A letter

Dear beautiful babies. I’ve been wanting to write you a letter for a while now, but I just haven’t found the words. Every day I feel like a little piece of me is still missing. Well, a big piece really. Every day I wish you were here, I wish that I was feeling your kicks, growing out of my jeans and feeling fat. But part of me is glad you never had to feel how cruel this world can be, or feel the pain I do.

Did you know I see a counsellor now? Every few weeks I sit and I tell her about you. She asked me the other day what the worst memory was. I wish I didn’t have any ‘worst memories’. I told her it was the second scan. The first was hard, but I was so excited to finally see you, and I did; your little bodies on the screen made me panic – two of you! But I was so happy to see your heart beating. I knew your sibling’s heart wasn’t. I could see that. But I still had some hope – maybe you were too young, that’s why it was so weak. Maybe it was just hard to see. I ran every scenario through my head and I Googled and I waited – a whole week. Hope is a funny thing; it makes the pain less painful and the worry less stressful but then, when hope has lied, the pain is far, far greater. Then I went back. I was nervous; I couldn’t focus at work at all that day. I lay down and she began the scan. You were both hard to find, I knew that wasn’t good. When she finally found you I could see the little flicker wasn’t there anymore. I knew you had gone. I so wanted you to be ok, but you weren’t. You had to leave this world before you even really began to discover it, and in that moment a hole in the floor opened up and I fell. I sat up, numb. From that moment it was different. I was different. My view of the world was different.

You left this world and I would have given anything for you to have stayed, but I know you couldn’t. I don’t know why, but I take comfort you never felt fear, or hurt, or loss. I still look at the tree we planted for you; with you. Sometimes I tell you how sorry I am that I couldn’t keep you with me. Sometimes I avoid you because the pain is too great. When people ask me if I have children I don’t know what to say. I’m sorry that I usually say I don’t. It doesn’t mean you aren’t mine and that you weren’t real, it’s just easier you know?

I’ve lost a lot of weight now. I fit all the clothes I grew out of with you. I grew so fast it worried me! I fit all the clothes I nearly got rid of because I never thought I’d fit them again. And I feel guilty for that in some ways – like life just went on and back to how it was.

But it didn’t, I promise. I’m trying really hard to work through my grief and my fear, but I don’t want to lose you all together. Sometimes I think if I let go of the pain I will have to let you go too, and I don’t want to do that. I am sorry I sometimes say I wish it never happened; I don’t ever wish for you not to have existed, I just sometimes don’t know what to do with all the pain. Sometimes I feel like I might implode, or worse explode. I don’t understand how a person can feel so much at once, but just keep going with the world.

I want you to know though, that your mum is resilient; I love you but I have to keep going. I have to keep reminding myself that there will be new days and new hope and new happiness. I just need to find it.

I will always love you my little butterflies, and I will always miss you. But I need to let you go a little bit more each day and that kills me. I would spend every moment with your memory if I could; I would close my eyes and picture my tree – my safe place – and I would sit there holding you both, loving you with everything I have. But I know I would open my eyes again and you would be gone and the pain would creep in again.

I hope you feel the love I have for you, I hope you do. And one day I will meet you, and I will tell you all the wonderful things we would have had together. But for now, I am here and you are not. And that is the most heart wrenching statement I have ever had to make.

Forever and always,

Your mum

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It’s shit, but we’ll be ok

I brought a horse (accidentally) with the show name Here’s Hoping. Now if there has ever been a sign before, that’d be it. We’ve reached December. I told myself I would stop with the whole ‘next year will be better’ thing because honestly, I have no clue if it will be better. It might be equally as difficult. But I have resorted to ‘please let this year be over already’. Maybe it sounds whingy; maybe a little depressing, but I’m not going to lie, I’ve come out of this year feeling like I just lost a 10 round boxing match. I’m confident I’ve aged far more than a year, and my grey hairs are certainly becoming too many to pluck out.

Here’s the thing with this year… it has challenged every single one of my ‘values’, it has challenged everything I thought I knew about myself, and it has definitely challenged my perception of the world. I have seen very few successes at work, I’ve lost my nan, we lost half our business (literally an entire 6 months of hard work gone), we lost our babies, I’ve had health set back after set back, I still have problems from my head injury in March, and I let go of a beautiful horse I wasn’t ready to let go of. The list could go on, but I think that’s enough.

Don’t get me wrong, we’ve had highs; we started building our house (a 2 year long dream finally started to come real) and we had an incredible trip to Peru. But don’t ever mistake someone’s high’s as a balancer for the lows… it might soften their blow, but I still feel it.

I’m not the only one, I’ve seen so many people around me also struggle this year.

I think I’ve come to the end of it with more questions than I do answers, more ‘I don’t understand’s’ than ‘I get it’s’. In a lot of ways I just feel broken, and a bit lost, and a bit like I’ve changed a lot and I’m not sure I’m totally happy with how that has happened. I am a lot grumpier, a lot more to the point, people take me a lot more seriously, I take far fewer things to heart, and take far less of other people’s crap on my shoulders. I have learnt to distance myself from unnecessary pain but at times I think that borders on avoidance all together. I have learnt what matters and how to focus on that, and I’ve realised that there will always be things in life that are broken – and there is no amount of fixing that can repair them. But from that, I am also kinder to myself, I am kinder to others, I understand pain on an very new level and I think it has made me a far more resilient person as a result.

I have found myself taking stock, slowing down, and being in the ‘now’. When I start to feel like I am simply going to crumble under it all I keep telling myself;

“You don’t get this now, you don’t understand it, and may be it will never make sense. Maybe it never will. There may no good damn reason for this; none at all. But you are right here, right now, and that is something. You are still breathing and you can keep breathing. Even when the world’s weight simply gets too much and your body starts to give way and your thoughts can’t be controlled, you are still here and that is something. Stay, maybe you cannot see it, but someone does need you and someone does love you in this world. I want to tell you it gets easier and better and all that shit – but it might not. You might battle with this your whole life, you might struggle through shit storm after shit storm. But I want you to remember there is peace in small moments. There is love in the way the waves settle after a storm. There is sunshine in the cracks in the curtains when you cannot get out of bed. There will be happiness in the way the things you fight for happen, and they will happen. Keep fighting. When the road is simply too long look at your feet and put one after the other. Some days you do not have to think past today, just be; just be today and nothing else. Stop with the ‘should’s’ and start with the ‘I can’s’ and the ‘I will’s’ and the ‘I want to’s’. Stop putting expectations on yourself that are crippling; it’s not your job to save anyone or even yourself some days. Be you, in everything you do, be you. People are going to judge, they are going to ‘feel’ feelings about you, but that’s not on you. Be the best version of you as much as you can, and leave the bad days where they are as they happen – don’t drag them into the good ones.

“You are going to feel pain in your life that you cannot describe. You are going to get through it but don’t forget to take the help of kind people and ignore the shit of people who have no fucking clue. There are going to be small wins within big loses – you need to focus on those. And forgive yourself. There are going to be many, many mistakes and things you cannot control that affect your life – forgive yourself and accept how you react. You will feel emotions and that is ok.

“Go to yoga class, remember to breathe, remember to hold pictures close to you, remember to take a bath with Epsom salts. Take a break from the noise and sit in silence. Remember to remember things for what they were and for the small joy they brought you even if it was fleeting. Lastly, remember ‘not my monkey, not my circus’ and if it is your monkey and it is your circus – have some fun within the madness and learn to laugh when life pulls a rabbit out of a hat.”

So this horse, Here’s Hoping, is my new light in the darkness of 2018. Here’s hoping 2019 can be a little kinder, and if not, that I will find the strength to do it all again. Here’s hoping I will get to compete my horse. Here’s hoping I’ll find my passion for jumping again. Here’s hoping I will find some peace in the pain. Here’s hoping Sam and I will be able to find a way forward and hope for more. Here’s hoping we will see some of the pain begin to fall away. Here’s hoping I will remember to breathe. Here’s hoping for long rides on the beach. Here’s hoping for snuggles with my puppy. Here’s hoping for a bloody holiday. My expectations are low, my hope is very thin and fragile, and my positivity is bordering on insanity at times. But, 2019; here’s hoping. All I hope for is that my faith be restored, my heart find rest, and my mind and body recover so I can see things a little clearer again.

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2018 has kicked my butt

This years been tough. I’m not going to lie. There’s been some high highs, and some equally low lows. People seem to automatically assume that when there is a high, or a great good, it cancels out the bad. It doesn’t, that’s something we all really need to understand, the good never takes away the pain, it just gives you more to hold onto. I met a random guy at the petrol station last night. I don’t usually chat to strange people over a petrol pump, but he was friendly, so we chatted. He told me about his job in West Africa mining. My response, somewhat flippantly was, ‘that’s certainly living on the edge’. His response was great; ‘On the edge? I was so far over the edge I could have bungee jumped off it and never touched the sides’. Man, that hit me in the feels. This year has felt so far over the edge that I certainly haven’t come close to those walls. And I’d have loved to have had a wall to cling to.

I often used to calm myself down with ‘it’s ok, the next year is around the corner’, I stopped that quickly when I realised that there is very high chance the next year could be worse, much worse. It doesn’t always get better. I think a lot of what frustrates me when people are down, is this desire to jump in and encourage ‘it will get better, it will get easier, you will get through it’. Sometimes, it actually doesn’t get better. But, you can carry on but I know it doesn’t always feel like it. Your whole world can be falling apart, and the roof is caving in and all you feel is helpless and desperate, but the automatic assumption is that you need people to tell you it will get better. Sometimes, we just need to be with people in their pain, please learn to meet people where they are, not want them to be where you’re at. Some days I am so thankful and so happy with my life, others I am angry, frustrated, and bitter about it. I have some of the most caring, incredible friends and work mates, and for that I could not be more thankful. And all they did was see my pain, and meet me there. Do not ever put an expectation on people to heal at your rate – people heal when they are ready and at the pace they heal at.

I want to say I’ve ‘grown up’ this year, really I just think I’ve lost a bit of my youthful naivety. I think I once used to see the world as this shiny place where everyone could succeed and all pain could be overcome. I don’t now. And that’s not to get all dark and gloomy, I think when you work in a world full of pain, and you feel that in your own life, it’s hard not to feel as though there is limited opportunities to move forward. And that is reality, not just me being all down and out. The reality of life is that there are some struggles so big, it is almost impossible to over come them and there are some crappy things that happen to people, that they may never fully move on from.

Some mountains are just too damn big to climb.

But in all that, I’ve also come to be thankful for things I used to take for granted. The things I once ‘excepted’ life to give me, I am now incredibly thankful it has. I am much more thankful for the opportunities I have, for that fact I can build a house, get married, and actually think about my future.

I’ve been stuck on a ferris wheel for the past 6 months, becoming a little lost in what I want and where I’m going. I still don’t know. I still sit on that ferris wheel and honestly, have limited intentions of getting off it. I am learning to accept how comforting predictable is. Change is far more daunting that it ever has been, because I find stability my only grounding at the moment. But that’s ok, that’s just where I’m at right now. It’ll change I’m sure, but for now I’m enjoying the comforts of ‘the same’.

My health is a huge battle, and it always will be. It will always be a mountain I am forever climbing. And I’ve come to accept that. I can’t do a lot about it other than take it as it comes.

Horses have been my passion, but I’ve also come to the acceptance that sometimes I have to sacrifice one thing for another thing, and right now horses have to be put aside while I figure out my next life steps.

Peace, I crave peace, and one day I’m sure I will find it more days out of the year than I don’t, but for now I appreciate the days I do find it. At the risk of being cliche, there are times in life where it really is just one foot after the other.

I have learnt to find the things that bring a smile, and to hold onto them. I have learnt not the be afraid of tears, and accept them when they come, I have learnt that there will be times in life when all you can see is darkness. But light does come, and even before it does, it is ok to sit in that darkness, to feel it, but please do not ever let your thoughts win. And I have learnt that the people you lean on, the people you pick to be your ‘people’ is one of the most important decisions you will ever make. Pick the people who will tell it’s ok not to be ok, pick the people who text you randomly to see how you are, pick the people who find out what you need and organise it for you, pick the people who see you for as you are and tell you it’s ok to be that. Pick the people who see your need before you even can.

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Sometimes you win

Hello old friend, it’s been a while since I’ve been scribbling thoughts down here in an attempt to somehow grapple control over my brain. Ah, we are entering December and while I like to say I’ve managed to make it through 2017 with my head held high, I’d say it’s a little more like dragging myself over the finish line like a man lost at sea for a year.

But, despite my scraggly appearance, lack of ability to feed myself anything other than Asian food, the being sick on repeat, I actually have managed to do some sort of adulty things… and almost succeed.

Adulty thing 1 – I got married

Adulty thing 2 – I have a career, like an actual one that I LOVE (and sometimes want to bang my head on a wall, but I think that just means I care).

Adulty thing 3 – I have managed to survive three months living on my own… like actually, I’m as surprised as you are.

Adulty thing 4 – I started seeing a counsellor because it was about damn time I learnt how to do some of that self care thing I ramble on to everyone else about… and just deal with myself in general.

And alongside all that I’ve managed to keep on top of washing (don’t look at my couch, it’s all clean at least), change my sheets regularly and towels, do the dishes, do the shopping, vacuum. I’ve even kept two horses and a cat alive, despite their best attempts at destroying themselves. Oh, and I have a veggie garden again for the first time in two years and it’s growing like crazy.

I’m really proud of myself. Because this time last year I had ABSOLUTELY no idea where my life was going. I mean, I had a direction I wanted to go in, but I had just started working as a casual shift youth worker. I had been with Sam long enough to know I love him and wanted to spend forever with him, but also be terrified of losing it all. I had just Ivy and I had great ideas about getting her back in foal. I had just finished my first two psychology papers. And I was living at home.

A year later I’m married, I have the best career and I could never have imagined it, I have not only Ivy but Scout too, I’m only two papers away from a diploma, and I have my own little house and our home loan is actually NEARLY complete.

The last few years just all sort of blur into each other in a mess of ups and downs and rounds and all over-the-shows. A mix of people, family, attitudes, fall outs, heartbreak, cancer, health issues, people dying, people surviving, marriages, babies, and work. I don’t think I’ve ever worked so hard in my life and I am exhausted to the very core.

But here I am. I am actually being an adult in the best way I know how, and I’m really actually ok. And so is everyone else.

Sometimes I have days at work where the whole world feels like it is conspiring against me and I’m running around under a giant game of Jenga trying to stop the blocks from falling as people keep pulling out the wrong pieces. Other days I look around and go, wow, this is why I do this. Sometimes I cry happy tears. Sometimes I cry sad tears. Sometimes I hit my steering wheel because I’m so angry that the world can suck so much, and sometimes I tap on it while I sing to the radio. Sometimes I pat my horses, cook dinner and bake a cake. Sometimes I drag myself inside, heat something in the microwave and collapse on a couch.

Sometimes I win. Sometimes I really don’t.

But after that last few years, I have to say I am really damn proud to be here, at this moment, doing what I do, being who I am, where I am, with what I have.

One day I might get better at dodging the giant jenga blocks, maybe I won’t. I have no clue what 2018 holds but I won’t for a second go into it saying ‘this will be the year’… every year is ‘the year’. Shit happens, good things happen. Life, it happens. And we all may or may not make it through.

Positive hey?

Well, I like to keep a little bit of perspective. I will probably do more yoga, but probably not as much as I’d like. I will possibly go to Peru, but not Nepal, not yet. I will hike mountains, because mountains are good for the soul. I will do what I can, as much as I can, for who I can at work because I love it. I will cry, I will laugh, I will be frustrated as all hell when Sam gets back from college because, living with someone.

Life is going to change in 2018, and that’s slowly becoming ok. Because I think I am finally letting go of the shit storm the past few years have been and accepting life has seasons; make hay while the sunshines baby, I’m going to be making that hay.

And when life gives me lemons, I’m going to bust out the tequila and make the most of those lemons.

 

On getting married at 23

So we’re nearly halfway through our honeymoon and I’m sweating my butt off on a deck chair because the weather is over 30 degrees and my body can’t deal. But it’s beautiful! 

Now you might all be a little surprised to see two blogs in one week (oh my gosh, I’m on fire) but it’s really just because I finally have time and it’s refreshing to be able to sit down and hash it all out again. 

So these last 18 months have been a bit of a whirlwind and I feel like I never really got round to explaining a pretty crucial part of my life: how I went from wanting no relationship to getting married in 18months. Yep, sounds confusing to me too when it’s written down like that. I know a few of you followed my blog when I came back from my big overseas trip to find my life turned totally upside down: single after 4 years, no job and no home of my own. I moved back in with my parents and partied up the summer. Life was magical, albeit stressful and sleepless. 

And I said a few times, I don’t want a relationship. At the time, I meant it. But what I later came to realise was what I really meant; I don’t want a relationship that cripples who I am or what I want. 

In my mind, Id painted this picture of relationships being all about compromise (I’ll come back to this) and sacrifice, of giving up what I wanted and what lit a fire inside me, for someone I loved. And I was tired of that, so so tired of living only being able to express little portions of who I was in bite sized pieces. I didn’t want that. I was also 100 per cent certain I wasn’t going to do that again, even if I was single forever. 

Because you should be accepted for who you are 100 percent or there’s no point; don’t water yourself down because others struggle to keep up. 

I don’t mean be an awful person, I love being kind, understanding and compassionate. What I mean is I want to achieve a 1000 things and I want to be busy. I love a full on life and I have zero desire to change that. I have energy now and I want to use that to build a life I am truely proud of and love… while I can. 

I’ve lived enough of life to learn how to balance my passion and drive with a little time out, and you can trust me, I do know how to balance my life. 

So anyway, when I said I didn’t want a relationship what I meant is I wanted one that either allowed me to be me, to live 100 as myself – full strength with no apologies for that. 

I wanted someone who would share the load with me because my career will always be a priority. I wanted someone who understood they would have to be an active parent and I wouldn’t be staying home forever, someone who was willing to cook, clean and move for my if they had to. Someone who would drop everything and travel regularly. Someone who wasn’t afraid to take life my the horns and run with it. I needed someone who could dive in headfirst and give 100 percent to life. And someone who could call me out when I was wrong, who wouldn’t be a push over, but also someone patient enough to let me be a bit emotional, overly passionate and a bit mad. Oh, and someone I clicked with and would fall head over heals with. 

I didn’t think I’d find that, and I honestly didn’t think I’d find someone with that so soon. So when I did I thought I’d better keep him! So I did. And now here we are relaxing in Vietnam (by relaxing I mean melting) and I couldn’t be more surprised at how it turned out, but man am I excited. 

It terrified me at first to think I’d actually found someone to match me, and falling in love really did feel like a terrifying death fall from the Grand Canyon with no harness, but that’s life; the great things are usually the terrifying one. 

Anyway, on that note, don’t be afraid to fall, to be you, to be brave, to be alone, to be 100 for life your way. 

Oh, ps, when I say compromise, life is all about those and so are relationships… but you should be with someone where the compromises don’t compromise who you are. 

Now the sweat is running in my eyes so I’m going to have to go and jump in that delicious looking pool…

Peace out! 

On doing life 

So it’s been pointed out to me I haven’t blogged much. I wish I had a good reason other than ‘kinda just ran out of things to say about myself’…. but I don’t. Anyway, here I am, blogging while lying in a sleeper bus that’s halfway into a five hour journey through the Vietnam countryside. 

I got married! Yep,  I went and did that super adult thing and nothing went wrong the whole day! It was even sunny… in the middle of winter… and kind of warm. I know, I was just as surprised as you. But every now and then something has to go really right aye? 

So I married my super awesome husband Sam and we’ve escaped to Vietnam for a quick little honeymoon. When I say quick I mean 10 days, which isn’t really that quick, but compared to my last few trips, it’s definitely just a drop in the bucket. 

Now I remember Vietnam in quite a positive light, but I wondered if maybe that was because of people forget the bad stuff after a big trip and everything has this really sunny kind of feeling when you look back on it. I’m pleased to say, so far (and I mean we’re only two days in…) it has been better than I remembered. Now, I am saying that with great caution because while I’m lying on this sleeper bus, we were meant to catch a train, but took the advise of the hotel (who also happened to you know, sell the bus tickets), that a bus would be better… but once boarding the bus and telling the driver what hotel to drop us off at, we are now actually travelling further from our hotel than we would have by train… and the driver actually has no idea where the hotel is. 

So hold that thought…

I’m pretty sure I’ve put at least a kg on so far, all I’ve done is sleep (not well because they decided to rip up concrete outside the hotel at 1am… yes really), eat, and spend money. 

But that’s what a holiday is for right?! 

So, I’m all grown up and married, about to start building a house, and in a job I really love. And while Sam will be moving away for four months for police college when we get back from honeymoon, there are a lot of awesome things to be thankful for! I’m pretty pumped about life. And no, I definitely do not feel ‘grown up’ or remotely adult like, I still eat smoothies for dinner because I’m too lazy to cook, but I do feel like I’m slowly getting my shit together. 

Being back in Vietnam reminds me of all the things I loved and hated about my big ‘figuring out where I want to be in life’ trip. 

1) the heat sucks, because your body will find all sorts of ways to hate you. Chaffing is a bitch. 

2) nothing is ever quite what it seems, but you’ll probably still make it there just fine. 

3) the food is so many kinds of wonderful and I want it all…I should have brought a one piece instead of bikinis. Spring roles Vietnamese style have got to be the best kind of food I have ever eaten. 

4) there is a certain kind of freedom in travel because it consumes so much of your energy you can’t help but be in the moment. 

I think the reason I love travelling so much is because I’m a thinker, a doer and a driver; I’m always one step ahead in my brain, always wanting more, always looking for the next challenge. Travel is a challenge almost every second of the day because nothing is familiar. You have to be one step ahead but also go with the flow in order to do and see what you want to. It means your brain has to switch off from the world outside of its immediate surroundings and just be. 

The last 2 years has been a crazy whirl wind of newness and adventure. It was this time two years ago I was chilling in south east Asia trying to figure out my life. And I did, and I came back and I wanted to do a full route change. For the first time in my life I was certain about nothing, other than what I wanted to achieve. Two years later everything is different and I’ve been through Everest sized ups and downs, but oh my gosh it has so been worth it. 

I saw this saying on Facebook (reliable source I know) and it said “you’re only one decision away from a completely different life”.

I totally disagree with that. You’re not. You’re hundreds of little and massive decisions away from a totally different life. One decision will put you in the right direction, but it certainly won’t keep you there. It takes a decision every single day to keep going in the direction you’re passionate about. And it is every bit possible. But you need grit, passion and a hell of a lot of love for yourself and others to get there – not everyone will get it and you’re going to have to trust yourself. 

On this here sleeper bus I was thinking about if someone asked me what the best day of my life has been, and I’d say the day I went to see a bunch of butterflies at a garden in Cambodia. Why? Because I literally spent a day and a bunch of dollars to ride through the countryside in a little tuktuk to see butterflies. And it was the moment I think I learnt to really embrace life, to relax, take my time, and remember it’s the little things that make life beautiful. 

The most special day has definitely been our wedding; it was incredible to realise how many people love and care about us, who are willing to help when they can, and who just want us to be happy and enjoy life. That was super cool. And of course, knowing I get to spend the rest of life with an amazing teammate by my side is one of the best feelings. 

So on that note, I’m off to awkwardly gaze out a small sleeper bus window and bump along a road for another two hours (I need to pee!) 

Till next time…

A slice of paradise (not really, but I was going to write pie, so paradise sounded better)

18198574_1335093146572995_769157647614864417_nI’ve been staring at this screen over and over for the past few months. Actually, pretty much since I started working here. It’s been five months now, and the words simply don’t seem to want to come. I’ve never been short of conversation or descriptions or ways of coping with life. I haven’t written though, because there simply isn’t a way to explain life lately. I work in a job I can’treally talk about. I hear stories that make me want to cry with anger, sadness, happiness. I have days I feel so high that I can’t wait to tell everyone how incredible my job is (everyone being Sam, who is now really sick of hearing about work) and days where I drive home and I just cry.

There is an hour between work and home, and sometimes I have spent almost the entire trip contemplating how life can be so unfair. Not for any particular reason. Sometimes nothing in particular will have happened. Sometimes I just cry because I don’t know how else to process how much crap people can take in a life that’s barely begun.

I work with kids people don’t care about. And society thinks are a waste of time. And that might sound harsh, but when was the last time you felt sorry for a criminal?

I read the comments on stuff articles and it makes my heartbreak. “Put them down”. People actually say that. And I will stare at those comments and I want to yell, because NO. Those lives ARE worth something. And YES they screwed up. I don’t think anyone ever denies what they’ve done is wrong. But I certainly can tell you the way society views them isn’t how we’re about to solve the problem.

“Your life matters”, I said to a kid one day after he’d run himself down and I’d had enough of it.

He looked at me with shock. And he sat in silence. Because those words weren’t something he’d heard much of.

Sam and I have started bee keeping. Dad spent a few weeks watching bee keeping videos on youtube. Each night for weeks I’d come home after a late shift and find him sitting on the couch watching these videos because he was interested in what we were doing and wanted to help. And I was so angry, not at him, but because how the hell can I be so damn lucky when there are kids whose dad’s hang up the phone when they know who’s calling?

And it could just be that I’ve worked nearly 14 hours and it’s 3.18am, but it makes me emotional all over again.

I’ve been missing from my blog for a while now because I didn’t want to off load about work! So I usually get to this point in the blog where I delete it all and go “I’ll try again another day”.

Life hasn’t been perfect. For example, right now there is this really stupid ‘micropause’ thing that pops up on the computer every half hour so you have a break, but really it’s so you can’t say you have a work related injury from too much computer work. Anyway, it drives me NUTS because I’ll be RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE of something and it will NOT let me finish until I’ve had a ‘break’. Clearly it doesn’t understand the meaning of ‘on a roll’. I’ve also been stressed about finding the right honeymoon destination and fitting every cost into the wedding budget… (please note I am kidding, kind of). I mean, perspective is everything. Whenever I feel like I have it rough, I come to work.

In saying that, my horse has gone and done something to itself, I have no idea what. But it’s currently on some pretty awesome painkillers. So it’s a wait and see game. That had me pretty down. And my career is all over the place and I have no idea where I’m going and some days I really have to resist the urge to just lie down on the carpet and not get up for a REALLY long time. Also, we don’t actually know if we have a house to move into in three months. It’s meant to be finished a week before the wedding, but ya know, cutting it fine is SUPER FUN and does my nerves heaps of good.

Because as good as I am at juggling a lot of things, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit it’s getting a bit on top of me at times. Study, two jobs, finding my way in life, sorting a house for Sam and I, horses breaking, finding time for friends and family. To be honest, I actually can’t remember when I last washed my hair and I’ve taken to shaving my armpits in the bathroom sink because I forget to check when I’m in the shower.

But despite the above, it is the first time in my life I have felt so passionate about what I am doing. There have been a few opportunities to walk away from it and go back to a cushy marketing/communications life and I’ve turned it down without hesitation. And it surprised me.

I do no for a second regret taking a MASSIVE leap of faith and retraining, starting again, leaving everything I know and understand behind and just doing it. And by leap of faith I mean it feels like I decided to jump over the grand canyon.

There are days I feel like I am succeeding, and days I am failing.

I wouldn’t change it.

But at the same time, thank goodness I have wine. And if I didn’t pray enough before, I certainly do now. Because there is nothing like failing, falling, and desperately needing to trust it WILL be ok.

It’s 3.46am and it’s nearly home time! For now, that’s me. Till next time (probably another five months).

 

 

It never was going to be easy…

I think one of the biggest traps you can fall into when you make a big change in your life, is expecting it to be ‘good’ all the time. People ask me, as I ask them, how life is going, how’s the new job, how’s the relationship, how’s this and that and the other. It’s good that people care. But it’s also easy to fall into the trap of thinking all they want to hear is ‘good’.

I love my new job, it’s going well I think, but I’ve started answering that question with ‘it’s really hard’. The new job is really hard. Most new jobs are. Aside from the ‘what the hell did you do to end up working in THAT job’ looks…it’s just a tiring job.

Just because you decided to make a big change, and even if you love it, doesn’t make it easy.

I think that’s something that’s really easy to forget.

Support though, is the second biggest. It’s easy for people to say ‘don’t over do it’ or ‘you’re too tired take a break’. It’s well meaning, it always is. But with everything comes work, hard work. And like with the many lessons I’ve learnt so far in life, I know how far I can push myself before I need a break.

Coffee, coffee is good right now.

It’s coming to the end of 2016 and just like each year for the past few years there have been massive highs and massive lows. Life just throws those at you sometimes, but I also think when you put yourself out there, when you make adjustments, when you push yourself, you’re going to come up against some friction. And like anyone who has ridden a bike with sweaty thighs knows, friction is not your friend.

Next year is going to be just as, if not more so challenging than this year. I threw a little tantrum about that the other day because, well, I really just want a break. But while running down the beach, my lungs screaming at my that running is a silly thing to do, the salt air stinging my eyes, I took a moment to say to myself: ‘well of course it’s going to be damn hard’.

I get told on the regular to ‘stop being negative’. I respond ‘honestly, I’m just realistic’. I stopped kidding myself it would be rainbows and lollipops a little while back. Why? Because it’s not. And if you’re prepared for rainbows and lollipops and instead get kale juice and salad, you’re not going to last very long. If you expect the kale juice and salad, and accept you just need those to grown and be a healthy human, well it’s not going to be a disappointment, it’s going to be a growing experience.

I want to achieve a lot. And doing that means hard work, which means times of pain, sacrifice and tears. It means I won’t always get the fairytale, but I will get the action film.

When I made the decision to live life with 100 per cent of what I can give, and with 100 per cent faith I’m doing the right thing, I knew it would be hard.

It will be hard.

It will be uncomfortable.

I will throw tantrums.

And sometimes I will want to give up.

But I am looking at next year as many mountains to climb, with many views from the top.

And yes my butt will hate me for climbing them all, but I will do it. Because I can do it. Because I’ve never said no to a challenge yet.

It is easy to look at other people and wish for simplicity or for things to go ‘right’. But they don’t, not for anyone. Everyone struggles. You see simply a slice of the pie…not the whole thing.

So with that I shall continue to work myself into the ground to save a lot of money to get the things I want and to get better at the career I’ve decided I’ll give my best shot at.

They boys at work told me today I was too nice. They’re yet to see the crazy…just wait…I have the determination and stubbornness of my horse when it doesn’t want to walk through a puddle. Not all methods of gaining respect come in the form of swearing, anger and muscles.

And they’ll see that…

In saying that I intend to keep going to the gym to kick their butts in the weights room…again…so maybe it has a little bit to do with muscles.

But that’s beside the point.

And for the ironic moment of the day… if you’re having a bad day, just remember I crashed my car on the way to my police exam and it cost me $400 to fix it. Because, why wouldn’t you crash your car on the way to a police exam?!

 

The accidental new beginning

It’s been a while since I’ve had the inspiration to write. Not for any particular reason, sometimes life just takes a little while to sink in before you realise there’s more to the story. I’m a youth/care worker now, my little sister is married, I passed my initial police tests and I’m starting some cool volunteer stuff! I did some travel, I came back from that travel…still in a relationship (yay!).

So where are we at? I started my new job today. I work at a youth justice residence…which in short is a place where teens are sent when they’ve committed a crime but they’re not quite bad enough to be sent to prison…or they’re on their way there it’s just that the way the legal system works they come to us for a period of their time.

Why?

It’s a good question. How did I go from being a journalist to marketing to youth work? Honestly…I don’t know.

I could tell you it’s because I ran out of challenges in my life. Or I could tell you it’s the only job I could get. Or perhaps it’s because I want to get the best experience possible for my youth work career. But to be entirely honest, while those are all absolutely 100 per cent true, it’s not THE reason.

I could have found myself a well paying office job processing invoices or answering a phone. I could have worked at a supermarket or at a cafe. I could have gone overseas to work. I could have moved cities.

But I made myself a promise while I was travelling the first time. I’ve been home just over a year now and I haven’t forgotten it.

“If you’re not part of the solution, you have little right to complain about the problem. Don’t ever sit and wait for someone else to do what you can do and don’t ever doubt your ability to go one step further than you thought you could. Oh, and don’t run away because you’re scared you can’t do it.”

So I decided, while I was crying and yelling at my laptop in my hotel room in Zimbabwe, that life wasn’t about me. All I could think while I was travelling is how lucky I am to live in such a beautiful country…and how much I wanted to work to keep it that way. We honestly have no true comprehension of how lucky we are. And I’m sure people have heard that all before, but that for me was the first time I believed it.

And so yes, while my career moves and life changes have been somewhat socking, unexpected, and certainly taken me by surprise, I know I’m where I’m meant to be.

I want to improve people’s lives, I want to work with people everyone else has given up on, I want to be part of the solution. And while my life has certainly been a stark contrast to some of these kids, I do get that when you hit rock bottom you learn a hell of a lot about yourself…and it’s actually where you make some of the most important decisions of your life. It’s not where you are, it’s what you do in those moments that define your life.

In this past 18 months my life has been an exceptional roller coaster. I’ve gone from a promising journalism career to a rather odd looking youth work one. I’ve walked away from an unhealthy relationship into what has been the most unexpected blessing of a person. I have had sky high ‘my life is the best’ moments to rock bottom ‘what the hell am I meant to do?’ moments.

I was told I could never have a writing career because I couldn’t spell…so I went and had one. And got the degree to prove it. I never thought I could learn another language, but I passed journalism shorthand in 8 months. I have never been able to run…but I just passed a 2.4km run in 11mins and 43seconds.

At 23 I’ve not only achieved everything I wanted to by the end of my life, I’m onto the next thing(s). And the exciting part about that, is I have no clue where this will take me! I’ve already achieved that…so it’s all about making the most out of it. I was going to say enjoyment, but not everything that is good is enjoyable.

I can tell you right now, I never in a million years thought I could actually work with youth. But here I am, in one of the most challenging positions I could have imagined, and I’m ready for it.

I’m a firm believer in ‘if you’re not being challenged, you’re not growing’. Challenges come in all forms. For the past three months it’s been my greatest challenge to accept redundancy, and just wait for a job. I applied for about 30. I had three interviews, the first I didn’t get the job, the second I never heard back, and the third is the job I’m in now. Each week I’d get two-three “we’re sorry to inform you…” emails from failed job applications. I’m just as broke as I was when I came back from travel a year ago. I felt in many ways I’d made zero progress. What I realise now, is how much that humbled me. Sometimes you have to be at rock bottom to accept what your picture of life is, is only a tiny little piece of the picture, or actually someone else’s entirely.

This job is bloody hard. And there will never be a day of work where I forget that. I also spend 95 per cent of my shift wondering what the hell I am doing.

But I’m here. This is the door that opened and I won’t cheat myself out of life by wondering what that nice well paid office job might feel like. Because some people love that and are meant for that. I’m not…and I’m coming to terms with what that means for my life.

You owe it to yourself to give life everything you’ve got. Leave nothing on the table at the end of it because you have one. People tell me to slow down. I think the problem is too many people go so fast they do not stop to take it all in, to realise the journey they’re on. It’s a whole other ball game to simply do many things. You can do many things and still take it all in; still appreciate each moment for what it is. Don’t deny yourself the chance and freedom to just do it…to live it. And give it your whole heart. It might be hard. Life doesn’t always feel good, or easy, nor kind to you. But that doesn’t or shouldn’t change your perspective on it.

People often seem surprised by my life choices…but I can tell your right now no one is more surprised than I am.

Tonight I sat listening to one of the other staff members tell me fascinating stories about his life. For a brief moment I took in everything around me and thought ‘yep, that’s right, you really are working in a youth justice residence’. I laughed, because while I’m an anxious person who likes to plan, I also kind of love the ‘surprise!’ this is my life.

The unknown can be fun when you realise everything is uncertain…and that’s ok.

Oh yeah…and I bought a beehive! I’m a bee keeper too…just for fun (with Sam. We bought two…).

Till next time (hopefully I’ll write again before I make another random career move).

Antibiotics and perspective

I’m back! People have been asking my how my holiday was, and while I look at pictures of myself on the beach and admire my rather intense tan lines…I must say I feel a little worse for wear than when I left.

The Philippines is a beautiful country with very friendly people. Don’t go to Manila. It’s not a nice city. I mean, it has it’s good points sure, but really, the rest of the country is so much better. The problem with the rest of the country is of course getting to it. My butt got rather used to sitting for long periods in buses on bumpy roads and Sealegs tablets for car sickness were my best friend.

I’ve been rather miserable since I got back. After being poisoned by either spiking of our drinks or methanol poisoning from terrible alcohol, Sam and I were battling for a few days while over in the Philippines. Prior to that my stomach broke out in a very itchy heat rash, I managed to get a funny tummy from food in Manila. I then cut my foot on the coral and ate wheat and dairy several times; I became good mates with the bathroom. So on my arrival home I caught a bad cold… followed by a bladder infection. I also have a large assignment due tomorrow and an exam in a week!

I admit I was a bit sulky about the rather long string of unfortunate events which has lead me to want to curl up in bed and not do anything for prolonged periods of time.

But then today, I decided to go to the doctor and get antibiotics (I also got a blood test done because I was trying to procrastinate on my study). Not a fan, try to avoid them, but there are some situations you just need antibiotics.

And I felt really grateful.

Because I can just ring up my local doctor, get in my car, drive down to the clinic, pay for my appointment, pick up antibiotics, and in a few weeks I’ll be fine.

And while sure the situation doesn’t make me all that happy, I am definitely bloody thankful I have the ability to do that.

I need antibiotics, so I go and get antibiotics.

There are 100’s of people in Haiti right now who would give anything for antibiotics. There are people in so many parts of the world who simply do not have the ability to visit the doctor.

So I stopped being sulky.

I think it’s pretty easy to forget how truly lucky we are that even the crappy events in our lives make us lucky.

I’m glad to be home. It’s always nice to get away and sometimes a bit of a reality check on the other side of the world, far away from your comfortable reality is just what the doctor ordered.

I’ll come right, and I’ll find a job, and things will work out. Even if it’s slowly, even if it’s not all that great at the time. I’m trying to make sure I do not lose my perspective on the situation.

It’s very easy to lose perspective.

Anyway! That’s me for now. Just a little bit of rambling. Soon I’ll be back on my feet and blogging like there’s no tomorrow!

For now I’ll just keep trying to convince myself to finish my assignment and stop watching terrible TV shows!

Peace.