I am me.  And she is alright. 

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When I was in my first two or three years of high school, I used to come home from school, crying, hating my pizza pimple face and orange mop hair. My dad, not used to dealing with teenage girl drama, was at a loss as to how to comfort me.
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He told me while I may not be beautiful, it really didn’t matter. The difference between me and the popular girls, wasn’t the designer shoes or backpacks. It wasn’t the fact they had grown up with the same friends for the past 13 years, or that they had better skin and nicer hair.

The difference was confidence.
They were confident in themselves and that was really what I was jealous of.

While I spent all this time trying to be a replica of these popular girls, forcing my dad to spend the last few dollars he had on the coolest school shoes and Dolly magazine to fit in, I was failing to create happiness.  In fact, I have very few memories of my first years in high school because I spent most of my time trying to be “good enough”, trying to be cooler, trying to fit in instead of focussing on what I did have, who I had in my life and making some incredible memories there and then.

In the end of Grade 10 or so I found my confidence and all of a sudden my world changed. I loved every moment of my last two years of school and spent little time comparing myself to others, received the second highest score in the school and left with some amazing memories and great friends.  In fact, one of the popular girls who I previously envied, asked me to write a statement for her School Captain nomination, to support her.  I left feeling on top of the world and as confident as ever.

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The end.

I wish. See while 13 year old me was busy comparing herself to those around her, those who seemed happier and seemed to have it together, she failed to realise it was her comparisons and assumptions alone that were making her life hell. 

You would think that once you learn a big life lesson, such as happiness comes from confidence in oneself, that it automatically sticks for the rest of your life. But unfortunately it doesn’t – or atleast not easily or automatically.

When we become adults, it’s a whole new terrain – and this changes depending on where you live, who you hang out with and who you look up to.

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18 Years Old

18 year old me wanted to be the illusive, misunderstood and complex emo girl. I died my hair black, got a fringe, wore blue contacts and hung out at underground screamo bars, pretending to like the scene.  I never felt like I fit in, but my housemates were into it and for fear of being left out – I tried my best to play the part.  I even created a fake ID, got busted, lied to my dad about it when I was almost summoned to court – and learnt the hard way that sometimes fitting in at whatever cost, is not worth it.  I soon moved out of the house and made different friends.

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My 21st – The Tan, The Hair..

Fast forward to 21 year old me. I had to be the party girl with a high paying job with an endless supply of fun, alcohol and men. I worked full time while most of my friends were still at uni, I studied law part time and spent any free time I had partying, chauffering friends around or falling in and out of love with boys and men who treated me poorly, trying to figure out why no one loved me.

I am 26 years old (going on 27 – ancient I know) and now I feel so in need of having my “shit sorted”. I need to have a stable career, a family, fiancée or husband, the best degree and endless energy to do yoga at 6am and drink champagne by 6pm.

 

Guess what? It’s fucking exhausting. The reality is, no one is putting the pressure on ourselves to be better than we are, more so than ourselves.

Image result for nothing screws us up more like the opinion of whoThe idea of who we are meant to be by a certain age, or what we are meant to have, what car we should drive, what size we should be, how many social media followers we should have, what length our hair should be, our marital or womb status… These are not things that justify our worth. They do not make us more or less worthy of self love or self appreciation.

While these ideals can assist us in driving us towards perhaps who we would like to be or what we would like to achieve, it doesn’t matter that we are not there yet or not the perfect person.  So much energy is spent on comparing ourselves or degrading ourselves, that we forget to celebrate the achievements and live in the here and now.  To appreciate what we have exactly as it is.

I just read Jesinta Campbells new book, and something that stood out to me is the mind frame for exercise.  The majority of people focus on the ‘end result’.  They focus on the weight loss, that they fail to focus on how exercising makes them feel – the endorphins released and the freedom and happiness it brings.  This is why so many people fail to keep the weight off because they think once they reach the destination, that’s it – rather than focussing on the journey and acknowledging what they feel or experience in the time being.

So instead of constantly feeling as though I need to be better – get better grades, get engaged, get a house, get a 6 digit salary, visit Paris and The Maldives while becoming a size 6 and driving a Mercedes…. I am going to say fuck it.

I need to take a step back, enjoy the journey and embrace the here and now.
I am confident in myself.
I am good enough for me right now.

My worth is not defined by what I have… It is defined by my heart, my intentions, my moral and my soul.

Starting today, it is time I learnt to get my confidence back.

To smile again and to enjoy life just as it is; all expectations aside.
I am me.  And that is all I need to be right now.
I am me.  And she is alright.

Ovaryacting

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I felt obliged to write this post because I often find words to be healing and helpful.  Right now, I think I need a whole lot of healing and help due to ongoing issues with my lovely lady bits.  I am also hoping that it might encourage other women who are struggling with these invisible diseases to realise they are not alone.  

It all started when I was 14.  Each month I would be in immense pain, curled up in a ball, crying and begging for it to stop.  This went on for years, my poor father had no idea what to do and put it down to normal period pain.  It wasn’t until I was 20 when my stepmum sent me an article about endometriosis, that I finally acknowledge this pain wasn’t “normal”. I begged a doctor to do an internal exam, and that Is when I was diagnosed with endometriosis.  

I had missed so many days at school and work, due to this debilitating disease over the years and yet no one could really explain to me or tell me how to control it.  My male bosses and colleagues just assumed I had “period pain” and several times comments were made about how much of a sook I was.  

Little did they know that I had my heartbroken by the doctors when they told me that conceiving children naturally might be out of the picture due to the extent of my endometriosis.  This “period pain” was a constant reminder that while I experienced pain to the point I couldn’t walk for a day or two every month, it felt so pointless considering I may never be able to have children.  

Isn’t that the sole purpose of a female ? I mean anatomically speaking.  I felt like a complete and utter failure; who would want to date me or marry me when I may never be able to give them children ?! What is the point ! 

After an operation to “scrape” the endometriosis away, I finally felt human again – the pain had finally subsided and for the first time in 6 years I understood what normal period pain was meant to feel like.  I finally felt relief. 

Fast forward 6 years.  Once again, I am in incontrollable pain for weeks on end.  I fear the worst thinking my endometriosis has returned in full force and that I will have to endure another round of internal exams, prodding, poking and hospital stays with little information from doctors to go on.  

However this time, the diagnosis is different.  I have an extremely enlarged right ovary and triple the amount of normal cells growing on it.  I wish I could remember how many doctors or scans I have had in the last three months.  All the conflicting information and hospital visits took a further toll on my mental health.  At one point a doctor told me it could be ovarian cancer, at another point a doctor said it was “nothing” and “completely normal”; yet I was still writhing in uncontrollable pain and unable to drive by myself for fear of having an episode and crashing.  

Then after almost 2 months of non stop pain, I was finally diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome and that my endometriosis had returned.   I was told that I would have it for the rest of my life and that it is also heriditary.  Was I given any help or advice on how to handle it? No.  I was told I could be in pain whenever a cyst randomly ruptured, and that it would come and go.  The best part is, once again my chances of conceiving were reduced drastically.  This was pretty heartbreaking news, particularly after one doctor had even told me I was suffering from a miscarriage weeks before hand.  

So what does it all mean? What does one do when they have an invisible disease that you just have to “deal with”? Where do I even begin? 

Well firstly, I had to quit my job because I can no longer risk driving all the time due to the fact that I might just have an episode of extreme pain and can’t risk crashing.  My workplace failed to understand the severe anxiety I faced each time I drove alone.  It’s extremely hard to explain to someone that at any point something inside you might just pop and cause severe abdominal pain. 

Secondly, I have to watch my partner suffer because not only did I put the financial burden on him of providing for us both, but now he has to decide if he sees a future with someone who may not be able to carry his children, or at least not full term. 

Thirdly, I have to pick myself up.  I need to move forward and figure out how to control the pain, how to ease my mind and how to get a quality of life back without the fear of pain or rejection.  Whatever my future holds, I am sure I can tackle it.  Right now it just feels like I have to start all over again and take life one day at a time. 

I wish there were more education and understanding of women’s health problems because it is incredibly difficult to explain the pain and torment you go through on a daily basis or the guilt I currently feel.  

Dear Little Sister

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Dear Little Sister

I’ve been wanting to write this for a while now, because you’re at an age where I had made too many mistakes to keep track of.  I had just moved out of home, moved 1000km south to a big city where I knew 2 people, I was dating my high school boyfriend of 3 almost 4 years.  I went through some dark days, when I was your age and I wish someone had been there to guide me through.

I think I’ll write a series of letters addressing what I was experiencing at your age compared to what I have learnt 8 years down the track, but to start off with, lets talk about love.

When I was 18, love was broken to me.  I had just ended my relationship with my high school sweetheart after only living together for 3 weeks.  I then made a series of mistakes involving his best friend, which to this day, I completely and utterly regret and wish beyond many other things, that I could take my actions back.   I then met an amazing guy on the night of my 18th birthday; he was  musician, he was in corporate banking, he was covered in tattoos and his birthday was 2 days before mine.

I was in love from the moment I met him, or so I thought.  I then persisted by calling him everytime I was drunk and singing to him on the phone and telling him how amazing he was.   Safe to say, he ran away pretty effing quickly.

After that, I loved attention so much because I had only had the same guy in my life for 3/4 years, that I hate to admit I became promiscuous in a bad way.  I drank too much, partied too much, slept with whoever I felt like and treated myself quite poorly.

At the time, I knew it was wrong, what I was doing and how I was treating myself, but I didn’t really understand when to stop or when to call it quits.   I kept spiraling down this horrible path and ended up in hospital for alcohol poisoning or suicide attempts at least 8 times within that year… I wasn’t someone who valued themselves or what I had to offer.

 

I stand now at the age of (almost) 26, and wonder what I have learnt.  I definitely don’t party anywhere near as much as I used to (hell you’ll be lucky if you get me in a club once every 2 months).  I’m not promiscuous in any sense of the word, and more importantly I have learnt to cope with my manic depression so much better than I ever thought I could.

 

But what have I learnt about love?

 

Good question and it’s a question I will always, ALWAYS reflect on with every year or milestone or relationship.

 

I suppose if I had to figure out the three main things I have learnt about love in that time they would be…

 

1. We Accept the Love We Think We Deserve – Until We Realise We Deserve Better

The amount of times I’ve called our stepmum bawling my eyes out because I’ve finally just had enough of accepting the bare minimum in a relationship, is overwhelming.  I sometimes wonder if I have in fact learnt anything from all my previous heartbreak, or if I will continuously make the same mistake, as it seems at the moment.

I have thought about this in depth alot particularly in the past 24 hours, and one thing I can’t shake from my head, is that when women stop putting in the effort they usually do and start putting in the same amount of effort their partner does, thats when you can really see the truth behind a relationship.   Either you are compatible because the amount of effort is agreeable by both parties, or you will realise that you actually need someone who WANTS to date you and who WANTS to spoil you.

If you are dating someone where if you don’t make plans, book dates, schedule time in to spend together, then you would have a pretty effing boring relationship – you need to wake up to yourself and really question whether this person wants you as a ‘friend with benefits’ or a ‘life partner’.

I really have taken a step back lately, because I in fact just realised this myself.  I realised I was bored and had nothing to look forward to in my relationship, because I stopped planning and I took a step back from putting effort in.  I had no dates to look forward to, no travel plans to look forward to, no weekend escapes to look forward to… and you know for once I didn’t want to ‘fix this’ myself.  I wanted my partner… my ‘equal’… to actually put effort in and PROVE he wanted to be with me…

Which brings me to my next point…

2.  Talk Is Cheap

Talking things through with your partner or lover or friend or WHOEVER is so important when you want to ensure you’re on the same page.  BUT and this is a Kim Kardashian but… do not let continuous promises of ‘fixing’ or ‘getting better’ fool you.

If someone values what you have to say, sees that there needs to be improvements and understands that you are a special commodity that might be lost at any moment, they will WORK and let their actions speak more than their words.

When someone continuously over promises and under delivers, if they deliver at all, maybe it’s time to leave.

As much as your heart and your time and your head might be invested in this person, if they can’t prove their integrity to you or keep their word now – what makes you think they ever will change?  Sure give them some chances… but if it’s an issue which CONTINUOUSLY is brought up and you are continuously having to explain why you feel like you’re in a one sided relationship, take a step back and actually analyse if they are in fact changing or sticking to anything they say, or if they are just using words for a quick fix, hoping you’ll forget.

A person who truly values another person, will do what it takes (within means) to keep that person.  A person who places little value in another person, will watch them struggle and get upset and KNOW they can fix it with a bit of effort, but will fail to do so.

Ask yourself, are you a ‘friend’ or a ‘girlfriend’? Because as much as I hate the ‘needy’ girlfriend stereotype, the truth is, it was created by society to make women feel guilty for wanting to be treated with a bit more respect and love and appreciation than the postman.  There is nothing wrong with wanting a man who says he loves you, to prove it.

 

3. Learn From Your Parents Mistakes

This has been the hardest lesson for me to learn and one I still struggle with on a daily basis.  Obviously our mother was not a nice person to our father, that’s not debatable.  BUT moving forward, as much as I love our dad, I acknowledge that the way he has treated his ex girlfriends and even our beautiful stepmum, is not up to scratch.

I am not abusive like our mother and never have been.  But do I expect the man to put in little to no effort in a relationship, because that’s why I’ve learnt from our father – yes… god damn yes.

The amount of times I’ve hugged our beautiful stepmum and wanted to just take her away from our dad because I knew she deserved to be treated better, she deserved someone who put in effort and paid attention to her was overwhelming.  Yet I seem to continuously date men who are just like our father because I have somehow accepted this as the norm.

I realised the extent of this last night, when I was talking to one of my best friends and she has the same issue.  Her mum was always the one cooking and cleaning and catering to her fathers every need.  Her father was non-existant when he was home, not putting any effort in with the family and then never spoilt the mother or showed appreciation for her hard work.  So naturally her first marriage was a spitting image of this – her being the perfect little housewife, without a bar of appreciation.

It is such a shit and hard thing to understand that you don’t have to be the ‘nice girl’ or the ‘always available girl’ or the ‘cool girl’.  Fuck me, I have continuously been ALL of these things in every relationship (besides maybe my first), and you know who always gets hurt in the end – ME!

Why? Because I never EVER expect the man to be the equivalent of what I am.  Society makes out like we have to be these strong independent women, who are great in bed, cool with your man partying with his single friends, leave the house always looking runway ready, keep a clean house and a happy family and earn an income.  What does society expect of the man?  …

Have a job… and don’t cheat…

Literally..

That’s why the term ‘pussy-whipped’ was coined.  Because if a male starts putting in the same amount of effort as a woman, he is clearly dominated by her and is a weakling.

Well no… fuck no… why is there not  a term for when a women is putting every last bit of her energy in for a man, but if a man takes his woman on  date instead of partying with the boys, he is ‘pussywhipped’.

the most important lesson in all of this, is know what you want and don’t let someone give you any less or make you feel like an idiot for having high expectations…. 

Because you know what, regardless of who you are, you deserve an equal, not a lesser being or someone who just doesn’t get what is standing right in front of them.   A man or woman who sees your worth is out there, and they will come along sooner or later… but the person who makes you feel like shit because you want commitment, you want to know what your future together holds, and you want to know they love you beyond just a text message, is not someone you want in your life for the long term.

Remember I love and adore you, always.

 

 

Your ugly big sister xo

Letter to an Angel

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I think about you more than I ever admit 

I don’t know why, but I assume people wouldn’t understand … 

We weren’t best of friends 

Or extremely close 

In fact, when you passed I don’t think I had seen you in over 4 years 

But you gave me words of advice and strength 

You saw some beauty in me, when I never saw it myself

I remember the day you told me you wish you had my eyelashes… I had never thought I had anything to be envious of.. 

There you stood, glammed up in your school uniform, your phone non stop buzzing and ready for a day full of girly high school drama that I longed for… 

How could you ever see anything special in me ? 

I remember your words of kindness, and often hear them in my head in your mischievous tone… 

You had no idea how many times just seeing your smile lifted me up just enough to pull through another day

I remember when I got the news … 

I didn’t believe it 

It couldn’t be true 

I had to pull over, tears streamed down my face at a pace quicker than my head knew what to do … 

I called my brother, told him the news… 

Hoping he would tell me I was wrong, but all he could do is breathe down the line in shock and ask, “how” and “why?”… 

Then the day came we finally said goodbye 

I hated myself so much because for months we had been saying, “we need to catch up”… But little did we know, this would be the first and last time since school.. 

The song that played the moment you were lifted out of the hearse still haunts me to this day 

It was meant to be an upbeat, dance song… But all I can hear are the tears from that day and the trembling voices of your loved ones… 

I stopped believing in spirits long ago, but every now and then you’ll visit me in a dream 

It’s always a dream of purpose and you are always urging me to do something more… To become the person you clearly knew I could become even though I assumed I was invisible and worthless 

You will never know how much your kind words meant to me… How I was upset and worried if you ever missed the bus… How I aspired to be as bubbly, carefree and loved as you 

I know you lived your last months to your hearts content and saw more in those days than many see in a life time… 

I just wish I had the chance to hear your bubbly voice, your contagious laugh and see that beaming smile lighting up the world one last time before it was all over.. 
I am eternally sorry I continuously said, “we’ll catch up soon…” When that “soon”, turned into never again… 

Thankyou and Goodbye.

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One afternoon when I was 7, my mother and I were reversing out of the driveway, when we were stopped by my brothers best friends father.  He came over to our car, and said,

“Did you hear the news?” We looked at each other confused, he continued, “Princess Diana died today..”princess-diana

I remember that being the first time a celebrity or public figure had passed away that actually had an impact on me.  I didn’t really understand who she was, or why she was so important, but I remember seeing her on the news for her humanitarian work and she always looked so poised, graceful and caring.

It wasn’t until I was about 13 when it impacted me again.  I was reading a four page spread on Audrey Hepburn.  I knew who she was, or atleast her face, but that day began my obsession for her.  Once again, she was known for her humanitarian work, her beauty, her elegance, her will to do more for this world than most people.  When I got to the end of the article, I realised it was a dedication to her life, on the 10th anniversary of her passing.  I broke 792fdcf55a98d4b916061e93edd2c0b4down in tears because after becoming so indulged in this beautiful persons story, from her childhood escaping World War II, to her failed ballet dreams, to her Hollywood success, then to her incredible work with UNICEF, I felt like this person was someone who I could just admire and learn so much from.  It felt like I knew her.

Of course in the years passed a number of people have passed away who the public felt like they could connect to, or that impacted their lives in some way, shape or form.

This week, we lost some incredible souls and a large part of the population of the world has been impacted by their passings. Myself included.

David Bowie was a part of my childhood.  My mother loved him and her car cassette player was always switching between Phil Collins, Prince, Queen and David Bowie.  I remember watching Labyrinth as a child and being scared by the Goblin King and laughing at his overly tight tights.  Then as an adult, I admired his music and his work so much more – particularly after visiting the exhibition ‘Bowie Is’ last year in Melbourne.

This man was a performer in every single sense of the word.  He had lived his life, travelled the world, loved and lost, done a shit load of experimental drugs, experienced fashion and culture from every last corner of the earth.  His art has inpsired so many artists, to this day and for years to come, he has left a legacy that cannot simply be ‘forgotten’.  He gave a voice to so many who were confused, or felt out of place – he made it cool to be yourself – no stereotypes, no rules.  Above it all, he was so incredibly humble and human.  He wasn’t fame hungry or greedy, he wasn’t doing it for the money, but rather the love.  And if you read accounts from people who knew him well, he had so much love and passion for everything he put himself into.

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Then at about 1am last night, I read a message from my brother stating that Alan Rickman had passed away too.  I read it in a half asleep state, my heart broke, but when I woke up in the morning I thought perhaps it were a dream.

I have seen a lot of posts on Facebook stating that Rickman wasn’t just Snape.  I completely agree, he was a brilliant and diverse actor and I wish I had seen him do live theatre because the energy would have been incredible.  However, I think at least for my generation, he was Snape.  I remember reading the books, not all of them and not thoroughly as a child, but identifying with Snape.  He was the kid that didn’t fit in anywhere in particular, and yet had the biggest heart full of love.   Snape was such an incredibly complex character, and reading the books again as an adult, I once again fell in love with Snape and to this day believe J K Rowling wrote one of the best literary characters of all time in him.  It is only fitting then, that she chose an incredible actor capable of being such a negative and sometimes nasty person, with such a complex history and beautiful heart, to portray this character.  tumblr_o028lldm6k1v13e13o1_1280

Alan Rickman brought this character to life.  Over 8 or so years, he became part of our lives in this character.  I know so many people my age that still love Harry Potter as an adult and I can’t see this love ever disappearing.  Alan Rickman gave that character more than it already had, which is so rare for an actor to do to a literary figure.  He showed us that life isn’t black and white and that love can last a lifetime and make us do incredible things.  He gave that character a voice and a persona that I don’t think anyone else could do justice.

 

The one thing you often hear when someone famous passes, is how it is such a tragedy to have lost them.  I don’t fully agree.  We all know death is inevitable, but if we could choose to live a life full of adventure, meaning, experience and love – how is it a tragedy ? It would be a tragedy for any of these people to not have achieved their potential or to die in vain… But they didn’t. 

 

I think it’s just so incredible that in our lifetime, we have been able to witness so many revolutionaries, so many devoted philanthropists, so many incredibly talented people who did it for the love of the art rather than the money.  It seems these days there are a lot of people who seek fame for the wrong reasons, that it makes it so much more special when you come across one of these rare gems who are famous because of their talent, passion and love of their chosen art.  It also makes it so much harder when they pass, because part of you realises that that person was something so special, they’re not created everyday, particularly in the public eye.

After reading about Audrey Hepburn’s life in depth, and for a long time not being able to understand why the world would take away someone who made such a difference, who made so many people happy, who left a legacy… I realised that this is why life is finite.  We only have a certain period of time to make a difference.  To make people laugh, smile, sing along, relate to us.  We only have so long to give the world what we are capable of giving.  To make a legacy.  Of course it’s not going to be to the extent of Princess Diana, Audrey Hepburn, David Bowie or Alan Rickman for all of us, but we all have the capacity to be kind, caring , to give, volunteer, create something and love. Surely.

So while I have shed a number of tears this week, I also smile and say a massive thank you to those who have given us that happiness.  If we can all aspire to have that impact on at least one person in our lives and leave a legacy of our values, create something in our lifetime that was a true reflection of ourselves, wouldn’t we all die content, thinking to ourselves, ‘wow… what an incredible ride’?

 

jisajat

 

 

 

 

Gone Are The Days

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Gone are the days of staying up late, listening to your lovelorn woes and reassuring you of your beauty, value and worth while munching on cheeseburgers.

Gone are the days of waking up early to whisk you away to a hidden haven full of surprises, just to see you smile and laugh because I knew you enjoyed adventure as much as I did. Getting lost, listening to ridiculous music and proving to the world we didn’t need a man to keep us happy.

Gone are the days of glitter, sparkles, tight cheerleading uniforms, loud music, tosses and catches. You were the reason I joined.

Gone are the days of calling you when I couldn’t find the strength to keep going on. You rescuing me and finding me the help that I needed to live another day.

Gone are the days spending hours in a shopping centre just trying to find one pair of bikinis. You had a body any girl would envy yet just couldn’t seem to see it until you found the exact right pair.

Gone are the days of booking flights months in advance just to spend a day or two by your side, to hear your laughter echo through the house and confide in you my biggest doubts.

Gone are the days of late night drunk calls – begging you to tell me what is wrong with me and why every male I met seemed to screw me over.

Gone are the days of you calling the hospital, just to talk to a lonely shell of a person, to beg me to find happiness and see that I was loved by all around me.

Gone are the days of endless planning and scheming ways to make your last days as a single woman, your best. To make you light up and know how much I appreciated everything you ever did for me.

I know no amount of words will ever fix what is long broken. I know I wasn’t the person you knew, or the person who deserved the privilege I was given to be your best friend. I have learnt to forgive and move on the best I can, but I fear you will never forgive and will always hurt when my name is mentioned.

Maybe one day, in ten years time, I’ll see you in the street and you’ll smile and ask me how I am. I’ll smile back and notice you’re joined by a couple of little ones who bear your calming blue eyes and cheeky smile. I’ll pretend it’s fine, while it will break my heart to know your life moved on without me and go home and reminisce of the days long gone.

I always thought you would be in the days to come; that you would stand by my side as I said I do, just as I did for you. That you would be the godmother to my children because God knows how terrible of a mother I’ll be. But your warmth and kindness just always came so naturally. I  always thought that we would be there for each other when the world got ugly. No matter how dark the darkest days were, we would be each other’s light in the shadow.

Those days will no longer come; and while it hurts to admit it I know now it is time to let go and let you be. I can’t change who I was or what I did, but I can learn and grow from it. I can’t change the hurt I caused, and it will burden me the rest of my life. But I can be sure to not cause it again.

Above everything else I just hope you are happy. That the people who fill your life bring you laughter and joy that you deserve. And that you are loved so, so much that you never doubt again how incredible you are; as a woman, as a lover, as a daughter and one day, as a mother.

Long gone are the days, where I would be the one to prove this to you. I may never meet anyone else like you, but I will always be so grateful I met you.

Enough Is Enough

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I feel like I need to speak out on behalf of the women,  children and even men who are effected by Domestic violence.

Why?

Because in our country, it seems that more people are afraid of terrorists overseas than of their own neighbours.  (i mean neighbours figuratively).

Sadly this week we have now seen at least 4 casualties of Domestic Violence.  However, the media reported them without really focusing on the main issue here that 4 People within 5 days are dead at the hands of a loved one or relative….   :

Ice Addict Stabs Grandmother and Nephew in Front Yard“;
Young Mum A Victim of Road Rage” and “Woman Dead After McDonalds Shooting“.

Let me be clear….

Regardless of the location, catalyst or weapon, these incidents are all Domestic Violence related deaths.  Sure one murderer may have been addicted to drugs, sure another murderer may have been part of a ‘bikie’ gang… but it still stands that people are dead because they were victims of domestic violence.  Instead of putting a scene grabbing headline and eluding to another alternative for the deaths, how about we start labeling these deaths as they are – people being killed by people they once loved and cared for.  Lets make this a NATIONAL CONVERSATION instead of sweeping it under the rug.

So why does our society continue to ‘tip toe’ around this very real threat ? Is it because we don’t want to think anyone we love is capable of hurting, let alone, killing us? Does that mean that perhaps, it’s a reflection on Australian people?  That perhaps we aren’t as fun loving, laid back and ‘chilled’ as we seem?

It is so much easier for media and society to brand these deaths as related to something other than domestic violence.  That way we can tackle the ‘real problem’ – such as ICE and Bikie Laws….

What this is actually doing is making it harder for victims of domestic violence to speak up as we are ignoring the real issue here – Domestic Violence is capable of being committed by ANYONE at ANY TIME…

Just look at Australian of The Year – Rosie Batty, she was a very well educated woman, she had a successful career and lived on a beautiful acreage in Victoria.  She wasn’t part of the slums or involved with some bikie or ice addict.  Two days after her son was murdered by his father, she bravely spoke out to the media and said:

“I want to tell everybody, that family violence happens to everybody. No matter how nice your house is, how intelligent you are. It can happen to anyone, and everyone.” (source)

I don’t want to man bash here, and I think that moving forward there will be a strong focus on men being evil and capable of killing their partners/exes. Let me make it clear that we need to discuss Domestic Violence from every possible angle and not just focus on men, but women too who are capable and are guilty of domestic violence.

My father, my brothers, my sister and myself are victims of domestic violence.  Yes, you read that right, my FATHER is a victim of domestic violence.  I cannot even begin to explain the amount of times we all ended up hurt, scarred and broken after my mothers various ‘moments’ of insane bursts of anger and violence.  You know the worst part was, I tried several times to explain to adults … police officers, teachers, neighbours and even doctors, that my mother was the one causing all this pain and hurt.  I was treated like a silly little child, and nothing was ever investigated further.  I began to feel hopeless and absolutely helpless and almost resigned myself to the fact that my mother would either kill me or one of my siblings before anyone paid any attention to what was happening.

To this day, people are still confused how my father (who is a big burly man at almost 6″) could have been violently attacked (I remember one time with a knife) by my petite 5″2′ mother, who weighs about 45kgs….

The truth is, while women are often overpowered by men physically, anyone is capable of causing violence and hurt and we need to acknowledge this to be able to start to turn our society around. Regardless of the relationship and front that people put forward, there often lies a dark background that sooner or later will come out.

My mother to this day, will not admit what happened to us as children and refuses to take responsibility for the years of mental trauma that follow from suffering from Domestic Violence.

The appalling truth in Australia is that in the last year, if you calculate all the deaths caused by domestic violence, it equates to more than one person a week.  The even sadder truth behind this statistic is that the number is likely much higher, however often these deaths are recorded as something else.  Sure they are recorded as ‘murder’ but it might not be acknowledged that that person was in fact murdered by someone who they knew and at one point loved and trusted.

The Government and Media seem to focus so strongly on outside terrorism and push towards creating such xenophobia and hatred for those who follow a different religion, wear different clothes and speak a different language.  I can’t help but feel like we are being brainwashed to believe that people who look like us, live in the same country as us and are even our mates, lovers and relatives, are not capable of committing the same amount of violence and hateful acts.

We are so focused on believing evil doesn’t exist in our own backyard, that it happens right before our eyes without us noticing or knowing how to handle it.

Let’s just look at the statistics: the amount of Australian’s to die from terrorism in the past year is 2 (Martin Place Sydney Seige) compared to the amount of Australian women to die from Domestic Violence which is 65 by Sept 10th 2015.

Moreso, these statistics are just WOMEN – not children or men, and as I have experienced first hand, both children and men are very capable of being at the receiving end of domestic violence.

I understand how hard it is to come forward and reach out to someone to let them know you are suffering and need help.  However, as a society we need to be more willing to accept the victims of DV before they become another fatality.  Instead of sticking our heads in the sand and ignoring this issue, we need to put it at the forefront of our agenda.

Children need to grow up to learn that violence against anyone is not warranted or acceptable.  Men and Women need to be able to report Domestic Violence in a comfortable manner and be able to seek refuge or help if they need to – particularly in the case of emergency or fearing for their lives.  There also needs to be help available to those that commit Domestic Violence – some sort of rehabilitation or process to help them not commit violence again before they land themselves in jail for killing someone.

We need to talk, Australia, because before you know it, someone around you will become a victim of domestic violence and you won’t be educated on how to help or be prepared to have that difficult conversation to seek a resolution.

If you know of someone who is a victim, or you are a victim, you need to seek help and get out of this toxic relationship before you become a statistic.  I will ALWAYS have an open door and an open heart for anyone who needs help or assistance.  Please do not suffer in silence and hope it gets better, because my experience proved to me that it never does.

If you know of someone who is committing Domestic Violence, talk to them, seek help for them and make sure they are aware that what they are doing is far from right or socially acceptable. Let them know they are better than that; that violence cures nothing but destroys everything.  Worst case scenario, report them to the police – don’t let the person you know become a name in the news for killing someone they loved.

Together, little steps and truths can become a big change in our society and how we tackle this very real, devastating issue.  No one should have to live in fear in their very own homes.  No one should have to wake up wondering if they’ll make it through the day without a new bruise or scar being added to their body.  No one should have their life cut short because they trusted and loved someone with a violent temper and rage, and didn’t know how to leave safely…

I am grateful every day that my father had the strength to leave my mother and rescue us from her when she kidnapped us and took us 1000kms from home.  I didn’t understand what was happening at the time (I was only 10), and I was angry at my father for a long time too.  However, now that I am much older and understand how close I came to losing my life at the hands of my mother,  I am passionate that no child, woman or man should experience brutal violence from someone they love.

So please, if you are passionate too – speak up, let your voice be heard, let your friends and family know that you won’t tolerate domestic violence and that you will be there for any one of them if they suffer.

Together we might be able to save a life.

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The White Ribbon has a list of helpful numbers for men, women and children.  If you need help or just need to talk please contact myself or one of these numbers – http://www.whiteribbon.org.au/finding-help

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Interesting Articles to Read:

Domestic Violence Deserves The Same Attention as Terrorism

Women The Victims of Intimate Partner Terrorism