I’m doing it

Well, I said, “Watch this space” and then the space went blank!!!!  Or did it?  It certainly did in terms of the written word, but the story has continued.  I have constantly encouraged my children to chase their dreams and that they should not ever give up on them.  And I have finally decided that I need to not only talk about it but set an example of it.

I have resigned from my teaching position of 14 years and am branching out into the unknown.  I’m practising like mad, have bought myself a new guitar amp, a stomp box and a gorgeous tenor ukulele and next week I hit the recording studio to record my very own demo disc!  I’m off to Alice Springs to stay with my uncle for some R&R time and six months of solid working on the things I have wanted to do for ages, one of them being making sure I get at least one weekly gig and seeing if I can get a bit of a following.  So I’m launching out into my brilliant music career! After the six months I head interstate yet again to find my final landing place.  The plan will be to find a job that supports my passion and not try to fit in my passion with my job. At age 46, I’m stepping out into unknown territories and changing everything!

Who knows where the journey will take me.  It seemed everything around me was leading me to this decision and then once I made the decision, all of those strong, “Go this way” signs disappeared.  I kept thinking, “Hey!  It would be nice if they were still here to remind me to keep on going!”  So even though the doubts scream at me “You can’t do this” I have made my decision and keep putting one foot in front of the other regardless.  And each time I pick up the guitar or sing the blues, I start to feel more alive and am gradually starting to believe, “Yes, I can do this. This is what I was born for.”

So here I go!

Jump

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The Unspeakable

Last night I went to bed. Gosh I’ve been lonely lately. It was really suffocating me as I lay in bed. I started to imagine what it would be like to take a large knife and drive it through my middle. There was a certain comfort in the thought of bleeding out right from my centre. I started to wonder if I had the courage. I decided to find out if I had the courage. I threw back the covers, climbed out of bed and walked toward the kitchen, intent on finding out if I had the courage to take a sharp knife and drive it through my middle.

I had only reached the lounge room when headlights flashed through the lounge room window. My son had arrived home at the precise moment I had decided to take up my own dare. I scampered back to bed. He was none the wiser and lay there thinking, “There must be a God. And he must care about me.”

On Dickheads

My ex-husband is a dickhead. I actually don’t say that harbouring any ill will, anger or frustration. Not today anyway. If I get a call again from Child Support asking me to pay him money for a child who lives full-time with me again, I will have a moment of angst, but really, it is what it is. He is what he is. There is a degree to which he is what he has chosen to be, and a degree to which is walks with a great handicap after years of abuse as a child. He frustrates the hell out of me, but I don’t hate him and I’m not angry with him. But he IS….most definitely a dickhead. That’s not hard to come to terms with. It’s not hard to accept. It’s not difficult knowledge to have and still keep my heart soft and without malice. It’s just a fact of life.

On the other hand, I work with another dickhead. I have tried, and continue to try and look for the good in him. I try to keep a positive attitude. I try to understand him. I try to offer grace. I’m not saying I don’t succeed. I’m not saying I don’t bitch about him behind his back. I do!!!! In safe places though. I have a best friend that I let of steam with. She gets me and understands that even though I might be harsh in the things I say in the moment, it won’t stay that way. Nothing really seems to work though.

I have asked people who know this guy better than me, if there is a heart there….if there is more than what we see. No one can offer me anything positive. I don’t know why, but it is very hard for me to come to terms with the fact that this guy just might be a total dick!!!! I can deal with the fact that my ex-husband is not a dickhead but coming to terms with the fact that that just might be exactly what my colleague is, leaves me feeling incredibly disheartened.

Perhaps it is that he is in leadership over me. Perhaps it is that he claims to be a Christian and yet I can find no heart. Perhaps it is that he knows how to kiss the right amount of arse so that those who need to know what a dick he is, probably never will! I guess perhaps it is easy to take my ex as he is, because he doesn’t claim to be anything else. He doesn’t claim to be moral, good, kind, generous, true, honest. My colleague parades as a saint, yet the majority of staff know that if you need to be careful and watch your back around anyone, it’s him.

I struggle with my own heart. I don’t want to live with a grudge, unforgiveness and I don’t want to be a person who lacks grace. I don’t like the hardness that settles in, so I guess it would make it easier to have some grace towards this person if I could somehow see that he is not a total dick. But I think he actually is. A pretentious one…….unlike my ex. This discourages me greatly. But then grace is something that is undeserved. It’s the kind of grace that David offered King Saul in the Bible, when Saul was being a total dick.

…..and I am blessed

I am so very tired.

I am so very ill.

I am so very tired of being so ill, so unable to function the way my life demands I must.

Deadlines still come in, yet my brain, my body,  my energy will not rise to the challenge.

Every day is just so hard.  So exhausting.

Yet……

In the midst of that deep grey there are some things that sparkle.

A friend who hates the phone as much as I do.  She calls in a time of need.  It’s a big thing for her to call.  We talk for an hour.  She feels better.  We feel closer.  I am blessed.

A funny, fuddy duddy step-father who sees my time of need and offers to help.  He cares.  And I am blessed.

A phone call from a real estate agent.  I have been accepted for the rental property next door to dear friends.  They will be watchful over me.  We embrace.  And I am blessed.

A beautiful text comes through from a beautiful friend who has been doing it tough.  She is going to be ok.  I smile.  I am blessed.

A student who has struggled all year has a penny drop moment.  He gets it.  He’s on a roll.  His face lights up!  His world just changed.  Maths is no longer a big black looming monster.  I do the happy dance and the class laugh.  Wow.  I am blessed.

A friend also battling pain and illness shares my moments through the day.  The highs and lows.  She gets it.  Someone gets it.  Someone gets that daily struggle.  I am not alone.  She is not alone.  And I am blessed.

A silent student finds her voice and discovers she has a knack for impromptu speaking!  A big smile spreads across her face and she blushes as people applaud and comment, “Wow!  You’re really good at this.”  Joy wells inside of me.  I have to tell someone!  I am blessed!

Golden shining moments in the middle of deep tired grey.  They shine all the more beautifully because of their contrasting dark background.  They sing a song in my heart.  And I am blessed.

My Hero

You’ve heard the saying, ‘Don’t judge a book by it’s cover’. Well the strongest, most resilient, most inspirational woman I know (I’ll call her Annie for the purpose of this post), is suicidal at the moment. It seems like an oxymoron I suppose. It’s not a case of ‘well she was strong, resilient and inspirational but has hit a tough slump and lost hope for now’. Nope! Annie is most definitely ALL of those things in the midst of it. The way that she feels right now, is quite separate to the person that she is.

This beautiful woman is struggling desperately. She is not safe to be alone and is afraid to be alone with her children. There is a side of her that is feeling weak, fragile, frail, broken, tired. There is a side of her that is feeling like she is dreadfully flawed for feeling the way she does. But all I can see is immense, awe-inspiring strength!

My Annie, despite the way she is feeling, does not become negative. She refuses to give in. She fights and fights and fights……for life….for quality of life for herself and for her family. She fights to hold onto the strong hope in her heart. (Yes, someone suffering depression can hold strong hope!) She fights to see better days. She does whatever it takes to remain safe so that she will not give into the urges that are screaming in her head! Even at her lowest point, I have to say that she is the strongest, most resilient and inspirational woman I know! She inspires me more right now, than she ever has. I wish she could see that. I am so incredibly proud of my girl. I want to be more like her. Don’t judge her by what you see on her face. It is only what she feels. It isn’t who she is.  Annie is my hero!

The Beauty of Weakness

 

I’ve been having pretty rough run lately. Recently I wrote an email to a friend, filling her in on all the happenings in my life and home and it read like something from “A Series of Unfortunate Events”! At the moment I am kind of bracing myself thinking, “What’s next?”

I have the unfortunate disposition that when I experience enough stress for a prolonged period of time, eventually the cracks start to show and I become physically ill. I hate that! I feel like a basket case. I struggle with debilitating dizziness, physical weakness and levels of brain fog that leave me not knowing what the hell I am doing a lot of the time. To know that your physical condition is psychologically induced is hard to come to terms with. I wish I were more resilient – made of tougher stuff.

I stood in front of the mirror last week. I stared at my reflection and all I could see was weakness. And I despised that weakness.

Why do we hate weakness so much?

I don’t hate the weakness in my friends. In fact I love my friends all the more for their weaknesses. Those little chinks in their armour make them human. They make them someone I can relate to. I don’t know about you but I don’t relate terribly well to squeaky-clean people who appear to have it completely together.

For a person to allow you to see their flaws and weaknesses is a great privilege. It is a sign of depth of friendship because of the trust that comes with it. A weakness in a friend also gives you the unique and special privilege of offering them support. And in doing so, the bonds of friendship and love become even deeper. When I look at the people I love, their weaknesses are a blessing, not a curse. They are a gift.

There is a Japanese tradition called “kintsugi”, where, rather than throw away broken or cracked pieces of pottery, they are repaired with a resin and gold powder, or substance made to look like solid gold. It is born of a philosophy that the cracks and breakages are a part of story of the piece, not a reason to throw it away. Once repaired, the piece often looks more beautiful than it did before it was cracked or broken!

So why do we hate weakness? Why does our culture despise weakness? Why do we despise cracks and flaws? Why do I look in the mirror and despise my own weakness? My weaknesses are a part of my story. Yours are a part of your own story. If I can see the gold in the weakness of others, perhaps it is time to start looking in the mirror and seeing the gold in mine.

 

Kintsugi

Hail the Taxi Drivers!

Well this week has been a bummer.  A serious bummer.  It has taken every ounce of will power that I have to not resign.  Most of the week has been spent close to tears.  And then I found my oasis….my little patch of awesomeness!  And where was this oasis?

Taxi drivers!!!!

I haven’t been able to drive this week.  I have floaters that are effecting my vision and after one too many near misses in quick succession, I decided it was time to hang up the keys until it settles down a bit.  As I’ve relied on taxis, I’ve discovered a little treasure trove of stories and lives lived.

One driver was an elderly man.  He remarked, “My daughter used to go to your school.  That was back when all there was, was four portable buildings.”  He reminisced about his children, shared his view of the state of the world and then……

“Oh wow.  Look at it now!” he said, as we drove into the driveway of the school.  He dropped me off, drove around the roundabout to head out to the road again, hesitated and did another slow turn of the roundabout to reminisce and take it all in.

Another driver picked me up and we got talking.  What an intelligent man he was.  Former print maker, political advisor and awarded journalist.  He was made redundant when his newspaper changed management and made massive cutbacks.  Unable to find work in the world of journalism again as the world now has an obsession with youth and beauty as opposed to age and experience.   So he was driving taxis.  He’d learnt that nothing in this world is ever certain and to make the most of the hand he was dealt.

I have heard story after story this week and each one made me turn and look at the man behind the steering wheel in admiration.  There is a tendency to judge a person’s worth and intelligence by their ‘station’ in life.  My friends, look beyond the job description, the appearance, the big gut that might be resting on a lap and discover the person….the stories.  You will be amazed at what you discover!  Patch Adams did that and what an impact he made in this world!  I want to be a little bit more like Patch.

Thank you to my taxi drivers, for the inspiration, the wisdom, the reminder to appreciate the good things in my life and the reminder that behind every face there is a story that is worth hearing and a person worth knowing.

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