It’s okay to take a break

Quite often, we get deeply embroiled in our hectic lifestyles with deadlines to meet and a continual pressure on our shoulders to “be productive”. But as I have realised, it is so important that we give ourselves a break when we need one. Giving our bodies, minds, and hearts a chance to relax and recharge is as vital as hitting our most important deadlines.

A lot of us feel guilty when we aren’t productive. As a high-school student, every time I look at my laptop, I see ten assignments I need to complete, deadlines I need to meet, essays I need to write, and tasks I need to get on with. I feel constantly overwhelmed and it seems like there isn’t any end to it. I even feel like I’m going and going, almost drowning. There are times when I feel like I’m not able to spend time with my family, with the people I love, and investing my time doing the things I love. I feel disconnected from them, from things I’m passionate about, and from myself! Something I have come to realize is that self-care and looking after our well-being isn’t unproductive. In fact, any work I create with a negative state of mind is never my best one, and this brings me further down in the hole of feeling miserable about being productive.

That being said, it doesn’t matter how we choose to do it. The important thing is that we owe ourselves the gift of a deep breath (or the view of a long sunset!) after all the hard work we put into our day-to-day lives. Taking some time off to focus on ourselves and our mental health, specially during these exceedingly stressful times, is as important as getting any work done. So even with “so much to do in so little time”, after a busy day, we all deserve to relax and unwind.

⁃ SaaniaSparkle 🧚🏻‍♀️

True Happiness is Internal

The other day when I was texting a friend, I noticed how impatient and grumpy I felt when she didn’t reply and get back to me. There were similar instances with other people wherein I felt irked the same way. However, it made me wonder why my happiness is dependent on external factors. And, ultimately, just how wrong this is!

We haven’t actually ever been taught to look inside of ourselves. Our worlds are not exactly set up to help us discover our personal boundaries in pursuit of growth, and we are therefore encouraged to cling onto external events in the hopes that we will be happy after, and with the hopes that they will calm our troubled hearts and minds. But quite fortunately enough, true happiness can be found within us.

Internal happiness is when our happiness is influenced by our own realizations, mindsets or thought processes. The weight of other people’s thoughts and opinions can easily become a burden for us, but once we learn to let go, it feels like taking a nice deep breath for the first time. We see the world as different. We feel happiness from within ourselves.

I also realized that people don’t care as much as we think they do! We all have a life of our own to worry about, and all the problems that come with living it. Even though it may seem like we are constantly being scrutinized, it is unlikely that someone is spending much of their time thinking about us at all. We will lose our minds trying to make sure that everyone responds to us the way we want them to, so ultimately, people’s opinions and actions don’t matter. Thankfully, happiness is a skill that can be cultivated, and it is entirely within our reach.

The hard truth is that we can’t please everyone, nor can we control the things that happen to us (all the time). It is impossible to live up to everyone’s expectations and it is impossible to achieve everything we desire exactly when and how we want. So there is no point in burning ourselves out in trying to do so since perfectionism is a destination wherein we will hardly ever arrive. The important thing, however, is that we make sure that one of the people we do please is ourselves!

– SaaniaSparkle 🧚🏻‍♀️

Skydiving at 16!

This weekend (on Easter Sunday), I jumped off a plane at an altitude of 13,000 feet!

My heart was beating and my body was shaking as I stepped into the plane. In those ten minutes, I could feel nothing but the chills of fear of jumping, despite my amazing instructor Benji trying his best to calm me down.

And then the moment came!

The plane door opened, and I watched the first two people fall into the sky, one of them being my twin sister. Then it was my turn. Benji and I crouched at the door of the plane, I looked out into the sky all around me, and I took the biggest jump of my life.

What Skydiving Taught Me About Fear:

In life, there are always some things that scare each of us. When I was very little, I had a fear of almost everything. The wind would scare me (Ancraophobia). Loud noises would scare me (Phonophobia). Fast things would terrify me (Tachophobia). I would barely ever swing on playground swings because of how it made my stomach have that dropping sensation! Due to fears, we can often doubt ourselves a lot, and hence we refrain from doing anything we find too scary. We end up limiting ourselves. Skydiving forced me to “Just Do It” and stop being controlled by my fears. Many of us live in a safe box of limited habits, but by throwing ourselves out there, we push our own boundaries and see the real us, the US we never knew existed.

Another lesson I learned is about perspectives. A lot of naysayers assume that skydiving or bungee jumping is insanely risky. But statistically speaking, you are more likely to die being struck by lightning or stung by a bee than from sky diving! (National Safety Council, 2018). Sometimes, we make things big and scary in our heads because we are afraid to break out of the boxes we have trapped ourselves in. Stepping out of our comfort zones might sound scary in theory but in reality, it is where the big magic begins.

If we never leave our comfort zones, we will never be able to experience the exciting things about life. Over analyzing everything and at every time doesn’t help us in too many ways. If I would have thought too much beforehand, I probably would have talked myself right out of even trying. Sometimes, we just have to let go of all our fears, trust the journey, and enjoy the ride.

The last thing I learnt is that I can do anything I set my mind to. Skydiving gives us this huge boost of unique inner power. Impossible is a word I threw out of my dictionary. There will be so many things out there in the world that will scare me. But I will never know the things I can do until I go for it. If I can muster up the courage to jump out a plane, I have the ability to conquer any other fear that crawls into my life!

(Me on your left, my twin sister on your right):

Here is a short video of me falling down the sky:

– SaaniaSparkle 🧚🏻‍♀️

World Poetry Day 2021

The Underwater World

As I gently shut my eyes
I recall the day
The summery tropical afternoon
I spent snorkeling by the bay

The fresh turquoise water
Touches my face
And right underneath me
Unravels a captivating place

Shoals of vibrant fish
Swimming all around
In every possible color
Yellow, red, or brown

An underwater paradise
Formed by exotic coral reefs
Large living and breathing structures
Home to a plethora of beings

A world of unknown
I gaze to the ocean floor
An aesthetic scenery
A mystical world to explore

⁃ SaaniaSparkle 🧚🏻‍♀️

What makes a friend?

The people we choose to let into our lives leave one of the greatest impacts on our hearts. Kenzoku “眷族” is a Japanese word that loosely translates to ‘family’. However, it suggests a deeper meaning: the deepest connection of friendship. It is camaraderie, the family we choose for ourselves. The other day I was marveling over the kinds of people who have stumbled across my life. Then I came to wonder, what makes a true friend?

💜 A true friend is someone who accepts you for who you are. When you are around them, you never have to pretend to be someone you are not. They accept your flaws and love you just the way you are.

💜  A true friend is never envious. They understand that you may have to do your thing, so they do their thing, and you celebrate one another without jealousy or animosity.

💜 Around a true friend, you feel safe, comfortable, and loved.

💜 A true friend is not superficial. They are willing to get deep with you. I was talking to my dad one day about how I have always only let people in so far. How I have always put on a facade because I never wanted people to get to know the real me. I have done a lot of growing ever since, and realized that true friends let you see the good, the bad, and the ugly.

💜 A true friend shows up. I cannot count the number of times people cancel plans on the very last minute. A true friend makes friendship the priority. We all have seasons in our lives when we get extremely busy, but if someone matters to you, you find a way to make it work. You find a way to be there.

💜 True friends don’t leave you when things get difficult. I agree with the old saying “actions speak louder than words”. Many people tell you that they will be there for you when you need them, but during tough times, true friends are the ones who choose to stay. They stick around no matter the circumstances, and never walk away when you are scared, overwhelmed, or dealing with a hard time.

💜 You do not hurt the ones you love. You do not humiliate the ones you love. You do not lie to the ones you love. True friendship is about love, and loving someone unconditionally.

As I write this post, I picture three people in my life I consider kenzoku. How about you? Let me know in the comments!

– SaaniaSparkle 🧚🏻‍♀️

What Defines You?

As we go through our lives, we get to discover ourselves. Sometimes, however, we see people around us who “seem” better than us, and we start to question our very selves. We see someone who is smart and think we aren’t smart enough. We see someone who is pretty and feel we aren’t beautiful enough. I have often been around a group of people where sometimes, I would feel like I’m not as gorgeous as them. Or sometimes, I would think “oh my word I’m so dumb!”. But then I asked myself, what really defines us?

As I see it, embracing our individuality is the bravest thing we can ever do. To gather every ounce of courage to accept ourselves for who we are when we live in a society that is burdened with labels and opinions. Lizzie Velasquez, a motivational speaker, was 17 when she stumbled upon a video about herself on YouTube titled “The World’s Ugliest Woman.” My heart breaks for her, and I cannot fathom how she felt after reading it. But in one of her TED talks, this graceful women during her speech said, “You are the one who decides what defines you”.

Nobody is ugly. We just happen to live in a very judgmental society. But the moment you accept your true self, you will have a lesser amount of stress from trying to be someone you’re not. You will also have a lesser amount of stress from trying to find things outside of yourself to make you happy. You will even find your own set of features to define who you are. When we start to seek this within ourselves, we will no longer need that approval from external places, people, and things. We will no longer need to hide within because we feel we should change. At the end of the day, we can choose to let our weaknesses define us, or we can choose to let our strengths do the same. When we do so, we are given the room to enjoy and love life. So choose the latter. You will win.

You Have Power Over Your Mind - Mind Wonders

– SaaniaSparkle 🧚🏻‍♀️

I Am Complete, Just The Way I Am

A lovely friend of mine educated me about an intriguing phenomenon called the Imposter Syndrome. Having gone through it herself, she says it makes one ‘feel like a fraud’. It is a psychological pattern in which one doubts their skills, talents, and accomplishments, and has a persistent internal fear of being exposed as a fraud. And despite a clear external evidence of their competence, they still feel persistent feelings of inadequacy and wrongly attribute their success to luck. Even though this topic in particular might seem extreme, it brings about some ideas that may be relevant to all of us from time to time.

I have often felt like there is some perfect “script” for conversations, and that I cannot say the wrong thing. I have also, therefore, had trouble asking for help from people due to my own high standards. To move past these feelings, I had to learn to become comfortable confronting some of those deeply ingrained beliefs I held about myself. And this is the tricky bit, since we often do not even realize that we hold them.

What helped me is letting my guard down, and letting others see the real me. The good news is that being a perfectionist means that we care deeply about the quality of our work. But the key is to continue to strive for excellence when it matters most, and forgive ourselves when inevitable mistakes occur. We are often burdened by misguided rules such as, “I should always know the answer,” or “I should never ask for help”. But all of us have just as much right as the next person to be wrong, make mistakes, or ask for assistance, and at the end of the day there is really no such thing as perfect.

Another important lesson is to stop comparing. Every time I compare myself to others in a social situation, I end up finding some or the other ‘flaw’ or ‘fault’ within me that fuels the feeling of not being good enough to belong. We must focus on ourselves, invest time in the things we love doing, and we will realize that there is a boundless amount of things that make us who we are.

The most relevant example in my life currently would certainly be school. And I’ve come to terms with the fact that we are so much more than our grades. I have often asked myself, “when is good enough ever good enough? While striving for perfection is certainly noble, it can usually be unrealistic. What’s more important is turning these feelings into ones of gratitude – looking at what we have accomplished in our lives and being grateful for every success. And I am lucky enough to have a support system around me who sees it that way.

Please don't let them find out I am just an imposter! | by Ayush Mangal |  Quarantine Blogs | Medium

– SaaniaSparkle 🧚🏻‍♀️

Merry Christmas!

Despite this year being a gravely miserable and pitiful one, Christmas is a holiday that reinforces our beliefs to feel happy, transform, and become a part of a society with the same common spirit that connects us all.

However, there are people out there who don’t get that magical, cozy, wintery Christmas of twinkling lights and mandarin oranges that all of us run after. There are some people who are carrying silent burdens throughout these weeks. Some who are cold, alone, sad, unwell, or struggling – and they are all around us. So for any of us who are feeling the Christmas spirit, we can spread love this season and acknowledge the fact that we are blessed. This time of the year is all about giving gifts and celebrating, and we can spread gifts of kindness in a world where it is needed the most.

Christmas even teaches us to let go of enmity and embrace one another to create a bond of love and an environment full of cultural harmony, and it isn’t all about presents as much as it is about spending time with the people we love. This year for me, it’s not even about the presents. My grandparents are here with me, and I couldn’t have been happier!

Christmas is a time wherein we celebrate love, warmth, cheer, kindness, and selflessness. It has never died out for all these years due to its magic of spreading heaps of love and joy. Why should this year be any different?

Fun Fact: it is a tradition in Japan to eat KFC for Christmas. In fact, orders must be placed two months in advance!

⁃ SaaniaSparkle 🧚🏻‍♀️

Happy Birthday Dad

Here is a poem I wrote for my dad for always being my biggest support system and for always making sure I have the best that life could offer. To my dad, my number one hero!

You are a man
Like nobody else
Out of everyone I know
You know me the best

You shine with pride
In the moments I succeed
And are there for me
Whenever I need

When I get lost
And I feel stuck
You are the one
Who lifts me up

The times I’ve fallen
The times I’ve cried
You have been there
Right by my side

When you’re busy with work
And seem anything but free
I never have to worry
You’ll always make time for me

You’ve helped me see
The person I can become
You’ve always had faith in me
Even when I had none

You shelter and protect me
You always showed you care
Today I want to thank you
For always being there

You may not be a hero
Who’s known by the world
But a hero you are
To your little girl

father daughter clipart - Clip Art Library

⁃ SaaniaSparkle 🧚🏻‍♀️