Bangkok at its best :)

It’s the holiday of dreams which began a day ago.

A long awaited break and where did we head but to the bustling streets of Bangkok… well for a start!

The jet lag won’t nail you down once in the city. The tooting of the horns, the whistles of the traffic control and the assault on your nose may keep you up and asking for more.

I’ve never been but wow is all I can say. We got to the hotel after 10pm and still managed to get to Soi Cowboy! Now if you don’t know what that is…. google it!

I have never seen, only heard about the beautiful ladies… or should I say men… that walk the streets or hang out outside the clubs! Well it was breathtakingly weird and wonderful.

The smells of cooked and raw fish, the smell of beer and booze, the sights of DD perfect boobs and butts, only to have them turn around and have a package!

What a holiday it has started off as!

The streets humming with activity, mind your toes as the cars go past! I almost lost mine! Your sense of direction will be tested amongst many things!

Bangkok you have not surprised me only enlightened me!

I cannot wait for more!

Time heals all wounds!

It’s been close to 18 years since I first set eyes on you.

It was a lunch on the deck of my best friends house. She’s gone now, in her early 20’s she was taken from us. You, however, are still around. A constant reminder of who brought us together. I thank her everyday now!

There was a moment when you walked onto the deck and my breath caught in my chest. Since then it always has. In still does. Everyday in fact!

You were young, I was, very young, but at that moment I knew there was something about you. Maybe even something about us. Who would have thought our time was now. Finally out mutual friends say!

You were serving overseas so were in and out of Australia. Although you never knew you were always in the back of my mind, always!

Now so many years on and a few brief interludes in the moments where my life was low, very low, you were there, now wake to each other more often than not. Seeing your eyes and your smile as well as feeling your arms around me is what I wake to! Boy I am lucky!

It was never the right time for us. To much going on, to much mistrust, to much time away from one another and really to much hurt. Now look where we are……

It’s tomorrow, the getaway. The one we have planned for over 12 months. Over a year ago, actually it would be June 2018 you came back into my life and we haven’t looked back. It’s been enjoyable, fun, sad at times and even hard. However, here we are.

I remember you turning to me in December 2018 and you said; why did we cross paths again? What now? Why now?

Well here we are….. about to embark on the first 3 week escape for you and I. Your first holiday in 7 years and my first one away without students or child.

To be honest I can’t wait! I look at you everyday and am amazed at how wonderful you are. Rough around the edges yes, but to me in the quiet of the bedroom and with the door closed you really are the most kind and heartfelt man I have ever know. Yes we may wrestle and you may lose. Not as often as I may brag about, but I love how you can be you and I can be me. Truly!

It’s freedom at its best and I cannot wait for the adventure we are about to embark on!

Let’s hope we are talking to each other still in three weeks!

Thank you for being you and for allowing me to be me❤️

Bring on the next chapter of this amazing, sad, happy, amazing and fulfilled book I am writing of my life!

Tired of being the nail?

Have you ever thought that you were tired of being the nail!

Well I am!

It is funny, in a not so funny way if I can even be explain it, that being the nail seems to be part of who I am.

I have found no matter what I do or who I meet, or even where I am I take on the role of being the ‘nail’. I become someone who people vent to, or hammer down with their emotional, mental and more ailments. I take them on, wear the ‘pounding’ and try and offer an out.

When I began this blog I was sitting at a friends place. A very close family friends, ones who had housed me and my daughter when home was no longer safe. We sat around the dinner table over a home cooked meal and I tried to make light of what was a hideous situation for me and my 13 year old.

It has been a few months, more like a year, and I still find myself acting as the nail.

I wonder if being the nail and being hammered all the time is a bad thing. Maybe at the time, that is how I viewed it.

However, upon reflecting on this maybe I am the nail because I can take it. Life has thrown me more than one curve ball, more than one hard ball that, has no other aim than throwing your life into complete upheaval for a reason.

Maybe it’s because I can be the nail. I can be that someone. With all I have been through and what I have around me makes me strong.

I was, just on Sunday past walking the rocky outcrop mear Point Danger in New South Wales, admiring the bolts and the screws that held the wooden pathway together. Made of stainless steel because they don’t rust.

Maybe that’s me, stainless steel. I don’t rust easy. Over time yes but I have a lot in me in the mean time.

Maybe with a bit of care and tenderness in between the hammering I can manage!

So a year ago, being the nail was a shitty thing, today I think it’s okay.

I can be someone else’s nail! Because I am strong enough!

Maybe it just takes time to realise the strength you have and the difference you can make when you do!

So maybe I am not tired of being the nail! More embracing it!!

Emotional abuse – what is it?

Being in an emotionally abusive relationship will not only scare you, but the scars it will leave you with are worse than ever being scared.

You don’t let go of a relationship because you are worried about the other person, rather you let go to save yourself. This isn’t something that is easy either and the decision itself has ramifications!

It is not a viable relationship when there is a specific ‘criteria’ which has to be met. It is not right to be told that you need to be thin to be sexy, to have the house clean – to have a home, to have a robot as a child – to be a good parent.

It’s been about a year since I made that decision and still I have restless nights, down moments and even worse self doubt. It doesn’t happen as often anymore but when the ‘black curtain’, as I call it, begins to descend you know that it’s going to be one of those days, those weeks or even those months. It will take all your energy to fight your way through the drapes and the blackness to get yourself out of it.

Often someone will say something or do something and you are instantly taken back to a moment when you were belittled, shamed and or told you are nothing. My advice, breathe, let it happen, don’t speak, don’t cry, just breathe. You are no longer in that place, you no longer have to feel like that. You made the choice and you are better for it. Remind yourself of that.

In for three……. out for three…… in for three… out for three…. it’s okay to shed a tear but not for long. Only long enough to let the relief and the body to remember the choice was to set you free. To let you grow, mend and become you again.

Someone once told me; “time heels all hurt.” Well I can tell you that is the truth! Give it time. You will heal. I am!

A Dear John letter….

It is funny when we use names or talk about the stories and adventures of ‘little johnny’. we frequently use the name when discussing hypothetical situations when at school. However, for me, I have written a dear John letter to try and explain why the way I am and why I do the things I do.

The letter would read like this….

Dear John,

I have seen the way you look at me sometimes with a look of suspicion, of unease and lack of trust. You may not realise it then but I do see the hurt and more in your eyes. It is a times like this where I would love to sit you down and explain why I am the way I am and why I do the things I do. I never have the energy or the guts to tell you what I have been through, what I have survived and why it will take time for me to undo what has been done. All I ask is you be patient and come on the journey of rebuilding with me. I ask this as I know at the end of the rebuild you will have all of me, the best of me.

It’s hard to explain but I suppose dot points may be the best as it would take to long to tell you the whole story.

Life was a battlefield, walking on egg shells at all times. I don’t know if you have ever lived like this, but I have.

Here’s a ‘tiny’ snippet of what it was like…. and I mean tiny!

1. The house had to be clean. The sheets, the washing, the sink, the back patios, the pool, the pool filters and everything in between. If it wasn’t then it was A look of disdain and utter disapproval That became the vibe in the house. In front of the children I was made out to be inadequate, even when exhausted and totally drained. Never good enough!

2. The cutlery draw had to match. I kid you not, if one fork was not the same or a spoon was out of place then you were asking for an argument. No one wanted to go there!

3. The kids rooms had to be pristine! Who has ever known a teenager to have a pristine room at all times! It was my fault if it wasn’t, I was an inadequate mother if they were messy! Little did others know the kids had been at work until after 7pm every night with me, waiting, home exhausted and with HW a priority their rooms became something we just managed. After all wasn’t Einstein a messy man and he was a genius!

4. You handed me a carrot and cheese the other day, all I wanted to do was chomp into it but I hesitated. I waited to see if it was okay… okay you say… yes okay to make a noise while I ate. To many times I have been told to leave the room, or to eat quietly. Even made to feel like I was a wild animal all while I thought I was eating quietly!

5. Be showered and shaven! Who would have thought this would be as stressful as it was. There are days and times where this just didn’t happen! Well it had to, whether it be the last few minutes of alone time, of freedom… I had better be shaved and clean. Or clean and fresh as it was said or expect to be told I was unacceptable. You are disgusting, even dirty. Who would have thought being a full time single mum of two, a mother of two puppies and the maintainer of a house was enough of an excuse! Never!

6. Socialising… friends you say, what are they. I had many good friends, friends who I had had for over a decade and they were deemed unacceptable. If I hung out with them the fight, the drama and the tension in the house made it not worth it. I began to think I was at fault. It’s all my fault and I should not see them as it would make the household more peaceful. So I cut them off. Little did I know this was the plan!

7. Bitterness. I have never been a bitter person, I have never had the time for it. The upbringing I have had, was one of opportunity and wonderment. I am more thankful for that now than ever. To have someone in the house who is bitter and angry, always, and I mean ALWAYS, is draining and soon this begins to eat away at your armour. You begin to doubt yourself and question your upbringing. Note to self! Never do this! They are not worth it! (Living with a narcissist!)

8. Naked in bed. To this day when we fall asleep naked I feel uncertain. I worry that when you wake you may see all of me. The stretch marks from my child, the rolls or love handles I have. The slightly saggy (I say slightly but hey…) breasts that fed my child and are not what I want them to be. I am totally exposed. I never had this before. I was always expected to be covered. Whether it be in uncomfortable lingerie or silly underwear, I had to be dressed. Now with you, it’s like a freedom I have never known, a luxury I am having to learn and by god it’s amazing! You are amazing. Day by day you’re setting me free!

9. Adventure? What was that? Until you came along there was none! The furthest I had ever been was the lounge and Netflix. If we ventured further than that it was a mission and to be honest more of a trying expedition than a fun one. Me being on super ‘high alert’ to ensure the kids were on their best behaviour. The food was perfect because my goodness I forget something, even the right butter, then the trip was hell! So adventures were not high on our list! They were more an anxiety and stressor for me! With you, who knows, they are spontaneous, unexplainable, enjoyable and have always made me smile. Your ability to turn a walk in the grass plains into a tree climbing, deer stalking adventure amaze me. Your ability to roll down a sand dune and make everyone laugh is heartwarming. You blow me away with your patience and sheer sense of adventure. Nothing is unattainable! We have climbed mountains, been lost in the bush and much much more all bare foot and care free! I have never felt so refreshed and complete as I do with you!

10. How’s your day been? A simple question but one that was never asked. I can say NEVER asked! You ask it everyday. In the past my day was never a topic of conversation. Never considered as I was the one who was at home every night. No, I did not work shift work. No, I did not drill holes underground and no I never worked over night, in your eyes! My overseas 2 weeks trips never counted! However, I do work with 120 young people every, day at least. I am responsible for 120 as a head of year. Their social, mental and physical well being. I am there 24/7 for them. When they are in tears, when down in the dumps and also when celebrating the small things! Whether it be family, friends or even something as serious as suicide I am there. I am their person. It’s not an 8-3pm job, it’s more than that. Not only did I parent two children of my own and two dogs and maintain a house but I educated and looked after more than you would ever know! I am a parent to more than just my own!

11. Family! I cannot tell you how much my family means to me. I would never be able to begin to explain it to you. You have seen it. We have travelled the world. Continents even. We have been poor and not wealthy but okay. They have been by my side through times normal families would have deserted their own. They have helped me financially to ensure my daughter is brought up the best she could be. We have had sleepless nights, tears and arguments. We have had talks of ending it all, well I have and they have been there. Through thick and thin. To then have someone try and cut that out. To have someone try and turn me against them, was unthinkable! To isolate me from the one thing that has kept me going! Let’s just say thank goodness they did not succeed. Thank goodness I have the family I do. I would not be here, and I mean living, without them. That I say is the truest thing I have ever said!

12. Food and more! While I know you worked away and hard. So did I. It was an evening where I had parent teacher interviews both tuesday and Wednesday until 7pm. I arrived at school both those days at 7am. Those are 12 hour days as you would always say. My goodness, let me think, how did I forget to make sure an amazing dinner was on the table, or a huge meal, all of which you expected. He would fly in from 7 days, 14 days or 21 days away and expect their to be me, in my apron, primed and ready. Sexy, shaven, well rested, the house clean, the kids washed, the lawns mowed, the dogs walked and clean, the e-mails done, the bills paid and much much more but what if I couldn’t. What if I had no option, no time. There were times where this was possible but also times where it was not possible. This understanding was not there. The patience and acceptance was not there. More the anger, the disappointment and the words that could not be taken back, said. It was tiring, it was hard and more than ever I was made to feel like I was never good enough. It took me a while to realise it was not me but him. He was never happy. He would never be happy and the only thing he could do was make others unhappy. Just like himself.

13. Small breasts, stretch marks and more. Unfortunately but proudly I can say I have stretch marks, I have breast that sag a little lower than before and I have love handles. While not an excuse of having a child or being 20 when I had her I wear them with pride now. I did not before. Before you, John, I wore them with disgust and angst. I wished for ‘bolt ons‘ as they are called. I wished for a tummy tuck and the perfect figure. To be honest I was 110kgs when I had her and now I am 76kgs. I think that’s enough of a triumph. The stretch marks will never disappear I wear them, as I said with pride, I built a human being and they are evidence of that. I tried to feed a young child and my breasts sit a little lower because of this I carry weight on my hips because I make more time for her than I do I. For now. Until she is independent and the woman I know she’s going to be. Then I will focus on me. I was told over and over my appearance was unacceptable and how I would be able to better myself with surgery or something. However, I never wanted it, I was made to think it would be the only way to make myself beautiful. Now that seems so stupid, so out there and such a wild expectation! You go to bed with me for me, you don’t pay attention to my lower lying breasts, the stretch marks I have and the love handles. Thank you!

The list could truly go on, but I would never know where to stop! Or expose myself and the hurtful and controlling nature of what I was exposed to. All I know is give me time and I will give you all of me.

I love big, laugh big and give big. I know nothing else. Always do to the detriment of myself. Be patient. Realise when I say I am yours, I am.

You are the best thing that has ever happened to me. You have freed my heart, my soul and certainly my spirit! One cannot ask for more!

You take my breath away everytime I see you for no other reason than you are all I ever hoped for. All I could ever ask for in a partner. You are honest, upfront, loving and most of all appreciative of who I am and what I do.

Thank you for freeing me!

Stick’s and stones may break my bones but…..

I am sure your mind raced ahead and you finished the above heading before you even realised you had. This saying has been around for decades, one I myself was taught and raised hearing more often than not. I recall even using it when in the playground as a young child in South Africa.

The saying went like this for those who are new to it:

“Stick’s and Stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”

How this has changed. As a little girl who used to ride her bike around the streets of the neighborhood in South Africa I remember yelling this out to those pesky boys as I rode off. Feeling invincible! Now, this saying seems almost silly, stupid and irrelevant even……. backwards!

I often sit across from your people who are struggling with what has been said to them either directly or indirectly through a social media forum. A forum which we have limited if no control over!

A parent’s, teacher’s and schools nightmare!

I never even knew what Facebook was until I arrived in Australia, I did not even have my own mobile phone. The day I received my Nokia ‘brick’, at the age of 14, I was so excited. This was a time when the game ‘snake’, where you pressed the numbers, 2,4,6 and 8 to ensure it never touched the walls of your screen and thus the game ended, was the highlight of having a phone. Where sending a message meant pressing all the buttons multiple times until the letter you wanted appeared, then having to wait if you need a letter from that same number again ………..a camera?? what phone had a camera! I even remember the craze of the flip phones, the idea that you could flip it open when it rang and that was cool! I was cool!

How times have changed!

Now more often than not I find myself, as a teacher after 11 years, involved in daily conversations with our young people. Their ages ranging from 10 to 17 year, about the impact a few words or an image can do have when sent through these devices.

Forums can be anonymous, instagram is no longer just photos and this is just two of the many social media forums available to our young people!

You can be recorded at any time day or night, your messages can never be deleted, your words are now in the ‘ether’ forever. That photo you never meant to take, the words you were never meant to type, the forum you joined or the snapchat of your friend you laughed at….. all at the tip of our young peoples fingers. The ramifications of all of these are immense!

I think this vulnerability is new to some of us, myself included and I would not say I am old. Technology has just move forward at a pace I am sure many of us are unable to even comprehend.

I suppose it is about educating ourselves, spending the time getting to know what the forums are and how they work. Just the other day I asked my 13 year old to give me a quick tutorial on how snap chat worked. While this was in fact for me to learn I also was able to see/monitor her snap chat. A quick glance at it anyway.

I frequently see students who hide their phones and make up fake accounts all so they can be accepted and seen as normal by their peers. This is scary as a teacher and even more so as a parent of a young teen!

Its being aware, being educated and knowing what is out there that will enable you to keep an eye on your young people! It is important to do this as from what I have seen and heard over the past few years would shock you! The level of manipulation, bullying, harassment and even impersonating young people to gather information is very real.

A touch of a button, a photograph, a few words and a young persons life can be changed forever!

I think the times have shaped this saying and it should read;

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words may forever hurt me.”

.

Life is like a car wash

I was sitting in the car wash the other day and it dawned on me that life is just like a car wash.

As I was being jostled along by the automatic runner, the small bumps making the car inch forward I thought to myself is this what life is like. Some days you’re dirty, you have so much on your plate, you feel wrapped in ‘shit’ to put it bluntly and you have to just keep going. Keep working on the small things all while balancing the larger things.

You spend the day going through the motions and completing the never ending list …. wondering if you will ever get it all done.

Then some days feel like as you’re going over the bumps, being pulled along by life the wash cycle begins. This amazing smelling soap comes down on you and completely blocks your vision. Sometimes like a typical day….. while it smells good, I believe this is just masking the dirt and the stuff.

Soaking it before you attempt to tick it off!

Then before you know it you hear these massive turnstiles start up, the hundreds of cloths, spinning, come towards you.

It attacks from the front working its way down the sides, slowly spreading the ‘soap’ or stuff I liked to think.

Some of it being removed, some of it being smeared….. hoping that the rinse cycle may be enough to remove it!

However, you just keep being pushed forward, you’re not allowed to stop, or use the brake. You have no choice but to keep moving forward.

A bit like life really.

Before you know it the rinse cycle begins and the stuff that was once there slips away into the drain. Most of the dirt being taken with it. The light begins to stream in the windows and you can see again.

Then the dry cycle begins and you watch the small droplets of what’s left scurry in every direction. Most fly off into oblivion, never to be seen again. The strong ones and the few that hang on remain.

You sit there wondering about the bits that were missed and think to yourself, I should have washed it myself!

However you drive out and the man comes along to shammy the car. The last ditch effort to remove all the stuff…

Again you sit and watch as there are spots missed…… you will never be able to completely tick off your to do list or complete everything you need or want to do. That’s just not living!

Life is like a car wash….. we can’t stop it, slow it down or even speed it up! We will never be without a to do list and never without dirt.

Some days may feel like we can’t see through the dirt or it is so smeared we may never get it all off …….but…..we rinse off, dry off and keep going.

We really don’t have a choice.

You put the car in drive, the door on the accelerator and smile to yourself now that it’s so shiny and so clean…….

Then it rains!

Life truly is like a car wash!!