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.

21-me

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.

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

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

 

 

 

 

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

Home To My Soul

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It has officially been TWO WHOLE MONTHS since I made the massive move from small country town of Mackay in sunny central/north Queensland to the leafy lined streets, chilly, coffee haven of Melbourne.  To say it has all gone swell would be an overstatement, and time and time again I’ve started typing this blog and stopped because I was upset, emotional or angry due to struggling to find my feet in this big, cold city.

712582cced0a6331d3e4ac8cbbac7699There have been some amazing times I’ve had and there have also been moments where I’ve cried in bed to myself, not wanting to move or even take another breath because I had felt as though I had made the biggest mistake.  I have had to ignore the voice of worry and stick with my gut instinct and remember that I thought in depth about my decision. I knew I had to give it a good shot before giving up, or live the rest of my life in regret asking “what if?”
It has been hard, harder than I anticipated.  No matter what anyone tells you, moving in with your significant other changes the whole dynamic of your relationship – you go from having freedom, the WHOLE BLANKET to yourself and free will to fart yourself to sleep, to getting elbowed in the face, waking up to throat clearing that sounds like a dinosaur mating call and body parts that aren’t yours all inside your personal space.

You have to learn to tolerate another person always being there 24/7 when you get home – which for someone as independent as me, hasn’t come easily.  Luckily, we were able to get a three bedroom house… so he has his mancave, I have my beauty room and we have our bedroom.  We have enough space to not being in each other’s space all the time – which has been a life saver!

So moving in with your partner can be hard, but try moving in with your partner at the same time as moving interstate and leaving behind all your family and friends.   I’m grateful to have a couple of good friends down here, and one of my cousins, but every now and then I miss little things about my friends and family in Mackay.

I can't imagine anyone looking more radiant and glowing when pregnant

I can’t imagine anyone looking more radiant and glowing when pregnant

It is hard to watch their lives continue on, and realise you are no longer a part of it.  For instance, one of my best friends is very pregnant at the moment, and not being able to fly up for her baby shower, see the little bump kick around or the glow on her face other than via Facebook has had me in tears several times because these are moments you can’t replace or ever get back.

I am extremely grateful that through this all, I have chosen the calmest person ever to be in a relationship with.  He is my rock and has kept me grounded.  He is there for me whenever I am too upset to put it in words, and also gives me space when I feel homicidal.  I honestly feel as though I have won the lottery when it comes to my partner, as he is the most honourable man and has the biggest heart.  And most importantly, he puts up with the chaotic, busy bee, never stopping cyclone that is me.

He is the calm to my crazy

He is the calm to my crazy

When he asked me to move to Melbourne with him, I didn’t give it a second thought really.  In my mind I knew that if the choice was to keep our relationship in a town where he had no job prospects, no family or friends and watch him spiral into depression, or move to Melbourne with him – the choice was really simple.   Whilst I had never actually visited Melbourne before, the career prospects for myself, the culture of the city and the excitement of change was all too tempting to not give it a chance.

Melbourne is unlike any other city in Australia.  I have been fortunate enough to have travelled around most of Australia as child and even as an adult I have made it my mission to see as much of Australia’s hidden gems as possible (because heck, we have so many tourists that come over here, we must have SOMETHING to offer!).

However, in all my travels, I had never actually been to Melbourne! Rural Victoria, yes  and of course I just assumed that Melbourne would be an extension of that … oh .. no… how wrong was I.

Melbourne is the epitome of everything I love.  The old architecture, random live performances in the street, people take their dogs EVERYWHERE and it is accepted that your dog is your child and of course THE COFFEE!   There are so many things to love about Melbourne, but I’ll try to keep it simple.

  1. The Fashion

People in Melbourne dress how they feel – not how society says they should dress.  There is quirk, individuality and style that exudes personality.  I found that in Queensland, even in Brisbane, most people wear what they purchase from two or three regular shops they visit – they don’t mix and match or try new things.

In Mackay I stopped wearing heels to work every day and stopped putting effort in, because I got sick of getting asked questions about where I was going, or why I was so dressed up or people assuming I was some stuck up bitch from Brisbane.  I was actually told by one former employer that the amount of effort I put into my appearance showed how much I really hated myself…. Yes… I was legitimately told to not put effort in.

Credit:  Street Smith

Credit: Street Smith

In Melbourne, people LOVE if you get dressed up.  They love when you wear a different set of heels every day, try a new scarf with a vintage dress and even more – because it is so friggen cold, you can wear as MANY clothes as you want because the chill will still probably find a way in.  You can wear deep red lipstick and not get called a goth, or wear bright lilac and no one assumes you are on drugs.  IT IS GREAT!

However, the downside is, I have been used to living in 30 degree heat.   Now that I’m living every day in the teens, I have hardly any winter clothes to wear… Oh well… I might just have to go shopping!

  1. A Dog Is A Woman’s Best Friend

And Melbourne knows this.  No matter where you turn in Melbourne, you will see a plethora of people with their furry best friends, sitting in cafes, taking a leisurely stroll or keeping fit.

puppy-cino

sounds like heaven to Josie and me

Melbourne just seems to understand that your dog is like your child.  If a business doesn’t accommodate for dogs the business may not fail, but it will SOAR if it allows customers to bring their furry companions along.   There are in fact winery tours which allow you to take your pooches along, boot camps that don’t just train you but also get your mutt to lose some puppy weight too and of course café’s that serve ‘puppycinos’.

Safe to say, now that I have my Josie down here, she comes with me almost EVERYWHERE – she is my little shadow and she LOVES IT!

  1. All The Leaves Are Brown and The Sky Is Grey

I am experiencing my first proper autumn in my whole life and it is beautiful beyond words.   In Queensland, Autumn just means the rain usually stops, the cyclone warnings cease and some mornings are maybe 2 degrees cooler than usual.

Courtesy of Melbourne Fresh Daily

Courtesy of Melbourne Fresh Daily

In Melbourne, the leaves actually turn red and brown and gracefully float to the cobbled footpaths.   Almost every street is lined with maple trees and watching autumn take over the city is actually quite beautiful.  It really has a Manhattan-esque feel to it and I find myself strolling the streets humming to my hearts content.  I feel like Melbourne was MADE for autumn as there is something magical when you combine the Victorian era architecture with red leaves and overcast skies.

  1. You Can Never Be Bored

Living in a small Queensland country town meant that the extent of ‘fun’ to be had was going to the cinemas, going shopping at one of two shopping centres filled only with big chain stores, or getting ridiculously drunk.   In Melbourne, there is literally an event on every day and night of the week from quirky learn to paint whilst sipping wine classes in Moonee Ponds, young designers markets at Essendon, snuggling up in the car at Coburg Drive-In cinemas, window shopping along Chappell Street or heading to the Palais Theatre in St Kilda for an art exhibition, comedic act or gig.

William Rickets Sanctuary in The Dandenong Ranges

William Rickets Sanctuary in The Dandenong Ranges

I’m a big believer in getting out and exploring your back yard as much as possible, and the great thing about Melbourne is you can travel an hour and explore the hinterlands of Dandenong Ranges, the wine valley itself – Yarra Valley, or beachside Sorrento down in Mornington Peninsula.

Travel for perhaps two or three hours and you are greeted by The Twelve Apostles along Great Ocean Road, the ski fields of Mt Hotham, Falls Creek and Mt Bulla or head south and take a ferry across to Phillip Island and make friends with the cute little ferry penguins.

At a cheese factory in Mornington Peninsula over Easter

At a cheese factory in Mornington Peninsula over Easter

Melbourne really has so much to offer for adventure seekers, lovers of the world and true romantics.  I honestly don’t know how anyone could hate this place, apart from perhaps the ever changing weather patterns.

IN CONCLUSION… 

So while I still laugh at the ‘Give Way To Peds’ signs, freak out over crazy trams not stopping for any car, get frustrated when I want to visit a corner store and am politely corrected that it’s called a ‘Milk Bar’, Melbourne has been overly kind to me.

I still get homesick from time to time and miss my family incredibly much.  However, I’m starting to understand how Truman Capote’s heroine felt in Breakfast at Tiffany’s when she gave up Lula-May Barnes and transformed herself into Manhattan’s darling, Holly Golightly.

While warm, sunny Queensland will always be ‘home’ to my body, I feel as though Melbourne is home to my soul.

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Let Love In

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I’ve known for a long time that I have massive issues with intimacy. I have worked hard to get around them, but the truth is, at the end of the day, somewhere in my mind or in my heart, something niggles away at me.  Lately, it’s been getting much worth as my partner and I move forward in our relationship.

My partner and I now are taking the HUGE leap of moving away from my home town to his home town (which is opposite ends of Australia really!).

Although the packing and moving process has been extremely frustrating at times, the truth is, we’ve discovered we work pretty well as a team… sometimes I just need to stop nagging and sometimes he just needs to be more pro-active but all in all – we work well. My mind and heart are absolutely in love with this man and I could not even dream up a man who is the person he is. My friends and family adore him too (my father likes him more than he likes me.. jerk) and I can see him being an amazing father down the track.

But the one thing that is frustrating to both of us, is my intimacy issues. I’m quite an affectionate person however, there are certain things I just can’t do – for reasons I don’t really understand.

My partner likes to ‘snuggle’ and put his arms around me and let his head rest on my shoulder while we talk. I literally feel smothered, hot, frustrated and uncomfortable beyond all belief. Sure this would make sense if my partner was a 500kg ball of fur, but he’s very far from it. I know it deeply offends him when I grunt or when I go dead silent so as to avoid grunting or asking him to get off, but I honestly just can’t deal with this. I don’t like snuggling, I don’t like spooning, I don’t like someone being in my space in bed.

It used to be so bad, and sometimes still is, that I couldn’t sleep if someone else was in the bed. Some nights, I’m not sure if it’s anxiety or what it is, but I stay up on my phone (on reddit or facebook) and no matter how long I put it down for or how long I lie with my eyes closed, the fact that someone is next to me makes it too uncomfortable for me to fall asleep.

It’s gotten really bad lately and in my mind, the one thing I keep thinking is, I’m going to be sleeping with this man every night soon. Every night in the same bed… what if this never goes away? What if I spend every night having a restless sleep or no sleep at all? What if he gets angered by my lack of intimacy that he decides to leave?

It’s like I’m more than capable of giving love but as for accepting love in – I just can’t do it. Some days, I wonder if I’m even capable of accepting love, because the people I have always had in my life have always ended up being spoilt by me, I give them the best of who I am and in turn get the worst of them or given little time, love or affection.

When I look back at the relationships I’ve had, the ones where the men loved me and treated me like a princess, were the ones I pushed away or got an ‘icky feeling’ about. The ones who let me be, where I was putting all the effort in and they rarely did – are the ones that I still miss or am still upset that the relationships didn’t work.

I know this is directly linked to my mother. When she was nice to me and when she did treat me with love and affection, it was closely followed by a spurt of abuse. I am sure this has large psychological effects, but through all the years of counselling and seeing psychologists, this is one thing that has never been addressed or brought up.

I’m such a big hypocrite and I’m starting to realise that I cry wolf and beg my partner to show me he loves me, but when he does, I push it away, feel uncomfortable or find a fault or flaw in his affection.

I know this is a horrible thing to do and detrimental to our relationship, but I honestly just don’t know how to make that nagging little feeling go away for good.

So here is my question to all you wise readers out there, what do I do? What are the little steps I need to take to be able to let this man love me without having this rising sense of fear/anxiety.

The Meaning of Marriage

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Something that I’ve been struggling to write about for a long time, is marriage.

After attending 4 weddings last year, I really have had the whole marriage thing on my mind for quite a while and what that means to me and to the world in general.

Even historically “marriage” meant many different things in many different cultures… However the most popular societal belief was that it was a way for men to purchase a good woman to breed for him and make his home presentable.

Marriage has always been to a mans advantage – the father got a dowry for selling his daughter, the husband got a slave and breeder.

In fact debutante balls were basically cattle auctions where a young woman was presented in her finery to society, her beauty and dancing talent was on display for possible suitors to later make a bid to the father in hopes to take her.

Over time, this has changed and you would like to believe that marriage is about “love” rather than a woman breeding for a mans lineage to continue.

These days, weddings are a multi billion dollar industry and its not just a case of “getting married” – now we are expected to have an engagement party, bridal shower, hens night and bucks night and then fork out more for a wedding to entertain our friends and family.

And at what cost ? The average wedding is $30K in Australia but more than that, it is often at the cost of relationships. Weddings, in my opinion, bring out the worst in everyone involved. Quite often brides become very self centred because the other alternative is caring for everyone and getting hurt because inevitably someone has an opinion or an issue over something you are doing.

Friends become rude and bitchy because rarely can women get along as it is, but worse when they are lined up in the same dress all trying to prove they are “the better friend” or “know the bride better” and to make peace, quite often the bride will just nod and agree to avoid any conflict.

Guests become judges – from the ceremony being too long, to the food being not to their liking, the dresses, the decor, the venue … Everything is a chance for everyone to share their opinion and quite often it’s not a pleasant remark that leaves the mouth.

Parents are expected to fork out thousands of dollars to help their children get married – even if they don’t agree with the marriage itself, solely because society says a good parent will pay and will shut up.

All in all its one major cluster fuck of stress for one day.

Yet it doesn’t end there. Expectations of married life only continue.

I have a friend who has been married for quite a few years now and she is constantly getting asked when they will have children. Her answer – never.
She doesn’t want to have children, she wants to have a successful career, travel the world, build up her investment portfolio and continue loving her husband. Yet as a society it still seems that it is expected that when your are a wife you must provide your husband a child to carry on his name.

I have another friend who is masters educated, speaks multiple languages, has travelled the world (and no I don’t mean “contiki” travelled) and has published several articles for many successful magazines and publications including Forbes. Yet continuously the one thing that people bring up is that she is in her mid twenties and is single.

One thing that I also often get asked is “when will you get married?”

Let me set this straight – MARRIAGE DOES NOT VALIDATE YOU.

Fuck, Charles Manson is getting married – is he suddenly a “good person” because someone loves him and is willing to make that legal in the eyes of the law?

No… just no.

Who we are as women, how far we have come in society, our ambitions and our goals should not be suddenly surrendered when we get engaged or married.  Nor should any woman who is not in a relationship or has no intention to marry, be any less of a woman.

It seems, once again, that I’m realising that women in general are our own worst enemies.  Few men actually give much thought to weddings and marriage.  It’s women who are judging, bitching and critiquing every last detail.

My biggest regret of the last year was not realising that what happens, happens.  That sometimes you just have to enjoy yourself on the wedding day and stop stressing.  I lost a whole day and night at my best friends wedding solely because I was running around like a goose trying to make sure everything ran right, drank too much because i was nervous as fuck when things weren’t going right, and had to deal with rude bitchy bridesmaids making snide remarks behind my back and then left bawling my eyes out because I realised I hadn’t even spoken to her for more than 5 minutes the whole time.

I had in my head, that this day was to be perfect – it was a culmination of the last 18 months of late phone calls, skype calls, all the plane trips to Brisbane, throwing a bridal shower and hens night the weekend before 1000km south, phoning every last Kmart in Mackay, Townsville and Cairns to find “bridesmaid” and “bride” hoodies for the morning of the wedding, and even running around the day before hand after driving for 14 hours (1000km north) to get to the destination by myself, making sure everything was in place instead of relaxing in the hotel room .. everything we had discussed, was meant to be perfect. 

It wasn’t… and I shouldn’t have expected this – but I always have high expectations and when it is someone I deeply love and care for, when things don’t go to plan, I get twice as angry because I believe they only deserve the very best… and I feel as though I have failed.

Why ? Why did this all happen? Perhaps my expectations were too high. Perhaps the picture I had in my head was unrealistic.  Perhaps some people are ok just sitting by and watching events unfold without stepping up and helping out.

The truth is, I don’t remember much of the day because in between being shunned by a few certain people and running around serving canapes to guests, chatting away to grandparents before the bride and groom arrived and downing as much wine as I could to survive my severe anxiety attacks I was having, I forgot to pay attention to the one day that meant everything to someone I no longer have in my life.  The expectations I had were unrealistic and cost me too highly.

My expectations were set by society because I didn’t know what else to expect.  The ‘perfect day’ is what I thought would happen, and any minor step out of line with the proceedings of the day left me trying to breathe slowly or yelling at the wedding co-ordinator for not doing a better job.

I pinned so much on this one day, that in turn I forgot that a wedding is just a wedding – it is not the be all and end all of a marriage.  If the day isn’t perfectly to plan, it doesn’t mean anything other than ‘shit happens’.

More so, a wedding or marriage doesn’t define who anyone is.  Just because you don’t particularly understand the love or the reasoning, doesn’t mean it is wrong – it just means its different to what you personally would want for yourself.

Getting married is not the be all and end all of any woman’s life, freedom, choices or happiness.  It is just another milestone in this journey of life.

So please, for the love of womankind… can we all just be nice and work towards making marriage not a necessity, not a validation of us as women and stop making weddings such a massive day full of bitterness, bitchiness and judgement?

We deserve to keep moving forward and more so, we deserve our own happiness.

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