Why are we waiting? [Guest Blogger]

‘It seems to me that in the modern age, everyone is in some sort of rush. And it’s understandable, I guess. With social media, the Internet etc., everything is always instant and available at the push of a button. This is only ever going to lead to a constant sense of restlessness and a generation obsessed with phone checking (don’t worry youth, I feel you. I’ve just described myself!)
But why, then, does nobody appear to rush to do the things that matter, before it’s too late? We only have to watch a romcom to know that sadly, people can lose touch, either by distance or unfortunate circumstances, and fail to be reunited until it’s too late. I’m not trying to provoke feelings of guilt or regret here, but maybe the right word for the sentiment is realisation, or, the expression ‘carpe diem’.
Another phrase we hear a lot is ‘yolo’. More often than not, it is associated with reckless actions of possibly drinking (a world I’m most certainly unaware of), taking risks for the sake of impressing others and looking cool, or even denying responsibility altogether. But this is not the meaning of the phrase in my book.
I feel that the answer lies deep down, as it always does, with faith, and with putting everything into perspective. It’s a sad scenario, but picture being trapped on the other side of a glass window from someone you care about, unable to communicate except through facial expression and eye contact. What would you want to say? And is it something they don’t know already?
I guess this has gone onto a darker path than I intended. Maybe this derives from the fact I’ve been watching a little too much Call the Midwife lately, or maybe it’s the documentary I saw last night, ‘Before I Kick the Bucket’. It was an inspiring programme about the value and reasons behind ‘bucket lists’.
Personally, I don’t think bucket lists are the best way of living at any stage of life, because since when has ticking boxes made us feel truly satisfied (says the girl with a list for everything!)? By satisfied I mean truly content with life, you know, that warmth you feel in your heart when you touch someone or, even warmer, when someone touches you emotionally. That’s the sort of feeling you can’t get from ticking off bucket lists (by that I mean the kinds of lists that involve lots of high energy, adrenaline filled physical sports). It’s very likely that I’m wrong on that front, though. After all, satisfaction is such a personal thing.
But moving onto what I think is the solution, if there ever can be, to these feelings of regret that we all seem to experience at times (we need only look at @SixthFormProblems to know the dissatisfaction associated with the education system) mentioned by a psychologist on the bucket list programme. It’s people. After all, isn’t that what everyone thinks of when they’re in their time of need? As well as, crucially, our religious faith, I think people hold the key to making us happy! We’ve known this all along and it’s been said decade after decade. Regrets won’t be needed if you’ve told the closest people to you how much they mean to you, and sharing your ups and your downs with them. In a religious sense, I feel that God often reveals Himself in the form of wonderful human beings that we meet in our lives, and we have something to learn from each of them (Side note: listen to For Good from Wicked for more in this vein). It isn’t easy for anyone to wear their heart on their sleeve and share emotions with others, sometimes especially those closest to you, when it could hurt them. But the sense of sharing your life, your sorrows and your joy, with others, is such a precious and valuable gift. I realise this may not entirely link in with the initial point about rushing life, but in a way it does. We’re forgetting the things that matter in this whirlwind of instantaneous responses, and that’s the physical presence of our loved ones.
So I think the conclusion of this complete brain splatter is that though instant messages travel fast, they’re often short lived and temporary. Make more time for the physical memories that we tend to hold in our hearts forever. Cheese alert!!
Thanks for reading :)
Written by Jenna Noronha
Peace&Love.
Paula Melissa xx

Comparing yourself with others

stop-comparing-comic2

When I was a little younger, I had officially come to grips with the idea that I am obviously not as ‘naturally pretty’ as other girls. Where I got this idea from, I do not particularly know, but I believed it with all of my heart. In my young mind, some people are just beautiful. They were born with the lucky combination of chromosomes that made them gorgeous. But it is not all bad, because the rest of us had strengths too. Some of us were born with smarts, some can sing and dance, some with the undeniable talent to make people laugh. I did not believe I was given beauty, but that was okay because I exploited my strengths. I sang, I made people laugh, I worked hard in school, I wrote and I was a good friend to people who needed me. All the while, I never felt like not being ‘conventionally pretty’ hindered me. If anything, it empowered me, because I believed that everything I had, I had earned and not because I was nice to look at.

Looking back, it is clear that I only had this view about myself because I compared myself to other people.

For some people, comparing yourself to others just distracts you from the many good qualities you hold. You might be amazing in one aspect, but complete overlook it because someone else shines bright in one particular thing. I learnt that I was beautiful. Maybe not in the conventional way, but then again, who wants conventional? I learnt that some of the things that make some people pretty do not work for me. I had to find indiviudal things that worked for me and made me confident and gorgeous. I think I have.

If you realise something does not work for you, you either forget about it or make it work for you. Life does not give you time to whine and cry about things that do not work, because there will be many things that do not work. If you do not work hard for it, you do not deserve it. Simple as that. And if you get things without working for them, you will not fully understand its value.

I am proud of the beautiful, young woman I have become today, mainly because I worked hard to become her. Because of this, I fully understand my value. I do not ever need to compare who I am, what I am, what I have to someone else, because I am enough. Until I realised this, I was incomplete, whether I realised it or not. If more people could see their worth, they would not care so much when they are cast down or told they are not good enough.

When I was a little girl, I was ‘encouraged’ to join my church choir, mainly because they desperately needed members. I had no interest in music and singing, I was much too busy with things nine-year old girls do. But I joined and soon realised… I hated it. It was not for me, so I believed. I couldn’t hit the high notes, it took up way too much of my time and to make matters worse, the members were incredibly rude. They were not afraid to tell a nine-year old girl that she really could not sing. After crying on multiple occations, I realised they were probably right. Compared to the adults in the choir, I could not sing at all. However, I also realised that if I kept working hard, I will be able to sing. Fast forward a decade or two, and here I am. I can sing. I may not be Mariah Carey, but I can definetly hit more notes than I could then. The point of my anecdote is to demonstrate that comparing yourself with other people can also be a positive thing, but only if you use the comparison to motivate you. If you do it to pinpoint all the bad things about yourself, then it is not helpful.

You do not need someone to make you realise that you are better than where you are in life, right now. You just need yourself to make that first step to improvement. But sometimes it can be just as helpful to have people to measure against, just to show your progression.

Peace&Love.

Paula Melissa xx

The Restoration Plot pt 2

Two years ago, around this time of year, I wrote a blog post on Easter. I want to share it again, because sometimes we take Easter, and what it represents, for granted.

He died, but now He’s alive. It’s a miracle.

We are remembering all the pain Jesus took upon His shoulders. All the discomfort and humiliation – just to make sure we have our place with God. He restored creation, after sin had attempted at decreating creation. He was that restoration. He gave us the provision, the pathway, the guide, on how to be sin-less. He brought a never quenched light into the darkness. No darkness can comprehend His light. He sent a comforter, a friend, a still small voice, living in the depth of our hearts. It was His Holy Spirit. His Holy Spirit dwells with us, within us and we didn’t even need to fight for that. We didn’t have to work for it. He gave us the easy job and took the hard one. He gave us the job of having to love Him. Of having to praise and glorify Him. And if you realise how great He is, you will realise our praises are nothing compared to what He deserves. Compared to how amazing, and awesome He really is. How loving, and huge and unimaginable He is. The human mind cannot even begin to understand how great He is. We weren’t worthy, we aren’t worthy, but He made us worthy. He became Sin. Sin died on that cross. He became Sin so you and I could be spotless. Spotless. Without a spot or blemish. We have become new creatures in Christ Jesus. We have His love working in us. His unfailing, unending, unexplainable, undeserving love, made available and accessible to us. Forever. And ever. He did that. And not for His gain, but for ours.

What kind of love is that? What manner of man is Jesus? That even death could hold Him. That even sin couldn’t phase Him. 

That’s my King. My Lord. The Lord of my life. The love of my life; That’s my Jesus. And your Jesus. The Jesus who fights for us. He is salvation.

And for all of that, I live in continual gratitude.

Thank you Jesus.

Peace&Love. Made available by the Blood of Jesus being shed for us.

Paula Melissa xx

My day at a deaf youth event – VIDEO

You can find inspiration in anything, especially when you do not expect to find it. My mum invited me along to a deaf youth event she was asked to speak at. I went along, not really knowing what to expect. I left that evening with inspiration and a whole new perspective on a side of life I didn’t really know a lot about. What better way to explain my day, than in video form. Enjoy!

I really did not know anything about being deaf, sign language and everything of that sort. It feels good to have my eyes opened.

In many parts of the world, deaf people are somewhat segregated, hidden away in small colonies. People do not expect them to have a life, do not expect them to be funny, beautiful, inspiring people. This saddens me because of course they are.

You can find inspiration in anything. Even in people you have never really known about. Even in people who cannot hear.

Peace&Love.

Paula Melissa xx

#DearMe – VIDEO – What would you tell your younger self?

#DearMe

So recently, I kept seeing YouTube advertising this #DearMe hashtag. After a little bit of digging, I discovered it was part of a celebration of International Women’s day. The hashtag accompanies videos where YouTubers say words of encouragement and advice to their younger self.

Here’s the original video on YouTube.

It inspired me to think about what I would tell younger Paula. What should she have known that would have made growing up a lot easier? So I filmed this quick video!

Enjoy, and think, what has changed in your life? What have you overcome growing up? What would you tell your younger self to worry less about?

Peace&Love.

Paula Melissa xx

Youth on Abuse

I feel proud to be a young person whilst writing this post.

I feel proud that there are young people making a change and standing up for what they believe in. Inspiring young people is my passion, which is why I am always quick to praise and promote some encouraging, like-minded youth.

Suraj is seventeen and the founder of ‘Youth on Abuse’. ‘Youth on Abuse’ is a recently established campaign which aims to educate young people on the realities of domestic violence, through workshops at high schools and primary schools. Its primary focus is to highlight any stereotypes young people may have about victims and perpetrators of domestic violence, whilst allowing pupils to understand the forms that abusive relationships may take. This includes understanding its financial, sexual, psychological, physical and emotional shape.

Domestic violence can be such a hard, emotional subject to discuss. It can take a lot of courage to openly discuss and examine the issue. I think ‘Youth on Abuse’ is an amazing group because it demonstrates to men and women that have had to deal or are having to deal with abuse and violence, that we care. We as young people care about the problem and we are committed to deal with it.

Recent surveys reveal 40% of teenagers are already being subjected to relationship abuse. Both my parents are marriage councillors and they always say at their seminars, “Do not allow your marriage or relationship to be based on fear or dread of the other person. Get out of a relationship where you are being abused.” I totally agree but at the same time, I am not naive to believe that it is always as easy as packing your bags and leaving. That is why I respect this charity, for being a voice for people who cannot speak out.

The ‘Youth on Abuse’ aim to lower the amount of people subject to relationship abuse by implementing three elements of their strategy: Protection, Prevention and Education. They aim to fill young people with knowledge that will carry them through their adult lives and therefore positively influence them when building their future relationships. If from young ages people can learn that certain behaviours and certain acts are not okay and are not expectable in our society, we will see a significant decrease in domestic violence and relationship abuse.

“A few people have raised the issue that because we are a young group who aren’t specialised in this topic, the campaign won’t be effective.” Suraj says, completely aware of the criticisms ‘Youth on Abuse’ has received. “But I think it’s about being open to a neglected issue within our community and beyond, not necessarily being qualified. So I guess our greatest weakness is our greatest strength because the campaign puts emphasise on young people interacting with other young people on an ignored issue.”

I am a such a romantic, which means I love love and the idea of being made specifically compatible for that special someone. Domestic violence and relationship abuse is the worst thing because it takes away that joyful part of your life, and makes it a burden that you have to carry. If you genuinely believe that everyone deserves true love, as I do, you will support this campaign.

Please follow ‘Youth on Abuse’ on twitter (https://twitter.com/YouthOnAbuse) to keep updated with the movement.

Peace&Love

– Paula Melissa xx

What am I passionate about?

“What are you passionate about, Paula?” I asked myself, thinking hard. “What do you care about?”

When I contemplate on the word passion, I think of burning desire. Of undivided attention and care for something. “What are you passionate about, Paula?” The question rings clear in my mind, and frankly I do not know the answer. When you find your passion, you find your purpose.

I care about young people. I care about them because I am one, and I’ve seen young people deprived from things I’ve come to believe as necessaties that everyone should be entitled to. I care about reducing the amount of pain and abandonment young people feel can feel. This crucial stage of life is a tricky one, because it pretty much sets up how the rest of your life will shape out. I’m not trying to scare anyone, but I genuienly believe that. That is why I care about young people, because young people deserve to enjoy life, just as much as children and old people and everyone else in the world does too.

Inspiring young people is my passion. Find out more about what I care about here.

 

Peace&Love.

Paula Melissa xx