I re-shared the speech I gave for Erika’s funeral two years ago today on the Facebook. I don’t know if I need to do that every anniversary of it, but it felt right, so I did.

I think that is all we have, if it feels right – do it.

Many of my friends and family are struggling, and like many others, Hubs and I feel overwhelmed, what with one thing and another. After beating myself up, berating myself for being firmly stuck and unable to move on tasks, I realised that I needed to up the self-care a notch. While I’ve been getting back into walking (follow me on Strava and let me know where you are hiding on there so I can cheer you on) and ran on the treadmill this week, as it is freezing cold here in Ballarat, I also increased my meds this week to 150mg.

I’d been saving increasing them for something, but then lying there with insomnia the other night I gave myself a talking to as I realised I needed the extra support now.

Honestly, mental health is a juggling act at the best of times, and this really is not the best of times.

I don’t know if you know what is going on in Australia, but we’re struggling with the Delta variant. All the states and territories (bar NSW) work on the lock-down method, you know – the one that has worked all over the world. Stop people moving around, so the track and trace can catch up and we can wind the little pockets of infection and infectious people down. If you can stay home, you must, work from home where possible, don’t go more than 5km from home, only leaving for grocery shopping, essentials like GP appointments, prescriptions, testing. That kind of thing.

NSW decided that they didn’t need to do that, they could manage it by just doing track and trace and requesting people stop moving around. Consequently, the rest of the country have been watching the news with people not wearing masks while shopping for essentials like Gucci and Louis Vuitton bags, with department stores open and mixed messages across different local government areas, not surprisingly, the outbreak has gotten bigger than Ben Hur, is fast moving through NSW and has led to people who were infectious travelling into South Australia, Victoria, Queensland – it is maddening.

New Zealand have re-closed the border unless you complete quarantine, the states and territories are furious that NSW are still not imposing a hard lock-down and the Liberal (Conservative politicians) are unrepentant that they’re managing it.

The latest update is apparently the only way out is to vaccinate everyone, so can NSW have other states vaccination doses? Unsurprisingly, Murdoch’s media is fanning the flames of discontent, giving airtime to right-wing commentators. One of which still maintains this week that the Victorian lockdown is causing more deaths than the Delta variant will.

I get it. We’re all over it.

But all this infighting and arguing at the second-tier level of government is not helping. It took several strongly worded articles this week to get the Prime Minister out of hiding and taking responsibility for the woeful ‘stroll out’ of vaccinations. Another round of strongly worded articles for him to apologise and we’re still no closer to understanding WTF is going on.

My appointment for my first vaccination was supposed to have been on 5 July, I hadn’t received an email confirming it, so I called at the end of June to be told that I’d missed it. I had been booked in on 21 June, in Melbourne. When I asked why I would be booked in for something two hours away and on a date I didn’t have in my diary, the person on the end of the phone had no answers for me. Not only can I remember the phone call I had booking it in, also I’ve still got the notes in my diary.

Le sigh.

I’m trying to be stoic, trying not to get caught up in it all, but I support the leadership team at a Trans-Tasman company. Consequently, there’s emails flying around all over the place about exposure sites. The pandemic plans must be updated every time there is a change to policy in a state or territory. I spend a lot of my time packing up PPE and disinfecting supplies to send out to our staff. Whether I like it or not, I’m fully up-to-date with the news cycle.

Even if I’m in a funk at the moment, I’m trying to get myself away from my desk every day to exercise. I make my bed every day and I’m remembering that I’m human. I can’t do everything, but I can do the next right thing.

On this day when I started it off by thinking about Erika, I know she would want us to take care of each other. My next right thing is to check in on my friends and family. But if you don’t have the headspace to reply, that is ok; but when you do, check in on me.

Heading to theatre in a revealing gown

Nine months after I was declared ‘ready for surgery’ for a deviated septum, I’m booked in for this Wednesday, 19 May. The operation isn’t just to straighten it, but the surgeon also wants to improve my nasal cavity to reduce my ongoing sinus infections. I’m expecting two black eyes and to be a bit sore around the edges.

Last year when I went to see him with my CT scan in tow, he said that the septum is in a ‘s’ shape and that no amount of antibiotics or nasal spray will straighten it out. He also wondered why I’d not been sent to see him in 2019 after the CT scan was done in the first place…

What should have been a 60-90 day wait, has blown out exponentially because of the pandemic. And Victoria managed their cases well.

What is happening in India now is a direct result of leaders not listening to science, not taking action to protect people and the consequential crisis that this virus brings as it morphs, changes and gets spread around the population. It’s not just about beds being filled with people needing attention and oxygen, it’s the knock-on effect that it has on every other part of the healthcare system.

You can’t treat people who need surgery if your entire hospital is bed-blocked. People arrive needing assistance for injuries, or in labour – where do they go?

For part of last year I worked with people who found it infuriating that lockdowns and masks were required. They’d listen to news updates and still want to bring all the staff back into the building; only when it was mandated that people had to work from home did they reluctantly give in. Others would complain that it was over-the-top and a waste of time. They were fed up with Dictator Dan ruining their lives.

This mentality is so far beyond my reach of comprehension, I just would sit there and say nothing. Because no matter what I’d say, there would be an answer found on Facebook or Instagram about chem-trails and 5G and all the other bullsh!t.

I’ve lost friends because they drank the Kool-aid and believed in the pseudo-science. Not that it is remotely science.

I’m yet to hear if I’ve lost friends to the pandemic. I know people who have, which makes it all the harder to watch what is going on in India. It’s truly heartbreaking.

I completed my pre-op COVID checklist this morning. I’ll see you on the other side.

Yesterday was not a good day

Despite having all my hardware removed, I’ve still got my ovaries in, so hormones – those pesky little critters are still rampantly waging war on my moods. Combine that with a very late night the night before, I didn’t get home until midnight, I was cactus yesterday.

I could have easily stayed in bed and hidden away from the world, instead I hid in my phone and stuffed up my mood even further. When will I learn?

I’ve decided to not look at facebook for a couple of days. I’m not looking at twitter at the moment – sheer red rage at the orange twat-waffle and NRA lobbyists mostly.

My mood has not been helped by leaving a set of hand-over notes that were ignored by the person covering my role while I was away. Instead of having meeting papers in one place for me (brought forward folder) and one place for BossLady, (her daily pack); I found papers, agendas, things to sign and approve, OHS walks – anything and everything, all over the desk and shelves behind me.

When an autographed approval comes back to me, I scan it, save the PDF with the same naming convention in our files, stamp the hard copy with today’s date, update my spreadsheet and send the PDF on it’s way electronically. I then put the hard-copy into my pending tray to file each Friday afternoon when my brain is fried and all I can do is filing and clean my desk.

Never under-estimate the amount of people who want hard-copy bits of paperwork, as well as the same scanned bits of paperwork.


I had six days out the office, and its taken me nearly two weeks to find (what I’m hoping is now) everything, which is pretty impressive. Talk about a sense of humour failure. But more importantly, it also made me feel anxious and flustered because before I left the building, if I was asked for anything, I could put my hands on it straight away. Maddening.

This week I’ve been so tired, I looked up ‘How long does jet lag last for?’ It ain’t jet lag, pure and simple. I am an emotionally stuffed piñata. Hubs and I had such a good time away over the weekend, real-life in the week is hard to get back into. I am so far off my normal rhythm, it ain’t funny.

In an effort to combat this, I signed up for a 30 day Pilates challenge at my gym. You can only book into the classes 2 hours before they’re run; so far on day four, I’m yet to get a spot in one.

I can’t get comfy on my chair at work.

My back hurts.

I’m grumpy.

I miss Erika, spending so long thinking about our shenanigans has made me realise that despite the friends I’ve made over here – sometimes you need people around you knew you from before. Before divorce, before breakdown, before Hubs, before Archie. People who know you from days of yore and see you at your core.


Give me a couple of days to get out my funk, I’ll be ok. Until then, we’re all off again this weekend (we have a house-sitter), we’ll have a good car conversation on our drive up, I’m going for a run, we’re going to hang out with Hanno, drive the wee man’s RC car and watch an Am-Dram panto #HesBehindYou

I read this on Instagram from Andrew Johnson:

Imagine if we treated each new dawn of each new day with the same reverence and joy as we do each new year.

Angie Lynn

Tomorrow we start again. I just need to get through today. As I keep saying to Ian, sometimes you can’t get through more than a minute at a time. But anyone can do anything for a minute.

Valerian, the herb, not the movie

Last night it took me ages to get to sleep again. Then I woke up. Fretted. Got cross with myself. Fretted some more. Got back to sleep. I had bad dreams last night too, images I can’t shake even now. I staggered out of bed at 6:20am; bleary eyed, unbearably sad and with less than an hour to have a shower, finish lunches, get Hubs to the station, Archie to school and me on the road.

Things didn’t get done over the weekend, like Archie’s reading diary. We read every day with him, but have to justify it to his teacher by completing it. I sent him to school with three blank spaces in it, so can look forward to ‘????’ in there tonight when we get home.

I got in the car ready to whizz the wee man to school and got an alert on the dash ‘Key mechanism not working’ I only needed to get the battery changed, but it freaked me out somewhat as I’m transferring the car to my new job.

I’m tired, cranky and honestly, shell-shocked. I am not fully in my body. I have to start taking better care of myself, otherwise I’m going to fall over. I need to do some exercise to help tire me out and get me to sleep, but tonight I just need an early night. I’ve also brought some Valerian for good measure. I am making myself eat, as I have no appetite and when I do eat, I feel sick. To top it all off, my stomach is churning. Looking everything up online, so far so normal. I know it is a process I’ve got to navigate, my compass is a bit faulty.

I am so glad that I’ve got people on the end of the phone for me. I’m also grateful that Ian and I are messaging each other. Cat photos, nonsense, updates on our days and laundry. Anything and nothing. He told me off for drinking, having seen me obliterate feelings and pain before, he knows the depths I can sink to. I’ve reset my sober date to today (24 June).

At lunch time, I went to Box Hill Central – that has changed a huge amount since I last was there. I was only just pregnant with Archie, so over eight years ago. I dropped the dry cleaning in, found a pharmacy for the aforementioned herb extract. Walking round to find somewhere to get the battery changed, I got completely lost; asked for help, got misdirected out of one building and into another. Then giving up altogether, as I was heading out (in a huff) to get back to work, I walked right into the stand and got the battery replaced.

Then … I got lost coming out the car park, had to do a U-Turn on Elgar Road.

I should be able to book my flights tomorrow, Ian is off to the funeral director now. That might help, as I feel a bit lost and in limbo still.

Work in progress

Sooooo, I learned that I do not honour or am proud of being sober yesterday. We had our Book Club break-up at a wonderful private house in Camberwell. We mooched around the garden, took masses of photos and were offered lemonade, fizz and Pimms. I asked for lemonade.

I got this.

Then my glass was empty, it got refilled with fizz and I didn’t say anything.

Then I asked for a glass of Pimms, because I’d already blown the week out the window.


I don’t got this. Today I looked up AA meetings. I need help as this is bigger than I can handle. :/


In other news, a friend at aforementioned party, took a photo of me that I posted on Instagram and Facebook with the following caption:

Those of you who know me, know I struggle with what I look like. It’s rare for me to have a candid picture taken of me that I like. But I love this one!
#bodydysmorphia #mentalhealth

I’ve had some messages come through about what Body Dysmorphia means, so I’m going to try to explain it; as best I can. I was in Wiltshire when I was diagnosed, so about 2001? I have hid the diagnosis, because like many mental health issues, I was ashamed of it. Only a few close friends, and I mean close, know how much I struggle with what I look like. Some days, it’s so bad, I can only do my make-up looking in a compact mirror, because then I don’t see all my face at one time.

I’m getting ready to go to work, or on a night out and I look at me in a mirror; I take care over my appearance and think, “that ain’t bad”. Then I take a selfie, because I don’t think I look too bad, and WTF is in the camera? Or someone else will take a photo and WTF is in the camera. Some photos of me will never be on my timeline, because WTF is in the camera. So far, so normal, right?

I have also been the height I am since I was 12 years old, I towered over people at school. On my first day at high school, I was told off for not telling someone the way to a classroom, because I didn’t know it. The teacher thought I was being difficult? a bully? obnoxious? who the hell knows.

I would sit down next to girls my age and feel huge next to them. I was taller than them; sitting down on anything, my thighs were bigger; my hands were bigger, I bit my nails through nerves. I took up so much space compared to everyone else. I’m lanky, gangly, walk into things all the time, stooping to try and hide it; so now at 43, my shoulders hurt.

My feet are bigger than my husband’s. I remember so clearly at junior school, one of my favourite teachers trying to address the problem of people picking on me by standing me next to the smallest girl in the class (hello Sophie if you’re out there). Talk about exacerbating the problem. It took a full meltdown for him to understand the impact of him slipping my shoes on to take the rubbish out before he understood how fragile my f*cking feet make me feel. Feet! I am so proud of them because they’ve taken me round endless KMs of running in the past few years. I’d no sooner got rid of one duff nail when Archie trod on two more and I’m waiting for them to grow out, so I’m still trying to hide my feet.

What with being mistaken for a boy for most of my childhood and teens, the feet, the entirely too big, too tall, not girly enough, short hair because it was easier while I was in a swimming pool all the time; who I am, what I look like, got warped along the way. What I look like does not match expectations and people have told me so, all my life. It’s gotten to be so normal for me, even if in reality most people don’t care, but that’s the thing with BDD, depression or anxiety, what you tell your brain make no difference, one iota.

Because the voice in your head is so loud, it deafens out everything else.

I completed a Mental Health First Aid course today, (I am aware of the irony). But you see, I’m perfectly placed to do this, because I know people. I pick up signs when you’re not 100%, I ask questions, peer intently at them, check in on you, because when you’re hiding in plain sight – I see you. Coz, I know all the secrets about appearing normal; functioning when you can barely function or hold it together.

The alcohol thing? Self-medication, because if I’m buzzing, I ain’t feeling the weight of perception on my shoulders. Perception to be all things to all people. Perception that I’m not enough. That I’m less than. That my make-up isn’t on point, as I’ve not contoured correctly, (really? ffs). That some days I can barely move from my bed because my soul hurts. That some days only the thought of Archie means I hold it together, because I don’t want him to be the child that grows up without a parent. That I am sick of people talking over me when I’m trying to say something.

BDD goes hand in hand with everything else I’ve got. But like everything else I’ve got, it doesn’t define me. It makes me, me.

Sinusitis – again

I’ve been knocked sideways by my second sinus infection this year. Two too many said the GP I saw on Wednesday. She signed me off work for two days (more in a minute), wrote me a prescription and referred me for a CT scan of my noggin when I’m well. She wants to see what’s going on inside my head. Don’t we all?

It’s been hanging around for a couple of weeks, not developing into anything, and because I’ve been mostly sneezing, it was hiding as hay-fever, until I woke up on Wednesday and my teeth hurt. I made an appointment in the late afternoon as I had to update the Managers on the preparations for our office move at a meeting at 2pm, and carried on at work. Even moving bins in and around the office, as there was no-one else to do it.

109 people are changing desks on Monday and Tuesday, I know this because I’ve counted them. Part of the working group, Thursday was our big clean-up morning, hence all the bins arriving on site and being dotted about the office. I’ve missed the pizza lunch after the clean-up. I’ve missed our Christmas in July – that was deferred after a biblical rainstorm in December last year. But after one antibiotic tablet, on Thursday morning I could barely move. Thank goodness for pre-packed lunches and only having to run Arch down the road to his holiday program. I clapped a beanie on my head, kept my PJs on and dropped him off. I got back to bed and we’re now on Saturday morning and I feel almost human again.

I’ve wafted through Bridesmaids, various Hairy Bikers programs, and despite asking for Netflix requests on Facebook, I couldn’t concentrate on anything so have just added them all to my watch-list for ‘Ron. Mostly I’ve slept as I couldn’t read either as I couldn’t hold a thought in my head. Hubs came home on Thursday to a house in darkness, no small boy in sight and went back out again to get Arch, coming home with pizza, but sad he couldn’t find me creme caramel or creamed rice pudding.

On Wednesday afternoon while waiting for my prescription to be filled, I brought comfort food supplies. Ranging from fancy yogurts to laksa soup to chilli – knowing what I want to eat when everything tastes like cardboard anyway, I prepared for my bedraggled state. Staggering into the kitchen yesterday, I was so grateful I had brought the chilli in readiness I high-fived myself. I had a shower yesterday evening, today I’ll strip the bed, this morning I wanted a coffee. Baby steps all of them…

Hubs arrived home yesterday with more Laksa soup and six pots of creme caramel (slight overkill, I’m not complaining), but still no creamed rice pudding. Ambrosia you’ve failed me! Mind you, I’ve not had their tapioca pudding since I moved here and still crave it. I’d kill for Pad Thai, every so often I’d open up Uber Eats to look at the local restaurants, but I can’t justify it.

The cat has been very happy I’ve been home, sleeping on either my legs or my pillow, he’s stretched out flat on his back by my legs at the minute. So here’s my stream of conscious update for you. As is. No editing. I feel much better today, but will stay at home with the wee man. I’m looking forward to moving to the couch to watch a DVD with him, but now I’m off for a nap.


Ugly ducklings don’t always grow into swans

I’m not going to re-read this, so for any typos, forgive me, I’ll only change it

When I was growing up, I swum. A lot. So for ease, I had my hair cut short. I was clumsy, big footed, fell over things, fell over my words and towered over my peers at school. I was helpfully told I looked just like a boy, sometimes daily. I really struggled with how I looked, I was not the dainty little girl who had long hair. My hair, when it was long was poker straight, and I couldn’t, (still can’t) be bothered to do anything with it other than to either have it down, or scraped back into a pony tail.

I was 5’10” at twelve years old. I had a stand up argument with a teacher on my first day at senior school, I had been asked where a classroom was. Except I didn’t know where it was either, but the teacher who overheard didn’t believe me as I was so tall, I evidently was older and should know, so yelled at me for not being helpful. My parents struggled to get shoes to fit me every time, I still struggle now to get shoes, (another thing I like doing on my own as I know I get frustrated and cross when I go shoe shopping), I’m revving up for another training shoe shop. And I know I will be in a pair of mens trainers – again. I hate, hate, hate it.

But yet, my body has done well. Despite it’s funny tummy, IBS and coeliac. Despite my funny baby garden, dysmenorrhoea, fibroids and the occasional smear coming back with abnormal cells. Despite the shortsightedness, the clumsiness, the words spilling out of me too fast sometimes. Despite it all, my body works and carries me around. For that I’m grateful. For all my whinging when I get a cold or illness, what I deal with when I’m ill is nothing compared to some who deal with far worse, day in, day out. Even when I’m struggling to find five things to be grateful for each night, the first one I can find every day is my breath. Because so many people struggle to breathe every day.

My body issues, oh boy – they run far and deep. I don’t think I will ever be comfortable in my own skin. For too long I was told I wasn’t something, so when I get told I look nice, or pretty, or beautiful, I say thank you, but inside I squirm. I truly don’t believe it. There were years where I did my make-up in a compact mirror, so I didn’t have to look at the whole of my face. I thought I was the only person who did that until I read about it in a book and shouted silently ‘Comrade!’

I once taught a lady I worked with, Patsy, to swim. She wanted to not be the one who sat by the side of the pool looking after the handbags. But what do you teach someone who doesn’t feel comfortable with the body they’re in? Telling them they’re beautiful when they blatantly feel they’re not doesn’t help. Telling them that they’re funny, or they’ve a good personality, really doesn’t help. Over time, I’ve got better. Felt better. Having Peanut helped. I felt beautiful when I was pregnant, I’m sorry to my lovely girls who are TTC, I hope this isn’t a trigger for you. But I felt beautiful because I was amazed that this body I detested, loathed did precisely what it was supposed to do.

This week, an article in the Guardian website had me sitting open-mouthed at the breakfast table. Dustin Hoffman is talking about Tootsie. Why it was never a comedy for him. I’m not going to paraphrase it. I’d like you to watch it. The video is only 3 minutes 11 seconds.

I never thought I’d write this sentence: I didn’t expect a man to understand, so completely, the struggle I’ve had all my life. To understand that for the woman who’s standing in the corner of a room, at a party, looking at a painting or the books on the shelves, it’s because she’s trying not to blush and get her breathing under control. She’s not trying to prove she’s an intellectual, she knows that people aren’t going to look at her, because she’s not blonde, she’s not skinny, she’s not what people have been told is beautiful, but she promised a friend she’d be there. So she’s there. But she’s there under sufferance and is struggling.

Hubs and I actively tried for a boy. I didn’t want to bring a girl into this world, this world that looks even more now than ever before at the female form, and holds her entire worth against what she looks like – not what she is. I’ve enough pain and scars across my heart from not being the right height, weight, size, shape, or having the right clothes, shoes, hair cut, make-up *delete as applicable. I am going to teach Peanut that everyone is valuable. Just as they are. I want him to see inside people, to see their goodness, their sweetness, how interesting they are. I’m going to teach him to walk over to the girl in the corner, then to ask her how her day went.

Lazy days and Sundays

Apologies for the lack of updates this week, I wanted to let y’all know how I was doing at my new role, but the past few days have been busy so I didn’t get a chance to.  Not good enough, and I apologise.

Wednesday was a good day, information overload as to be expected, Catherine the lady who has been temping there part-time is lovely and showing me the ropes.  The biggest hurdle was taking minutes for a committee meeting, an hour and a half after I started the job.  I took copious notes as I had no idea what they were talking about, but when I’d typed them up over the afternoon and Thursday and sent them off to be approved, I was complimented on what I had delivered – hurrah!

Thursday was another busy day, I drove a different route in as I needed to check the post box (empty, so waste of time), and drove past the gym I’d stopped going to as it was miles out of my way from where we now live!  In between tidying and cleaning my desk, (the cleaners evidently have a loose idea of the definition of clean, and not one that matches mine), taking notes and nodding ‘yes’ a lot, the day again, passed quickly.  On the way home, I had to go to the supermarkdo, by the time I’d done shopping, unpacked it and we’d cooked dinner, it was nearly time to pack a lunch, lay some clothes out and go to bed.

Friday, again busy, we didn’t cover as much as we’d planned as work got in the way of handover, but we’ve kicked a lot of goals.  I whizzed home, had a bird bath, reapplied some make-up and we whizzed into the city to meet Andrew’s parents who are over from NZ.  We had a great evening, despite me having verbal diarrhea in the car as I was so excited about life.

Lachy came over with Hurricane Piper and Cyclone Oakley, Ney is on nights at the moment, to let her get some sleep they were taken out the house, they’d been to the park and fed the ducks by the time they got to us.  Piper peered at the fish tank and announced that Jess (her fish) and Bullseye (Oakley’s fish) we still at the hospital.  Guilty looks by Aunt and Uncle who have flushed Bullseye 1 & 2, and several orange comets that should have passed for Jess down the porcelain express.  The three that we have left seem to be fairly sturdy, and piggy, they barge each other out the way to get to the food, and stare out the tank at us hopefully if one of us walks past.  They also like watching sport on TV, which is just as well as The Masters is on, followed by AFL, followed by whatever else is on at the moment.

We went back into the city late on Saturday to watch Carlton v Essendon at the MCG, which was preceded by a cricket presentation, free bar and canapes for a couple of hours.  I proceeded to get squiffy on champagne, and became Sir-Text-A-Lot, the game passed in a blur, Dan ended up having to buy me a coffee to sober me up a little, but we had a good time. 

Today we’ve pottered about the house, Dan has put his shorts away, summer is officially over – we’ve had the heating on today!  It has been windy and rainy for most of the day, so washing is draped over any available surface, I will start ironing when I’ve finished this.  I’ve been burning some new CDs for the car, we’ve rearranged the study as we’re going to take ownership of Ross & Leonie’s single bed and Dan has caught up on some filing.  (Which was so old, it’s nearly all been filed in file 13!)  His cold is still hanging round him, I am still snuffly too, although my throat is better, and the pair of us would quite like whatever we’ve got to either appear with a vengence so we can get over it, or clear off altogether.

Matt is coming over for dinner tonight, so I’ve cooked a chicken, we’ve been to The Glen to collect the post, interesting National Geographic on water this month, I’ve flicked through the papers and am now going to have a quick sandwich for lunch.

Consider yourself updated!

“Enlightenment means accepting what is”

This quote greets me daily as it is on a bookmark I collected when Dan and I went to see Eckhart Tolle speak last year at the Melbourne Convention Centre.  I stuck the bookmark immediately underneath my vision board, and as I sleep curled up in a ball on my right hand side, the pictures and wise words I’ve chosen to help me are the first thing I see when I get up in the morning, stuck at pillow height right by the bed.

For me the biggest shift in my life has been accepting that there are things I cannot change.  However, there are also things that I don’t need to tolerate.  So while I have accepted them, I have also moved on, knowing that despite my best intentions, I can’t do anything about them.  

De-cluttering and letting go isn’t just about ‘stuff’, it’s also about psychological baggage.  While my past life is there, ready for me to access straight away in terms of memories, because I all I have to do is think about things and I am right back there.  If I chose to not think about them, they have no power over me.  Learning to live in the here and now is hard, there is always the voice telling you that you failed before, you won’t succeed because of x or y, why do you want to do it that way for?  And so on.

If all you have is now, why waste it thinking about something that has happened that you have no control over?  Why project yourself into the next meeting you have in your diary, when you are supposed to be concentrating on this one?  Why worry about something that has happened, or something that hasn’t yet happened.  All you will miss out on is the here and now, when you actually have control over what can happen, because you are fully in the moment you are in?

Easier said than done, as it does take a conscious effort to stay here.  My mind is running ahead of me as I am typing, I am thinking with part of my brain about what I want to tell you.  I was re-reading some of my writing exercises that I used to scribble out when I was commuting back and forth to London.  I found one about a ‘Life in the day of…’, talking about the difference between having a shower and having a shower.  You know, where you step out of it feeling like a whole new person, instead of just doing the washing thing?  It is because when you concentrate on washing your hair, and what the water feels like on your skin, you are in the moment, you are in the shower.  If you are thinking about what emails will be waiting for you when you open your computer at work, you’re not concentrating on where you are.  You’re already playing catch-up projecting forward the day, before you’re even in it.  Before you’ve even registered you are standing under running water, you’re out of it and you’ve missed it.  Which considering how many people in this world don’t have access to showers, is pretty selfish.  So next time you are there, make the most of it!

Didah my counsellor told me that if I did start to worry about things again, I was to write everything down, taking no more than 20 minutes to get everything onto paper.  The chances are, I wouldn’t get to 20 minutes, and it would only be one thing, but forcing yourself to actually think about what is worrying and niggling at you, gets it out your system.  Not that I have had any cause to do that lately, I seem to have stopped worrying about things.  I’m letting the road rise up to meet me as I walk along it.  So far, I’m doing pretty well.  The past 3 weeks have been a revelation, my mind is clear, my heart is clear, I am excited about my life.

I find time to meditate every day, I am trying to get to Bikram Yoga every day, although starting a new job next week may mean shuffling around what class I go to.  I am not beating myself up about what has happened in the past, I can’t predict the future, I can plan for it, but as all the plans we made over Christmas are now on hold, so you also need to learn to be flexible.  And accept that what life gives you is enough.  You are enough.  You don’t need any more.  All you need is within you.

Life after…

I’ve read a couple of articles this week online (what on earth did we do before the interweb?) that have resonated with me deeply, sent me into a contemplative mood and generally realigned my thinking.  When you are open to new possibilities and suggestions, the answers come, when you are closed down, judgemental and think the whole world is against you; it is.  One thing I have learned, if I take a deep breath and stop, the answers come to me a lot easier than if I worry over them.

“Worrying is like sitting in a rocking chair, it gives you something to do, but doesn’t get you anywhere.”  This was on Twitter this week, and I laughed when I saw it.  I used to be a compulsive worrier and fidget.  Now I know when I get restless, I know need to stop and listen.  I am not paying attention to something that needs to be heard.  As I have got older, I am starting to slowly recognise the signs when things are not right in my world.  Sometimes I need a brick round my head before I will act on them, but I am at least seeing them now.

Being afraid of what will happen when you don’t do something, is a big thing for me too.  Often, my inaction will result in a far worse situation that I need to extricate myself from, had I listened to the pebble at my window instead of waiting for a brick, it would have saved a lot of heartache.  But then, as I said the other day, sometimes you need the extreme heartache to realise your true potential and grow.  Grow up, grow out the situation, grow strong.  ‘Grow’ has many meanings as we travel down our bumpy life paths.

The worst thing, bar none, to happen in my life was my separation.  The divorce was easy, the end of the marriage was awful.  While I hate the word ‘divorce’, for many it reads failure, because marriages change and grow – but they also stop.  Mine unfortunately stopped with a bump.  I’ve said before, I had decided it was over, but I hadn’t put my plans into place, I didn’t have any money or anywhere to go; but had I left when I first decided it was unrecoverable, would I be here today in Australia?  Probably not, I would be in a completely different life.  But when I needed it most, a better job came along, with a £11k pay rise; when I needed it most my sister gave me a room and place in her house for as long as I needed it.  I say sister, she is Canadian, we’re not related, but we might as well be.  Like many people in this multi-social-networking-age I owe her a phone call, a hug, and probably an apology.  I’ve been so wrapped up in my life, I’ve been severely disconnected from hers.

So while I didn’t leave when I could have saved myself the heartache of finding out my ex had been unfaithful and lied like a cheap Japanese watch; when it was time to and I was ready for me to start out on this new journey, life pushed me along it.   This past month I have looked into myself and closed a lot of doors on things I no longer need to fret over.  I’ve filed a lot of things away, chalked it up to experience and moved on.  Moving on means leaving things behind.  Leaving things behind means letting go.  Letting go means saying goodbye.

When DG and I moved from the UK, we both had to cull our possessions to the absolute minimum of things we could ship over to here.  Do I love it?  Do I use it?  Do I need it?  If we answered yes to two, preferably all three, questions it came with us.  If we could buy a replacement, it didn’t come along with us.  I culled my books mercilessly; culled my  clothes; culled my things.  I ended up with a series of objects (or bibelots as Georgie would call them) that I truly love, remind me of special people and I am proud to have out on display.  Listening to the radio last weekend, we heard ‘By Design’, a programme on ABC Radio National.  There was a guest on that was very proud to have a minimalist apartment, but have his collections in storage.  Talk about an oxymoron.  Why pay for something to be kept for you, that you love, but you never get to see, unless you go visit it?  Surely if you love it, you should place it in proud view and honour it?  Which is why the majority of people need less stuff, not more.

Buying into the consumerism and attainment of things to give you a better life, is, (forgive me), bollocks.  You can’t take anything with you, it weighs you down, it suffocates you and if you get to the point where you need to rent storage space you simply have too much stuff.  Your belongings should enhance your life, not stifle it.  Some of the deepest moments of clarity I’ve had in my life is when I recognise that I am enough, just me. 

I don’t need a £700 Mulberry handbag, but I chose to buy one on my way out of Heathrow, every time I use it, I love the smell of the leather, love the feel of it in my hand and love that I can get everything but the kitchen sink in it.  I also love that, yes it was an impulse buy, but I will still be using it in 20, 30 or even 40 years from now, so is a real investment piece.  I don’t need an iPod and an iPhone, but engraved on the back of my iPod is ‘I worked hard for this’.  Even when it no longer works, I will keep it, to remind me that I had to save to buy it.  My belongings now reflect me.  If you came in and looked at them, you would get a sense of who I am.  I sit here in the study, and I have my family and friends around me.  Downstairs in the living room, I have my friends and family around me.

Less truly is more, you don’t need anything to make your life better.  You have to love yourself first, no one else can love you if you don’t love yourself; what discord and unhappiness is happening in your life now, is a reflection of what is happening in you now.  I go to Bikram Yoga because when I am in the middle of camel, doing a deep backward bend, breathing through the pain and discomfort, I know I can achieve anything else that day.  I go because I am putting my self at the top of my list.  I am taking care of me, so I can take care of others.  My husband, my friends, my family have all rallied round me over the past month, reinforcing that I am OK.  Now I need to give back, but I can’t give what I don’t have.

Life after separation, divorce, depression, bereavement, bullying, whatever you are facing now?  It will be hard, but if you come from a place of love and take care of yourself first, you can get through anything.  Listen to the stillness inside you, go outside and sit under a tree and just be.  You will find the answers there, not in an object someone is advertising to make your life complete.  Your life is complete.