WHERE THE MAGIC HAPPENS

 

I did something today which was very silly.

I rejected myself before anyone else could. I sabotage most opportunities to make new friends. Because I fear rejection. So I get in first before anyone else can do it.

I have some issues when it comes to anyone trying to get close to me, as I’ve admitted a lot lately through my writing.

And it’s been such a long time since anyone aside from my few close friends have been nice to me. I’m not used to it.

So let me begin with my day…

I was beyond excited when I awoke this morning to a sunny day.

The relentless rain has prevented me from doing a lot of things.

The first thing I did was strip my bed, and wash my sheets. Then I proceeded to wash my car. Thank you OCD.

It got me thinking about the fact that I am very much not living my life.

I could have done anything at all that I wanted today, yet I chose to be the dutiful wife, and participate in the safety of routine chores.

Only I am no longer anyones wife.

My friend pointed out to me today, that I am living in the graveyard of what once was my marriage.

I unfortunately don’t know anything else. And I am so afraid of everything. Fear of living. Of experiencing new things, opening myself up to new people. My fear is completely destroying me, and any potential friendships around me.

I went inside the house, and I phoned a girlfriend for a chat. These days there are very few people I trust with my sensitive heart.

I feel like such a child sometimes. That I need constant pep talks in order to just get on with my day.

And then I heard a sound. My next door neighbour was in my backyard, cutting the edges of my lawn for me.

I promptly went outside, and I went and spoke with him.

“I’m so embarrassed! You don’t have to do this for me.” I said to him, as my face flushed a deep shade of scarlet.

I really do feel like a charity case at times. And I am so lacking in the self-worth department that I don’t feel as though I deserve it.

“No, no, don’t be silly. I want to do it.” He told me as he continued on. “Just go back to whatever you were doing.”

I went back into the house, my girlfriend still on the phone, and I burst into tears.

When anyone shows me any kindness, I am almost shocked, and it brought me to my knees.

“Why would anyone want to help me?” I asked my friend, sobbing.

“I understand.” she told me, having come out of a difficult marriage herself a few years ago.

It’s something that is indescribable in terms of how it makes you feel. A marriage breakdown.

We all cope differently I guess, and lately for some reason, I’ve not been coping well at all.

“It’s ok when people help you.” She told me. “There are nice people out there. I know you don’t believe it.”

I took a deep breath, went back outside again, and there was my neighbour picking up leaves, and his mate cutting the grass.

I felt so helpless. Like that pathetic single woman next door who doesn’t have anyone to help her.

Ordinarily, my father does this stuff for me. Only he and my mother have gone away again for another 3 weeks. And he’s not around to assist with my outside chores.

I went out the front of my house, and I proceeded to remove weeds from my front garden. I was overcome with guilt that I wasn’t participating.

My neighbours wife was in the driveway.

“Would you mind if I parked my car in your driveway? I just picked up the car yesterday, so it’s brand new, and the kids want to play basketball, and I’m worried they’ll hit my car.”

“Of course! You are more than welcome. Don’t even ask.” I told her.

“We are having some friends over for drinks later this afternoon. You are more than welcome to come. We’d love to have you.”

“Ok sure. I’ll let you know.” I told her.

Those of you who know me personally, know that that means “no”. 

I was embarrassed. I felt as though they were only inviting me over because they felt sorry for me. Because I don’t get out all that much. That my only visitors are a rotation of two of my girlfriends, my sister, and my father.

That they hear me talking on the phone in the backyard sometimes. Sometimes I’m drunk and laughing. And sometimes I’m deeply philosophical. Sometimes they hear me cry.

Yet they know very little about me.

They know that I’m a writer. That I’m 35. That I travel a bit. That I’m a bit of an alcoholic. That I cried one day when my neighbour took my rubbish bins out for me. Because I was overwhelmed by his act of kindness.

They don’t know my surname. If they did it would be very easy to find out a whole bunch of things about me. You just punch my name into google and it all comes up for you.

My blog gives you as much information as you need to know about me, without digging any deeper. I carefully control the rest of it.

And it made me realise that those closest to me (in terms of my neighbours that is), know very little about who I am.

I really do lock myself away from the world like a shrinking violet, like my Mum, only days earlier had told me that I do.

I have a broken heart. That’s why. And I don’t know when I will be able to get over that.

I left the house this afternoon to avoid going to the neighbours house. I was worried that their friends wouldn’t like me, and seeing all of the cars starting to pull up in the street only fuelled my anxiety.

They told me to come over at 3pm. So I disappeared at 3pm. I’m really good at running away. 

I returned at 6pm, hoping that I’d be able to slip into obscurity, and go unnoticed like I desperately attempt to do most of the time.

Only the neighbour heard me come home. And he asked me to come over as I was fumbling with my keys at the front door.

“Are you coming?” He asked me enthusiastically.

I felt myself flush with anxiety.

“You’ve got so many people there” I responded, trying as hard as I could to cling to excuses.

“Only ten people. C’mon. I’ll introduce you.” He said.

I thought about it for a fraction of a second.

“No that’s ok. Next time.” I told him, as I clumsily managed to get my key into the door.

My closest friend messaged me then. She was aware of what I had done today in terms of putting up my walls.

“They’re just trying to be nice. People don’t do things if they don’t want to. I think it’s you who feels sorry for yourself. Sorry. That sounded mean.”

I told her that I feel as though people won’t like me. That I felt uncomfortable. That I’m not good at  making friends.

“Yes you are. You just think you’re not. And your next door neighbours are already your friends. And they’re trying to reach out. You’ve got to give and take.” She went on.

And then I thought about a conversation I had the previous night. About all of my fear s and insecurities. Women talk about that type of stuff.

I had a fellow writer give me some profound advice last night.

“My God you crucify yourself. You are not kind to yourself at all. You would never give your best friend or your sister the grief you give yourself. But you torture yourself so much. You need to learn to be kinder to yourself. You’re like those really religious types who whip themselves until they bleed. You are not a “fuck-up”. I would argue that in fact, you have your shit more together than most women your age. You just don’t let yourself relish in it. You’re strong. You write a blog that touches thousands. You have a broken heart – but that’s only temporary. You have your health. And you actually have men all over the world in love with you. You’re known worldwide too. You have followers from all over the world. Don’t undervalue yourself. You have thousands of people reading each post you publish. So many people who you’ve never met, know you and your life. Don’t forget the impact you have in the world.”

Sometimes it takes your own image being reflected in the eyes of others to recognise who you truly are.

I am a writer. That’s who I am at my core. And us writers, we observe.

Because I have so much difficulty observing myself, I have to ask often, what I am doing wrong. 

I am great at noting down what I observe with others, but positively hopeless when it comes to myself.

And there was one piece of advice that I was given from my friend as I conclude this article.

“Make yourself uncomfortable. Because that’s where the magic happens.”

So whilst I did cowardly opt out of this afternoons invitation, I will attempt to make myself uncomfortable the next time, and learn to stop rejecting, and start accepting myself.

Because that is truly where the magic happens. When you learn to step outside your comfort zone, and embrace the possibility of something new. Even if it scares the shit out of you.

 

I’VE COME UNDONE

 

I’m such a tight-ass when it comes to myself. Anyone would think I don’t have any money the way that I live.

Until a few weeks ago, I didn’t even own a wine glass. 

That’s right. 

This alcoholic in denial, drank wine out of a Champagne flute for months on end. 

And I only had one Champagne flute. 

I embarrassingly made my girlfriends drink out of a coffee cup when they graced me with their presence. 

My sheer clumsiness had me down to just one flute, and my lack of self-love made me think that that was totally acceptable as a host. 

Mind you, I am impossibly generous when it comes to others. 

Yet, not on myself. 

I have worked really hard to be in the position that I am in, however I live like a little bit of a pauper. 

Which brings me to Spotify.

All I wanted to listen to today on Spotify was that song from that movie “Begin Again” that I watched the other night at the movies. I’m strangely addicted to that song. Because It makes me cry. And I find crying is cathartic at times.

I kept on closing the app until I could get the song up. 

You only get 6 free skips with the free app. 

I frustratingly sat there for a good 10 minutes before I got my wish.

And it made me realise something. 

Like L’oreal tries to preach, I certainly don’t feel as though I’m “worth it”. If I did, I’d just buy the goddamn app.

Which brings me to this morning.

My Dad left me a tool kit at my front door this morning. 

I was overwhelmed by his generosity, and a little embarrassed. I felt like a charity case. In fact, I burst into tears when I realised what he had done for me. Because I didn’t feel as though I was worth the effort.

I don’t own a single tool. My tool kit consists of butter knives and a meat tenderising hammer.

I hate asking anyone for anything. I like to be as self-sufficient and independent as I can possibly be. I am both a combination of being impossibly stubborn, and proud.

I don’t want anyone to know that I stumble, not just sometimes, but all the time, and that I’m attempting to make sense of my strange new life. That I overwhelm myself all the time, and often  question my own sanity.

But like I always say, people see a lot more than you give them credit for. 

Like when my neighbour graciously does chores for me without me knowing. 

Because I refuse his offers of help every single time. 

Or when my friends come and kill spiders for me, being the ridiculous arachnophobic I am. 

Or when they phone, and message me relentlessly when I go into my little cave and cut myself off from the world.

Or yesterday, when my younger sister took me out to lunch, and when she sneakily went to pay the bill. I was beyond embarrassed.

I went to my parents house to visit them today. I actually live in the same street as my parents. Which is so great. I cannot even begin to explain how grateful I am for that. 

However, my Mum started to give me grief over the fact that I’m single. 

“I don’t want you to be alone forever Amy. That’s terrible. You just need someone to talk to you. To understand that you are more than just a beautiful looking girl. That you have a brain. You’re so smart. You can’t sit there like a shrinking violet and be so shy, locking yourself away from the world.”

My Dad piped up now. 

Fathers are funny like that. 

“Just leave her alone.” He said. 

I personally don’t think that my Dad would think that anyone is good enough for me. I’m his baby after all.

I have to admit to myself that I am so scared of letting anyone get close to me.

But back to Spotify.

Now as I attempted to get the track that I wanted on Spotify, the same song kept on coming up. 

“Come Undone” by Robbie Williams. 

As I look for meaning in everything, I listed to the words of that song:

“So unimpressed, but so in awe

So self-aware, so full of shit

So indecisive, so adamant”

And it got me thinking about the walking contradiction that I am. And the fact that a lot of the time, I am running away from my life. 

But isn’t that what so many of us do?

Run away?

Not all of us do it. There’s a lot of us that are happy with their life. 

But a lot of us just aren’t. More than would care to admit.

I got home from my parents house today and I cried. A lot. Particularly because my Mum had noticed that I hadn’t published anything in a while. And I was mad at myself.

I write all the time. Every single day in fact. Yet most of it rarely gets published. Because I don’t deem it good enough. The curse of perfectionism will do that to a writer.

I was having a conversation with a friend today. About running away. 

Because that’s what I’m on the verge of doing. Because I’m fucking over it.

Those of us that are too afraid to pursue our dreams do that. We run away. And sometimes, those of us that are pursuing our dreams do it too.

And sometimes it’s not as obvious as we think. 

I’m going to call a spade a spade here – a lot of people run away by settling into conformity. 

They get married. They have their 2.3 children. Their family car. Their jobs which have nothing to do with the lives they want for themselves, and everything to do with the life they have created for themselves. Or for the life that is expected of them. Out of pure necessity. To the lives that they have unconsciously committed to through their escapism from their passion. 

People might look at someone like me and think I’m completely mad. That I’m like a gypsy who flits from here to there. That doesn’t settle into the predicable life that makes others feel comfortable. That bullshit text book version of how life is “meant” to be.

Yes, I am going against the grain of that bullshit textbook. And whilst I often think I am such a coward, it has taken so much courage to do what I’ve done. To walk away from everything that was expected of me. 

Has it been easy?

No fucking way. 

I feel like I’ve been to hell and back. Several times over. It has fucking sucked a lot of the time. If it weren’t for my girlfriends, I don’t know how I would have gotten through the past 7 months.

They say it takes half the time you’ve been in a relationship to get over it. 

I’ve been in a relationship for 20 years, and I’ll be damned if I am going to take another decade to get over my marriage breakdown.

But does that mean that I need to run away?

Maybe. Because hey, whatever gets you to where you need to go right?

I hate to admit it, but I’ve unfortunately come undone.

I’m drinking way too much. Way, way, way too much. I’m chain smoking like a rock star. And I’m not loving Amy.

And until I learn to love myself, I’m not able to love anyone else properly.

So perhaps the best thing for me to do, is to disappear into obscurity, and to get to learn who I am. To learn how to chase Amy properly.

As I conclude this article, I am listening to Sarah McLaughlan. I am listening to her song “Adia”, which is about her marriage breakdown. My own marriage breakdown has destroyed me on so many levels. I am not going to lie and act as though I am unaffected. Because I most certainly am not.

So today, I will leave you with her words:

“I search myself in everyone to see where we went wrong”

I think I need to take another time out, to search where I went wrong, and be able to move forward. Knowing that I made the right decision, as difficult as it may have been, and to learn how to love Amy again. So that perhaps one day in the future, someone else besides my girlfriends can love me too.

I’m desperately waiting for my “knight in shining armour” to come and rescue me, however that’s only true in fairytales. And we all know that fairytales aren’t true. So it’s time to save me from myself.

Because as much as I hate to admit it, I’ve most certainly come undone. 

 

 

I DON’T WANT TO BE A PRINCESS ANYMORE

 

This afternoon I sent a tweet out into the twitterverse.

“Living alone – being free to sneeze without covering my mouth with my hand.”

I have had the most dreadful flu all week, and now it’s settled into just violent sneezing fits. Ones where I sneeze with free abandon without bothering to cover my mouth. It’s liberating.

I had a follower send me a response to my pearls of wisdom, with a list of “15 Things To Enjoy While You’re Single”. So I thought I’d write about that particular list today:

1. “Sleeping diagonally on the bed” – yes. You actually do this. And it rocks.

2. “Wild nights” – well…I would love to say that I have these “wild nights”, however the wildest night I’ve had is probably throwing caution to the wind and continuing to drink alcohol despite being on antibiotics (honestly, it’s totally fine – and I swear I’m not doing that right now…)

3. “Quiet weekends” – yep. I have a lot of these. And I quite like them. Most of the time anyway.

4. “The opportunity to check out all those “what-if’s” “- no “opportunities” have arisen as such, not in the romantic sense at least, however I have my own little list of “what-if’s”. No. Scratch that. Its my list of “so-what’s”. “So-what” if I don’t fold my washing for a whole week. “So-what” if I sometimes sleep fully clothed in the days outfit. “So-what” if I sometimes eat nothing for dinner. “So-what” if I don’t check the mailbox for a week at a time….

5. “Spending your money on what you want” – this has been extremely liberating, given that I am a shopaholic. Its great. Fantastic. Brilliant. You should see the awesome shit I have in my wardrobe.

6. “Not having to hang out with anyone else’s friends” – I never knew how wonderful this would be.

7. “Guiltless flirting” – yeah. Well, not so much. My social calendar is kind of limited to my local supermarket (which I often terrorise on twitter), and the local Thai restaurant. And a lot of the time, what I deem as simple “conversing” is misinterpreted as “flirting”. Because I’m kind of a born flirt. But I quite fancy flirting with the baristas at my local coffee place.

8. “You have the best stories” – anyone that knows me personally, knows that I always have the best stories. I’m quite the story-teller, and very theatrical.

9. “Big decisions are yours and yours alone to make” – this is good and bad. Particularly being as indecisive as I am. I can hardly decide what to have for lunch, let alone making the big decisions. But again, it is liberating. There’s no doubt about that.

10. “…and so is the remote control” – I don’t watch a whole lot of TV, but when I do, I LOVE trashy TV. And it’s so nice to not have to watch sport. Or fighting. Or sport…

11. “Eat whatever, whenever you want” – that I do. The other day I ate a strawberry donut, a bag of crisps, half a block of chocolate, and a bag of lollies. And a coconut water to make it all better. #FITSPO

12. “You can have sex with anyone you want to” – hmmm. Well….yes. This doesn’t apply to me in particular. But hey, more power to the singles that are having sex with “anyone they want to”.

13. “Privacy” – the privacy is fantastic. Absolutely fantastic. I love not having to explain myself to anyone. And being a deeply private person, this works very well with me.

14. “Spontaneity” – look, my ex-husband was very spontaneous. But it was maddening to me. So I enjoy my own version of spontaneity and chaos. And it’s great.

15. “First dates” – I’ve not been asked on a date. It’s actually starting to make me think there might be something wrong with me. But then I remember that I am a writer. And that I am relatively reclusive. So it’s not as if I’m putting myself out there anyway. I’m fine dating my girlfriends right now. They are the best company ever.

And speaking of girlfriends, that’s one thing that I realised the other night.

I was in bed, sick. And I was watching Aladdin. I cried most of the way through.

Especially during the part where the Sultan was trying to convince Princess Jasmine that she had to get married.

And it struck a chord with me (and also made me realise what a great catch Aladdin is). 

What? Did you think you were going to escape some sort of philosophical crap from me? No chance.

So I am going to include the dialogue from that particular scene.

 Jasmine: Please, try to understand! I’ve never done a thing on my own. I’ve never had any real friends. I’ve never been outside the palace walls.

Sultan: But Jasmine, You’re a princess.

Jasmine: Then maybe I don’t want to be a princess anymore!

For those that know me personally, you will totally get me here. And to my friends that have graciously held my hand, and have been a constant by my side, I love you all to the point of madness, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Oh, and I don’t want to be a princess anymore…

 

THE DIAMOND NECKLACE AROUND YOUR NECK

 

Why do some of us settle?

I find a lot of people do this. And it often comes down to the fear of being alone. When people settle that is.

I, for one, am not willing to settle for just anything. Because I think I’m pretty damn special. Actually I think I’m fucking awesome.

However, I am also so afraid of letting anyone into my private little world, that I’m not sure if I will ever be able to allow anyone to get close to me.

Fear again. 

Fear ruins everything. And I’m not sure which is the lesser of the two evils when it comes to what we decide to “settle” for.

There are a few people I know, that have come out of relationships in the past 7 months (how long it’s been for me), that have started dating again. And this is great. Brilliant.

But I know for myself, I want to spend some time getting to know who I am. And that’s not going to happen if I become part of another half again.

And I find I am getting what I need for now, from my friends, and from my family.

I go to dinner all the time with my girlfriends. They remind me when I’ve forgotten, that I’m beautiful, both inside, and out. They come over and kill spiders for me. We drink lots and lots of wine together. They let me cry on the phone to them. Although this has lessened significantly. I don’t cry that much anymore.

My father, and my neighbour graciously take care of my garden, and take my rubbish bins out. They do little odd jobs around the house for me.

My friends give me the most excellent cuddles I could ask for.

But what about romantic love?

Sometimes I have to wonder if I am too broken to ever be able to love again.

I spent a lot of time in bed yesterday. Not because I was depressed or anything like that. But because I had a monumental hangover.

I had my good friends hen’s night the evening before. The rainy weather as well as my hangover was the most excellent combination of an excuse to remain in bed.

At 2pm, I was messaging my friend. I told her that I was planning on getting out of bed soon.

“What for?” came her response.

“Yeah. What for.” I thought to myself.

It was just me. I had no children to get up to. No partner. No plans for the day.

And that made me think even more. A 35 year old woman. And it’s just me…

At around 3pm I dragged my weary body out of bed, into the shower, and off to the supermarket.

And at 4pm, I hopped back into bed until 5.30pm.

I got up, watched some TV, cooked some dinner, and then I took myself back to bed at 9pm.

As I lay in bed, I messaged my friend again.

“I feel lonely today. I feel like I’ll turn into one of those women. You know the ones. Those single women.”

“Aww. You will have those days. Everyone does. Even those who have someone. It passes.”

But does it pass? That fear?

It’s taken a long time to learn to love myself. Your self-esteem, and your ego take quite a battering when you end a relationship. 

Particularly a marriage. 

You are judged by almost everyone, as a “divorced woman”. You are feared and pitied all at once. I guess the most important thing this has taught me, is that I do not give a fuck what anyone else thinks of me. I did what was right for me, and that’s all that matters.

Now, I had to ask myself – am I happy?

Yes. Yes, I am. Mostly.

Am I a nicer person to be around?

Yep.

Am I more fun?

I’m always super fun.

But, am I more wary? 

Absolutely.

I am very aware that I do something. I push people away. Because I am so afraid of getting hurt, I go about subconsciously, and sometimes consciously, sabotaging things before they can even begin.

Sometimes in life, we don’t feel worthy of certain things. So we settle for things that we wouldn’t necessarily accept if we weren’t so afraid.

This can be from settling with a romantic interest who doesn’t treat us right. 

That comes from the fear of being alone.

Or this can come from settling for solitude.

Fear of opening our hearts.

One of my friends had this discussion with me last week. She was worried that she had made a mistake with someone. That her loneliness had made her desperate.

And I guess thats why it’s so important to allow yourself to heal from a broken heart. And to never settle.

If you’re not complete within yourself, you’re never going to find what you’re looking for.

Don’t ever hinge your self-worth, self-love, or self-esteem on the validation from someone else. 

Sure, we all require validation (in fact, President Obama turned around to Oprah after an interview he did with her and asked “was I ok?”), but does it need to come from a less than ideal romantic partner?

There is a quote from the philosopher Rumi that I love, and one that has been particularly profound for me since I embarked upon my spiritual journey years ago.

“You wander from room to room hunting for the diamond necklace that is already around your neck.”

Sometimes we search to find ourselves in others. The missing pieces of the puzzle. That “diamond necklace”. When we already possess it to begin with.

I give out the best advice to my friends when it comes to matters of the heart. But taking the same advice myself? Not so much.

However, I do know this – if I do ever miraculously find that I will not allow fear to dictate my decisions, and that I’m ready giving up being single, I want someone who is strong enough to take me on. 

I’ve no time for bullshit. And I’m definitely not about to settle.

I am not going to sugarcoat the fact that I’m an incredibly difficult woman. I’m a little gypsy. And I’m downright maddening.

And I want someone to challenge me to become that better person.  

One that is complete within themselves. 

That is aware of the diamond necklace around their neck, and that is totally blinded and completely mesmerised by the one around mine.

 

PERFECTLY IMPERFECT

 

Guess what I had on Friday. An EPIC FAIL.

I woke up on Friday morning, with what I deemed as being an extremely mild hangover. 

I’ve had a lot of those lately. And I finally think my somewhat rockstar lifestyle is catching up with me. 

And I have an excellent story to tell. 

I went into the kitchen on Friday morning, and started to do the dishes, when I realised that I had no hot water. 

Panic washed over me, as it dawned on me that it was indeed, Friday. The only day I wash my hair. And being the sometimes creature of habit I am, I had a little meltdown at this thought. 

I decided to use a lifeline, and phone a friend, in order to figure out what was going on. 

I went outside to the electricity box, to see if the fuse for the hot water system had blown. 

Nope. Everything seemed to be in working order. 

I went back inside and tried turning on the tap and waited for the hot water to come on. 

Nothing. Only cold water. 

I phoned the people that installed the hot water system for me only 12 months ago. Then I remembered that I knew a plumber, so I phoned him. 

He organised to be over later that afternoon. 

Some time later, I went into the bathroom, and absentmindedly turned the hot tap on. And hot water came out. 

Hmmm. 

I went back into the kitchen, and tried the tap again. 

Still no hot water from there. 

So I texted the plumber, and sheepishly let him know, that it was only the kitchen sink that had no hot water. 

plumber

Hours later, just before the plumber was due to arrive, I had a horrible realisation. 

Was there really something wrong with the tap? Or was there something wrong with me?

Had I been turning the mixer in the direction of the cold water? Not the hot water? Had I misplaced my brain somewhere, and forgotten how to turn on the tap, in my home that I’ve lived in for 13 years?

Utter humiliation at the monumental fool that was me, as the potential reality of the situation set in, had me supporting myself against the wall, as it felt like the ground had dropped out from beneath me. 

I raced into the kitchen to confirm my fears. 

Yep. 

The hot water worked just fine. 

Ugh. 

What a dickhead. 

The plumber arrived soon after, where I devastatingly had to explain my momentary lapse of consciousness. 

He laughed at me. I laughed at me. 

Thankfully the tap had come loose anyway and needed to be fixed, in addition to some other stuff I needed doing, so his visit wasn’t in vain. 

And it got me thinking. 

About what it takes to admit our flaws. 

I don’t claim to be anything other than who I am. And I’m not embarrassed to be myself, and more importantly, poke fun at myself. 

I’m not afraid to admit when I’ve made a mistake, and I don’t take a lot too seriously. I find the humour in most things.

In fact, my Aunty said something similar to me a few weeks back now.

“Sweetheart, if it’s not funny, I’m not interested.”

My sentiments exactly.

I think a good sense of humour, and knowing how to laugh at ones self, is the best quality anyone can have.

And then I got thinking about something else.

About something the plumber said to me in his text message reply to me.

“It’s all good. I’ll sort it out for you.”

This right here, is my most favourite response ever.

When we reach out and ask someone for help, this is what we want to hear. That there’s no need to worry. That whatever we have asked for, is going to be sorted.

That there is a solution.

And I think when it comes to men in general, and what women want from them, this is what us women want. Someone to help us sort out the crap that we are sometimes faced with. 

I think deep down, we all want to be rescued somehow.

I know that’s not the way its supposed to go, but I think a lot of us are looking for someone who can save us from ourselves.

Look, I am reasonably autonomous, but it’s still great to know, that there are people out there that will give us a hand with whatever we need, when we ask for it.

And you know what? There’s nothing wrong with being vulnerable. I actually think my humility is one of my most endearing qualities.

It often takes much more courage to show up as yourself, than it does to pretend like you’ve got all your shit together.

Because very few of us actually do. Never forget that most people are hiding behind some sort of an illusion.

And the moment we start loving, and accepting ourselves for the inevitably flawed individuals we are, just watch and see what happens.

So today’s lesson?

It’s ok to be a bit of a fuck-up sometimes. Big deal. Seriously, big deal. And it’s even better when you can see the funny side of life.

If you need help, never be afraid of asking for it. You’ll always find someone to help you sort it all out.

And allow people to see you for you.

That vulnerability is your greatest source of strength. Because you aren’t afraid to own who you authentically are.

People will be equally drawn to you, and repelled by you, because of that authenticity.

And do you know why that is?

Because there are so many people out there that are full of shit, and they’ll be both mesmerised and spellbound, confronted and irritated by that vulnerability.

And the best part about all of that stuff I’ve mentioned above? It helps to decipher who gets to be a part of that “perfectly imperfect” you.

 

LET ME INTRODUCE THE INSPIRING, ELIZABETH ELLIS…

 

I am quite shy, and reclusive by nature.

I don’t get out all that much, nor do I socialise beyond my few close friends. Which is quite a surprise to those that meet me in person. Because I’m stupidly friendly, astonishingly warm, and talkative to the point where I almost require an intervention.

Although I’m a writer who puts a whole bunch of things out there for the “virtual” world to see, I am fiercely private and very, very guarded. No one gets in to see the wizard.

A few weeks ago, my close friend Karen, told me that I should start following Elizabeth Ellis (@LizzyEliis82) on twitter. 

Not only did I decide to follow her on twitter, something inside me – my gut, my heart, my intuition – instinctively made me want to reach out to her. To hear her story. 

I threw caution to the wind, and after she followed me back on twitter, I decided to be in touch with her.

I met with her last week for lunch. 

So let me introduce the inspiring, Elizabeth Ellis to you.

Elizabeth is 31 years old. She’ll be 32 in October. And Elizabeth has stage 4 breast cancer.

She informed me through the week that she may not be able to meet for lunch as she had chemotherapy the day before that can often leave her feeling quite ill, and if that were the case, we would meet at her home to chat. With some Champagne. And being the somewhat mild alcoholic in denial that I am, I was chuffed at this suggestion. And surprised that she was so “normal” in terms of a typical young woman.

Elizabeth messaged me early last Thursday morning, to let me know that our lunch date was still on. 

I was excited to be getting out for a change. And equally nervous to meet her. I wasn’t sure what to expect.

My intentionally sheltered life has spared me from things like this. I don’t know anyone with cancer.

A writers life is often one of solitude, and it felt as though it had been days since I’d had human contact. 

In fact, it had been. 

So I got dressed, and for the first time in my life, I wasn’t running late. 

I was very conscious of being considerate of someone else’s time for once. And not being all “no worries” and flippant about it. My world, which is often a safe, little somewhat ignorant bubble, didn’t revolve around me for a change.

So I met with the beautiful, vivacious, enigmatic Elizabeth. I recognised her immediately.

We made our way to the restaurant together, and to my delight, we immediately ordered a bottle of wine.

Dutch courage works wonders. After all, a lot of my best writing is created through a haze of intoxication…

The first thing I noticed was the sparkle in Elizabeth’s translucent, green eyes. They were strangely magnetic and bewitching.

Her friendly face, free from wrinkles. Her skin, milky and flawless. Her long black jewelled earrings that hung from her ears, framed her beautiful, youthful face that did not allude to the fact that she was anything other than a picture of health.

Except for the inescapable knowledge, that she is suffering from advanced breast cancer. And the aesthetic reminder that she has lost all of her hair from the chemotherapy. ALL of her hair. Even her eyebrows and eyelashes are thinning.

Elizabeth is a Libran. 

I always ask everyone their star sign. It’s important to me for some bizarre reason.

I love my fellow air signs. Particularly Libran’s. 

They are filled with a similar indecisiveness as us Gemini’s. And they are almost always mad artists of some sort. How I love my eccentric, creative, brothers and sisters.

Elizabeth is no exception. 

She is a writer. Like me. Which is probably why we connected so well.

She is a mother. A wife. A sister. A daughter. A friend. 

When Elizabeth was 27 years old, she was expecting her second child. 

She miscarried her first baby at 10 weeks; less than a year earlier – prior to falling pregnant with her second baby.

Her first baby was not planned for. But that didn’t make the pain of her loss any less. And she grieved deeply.

In fact, doctors have linked deep grief with cancer. The emotional role that is played in the contribution to the development of cancer is often overlooked by many professionals. It actually has more of a detrimental effect than any of the environmental factors that we are warned about.

She became pregnant soon after with her second child.

31 weeks into her second pregnancy, Elizabeth discovered an ovular shaped lump in her upper right breast as she was getting dressed one day. 

She didn’t tell anyone about it until after the birth of her son. 

Until she did. 

When her son was just 2 weeks old, she had an immediate mastectomy and subsequent chemotherapy.

Devastatingly, after some intense abdominal pain earlier this year, Elizabeth has since discovered that the cancer has metasticized to her liver and lymph nodes.  

She has chemo for 4 hours every Wednesday. She is on the strongest treatment available to her.

She has bruises on her chest from the catheter that they insert into her for her treatment. 

Elizabeth has a twin sister who also has cancer. 

Her twin has stage one cervical cancer, and has just undergone a radical hysterectomy. She too, has a small child and a husband.

Cancer does not run in her family. And I think that right there is the biggest misconception about the disease.

Cancer does not discriminate. Every 2 minutes, someone is diagnosed with cancer. It currently affects 1 in 2 of us.

For everything that Elizabeth is enduring, I was surprised by how energetic, and upbeat she was about it all. And how bravely candid she was. Answering absolutely every question I asked her.

I am well known for being quite confronting in terms of the things I ask people, but her honesty was the most confronting part for me.

And something within me shifted.

Whilst I sat and listened to her story, I felt myself beginning to well up with tears several times. But I reigned myself in and decided to be brave. As brave as Liz was being. And not break down. What did I have to cry about?

She talked about her constant nose bleeds, amongst other things. The fatigue she feels. Her despair and frustration at the 20 kilograms she has gained on account of the combination of the medication she is on. About how her skin hurts constantly. She is in a lot of pain. But you would never know it from just looking at her.

She is spiritual, and very strong-willed. She still goes to the gym. She practises yoga and meditation. She still works from home 3 days a week. She is not a quitter in any sense of the word.

I’m not sure I’ve come across another human being with such an incredible aura, and the resilience that she possesses.

But then, Elizabeth started to discuss the reality of her situation.

The fact that she sometimes goes to buy trivial things like eye cream online, and then thinks to herself “but will I even be around to get any use out of it?”.

Her plans for her funeral. If that’s the way it goes. That she wants it to be one big party. A celebration of her life.

I could feel the lump in my throat forming. My tears began to well up. There was no way of stopping it. I was shocked, and disturbed by what I was hearing.

I was wearing my trademark hat.

I gently grabbed hold of the brim of my hat, as I put my head down.

I put my trembling hands over my face, and I burst into tears. Nothing could hold back the floodgates now.

I am in tears as I’m typing this. Recalling the emotions that flooded me only a few days earlier, and that haven’t managed to leave me since. In fact, I don’t think they ever will. This remarkable woman has worked her way into my mind, and into my heart. And changed me forever as a result.

“You are breaking my heart” I said softly, and pathetically, as my voice hitched in my throat, and the tears began to stream down my face.  

And then Elizabeth began to cry.

This brave young women, who was holding it all together like a boss, also broke down.

“I am just so angry”, she admitted.

Of course she’s fucking angry. I’m angry for her.

It’s not fair.

Why should a healthy, beautiful, young woman, with everything to live for, have to deal with this?

She has a fucking child for God’s sake. And a husband. And a whole life in front of her.

Why her?

I came home, deeply moved from the whole experience. In fact, I’ve never experienced the intense flood of grief, or emotion that I did with her in that meeting, that I have with anyone else.

I rejected all phone calls that night.

I cried for hours, and hours, and hours. I simply could not console myself.

I drank a whole bottle of wine to numb the constant stream of thoughts that were flooding my mind. Which I just couldn’t shut off. I lay awake all night. ALL NIGHT.

My ever-thinking mind was with the brave, and stoic Elizabeth. 

And it still is. Still now. Days later.

And it took days before I could even write again.

Whilst she is holding it all together remarkably well, I could feel her fear emanating from her very soul. Probably explains why I am a recluse. I’m way too in tune with peoples emotions, and it often leaves me being a complete mess. Absorbing everything around me like a proverbial sponge, is not always a gift, I can assure you. But this has absolutely nothing to do with me. I am merely an observer.

I fall in love easily, and ALL the time. And Elizabeth now has a special place in my sensitive heart.

When she messaged me the next morning to invite myself and my friend Karen to her home for dinner, I was delighted. Particularly as I knew the connectedness I felt towards her was mutual.

I had plans with a girlfriend, however I decided to cancel them in favour of spending time with my new friend Elizabeth. After all, her time may very well be limited. That is unfortunately the reality of this situation. And for someone as whimsical as myself, that was a bitter pill of acknowledgment to swallow.

Elizabeth has her final scans on the 19th of August. She has to wait two long days for the results to see if her treatment has worked. And she is dreading it. I too, am now anticipating the result.

Now I am not religious in any sense of the word. However, I am sending all of my positive thoughts out into the universe for my dear friend Elizabeth, that she will get a favourable result. And I am praying for her.

A few hours after I met with her, I sent out a quote on social media that was dedicated to her.

So today, as I don’t know how to speak on this any further, I will leave you with that:

“If you take a hard look at the people in your life, you may be blown away by how many explorers and survivalists surround you. Everyday, I’m amazed by the number of people I meet, who have climbed Mt. Everest time and time again…without ever having been to the Himalayas.” – Jose N. Harris

(On a side note, I often donate to charities, however I never speak about it because I feel as though it defeats the purpose in a way. My chosen charity, has always been breast cancer. If you would like to donate to cancer research, you can click on the following link: https://donations.cancercouncil.com.au/TaxAppealOnline/)