The idea for this blog post was inspired by Huma Qureshi and her beautiful post on memoirs. As I read it I was nodding along, thinking about the way I like to write and how amazing it is to capture memories in this way.
I’ve always been a documenter of sorts. I started writing in a diary when I was 12, just before my eating disorder developed. Reading back on those diary entries now is an emotional experience (I actually did this for a video at work).
I can see clearly, in black and white, just how ill I was. I can read the self-hatred in every line and feel those dark feelings as if they were yesterday.
But I can also see the glimmers of light in my entries.
I see the good days. The moments I decided to fight back against the voice of anorexia. The moment I ate ice cream again without fear. I can trace my journey to recovery by reading those pages.
Since my diary writing days, documenting moments has taken different forms. This blog, and my previous blog ‘To Limbo and Beyond’ are of course key players.
Reading my very first blog post, I remember feeling so incredibly lost and unclear on my future. I was unemployed and scared. I shared crises of confidence about my writing here and told the world about an amazing new app called Hipstomatic.
I shared outfits in the hope that I could make it as a fashion blogger. I charted my unexpected move back home with my parents and why I was determined to focus and keep aiming. And finally I said goodbye to Limbo and hello to Blue Jay of Happiness.
In 2011 I documented every single day of the year by taking a photo and sharing it on a 365 project blog. Capturing the everyday was something I was always passionate about and perhaps explains why I’m such an Instagram (and Instagram stories) addict today.
I guess it’s because the moments that shape us aren’t always big grand gestures. Sometimes they’re small moments that happen in the mundane.
Some snaps I took during my 365 photography project
I vividly remember the day I woke up and realised I was tired of hating myself. I remember the moment I decided I wanted to travel and see more of the world. I remember when I decided I was worth more.
As well as documenting moments through writing and photography, I sometimes take mental snapshots. Whenever I’m feeling incredibly happy or know I want to hold onto a memory, I’ll intentionally take everything in and take a snapshot.
When I file through the archives of my mental snapshots, a few come to mind:
Lying on the floor with my old cat Saffy, stroking her tummy and holding onto that moment when she was healthy, happy and relaxed.
Sitting in the back of a truck in Thailand on my way to a temple. I closed my eyes, felt the warmth on my skin and took in the courage it took for me to get there and how the experiences I was having were changing me.
The moment after an argument with an ex when I felt in my gut that something was wrong, despite us making up. Not a pleasant memory, but one that helped me come to the decision to end the relationship.
Watching a sunset in Costa Rica after that break-up, realising that nothing in this life is certain, but it is damn beautiful anyway.
Drinking coffee and reading in a cafe in Weymouth with Dan. I was struggling with anxiety badly at the time, but in that moment I remember looking over to him and realising everything would be OK.
There are plenty more locked up there, but I’ll stop now. I think what I’m trying to say with this blog is that we have opportunities for these moments every day. We are constantly growing and changing. Every wrong turn we make helps us further along in our journey.
Time moves constantly and nothing is permanent. If you’re in a bad place right now, things can change. You could experience that shift in mindset tomorrow. What you’re going through right now could be shaping your future.
I don’t know, I guess to me this is comforting. I like to know that the moments that shape us are happening all the time and that we’re all moving forward, all the time. Even if it feels slow.
Do me a favour, think back to a moment when you felt utter joy or contentment. Where are you? What’s happening? Who’s with you? Think about where you are right now and what your past self would think. Would they be excited about where you are now? Would they be proud?
I’d love to hear your thoughts on all this and tell me some moments that have shaped you. Let me know in the comments. If you want to see how I document the everyday these days, follow me on Instagram and take a look at my stories.
That’s all from me this week, I hope the topic gave you some food for thought. I’ll be back next week to talk about my first coaching session… and why it ended in tears.
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