The final year files: November

The final year files: November

Hi again!

Welcome back to the bitter cold of late November night in final year. I’m going to land you straight in here during “study week” after surviving the brutal battles of week 12. Last week involved handing in two final essays worth 60-70% of modules so, good thing you didn’t see me last week is all I’ll say. But we got there in the end and honestly, for once, I’m happy with how it went down.

Meanwhile exams are just around the corner, and if by the corner I mean the weekend, then quite literally. It’s hard to believe that the first semester is complete and my friends and I have nearly come out the other side intact, amazing right? Well, we’ll just complete the final hurdle now – but frankly it’s 4 hurdles as there’s four exams. But I can tell you I’ll be the happiest wanna-be jockey or athlete if I jump these last few without any falls.

What I came to realise this month, regarding college life and the big-bad-world, is that really, you’re at it alone. But not at all in a bad way. The thing is, nobody is going to stand up directly for your own beliefs and passions bar you. This is not necessarily the case all the time, of course we have our few trustees on it, but there are times when you’re left to face challenges by yourself, with your game face on. So you need to be ready and willing to go that extra mile for what you believe in and value.

It’s all about strength in not allowing the pressure from others penetrate your mind too much. Everyone’s got their stuff, a given – but don’t let yourself be a dumping ground for others. Not a pleasant time or something that represents your worth. Be a safe haven instead, where others come to you to share, to overcome or solve problems, not make the situation worse. Working together for a solution and having a few giggles along the way.

I’ve come to see that this year is a different one, for many and maybe for me, there will be no more college after this. We aren’t in the middle of it, even though it might sometimes feel that way: no. In the coming months we will all go our separate ways, and like a sieve, only the important friendship and information grains we’ll keep.

Sure, this is a scary thought but it’s also a motivator. Like all or most, I want to do well in my exams. But, I know it’ll be nobody elses’ fault if I don’t. I think that’s the essence of adult life (I say now as a 22 year old of last Sunday). That song about doing it “My way” is really all that it comes down to. I’ve seen my friends (who aren’t my elders I might add) take on the big smoke in the last months and start new jobs in large firms. I’m proud of them, they’ve grabbed the big guns and are holding on but I know their leap of faith can’t have been easy.

Following this, some hard-hitting home truths appeared to me over the past month to do with friends, family and health scares. These showed me again how life is truly unpredictable. We really just don’t know how it’s going to go. Now, you can either live in fear of the unknown or embrace this fact and try to move with the flows of life in this way.. you let me know which aspect you enjoy more.

While I write this sniffling away in getting over my annual study week cold, I realise I don’t have it too bad. I need to stop building up problems and making my collection of rubbish for the dumping ground a large one. From now on, I’m not going to sweat the small stuff and be more accepting towards the little not-ideal situations that life throws. While always reminding myself that I’ve a decent family around me, friends to call on and treasure and a boyfriend who’s cute as can be (I mean just look at the picture for this blog, oh my!). 

So going into the final month of 2017, I wish for little change in order for me to accept how things are, and live in the now. Oh yeah and do well in the exams, while we’re wishing for things.

All images are taken from my personal instagram: https://www.instagram.com/cathyleex/

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A future

It surprises me, when and how I think of that

Something of just you and me,

 

A future –

 

(so vivid and real)

That it may be even possible

 

I think ahead like always,

Thoughts creep in slow and

Flow all around my head fast and quick,

Trying to escape at first but being trapped, remaining

Setting something up, strong

Without any chance of defeat

 

I hope you can fit and fight on with me

In this tight and rigid space of my mind

For what the future will hold, brings forth fancies and opportunities to rip away set ties,

Unexpected but accepted, in time

 

I hope you’ll be beside me, for the big and the small things
All I can want and dream for you,

Is just to be.

Whatever that might come to mean,

All in good time.

 

21 blog posts series sixteen

21 blog posts series sixteen

Sixteen: “Finding common ground within family”

They say you can’t choose your family, like this is a bad thing. But it’s not necessarily, because you can choose to accept your family members for the individuals that they are and appreciate the role they play and have played in your life up to now. We all know families are complex, family secrets and irregularities are fairly common place when you think about it. But when you begin to appreciate your family, you can then go about coming to terms with your roots and be proud of the differences within family more than anything else.

Change occurs in the lives of those in your family and I think the best thing for anyone to do, is to accept this change wholeheartedly. This brings about the realisation that you can’t really pack up and start an entirely new family from scratch. Those connections we are born with and make along the way are still going to hang around. Individual things such as shared memories stick in your mind and honestly, others can always trace you back to where you started from so there’s no point in trying to hide where you came from.

More often than not, a family is a place to call home in terms of them being settled in a place or being surrounded by certain people easily identifiable. They’re never too far away and it’s important to remember and appreciate that fact. There’s a connection there that is unique and it comes in the form of knowing that something special that you share with your relatives. Whether this be parents or grandparents, these people know better than your friends what those people mean or meant to you and the relationship you once shared.

One thing of importance to note about family is that absolutely guaranteed, they’ll know you better than you can possibly imagine. They’ve watched and seen you at every stage, every phase and you really can’t hide too many things from them. I can also say that for the most part they’ll have your back and defend you to the bitter end. What we need to realise that a family isn’t complete without its people to make up the pieces, and play their individual role. We can have a laugh and reminisce on the similarities in the family, how we might do things alike or even follow the same interests – this is really important. But the differences are essential too. Outcasts shouldn’t exist in families.

Disagreements, arguments and fall outs can happen within families and really that tarnishes things if they aren’t handled in the best way. What I’ve learned is that losing an argument is not a hard price to pay in order to keep the peace. There’s a little bit of self control involved in this is knowing your relative well enough to know where and when that point is, that point of no return, to be aware of it and not to go on further. I would say voice your concerns if you disagree with someone’s actions but remember: you will still have to look this person in the face again tomorrow and the next day, so definitely decide beforehand if it’s worth it. A little bit of forgiveness goes a long way in family.

To those reading this who may not identify with any of this, I’d recommend reaching out – no matter how difficult it may seem. Rekindling a family relationship is probably something tougher than that of a friendship. But, if a small bit of forgiveness is what it takes to reconnect with someone you’ve lost who you once cared for, that’s not such a big thing. You can still remain headstrong, knowing you were right deep down but for the sake of peace, keeping it to yourself when you need to.

All images used are from my personal Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/cathyleex/

21 blog posts series six

21 blog posts series six

Six: “Loss happens and plays a role”

As I’ve gotten older and I suppose in some sense matured, I’ve started appreciate the role that the happening of loss plays in our lives. Life is a fragile thing, even when it doesn’t feel that way all of the time. I’ve experienced loss in my life, I only know of a few people who are yet to experience it. Circumstances play a part in terms of where to place blame on the sadness and even anger that you feel from loss. But sometimes the circumstance isn’t great and the loss simply shouldn’t have happened.

I think loss rattles us and brings up feelings you never even knew you had in you. This year and late last year I saw two dear friends experience loss and both had completely different situations that brought about the loss. But it was interesting then in contrast to see how both of my friends  has similar experiences in terms of how to possibly deal with the emotions of loss.

I write this on Mother’s Day, thinking of those I love who don’t have their mother to spend this day with. It’s something incredibly hard because that person who was once in your life is truly irreplaceable. No matter the individual strength of the relationship between mother and child, it is something that holds importance and is special in its own way.

When it comes to loss, I would firstly say that it’s something that happens and is something we must accept as part of life without a choice in the matter. I know that’s crappy and doesn’t really have a lot of positives but maybe, there’s something good to take from that about appreciating the time you have with a loved one. When somebody dies we are left with memories to cherish and hold dear, which of course we all do in our own way.

But for those left behind, death acts as a reminded of the frailty we are faced with. It gives the renewed chance to try our best to appreciate the time we spend each day, month or every once and a while with the ones we love and maybe even make more of an effort to appreciate that the power is in our hands to make the time for people that deserve it, be they family or friends.

Always place value on those around you that we may be sometimes guilty of taking for granted. It’s really about recognising that fact that you’ll truly miss these people when they’re gone and vice versa. Make the most of your time with them and create the memories yourself as I think we all have a role to play.

A slam poet I know recently realised a video for his spoken word poem that deals with appreciating our mothers and the role they play in our lives, demanding our love and respect for simply being themselves. The Irish Times did a feature on it too and I think it’s something spectacular, having seen him perform it himself. Follow the link here: https://www.irishtimes.com/culture/film/watch-mother-s-day-video-reminds-us-we-are-only-given-one-mother-1.3023336?mode=amp

We have a bit of a habit here in Ireland of not talking about the difficult things and I think death and how the ways that people die come into that. I get that it’s uncomfortable and we create these nicknames and things as escapism from reality. But, from what I’ve seen and experienced of it – dying by suicide is the worse than death as a result of any disease. It leaves behind a heavier grief, an impossible one. So please, if you’re having any form of suicidal thoughts be they big or small, seek the help that you deserve and should get. Your life is as valuable as anybody else’s.

http://www.yourmentalhealth.ie/about-mental-health/common-problems/mental-health-problems/suicidal-thoughts/

http://www.samaritans.org/how-we-can-help-you/different-ways-you-can-get-touch/what-happens-when-i-email

All images used are from my personal Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/cathyleex/

21 blog posts series find four

21 blog posts series find four

Four: “Avoiding the pitfalls of relationships”

Relationships are complex things. This is because, as I’ve come to realise, every single person on this planet is different. In reality, you aren’t going to find your perfect match, your perfect date or even perfect person to spend a chunk of your time with (not in the space of a day anyway).

So to tackle that challenge, I propose two pieces of advice:

  • Don’t be a settler
  • Don’t be a chaser

Now it may seem difficult to do both as surely one of the above would be compromised, but if you really try hard enough and value yourself highly enough – both can be avoided to result in your own happiness coming first and foremost when letting someone into your life in an intimate way.

You don’t want to half ass it. You’ll be sharing your inner most complex thoughts, your body, soul and mind with this individual. Would you like someone who lashes out and blatantly blabs all of your personal business about the place if you guys were to break up? To answer that for you, no you do not.

So with that, don’t settle. If you’re not 100% about a person, don’t push yourself into a situation that you aren’t fully comfortable with. Settling does not look good, I can tell you that much.

But neither does chasing. I guess in truth, it’s a form of desperation and need that may come across as a little bit over the top. I think chasing is nearly worse than settling as you just waste your own time, not being yourself and fitting in to someone else’s agenda (and they might not even realise that you’re going to such efforts).

I admit that this advice is coming from my own guilty conscience of having participated in both of these scenarios. Honestly, neither of the two makes you feel any way good about yourself. You aren’t be true to you or the other person involved and really that’s not fair to anyone. If this is happening, the reality of it is that both people could be off exploring other paths elsewhere, it’s a bit of a time wasting activity.

Now to take you to a metaphor.

I was on airplanes twice last week, going and coming home from the Netherlands. I realised that no matter where you sit on a plane, it’s impossible to see out from both windows at the side of the plane and once.

Now this does leave the passenger in a bit of a dilemma, where do they look? Which side will bring them more satisfaction in terms of the view? Or which side will they be disappointed to look at?

This comes back to the settling vs. chasing argument. If you’re too focused on the view from one side, you’ve settled for it and it is impossible now to see any of what’s happening on the other side.

When you focus too much on one person for too long, and in really being honest with yourself you see that the view isn’t changing – you’re missing out on the potential views from the other side.

This is the same of potential relationships. If you spend all your time chasing the one person, you could be just punishing yourself by missing what’s really going on around you in terms of the full picture.

So I would say, take a step back. Look away from the window. If it’s right and meant to be, the attention of the person should make its own way back to you, or even notice your absence as you take your focus away from them.

I admit that this is something challenging, but these things are sometimes truly impossible to control. Being kind to ourselves should be first and foremost.

All images used are from my personal Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/cathyleex/

 

21 blog posts series take two

21 blog posts series take two

Welcome back.

Day two brings us to the topic of travel, in that of appreciating how easy it is for us as EU citizens, the opportunities and adventures out there available to us.

Two: “Appreciating the ability to travel”

It feels strange writing about travel at a time like this. Just hours earlier on today, the city if London that I visited the week after my 21st birthday saw horror in the form a terrorist attack. The chaotic scenes flashed on to my TV screen when I arrived home today and took it all in. It felt strange to recognise the area so vividly, but it looking utterly different from the positivity I had seen there in early December.

I think in one sense of it, the aim of terrorism is to contribute in the form of creating that scene of distress, to take away the positivity associated with a place and flip everything over to show complete destruction instead. Destroying everyday like in causing heart-breaking chaos.

Of course following this, we’ll have heightened security and possibly further fear formed. I understand that this is of course necessary to protect citizens.

But I think to keep the sense of appreciation of traveling and staying true to ourselves as humans, travel and ease of travel needs to be part of what makes up human life. If we think of a world without integration and travel, without the mix of different cultures, people and places – I really don’t see that as a colourful or warm place to be.

Travel is essential and we are so lucky to have the ease of travel that we have. Just last week I went to visit a friend in Amsterdam, Holland. We also have another friend there who is studying on Erasmus. If the indicators around free travel within the EU and the systems of Erasmus were to change, these incredible experiences and opportunities for personal growth wouldn’t be possible. I’ve seen my friends grow and truly appreciate travelling, whether that be in the form of Erasmus, J1’s or even inter-railing. It’s all about the ability to interact like that and do so at ease. To really make travel your own independently.

I will admit that acts of terrorism can play a part in jeopardising that freeing mindset.

But one negative should not outweigh the endless positives. I think travel is something organic and easily integrated into our regular lives. It can play a huge role in the development of friendships and relationships, continued on wherever the people may be in the world.

Travelling to new places as a young person can really contribute to someone’s confidence as well as their own perspective on various things in the world, from humane issues to climate issues. It’s such an eye opening thing that I think everyone should get involved with in some shape or form. There’s an explorer or adventurer in us all and whether that be a big or small part of you, it cannot be ignored.

Also if indeed you are a bit of a home bird, I really think that you have to go away and come back to truly appreciate what you’ve missed and value your sense of belonging that comes with the security of home.

Being in the EU is such a resource to encourage us to travel. The dedication in the form of policy really places value of travelling during your youth and that in itself gave me a high appreciation for the mentality behind it. The inter-railing and Erasmus experience can be costly but in the end it’s something truly priceless. To put yourself somewhere new, challenges you to open your mind to new ideas and be immersed in something totally new.

The very best of luck to those taking on such a challenge and my heart goes out to those in London today.

 

All images used are from my personal Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/cathyleex/

Valentine’s Day

By Cathy Lee

 

You’re like a lullaby to me

So soft and pure

Like nothing is going to break us

Not if we hold on

 

Grasp,

Clasp me for as long as possible

This race of chasing time

I can’t win and neither can you

 

But we’ll try as much and as long as possible

Of course we will

Because together we can do it, can’t we?

That’s what they say

 

As long as your coffin lies by mine at the end of this

It means we’ve achieved something

Doesn’t it?

 

I really don’t want to get there

 

I wish to stay here in your wonderful presence

Where everything is youthful and exceptional

And something bittersweet

 

Light the cigarette and pass it to me

I really just like to feel it between my fingers,

Nothing much else

 

Sharing this something simple with you,

It’s all that matters

 

I’d prefer to be holding you though,

Simply by hand

Through fingers maybe even intertwined

 

Do you know what I mean?

Can you conceive it?

 

Because I can

It’s all that paints the walls of my mind

 

All consuming and surrounding

I guess there is no escape

But truly, I don’t mind

 

Just to breathe your air and engulf your presence

It’s like a summers day

The best day of your life

 

I want to spend with you

All days, from here and now.

 

No pressure