Creating my happy life on the other side of fear.

Sunday, 31 May 2015

Be the heroine of your own story


Have you ever imagined your life as a movie? Not so much in the sense of who would play you in a movie, but you watching a movie that is about your life. When it comes to movies, you know that the quirkier the characters, the better the movie is. You don't want to see a completely average person doing average things; you want to see mishaps, triumphs, heartbreak, a love story, mistakes, successes, emotions. 
The hero(ine) has to encounter adversity, because in the end they always come out of it stronger than they were before. They are often misunderstood and alone for a stretch. But they always do what they have to do, because otherwise they couldn't live with themselves. 

Being true to who you are isn't easy. First, you have to figure out who the heck that person is - it's a lot harder than it seems. We are influenced by so many outside sources: parents, siblings, friends, teachers, the media, books, movies. With all these voices loud in our ears it is extremely difficult to hear our own little one. 

When I was a child, my parents signed me up for music lessons, and that decision shaped my life for 20+ years to come. I always played some sort of instrument, be it the flute, piano, or organ.  
I didn't question it, because I didn't hate it; with a lot of practice, I was halfway decent. But I didn't love it. It wasn't a joy, it was a burden; and it took me until I was 33 years old before I quit for good. 

Life is precious and short. There are so many things I want to do, that I decided I couldn't afford to spend so much time on something I didn't really enjoy. 
I haven't regretted it for a second. I also haven't picked up an instrument in a year and a half, because I don't miss it at all. It definitely was the right decision - so why did it take me so freakishly long to get there? 
Because of the label. I got labelled being the girl with the "musical talent" early on, and it stuck. There were people expecting me to be that person (my parents, the people at church where I performed regularly, even my husband), and I didn't want to disappoint them. But it never felt right; the label was like the too-small dress you buy with the intention of fitting into one day, but you secretly know you never will. 


Whenever I have a decision to make, or I am contemplating to try something that scares me, I imagine myself 50 years from now, sitting in a rocking chair, reflecting back on my life. Will future-me have to look back, shake her head sadly and tell the dogs surrounding her: "I wish I wouldn't have cared what other people thought of me; I wish I would have taken that chance." Or will future-me smile down fondly at her dogs, stroke their heads and tell them: "I was one bad-ass chick who made her own rules and lived life to the fullest!"

As soon as I get to that scene, I usually go for it. How could I not?

Many of us are afraid to be different. We want to blend in, be like our peers, have things in common with them so we feel part of the group. 
Here is the thing though: The people that are arbitrarily in our daily lives shouldn't define us. Fellow students, co-workers, or neighbours aren't people we chose purposely; they just happen to be there.
If we are lucky, we will find a select few who we really connect with; but with most of them we won't. 
However, we let a random group of people influence our happiness and our life every day. Why? Because we so desperately want to fit in.      

Here is where we have to be the heroes in our own story: we have to find out who we really are. 

What it is that makes you so giddy with excitement you can't help but jump around, huge stupid-grin on your face? What makes your heart beat faster just thinking about? If you feel like you don't have anything like that, think back to the time when you were a child. We all had things like that. Maybe it was making jewellery with your girlfriends. Banging away on the cheap drum set you begged your parents so relentlessly for they finally gave in. Maybe it was reading books, playing basketball, singing along to the radio, learning how to knit. 

Whatever it was, re-discover it. Find out what makes you uniquely you. And then, embrace it. Don't feel ashamed of who you are. You love to cook and bake, but you feel you shouldn't do it because you are not a size-6 skinny? Screw it! Creating and enjoying food is one of life's greatest pleasures, and being good at it is something many aspire to but fail. Be proud of it! 

Here is a secret: Every single person is insecure in some way. The ones who look like they have it all together? They don't. They are just good at pretending.  


Looking different, choosing an unconventional lifestyle or making different choices to the people around you will set you apart. Maybe it will make you feel alone, misunderstood, or lonely. 
But here is the thing: Just because you don't have people who are similar to you in your daily life doesn't mean they don't exist. They do! You just have to look for them.

These days, with the internet at our fingertips, we are not restricted to the people in our immediate surroundings any more. You can join book clubs, writing groups, gyms, yoga classes, sports teams, chess clubs - or start a blog. ;-) Whatever it is you are looking for, it is out there. You just have to know what it is you are looking for, and you will find it.

So what are you waiting for? Be the heroine of your own story, and make it a good one!






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Thursday, 28 May 2015

Transformation

Handstand yoga practice
This is a daily occurrence. I have estimated that I have fallen approx. 9,532 times so far. And it doesn't look like it will be stopping any time soon.

Guys, this journey. Oh, how I love it. I have been firmly back into yoga since March, and it is slowly transforming me, bit by bit. First, there is of course the physical aspect. I can feel myself getting stronger, slowly but surely.

No weight loss, in case you were wondering; in fact, I'm heavier now than I was before. I'd like to think it's all the extra muscle, but I know the truth: it's eating all.the.food. I have definitely increased my calories intake, because I'm way hungrier than before! And you know what? It's okay. I feel great, loving my body for all it does for me, and as long as my clothes still fit I won't worry about the number. Take that, former weight-obsessed past Miriam. Who would have thought that one day I would get to that point? Not me, that's for sure.


Teenage-me and twenties-me was as worried about weight and obsessed about being just 5 or 10 pounds lighter than the next insecure girl. I was convinced that my life would be magically transformed and infinitely better if I would weigh 125 pounds. That was my magic number. The number I desperately wanted to be at. I got super-close (126), and as you can guess, life was a million times better: the sun shone brighter, being skinny felt better than food tasted, all the guys wanted to be with me, the girls wanted to be me...

... hehe, I'm kidding of course. Nothing was the slightest bit different.

So I stopped worrying about it. I started listening to my body, to eat when I am hungry, and to have no "forbidden" foods. It was a life changer. The freedom! Not being consumed with body issues and a stupid number is the best feeling ever! I have had this mindset for about 5 years now (I think), and I will never go back to the "diet"-mindset. It was like being in prison. You limit yourself so much, with silly rules about how many calories you allow yourself to eat, with crushing guilt being a constant companion and thoughts about food dominating every waking minute. This is no exaggeration: It was the first thing I thought about when waking up in the morning, and the last thought before falling asleep.


Anyway. I never planned to make this post about former body issues, so let's move on.
Where was I?

Oh yes, the transformative power of yoga. After the physical aspect there is the mental one, which is where the change is way more profound. I have been pretty emotional lately, more than usual (and I am an emotional person to begin with). After some reflection I came up with two possible reasons:
1) My happy pills stopped working.
2) All the "opening-your-heart"-stuff of the yoga practice is to blame.

The open heart wins by a landslide, because I have faith in pharmaceuticals.

What drew me initially to yoga was all the cool poses. I mean, how awesome is that:
Kino MacGregor
Kino MacGregor

But what has made me truly fall in love with it is the promise of transformation. And it has begun. You see, every time you get on the mat you face many emotions:
Doubt: Will I really be able to do this one day?
Fear: What if I fall?
Impatience: How long is this gonna take? I want it, and I want it NOW.
Defeat: I will never be able to do this.
Euphoria: I did it!
Joy: I love nature, the birds chirping, dogs licking, all the nice people, the entire world!
Pain: Outch, this hurts.

In order to be able to deal with all those emotions, you have to learn to surrender. This is not an easy lesson: We try to keep the upper hand, we don't want to lose control. But the whole practice is about opening yourself up, letting go of tension, to be humble and vulnerable.

I grew up in a family where you don't share your feelings. You don't tell others how you really feel, you show the world your "outside face", which means you always have to appear strong. Showing emotion is a sign of weakness. Emotional matters are to be kept private, they are nobody else's business.

I had a very difficult time with this mindset, because I'm wired differently. To me, showing vulnerability and weakness is not actually a sign of weakness, but the opposite: It shows that you are human. Opening up and showing who you really are is a sign of honesty and shows great courage. Subconsciously I have always wanted to do that, because it felt right to me. It is the only way how I want to live: No pretense, smoke and mirrors, but being honest and real.

Yoga teaches you that. As your body's flexibility and openness grows, so does your mind's.
This journey is a great adventure, and one I'm so excited to be on.

To finish, another quote from "my" teacher Kino:

"Sometimes you have to take a bold step in a new direction. When you do not everyone will understand or support you. That's when you know the adventure of life is about to begin."






P.S. Initially this post was titled Handstand update, which is why I included the videos of my handstand practice. It turned into something different, which is the best part about writing - you never know where the journey will lead you. Just like yoga! And life! Oh, I can barely stand all the metaphors here. :-)



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Monday, 25 May 2015

Family comes in many forms

Dogs playing.

I have just finished the last episode of Drop Dead Diva on Netflix, and as you know, whenever that happens you feel bereft. Especially since I know there is at least one more season out there, it just hasn't made it to Netflix yet. Gawd, what did we do before Netflix? I'm sure life had more meaning.

Anyway, one of the plotlines of that last episode had to do with an Amish client and his shunned son. The son fell in love with a non-Amish girl during rumspringa and left his Amish community to live with her, being excluded from his family as a consequence. It got me thinking about families, and to what lengths we would go for love.  

My furry Corgi daughter and me.

Families don't just come in one version. You don't have to be related by blood to feel related to someone; if you love someone unconditionally, you are family.

My German family story is not one filled with stars and fire works; it is flawed, like all family stories.

Mason jar magic
Chickens by the pond

But together with my husband, we have created our own little peace of heaven.
We have this idyllic little spot of paradise here, with our own family that is compiled of many furry, feathered members who we love to hang out with in our spare time. 

Proud peacock
Corgi and chick
Corgi and chick
Peacock chick
This is one of our latest members of the family, a little peacock chick. She was a bit freaked out by Lily's close inspection, and ran as fast as her little feet would carry her to mom. 
Peahen and her babies
"Come back to safety, little one!"
peahen and her babies
And off they went.
Corgi
"What? I just wanted to smell her."
Collie and Corgi
I love my furry children. 
Great Pyrenees
Blue Heeler puppy
Look how big Miss Nina is getting! She's 14 weeks old now.
Hammock magic

It's a magical place where chickens hang out with dogs, and where a boy and a girl love each other very much. (I have been listening to Taylor Swift nonstop for the last two hours, so please excuse my sappiness. It's her fault.) 

If relationships in your life aren't how you would like them to be, here is one thing I have learnt: You can't force someone to love you. If they don't, there is nothing in the world you can do to change that. However, you are not powerless. Be the kindest you you can be, create your own happy circle, and gain strength and happiness from that.
Maybe they will come to you one day; and if not, be grateful for the people (and animals) in your life that love you, and love them right back.

  




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Saturday, 23 May 2015

Identity crisis


Guys, I don't know who I am any more. Well, Farm Girl doesn't know. I have lost my voice, my purpose, my spark for this lovely little blog of mine. And it's breaking my heart a little. 
You know how women who want to become pregnant see babies and pregnant ladies everywhere? I see advice about "finding your purpose", "develop your brand", "have a vision and follow through" for blogs everywhere. And I have none of these things. Gah!!

For the longest time blogging was easy. I would wake up bursting with ideas and energy, barely able to contain my excitement. I learnt that I really liked photography, and could spend hours taking pictures, editing them, and posting them here. I loved to share bits and pieces of our farmlife. I still do, even though I have been doing less of it lately.

So what is the problem? I have been thinking it over for a while and came to several conclusions.

1. My blog is too structured.
This may be laughable for bloggers who adhere to schedules and timetables, write posts weeks in advance and have certain days for certain topics. I have given it a long, hard try, but it doesn't work for me. At the beginning of the year I announced this schedule:

I really tried to stick to it in the beginning. However, turns out that a schedule doesn't work well for me. The How to-series was the first feature to bite the dust; it only lasted a month.
Now, after a lot of thought, I have decided to let the link-up and my weekly fashion posts go as well.
Thank you all so very much for linking up over the last 5 months, you have no idea how much I appreciate it! 

But blogging has been less of a joy and more of a chore for me for a while, and I don't want to lose it, I love it too much. So I'm freeing myself of all self-imposed rules, and return to posting whenever the mood strikes.

2. I'm too focused on labels. 
I have been labelling myself, or trying to find labels, and it's stifling my creativity.
Labels have always been a problem for me: as much as I try to resist the temptation, I can't help but try to organize life into neat little boxes. Am I a writer? I want to be, I am writing most days, so per definition I should be one. But what if you are a bad one? What if it's so bloody hard some days that you curse and complain and procrastinate, and keep talking about fulfilling dreams, but not doing the actual tedious work?
What if you like photography, but you do nothing to further your skills? You are stuck, and you know it, but you don't do anything about it.
What if you try to find a niche for your blog, try to narrow your focus, but you get so wrapped up in this hopeless task that you stop posting altogether?
I wish I could have a more defined focus, but I don't. So until I do, I will keep doing what I have been doing before the schedule: Write about whatever I feel like, whenever I feel like it.

3. I'm overthinking this.
No surprise here, I have been, once again, gotten stuck in my own head. I'm a fairly emotional person, and this has been weighing on me for a while, bringing me down - it's actually a huge relief to type all my thoughts out. I feel better already!

I may not have solved my identity crisis, but at least I have gotten rid of the stifling schedule. What does Kino always say:
"Don't orient towards the goal, orient towards the journey, you'll find your peace along the way."

Have a beautiful weekend my beautiful friends!


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Thursday, 21 May 2015

An ode to the awesomeness of small breasts

source

Let me tell you a little story:
It was summer, I was 17 and I had the time of my life: I was in the south of France with my school class for ten days. We did a lot of sightseeing and educational stuff, but on day five we all went to the beach. I had bought a new bikini for the occasion, and felt pretty good: tanned, happy and only moderately self-conscious. Until I noticed the boys standing around, snickering and repeatedly looking in my direction. “What’s your problem?” I called out to them. They laughed some more, and then one of them shouted back: “You forgot your boobs!”

It sure looked like it. You see, I had been waiting patiently for my boobs to grow ever since I was 14. Since they stubbornly refused, I did what any girl would do: Bought a few push-up bras and faked it. This worked just fine, until that day at a beach in France: I had made the tactical error of not buying a push-up bikini. My usually C-cup looking breasts were on display in their natural A-cup size, and the boys had noticed.

Needless to say, I was mortified. I cursed teenage boys, the boob-growing gods for failing me, my genes, and my own stupidity in the bikini-buying department. How could I not have foreseen this?
It took me several more years, but in the end I made peace with my small breasts. Not only that, in the last decade I have grown extremely fond of them and their manageable size.

With summer upon us and boobiliciousness on display everywhere, I thought it's important for us small-chested girls to remind ourselves of the many advantages we have compared to our more well-endowed sisters.

So I compiled a list of 20 reasons why small boobs are awesome:

1. No boob sweat.
2. You ace the pencil test every time.
3. Bras? Who needs them?
4. Then again, if an outfit requires some cleavage, you can create the illusion with a push-up bra. Hopefully, teenage boys are not part of your daily life to point out the lack of breasts when you take the bra off – and if they are, you are now confident enough to tell them to shut up. 
5. Sleeping on your stomach is not only possible, but comfortable.
6. Gravity is not your enemy. 
source
(This will never be you.)

7. You can run without being hit in the face.
8. Ditto for horseback riding: No fear of being knocked out by your own boobs.  
9. Handstands. 
10. Men will notice your pretty eyes since they are not being distracted by something more interesting farther south.
11. No back pain caused by heavy breasts.
12. If you don’t want to look sexual, you won’t. Keep your push-up bra in the drawer for the day and you are fine.
13. You can wear button-down shirts without having to fear the dreaded button gap.
14. You can wear backless dresses.
15. Same goes for triangle bikini tops: no support, no problem.
16. You never have to worry about the shirt mullet, created by big boobs causing a top to be shorter in the front than the back.
17. Small breasts are never in the way when exercising.
18. If you spill food, it won’t land on your shirt, but falls straight down (or, if you are me, on your white pair of jeans).
19. From the waist up you look petite, even if you are not.
20. Trampolines are fun!

Ladies, show off your girls with pride, no matter the size! We are all beautiful. 





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Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Girl crush + Let's grow together {Link-up #19}


Anna Kendrick tweet.
source

I mentioned briefly in my last post how awesome Anna Kendrick is. After I found the above picture on Buzzfeed in an article titled If Anna Kendrick's tweets were motivational posters, I knew I had to dedicate an entire post to her. Girlfriend just gets me.
I basically fell in love with her because of her tweets. She is gorgeous and an amazing actress and all, but most importantly, she is seriously funny!

Let's look at some of her best tweets, shall we?

1. I own a washing machine now but I still hoard quarters like they are rare gems. #BrokeKidShit

2. "Jolly interesting of you not to act like a superior bitch all the time" - every journalist lately regarding my "likeable persona" #Ok #Hero

3. Dear @ArianaGrande, 
Where do you buy clothes?
Thank you in advance, 
Short girls everywhere

4. "Shame. She was normally so good with those wolves" - Someone at my funeral, I hope.  

5. Does anyone else think "don't be a weirdo, don't be a weirdo" over and over when entering social gatherings? Cause I don't.

6. Working on my fantasy of what I SHOULD have said to that FedEx girl who gave me attitude. 

7. Anna-Ken-Drink-You-Under-The-Table #MakeACelebrityIrish #AlreadyIrish #HappyStPatricksDay

8. It's cute how I used to think this "barely-holding-it-together" feeling was temporary.
Anna Kendrick tweet
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9. "I don't want a whole dessert, let's just get two spoons" - Former friends of mine.

10. I like my men like I like my coffee. Silent.

11. Yes of course I got your text - I'm just ignoring it. Don't make it weird. 

12. I ❤ Gluten

13. Nothing like an episode of Intervention to make me want a little afternoon glass of wine. #AndToTryCrack

14. You're probably right.*
--
* You're wrong, I just don't want to seem like a dick about it.

15. I'm so humble it's crazy. I'm like the Kanye West of humility.

16. Wearing an SPF 20 today. The danger is exhilarating. 

17. Peanut butter on tricuits and I'm not even stoned. 
Anna Kendrick is awesome
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18. So over this "thigh gap" thing. Not to brag, but I'm knock knee'd so I have "ankle gap" #Meoooow

19. Cooking for one sucks because no matter how I portion it I seem to end up wasting food. Also loneliness.

20. I get the same feeling at the dentist that I get when a cop car is behind me; I haven't done anything wrong, but I feel incredibly guilty.

21. For someone with such an intense need to be liked you'd think I would have figured out how to be less of an asshole.

22. Why do I buy cooking magazines in airports? I might as well be buying porn. I get all excited but there's nothing I can do about it.

23. I get bummed out when I end up being on time but I'd worked up a really solid "why I'm late" story.

24. Is there a filter on Instagram that fixes Bitchy Resting Face? Asking for a friend. 

25. Sometimes the only reason I leave my house is so when someone asks about my day I don't have to say "Netflix and avoiding responsibilities".

26. I like to think of myself less like "an adult" and more like a "former fetus".
Anna Kendrick tweet
source

27. I woke up before winning the argument in my dream. Fuck this day. 

28. My anxiety over misreading that handshake-or-hug moment takes up way too much space in my brain. 

29. Someone just looked at my food selection and said "Aw, good for you." If she goes missing... I've been at home all day.

30. Oh hello again 4am, you whore. 
Anna Kendrick tweet
source

Just the best, right? Also, no spelling errors. I want to be witty like her!

Who do you have a crush on?


Farm Girl

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Monday, 18 May 2015

Life lately


Let's have a little catch-up session, shall we? What have you been up to?

Here is the thing: My blogging game has not been on point lately. I have (hopefully only temporarily) lost my blogging mojo. Aaahhh!! Even now I have been sitting in front of the screen for half an hour already, not being able to string two words together. I have, however, watched Taylor Swift's Bad Blood video twice, confirming my fan-girl status for Swifty. That girl is on fire!
Speaking of cool girls, are you following Anna Kendrick on Twitter yet? If you are not, here are 21 hilarious tweets of hers that verify her cool-girl status. Example: "My daily objective is less about goal achievement and more about regret management. #AimLow"  Or this: "Never a diva. But occasionally a real dick." Girl is keeping it real. I love her!

Another one of my fave girls I recently hung out with is Lea. Last week we went shooting (on pop cans, I hasten to add), and it was everything I hoped it would be.

Dogs, guns and ice cream - what else do you need? Not much, I tell ya.

If you follow me on Instagram you know what is taking up all my time and attention lately: Yoga all day, every day. I tend to get quite obsessed about things, and mastering a handstand this year has become my latest obsession.

I'm also dragging my friends into my yoga life and did a practice at twilight with one of my best friends a few days ago. It was beautiful!

Spring is showing its best face this year and is giving us spectacular weather day after day.
Spending lots of time in my happy place

In other news: After posting this picture yesterday on IG for the Tom's #withoutshoes campaign I acquired a foot fetishist as follower. I feel oddly flattered.
I have never been a big fan of my feet. Thanks Internet for making me appreciate my least favourite body parts!

Okay, that's it for today, I think it's random enough. I'll try to get my blogging game back, I promise!

Love, peace and happiness




P.S. Bloglovin' fixed my double-address problem! Now it's all in one place, updates are up and running, and you can follow me here. Thanks peeps!!

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Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Morning routine + Let's grow together {Link-up #18}

I may not be getting up with the chickens (ha! almost never), but I get down with them daily.
Over the last couple of months I have developed a routine that I perform almost every day: After my morning coffee and some blog reading, I roll out my yoga mat. Well, sometimes it's the mat, sometimes it's a hay bale - whatever I happen to find first. 
Whenever possible, I go outside for my practice. Having the dogs and birds nearby, the peacocks proudly showing off for the ladies and the horses looking on is so special! It makes me deeply grateful for the beautiful world we live in. 
While the sun warms my skin I feel the satisfying stretch and pull of my muscles; the dogs run by to give me a quick lick over the cheek; the geese gather round to see what the heck Farm Girl is doing. 
"Peculiar behaviour".
They may be sometimes in the way - but I wouldn't want it any other way. 

What is your morning routine?




Farm Girl



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