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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Cat pee and cups of tea

I arrived home at 10pm on a Thursday after a quick two day trip to Russell in memory of my granddads passing. I ran a bath, made a cup of tea, sat aimlessly on the couch staring at a picture on the wall, stood in the kitchen for a moment wondering how to get food in my body without having to eat, then I went to my room. I petted my cat and went to put my hot wheat bag in the bed so it was warm when I got in. There, in the middle of the bed was a pee stain. A cat pee stain. I looked at the bed, I looked at Charlie, he looked back at me, I looked back at the bed. Right. I’m not sure what most people do when they’re emotional exhausted and find their cat peed in their bed, but I laughed. Charlie meowed. I laughed a bit more and looked at him and said, “yep, I know what you mean”. I have no idea what he meant. He’s a cat, he probably just meant he wanted food. But I’ll take it as a sorry. So the sheets are in the wash, including the waterproof mattress cover which is apparently not also cat-pee-proof and I’ve remade my bed. Of course he also got the duvet so that’s tomorrows job. I pulled out another one of my many and put that on my bed instead. The problem I faced with remaking the bed however, is every bed in this house is a double and mine is a queen…so fitting sheets on it is similar to me trying to fit back into my size six jeans after France.

So, here I am in my bath with my cup of tea, well the second cup, the first cup ended up cold and with floating bits of cat fur in it, balancing my laptop precariously on the edge of the bath because I’ve concluded this is my only quiet ‘me’ spot…it’s even safe from the cat.

Tomorrow, Friday, is all about bridal shower planning. I’m super excited but also rather dubious as to how I am going to make a paper mache in one day…guess it’s time to get out the hair dryer! I’m also rather frightened I might poison all the guests with cake as I haven’t made a normal cake in years and as I can’t taste it, well….you can imagine how that might end.

Never the less I am alive, I went for a run today and only nearly died, and I have tea, and a bath, and a clean bed.

Deep breaths, tomorrow is a new day.

Another year older and a little bit wiser…sometimes

My butt is incredibly sore today. It’s a rather interesting way to end a birthday, but turns out sitting on it meant it needed massaging. And that hurt. But I think it’s going to be ok. With my flitting around the world this year it doesn’t quite feel time for my birthday to have come around again or that it’s been a year since granddad passed away. Charlie the cat is as weird as ever but he’s come around to sleeping on my bed and even thinks it’s fun to wake me up by standing on my head in the night. I spent the morning with mum at a spa for a detox treatment and I feel suitably loved and detoxed and filled with healthy chocolate. What on earth would the world do without chocolate?

The spa we went to gave me a little pink flower pot plant so I now have three living things that rely on me! I’m rather determined to keep it alive…the plant that is. I’m hoping the cat and horse can look after themselves a little because let’s be honest, I’m not actually that good at keeping even myself alive. But I’ve managed 22 years so that’s got to count for something!

I wanted to do a big post about how much has changed over the past year but sometimes there just aren’t words for things so here is a super brief recap:

I lost granddad, I brought a horse and sold a horse, Ivy had a baby horse and I sold him, I ran away overseas and travelled to nine countries in four months and absolutely loved it and learnt a bunch of life lessons, and I went from a four year relationship to single, I ended up with a cat. And here we are!

When I was a kid I always thought: “When I get to 21, life will be good”. I have no idea why it was 21, but I seemed to think life would stop there. I thought I’d have a car, a horse, a house, a job, and a degree and I’d be set for life. I have all that sure, but it’s nothing like I pictured and life is certainly not stopping here. I must chuckle at my much younger self and think, “Man, what am I going to think in another 10 years? Will I look back on my current self and think ‘how naive, if only you’d known’.” Yep, probably. But what I have come to realise is life never happens how you expect and even when it comes close to it, the feeling may be nothing like the one you’d anticipated. Walking away from my relationship was one of the hardest things to do. I wanted to fight, I wanted it to work. But I also hate giving up and sometimes I don’t know when to quit. Perhaps it was time to do so or perhaps I’m just stronger than I was four years ago, but I’m really quite ok. I’m sad in moments and angry in others but after losing people, seeing suffering in all parts of the world including my own, and having been diagnosed with a life altering health issue I feel like a break up is a mountain I’m well equipped to climb and with the support I have, there is absolutely no reason I won’t make a quick journey over the other side.

Anyway, instead of rambling on about all the changes I decided I’d instead write a list of all the things I’m grateful for in my life.

  • Amazing friends I’m not sure I’d be ok without
  • The chance to have worked at a great paper and have more experience under my belt than I ever imagined in my first 18 months of work.
  • A really cool, easy horse who is the bees knees
  • A not-so-cuddly cat who’s a bit weird but I like him.
  • Parents who are going to have to put up with my being at home a lot for the next few months
  • New work and volunteer opportunities
  • A body that functions properly 90 per cent of the time
  • A bed all to myself
  • Chocolate
  • The ability to travel the world on my own and all the incredible things I’ve learnt

I’d go on, but that’s the gist of it. In the past few months life has become an incredibly interesting and slightly frightening place to navigate. I spent several days standing on the top of mountains screaming “I’M ALIVE”, I spent days dragging a 20kg bag around with me, I’ve walked more miles than I ever thought was possible in four months, I’ve faced some of my biggest fears, I’ve eaten scorpions, I’ve seen suffering and heartbreak, and I’ve had the chance to change my world view.

Now I’m here and in my 22nd year I’m excited about what’s going to happen now. There are so many paths and picking the ‘right’ one seems scary, but it’s just taking that first step. And I’ll take it. Once I do, there won’t be any stopping me! For now the ‘to do’ list simply has one thing: keep climbing mountains and I mean that both figuratively and literally.

Tomorrow I’m heading up north with dad to celebrate the first year anniversary of granddad passing away. It’s a chance for me to revisit places Alex and I spent a lot of time and accept that’s part of the past, and it’s a chance to grieve but also acknowledge just how amazing granddad was and how mum we miss him, but also how ok we’re going to be.

So on that note, I’m going to leave this post with a bunch of quotes I found on this blog: http://thoughtcatalog.com/katie-wilkes/2014/12/20-quotes-that-all-20-year-olds-must-read/

“It’s better to have nobody than someone who is half there, or who doesn’t want to be there.”
Angelina Jolie

“You can tell so much about a person by the way they leave you.”
Redvers Bailey

“I will not be your sometimes.”
Anonymous, Six Word Stories

“The hours between 12 AM and 6 AM have a funny habit of making you feel like you’re either on top of the world or under it.”
Unknown

“I crave space. It charges my batteries. It helps me breathe. Being around people can be so exhausting, because most of them love to take and barely know how to give. Except for a rare few.”
Katie Kacvinsky

“The moment you feel like you have to prove your worth to someone is the moment to absolutely and utterly walk away.”
Alysia Harris

“Give yourself permission to immediately walk away from anything that gives you bad vibes. There is no need to explain or make sense of it. Just trust what you feel.”
Sonia Chuquette

“Nothing ever happens how you imagine it will.”
John Green

“Suddenly you’re 21 and you’re screaming along in the car to all the songs you listened to when you were sad in middle school and everything is different but everything is good.”
Unknown

“There had been too much emotion, too much damage, too much everything.”
Ernest Hemingway

“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but building the new.”
Socrates

“If you don’t make time to work on creating the life you want, you’re eventually going to be forced to spend a LOT of time dealing with a life you DON’T want.”
Kevin Ngo

“We can judge our progress by the courage of our questions and the depth of our answers, our willingness to embrace what is true rather than what feels good.”
Carl Sagan

So just remember life is beautiful even when it feels like you’ve been sat on by a bus or a large horse. Always take a moment before you decided to get back up off the ground because the sky is pretty damn beautiful. If you’ve fallen face down though that doesn’t really apply, sometimes mud can be good for your skin. Just remember that. And if you’re lonely, get a cat…they’re remarkably uncomplicated, even the strange ones.

Now here’s a song.

The to do list is almost over

Tomorrow I shall clean my desk and my computer files. I may avoid using spray and wipe on the computer files, they never seem to like that much. Then again, it might solve all my problems…it deserves a good spray and wiping after its determination to destroy my sanity this year with its technological malfunctions.

The end is near.

I have organised the rubbish, I have packed two weeks worth of my gluten free snacks and go to foods for holiday, I have my suitcase out and already starting to fill, I’ve bought most of my Christmas presents, I even did the dishes.

Now it’s just the final parts of saying goodbye to this year (and cleaning the rest of the house, but that never seems to really stop needing to be done). I have to clean out the tack room and organise it all in my shed at home, start cleaning the float ready for sale, and have my car serviced…also ready for sale.

And Pip has to get to his new home all safe and sound and ready for a new life.

Next year, is going to be different. Perhaps I have lulled myself into a false sense of security…but I feel like I might actually hit the ground running for once.

Last year I was still suffering the effects of study, having had very few actual breaks and going straight into full time work, then losing granddad, buying a new horse, having my other horse have a baby horse, moving house… and so on.

I am in a house where I feel secure and stable, I have narrowed down my hobbies, and made way for friends.

Speaking of friends, I have two both getting married next year…I’m maid of honour (I think the proper title is chief bridesmaid as I am yet to be married) for both. I am very pleased and excited about this don’t get me wrong…

But I think I will a) be very prepared for when I do get married and b) might actually consider just going to a trip to the court house.

Just kidding…kinda.

I thought with two friends getting married I’d be all jealous like but I’m really not, I am excited though. But I think it’s actually installing a healthy wariness of weddings…but hey…I’ll make a great maid of honour…I’m great at organising and great at creating lists and great at budgeting!

Anyway…

Christmas is just around the corner. I still need to find a present for my brother and my boy friend. I need to finish cleaning the house. Move my horse stuff. And I’m done. I can officially switch off from life. That’s a pretty cool feeling…

I have finally made it (almost) through 2014 alive, step after painfully slow, heavy step, I’m here.

2015 feels like it’s going to be full of excitement, a bit of stress, and a whole change of tune in how I view life.

It’s going to be about fun. It’s going to be about doing well at my career, about drinking wine with friends, riding Ivy for the hell of riding, getting Mardy used to life because I can, going on trips around the Waikato to find great walks, heading into the bush as much as possible, and hopefully taking up water skiing.

This year was far too serious, it had to be at times, but I just think it’s time for a change…

If you don’t like something. Change it.

Adios!

Break, here I come.

There are very few things better than climbing into a quality bed with fresh sheets and the fan going on a warm summers night. Especially when following a rather roller coaster week. This week is probably a very good metaphor for this entire year; the wins are constantly battling the losses and the pendulum of life keeps on going regardless of what happens between each tock.

That was deep.

Getting back to light hearted. This past week, I managed to get myself run off the road in the work car (not my fault) punctured the tyre, then the wheel bearing went. I also ‘disappointed’ a comms person. I seem to be very good at doing that. I also washed both my cars, kind of worked on my tan, managed a whole day with very little make up and lounging in bed (much needed!). I even watered the garden.

Oh and I sold my horse (Pip).

There are less than 10 working days between me and a holiday, and I am imagining myself in a slow motion movie scene, just a few more steps away from the finish line.

I have 10 days to get through and I can say I have survived one of the most challenging years of my life. It certainly wasn’t the worst, it probably wasn’t the hardest, but I have faced hurdles at times I felt like I was about to run straight at them, and then meet the ground with my face.

I can’t say I didn’t do that a few times. Sometimes I just stayed down there for a while, other times I managed to catch myself just before the fall, and most of the time I made it over.

I bought a horse, I sold a horse (the same one), and man am I glad I had that horse. Every difficult time in my life I have had a horse by my side, I’m not too sure how I would have made it through most days without one. I still have Ivy, but it will be the first time in 12 years that I have not had a horse to ride. I have three months to wait before I can jump back on her…but I need a break. I think at every point in your life you come to a stage where you just have to stop what has become the norm, what has become a crutch, and take a step toward the next ‘thing’.

There is this sad and scared feeling selling Pip, but at the same time it is excitement that I finally had the courage to take a step back and focus on me…who I am…and what my next step is in life. I can no longer identify myself as a ‘horse rider’ and to some degree that is freeing, it gives me a chance to explore what else I can be.

I lost a loved one. Watching granddad go slowly has been one of the hardest things I have had to face. And I still feel that loss, but I am healing. It is something everyone must learn to accept at some stage, and no matter how hard it is, it teaches you things about yourself you never thought you’d learn.

I understand the concept of ‘stopping’, I understand how important it is to reach out to someone in pain, I get what it’s like to be alone and how alone alone feels, I understand how people have mental breakdowns, I understand what it’s like to feel everything at once.

I started my first job. Wow, talk about jumping in the deep end. But I love it. I love every moment of the ‘pull my hair out imagine myself on a beach far away and not wanting to strangle that person’ madness that it can be. I understand why I chose this career; it is part of me. It is everything, it is how I define myself now. I might have been in tears, in fits of insanity laughter, glaring at my computer screen, drinking wine to ignore the burning need to tell someone what I think of them, the not drinking alcohol in fear I will, falling into bed convinced I may never get up again, but I wouldn’t change it.

I moved house. In amongst the madness I moved house, not just any move, but a move to live with my sister, and every moment since I have been thankful I made that decision. It has shown me I am finally getting the hang of listening to myself. It is hard to move for me, home is what keeps me stable, it is my centre where I can come back to when it’s all spinning out of control. So moving is big. But this has been a good one, and I am looking forward to the future.

I faced my past. It might not seem like a big thing to most people, but I have a delayed shock reaction to most emotionally threatening situations. If my mind doesn’t think I can cope with the sheer volume of emotion coming my way, it shuts it out and waits until I am in a place I can comprehend it. For me, Conrad was a part of my life I didn’t think I could ever deal with. But when suddenly he was here, in my city, in the place that had become my safe haven, I had to face some pretty big issues I never knew I had.

It’s moments like these you realise just how incredible the human brain is, how it can just blank things out it doesn’t think you need to remember. At the end of the day, it helped to realise how a health issue began, and how to fix it.

I resolved a long term and controlling health issue.
It’s not every day you get to defy the doctors and fix yourself with natural medicine. Nope, it’s not going to vanish, but it’s not going to even with the doctors medication. But it is pretty much consistently under control and it is no longer the centre of my life.

I ended up with a baby horse...this is the start of a new future with my darling Ivy. She’s been my best friend for the past six years, but our ‘team’ has changed its course and I’ve come to accept I won’t be competing for a while, Mardy is the final point of acceptance in that.

So this year has been a good one, and it’s not over! But it’s so, so close. I have a pretty incredible life, I’ve been on some amazing adventures and had some unforgettable experiences. And it doesn’t stop here.

It’s just another year in a roller coaster life, and I’m getting better at holding on and enjoying the ride.

But a whole summer with the freedom to get out on the weekends, to sunbath, to just take a deep breath and remind myself I am alive, and it’s ok to stop…it sounds like bliss.

Sometimes, I think you just get to a point where you need a break, need to just stop. Long enough to remember why you keep going and why the world is a good place.

A break…deep breath, it’s nearly here.

Hello 21

I began my 21st birthday dreaming about being a stripper. The problem with the dream was I really sucked at it. I managed to get stuck in my raincoat, while wearing a very old sparkly white t-shirt and track-pants. Not quite sure what was going on there. I didn’t make much money. I’m choosing not to read into that dream too much…

Yep, I’m 21 now. I have been trying to think of clever things to say for this post, as I can’t really not post on my birthday…but apparently creativity has abandoned me today, as has the sun.

Instead, I’ll just do a little update.

I’m moving house this weekend. I have five days to pack and clean what I can. I also need to set up the power and internet. Mainly so we have lights, and food, and music. One can live without these things (not so much food), but I’d also like to avoid having to do that if possible.
I have pulled my horse of the sales site, mainly because I don’t have enough time to sell him. The irony being I’m selling him because I don’t have enough time to ride him. But he looks pretty in a paddock.

Now my mare has foaled, I have three horses who all look pretty in the paddock. I mean, why have a cat as a pet when you could have a horse? Crazy horse lady right here.
I went out for a lovely dinner the other night with my family, my mother did a super job at making the night very special and gave me a cool book of my life. I would love to post all the pictures here but it might take me a while to scan them!

Things are changing. I don’t really do too well with change. I shut down into this strange person.

I don’t really talk much when things are changing, I think it’s my way of controlling what I feel like is spinning rapidly out of my control. It’s not really that I want to avoid people or shut down, but I no longer possess the ability to talk about anything, I simply have no idea how I feel. Because of this I prefer solitude, and I actually enjoy it sometimes.

I spent my 21st birthday evening washing all the windows in the house. It took me about an hour and I was out till dark.

I was spoilt by my friends and family and workmates, so I feel pretty blessed to have had an incredible few days with so many gifts and food. Though, to many people spending my birthday evening alone, washing windows, might seem pretty sad.

It was one of the best things for me. It is my way of coping with life, it is my way of coming to terms with things that have been biting my ankles. It doesn’t matter what day your birthday is, life continues to happen.

I am moving house, and granddad is dying, and the paper is going twice weekly. It doesn’t really matter if I like what’s happening, it is happening and I am coming to terms with more work, a new place to call home, and losing my grandfather.

This year has been a roller coaster of great highs and great lows, not because I’m emotionally unstable (though, that is also a possibility), but because I’ve just reached that point in my life. While I may get motion sick, I am good at holding on. You’ve just got to buckle in and hope there is a scenic stretch coming up shortly.

Life is a blessing, and I’ve certainly had my fair share of blessings. So while my 20th year was certainly one which hit me with a large sack full of bricks, and I have a strong feeling my 21st year is going to be about the same, if not even more of a whirl wind, I’m prepared.

I’ve found ways to cope, even if mucking out stables, walking up hills, and washing windows on my birthday seem like strange ways of coping, I am coping.

One step after another.

When death comes knocking

I’m not quite sure how to start this blog, but I wanted to give people an insight into something not often discussed, but often mentioned: cancer and death. People read about it, people go through it, people talk about it. But it’s actually really hard to discus it and not many people talk about the journey, just about the ending.

So this is my open and honest view of how my journey through losing someone so far.

I have never really had to deal with death before. It’s a strange topic in New Zealand; we don’t really talk about it. When someone says something about death it’s almost immediately after the ‘oh no, I’m sorry to hear that’ that you change topic and continue on with a conversation where no one will have to deal with emotions.

Perhaps that’s why whenever I bring up the fact granddad has cancer, I follow it with a shrug. I mean, I don’t even want to deal with those emotions.

But it’s been a year since he was diagnosed and I feel it’s time I wrote about my experience so far with someone dying.

It’s a matter of life. It happens. We can all count on that fact. Death itself doesn’t concern me, nor is it hard for me to comprehend. When my nana died she was 100, and had been in a home for a year. One day she was awake, the next she was not. There was nothing painful about the death, she just left. We knew it was coming and I felt sad, but not really anything else. Just like one less wonderful person was on earth, but sure she was off doing great things in heaven.

But with granddad it took us all by surprise. He had prostate cancer which has now spread to his bones and doctors say it could be months. I don’t really think it matters what sort of cancer it is. Cancer is a bitch.

At first I was in a bit of shock, my reaction was pretty cold to the news and I thought, ‘oh well that’s life’. What an awful thing to think when you’re told your grandparent is dying. But that was how I processed it. Matter of fact and with no emotion. After a few months I moved onto feeling awkward about it. Because it is my grandparent, at times I feel like I can’t be as sad as someone who is loosing a parent or a sibling or a partner. So I battled with my sad I tried very hard to be strong about it.

Strength like that is sometimes the biggest weakness. And that’s how I ended up crying in a bar in front of my ex, who very unfortunately happened to start talking about grandparents. It hadn’t bothered me before, but that particular conversation lead me to actually feeling the emotion of loss.

He is dying. And in that moment I had to accept that.

But now I’m just onto denial. I don’t want to hear about how he can hardly walk, or the fact his muscles have wasted away. It’s not that I don’t care, it’s that I am terrified I will forget how he used to be. I pretend I’m going up north this long weekend for a holiday. ‘Oh I might be going up north’ I said to someone today. What the hell? I said to myself. You are going up North, and you’re going to see your grandfather who is sick. But processing that fact is difficult. I am aware as to why I am going up, but it was not until I was standing in the shower thinking about this blog post that it sunk in.

I’m going to see my very sick grandfather who is dying, and this could be the last time I see him.

I battle with my sad because I want to save it for when he is gone. It seems silly to be sad when someone is still around. But it’s the waiting for what you know will happen, and trying to make every moment left count. And cling onto every memory I have.

It is through tears I finish this post, but it is not so much sadness anymore, as it is acceptance.

I have always thought I would be ‘good’ with death. But I’d never had to experience losing someone like this, and that makes it easy to think you’ll be ok. I don’t think anyone is ever ok with losing someone in any capacity. I always looked at death like ‘one moment you are alive, the next you are not’ it was something that happened to people, it was a statement, an ending.

In fact death is a series of things. It is the roller coster of emotion, it is watching other people you love hurt because they too are losing someone, it is watching someone you love suffer, it is trying so hard to remember the good times, it is wanting to make the best of what you can, it is a long process, even if sudden, death never just ‘happens’ it is a long road which every person must walk.

Death hurts even the people who aren’t dying.

And that’s really hard to learn to understand.

But I know now, it’s ok to just be sad.

Translating your fate

I think Teeline is trying to tell us something. We’re learning shorthand. It’s full on. Like learning another language! But none the less. Most of the sentences we have to translate are things like ‘the woman was stabbed’ or ‘the woman died when she fell off a cliff’. It’s never the man. ALWAYS the woman. And she ALWAYS dies. 

I think they are a little sexist. 

I am a little concerned about this.

Oh no!