My Heart, Your Home: August 2012   

Friday, 31 August 2012

The Clairvoyant who changed my life

Remember those days as a young child when you had your girlfriends sleep over, you would all huddle under your sheets and blankets, lights out, torches on, skin crawling and ready to tell ghost stories. Ready to call on the spirits through the quija board. Remember those days when your belief in all things spirits, ghosts and angels was slowly starting to dissipate and you cynicism was overtaking?

On those nights, some of us were instigators... you know, the ones who would knock something over and pretend it was a spirit in the room, the ones who would move the glass wildly around the table, the ones who were greatest at telling the stories because they were never overcome by fear. They were the instigators, they were the ones who grew up to be cynics, they were the ones who left their belief behind, lost amongst the sheets and blankets.

One those nights, there were some who were believers. They were the ones who hid beneath the sheets throughout the entirety of the ghost stories, they were the ones who were terrified to put their finger on that glass, they were the ones who jumped and screamed when their friend knocked over the table and they were the ones who cried at the responses of the quija board. They were also the ones who went home the next day and woke their family up every night for weeks because they were experiencing nightmares. They were the believers, they...were me. And I never left my belief behind. Never to be left behind at a girls night in, always to follow me through life.

I am not religious, but I most certainly am spiritual, faithful. And because of this faith, last Saturday morning I sat down at the table of one of the warmest, most kindest soul I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. Her name was Sue, and she is a clairvoyant, and she changed my approach to life. She gave me direction and faith and light and hope.

Waking up that morning I felt a sudden surge of overwhelming nerves and fear - about how the reading would occur, about what she would say, about what I would say. I realised that I was not prepared for what I wanted to talk to her about, I had not acknowledged what outcome I would like to ascertain leaving. My dear friend picked me up and I talked to her about my nerves, mentioned that I did not know what to ask, what I wanted. She too had not prepared herself in this way. We walked up to the door and as my friend knocked I felt like I was hit with a wave of anxiety. Until Sue opened the door to her home, opened her mouth and opened her heart. All nerves, fear and anxiety flowed out of me and a sense of warmth and calm overcame me. I knew, in that moment, that I did not need to be prepared. I just needed to be there.

We sat at Sue's dining room table while she prepared us all a cup of tea. Her home was incredibly beautiful. A table in front of big glass doors leading out into a sun filled green and blossoming garden. The smell of lavender in the air, blue in the sky and birds whistling their tunes. As I sat down at her table I breathed out the breath I didn't realise I was holding.

Sue talked casually with us as she made our tea, talked with us as though we were old friends, I felt as an old friend would. Then she sat at the table and placed her hands on my knees with the most gentle of hands. She explained her process and I watched her eyes and listened intently. I didn't want to miss a thing. She then closed her eyes and started to breathe. I held my breath and didn't take my eyes away from hers, not once. 

She began her reading my describing to me the images and symbols, numbers and letters she was shown. Throughout this description I felt confused, I was unsure what these images could possibly mean. But before long she moved on to elaborate and once she started describing to me the meaning behind the very first image I completely crumbled. I walked into her home believing, but in that moment, my belief that was just a flicker in the back of my mind became wild and unruly flames. I was completely and utterly astounded.

I moved closer and listened harder. The things she was saying about me, to me, felt as though she was in my minds eye, she was repeating my very words right to me. My inner voice, coming from the mouth of this wonderfully beautiful woman before me. I was in shock, it was truly one of the most humbling moments of my life. I do not know why it was humbling, I don't know if you will understand why I use that word, but I felt humbled... grounded. In absolute awe.

I wont delve too deeply into the things she and I spoke about because they are my words to treasure as my own and at this point in time I am not ready to share them. But there are few things I do want to share with you that she shared with me. 

Sue was shown a symbol of a dish drying rack on the side of the sink, empty. The spirits showed her with this image, my fear of abandonment, my feeling of being left behind. They talked to her about how I give more of myself to others than I give to myself. They asked her to tell me to take time to myself, to nurture, love and accept myself. She talked about taking the time to stop and smell the flowers, to take my shoes off, to walk in the sun. Sue talked to me about the need for me to say No. These were all things I have spoken of, both here and to Anthony. These were all words which I have spoken. Her description of me and my personality, my attributes and my flaws, were as though she had known me my entire life. 

Sue was also show an image of me sitting at a desk and writing. The spirits told her that I am on the right path, that I am doing what I should be with my "gift", with my writing. They told her that this is something that has travelled with my soul for longer than I can know. That I need to embrace this and to continue along this road. They told her I need to remain honest to myself, continue with the "no bull" approach, that this is fast tracking my soul along its divine path back to love. She said to me that I need to not worry about what it is I am saying, that I need to stop, stopping and just be honest and release my words into the universe.

These two corners of the reading were the two that really touched me. Moved me to better myself and my life. Gave me the courage to change my approach. In the last week I have taken the time every day to gaze into the horizon, to feel the sun on my face and the sand in my feet, to dream. And in doing so, it has given me the courage to find a dream. A dream to follow and to strive for. Ever since my Daughter was born I started living my life for her and I stopped living any part of it for me. With this new found clarity I have remembered that for Evelyn to have a Mother to aspire to, be inspired by, her Mother needs inspiration herself. So, even though I will never stop living for Evelyn, I will also be living for myself. Taking the time to do what makes my heart swell.

At the end of the reading Sue gave me something, a gift that I will forever cherish and remember, she leaned forward and she took me in her arms and then she just... held me. For what didn't feel like long enough, but also felt like an eternity. I cannot even begin to explain to you what that embrace did for me, but it was one of the most beautiful gestures and memorable moments I will ever have. A gift from a stranger in the form of a hug. 

I cannot recommend a visit to a clairvoyant enough, but if I was going to try I would start by giving you this and I would hold your hand and I would say to you... She will change your life

I was not asked or paid to write this post, this is a story of my own experience and written in my own words.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

When a group of Mothers become a group of friends

Photo's taken by one amazing Mother - Kate

Mothers Group has all the intentions of being a group of women whom support each other, love and accept each other (warts and all), nurture each other. It has all the intentions on creating an environment in which new Mothers can form a bond and can form there own new source of support. It has all the intentions on being something really great. Really great. 

However, before I had even fallen pregnant with my Daughter I was privy to stories of Mothers Group experiences. Experiences full of judgement and criticism, comparison and competition. You know, those awful feelings that a new Mother should never have to experience, all those awful things that a new Mother should never place on another. I had heard stories of people leaving in tears, they were judged for using a dummy, bottle feeding, a crying unhappy baby. Anything and everything. In a time of such need I could not believe that women could still be so cruel to each other. In a time when sisterhood should shine, I could not believe that we still resort to petty school yard behaviour.

When I feel pregnant with my Daughter I had a brief thought, "this means Mothers Group!". And I shut it down as quickly as it entered my mind. Never to be thought of again. I wasn't doing any such thing! I was not going to set myself up to be so cruelly treated when I just knew I would be in a place that I would not be emotionally strong enough to be able to hand such behaviour. The idea of being placed in a forced environment, having to introduce myself in a room full of women, talk about my pregnancy, my labour, my birth, my child. Talk about how I am coping and feeling. Talk... in general... in front of people, people I knew nothing about and no doubt had absolutely nothing in common with. Well that was just overwhelmingly frightening! And I just wasn't going to do it!

Then Evelyn was born. The thought had entered my mind again, and again I threw out. Until the midwives came to visit and didn't give me a choice. I was going! I needed it! It would be great for me. Apparently. They signed me up and called me multiple times to ensure I had all of the information. But, I exercised my right to freedom of choice and I just didn't go. I didn't have the strength to walk into something that just was not in my persona. I didn't have it in me.

Until three or four months passed. And my Daughter had grown, she was teething, she wouldn't breast feed, she was unhappy and then happy, things were happening and I had no one to talk it through with. Then, I realised... how nice it would be to have a group of women who had babies the same age, who I could ask, who I could talk to.

So I did something so totally out of character for me. And I contacted that group of women that I was too afraid to meet. Then I turned up one Thursday morning. After they had been meeting for months, knew each other, knew each others babies, knew their place. I walked in there and I sat down and I introduced myself and my Daughter and I talked about my pregnancy, my labour, my birth. I did all the things I was too afraid to do. Then I learnt, that I can do this. I was just so completely proud of myself. I walked into a ladies house whom I had never met, and I met a group of 7 other women. And I talked and I felt ok. Nervous, so utterly nervous, but ok!

Then this strange thing happened. I started going back. Every single thursday. I started craving that time. Those women. Their babies. Their stories and advice. I cherished thursday mornings, I waiting for them and when I left on thursday afternoon I felt empowered... ready to start a brand new week. They gave me strength and courage. They gave me a confidence that I had not had before.

Then something even more strange happened.

We became friends. Me and those 7 other women. Me and those 7 other babies. Evelyn and those 7 other babies. Friends. The day I walked into that cafe for the first time I never could have prepared myself for what the next 14 months would bring. I never would have imagined that all of those women and their babies would help me celebrate my babies first birthday. I never would have imagined that those women would wipe away my tears and give me a hug when I had no where else to go. I never could have prepared myself for the love those women would show my Daughter, or the love I would feel for those 7 other babies. I never ever would have imagined, that in that very moment that i sat down and said hello I was creating for myself an unbreakable community full of support and encouragement and love and kindness. 

The love I have for these women is beyond describable. When I watch them play with Evelyn, cuddle and kiss her, talk with her, my heart swells. On that very first day, I did not think I would survive and yet here I am, with a 16 month old baby who has 7 16 month old friends. Here I am, a woman who never had many women in my life, with 7 new friends who I cherish and adore and just cannot imagine my life without them.

The decision to attend Mothers Group was one made with complete apprehension, total fear and anxiety but today... If I had not made that decision my life would be one a little less bright, a little less happy. I would be a different woman and a different Mother. These girls help me to be a better, greater version of myself and help me to be a Mother I never could have known existed without them.

For that, I will be forever grateful, forever in their debt.

Friday, 24 August 2012

52 Weeks of Grateful - The Moments

Between closing my old blog and creating this new one I had about three months where I was not writing anymore. There were many things I missed in that time about hitting that publishing button. But  two of the main things I missed where my monthly letters to Evelyn and my weekly moments of grateful.

So today, as my Daughter takes her afternoon nap and my house smells of freshly baked lemon cake, I sit in the sun with a cup of tea and I take a moment to remember to be grateful. I've had a particularly emotionally charged week. Emotions of the good, the bad and the ugly kind. Im blaming it on the pregnancy hormones... and maybe a little on my moody persona, but mostly the pregnancy.

So the thing I am most grateful for this week is moments. Moments that teach us lessons, like when to defend yourself and confront a problem, and when to walk away. Moments that show us that our self doubt is unworthy. Moments in which life proves that with every door closed, a window opens. Those moments where life surprises you, in all the right kind of ways. Moments where people surprise you, in all the right kind of ways. Moments. Life is made of moments and I cherish them, I am grateful for them.

My week has been full of moments, moments on either end of the spectrum. When I was feeling down, life would throw me an up. The best moments of all were when the people in my life proved to me that I am alright, that I am easy to love, that not everybody leaves.Those were the moments that made my heart sing and my soul shine. They were the moments that helped me realise that when something bad happens, or when a friendship nears the end, that life moves on and other areas of your life improve, drastically. With every door closed, a window is opened... as they say.

This week My Mr helped me learn that I am ok. He helped me see that regardless of my past or my present, regardless of my moments, regardless of all of that, the person I am today is a great person. He helped me to see that my life should be full of people who believe that about me and are ok with me and what I have to offer. My Mr loves me and he believes that I deserve to be loved. He will love me regardless of if I waver or falter. He will just be there, with me, never to leave.

This week my friend, the one who promised we will forever be friend, gave me a moment where I learnt that I do truly believe that sentiment. She showed me that she loved the girl she met all those years ago and today, even though we havent seen each other for almost four years, she still loves the girl I am. She made me see that people can love me for longer than a short period of time. For longer than a little while. That people dont grow out of me and leave me behind.

This week a new friend, became so much more than just a friend. She became my girlfriend, she became the girl I turn to. She became a girl that makes me laugh, in a way I haven't laughed with another girl in longer than I care to admit. She became the girl who considers me and my feelings and my moments and considers her responses and her words. She became a girlfriend who just loves me and cares about me. All in one moment, I learnt that she is what I want to surround myself with.

This week the sun came out and with it, it bought a true summers day, and on that summers day I sat on the shoreline and watch my daughter run to and fro from the waters edge. Digging in the sand. Basking in all the sun had to offer. And in that very one moment I released myself from my funk and I decided that all this moping around and feeling sorry for myself and sad for the ends in life had got to go. In that very one moment I realised that life is a glorious, beautiful thing. That it is always going to be full of ups and down, trials and tribulations, happiness and sadness, polar opposites... always. It is me who has to choose who I would like to ride this roller coaster of a life.

In that moment, sitting on that beach, I decided that the way I want to ride it is to say goodbye to things that run its natural course, welcome in the new, cherish the moments, hug the ones that I love and whom love me back. I will ride it with a (metaphorical) glass of champagne in one hand and a high five on the other. Because this life is wonderful and does not deserve to be full of moments of melancholy and mediocre. It deserves to be celebrated.

So I am grateful for the moments that made me sad, because now I have the clarity to enjoy the moments that make me dance!

***I really wish I could have that glass of champagne now!

Linking up with Maxabella

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Everybody leaves...

Growing up I had one friend. One true friend. One friend that I knew would always care for me, always love me, even if we weren't friends. I knew this because, she promised me we would be best friends forever and I believed her. 

When I first left Sydney to move to Forster, I arrived a timid, shy and broken little girl. My Daddy had left and then I was leaving every thing I had ever known. To start a new life that I didn't even know existed, nor did I want to know. I arrived at a new school a timid, shy and broken little girl and those kids smelt my fear! I was a target, fresh meat. I didn't have a single friend. I tried. The teachers tried. But I just wasn't finding my place. Until I met this girl. And she saved me. She put her body between mine and those kids. 

I didn't think anything of that moment or that girl until I was invited to a party, the party of the Daughter of Mum's new best friend. And she was there. We stayed up all night. We talked while the other girls slept. We giggled and we sang and we played. We slept head to toe on two single chairs pushed together. Two young girls, forming a bond, over nothing at all. We promised that night to be "best friends forever". She was the first friend I made on my own. And she has been the one true constant friend I have maintained. She has wavered. Our friendship has ebbed and flowed. Over 18 years she has supported me, she has made me laugh, she has made me cry. Over 18 years she has come and gone. But always, even when I didn't think I knew, I have known that she cares about me. Always, I have known that she will never leave me. I have always known that she will be the one and the only true constant in my life. I do not fear her leaving. Because I know, even when she does leave, she always comes back.

Throughout my life, making friendships has been a difficult task. It is something that is surrounded by apprehension and anxiety. It always has been and I think it may always be that way. I fear making friends because I fear the moment that they leave. And I am left feeling hurt. I am left wondering "what is wrong with me?". I am left thinking everybody leaves.

I have had many friends. Girls and boys, men and woman. Good friends. Fun friends. Demanding friends. Selfish friends. Bad friends. I have had them all. And mostly... I have lost them all. 

Everybody leaves

Some I have pushed away. Others I have cut. Some have just disappeared and others just lose touch. But at the end. They have all gone.

Today, another has left. And I feel lost, hurt. Today a friend treated me as a stranger and ignored my Daughter. Today, she left me behind. I feel confused, anxious. I approached the subject to be told there is no problem, that she is just busy. To me, personally, a friend would stop and say hello, busy or not. Personally, someone who calls themselves 'Aunty' to my Daughter, would stop and acknowledge my Daughters existence. Personally, I feel like I was treated as an acquaintance. I was treated the way you treat that person you want to avoid.

Perhaps I am avoidable. Maybe I expect too much. Perhaps I am the selfish, demanding, bad friend. That is certainly the way I am left to feel today. Perhaps my expectations on how a friendship operates are unrealistic. Perhaps my fear of being left behind is what ends up causing me to actually be left behind. 

Today I question myself and question why I am so hard to love. Today i apologise to you, my friend, for making you feel that you had to leave.

Everybody leaves and I am left wondering... what is the point?

Monday, 20 August 2012

Facing my fears

Growing up as a child I was painfully aware of my actions and people's reactions. It made me fear being silly or active or loud or funny. I was afraid of how I was perceived, I was afraid of people's laughter. Because they always laughed. It never felt like it was with me... always at me. I became introverted, too afraid of meeting new people, too afraid of looking silly. I am not a naturally introverted person, but I have learnt to be. 

I do not ever want my children to feel as though they cant be children, out of fear of judgement. I do not ever want my children to feel as though they cannot try new things for fear of getting it wrong. I don't ever want them to be afraid to speak out of panic of speaking the wrong thing. I want them to have the courage and confidence to embrace their entirety. I want them to feel comfortable within themselves, to be themselves. To fear people, to fear new things, is a life I wish upon no one else, especially not my children.

Recently I realised for Evelyn to have that confidence, I need to create it for her. I need to create an environment where she is socially aware and comfortable. Recently I realised I was not doing this. I was letting my own fears and insecurities drive my daughter's outings. Until recently, the thought of going to the park on my own was so overwhelmingly scary that I would have a near panic attack as I parked the car and I would have to drive back home. Until recently, I was being a selfish Mother. I was letting my panic affect my daughter. Recently I noticed that my Daughter is becoming as timid and as shy as her Mother and that is just the last thing I want for her.

So I have been venturing out. Every day that I do not work, we go. To the park. To play group. To music class. To play centres. To the beach. To cafes. Anywhere that my Daughter can be placed into a situation where she has to socially interact. She is still shy and timid, I think that is just as she will be, but she is not scared. She does not fear people. And me... well I am learning. I talk to people without stumbling. I initiate conversations with strangers. I play and laugh and be silly with my Daughter and I am slowly learning that people's reactions are not important.

What is important is that my Daughter learns she has a place in this world. It is important that she feels she is just as capable and important as any of her peers. It is important that she learn how to be strong and confident and secure. Thats all I want for her. Happiness in her self and happiness in her world.

She is beginning to thrive. To really shine. I can see her happiness when she is out and about and active and talking. I can see her starting to change, letting go of her fears, letting go of me. She wasn't born to be afraid, just like I wasn't, she was born to be a star. Now that I am aware of my mistake I can work on making sure that the rest of her life she is encouraged to shine as bright as she should shine. 

Park days have now become some of my absolute favourite days. To take my Daughter out into the world and see her venture out. See her choose to take the slide on her belly, on her own. To see her decide its time for the swing, or to build a sandcastle. To see her talk to other children and make friends. To see all of these memories being created, the confidence building, it is some of my proudest moments of being Evelyn's Mama.

Friday, 17 August 2012

Fresh Horses Brigade - Who are you?

Most of you will already know the very talent Eden over from Edenland, so most of you will remember this post. I wrote the below response to that question back when Eden initially asked it, but back then I didn't have a platform to publish it on. I saved it and have since pondered wether or not I would ever publish it. I have re-read it today and decided that yes... yes I will post it.

I could spend hours sitting here in front of an empty screen with that little irritating cursor flashing incessantly at me every half second pondering the answer to the biggest question of them all, "Who Am I?". There have been so many moments throughout my life where I have had to answer this question and each and every time I have just babbled my way through a response which actually doesn't respond or answer the question at all, it just leads everyone astray until they forget what it is they were wanting me to tell them in the first place, I even confuse myself. And here I am doing it again... But today is different.

Today I want to answer the question, as best as I can. I read this post over the weekend, it was written by a woman who inspires me to be more real, a woman who challenges me to think deeper. She is a woman who is so raw and real and honest that it challenges me, it shocks and impresses me. In her post she asked that we all answer this question and we link up to her answer. I wasn't going to take part in this. I wasn't sure how to or if I wanted to. But I have decided that what better way to open this new blog of mine. What better first post! About me. Who am I?

The question is truly overwhelming. It is intimidating. For those who know me from my previous blog will know a little about me, about my past. For those who are new to me, to Jess, wont know a thing. I will start by telling you I did have a blog previously. One I cannot name here as I do not want to lead my unwanted readers to this space. I will begin by telling you that I am very sensitive. So sensitive that I cried about shutting my old blog down for a week. I cried because writing at that space gave me the confidence to have a voice and a voice is something I have never had before. It gave me the courage to tell my stories and my share my opinions and to actually talk, to have the floor, to be heard. I cried for a week because I didn't want to give that up. It was so refreshing and addictive and I just couldn't let it go.

So I am moving myself to this new space. A protected a space. A space where no one I know will know how to find me. A space where I can have that voice and that confidence and I can be real and true to myself. This place will be a place for me to feel a sense of belonging and acceptance, a sense of encouragement and support. It will be a place that I can just be honest to myself and to the world without carrying the weight of all those thoughts I always have in my mind. I wont delve too much into why I have come here but I will just say that there is some people in my family who didn't appreciate me writing about my life. They were part of the reason why I never had a voice, then once I found it, they wanted to take it from me again.

I talk about not having a voice. Growing up I was always the shy child. I was always the one that was terrified of doing anything out of the ordinary in fear of being noticed. I was scared of being funny or silly in fear of being laughed at. I was the child who sunk into the back ground and just watched the world float by. I am still that child. I am still scared of being noticed. The only difference between that child and this child is that this one wants to be noticed and heard. This one knows what it is like to be heard and thinks its kind of awesome. This child understands that life isn't meant to float you by and that being noticed and heard and supported and appreciated isn't so bad.

I am a girl. I am a girl who is apparently a woman. But being a woman to me, means being grown up, being responsible and being sensible. I am neither of those things. I am just a girl who is living the life of a woman, with a few responsibilities and few sensibilities. I am just a girl who really doesn't understand what it means to grow up, because in truth I don't want to grow up yet.

I used to think, when I was a girl, that I was wise beyond my years. I used to think I knew. I didn't know what it was that I knew, but I knew it anyway. Now, I don't know a whole lot. I don't know who I am. I don't know what it all means. I don't where I am going or where I have come from. There is only a few things I know for sure.

What I do know is this, kind of...

My name is Jess.
I am a Mother to one of the most beautiful and gentle souls this world will ever know, my daughter Evelyn. She is just over 1 year old and the day she came into my world is the day my world ceased being my world and became her world. The day she was born was the day my heart no longer beat for me, it beat for her. The first time I saw her was the day I found the meaning to peace. She is my peace.

I am a girlfriend, partner, lover and friend to one of the kindest men in the world, Anthony. I know that he is the kindest man in the world because I can see it in his eyes. Those eyes, they are so kind, so gentle, so soft. I fell in love with those eyes before I fell in love with the man behind them. Don't get me wrong, he is not always kind, but I believe the moments when he isn't kind is because he forgets to try. He never means to hurt anyone, he just doesn't mean not to hurt them. He completed my world and taught me what safety is. What love is. He taught me what it was like to have a home. He is my home.

I am a sister, to a brother and a sister. My sister is my best friend and I couldn't live without her. My brother is becoming a stranger but I love him none the less.

I am a Daughter. To a Mother and to a Father. But not to a Mother and a Father combined. I come from a broken home. My Mum remarried, which makes me a step daughter. My Dad also remarried, but that didn't make me a step daughter. Being a step daughter means existing as a child to a person who wishes you to be a part of their world.

I am a friend. To few people but the people whom I consider my friends are diamonds to me. I wouldn't have it any other way. I have found it hard to make and maintain friendships. I don't trust people too often. People always leave. I have always found it too hard to put my time and energy into a friendship because I am always waiting for the day they leave. Because of that fear... I have lost a lot of friendships that other wise would have lasted.

What I know for sure is that all of the above does not define who I am, not really. The above are decisions I have made throughout my life which have shaped the life I lead today. But those things do not shape the person I am. The person I am is complex and misunderstood. The person I am is confused and confident, shy and loud, loyal yet hot tempered. The person I am is someone that you will never understand, because I will never understand and this is the way that I like it. The day that I truly know who I am is the day that I stop developing and learning and changing and I don't welcome that day... not yet. I will never know who I am because I am ever changing.

I don't know who I am, I really don't, I know there is a lot about me that makes me different to you. But the true me, my soul and my heart, has not yet revealed itself to me and until then....

....its for me to find out and for you to wonder

Edenland's Fresh Horses Brigade

Thursday, 16 August 2012

From the vault - The offending post - I am the product of a broken home

Every so often I think back to where I have come from, where I have been, and I ponder the forks in the road and the turns life has taken. I often wonder, how different things could have been? Better? Worse? Just different. I wonder... 

I didn't have a bad childhood, by any means, but I did have a trialling and challenging and confusing one. I truly don't believe that many childhoods are made up of blissful unawareness, I truly believe that we are more knowing than we are given credit for as children. Moments, words, they can all be far more damaging for a child that people are aware of. They become deeply seeded, to haunt that child for the remainder of their days. My childhood wasn't a bad one, it had no violence or alcoholism, it wasn't a bad one. But it was a trialling and challenging and confusing one. It had no stability, no constant.

I remember the day my Mum and Dad sit me and my brother and sister down and told us that "Mummy and Daddy don't love each other anymore". I remember my Mum correcting my Dad and prompting him to tell the truth, "Daddy has to leave". I remember not quite understanding what that meant. I remember walking away from the table and I believe my Sister and I both went and watched cartoons. I didn't know what that meant, or how real it was, or that it meant forever. Daddy has to leave. Those words. That moment. It changed our lives forever. Daddy has to leave.

I remember the day he left too, the day he packed his things, the day he took them all away. I remember we were selling the house, so Mum let us paint the empty wall of the hallway in whatever colours, shades or shapes we would like. I was a painting a big dark multi coloured heart (I wonder what that meant?). I remember Daddy had to leave. He was crying, so I was crying. He gave us all cuddles and told us he loved us. He patted Jarrah (the dog) goodbye and he walked out the door. I continued painting. But Daddy had to leave.

I remember all the tears that Mum cried, the hours spent locked in her bedroom. I don't remember a great deal about my life with Dad or the time between him leaving and us leaving. But I do remember how I felt. And I felt confused and lost. I felt angry at Dad, angry at Mum. I felt sad. I remember the day I found out Daddy didn't just have to leave, I remember finding out that Daddy left to be with another family. I remember being in the back of the car, it being dark and Mum driving. I remember turning up to a house and Dad coming outside. I remember Mum yelling and crying. I remember Dad being calm. I remember looking at the house and seeing a young boy peering through the blinds. I felt angry. At Dad, and at Mum for taking me there. That boy had tears in his eyes. So I did too. I didn't want to know. I loved my Dad and that moment made me question that love. I don't want to know.

I remember the day we left our home, we left our suburb, we left our city. We packed our lives into a truck, we packed ourselves into the van and we drove away. We drove 4 hours north to a town far away. I remember hearing the words "there's not a cloud in the sky, it's as sweet as your sweet goodbye" singing from the radio. I remember thinking, there isn't a cloud in the sky, and this is goodbye because Daddy had to leave. So we left too.

We moved to Forster, we started a new life, a life as a broken family... whatever that meant. I remember that we stayed with friends for quite some time. I lived in a caravan on their front lawn. I remember feeling uncomfortable. Unwelcome. An intruder. I remember wanting my home back. We found a home of our own. A house on stilts. Normalcy? For a while. Mum found a new man (my now passed step dad). A new man? A new Dad? I remember being angry. Angry at the new man. Angry at Dad. Angry at Mum. I had a Dad. He had to leave. But I don't need a new one! I remember saying those words to him. I remember hating him for being there. He was unwelcome. An intruder! I wanted my home back.

Life progressed, we moved on, we grew up. That new man, became a known man, Craig. He moved in. I still didn't like him there. I still felt angry. At Craig. At Dad. At Mum. I was angry. We bought a house, a family home. Dad painted my room, with the lion king characters. I thought it was special. I struggled through school, with friends, or no friends. I was picked on, because I was angry. Every day I became more and more quiet and reserved. Every day I lost more and more confidence. I became more confused and I never found myself, I remained lost. I was angry. Now angry at Dad. Angry at Mum. Angry at Craig. Angry at myself. 

I progressed through primary school and I moved onto High School, still with very minimal friends. They tolerated me, because they had to, we were in a small school and they couldn't avoid me. I guess I was tolerable. My anger became me and I struggled through it. I wasn't a bad child, I truly believe that. But I was angry. And Mum was angry. This caused for very hard times. For misunderstandings, for arguments, for fights. For hellish times. I have a temper, I know this, but my temper came from my Mum.

I remember the fights, I remember the moments, I remember the words and I absolutely remember the results. Results which ended with me walking the streets. Living with two young boys. A night in the police station. Bad boyfriends. Bad men. Results which ended in disrespect of myself. I saw things and experienced things a 14 year old girl never should have. I remember the moment I was told to leave. I remember the hurt but I remember the feeling of freedom. I remember the moment I left, I packed my bags, I walked out. I walked into a new home with two friends, I thought I was going to have my life made. I thought that this was going to be better than life at home. How very wrong I was. But at least here I wont be told to leave.

That chapter of my life wasn't one I was proud of. It didn't turn out quite the way I had planned. I dropped out of school before finishing Year 10. I was surrounded by drugs in that house, for a while I wouldn't come out of the bedroom when the drugs were being used but eventually that became too hard to maintain. Finally being around the drugs wore me down and I started to dabble. They never became me, not like my anger, but they did become a part of my life for a while. Living in that house, at times was great, but at other times it was really very hard. The boy that I was living with was supposed to be my boyfriend, but he was angry too. He would get into fights every other weekend and he would bring home different girls on the weekends that I wasn't going out with him. So I wasn't ever told to leave that place, but I was locked out. Locked out of the house on a cold winters night while I got to overhear my so called boyfriend sleeping with my so called friend. One day I came home to find half my wardrobe was missing. I saw that wardrobe walking around town on other girls. Another day I came home to find my belongings on the front lawn and hosed down. The stories could go on, but I will stop at saying it was a time in my life that is best kept in the dark, where it belongs. I remember feeling more lost. I didn't know who I was anymore. I lost all respect for myself. I looked for love and acceptance where ever I could. I didn't feel like I had it.

My best friend at the time saved me from that house. She and I packed up my things and we moved me across the bridge into her home. It was me, her and her Dad. Normalcy! I had my own bedroom. I posted photos on the wall. I had a bed. We used to stay up talking until the very early hours of the morning, every morning. We walked the streets looking for jobs. We ate fish and chips for lunch. We had fun. Life was fun again. Someone loved me and looked after me. She was my saviour. I will never forget what she and her Dad did for me.

I heard around town that Mum was saying I ran away from home, everyone thought that I was being a brat, everyone thought I chose this life. I didn't run away from home. I run away from Mum telling me to leave and that she doesn't want to see me again. I run away from those words, because those words were real to me. She obviously didn't mean them, she mustn't have meant them, to tell people that they weren't said? But they were said, and I remember them, and they hurt, so I did what those words told me to do. But, when I heard this I realised that maybe now I can come home. So I asked Mum. She said yes. And I went home. Not before all the damage had been done though, not before I saw those things, did those things, experienced those things. I wish I had of known that those words weren't real.

I grew up. I finished Year 10 at TAFE. I went back to school for my senior years. I met a boy, a boy that was really nice to me. He was gentle and caring. Caring about me. He loved me and he cared about me. I found acceptance in him. For a while. Until that ended, he ended it because his Father told him he was too young for a relationship. That moment, those words. I remember them. I remember being loved and then that love was lost. I remember being hurt and confused. But I moved on.

I couldn't find a place that felt like home. I couldn't find people that felt like home. I didn't want to settle down anywhere, because anywhere was good enough. I moved to Queensland, only to pack up 6 months later and moved to Lismore where I went to University and made a new best friend. A girl I could be honest with, have fun with, laugh and talk and run and be wild with. She was my heart, my home. In her I found love and acceptance. I also met a boy. A boy I would spend that next 3-4 years with, a boy I would follow to New Zealand, then make a home with in Sydney. A boy that would help me through some of the hardest months of my life, a boy who would help me through watching Craig die. That new man, the man I spent so many years hating, but also spent so many years loving. The new man that became the known man, only to become my Step-Father. The man that made my family complete. That boy held my hand through watching Craig diminish until he was gone and held my hand while my world and my family came tumbling down around me.

That boy and I broke up not too soon after. I moved to Avalon, a town as far away from everyone and everything as I could get, without leaving my beloved beaches. I moved in on my home. I spent 6 months in that house, this was the beginning of my journey of finally finding myself. Of finding love and acceptance of me, from me. I loved that time of my life. I loved the house I was living in. I loved the walks to the beach before work, after work. I loved the life that I had created. I found myself. Without those 6 months on my own, getting to know myself, I would still be angry. I would still be lost. Avalon was my saviour. The saviour of my soul. I felt love. I felt peace. I felt at home. Normalcy! 

All that time, I was looking for relief from other people. I was looking in all the wrong places, where I had to look was deep inside myself. I had to let go of that anger. That anger of Dad. The anger of Mum. The anger of life. I had to find peace to be able to live a life of normalcy. I had to find a place within myself, I had to love and accept myself. 

I have never been the child of a broken family that talks about being the child of divorced parents. For me, it was normalcy, it was never a disability or a comparison. I have met people who even now, as adults, still talk about coming from a broken home. It never occurred to me that I was disadvantaged. I knew my life was different, I knew their was a piece missing. But I didn't know the true affects it was to have on me and my life. Not until I had my own family. Then my thoughts changed, I realised... I was disadvantage, in a major way.

I wonder... how different life would have been, had Daddy not had to leave?

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

It takes a village...

For the last few days I have been struck down with yet another version of this years attacker flu and I have really struggled to muster up the strength and energy every day to get out of bed and attend to Evelyn (who mind you, has also been hit!). But, every day, I find that teeny tiny little bit of energy that we Mama's just have to find and I put on my brave cape and I pull Evelyn out of bed and I spend the day with her. We have not left the house, the weather is not of the kind that two sick girls should be spending their days in. But we have been out of bed and out of our pyjama's every day... except today. Every day I try to parent to the best of my sickly ability. I may not give her 100% but she is ok with that, for now.

For the last few days I have been struck down by the stinging realisation that it really does take a village to raise a child, and yet, I dont have a village. It is Me, My Mr and our Evelyn. We have family, of course. But they are not readily available to call on for support on days that you cannot support yourself. Most live away. Some dont care to support and others are struggling with their own lack of a village. We have friends, of course. But as they should be, they are working. 

On days where you really wish you could make that phone call, that one that I imagine would be so terribly hard, and say "I can't do this today, I need help", I notice a big gaping hole in my life. There is no one to answer that call. No one on the other end of the line. No one who can help.

At this point in time I am so overly dehydrated that, to stand up and walk, I fall over. I basically crawl from one room to the next while trying to slowly suck back as much water as humanly possible, while looking after a 16 month old active toddler who doesn't want to sleep. At this point in time, I would like to call on my village.

But I cant.

I do take solace in the fact that I have an online village, they lift me up with their words and their virtual support and hugs. They comfort me with their kind hearts and their beautiful souls. When things become too hard here, when I fall and hit my head, I load a photo into my village of Instagram and see my people come together. They leave words that make me smile, offers that make my heart sing, encouragement that lifts me up and gives me the strength to be my own village. 

It takes a village to raise a child, but when you don't have that village, you have to create your own.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

This is the moment that I knew...

From the moment my Daughter was born... I knew

I knew that I had found my reason. I never knew before I had her in my arms, not even as she was growing inside my tummy, I never knew that the reason I am here was to be a Mother. 

But in this exact moment here... all became clear. 

In this moment I finally understood why I have lived the life I have lived. Why I have battled the wars I have won. Why I had been broken and repaired so many times. And why I still smile so bright. In this moment, I realised that the only reason I am here, is to be a Mother. No. More than that, to be a Mummy.

When that precious child opened her eyes, her lungs and her heart up all in that moment, my world exploded. With love and with joy and with an overwhelming sense of belonging. I have never known where I was going, what I was doing. I felt like life was constantly an uphill battle. I felt alone in my world and like I was always waiting. Waiting for life to start. And then it did.

Ever since Evelyn was born, all I have wanted was to make her life the most beautiful and memorable life I can. I wanted to give her what I felt like I never had. I have spent the last 16 months trying to do exactly that. I have also spent the last 16 months longing for another child to call me Mummy. From the moment Evelyn was born, I knew... I needed more.

I did not let that longing become needing. I did not want to let the days of Evelyn's life go by before me while I longed for something that was not here. But it did remain in the back of my mind, always. I want to make a Sister for my Daughter. I want to give her the best friend that I have. I want to make a Brother for my Daughter, I want her to have the constant challenge that I have. I want to make a family, a community, a village for my Daughter.

Once Evelyn was 8 months old, we had decided that it was time to make that dream a reality. And we tried, every month, to the point that trying was no longer fun. We both wanted it. We craved it. We needed to see those two double lines. We would make love. We would wait. We would pee on a stick. And then we would cry.

We would repeat. For 7 months we would repeat.

Until, May came around, and I took that test to the bathroom, with a heart full of apprehension and anxiety, and I peed on that stick, and the faintest of faint second line appeared. It was there! This was our time! We danced and we laughed and we cried. Then I came to my computer. And I sat here, and I wrote a post about my joy. I saved that post to a draft and began the wait until 12 weeks to publish.

Until, I started to bleed. 

And that baby was no more. Those dreams, were just that... a dream. That joy slowly left my body with every day it took for that baby to leave my body. I hurt, I ached, I cried... I was broken and that post remains a draft...waiting...

It only took four days to begin the bond with that baby. Four days. I saw those double lines and I started planning an entire life based on those two tiny pink little lines. Then... four days later. It was gone, just like that. Some would think that four days is not long enough for such a loss to be considered a loss. Most think that. But four days is long enough to feel it. It is long enough to fall in love and lose love.

I decided then and there, that I will not stop trying. There is a soul waiting to be given to us. We will create a body for that soul. So we tried again. We waited. I peed on a stick. And then I cried.

Because this was it. There was two lines. It was strong! That soul has been delivered to me and now it is my turn to deliver the soul to this world so that I can create a family and a life and a home for him.

We are 9 weeks pregnant. I feel anxious and nervous and apprehensive that something will go wrong but I also feel confident and secure and safe because I know...

I know that this is what I am meant to do!