Grief… & Other Associated Stress

There is no measure of time that it will take for a person to overcome the grief of losing someone who is directly related to them; this I have learned first hand.

It has been almost four months since my Mum passed away. Four long months since I saw her face, heard her laugh, teased her with something totally inappropriate or since she commented on something she saw on one of her favourite TV shows. This seems like forever ago, yet there is a conflicting passage of time that makes it seem like yesterday that she was at full capacity and we were shopping together, having Wednesday lunches together or that I was staying at her house most nights of the week so we could watch Masterchef together where I would live tweet her hilarious commentary.

It seems like not that long ago that I was doubled over in pain, food poisoned or suffering a severe case of gastro where she was taking care of me, loaning me money to afford a “real” (non medicare) doctor at the end of my pay cycle and shuttling me to and fro and making me food until I felt better. The normal comforts of having a mother that loves you unconditionally.

It has been almost four months since my Mum passed away and all I know is that the pain of that loss has hit me with a weight that I can’t quite aptly convey to anyone else that’s in my life. No one can ever understand the love between my Mum and I because they were not part of it. I regularly dream of her and sometimes they end in nightmares and other times I wake up feeling thankful that I’ve had the chance to see her and that she hasn’t faded from my memory. I am thankful that I haven’t yet forgotten how she smelled or how it felt to be comforted by her.

Sometimes I feel that when I talk about her, people become glazed over because they kind of expect that because it’s almost been 4 months, I should be ‘almost’ over it — or that my pain should have dulled at least.

The truth is that I don’t think I will ever feel less pain about my Mum’s passing. The guilt of what I ‘could’ have or ‘should’ have said or done will never pass (despite the fact that I did a lot and I know she would never accuse me of any different). Four months may have almost passed by quickly, but the immediacy of her passing required me to be level-headed, emotion-free and diligent in planning a funeral, taking care of bits and pieces, letting everyone know, and allying everyone else’s sadness by pretending I was totally okay with the new reality of a life, motherless.

Because of the fastness in which my Mum passed, I can see how shell-shocked we all were in hindsight — perhaps that was attributed to all the denial we faced about her condition. Nevertheless, the three weeks of work that I took off didn’t really give me the time I needed. Again, in hindsight, it might have been smart to go back to work immediately and rather take the time when I began to feel the weight of losing her — like now.

I try to recall the good memories; but they even make me sad with the reality that we will never have the chance to create anymore.

Along with the other monsters in my head, intruding upon the normal functionality of a brain, I go to sleep with this sadness every single night and wake up feeling the weight of the loss as I try to turn the music up to drown it all out as I get ready for the day. When I get in the car and in those moments that I am alone, I find myself either having to listen audio books, or else endure the tears and the stupid guilt.

As a result the silly thoughts begin and I have to try to bargain with myself with a routine or compulsion just to ease it off; like a superstition. It starts with one thing and it domino effects in to a thousand things and before I know it, I can barely get out of bed, wracked with grief, depression, intrusive thoughts and feelings that not another person will ever be able to ease save for the presence of my Mum who was really the only person I trusted to tell me the truth without getting angry or frustrated with me — even if it was sometimes cutting and blunt.

It isn’t that I don’t feel like I can’t talk to people about it, my family and my friends have been so good — but I find it hard to talk about it without being aware of their discomfort or lack of words that will make me feel better. Nothing makes it better and I don’t think it ever will.

Just this week I have felt off — unsure if it is just stress of grief or genuine sickness, I took myself off to the doctors three times and each time a different outcome ensued. Yesterday I had a blood test and had to wait for the results. After hours my doctor called me back and I missed the call by around 4 minutes so she left a muffled voice message that I couldn’t distinguish and something about coming back but also the word ‘mild’ was heard somewhere — regardless of the logic that bad news wouldn’t have been allowed to be left in a voice mail, I went in to melt down. Because it was after hours, I couldn’t call back without it going to an answering message service and I lost my shit for a good hour.

I suppose the point of this is to just acknowledge the fact that there truly is no allotted time that one must adhere to when it comes to grief and its okay to lose your friggin’ marbles for as long as it takes to feel better again.

In fact, when the funeral and the flowers and the well wishes and the shock dissipates, the gravity of the loss hits hard. As funny as it is, I feel like this quote is apt and it’s from Michael Scott so I know my Mum would approve:

grief

..I mean, if we were talking about trying to put it in to words and all.

The other things I’ve learned about grief and loss is that people do say some stupid shit to you. The nurse taking care of my Mum immediately after her passing told me this as she comforted me and I knew it was true in the moment but I didn’t know just how true until someone tried to tell me to stop talking about my Mum because I was torturing myself.

I’ve learned that talking does help sometimes but in my case, writing is a release too and so if you are reading this wondering why I’ve done a violent overshare of emotions, then I will tell you it is because it is good for me and at this point in time, I am taking care of myself because unfortunately despite my age, my mother isn’t here to help me do that anymore.

Also, grief sometimes doesn’t show up immediately. For me, I didn’t feel it; didn’t get it. I didn’t cry after leaving her that night. I didn’t cry at her funeral, really. I was able to smile and laugh and joke and continually tell everybody how chill I was about my Mum dying. And for a little while, I truly believed my own hype.

Until of course, the grief did hit…

Moving on from the loss of someone is actually impossible, but adjusting your life to a lifetime without an important person in it, is possible with time. The pain won’t ever pass, I don’t think. And there are days that I’m sure in 10 years time that I will take to just cry and remember her, but I am hoping that what I am going through currently will pass in its due course.

But right now, I miss my Mum so much that it is painful to think about her and thinking about her makes it literally hard for me to breathe.

(She is probably wishing she could give me “a clip ’round the earhole” as I write this).

So yeah, that’s where I am at. Now I’m off to avoid life by nose diving in to yet another book.

2017 New Year New Me!

Joking, joking. I’m going to be the same as I have been every year, changed only by the hard times that have shaped me.

 

Each year I like to acknowledge the passing of the year and rather than really having a resolution list, I like to set new goals or think about ways that I can challenge myself. I also like to reflect back and see what’s changed as well as what I’ve achieved.

2016 has been a really shitty awful/bitter sweet year but I think I am ready to get back in to things.

I have actually achieved some things in 2016 that I had on my goal list – ones that I thought were more just kind of pipe dreams, and for those things I am proud.

It was also the year that I lost my Mum and so closing that chapter on my life comes with great regret and sadness.

This was a year of learning who my friends are and who my friends aren’t. It was about my eyes opening to the true colours of those in my life and those who were in my family’s life.

I learned in 2016 that you will make time for those who you want to make time for.

In 2017 I have a few plans that I really hope to achieve;

I have written a book in 2016 and I hope to perfect the manuscript and start sending it out to publishers and if that doesn’t go ahead, I will begin to start researching self-publishing a little more seriously.

I have a business venture that I have been thinking about for a little while that I will explore within the next few months.

I want to go to Japan, Hawaii and New York.

I want to up my fitness training and start saving money more seriously.

I also want to stop getting riled up over stupid things and love and cherish those that I choose to have in my life and stop being so selfish where I can.

My new reading challenge is 35 books and I’ve began to choose which books I’ll read – that means I’ll be picking up my reviews again 🙂

— so that’s basically all for now, I hope everyone had a great New Year my next post will be about my New Year’s Eve.

Back from hiatus after losing my Mum

Hi everyone,

I’m back, I think.

Although, given what’s happened I don’t know if I’m ready to be back at anything, so time will tell as to whether or not I want to take more time away from regular life and given that I didn’t have a superficial relationship with my Mum, my loss is great, I don’t know if I know what regular life feels like anymore.

But I’ll try.

Where I left off: 

On October 10th my Mum had two massive seizures which changed the course of what life my day-to-day life was and she never came home from hospital.

I had my 33rd birthday on the 14th.

On the 15th, I had a trip to go to Queensland with my cousin booked. I debated for a week and some as to whether or not I go and my stepdad and I agreed that there wasn’t really much I could do at home, so I went for my 5 day trip. I don’t regret going, but I did spend most of my time there feeling guilty about not being with my Mum. In hindsight, I don’t regret going because what was waiting for me back home when I returned was something I may have not been able to emotionally manage without that break.

I spent a lot of time in between trying to read different books for blogging purposes but found nothing that held my interest — perhaps this was more to do with my state of mind rather than a problem with the books.

After my trip my time was spent literally every second day driving back and forth to and from the hospital where my Mum was located and trying to keep myself together enough to visit her without falling apart, continue working without letting anyone down, combating my mental health, trying not to direct the anger that I felt toward my friends or my boyfriend and … breathe.

On November 6th my Mum passed away in a way that was both expected and unexpected. We had all hoped and prayed that she would turn a corner and be well enough to come home after treatment. Unfortunately that wasn’t to be.

The important thing was that my Mum was surrounded by the most important people in her life for the last few days and was cared for beautifully by unforgettable staff of the facility where she was being kept comfortable. It devastates me that we were unable to bring her home like she so desperately wanted to be, but it just wasn’t to be. She passed away in our arms, quite literally and there wasn’t a single other way I would have wanted it.

I think if it weren’t for the support from my family and friends, I would probably be in a heap somewhere…

Even writing the words above are hard to do without falling apart. Again.

In between all of that, I was incredibly sick and it turned out that I actually had pneumonia. My brother and I suspect it was due to the fact that I slept in the cold, baron part of my Mum and Stepdad’s house with cold, wet hair after we left the nursing home for the last time. The weekend she passed happened to be one of the coldest mornings that I can remember. I slept minimally for the next few days which probably didn’t help – running purely on adrenalin until the funeral passed.

I’ve only just come out the other side of being sick but I still can’t stop coughing when I’m in the middle of a fit. Not fun.

My friends stayed at my house and were great for laughs and for someone to try all the places where I wanted to eat but didn’t want to go alone.
My workmates were incredibly supportive and some went as far as feeling the weight of my sadness and helping out in practical ways.
My cousin helped me plan out my goals and plans going forward week-to-week, month-to-month, year-to-year.
My boyfriend has been endless in doling out his affections, support and love as usual, even if it’s not always fun for him — or really either of us.
Everyone else has been amazing in offering support in kind ways, practical ways and emotionally.

My cousin stayed the longest, offering her pragmatic support which has been good at keeping my mind busy so that when life does feel a bit normal again, I can do all of the things that I have wanted to do but didn’t get the chance because I was 1, emotionally exhausted, 2, too busy with my Mum, 3, didn’t feel timing was right.

Tomorrow I go back to work for the first time in three weeks. I am unsure about how to feel about that or whether or not I feel ready, but I do feel like the routine is going to do me the world of good.

Afternoon drinking is probably not going to work out very good for me if I keep going as I am.

I started reading again this week, so I suppose a book review will be on the way and I plan to post some photos of the month and a half where life went a bit awry.

In the meantime, my cousin has been working really hard on our business so you could check that out — we have some really cool new products and if you use bfriday16 promo code, you can get 20% off until tomorrow. http://www.bigcuzlittlecuz.com

Mothers Day: A few reasons why my Mum is the BEST!

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Hmm, so I’m not sure if you’ve got it or not from the past 65 thousand posts, but my Mum is the friggin’ awesomest. Bugger wanting to be like the cool girls at school, my Mum has always been the coolest and I’ve always wanted to be like her. And you know what? I reckon I’m a lot like her and I am incredibly grateful for that. (If I was at school still, I would be the cool girl — probably the oldest … and creepiest too… ahem).

I wanted to make a list of the things (but not limited to) that make my Mum, a cool-ass mother.

1. We watched the entire series of Nip/Tuck together.

Have you ever watched Nip/Tuck? I’m telling you, there is no bonding experience better than watching a show like Nip/Tuck with your Mum. It’s borderline soft-core porn. We used to take bets to see how long it was before Christian would bang a girl and Shaun would become sexually attracted to a cross-dressing midget who looked after their nanny — or something. And we would supply explicit commentary which we both found to be wildly hilarious.

2.  There’s no better person to take shopping:

She is my best clothing critic. Bold, tactless and incredibly honest. And if I need encouragement to spend money, she is right there. Kmart is our sanctuary. We walk around together aimless, need-less and together we immerse ourselves in the tranquility of cheap buys. Like, just one week ago I went in to Kmart with Mum needing nothing and left with $107 worth of goods.

3.  She’s always understood me:

Well, most of the time — and if she hasn’t, she has tried and has let me live my life and do what I want to do without passing judgment or putting me in a little box. I remember specifically writing my Mum an email breaking it to her that I was going to California to er… chase my er… dreams (cough). She told me I should think more about a car or something responsible (at 21). I told her I wasn’t interested in a car. And she told me to go and have fun and didn’t make me feel bad for my (irresponsible) choices (which by the way, I still don’t regret one tiny bit).

4. Her sense of humour.

I know it’s where I get it. On one hand we both enjoy a good bit of toilet humour and nothing is funnier than a good fart joke, but on the other hand we are an incredibly visual people and conversation often takes a very silly, swear-y turn. Once, on our way to Sydney, we probably hit a record for the amount of times the cbomb could be used in a car trip as well as creating what I’m sure were new adjectives combining that c-word in to a new sentence while destroying all disgusting meaning of it. (Spoiler alert: more than 100 ways).

5. She’s an artist.

Not like some flimsy fiftys-something woman who’s children have flown the nest and has taken up a pottery class and thinks she’s quite good. No, my Mum is a creative genius. She is good at just about any friggin’ art medium and she makes me want to cry with envy (not really, what I lack in art, I make up for in dramatics ;)) I know that she’s good at every art medium because she was also fickle with her art interests. She can paint, she can sew, she can knit, she can build, she can sculpt (to be fair, so can I, I can make great clay penises). No shit, once I saw her bravely saw apart an incredibly expensive cupboard/wardrobe. Me on the other hand? Creative genius, not so much. I can poop shapes?

6. She let me get to know her as a person.

I know this is a weird thing to say, but some people only get to know their parents as Mum or Dad– never as someone that they can hang out with or want to hang out with. They look to their parents for support, for advice or for them to tell them where they’re going wrong in life. I don’t think I’d be as close to my Mum had I not gotten to know her as not only my Mum who will do all those things, but also as a friend. I hear people comment a lot that their Mum is their best friend — but for me it isn’t lip service. My Mum is literally my best friend. There is no one in this world who is quite like her and no one who can ever be the friend/mother to me that she can and has been.

7. She can cook.

Just some other thing she’s good at. Whether its Taco Tuesday or a ham and salad roll. She’s got it going on. She can wog-cook along with the rest of them; no Aussie meat-and-three-veg at our place. Whenever I drop in, I go straight to the pantry to help myself to all of her food.

8. She is not intimidated.

Strong AF. I’ve never seen anyone intimidate my Mum. Perhaps this is untrue statement, but if so, she’s never allowed anyone to know they’ve intimidated her and to me that’s as good as. I wish to be more like that.

9. She spent ample time looking after me in many years of childhood sickness

I was what the internet now calls a “heart kid”. I grew up in and out of hospital with surgeries and many constant discoveries of yet more shitty problems with my heart and lung, spinal problems and fucking other internal organ problems and my Mum was a friggin’ trooper. There was never a time in any of those hospital stays where I woke up and she wasn’t by my side. Sometimes she took me to and from hospital multiple times daily just to have my IV line flushed so we could still have our home comforts and I never once heard her complain.

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10. On my ex breaking up with me out of the blue:

She walked in to my room as I sat crying in a really pathetic state, not knowing what to do with myself. With an air of resolve about her, she piped up, “Okay, up you get — let’s strip your bedding and wash that dirty little f*cker right out of your sheets!” (note: other, more comical words were used here). And for whatever reason, it made me laugh and strangely made me feel almost instantly.

11. She’s protective as shit.

I think you can see from number 10, she’s protective as shit. When I got a hard time at school, my Mum marched up to speak to the principal and told him that he had no balls. I don’t know how many other people she scared the living shit out of for hurting me or upsetting me in high school. And then there’s the kids that I didn’t dare point out to her just in case her threats were made real. lol.

12. When Michael Jackson died.

I was a huge fan. Like, beyond epic proportions. Like, traveled the world to see him kind of fan. Like, met him a bunch of times, kind of fan. And rather than ridiculing me for crying the big ugly cry over it as though I’d just been informed that I have leprosy, she consoled me perfectly (while my best friend in the background awkwardly demanded [comically] to know if I was going to make her any dip for the chips we bought).

13. I love my Mum more than anything else in this world.

She’s currently unwell and probably won’t be able to read this but;

Happy mother’s day Mum! You are the best, no one else is above you 🙂

 

Living In The Fishbowl

I remember hearing about someone referring to life inside a fishbowl and it seemed like a dumb analogy, but now that I’m here– I understand.

A good friend of mine had a baby a few years back and at 2 years old she was diagnosed with cancer (neuroblastoma)– thank God she is on the other side of her treatment now, but I suppose my friend and I share a common and close understanding of what it is like to watch someone that you would give your everything to, go through the rigours and terrors of cancer.

I have sat here with this little input box open for almost an hour- typing something, backspacing, typing, backspacing and wondering if the world (well, my world at least) needs to really hear the kinds of things that are playing out and wondering if it’s even the smartest thing to do — knowing at some stage I will probably read back on this.

So I decided I won’t share details about what exactly I’ve been through over the past 3 weeks with my Mum. Only that she has made a very quick decline in health since the weekend of my birthday. She has cancer in her brain and we begin treatment to try to combat those tumours as of today. Other than that, I think I will just share my feelings on the matter and how I’m doing personally.

I’ve learned that there is no right or wrong way to respond to news like this. Knowing she was unwell and that something was not quite right with her, I had spent the weeks leading up to her tests and oncology appointment feeling grief-stricken. I cried at random moments, sobbed some nights before bed, others when I woke up. I would spend my 35 minute drive to work every day playing out the most terrifying scenarios that I still wouldn’t even have the guts to speak out loud. My anxiety has been through the roof and I have taken up daily drinking.

I know I usually say something like that in jest, but seriously. Every night I get home and have a glass of wine to take the edge off the stress and worry that has been all-consuming now.

My friend suggested this cancer journey is like being in a fishbowl. People can see you, they send their well-meaning messages (and we are incredibly greatful) but they get to walk away and get back to their own calmer reality. No one can get in there with you, but that’s fine because you never want to wish this kind of pain upon anyone… but it can be incredibly, incredibly lonely.

In saying all of that, most people in my life have been wonderful. I’ve had offers to cook for my family and I, I’ve had friends send care packages to cheer us up when we’ve had bad news. I’ve had phone calls and messages and reminders that they are always here for me– and it is certainly true; you learn very quickly who your true friends are.

There are times where I scroll through Facebook or Twitter reading posts, ticking them off one by one with an imaginary checkbox, wanting to apply the “who gives a shit!” option and then hit, “mark all” … but it’s not really fair to think like that because even I do stuff to give myself a break from my feelings and the situations. My last tweet was to share how much I love Jussie Smollett (could this be the new and improved Jesse L Martin in my life!? … probably not, I think he’s gay, but anyway.) … superfluous and stupid, but life goes on.

I remember earlier on a few years back when my Mum was originally diagnosed with breast cancer, I actually wrote; “how is the world still spinning when mine has stopped?” and some days it does feel like that. As though I want to scream in to people’s faces, “WHY ARE YOU SMILING, DON’T YOU KNOW WHAT’S HAPPENING WITH MY MUM!?” It’s childish and it’s stupid, but some days are incredibly hard.

When the news was delivered to us yesterday I reacted calmly, pragmatically; asking immediate questions regarding treatment and understanding that we can only take each day as it comes. I made all the phone calls to my friends and to family who were waiting patiently to hear the results. I did this without crying, without being emotional. I did it with laughter, good humour. I spent some of my time consoling other people that I was okay. And I was; or am…. at least I think I am.

Maybe the gravity of the news hasn’t hit me yet — or maybe there’s no any one ‘right’ way to deal with this kind of news.

Last night my friend and I discussed the things that other people won’t let me discuss. Previously my OCD brain used to tell me if I said a certain thing out loud it might happen and I’d have to perform a bunch of stupid routines each time I said something out loud that I shouldn’t have, just to combat it. Now that I’m no longer ruled by my OCD brain, I feel like it was important to share and rationalise the thoughts that keep haunting me. And after talking about them, my brain can quiet a little.

I know some people don’t know what to say to me, but sometimes when they are just that brutally honest, it is better than “stay positive!” or “you’re so strong!” …I understand all of these things come from well-meaning and heartfelt places and any love sent to me is love that I truly need and welcome — what I can’t handle is when someone that I love dearly says nothing at all. It’s hurtful and during an already difficult time, a bit soul-destroying if I’m going to be honest.

But rather than getting upset over things like that, I try to focus on the handful of support I am receiving from my closest friends — especially the ones who have done their time in the fishbowl or who are still inside that fishbowl.

I love my Mum, she’s the best, cool ass Mum anyone could ever have…I want her to return to me in full capacity again. I am using my ListApp (the most pointless yet hilarious App you’ll ever get) to create a list of all the moments that make my Mum cool AF, still at 59 yrs old. — Watch this space, I will be sharing it here soon… I’m sure it’ll give you all a laugh.

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Please pray for us. I have faith in Jesus and I consecrate myself and my family to His most Sacred Heart. I appreciate every one for every single bit of support, love and prayers they have offered up for us. You are truly God-given. I’ll never forget you.

I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget the way you made them feel —Maya Angelou.

Goals, Trips & Resolutions!

Hello 2015.

goals-not-resolutions

Time to look back on our somewhat-good, 2014, shall we? I just took a look at my 2014 goal list and saw that some of them were incredibly shallow and didn’t matter either way — though, some of those goals were met without me even realising!

In 2014, I…
I managed to not only hit 90% of my EOFY target at work, but I hit something crazy like 119% which made me very happy.
I managed to buy and own an iMac (Important, isnt it!)
I hosted a fundraising event. I am especially proud of this one. I never thought I could pull off something as amazing as it was.
I saved $2000 rainy day savings and managed to spend it just as promptly on a trip to Barossa Valley, which strangely enough was also on the goal list.
I went to Barossa Valley for a week in April last year.

I did not:
Finish 10 of the books on the book list. Really, I read more than 10 others though, so, good effort.
I stopped eating meat, then I started again, then I stopped, then I started. This will always be an ongoing process.
I didn’t take photography lessons.
And I didn’t do another big-name interview.
As of meal-planning and prepping? This is not a permanent skill of mine, but I do do it on and off.

But I’m okay about all of the above.

Wanna know my goals for 2015? This is a bit of a work in progress, but what the hey!

2015:
Take an overseas trip to Europe, particularly Croatia to find out and see where my family came from.
To make exercise a daily activity. Turning a sedentary lifestyle in to a moderately fit one, and then so on.
To change my eating habits specifically for a cleaner lifestyle.
Stop drinking alcohol almost completely (don’t worry people, I don’t drink that much)
Reach my EOFY goal
Get a work promotion or at least a bit more responsibility
Get better organised at work and at home
Give less of a crap about what people think of me and to speak up without emotion/anger when something/someone is bothering me.
Get Topshelf Magazine up and going again
Finish my degree
Start going back to church and making it a priority
Be able to reach the fitness level where I can turn up to the 5km colour run in honor of Heart Kids Vic and walk the event.
Blog on a weekly basis at least!
Get back to my novel (cue Stewie and Brian family guy outtake)
Use Facebook much less (do you ever find this stupid website kills far too much of our time!?)

And I will update this goal list through the year.

And now I go and get myself geared up to make a salad for work today (its my first day back), exercise, then beautify! Its all happening and I wish you all a fantastic start to 2015.

Do you have any goals or resolutions?

Unqualified Second Hand Embarrassment

I know everyone has done things in their past that they are not proud of. They have gone through phases or patches of crazy where they have acted out or taken action purely to rebel against their parents. I know its easy to look at other people and feel second hand embarrassment — I know for instance, I can’t watch Bridget Jones or the auditions on xFactor because second-hand embarrassment is a real thing.

I went through a period where I thought it was cool and OK to wear a black leather cuff with studs on it. And a silver chain that clipped from the front of my jeans belt loop to the middle back belt loop. I know, I know, thats like a step away from clipping an old Nokia to my belt.

But overall, the things that I did in my late teens and early twenties have gone over pretty well. There were so many things from that period of time that I know I should be incredibly proud of. When I was 17 and 18, I barely left the house. I had one friend (not that I’m complaining) that I saw on a regular basis. I expected her to spend every waking hour with me and goodness forbid if she spent time with other friends (note: I was also incredibly jealous because my other two or so friends lived really far away). I made friends on the Internet– not that this is an issue, because three or four of those girls are still close and current friends around 15 yrs later. I didn’t really leave the house unless I was with a parent or said friend.

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Just one of my friends and I. 15+ years of friendship.

I turned 18 and was tired of sitting on a shelf waiting for something to happen. I had a bunch of pipe dreams, I had inspirations but I wasn’t quite even sure how to make anything come to fruition. So, I did what any normal 18 year old does; jumps on a plane to New York City without any regard for my safety or fear that the person (friend) meeting me on the other end was who she said she would be.

Good news, she was. And I had an adventure. Because I had never great socially (I used to stand around awkwardly. I didn’t even have a phone with me to pretend to be texting), this made me come out of my shell, because I didn’t have a choice but to try to talk to people. I made some friends on that trip (again, some of whom I’m still friends with now) and made one of my childhood fantasies of meeting Michael Jackson come true.

I know, crazy, right? Girl goes to New York City to see Michael Jackson.

One of my mementos.

One of my mementos.

I’m still not ashamed. I still feel pretty proud that I had the guts to go and do something about my dream of going to NYC and seeing my life-long idol. It was an incredibly happy time for me in my life. It was one of the nicest experiences of my life, still to this date.

When I got back, I felt like a social butterfly. I feel like the confidence that that trip bought me was priceless. I made some other new friends when I returned. I still felt awkward and silly, but I got on with things. By the time I was 20, I’d gone from wallflower who never left the house to someone who was never at home.

And then there were more trips. More friends, seeing parts of the world, seeing my idol again and again, sharing memories and laughs and friendships that I’ll always treasure.

My life was a totally fun adventure. I worked to save and saved to travel. I traveled around Australia visiting friends and making new ones and overseas. I had the kind of adventures that some people could only dream of. Of course it was all a little left-of-the-middle, but so what?

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I guess thats why I get so taken-aback when I find out someone is quick to guide me away from talking about any of those moments because they are uncomfortable, or feel second hand embarrassment from my traveling to see someone who brought me a lot of joy and to see the friends that I hadn’t seen for a long time, or another part of the world.

Someone asked me the other day if I still liked Michael Jackson. Answer is, yes. He will always have a very special place within me not only because of all the personal and lovely things he said to build me up as a late teen, but because of his sheer genius. Considering I had been a fan of his since I can remember, it would be stupid to suggest that I’ve simply “lost interest” … he’s dead, that’s unfortunate and heartbreaking and something that I still find hard to reconcile with, but I am not not interested in him.

I am not interested in latest releases, his family, what ‘friends’ and his estate are saying about him now that he is gone — none of that.

But the person glossed over it very quickly because the conversation about some of my past things made the person feel a bit uncomfortable. Why? Its my past. They were my adventures. The person never asked to see my photos, never asked to tell them about any of it — and that’s incredibly unfortunate because I was so giddily happy in that time period that I was always bursting at the seams to talk about my friends and the kind of fun things we did together, the things we talked about (hint: my life did not revolve entirely around my idol, gasp, I actually had other interests) and the actual adventures themselves.

How many people can say Michael Jackson gave them unprodded advice?

No one has the fucking right to feel second-hand embarrassment of my “past”. Oh, and I guess sitting in Australia in the same suburb you were born and raised in going to work back and forth every day with no aim and no joy is a better way to way to live? You’d have preferred that I buried my head in to a boring-ass office job and slogged away saving up a shit wage to not enjoy?

Whatever.

Since I got over the horrors of high school and the emotional damage an entire lifetime of bullying did to me (and I reckon I did pretty well), I began to care so very little of what people thought of my actions and as I get older I begin to care even less. I have nothing to feel ashamed of. I never picked up a cigarette, I’ve never ever tried any type of drug, I’ve never been in any legal issues, I didn’t even get drunk until I was about 25. I never gave my parents any trouble (except premature greying from illness), I always did what I was told. So quite frankly, my past is very mild.

My only regret? I didn’t travel more.

So screw your discomfort with the joy that those years brought me. I have memories to last me a lifetime — and you probably don’t even remember that period, but so very quick to be critical of me. Its unfortunate that I couldn’t share those joyful memories with those who love me because they’re too critical of ‘normal’.

I’ll keep my awesome friends and memories thanks! 🙂

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California, 2005

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In London with my two gorgeous friends. The last adventure.

 

Things Change For The Better.

I’ve always liked that quote that says something along the lines of; “where you are is exactly where you’re supposed to be“.

Sometimes I feel like it seems a bit stupid, especially if you’re in a situation that you don’t like or a situation that was brought on by yourself — but it kind of makes sense to me. Whether or not a situation or season of your life is a result of a bad choice, destiny or fate or your God-given path (or whatever you’d like to call it), it is still a situation that can’t be altered and no amounts of what-ifs can change it, so essentially where you are is where you are meant to be.

In saying all that, sometimes I think back to a decade ago, or just a few years ago and realise that I had absolutely no inkling that my life would be where it is at the moment. This isn’t a bad thing, I don’t have any regrets, but the way I imagined things to go, and the way they actually ended up are two absolute worlds apart. And every now and then, I have a sobering reminder of how you can’t ever plan for anything.

As well as this, there’s that niggling reminder of an awful situation I found myself in for a few years. It wasn’t just the people I had surrounded myself with, but the mental state that I allowed myself to be in; the sadness I felt and the vulnerability that came with it which unfortunately magnetised the wrong people. I used to be the person who everyone relied on, who jumped at the opportunity to do things for other people even if they didn’t deserve my goodness. Perhaps that seems like an egotistical thing to say, but I suppose I eventually got tired of drowning in everyone else’s problems while avoiding my own.

It felt wonderful to be able to breathe, to feel like my heart was free again; of course after I got over my bitterness, which by the way, took awhile as well.

There is such a thing as loving too hard, being too good and being too much of an open-book, entirely. This could sound cynical, but sometimes in life you need to keep others who don’t understand your heart at an arms length because they will take advantage of you.

I closed up shop. I got rid of negativity from my life. I can’t stand negativity. I’m human, I have my jibes at other people, I bitch and I moan, but really I don’t think I would ever truly want to hurt the feelings of another person, regardless of how awful they may have been. Sometimes, I wish I were less that way, but its probably a ‘high-road’ aspect of my personality that I can appreciate. To this day, I even pray for the people who I feel have done the wrong thing by me or who have been awful in general without cause.

Once I got rid of negativity from my life, I was open to new aspects of life. My sadness and despondence over constantly taking on other people’s baggage was gone and I was happier and even though I made myself significantly less available to others and maybe slightly more cynical, I felt better for it. I felt less negative about myself, saw friends for what they were and some, what they were not and started focusing on sorting out what I wanted and needed.

I needed distance.

I wanted to be loved instead of always feeling as though I was only ever giving it out to everyone around me.

I needed someone to be there for me sometimes rather than always being there for others.

Its over now, that part of my life. I’ve left some friendships behind and forged others. I have found love, I have which friends stand the test of time and trial. I have found freedom. I have found the distinction between being a supportive friend and an emotional crutch. I found a career instead of hearing about everyone else’s. I found success in my own goals and ideas. I have inspiration. I have new loving people in my life as well as focusing on the existing ones that were beneficial to my own well-being.

And I don’t feel down much anymore.

I certainly don’t cry very often and that’s a relief. Crying sucks. I’m generally less emotional.

But during that time, I was exactly where I was meant to be. I would probably not be able to see the blessings that I have in my life now without knowing the hurting and the pain.

Where I am now is where I never dreamed to be, nor am I with who I dreamed to be with – but my reality, and the company in my reality is more amazing than any dream.

2013 Christmas & Reflective

I started the new year without a new years resolution because I don’t really believe in them. I believe in lifestyle changes and choices to do things different, rather than a string of elusive dreams that a person fools themselves in to thinking they can complete without funds, willpower, tenacity or personal strength.

2013 however, was a year full of new beginnings for me and a year full of adventures that made me feel like 30 years of life is no reason to freak out. It started out pretty interesting with a new job and a kiss goodbye to an entirely different career that my life seemed to be headed in to. Goodbye hospitality and hello finance.

More personally, 2013 saw the start of dealing with life-long problems head-on and stopping with my usual habits of avoidance. This is something that is always going to be a work in progress, based solely upon the fact that it is very, very easy to fall back in to old patterns of behaviour, but overall — I feel like my progress has been really good and I’m proud of those (small) things I’ve achieved over the course of the year.

My bucket list had a few things wiped off of it.

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I shot a gun. It seemed like one of those silly ideas that I had at the beginning of the year. I just figured it might be fun to try once. I don’t know why, I am not a fan of guns. I am against the unlegislated use of guns. I don’t agree that everyone has the right to bear arms, but I just wanted to say that I did it. And I did. And I did it well too, if those targets are anything to go by.

I also visited Hamilton Island and The Whitsundays. This has been a dream of mine for as far back as I can remember (yeah, about two or three years) and I went as a gift for my 30th birthday. We drank a lot, we ate so much good food, we drove golf buggies, we swam, we enjoyed everything about the place and would love to go back at some stage.

I also got to interview a member of the Jackson family which was somewhat on the bucket list. Obviously if I had the choice, I would have chosen to interview Michael, but its okay, the latter interviewee was the best subject after the king so I was pretty pleased about it all.

And Christmastime turned out to be wonderful. There’s always a little bit of me that’s reluctant to enjoy this time of year for fear of money, company, people feeling upset because I’m not here or there or anywhere they want me to be, but in terms of good Christmas’s? This years one was the best one I’ve had in years — and that’s saying a lot because I’ve been really sick.

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I started off doing a lot of Christmas baking. The above are Croatian treats (save for the gingerbread, they’re pretty universal, I would think) that I baked for our families and gave as extras for gifts. They were a big hit especially with my Dad. The recipe is one I have been after for years, and finally got a hold of it right in time for the Christmas cook-off. It wasn’t til very late in December that I managed to complete my Christmas buying because of how sick I was. It was my second Christmas with my boyfriend, R and the first actual Christmas morning together so that was really lovely.

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Its really nice to have this person in my life. My year of 2013 probably wouldn’t have been half as joy-filled as it was with him in it. Its nice to have a person who makes you laugh and makes you feel happy and free. Also, it helps when they buy you awesome gifts like the desk that I am now using to support my computer while I type this entry.

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We spent Christmas morning with his mother and baby sister and had a lovely breakfast (here’s a tip: croissants are now a ‘thing’ to me again after not having had one of them since primary school) and then I hacked all the snot out of my nose and coughed up my lung and braced myself to appropriately attend the booking for lunch with my Mum and stepdad for Christmas at the local club. My Mum was sick too, the poor thing — second year in a row — though last year she was unwell for other reasons. We both managed. We enjoyed a traditional (Australian) Christmas lunch with roast dinner, cold cuts, seafood and desserts. It was pretty epic and worth every cent that we spent.

After that we came home for a quick rest, a nap and a salad making to take to dinner to his Dad’s place. We hung out there and had a lovely seafood, salad, and cold meat dinner (ham, chicken, etc). All the while, feeling like we were thankful for our families and for the fact that Christmas for us isn’t lonely. It occurred to me while looking at Facebook and Twitter on that day, that Christmas is a very lonely and sad time for a lot of people. I’m lucky enough not to have to experience that at this point in my life.

We received so many lovely gifts such as gold class movie vouchers, money from my family, an epic Breaking Bad poster, handmate art, books, chocolate, the best picnic basket ever, alcohol, etc, etc, but most of all I went to bed feeling relaxed and thankful that 2013 has been such a great year and I’m excited for the adventures that 2014 will bring us.

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Being 30 is no longer scary, its exciting.

Entering Club 30 in Style

I’m here. I made it. And I did so quite contentedly.

As I write this, I am currently 30 years and 4 days old. Not bad for someone who was told they probably wouldn’t live past five years old. Or be able to play the piano.

Both of which I have now done. Huzzah.

I am currently sitting in a hotel suite that overlooks the most magnificent blue water that one could imagine. Traveling here to The Whitsundays in North Queensland is something that I have probably mentioned was on my bucket list. Along with a trip to The Whitsundays was also to attempt target shooting. With a real gun. I wanted to shoot a hand gun, but as it turns out, shooting a rifle was much more exciting.

I would like to point out that I am a surprisingly (and scarily) accurate shot. Now I’ve got ‘join a gun club’ as part of my bucket list.

My boyfriend and I have been here since October 12, and we have been to many places, seen many beautiful places and have had the best food that money can buy. I’ve been toasted in the sun, I even have a white spot at the base of my neck where my Infant Child of Prague medallion was protecting my skin. We’ve watched the last half of season 4 of Breaking Bad. I’ve celebrated my 30th birthday with many a cocktail (fruit tingles, daiquiris, margaritas, wines, ciders) with family and friends. We’ve taken drives through seemingly desolate North Queensland roads to find hidden treasures. We’ve ridden in golf buggies, visited cocktail bars in the middle of amazing resort pools. We’ve even come face-to-face with some classic Australian wildlife. Read: the biggest fuck-off style huntsman you’ve ever seen. *shiver*.

It’s been the absolute best time.

I am going to go in to some of these experiences over the next few days with photos too.

For now, its time to go to my balcony and soak up some of the view.