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:

“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.”

“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.”

“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.”

“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.

Big open spaces

It was 11.37pm on November 1 when I finally changed my relationship status on Facebook. It might not seem like much but it was the last little moment of control. My room currently has boxes pilled in corners, blankets strewn everywhere, the horse float still has a few boxes and giant teddy bear, and I’m yet to attempt to unpack the biggest clothes box because my wardrobe is already full. In the past year I’ve cleaned out four large cardboard boxes of clothes and goodness knows how much other crap. But putting all my farm clothes, the ones I have absolutely no use for anywhere else in my life, in a bag ready for the second hand store, was it. That was the moment of certainty; this is my new life. I get to have a manicure, I can wear heals on the weekends, I can go out with my friends whenever I want, no more driving an hour every week. And it all seemed like small sacrifices but now without them, it suddenly feels like a huge weight has gone and I almost feel guilty about that. But I’m not one to wallow, ok well kind of, I wallow in epic amounts of sarcasm and dry, bitter humour, but in general I don’t like to dwell on things I can’t change. So I make the most of them.

It seems strange to reduce my life down to one room. Not two houses, just one room. My room. This is it. All of my things crammed into one space. I’d usually say all my life crammed into one space but it’s not what defines my life, far from it. I might be back in the same place in the same situation I was five years ago, but that’s not what my life amounts to. Part of me doesn’t want to unpack because I know I could well be moving again in a few months once I make up my mind of what I’m doing, but I can’t do that. I need to make somewhere home for now and this is it. I’m going through it all slowly and throwing out anything I don’t want. Nothing stays if it’s not wanted or needed and that in itself is therapeutic.

So far my plan of action has been to throw out any underwear that doesn’t make me feel comfortable and sexy. I put my pillow in the middle of the bed because I can have whatever side I want. I’ve cut my hair how I want it. I’ve worn heals out to lunch because I could. And I’ve taught the cat he can sleep on my bed. That in itself is a big deal, he refused to sleep on the bed until I moved him here…it’s our new start and we can be weird together. He still wont come out of the room for more than a few moments, and I get it, if I could I probably would hide in here too and sleep all day with him. Tomorrow I get Ivy back and she’s moving just up the road so even though there won’t be any riding for a while (thanks tailbone), I plan on taking her around the property and for big wanders on the lead because I have the time and there’s nothing quite like horse cuddles to make the world a better place.

I have some pretty cool friends and family who celebrated my birthday with me today. Only two more days until my actual birthday day! I’m feeling good. The beach looks amazing, I have my wardrobe back after four months living out of a suitcase, I have my bed all to myself, I have incredible people around me, I’m getting fit and heathy again after rather interesting food choices. It’s good, and I’m not just saying that to make myself believe it, I really am. I’m still angry sometimes, I’m still hurt a lot of the time, but I’m happy and I’m at peace. What more could you ask for really?

So week two of my return home begins. These next six weeks will be all about weddings for friends and brain storming where to next. And just like Charlie is terrified when he has big open spaces in front of him, I’m daunted and unsure what to do with all mine.

Until I know I’m just going to run around it like a crazy person on the loose.


And the continuous turn of events continues

When 2015 began I certainly didn’t see myself finishing it broke, jobless, and single. I also found my first grey hair today and I really wish that was the worst thing that had happened in the day. But it wasn’t. As I found myself sitting in my room of my parents home, the same room I lived in from ages 9 till 17, I couldn’t help but laugh at my life. I left five years ago after a break up, I left to study journalism in Hamilton and I had roughly $2,000 to my name. I was single, I had no job, I had very little money…but I did not have a grey hair. Now, five years later, I’ve returned with the same amount of money, no job, and single. It’s like nothing has changed yet I know everything has changed.

Here’s the thing about breaking up after four years: the world is a different place to navigate than the one I went into the relationship in. For starters, I’m now at an age where it’s like, do I make the change in relationship status public or private? When do I change it because I’m not quite ready to make it ‘official’ no matter how official it is. How do you go about dating again, not that that’s really on my to do list for some time. But how do you suddenly navigate a world where you’re suddenly four years older and have grey hairs appearing? A world where there are now things like Tinder? How do you actually even start again after four years turned into “I don’t feel the same way anymore” when you’d only just been talking about engagement and spending forever together less than six months before. Exactly how is it you get up and get on with life? The first thing people ask is how am I. I’m good. I’ve just come back from an amazing round the world trip and I have my horse back, I’ve found the perfect grazing for her just down the road, I have a cat, I have opportunities. I have an entire world at my feet…so I’m good.

But at the same time I feel like a truck has run over me because when I left, what I pictured coming back to was a very different landscape. My brain is still struggling to get itself around the fact I was in France a week ago and now I’m in New Zealand now it has to adapt to a whole new world.

And how do you go from picturing green paddocks and orchards and planting a veggie garden with someone to having no idea what the next step is?

Since I’m being honest, it’s also very hard to not decide to be a crazy cat lady forever when four out of five relationships have ended with “I just don’t feel the same way anymore”. Cool as guys. Super cool.

The best part about breaking up after one of the best breakup songs to date has just dropped: you ain’t alone in those tears. Cheers Adele.

So, let me reintroduce myself because this atomic bomb that’s gone off in slow motion over the past year has left me with a ringing in my ears and an inability to breath properly. I’m Sacha. I’m going to be 22 in a week, not even that. I have no idea what I’m doing with my life. And I have two weddings to be the bridesmaid for. And I’ve got a broken tail bone. And I know at some stage my heart will heal from the pain of losing people, of the family dramas, of this break up. It will get better because I have a cat and I have a horse. I have a degree. And I’m still standing. Because I’m yet to find something in my 22 years that’s left me unable to get up again. That atomic bomb has sent me flying and I’ve probably cried more tears in the past 12 months than I’ve cried in my entire life. But it means I can still feel and the ringing in my ears is slowly easing and the dust is settling. And I’m going to be just fine.

Let’s do that again. I’m Sacha, I’ll be 22 shortly, I’ve travelled the world, I have a degree in communications (ironic at times), I have a diploma in journalism. I have a passion for helping people and I’m thinking about retraining and figuring out how to put all my skills to good use. I’m part of this cool organisation called YouthNet designed to help bridge gaps to see our youth suicide rate improve, actually I’d like us not to have one. I love to do yoga. I love God. I have an awesome horse called Ivy and a cat called Charlie, he’s a bit like me: he’s been through a bit of bullshit so he’s not too sure on the being too close to people thing, but he loves pats and he seems to love me. I’m not sure what’s going to happen in my life right now. I have a clean slate, I have a whole world ahead of me and I can do what I want with it. And I damn well will do just that. I can do that.

So to all the newly singles out there, cheers to you. And all those in great relationships: appreciate them.

Common, let’s do this.


Stress…just stress.

Stress. My good old buddy stress. I’d like to say we’d parted ways long ago but I doubt that will ever be the case. It’s my fault in part, I did decide to plan an overseas trip at the last moment…but life just likes to throw in all these odd curve balls – good and bad.

Work has been great, too great. I’ve had all these great stories come up but the problem with a whole bunch of good stories is it means a whole bunch of transcribes and council agendas and interviews and after a while the words stop making sense and the pages start spinning. One transcribe, which was from a 30minute long interview, was over 700 words. And all you college kids are whinging about a 3000 word essay. I can write 3000 words in my sleep…no seriously, I’ve started dreaming articles.

Mardy sold, which was fantastic and takes the heat off saving…because lets be honest…I actually had no idea how I was paying for a good 1/3rd of the trip before that. Ivy has gone to her new lease home which is both heart stoppingly nerve wracking and fantastic. For the first time since I started working, I will not be paying grazing…and I actually have time to GROCERY SHOP!

I haven’t done a proper grocery shop, and by proper I mean one where I’m not dodging people while running from isle to isle grabbing what I actually cannot live without frantically from the shelves and flying through the self checkout isle, for more than three weeks. And by what I cannot live without I mean things like almond milk…I ate chips for dinner. According to my tired brain dinner doesn’t count as a necessary component to life.

But back to Ivy…she’s my baby. I’m her person. I’ve had her for the past six years, no one has looked after her for more than two weeks at a time. No one. She is never further than an hour from me. That, and there have only been two other people ride her since I bought her…and I was there the whole time with both. So yes, I’m sort of freaking out.

I also came home to find Casey screaming in pain on Saturday, first time calling an ambulance…yep super fun. Thankfully she is ok and for her sake (and because I value my life) I’m not going to go into details. But hey, at least I already knew my way around a hospital so knew where to park!

And because I love my job and really want to make sure I do everything I need to do before I go, I’m doing bike rides like they’re going out of fashion. My butt is not forgiving me for them.

Oh and Snuggie my cat is still missing after two weeks.

Alex moves this week.

Oh yeah, and I’m leaving the country in four weeks…including this one.

I haven’t even booked my Austria flight! I just want to book the damn flight! And then there is accommodation…deep breaths. Lots and lots of them.

Then I also agreed to do this speaking thing. I’m kind of excited and also really really regretting the decision due to the fact my adrenaline is already pumping at a rate of knots and I’m sick…again.

Not that I really blame my immune system, I’ve sort of put it through hell as of late. My skin is also jumping on the ‘I’m in protest of your life currently’ and throwing a bit of a hissy fit. I don’t blame it really, given I’ve eaten both gluten and dairy in the past week alone and can’t remember the last time I cooked myself a half decent dinner that didn’t include chips or coconut water as a staple item.

Never the less, I am alive. Tired, stressed, but alive.

Headless chicken mode activated.


The Big Smoke: Week two begins

1.59 pm. I am in desperate need for a blog. My brain has taken a vacation, I could not find a park, my car is out of gas and Telecom picked this week to take the last three months worth of bills out. I have been in this city for 10 days. I now understand peoples hate for the parking, the traffic, this computer and severe lack of money. But hey, at least I can walk today.

If there is one thing I have learnt in my time here, it is to appreciate every moment things go right and learn from, then pretend they didn’t happen when it comes to the mistakes. A week in an office certainly did my head in, I am an active person so sitting still waiting for people to call back actually makes me want to explode. I’m getting better at it though. Now I just drink ridiculous amounts of green tea while waiting. I bide my blogging time wisely so not to look as though I have nothing to do. I have plenty to do, my mind just currently is not comprehending the variety in what I have to do. I’ve never been good with names, though I have certainly been learning to come up with some interesting ways to remember people by such as; not-so-nice but eventually did what I asked lady who I imagine has brown hair or the lady with the really lovely voice who I imagine has died blonde hair but in a nice way. Each person I speak to gets a little profile picture in my head. 

So, while all through my schooling I have willed the hours to move faster and the day to end so I can race home throw my bag on the floor, fling my shoes at the wall after doing my homework on the oh-so-slow bus ride home, so I can go and ride me horse. I now find myself willing the seconds to stop passing by so fast so I can actually get what I want done, done before I spend an hour in my car to make a 16 min journey across the city then drag my feet in the door, make myself a hot cup of something, wander up and down the stairs a few times after forgetting food then eventually collapse in my bed to play a horrendously childish online game to do with horses. 

While I am thrilled to be here, that is not sarcastic in anyway, I am loving it, I find my poor brain not only spinning by the end of the day but my elbows hurting from leaning on the desk and my body aching from it’s lack of exercise. 

Though, today I did run up and down a hill twice. That was a whole lot of fun. 

I just caught myself writing milk in the middle of a sentence. 

My brain has gone to mush.

Bid it farewell!


Game changer play your hand.

It is easy to watch the things that kept you together fall apart at one in the morning. It is easy to feel abandoned when people change like a ‘Stuff’ news feed. It is not easy to admit defeat and fall apart. What happened? The moments before the stuffing flew out of the bean bag replay. No it’s not the time to say what’s on your mind. Go ahead and do it anyway. Hold your teddy and sing yourself into a lullaby. Head to the darkest place in time and hide there. That’s how it is. And all you want to do is get on the next plane out of here. What stops the very need to escape? What keep you hanging on when that noose is waiting. You trip on the words and spin out the lies to keep the moments in your pocket. Hold tight and jump on the ‘haters bandwagon’. Could start a trend of tears and selfish bitching.

This world makes it very hard to be a nice person. Strive to be better. They divert the path and draw lines in the wrong directions. Hold on. Here comes the head on. Save the lights let the night take over. Here comes that song that makes you want to sing along. One more game and this is calling it quits. This is putting a foot down. The one’s who is trampled on often finds their feet. We were never meant to carry the weight of the world.

Here we go game changer. Play the cards and sing the song. On we march till we meet the dawn. Hold that head high.

Here comes the cross fire.


Here’s the crutch. Stand on your own two feet.

Breathe. Deeper. One more. Now smile. Find a song. Sing it loudly. Breathe again. Smile some more. Ignore racing heart. Stand taller. Turn the music up. Once more. Breathe. One more. Smile. Sing. Breathe. Smile. Breathe. 

Let the tears make their way through the drawn on happiness. It’s ok you know. You ask yourself once more. Does anyone care? Yeah. Someone must. The morning takes too long to warm a cold body. Sunshine doesn’t quite reach the heart. Mist covers the hurt. Traffic hides the noise of a heart beating too hard for its chest. This is it. This is the start of life. That’s what they say. We’re young. We’re made for this. Talk till 2am. We’re still alone. You know. Just inside that’s the way. Winter does this. Sad songs explain this. 

Get in the car. Watch the petrol gage. Light comes on. Keep driving. It’s dark. Wonder where we’ll end up out here. Turn that music up. Rain is always colder when you’re watching it fall. Leave no stone unturned. No road untraveled. Let the moments take you. Fall to pieces. 

This is just it. Run or stand. Here we are. Time takes its toll. Nothing but love. That’s what we want. Nothing but hate. Isn’t that what we all give? Stand on your own two feet. So they cut them off. Here you are. 

Breathe. Deeper. One more. Now smile. Find a song. Sing it loudly. Hold breath. Close eyes. Smile fades. Heart races. Breathe. Breathe. Breathe.



A day in the life of a journalist

Here we go again. Early morning. Brain refuses to work. Sigh. Coffee- not an option. Heart races. Head spins. Need coffee- but it will make it worse. So, no coffee. Tired. So so tired. Thats ok. Nurofen. Take 3. Headache kind’ve cured. 

Walking along. Freezing cold. Wishing I’d brought a coat. See coffee cart. Wish I could drink coffee. Decide to write a story on them. Perhaps that will make up for lack of drinking coffee. 

Few good quotes. Find other people to talk to. More good quotes. Get back to ‘news room’. Pitch idea. Realize it’s a leading news story. Perfect. Write. Send. Publish. 


One down. Two to go. I can do this. I can do this. I can do this.

Tired. Worn out. Happy.

This is making it. 



Little bit of a thinking nightmare.

As I was wandering around the show grounds at horse of the year I couldn’t help but think. It’s insane to realize what has happened in 4 years. For a start I got 4 years older. I was nearly 16 when I got the horse I have now. That doesn’t seem that long ago but it really was. The people I have met, the people I have known and the people that I have time and time again tried to forget is crazy huge. Like the kind of huge 3rd year work load is. 

I mean, when you’re 15 and you look ahead in your life there are so many things you can’t wait for. There are so many things you are yet to discover. I know I’m still young. But I’m old compared to when I was 15. That might not make much sense but think about it. When you were 15, what did you think the 20 year old you would be doing? Is it what you’re actually doing? 

When I think about it, it’s exactly where I wanted to be. I just doesn’t feel the way I thought it would feel. I’m not strong and powerful and all growed up. I’m young and vulnerable and constantly stressed. I’m getting there. But where I am now is not made. Not done. There is so much more to do. But back then I couldn’t wait till I got to now. Because then I’d be happy. 

I thought that I would be excited and fun loving and full of confidence. I would have different friends. I would be different. I have all the things and I am all the things I wanted to be. But I am not feeling much different to how I felt back then.

I’m happy. Very much. More glad and thankful than anything. It’s a different happy. So is the journey of Sacha Harwood happening right now? Perhaps. 

This is a crazy deep post tonight! Maybe I did need that codeine after all. This headache is killer. 

Besides the increasingly concerning illness that doesn’t seem to take a hike – more prevent me from taking one, things are great. 

Things are always great aren’t they? 

I think at the end of the day you always get what you set out to get. You achieve what you want to achieve. It just doesn’t always fit you the way your old pair of shoes did. 

Those high heals are a blah beep. But they’re going to get you further from here than those slippers you’ve been wearing since high school.

It’s grown up time.