I was cautious. I was careful. I tried not to bring up dreams of a future because I didn’t want to scare yet another one away. But then you go and tell me about your dreams, and how you can see the two of us running around on the beach ten years later. You invite me to dinner with your family and you gossip with my friends.You tell me about how many puppies you want to adopt with me, and you excitedly listen to me as I describe my dream house to you.

I was cautious. I looked away every time I felt tears approaching. I cut the call as soon as I felt my voice break. I was careful. I held back tears because being “too emotional” was a turn-off right? But then you pull me closer every time I cry and refuse to move from my side until I’m done. You show me videos of puppies to make me smile again. You pick up your phone at 3 am if I have a bad dream. You tell me that crying clears your mind and that it helps you see things better. You cry on my shoulder. You cry, and I show you videos of food to make you smile again.

I was careful. I tried not to come on too strong. I kept my messages to you as short as possible, although I was dying to write more. I forced myself to not reply instantly, because I didn’t want to risk being seen as “clingy” or “demanding” again. But then you tell me you love my long messages. You tell me that they make you happy. That they make you feel like I’m always by your side. You send me countless paragraphs ranting about that one professor. You call me every time you miss me. You call me just to hear my voice.

So now I wonder about my “problems”… about all the things I thought were wrong with me.

Were they ever really problems?

Go Love Yourself

I used to struggle with my body image for as long as I can remember. I’d constantly blame myself for not being “thin” enough or “tall” enough or “pretty” enough. I would wake up every morning and the first thing I’d think about is what to wear to make myself “look thinner”, to cover up my stomach and my arms. It’s crazy isn’t it? Think about it. So many of us start our days feeling bad about ourselves. Instead of telling ourselves that we’re amazing and we’re going to have a beautiful day, we stand in front of the mirror and ruthlessly critique every inch of ourselves. I remember the countless mornings I spent looking at myself in the mirror from a million different angles, scrutinising everything about me.

I find it painful that you can say such beautiful and inspiring words to all your friends, but fail to say them to yourself everyday. When was the last time you felt completely in love with yourself? When was the last time you genuinely smiled at yourself in the mirror, and fell in love with every inch of your body? Are you not your own best friend? Shouldn’t you be telling yourself how utterly beautiful you are every single day? It breaks my heart to hear the way we talk about ourselves.

I’m tired of looking at models on Instagram and comparing myself to them. I’m tired of thinking that my life would be perfect if I could just lose that extra weight, or if only my arms were thinner, or if I was a few inches taller. As if all my problems would go away with a “perfect” body. Just because you don’t look like that model or that one person in your English class, does not mean that you are not beautiful and strong and worthy of all the love in the world. I used to think that having the “perfect body,” great skin and beautiful hair would make my life perfect. But I realised that the only thing that matters is having a beautiful heart. What truly matters is the strength you have in the toughest of times. What truly matters is the way you love yourself: unapologetically and unconditionally.

Learning to fiercely love myself was one of the most challenging things I’ve ever experienced. The way you treat yourself changes your life. Trust me. The amount of love you have for yourself paves the way for not only a better relationship with yourself, but also with other people in your life. You learn to demand love and respect, because you know you deserve it. You learn to walk away when you know you deserve better.

Love yourself and I PROMISE you your life will radically transform. Make yourself a priority, be proud of yourself and know your worth.

“What if you simply devoted this year to loving yourself more?”

Don’t Settle

Don’t settle for dull conversations and uninteresting discussions. Don’t settle for just 60% loyalty. Don’t settle for indifferent small talk. Don’t settle for lies. Don’t settle for one word replies and unanswered phone calls

Stop settling for days without magic, for kisses with no spark and for hugs with no warmth. Stop settling for disrespect and false effort. Stop settling for boring jobs, toxic friendships and poor treatment.

Don’t settle for forgotten birthdays, immature arguments and insensitive comments. Don’t settle for fake smiles and inconsistent actions. Don’t settle for bland food, for ordinary experiences and for uninspiring nights.

You see, life’s too damn short. Stop settling for less than you deserve.

No More Small Talk

I don’t want small talk.

Don’t just tell me you’re fine. Don’t just tell me you’re doing well.

Tell me why you love the colour red. Tell me your biggest fears. Tell me why you love the smell of rain at night. Tell me what your name means. Tell me about the time you laid awake crying all night. Tell me about the time you couldn’t stop laughing with your best friends. Tell me about the people you love. Tell me about the people you miss. Tell me about the people you can’t imagine life without and tell me about the people you wish you’d never met. Tell me your most painful regrets. Tell me what makes you smile when all you want to do is cry. Tell me what gives you hope. Tell me about the time you experienced something that took your breath away. Tell me why you find it hard to trust people. Tell me why you love that movie. Tell me about the memories you’ll never forget and the ones you wish you could. Tell me why you love summers. Tell me who you need when you’re sick. Tell me who you go to for advice. Tell me your favourite quote. Tell me why that song makes you tear up. Tell me what you think about as you drift off to sleep.

Tell me everything.

Don’t just tell me you’re fine.

Find Yourself First

Find yourself first.

Find what keeps you up all night. Find what you’re like with no sleep. Find what you can’t stop thinking about.

Find what makes your smile wider. Find what makes your heart happy. Find what makes your head spin.

Find what drives you crazy. Find what makes you mad. Find what makes you want to punch a wall. Find what you can’t stand.

Find what makes your heart ache. Find what makes tears stream down your face. Find what makes you choke up. Find what you’re like when you’re broken.

Find what makes you jump around like a 5 year old. Find what makes you laugh until your stomach hearts. Find what makes your eyes glitter.

Find what fuels you when you’re close to giving up. Find what motivates you. Find what drives you to work harder.

Find what leaves you speechless. Find what fills your heart with love. Find what inspires you. Find what makes you feel alive.

Find yourself first.

To The Boy Who Broke My Best Friend’s Heart

Did it make you happy? Did it make you happy to see tears streaming down her face? Did it make you happy as you led her on for months, only to break her heart in the end?

You know I tried to give you a chance. I really tried. The romantic in me was always hoping that you could change for good. That the bad boy would become good… just for the girl. Yet you never failed to disappoint me. Did you even love her? Did you really care about how she felt when you played her with your twisted words and your sick games? Did you even bother asking her about her favourite colour, her biggest dreams or her deepest fears?

You’re a coward and you never deserved someone as incredible as her. She deserves someone who treats her with all the love and respect in the world. She deserves someone worthy of her love.

So don’t even think of crawling back to her. In fact, get out of her way because I’ll promise you one thing: She will rise up, stronger, wiser and braver than ever before. You think you destroyed her? Honey, you never had that kind of power to begin with. She is going build an empire and achieve so much in her life. And you know what? She’s going to be incredibly happy doing all of it.

As for you? I will always be there for you and I wish you all the luck in the world… Just kidding, go fuck yourself.

To Unrequited Love

It sucks doesn’t it? Watching the one you love give his love to someone else. In your mind, he’s making a mistake. Because you’re the only person he should be with.

It’s funny. You never actually told him how you felt. But would it even have mattered? One part of you tells you that what is meant to be will be, yet the other part urges you to fight for what you want. In the beginning, you let this second part take over. You decide to fight. So you scheme and you plot and you plan. You obsess over how to get rid of the other person, and you convince yourself that he is meant to be with you.

But one Tuesday afternoon you see the two of them together. You watch the way he looks at her, how his face lights up in her presence and how his eyes shine when he smiles at her. Your inner romantic sighs at their love and you know you have to let it go. Because all you want is for him to be happy, even if that means him not being with you.

So you act brave. You act like he doesn’t make your heart flutter every time he smiles at you. You act like you’re incredibly happy for him, even though your heart is breaking on the inside. You act like it doesn’t affect you. You fake a smile as you see their pictures on Facebook. You look away when you see them together, because even just seeing them talk to each other makes your heart ache. You imagine scenarios where he wakes up one day and realises that you were everything he ever wanted. You imagine scenarios where you finally get to be with him. Because miracles do exist. Don’t they?

Unrequited love is beautiful. Yes, it’s incredibly painful but it’s also so pure. Don’t you get it? Continuing to love someone so much, while knowing that you will never get that kind of love back from them. Loving with no expectations. Just loving. I think that’s the most beautiful thing in the world.

To All The Hopeless Romantics Out There

I know. I know how it feels to attend a wedding and wonder when your time will come to meet that person who looks at you with all the love in the world. I know how it feels to spot a stranger on the subway and fall in love with how they stare into the distance, the colour of their eyes, their strong gaze and the way they brush their hair out of their face. I know how it feels to want to initiate conversations with people on an airplane, because who knows? You might be sitting next to your soulmate.

I know how it feels to look at that special someone and wonder if they will end up being the person you spend the rest of your life with. I know how much it hurts when you give someone so much love, only to be told that you love “too much”, feel “too much” and care “too much”. I know how it feels to dream about cute scenarios in your head, only to be disappointed if nothing turns out like you had imagined.

I understand your old-fashioned ideals about being in love: romantic dinner dates, long walks on the beach, shy goodnight kisses, cute handwritten notes and endless conversations over the phone at night. I understand how it feels to watch romantic comedies and wonder if all of it could actually happen in real life. Trust me, I know how it feels to want your life to be like a movie, with romantic gazes shared between you and a stranger, cute gestures of love, and constant background music to accompany every special occasion.

Do me a favour? Please never stop believing in true love okay? I KNOW it exists. It HAS to. I believe with all my heart that you will find it one day. Maybe in a few years or maybe even next week. It’s an amazing feeling to have isn’t it? The feeling that you could walk out your front door on a Wednesday afternoon and your entire life could change forever. I love that.

Don’t let anything or anyone take away that hopeless romantic in you. Never stop wearing your heart on your sleeve. Never stop believing in love, fate. destiny and magic. True love exists, you just have to never lose hope that something magical can happen to you when you least expect it.

To The Stranger At The Airport

Your dark eyes immediately caught my attention. I was mesmerised by how focused you were, as you gazed at the people sitting around you. You stood out to me because you were the only person who sat so patiently and peacefully, without needing to pull out your phone, watch a movie on your laptop or even buy a cup of coffee.

I watched you watch the airplanes from the giant glass window on your left. I was fascinated by how you were perfectly content with spending your time staring out the window, watching airplanes take off and land on a cloudy Monday night.

Our eyes met for a split second, and I quickly looked away, embarrassed. I wish I had the courage to smile and tell you that I liked the fact that your shirt was the same shade as your eyes. But instead I looked away because you would’ve been weirded out if I had told you that right?

It’s funny. We’re constantly talking about how today’s world lacks genuine human connection, yet we’re the ones who shy away from it. We’re the ones who look away instead of smiling.