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.
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
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

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

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

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
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…
that I will never ever forget
I have learnt how it has damaged me
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
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!

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 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

Vulnerability 17.8.13

During an emotional session with my therapist we talked about the difference between being a victim and being vulnerable.
Fine line.

I am so scared of not being seen as a victim that I cover up my vulnerability.
I was a victim for so many years and to survive I had to become strong.
If I hadn’t I would’ve succumbed to all the mental illnesses and maybe attempted suicides that so many who have walked in my shoes have.
I spent so many years being strong, burying the past, just surviving, wearing a mask, living two lives, that eventually my spirit could not take any more.
I crashed.
I broke.
The victim in me began crying out for help.
In my spirit I was fearfully curled up, hiding in a dark corner sobbing uncontrollably..
In my physical I was hysterical, beside myself with pent up distress, lashing out, desperately needing to be heard.

Because everyone had seen me as strong, it was a shock to my family and those around me to see me like this.
I was in shock to see me like this.

They saw a mess.
They saw a mother they didn’t know.
They saw a sister they weren’t expecting and it blindsided them all.
They didn’t and couldn’t understand.
I was judged harshly.
I was rejected.
I was re-victimised.
They hadn’t walked in my shoes.

Three years on I am growing.
I am developing a new strength.
A strength that can recognise my pain, my trauma, my anxiety.
But I am scared.
I am scared of telling my story.
I am scared of rejection.

I still struggle with so much.

Now I have a new pain.
A new trauma.
A loss so great that sometimes I don’t think I can go on.
I surrender to the grief and it makes me feel vulnerable.
I am scared of being vulnerable.
Scared of being hurt again.

But this time I cannot hide behind my mask of strength.
This time it is a grief that is ok to make public.
It is a trauma that is more easily understand.
But I cannot tell my story half heartedly.
My story has to include the little girl, the victim.

Because that is all me.
“You cannot know true strength until you know vulnerability.”

The Absence of Intimacy Sept 2013

The hardest thing to talk about it with your family and friends is the the topic that most people like to laugh and joke about.
I miss making love.
But it isn’t cool to think your parents have sex.

It is not even thinkable that they may even enjoy sex.
So when your heart dies and you are left alone, how do you explain what you are missing when you are not supposed to talk about it.
I miss my heart so much.
The loneliness of not touching.
The not being held in that intimate way that only he could.
The loneliness of our marriage bed.
It’s emptiness.
It’s coldness, despite the electric blanket and new warm down duvets.
The absence of intimacy
Hands exploring places that only he was allowed.
The arousal and pleasure in the midnight hours.
The comfort given in the early mornings.
The kisses and hugs throughout the day.
He loved to ‘shock‘ the kids by showing them how much he loved me with kisses in the kitchen,
We would snuggle in the chair in the study whilst discussing business.
Even the wee pleasures of cutting his hair.
He loved for me to do that because we could enjoy special private moments under the guise of practicalities.
Sex isn’t just the act itself.
It is a 24 hour thing.
The recognition of a love throughout the day.
My heart broke that day and no amount of ducktape will ever put it together again.

The absence of intimacy with him is what breaks my heart more and more each day.

Pain – April 2013

I turn on the electric blanket to ensure the bed is warm.

I lie on my left side, with my back to the empty half behind me.
I read to fill the silence of the night.
But when my book hits the floor and I cannot keep my eyes open any more I turn off the light and try to go to sleep.

It is dark now.
Safe to turn over.
I can’t see the empty other half of my bed.
But my leg reaches out, searching, looking for what cannot be found.
It only feels cold sheets.
No warm body there to wrap myself around.
I toss and turn.
My stomach aches.
My limbs twitch and stretch, constantly searching.
Looking for arms to hold me.
Hands to caress me, love me.

I want to sleep, to forget.
But the ache is so bad.

The ache in my gut rises.
Up through my chest and into my throat.

Until I can contain the tears no more.
I give in and the sobs rack my whole being.
I cry, uncontrollably into my pillow.
The pain is so bad.
The loneliness is overwhelming.
The knowing that he is gone.
Eventually the tears drown me to sleep

My perfectly made bed – August 2013

I make the bed.
My perfectly made bed.
The sheets are all clean, smooth and straight.
The hospital corners folded just right.
The pillows are stacked and the duvet is smoothed.
Just as I like it.
Just perfect.
I get into my perfectly made bed at night but it isn’t perfect anymore.
There are no long limbs with boney knees intruding over onto my side to push away.
There are no warm welcoming arms to hold me.
No lover to warm the evening chill as I drift off to sleep.
I curl up on my side and read my book.
Trying to get warm I flick the electric blanket on, and then off again as I overheat unnaturally.
Waiting for tiredness to overcome me.
Waiting for sleep to envelope my loneliness.
Eventually the book hits the floor and I sleep.
In the darkness of early morning I wake.
My perfectly made bed is still relatively undisturbed.
I toss, I turn, I try unsuccessfully to go back to sleep, just for a few more hours.
But it’s all wrong.
There are no encompassing arms to hold me.

No warm chest to lie my head on.
No early morning loving
No one to talk to.
The thoughts that I would’ve talked to you about are just left to swirl around in my head.
No release for them.
My stomach is tight.
I feel sick and tense.
The unbidden tears fall.
I then hate my perfect bed.
I hate that your long skinny legs haven’t kicked the sheets out from the perfectly tucked in ends.
I hate that you haven’t pulled the blankets in and rolled them around you and left me with not a lot on my side.
I hate that I can’t yank the bedding back off you and then snuggle in against your cosy warm form.
I hate that you are not here to wreck the entire bed with total abandon to make love to me.
I hate that I don’t have to make the bed again in the morning.
I hate that you are not here to tease me about my OCD bed-making skills.
I give up trying to sleep.
The dawn is breaking so I leave my perfectly made bed.
Until tonight when the anguish of sleeping in a perfectly made bed starts all over again.