Not thriving but ok and why that is ok.

A few weeks ago, during an Instagram DM conversation, someone complimented me on how my new life in Sweden suited me and that I seemed to be thriving. Needless to say I was grateful for the well wishes and the chat continued on a jolly note but the word ”thriving” set something off within me. The seed was planted and the words for this post have been brewing like a jug of a good kombucha. Thriving implies that one is experiencing extraordinary success and prosperity. Am I truly thriving? 

Now I know you what you might be thinking – here comes yet another dramatic tale of an influencer melt down where she capitalizes on the topic of mental health. Don’t worry – this won’t be it, au de contraire in fact. 

On the 31st of August (my 40th birthday, a day that had been meticulously planned for and fussed about for months) I found myself in a hotel room in Dubai’s DIFC, counting hours until the night fall. I was newly single and leaving for Sweden the following morning. Had someone asked me to paint a picture of my biggest adult nightmare this was probably it, right there, smacking me in the face with a five star pillow. All I wanted from life was to stay a freelancing creative who lived in an Umm Suqeim villa. The furnishing would be very ”Pinterest ca 2015” with a fusion of light Nordic woods, mid century Danish furniture (even the Dragon Mart rip offs would do), a few Afghan rugs and Moroccan leather poufs scattered about in the socially inviting majlis. Ahlan.

I also saw myself dancing around the well equipped kitchen in a Missoni kaftan, making intricate gut healing meals and broths for a husband and some adorable multilingual children. 

For my actual birthday dinner – so different to the grandiose feast that had initially been organized –  I ordered a sophisticated room service meal that consisted of skinny French fries and a ”second one from the bottom of the list not to seem cheap” affordable glass of Merlot. Nothing gut healing about that.

As the meal arrived, I noticed that the staff had written Happy Birthday around the edge of my plate. So far so good, but the twist here was that they had done so with Nutella. ”Nutella though? Why not something more… potato compatible? Like ketchup?” I asked in a somber tone. The waiter answered grinning ear to ear, clearly pleased with his logistical solution: ‘Madame, ketchup runny. Nutella better. Doesn’t smudge. Also I poured you a BIG glass of wine to stop the crying”.

In that very moment, staring at the slightly sad looking plate in front of me, I couldn’t help but burst out laughing. The man sure had a point! Ketchup is one runny mothaf****a of a condiment and you go Glenn Coco for thinking outside the box.

I genuinely laughed for quite some time and even more so after I downed the aforementioned XL sized Merlot. Solo French-fries-with-brown-goo was not what I had imagined that I would be eating for my 40th birthday dinner. Yet there I was – fragile but composed and one hazelnut / palm oil based swirl away from a good belly laugh. There was something really disarming about what had just happened and whilst I knew that I would forever remember this day, now I would remember it for the Nutella-gate and not only for it’s utter gloom. A huge sense of relief followed and helped me get off the self pity rollercoaster, one I had previously been riding so hard that you’d think I had been given a complimentary wrist band. 

The conversation about how Instagram is only a showreel of curated highlights feels rather dated and doesn’t need rehashing. The sunny moments I have shared with you since arriving in Sweden have 100 percent been genuine. I have made work progress I am proud of, lined up projects that I feel challenged by, eaten my weight in Scandinavian cinnabuns and yet managed to miraculously loose significant amounts of weight. If you wonder why my instastories are saturated with selfies, it’s because I’m shamelessly pleased with my newly re-chiseled features and the recent guest appearance of my cheekbones.

I have had the clarity of mind not to escape my feelings but to hold space for the broad spectrum thereof. I have made a lucid plan for my future, one where I am my own dancing culinary demigoddess if needed be, one who’s happiness will be “nurtured by” and ”contributed to” but not “depending on” others. If I want that villa I need to get one myself and luckily – LUCKILY – I already own a Missoni kaftan. Maybe even a toe ring to complete the leewk.

I have also been on a few fun dates and one SO DISASTROUS that it ended up being funny. All good and I am in no rush on that front. At least it distracted me from the fact that at the moment, in Sweden, the sun sets at a very depressing 2.30 PM. 

So, to wrap things up – am I  truly ”thriving” as per the above mentioned Oxford dictionary definition of the word? The answer is no. What I am is a very levelheaded OK. And that is OK!

I’m using this momentum to propel myself towards a future that I know I am singlehandedly capable of creating and ultimately deserving of. There is light and there are shadows and there are ebbs and there are flows. What we need to be doing is to focus less on chasing the fleeting highlights and making the most of the turbulence, trusting to the very core of our essence that ultimately, in the end, everything will be ok. The ‘new ok” might look different to ”the old ok” that you had envisioned but tremendous growth happens when things get chaotic. 

(If you ask me nicely in the comments field I will tell you all about what dating is like in Sweden. Spoiler alert – it involves splitting the bill (because Swedish men like saving a penny by calling it ”equality”) and wearing ugly shoes (because the combo of ice covered cobble stoned streets is a direct threat to ones life and evermore so to my expensive heels). But more about this next time. / XXX Teresa 

P.S if you enjoyed the read feel free to like, share and comment. X 




  1. December 15, 2018 / 4:10 pm

    Thank you for the vulnerability and Humor and great combination, and all the best for new ventures
    Ps have you ever tried fries with Nutella? It is actually something we ate in Dubai at school 😀

    • Teresa
      January 3, 2019 / 4:50 pm

      Hahaha shall try, wallah X

  2. Michele Johnson
    December 15, 2018 / 5:33 pm

    Really good read, you are an excellent writer. Go girl 👊

    • Teresa
      January 3, 2019 / 4:49 pm

      Thank you a ton!

  3. Alyona
    December 15, 2018 / 5:42 pm

    Ahhh as always so perfect and so meaningful! You have to write books I bet 💕 that’s such a headache this dating stuff… especially in Dubai. Would be great if you will share your experience in Dubai and Sweden if you feel comfortable to do so. Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful thoughts, it’s so precious.

    • Teresa
      January 3, 2019 / 4:49 pm

      Thank you thank you thank you. I guess I need to go out there and date some more haha. I gave been taking it easy over Christmas! But in true Carrie Bradshaw style I need to gather content hihi X

  4. Jules
    December 15, 2018 / 5:43 pm

    Very much like your writing and you are an impressive person. Just read the „leaving Dubai“ piece followed by this one and I am impressed by your drive and ability to take things into your own hands. Sometimes there need to be „lows“ to actually be able to see the „highs“ of life. But everything will be ok in the end otherwise it‘s not the end. So very important to keep that in mind at all times…
    I am going through a very different situation but still will need to change something and take things into my own hands. Thanks for the inspiration! Much love from Munich!

    • Teresa
      January 3, 2019 / 4:48 pm

      It’s really important to hear this kinda feedback – I really need to feel a sense of giving back so if my words helped then you have made my day. I am at the end of the day a massive empath and I just really want for the world to be a better place. Soppy as this may sound. Yes – the one lesson that keeps coming back to me is that I need to have my own back in life and everything else is a very welcome bonus. This time around the lesson stuck with me – I am finally learning once and for all. 🙂 Lots of love from Sweden X

  5. RM
    December 15, 2018 / 5:55 pm

    Love love love your writing.. Please tell us more on the dating scene in Sweden? Btw, I have followed you on Instagram for ages and one time even saw you at MoE , you were outside lulu lemon with Saudi guy.. I remember my first thoughts were – he’s done well! Come back to Dubai soon, I loved your mini insta reviews of bars and restaurants here. X

    • Teresa
      January 3, 2019 / 4:46 pm

      HAHAHAHA you have made my day. Thank you. I will come back to Dubai if I find a satisfying full time role but I am afraid the freelancing days are behind me. I need more stability in my life so fingers crossed I pass the job interviews I have lined up 🙂

  6. Dana
    December 15, 2018 / 7:36 pm

    Teresa I loved your first write up and this one is just as genuine and honest ❤️ I have to disagree with u on one thing- I think ur thriving – it’s all relative to context so maybe not your ideal but given the circumstances I think ur doing bloody well! Anyway I just wanted to send some words of encouragement- thanks for always keeping it honest, love your writing and maybe you should think about writing a book?

    • Teresa
      January 3, 2019 / 4:41 pm

      Thanks a million! I feel like a right ole mess haha but I guess things could indeed be worse. A book is a dream of mine. It is on my to do list for 2019 so here is me manifesting it!

  7. Kiera
    December 15, 2018 / 9:34 pm

    I have followed you for years and always loved your take on life. Shit truly does hit the fan and things can leave us feeling lost, confused,sad, angry and all those other persistent emotions we can be dragged through. But the strength and courage you have shown to get back up and make this work for YOU and nobody else is phenomenal. I find it is what people expect you do, but to actually do it and to keep your identity is hard and takes a lot of strength. Let alone to then write about it so beautifully and in a way that truly resonates with others. You’re bloody fabulous! Keep enjoying life and continue to grow, shed the old and bask in the new.

    • Teresa
      January 3, 2019 / 4:40 pm

      Jesus. -probably the nicest thing I have ever read. Thank you from the bottom of my heart – you have made my day! The last 4 months have been the hardest in, well, as long as I can remember and if I managed to remain dignified and collected throughout then it’s partially because I feel accountable to the women who share my journey. In that aspect social media has been tremendously helpful!

  8. Any sutton
    December 16, 2018 / 2:38 am

    Great read, you have a talent for writing and i hope a magazine picks you up as a columnist!!!

    Look forward to the next instalment and thanks for sharing x

    • Teresa
      January 3, 2019 / 4:32 pm

      God that is a little dream of mine. I will try to manifest it for 2019!

  9. Cyntha
    December 16, 2018 / 4:17 am

    I adore you! You are so gifted! A book has to be in the making here! And bravo for your authentic naming it all! A true service!

    • Teresa
      January 3, 2019 / 4:31 pm


  10. Kirsten
    December 16, 2018 / 6:38 am

    Such an inspiration Teresa! The new Ok is different to the old OK- event if it’s still just an OK. Sums up my life right now 🙂

    • Teresa
      January 3, 2019 / 4:31 pm

      I am glad that it resonated! <3

  11. Sara
    December 16, 2018 / 6:41 am

    Really enjoy reading your posts.!! Keep doing what ur doing and good luck.

    • Teresa
      January 3, 2019 / 4:31 pm

      Thank you! It means the world to me! X

  12. Sofiane SI MERABET
    December 16, 2018 / 11:32 am

    As usual love the honesty!

    • Teresa
      January 3, 2019 / 4:31 pm

      Thanks you X

  13. Maya
    December 16, 2018 / 12:17 pm

    What an honest, authentic, and smile inducing read. I am glad you are ok with being ok! -Maya

    • Teresa
      January 3, 2019 / 4:31 pm

      For now it’s all I have got and that’s ok! 🙂

  14. Ann-Marie
    December 16, 2018 / 12:31 pm

    Fantastic read 🙌 xx

    • Teresa
      January 3, 2019 / 4:30 pm

      Thanks a million!

  15. Veronica
    December 16, 2018 / 1:01 pm

    Great read. And FYI I Would definitely like to know what dating a Swedish guy is like for you! I’ve dated a few so I’m very interested in your take 🙂

    • Teresa
      January 3, 2019 / 4:30 pm

      Haha so far they are not my favourite but I have also been very reserved, caught up in making myself feel better before I seek validation etc. Now the fun part begins! What was your impression of them? X

  16. Sophie
    December 31, 2018 / 12:24 am

    Teresa, what a beautifully written & honest reflection. Your blog posts are always a highlight for me, and I adore your sense of humour. Here’s to a wonderful 2019 – may it be full of the best surprises! X

    • Teresa
      January 3, 2019 / 4:24 pm

      Sophie – thank you very much for taking the time to comment! Let’s all have a nice 2019! It seems like many of us struggled X