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!

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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.

Get Out of the Back Seat and Behind the Wheel!!!

“Jodie you have a go!”

“No I can’t.  I’ll be the one who slides the car into a tree.”

“Go on!”

“Dory you have a go”

“No it’s not my car.”

“Katie?”   (Names changed)

Well that sweet, timid, little 19yr old angel leapt out of the back seat and plonked herself down in the drivers seat, took the wheel,  revved the engine and said, “Ok.  Tell me what to do.”  And then she showed us how it’s done.   She had that truck sliding round the paddock and spinning on it’s axis….. like a pro!

Dory:  (Holding on for dear life)  Go KATIE!!!!!!!!  THAT’S MA GIRL!!!!!!!

“So are you gonna have a go now Dory?”

Well, without hesitation, she took the wheel and took us on one hell of wild ride….and managed to spare us from slamming into the fence…….just!!!

“Jodie!  Come on!  Have a go.”

You know, everything in me wanted to recoil into the safe zone.  Well almost everything in me.  Being comfortable, doing what I knew to do.  What if I sucked at it?  What if I was the only one who looked so lame, cos she couldn’t get that truck to do anything but drive in a straight line? What if I slammed it into a tree?  What if I made a fool of myself?

 Well  A) I had to do it now or I’d be the pussy who wouldn’t give things a shot….the only one who didn’t give it a go.

And B) I said nearly everything in me wanted to recoil to the safe zone, but there was the part of me that didn’t!  The part of me that wanted to be let out of the cage!

So it was seat belt off and out of the back seat for me.  Into the driver’s seat, taking the wheel!!!!

Well, I had the time of my life last night!!!!!!  This little chickie tore up the paddock and learnt how to drift and get that truck spinning like a child’s spinning top last night!  We laughed till our bellies ached over the silliest things!  It was an evening of bonfires, marshmallows, the men working on a project….. building a bench seat out of pallets and loving doing blokey things, puppies in laps, flamin’ country music playing and watching the boys get their wiggle on, farts, belches, and huddled up in blankets out in the night air with best friends!

Ahhhh golden friendships are a glorious thing!  I am so fortunate to be surrounded by creative, free spirited, happy friends who just revel in the joy of living!  Last night I was blessed with a new dawning moment of just how blessed I am.  I’m surrounded by people who, by their very nature, push me to live beyond my comfort zone.  They challenge and inspire me to live without fear, to use the gifts and talents inside of me, to explore, to notice, to do, to be.  Without them, there is a part of me that would live in a comfortable box all neatly packed up and stored on shelf.  There is a part of me I would never set free.  There is a part of me I would never know.  But because of them, that part of me is learning to come out to play!

I’m surprised by how much I’ve learnt to NOT HAVE A GO!  I miss out on so much of life because I don’t have a go, because I am afraid to be take a risk, because I don’t have faith enough to believe I could do something so well that I could really succeed at it.  I start projects and they look amazing and then I lay them aside with the anxiety of ‘what’s next’ and ‘what if I can’t’?

Well, it’s time to GET OUT OF THE BACK SEAT!  And now you can ‘watch this space’ yet again, because number one on the agenda of getting out of that back seat and taking the steering wheel firmly by the hands is…….

I’M AUDITIONING FOR X-FACTOR!

I’m having a go!

Somehow last night, amongst my amazing friends, a message was sinking in…..

“It’s not to late.  Don’t ever stop growing.  Don’t ever grow old.  Grow young.  Grow adventurous.  Grow into the real you….the you that can fly….the you you would be if you weren’t afraid.  The world is too beautiful to not get to enjoy it from the heights above!”

FArt Exhibition

Monday:  Art Exhibition

Tuesday: Art Exhibition

Wednesday: Art Exhibition

Thursday: Art Exhibition

Friday: Art Exhibition

Such was the noticeboard in the staffroom this week.  Upon reading it, I decided within about the first five seconds that it was begging for an ‘F’ and I was just the person to deliver it!

Now you’ve got to understand the place where I work.  There are rules!  There is appropriateness.  “No toilet humour” is actually one of the rules and books have been pulled out of the library for less than ‘art exhibitions’ with fs.  Parents complain when a teacher burps.  I should know.  My best friend has been hauled into the principal’s office numerous times over her indigestion issues!

I needed to break the rules!!!!!  I needed to show them how petty their lives were that they would have kittens over …….

Monday:  FArt Exhibition

Tuesday: FArt Exhibition

Wednesday: FArt Exhibition

Thursday: FArt Exhibition

Friday: FArt Exhibition

They did not fail to deliver.  Come staff briefing this morning……. pontificating announcement about the inappropriateness and unprofessionalism of a ‘FArt Exhibition’.  To be honest, I would pay money to go to a FArt Exhibition, so long as gas masks were provided!

And speaking of masks…well didn’t they come down as the chinks in the professional armour were revealed and secret high fives were offered when I’d quietly whisper ‘It was ME!!!’

At my place of work, I’m discovering more and more, there are kindred spirits, who don their mask each day to be what they perceive our place of employment wants them to be or what they need to be to gain the approval of the pontificating few.  They get around lonely and isolated because no one can see enough of who they are to even gravitate to them.

“To thine own self be true” wrote William Shakespeare.

You know the awesome thing about that F?  The awesome thing about that F was that today masks came down.  That’s the beautiful thing about casting aside a mask.  It creates a chain reaction….a domino effect if you will.  When someone is willing to throw down a mask, others fine the courage to do so too.  When one person is brave enough to be their silly, juvenile, immature self with a whiteboard marker and an F, regardless of whether it is approved or disapproved, other people start to find the courage to crawl out from their caves and be loud and proud and say, “This is who I am!”  “High five for the whiteboard marker and the F!  A kindred spirit at last!”

“To think own self be true” creates friends, creates family, tears down barriers, ends isolation, inspires creativity…….. and creativity leads to…… well what can I say……..  to FArt Exhibitions!

Mire to Gold

Everything’s gonna be alright

Rockabye, rockbye.

 (Shaun Mullins, Rockabye)

I sat at the table last night at a restaurant in town.  There was my daughter, looking like a super model, surrounded by her amazing friends from school, a birthday cake in front of her with the number 19 on top. Around me were my closest friends and my two sons, aged 16 and 20.  I couldn’t help but bask in the moment.  My daughter is about to sit her final school exams and forge her own life.  My eldest son is already making his way in life and my youngest son is not far off and seems to have his head screwed on right.  They are good people!  They have turned out to be solid, caring, intelligent young people with a sense of purpose in life and goals for their future.  We have almost ‘arrived’.  We’ve done it.  We’ve made it.  I am almost across the finish line of THIS stage of my parenting.

It’s been a torrid ride getting to TODAY.  A psychopathic ex-husband more bent on corrupting his children for kicks than parenting and nurturing….more bent on using them to cause me angst than protecting their hearts from things they should never have to deal with as children.  He was the type of guy who would offer shots to primary school kids.  One has to question WHY!?!?  You can imagine the two extremes of upbringing that these kids have had!  And here we are.  They are good people!  They are amazing people!  And that’s not just me being biased.  Ask the people who know them.  Ask the teachers, ask the friends, ask the customers, ask the family.  They will tell you.

How did this happen?  If anyone should have been messed up, it should have been my kids.  Especially my daughter.  When she was in Grade 3 her father refused to have anything to do with her and quite literally replaced her for a while, with a smaller, younger, less feisty version, whom he intended on adopting.  This little girl called him Daddy at the time.  She would taunt my daughter.  “Daddy loves me more than he loves you.”  For that and plenty of other reasons, she should be completely messed up, and yet there she sat last night with a number 19 in front of her  surrounded by the solid, well-grounded, intelligent, quality young people that have she has chosen to call ‘friends’.  There she sat, ready to kick arse on her exams….ready to pursue her dream to enlist in the army and fulfill her passion to serve her country in the gutsiest way she can come up with, and who am I to stand in the way?

Here we are at TODAY.  Here I am, Mum of three amazing young adults and surrounded by the most amazing group of friends.  Not just friends….they have become family.  How did we get to today?  When did life become so beautiful?  When did mud, mire and blackness turn to gold?  When did horror turn to joy?

If I could have seen today, back ten years ago, I wouldn’t have worried so much, cried so much, feared so much……but then I wouldn’t have prayed so much either, and I’m glad I prayed.

Today is just my day to marvel and be grateful.  Today is my day to see that the light at the end of the tunnel is now shining brightly and there is such thing as a happy ending.  And for me, there is such thing as a more beautiful time in life and new beginnings.

The Power of Anonymity!

The power of anonymity!  Since my first post, I’ve been pondering the tremendous opportunity that anonymity provides!  I would love to have people following my post.  I could tell my friends I’ve started a blog.  I could post it on Facebook.  But as I was thinking such thoughts I could also feel the force of self-censorship tightening it’s grip as I thought of all the things I might like to say but couldn’t say if this person or that person read my blog.

Anonymity on the other hand?  What would I do with that?  Seriously?  What WOULD I do with it?  I actually don’t know!  I could enter that world where you get to say whatever you want about whatever you want, without restraint or censorship, without concern that you might be misunderstood, or that people might think that you’re interests, beliefs and very nature is in conflict with itself, without being concerned about saying something that might reflect badly upon myself, my profession, as a representative of my school, or a representative of my faith.  Would I be wildly abandoned to express my thoughts and ponderings, my passions and amusements, or would I still self-censor?  More to the point…. will I?  Fellow bloggers…do you?

You know, I have NO idea what I want to write about in this space that is ‘pearlsofdelerium’, but I’m actually pretty keen to embark upon an experiment…. a journey…. into the world of anonymity.  To be honest, I don’t even know if I can do ‘NO SELF CENSORSHIP’, but I’m dead keen to give it a try and see what I find there.  Excited even….and frightened too.  So, should I actually gain any followers without broadcasting my blog……..WATCH THIS SPACE!

Anon.    😉

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