I’ve noticed some changes in myself recently. I find myself empathizing with the Earth. And I don’t mean the “Planet”, I don’t mean the people living in this world. I mean the place. I don’t feel bad for the human race, I feel bad for our Home. I’ve done a few things to change the way I live my life.
I don’t stomp on spiders or aggressively clap away fruit flies. Instead, I open my windows and do the best to guide them out. I can’t look at a cut of meat without imagining the whole animal it once was. In August of this year, I decided to completely change my diet. I used to be a voracious meat eater, but now the smell of cooking flesh almost makes me sick. I used to strongly dislike vegetables, but now that’s almost all I eat. Becoming vegan (and sugar free) has been such a positive change in my life. I no longer feel guilty about the things I’m eating, because I know that everything I’m eating is good for me, and isn’t snuffing the life from another being.
I love the idea of having a room full of plants and crystals, there to absorb all negativity. I want the place I spend most of my time to be a wholly positive space. This is a slower moving change, but I’m working on it. I have a small collections of quartz crystals and a pot with four tiny cacti living in my bathroom. I am slowly getting rid of more and more of my unnecessary possessions, like jewelry I bought in sixth grade and never wear, and filling my life more necessary things, like good books. When I’m in my room, I almost always have music playing. I used to feel embarrassed about my taste in music, but now I know that I’m allowed to listen to whatever makes me happiest. Lately, that’s been Grace’s EP Memo, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s kickass Broadway hip-hop musical about the founding fathers of the United States, Hamilton, and Justin Bieber’s new album Purpose. I also love a lot of Spotify playlists full of the most eclectic music.
The way I dress is another thing I’ve realized I shouldn’t be ashamed of. Sometimes I wear men’s shirts, mom jeans, little boy sized sweatshirts, long dresses or chunky boots. I have described my fashion sense in a number of ways. It changes day to day. And I love it. I often look frumpy. But frumpy is comfortable. I also realized that the way I dress may be odd, but it’s unique. I shop almost exclusively at second-hand stores (except for underwear and socks). I frequent Cancer Research shops and Sunday car boot sales are some of my favorite spots. Shopping at second hand stores is also something I see as planet positivity. I can buy a Topshop shirt for one quid at a car boot sale, and instead of supporting a mildly awful company, I’m helping a twenty-something make a little extra cash. Plus, I always end up finding something that’s funky and one of a kind, which makes picking an outfit every morning a helluva lot more fun.
Overall, I’m trying to live my life in a more positive way. I’m trying to read more books and write more. I’m trying to stay inspired. I’m trying to leave my phone at home sometimes when I go to get coffee on the weekends. I drink green tea every morning and try to put my electronics away before going to bed. I try to not let things get to me so quickly, and I frequently remind myself that small mistakes aren’t the end of the world. I also remind myself that any emotion I have is justified, and that I’m allowed to cry at a Cheerios commercial and laugh at stupid jokes. Most importantly, I remind myself that I am awesome. I urge everyone to remind themselves of this daily, it does a lot for a person’s self esteem.
I’ll end my first blogpost with some photos of my favorite places I’ve been in the past year-and-a-half. Living in London has been a blessing that has allowed me to visit some of the places that now live in my dreams.
Lopez Island, Washington. I took this while sitting high up above the water on a cliff. I rode my bike from a farmhouse to take photographs of the sunset with a phone that hadn’t been connected to any network for three days. I love Lopez, because it is a place that is completely disconnected and simply stunning. It is so easy to relax there.
Highgate Cemetery, London, England. This one may seem a bit morbid, but I guarantee my affection for this place is simple. I visited last winter, and spent hours wandering around with a friend. The graves are old and covered in ivy, and it is unbelievably peaceful.
Amsterdam, the Netherlands. I spent my last birthday in Amsterdam. We rode bikes everywhere and learned about history. It was cold in February, but the skies were clear and the canals were busy. Amsterdam is a calm city, where it seems like more people ride bikes than drive cars. It also holds some tragic stories, and I hope I can go back soon to continue to discover.
Denny Creek, Washington. I went here over the summer on a short hike with some friends. It was warm and the creek was freezing. We scaled rocks to find an empty spot for a picnic. The Pacific Northwest takes my breath away. I forgot how much I appreciate raw beauty.
Kew Gardens, London, England. These royal gardens are far from raw, but they hold their own charm. I haven’t been back here in almost two years, but I appreciate this massive green space inside London.
Cumbria, England. My class took a trip here in September. This was the first place I’d been since moving to London that reminded me of the Pacific Northwest. I didn’t bring my phone, but a classmate was nice enough to send me a ton of the pictures he took so I could share the memories. On our last day there, our Outward Bound (Collect moments, not things) coordinator asked everyone to climb a hill and find a spot to sit alone. I sat on the damp grass, surrounded by lush green plants and shouting sheep, and meditated. The air was so clean, and the view was so beautiful that it brought me to tears. I understood, in that moment, how important it is to preserve the simple beauty that is still left in this world.
Somewhere near Snoqualmie, Washington. This is another photo that was not taken by me, but I love it because it is a reminder of an amazing day spent swimming in a lake and eating pasta cooked on a camping stove.
Learn to let things you cannot control go.