Hello hello! It’s been a little while since I wrote, how’ve you been?
Work, life and studying for my masters got quite demanding over the past few weeks so I decided to take a step back from the blog. It was a difficult decision to be honest as one of my biggest flaws is demanding a LOT from myself and feeling guilty if I don’t meet my own expectations.
I’m feeling better for the decision and I’ve been looking forward to checking in with everyone!
We’re now at list 51/52, the penultimate list for this year and it’s all about what traits I’d like to be known for. The little goth inside of me immediately thought to list the things I’d want people to remember about me if I died. I then remembered that you don’t need to die for people to recognise your traits and the whole list-writing process became a lot happier.
How we’re perceived is a tricky one. We’re viewed differently by different people at different times, including ourselves. A very beneficial lesson I’ve learned is that we have little to no control over how other people see us. That said, there are traits that we can aim towards for ourselves and here are some of mine!
LIST 51/52: ‘LIST THE THINGS THAT YOU WANT TO BE KNOWN FOR’
Kindness is powerful. In a world where you don’t have to be kind, there’s a lot to be said about the people who choose to be.
This trait wasn’t always a feature of my personality. Throughout highschool and into my late university years I struggled with low self-esteem and confidence. I was insecure about how I looked, how people perceived me and even insecure about my own insecurities.
After a lot of graft, writing journals, pushing my limits and changing perspectives, I can safely say that I’m a lot happier with myself. Confidence definitely exists on a sliding scale and I’m just grateful to myself for pushing through.
“There are times to stay put, and what you want will come to you, and there are times to go out into the world and find such a thing for yourself.”
Patience and passivity are sometimes tricky to distinguish, while losing patience is very easy to do. Being able to master the balance is something I aspire to!
My sister and I go to each other for life advice. After a good chat, she usually finishes the chat by calling me a wise owl. We’re very cute, I know. It makes me happy to know that I’m a person that people can trust to speak to and ask for advice and it makes me excited to know that wisdom grows with age.
I’m looking forward to being an older woman, peacefully dishing out wisdom, surrounded by animals… It would seem that I’m looking forward to becoming a white witch.
Giving what you have means a lot, especially when you don’t have much of it to give.
6. My Creativity
I’d like to think that I’m quite a creative person. I have lots of original ideas and love running with an idea and seeing where it takes me. I just wish that I had some more time to enjoy it!
Life is hard.
Life is going to get harder, harder than you can ever imagine in this moment.
You can cope with whatever comes and when you do you will feel better than you could ever imagine in this moment.
This is something that I learned quite early and it’s something that I hope we all come to learn. To be able to handle life is a tricky thing but it can be done, with practice, support and a lot of stern words with ourselves.
8. My Terrible Baking Skills
We can’t have it all and it’s important to love our flaws just as much as our perks.
While this isn’t my worst flaw, it’s one that I’ve come to accept. So what, I go to bake a cake and it turns into pastry, I bake cookies that taste like cakes and I bake pastry that comes out like a pancake. If anything, you could say that I’m a magician.
9. My Strangely Vast Amount of Film Quotes
There is a very large part of my brain taken up with film quotes, a scarily large amount. Les Mis, The Grinch, Underworld, The Lost Boys and The Faculty are just some of my favourites.
10. “Good Gift Wrapper”
Everyone wants to be remembered as a good gift wrapper, even if they may not be a good gift wrapper.
13. Being my Parents’ Daughter
My parents are two very special, amazing people. It fills me with pride to know that they are the reason I’m alive today. I hope that by taking their lessons and following my own mind I can live a life that will make them proud of me too.
14. My Brightness
This, alongside resilience, is my most important trait, and seemingly one of my more noticeable ones. From being called ‘smiler’ in the hotel where I was working to being described as 明るい (akarui/ bright) by Japanese friends and co-workers I started to realise that I am a pretty ‘bright’ person and how amazing a trait that is to have.
It brings me comfort to know that for some people I can be a light in dark places, when all other lights go out.
15. My Clumsiness
Perhaps a less admirable trait, but still one that makes me… me, is my clumsiness. If you bump into things, maybe leave a backpack containing your laptop in the middle of a public library floor while you sit in lecture or spit Lucozade all over yourself when you smile at a friend walking past, or anything along those lines, you’ll probably have this trait too!
While sometimes frustrating, for myself and everyone around me, I’ve come to love my clumsiness. It seems to come at moments when I’m taking life too seriously, as a reminder that I’m not in control and to stop trying to be.
16. My Writing
While it isn’t Austen, Angelou or Murakami, I’m proud of my writing. There’s a lot of myself in everything that I write, even if it’s hard to understand sometimes (getting excited and making no grammatical sense is my curse).
It’s comforting to know that people who I’ve crossed paths with, even for a short amount of time, can still connect with me through my writing. And when I’m no longer around, it’s reassuring to know that fragments of myself in my written thoughts have been captured and can even help someone else. Annnndddd goth Jess is back in the room.
17. Being a Helpful Teacher
Teaching was never my plan. My purpose for joining the JET Programme was all about visiting Japan and getting some experience. I didn’t expect, then, to fall in love with teaching like I did and I have the students and teachers I met to thank for that. I miss them all every single day. Their own brightness fed my own and there’s something uniquely wonderful about watching someone’s life develop before your eyes.
Now I’m back in the UK and, again, I wasn’t expecting to teach… but here I am! I’m teaching to second-chance learners in the hope of helping them get to university and I hope that I’m making a positive impact. It’d also be good to know if they’re actually learning anything from me! While the curriculum itself is important, the exchange of mindsets, experiences and life lessons that will always occur in a classroom is where the real teaching is.
18. Physical Health
Since starting my Golden Triangle, physical health and fitness has become a big deal to me. I’ve managed to achieve my weight loss goal, understand more about nutrition and most importantly, in becoming physically healthier, I feel mentally healthier.
19. Mental Health
It started with my dad’s passion for psychology and grew into a tool I used to reflect, develop and protect myself from the absolute whirlwind of life.
Just like the physical health, I aspire to help inspire and give you ideas on how to take charge of your own mental health. If there’s anything I can do, or a topic you’d want me to write about, please let me know in the comments/ message me!
20. Making a Difference
To leave somewhere a little bit better than how I found it is something that I like to do as often as I can. It could be going a little further with a lesson plan to make it more interesting, checking in with long-distance friends or complimenting strangers to brighten their day.
We never know the wider ripples that our decisions can cause, so I’d like as many of the ripples that I create to be positive ones.
22. Being a Good Friend
I’ve bumped into so many fantastic, genuine and absolutely bonkers people. I’m lucky that these collisions have then developed into beautiful friendships. I hope to repay the light that these people bring to my life with support and I’d like to think that the friends I have know that I’m here whenever they need me.
23. Being a Role Model
I once asked my dad if you need to make mistakes to learn lessons (I think the topic came up on Hannah Montana or something). He told me that you don’t need to make the mistakes yourself and that you can learn by watching other people make them.
I didn’t realise at the time how much of a ‘dad’ answer this was, but it stuck with me. To some extent we do learn a lot from the lives of people around us and I hope that the life I live works to help other people.
From to-dos to ‘pomodoros’, productivity is very important to me. Being productive shows me that I’m moving forward, making progress and getting better. But, like I said in the intro, my biggest set-back is being too harsh on myself if there are some un-ticked goals on the to-do list.
“One of the greatest regrets in life is being what others would want you to be, rather than being yourself.”
-Shannon L Alder
Despite growing up on isotonic energy drinks and Euroshopper chocolate, I’d like to think I have a little bit of class in me… somewhere.
27. Being a Master Chef
What I lack in baking skill, I can *not so modestly* say I make up for in cooking. I’ve been cooking since I was a kid and have a knack for flavour combos. As always, I still have a lot to learn and I’m always looking for advice to jazz up my veggie meals! Any ideas?
28. Snowglobe Memories
If you know me well or have read the blog for a while you will probably have heard me chat about snow-globe memories. This is an idea that I had when I was a teenager.
If you don’t know, it’s basically a memory that sticks better than the others; those memories that you preserve, like a snowy Christmas scene in a glass ball on a heavy-based dome. Just like a snow-globe, these memories are picturesque; they’re happy memories that you like to look back on and can remember vividly.
One snow-globe memory of mine is sitting in the car with Ste. It was a few years ago, before I went to Japan and to anyone else the memory would probably seem quite ordinary. We just sat and chatted, like usual, with the low hum of the heaters blurring with the soft beating synthwave. This memory came at a time when a lot of things in my life were feeling quite unstable and I remember smiling to myself with relief at how comfortable I felt between the silences of conversation. I felt safe and content in the company of someone who meant (and still means) absolutely everything to me and it’s a memory that sits happily on the mantle piece of my mind.
29. Being a Good Influence
From being scared to pee in a public bathroom when it was quiet, I think I’ve come a long way! I’ve been able to travel across the world on my own… and thrive! I have lots of places yet to visit, when the global situation allows it, some of them including; Italy, Austria, South Korea and Canada.
32. My Love of Machine Gun Kelly
A weird one, I know. I didn’t even know it was happening until it happened. One minute you listen to Rap Devil and think ‘hmm this is alright’ and next thing Spotify is telling you your in his top 5% of listeners and I Think I’m OKAY is your most listened to song of the year… you ok hun?
33. Open Mind
‘A mind is a like a parachute. It doesn’t work if it is not open.’
The whole point of this blog is to explore positivity and help to spread some along the way. Fingers crossed that I’m doing that!
36. Being Organised
Vulnerability isn’t always a revered trait. If someone is soft or vulnerable it usually means that they’re in danger of being exploited or hurt. As most (if not all of us) have, I’ve had my kindness and my softness exploited; but, I still choose to be soft. The reason is that I am vulnerable, I’m human, and pretending otherwise only hurts myself.
Pretending to be unharmed or unaffected by events or other peoples’ actions only hurts me. It stops me from processing it and it stops other people realising or understanding the damage. Vulnerability also means accepting my own mistakes and ignorance, it’s hard to do but it’s necessary.
Softness as resistance is a beautiful, difficult and complex thing.
Soft and strong, spontaneous and organised, an outstanding cook and an awful baker. These juxtaposing traits are all a part of me. I suppose I’m a bit of a mish-mash, but we all are! What are your traits? Which ones would you like to be known for?