Continuum

For too many years I was frozen into silence by shame
Shame that was not mine to carry
I was also silenced by loyalty
Family loyalty
But I know now that was all bullshit
Because the only one that was being damaged was me
And I was the one
In my child’s mind
Protecting everyone else
Because don’t you know
Family has to stay loyal
Family has to cover up the dirt
Family is more important than the abuse of a child
But now…
I am saying enough!!

I am sick and tired of being the victim
Tired of being victimised
I will not be shamed into silence again

For too long I was under the impression that I was the only one
But as I have broken my silence I am hearing more and more from others who were victimised by my father
It is daunting and horrific
And I am sickened by the extent of his depravity
Yes, I know he is dead and gone
Yes, I know he cannot defend himself
But I know that as an adult I personally challenged him and he never denied a thing
All he said was – as he brushed it under the carpet
Its all in the past
All in the fucking past!!
Yeah Nah!
You cannot abuse a child for over 10 years of her childhood and think you have left her unscathed.
It doesn’t work that way.
It will never be in the past
Yes I have worked on my healing
Yes I am still working on my healing
Yes I am on a new journey
And Yes I am in a really really good place now
But the damage he inflicted will never ever be forgotten.
I will not allow myself to be swept under a carpet again.
I know now that I am far too valuable for that.

My childhood memories are not all scarred with depravity.
I am the first one to admit that there were some great times along the way.
My grandmother was a true feminist, way ahead of her times, and I loved her for that
I spent many holidays with her and my ‘not so much older than me’ uncles who I adored like surrogate older brothers
She was a strong influence in my formative years
My mother was educated, a teacher, always a teacher – I understand that because she passed that trait on to me
She provided me with a wonderful understanding and appreciation for music and culture and the arts
I will always be very grateful for that
And for the sacrifices she made to ensure I received those piano lessons, the precious books, the records she could ill afford.
From both these women I inherited the love of words and the ability to express myself passionately in my writing.

Unfortunately my memories of the great times are pretty much all tainted by the undercurrents of what I was experiencing under the covers, behind the doors, when no-one was looking, when no-one was seeing
On the surface everything in the garden was very rosy
It was beneath the surface where the rot was lying.
And when there is rot it eventually weakens the foundation and everything collapses.
It took many years for this rot to work its way to the surface
And now I am burning it out and rebuilding my foundations with new wood.

I do have many happy times that I recall
As a preschooler my mind casts back to a carefree spirited little girl
and I see snapshots of me pre the age of 7 that easily spring to my mind
In those snapshots I see myself, but I also see my carefree little granddaughters reflecting in their similarities to me
I just hope and pray that my little girls will never, ever, ever, have to endure what I did.

By breaking my silence
By bringing the rot to the surface to be dealt with
I am allowing discussion and freedom to talk openly
I have had so many friends and family come to me in the past weeks saying
‘Thank You’
‘Thank you for sharing’
‘Thank you for opening the door to allow us to talk’
‘Thank you for giving us the ability to share our pain’

It has taken every ounce of strength I have to come to this point in my journey
The emotional exhaustion from writing has been immense
I began to spiral down the tunnel again last week
I allowed myself a day of recovery time
I was tended to by empathetic friends
But I knew I couldn’t allow myself to fall too far
I will not let myself go there again
I woke the following day with resolve
I put my armour back on
My warrior self kicked the black dog fair out the door
And I faced the world again
Brave
Courageous
With my smile
I will not allow my smile to be stolen from me again

This is my story
My journey
My truth
and in front of me
is
My future
And I am writing it myself
I will not allow anyone to corrupt my shine ever again

‘Angry is just being scared’

I went to a one man show on Sunday night
I actually went so I could take my lad
Because I thought he would gain more understanding and clarity about depression
After 35 years of home educating I never stop do I??
Always looking for the educational opportunity for my kids 😉

But, as I discovered once before, 27 long years ago
And I remember the moment with extreme lucidity
I was the one who came away with the insight and clarity
I was the one who needed to hear the message

27 years ago
I still remember the night
I had organised/arranged for us to visit with a local guy who was well known for his evangelical relationship ministry.
And I was so incredibly sure that Tim needed sorting
Oh my!
Was I so wrong??

That evening
Not long before we were about to leave
All hell blew up
A random anonymous phone call
To this day I have no idea who it was
But that person had information
And that person told my mother what my father had done to me
And like every other thing that she couldn’t deal with in life
She never spoke another word about it from that night on
She literally swept it under the carpet
Leaving me a total mess
Once again
I was abandoned by my mother

I remember arriving on Jack’s doorstep – an emotional hysteric
I was a Mess!
It wasn’t Tim that needed sorting
It was my shit that needed unfucking
That was the first step I took in my healing journey
27 years ago
It was a very tiny step in the scheme of things
But that man I thought needed sorting out
That man
He stood by me the whole journey
He was my rock
And I am ever so grateful for him for all those years
He rescued me when I was a damaged teen
And then he protected me for all the years to follow
He always had my back no matter what
And that ‘no matter what’ was extensive
I had no idea back then what PTSD was
I had no idea why I was so angry
Or where the anger was coming from….

Rolling forward to last Sunday night
‘Shot Bro – Confessions of a Depressed Bullet’
Rob Mokaraka’s one man performance was insightful and challenging
Dark humour, Maori humour, confronting, energetic and powerful in his presentation of his life battle with depression,
He had us in tears and laughter
But what hit me deep within my heart
was when he said
‘Angry is just being scared’

Oh God!
The tears are still pouring down my face as I type this
Just being scared
How much of my life have I lived being scared
So much
Too much
The anger covered up the scared little girl cowering in the corner

Looking back I can see that every time I feel my life is out of control
The anger surfaces
But that anger is covering up the scared
As a child I was scared so much of the time
Scared because I never knew when my father would ‘want’ me
Scared because I knew that if anyone found out our family would blow to bits
Scared
Just plain honest to God scared for pretty much most of my formative years
But from the time I escaped at 18
I lived life on a high wire
I was a thrill seeker
I was out there
But I only went as far as I could without losing control
If I lost control then the scared took over

Throughout my life I can look back now and identify all the moments
All those moments when the control was taken from me
And the angry me had to protect the scared me

This morning when those words were going around in my head
‘Angry is just being scared’
‘Angry is just being scared’
‘Angry is just being scared’
the tears were trickling down my cheeks as I lay on my pillow

I need to let that anger go
I have been angry at so much in the past years
Angry at my father for abusing me
Angry at my father for mindfucking me
Angry at myself for allowing that mindfucking to ruin so much of my life
Angry at my mother for not protecting me
Angry at my mother for not hearing me
So incredibly angry at Tim for abandoning me
Angry at the Police for screwing up and covering up
Angry at the kids not seeing my pain because they were so embroiled in their own
Angry at myself for not being able to be all I need to be for my kids
Angry at the immense weight on my shoulders
Angry at all the crap I have had to wade through to get me to today
And today
I am angry because….

NO!!
I am not going to be angry today
Because
Today I understand
that ‘Angry is just being scared’

Today
I will voice that yes I am scared
I am scared of what today will unfold
I am scared of might happen – duh! how stupid does that sound!
I am scared that my dreams for my future will be taken from me

But in this moment
I am going to allow the other part of me to become the stronger part of me
The other part of me is going to embrace the future
The other part of me is excited about stepping out into the unknown
The other part of me is going to ask for help when she feels scared

If you do see me angry
Please put out your hand and just ask
What is scaring you?

Putting my vulnerability right out there!

for a long long time words have evaded me
me
a woman who usually has so many words
a woman with a word passion
a woman who has a massive word fetish
but the words i needed
just haven’t been able to be found
each time i start to write
the blankness of the page stares back at me
and the pain blocks out any ability to form comprehendible words

but this week
finally
i think i have broken through the barrier
this is incredibly hard
brutal
harsh
real
sickening

over the past six years i have used the most painful words i could
to elucidate the pain
but none of them really cut to the chase
abuse
sexual abuse
incest
childhood abuse
assault

but they are all too removed
they cause a separation
they are bad
really bad
but not bad enough
they actually
minimise

today the full essence of my core pain was understood
by my own self
which is the most important part of all of this
when i verbalised
named that pain out loud

when i first addressed this pain
i pushed open the closet door just enough to allow myself to breath
i inched out my toe
tested the waters
but the response was oppressive
the waters raged at me
i began drowning in distress
i hurriedly pulled the closet door closed
running back to the safety of dark silence
and since then have only let it open a little when i have felt a tad brave

but keeping that door closed
means keeping secrets
and secrets kill
secrets allow the demons to play games in your mind
secrets allow the pain to continue
secrets allow the pain to continue be perpetrated

so today I make a deliberate choice
to find those words
to name that pain
for what it was
to blast open the door
blow it completely off its hinges
to let the secrets fly
in the hopes that others can find their voices too

The words I needed to find
need to release
are
that i was
raped
R. A. P. E. D.
raped by my own father
countless times each week
for ten years of my childhood

there!
i’ve said it
finally
it’s out
in the open
in the public arena
woah!
breathe………..
no!
i don’t have to run for cover
i’ve nothing to hide anymore

i have been trying to come to terms with this for so many years
but how do you?
how do you ever understand?
even now
when i am so far along in my healing journey
the memories are never that far away
they are stored
in my pandoras box
on a high shelf
in the back room
of the recesses of my mind

i don’t choose to access that room hardly ever now
the lid stays shut on that box
because
in the past whenever i have lifted the lid
the demons that have attacked me
have been so brutal
so violent
so demoralising
i have been left
battered
bruised
and re-abused

i kept the lid on tight
and fought my way through life
until i could fight now more

i broke
under the pressure of keeping my fight on
i broke
and from my breaking
i have begun learning
to understand myself
to process
to communicate on far far deeper and honest levels than I ever could before
i learnt that the damage caused to me
WAS
NOT
MY
FAULT
that was huge
it took such a long long time to infiltrate my psyche

there is a very deep and often overwhelming sadness
the residue
left from the multiple rapes
that still tugs at my soul
that still now leaves me feeling incredibly vulnerable
putting this in to words
is so risky
but i can’t be BRAVE
without taking risks and exposing my vulnerabilities
and i have got to be brave
or i cannot live honestly

Warrior & Wild – but today & maybe tomorrow, can I just be plain tired?

“The wild woman has nothing to do with doing wild things, it is all about embracing your true natural self. For one that is loud and “out there” and for the other that is silent and introvert.. 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 them to find herself in the heart of love and compassion.”

I have been riding a fairly high-flying wave of awesome energy lately.
Emotional levels have been extremely high
Life is treating me well
Being loved just rocks my socks off
On personal, business and emotional levels everything is just so good

But occasionally I wake, and a small altercation tips me over before I’ve had a chance to put on my warrior armour.
It just flips me over and I find myself back, tiptoeing through a swamp of feeling just a tad sad, just a little below par.
But actually tiptoeing is vastly different to drowning!

On reflection I realise that even warriors need some time to just stop, climb down off their horses and rest a bit.
When you’ve been entering the fray and doing battle for so long you just get so used to fighting
And then when you do take time out to heal your wounds
And you regain your strength
And you work really hard to not just regain
But to renew
It is just such an marvellous place to be
It is so fricken awesome!!
I am so loving being in that place.

Along the way I have learnt to honour my soul in that place and know that not every day is going to be riding along the mountain tops
There are still some valley journeys too
What I am finding these days is that my descents into the valleys are now a lot more bearable to live with as my understanding of self increases
In fact they could even be somewhat, just ever so slightly, enjoyable
They give me time to just stop and reflect
And absorb the wonderful reality that I have healed so much
That I barely remember the darkest valleys I was walking in before.

So when the clouds close in and block my sparkle I just wait a while for them to blow on by
Knowing that despite their shading
I am still shining
And the sun will soon return
And my freaking supernova will sparkle again!!

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…….