Breakthrough

So I was just sitting here, watching Dr Phil, my head pounding, and I thought, “I struggle with my Birthday because I don’t believe I’m worth celebrating.” 

I know how ridiculous that is, but it’s truly what came into my head. I know I am worth it but it’s like I don’t believe other people will think I am. Lower my expectation, minimize disappointment. How f’ed in the head is that?! 

And I stand by what I said the other day, this stems from the IVF journey; the journey that just keeps giving lol. And that stems from being single.

For the majority of my life, probably until I hit my late thirties and forties, I hadn’t believed I was worth what I now think is very obvious worth. IVF compounded this because even though I was surrounded by people, it is a very alone journey, not lonely but alone. There are aspects of it that only the woman could understand, even in the most loving relationship. 

The drugs, the injections, the emotional rollercoaster, the listening and feeling and questioning every single physical aspect, well, you do that alone. The continual failure takes its toll. And then miscarrying, and misvarrying entirely alone and isolated, well, that compounded it all too. 

And so I learned I would do my life myself. I would pull back from everything (except work) to protect myself. I think when I wanted people to just know what to do, and to just be who I needed and wanted them to be, and they weren’t, I internalized that by reverting to my childhood narrative. The one where I’m not pretty enough, funny enough, smart enough, worth enough. 

Then there was the workplace bullying, healing from the miscarriage and another failed IVF, and then the investigation, more ‘voices’ telling me I wasn’t good enough; to the extent that my support network was shut down by the institution through their installation of fear by threatening that I would lose my job. 

Oh wow. No wonder my head is abnormal ūüėČ trying not to swear lol. 

And that’s why when my friend said we needed to do something for my birthday, and suggested something, and organized it, respecting my request to keep my birthday quiet, I was happy to say yes: best of both worlds, celebration without pressure. 

I’m looking forward to my birthday. A year wiser in a transformative year. A year where I am rebuilding my entire life, from the ground up. 

What a blessing courage is. 

What a blessing freedom is. 

What a blessing this life is. 

Happy Birthday, Tina. You are becoming, you are, the woman you always wanted to be. I’m proud of you kiddo! 

Without …

Without India and without the trauma of the investigation, I would not be here. 

Without here, I would not have snorkelled. 

Without snorkelling, I would not have realised I fat shame myself and sometimes permit myself to live from fear. 

Without one thing, the other would not have existed. 

I am in a period of transformation. Not a period of change as such, but a period of deeper awareness of who I am and what I want. 

I need water. 

I need like minds. 

I need difference. 

I need happiness, more like bliss. 

I need movement. 

I need … all of this. 

I am about to fall asleep in one of the most beautiful places I have ever journeyed to. My soul is alive. 

Today I walked near the ocean. 

Today I walked in a forest. 

Today I loved. I swang. I chatted. I held a hand. I hugged different people. I felt. I soared. I sparked. 

Today … 

a single day. 

I am blessed beyond belief. This damaged girl from Campbelltown has empowered herself to really live, to discover what centuries of mystics have shared … life is to be lived. 

Life is not to be worked. 

Life is gratitude, blessings, sunsets, oceans, rivers, properties, like minds, lost goggles, lost childhoods, lost minds, a swing, new experiences, new friends, profound connection, hearty conversation. 

What a perfect day and perfect trip! 

Without the darkness, this light would not have come. 

The Times They Are A Changing 

I think that it must be normal that your childhood heroes start to die as you age. They are that little bit older than you, and most have lived hard lives. It does leave me questioning though, who are the childhood heroes today? 

Wake Me Up Before You Go Go is my first choice funeral song because I imagine the people I love in tears, and then wryly laughing as the music kicks in. I’ve had an amazing life, and more often than not, feel blessed and grateful. I have experienced so many incredible things and known amazing people. 

Not that I intend dying today. 

Carrie Fisher has died today (US time). The trailblazers are passing this year, in droves. The people that inspired me to be real, to stand up, to fight for what I believe in, are dying in the year that shackled me. The irony is not lost. 

For a young girl growing up during the seventies and eighties, Princess Leia was a mainstream, socially acceptable, strong woman. Carrie Fisher embodied these qualities in her own life, maybe not always socially acceptable, but definitely authentic and real, fighting the good fight. A true role model, a true hero. 

Emma Watson is a positive role model for young girls. I think I’m struggling beyond her though. Maybe I’m just too old to appreciate what young women offer. 

I was also blessed to have had exposure to the life and work of Audrey Hepburn, an attitude that subconsciously pervaded my role as teacher. Especially relating to where I choose to teach. Her elegance and grace touched me, not necessarily with the language I choose to use. I’m more Carrie that way. Lol. 

I have been blessed to have been touched by female celebrity as much as by real women in and through my life. Strong women who never give up, even when they want to. 

My mother is there. Not always right, but always fighting to survive, to look after us girls, and to live her life. She has been hurt but has never given up. She is real. Her struggles have been real. She endures. My first role model. 

My second took the form of a friend’s mother, becoming my second mum. She struggled with mental health issues in a time when mental health issues were nowhere near as acceptable and understood as they are today. She was there for me, validating my experiences, my reactions, my existence, when all I felt was awkward and insecure. 

Most of my female friends are strong women, living their lives the best way they know how, battling and surviving their demons. 

My third role model is one of my closest friends. I often denounce her wisdom initially, so that I can process it before embracing it, but I acknowledge that that is what I’m doing. And acknowledge this to her. I’m a rebel at heart. Lol. 

Like me, she grew up in dysfunction. She is strong and she is a fighter. She is strong willed and strong minded, whilst being vulnerable in moments of, for want of a better word, defeat. She is unashamedly and unapologetically, her. And she has stood by me, even when I’ve pushed her away, consistently. 

She, too, has been fighting her employer, and through that fight, has confronted herself many times over, resolving little pieces of life struggle triggered by the present fight. Similarly to George Michael and Carrie Fisher, her heart has struggled with the enormity of her fight, but thankfully, her heart has not succumbed. 

I continue to be blessed. I surround myself with strong women who are real. I grew up in a time when it seemed more acceptable for women to not just be tits and arse. And I have been open to the power of love and the desire to survive. 

It is women like my mum, Anne and Donna, and Carrie, who have forged paths that empower and inspire others, that I am most grateful for. And it is important that all of us women who follow, forge our own paths so that we may become beacons for those that follow us. 

Another Reminder

Growing up in Australia in the seventies was a blessed experience. We were free. I have wonderful memories of us neighborhood kids hanging out with each other and disappearing all day every day during summer. We were safe to do so. Most predators lurked in the homes rather than in the streets, or that’s the way it felt. We were accountable to each other’s parents as much as we were our own, and could be smacked by anyone. It was an extended family, a community, a village looking after and raising the children. 

For my sisters and I, this was vital. Mum and dad were from European families, Finland and Germany respectively. We didn’t have a typical extended family as a result. There was no internet, no mobile phones, and an overseas phone call was expensive and consisted of a noticeable time lag. I was a pen pal, snail mail, to one of my cousins in Finland. 

Our street community, Manooka Crescent, became our extended family. Our friend’s parents, our aunts and uncles, and the two older couples in the street, one next door and one across the road, our grandparents. 

Until today, we had only lost one of the four. Today, the second of four has passed. 

My sisters have kept in better contact with our childhood family than I have. I have always been so busy with school and keeping in touch with my adult friends that I let go of this childhood family. Physically, not emotionally. Emotionally they are pivotal people in my life. They empowered and enabled me to make it to adulthood. They were the oasis in the storm of dysfunctional childhoods. They saved us by taking us in … regularly. 

Especially the couple next door. 

And today, mum rang me first thing this morning to let me know rhat one has passed away. He has been in hospital and this time, didn’t survive. 

My tears are for his wife. They built a life together that spanned over sixty years; a phenomenal commitment, taking in lost children all of the time. Not perfect, but always doing their best. 

Somehow, we expect that we all will live forever. But, we don’t. 

Life is short. Some of us have a good innings, others’ interrupted or cut short too early. Death teaches us that it is important to truly live every day. 

If we are unhappy, only we can control the change. And not in a destructive way, but finding what will work to keep moving us forward, closer to happiness. Into happiness. 

The Dalai Lama believes that happiness is the purpose of life. I agree. What other reason can there be for existence that makes consistent and logical sense. 

And our lives feel most joyous in service, of some type, towards others. Those that are happiest often work for others. Service provides soul fulfillment. Giving is better than receiving. 

Ian gave. To his own family, his country, the bank, and to everyone that he met. He had a cheeky sense of humour, sharing jokes with us before we were probably meant to hear them, Val chastising him and giggling as she did. He was funny. They lived,  providing a freedom and normalcy my sisters and I probably wouldn’t have had. A normalcy that enabled us to see the bigger picture of life, beyond trauma and dysfunction, and empowering us to create better lives for ourselves. Their gift to us was resilience in its purest form, giving us contrast between what was and what could be. 

We never say thank you enough. We never let people know their value to us enough. We take our’s and everyone’s mortality for granted. Death teaches us to feel grateful that little bit more, to hold our loved ones a little tighter, and to say I love you more often. It teaches us to grow, to be mindful, to take risks, to live in happiness. 

To live. 

Much love Uncle Ian. 

Weddings and Friendship 

I never used to commit easily. To people, I mean. Vegetarianism, school and learning, I’ve never struggled with commitment there. No, just people. 

I realised yesterday though that some of the people, amongst the best people in my life, I have known for fifteen years. Firmly in each other’s lives for more than ten of those. Amazing. 

They are my family even though they are not blood relatives. I have friends too, but yesterday I realised the difference. We have had our ups and downs but we have grown together. They have seen me at my worst and my best, and they have loved me regardless, and when it was difficult to do so. And that goes both ways. Their presence in my life enriches my life. And I am grateful for that. 

That is family. 

Friendship doesn’t always endure like that. You are not as vital as family. Family offers, even in dysfunction, stability and security of sorts. You share the massive journey of good and bad. You cry, laugh, fight, learn and grow together, because there is no choice. When they are not there, your heart misses them. To function at your best, their presence or spirit enables that. We enable each other. 

I like that. 

I miss being more present. 

Part of healing from infertility became working. And part of the working load is changing government requirements. It is time for me to reclaim my life though. I’ve talked about wanting to for at least a couple of years and then, despite the best intentions, I allow work to consume me. 

I don’t want that anymore. I don’t want to find ease in hiding in the work. 

I had photos taken at the wedding yesterday. I usually look at photos of myself and see ugly. Not yesterday. Bizarre. I think being surrounded by people in Varanasi who continually told me I was beautiful, has impacted the way I see myself, like I have seen myself through the eyes of others for the first time and believed what they say they see. 

Empowering. 

What a wonderful day yesterday was. 

How blessed is my life. 

Life is …

Definitely for living. I’m not quite sure what I am going to write here. There are always hardships in life. No-one can be happy all of the time, and by that what I mean is that life is not always smooth sailing. How we handle those moments/days/months impacts the choices we make. 

Man, the words just don’t want to come today lol. 

My life in recent days has been perfect. I have hung out with family and friends (no real distinction required – they are all family) and am in my bliss. 

I am happy. 

The core of me is happy. I feel the inner calm and tranquility I have longed for, for so long. It won’t last, I know that. And that’s okay. 

But what I’ve noticed is that because I’m living the dream, and am happy, the small triggers of sadness that come have been acknowledged and I have been able to move on from them without them getting below the surface. 

Obviously one of my triggers is anything to do with babies and pregnancy. I will always long to be a birth mother because I wasn’t able to. This means that time with pregnant people, talking about babies and pregnancy, seeing babies and pregnant women, well, it’s hard. Especially if it’s unexpected and I haven’t psychologically prepared myself. And I know this probably sounds a little ridiculous (two years since my last failed attempt and three years since my miscarriage) but it’s a part of the way I now live my life. 

The last few days have included pregnant women, babies and talk about pregnant women. Each time, I acknowledged the moment of pain and was then able to continue. And I think it’s because I’m finally satisfied with my life. It’s not everything I want it to be but I’m on the road to all that I want it to be that is possible. And that makes me happy. 

So, today, I’m living the dream and so grateful for all that is my life. 

A Return 

On Wednesday something shifted in me. It’s like I gave myself permission to start to feel alright. It was my first day back at work after five days away, I caught up with a good friend for dinner, and I felt myself release something. 

It continued on Thursday, and even though it was a feral day with only two of the five of us in at work, I felt an inner calm within me, and I smiled heartily for most of the day. I went dress shopping after school and whilst I didn’t buy anything, I ran into several people I haven’t seen in a very long time, and my heart continued to smile. An impossible yoga class that night stretched out a few kinks. 

On Friday, for the most part, I continued to feel really good. Something in me has shifted. 

A situation that has been plaguing me for six months looks like it might be coming to an end but it’s more than that. I think that I have started to understand the lessons that were intended from that very dark situation. 

The situation has forced me to be more empowered. I think it has forced me to start to say no and to believe that I am worth much more than I have behaved. It’s like I have started to realise my own power and my own worth, at the same time. 

And, as a result, I’m not tolerating the things that people say and do, that minimise me, any more. I’m fighting for me. It’s not to say other people aren’t worth as much, they obviously are, but I’ve never thought I was worth very much, even though I knew I was, if that makes sense. I could try to explain that but I think you’ll get it if you’ve been there, are there, or think you might be there. 

I’ve also realised that I have started to accept more responsibility for fixing/controlling/resolving this. 

I feel light. Hopeful. Blissfully content. Exceptionally grateful. Not for the entirety of the catalyst that brought me here; it’s still too fresh, too raw, but for the experience in principle. 

And I’m stepping out of my comfort zone more. 

Yesterday I ventured into Sydney to catch up with some of the girls I went to school with. I was nervous. It has been twenty eight years since I saw some of the girls. And some of them were there in my life during my darkest days as a child, and they provided refuge, light and safety. So I felt nervous. 

I broke contact when I started uni hours away from home, and started to unravel all of the threads of my childhood. A new life was created and I left behind aspects of my old life. 

Yesterday though, after the nervous start, I felt a sense of wholeness descend to wrap me in its arms and take me home. What a wonderful experience. K and I didn’t get home until 9.30pm. We left just after 8. I could have stayed for hours more. These girls are home. My home. 

I arrived home on a high. I’m still in that wave of deep connection. And I’m so grateful. I feel whole and settled, for the first time in a long time. I see my life clearly. And I see the need to integrate the old with the beautiful people I have in my life now. 

My ability to commit to people was taught by the Hayes family, every single one of them through very diverse individual relationships. Since meeting them, especially from the lessons Karyn and I have learnt together, I became able to commit. To learn what it was, what it meant, and how it provides a stability. 

And throughout the years since meeting them I have enabled people to move freely in and out of my life as life wishes it. Without them losing me, or me losing them. And now, people from all periods of my life are present in my life. 

A very long time ago now another person who will always be dear to me passed around a sentiment about friendship and people that C echoed yesterday as we sat in the pub. People enter your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime. 

I feel very blessed that within the last year, a lot of my seasons have reentered my life and reconnected with me, and I feel have become lifetime friends because they will always be in my heart first and foremost, but in some way present in my life. 

Today I wake up wholly happy, with a renewed lust for life, in all of its uncertainty and with all of its complications. And today, I start to say goodbye to the horrid last six months, and thank them for teaching me that life is short, I am valuable, and that I deserve the very best that life can give me. 

But I also know that I am the one that needs to make it happen through my choices and my action. Because I deserve it. 

So do you. 

‚̧ԳŹ

Waking to Epiphanies

It is always easy to blame others … for everything that goes wrong or becomes askew in our lives. I think it is our first reaction. Blaming others affords us freedom from looking within. It can also provide time for us to process the emotion caused by what has happened. And the events … our outrage forces us to talk about what has happened, to get it out of our system. It can be healthy.

I think though, sometimes we can get stuck in blaming others, in that outrage. And this is not healthy for us.

This morning, I had a moment. I am really good with people when I am listening to them, being their friend, supporting them, hanging out with them. As much as in recent days there are some people who have questioned my integrity with regards to genuine care, I do genuinely care about the welfare of others. If I lend an ear, offer advice, send supportive messages, it all comes from an authentic and genuine desire to support.

I am really good at supporting myself, and here comes the caveat, the moment, because I perceive that I have always had to be the one to support myself. So, I continue to support myself.

What I am not good at, is talking about myself unless I feel completely safe. Remembering this is a new epiphany, so I am still processing the depth of its impact in my life, I am likely to still ‘blame’ others before I reach acceptance.

I struggle with the belief that any individual could genuinely want to listen to me, just me, without sharing their own pains. Not their fault. My perception is that I am not enough. Not enough unless I am providing some type of service for the other. Intellectually I know that this thought system is ridiculous and not true. However, the emotional imprinting of experience forces me to run to this belief first. And then I become stuck … more often than not. Now that I am aware, I will push through this in future.

I think too, that similarly to intimate relationships, I don’t always place my energies in friendship into the friendships that could offer me what I truly desire and need from friendship. And I only ever feel betrayed by friendship when I am at a low point. In the good times I have great friends. No complaints. Which I think verifies the validity of my assertion that I do not choose friends holistically.

I also then blame those friends who I perceive aren’t there for me. They should be there, I say, because I am always there for them, and then I say that they are selfish, but really, the friendship hasn’t been constructed to offer mutual support, it wasn’t built for that. And that, well, that, I think is my doing.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not going kamikaze on myself. There is no resentment here this morning, and no undeserved blame or responsibility being shouldered. In fact, I feel more at peace than I have in years this morning with the role of friendship in my life.

I do possess friends who do support me. I know this. I trust it. I believe in it. I also receive support from people who are in my life, like here on my blog. I think that people offer what they can when they can. Some people understand a situation better than others can, and some people know how to be a friend to me better than others do, and some people I have worked with for years and we train each other to be what we need.

What needs to come from me is less resentment (no resentment) and an acceptance that the people who are there are the ones that have something to offer at that time. That doesn’t mean I have to cull friends, it just means that I need to not expect from others what they can’t or are unwilling to give at times. And that is okay. But, I also need to learn to nurture the friendships that do offer me the more holistic relationship that I crave. And not rebel against them.

What a purge. Lol. Yesterday’s ongoing, constant, nagging introspection appears to have yielded some results.

I am also feeling better prepared for the long fight against bureaucracy that is coming. I am almost ready to start my chain of letters of complaint.