Be Inspired By Your Neighbours

Today’s Blogging 101 task is to expand on a topic that I commented on yesterday. This is the issue: I am inspired by pretty much everyone I follow. One of the things I love most about blogging is its sheer diversity. This is primarily a cooking blog, so naturally I follow other food blogs, but it doesn’t end there. Over the course of the past few weeks, I have been following a variety of blogs that offer so many different, truly interesting topics. They have all inspired me. All of them. I’m now motivated to be a better cook, travel more, write in a better manner, be more fashion savvy, never give up and much, much more. So how do I choose just one? Oh man, it’s like choosing your favourite dessert. Do I prefer vanilla cheesecake or chocolate fondants? They are both completely different in every way, from ingredients to cooking method to which temperature to serve them at. Decisions, decisions.

I’ve chosen two for very different reasons. This is the type of thing that excites me and makes blogging pretty addictive. I can learn makeup tips and in the very next post, see the struggles and amazing honesty of people who are brave enough to share it. It galvanizes me and it’s refreshing.

This mom-of-two is funny, witty and brave. I admire all of these qualities and her post about bipolar speaks to me on a very personal level. My experience with it is that there is still so much shame attached to it. I met a lovely person at a kids’ party a couple of years ago and we got into what was initially a really cool and fun conversation. She then started telling me about her “crazy” ex who was subsequently diagnosed with bipolar and she said something along the lines of “it makes so much sense. He’s completely cray. Now I know why…” and my heart sank. I physically slumped at these words. I have bipolar.

There is still a gargantuan misconception about mental illness. I’m generalizing of course. Sadly, however, so many people don’t get it and also, one’s experience with one person probably won’t be true for the next. For example, I had a boyfriend many years ago who was a lying, four-letter-word, two-timing donkey. My next boyfriend was faithful, honest, dedicated and kind. Apples and oranges.

I don’t hide my bipolar status but I also don’t mention it to strangers or people who I don’t know very well, and this is partly because of the negative, judgmental people I’ve come across (some, definitely not all) and also because I’m worried that people will think I’m a happy, bubbly and chilled because I’m a) bipolar and b) medicated. I need to get over myself. I applaud people who have the capacity to be so raw and honest about their plight. Thank you, Heather. What I learned from you yesterday is to be more authentic and less concerned about what strangers think. After all, as the saying goes, “those who matter don’t mind and those who mind don’t matter”.

On the opposite end of the spectrum is Umiami. Dude, I really need to accessorize more. It’s a problem. I love makeup. I really do. I suck at it but I still love it. I am in awe of people who get it right all the time and make it look so effortless. That elusive cat’s eye. I just can’t seem to get my eyes to match. I am also in awe of Jessica Chastain, who nailed it at the Golden Globes. I would never normally go for that type of dress but she was perfection. It wouldn’t match my skin tone or hair colour though. Also, Jessica Chastain has Jessica Chastain’s body. I do not.

My point is this: variety. Fun things, serious topics, beautiful photos, interesting recipes, makeup tutorials, really cool music and profound poetry. This is what makes blogging so exciting for me. It’s a mixed bag. So thank you, neighbours (yes, I know how to spell. I’m South African and we spell it with a ‘u’) for all of these interesting topics. Everyone I follow has become a sometimes fun, other times thought-provoking but always thoroughly enjoyable experience.