Video today. Words are hard to find at times like this. And, I forgot to mention, probably because it’s too hard, his mum and brother. Watching their grief makes you appreciate the loved ones you do have. None of us should have to lose people we care about. Much love to Lisa and Rory, universe.
I wore my big girl pants all day today, until ten minutes ago when the tears came sobbing out as I drove closer to home. Too late to go and get a hug from someone, especially with a shit load of marking to do.
I have changed as a teacher. The compassionate, loving creature that this year’s Years 11 and 12 know, I don’t think the younger years have met. It’s sad. This me is a cool teacher. But, fuck, it’s hard.
When I have taught, prior to this year, I was all in. Heart. Mind. Soul. No wonder I have burnt out.
I remember this heart break and all the prior heart breaks, fresh. Belinda has said that this is our seventh student loss. I’ve been close to every single one. And, that’s not the hardest part.
No, the hardest part is watching the kids left behind, breaking in front of you, while you stand with them, powerless to fix their pain, to take the hurt away, to stem the flow of tears. We can only hold them, tell them we love them, and say, “Yep. This is fucked,” as we hold them tighter, scared we might lose them too. Scared that we won’t be enough. Scared … just plain scared. Whilst we break too.
No child should go before old age. But, they do. All of the time. It’s devastating.
I told a couple of the kids today that we honour Blake’s life by becoming our best selves, living our best lives. And, I believe this.
Death of loved ones changes us. It doesn’t matter who we are; death and grief are equalizers.
I am holding a lot of anger towards the senselessness of this, and the selfish arrogance of the ‘perpetrator’. I’ll work through it. He has people grieving him and praying for his recovery. I am sure if he had a chance to do over, he would change each decision that resulted in this devastation. Still …
It’s hard as a teacher. People don’t expect us to have these deep emotions for our kids. We do though. It’s hard not to. We see them every day. We see them at their best and at their worst. You get to know their souls, and you get to help them navigate their way through this sketchy thing called life.
I will never forget many things about Blake: white bloody shoes and a myriad of other ongoing uniform infringements, cheeky grin, stubborn spirit, his compassion and love for those he was closest to, and his honesty.
I had a conversation with him during 2016, before I left, that really highlighted his maturity and battler spirit. I will never forget it. It reminded me of how much some of our kids contend with to just keep putting one foot in front of the other. Blake was a survivor.
I believe (ever so gratefully) that his spirit lives on. That his cheeky grin is a flicker away. And that his life will continue to impact those he knew positively through death. Some things just live on.
For now, my big girl pants are with my mask, away for the night, and as I tell the kids, I’m being real and doing what I need to do to self-care and to move through this, peacefully. It’s okay to feel. It’s okay to vent. It’s okay to cry. It’s okay to do whatever you need to do.
I cried this morning when I heard that Dolores O’Riordan had died. You would have thought, had you seen me, that I had lost a close friend.
The Cranberries’ music is a part of my life’s soundtrack. I loved them. In many ways, Dolores being the same age as me, battling emotional demons, we shared a narrative. Simple as that.
My music idols and heroes are important to me. They provided refuge and companionship during some very lonely and difficult times as I came to terms with my past and who I was. We never get to tell them how important they are to us. I hope they know.
My dad introduced me to Zucchero. Dolores performed with him. I used to play it over and over, singing with her in kinship. My poor neighbours.
I know her soul will be at peace, and so I wish the same for her kids and loved ones here on Earth.
Summer Solstice today. Ascension, enlightenment, return to the divine. Also, not coincidentally I am sure, the anniversary of my friend, Natalie’s, passing from this physical world into another, five years ago.
Time moves quickly when you count it in years. Yet, some memories stay. On this day, five years ago, I did not care about Summer Solstice and whether it was today or yesterday or tomorrow. I was exhausted. Emotionally fatigued. I had visited Nat at the hospital, sat with her, chatted to her, apologised to her, said goodbye to her.
I had been carrying a lot of guilt for not having been around as much. I dropped out of contact after another failed pregnancy attempt. Within myself, I hadn’t been sure how to reconnect after grief and had hidden myself in a new friendship to try to find a way through, that also ultimately failed. Then, I was grieving that.
It is what it is. Life sometimes gets in the way and you just don’t expect your friends will die.
When I arrived home that afternoon, I just sat on my lounge, staring at the wall, absentmindedly patting my dog. I was waiting for the text from her husband or kids to let me know she had moved on. Waiting. Reflecting on how her passing would impact so many people, but more importantly, her husband, brother, parents and kids.
Abruptly, my dog jumped from the lounge and moved in front of the chair Nat had always sat in, tail wagging and barking. I felt her.
Then, shortly after, the message came.
Nat’s passing has taught me a lot. I always believed that there was more, that our soul lives did not end with our bodies. I had always believed that souls could still communicate with those on this earthly plane if we were open to it.
Nat and I have had many wonderful conversations since her passing. Sceptics might argue that it is the way I have processed my grief and my guilt, and not really real. But, I believe otherwise.
At first, obviously, I thought I was going crazy. It took me a while to realise that it wasn’t just me making stuff up, projecting my thoughts into an alternate reality. Her voice was real, her smile, her laugh, her being.
One of my friends during this time, a medium, contacted me one night with a message from Nat. It was undeniable that Nat was communicating because my friend had no way of knowing about the information she shared with me. In fact, only two people outside Nat and myself knew about it. It centred around a conversation Nat and I had had a couple of years earlier concerning her treatment.
The message that was delivered to me was so specific that it validated her reality beyond this earthly plane. It also validated my conversations with her. I felt like I had my friend back.
It is because of Nat that I gave IVF another go. She had always hoped I would conceive so that she could sneakily feed my child meat (spare your judgements here – not interested lol). We used to laugh, well, she did. Initially I was angry with Nat. I needed to blame something outside of myself and I patched into any tiny betrayal I perceived to emote outside of myself.
However, that miscarriage has fertilised a whole new way of life for me, albeit a childless one. My life is rich and blessed. I vowed when Nat passed that I would live fully. For the most part, I have succeeded in keeping this promise. It is funny what motivates us sometimes.
I still speak to Nat. She is still in my thoughts and part of my life. I know that she is around, checking in on all of us. We still chat and we sometimes argue. But, the love is constant.
We all learn how to keep moving forward after a loss, after a while, and it is important to assimilate the loss and move forward. It’s also okay that getting to this takes time, and can be a process of one step forward three hundred steps back. Grief is a funny (not so funny) thing. It can completely paralyse us, and it can stimulate and nurture rich new growth.
It really takes work, trust, patience and faith. Well, it has for me.
I still struggle. I like to keep today clear so that I don’t feel overwhelmed to be something I’m not feeling. It doesn’t always work. I try to navigate it and be kind to myself, trusting that if I make plans thinking I’ll be okay, and I’m not, I can cancel them.
You just never know. And, that is okay. We live for ourselves, not others, and we are not responsible for their perceptions.
Ahhhhh. It’s also okay to be enlightened and say, F this Shit.
Oh, and Nat was an amazing Mum. Knowing every day was precious, she mummed her way. She had faith that it worked for her and her boys were absolutely loved. She was not perfect (as she laughs and asks if I’m sure), but she gave it all she could. That’s all anyone can do.
It’s okay to make mistakes; come from a place of love, and all will be okay.
Well, it has been a while. Today, my brain won’t let me do anything else until I have blogged. Not sure I am quite ready to put down the emotional rollercoaster that is my brain every year at this time, but meh. What can you do. I must blog so that I can achieve other things lol.
I cried myself to sleep last night. Unexpectedly.
A friend of mine had commented on a Facebook post by Em Rusciano. Em was due to give birth yesterday, but miscarried earlier in her pregnancy. It was such a heartfelt post, something resonated, and I just released. No prize for guessing what the next thing will be to work on when I return to therapy in January. I will, under guidance and not by myself, Demartini the mother out of my miscarriage. This morning I awoke feeling emotionally hungover. I can feel the cogs turning in my mind, a lot of processing happening, I can’t access most of it yet.
I head back to my permanent teaching position in ten sleeps. Yes. I am counting down. Why do we do that to ourselves?!
I have had a phenomenal year. My goal was to heal from the investigation, and for the most part, I have. I do not think I carry any anger anymore, especially towards the people that I used as a symbol for all that went wrong last year (and not the people you would expect). I feel quite calm about returning to work from that perspective. However, this year has really solidified for me the people that regard me as a concept and those that value me. This is a good thing moving forward.
I carry concerns that I will fall into past patterns at work upon my return. I have no desire to be the person I was when I left, almost a year ago. I no longer desire to mentor any adults in the workplace; I no longer want to be the ‘go to’ person for all and sundry; I no longer want the long hours and excessive workload, watching those that I have supported drive through those gates to liberation before me.
My life has moved. I have moved. My values have changed. I am no longer the person that I was; I have liberated myself from the cage I had imprisoned myself in.
I think I felt a lot of shame and a lot of guilt. I had always wanted to be a teacher. I didn’t stop to think that teaching takes many forms and doesn’t necessarily just happen in a classroom. I was, and am, grateful for all of my years in formal education. I grew into myself, forged new paths, and inspired and empowered many. My legacy in education may not have reached award status, but my impact has been significant. So, I felt guilty thinking I may have outgrown it, shame that I wasn’t being grateful by needing to move away from it.
One of my clients had to watch a TED Talk to use as a related text for an assessment on “Discovery”. We were deconstructing it on Wednesday. It spoke to me on so many different levels.
Emilie Wapnick’s “Why Some Of Us Don’t Have One True Calling”
It sort of sums me up. I think I am a multipotentialite. I am a teacher, but I think my main calling, and this has been a recurring theme in how I teach, what I teach, and in who I am as a teacher, is that of healer. This year, even in my tutoring business, what I am really doing, ultimately doing, is healing the fragments within all of us that we carry with us every day. My multipotentials come in the myriad of activities I have engaged in through teaching and outside of teaching. I am always doing many things.
So, the shame and guilt I have felt have given way (or are in the process of giving way to) an acceptance that in our society, living and moving unexpectedly, requires courage. And, I am courageous.
When you are unhappy in life, and we all have moments – mine just became a long term series of moments, it is imperative that you do something to change it. It takes courage, even to mix it up a little, let alone to take leave to see what else is out there. I have always said that all change takes twenty seconds of courage. Thank you eternally, We Bought A Zoo.
We can all do twenty seconds.
It will take the same courage to go back, to be authentically me, to stand by the changes I have made this year, and to remember that I am worth putting me first. And, I can do it; I know I can.
This year has been successful beyond measure, a true legacy to my friend Natalie. It took me a while to make my promise to you real, but I will live with passion and energy. I will not waste my life, because I know how much you would have given to still be here breathing and living yours.
I firmly believe that our souls find peace when we are walking the path we are supposed to walk. My soul had been restless and scared for years. She liberated herself this year and she will not go backwards.
I do not know what the future holds for me. I know that I return to my school full time in a week (ten sleeps) and then five days a fortnight next year. I know that my tutoring business is going to be fine (most of my clients have already re-booked for next year – humbling and surprising to me – such is my naivete, and I have new clients booking). I know that the outline and focus for my book found its shape yesterday. I know that I have some ideas for an online business to source and build during January. I know that I am excited to start programming for my school students and to be back in my classroom next year.
I am moving forward. I am where I am meant to be. I am not stagnating again. I will continue to wholly love and breathe, embracing change and the moment with passion and wonder that I could be just this blessed.
I should stop there. It was inspiring and empowered and strong. However, this post is a true example of my brain, my rollercoaster. Be grateful you don’t live in it lol.
Much love …
I woke up this morning, after some yucky dreams, reflecting on aging and getting old. I have had the very real pleasure of spending almost two weeks with some people who are fifteen years and older than me, people of my parent’s generation. Collective wisdom in bucket loads. Completely inspiring.
Here, in Asia, generally, older family members are celebrated and nurtured. A very real understanding exists regarding the use and relevance of the wisdom of an aging generation. Something that I do not believe is valued in western culture. Definitely not to the extent that I believe it should be.
Val and I had lunch at a local restaurant here. It is across from the hotel (Sunrise Resort) here in Hoi An, and it is simply called Simple. It is owned by a young woman, just starting, who cooks beautiful food. We ate as a group there last night and rebooked for tonight.
Anyway, the young girl who manages or owns the spa next door and helps out the owner of the restaurant, was ducking off to check in on her father who is dying from cancer. She then came back to continue working. There was/is a nobility in her attitude that I don’t see as often in Australia.
Val and I then discussed death and nursing homes and retirement villages. My dad and I had discussed the importance of purpose and feeling useful before I left for Kampuchea. How easy it becomes to feel overlooked and uninspired when we feel we serve no purpose to anyone, and are just waiting to die. Val recently lost her husband, misses him, but feels the need to keep moving forward. Here, in Asia, we have been told repeatedly how the elderly teach the young their ways. Old wisdom and understanding works in partnership with youthful vigour, and society progresses.
In education, I don’t see this sort of reverence for older workers. As a result, older teachers become cynical about the system and vital corporate knowledge is sacrificed. Younger teachers are regarded as treasures and opportunities are piled onto them, suffocatingly, because they are not given the time to adequately hone the craft of teaching itself. They end up burnt out or not very accomplished where it counts, in the classroom.
Western culture reveres the ‘purity’ and ‘naïveté’ of youth above the wisdom of the old, to its detriment.
I have met many women who become infinitely more beautiful as they age. I am one of them.
There is magick in the lines in a wizened face; a majesty of experience, knowledge, pain and happiness, never seen in the young who have not had the time necessary to experience the rich tapestry of life.
There is truth in the words of the old; consideration, reflection, wisdom and understanding, never seen in the young. Again, because the young have not had the time to experience all that life can offer.
There is the real compassion that comes from surviving much pain, and the confidence to share stories to empower and inspire the young. To reach out a hand, to give a hug, to truly heart connect with others. The young have not survived enough yet to feel the conviction that survival brings.
There is the truth of life reflected in many different ways of choosing how to live, and honesty even in the shortness of impatience that we can all learn from.
Wisdom, real wisdom, comes from the many experiences that a long life has had access to. It comes from the time taken to experience and process life’s many realities and extremes.
Older people don’t care so much how others view them, even though they are often invisible, and with that comes freedom, a real freedom. Unseen, we can really embrace every second, uncensored. There is an honesty and rich authenticity in this. A freshness that youthful vigour does not, cannot, possess.
Aging is beautiful. It is rich. It is empowering. We need to learn from the older ones so that we do not lose their collective wisdom, and so that we can forge a better world in years and for generations to come.
As a woman who has never birthed her own children, I have been truly blessed by the generosity of so many friends in their willingness to let me love their kids. Tonight I attended the birthday party of three of them.
These girls, and their sisters, have always just treated me like I was valuable to them. They are three of quite a few. So, whilst I have never been a birth mother, I have been blessed to be welcomed into their lives.
I have also been adopted and have adopted an incredible person who I have written about before. Honours me as her mother even though I never feel quite deserving enough; she loves me anyway.
Under the Tuscan Sun has a scene in it where the protagonist realised that everything she had desired for her life in the villa came to pass, but not always in the way that she had expected or hoped.
I think it is the same for me as a mother. I am a mother. Just not in a traditional way (shock horror) and that is more than okay. I am so proud of all of my surrogate kids, past and present, and am grateful that this has been and continues to be, my path.
Well, this post didn’t go quite where I wanted it to. My heading is so not what this is now about.
Tonight I also realised what my next emotionally charged issue to work through is. I had a close friend die a few years ago. I still think of her every day and talk to her often. I caught up with her husband tonight. I just wanted to cry.
I had disappeared from their lives leading up to her death. I do this. When my life overwhelms me, I tend to force myself into time out to process and assimilate whatever it is that is going on. At this particular time, I was in my IVF journey and just didn’t know how to communicate so didn’t.
You never expect that one of the people closest to you might not be there. It just doesn’t factor in to your thinking. I’m a great person and give a lot, but I’m not perfect. When I saw Nat again, she was in hospital, and we were waiting for her to pass.
I was blessed to have been included in this process and to have been given the opportunity to sit with her on my own to say goodbye. Definitely one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. And the tears pool, blurring the words on the screen, and fall. And one of the most beautiful opportunities I have ever received.
I sat with her and told her how important she was to me, and I apologised for disappearing, and I just held her hand. I promised her that I would not waste my life. In honour of her I would live my best life.
Several hours later, at home, I felt her passing before I received the text to tell me that she had passed. I sobbed quickly and then pulled myself together to contact the people I needed to contact. I think I stayed in that mode for days and weeks after. The funeral is there in my mind but only as impressions. I remember nothing of my delivery of my words for her, except seeing her husband and kids in front of me.
We do tend to forget or look over the faults in people that have passed; their lives take on an inflated status.
I lost my friend. Paradoxically, I gained my life.
I am still very much processing the retreat and the impact it has made on my life; I am changed.
However, that is not what this post is about because today, my friend Harry died.
I met Harry at Erlunda Roadhouse this morning. Margo and I were getting petrol and a girl was walking around asking if people were heading to Alice Springs.
She asked if we could take an injured hawk to a vet there. They had been driving from Uluru towards Coober Pedy and Harry flew into the edge of the car, clipping his wing. Coober Pedy was five hours away; Alice was only two and a bit. Getting to Alice was his best bet.
Wrapped in a blue towel, it was touch and go already for Harry. His little brown eye looking at us wondering what on earth had happened.
An indigenous woman walked over to us as we were lying him in a box for safety for the road ahead. The crows were ravenously circling. She looked at him. She said we should put him out of his misery. I told her there was no way I could do it.
The crows, her, I knew he wasn’t going to make it, and I said as much to the people who gave him to us, “The crows are circling, they smell death.” I don’t even know how I knew this, but sometimes I go into that place where I just know (remember) things.
Still, into the car he came. I held onto his box tightly whilst Margo clutched the wheel just as tightly, hoping that with a bit of speed we could save him.
He moved and spoke a couple of times, squawking loudly and beating his wing. I bent my head down, and reassured him that he was safe, putting my hand over his lungs and willing him to keep breathing. His chest moved under my hand as he calmed down, reiki energy diffusing the pain that he must have been enduring.
He fell asleep.
After a while, I couldn’t feel his breathing, and scared, I gripped the box tighter.
We made it to Alice. I took him in to the nurse, “I’m too scared to check if he is alive.”
She opened the towel and reassured me that he was alive. She informed me that the vet would check him over, and if the damage wasn’t bad, he would be looked after and freed eventually. However, if it was bad, they would need to euthanize him.
I expressed my connection to him and asked if I could call later to check in. She said, “Of course. But if we have to put him down, don’t yell at me.”
Shocked, she explained that people do. I said I wouldn’t. I understood that his best interests overrode my interests.
The vet checked him and informed me that with a broken leg and a broken wing, there was no possibility of rehabilitation. I said thank you and walked out to Margo, crying.
Poor Harry (why the fuck do I name wild animals???).
I am grateful he was spared from the crows. I am grateful that his last hours were spent being loved and held. I am grateful that he passed humanely.
Rest In Peace my beautiful friend. I know that we will meet again. Soar high.
We all experience some type of trauma during our lifetimes; it is inevitable. The type of trauma can range from childhood trauma (accident, disability, abuse, you get the gist) to losing a child or parent or grandparent or friend or partner, or rape, unemployment, anxiety, the list is endless.
We are all different and we all come from different places; however, I believe that if we are to heal from this trauma, get to a point where we can think about it without anxiety, stress or pain, we need to give it a voice.
For me, the voice first came through when dealing with referrals at school, kids disclosing to me about their own abuse and/or trauma. I would then journal, always trying to get it out of my head so that it couldn't fester. My voice, unbeknownst to me at the time, has also shown itself through tattooing. My tattoos are all markers of moments, experiences and memories. Intermittently, I have journaled and spoken my truth during my life. In mid 2014, I started blogging, expressing my voice through written word to a larger audience.
As a result, I can speak about the truth of my experiences safely. Rarely does talking about, even my IVF journey, bring me residual pain that still needs to be resolved. Finding my voice and sharing my experiences has lessened the impact of the trauma.
It is through sharing (which requires a voice) that I have processed the events, re-lived them enough that they no longer hurt, and ultimately, become grateful for them because I am a better person as a result of them.
I would not be as empathetic, as compassionate, as sensitive, as loving, as resilient, or as inspiring without each of the traumas that I have survived and flourished from.
Finding and reclaiming my voice has been a long journey, starting from when it was first silenced when I was very young. Unfortunately, there are no quick fixes to healing trauma. For me though, finding and using my voice has been integral.
My voice is not your voice. But there will be a voice that suits/fits you. It might come through painting, or fitness, or drawing, or dancing, or running groups, or volunteer work, or traveling, or it could be like mine, through writing. I implore you, if you have suffered and endure trauma, give it a voice.
Share the experience. You never know whom you may help.
You can explore this journey with me further on my Facebook page Tina K Meyer.
I need to forgive someone from my childhood, a male, that I knew before I was fourteen. I’m just not sure who. If it is someone I have already forgiven, then I need to manifest the forgiveness in the physical world and not just in my mind. So, this is it.
I am grateful for every experience in my life, good and bad, because they have lead me here. I am grateful to every person that has been a part of each experience, because they have brought me here.
I believe that I chose my life’s lessons prior to my birth. I believe that we all do. We are here to learn and to grow towards enlightenment and lightness of being. We are here to transcend the physical planes of existence. To do that, we must experience and we must learn.
My childhood was traumatic. As a result of the trauma, I have compartmentalised and boxed away a lot of memories. I saw a lot of violence. I heard a lot of violence. I received violence. Physical, emotional and sexual. I was easy prey; the oldest of three girls born in a time when men believed, still, that women were property and children were toys.
I forgive those that perpetrated the violence. I forgive them because I understand that I chose those experiences. I wanted to learn what it was like to be a child victim, and I wanted to survive it and create a beautiful life for myself. I wanted to heal so that I could shine a light for others.
I forgive the perpetrators because they were doing as I requested, so that I could learn and benefit. I forgive them because I also volunteered to be the victim for them to be able to learn their lessons. I pray that they have.
And I forgive them because I am whole and I am happy. My life is open and my life is full. I am a successful businesswoman. I am a successful teacher. I am a successful writer. I am a successful healer. I am a successful friend, daughter, mother, aunt, sister, and every other label I choose to wear. I am a traveller, in this world and through many others. I read, I love, I learn, I do.
So, to all of those that have wronged me, I say thank you. I forgive your unkindness, your brutality, you. Yes, I forgive you.
And I acknowledge that I lost the ability to mother my own child, to have successful and healthy intimate relationships, to trust unconditionally, to not feel betrayal. But I also acknowledge, that in the light of day, I have gained more than I have lost.
For I have been a mother many times already, I have married the love of my life in many lifetimes, I have trusted, I trust again, and I feel blessed, honoured and loved by the universal mother and father. This life continues to offer me riches and incredibly beautiful people to share my riches with.
I forgive all who have ‘wronged’ me, and I say thank you to them for enabling and empowering the creation of this moment in time. Which is perfect.