The last day of 2015

I have had an amazing year. 

This time last year I was contemplating donor eggs from my sister after my last attempt at IVF was unsuccessful. Soon into this year I decided to stop spending money on IVF and move forward. Easy to write and apart from the occasional longing, relatively easy to do. On the proviso that I live the life that I have. 

This led to a snap decision with Lauren that we go to NYC. Literally sitting in the staff room talking about life as we worked and five minutes later we decided to travel. Three months later we were in New York City and I felt truly alive again. For the first time in the six years since I had commenced my road to a baby, I was living my life as me and realising my and my life’s potential. Amazing. I am still overwhelmed by my ferocious love for that city. I would go there again in a heartbeat. 

After a conversation with one of my Year 12 students, a foster child, I decided I had a lot of love to give and started that process. My first assessment is on Tuesday. And I’m in an interesting place. More on that soon. 

Another successful year at work; another year accepting that I am really really good at what I do (except for the occasional glitch aka mistake – reminding people that I’m human lol). 

I moved house and location, which in turn welcomed change on a broader scale into my life. I initiated the process for building my own business in natural healing. I am completing a certificate in Children’s Writing. 

I reconnected with many people from my past, if only to close those chapters. For many though, the reconnection reminded me of the love and deep friendship that once existed, now reminding me how much I’ve grown in the last ten years. And those friendships continue in a way that now fits with our changed contexts. 

The rest of my friendships have grown stronger this year, infinitely. And where I felt disconnected from many of these people a year ago, I feel closer to them now, and am grateful they were patient and saw me through my post fertility swings. 

The only negative from this year is not wholly negative, and provides me with my main goal for 2016. 

I love people, and I’m very good at supporting people and kids through their life’s hard times. With protective walls down when I returned from NYC I was bombarded with intense emotions from many many people. This resulted in a downward spiral for me. 

2016 is going to see me improve my ability in ‘being there’ without sacrificing me. I am going to consolidate my learning in balance and succeed. 

Bad things will still happen. I will still blog about them. I will still grieve them. I feel deeply, and this allows me to live deeply and passionately. And I wouldn’t change that for anything. 

But I will say no more often in 2016 because I will learn to put my value first. 

Life is an incredible journey. I have no real regrets. I love my life, and the opportunity and potential I see. 

2016 will start with a two week cruise around New Zealand with extended family for me. There is the potential for a cousin get together in Finland in July. There is the potential for a meditation retreat in India during October/November. There is the potential for growing my business. There is the potential for becoming a foster carer. There is the potential that my writing becomes successful. 

Potential. 

Created by setting goals and working towards achieving them, by being patient and trusting the universe that everything happens for a reason and in its own time, by not giving up, and by believing in my own self. 

I wish this sort of success and happiness for everyone during 2016 and beyond. 

To all of you – 

Thank you for reading my blog and supporting me. It really humbles me that people read it, freaks me out really lol, and to the people whom I don’t know in the real world, and who follow and read my blog, LS and Gratuitous Rex in particular, thank you – as absent as I have been I look forward to reading your blogs immensely. 

Best wishes for an amazing 2016 – happy new year folks ❤️😘

Writing = Bliss

I really am in my bliss when I am writing. And by writing, I mean crafting stories. I love the challenge of developing a character and discovering their story. I think that is why I love writing courses; they challenge me by drawing me out of my comfort zone.

There are elements of children’s writing that I can’t seem to wield into my writing repertoire, which held me understand that I need to write for older kids and adults (possibly). But I am trying. And that deliberateness of writing practice really stimulates me. And motivates me.

I started the following piece yesterday. I worked hard on it. It flowed to a point. And then I wasn’t sure what the main complication would be. I knew the beginning, the end (sort of) and what I wanted it to be about, but I wasn’t sure how to get it there. Today I kept plugging away until the inspiration hit me. I was relieved when it did. But it came after many edits and attempts at other ways.

I still need to refine a child’s voice – this story is aimed at kids in Year 6 (11-13 years of age). I channelled my nieces for a lot of this. I am not sure they are typical though. And I think my tenses are a bit off. But I am happy with it. And I’ve submitted it for ‘marking’ (Ann, if you read this, I really do love and appreciate how you pull my stuff apart – I hope you see my efforts at embracing this style of writing).

I will leave it to percolate for a few days and then, with fresh eyes, attack anything that seems out of place. And then, well then, I’m thinking of sending it to the Magazine I have composed it for. I can only try …

For your reading pleasure:

“I had a really bad dream last night,” I said quietly, without looking directly at Kayla’s face. I had decided I wasn’t going to tell anyone, but I knew that as soon as I saw my best friend I wouldn’t be able to keep it from her. I’ve never been able to keep anything from her.

“I dream all of the time,” Kayla twisted the end of her ponytail between her fingers absentmindedly, “Like, last night I dreamed that I was at the One Direction concert and Harry looked at me every time he sang ‘You light up my world like nobody else’ and I just knew we were meant to be together …”

We were walking slower than usual. Even though it was only 8 in the morning, the sun was really hot and the air felt really thick. We both wore sweat as moustaches and were regularly waving flies from our faces. An Australian summer, typically starting well before it should. Usually it doesn’t get this hot until we come back to school in January. I could feel sweat start to sit on my back under my bag. Yuck. It was going to be a long day.

Suddenly Kayla’s hands were waving in front of my face, “Hellloooooo! Anyone home?”

I smiled. Yes, this was my best friend, Kayla Edwards. Nicknamed The Tiny Pocket Rocket. She was shorter than me, thin, blonde, with blue eyes, just like a porcelain doll. Everyone loved her. She was smart and funny and strong; she didn’t take garbage from anyone. We have been best friends since I moved here in first grade. I love her but sometimes I question how we stay friends; we are as different in appearance as we are in personality.

“Where were you? I was singing to you.”

“I was thinking –“

“You think way too much Bella. Like, WAY too much. You need to sing more.”

And twirling her hair in her hand, she started to skip, loudly singing, “The way that you flip your hair gets me overwhelmed. Come on! Sing!”

Laughing, I flipped my hair awkwardly, and we sang, skipping together, in the heat.

*****

The day moved slowly. The temperature rose quickly. By lunch I was more than ready to be at home in the pool. We were all told to sit under the COLA and not move much. The teachers’ faces were red, and sweat marked their dresses or shirts where they had been sitting and leaning. Kayla was at the Formal Committee meeting. We usually ate lunch together. In a way, I was relieved. She had been singing that stupid song most of the day, and I was well and truly over it. I had my plugs in and was thinking about my dream.

My mum says that I have always had an overactive imagination. She thinks that’s why I have so many nightmares. I’m not convinced. I think there is something wrong with me. I am different to everyone else. If it weren’t for Kayla, I probably wouldn’t have any friends. I’m not pretty like her, or popular. I am too quiet, and prefer to be reading than talking. And it’s not that I’m ugly, just not pretty. I’m average really. Average weight, average height, average brown hair, average skin tone, average face. Just average.

I shuddered as I choked back tears. It isn’t like I don’t fit in with everyone, I just don’t try to; when I do hang out with the others I blend in just fine. Like, I like One Direction and Five SOS, but I really like the music my mum listens to, the old stuff, like Nirvana and Pearl Jam. And I am most comfortable in jeans and t-shirts rather than the flowing summer dresses that Kayla and the other girls wear. But I can wear them, so I can fit in. I just wish there was someone more like me to hang out with, just for a change sometimes.

*****

There is less than two weeks left of school. I am in Year 6. Both Kayla and I are going to our local public high school. Most of our class are. We’d had Orientation Day two days ago.

Our teacher, Miss Beckett, wasn’t really teaching us anymore so she let me go to the Library after lunch to write my report about Orientation Day whilst the other kids helped her pull down our work from this year. Miss Beckett was teaching Kindy next year so the whole room had to be emptied and cleaned.

 

The day started like any other day

We had all heard that we could get our head flushed

As much as we are scared of change

Being the big fish in a pond

 

All I could come up with were clichés. Miss Beckett says that I write really well, differently to the other kids. That’s how this became my job. Times like this though, I wish my writing was just average.

“What are you doing Bella?”

I looked up. The Librarian, Mr Spotch, was looking over my shoulder inquisitively at an empty screen.

“Not much,” I whispered, staring at the empty screen.

“So I see,” his eyebrows raised as his mouth tightened, “What are you supposed to be doing?”

“Writing about Orientation Day and summing up my experiences here.”

“Ah … okay. Start by brainstorming words that describe both, recount your experiences. Write about one first and then the other. You’ll get there. One step at a time.”

I liked that about Mr Spotch. He was really good at breaking things down, “Thank you.”

He smiled and walked back to his desk. The Library was so quiet. It was almost lonely. I turned my eyes back to the empty screen and drew up a table to put my brainstormed words into.

*****

Sweat caked my very red face and my shirt clung to me tightly as I tried to peel it off. Ugh, so gross I thought as I threw it on the floor, kicked off my shoes and started on my shorts. I could feel my toes crinkling up as I pulled off my socks, smelt them and, screwing up my face, threw them onto my uniform, lying in a dishevelled pile on the floor, before squeezing my swimmers on and racing from my bedroom.

“I hope your uniform is in the wash!” barked my mother.

“Nup, it’s too hot,” I barked back, “I’ll do it after I get out,” and I jumped into the pool.

Warm bath water caressed my skin. I hate this heat. Dry sweat melted off me as I knifed through the water, one handstand after another.

“ISABELLA!”

I surfaced quickly. Mum was standing at the open back door, hands on hips, thunder on her face.

“Get out of that pool, dry off and put your clothes into the washing machine!” More barking. I weighed up my options. I am usually a good kid but man, it was hot and she’s been in air-con all day –

“NOW!”

I reluctantly waded to the steps, stood up, twisted my hair dry, wrapped my already hot towel around me, and tiptoed to the back door across the hot concrete.

“Do not drip water all through the house. It won’t take long for you to dry off.” Seriously mum? Make your mind up.

“Yes, mum.”

*****

“Bella! Kayla is on the phone.”

“Thanks mum. I’ve got the other phone here …” I called out from my bedroom, “You can hang up now.”

“You’ve saved me. I so can’t get this thing written for the website,” I said. There was silence on the other end of the phone. I looked down to see if we were still connected. The light was on.

“Kayla?”

“Yeah, I’m here Bella,” she whispered.

“What’s wrong?” For the first time in a couple of hours I remembered my dream; the sick feeling I had experienced on waking was clawing its way back into my stomach. I closed my eyes tightly, pushing the memory away.

“My mum and dad are splitting up,” she whispered.

“Oh … I didn’t realise there were problems,” I replied.

“Me neither.”

“I’m so sorry Kay … Wow.”

There was silence on both ends of the line as we digested the news … together. Kayla’s parents had always seemed to get along; there were no fights like used to happen in my house before my parents split up. I was relieved when my parents split up. But Kayla’s life had always been so perfect; this was a shock –

“Bella, that’s not all …” Kayla’s voice trailled off nervously.

“Gosh, okay.”

“I’m moving.”

“Where to?” I gulped.

I wanted to vomit. I knew the answer already. She was moving to another state. Last night’s dream was coming true. I was going to lose my best friend.

“Mum wants to go live near my grandparents in Perth. She says she needs their support,” Kayla sobbed.

“I don’t want you to go,” I cried.

*****

Staring at the ceiling, even after counting sheep, and I still can’t sleep. Am I scared to dream? Or scared that if I sleep I will wake and it will be real?

I was scared the day I had started at Gregory Hills Public School. Mum had fussed over the uniform and was taking photos, smiling and telling me how excited I was. I didn’t want to tell her how terrified I was that no-one would like me. I was only six. My dad had left us; he didn’t love me anymore. My grandpa had lifted me above his head, trying to make me laugh. I did. It made him feel better. And I saw mum relax. She didn’t let go of my hand as we walked through the office doors, and I saw her struggle to walk out after the lady said she would take me to class.

I wish I could have told her how scared I was. I think she could have shared her fear with me too. I don’t really talk about much with my mum; school stuff, sure, but not the emotional stuff. I wish I felt like I could. I guess it’s just not who we are. I think that’s why I read so much. I find kids like me in stories. They become my friends.

I’m going to miss Kayla.

*****

THE WAY FORWARD by Isabella Logan 6B

 

“Moments in time,

I’ll find the words to say,

Before you leave me today …”

“Moments” by One Direction

Primary school has been wonderful. We have had great teachers, and unlike when we started school, we are all leaving able to read, write and count. Primary school has been about best friends, pop stars and long summer days. It’s been about growing and laughing together. It’s been fun.

But high school is about change and facing our fears. High school sometimes means losing our best friends and making new ones. Last week most of us in Year 6 went to Gregory Hills High School. It was scary. Some kids there told us we would get our heads flushed. We told Miss Beckett who told their teacher and then we laughed as they got yelled at. It was a great day. We met our Peer Support leaders and lots of the teachers. We learned where everything was and we played some games to get to know all of the kids coming from other schools. We also did some Year 7 work!

For me, high school represents becoming independent. My best friend won’t be going to my high school anymore, and I’m scared. She has been my rock. But I know I will make new friends, and because she is such a great friend, I know she will make new friends in her new school.

I hope that we will still be BFFs, but if we can’t be, I know that my primary school memories and successes will always connect me to her, and to all of us.

 

Practicing Gratitude

As much as I am not a fan of December these years, I still practice gratitude every day. It has been an interesting year.

A quick decision to go to New York resulted in a dream coming true, a dream that keeps giving. The memories and decisions I made in New York – wow, life changing.

I reconnected with many old friends. Time separated some of us, conflict others, life experience for some. But the waters are still again. My close friendships feel stable and solid, and once close friendships are soldered.

I learned more about myself, and the processes of healing from IVF, especially the length of the journey, and I am sure it is not completely over yet. I learned that people and time with people is more important than things. I learned that I love my job, I love my school but I really do need more balance.

I started a writing course (yet to finish). I initiated my business. I have a plan forward for both for 2016, and feel that life is on track. I applied to become a foster carer, to be resolved in March 2016. I moved house, and location. I cleaned my desk and classroom at work (doesn’t sound like much but it was messy). And we have initiated Reading to Learn training through our school for 2016.

A year of consolidation and a year of beginnings. A year of transformation and of initiations. A year of connection and of reconnection. A year of discovery and a year of renewed direction. A year of defending and strengthening my sense of self-worth and value, sometimes bordering on arrogance (proudly, because I am that good lol).

All in all, a great year. One of the best. I love getting older. I love claiming who I am. I love that I stand by what I believe in more freely and with less guilt. I love that I am compassionate towards others and manifest this as often as I can in action. I love that life is unknown, that I don’t know exactly where I will be this time next year – will there be a child or children running through this house? Will it still be just me and my fur kids?

Will I still feel this blessed? This happy? This passionate about my life?

Here’s to finding out …

Merry Christmas – I hope you and your families feel loved, safe and happy.

 

 

On the eve of my friend’s anniversary

I have just finished watching an incredible and timely film, What We Did On Our Holiday. Still crying. Amazing film.

Mum and dad try to hide their impending divorce from his father as they journey with their three incredibly insightful kids to Scotland to celebrate his father turning 75. Played by Billy Connolly the grandfather is the hero who unites his family and saves his grandchildren through an unusual death – no spoilers here. 

Tomorrow is the anniversary of my friend’s death. It’s been three years. It feels like just yesterday. For three years, every day, she has been in my thoughts, and I still talk to her often. If only to just acknowledge her existence. 

This film though, sent to me by the gods because I’ve avoided it for days and couldn’t resist any longer, was hilarious in a sad way. It’s message deceptively simple. We need to accept each other’s ridiculous because that’s love, and we need to live our lives. Live them. Really live them. 

That’s what Nat did. 

She lived. 

After concerns that she wouldn’t be able to have children, she carried two boys to term. And in gratitude for her blessing, she built the best, most stable lives for those kids that she could. And she loved her husband with everything she had. 

She made her life count. 

I am so blessed that she embraced me into her family, and forgave me my ridiculous. She knew what was important, really important. At the end of the day, family counts. Love sustains. 

And her life beyond this physical world helps to sustain me and remind me to serve my dreams. And I try to make my life count. I always have, but now I appreciate how tenuous our time here can be. 

Tomorrow is not guaranteed. 

The present is all that we have, and all that we can rely on. I do what I need to do. I give to myself more. And as a result, I can give better to others. 

But man, I miss her. Every day. Grief doesn’t get easier; we learn to live with it as part of our lives.

The loss of a friend, a mother, a wife, a sibling, an aunt. The loss of a child or a baby, a pet. The grief is there. Rather than drown in it though, we must persevere to use it to fuel our life force, our spark, our determination to live better, live more, live presently. 

I love you Nat. Your life was a treasured gift to many; your death too. 

Always in my heart my dear friend ❤️

My posts are sad and/or thoughtful lately 😳

I think I need to start posting daily again to get some balance lol. Please know that I am okay. My blog is a collection of my thoughts and perceptions to help others feel less alone. Yes, I’m impacted by my life but I’m usually good. And I’m definitely a happy person. What I post is real but the posts are snapshots. 

Now, having said that …

One of my friends is in the process of miscarrying and my heart is breaking for her. We have no real control over such things and it just sucks. Especially right at Christmas, the time for children. It’s hard not being a mum. 

I still struggle being around small children. I love them. And it is like knives slowly twisting through my heart as I interact with them. 

I will never have that. 

Never share the giggles and smiles of my child as they explore their world. Or hold their hand and them close when they are scared. 

Spending time with children at Christmas is soooooooooo hard for me. I used to imagine and daydream setting up the tree, wrapping presents late at night to give Santa a hand, being woken up ridiculously early when children realise Santa has been. 

I’ve banned Christmas for myself this year except for Christmas movies. I’m also contemplating (every day) putting the tree up. I’ve banned it partly because I’ve grown to dislike December and mostly because of the extreme consumerism that I am also guilty of. 

But also because it reminds me that I’m not a mum. 

I will unban it if my foster care application is approved but probably won’t if it isn’t. 

We do Kris Kringle in my faculty. I was blessed to receive notice that my Kris has donated in my name to an adult literacy program for women in the third world. 

Perfect. 

We need more of this. 

I assure you I am happy. 

15th December 

It is probably counter productive to write this I feel the need to acknowledge today beyond the mere private. 

Two years ago today I arrived home from my daughter’s Bali wedding and miscarried. I bled for three days non-stop, like a tap. It was the loneliest time of my life. And the months after were the most difficult times of my life. My body was out of control and my friendships all shifted. 

I am no longer in that place, and the snow globe that is my life has settled. 

Today though, I acknowledge the child that may have been had fate, the universe, God, whatever we call it, not intervened. For a short while I was pregnant and carrying life created from my genetic material. 

❤️

Giving Yourself Permission

This post isn’t about me even though I’m using anecdotes from my life to illustrate my point. 

I love Christmas but hate December, and as a result have no Christmas cheer. Not in any way, shape or form. I haven’t put my tree up yet. Maybe tomorrow. Probably not. 

And that’s okay. 

I can’t control the way I feel. The last three Decembers have been horrible. 

Three years ago one of my best friends died. 

Two years ago I miscarried. 

Last year everything broke. 

This year death marked November and a funeral and lots of welfare have marked December. 

I think I’m still moving through cumulative grief. 

And that’s okay. 

I’ve given myself permission to do what I need to do. I’ve given myself permission to not buy presents this year, to not put the tree up, to not leave the house at Christmas, and to watch Christmas movies because I love the hope and promise they offer. 

I’m not Grinch. But I’m grieving still. 

And that’s okay. 

I can only control so much, specifically my choices and responses. And even though everyone thinks I should do certain things, it’s okay for me not to. 

More than that, it’s okay for all of us to do what we want to do (short of inflicting suffering on others). It’s okay for you to give yourself permission to fulfill your needs first. 

And if you can’t give yourself permission, I will give you permission. 

I give you permission to follow your bliss, to do what will bring you the most happiness and/or the least suffering. 

Because I love you. 

Oh my. 

Funerals are never easy. There is an incredibly beautiful and rich sunset outside. A gift to all of those who formally farewelled someone today. It’s the small things – I have entrenched gratitude into the way I perceive everything. I’m blessed but it was hard work changing those old patterns of negativity. 

I cried most of the way home. I looked in the rearview a couple of times. My face was tinged with grey, was drawn and aged. Too many funerals of young people whom I loved. Too many funerals full stop. 

It is almost the third anniversary for one of my best friend’s deaths, and a week before that, the second anniversary of my miscarriage. 

I don’t much like December anymore. 

And I long for the innocence of my childhood where death was unknown. Life was just life. It didn’t end. 

I’m lying on the lounge, blogging on my phone, no television, birds talking and an orange hue embracing the room. 

Processing. 

I want to say so much but the words won’t form – fighting against my desire to release them. 

Maybe tomorrow. 

❤️

When things don’t go your way

It is very easy to stop breathing and sulk. But I think I’m almost perfectly to the point where I perceive every ‘failure’ as a different opportunity. I still feel the sadness and the loss, but I quickly move beyond that to a place of calm. 

Recently I applied for a job that I really wanted. I didn’t even get an interview. Initially I felt the sting. But it didn’t last because a couple of days later a much better opportunity presented itself. 

I find that this has always happened. 

I couldn’t conceive with IVF so I’ve moved into fostering. If I am unsuccessful there I will apply to do my doctorate in writing. 

I have found that having many different goals, many different plans, affords me with the freedom now to not get stuck. I keep moving forward. Sometimes I move slower, but my pace will always pick up when it is ready to. 

I have also developed my trust in fate, for want of a better word. 

I am, and I am going, exactly where I am meant to be/go. If something goes wrong, if something is delayed, there is a reason. And that reason is that I am meant to be elsewhere. I trust …

Ironically.