My ABC of important things

My ABC of important things |


A is for abundance. It’s taken me all my years to believe this was something that could flow through my life. I never believed I deserved abundance — not just financial, but in love, work, family or community. I always believed there was something fundamentally wrong with me, that I was not good enough to be worthy of good things. Now, after many years of clearing out and questioning every corner of my self and my beliefs, I trust in the possibility of abundance. I only have to look at my nephew to know it is not only possible, but already here.

B is for books. I spent much of my childhood with my nose in a book — it’s one of the few traits I inherited from my father. I spent most of the weekend going through my books, trying to decide which to keep and which to donate — they’ve multiplied like horny rabbits and my small flat cannot hold them all. I flick through the pages and find passages I’ve marked, notes a younger me felt compelled to make as she chewed on new thoughts and theories. My heart gets bigger at the thought of people making their own notes in the book i’ve written — that it then becomes our book.

C is for coffee. Oh bitter mug of brown juice, what would I do without you?

D is for dreams. Sometimes I go to bed still thinking about the dream I had in the morning. Sometimes I’m flying several feet above the ground. Sometimes my unconscious reconstitutes loved ones from the past and we live another night together. Sometimes I go to bed and wish my dreams weren’t so real.

E is for e-courses. Never in a million years would I have thought the internet would provide me with a way to create meaningful work, connect with thousands of souls around the world and also be able to pay my rent. It still blows my mind and I do not take any of this work for granted. (See also: T is for technology)

F is for friendship. My friendships become richer the older I get. “She is a friend of mind.  She gather me, man.  The pieces I am, she gather them and give them back to me in all the right order.  It’s good, you know, when you got a woman who is a friend of your mind.” – Toni Morrison, from Beloved

G is for grief. Never forgotten. Never belittled. Always respected. Always grateful.

H is for home. Im such a homebird these days.

I is for independence. Up until the age of 32 I had always been in a romantic relationship. I set up home with my first boyfriend at 18; I didn’t know myself without another standing by my side. The last seven years of total independence have been the best years of my life.

J is for journalling. Or writing-in-my-diary as I’ve always called it. I wrote my first diary entry aged 11 and I haven’t stopped since. Life saving. Life illuminating.

K is for kale. These days I crave kale like I crave chocolate. Specifically the dark mysteries of cavalo nero, steamed or added to soups. Even juiced. Sometimes it pains me that kale is so de riguer these days. I prefer to distance myself from the paleo-fasting-gluten-avoiding-cayenne-pepper-adding crowd. But kale and me, we’re golden.

L is for laughter. My sister is the person who makes me laugh more than anyone else. We’re very close, so I guess it’s inevitable that we’d share a sense of humour — we can make each other laugh even when there’s nothing to laugh about. A few months ago we were sat in her car, parked outside her house — my nephew was asleep in his car seat, and we didn’t want to wake him up just yet, so she turned the engine off and we sat quietly for a while. About five minutes into our quiet time one of her neighbours walked up to the front door to drop a leaflet through the letterbox — she didn’t notice us sat in the car, and as it was the middle of the day she probably wasn’t expecting to see anyone at home. I whispered to my sister that we should beep the horn to make her neighbour jump. And just the thought of that poor unsuspecting woman jumping out of her skin was enough to set us off, and we laughed and snorted and then started wheezing, all the while trying not to wake up my nephew. The more Abby laughed the more I laughed, and the more I laughed the more she laughed. It was one of those ridiculous moments when you’re both tired and hungry, and sitting in a stationary car outside your own house, trying not to wake the baby. We still laugh about it to this day. BEEP!!

M is for mum. The stars aligned when my mum fell pregnant with me. I wasn’t the easiest teenager. In my 20s I was off in the city, doing my own thing. But it’s here, at the end of my 30s, that I truly know how lucky I am to have a mum like mine. I love you, Mum. x

N is for nephew. I just don’t have the words to describe how much I love this little boy.

O is for originality. Everything I do I try to make mine. The very worst thing you could ever accuse me of is plagarism.

P is for photography. I don’t know what my life would be now if I hadn’t picked up a camera again. I had so many plans at art college, so many photography dreams that never came to fruition. But it simply wasn’t the right time. I had to live another decade before I was ready to dive as deeply into my visual world as I have done. I was scared back then — I didn’t believe in myself. Didn’t believe in my fledgling talents. But the passion never went away… it waited inside me, until I was open enough to see again. And then everything changed for the better.

Q is for quiet. I like the peace and quiet of my solitude. As an introverted soul working from home suits me just fine.

R is for Robert Downey Jr. He just keeps getting better and better and better.

S is for sister. There are some pretty shit things I’ve had to endure in my life, but i like to think that it all balances out because I got to be sisters with Abby. So close we could be twins, there is no one in this world who knows me better. She is my everything.

T is for technology. I’m so happy to be living in a time when technology enhances our lives in the way it does. iPhones, laptops, Skype, Instagram, MP3s, True Blood DVDS, email and blogging — how lucky are we?

U is for Unravelling. Of course.

V is for vagina. I’m glad I’m a woman. Despite the PMS and the mood swings, the growing layers of fat around my middle, the competitiveness and the maddening concern over our looks, I’m grateful for my two X chromosomes.

W is for writing. Writing is one of the three great passions in my life (photography and my family the other two) but sometimes, oh boy, I detest it. Writing turns me inside out and shines a light on the darkest dirtiest pieces of me. Writing asks me to be truthful. Writing never lets me get away with anything.

X is for SX-70. In 2008 I found a Polaroid camera in a market stall and the love affair began. It’s a tactile thing as much as an eye thing — i love the feel of my SX-70 camera in my hands, the glassy smoothness of the film. I see the world in squares, now, and for every shot i take i first consider if it would look better on instant film. I dusted off my DSLR for faster memory-catching over Christmas but it felt alien in my hands. I missed the click whirrrr of my SX-70. I learned my lesson.

Y is for yellow. Everytime I wear yellow I feel better. I’ve just ordered a yellow cotton dress — it’s much-needed sartorial medicine to cure the January blues.

Z is for zen. I am not a religious person, but I’m always fiddling with my mala beads when feeling stressed ;-)

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What would you include in your ABC of important things? Leave a link to your list if you write one

51 responses
  1. Mel

    For some reason, I have tears in my eyes reading this.

  2. Roxanne Galpin

    These are wonderful! xo

  3. angie

    A is also for ‘Amazing’, which is what you are! x

  4. jane (faerian)

    i love you Ms Conway!

  5. Debra

    Lovely! And I know that “We Be Sushi” sign! I have a pic of it in my Instagram stream.

  6. Michele

    Golly. This is flipping fabulous!

  7. jodi

    i absolutely love this post. so, so good. xo

  8. Josephine

    This is a great thing to read first thing in the morning! I shall consider my own ABCs over the course of the day.

    Thanks fabulous lady ;-)

  9. Cecilia

    Adoring this! I’m already drafting an ABC list of my own :)

  10. Annette

    G is for grateful, which is what I am for having found you in the blogosphere this past year. The gift of your words and photos has been balm to my soul. The days there is something in my blog reader from you are richer. I too lost my love suddenly and unexpectedly, two years ago. Going back through and reading your early entries has been tough love for me. Though in grief we are each in our own little rowboat paddling away, we each attempt to stay afloat in an ocean that shares waters with others. I appreciate your sharing and its part in my growth. I also thank you for your Unraveling pdf, which became a catalyst for the

  11. Annette

    oops…for the most mindful new year I’ve ever created. Hugs and all the best to you.

  12. Mary Leach

    I am going to begin drafting up an ABC list for myself. Your list is wonderful. I enjoyed reading the story of you and your sister in the car.

    You are a gift to us, your readers. Thank you.

  13. Nina

    Now, I say this not *only* because I don’t quite get the Mr Downey Jr thing (sorry!), but also because I’m sure there was something here a few weeks ago about taking better care of ourselves and all that… Surely R should be for Rest? x

  14. Kathryn

    Wonderful! I loved reading it and am inspired to try my own some time.
    Thanks for sharing this, Susannah. :)

  15. patti scanlon

    I agree Grateful for all that I have learned from you. Thankful for your sharing of you. You have inspired me and largely changed my life or how I see life more grounded more mindful more thankful . I understand your A Abundance since I also have stuggled for years believing I can deserve bits of joy . I would love to know how you got to the place where you are open now to Abundance as I still at times feel wobbly and am not sure it all can flow my way, so I remain leary and cautious keep my focus on giving and helping others receive what they need I always feel better when I am giving and not on the receiving end as I think I feel not deserving of it I know it because I did not grow up in a really nurturing and soothing environment Now that I know the cause I want to let it go and receive seeing that you believe and are open to this it gives me hope that I can to. Any suggestions I would appreciate to help me make the leap and get there and let go.

  16. Tristen

    I was inspired by this, so I did my own! I’ve attached my URL for anyone who wants to read (I think you can just click on my name and it will bring you there). Thanks so much for your list – it was fun to read and fun to do!

  17. Angeliki

    What a beautiful list! I love the way you write.

  18. bella

    Loved reading this! I might just reveal my own abc’s :)

  19. Carol

    Excellent list Susannah!!

  20. Alexis

    Here is mine at
    This exercise was fun. Thanks for this.

  21. stacie

    What a beautiful post. Thank you so much for sharing. I can relate to so many of your words and ideas. Especially the coffee, friendship and laughter.

  22. rachel

    I love this! You have really got me thinking hard about what would be in my ABC…will ruminate a little more and maybe post later this week. Fab.

  23. Renee Howell

    Nicely done. Nicely done. From another lover of abc things.

  24. eliza

    this is one of the most beautiful things i have read in a long time!!!! :)

  25. Katherine

    You are truly lovely, both inside and out! I thank you for your ABC of Important Things.

  26. Belinda Youll

    All of your letters are so great, but gotta say the Robert Downey one is spot on. Could not agree with you more! x

  27. michelle gd

    lovely and heartfelt, inspiring and reflective. i think i’d like to craft my own list…will try to work on that today.
    thank you, susannah…

  28. cococita

    Love your alphabet dear Susannah! Lovely to see you posted and shared this on the day of my birthday, as last year, I created an alphabet with my important things, in the reverse order, on my blog. You’d find the first post here:

  29. Rene' (aka: hiddendove)

    Susannah – this is just lovely! Thank you so much for the sharing and the nudge to consider my own list. Now I have another writing “assignment” to add to my Unraveling list this week! :)

  30. sam

    Thanks for the inspiration Susannah – I enjoyed creating my own list. If anyone would like to read it you’ll find it here …

  31. Anne jutras

    I for inspiring : you are a real inspiration for me, and i’m truly sincere. Since I found your blog, I rediscovered how to enjoy many aspects of my life. Thank you so much!

  32. susannah

    aw, thanks honey! <3

  33. soraya nulliah

    Dear Susannah…I have been reading your blog for over a year are simply amazing!! I loved reading this psot so much… you inspired me to write my own. It was illuminating + fun. Good stuff. xxx

  34. soraya nulliah

    ooops!! I meant to write POST!!!

  35. Tessa

    Love this list! Especially R. He is lovely <3. I think I'll do a list of my own too.

  36. Tessa

    Before I finish reading this, I find myself doing my list too. This looks so inspiring.

  37. Rhianne

    Me and my sister will laugh at things like that too – things no one else finds funny :) It’s one of my favourite things about having a sister.

    Lovely list Susannah, I particularly like your answer for R too, haha.

  38. Jane LaFazio

    what a beautiful list……thanks for sharing. xoxo

  39. Katherine

    I am so glad that I found your blog. Your images and writing are an inspiration. And I wholeheartedly agree with “C” and “R”!

  40. Brandi

    I was so inspired that I sat down and did my own list! It was like a meditative session for me:

  41. michelle gd

    when i left my first comment, i hadn’t worked on my list yet.
    now, my list:

  42. michelle gd

    just to say again that i found this so inspiring. i loved reading what you’ve shared, susannah, and i found it tremendously helpful to work a list of my own…to kind of take stock, reflect.


  43. Helen

    So inspired by this! Here’s my version:

  44. Esra

    I’m so glad I found your blog. What a wonderful post. Very inspiring. thanks for sharing. You made me think about ‘my list’. I should make one. I’m totally with you on ‘B’, ‘C’ and ‘P’ !

  45. Lisa

    I loved doing this list! It’s a way to let my readers know a little bit more about me! Thank you!! xx

  46. erika

    I enjoyed reading your list so much, I had to make one too:)

  47. Christy Love

    I love these! Abundance, Books, Cacao, Dreams, E-Courses, Kale, Grief, Laughter, Zen…

  48. Kimberley

    What a gorgeous post! I love that it’s a quirky new way of putting together everything that you’re grateful for in life.

    Our relationships with the people closest to us sometimes get taken for granted, so I think it’s wonderful that so many of your list are loved ones. :) xx

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