Sunday, 17 May 2020

5 Years Later...

Today marks the 5th anniversary of mum's passing. 3:24am, to be exact.

I unintentionally stayed up past that time, and just like I did on the morning in question, looked at my phone at the exact same time, not knowing back then, that mum had just taken her final breath.

I started to reflect on the differences from then, til now, and while many things have moved on during that time, some things haven't changed at all.

Her handbag is still on the chair where it was last left. All of her clothes and shoes are still in the wardrobe. I've relocated some of her jewelry to my bedroom so I can wear some of it, but her art supplies are still under the table next to the piano, now covered in cobwebs, dust and whatever else.

I think one of the biggest things I've noticed in that time is that the pain has reduced. 

When I looked at my phone (also changed) to look at the time early this morning at saw it was the exact moment of her passing, I remembered how I felt back then and wondering was going to happen, and how I personally was going to get through not only each coming day, but the rest of my life, now that it had been changed forever. I knew as I was driving into the hospital car park that day, after praying for the first time in possibly years that I'd make it there in time, that whatever happened, life wouldn't be the same, I just had no idea what that meant.

The shock took months to subside. I'd never cried so much possibly in my entire life, and I resented the fact that not only was the world continuing on as it always had, while I was left to figure out what my life meant without a mother, but that every new person I'd meet for the rest of my life, I'd need to rip off the band-aid of telling people that she'd passed on, and dealing with the residual grief that came up as a result.

The first birthday without her I was fortunate enough to have a great group of friends around me who joined me for a low-key gathering at my old apartment. The birthday after that, I was hit with the sobering realization that she was really gone and wouldn't be calling to excitedly wish me happy birthday, ask me what I wanted, both for presents and dinner, and to check when I'd be over to celebrate with the family. I cried constantly for the whole week.


In the days after her passing, I started doing research into what happens to bodies after a person dies, and often found myself wondering what she would look like if I were to dig her up now. The same thing I wondered several years after my paternal grandmother passed on. (I was 9, and she was the first family death in my lifetime)

I'd been told by family friends that the hardest part about the loss of a loved one is the little things, I didn't realize how true it was until those little things started coming up. Not being able to call her when I got out of an exam at uni, not being able to update her each time something new happened, like when I grief-bought new clothes and couldn't ask her opinion on them, instead turning to dad who had absolutely no clue how to respond. 

One of the biggest things are the occasional, but incredibly vivid dreams where she's still alive. Even though I not only witnessed her taking her last breath, but also saw her body in the coffin, then being buried, it's like my conscious mind knows she's not here, but my unconscious mind is still trying to reconcile the information and hasn't fully processed it.

The first dream was the two of us arguing in the kitchen, as per normal. She was adamant she hadn't died, but I knew she definitely had, and couldn't understand how she'd come back to life. The rest of the family just acted like it was completely normal, which just made it even weirder.

Other dreams were of a similar nature. Mum seeming off, but definitely alive, and me wondering why no one else had noticed, and being completely baffled as to how she was there in the first place, until I woke up and it all made sense.

For me, the hardest part is not having a mother who's present. We didn't have the greatest relationship when she was alive, and between the cancer, other physical ailments and her gradual memory loss which would have likely been more devastating to experience that the cancer, she wouldn't have lasted much longer anyway, but it's knowing that she's not here. Her stuff is, and anytime it's been moved, I've had a mini meltdown at the change, but there's nowhere I can go and see or be with her. Her physical body is in a body in the ground of a cemetery. Her legacy is in the memories of those who knew her and were personally affected by her, in some manner or another, but she isn't here.

Over the past few years, I've developed a stronger interest in spirituality, supernatural and paranormal phenomenon, and I think that's helped me to deal with her loss a bit better. Believing that while she's not physically here, her soul or spirit lives on elsewhere and she's watching over and guiding me from there, and as I like to imagine, spending her time socializing with all those who passed on before her, makes me feel okay about not having her physically here. Her body had been through enough and she had to let it go, but she taught me what I needed to know in the time she was here, and the rest I just wait for signs of, as crazy as it may seem to others.

(Credit: Pinterest)

Life has continued on. I've graduated university, changed jobs a few times, moved back home again, and really started to reflect and appreciate the life I had with her, even if it wasn't long or full enough. 

I started to pursue acting and modelling, which is something I've always wanted to do, but that she'd never have approved on, and as dad told me as a child, the one rule was not to upset mum. But I've also started to share my story of growing up with a mentally ill parent and how that's affected me, and continues to affect me.

I intend on making a documentary one day about her life, and showing what it's like for someone who has mental illness, but also detailing the stories of those who knew her, and of my own family's experiences in dealing with her (with permission of course), so I can help to shine a light on, and work towards breaking the stigma around mental health, in the hopes that more people become aware of it's existence, recognize the signs for themselves or someone they know, and get the help and support they need, without feeling ashamed or judged for doing so.

As bittersweet as it is to not have her here, she's left me with an amazing story to tell, memories that I can cherish for the remainder of my life, and knowing that just like she was throughout my life, when it's my time to go, she'll be there waiting for me with the rest of my departed loved ones.  

(Credit: Pinterest)

Sunday, 23 February 2020

Making the Right Choice for You


A few weeks ago I made the tough choice of terminating my employment when I'd just started a new job.

It was difficult because I'd been unemployed for most of the previous year, until some Christmas Casual opportunities came up, but then went back to job searching come Christmas day.

The job I'd applied for seemed interesting and I was excited to get a call shortly after applying, saying that they'd like to bring me in for an interview.

During the chat, I got to know a bit more about the company and the role, and figured at the very least it was worth a go.

The role was a sales consultant for a loyalty card where I'd essentially be a telemarketer, one of the most disliked people on the planet.

The interview was slightly different to what I'd done before, where it started off as a group of 3, including myself, then done individually, then a phone roleplay where we'd be selling a similar loyalty card to one of the interviewers so they could get an idea of our phone manner.

After leaving the interview, I'm not sure whether it was self-doubt or my gut instinct telling me it wasn't the right job for me, but I felt sure that I wasn't successful, and had even considered what I'd say when I got the call the following day telling me I wasn't going ahead.

I felt kind of excited at the prospect of not being picked, even though it meant that I'd have to work for the dole, but I'd had a look at the activities on offer and one was for arts and crafts which was perfect for me, so while money would be a continued hurdle, I'd be doing something I was really excited about and would presumably enjoy.

Much to my immense surprise, the call I got the following day was to say they'd love to have me on board and the training would start the following Monday, if I was still interested.


Given that my job search contract that I'm required to sign every month in order to keep getting benefits and assistance, states that I need to apply for jobs that I can do, and not just ones that I want to do, I figured that I didn't have a choice in the matter and I could at least try it out, knowing that I was getting paid to be there.

I felt a lot of hesitation through the whole process, from reading through the on-boarding documents which had been sent to the wrong email address, to being in training and learning about what we had to do for the job. Nevertheless I persisted, thinking that it was just new job jitters and they'd eventually pass.

The first week was practising the script within the group and I'd gotten great feedback from everyone for being able to read so clearly, which I attributed to a combination of self-development course and the tools taught on affirming language, as well as acting classes I'd taken and how to use my voice to bring different tones to a character's lines.

The second week was starting on the phones, and given my level of flexibility in timing, I was rostered on from Wed-Fri, which mean that I was the last one to start their first shift for that week, and was absolutely terrified about it.

The first part of my shift was just listening in on calls with staff members who'd been there for at least a year, to get an idea of how the process worked. I felt calmer after doing that, although a subtle sense of dread at knowing that at some point, I'd have to be on the phones and doing what they were doing, but would need to follow the script exactly, at least until I was an established staff member.

The second part of my shift (at least from memory), was being paired up with another new recruit that I'd done training with, and continuing to practise with them, ahead of my manager's call, following which I'd be jumping onto the phones and the real work would begin.

The manager's call got pushed back to the next day due to time constraints, and I was relieved for that, but also terrified because I knew what would await me when I got into work the next day.

Upon my arrival, the training manager advised me to continue working with the same recruit from the day before until the manager was ready and we'd each be having our calls, with her going first because her initial call hadn't gone as she'd hoped.

Eventually it came to my turn and I was eager to get it over and done with. My anxiety was high and I just went through the script as taught, but felt more pressure on myself to absolutely nail it on the first go. I'd be told by another recruit who was part of the training that the manager's call was more daunting than actually being on the phones and I was nervous because I'd never done one before, which made perfect sense.

I managed to get through the call, then the manager called me to his desk and we went through the script and the parts that he highlighted for me to focus on. Much to my surprise, all the emotion I had pent up, came out when I started talking to him and I started crying saying that I was being hard on myself and wanted to get it right the first time. He was lovely about it and said that there was no expectation for me to get it right, especially on my first go. I'd make mistakes, but just needed to keep going and it was all part of the learning process.

I was appreciative of his support and understanding, but couldn't stop crying about it. The worst of it was over, so it was time to move on to the next stage, yet when he suggested I take a few minutes to get myself sorted, I went to the toilet and sobbed all over again, even though I knew I only had a mere minutes to pull myself back together and head back into a full call centre room where it was painfully obvious I'd been crying.

When I got back in, one of the other recruits asked me if I was okay, and I had to fight the urge to break down in tears again, casually indicating that I was so-so, and hoping that wearing my glasses would shield at least some of the redness in my face.

The training manager called me aside as well and suggested we go through the script again before I got on the phone. I deliberately avoided looking at her, even though I was sure she was aware that I'd been crying, and broke down again a little bit whilst talking to her and saying that I wasn't sure if it was just that the role was so different from what I was used to and that she wouldn't have hired me if she didn't think I could do it, but also that I wondered if it was the right job for me to begin with.

When I started on the phones, I still felt a lot of apprehension about contacting people, and while part of me wanted the calls to be either disconnected or no answer, I knew that it just meant I'd have to make more of them until it was time to finish for the day.

I was immensely relieved when I was told we'd be doing training the following day which would take half the day, and hoped that the morning group meeting would drag out so I wouldn't have to spend any time on the phones until after lunch, which only left me with maybe 2hrs or so of call time.

Much to my dismay, the training started later than I'd thought, so there was about 15mins of calls to make, and I knew I'd just have to get on with it. Hearing the manager tell us new recruits that we wouldn't have the pressure of sales targets just yet, only added to my misery. Where I was seated was right next to the sales leader board, and while the ambitious side of me thought it would be awesome to get to the top of it, my physical and emotional state wanted to be anywhere but there.

Throughout the training I felt a feeling of dread knowing that I'd have to go back to the desk and resume making calls when it was all over. I constantly checked my watch hoping that time would go faster and the session would go over time so I'd have less time until the day ended.

Much of the training was around company values and reflecting on what they meant to each of us, which for me felt like what I already knew within myself as a person and what I was looking for. If anything, it helped solidify for me that I wanted a job in customer service, talking to people and helping them, as opposed to selling them something that they may not want or need for very valid reasons and pushing them to hang up if they weren't interested.

As soon as I'd arrived at work, I'd gone straight to the toilets and cried again. When lunch time came, the feeling of immense dread saw me do it again and I made feeble attempts at enjoying the break and talking to other employees in different departments about their experiences.

I noted that the overall vibe of the place whilst friendly, seemed to be meh and like people had settled into their positions. Some of them were great at their jobs, whilst others just seemed to do it because it served an immediate need or purpose.

The people were nice, at least the ones that I talked to, and they'd become a family team during their time working together, but it just didn't feel right to me.


I pushed through for the rest of the day and was called into a meeting room with the training manager at the end of the day with the rest of the recruits who were on the same shift and we were told that she'd sit down with us on our next shift to work out of personal sales plans, or something like that, and I felt even more apprehension about the week ahead.

We'd been trained to reading basically word for word from the script and that the end result would either be that they hung up on us, or we got the sale, we just needed to be persistent about it.

My approach had been to just take it on face value if they gave valid objects and made it clear they weren't interested, to thank them for their time and close the lead on the system. I'd also been told more or less by one of the permanent staff members that the people we were contacting had stayed at a hotel that was covered by the card, but didn't necessarily consent to be contacted by marketing, which I thought was wrong.

The sales approach was to start off with the pitch, then add in deal sweeteners some of which they were already getting in the membership, but we weren't to mention until the very end if they were still objecting to it. This further cemented the belief that the role wasn't for me. I'd prefer to be upfront with the person and only sell to people who were interested, although in this context, that would be the equivalent of taking the easy way out.

I noted to myself that I had persistence and determination, but it was for things that I really wanted, like pursuing a career in acting and modeling. Arguably things that also required the same amount of tenacity that an outbound sales job did, also the same level of rejection too.

I agonised over the weekend as to what I was going to do if I felt like such an emotional wreck at just the thought of going into work and how I'd be able to shift my focus. I was listening to a video by Manifestation Babe's Kathrin Zenkina on my way home as part of a 5 day challenge she was running, and recalled her pointing that that we always have a choice in everything that we do. If we're in a job that we don't like, we can choose to leave. If we're around people we don't like, we can choose to not be around them, etc.


It occurred to me the following week as I emailed my energy healer for support, that I could choose to let go of this job that I clearly wasn't enjoying, and just trust that something else would come up in it's place.

The thought of emailing the training manager to let her know of my decision was the first time I'd felt peace since I started the job. It was like the sun had come out after heavy storm clouds had been weighing everything down, and that was the biggest indication to me that it was the right decision for me, and I wondered if that was what my instincts had been telling me ever since the job had been offered to me.

I planned out the email, remembering that the manager and training manager had told us during the interview and in the initial phone call that the job wasn't for everyone, and it seemed like they'd already given us permission to leave if we didn't want to be there, something that I've always felt like I needed.

I wrote and rewrote it for maybe 30 mins, until I was happy enough with the final edit where I mentioned that it was impacting my mental and emotional health, that I felt I was more suited to customer service roles (knowing that I wouldn't be able to change departments until I'd become permanent, but that would take at least 6 months), and ultimately thanking her and the manager for everything.

It was nerve-wracking to send it and I constantly wondered what the response would be and when it would come through. Would she refute what I'd said and tell me they were just objections? She was trained in self-development modalities herself, which made her ideal as a training manager in that role. Would she call me to discuss further and I'd have to fight to stand my ground and try not to cry again, because I felt like a little kid that didn't want to go to school and was potentially being told off by a parent or teacher? What other possibilities were there?

Much to my shock I guess, she didn't respond at all. I ended up texting her to see if she'd received my email, as much as I wanted to just cross it off my to-do list and move on, I also didn't want to get a call from her at the start of my next shift and have to explain why I wasn't coming in. She responded back apologising for not having done so before, acknowledged the email, and wished me well. That was it. All done with.

I felt a sense of relief, mingled with peace and excited for what was to come next. I also felt proud that I'd made the difficult choice of leaving what would have eventually become a stable job, because it just didn't feel right for me, and that was okay. It gave me clarity around what to look for in my next job, which is a huge step in the right direction.

I did wonder what the rest of the recruits would think when I didn't return, and occasionally still do. I wonder if they're still at the job and doing well, or if the recruit who was constantly mirroring my own doubts and being down on herself had ended up staying or moving on as well.

I also wondered whether the whole thing had been some kind of ploy to get noticed and attention from people, at least on a lesser level since I knew by the constant emotional turmoil that it really wasn't for me.

Part of the reason I didn't want to be there was because I felt triggered by seeing two of the other recruits who were both in committed relationships, being so buddy-buddy all the time. I wondered if it was just that they were on the same wavelength as each other, or whether it would possibly turn into an office romance of sorts, neither of which admittedly were my business.

I'd hit it off really well with the guy during training and felt comfortable around him, but a sort of third wheel when the girl had joined our group during roleplays. I didn't like feeling jealous of their connection or of seeing it every time we were in, but knew that it was yet another thing for me to work through.

I asked the therapist I was working with about the situation prior to leaving and she pointed out that whatever I didn't deal with there, would just come up again in the future until I'd dealt with it. I felt okay with that, assuming that the next situation was a more nurturing environment that I was excited to be in, and then the issues that came up wouldn't feel so heightened on top of everything else I was experiencing.

It's been a few weeks now and I've had an interview, but mostly a lot of rejection notices from jobs I've applied for. I don't feel particularly phased about it though, because I know that something good is coming up that's perfect for my next stage, and as long as I keep the faith about that and don't get discouraged, I can't go wrong.

On the plus side, after I left the job, I joined with a talent agency within walking distance of it, and got a text the next day checking my availability for an extras role on Home and Away, which I'd grown up watching. It would be my first paid professional job and a step in the direction I really wanted to go towards.

Everything is still in motion, but I'm doing what I can each day to keep things going and to remind myself that as long as I trust my instincts, I'll always make the right choice for me.

Somewhere I Belong


I came up with this blog post idea a year ago (~Feb 2019), but didn't get around to actually writing it until now. Maybe because I'm still figuring out where it is that I do belong.

At the time of conception, I was in the midst of consecutive life changes and figuring out where I fit in with everything that was going on.

In the space of just a few months, I'd gone from working in a job I didn't love, but had been at for 7 years, to being unemployed for a month, then undertaking a short-term contract which was abruptly cut short the week before Christmas.

During the time of the contract job, I'd received an email from the property manager of the unit I was renting and had lived in for the previous 6 years (5 with my cousin as a flatmate and just over 1 as the sole occupant which I'll possibly create a blog post about later), that the owner wanted the unit back and as required by law, they were giving me the 90 days notice.

Finding myself yet again unemployed and struggling to meet the demands of being a sole occupant, saying it was a stressful time would be an understatement.

I had welfare payments coming in, but that was enough to cover a week's worth of rent and a few other expenses, within reason.

I was determined not to move back home, as it'd taken me SO long to get out of there in the first place, so when a lady (who I was close with) from the church my family goes to, was desperately searching for a house and dog sitter, I jumped at the chance. Even though it meant I'd suddenly gone from needing to be out in over a month, to moving out in a week and having to condense down 6 years of living in a 2 bedroom apartment with internal laundry and garage in such a small time frame. Also, 'clean' and 'tidy' are words rarely used in my vocabulary, so it was far from an easy task.

Through sheer determination the move was done in time (much like every time I'd left an essay to the last minute, but since the cut off was midnight, submitting it at 11:50pm or thereabouts, still felt like a massive achievement), with the incredible help of family and friends, and I was able to take it easy for a few days in my new residence.

It was nice to have a new home of sorts to myself for a few weeks, although it still felt like I was in between.

I knew it wasn't a permanent solution, and this was brought home even more so when the owners returned and resumed their daily life.

While both are lovely people, and I'm grateful to them for opening their home to me, it just wasn't 'it'.

I wasn't part of their family or how they did things, and the only other alternative was going back home, which, as it turns out I was essentially forced to do a few weeks later due to the room being needed for other guests they had coming.

It's such a strange feeling to not really know where you belong, and more so, very unsettling to not feel like you belong anywhere in particular.

I think it's a much bigger issue than just having somewhere to live. It's about who you connect with and who your 'tribe' is. Something I think I've always struggled with throughout my life.

I grew up in a devout religious environment which I left when I was 18 because it was the youngest age I could legally leave at (my parents knew they couldn't make me go when I was legal age, but any younger and I had no choice in the matter). I loved watching music videos on Saturday mornings and TV shows like Sabrina the Teenage Witch. Most of the kids I grew up with didn't have TVs or weren't allowed to watch or engage with the things I was, which made me the outcast.

As I got older my interests changed to include Harry Potter, and later again, spirituality, which was vastly different from the religion I'd known, yet I felt a really strong pull towards it, and still do.

While I'm aware that there's a huge Harry Potter fanbase and community, as well as with spirituality, there's something really unique about finding the one that best fits you, and that usually takes time to do that. Just like it takes time to find your thing, and ultimately yourself. Something I'm still in the process of doing.


It's been nearly a year now since I moved back home and one of the things I've realized is that everything I was fearing was based on the circumstances of how I left. Mum had passed on, so our complicated relationship was null and void. My brother had moved out a year or so beforehand, so it just left dad and I to our own devices, and admittedly a lot of emotional and psychological baggage.

I acknowledged though that I'm also not the same person I was when I moved out. I've done years of personal development, moved 3 times, traveled overseas a number of times, had a long-term and short-term job, both of which taught me a lot and allowed me to grow further within myself. How I handle things now is different, at least in some ways, but the situation is different overall. I have all the freedom I always wanted to have and I'm making it work for me, at least for the time being.

I'm not sure that the family home is where I belong though. I'm not sure exactly where is, but I think that's all part of my life's journey, or at least this particular part of it. As a number of people have said to me, I'm back home with dad for a reason. Maybe that's to heal things, to learn how to respond better, or just not respond. Maybe it's for me to learn and grow, or to show dad by example all the things that are possible but not the norm, I guess I won't know until it's time for me to.

In the meantime, I'm growing more and more content with just surrendering and going with the flow, knowing that whatever is meant for me won't pass me, and to gradually release the baggage of the past so that one day I'll truly find somewhere I belong.

Thursday, 30 August 2018

My Story: Being a Child of a Mentally Ill Parent


Prior to uploading this, I felt a deep sense of fear around what people were going to say and how I'd be judged for doing this video in the first place.

Much to my surprise, I've been contacted by a number of people who completely resonated with my story and experiences, so I've decided to share it further in the hopes that anyone who needs to see this, will find their way to it.

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Never Enough

I think it's probably safe to say that a vast amount of us have seen 'The Greatest Showman'.

I personally held back from watching it despite so many people raving about it, because I thought it was a 'Water for Elephants' kind of circus movie, and I couldn't get into it.

When I finally watched it (after repeatedly hearing the anthemic 'This is Me' and wanting to know the context of this glorious piece of musical history) I didn't really know what to make of it. As in, it hit me in so many different emotional places that I couldn't give an accurate summary of it without turning it into an emotional tangent the size of intricacy level of an oak tree.

Credit: Youtube

One thing that stuck of the most for me was the theme throughout the whole movie of just constantly pushing to go that one step further because nothing you've achieved ever seems to be enough.

The scene where Barnum is confronted by his in-laws who made him constantly feel like he'd never be good enough for their daughter, or seen as an acceptable member of  their level of society and yet he goes out of his way to essentially show them up, as though all of the success he achieved with the oddity circus, and all the good that had come as a result, still couldn't fill that void deep inside him.

While I still think it was a huge dick move to bar the circus members from joining in the party because he was about to make something big of himself and he didn't want them to basically ruin it for him, I can understand on some levels, the sense of shame that comes from the metaphor that they represent.

When you've got a chance to finally be that person that you always wanted to be, the last thing you want is all your proverbial skeletons to come out of the closet and deeply shame and embarrass you, despite the fact that everyone has them, to varying sizes and degrees.

The song 'Never Enough' pretty much summed up Barnum's experience, and dare I say it, mine.

Credit: Youtube

It doesn't matter how much success, fame, accolades, glory, etc that you achieve, if you've always felt like an outsider, no amount of fancy parties and the 'good life' are going to change or fix that.

On a personal note, I've been holding onto stuff for most of my life, usually beliefs that I'm not good enough or worthy of a lot of things, so Barnum's need to keep aiming higher and higher, despite his wife telling him that 'You don't need everyone to love you, just a few good people', really just doesn't seem like enough.

In a similar fashion, you've got the forbidden romance between Anne Wheeler the bi-racial trapeze artist, and Phillip Carlyle, the white male next greatest showman, in a time when interracial romance was a big no-no (although I legitimately thought their romance was frowned upon because being a circus performer wasn't a suitable profession for a woman).

Just like with Barnum needing to get the approval of all the higher society people (mainly his in-laws), Anne wasn't ashamed of who she was, but the getting looked down on by people who thought less of her on the basis on her skin colour, that was enough to break anyone.

It's funny how Barnum's wife and Carlyle seem to have the same view: why does the opinion of these people bother you/matter to you so much?




Credit: http://quellfalconer.tumblr.com/post/172082751422/the-greatest-showman-2017-dir-michael-gracey

When you've come from privilege/high society, you can't possibly understand what it feels like, and why it matters so much to not have it.

(Semi-unrelated side note: I love it when Carlyle finally stands up to his uber white privilege parents and defends Anne's honour. It shows a whole other side to Zac Efron as both a person and an actor, plus he's fully clothed in the entire movie! About damn time!)

Image result for how dare you speak  the greatest showman
Credit to: https://feedyeti.com/hashtag.php?q=PhilipCarlyle

So what can we take from this cinematic masterpiece of music and emotion?

I'd say to own all the parts of you that you'd happily keep outside the door of the fancy party. Easier enough to say, sooo much harder to do. But realize that we're all human, just in different shapes, sizes and packages, so no one is immune to dodgy skeletons.

I guess the greatest question is, when will it be enough?!

(I'll let you know when I've figured out the answer for myself. But in the meantime, you do you!)




Credit to: http://zendaya-inspired.tumblr.com/post/170404460655

Friday, 17 February 2017

When Change is a Little Bit More Than a Holiday

(Image credit to https://gothinkbig.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/holiday.png)

So it's been a while since my last post, primarily because I've been swamped with uni work and just completely exhausted the time I come to flesh out a new idea I want to write about.

Now we're halfway through February of 2017 and there's a sense of change that's coming up for me, both a feeling of who I am as a person, as well as my external environment. I'm shifting things up a bit.

I've decided, and agreed with my boss, that I'll be finishing up my current position at the end of the year. October will mark my 6th anniversary in the company and I daresay it's time for a change.

(Image credit to http://pearlsofpromiseministries.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/Change-Courage.jpg)

I've also decided I want to go down the self-employment route so I can do what I really love and get paid for it. After all, isn't that the ultimate employment dream...?!

But in all seriousness, my heart just isn't in it anymore. I guess it never really was, but I made it work because I needed a job and there were things that I needed to experience and learn that only the people I've worked with and the things I've done during that time have allowed me to glean from.

(Image credit to http://iancleary.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/5-phases-of-change-e1442210202285.jpg)

I told my boss the other day that I just needed some time off to collect myself and figure out what I wanted to do with my life. I'd pretty much just been dividing my time between work and uni for most of last year, so when I finished the semester, I was completely buggered. In fact, I'd been pushing myself so hard to keep up with everything that by the time week 11 of 13 came along, I was burnt out.

After completing everything study-wise, I just spent more time at work to get in extra money before the Christmas period and because my boss wanted to utilize the extra time I now had available to me and by extension him.

The Christmas period was all about running around to make sure everything was perfect for Christmas Day. Being the second one since mum passed on and it being the holiday she usually over-prepared for, I saw it as my duty of being the only female in the family, to step up and try to emulate what she'd done for most of my life. Needless to say, it was exhausting and disappointing in the end, but at least I acknowledged where I'd gone wrong: I was trying to make up for her not being there by trying to overdo everything and block out the emotions I felt so intensely. Lesson learnt for next year.

After Christmas came the preparations for the cruise dad and I were going on (my brother had to work across the 10 day period and wanted to save up his holidays for an overseas trip next month).

Having never been on a cruise before, I didn't really know what to expect or what to pack and whether I'd have enough of whatever I took on board and since I wasn't sure what the shops were like, I didn't want to leave anything to chance.

(Image credit to http://www.pixelstalk.net/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Summer-holiday-wallpapers-HD-free-download.jpg)

Upon return from the cruise, I had been crash-tackled with the flu (thanks dad!) and spent what was meant to be the first week back at work for the year, sleeping the contagion off at dad's place and intermittently enjoying the sibling time I had while my brother was home and not preoccupied with his fancy hi-tech computer setup, or the latest phone he had.

Being back at work for the past month or so, I've really started to think about what it is that I want from life and work.

I started making candles at the end of last year in order to reignite the creative spark and have since become hooked on it, so I'm toying with the idea of turning that into a business and combining it with my love of writing and helping people.

(Image credit to http://thisisagoodsign.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/organizational-change.jpg)

I've also entertained the thought of getting my own place. Don't get me wrong, I currently live in a great home, it has everything I could possibly want and need, my cousin is an ideal housemate in that we can easily be independent or enjoy outings together, but don't typically cramp each other's styles and there's a general lack of judgement between us. If I do or order something absurd, she'll acknowledge my comment and congratulate me on whatever it is, and continue on her way. If she gets completely drunk at dinner and gets home in the early hours of the next morning, I just make sure I see or hear from her within 24 hours from that moment.

Some other things that are changing include my belief systems around a lot of things. I've been seeing a new therapist for the past 3 or 4 weeks now and have taken a break from my existing one to see how I cope without her for the foreseeable future.

It's been fun and challenging to branch out and try different things which I'd been curious yet fearful about in the past.

It's also interesting to see what happens when you make change a little bit more than a holiday.

(Image credit to https://superwomanseven.files.wordpress.com/2016/08/change5.jpg)

Sunday, 25 September 2016

When Ish Hits The Fan

"Secrets make you sick"

This is probably one of the biggest and simplest take home messages from To Write Love On Her Arms (TWLOHA).

For those who haven't seen it, it focuses on Rene Yohe and how, with the help of her friends, she overcame drug addiction. Although that seems like a really simplified or watered down explanation of what really happened, because what you learn at the end is that it's a daily battle. She comes home and writes 'Day 1' on her bedroom mirror, because essentially, every day is day 1, over and over again until you don't need to think about the number associated with the day anymore.

The most inspiring thing that I took from it is to own my story. I may not have been sexually assaulted or suffered deep depression, I may not have anything more serious than Generalised Anxiety Disorder, but my story is still one worth telling, if only to make myself heard and so others know that they're not alone.

So hi, I'm Melissa and I'm a love addict who also suffers from anxiety and possibly depression.

I grew up in a family that, due to a family history of mental illness and not knowing how to cope with it, saw me lacking in my own psychological and particularly emotional needs being met.

As a child, I didn't understand what was going on and took it personally when one or both of my parents would yell at me because I genuinely believed that it meant I wasn't worthy of love, attention, affection or any of the other things that I craved.

Throughout high school I sought out quite possibly the one person that couldn't give me the love I so desperately wanted, which only make me want to fight harder for it, much to my own detriment.

I was also diagnosed with severe Idiopathic Scoliosis at 12 which saw me undergo two intensive surgeries just before my 14th birthday. Despite this huge hurdle and the impact this had on me at the time and has since affected me and helped shaped my life, I don't consider myself a Scoliosis survivor. It's a condition that I have and was corrected as best as the surgeons possibly could, but it in no way defines me, who I am, what I do, or what I want to achieve in my life.

Anyway, with my love addiction seeking a new target after spending 4-5 years hopelessly trailing after a guy who was becoming less and less appealing as a person the older he got, I met a teacher when I was 16 and became completely obsessed with him for about 3 years. I'm really not proud of how I acted during this time and how relentlessly I pursued him despite him making it clear that he couldn't give me the kind of attention that I wanted and trying to get me to stop what I was doing, but I understand why I did what I did and have subconsciously vowed to never behave in the same way ever again.

Everything came to an absolutely crushing halt when the teacher got married. It was like my entire world had been completely shattered and I was left with two choices: either stay where I was and revel in the pain and misery of what my life had suddenly become, or ask for help and keep doing whatever it takes to get myself out of the intensely grey pit I'd found myself in.

It took a few weeks along with trial and error of counselors, but I finally found someone who was just right for me and help me get past the first hurdle of pain, find the core of my problem and helped me rebuild myself and my life, one step at a time.

I've now been seeing her for nearly 7 years and my life, as she reminds me as well, is completely different from when I first started seeing her. I've got a stable job, a happy home life, great friends, am halfway through an Arts degree, finished paying off my car a few months ago, and am finally learning to love and accept myself exactly as I am.

During my darkest times, namely around the age of 15 when I hated everything about my life, was sick of fighting for a reason to keep living and often thought about running away or taking my own life, I couldn't have fathomed I'd be able to create the kind of life I have now. It's not perfect, but it's a hell of a lot better than where I've come from, which means that where I'm headed it going to be better still.

So that's my story in a nutshell. I'm sharing it because I feel like I need to and that others need to hear it.

So tell me, what's your story? What do you do when life messes with the fan?