Life in L O C K D O W N

Hello beautifuls

Remember me? I know I have neglected this online space for quite some time now. First year took over and I did not work hard enough to find the time to write. I’m not going to say, “I’m back!” or promise you all weekly posts because I know that there will be time where I can sit down to write and that there will be times where life happens instead. What I can promise you though, is that when there is a topic on my heart that I feel like I need to write about, I will. I am determined to start putting a bit more effort into the erin diaries. So, beautiful people, make a cup of tea, sit down, get comfy, you’re about to read another part of the erin diaries.

Wow! Does anyone else feel like 2020 is a dream (or possibly a nightmare) that they’re waiting to wake up from? COVID-19 has changed our lives, as we know it. While there are many conspiracies, thoughts, ideas and speculations about this virus, one thing I know is that as disruptive as it’s been, it has made me, maybe even forced me, to take a step back and reassess. Wherever you are in the world, COVID-19 has forced you to slow down, and take a good look at what is going on around you. In South Africa, we have been in a nationwide L O C K D O W N since the 26th of March 2020, and while the country is starting to open up again as we progress from level to level, life as we know it has changed forever, and unpopular an opinion as it may be, I am quite glad that we have had the time to decide what type of “normal” we want to rush back to. I guess that this is what this post is about. It’s about what I have learnt during this unusual time, why I am grateful for this time and what I am planning to take away from all of this, so, beautifuls, this is my experience of life in L O C K D O W N 2020!

100 days of being home!

100 days ago I packed up half of my life and left my second home for what I thought would be a 3 week trip home for a nationwide L O C K D O W N, but here I am 3 and a bit months later still at home not knowing when I will be able to return to University. Don’t get me wrong; I love every moment of being home. I love being with my family 24/7 and going back to life, as I knew it. But, I can’t help think about all that I am missing out on. University is supposed to be one of the best times of our lives, we’re supposed to be making lifelong memories with our friends, doing young adult things, living a life we always dreamed of but unfortunately this has been taken from us. We are only young once, when will we have time like this again to live carefree with our best friends? On the other hand, my “problem” seems so small and insignificant when I think of the Matrics of 2020. Who would have thought that their final year of school, a time that holds so many unforgettable moments, would be so different? Matrics, my heart goes out to you all, I know you were all looking forward to your Matric Dance, your “lasts” and so many other things. Just know that this year will only make you stronger and more resilient for the future. We are all so proud of you for continuing to push through all that this year keeps throwing at you. A time like this can teach you many things if you let it. Here’s what it’s taught me…

I have learnt…

 To appreciate the small things life has to offer – sunrises, sunsets and ocean views.

You do not get to control everything, and that is okay.

Life is full of ups and downs; take each one as it comes.

To live in the moment.

To accept change.

A bubble bath can solve anything.

Going for a walk is good for the soul.

How to adapt.

To be more understanding and compassionate.

Sometimes all anyone needs is a friend to say, “Hi. I’m checking in! How are you today?”

I have learnt so much about my family, my friends, many others and myself during this time. I have taken a step back to realize what I want out of life, who I need in my life and my intentions for life going forward. How many of you have done the same? If it hadn’t been for the sudden pause in our day-to-day lives when would we have had the time to figure all of this out? I encourage you to think about this while you have the time.

A grateful heart!

 When was the last time you thought about all that you are grateful for? I know that before this crazy time, I didn’t think about it too often. If L O C K D O W N has taught me anything, it’s to be grateful. I am grateful for this life that I get to live. I am grateful for the roof over my head, the food in the fridge and the clothes in my cupboard. Things many people in our country don’t always have. I am grateful for a family that loves, supports and cares for me, always. Being able to have quality time with them during this period has been something I will always cherish. I am grateful for my constant, my special boyfriend, and the one person who without fail can make me smile everyday. I am grateful for my beautiful friends, the ones who check in, the ones I can call at any time, the ones who are always always there for me. You special people know who you are. I am grateful to live by the ocean, a view that always takes my breath away. I am grateful that I have had the time to work on myself. I am grateful for a University that hasn’t let us fall behind on our studies. I am grateful for so many things, people and places. Most of all, I am grateful for COVID-19, without it, who knows when I would be able to realize all that I have and all that I am.

What am I taking away from all of this?

 Every single person will take away something different from what we have all been through. How they choose to walk away from this is their choice. I can only wish that people take away all the positives and learn from all the negatives. I know that from this experience, how I go about my day-to-day life has changed. There is a constant need to rush from one thing to another; L O C K D O W N has taught me that this is unnecessary. We should give energy only to the things that are going to positively impact our lives. Time is precious, why waste it on things that are draining? I plan to ensure that I continue to make time for myself, the people that add value to my life and the things that bring me happiness. Throughout L O C K D O W N I have loved going for long walks along the beachfront and around the neighbourhood with family or friends, I know that this is something I wish to continue long after L O C K D O W N ends. I promise to never take this precious life for granted – the sunrise, the sunset, the fresh air and the ocean. I am going to hug the ones I love so tight and live everyday like it’s my last day on this magical earth. I will appreciate the wonderful world we live in and all the special people I get to share it with. What are you going to take away from this?

We all have a story to tell and COVID-19 is just a chapter in this book we call life. Every single day will be different. Some days you will wake up feeling strong and ready to face the world, you will feel like you can handle anything and everything, and you will think you are unstoppable. Some days you won’t want to get out of bed, you will feel fragile and you will want to escape reality. And that is okay. This is life. Life consists of both kinds of days. I urge you to learn to love and support yourself every day, whether it is good or bad. Please learn to accept that life has its ups and downs, and that is what makes this a wonderful journey.

Stay safe. Stay strong. Stay positive. You’ve got this, beautiful. Always! Just believe in yourself.

All my love,

Erin xoxo

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I. Am. Angry.

Hello beautiful,

I write this blog post with an extremely heavy heart. And I’m sad that my first blog post back after being gone for so long is about something so heart-wrenching. 

Today, headlines sent shockwaves through South Africa (and soon the world I’m sure) as it came to light that 19-year-old, UCT student Unyinene Mrwetyana was raped and murdered by a 42-year-old man. She was 19 years old, NINETEEN! I turn 19 in 10 days time! It’s sickening to think she was my age when this cruel act took place. It’s sickening to know that we live in a world filled with horrendous people like this man that raped and murdered Nene. I am shocked. I am heartbroken. But most of all, I am angry! 

I am angry because Nene went to the post office to find out about a parcel she was expecting and instead she was raped and then murdered. I am angry that an activity that is supposed to be SIMPLE, NORMAL and SAFE, turned out to be the last thing Nene ever did. I am angry that it was broad daylight! I am angry that as women we are told it’s not safe to be alone at night, but now it seems it’s not safe to be alone during broad daylight either. I. Am. Angry. 

I am angry that some men think women are objects that they can use, abuse and discard when they’re finished. I am angry that this man gets to live but Nene doesn’t. I am angry that I have to message my friends asking them if they’re home safe because it isn’t guaranteed anymore. I am angry that as women, we’ve lost our sense of normality because of sick, sick people in this world. I. Am. Angry. 

I am angry that I am so scared to go anywhere by myself now. I am angry that my sense of freedom has been taken from me. I am angry that I can’t live a normal life because I am in constant fear that something could happen to me at any moment. I am angry that my parents have to sit and worry whether I’m okay out here when they are so far away. I am angry that this is what this country has come to. I am angry that I feel like I need constant protection from the world. I. Am. Angry. 

I am angry that Nene doesn’t get to live her beautiful life anymore. I am angry she’ll never get the opportunity to finish her degree and get to do what she wanted to do. I am angry that she was taken from so many people who knew her, who cared about her, who loved her because of some cruel man. I am angry that she never got to say goodbye. I am angry that some inhumane man thought it was okay to rape and murder a NINETEEN-year-old! I. Am. Angry. 

I didn’t know Nene but I know so many people who did, and to each and every one of you, I am sorry. I send you all my love, light and strength during this difficult time. Nene may have been taken from this world, but she certainly left an impact on us all. 

I am heartbroken. I am scared. I am shocked. But most of all, I am angry. 

Nene (and the millions of other women who we have lost in the same way), we will get you the justice you all deserve. 

All my love,

Erin xoxo

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It takes a village

Hello beautiful,

As I sit and write the start of this blog post it is 8:06am, January 14th. And as it stands, today marks the start of my last full week in Durban before I head off on my new adventure and begin my new chapter at Uni. I have so many mixed emotions about leaving home, but more than anything I am full of gratitude. During the last 18 years of my life, I have had the love and support of my entire family and I know that that is the reason I am the person I am today. Before I head off to Uni, I need to show my appreciation for them, because I know that none of what I’m about to experience would be possible without each family member. They say it takes a village to raise a child, and that couldn’t be more true. So, family, this one’s for you, enjoy!

To My Parents:

The day I’ve been looking forward to since I was a teenager has been the day you’ve been dreading since I was born. I’ve wished this day would hurry up while you’ve wished time would slow down, and now it  is here. And both of our lives are about to change.

This day will be as hard for me as it will be for you. I am excited to live independently for the first time, but also nervous and anxious to be away from you. We will no longer see each other everyday, and that is something that will take some getting used to. For the past 18 years you have been my rock, my home, my safe haven and you always will be, now just from a distance.

I need this time away from you to learn more about myself and figure out who I really want to be. I need space to grow and create my own life. But that does not mean I will not include you in this next chapter of my life. I will need your support and love along the way. You can expect me calling you when I’m struggling, stressed out or when I just need to hear you tell me that everything will be okay.

I may seem in a hurry to get out of the house and be on my own to do what I want when I want, but despite what you think, I will miss you. You may feel that I do not need you anymore, but that is far from true. I will always need you, because you are my parents. I’ve turned to you for help from day one, and I will continue to for as long as I can.

So thank you for raising me to be the person I am today and disciplining  me so I know how to properly act. For putting me in my place when needed. For teaching me how to respect others but more importantly, how to respect myself. For showing me my true worth when I did not see it in myself. For encouraging my dreams, as wild as they can be. For being my number one fan and believing in me when I did not believe in myself. For supporting me with every decision I make, and letting me know when they are just plain stupid. For always loving me unconditionally. I could not have been blessed with better parents.

You may feel like you’re letting me go, but I’m still hanging on.

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To My Brother:

Thank you. You are my younger brother, but I have learnt so much from you. You have taught me how to laugh at myself when I make a mistake and to not take life too seriously. Thank you for listening to my complaints about boys, friends and our parents. Saying goodbye to you will be more difficult than saying goodbye to Mom and Dad. You are almost 7 years younger than me, and I have looked out for you for the majority of my life. We have been through so many family things, and you have acted well beyond your years most of the time. Thank you for being there when no one else was. I know I can always count on you, no matter the distance.

I’m sorry for not being a better older sister some days. When I went through my moody phases in Matric, I was a brat and often made a big deal over nothing. Sometimes I say things I regret, and I’m sorry for all of the fighting that’s happened over the years. I’m sorry for dragging you on adventures with me and forcing you to go shopping with me, even though I know deep down you enjoy it.  I’m going to miss our nights in together when Mom and Dad go out. Good luck trying to find someone patient enough to order you pizza whenever you want. Thank you for putting up with me always.

I have become so used to always having you around. Now, I am uprooting my life and moving to somewhere further away. This isn’t the end, though. I am growing up and moving out, but this is only the beginning. I will be home every holidays and calling you randomly to tell you all about my Uni adventures. You will always be my baby brother, no matter what. I might not act like it, but I will miss you.

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To My Grandparents:

For the past 18 years, you have all played major roles in my life. From looking after me when I was younger to never failing to provide me with a home-cooked meal when I came to visit, everything you do is filled with love. So, I would like to take the time to say thank you to four of the most important people in my life.

Thank you for everything you’ve done for me. I may not always come off as appreciative, but I really do appreciate all that you do for me. Growing up, I knew I could always count on you to be there for me, whether it was sitting front row at my end of year dance shows, or fetching me every afternoon from school, regardless of the event or situation, you were always there for me.

Thank you for your endless support in everything I do. I know you want what’s best for me, and that’s evident in all that you do for me. You may not know it, but it’s the little things that mean the most to me. Whenever I call, you always ask how school is going and how my friends are. Knowing that you care means the world to me.

My Guggs and Mem, my two special grannies. From each of you I have learnt so much. You two have both, in two different and unique ways, helped me grow into the young woman I am today. Your unconditional love for me is always evident and you never fail to make me smile, especially during my saddest times.

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My Pa and Gumps, my two incredible grandpas. You have both taught me so much. I learn more from the two of you every time I’m with you. I have learnt to be kinder and to treat everyone you meet with respect.  You’ve taught me to laugh at myself.  You’ve taught me to love my family endlessly. You both will drop anything for us. You’ve taught me to be a better person.

I am so grateful that I’m able to see you all on a regular basis, and for as long as I can remember, I have always been able to. I’m so glad you all live so close to me. So, once again, thank you for everything. I can’t put into words enough thank yous, but know that they’re all there in my heart. You’ve been a part of many of my biggest moments, and I wouldn’t want anyone else cheering me on from the sidelines.

To My Aunt:

Thank you for supporting me when no one else stood behind me or my decisions; whether it was wearing ridiculous outfits or having a “big” night out. Even when you may have not agreed with my choices, you’ve always stood behind them. And reminded me that when it comes to my life, I’m the most important and for that I will always be grateful.

Thank you for being someone I can ultimately trust to help me with each of my most important decisions and the secrets, too. Thank you for always opening your arms and home to me. Though I knew it was no chore to you, you’ve always made a place for me in your life. And you of all people know how important that is for me.

Thank you for reminding me how proud you are of me through my accomplishments (and failures). You’ve always empowered me and reminded me of how strong I am, especially at my weakest.

Shoutout to you for making every family gathering fun and for always being there to share my sense of humor and lame jokes with. You are like a mother to me because of your never-ending words of advice, but also more of a friend because you spend hours filling me in on all the new family gossip. You and I are lucky enough to get the best of both worlds.

I don’t say thank you nearly as much as I should. So thank you for all of the things you have done for me over the years and all of the things that are yet to come. You are one of a kind, and I appreciate all that you do.

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So, family, you’ve all asked me when you’d be mentioned on the erin diaries so here we go, an entire post dedicated to each and every one of you. Words can’t even begin to describe how much I’m going to miss you all, but just know, I am always a phone call (and a flight) away. Tuesday won’t be a “goodbye”, it will be a “see you soon”. I love you all dearly!

All my love,

Erin xoxo

 

Let’s get real about: New Years Resolutions

* The “LET’S GET REAL ABOUT:” series is a series of posts dedicated to talking about real life topics. This includes topics that wouldn’t normally be spoken about and topics people aren’t always comfortable to speak about. So, welcome to it. You’re about to read another part of “the erin diaries”, enjoy. *

Hello beautiful,

It is now the 9th day of 2019 and I hope that, by now, you have settled into the new year with ease. I’m sure for many there has already been a rollercoaster of emotions felt, and that is okay. If they were happy emotions, yay, I hope 2019 continues in this way for you. If they were sad emotions, I’m sorry, I hope 2019 gets better for you. 9 days in, I hope you’ve thought about who you DO want to become this year and I hope you’ve thought about what you want to achieve this year. I hope for your sake, you’ve thought about who you DON’T want to become this year and I pray that you don’t fall into old habits. I pray that you left them, along with all the negativity, behind in 2018.

Every year for as long as I can remember, I have made a list of resolutions for the New Year. And every year, I never complete any of them. I don’t think I’ve even tried to attempt them. We get busy and we get caught up in the craziness of life so completing resolutions falls to the bottom of the priority pile. Every year my goals are somewhat the same, they are always something along the lines of “I need to work out more, eat better, drink more water, be happy, try new things”, etc. I promise you that I have good intentions every January 1st but by the time March comes around, I just kind of give up.

Well, after this extremely busy past year, I am motivated to become a better me.

I’m not sure if it was just me, but 2018 seemed extra-long for some reason. I mean, do you even remember the FIFA world cup that happened last year? Or that Meghan Markle and Prince Harry got married in May? So many things happened in 2018, both good and bad, and with the new year already here, I think it’s time for everyone to focus on themselves a little more.

Life is short, we need to make time for the things we love and enjoy.

Trust me, I know this is easier said than done, but if you make little goals for yourself each month, almost like little checkpoints, you’ll be more inclined to keep your resolutions. By pacing yourself with goals each month it will show you just how far you’ve come and how much you’ve accomplished each month. It can be hard to remain motivated for all twelve months, but that’s why these goals are set at a reachable level and can be done within a month. This will also push you to go further and try to overcome more than you thought you were able to.

What about me? What are my resolutions for 2019?

I have thought long and hard about my resolutions for this year, purely because I want them to be something I actually can achieve not something I can’t like in the past. Resolutions are personal, so don’t feel the need to share them with everyone. However, with that being said, sharing your resolutions and goals with others will allow them to share their knowledge and expertise to help you achieve what you’ve set out to do. I have decided to share my resolutions with you all because I can only hope that, at least one of them, will inspire someone to change their ways. So, beautiful, here are my 2019 resolutions:

  1. Pray more
  2. Do one thing at a time
  3. Have a social media detox each Sunday
  4. Read more
  5. Maintain a healthy, balanced lifestyle
  6. Build stronger relationships
  7. Say “yes” to new adventures
  8. Say “no” when you need to & be okay with saying it, but say “yes” when you can & feel good about doing so
  9. Live more
  10. When you can’t find the sunshine, be the sunshine

These are my 10 resolutions for 2019. Each one of them has an explanation behind it, but I have chosen to keep those to myself. If you have thought about your resolutions for this year and you would like to share them with me, I’d love to hear from you. Send me an email, get in touch, let’s support one another. Click here to contact me.

The New Year is a time to reflect on the past year and to set goals for the next twelve months. Don’t see this as a chore, see this as an opportunity to better yourself and become a better person this year. You’ll feel much better and you will accomplish more than you ever thought you could. This will allow you to become a more successful person. So, here’s to another year. Only this year will be filled with even more success and becoming a better person.

All my love,

Erin xoxo

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3 Things to Remember in 2019

Hello beautiful

When I started the erin diaries I had every intention to have weekly blog posts for you all to read and enjoy. And while that is still my goal, we are going through this thing called life and it gets a bit crazy from time to time, so, yes, I’ve been slack but I can promise you all that I AM BACK! (haha, how was that unintentional rhyme) As the end of 2018 is drawing nearer, I thought I would write a blog post to all my beautiful readers and give you all a little encouragement for 2019.

Congratulations, beautiful! You have made it through another year and you are stronger than ever. You have made it through heartbreaks, tears, and triumphs. This year was full of changes, many good and some bad. The best thing about it, was that with everything thrown at you, you took it and ran and kept running until you came to an end with it. You grew and learned, and have every right to be proud of yourself, because honestly, I am so incredibly proud of you.

But as this year is coming to a close many of you are starting to feel that 2019 can’t come any sooner. Just like this past year, you may go through a whole roller coaster of emotions in 2019, (and we all know that you don’t really like roller coasters), but you will come out of all of them, stronger and bolder than before, that I can promise you. But, beautiful, there are 3 things I feel you should remember for 2019 with 2018 coming to an end soon.

  1. Remember to always love yourself.

 You are strong, beautiful, caring, sweet, creative, intelligent, and so much more. Everyone who truly knows you, knows all these things, so don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. You love everyone so much, and everyone loves you, and it is time to show yourself the same love you so genuinely show to others. Life will be a hundred thousand times better, when you spend it loving and not picking yourself apart.

  1. I want you to take every chance you get knocking at your door, or better yet, make those chances happen. 

Please have the courage to take that leap of faith, whether it be for something small or gigantic. You never know, when life will come to an end, or when you will revisit the same memories or places again, so if you see a chance, TAKE IT.

  1. want you to remember that putting yourself first, and talking about yourself is OKAY.

 It is okay to take care of yourself, and to get rid of all the negative people surrounding you. I hope you find the wisdom and courage to accept, that not everyone you love is necessarily good for you. I hope that you find it in yourself to do what’s best for you, regardless of what anyone else thinks.

I know this past year has brought you through some of your highest and lowest points, but you made it. You came out of this stronger, and I know you can do the same thing in this next year. Think of your life as a work of art, the world is your canvas; make it even more beautiful than it already is.

All my love,

Erin xoxo

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LET’S GET REAL ABOUT: ANXIETY

* The “LET’S GET REAL ABOUT:” series is a series of posts dedicated to talking about real life topics. This includes topics that wouldn’t normally be spoken about and topics people aren’t always comfortable to speak about. So, welcome to it. You’re about to read another part of “the erin diaries”, enjoy. *

Hello beautiful,

Before we even begin to get into this post, I want you to release your shoulders from your ears, unclench your jaw, and remove your tongue from the roof of your mouth. We physically tend to hold onto stress in the least noticeable ways. Relax.

Okay, now that you’re a little more relaxed, let’s sit down and have an uncomfortable yet important conversation about something that has become so relevant in today’s world – anxiety.

I was 16 years old when I was diagnosed with anxiety disorder – yes; I’ve just admitted to everyone out there that I have an anxiety disorder, go me! An anxiety disorder is not something that you should be ashamed of, and it is not something that defines you. There are so many people out there in the world who are going through the same thing as you. It is okay. You are okay. You are normal. You are human. We need to stop talking about anxiety as if it’s taboo, because it’s not. It is real. There are people out there, normal people like you and I, living with anxiety. And guess what? It is okay. They are okay. They are normal. They are human. Anxiety doesn’t define who they are. They are some of the bravest people you will ever meet. Anxiety is just something they go through.

Now, unless you have experienced anxiety personally or you have been witness to someone else’s anxiety attack, you won’t even begin to understand what it’s like. I’m going to try to explain anxiety to you now, so, if you’re interested, keep reading.

Sometimes, many people who have anxiety continue living their lives as if they are not going through something. They put on a happy face each day and carry on with everything. But beneath the surface there is pain, suffering and uncertainty. The best way to support a loved one through anxiety is to be able to try to understand it. Anxiety comes in different forms, it escapes through different outlooks and manifests in different reactions.

For each person who goes through anxiety, it can be extremely different, but ultimately, anxiety looks and sounds the same. If you look close enough, I can assure you that you will see it. You will see it in the nervous habits. It’s the nail-biting, the foot taping, and the pen drumming. It’s in the hair pulling, the touching the face and the nervous laugh.

It goes unnoticed in the unanswered texts, the indecisiveness and the self-isolation. Often it turns into an unexplained anger, a lack of tolerance. It is the fear of the unknown. The terror of the known. The loneliness of being alone, but the scariness of being surrounded by people. It is in the over analysis of every day. Questioning the unanswerable and answering the unquestionable.

Anxiety screams an intolerable and repetitive song that doesn’t stop. It plays inside your head all day long. It can sound like this…

I’m not good enough.

I’m a bad friend, a bad daughter, a bad girlfriend, a bad sister.

I am no good at what I do.

I am wasting your time, I am wasting my time.

I’m boring. People don’t like me. I have nothing to offer.

It is doubting your connections, your worth, and your relationships. It is believing you are too annoying, you are not important, it is self-doubt.

I will just let you down.

I’m not good enough.

I’m not good enough.

It’s looking for a way to channel your anxiety, something to release the nervous energy. A mindless task, something to keep busy. It is something to distract the mind from the screaming self-disapproval song that is still playing in your head. It is the need to run, to scream, to move. It’s moving on the spot or dancing in your bedroom. It is getting out of the house, out of your personal bubble and going to the gym, or going for a swim, drawing a picture, writing out your thoughts… all done with the thought that you are doing it all for fun, when really you’re doing it simply to move forward. It is constant punishment, why did you say that? What are you doing with your arms? Stand straight. Move away, you’re too close. Don’t look at them. Look away. Stop being weird.

Anxiety is often hidden by a happy face and suffered alone. It is silent anxiety attacks hidden by a smile. It is weakening panic attacks, suffered all alone. The pain in your stomach that confuses the body in to believing it is unwell. The tightness of your chest that is so constricting you simply cannot breath. Anxiety is insomnia that keeps you awake all night, but it is also the sleeping away of the days just to get through. That is what anxiety is.

Everything you have just read above is everything that someone going through anxiety deals with. But, what was not said is how incredibly brave people with anxiety are. They get up each day, scared to death that things won’t go right, scared to death of what people will “think” of them, scared to death that they will not get through the day or the situation without having a full-blown anxiety attack, and they actually live their lives despite all those thoughts. That right there, is courage. As I sit here writing this, I have so many thoughts going through my mind, the thoughts of who’s going to read this? Who’s actually going to care? Why are you even doing this? But, I know that somewhere out there, someone is going to appreciate this. They are going to identify with every last word they read above. So, to that person, I want you to remember, it is okay. You are okay. You are normal. You are human. Anxiety does not define who you are; it is simply something you go through.

When you go through anxiety, you need people. People you love and trust. People who understand that what you are going through is something that you’re trying to deal with. People who know that it is okay. People who know that you are okay. People who know that you are normal. People who know that you are human. When you find those people, appreciate them and hold onto them, because ultimately, they will become your people. Your go-to’s. Your people you call when you’re having a bad day or a bad moment. People who will tell you to take a deep breath, count to ten, and tell you that it will all be okay.

I am so incredibly lucky to have my people. I have a few particular people I can always go to whenever I am having one of “those” days. I have my best friends who are always supportive and have never judged me for being the way I am. I am extremely grateful that I have them. And then I have my boyfriend, my amazing, kind-hearted, caring boyfriend. Wow, I cannot thank him enough for loving me despite everything. Loving someone with anxiety is not an easy thing to do; I’m the first to admit that. But, when you find someone who accepts you for who you are, someone who you trust, someone you can rely on no matter what, then you love them and you love them well. Here is a link that I shared with him early on in our relationship about how to love someone with anxiety (click the link), and I said to him, “when you don’t quite understand why I’m acting the way I am, then I need you to read this”. A year and a bit later, its safe to say that he’s learnt more about me each day and he now understands me. He is one of the main reasons that I can get through more than I thought I was ever capable of. He pushes me to be a better person, to venture into the unknown, to believe in myself a little more and for that I am forever grateful.

To the person reading this right now, I need you to know that it gets better, your anxiety will become more manageable. I need you to know that having anxiety is okay. It doesn’t define you, it doesn’t make you who you are. You are so much more than anxious thoughts and self-doubt. You are brave, beautiful, strong and capable. Don’t let your anxiety tell you otherwise.

All my love,

Erin xoxo

Where I Shop

Hello beautiful, 

Fashion has been an interest of mine since as long as I can remember. The way a person dresses and styles themselves will tell you a lot about their personality before you’ve even had the opportunity to speak to them.

In South Africa we are so lucky to have so many new and exciting clothing brands that are being locally designed and produced. I personally love supporting local businesses, especially those that are female owned because honestly, what is better than GIRL POWER?!

Although I am a creature of habit and tend to stick to and support brands that I know and love, I am always open to trying new brands (click that “contact” tab for a future collab 😉 ). I’ve always been quite petite and have struggled to find “on trend” items that actually fit me, so when I find a brand that fits me well, I will continue buying from them.

The two local SA brands that I have supported and bought from since they started are Bianca Warren SA and Lucia. Both of these brands were started by two amazing women who I absolutely love and adore. Head on over to their websites, just click on their names above, to read more about them and their brand, as well as to shop their beautiful pieces.

A few of the other local SA brands that I love are:

Bacon Bikinis

Doll SA

Heart Stuff SA

Palm the Brand

Becca Blair Designs

Laren Ginn Accessories

Georgie Rattle Apparel

Sweet Peas Handmade

Saint & Summer

Of course I shop at all the bigger international brands like ZARA, H&M, CottonOn, etc. but this post is to share my LOCAL fashion favourites because often they’re forgotten about. Each brand I have mentioned above have Instagram pages for you to follow to keep up to date with. I have also attached the links to their online stores for you to take a look at, just click on each of the brand names above. If you have any local brands that you love that I haven’t mentioned above, please DM me and tell me about them, I’d love to take a look.

I hope this has opened your eyes to the talent SA designers have to offer. I really do encourage you to shop local and support these small businesses. Happy shopping, beautiful.

All my love,

Erin xoxo

P.S. Don’t forget to follow me on Insta (@erinbesnard) to see what I am wearing 😉

 

Bianca Warren

 

Lucia

Get To Know Me

Hello beautiful,

If you’ve got this far you must have read a little about me already. If not, don’t worry, you’re about to get to know me a little better. I’ll try make this short and sweet.

As you’ve probably gathered by now, my name is, Erin Besnard, I’m 18 years old, currently living in Durban, South Africa, but in January next year I will be moving to the beautiful town of Stellenbosch. I was born and raised in Durban, I absolutely love my hometown and I really will miss the beachy, “summer all year round” vibe when I leave next year. However, in saying that, I cannot wait to experience everything Stellenbosch has to offer.

Throughout my life I struggled with anxiety and over the years I have learnt to deal with it so that it doesn’t take over my life and stop me from doing everything I love (blog post coming soon). The way I chose to escape from all of my anxious thoughts was through dancing. I went to ballet and contemporary classes Monday through to Thursday from the end of Grade 8 and I didn’t stop until the middle of Grade 11. I was trying to juggle school work, dancing, family and friends and it all became a bit too much, this all ended up causing more anxiety than it relieved. When I gave up dancing, I had to find a new way to deal with my anxiety. This, was when I learnt about the power of positive thinking, I learnt that you get to decide what consumes your mind.

I’m about to become a first year student, I’m going to have to maintain a social life and a healthy lifestyle (it’s called BALANCE), which is going to be very busy, but I have made a promise to myself that I will put myself first and I will take care of myself in order to continue being the best version of me. I have seen what positive thinking, eating well, exercising regularly and surrounding yourself with likeminded people can do – your life changes for the better.

Somewhere out there, there is someone who needs to read what I have to say. My ultimate goal in life is to make those around me feel loved, happy and confident in who they are. Life can be hard, it can be messy and we often feel that we are alone and have no one to go to, well my beautiful, you’ve now got the erin diaries. I am here to answer all your questions about life, share my experiences and give advice on important life-related topics. So, make some tea, sit down, get comfy, you’re about to read the erin diaries.

Have a beautiful day. Stay special. And remember – think positive.

All my love,

Erin xoxo

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