274 thank u, next


I was gone for agesss, but surpriiise, motherfuckas, I’m backkk! – Yes, I’m 31 years old (my 32nd birthday comes up in less than a month) yet hell’s heathens can’t stop me from talking like thisss. Can’t stop, won’t stop! (I luh you, Miley.)

(What? I write the way I talk, okay.)

It’s thrilling (mostly for me, LOL) to be back but how long is back, you ask? Will I be gone again, does it matter? Good questions. Well, away we go!

These pointers might meander or overlap, but this, roughly, is what I’ll be addressing:

a) That I’m looking forward to being back, and making this last longerrr. (I want to upgrade my blog header, so bad! – Sometimes I feel like getting a whole new blog altogether but can’t bear to set this one on fire, just as yet.)
b) What makes me return, only to leave again?
c) Life, as we know it – as an independent creator, anyhow.

A truth I dug out from my Drafts section: “There was no way for you to know this. I never told. Over the past few years, I’ve been feeling like sharing less and less – online, and discovering more about myself (alone, and offline). Even so, it’s difficult cos I like writing on my blog. Things have changed, though.” Some of that’s still real. I look at the internet as this crackling, sparkling web of power that has changed and developed so much over the last two decades, and how about the opportunities it has led me to by way of its mere existence? Let’s just say that I don’t dislike being labelled a millennial – I am one. (Second Miley reference coming atcha: I get to experience the best of both worlds.)

I love the internet – I don’t think I can ever renounce it. What I’m saying: In the midst of feeling good about not being invisible and sharing my life/work online, seeking approval and validation’s a huge part of it for me. The moment an update of mine gets a ‘Like’ or someone talks to me via Twitter – I feel seen. (Damn those cute heart icons!) It was only when I began freelancing heart-and-soul (between 2016 and now) that I developed trust issues with respect to ‘sharing’ shit. The difference: Life and social media, when everything’s hunky-dory; and when life’s crumbling around you.

Ever since I’ve been working on my own, I get to spend more time with myself than usual. It’s not just, y’ know, taking myself out on dates. I also have to be with the same person at home and in my workspace – all these different versions of me. Learning more about (and spending time with) yourself is something I advocate but most of the time, it ain’t pretty. Working independently teaches you things – it’s a reality check, you realise you’ve been looking at life through filters (coupled with privileges). It’s crazy how much I carelessly disregarded when I used to work full-time (how little I was saving, my mental health etc.).

This is the advice I’m trying to follow: “No one said you can’t be yourself. Even if you want to ‘share’ (online), it’s not about being crude or shrewd. Just ‘be’ – without the fuss and frills. Tell your stories, your way. Life’s short, do what you gotta. (Please, please, please let Emiliano Sala be alive, and return home safe.) All those articles that and people who tell you otherwise… That you haven’t made it if you’re not – living life a certain way or married* aren’t fine-as-fuck determiners to ascertain what’s worthy about you. Live life your way, give thanks and move forward. The hardest thing to learn is that the world isn’t waiting on tenterhooks for you to take off, and soar through the skies. That moment you’re waiting for isn’t just one; it’s made up of so much more. Simply put, it’s probably not even momentous at the time. Geddit?

You can’t expect to always be relevant. You can be authentic though and that counts, most. – I’m learning to not compare my choices/journey/misgivings (personal and professional) to others’. People will do bigger, better things** – some, the same ones you once envisioned doing. Don’t judge yourself harshly for it but don’t let it (or others) stop you from doing what you must. Make mistakes. Do your thing. Just go. Don’t be fussed about your achievements and milestones along the way. Like, know your worth and all, but… Work’s work. (You don’t have to celebrate every moment.) Give thanks, and keep on keeping on. Your life isn’t defined by your work alone, babe. Remember to pause, every now and then.”

(I’m going to link you to an essay I wrote for Kaha Mind – last year, that talks about some of this, articulately; it’s called Creativity and its Conundrums, and might make better sense than this blog post does.)

Anyway, as the title of this post implies: 2018 has been a tough year butbutbut I’m grateful AF to be here. In the wise words of Ariana Grande, some months taught me love, some – patience, some – pain. I’ve loved and I’ve lost. But that’s not what I see… So, look what I got. Look what you taught me. And for that, I say, ‘Thank you, next (next), thank you, next (next), thank you, next!’

(I’m so fuckin’ grateful.)

*How does being married guarantee your being ‘settled’ – what is that?

**Uh-huh, the ‘comparing’ game. I don’t know why I do it! My brain doesn’t know why I do it. I look at pictures of people (some, my peers) doing cool shit and proceed to give myself a hard time, ‘Look at you… What have you done?’ It never fucking ends.


Artwork by Roanna Fernandes