Empathy in pain

This wasn’t the post I planned on writing today.
But then a lot of things in life aren’t planned.

In a split second our lives are changed
transformed
into an unimaginable hell
when something completely unplanned happens

I know
and you know
that accidents happen
every day
every hour
But most of us just cruise on through life
completely untouched by another’s pain
Unless the unthinkable happens!
The unthinkable
the unimaginable
the inconceivable
the personal trauma of losing….

Losing someone that is so near & dear to us
Losing that person in a split second
with
no warning
absolute horror
disbelief
We absolutely & simply just cannot comprehend
how we can carry on living

The pain is overwhelming
all consuming
blinding
numbing

I have been there
Oh man!
I have been right there…
I have walked this journey
I have almost drowned during this journey
It was the hardest fucking journey I have ever faced

And today
when the news broke
that Laura – a woman I had never heard of before this morning
had been left
in a foreign country
on her own
with two small boys
Because
in one split moment
her world had been completely turned upside down
by an unplanned incident
that took her man away from her
that took a dad away from his boys

My.
Heart.
Broke.

For her

Because
I know her pain
I can still feel that pain
In the depths of my soul
I feel her pain

I can’t tell her
it’s going to be ok
I can’t tell her
she will heal
I can’t tell her
she is young enough to find another man
I can’t tell her
that her boys will ‘get over losing their Dad’
I can’t tell her
anything

Because I know this is all total bullshit right now
All Laura needs & wants right now is Leslie
and she can’t have him
and my heart weeps so strongly with hers

Maybe
Hopefully
like me
and many others before us
in time
she will follow her road
to a place where she can ‘heal’
A place
where joy will overtake the sorrow

But right at this moment
we as Kiwis
need to envelop her with love and support
and give her all we can to ensure
that she can make it through
these days & weeks

Because
once the initial numbness disappears
it is going to hurt
way way more than
I can ever describe
There are just no words
to express
that pain
that darkness
that deep deep sorrow
that comes from the loving & losing…..

Living with PTSD

Back on the day 6 years ago that I was finally diagnosed with PTSD
It was such a relief
To know I wasn’t crazy
I was just broken
a traumatised soul
But
In the identifying
and the confronting
and the search for answers
I had no idea what lay in front of me.
I knew what was behind me
And I wanted no more of that
So I turned forwards
started the healing
facing the demons
But as I did they would attack with greater ferocity
biting at my heels
attacking with force the closer I got to identifying each one
Sometimes it felt like one step forward and ten back
I would break
and fall apart
thinking what was the point
it is all just way too hard


But finally
I found my courage
I sourced that inner strength
that had maintained me throughout those traumas
I was able to embrace the education of my mind
and was ready to face
and retrace my nightmares as each one surfaced


Being able to identify triggers
is essential
to not just surviving PTSD
but
to actually living with PTSD
In the past
triggers would escalate me out of control
I didn’t understand what was happening
And therefore
was unable to process
My normality which allowed me to cope
was
to be in control
have total structure
OCD to the max
keeping so busy so as not to remember

Today
I understand
I do have PTSD
I will always have PTSD
You cannot endure as much trauma as I have
and escape unscathed
But I am identifying the triggers
much more quickly
and in identifying them
I can deal to them

I haven’t quite got to identifying them
at trigger point
prior to the reaction
But I am processing
so much more quickly
I am also able to verbalise the situation ‘much more better’
Which for me
helps the processing
builds my emotional strength
allows me to understand
and share my self more easily
And lessens the feelings
of inadequacy
of hopelessness
of neediness
of ‘crazy woman status’

Over the past months
I have had several ‘meltdowns’
which I have been able to confront face on
Each trigger a reaction to different traumatic life experiences
Activating a neurobiological response from my amygdala
I go into instant ‘fright’ or ‘flight’ mode
I become anxious, frightened, out of rational control
But thankfully now
that is only for a short time

The reality of living with PTSD
is the ongoing
underlying
‘just have to live with’
stuff –
the sleeplessness
the inability to focus
the fluctuations
– emotional numbing
– emotional excess
the hypervigilance
the adrenal fatigue

Through my many many sessions with my therapist
(I still cannot believe she has never given up on me!!)
my work with other abused & traumatised women
and researching the ways trauma effects the brain
especially a young developing child’s
learning big words 😉
like
amygdala
hippocampus
ventromedial prefrontal cortex

I have learned to manage, conquer or control many of my symptomatic responses
-the intrusive thoughts of unwanted memories
-the flashbacks
-the mood alterations
-the shame, blame, persistent negativity
-the avoidance
-the depression

When I get gutshot by a PTSD trigger
I can now
identify it
deal to it
let it go – (why does that want to make me burst into song 😉 )
and use it to help others

The Becca Lee poem at the top really speaks from and to my heart
She summarises me perfectly
If you have managed to read through to the bottom of this
please go back and read about ‘me’
I’ve written previously about my phoenix rising from the ashes
this rebirth of mine
the growth from the pain
which has made me the woman I am today
I would gladly have traded all that pain whilst enduring it
But now
today
where I am right now
I can honestly say
I am ok

In fact today
I don’t just think
I’m ok
I know
I am doing
Absolutely brilliantly!

But if you are with me on the days when I am not doing quite so brilliantly
Please be a just little forgiving xxx

Decluttering body & mind

Do you ever keep clothes in the back of your wardrobe?
Waiting for the day when you can fit into them again.
I was so gutted this week to discover that some items that I absolutely loved and had kept for that very reason
Were now on the opposite end of the spectrum
They hang like sacks on me!
And instead of initially being thrilled
I was so upset
Because I really really liked these clothes.
What a conundrum!!
Like – duh!
Lost heaps of weight
Feeling fantastic
What to do
Get clothes altered
Or chuck them
Start again
Logic tells me the latter is the better option
Sentimentality runs with the former
Oh dear
First world problems 🙂

I am on a mission
A decluttering mission
Doing this physically is so hard
I set to with a vengence
Then I get challenge by my memories
Or the worth I place on an item
And then I can’t put it into the recycling
I have to pop it aside and ponder
Who can I give this to?
Where could I sell this or that?
Should I keep it?
Should I not?

It then takes an age to get through anything because you dilly dally
Muck about
Deliberating
I started recently thinking
What would my kids do with this when I’m gone?
Wow!
That is indeed a very liberating thought
Because actually, they would no doubt just biff that very thing I treasured for so long
Because it holds no sentimentality for them

So with that thought in mind I set to the job more effectively
After several weeks I now have several large bags of clothes removed from my wardrobe
And I have drawers all neatly folded and closable!
And on that note
I am now ready to tackle the rest of the house!!

But also on that note
I was thinking how much cleaning house is like cleaning out our emotional history

Whew!
That is a tough one
I know for me
I take a memory
Toss it about momentarily
If it’s too hard to process
back on the shelf it goes
But the imprint of that trauma that caused the memory stays
Because you haven’t cleaned up properly.
It is not until you can take the box off the shelf
Pull out the memory
Try it on
See if you really want to wear it anymore
Does it look good?
Does it make you feel good?
Process it, dust it off, decide on it’s worth
And then bin in
That you will be completely free of that baggage.

I’ve been doing a lot of that spring cleaning lately too.
I actually started it around 6 years ago
I have spent a lot of time pulling boxes off the shelf
And a lot of time quickly reshelving them
I’ve spent far too much time reshelving and to enough time resolving
But
As I have said multiple times before
Until you are ready it is just all too hard
My spring cleaning momentum has increased rapidly lately
And I am freeing up shelf space like crazy these days
It is so freeing

When I left the farm I determined that I would not bring any of the old life with me that I didn’t want.
However several years on and the cleanup down there is reaching completion and a lot of what I had forgotten has been brought to me to process.
I found that so weighting
It has taken space that I never wanted it too.
But like my emotional shelves
I am now stronger and more able to process more quickly
It is hard to part with things
But those things hold you down
Hold you back
So now I am filling my trash bags more quickly both physically and emotionally

And to quote someone on Facebook that I know well   (myself )

I haven’t tried to salvage what I had.
I’ve parked that and I am carving a new path, I’m incredibly happy and life is wonderfully awesome

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!! part 2

I was totally spoilt and blessed by the arrival of some absolutely gorgeous flowers.
Sunniva, Mathieu & Lily sent me these
My lil princess Sapphie enjoyed them with me  🙂

This lovely spray arrived from Bri & Nick
Love the orange gerbera – such a happy flower 🙂

And from way over the other side of Australia came this wonderful display of orange and cuddleness – Thank you to Jacqui & Gene and crew
It was a delightful surprise

Whilst out partying up with Sarah & Eilidh I spotted the cutest fella in a window.
He was looking so alone.
I ‘just happened’ to be going past the window the next day and ‘just happened’ to pop in and sussed him out.
He was selling at half price so I couldn’t not bring him home wiht me.
I don’t usually like dust catchers but this foxy wee man was irresistable.

I organised a group of us to attend the showing of Embrace at the Suter Cinema on Sunday night.
We had such fun.
The movie is exceptionally good – and as I have said before  – a must see for all!!
Afterwards we wanted to continue the evening together so we headed into the city for dessert, wine, coffee at Bacco.
Great group of woman – I am privileged to call you all friends.

Mahalia returned from rowing camp and her gift to me was breakfast in bed on Monday morning.
I had to actually stay in bed late to be able to enjoy it – quite a major for me!
It was worth the struggle 🙂

Eilidh & I took the pups for a long walk the following Saturday and ended up at the river with Ali.
We got ourselves some coffees from 7010 and chilled.
It was a delightful way to wallow away the day.

Eilidh & I put on some glad rags and headed into the city

It was a beautiful evening so we wandered through the gardens

Met Sarah at the Vic Brew Bar.
The Gypsy Pickers were playing so there Sarah & I spent the whole night on the dance floor.
Eilidh was in recovery from a week in bed so kept our seats safe for the the few times we actually got to sit on them!

The end of the evening was rather raucous – a large stag do arrived and some of the lads hit the dance floor with us.
I had two brothers ‘discussing’ as to who was going to dance with me!

Loads of fun and laughter.
Great night 🙂

Sunday morning I zipped out to Crusoes to enjoy an Ellie mocha before she flew off to Melbourne.
She’s been a special part of our lives for the past few years so I want to have a last hug with her.

And the party continues…….
Life is one long party.
Loving living
Crushin’ 60 is 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 Cuveé
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 rosé 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 Gewürztraminer 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…….

Measuring growth

exposing vulnerabilities
scary stuff
really scary stuff

but in exposing my own vulnerabilities I am growing
and in growing myself I allow others to grow

So I am going to go right out there in this post and tell it…

I have been working hard over the past few years to heal
It’s been damned hard
But the growth I have experienced in the past few months has been immeasurable.
I have been flying on all cylinders
It has been an amazingly exhilarating ride

So….. recently when I experienced some health issues and I went into total meltdown over them I was like WTF?
This can’t be happening to me
I can’t do this over again
I am over all this
I’m in a such good place now
Why?………

After the 3rd thing in less than 2 months I marched right on into my therapist’s rooms this week and announced that she needed to help me unfuck my head!
In retrospect I know that in itself is a sign of immense growth for me because normally I spend my sessions duckshoveling and talking about everything and anything except me!

So here goes…..
She talked me through what was happening –
I learned that it is perfectly normal for any of us to imagine the worst when hit with a medical issue.
Absolutely normal!

But anyone like me who has PTSD will go there way more severely.
When you have experienced trauma and personal loss the fragility of life makes you so much more vulnerable.
There is…
-incredible fear
-losing control
-feeling like the rug has been pulled out from under your feet
This is something that PTSD sufferers fear greatly
Having no control over what happened to us at the time of the event/s is the cause of the triggers when we lose control in the now.
Being in control is how we feel safe
Hence OCD is often symptomatic of PTSD

These past two weeks I have had a couple of events which triggered me severely.
I visited a skin specialist because I figured that at my age and stage in life, with my skin type, and living here in New Zealand it was a wise thing to do.
However, I was unprepared for having several ‘things’ cut off of me and even more unprepared to hear that one of them was ‘of concern’.
The area of concern was on the back of my thigh.
My head immediately took me back many years when we lost a friend to melanoma – and yes his began with a spot right there!
Instant meltdown
Tears for hours as I processed
Thank God for friends who don’t mind damp shoulders

Six days later I was sitting at the computer early in the morning chatting with my daughter online when I began to feel something strange in my face.
Eilidh came in a few moments later and looked at me…
‘Your face is swollen’ she commented in a puzzled tone
That was the beginning…
The left side of my face went puffy, and hot, and numb, and the vision in my left eye went blurry, like a haze was over it….
I was feeling very weird
Nothing I could pinpoint specifically, but I was beginning to freak out.
My mind was taking me places again, places I didn’t want to go, but because of association with my father’s strokes etc, it went there real fast.
I had to go pick up Azzan and when I did he was ‘Mum go straight to the Dr. Don’t take me home, just go to the Dr’.
So I did.
I was seen by the nurse.
All vitals were fine.
I was feeling like a total drama queen.
She referred me straight through to the Dr – stating that obviously if it was serious enough for me to walk in knowing there was something wrong, it was serious enough to see the Dr.
Validation felt good.
Saw the Dr and he eventually diagnosed shingles.
Whew!
That I can handle.
The strep throat that had taken me a month to recover from pre Xmas had obviously lowered my immune system enough to allow the virus to activate.
I asked him what would’ve happened if I hadn’t come in?
‘You could’ve gone blind in that eye’ he said.
Woah!!
Ok!
More validation that I know my body and in future not to doubt myself.
But I had crashed emotionally – again.

The next day I received reassurance from my therapist that I was not going mental, I was not losing it, I was not regressing, was in fact doing a very healthy thing.
I was allowing myself to feel.

My normal PTSD response in the past has been to feel hopeless, collapsed, stuck, to have a knee jerk reaction when things hit the fan.
This is absolutely the norm to those of us stuck in the Drama triangle.
I know this.
I know it too well from far too many years of being stuck in there.
So for me now it is a NO GO ZONE.
It is Not Safe there
It is a place I Don’t Want To Go anymore

By taking ownership of my emotions
By naming my vulnerabilities
I am learning skills to live in a positive confronting way
I will not hide
I am exposing my scars
They are my tattoos of bravery
I am a Survivor!
I am a fricken badass Winner!

Talking through my needs
Helped me to see why I reacted the way I did and do…
built knowledge
built positivity
built strength
Because I have suffered sexual abuse during my childhood my trust was broken at an incredibly vulnerable time of my life by a person who I should’ve been able to trust.
Because of unreliable and inconsistent support in the past I have built barriers.
I have put up walls to protect me.
Because of the trauma of close loss and grief I am lacking the one thing I need
The one person who would hold and comfort me at times like this
That exposes my fragilities and vulnerabilities even more
It is downright scary stuff
When I am wounded my initial reaction has always been to go curl up in a corner like a wounded puppy, snapping and biting at any hands who dare to try help me

I have to learn how to let people in…
I am learning now how to let people in…
safely
I am learning to identify my needs
What does my fragile self need in these situations?
– honest support
– acknowledgement that it is scary
– validation
– to be heard
– to be reassured
– to feel safe
I have been building a door in my wall
I get to choose to open that door
to let in the trusted few

Thank God for trusted friends I feel safe with
I have built a small strong tribe of very special people in my inner sanctum
Some of whom have been there for me this past week especially while I have been in freakout mode

Phillipa you have always been my bestest friend, I don’t know where I would be without you
You have held me during some of the hardest times of my life
We have shared so much these past 25 years – I think our shoulders are equally wet and our laughter equally joyous

Spending time in the sunshine with Eilidh over these days has been so therapeutic as she has helped to blow away my fears
Love this girl – we are therapy for each other

And this guy
This spesiale strooijonker vfriend
(Who’s gonna laugh his arse off at my puny attempt at Afrikaans 😉  )
Who listens for hours on the phone
Who can handle my tears as I soak my pillow
Who always has an objective view
Eddie my man, my best mate – you are just one super cool dude and I thank you for being a part of my life
Thank you for making me laugh
Thank you for bringing the music back to my soul

And Renata – my beautiful forthright unreservedly outspoken and delightedly honest friend…
thank you for letting my cry all over your sushi this week
thank you for your support and and your love and your laughter

I’m past caring who sees me cry these days
If you can’t share my tears then you don’t deserve my laughter

I am growing through this
And so can you….
I will never be the same
You will never be the same
Trauma changes us
True story~!

If you are a PTSD sufferer
then take my advice
Find someone safe
someone you can trust
someone who understands your fragility
someone who can empathise
someone you feel safe with

But ultimately
Allow yourself to FEEL
Allow yourself to be BRAVE

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   🙂


 

Young woman, Precious girl

Young woman
Precious girl
I see you
I see your trembling lip
The uncertainty in your eyes
The small tear escaping
I see your strength
I see such courage
I see you
And my heart is breaking
My heart breaks every time I encounter you
because I know
I know exactly what you are feeling
What you are thinking
because in you
I see me
I see Young Woman me

Your life has been changed
in a moment
a moment you did not choose
a moment that robbed you of so much
of your innocence
of your trusting
of you

Young woman
Precious girl
I encourage you to stand strong
to speak out
as loudly as you dare
knowing that I stand
I stand beside you
to hold you until you are strong enough to stand
beside the next
Precious girl

Because I know
we know
there will be more
there are so many more
too many more
look around your friends precious one
the statistics tell us
that 1 of every 3 of your friends will be sexually assaulted before they are 17
the statistics tell us that living in New Zealand
the place we call Godzone
is one of the most dangerous places for you to be
Sexual assault in New Zealand is endemic
a far too silent epidemic
the silence is deafening…

Young woman
Precious girl
I understand your need for silence
in your silence you find normalcy
when something so heinous
so evil
so invasively devastating to your inner being
happens to you
you crave in anyway possible for everything to be ‘the way it was’ before

Precious one
if your silence is for normalcy
then be silent for as long as you need
be silent while you build strength
be silent and know that I am walking with you

But
if your silence is because of shame
then my Precious One
this is so NOT right
This burden
this shame
Is NOT Yours
Do you hear me?
I will shout this from the rooftops if I have to
Do NOT carry the shame of another
It is NOT yours to carry.

Young woman
Precious girl
be brave
take courage
knowing that we are walking beside you
we are breathing fire
as we fight for you
until you can breath your own fire.

Young woman
Precious girl
my heart is breaking
I love you