It’s okay not to be okay.

“Prayer is not asking. It is a longing of the soul. It is daily admission of one’s weakness. It is better in prayer to have a heart without words than words without a heart.”

– Mahatma Gandhi

I so loved this. It reminded me it’s okay to be human and say I can’t do it. It’s okay to ask for help. It’s okay to tell the world you’re struggling. It’s okay to tell people, to tell the world, of your weakness.

It’s okay to not be okay.

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That last line reminds me of the song I literally had on repeat last week…my poor housemates. So loud, and in my ears  or in my speakers at every opportunity:

I have never been a fan of Jessie J, except for when she was on The Voice…in fact, I don’t think I’ve even ever heard her sing, except for snippets. But the other night, I was at a friends making sauerkraut (it’s lush!) and she played this to me. I almost cried then, and then on the walk home I cried properly…and then when I found it on youtube, I sobbed.

I love it the way a song does that. I love it when it hits something inside you, and makes it – you – burst open and let go of any worries about being seen. Or it lets you just notice those worries, rather than be all consumed.

I love it the way music is like a gift, that resonates with every moment – it’s just a case of finding the right one. Song, not moment.

In times of loneliness, music resonates so much more…picking the right song connects to my heart. I don’t feel so lonely anymore. In this case, I had someone telling me “it’s okay not to be okay”…I had Jessie J telling me to “be who you are”…that’s pretty rad. A superstar but also another human, who feels the same feelings and shares the same pain. She just puts hers into music, and I put mine into words.

I love that. And it never ceases to bring so much solace, song.

This song, for this last week, came at such a perfect time. It powered me through the beginning of getting published on a super cool online journal/magazine. I feel like Jessie was yelling into my ear and drowning out my critics. I’ve gone cold turkey and haven’t listened to her for a bit, but the couple of times I have, I’ve remembered the power and the spirit that I soaked up from this song.

It helped me feel less isolated on the beginning of another stage of my journey with writing and getting my voice out her. I feel like she helped me see that I can kick the shit out of the voices telling me I can’t do this, and she helped bring comfort to the worry and the fear and the doubt and the uncertainty…all through a song. I’ve been feeling so much vulnerability lately, and perhaps that makes sense because I’ve been putting my words out there, so bravely. But I feel like my heart is on my sleeve. I feel wounded by the slightest wrong look or slightest wrong touch. I just want cuddles, I don’t want any difficulty or confrontation. I just want peace.

I want to be nurtured and I want to be held. So I have been doing that for myself, and I think it’s been working. I’ve been on my period and I think that’s hit extra hard, sensitivity, tenderness and exhaustion wise, so I’ve been listening to my body. I’ve been keeping her close, and keeping her safe. I’ve been wrapping myself up warm and not going far away. I’ve been listening to the need to just love and keep gentle. I’ve been listening to the need to just be connected to the ones I want to.

I’ve been listening to the joy that’s been singing, when I’ve been doing all these things.

I’ve been listening, and saying it’s okay. I’ve been telling myself I’m proud of me. I’ve been telling myself I’m listening. I’ve been telling myself I deserve this, I deserve this life – I deserve comfort, safety, happiness, joy, nurturance, comfort, acceptance, peace, stillness, stability. I deserve it all. And I can have it all.

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I notice that voice is so here, so there, lately – the voice telling me “You can have this”, when I see something I long for or feel something I love for even more. Rather than jumping to the feeling and voice and belief that I can’t have it, or won’t…I tell myself I will. And immediately, my body fills with relief and a smile comes across my face. Because in my heart, I know it’s true.

I can have this. I can have stillness and peace and stability and calm and consistency. I can say goodbye to crazy chaos, and just have fun stuff instead.

I’ve also been noticing so much fear around this. So much fear. That I can’t live like this – I can’t live comfortably and calmly…that it’ll disappear in a second. That this is just pretend. That I don’t deserve it. That I can’t actually have it – that this life can’t actually be for me. That it’s a bit of a joke. That it’s tempting me and then it’ll be taken away because it’s not something that can sit, or be, underneath my name – stillness and stability, consistency and calm, love and connection, homeliness and safety.

But in my heart, again, beneath this shit that lies on the surface, is the untraumatised me…the me that knows I deserve this all, and can have this all, and will have this all – I just need to fake it til I make it, and let time help me do this too. This part of me notices that things have changed SO much since even a year ago, or two, or three.

When I look at, for example, my journey with self-destruct, I never thought it possible to live in a different way…it was possible for others, but I literally never ever could see how it would be for me – I knew it would be in my heart (she’s a trooper) but had no idea whether this would actually happen and how. I was so so lost. But now look at me. I am millions of miles from where I used to be, living a different life with myself to the one I knew.

So this can happen with the rest of life too – things can change and I can change, and I and things will change and are changing…even though I have no exact idea of what it’s going to look like, or how things are going to be, the fact I find myself where I am now, is proof that this change will keep on happening. I hope. I never thought I would be here, and as much of so much of me fucking hates it and wishes it was different, so much about where I’m at is healing. Me healing.

And that is what I’ve needed to do for like 24 years…and I’m doing it. At 26, I’m doing it now, and I was at 24, too. I’ve needed this since I was so young.

That is a gift I am giving myself, even though it’s fucking confusing and painful…it’s a gift that will pay off. And is already in its funny little (big) ways. I just hate it too.

Life is so fucking paradoxical, always. I love that. But part of me hates it… 😉

Go hit play on Jessie J and turn it up LOUD.

Or just go find another song that does the same for you! We ain’t all meant to be sung to by Jessie J.

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Kid, you’ll move mountains!

“Fame! You’ll be famous as famous can be,
with the whole wide world watching you win on TV.

Except when they don’t.
Because, sometimes, they won’t.

I’m afraid that some times
you’ll play lonely games too.
Games you can’t win
’cause you’ll play against you.

All Alone!
Whether you like it or not,
Alone will be something
you’ll be quite a lot.

And when you’re alone, there’s a very good chance
you’ll meet things that scare you right out of your pants.
There are some, down the road between hither and yon,
that can scare you so much you won’t want to go on.

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On and on you will hike
and I know you’ll hike far
and face up to your problems
whatever they are.

You’ll get mixed up, of course,
as you already know.
You’ll get mixed up
with many strange birds as you go.
So be sure when you step.
Step with care and great tact
and remember that Life’s
a Great Balancing Act.
Just never forget to be dexterous and deft.
And never mix up your right foot with your left.

And will you succeed?
Yes! You will, indeed!
(98 and 3 / 4 percent guaranteed.)

KID, YOU’LL MOVE MOUNTAINS!”

Dr. Seuss

Healing is…

Trusting that these are just chapters of my book, versus of my life song. And without these chapters and versus, the book and the song, wouldn’t make sense. It would be incomplete. There would be nuggets missing. I wouldn’t be whole.

Just how I’ve needed all the chapters before me, no matter how painful and confusing and how much part of me longs that they had been different, my story and my song, needed them.

I needed them to make me, not break me. That’s what they were here to do.

That’s freakin’ beautiful.

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Midnight Chatter

I feel like something terrible is going to happen. Dread and convincing stories are running through me like full-speed water, flooding from a dam. Only the dam is a shutter in my head, opened by anxious chatter. And the dam is only gently pulled shut, or to a trickle, by love.

Love and gentleness to myself. But even then, it doesn’t always do anything. I feel lost in a storm and I can’t see my way out. I feel lost in a dizziness, a trip, of anxiety and worst-case scenarios, worry and fear.

I’m not really sure how to stop it.

It’s not until I spend time with people, that I really hear how loud the voices have been yelling. The stories, the dread, the anxiety, the worry. When I’m with someone, they almost become a mirror for what I’m feeling. They become the bouncing board, the story board, for what I’m feeling and what I’m experiencing. Maybe that’s why I find it difficult to be with people.

I think this is hormones. I think this is PMS. Last month my PMS involved the darkest most intense PMS yet…I reckon. And this month maybe, rather than a darkness, there’s a sparkiness…a motherfucking BRIGHT and LIVELY sparkiness. In other words, ANXIETY. It’s a bitch. Such a bitch.

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I find it hard to know what to act on, and what to leave behind. I find it hard to know what is trauma and anxiety that is just there, considering everything I have been going through, and when it is anxiety here because beneath the anxiety, is something I need to work on, sort out, do…

I’m not really sure. There is so much in flux at the moment, and so much to be worried about. But also, in a way, there isn’t. Like, I have the basics here by me – a roof, a fridge of food… but in these moments I find those things hard to take as anything to go on. But if you ask anyone, it really is the basics that it comes down to. The basics that count. I am beginning to very slowly see that. There just is a truckload of resistance when it comes to trusting that. And that’s fair enough.

Just like the resistance around me feeling safe, or feeling supported, or feeling held, or feeling comfortable, or feeling happy and held. Fuck that resistance, but again, it is there by the truckload.

But, saying that, there is a little part of me open to all of that, and a gentle, loving, compassionate voice that is telling me I deserve it, even when my body almost retches with angst at the thought, or sight, of those loving, bright, feelings.

Along with this compassionate and loving voice that’s getting stronger by the day, my heart feels open – wide open – at the moment. Wide open, or slammed shut…I feel like I need an inbetween. It’s beginning to be there, slowly and gently.

It’s time for bed.

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I wish I could see myself for who I really am

I wish I could feel like I know where I’m at. I wish I could really know that the person I am, is enough. I wish I could really know that who I am becoming is a healthy wholesome being. I wish I could see I’m not becoming my mum. I wish I could see myself for who I really am. I wish I could see that I am thriving and shining and I am only going to continue to. I wish I could see how independent and powerful I am. I wish I could see that I am someone who is going to succeed, and is succeeding already.

I wish I could see myself as I really am.

I wish I could see myself as other people, the loving ones, see me.

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Healing is…

Allowing yourself to feel all your feelings – somatically, emotionally. And allowing them to come in the roller-coaster-like way they often do. Allowing tears to fall, and then laughter to follow. Allowing grief to swamp and then joy or playfulness to lift. Allowing your critics a back-seat on your journey towards deep self love and self compassion. And allowing them to be there but know you haven’t done any wrong, because the critics are never gonna completely go anywhere…motherfuckers.

Healing is, allowing for it all.

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The power of touch

I just read this article on Elephant Journal about the healing power of touch in yoga, and it resonated so much. I noticed, for a while, my yoga teacher was the only person that I would let touch me…except for hugs with friends. But even those were done with a shut-down-ness going on inside. In yoga, I felt able to be open and be held and be nurtured…there was a slight resistance but never enough to make me shut down completely and pull away. And it felt more physical – like a physical, defence, reaction, but not one I needed anymore. And almost all of me, was able to know that.

Still a part of me feared it, but I think a large part of this fear was the fear of vulnerability, the fear of falling apart, the fear of her then stopping and leaving and moving to someone else’s mat…I think I knew I was safe. To be honest, even when I felt slightly defensive, I still couldn’t get enough of it! I never felt like she came over to my mat enough. I often found myself asking questions and asking her to demonstrate or help me with something, even though I kinda could freestyle and find my way…I just wanted her support and her nurturance. I may as well have it if it is there, I always thought, rather than battle on how I used to.

It felt beautiful to read this piece to realise that is what was happening – I was healing. I really miss yoga and I really miss those classes but because of my back, I haven’t been since the summer. Fuck. But also, what’s weird – and I think incredibly normal – is I kinda feel like my journey with that class is on a temporary break. I need something new. I need a new place to take my body and stretch and explore my soul, and reach my toes.

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Something I notice, on the subject of healing and touch, is how it is so important for me to regain trust with myself…to regain, and find, the trust for human touch through my own. I give myself cuddles. I explore my body. I hold my body. I stroke my arms, my legs. I offer myself gentleness and love, boundaries and strength. I offer myself the whole package. And I don’t hold back, and I listen to the ‘no’ that comes from inside sometimes. I sit with my inner girl and I tell her she is safe, as I hold myself tight.

As someone who has continued the abuse I received as a child, so strongly and so destructively in my adulthood, this feels so fucking healing. It feels like it just makes sense. In order to trust others, I need to be able to trust myself. In order to trust that people are safe, I need to know that I am going to protect myself and keep myself safe before I allow anyone else to touch me.

For ages I have felt such a massive resistance to body therapists. There have been a couple that I have worked with the last year and a half, who I have known before everything, too. They felt safe, but even with them, there was a deep sense of unsafety. I went from never hugging, never wanting anyone to touch me, as a kid and young adult, to a few years of a stint of total affection and hugging and loving it, to then shut down the last couple of years…but, to me, it kinda makes sense. This would happen as you’re healing, right? Wounds flare up and sit on your face until it’s time for them to soften, or until they simply just fade. That’s what I feel like has happened with the subject of touch. I long for it, I crave it, I desperately need it, but it also feels desperately unsafe. And so I honour that. Whereas before I would have powered on through, I listen to my body and my defences and what my little girl is saying, now. Before I didn’t know how…I didn’t know it was safe.

It feels like the utmost gift of self love, the action of holding myself. To love myself through physical contact, not just through actions or words, but through one of the most fundamental ways of showing affection – touchThese feel like beautiful, solid, and wholesome foundations on which to build a relationship based on trust, with others on again. And it’s happening…it’s definitely happening. Cuddles are coming back in fashion, slowly.

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The storybook of fault

The concept that things aren’t my fault, feels beyond foreign. (Things, as in, everything and anything that goes wrong, or is hard in my life and my life around me.) Like, the fact that it could even be something I need to ‘work on’ feels so seemingly impossible that I can barely type it. It’s a concept that, before therapy, I didn’t even realise I believed…I just thought it was true. It wasn’t even in my awareness as a thought/thought stream, I had. I wasn’t even aware I was thinking it.

It was, and still often is, the norm that fuels my greater belief system about my daily life.

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I then suddenly get moments like I did just now, that leave me in floods of tears. The latest whirlwind of critic chatter in my head, bombarding me with shit about all that’s going on and the theories he has about it all, came to a head. Imagine he was on a treadmill at the Gym For Inner Critics…well he whacked up the speed higher and higher, and then fell on his face. Bam.

The theory that its all my fault is the undercurrent to his story. I hadn’t realised. Sometimes the belief pops up, and I see its face – kinda like a seal in the ocean, merrily playing around beneath the surface and then suddenly you catch a glimpse of its head. That’s how this belief feels. Once in a while, it shows its head and it lets me read its story.

So today when I caught sight of its head and the story book in its hand, I realised that this belief has been bopping along to my inner critics music, and fuelling the fire. The idea that this is all my fault. That I’m not doing enough. That I could be doing more. That I have made my back happen. That I am continuing to make it worse. That the fact it’s not getting speedily better, is my fault. The fact that my body is just like this…the fact that it is how it is, is my fault. It’s because I’m wrong, I’ve done something wrong, or I’ve not done enough. That the fact I still haven’t got a permanent home, is my fault too. The fact that my emotions seemingly run the show, is my fault. The fact that my life looks like it does, and the fact that I struggle feel like I’m keeping afloat, is my fault too. I am (supposedly) the one to the blame for it all.

Fuck, keeping afloat feel like hard work. I’ve got a complete arsehole yelling at me in my inner ears, and this core belief has a really old storybook in its hand. One that wouldn’t be published anymore. Anyone would feel like shit with that going on in their head. Taking simply just the body stuff, the concept that that isn’t something to do with me, and that I still deserve love with it going on, is (almost, note the almost) beyond me.

In mid-whirlwind of booming critical chatter, the beliefs head popped up and I burst into tears. I hadn’t realised this story, this metaphorical seal, this core belief, had been running the show. So I wrote this, below. I wrote this to myself, I wrote this to my little girl, and I wrote this to you:

It’s not your fault.

It’s not my fault.

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Growing up in and with abuse, it’s a well known fact that as a kid you absorb it all and believe it’s you. You believe it’s your fault and you believe that because of you, the abuse is happening. So as you get older, this naturally carries over with you, and spills out into parts of your life. I had no idea just how much it is part of my life and my beliefs and what I say to myself and what I think I believe. I believe I don’t deserve support and connection and love because it’s my fault that I’m in the situation I am. It’s my fault I’m needing, and to need is not okay…(I am now begging to differ). I believe and tell myself that I’m a fuck up and I’m a mess because of something I’ve done, or something I haven’t done – and could be doing, but am not. I tell myself these things almost all the freakin’ time.

It’s such a massive concept, the idea that it isn’t true – it isn’t my fault, I didn’t make it happen. I still feel like I’m getting to grips with the idea that this is just a belief…and that it’s even a part of me. It leaves my mind a bit blown. But one thing I do know is that one day, I’ll know – and truly believe – it wasn’t my fault. And it isn’t my fault now. It really, really, isn’t. I held myself and told myself that, softly. I still hold a puzzled frown, and I can still feel my insides squirm at this concept, but there is a gap in my heart that’s open and willing to take this as truth.

That’s the gold dust.

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We are animals

I just saw this article and it broke my heart. But it has also baffled me and brought me a massive whack of connection with the natural, animal, world. Seeing this Orangutan injured – in the photo below – and so clearly in pain and terrified, breaks. my. heart. beyond words. I want to reach into the photograph and stop its suffering. And the fact I can’t, leaves me feeling helpless.

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But when I see how it’s lying, I realise that that’s how I lie when I’m crying in therapy. I lie on my side at the moment (because of my back being sore) and when I cry, I cover my face with my arms up, exactly like this animal. And I cry like that by myself too. It makes me feel safe. It makes me feel like I’m protected when I’m feeling big feelings, or feeling scared. Realising, and seeing, this, blew me away.

It’s overwhelming beautiful but overwhelming tragic, as I look at the photograph and see this animal doing it too. Because we’re the same. Us humans, the animals, the earth.

I feel blown away by how we’re all so connected. We’re humans but we’re animals. And that’s why cruelty like this is just even more wrong. It would be wrong if we weren’t animals, but we are and by doing this to them, we are doing it to ourselves. By hurting animals, we are hurting ourselves. And by hurting the earth, we are hurting ourselves too.

I feel livid and full of sorrow. But I also feel grateful for people being able to show these things on the media, otherwise we would never know it goes on. And I know that there is a shed load more shit we don’t see, but know is there.

I had no idea the palm oil production was so destructive, and for that I feel ashamed. And I also feel a deep, deep, concern because the destruction keeps happening. It’s in these moments I am grateful I eat a Paleo style diet, because I don’t eat products pre-made. Not that I did before this anyway, or rarely have I ever in my life. It may sound hypercritical because I’m still eating meat, but health-wise I have decided I need it – and I really do. And my sources are organic – and when I can, local. I have made peace with this, almost. I can’t shed all the guilt but I have learnt to shed a lot of it.

We need more photographs like this, because photographs like this open up a place inside ourselves that makes us feel connected. And by feeling connected, we can feel love. And by feeling love towards something or sometime, we naturally want to protect it. We protect those we love.

Get your shit together Palm Oil producers, this is far from okay.

Filming a doco

Yesterday I started filming for a doco I’m in about ptsd. It’s a doco about me. Writing that feels slightly terrifying. Yesterday was the first meet up with James who’s filming it. We met up a couple of weeks ago to discuss what we’re gonna do, and had initially met a year and a bit ago, but I had been too nervous and it just hasn’t felt right, to begin yet. So now we have, because now it did feel right. Nervy but right.

It feels weird. The two times we’ve met I couldn’t work out what was going on, but it felt like a trauma reaction the whole time we were together, yet I sorta fought on, trying to keep my enthusiasm noticeable and my desire to be part of it, noticeable too – because it is SO very there. This kinda reaction though, makes sense. It’s a vulnerable project, one where I’ll bare my soul in a way I haven’t done so before, and so of course I’m going to be triggered and a bit on the edge of traumatised, because its touching in on things I’m afraid of speaking as truth. Afraid of touching in with as truth. But then I realised, maybe I don’t need to. Maybe I only need to say what’s comfortable. I always think things need to be hard, but they don’t. Things can feel soothing, and safe, and calm.

It’s weird, the whole ptsd thing. I think I feel really able to write about it and then loosely talk about it, but specifically talking about the symptoms feels terrifying. It feels too much because when I do, it makes me realise just how hard it’s been. And how…I wanna say bad but I don’t like that word, so I won’t, ish!

I feel like I need to become clearer and gain more clarity on why I’m doing it and what I want to say. He’s said that from the beginning – the last time we met – and I have made long lists of notes and inner thoughts, about what I want to say and what I want my angle to be. It’s about my journey with ptsd and so a big part of what I drifted to wanting to say, is about my experience with the effects of it in my body and emotions, but I think that’s scared me. The desire to talk about post traumatic growth, inspires me and brings me hope, and makes me want to do more, say more and be in it more…so I think I need to go with that. The other stuff feels too tender. Of course it’ll probably be touched on, but I can do it with my cartoons. I can tread carefully and gently and in ways I feel comfortable. I want to tell about it, but I also feel so fragile about it. It feels like the utmost vulnerability, and perhaps a vulnerability I don’t feel safe enough to experience yet. Whereas the healing process I am totes up for. That feels positive – sharing my experience of how I’ve gotten through it and am continuing to. That doesn’t feel scary, that just feels exciting.

So maybe I should go with that…

Yes.

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And the ‘why’ of why I’m doing it? For that reason – to tell my story, but I’m also doing it for me. I’m doing to honour the journey I’ve been on, and the place I am now because of this journey. To honour all that I’ve been through and learnt, but without necessarily going into details – I know the messy, painful, bits, and so do others I’ve told my story to.

In the past I would have just done this for others, but the healing in this is that I feel like I’m doing it for myself, mainly. With then the hope to help others, inspire them, and let them know things can get better. But I do think that feels all a little fresh and all a little scary, because to be honest, it feels like the worst bit is only just ‘over’. It feels like yesterday, and yesterday feels too fresh and painful and raw to make a film about. One day. But for now, I want to talk about the growth and what got me here, to this place of being able to talk.

I think that’s it. To work out priorities feels so important and I am glad I have, it i also feel like I could continue. And perhaps I will as I grow with the doco. I am guessing I will. I always have done – I think that’s how life works!

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This little guy flew somehow ended up in our house yesterday thanks to the hunting cat. It spent an hour or so in our kitchen, the RSPCA came, and then it flew off. I felt an overwhelm of responsibility for the guy – so much so, I couldn’t really handle it…I felt triggered by a bird needing me! As much as I wanna say ‘how weird?!’…it makes total sense. Still though, was a weird – and sad to be so effected – experience! It was kinda special too.