bycarolijn bycarolijn

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Carolijn  writer, mother. contact: bycarolijn@gmail.com.

little Ollie and her big brother. she knows how to say his name and loves to give him orders (“itsj, come here!”), he loves that she loves to give him food, he protects her when another dog is coming towards her, and their absolute favorite thing to do together is trying my patience. it’s a fun duo these two.

happy (belated) birthday fritsie! you’re driving me insane from time to time, but i love you to pieces. you’re learning me to stay in the present, appreciate the little things, and basically showing me the meaning of true love and loyalty. here’s to many more. ♥️

i remember being so overwhelmed by living in a city at some point. all the people, their voices, their energies. i felt like i couldn’t breathe anymore, i got scared to leave the house. i was recovering from a burnout, it was all too much, my ‘hsp filter’ wasn’t functioning anymore. so i went back to therapy. i talked, i cried, and i listened. and after a few painful months, i was ready to accept it all. my past, my choices, my thoughts. being highly sensitive. and it was then that the doors closed, in a good way, the filter worked again. i protected myself, realised that i had to avoid certain places (like going to the city centre on a saturday afternoon), i stopped seeing ‘friends’ who didn’t feel right, and i quit my job as a lawyer. that was the start of a new life, a deeper, more beautiful existence. filled with art, intuition, deep talks, confidence, inner peace, only meaningful friendships. and so it happened, 3 years after that magical moment, that i walked through one of the most hectic cities in the world, with my daughter right beside me, feeling at ease, energized by the buzz of the city, inspired by all the people around me. funny how that worked out. ♥️

still here - just trying to manage a dog that all of a sudden forgot every thing we ever taught him (“that big comfy thing in the living room is my bed right?”), a feverish baby that refuses to eat or sleep (molars coming in?), and i can’t even begin to describe how i’m feeling (still very happy, nothing bad, just a little overwhelmed by the move that is). art by @codieoconnor, obsessed by her calming colour palette that gets me through this chaos.

from our last bikeride through our old town. we’ve moved so much over the last few years but every time i’m amazed by how exhausting it is. but we’re almost unpacked and it feels very good to be here, so i’m not complaining.♥️ (too tired to come up with an interesting caption though)

"i think i'm highly sensitive, but i'm not sure. it sounds a lot like what you’re describing, but not exactly. maybe it’s something else. maybe it’s something different. maybe i’m just different." i get this kind of messages quite often since i started writing about my high sensitivity. remember i’m not an expert on HSP (highly sensitive persons), but it sure is my safe haven. to me, it stands for everything i once felt very insecure about, i couldn’t identify, i hated about myself. being highly sensitive, to me, is not just about feeling a lot. it’s so much more. it’s entering a room and knowing which couple is in a fight, who’s having a bad day, who’s not to be trusted. the empathy. the unexplainable fears as a child. the strong intuition. the emotional ups and downs. the sunday blues. the need to write about my inner world. the longing for authenticity, integrity. the sensitivity for scratchy clothing labels, synthetic fibers. the warm chills when looking at art, or listening to music. the small group of close friends. the heartaches. the inexhaustible strength, despite the fears and insecurities. maybe it is you. maybe it isn’t. it's not something to envy, nor to feel sorry for. it's not a simple checklist, you don’t need to label it. as long as you accept those little things that might make you feel insecure from time to time. those details of you that make you a more interesting person to others. remember that finding inner peace starts with self acceptance. it’s everything. (ph @rupikaur_ )

i love how her world gets bigger, faster, more exciting - forcing us to slow down, live a simpler life, in a good way, ofcourse. i have to constantly watch her, follow her, making sure she doesn’t get hurt. it’s forcing me to stay in the moment, together with her, no time left for me to look on my phone or to worry about insignificant things. our walks are slow, but so much fun. she points towards the sky, a plane flying through the clouds, or we watch a bird, collecting food for her babies. and sometimes, we’re going nowhere. sometimes we’re just standing there, waiting till she’s ready making imiginary photos with the camera, even if it takes forever. because seeing her discovering the world is the most beautiful, amusing thing there is. (this sandals and dress combination might be the second most beautiful thing there is.)

i know i’m not a selfie kind of girl but from time to time i need to capture myself, on those valuable moments it clicks, it suddenly all makes sense - like it did, a few days ago, in nyc, after some social media free days. for a while now i felt a bit stuck in my writing and my creative path. it wasn’t a lack of inspiration, it even wasn’t about the lack of time, but something was preventing me from opening up that piece of my heart that i so desperately need to write. and then it became clear. in order to become the writer that i want, that i need to be, i have to share it all. the blurriness, the imperfect moments, the look on my face during the good and the bad. i don’t want to be a so called influencer, if being an influencer means getting paid to make you buy stuff you don’t actually want or need. i rarely do paid campaigns, i only collaborate with a selection of small brands, mostly runned by inspiring women. i don’t want to live my life so i can document it, i don’t want to feel the urge to take the perfect photo so i can post something. i don’t want to compete, i don’t want to be in this ratrace, i don’t want to worry about likes or followers. i just want to document my real life, share my words, and be in the moment. so it might be time to shake things up a bit. blurry moments, imperfect photos, shameless selfies. whatever i feel like. because i’m done with worrying about what other people think of me. i’m just too old for that. ♥️

my phone is mostly somewhere deep inside my bag, under a pile of animal toys, diapers, and leftover bagels. i only brought a disposable camera with me, capturing those blurry, perfectly imperfect moments. when she naps, i crawl next to her, wrapping my arm around her, letting go of all the thoughts and daily worrying. for the first time in such a long time i’m living in the present, fully aware of life that is happening right now, enjoying every minute with her, watching her develop into this funny, heartwarming, strong little human. i feel like i’m slowly leaving all the stress, the tears, the fatigue of the past 14 months behind me. she’s a toddler now, i feel like myself again. motherhood really is a beautiful journey. (ps trying to not fall asleep atm so i’ll do another round of q&a’s on stories if you’re up for it, also trying to make up for all those unanswered DM’s. sorry about that.)

“i love travelling with a baby” is something you will likely never going to hear me say. or travelling in general, for that matter. i’m not a relaxed, adventurous person. if you have been lucky enough to have travelled with me in the past, you’ll know i’m always stressing out, going through every worst case scenario, telling you to hurry, etc. but i always force myself to get in that car or the plane bc i know i love being away. especially with a 15 month old baby. forcing me to slow down, to look at the ordinary, starting each day with an empty to do list. this morning we sat on a bench for an hour, sharing a bagel, waving at every dog passing by (so many dogs in nyc), we stopped at 5th avenue to look at the skyscrapers (something i don’t notice anymore), and i’m now waiting for her to wake up from her nap so we can continue our day together (without feeling rushed or experiencing any kind of fomo). wandering through new york with her is so much fun. ♥️

♥️

i'll never forget that time in italy a woman came up to me when i was trying to comfort olivia, asking me if i needed help with my dress that somehow got unbuttoned during the struggle with a crying baby. it was then that i realized i would be lost in this motherhood journey if i didn't had other women, other mothers surrounding me. my own mother, my sister, strangers on the street, friends, acquaintances, online, offline. telling me it's going to be okay, assuring me i'm not alone. sharing their own experiences with me, their own struggles. telling me it's just a phase, it'll get easier. or simply showing me they understand, that we're all the same, by helping me when i feel i'm about to lose it. the sisterhood of motherhood, i wouldn't know what to do without it. so thank you for all your kind messages, support, and love on a daily basis. it means a lot.
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Ph by @annamariejanssen for @palavershop together with @romyboomsma and @gracielaraquel - i definitely would be lost without you two. ♥️

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