Dose of Reality

21 Things I Learned Before 21

It’s really hard not to sound too cliche when talking about life lessons. Mostly in all  these lists about life that people always come up with, they’re all the same lessons. So forgive me if perhaps my truths have been your truths for a long time. Hopefully you’ll still unravel a new dimension of my introspection.

These past couple years have really shaped me, have been truly hardcore, have brutally collapsed my bones, and sometimes continue to threaten my hope for a brighter future. But despite every external source that keeps pulling me away from my goals or general happiness (we all feel unlucky sometimes), I will continue to rise. Like Maya Angelou, from the dust I will rise. And you will too. Here’s how:


Your body and soul is a powerhouse of resilience. And that strength is revealed only when you’re caged up. Only then can you solve the puzzle of tearing through the chains and ripping apart every last shred of I can’t, because you need to. It’s survival. Your body reacts on adrenaline and instinct in the face of danger and hurt, way before your mental state has time to catch up. I don’t know how she does it, you hear it all the time. Well guess what, she doesn’t know either. She just does.



Iced vanilla lattes make me really really really happy (I’m drinking one right now, but tbh when am I not LOL). You have to watch for that. For the simple things during the day that can ignite soul-searching inspiration. Iced coffee is that match for me. Find something that sparks the bubbliest and passionate form of yourself (not something that extinguishes it).


It’s okay to be a cry-baby. You have nobody to apologize for. And that nobody includes yourself. Stop denying personality traits that you have no control over. These innate qualities literally come together like a beautiful masterpiece of a kaleidoscope, that make up the physical home you are standing on with your own two feet.


It’s okay to be overly emotional and sensitive. Your feelings are valid, sometimes we own an intensity over a emotion because a situation holds a deeper place in our heart than for others. Those distinct reactions literally create our identity (it’s psychology, I learned it in either first or second year of uni).


So be proud that not a lot of  people feel and care like you do.

But be careful, don’t pour too much self-love into the mixing pot, or the spill might stain and end up hurting you. Don’t let feelings control and guide your life, it is not the steering wheel of your car, it is the tire. It will get you places, but not without stirring reason in. Slow down and listen to your heart, but then queen up.


Time is our imagination. Some people take 5 years to complete a degree, others can do it in 2. Some people take a week to get over someone, others take 10 years. WE ARE ALL SO DIFFERENT! Comparing people’s processes with ours, just rushes our journey. And all good things should never be rushed, right? Our timelines are like planets and stars in the universe, all rotating at different speeds, with the sun shining on us at different times. But we all co-exist and exhibit qualities that nothing and no-one else has. Own your time continuum!


Nothing will change if you don’t take a chance.


Every cell in your bones might be screaming at you to not do it because you’ll fail, because you’re not good enough, and don’t have the same circumstances that successful people do. And that’s exactly why you must do the very thing that sends you shivers and thundering footsteps down your stomach.

Because when you do that thing, those shivers and nerves, will metamorphosize into exhilarating and gratifying highs. And those highs will keep you sane (ironic, right?). They will keep you afloat in moments where you’ve lost the eye of your purpose. It will tap you on the shoulder and whisper this is why you should keep going.


Getting an I-phone this time last year on my birthday, changed my life. It will change yours too. It organizes your life just by staring at the beautiful screen and clean apps. I paid extra for rose gold, it’s called self-love okay???


Going to a Taylor Swift IMG_7869.jpgconcert changed my life. It will change yours too. It honestly made me cry about the fact that I haven’t been going to her concerts all these years, and why the hell not? I regret it now so bad because I’ve been obsessed with her past albums for as long as I can remember! If anyone has a time-machine in the works, hit me up!


Accept help and support. My first instinct in times of struggle and fear, is to just lock myself up in my body and shut the world out. It’s hard to ask people for help, to pray for me, to offer me encouragement and comfort. The people in your life are literally put there to help you. They want to hear about every problem you’re dealing with. They won’t necessarily solve it, but a comforting hug or understanding spirit, will make ALL the difference. So get out of yourself, and open up TO SOMEONE, ANYONE. Just like you want to love them, THEY WANT TO LOVE YOU! So let them. Choose to let them in.


People will always always surprise you. This can be a good thing yes, but it can also be eye-opening, and heart-shattering. Personally that stems from my own character flaws that believes the best in people as soon as I meet them. And even when they hurt me, I continue to treat them like gold, I can’t help myself. I make excuses for them, I think they can’t possibly be that cruel, and if I see them again I pretend like nothing happened.

Because I internalize pain, not confront people on it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a doormat. I’m just an optimistic person full of love for people. They might not deserve it, but does that ever stop me? LOL. Point is, it’s all part of the process.

IMG_7863.jpg Don’t regret giving people all of you, maybe it’s the time they needed it the most. But please don’t forget about your own needs, you need the same love and support you constantly give out, never settle or compromise that!


Say No. Why is it that the most simplest things are so tough for me? Learning to understand that you’re not letting people down when you do this IS A WHOLE DILLY DALLY JOURNEY LET ME TELL YOU. And even if you possibly may be disappointing someone (which if they were your real friend or cared about you, they’d understand), your own mental wellbeing should be top priority.

I did the whole burnout thing in high-school, when I was involved in so many activities at church that it nearly killed my spirit. At my first Starbucks job I literally said yes to every person who asked me to cover their shift. Because I thought that was what you were supposed to do. I thought they’d hate me if I didn’t, and if I did they’d be my friend. I felt bad for their circumstances or pathetic excuses, and put them above my own school stress.

I literally had to have someone take my phone and reply “no” to someone who had asked me to take their shift, because I couldn’t do it on my own. What was wrong with me???  Nope, never doing that again. Work doesn’t deserve that. Those people don’t deserve your extra efforts. Because just like that, they’re gone. And your extra time and care? Irreplaceable.


Don’t buy jeans that are one or two sizes less than you. Same goes for bras.

IMG_7695Because if you end up gaining a bit of weight, and you already had a hard time fitting in those jeans before, but now it’s even harder, it all just becomes frustrating. Because then you feel like you’re a COW, when in reality, those clothes were already small to begin with. It’s okay to be ambitious and use it as ‘goal jeans’, but make sure it’s not doing the opposite. I can’t fit 3/4 of my jeans now, and it makes me cry, but also, BUY A PAIR OF JEANS THAT FIT YOU! You gain weight, buy a bigger size. It’s temporary right? The weight won’t stay on forever, but the trauma in your mind from not being able to fit and wear jeans in general, will scar.


It’s okay to gain weight. It’s NORMAL. Life comes in periods of stress and overwhelming emotions. And as you grow and age, it’s bound to happen. Don’t de-value yourself, don’t use that extra skin as a mirror for your worth. PLEASE DON’T! No matter what your family says, just embrace it for the time-being, and use the frustration to find a healthy fitness plan (LOL still working on that one…ish).


Having best friends who you can talk to about anything without judgement, is healing. About your fears, your anxieties about the future, your feelings of incompetence, and just general girl talk. I am so blessed with mine. They have changed my life forever. Uncensored. No questions asked. A tribe. A home.



Do things that scare you. Years and years ago, I was scared of social media. I started Instagram only like 2 years ago. And I still remember feeling suffocated as I wrote down my thoughts in the caption and pressed “post”.


Ever since then it has gotten easier. I post my thoughts, motivational rants, poetry, and general life things that I’m getting through or learning. To this day, my Instagram is probably one of the things I’m most proud of. I work really hard to be creative and inspiring, while capturing my real life honest moments. It’s so rewarding. So get out of the box you’ve closed off for yourself. There’s so many things out there for you, just waiting to be tried.


Slow growth DOES NOT mean you’re not moving. I tend to compare myself to where other people are, and how lucky they got to where they are. While I’m that one in a million person who attracts the worst situations. Sometimes you feel like everything and everyone is against you, as all the worst luck comes crashing all at once.

Just remember that that thing you’re feeling right now, chances are more than half of the world either have felt it or feel it at the moment as well.

If someone is succeeding at a quicker pace than you, you have to train yourself to be happy for them, without self-deprecating yourself and your journey. Don’t take people’s successes as your failures. Age and time DOESN’T matter. If you work hard enough, you WILL get there, you will you will you will. Keep repeating it. You will believe it one day.


People will come and go, everything is so so so temporary. They will choose you, or choose someone else. They will grow closer to you, or drift further apart. Not everyone in your life is meant to stay forever (wow sorry couldn’t phrase this cliche any other way. It is what it is). That’s a hard one for me to process. Still hits me at times, but it’s inevitable. 


Sometimes I feel like an old grandma re-living my glory days of the past. But there are so many people who will change your life that you haven’t met yet. So many first time experiences just itching to happen. The future is glorious, there is always better things to come. Always.


Snapchat memories hurt. Oh how they hurt.


Feeling lonely is normal. We can’t be having adventures of our lives every single day. Some days require pure hard work. Others, you need to give yourself grace amidst lazy unproductive days. But that’s why you have to learn to live with yourself alone. Feel at home in your own body, create a life in silence, to appreciate the noise when it comes.



People’s lives are NEVER as they seem. That thing that they have that you want, they don’t appreciate. Those same people who have what you want, want what you have. And it’s a never-ending circle, we get so comfortable in our situations that we always want something more. And when we get it, we miss what we had, when the truth is we never appreciated it to begin with???


Life is so unpredictable. You can literally be a completely different person in a month or two. In a year, you could have the life you always wanted. But here’s the thing, when you’re in a place where you have everything you’ve ever wanted, what do you have to work for?


I’ve realized that aiming for something, being passionate on the journey, is more liberating and electrifying than actually getting there. There’s so much delight in the unknown (wow deja vu, I remember writing that line on an Instagram caption 2 years ago looool).

But it’s true. You can literally become whoever. You can go anywhere, do anything. It’s all a choice. And if you’re not at the place that you want to be, then DO SOMETHING about it. Only you can make it happen. Whatever it may be. Don’t listen to the outside voices, for they don’t get to live your life, you do. Who are you living for? *cue Katy Perry song*






6 thoughts on “21 Things I Learned Before 21

  1. I loved this a lot!! Your writing is always so deep and vivid which is probably why I love reading and watching your work! Number 13 is something that I honestly still have trouble accepting but I’m working on haha. I’m also the same way with number 10, I always end up seeing the best in people and making excuses for them when they do something wrong to me or in general. A lot of people say that I give people too many chances (which has been true) or forgive too easily but I think that’s actually a more positive trait. I’d rather be blindly optimistic about people than to hold onto a grunge and anger in me that will only hurt me and no one else. Great post, girl!💕

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow yes girl, I love your way of putting it!! Blindly optimistic, so relatable!! It totally CAN be a positive trait, because then your conscience is always clear, because you just have so much more love and care to give to people! Love how you explained it ❤ LOVE YOUUUUU thank you so much girl ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Carinaaaaaa! Oh my goodness you are wise beyond your years, my friend. I didn’t learn so many of these lessons til… well TWENTY SIX (last year). I love #5 — and stress this to my friends all the time. I am at the age where my news feeds are engagement rings and gender reveals. But it’s perfectly OKAY that I am not there yet. I may NEVER be, and that’s okay too. We all have a different story to tell. ALSO, love love LOVE T-Swift and her concerts are easily the most amazing production and experience! Lastly, we have so much in common… I feel a collaboration coming between us at some point, if you’re open to it! 😁

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh wow thank you so much Melanie!!!! Hahaha the thing is, putting what you’ve learned to practice and constantly reminding yourself those things, is a whole other story in itself 😂😂😂Yess, that’s my life on social media newsfeeds too! I love the part where you said we all have a different story to tell, that’s so true! We wouldn’t be able to share those precious stories if all our experiences were the same right? And of course, Taylor’s Red album is constantly on repeat for me during these Autumn days 💖💖 I would love to collaborate girl, so sweet!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so so much, I really appreciate your commment ahhh! And yes that’s so true, we have to always be kind, we are never doing as well as it makes us seem on social media ❤


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