Hello, lovely hunnies 🙂
Wow… where do I even begin.
Rather then doing a typical edition of Stories For A Smile this month, I decided that since it’s December, I’d do an “End of 2016” edition where I wrap up this year and spread some much needed positivity.
But first, let’s engage in some real talk. You know, without denying our actual feelings.
So… 2016 was a mess, wasn’t it? I would have asked whether you have all recuperated from the shocking news of Trump’s presidency last month but honestly, you probably haven’t. I mean, I know that I haven’t. Heck, I’m still upset about Brexit and that was many months a go now!
I don’t know exactly where you guys are from in the world or which way you voted in the recent elections (or would have voted in the recent elections), but for those who are upset by the results of the election – I’m with you during this difficult time.
Moreover, I am you during this difficult time.
When I woke up to the news that Trump was winning the elections and I watched as the last votes were being counted, I was not only crushed and devastated but sick to my stomach.
I couldn’t believe that a sexist, homophobic, racist, islamphobic, antisemitic, xenophobic, sexual assaulting misogynist had just become the president of the U.S. I immediately thought of all the women, lgbtq, african, asian, latin, muslim & jewish americans in the U.S. that are understandably shaking with fear, from what a Trump presidency is likely to mean for them.
A world that is filled with hate, discrimination & segregation, is not a world that I want for us to create and I’m still in disbelief that after the world events of 2016, this is the direction that we’re heading in.
I really don’t know what to say.
The only thing that I do know is that we can’t lose hope. When we don’t have hope we don’t have anything. But when we do, we find strength and courage to fight for what we believe in and to be forces of good and light in dark times.
That means actually being the change that you want to see in the world, standing up for yours and others rights, taking necessary action and educating those who are unaware with kindness, compassion, patience & respect. The same kindness & compassion that they may not be demonstrating to you.
That’s hard to do when we’re so justifiably angry and upset, but I think that that’s vital.
As the great Martin Luther King Jr. said…
“Darkness can not drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate can not drive out hate; only love can do that.”
We are allowed to be angry, upset, afraid & devastated. But we also need to take action.
So how do we lift ourselves back up to fight the hatred, darkness & negativity?
By filling ourselves with love, light & positivity.
That’s the whole reason why I created the Stories For a Smile series in the first place! 🙂
I thought that for this special edition, I’d give you a round up of everything that made me feel good this month; and this past year in general. I’m including things that I came across that gave me joy and will hopefully give you joy too; but also things from my personal life that I’m grateful for, which have given me joy too.
I inspire you to create your own list of things that have given you joy, love, light, comfort & positivity. And if you do, it would be awesome if you shared it with us! 🙂
I’m thankful for… you lovely hunnies!
I’m going to get mushy here but I’m really thankful for you guys. This year, as my blog has grown and I’ve been posting more, I’ve gotten to meet more global students from around the world and it’s made me really happy. When I first started blogging I was just writing words into the ether. But now, many of you have been responding, commenting and sharing with me your thoughts and feelings and I find that very enriching and satisfying. Very heart-warming and encouraging. Whether you’re an awesome & lovely reader, a supportive blogger, or even both, I want to thank you for your kindness, engagement and general awesomeness. I love you guys, and interacting with you is my favourite part about blogging 🙂
President Obama & Vice President Joe Biden memes!
Ohhh the internet. I can always trust you to create things that bring a smile to my face. I’m not always aware of the many memes and gifs that there are, but I certainly enjoy this form of entertainment. If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to crack a smile from these elections, look no further than these memes. For those of us who are in mourning over the outcome, let these memes be the chance to poke a little harmless fun and get in a few giggles.
Here are some links that I think you’ll enjoy:
- Distractify – 31 Obama And Biden Memes That Are So Good They Should Get Four More Years
- Bored Panda – 25+ Hilarious Conversations Between Obama And Biden Are The Best Medicine After This Election
I’m thankful for… good mental health treatment & the mental health community!
I’ve not at all been quiet about my mental health struggles on this blog. It’s the reason why I came home from the adventure of a lifetime in Australia and it’s the reason why I was scared to travel ‘alone’ again to Spain. Since getting diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Dysthymic Disorder, I have been super conscious about my recovery and have been attacking these illnesses from every angle. Massive reasons why I’ve been able to accomplish this is because of 1) fantasic mental health care & 2) an incredibly supportive community. I’ve realized how lucky I am to live in a country where treatment for mental health is much more accessible and even free. And the fact that I’ve discovered an extremely supportive & positive community of fellow mental health sufferers on Twitter (via #TalkMH), is a substantial added bonus. So that’s definitely made me happy this year… literally.
*Shout out to Hannah Rainey of Little Thoughts Blog for creating the #TalkMH! 🙂
“I’m a Muslim and people call me a terrorist. Do you trust me?”
If there’s something that truly has lifted my spirits this past month and restored my faith in humanity a bit more, it’s this video. Any form of xenophobia is disgusting, disheartening and makes me secretly want to curse the world under my breath. Islamphobia is no different and has unfortunately been on the rise in recent years. To show the people around him that he doesn’t need to be feared just because he is a Muslim, this man stands in public blindfolded, with his arms wide open, next to a sign that says “I’m Muslim and people call me a terrorist. Do you trust me? If yes, hug me.”. To see so many people stop for a moment to give him a hug, is one of the most heart-warming things I’ve seen in a very long time and caused me to cry some happy tears. It proves that there are still people who know that they don’t need to automatically be afraid of someone, just because they’re ‘other’. This is one of my favourite finds from this last month and this past year.
I’m thankful for… my dorky sisters!
My relationship with my sisters has really improved this year and that’s another thing that I’m really grateful for. I’d say that we’ve always been friends, but this year our relationship has evolved and developed into something much stronger and solid. They’ve been a source of constant love, laughter, mischief, joy & support in my life, especially as I’ve been dealing with my mental health struggles. I feel very lucky to have them in my life and they’ve made my 2016 super awesome!
And last but not least….
“If You Need A Reason To Smile”
I thought I’d end my list with this gem. Thomas Sanders is a popular online creator (Vine & YouTube) who combines his theatrical and musical talents, with a creative brain and a relatable sense of humor. Many online creators of every medium have shared their thoughts, feelings & reactions to Trump’s Presidency. But when I came across this one, I knew I had to share it because of what he decides to do. As you can see from the title, Thomas offers many different reasons for us to smile between sharing positive global achievements and his and his friends’ random goofiness. After watching this video, I definitely had a smile on my face and was very touched by his message at the end. To see people who are able to be filled with light during this time, while still being conscious of what’s happening and caring deeply about the people affected, gives me inspiration to do the same. And perhaps it will for you too.
“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world” – Anne Frank
The point is not to handle this new situation with blind optimism. That won’t do us any good. The worst thing for us to be is blind to the reality we’re in with the problems we’re facing.
No, the point is to find and cultivate our own and each other’s light, love & positivity, as a way to regain strength and solve the problems in front of us. Because as Martin Luther King Jr. famously said, only love and light can get rid of hatred and darkness. If you try to add darkness to darkness, even if it’s a ‘different’ kind of darkness, nothing changes. It’s still just darkness.
But if you add light to darkness, the darkness can’t remain darkness. It will become light.
To top it all off, I’ve come across some brilliant posts from bloggers that I’d like to share with you. These bloggers share the same sentiments and thoughts that I have and have articulated them so beautifully on their blogs. I wholeheartedly agree with their perspectives and attitudes and I definitely recommend them as interesting and worthy reads.
- This Battered Suitcase – How We Can Help (If We’re Not American)
- Chasing My Sunshine – The Election Happened… Now What?
- Up, Up & A Bear – Color Wheel
What are the things that have given you light & joy during this time? What are the ways in which you’re going to be a light during the next few years?
Now more than ever, hunnies…
Be Brave & Be Kind,