My (meaningful) New Year’s Resolutions for 2016

Happy New Year amazing people 🙂 While I don’t actually really celebrate the night in a big way anymore, I am a big one for fresh starts and planning to succeed. I’m also sick and f-ing tired of making the same idiotic resolution every year to “finally lose weight and be skinny.” Because that absurd sentence has robbed me of so much time and happiness and sanity over the years, it’s embarrassing. So, this year, I’m making a very strong and conscious effort to remember who I was before the world told me who I should be, and making some more realistic and meaningful resolutions.

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I miss the girl I used to be. I never gave a shit what anyone else thought of me. I wasn’t religious, but I was very spiritual, and that gave me great comfort when I was practicing regularly with candles and crystals and oils and what not. Things that used to make me feel good on bad days were going for a walk with my camera and photographing random things on the way, and collating those photos in little notebooks. Braiding my hair and painting my nails made me feel prettier on my ugly days. Cooking and eating weren’t obsessions and sources of anxiety, they were enjoyable. I was so creative. I still am, but I stifle it a lot more now, because the world tells me that making money and working and doing the socially acceptable things are more important than following the passions that make your heart sing. I wore what made me feel good, even if the fashion disciples would have died laughing at me. I didn’t apologise for my introversion, and if I wanted to stay at home and read for 3 hours instead of going out for a big group dinner, that’s what I damn well did. I studied for fun, things that I enjoyed studying, like Egyptology and mythology.

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That’s who I am, really. That’s who I was. That’s when I was a little happier. It was hard to realise that, actually. I think I’m done wasting time trying to be who the world wants me to be. I think I know that being happy means being me, unapologetically and unashamedly. It’ll be hard at first, changing this much while battling depression and anxiety and disordered eating. It’ll mean I’ll lose some “friends.” It’ll mean I’ll get frustrated. But without the dark, you can’t see the stars, and I think it’s finally my time to shine now.

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This year, my resolutions are all centered around getting back to that girl. This year, I will:
• take 10 regional Victorian road trips
• take 2 solo writing/yoga retreats
• meet 8 new bloggers in the attempt to find my tribe
• visit 10 different markets in Melbourne
• read at least 30 new books
• move my body for 30 minutes each day
• move back towards daily yoga practice and meditation, knowing that it will help my depression and anxiety
• take a course to learn something new, just because I want to, not because I “need” it for a career or job
• make more of an effort to dress up every day, braid my hair more and paint my nails, because looking lovely makes you feel better
• minimalise materialism & clutter
• live more by the moon cycles (thank you for the suggestion Vanessa!)
• cook a new recipe each week from one of the dozens of cook books on my shelf
• spend more time in my book nook
• finish that little (big) project I’ve been working on all of 2015 (you’ll find out more soon, don’t worry – I’m gonna need your help with it!)
• find new ways to channel my creativity

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I hope everyone else has some time over the weekend to give themselves some realistic goals for the year ahead, goals that don’t involve changing yourselves to fit in with society’s bullshit expectations, but goals that bring you back to who you truly are at your core. Because there’s only one of you, and if you’re the best version of that possible, how could you be anything but happy, successful and totally at peace?

Happy New Year, friends 🙂 xoxo

I believe the time has come for me to re-introduce myself…

For someone who rarely struggles to find something to write about, I’m finding it really hard to know where to start this post… If you’ve been reading for a while now, you’ll know that I’m struggling a bit at the moment. I’m not the same person I was 18 months ago when I started writing here, and given that this space is more or less my “journal” of sorts and I’ve always written my way through hard times, I think that’s something I need to acknowledge here.

Before I go on, I realise that the honesty in the post might lose me some “followers,” and that’s OK. If some of what I write about makes you feel uncomfortable, or you’re just plain not interested in it, that’s perfectly fine. That said, I also can’t ignore what is increasingly an enormous part of myself and my life, and I’m pretty sure I can’t keep faking it to you guys either 🙂

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So, allow me to re-introduce myself…
Hi, I’m Jess :)I work in corporate travel by day and moonlight as a food & travel blogger.
I love to travel, I love to cook, I love to eat, and I love to write.
I live in Melbourne and love this city to bits.
I’m a bookworm, a tea enthusiast and a market fiend.
I’m a classic shy little introvert, and as such have seriously honed my skills in “faking it” and keeping up a happy, confident facade in public.
I’m currently dealing depression, anxiety and disordered eating.

Depression has been part of my life since I was about 16 years old. I think anxiety has been around for a while as well, I just haven’t known what to call it. The disordered eating is relatively new to the party. They’re all really hard, in their own ways.

It’s hard to wake up some mornings feeling as if a dark cloud has formed over your bed while you’re sleeping. It’s hard to get out of bed at 5.30am after only a few hours broken sleep so you can exercise before work, every morning, no excuses. It’s hard trying to explain and defend over and over again why you can’t just “be happy” when you have a perfectly lovely life, and there’s really “nothing wrong” with you and so many other people have it so much worse than you do. It’s hard wondering what the hell is wrong with you and having no rational reasoning behind it.

It’s hard to come home feeling miserable and flat with absolutely no explanation for your husband other than “I’m just having a blue day…” It’s hard knowing that you’re putting him through such a hard time. It’s so hard to feel like such a burden to the one person who’s been through it all with you for the past eleven years and still feel like you’re no closer to being “better,” when all you want in the world is to be better for them. It’s incredible to see how strong he always is, without hesitation or complaint, which makes it harder still to have one of those days; you just want the pressure to be taken off him from now on. 

It’s hard when your family don’t know or understand what you’re going through. It’s hard to realise that you haven’t got many friends left, because not many people are willing to stick around when you’re going through this shit. It’s hard to keep up a brave face in front of the amazing friends you do have left even when they do know what you’re going through. It’s hard driving to meet a friend for brunch and panicking the whole way there. It’s hard sitting in the cafe with your “happy happy food blogger OMG I love all of the food!” face on when you’re freaking out inside. It’s hard sometimes to post happy and upbeat writing on my blog when my heart is breaking. It’d be harder not having this space and place to write at all though – it’s a big part of what keeps me sane on the bad days!

It’s hard to be so scared of food some days when you’ve always loved it. It’s hard to be invited to lovely meals out that you can’t totally enjoy because you’ve spent two hours studying the menu for the “healthiest” option, then freak out completely when you get there and order the “unhealthiest” option possible, plus sides, plus dessert. It’s hard to come home feeling like a failure, and continuing to eat because you’ve already ruined everything anyway. It’s hard to feel so ill you can’t sleep. It’s hard to throw it all up. And as if that’s not all hard enough, throw in lactose and fructose intolerance!

It’s hard to realise that you really just can’t handle it on your own anymore, and that if you really do want that happily ever after, you’re going to have to enlist help. It’s hard making that first contact with a “professional.” It’s even harder turning up to that first appointment. Hardest of all is looking at a complete stranger, kind as they may be, and still trying to smile through the tears as you tell them that you just don’t know what to do anymore. That you’re depressed and anxious and you really don’t want to be. That despite your degree in exercise science and decade working in the health and wellness industry, you’ve still somehow become one of “those” women who hate their bodies and often binge and throw up and “restrict” calories. It’s really, really hard to own that. And it’s really hard to share that to God-only-knows how many strangers.

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I think it’s silly and unfair and dishonest for me to keep writing here as if there’s nothing wrong, as if my life is a shiny, perfect bundle of travelling and adventuring and cooking and eating (side note: it feels unbelievably good getting all of that off my chest! I’ve hated the last few weeks feeling like an imposter here!); that’s what I’m working towards, but we’re not quite there yet 🙂

I also wanted to tell you guys that while I may start to write a little more about this side of my life (now that I’ve actually acknowledged both to you guys and to myself what’s really going on), this is still going to be first and foremost a food and travel blog. Writing is my solace. Travel is what sets me free. Food can go either way, but I’m hoping that with a bit of help, I’ll be able to add that back to the “good” column! So if you’re just here for recipes and suggestions on places to eat at and things to add to your bucket list, don’t worry; those posts are gonna keep on coming!

Anyway, a huge thank you to everyone who is still following my adventures on here – it still amazes and humbles me so much to know that there are people out there who are still interested in what I have to say! And the online blogging community is amazingly supportive, which I’m super grateful for 🙂 To anyone else who’s fighting their own battle right now, my thoughts are with you guys – never be afraid to reach out for help, because there’s something better out there if you do! But right now, I’m kinda tired so I think I’m gonna try to get some sleep… Here’s to more tea, more travel, more books and better days coming!

xoxo

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