Tag Archive: Thoughts


Tough Times, Tough Decisions.

The start of this year has been tough.

Business man pushing large stone up to hill , Business heavy tasks and problems concept.

Unexpected expenses, but that’s life, just work more to deal with them. Broken promises, disappointing but life goes on. the weight of additional expectations, but you adjust and step up to the new mark.

Then in the space of less than two weeks I lost one of my regular coping mechanisms and one of my work colleagues committed suicide. Two separate events, both having a profound affect on me.

Life isn’t always easy to compartmentalise and as much as I’d like to treat these things as two completely separate events, from a mental health perspective, that’s not necessarily how it works. They are, by virtue of the fact I experienced both, inextricably linked.

girl-worried-1215261_1280-1021x580

I have always been open about my own battles with depression and my history of self-harm. I also have people both incredibly close to me and in my wider circle of friends that struggle with/deal with depression and anxiety on a daily basis.

But I also see myself as a strong person. Someone who will stand up for myself, my family, my friends and any underdog who doesn’t seem capable of fighting for themselves. Here though is where I get tripped by one of the quirks of my brain. Because I will fight for others, sometimes I expect those others to fight for me. Why? When they won’t even stand for themselves? I have no idea. It makes no logical sense. That is the way it is though and when they don’t, the little voice in the back of my brain pipes up. ‘Cleary you don’t mean that much to them. Why do you think anyone cares what you are going through?’ Some of you will know that voice I speak of.

maxresdefault

Again logically I know my inner dialogue lies. Knowing that doesn’t stop the room closing in, the clouds blocking out the light, or the quicksand pulling me emotionally down.

Here is where coping mechanisms come in. I run, walk, hit something – any kind of solitary workout. I get lost in a book. Sometimes I just repeat to myself while I am lying there, ‘this too shall pass.’

I have something else though. I have people around me I can reach out to. People who understand, to the limit you can understand, the fucked up nature my headspace.

ca373601-ced1-4d55-9388-159068158174

Which brings me to my work colleague and their very final actions.

I work in an incredibly high stress job. The number of suicides is staggering. We all know it. We know the mental health stats. We know there are people, even professionals, we can talk to. And yes I have availed myself of that service.

Still this person, this bright shining star, in possession of a uniques and larger than life personality was clearly suffering.

Why? I think it’s probably the biggest question after something like this. Why didn’t they ask for help? Why did they isolate themselves? Also what the fuck we’re they thinking? I wanted to be so angry with her. We weren’t the closest but I still would’ve been there if she’d asked. And I know she had people close to her who are wondering why didn’t she just reach out to me?

The answer is, I don’t know. I don’t know what she was thinking. I don’t know why she didn’t reach out. I don’t know if or why she thought she wasn’t worth helping.

I don know her actions have had a rippling affect on those who’s lives crossed with hers. I do know she will be sorely missed. And I do know thinking about it still makes me cry.

Helping-Hand

And so I will say it again, as I have before, if you are struggling for any reason, reach out. Do I need to say it again? Reach out. I will say it as often as I need to. Reach out. You are never alone. There are no easy fixes or quick answers, but there are people who would hate for you to not be in their lives anymore.

Of course things sometimes aren’t that simple. Sometimes the people you expect to support you don’t. For what ever reason. Which brings me to point two, but before I get there, remember don’t give up and don’t believe the lies. One set back isn’t the end of things.

Now this second thing.

Morning-Run-Female

I’ve already talked about coping mechanisms. We all have them. I attended a specific event several times a year as a way of de-stressing. It gave me a sense of belonging, a place to let go and be me. In my regular role, it was a place I thought I was useful and quite frankly, good at. I made heaps of friends, had problems I could solve and then bitch about, and fun moments.

Things though have been changing and I don’t claim to understand why. This last week and a bit though, things have come to a head. I know I was usually in a fortunate position, but I felt I’d worked for it and earned it. It seems this was not the case.

For reasons I do not know I was removed from that position and put somewhere I didn’t want to be. Oh don’t get me wrong, it is another position other people desperately want to be, but not me. I’d done it once because I was told I had to, sure it wasn’t exactly the same but it was similar, and it broke me. Plain and simple I had a mini breakdown.

1C1F149C-F935-48BF-9CCAB18FE0EB2CA0_source

I told them this when the move came up this year and I was told that’s terrible, what can we do to help, and where else would you like to be? I  just wanted to go back to my comfort zone, but it seems this was not an option. So my choice was, do something I was pretty certain wouldn’t end well for me, or go into another area to learn something I didn’t want to learn and be isolated from the very people I had gone to see.

I didn’t want to make this choice. I though long and hard about the decision I ended up making. I cried (yes I am stupidly emotional at times, but I’m hardly the only one and I don’t care). I had many internal debates. I overthought. My stress levels went up. The clouds began to close in.

In the end I knew my initial gut reaction was the one I’d have to go with. I had to walk away.

deucesNow this is something I have devoted hundreds of hours of my life and thousands of my dollars on, and I knew I had to walk away.

Support I expected didn’t come.

I don’t know all of what is going on behind the scenes, or in other people’s lives. I still don’t know why I had to make this decision. I just knew I was hurting and it didn’t seem to matter.

Then something happened.

dreamstime_xxl_109894831

Support came from unexpected places. Sometimes it’s the people you don’t expect that see things, they see the struggle and understand.

We tell ourselves we should just get over things, deal with things or suck it up. Really that’s not what we need at all. Oh absolutely there are times when those things are all completely valid pieces of advice, but not always.

Sometimes what we need is someone to say – I’m here, what do you need?

The answer isn’t the same for everyone. It could be; ice-cream, a shared laugh, company, a hug or even nothing – because you’ve already done it and I no longer feel alone.

I am very introverted by nature. I love the quiet, home and not being around people, though I can certainly do the opposite. I know though that life is never something we get through alone.

So one door shuts and I’ll have to find another door to open. The ache of the losses will pass and life continues on it’s sometimes not so merry adventure.

For the love of everything, please don’t be afraid to reach for help, it’s there. I know it is. Just maybe not where you thought it would be.

Advertisements

Perseverance

Sometimes I wonder why. Then I scoff at myself because I know why. I write because I have to, there are ideas floating, sometimes churning around in my head that have to be let out. That want and demand a life of their own, silly as that may sound.

The other day I was in a book store and I was looking at all these new titles that I thought I wouldn’t mind checking out even though my bank account isn’t that friendly and I wondered what I was playing at thinking myself an author. I am one though. I am also published, sure I haven’t cracked the traditional market but does that make me any less an author? I don’t think it does. I work incredibly hard on my books, I write, I edit, I re-edit and I pay for a professional edit. This whole process takes massive amounts of time, mind space and effort, so I guess I shouldn’t really question whether I am an author.

Yes I wish I could see my books on a shelf, and maybe one day that will be a thing. For now though I just have to persevere with what I do, slog through the daily effort of juggling a full time job, a family and writing, in the hope that one day I will earn the break I’m working towards.

Wow

It is difficult to fathom two things. One that it’s been so long since I posted, I mean November was the last time, really, that seems wrong somehow. Two that we are already into April of 2018.

Let me see how much I can remember to catch you up on.

astormain_hr1.jpg

I went on a mini cruise in January with my family. It’s the first time I’ve been on a cruise and I loved it. It was what my munchkins referred to as an ‘old people’s cruise’, and they weren’t wrong. It was a small boat but still it was good. I had nothing to do, no responsibility and it was great. I didn’t have to clean or cook. I thoroughly not having to do anything except read and write and spend some time with said munchkins, but I didn’t have to do that because they had their cousin to play with. Awesome.

Long and the short of it is, I really want to go on another cruise, just a bit of a bigger boat this time.

10-6c1e97ccc6929.jpg

Then there is work, lots of work, but I’ve got to pay the bills somehow.

So onto the writing side of things.

Unknown.jpeg

I thought I was in really good position to publish book two of the Oparna Legacy for April then something happened. I don’t talk about my faith very often but its there, it underlies much of what I do. I don’t advertise it because I have issues with organised religion and I really don’t like being shoved into claustrophobic boxes. Anyway the long and the short of it is the big man up stairs gave me a task. This task was research heavy and became something like an obsession. Every waking moment it seemed, was taken up with working on it. It was something I’ve never tackled before and something somewhat out of my comfort zone. However it is now done, or at least the bit I can do at the moment is. And no I’m not going to be more specific because I really can’t, there is nothing more I can say until the next stage happens, if there is a next stage.

Oh and I also wrote two short stories that I have now submitted for competitions, both of which were more of the literary fiction type, nothing spec fiction about them at all. It is such a challenge to write in different genres, it may not be something I want to dabble in for a full length project but it is still worth dabbling it in.

Moving on.

In all of that I actually did get book two finished, given a solid second edit, got it to the beta reader and did the read aloud edit with my hubby (who doesn’t read but is a very happy listener who points out good things and bad). As a side note, I find reading aloud a very useful editing tool, because it forces you to go over every word in a way you sometimes don’t when you a a fast reader as I am, and know what you think you wrote, which sometimes you totally didn’t.

I now just need to find the time to catch up with my beat reader, do all those changes and a final edit before I send it to an actual editor.

Then just for fun I have also finished the first run through of book three, and I’m working on two other full length novels, one of which looks like the start of a series that will be longer than three books. So plenty of writing left to go in my very active mind.

Now you are up to date.

I’m on leave and it’s almost Nova time again. Here’s hoping I stay organised enough to update you on a way more regular basis.

 

Three Things

stock-footage-woman-holds-magnifier-and-puts-it-to-chin-against-sky-and-sun-720x340.jpg

A beautiful friend of mine has recently started a business pushing (sorry selling) make up. Now if you know much about me, you’ll know that make up is one of those things that is a very low priority in my life. I wear it on stage or for special occasions, I’m just too lazy to bother with that in my everyday. I’m not going to write here about my lack skill or disinterest in make up, what I am going to comment on is something I think is incredibly important – women’s self esteem.

Now my friend knows the women she has targeted, we’re nerdy, geeky and a few other fun descriptors, so she caters to that by running fun little competitions. Her interactive approach certainly dragged me in. But targeted marketing is not my topic.

What has driven me to write this post is one of the games she posted where it said: what would your warning label say and state three things you like about yourself. Can you guess which part sparked this blog post?

39c6ee3c692934c2ee03abca37abdcd3--crazy-women-random-thoughts.jpg

The warning part turned out to be easy. Everyone can have a little fun with that. Turns out though that writing publitlythree things you like about yourself is somewhat more difficult.

Part way through writing my three things I started to feel guilty that I hadn’t written down anything about being a wife/mother or family related. I don’t know if its’ just me or women in general but so much of our identity is derived from others, at least when talking in a public forum. My family are hugely important to me and I’m incredibly happy with my life for the most part. Sure there are always things that aren’t perfect, but what is a perfect life and why would i want it anyway when I am clearly not perfect. That may be a whole other thought stream though, so back to my current topic.

Unknown.jpeg

When I settled on my three things I’ll admit to being a little surprised that I could have written more, so I will use this opportunity to get into this a little more. This may seem a little self indulgent but it’s my post and I’m going to be unapologetic about it.

Things I like about myself:

My brain, it functions well. I read, think and love to learn.

My body, I have abs, I worked hard for them, I needed to as I’m in my 40’s, have had two kids and wasn’t blessed with a metabolism that means I can eat what I want. I am stronger and fitter now than i was in my skinnier, younger years. The problem is when I google my ideal weight, I am currently apparently over weight. Crap is what I say to that. If I got down to my ‘ideal’ weight, what I would lose is most of my muscle mass and I like being strong. Sure I wish the last o f my mummy tummy would go the heck away but I’m pretty damn proud of this body of mine otherwise.

As a person I’m proud of my determination, fierce loyalty and my work ethic. I am comfortable with the fact I am a complex creature who is basically an introvert. I love feeling capable and strong. I have a giggle when people say I’m scary and feel a little bemused when people call me inspiring. I enjoy my job, to the bemusement of most and I’m proud to say I’m a published author – though part of me is still a little disappointed I had to do it myself in the end. I know I don’t comfortably fit into the boxes society likes to use and I’m good with that. My friends are the ones who accept the many, sometimes broken layers, of who I am, abrasive edges and all.

Now to the point of this self indulgence. Introspection. It’s always good to acknowledge our strengths. Knowing what we like about ourselves can help us through the harder and darker moments of life, if we allow ourselves to embrace them.

This leads nicely to the second part of my thought process from that little game. Whilst the warning part was easy and many participated, more than a few didn’t write anything for this second part. I haven’t asked why this is but I do have a few speculations. When life isn’t perfect, or even good, it can be hard to see the positive to find the things we like. Most of us don’t like to toot our own trumpets because we are socially coerced into believing it is wrong, arrogant or something. Thirdly, sometimes we just don’t know how to answer that question, when taking a close look at ourselves it’s so much easier to see the flaws and things we don’t like.

images.jpeg

This is sad. Think about it. So much of what society pushes subliminally (and sometimes not that subtly) is that a successful woman is one who adheres to, or measures up against certain stereotypes and appearances. We are judged by how we fit into the boxes, not how we colour those boxes in. Women are still taught not to rock the boat, we still know that our success can be undercut by men – this is how Weinstein got away with what he did. We are shown pretty pictures and told, this is the ideal.

Well I’m going to call bullshit. Women are varied, and strong and flawed and more than capable in achieving whatever goals they set for themselves. Sometimes our own worst enemy is ourselves, we allow ourselves to quietly sit where society has placed us, we pick on other women who don’t fit that norm and thereby reinforce the crap. It is time we stopped doing that. It is time we embraced ourselves for the awesomeness  and individuality that is in all of us.

5563163.png

After all this my point simply is, finding three things about ourselves that we like shouldn’t be hard, and certainly admitting and embracing them shouldn’t be shied away from. i challenge you to look deeply into yourself. Look at your perceived flaws from a different perspective (I’m not bossy or a bitch, I’m organised and focused, I get shit done). Look at yourself in a positive light, examine the things that make you you. The sum of your parts, good bad, indifferent, is what makes you interesting. It is what makes you not fit the mould and proves you are no Stepford woman. Look at your body and be proud. Look at your achievements and what you do well and take satisfaction in them. Look at your personality and shout about how awesome you are.

EmilysQuotes.Com-Japanese-mend-gold-believe-suffer-pain-damage-history-past-beautiful-understanding-wisdom-Barbara-Bloom.jpg

There is an old Japanese custom where a broken item is repaired with gold, making it more beautiful because of it’s flaws. It is about time we allowed ourselves to embrace this.

I am flawed and I am awesome.

Shout it, believe it.