Discovering my Phoenix

Wow!
Just realised it has been a month since I last wrote a post.
I really have claimed my freedom!
For over 10 years I updated on a daily basis
And to have now given myself the freedom to write when I want and not feel any pressure is amazing.

One thing that people closest to me know is that I am inclined to be rather spontaneous.
Some may call it impulsiveness 😉
So I do have to curb myself at times.
I have learned over the years to take a big breath before responding to things, to hesitate long before pushing the Send button – often leaving a response until I have calmed enough to Bin it!
But I have also learned that spontaneity is a marvellous thing.
It can take you places you never dreamed of and would never go if you thought twice.

Over the past months I have had a desire building within to do something
Just for me
It is something that I have never before ever wanted, and was also quite opposed to for years.
It did seem somewhat impulsive at first
But I held myself in check, addressed it cautiously over a period of months

The desire came from a place deep within.
From the depths of my survivors soul.
Something to mark my rite of passage in a way.
I have spent months and months thinking it through
Discussed it only recently and very tentatively with one or two closest to me.
I decided that it would be my birthday present to myself.
It was going to be a one time forever thing so I had to think long and hard.
Ensure that what I did was absolutely right
And the person who did it had to be empathetic to this tattoo virgin.
After several enquiries I finally found Pete upon recommendations of several friends.
I met with him and we talked it all through.
He was so lovely, sensitive to my needs and wants.
After some discussion he set about to draw my design for me and sent me home to sort out the script & font.

The appointed day arrived and on the 26th January I rocked up at 9am with a excitement & anticipation, and a just a wee tad of trepidation.
2 hours later I left
Absolutely delighted with the results

I am ever so grateful for the hand above that held mine throughout the process
Yes, it did hurt – at times
And that hand was squeezed incredibly hard – at times
But it wasn’t unbearable because I really wanted it.

I chose the phoenix because it is representative of transformation
My personal transformation from victim to warrior

It is a symbol of my renewal, strength & power.

The words I thought long and hard over
Finally deciding on this Latin line
Illa alis volat propriis 
which translates as
She flies with her own wings

I have spent years on this journey
I have learnt and in fact am still learning to fly with my own wings
It is a daily process to brush off my feathers
Spread my wings
Project myself into new unknowns
Rising up with renewed strength each day

It is so joyful to be able to be happy
To be completely unconcerned as to what people think
To finally be so in tune with myself and my body
That at this age
My age
The number I was so freaked out about attaining
I can be myself at the beach with my young beach babes
Be unafraid of the camera lens
In fact I can be proud of me
Cuz actually
I have decided that I am pretty damned awesome 🙂

 

Crushin’ 60!!

For the past months I have been dreading my birthday with a feeling of totally denial and depression.
I just couldn’t get my head around the approaching number.
I seemed daunting and depressive.
It felt incredibly old.

But I have now made it to that number.
In fact I am now 3 weeks older and I am absolutely rocking life.
I am loving where I am at.
It’s a fabulous place to be.

I never planned a party, discouraged any form of celebration
Just wanted to be in total denial
But now….
I have moved my mindset into a much more positive direction.

Life is just one big party and I plan to continue it on for months
Maybe even till the next number rolls around 🙂

I have felt incredibly cherished & honoured by all the greetings sent to me from all over the world.
It has really made me realise and appreciate how much love there is
Thank you everyone – each and everyone of my precious friends I hold you close in my heart and treasure you all.
I look back on my years and love how much I have been blessed by so many people
No matter how long the season that you were part of my life you have wedged yourselves firmly into my heart
Friendship is indeed the privilege and joy of a long life

Just to prove that I am weathering the storm of age relatively well at this point Eilidh took a few birthday photos.

My celebration began gently with a lovely lunch for two with Renata at The Boatshed.
Perfect
All I could cope with on the day

I then slept the rest of my day away.

The next day however I was fully recovered – well nearly….
And I hit the ground running – well almost – with the help of some Panadine 😉

We started the party with lunch at Lambrettas with Martin & Sylvia.
Azzan was able to join us which was wonderful.
Sarah & Eilidh made up the rest of the party.

After lunch Sarah & I took ourselves off to the movies.
Saw ‘Whiskey Galore’ – great movie.
Lots of laughs and a few tears.

I wasn’t allowed to wear my corset to lunch!
Azzan reckons I’m having a midlife crisis
And that the words ‘sexy mama’ shouldn’t be used in the same sentence
Love my lad 😂

So I had to come home and put it on later for evening attire – when it was apparently more appropriate.
Azzan thinks it’s too much for Nelson. He often thinks I’m too much for Nelson 

And on that note Eilidh, Sarah and I hit the big town of Nelson and started our evening out at the Sprig & Fern.
On Sarah’s recommendation we attacked a bottle of Giesen Classic CuveĂ©
It went down extremely well
I’ve never been a wine drinker, but under the expert tutelage of Renata. Eddie & Sarah I am beginning to find a few I enjoy.

The next stop was the cinema
We had booked to see ‘Collateral Beauty’
It was a really lovely movie
Shoshannah was convinced I should’ve shed a few tears during it but I didn’t – sorry Shanni
I found it intriguing, fascinating, moving and thought provoking.
The best thing of all was we got to have chocolate dipped ice cream
Isn’t that the absolute best thing about attending a movie 😉

It was a bit of a wet murky night so we opted to pop around the corner and suss out Rhythm & Brown
Discovered that ‘Not Bruce Willis’ was playing so ordered ourselves a cheese board and some glasses of rosĂ© and chilled for a while.
There was a lovely relaxing vibe going on so we rolled with it

Later in the night we went for a wander down the street to suss out what else was happening in town.
We were making it our business to find as much live music as we could.
Final bar of the night – Vic Brew Bar
Listened to ‘Jack in the Box’ until the end of the night
They were great
Saint Clair’s GewĂŒrztraminer with hot fries was a perfect ending to the night

Eilidh was fascinated with the lights – they do have some pretty funky lighting in there!!

All in all a wonderful evening
Loads of laughs
Good company
The beginning of many more celebratory occasions…….

A Tuesday Morning Meanderings

It’s been a while since I went on a wander/walk.
I’ve been concentrating my time at the gym.
Been missing the outdoor exploring.
So when Eilidh said she was going to take the dogs for a short walk I decided to join them.
We walked up the street and along the river

I said – Have you been this way before
She said – No
So, being up for some adventure, with no time frame to be back for, we diverted away from the coffee shops and under a bridge and along a path beside the river


The morning light was so beautiful
As was the lack of populace

There is beauty in so many places when you meander
patterns, shapes, colours, textures…..

Beautiful large trees lining the street
dripping down on us from the early morning rain showers

Loving the architecture as we walked back into the city – so admire-able
Which way shall we go?
Towards 7010 of course
Got ourselves a take out coffee and a savoury croissant each and went to sit by the river.
OMG!!
The first bite of that croissant was so fricken’ orgasmic!
I have never tasted anything quite so divine.
Keep them coming 7010 – they are the absolute best!!!

It was a blissful interlude
 
Awwww! Precious words on the seat behind us melted our hearts
‘from the man who loved to walk beside her’

We carried on our walk, calling into work so I could report in.
Then back home….
5kms and 3 hours later we were back under my jacaranda tree which is currently permeating the most wondrous fragrance around my house, as well as decorating the street and garden in a glorious purple carpet.

Thank you Nelson for putting on such a beautiful summers day.
And also for being a most enjoyable city to explore.

Farewell to 2016

Well…. 2016 you have gone.
Disappeared into the realms of time along with all the previous years of my decades.
Not too sure if I’m going to miss you much, although there were some good times in there along with the not so great.
I was mulling over the following questions that Sunniva posed prior to New Year but never got to do more than ponder them.
But now I might just take a very quick look back…
…very quick because actually I am too busy looking forward to spend too much time looking back these days.
But like Kermit….

sometimes it is good to stop and have a look back and then you see how far you’ve actually come.

So on to the questions Sunniva posed…

What did you achieve?
I achieved the ability to not sweat the small stuff and to allow those who had my back to help carry the stresses of the big stuff.

What did you love most?
I learned to love myself.
For the first time in my life I found me.
I love the freedom that has brought me

What made you feel successful?
Learning to make decisions without fear
Learning that if something isn’t working it is not a failure.
That changing direction is ok.

What was positive about it?
I made it through the darkest period since Tim’s death, alive & sane
And not only did I make it through, I came bounding out of that dark place and embraced my future with excitement and anticipation

How did you grow?
I pushed myself out of my comfort zone.
I fought my boundaries
I went to war with my beliefs and traditions
I began forging my own path

How have you changed?
I have become more positive,
stronger within myself,
taken ownership of my future
and am learning to be completely honest about my past

What did you learn?
I learned that friends are vital.
That some are with me just for a season.
And that’s ok.
And that others will remain glued at the hip.
They will always have my back.
I learned who to trust and how to trust
and to use my past because in that sharing comes growth for me and healing for others

Where did you travel?
I traveled to Perth
and Auckland & Waikato
and Christchurch
and Byron Bay & Brisbane
and Wellington
Each journey brought me to a new place in experiences and in personal growth

Who do you appreciate?
I appreciate my friends.
I appreciate my children
And my health
And my home
And my place in this corner of the world
I have finally come home and I am content and appreciative for that.

Who influenced you?
Oh My!
The influences this year have been wonderful.
From the famous to those close to me.
Taryn Brumfitt – you are such an inspiration
Just this one quote alone from you has changed my life
“MY BODY IS NOT AN ORNAMENT, IT IS THE VEHICLE TO MY DREAMS”
Constance Hall – you rock our world.
Your raw honesty and humour is so refreshing.
My favourite quote from you would have to be this –
“Your summer body is your winter body with a bigger audience. 
Scales define weight. 
Happiness defines beauty
Summer + body = summer body.”
And there are those close to my inner sanctum who listen and who share and with whom I laugh and cry.
Their influence in my life is immeasurable.
Names are not necessary because you know who you are and I love you dearly for that

What are you grateful for?
I am grateful for my health and wellbeing.
I am incredibly grateful for the years I spent with Tim but am also grateful that he lovingly released me to find myself.
And I am grateful that I know without doubt that he would be incredibly proud of where I am now.
I am also incredibly grateful for my warrior tribe.
My tribe of extremely close friends that have embraced and surrounded me during this year.

And yes I did celebrate New Years Eve.
I walked into the city with my two girls.
We enjoyed the last meal of 2016 together at Bacco WineBar


Mahalia went off with Sophie, and Azzan was off somewhere in the crowds with his friends.

Eilidh and I milled with the crowds at the Cathedral Steps, danced to Tomorrow People’s reggae music, absorbed the atmosphere, drank mochas to keep warm, and just had a wonderful time.
Happy New Year everyone – Welcome 2017   🙂


 

My Body Image Peregrination

My life journey is a constant thread on here.
Mainly because this is my blog and I know me better than anyone else so I talk about me.
But only so I can share, to empathise, encourage and empower.
As most of you know I love words and the word journey is getting a bit stale to me so today I am going to talk about my peregrination, as it has been rather a long meander getting to where I am now.
This rumination today is about body image.

From my observations most women – and maybe men, but I’m not qualified to talk for the opposing sex – have body issues.
I have certainly not been exempt.
I had a fairly tidy figure when I got married at 21 – 173cm tall and weighed in at 66kg.
But from young I had issues with certain parts of my anatomy which looking back seem really stupid now, but……
….sadly I was not alone.
The abuse and headfucking I went through in my childhood certainly didn’t help matters and unfortunately I know I am definitely not alone in that area.
These occurrences alter our appreciation of self immeasurably.

My weight and shape has changed dramatically throughout my life.
You cannot go through 11 pregnancies & births, breast feed 10 babies and suffer multiple accidents to many parts of the anatomy over the years  without some significant body carnage.

Living on 60’ slopes for 36 years was a reason (I know, not a good reason, but a reason nonetheless!)  for me to not go walking much due to damaged knees.
I tried in latter times by purchasing a tredmill.
It got used and I did try all sorts of other means/diets etc to try & keep in shape but it was a very ebb & flow thing depending on my moods and events of the times.

Anyway, fast forward to 2013.
That fateful month of February when my life was traumatically turned upside down & inside out.
My reaction was to retreat to my bed, eat comfort foods and watch brainless movies for months.
Assuaging grief in the most consoling way I could.
And that was okay for then.
From there was the period of running away with my two babes.
Tramping boots were bought and some moderate walks undertaken during our travels.
Then two years ago we moved to the city.
The moving process once again added more damage to my back, hips & shoulders so ongoing physio was required.

But I was making baby steps.
We bought bikes.
I biked for several months until we got the puppy.
Then I began walking him around the streets.
It was really enjoyable to wander the river and explore the city.
Slowly I was increasing my exercise time.
Unfortunately a couple more severe accidents slowed me down with injuries and long term recovery periods.
At the same time I was also dealing with some very hard stuff.
My ptsd levels were often going through the roof.
My headspace wasn’t wonderful.
In fact early-mid 2016 was probably the darkest, heaviest space I had been in since Tim died.
I received test results from the Dr saying I was pre diabetic.
They wanted me to join in with Green Prescription and go to aquafit classes and discussion groups to help me loose weight etc.
In essence it was probably all very good and helpful BUT I was very definitely NOT in the right headspace to so anything extra so basically told them to fuck off!
Then finally after 40 months of very intense grieving, my brain finally began to clear.
Lucidity began.
I set about making some much needed rational decisions.
Once that was underway I began to want to look more aggressively at my health & wellbeing.
I took ownership and control.
I reduced my intake of sugars and carbs – I know from experience that they are the worst enemies for my body type.

I joined the gym and with encouragement from my daughter that it would take me at least 2 weeks of determination to make it a habit I stuck with it.
The trainer set me a routine which I worked hard at.
I was juggling my youngest kids needs which at the time were pretty intense, but was trying really hard to put mine up there on the top of the list too.
I roll out of bed around 6am at least 4-5 mornings a week because I know for me that if I do not get there and do my work out and pump the cardio before 7am it is just not going to happen.
And now I really, really love going.
My trainer reworks my programme every month or so too help me strengthen and tone up this battered body of mine.
I can vouch for all those proven studies that exercise produces endorphins which really do reduce stress, increase happiness & energy levels, ward off anxiety and depression, improve sleep and boosts self esteem.
But! I had to be in the right headspace to even contemplate attacking it.
If I had tried earlier I can honestly say I would’ve failed.
I had to be ready to bite the bullet with a sense of determination.

Around this time I became aware of the Isagenix products.
I had been very skeptical at first but after a while I discovered my daughter Sunniva was already using them so discussed it with her.
Her response was that she had no idea how they worked but that they did work and the she has far more energy than ever before.
So I decided to give them a go.
Not just for me but also for my 16 year old daughter who also needs a lot of energy for her rowing.
She & I took the products to a well known naturopath here and had them checked out and she said they were all good and that it was the amino acids that were doing the job.
So on that recommendation we joined up and began to use them.
I love using the products.
I tweak as I want.
I particularly love the shakes and cleanses.
I am not religious about them, I use to suit me and my lifestyle.
Since I began going to the gym and using the Isagenix the weight has been falling off me.
I honestly do not count calories or do anything that is mind controlling.

In amongst all of this there have been several interesting influences regarding the body image issues.
I came across the Australian blogger Constance Hall.
And, as have many women have, found her approach to be incredibly liberating.
She’s raw and open and honest and completely out there.
And I absolutely love that.
I was thrilled to have the opportunity to meet her when in Perth a few months ago.
Another Australian,  Taryn Brumfitt, began the Body Image Movement with her docs/movie Embrace.
This movie is absolutely brilliant and should be seen by all.
These women along with many others have been such an encouragement.

While in Perth I went shipping with my niece.
It was so much fun.
I bought myself a new swimsuit.
We walked into the shop and I announced ‘I don’t do black’.
Sam followed me in saying ‘And she don’t do Nana either!’ 🙂
But after trying almost every colourful swimsuit in the shop we then turned to the black ones.
And guess what.
They worked.
And I found this one 🙂

Then I said – ‘right, now I have that sorted. Let me see some bikinis’!!
The absolute best thing about shopping with the niece as opposed to the daughters was the encouragement 🙂
I have not worn a bikini since I was in my teens!~!
And to even consider doing so was a huge step.
But after over 5 decades of hating on my body I decided it is now time to love it instead.

Scars are the tattoos of the brave according to my son.
This body of mine has more than earned its stripes, its scars and its tattoos.
It’s bravery deserves to be honoured.
Yes, I have lost weight but that is not the issue here.
The issue is loving yourself.
Recognising that this body is not an ornament – it is a vehicle.
It has strength and purpose.
So even after Tim died when my weight skyrocketed up to 83 kgs plus it was still a purposeful vehicle.
I just didn’t appreciate its worth.
During all my child birthing years when I would moan about not fitting my clothes Tim would just tell me to go buy a bigger pair of jeans.
He saw me as the women he loved no matter my size.
He didn’t care, he loved me for who I was.
It was a tragedy that I didn’t see that.

I don’t really see a huge change but friends have been commenting.
Here are some photos taken 3 months apart.
Remember that there is no way on this planet that I would’ve posted any photos like this before!
Huge steps forward in acceptance of self 🙂

3 September = 80.4kgs

11 December = 74.4kgs

I don’t need the scales, I know by my clothes that my body is changing shape.
I have just dumped a pile of size 14 jeans etc out of my wardrobe.
Went shopping cuz they were a tad loose and came out in size 11’s.
That really blew my brain!
Then a month later I went back to buy a belt because they were loose.
But what is super cool is that it is not the weight loss that matters to me.
It is the feeling of being well, and happy and feeling my body becoming  toned and stronger.
And knowing that the physical events that I want to tackle are becoming manageable.

My therapist commented to me recently that she was glad to see I had my spark back.
I thought on that and responded that actually, I do not ever recall having ‘a spark’ like this before.
I have so much exuberant energy that I feel like the Energiser bunny on full batteries!!
Even when the batteries run down a tad I am still in a really happy place.

My body and I are finally friends who are pretty damned proud to be seen together in public 🙂
Christmas Day at Cable Bay 2016

Becoming Woman – A Wild Warrior Woman

I’ve been exploring my wild self.
Learning about me
My inner innate self
Peeling back layers of societal constraint
Pushing myself out of my comfort zone
Questioning
all my pre-learned norms

Discovering that being a wild woman has nothing to do with
doing wild things
or stomping on male egos

It is about embracing your true natural self.
For one
that may be loud and out there – whirling through life in dervish excitement
for another
that is could be silent and contemplative
and everything in between
and maybe even at the same time

It is the woman who wants to break free from all the strings society has placed on her to find herself in the heart of love and compassion

A few days ago I experienced a sudden awakening
I know what happened…
…physically
that I will never ever forget
I have learnt how it has damaged me
…emotionally
…mentally
that I am recovering and healing from

But the light went on with a suddenness that kicked me in the gut
it was like a lightening bolt hit me
I saw with incredible clarity
As a child
I was completely Mind Fucked
My God!
It wasn’t my fault.
I knew it wasn’t my fault
I know it wasn’t my fault
But
Now
I
Know
None
Of
It
Was
My
Fault!
The release of shame
and guilt
and the burden
with that understanding
has been immense

I have been entrenching myself in this song
Soaking in the words
Whirling to the music
Unfucking myself
Claiming my Warrior Woman
And allowing this brave heart of mine to shine

“Warrior” – Aurora
I fall asleep in my own tears
I cry for the the world, for everyone
And I built a boat to float in
I’m floating away

I can’t recall last time I opened my eyes to see the world as beautiful
And I built a cage to hide in
I’m hiding, I’m trying to battle the night…

Let love conquer your mind
Warrior, warrior
Just reach out for the light
Warrior, warrior
I am a-yeah-yeah-yeah-yeah
Warrior, warrior
I am a-yeah-yeah-yeah-yeah
Warrior, warrior of love…

I stand behind the wall of people and thoughts, mind controlling
And I hold a sword to guide me
I’m fighting my way…

I can’t recall last time I opened my eyes to see the world as beautiful
And I built a cage to hide in
I’m hiding, I’m trying to battle the night…

Let love conquer your mind
Warrior, warrior
Just reach out for the light
Warrior, warrior
I am a-yeah-yeah-yeah-yeah
Warrior, warrior
I am a-yeah-yeah-yeah-yeah
Warrior, warrior of love!

Underneath darkened sky
There’s a light kept alive

Let love conquer your mind
Warrior, warrior
Just reach out for the light
Warrior, warrior
I am a-yeah-yeah-yeah-yeah
Warrior, warrior
I am a-yeah-yeah-yeah-yeah
Warrior, warrior of love…
Warrior of love!
Warrior of love!

The Last Time Ever I Saw Your Face

The first time ever I saw your face
I thought the sun rose in your eyes
And the moon and stars were the gifts you gave
To the dark and the endless skies, my love
To the dark and the endless skies

The first time ever I kissed your mouth
And felt the earth move in my hand
Like the trembling heart of a captive bird
That was there at my command, my love
That was there at my command

And the first time ever I lay with you
I felt your heart so close to mine
And I knew our joy would fill the earth
And last till the end of time my love
and It would last till the end of time my love

The first time ever I saw your face, your face
Your face, your face

These lyrics are hauntingly entertaining me this morning. But in my mind I am changing them to ‘The last time ever I saw your face’.

And then my mind flits back to the first time. The first time I ever saw my Timmy’s face. I remember so vividly when he walked into my life. I was only 14. He was nearly 8 years older than me and I was smitten from that very first sighting. He was this tall Adonis – such a good looking, rugged country guy, with no pretensions. He was just Tim. What you saw was what you got.
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We were on a family holiday and there had been a horrendous storm. The next day Tim and his brother arrived over by boat, just checking up on the locals, as you do in times of trouble. I fell head over heels right then and there. For the next couple of years Tim would come by our house and hang out. I so loved those visits. He was so randomly casual and would turn up at all hours and make himself completely at home. It did make it easier that my parents liked him.
We would go down to Port Ligar for holidays, my poor mother must’ve been worried out of her brain when Tim would sit me on the back of his trusty old Norton bike and head up and over the hills. We courted on those hills, out of sight, but no doubt not out of my mother’s mind!
Then the my final year at high school we were an item. But then life got in the way and I left him behind and headed to the big smoke. I spent three years there trying to forget him. But I never did, and thankfully we had someone playing cupid so I returned to Port Ligar at the just after my 21st birthday and I never left.
At the end of that year I married my man, the man who for the next 34 years was the mainstay of my life. He cherished me, treasured me. Literally by the sweat of his brow, cared and provided for me.
image-22

That beautiful lopsided grin of his just got bigger and better over the years. Along the way his hair became greyer, his face developed deeper and more interesting lines. They were not all worry lines, most were lines of laughter and joy as we shared good and hard times together, more formed as each of our children were born. I watched him weep with joy at the birth of each one. He wanted no more from life than to love & care for his family. He was content with his lot in life.
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And then I come back to the words twisting a knife in my heart this morning. ‘The last time ever I saw your face’.

The last day I remember so clearly. We were preparing to go to town. He had decided to head off a day earlier so he could help Graham gather food for his family. Before he left though he had work to do. While he waited for Sebastian to come he went down to the wharf with Azzan and they worked together conditioning ropes. My last photos of him were taken then. Then Seb arrived and they took off on the boat to do some mussel work. He arrived back, quickly showered and changed, gathered up all his things, his briefcase. All the while I was hovering nearby making sure he had what he needed for his journey and confirming our meeting times etc. He loaded crates in the back of the Safari, along with some bins of mussels. He hugged and kissed me goodbye and that is the last time I ever saw his precious face until I identified him the next day at the morgue.

Sparkling living

This journey of mine has taken me on many detours.
Some have been incredibly hard.
Others frustrating.
And more, emotionally disabling.
Through it all though I have found a new me.
A stronger me.
Someone I did not know existed.
Many close to me have recently commented that they are so pleased and glad to see me smiling again.
It was said that I have my spark back.
That stopped me…
To breath…
And think…
I honestly do not ever remember having a spark.
Not like this.
Never.
Maybe as a very small child I probably had that childish spark of mischief and wonderment.
Like this gorgeous poppet I captured at the beach last week.
img_2056
But that spark was cruelly extinguished at a very early age.
Yes, I was happy – to an extent.
But there was always that underlying ‘thing’
The part of my life I wasn’t able to talk about…
The secret…
The burden I carried…
that killed my spark.

I had no idea until recent years just how much those 10 years of stolen childhood had affected my entire life.
But now I am walking my healing journey
Running towards an expectancy of wonderment
Reclaiming ‘me’
I am not going to compromise myself anymore with the pain and the abuse and the heartache.
Because I Am all I have got and I Am going to live sparkling.
img_1069

Strength in the night….

This past week…
Wow!
What a week.
Trying to process it all has been huge.
The demise of the master.
Then the destruction of a masterpiece.
There were not too many Kiwis who will forget the time 00:02 and the date 14 November 2016.
The terror of being awoken by the ominous rumbling and the violent shaking and the darkness and the unknown damage being wrought around each of us.
For those of us fortunate enough to not lose power there was immediate and frantic checking in on Facebook and Geonet to see what was going on and ensuring loved ones were safe.
I was so grateful to have Eilidh here with me.
She and I kept each other company as unbelievably my children and pups slept through the whole night!
Texts, messages & phone calls flew between family and friends.
These vital connections helped maintain a certain calm amidst the chaos.

A sleepless night ahead as the aftershocks hit, the anxiety that any of these might be a bigger one.
In the few hours following we experienced 6 quakes larger than magnitude 5, and over the week since, 357 aftershocks over magnitude 4.
Reports unfolded as the morning developed.
And the reports have gotten worse with each daylight hour.
The enormity of the power released is unfathomable.
The east coast sea bed thrust up 2 metres with such force and speed that sea life had no chance to escape.
The GPS station at Cape Campbell was moved 2 meters north.
Towns completely cut off, isolated by huge landslides and destroyed roads, rail lines twisted and moved like cotton candy.
Two people died.
A miracle there were no more.
Many others injured and traumatised.

I managed about 2 hours sleep, then Mahalia unknowingly woke me at 6am cuz she knew I was planning to go to the gym.
Ah! The normality of life.
As Monday unfolded, unraveling of the disaster gave clarity to the desperation of the situation for the people on the East Coast.
Especially those in Kaikoura who were totally trapped.
Then Waiau, then we realised that pretty much most of the top of the South Island was not only isolated from the rest of the country but also from each other.
Then came the tsunami alerts.
The King Tides.
And then came the rain.
Flooding in Nelson, Wellington, more damage, more chaos.
I thought we had escaped pretty much unscathed but then the call came from down home.
Seb & Phoebe were evacuating by boat after watching a huge landslide flow down the hill surrounding the house & buildings and covering the road metres deep in wet slurry.
I was just grateful they were safe.
There have been many things to be thankful for in amongst all of this.
Thankful they had a home to come to.
Thankful for friends who provided emergency vehicles and household provisions until we can retrieve their things.
Now to add to the merry-go-round of my life I begin the EQC dance as we begin organising the clean up.

In the scale of the events, ours is but a small portion.
But in our personal lives it is rather devastating to say the least.
I have been standing so strong in the past months.
I have gained my warrior crown.
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I must admit that on this day it slipped.
But I am proud of myself, because I never let it fall to the ground.
I caught it and let it wash in the tears of the moment.
Then I set it straight and stood up and faced the moment head on.
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To sign off in true Kiwi style
Heres some humour for the occasion.
Check out this wonderful rendition by Jason Gunn.
Thanks for keeping us smiling Jason 🙂

Knowing I Will Be OK

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I have experienced a LOT of internal confusion and debate over the past 3 years & nine months as to how my future is going to pan out.
I know firsthand that life is incredibly tenuous.
For a long time I have felt uneasy and scared as to what my future might be like.

But I have finally reached a place.
Turned a new page.
A blank, clean page.
I have a freshly sharpened pencil.
I am about to begin writing a new chapter.

It is actually rather exciting to be embarking on a different journey.
It has taken me a long while to bury the hopes and dreams from my past life.
I have had to work through the grief of the loss of all of those.
It has not been easy but it has been a journey of healing and learning and discovery.

I now have the beginnings of new dreams and new ideas and new hopes………
Life is awesome and it is going to be even more awesome.
I am happy.
The darkness has lifted.
A new day is dawning.
I have absolutely no idea where it is going to take me but actually I don’t really care.
I just know
I. Will. Be. Okay.img_0272