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Meet Azra. This is her Story

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Meet Azra. This is her Story

 Home.

What is it - really? Rather than a physical place, it’s a feeling for most of us.

It’s that random scent you come across at the age of 30 that brings you back to your mom hanging up laundry on a clothesline.

For the majority of people home is a large puzzle made up of our values, instilled beliefs, memories and other things that cocoon our worldly identity.

Home, then, is home base. The sphere that influences all of our decisions, the friends we make, jobs we take on, partners we choose and so on. It’s the well that we drink from that determines our character.

But home for a Bosnian refugee? An immigrant child? It’s also a puzzle but one that’s missing some pieces - so you never get the see the full picture. Your entire life you end up searching for these lost links to get a sense of what home at its full realization is.

There is a burning question in your heart that nothing seems to answer, I know.

Today, I’m here to tell you it’s a futile exercise to go into the past seeking those answers.

I was born in Bosnia, moved to Germany at the brink of the Bosnian War and eventually came to Canada with my parents and brother. My mom and dad went from owning nothing but two suitcases to making their version of the Canadian Dream come true. As a child I never felt that we were lacking anything. If anything, my parents overcompensated to give us the things they never had themselves. They did the best they could with the level of awareness they had.

The rub, though, is that nothing materialistic heals wounds that non-materialistic things caused. No material thing can reverse the repercussions of the diaspora of your people.

My love for writing has always been an innate part of my nature. From the age of 6, I would write out details of my days and reflect on the relationships around me. Over the years, I’ve accumulated half a dozen journals before eventually taking my stories and poetry online. These days, I write about the transition into motherhood I’ve lived through the past 3 years.

But as time went on, my mindset has changed - and alongside it, so has my writing. And simultaneously, whether I was aware of it or not, my idea of that word, home, has transformed, as well.

Something about motherhood gave me a different perspective on it all. I recognized very quickly, I wasn’t alone in my feelings, whether it came to those that longed for my home land or those that mourned my life (and freedom) before kids. And I began understanding that my desire for something unfulfilled could only be dealt with in the present moment - not digging for it in the graveyard of the past.

I used to find solace in getting my emotions out on paper and creating fictions that I would weave anecdotal pieces into. But as good as it would feel at the time, the hurt never truly went away and would inevitably re-surface again. I recognized that my best writing came to me at my darkest moments - and I began to feel chained to the pieces, in a way someone becomes enamoured with their captivator over a period of time. The writer’s version of Stockholm syndrome. I would use my hurt as energy to create beautiful pieces and purge that burden in my chest but every time I re-read my work, I’d be transported to the exact instance that begot that piece initially. And like I said before, usually it wasn’t inspired by something chipper.

 

 The other day someone said to me - storytelling is a good thing, as long as you can separate your ego from your story. As long as your story serves a greater purpose. I took it to mean that as long as you’re writing about the past, and taking inspiration from the past, that you will wallow in that world and be unable to progress. You’ll be unable to heal and evolve to a state of inner peace. It was the first time I thought about my writing from this point of view - and surely, this piece I’m writing right now for you would’ve looked completely different if I had written it before that conversation.

I knew the identity I was creating for myself for so long was bound into my writing. Yet, it didn’t do me justice. Home, I’ve realized since, is where you feel the most yourself - without the influence of others or memories. It isn’t the place you are when you feel you need to appease others or the place you have a massive amount of guilt or sadness in. Home is being on your most authentic path, and the core of your nature aligned with that path is only exposed to you when you peel off the veils you’ve hidden behind for so long. The facade most of us operate under to keep in line with societal standards and familial tradition. Home is ahead of us.

I’m still very much a writer, a poet. A storyteller. I’m still in the deep trenches of matrescence, as well - that evolution that all women go through once becoming mothers. What has changed, for me, however, is that I’ve recognized words can be used for more than just reflection. Once you have insight and willingness to truly heal, your focus should be on the road ahead of you, starting with your present moment. It’s the only thing we really have and everything is possible in it.

My name is Azra and I do write to heal - but instead of using the scars of my past as feed for my stories anymore, I’m inspired by a higher vibration. I now plant seeds into my plots that are encased in the energy I’ve always wanted to feel. The things that were apparent at my own genesis, before memories and life warped my vision and created hurt, and the only things that will remain with my spirit once this physical world is over.

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How Your Living Space Affects your Mental Health

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How Your Living Space Affects your Mental Health

 Hey everyone - Kiki here! I am the Founder and CEO of Spaces Simplified - a Professional Organizing Service. I jumped at the opportunity to write a post as a guest blogger at my friend Cayla's request. I hope everyone can take something from this post, and do your very best to create and recognize happiness in your lives!

 

Today’s focus: “When people are happy in their homes, it spills out into the rest of their lives”

 

Like anything else there are so many factors that affect our happiness: Our relationships, our careers, our education, our experiences, our goals, our locations and the spaces around us. All of these things shape us, some more than others at different instances due to varied consistencies, but the one I’d like to focus on is the home.

When people are happy in their homes, it spills out into the rest of their lives.

 

Home can mean many different things to different people. For me home is a haven, it’s a place a seek solace in and feel safe in. It’s also a place where I dream and grind out some crazy hard work! You can see where I’m going with this - different spaces allow us to feel different things and accomplish specific goals. I hope that for everyone the ultimate goal is always happiness!

 

Here are 3 ways to keep your home a happy space to be:

 

1. The Hub

 

Everyone (hopefully) has a space like this in their homes. The place where everyone gets together to catch up and chill out. If you feel like your home is lacking one, don’t hesitate to create it. In my experience I’ve found that kitchens are one of the most popular spaces (probably because there are snacks there), or anywhere there’s a snuggly sectional. In regard to fostering happiness, it’s not so much about the physical space as it is what the space represents. It’s a space to connect - a place to reflect. This day in age there are so many moving parts and full schedules. Establish a hub, and allow yourself to spend time there connecting with the people you care about.

 

2. Eliminate Clutter & Chaos

 

Simple fact: If your surroundings are chaotic, your life will feel chaotic.

If you have one or multiple overwhelming areas in your home or work space don’t underestimate how much it will affect you. It can constantly weigh on your shoulders or you could avoid it completely, both of which will directly affect your happiness and even your mental health. It’s been proven (and is fairly obvious) that those who describe their spaces as “cluttered” or “disorganized” or full of “unfinished projects” are more likely to experience feelings of fatigue, overwhelm, hopelessness and higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol. All of these things can affect your mood, sleep, health, relationships and self-esteem.  Don’t underestimate the importance of surrounding yourself with enough organization and order to thrive!

 

3. Exterior Love

 

Curb appeal = First Impressions. As much as I love to focus on the interior of homes, there is something to be said for investing time and energy into the upkeep of the exterior of your home - a simple place to start: landscaping. Keep your greenspaces well kept and tidy. Depending on how green your thumb is, design your lawn and garden spaces to suit how much time you want to spend maintaining it. Add pops of colour with easy to maintain flowers and plants like sunflowers or sweet peas. Feel good about your home every time you come and go! Be proud that it’s yours and enjoy the happiness this brings you.

 

4. Maintain Your Own Independent Space

Having your own domain allows you to have a place to retire to and genuinely unwind. Make it your own, design it according to your style. Allow yourself the luxury of reveling in something that’s just yours!

The spaces we retreat to and from each day are without a doubt one of the biggest contributing factors to our mood, our energy and how we live our lives. My hope is that everyone can surround themselves with a space that energizes them for the day, and allows them the opportunity to unwind and seek solace in at the end of the day.

 

Remember your home and your spaces are what you make them.

 

Aim for happiness.

 

Xx M

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