in gratitude and embracing every single second of that life that most of us can only ever dream about. Be grateful. This is the best way you can honour us.‚ÄĚ

My ghosts help me to remember that I have two arms and two legs and fresh drinking water. My problems are so bloody small and manageable. I have no right to complain.

So I choose to spend every moment living life the best I can for them. I know how badly they want it so how dare I abuse that privilege?

I choose to work for a better world for them every day by being a better world.

My ghosts also help me in those moments when I see those who have more than me.. My thoughts turn to jealousy, insecurity and self-pity.
Once again I see the smiles, the kind eyes wishing the best for me always and the green envy quickly evaporates.

Don’t take it for granted, don’t whinge and complain, don’t be ungrateful because that is disrespecting those who would do anything to have what you have.

Sometimes I feel like my worst own emery because I am guilty of not doing this. We all have our dark days but I do my best to honour the ghosts. Those who struggle around the world would change places instantly. Some would give you all their poverty, hunger, thirst and their pain just so they could have your life.

So in honour of them, it is important that you make the most of your life, that for whatever reason you have been so graciously given. This is one small, yet powerful and positive way we can give back and spread healing energy to our world.

We MUST do this without being plagued by feelings of guilt. We CAN do this without being plagued but feelings of guilt. We can life our most beautiful life and reach out a hand to help others at the same time. Once we do this we are in a more powerful position to create solutions to our global problems.

So I will take my memories of poverty I have seen and the pain of those in the world and try to turn it into a positive.

To be more grateful? To choose happiness? To practice peace? To reach out a hand of compassion to all people? To donate and not fight against, but work towards? To spread the message? To be the voice? To make a difference?

Be all of these things. Let others know they can be too. Otherwise the ghosts will haunt you even more than before.

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Happy Tuesday.

Humans, guess what. Each and every single one of us came here to look different, act different, and serve specific to us. If we were all meant to be the same we would. Start respecting each other. Look at this world. Humans are dying every second because we’ve lost what it means to love each other’s differences and respect one another, honouring the divinity of our true nature. We are all going to experience different things at different times or never experience them at all. Let that be what it is and let that be enough. Let it be what it is as well for those around you. Why must you continue to point out what you don’t like about another or what you specifically wish they see of do different. They are not you. That is what is beautiful. No one wants millions of the same exact human walking around. Let each other live, it only shows true sadness and lack of self love you hold within if you’re willing to mock and look down on another for doing what makes them happy. Wake up! Learn to coexist. If our governments aren’t an example enough of how far off balance things are then I don’t know what is. Stop making this world a harder place to exist in not only for yourself but for those around you. Open up your heart. Open up your eyes and love each other, after all, you have the chance to change this world. To lift the consciousness and help restore this planet back into a state of both love and peace. Please understand how important your presence here truly is. Expect your flaws and no one can ever use them against you. I don’t know a perfect person¬†existing, only those flawed people who are still worth loving. Start¬†taking responsibility for your words and actions, and commit only to those of love, harmony and unity. Hate the false idea that you are not capable of your dreams.¬†

You may not see it today or tomorrow, but you will look back in a few years and be absolutely perplexed and awed by how every single little thing added up and bought you somewhere wonderful- or where you always wanted to be. You will be grateful that things didn’t work out the way you once wanted them to be.

There is always beauty in tragedy, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant it may be.

Tanzania, 2013

Tanzania, 2013