Let’s talk about the hard stuff

It’s been a tough week. I’m not entirely sure what went wrong, the wheels just started to wobble early on and it just seemed to be a steady downhill ride and they fell off. Considering I think I coped pretty well. I got back up and carried on putting out fire after fire at work, attempting to justify myself without getting on the defensive. I haven’t had a chance to see my pony, so that’s probably added to my lack of energy. I’m fighting a chest thing. I don’t know what it is, all I know is I can’t run…and it’s driving me nuts not being able to train properly. I received less than ideal news about my thyroid from my recent scan.

There have been some great positives to this week with volunteer work opportunities and a teaching opportunity with a pony club. So I’m excited and clinging dearly onto those little highs.

Last week I wrote a blog, which I then deleted from Facebook. It covered a pretty sensitive topic: suicide. I decided I wasn’t in the right mind frame really to talk about it and I was pretty concerned about how people close to me might read it and take it in a way I didn’t mean.

But I’m back. And since suicide has been in the news almost every single day since I deleted it, I decided to buck up and get back on here and talk. That’s what I started this blog for right?

From the beginning: I’ve struggled with depression since I was young. I was probably about 14 when I first realised I wasn’t coping like most people cope and I described the feeling to a close friend as ‘the dark bubble’. It was only way I could describe it at the time. I’m not even sure if the idea of depression crossed my mind then. But I did know something wasn’t right.

Depression and a bunch of other stuff that tends to go hand in hand with it runs in my family. I’ve never been diagnosed by a doctor. I think I’ve probably only ever actually identified it openly with words as depression twice in my life, once with my friend with whom I called it ‘the dark bubble’ and once in casual conversation with my mother. Otherwise, it can just sit in the back of my mind.

Why I’ve been subject to a fairly shitty thing could be down to a number of reasons: over active thyroid (I have a toxic thyroid nodule) issues almost always go hand in hand with mental health and depression, it’s in my family, or I have a personality which is partial to it.

Pick a reason.

To be honest it actually doesn’t matter for what I want to talk about.

Suicidal thoughts.

That word is one that’s not particularly easy to type and I’ve only ever once said it in conversation about myself…and that was last week to my partner.

I post regularly on a FB pg called YouthNet and every article just about has something to do with people needing to open up and talk about these issues, “People need to talk about mental health issues and suicide; it needs to be something we are not afraid to deal with.” That’s what most of the articles say. And I get right in there and say “YES!”

Yet I never speak about it personally.

Why? Because I’m afraid. What if my family starts to worry about me? I’ve survived 100 per cent of my days so far, I know I will be fine. What if a future employer comes across this and thinks I won’t be able to work properly? What if something thinks I have a ‘mental health disorder’ and they don’t want me to be part of their organisation? What if Sam’s friends and family don’t like me anymore? What if people think there is something wrong with me?

And that right there, is exactly the reason we have a massive issue with suicide and depression in our country.

Isolation and fear mean people do not want to talk about it. Not when it’s to do with them.

When I was 14 I remember very clearly plotting out all the different ways to die, narrowing them down into my top two. And whenever I hear someone has died that way it hits a nerve…every single time. Back then it gave me a sense of control over myself and my life. I felt like if I had the option to escape, then it was always my choice to continue. And that took a massive weight off my shoulders.

I often would stop eating. Never enough to be of a major concern and it had absolutely nothing to do with my weight. I probably didn’t realise what I was doing until this year when shit hit the fan when I came back from overseas and I found myself skipping meal after meal.

I saw it this way: I couldn’t control how I felt, but I could sure as hell control a) whether I had to live through it and b) I could punish my body by with holding food. I punished it because it wouldn’t work like other peoples. It was anxious, it was too skinny, it was struggling with things most people found easy.

One day mum knew someone who committed suicide. She told me about it. I saw the pain on her face, the sadness, the hurt, the ‘why?!’

I think it was probably the reason I understood death was in fact final. It was not just an escape, it was over for good. And while it’s easy to say ‘well, yeah? Duh.’ It’s actually a concept that’s hard to grasp when you’ve never seen the effects of death or the reality of it. That is why we need to talk to our children about it.

By about 15 I started to feel ok and by 16 I can’t remember any suicidal thoughts. I never said anything when I was younger and I’m not entirely sure why. I think because, while I knew most people don’t think that way, I was really fine. I didn’t want to die. At the end of the day it was about control.

Life has had many, many up and downs since then but while I’ve suffered moments of depression, I haven’t had any overwhelming thoughts about death. So I never really worried about it. It became a moment in time that could easily be forgotten. I was young, hormones were changing.

I’ve put a lot of it down to things like my thyroid, my diet etc. And it was the reason for a lot of the issues. But it’s not the reason for all of it. I don’t know the reason.

So it took me by surprise when last week, out of nowhere, in the midst of life feeling pretty darn good, I found myself back in those moments when I was 14. “What’s the best way out?”

And it was then that I had to actually accept this is something bigger than me. People don’t just ‘get over it’ and moments of depression, of wanting out, strike out of nowhere and there is very little one can do about it.

Someone came up to me on Sunday and asked, “Are you ok? You seem a little off.”

I replied with “Yeah, I’m fine.” I mean, I don’t really know how to just sort of lay “Oh yeah, nah, I’m struggling with suicidal thoughts out of nowhere that I can’t explain and I’m really fine, but also feeling like complete shit.”

Laying that on someone makes it real.

No I don’t want out. I love my life. I love being alive. I love the people I am with and my friends, my family are some of the best around.

But that doesn’t stop those thoughts creeping in.

And that is my message. You have absolutely no idea what is going on in someone’s life. There have been moments in mine where it really was all turning to shit and I was feeling like  I was living in some joke that went wrong, yet it looks fine. It looks good.

Doesn’t mean it is.

And just because someone may have an amazing life with what seems to be no reason to be upset. They can be struggling. They can be fighting their biggest internal battle and you do not know that.

Some of my friends have had no idea the extent of my thoughts last week. But they are the reason I’m feeling resilient and pretty good this week, even though it’s been a crappy one. I know they’re there for me, they want to support me, they want to make sure I’m ok without having to make me feel like I’m ‘different’ or ‘weak’. I’m not different and I’m far from weak. This is not a struggle only I struggle with and I think the news this past week has made that pretty clear to New Zealand.

Let’s stop making people feel like they need to ‘toughen up’. Let’s stop ignoring teenagers when they aren’t coping and telling them ‘you’re only young, what do you have to worry about?’

We need to stop treating people like they’re less of a person because they struggle with something they cannot control.

Knowing people care, a smile in a coffee shop, a hug from an acquaintance at church, a wine with the girls. I didn’t want to get out of bed so Sam brought me breakfast in bed. And then gave me no choice to get up. Having my friend and her husband send me some absolutely amazing encouragement…that’s what gets me motivated in those moments. No one needed to take on my burden – that doesn’t help anyone, but just knowing someone had taken a moment of their time to care about me, that’s what I needed.

For me, when I’m struggling often I seem really bubbly, I seem happy. But there a moments I’ll stare off into nowhere. I’m not sure why that is. It’s just me. When I’m not struggling, I can have a bad day and I’ll look sad, I’ll feel sad. But that’s sadness.

Moments of depression feel as if you are in sinking sand, it’s the sick feeling in the pit of your stomach, it’s the dread of the day, it’s the not seeing a way out from the moment of darkness you’re in.

One of the most powerful quotes I have read came from a site called The Broken Borderline (follow her on FB).

If the photo hasn’t loaded on your screen it says this: “The so-called ‘psychotically depressed’ person who tries to kill herself doesn’t do so out of quote ‘hopelessness’ or any other abstract conviction that life’s assets and debits do not square. And surely not because death seems suddenly appealing. The person in whom its invisible agony reaches a certain unendurable level will kill herself the same way a trapped person will eventually jump from a window of a burning high-rise. Make no mistake about people who leap from burning windows. Their terror of falling from a great height is still just as great as it would be for you or me standing speculatively at the same window just checking out the view; i.e the fear of falling remains a constant. The variable here is the other terror, the fire’s flames: when the flames get close enough, falling to death becomes the slightly less terrible of two terrors. It’s not desiring the fall; it’s terror of the flames. And yet nobody down on the sidewalk, looking up and yelling ‘don’t and ‘hang on’ can really understand the jump. Not really. You’d have to be personally been trapped and felt flames to really understand a terror way beyond falling.”

For me personally, those flames have never been close enough for me to do anything other than weigh up the options. And that has been my mission for a long time; make sure those flames never do get close enough.

I have surrounded myself with amazing, caring people who complement me. I have quit things in life that drag me down and make me feel like I’m worthless. I have taken on volunteer projects and have found ways to make sure every single day I know, without a doubt, that I am valued, I am loved, I am wanted, and I belong.

Most importantly, I belong.

And that is why I came back from my travels with an absolute certain drive that I wanted to be in a position to help. To make sure people do not EVER feel like they do not belong in their own lives. That they are WANTED, LOVED, VALUED. And most importantly, that there are people who do GET what it feels like to feel the flames and want desperately to escape the terrible thoughts that surround your mind. The darkness that wraps itself around you and makes its home in your tears, anger and frustration.

It does get better. I can promise that. But I will admit it is still at times a struggle, but every single moment I wake up in the morning and I am glad to be here. That is a victory. And I know that. The struggle is worth it.

I’m studying psychology because I want to fix it. I started, to be honest, because I actually wanted to understand how to fix myself. But now I feel like it’s bigger than me. And because of that I try to find at least one thing in my day that went either well, or that I am thankful for. It can even be the lady at the supermarket who helped me with a smile.

I cling onto just about anything good. Because I do understand what it’s like not to feel anything good. And because of that, I really do appreciate what good feels like.

So to end I just want to say be kind, be loving, be the kind of person you’d want to meet on a bad day. Buy someone a drink or a coffee, make the time to send a text to someone on your mind. Don’t ever stop caring about other humans; create an environment around you where people can be open. People should not be afraid to be open in whatever forum they want to be.

Just writing a post like this is a massive step for me. Talking, even with a very guarded mindset to my partner about it was also massive.

But as everything in my life…it’s one step at a time. One step toward loving it, toward coping with it, toward just being a bloody good person.

Be a community. Love as a community. Because you have no idea who may very well need you.

You are valued, you are amazing, you are one of a kind, and please stay around because the world needs people like you.

If you know someone struggling, what this video from the other night on TVNZ. It really is worth a watch for everyone…

https://www.tvnz.co.nz/ondemand/the-hard-stuff-with-nigel-latta/09-08-2016/series-2-episode-8

Also, have a scroll through these pretty real and wonderful quotes from The Broken Borderline pg.

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Much love x

 

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The rocky roads

Life’s been a bit up and down lately, literally. Ivy decided a few weeks ago that I hadn’t swum enough this year and ran straight into the ocean during a beach ride. After several rodeo moments she landed me head/hands first into a great big wave. She then left me for dead and took off up the beach, through the sandjunes and around the neighbourhood. I then emerged from the water, soaking wet head to toe in my full riding gear and chased her down the beach. When that failed, I gave up and proceeded to walk around the area asking people if they’d seen a horse, most people were a little shocked by a stranger dripping wet wearing a helmet, horseless, asking if they’d seen said horse. Others commented on her beauty as she galloped riderless up the beach. Yes, yes that’s exactly the thoughts going through my mind in those moments…her beauty. We found her on someone’s back lawn, tied to a gate by the next door neighbours where were rather perplexed as to how a horse had turned up on their lawn, fully tacked up, in suburbia. Thankfully neither was too badly hurt, my pride mainly, and a little later I discovered my wrist was sprained but a trip to A&E established I was not in fact dying, despite the pain, and it wasn’t even fractured.

I thought I’d begin this blog with a funny story because if you keep reading, you’re going to need that humour. I think I’ve been holding onto as much humour as I can lately. I think that just makes life a bit easier to cope with. And watching your horse leave you in the water while providing people with a good dose of entertainment is certainly a good dose of humour, there’s not much else you can do but laugh!

Today in kids church one of the leaders came up to me and asked me if I was ok. I said “Yeah? Do I not seem ok?” He said I seemed a little off. I hadn’t really stopped to think about it to be honest. When you’re struggling with stuff I think it’s just easier not to think about it.

I mean how do you turn to someone and say “Well not really, I’ve been having suicidial thoughts for the past week because I don’t feel like I can cope.”

Like how do you just lay that on someone? Actually I don’t think I’ve ever openly said that to anyone.

For years I’ve been fine. Depression is a moment every now and then that knocks on my door but this last week it’s smacked that damn door right in my face and left me reeling a little wondering what the hell happened. I have nothing in my life that’s bad. There is no reason to feel particularly down. I just do. And that is one of the toughest things to explain to people. So I don’t.

It is easier to stay quiet and be ‘ok’. And I am ok. I really am. I know how to get through the down moments and tonight when people asked “how are you?” tonight I said “I’m good!” Because I am. I feel really good today and I know I will be just fine. I felt alive and like I wanted to be that way all damn day. That is pretty exciting. And I don’t write this at all to make people worry and I do not want people to suddenly say anything different to me, I have so many attentive friends and family. I am incredibly blessed and lucky. Because of them, their amazing way of just being, I always know I will be ok and I will get through it. No one needs to be anything other than what they’re being

I will always keep going, and I know even in the worst moments, I am going to be ok and I have a reason to live. Always.

I write it because I feel like there are people out there who need to read it…and know it’s ok. Because I want people to know they can open up and be honest, and that culture starts with me.

I run a Facebook pg called ‘YouthNet’. It’s an organisation that deals with mental health stuff. Anyway, I regularly post stories on there about family members who have written letters after their mum, son, daughter has killed themselves and they say ‘I want to raise awareness because not enough people talk about’. And I post them over and over…yet I’ve never once said anything to anyone…ever…about my own struggles.

Little bit hypocritical?

I was standing in church tonight and I started crying. And I never cry in church, but it just sort of hit me. It’s really hard some days to truly believe my life has a meaning and point. It pisses me off so damn much because I have absolutely nothing to be upset about. There are people living in cars and there are people who don’t know where their next meal is coming from.

And here I am living a beautiful life and I feel like I can’t hack it?

So many times I want to just tell myself to get over it and deal with it. But some days I just can’t. And that’s just the shitty thing about things like this, they hit at the strangest moments.

But what I have also learnt is those moments where it just seems like it’s far too much, those are the moments just before it gets good. And you can go years and years and years and be so fine and so great and so happy…then for no reason out of the blue you can’t do it.

Usually right when things should be good.

Anyway I’m pretty nervous about posting this, actually I’m terrified. This is honest even for me. I worry about people worrying about me, I am fine. This is not my first rodeo. But I do want to tell people how important it is to be kind, to be loving, to be open about struggles. To just be there for your friends. The people you love, the ones you don’t. Every single person you come across in your day be kind to them and listen. Be a beautiful person who makes someone’s day. Would you want to meet you if you were having a bad day?

For me, I focus on the little things. I focus on giving. On the days I simply cannot do it, I do something for someone else. I’m not sure when I began that, but it gives me a kind of purpose beyond myself and my own life. And it is so, so hard. I did not want to get out of bed this morning. Actually if I hadn’t been with Sam I probably wouldn’t have. But we saw some people and I was excited and I chatted because I got out of bed. I did that. I didn’t cry all day and I didn’t think one single awful thing about myself.

I’ve started focusing on loving myself and my abilities and trying to shut down those little thoughts of ‘you can’t do it’, ‘you’re not going to make it’ that become big over powering thoughts that shout. I’ve set a goal: if I can go an entire week without thinking one bad thing about myself I will treat myself to a massage.

It’s a massive goal, even sane and happy people would struggle. But it gives me something to focus on.

So that’s that. Take a deep breath.

I’ve found blogging hard lately; it’s super hard to be as open and honest as I want to be and as I need to be so I’ve just shut down and said nothing.

Keep your chin up guys, life is good regardless of the situation, it gets better and most importantly of all; YOU ARE WORTH SOMETHING. You are worth so, so much. You are amazing. You are beautiful. You are everything you need to be and more.

The best is yet to come.

Peace out.

 

 

One of those moments

It’s 5.09pm and I got home from work over half an hour ago. I spent most of the time since I drove in the driveway sitting in my car and lying on my bed with my cat. That might not seem like anything particularly special, but for those who know Charlie the cat it’s a pretty big deal.

Charlie doesn’t sleep on beds. Ever. And he freaks out when I put him on them. But today, a day where I don’t particularly want to face the world, Charlie cat let me not only put him on the bed, but lie down and have a nap beside him. He’s currently still curled up in a bun like formation while I type away at my desk.

Some days are hard. Your guess is as good as mine as to why. But this week my new life has begun to really sink in. The kind of sink where you slowly slip into a lukewarm pool and can’t quite tell if you’re 100 per cent happy about it, but you’re still glad to be there.

I’ve gone from a very body confident, reliable decision maker to a constantly uncertain, emotionally reserved and body conscious individual. I’m not sure how I got from there to here. There’s plenty of good changes too. I think. I can’t list them right now, but they are there. I know how to stand my ground and to be confident in what I do for work. That’s something.

This might sound weird, but a year ago I was a ‘go to person’ one of those people you have in your life for when it gets tough. The person you turn to to talk about anything. The person you need at the end of a rough day…someone who just sort of fixes things.

Somewhere along the road I became allergic to drama, to emotions, to anything that even remotely resembles someone needing me.

And I have no idea why.

At some point I just kind of stopped giving a shit.

And people stopped needing, they stopped talking, and they too stopped caring.

I think when big changes occur in someones life and when they go through challenging times, it’s easy to forget healing takes a long time. A really, really long time.

And people who weren’t there through it don’t realise how patient they need to be. But the people who were there through it often aren’t there any longer.

Someone can look fine but in reality they’re still struggling, they’re still broken, and they’re still healing.

I think the number one relationship killer ,whether it be friendship or romantic, is complacency and lack of respect.

I don’t mean respect in the term you might be picturing it in. I mean it in the way of listening to ideas and advice, listening to that persons way of viewing the world…and caring about it. By complacency I mean people stop caring about the answer to ‘how was your day’ they stop wanting that person to be happy, they stop wanting that person to smile. People just start to go about their own lives forgetting to ask and care: “how are you really doing?”

It’s amazing how easily and how quickly it happens.

And I’m terrified of it.

I’m also exhausted.

Maybe because for me part of my healing process means it takes a lot of energy to be open, to love, to care, to let people in. I don’t know if that ever gets easier, but I keep on trying hoping it eventually will.

This week I’ve started to appreciate my city and the morning drive to work. I’ve tried hard to walk around town more at lunch time, to come up with new places to take my horse; to genuinely live here.

But man, it is not easy. I still miss Hamilton. I miss the people. But I am starting to live here and in all honesty, I’ve made some incredible friends here so far I’d be sad to leave if I ever moved back. This is home. And it’s starting to feel like that.

But it doesn’t mean it’s not hard. I think after any period, long or short, of hardship it takes years to adjust again. This is probably the most time I’ve spent alone or even wanted to spend alone in nearly a year.

I’ve spent a year hiding.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve slowly addressed things as I felt I was capable. I’ve tried my best to counsel and work my way through the hurt bits and the crappy bits and ‘fix’ myself. But up until this point I’ve needed people. I’ve needed to see and be around people to remind myself it’s ok.

And now, I think I’m slowly learning how to be ok alone again and how to cope with myself.

I have a thyroid scan in a weeks time. I’m both nervous and excited. I want to know where it’s at. Has the nodule grown? Will I have to have a life changing operation? Will I not? I play it down but it plays on my mind almost constantly. And that’s just the reality of it.

I think somedays, I just want to feel unconditionally loved, and I want to unconditionally love myself too. I want that love for myself. I want to be in that space again where I don’t question if I’m a hard person to love, where I don’t feel like I’m still a bit broken, where I just feel like a whole human. A few weeks back I wrote a post about how I finally felt like I was no longer recovering. And I feel like that most of the time now.

But with any recovery there are set backs.

And this is just one of those moments.

This blog got a lot more real than I was anticipating. I think Sam ought to bring my red wine to me and I will lie on my bed with Charlie cat and watch crappy soaps.

Till next time x

 

All was well with the world

Right. I need to get blogging again. I have no idea what’s happened to my creative flow, or perhaps life just isn’t going AWOL enough for me to want to throw it all out there! I’ve been asked to be a contributor to a pretty cool blogsite, so I’ll soon be spamming you with  that asking you to love me. So that’s super exciting news!

It’s winter. It’s cold. My body is protesting and my lungs hurt from my run yesterday. Turns out you need to exercise your lungs too…like it isn’t enough having to exercise the rest of my body! I’m sulking because I’ve now put on 5kg since I STARTED going to the gym. Like, what the hell?! That’s not at all fair. I’m going with it’s muscle. But I mean, that’s a lot of muscle?!

My horse had a tooth pulled out the other day. Poor thing was incredibly good about it, until I put her back in the paddock where she lashed out in anger at her best friend then stood and sulked in the corner. I don’t blame her. I did the same thing when I had my wisdom teeth pulled!

I’m moving home again soon! For the past five weeks I’ve been crashing at Sam’s place while mum and dad renovate the house. It was a weird feeling moving home in the first place after five years out of home…but after five weeks back in a flat I’ve come to realize why I made that decision. Come to me my beautiful renovated en-suite bathroom and spacious kitchen! I’m honestly quite perplexed as to how Sam’s flat gets so dirty so quickly. I’ve just come to the acceptance it’s just one of those houses that’s never quite clean. I will definitely miss doing my own grocery shopping though; it’s just a nice part of the week…I don’t actually like paying for food.

Work has been an interesting combination of a lot of downtime and insanely busy days coupled by dealing with instances that have lead my to run away to the mountain for the weekend with WINE before I pull my hair out.

I love my job.

I love my joy.

No I actually really go, and honestly, those challenges make me feel like I’m actually doing something purposeful with my life.

I think that is definitely my challenge this year: to accept a slower pace and less ‘crazy’. I know I’ve still got a bit on my plate with study…I need to actually get onto my assignment, but over all things are probably the least stressful and most consistent they’ve been in a very long time.

I’m super happy in my relationship. Work isn’t stressful but there’s a decent amount of work to be done. I’m enjoying my study and not finding it nearly as difficult now I only have one paper. And my pony is so much fun on the odd occasion I get to ride. Even the gym has become somewhat enjoyable. So life is good but it is an incredibly weird feeling to just be ‘well’.

I’m off to the mountain this weekend! The weather is meant to be awful but I’m just looking forward to not being in the flat and instead cuddled up by a fireplace with a beautiful bottle of red wine I stole from mum…well kind of, I slowly took it while she stared at me.

So that’s me for now! I shall soon be back in my own room in my lovely parents house with my cute cat called Charlie and the world will be well.

Till next time!

 

 

Breathe a little, it’s your time now

I write this blog with a little bit of hesitation. Lately my Facebook has been inundated with people going through rough times or people facing touch situations. Even in my own family there’s a few rough times being had. So it is definitely with that in mind I write this, because I’m well aware how much of a slap in the face it can be when you’re down and out and someone else is just walking on sunshine.

I was flying to Wellington the other day for a marketing meeting. As I sat on the plane on the way home again I felt this really strange sense of peace. I’m a Christian so the sense of peace and all that jazz is definitely a familiar one. But I really noticed it this time.

For the past few months, actually years, I’ve had some pretty cool highs but I’ve had some pretty low lows. I think I became pretty good buddies with rock bottom. I’ve felt like I’ve always been recovering, moving on, starting again, shifting, rethinking, adjusting. I’ve spent a lot of my time trying really hard to be ok and to just get up and carry on every day with a smile.

But as I sat on that plane, on my way back home I felt this sense of peace; peace that for the first time in a very, very long time I’m not fighting.

I’m not fighting to be ok.

Life’s not perfect. Nan is still sick, study is still a challenge, I (at the time on the plane) had no job security past November. Sam still needs/ed to sell his house.

But I felt ok.

Tauranga is home now. I’ve settled in. I’ve accepted it for what it is and I cannot deny it is a beautiful city to live in and I am incredibly lucky to live here. I miss Hamilton and my life there still. But I know now that these things pass. Missing something or someone is just life and you just have to ride those waves of emotion until the eventually subside.

I love my job. I wake up each day and while I definitely don’t want to get out of bed because bed is amazing and the air is always cold, I want to go to work. For the first time…ever…I was happy to be sick on a weekend so I could be better for work. I know! Mad right? Things are looking positive and I may, if all goes well, have a job here long term and I’m really satisfied with that.

I have a direction I want my life to head in and I feel like I am ready to finally go after that. I’m not chasing a dream, I’m letting where I’m meant to be develop and come to light. I know the goal, but what that actually looks like can come in any shape or form. I’m not only ready, but really excited for that.

We have house options! Sam and I have the opportunity to purchase a section on a beautiful piece of land and the house concept plans are being drawn up as we speak. It’s a pretty scary and big move and many, many things have to fall into place but I am so in love with not just the idea, but the reality of what we can do with such a stunning slice of paradise and how many people we could bless with it.

My health condition has been stable for over two years now and that’s an incredible miracle and I’m feeling good despite several bouts of nasty colds and flu’s this winter! My ankle has healed fine and I’m back training full steam at the gym.

I’m not horse riding as much as I’d like (I’m actually not at all!). I don’t see my friends as often as I’d like. But I feel comfortable: in my own skin and in my own world. I don’t feel like I’m fighting life. There are so many little things that need to fall into place, but this is the first time in many years I’ve felt like this is ‘my time’ to loosen the rope and stop clinging on for dear life.

There is a lot more to come and many more waves to ride out. The next year to 18 months is likely to be full of planning and stress. But I’m enjoying just a moment of peace and quiet for now.

I think sometimes we just have to know when to embrace those moments of ‘ok’ so we can be ready to go again when it gets tough. It’s never perfect, it’s never completely sorted, things always go wrong…so when you feel a moment of relief in it all, just take that and breathe a little.

Red wine, honest opinions and #adulthood

Alright, it’s time to be real. I think I’ve been doing too much of ‘trying to make it look like I’ve got it together’ and not enough of ‘where the bloody hell is the wine cause I got no clue how I got here’. I don’t. I really have no idea how I landed myself here. Life is good, man life has so many wonderful things in it that I almost have to remind myself not to be too happy because it’s annoying and always ends in not being happy. So I’ve just ended up being horribly grumpy and emotional while I try to work it all out in my head like a #adult.

I’m an adult. I’m about to make my first purchase of shares and I’m talking home loans and life with someone and all those big terrifying things I said weren’t on the table when I found myself in a tormented ball of ‘I have no friggin clue!!’ last year.

So we can get this straight, life is terrifying. Terrifying in such a way that makes me forget to eat lunch and leaves me holding my breath for multiple minutes at a time.

But it’s terrifying because it’s good.

I wouldn’t be terrified if I wasn’t in a great relationship. But I am terrified because right to my very core I hold this deep and pretty understandable fear I’m going to be left right when it matters. I’m scared of putting all my dreams, ideas, and hopes into life with one person because what if, on the odd chance, it happens again and I am in fact left to create another dream and another life…by myself. I’m not afraid of being alone in life, but I am certainly afraid of losing someone I love, having to recover from that, and also losing the dreams we had together. There is not a single day that goes by that I am not afraid of that.

But I am brave and I do have courage because 95 per cent of the time I’m able to remind myself it is ok, and it can and will work out. I have to have faith that yes, it might be a similar situation, but I am going to be ok. I’m might get hurt, there is always that chance, but I will recover. But man how amazing would it be if it actually did work out?! But I will not lie and say that I’ve let myself be 100 per cent excited…or even 70 per cent for that matter. I squish that excitement like a little ant eating my honey because I know very well that that excitement, the fall from that blissful hope, is incredibly damaging. And that makes me a bit sad.

And then there is talking about home loans is a whole new monster within itself. I mean I’m lucky I can even have that conversation, so being terrified of this is a good thing, it means life is good. But many people, myself included, would probably consider looking at buying a section and building a home and starting a small business with the first few years of being with someone to be nuts or ‘rushing’. And hey I won’t judge you for that opinion. But I definitely think there are times in your life when you have to look at opportunities and think ‘can I live with myself, without regret, in 10 years time if I don’t take this now?’ Maybe. But I’m pretty sure I’d be quite pissed at myself for not doing it when I could.

Here’s the thing I’ve learnt and learnt in spades over the past few years. It. Never. Goes. Your. Way. Especially when you really want it to. But, it does always go the way it’s meant to go, when it’s meant to go.

Was I pissed when I lost money and couldn’t sell Pip (horse #2) for over 6 months? YES! Was I incredibly anxious about selling Mardy when I needed the money 3 weeks out from my flight overseas? Yep. But he sold, right at the right time. Pip sold too, and no it wasn’t what I wanted and it didn’t happen when I wanted it to. But it was by far my most valuable life lesson and taught me how to dig deep and just deal with it.

‘Shit happens’ became my life motto and I apologize for the swearing but there’s really no other way to put it!

I’ve spent a lot of the past few years being angry about life, being upset, recovering. I’ve been incredibly mad about my health condition, I hate the fact I have to live with it every single day of my life and it’s like this constant shadow sitting in the corner. I’ve been upset about losing a grandparent too soon from something that was treatable. I’ve been pissed about heartbreak. I’ve been sad about the death of animals. I’ve had to look back and face some average decisions and deal with that part of my life. I’ve dealt with things just not going my freaking way for months and months on end. And I’ve had to look at exactly what it is that makes me, me.

And I definitely found it.

Sitting in the back of a tuktuk. Learning to communicate in different languages. Seeing people in little mud homes with absolutely nothing to their names. Standing on the top of a mountain in the Austrian Alps. I definitely found what makes me, me.

I think though I’ve at times, especially lately, let that slip away. I’ve gone back into my ‘trying to make it look better than it is’ bubble and I’ve attempted to put on a ‘brave’ face.

But that’s exactly how I cracked in the first place.

I’m not a perfect person, my life is far from perfect. I’ve had some incredible wins and also some incredible lows. But I’m here. I made it. I’m figuring out where I want this career to take me. I’m excited. And I’m learning to be excited and make the most of what I have.

I’m learning to play the cards I have in the best way possible, rather than looking at my neighbors cards wishing I could have that hand.

As I learnt in a 4 hour long card game on a 20 hr boat ride through Laos to Thailand, it is never the hand you have, but what you’re smart enough to do with that hand. A good hand helps, sure, but it doesn’t mean you’re going to win.

So yeah…keep’n it real, yo.

Too cheesy? Yeah I agree.

Anyway. I just wanted to get back to the crux of it. It’s pretty easy to get carried away in a whirlwind of baby photos, engagement announcements, weddings, new jobs, travel on Facebook and just in general! And those are all incredible, amazing things…but sometimes it’s easy to forget everyone struggles and it’s never perfect. It’s just life.

And everything that comes with life is pretty sure to keep it interesting.

But if you’re anything like me, you’re going to get to the end of the week and think ‘damn, I’m glad I began this love affair with red wine’. You also might be drowning in files and paper work on your desk, wondering when the last time it was you washed your hair, and desperately wanting it to be sunny for more than one day so you can actually breathe in air that hasn’t been recycled through the heating system several times.

*Sigh*

Till next time.

 

 

 

Here we go

I’ve done a lot of adulting lately. I’m not entirely sure when the moment hits for most people when you realise you are in fact an adult, but as I was walking through the supermarket, doing a normal weekly shop for myself for the first time in a year, it hit for me.

To be honest, most of my life ‘Epiphany’ moment hit while I’m the supermarket and I’m definitely part of a minority who genuinely enjoys the task. In a lot of ways it’s just the symbol of growing up to me.

From my first grocery shop living out of home five years ago, to the little moments where a mum referred to me as a ‘lady’, or the moment of pure joy I felt when I finally could shop again for food I recognised when I got to Austria after three months in Asia/Africa, it’s just my space.

I’m staying with Sam for a few weeks while the house is renovated so I jumped at the chance to do the weekly shop. It ended up being more like a fortnightly shop as I bough half the supermarket home (sorry credit card, I love you).

I was walking around the supermarket and I felt like ‘yes, this is home’. I traveled to Hamilton a few weeks ago and it was the first time it no longer felt like home. I wasn’t quite ready for that, Tauranga hadn’t quite felt like that yet. And now it does…well more so than Hamilton.

I think I’ve finally accepted life after I ran quickly from it all a year ago. It wasn’t a run in terms of ‘run away’, it was a ‘I need a change so I’m going about it pronto’. I just at the time had absolutely no idea how many things in my life that change would impact. I was laughing to myself in the car on the way home with Sam from something.

“It’s only been a year since you left the country?” He said.

“Yep. A lot can happen in a year.”

It surely can. I couldn’t do life as it was anymore, so I didn’t. I made a change, I’d put myself in the position to be able to make that change whenever I wanted to. I then came back and I started again. And that can be a bloody hard thing to do.

But I truly think in some form, we are all starting new in something.

Life is just like that.

I’ve done a lot of freaking out along with my realisation I’m an adult lately. Mainly just to remind myself I am only 22 and freaking out about major responsibility is normal. But then I also hate thinking that way; ‘only’ has this connotation that implies I have a lot of time. And I mean I do. But why waste any of it? I also might not. I don’t know what’s going to happen, so I’d rather make the most of opportunities that come along. Rushing through life and taking on opportunities before you’re ‘ready’ are different things, and people often get them confused.

Rushing is when you never stop to take in how far you’ve come or appreciate what you have accomplished, or even life for that matter. Taking opportunities when they come is just putting your hand up and say ‘yes’ it’s my time to do that now, so I’m going to. Even if you’re not 100 per cent ‘ready’ you probably never will be, so if it’s your time, take it, and don’t second guess yourself.

It’s always important to remember not every ‘opportunity’ is in fact one, and being able to tell the difference between the two is going to take you a long way in life.

Sam and I were talking mortgages the other day and he said, “I feel like other people don’t worry the same way about these things”.

And I laughed.

I said, “No, it’s the same for them, the difference is you don’t see it or hear about it”.

I tend to find myself living in a constant mindset of ‘I’m pretty sure it’s all just talk and none of it is really real’. Perhaps because I’m terrified it’s going all just disappear?  But I’m going to stop doing that. I’m not living life on a tight-wire waiting for the moment someone rips it out from underneath me or a strong wind comes and knocks me off. Life is happening and I’m doing it.

Mortgages, business, jobs, careers… it’s scary as all hell but who cares? I like a challenge right? And a bit of fear is always a great motivation to keep looking ahead.

Here we go.

 

Worn out cars and worn out minds

I’m exhausted. I’ve worn the same outfit multiple days in a row, in public, around the same people… and it’s not the first time it’s happened either. And I don’t even care. I’m not entirely sure when the last time was I shaved, washed my hair, or actually cared about my outfit beyond it preventing me from walking around in the cold naked.

I’m really that kind of exhausted.

I was wondering why I was so exhausted the other day. Well, I wasn’t wondering, I was crying into my cup of tea while sitting in bed in the middle of the day, on week day, wondering how I got so tired.

I then decided to write my CV.

And in doing so I realised why I’m so damn tired.

Do I actually ever stop to you know, like not do stuff?

I don’t know. I don’t think so. It’s possible I do occasionally when I take my bath and watch an hour of TV once a week. Otherwise I’m running like I run my car: always on under half a tank and by forgetting to actually maintain it.

It still runs mind you…

So it is a proven theory.

But I can tell you right now, if my car feels anything close to how I do, I have absolutely no idea why it keeps going for me.

This week I finished my exam, went to conference in Auckland on Saturday for work, helped out with kids church, and managed to finish a bottle of wine with the help of equally as exhausted family members.

I’d love to say life lately has been fantastic. There are most definitely high points, but right now all I want to do is hide away in my bed and forget the world exists. If Sam wasn’t making dinner I’m pretty positive it would be toast of a smoothie for dinner.

This week I’m shifting out of my house for a few weeks while it’s being renovated so it’s back to packing up boxes and getting used to a new house full of people for while. Poor Charlie the cat is being left behind. But honestly, I might go join him in the shed every now and then when life gets too much.

This time last year I was doing my final pack and about to head overseas. I remember the feeling of ‘man I can’t wait to get on that plane because I can’t think of anything better than sleeping for 13 hours with no phone, no conversation, and no one being able to ask for anything’. I want that. I wanna be on a plane just for that.

I sometimes spend too much of my life trying to ‘change’. I like to perfect things, and one of those things is often myself. But I think I’m coming to a point (possibly because I’m too exhausted to really do anything else) where I’ve just accepted what I am, who I am, and that’s what I have to work with. What am I capable of right now? How can I build on what and who I am?

That’s what I’m rolling with. What do I have now – that’s all I know and that’s all I can work with.

I think sometimes life just gets too much, for all of us; we all get to that point sometimes. It just sort of sucks. Not because it’s terrible, not because it’s ending, not because anything terribly awful has happened. Sometimes, somedays, it’s just too much. And those are the days I spend twice as long in the shower, I drink a lot of tea, and I snuggle up in bed and just let sleep happen. And I try again tomorrow.

So anyway. On that note, because I can’t think of anything else to add… I’m going to leave it there and give you a whole bunch of funny and sad sayings to start your week with.

Enjoy.

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Doomsday prep

I survived two days in Auckland…just. Turns out a cold coffee with ice in it is a ‘cold brew’ in Takapuna (North Auckland) but an iced Americano in Manakau (South Auckland). It’s the same damn city guys, can’t you at least agree on what to name your cold coffee?! I also nearly died because drivers there are just…well…I nearly died. The motorway is fine, people kind of know to look out for others (though with four crashes in the stretch of motorway that runs from one side of the city to the other might suggest otherwise), but outside of that it’s every man for himself. I nearly hit a kid too on a crossing who thought that instead of stopping to check the cars were far enough away to ACTUALLY stop, he just walks out without looking, on dusk, in dark clothes, on a wet road. I stopped.Thankfully.

So with my heart in my throat 90 per cent of the time I was there I’ve concluded I felt safer on the busy streets of South East Asia than I do in Auckland. None the less I am home safe, back in Tauranga, where the drivers are equally as bad but there are far fewer of them.

As I was driving between the two cities (it’s a three hour trip in average traffic) I went back through the Waikato (where I used to live). Man I miss it.

The Waikato is very foggy, most people hate that. I love it. There’s nothing cooler than living at the top of a hill looking down at all the fog sitting in the bottom of the valley. It’s mystical in the coolest of ways.

I’m not missing the cold though.

However, I do miss the fashion. I have no idea how people in Tauranga don’t freeze. No one wears coats?! This time of year in Hamilton I’d be in boots, a scarf, gloves, and a coat. Not here. I’d just look like a weirdo if I wore a scarf AND a coat. But I can’t feel my fingers so I think I might just have to be unfashionable and start rugging up and watch all these weirdos freeze.

The first frost of the year is here (for Tauranga anyway, the rest of the country south is probably already well used to these) and I had to get the ice off my windscreen before work.

The best part though? My car started. Dad was very convinced it wouldn’t once it started getting cold because the battery has a mind of its own. I am of the opinion it’s not a problem till it stops working all together. And on that day I will be late for work and probably be very upset and it will be all my own fault.

None the less, I am trying to prove that it will be fine and it will make it through.

I know it’s at least three years old since I haven’t bought a new one since I got the car…it really is on its last legs.

I have one week to go before my exam (I call it dooms day)…but I have passed all the assignments for that paper so far, so I have a small amount of hope that I may go down in a small blaze of fire rather than a large one.

Shrug.

I’m tired from my Auckland training and I’d love to say that I’m taking the afternoon off to chill out…but I’m not. I’m going to study my butt off to catch up after missing a lot of study time while away training.

One. More. Week.

Then I can crack open my lovely $45 bottle of wine I splashed out on and enjoy it while having a spa. It was going to be a bath, but I feel like I might want people to join me in this wine drinking and it’s a bit hard for them to all join in a bathtub.

Actually don’t try to imagine that.

So life is happening. People are happy, people are getting married, having babies, getting cool jobs. It’s happening. And I’m happy to be part of their stories. It’s fun. I even like crying babies now. Apparently I do have a maternal instinct. Not sure I want my own one any time soon. But you know, at least I like other peoples now.

And on that note I’m off to achieve at least something today from the office before I head off at lunch time to frolic about in the sun for approximately 5minutes before I find myself back inside, cowering from the cold, studying.

Yaaaay…

Over and out.

 

 

 

 

Pros, cons, failure

Growing up is a weird thing; it just sort of happens without really thinking about it. I mean sure, most of the time I’m thinking to myself ‘I am definitely not adult enough to deal with this’, but then there are moments where I suddenly realise I am an adult, and I’m actually doing it just fine. How can I tell I’m adulting well? Firstly, I am incredibly particular about wine, babies no longer scare me (I’m still highly skeptical I should ever actually be allowed to bring one up), I am capable of looking after multiple small people at once, I know life does not stop and start with marriage, relationships, or even having children…but those things are cool too, I’ve come to appreciate money…by that I mean the fact that I turn up to a place each day and do stuff and they then give me money so I can live, I am learning how to think about and navigate the idea of a mortgage, a house, where I want to live… and I have learnt just how fragile life is, and I appreciate that fact. Oh and I’ve also come to learn and accept shit happens to all of us.

I don’t feel grown up, but to honest I don’t know if anyone ever feels ‘grown up’, I think it’s more a feeling of comfortable experience that leads you to have a little more faith each year that in most situations you will, regardless of how you may feel at the time, be ok. I was going to put ‘survive’, but there’s really no guarantee of that.

My little cat had his vaccinations today. In order to get him into the cat cage I coxed him with food first into a small space. He then quickly realised something was not right and quickly escaped. I came back five minutes later to see he had given into his desire for food (animal like its owner) and I swiftly blocked the cat door with various washing baskets. He then escaped from the other door as I tried to enter with the cat cage and my attempts at a human barricade failed miserably. I then spent 10 minutes chasing him up and down the house until he finally gave in to his desire for pats and I captured him once and for all. His poor defeated meows were heart breaking as I loaded him into the car for mum to take him with her to the clinic (she’s a vet nurse). Admittedly the only time I’ve ever put him in a cage prior was to move him from one place to another…so right now he’s sitting in a cage at the clinic thinking this is his new home and he’s been transported to some kind of jail for a crime in which he does not know. I will sweep in and rescue him and he shall love me forever…and hopefully forget all about this mornings antics.

I have two weeks until my psychology exam. I have finally accepted there is no possible way for me to learn everything I need to learn. So, I’ve decided I will simply learn five chapters REALLY well so ace that part of the exam. I’d love to say this is a strategy well thought through, however it’s really a last ditch effort not to fail this whole thing.

But I can always try again.

Really what I’m telling myself is it is not the end of the world, I have wasted $700 in worse ways, it will be fine, I have wine, and if I have to try again I’ll just try again. Simple, right?

Adulting at its finest right there.

What I’m coming to learn this year is to just chill out. That might seem strange to those in my life who understand I operate at a million miles an hour and every single weekend in June is booked…however, I am learning to stop putting on the pressure, stop trying to overachieve, to move a million miles an hour. Just take one step, as it comes. For me, there are often many steps that come all at once…so if I apply that statement to my life it looks like madness.

But on the days I feel frustrated I’m not going anywhere fast enough, I just remind myself how much I wanted this; to have a warm home close to family, to have my own cat, to have a job that keeps me busy and earns me money but doesn’t give me nightmares, so I have time to study and enjoy that study. This is what I wanted when I sat in that little home in France and pictured life. It just didn’t happen how I expected it to. But this is really lovely.

It’s raining. I love rain. I love studying when it’s raining. Soon I’ll have a gym with a spa and I can provide myself with motivation for the gym with that. It’s winter, it’s snuggly weather, it’s raining, I’m studying something I love, I have a cat, I have plans for a house, I want to live in the country, I have a good job. It’s all about perspective…

Because when I got on here I was going to complain how stressed and didn’t want to study, how my head hurts because I have a headache because it’s always so damn cold, how it’s raining so I don’t want to go outside or to the gym, and I have no money for my dream home or my dream travel.

It’s really easy to get stuck feeling like it’s falling apart or like something else would be better. Of course it would, because it always looks great when you’re not living it. You can’t have all the pros without the cons and you rarely see the cons when it’s not your life.

I’m wearing my favourite sweater today, it’s raining, and I’m going to go home and snuggle my cat and study with a hot cup of tea. I might even take an Instagram shot of it all so people think my life is amazeballs.

Sorry, this blog had potentially a little too much sarcasm in it.