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 ūüôā

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 ūüėČ
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 Рoften 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 ūüôā

 

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 ‚Äėthings‚Äô cut off of me and even more unprepared to hear that one of them was ‚Äėof concern‚Äô.
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 Рand 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…
‚ÄėYour face is swollen‚Äô 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 ‚ÄėMum go straight to the Dr. Don‚Äôt take me home, just go to the Dr‚Äô.
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‚Äôve happened if I hadn’t come in?
‚ÄėYou could‚Äôve gone blind in that eye‚Äô he said.
Woah!!
Ok!
More validation that I know my body and in future not to doubt myself.
But I had crashed emotionally Рagain.

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‚Äôs gonna laugh his arse off at my puny attempt at Afrikaans ūüėČ ¬†)
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 Рyou 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‚Äôt 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

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 Рyou 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.‚ÄĚ
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 ¬† ūüôā


 

Watch my rising….


My journey has at times been rather a ponderous hesitant walk.
I’ve staggered under burdens
of expectations
of abuse
of self imposed protective measures
of responsibilities.
Many parts of the road have been incredibly rough going.
Often¬†times I’ve approached¬†corners with hopeful expectancy¬†only to be blind sided once again.
Treacherous valleys, difficult hills, swamps have sucked me in and nearly suffocated me.
My path¬†this year led¬†me over the blackest¬†coldest mountain range…

I fought my way up those high peaks
I collapsed at the top panting with exhaustion
Completely spent
I could go no further
I was finally stopped
I let myself bleed
Let myself feel
I
Let
It
Go

I conquered the pain
I conquered the fears
I conquered the blackness

No longer will I run away from my dragons
I will fear them no more
I am embracing my dragons
They now work for me,
with me,
are part of me,
but no longer control me
The roles are reversed
And it feels
SO
Damn
Good