Thursday, July 21, 2016

in which I have a tiny, little pity party

Last Friday while I was driving to Invercargill with the kiddies,
the children's dad was asking his girlfriend to marry him
on the side of a beautiful mountain after a helicopter ride.

I'm genuinely happy for them both,
and I wish them all the very best for their future together.
The younger children have a lovely relationship with his fiancĂ©e,
and I love hearing what they have been doing together.

I won't lie though, this morning when I woke up
my heart is hurting. It is not about them at all.
It's just so hard to be the one left behind,
even though I'm glad for them (and I don't want to be married to him anymore)
it just kind of reinforces to me how alone I am.

However, don't worry.
I'm only allowing myself a tiny little pity party.
I came into work and told my friend Kerrie, 
because I knew she would give me the slap around that I needed.
She reminded me that I'm ok and gave me a warm hug.

I am smart, I am brave.
I have a home, I have kids that love me,
I have some truly awesome friends
and I have three cats to keep me warm on cold nights.

I'm going to be fine.
And best of all, the kids have another person in their life
who will love them, be there for them when I can't be
and will love their dad in a way that I failed at.

I'm going to be ok.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Thinking about dating....

So one of my really good friends "suggested" that it was time
I started to try dating. You know, that whole putting yourself
out there thing, seeing if you can find someone.

It's so hard you know. Remember the donkey on the movie
Shrek who talked about layers?
Donkeys have layers, Onions have layers.

Well I have layers too.

There's the part of me that knows that I can do stuff,
and is confident to do that, 
that knows I am smart and capable
and making good decisions for my life.
That I'm kind and loyal and have a lot of love to give.

And then there is the part of me that feels so freaking unloveable,
that nobody could possibly want to be with me.
(evidenced by the fact that I'm still by myself)
The part that feels lonely in the small hours of the morning
but realises I have so much baggage to drag along after me.

What I really want is to find someone who wants to be with me,
someone to share life with.
Who will hold my hand when we go for a walk,
someone to hug me when I'm scared
and to tell me to get over myself when I get stuck.

I want someone who will laugh with me and not at me,
someone who is proud of what I achieve
someone who listens and asks questions.

But the thing I want more than anything else,
is someone who will let me love them with all of my heart,
because I think the thing about a relationship is that,
the other person has to accept your love too.

Wish me luck!

Monday, July 4, 2016

17 things I have learnt about being a single parent....

Over the last 18 months I've been solo parenting with varying amounts of success.
Here's a few things that I have learnt.....

1. The best place to cry is the bath. No one will disturb you there.
2. Everyone has to help. A list you can cross off makes it seem more like fun.
3. Even the smallest budget needs to have room for treats
(a $1 frozen coke from McDonalds counts as a treat)

4. No matter how bleak life seems,
you have to make plans for good things.

5. Take responsibility for where you are at.
Believe in yourself, back yourself.
6. Make sure you schedule all the things that need doing,
don't just fit them in here and there.

7. A tidy house will make everyone feel better.
8. Even a tidy house needs a couple of places where you can be messy.
9. You cannot under estimate how much sleep you need.

10. You have to take time to do things that restore your soul.
11. You must make sure you talk to someone every day, 
don't be a complete hermit.
12. Remind yourself every now and again you are doing a good job.
13. You will screw up, its is ok. Tomorrow is another day.
14. Actually it is ok to ask for help.

15. Remember to take your meds, put on face cream and drink water.
Feeling shit about yourself won't help anyone.
16. Figure out how to like yourself. How can you expect anyone else to like you
if you really hate who you are?

17. Most of all, remember #icandohardthings #thistoowillpass

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Feelings. Five years on #wecandohardthings

Recently I brought a painting from my friend
and fellow Exchange Resident, Liam.
Liam has painted an incredible series of painting of Christchurch.

Liam has painted these paintings in oils and they are raw
and graphic and they make you feel.
He paints our pain without knowing it (he came here post earthquake).

I think for a lot of us our lives are categorised in two halves,
there is the BQ and the AQ. The Before Quake is really a distant
memory now, it seems like a different lifetime.

But it is still hard to explain how it feels to send everyone off to school
and work one day and by lunch time life had changed
FOREVER and we lost our community, our school
and the lives they were in a literal instant.

Now I feel like I live in a different city and a different space.
My life is completely unrecognizable from what it was.
For ages it was just awful driving around the city
because you saw the destruction and decay,
but now (five years later) there is so much rebuild
that it is like we have been transported to a different place.

Our feelings and emotions change with time,
just like the empty sites. The grass and weeds grow over the site
and soften the look. You become used to how it looks.
We have adapted and changed
and possibly even embraced (or learning to) our changed environment
and circumstances.

So I'm really really grateful to Liam for selling me this painting.
When I look at it I remember the agony of wondering if my children were alive,
I remember holding my children while they cried
and making plans to keep them safe.
I remember hearing the buildings fall down
and seeing my baby thrown by the force of the aftershocks.

I remember the tiredness and the fear that nature was going to destroy us.
But I can look around and realise that not only did we survive,
we are so strong now. We have come out the other side.
It's amazing. #wecandohardthings

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Whoever said that money doesn't make you happy, clearly never had to balance a budget!

Honestly figuring out how to earn a living sucks doesn't it?
Sometimes I think that I don't want to be a grownup anymore, 
it's not nearly as much fun as it was supposed to be.
But then luckily there is a weekend at the end of each week.

A chance to catch up on the 101 chores that need doing
and to catch up on sleep and plan for the weekend ahead.

I spent the weekend cleaning and tidying the house,
doing all the washing and putting clean sheets on the beds.
I baked cookies and made lasagna for dinner.
I cleaned the stove and did all the dishes. 

I entertained a very cute little boy while his mama was busy
and we made pizza for dinner and pancakes for breakfast.
I sewed up the hole under one of the panda's arms
and I sewed the binding down on a quilt.
I hung a few pictures on the wall and did the grocery shopping.

I went for a couple of walks in the fresh air
and I had a drink with a friend.
I started a scrap quilt for a little boy made from his dad's army uniforms.
All in all a productive weekend.
It was just what I needed really. Simple tasks that I could achieve
rather than stressing about the things that I cannot change right now.

The nice thing about Monday's is that its a fresh start.
Each week is a chance to make a difference,
to make good choices,
to make plans and to follow through with them.

Being a grown-up might not be a load of fun,
but luckily its more a process than a checklist of achievements.

This week I'm going to keep on working at being a grown up.
#icandohardthings #thistoowillpass 

Sunday, June 19, 2016

That awkward moment when someone asks you to tell more about yourself, and you're like... oh God, who am I?

I'm in the process of figuring out my employment situation.
I've been contracting now for a few months
but I'm looking at my options. 

It's the old scenario that the pain has to get bad enough for you to 
actually take the leap and change something.

For me, I would rather earn a smaller amount of regular money,
and occasional larger amounts. It's easier to budget that way.
And frankly, contracting is really just a collection of small amounts
that turn up on an irregular basis. 

Applying for jobs is so tricky.
You read the application and think, hmmm I can do all of that,
so you send off your application and it turns out
that about 25 other people also could do that
or do it better.

One of the things about life experience
(aka getting old)
is that you can kinda figure out what you are good at and what you aren't.

So for example, I know that I am good at ideas,
and I am good at getting stuck into a project and getting it done
(preferably by myself).

I am good at listening to people and getting them to talk.

I'm pretty horrible at things like filing
and emptying rubbish bins and taking the coffee cups back to the kitchen.
I'm not so great at data entry (just because it's boring as hell,
not because I can't do it)
and working in a place where everyone is grumpy and stressed
doesn't really work for me either.

Finding the right job and being a good, present mum
is a pretty difficult balancing act. I'm not sure how that is all going to pan out.
But I do know that something good will eventually come up,
that I will find a job with a good amount of hours,
that I can fully engage in and feel like I'm contributing to the greater good.

Watch this space!
cause I am watching it too :)

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Let your tears come, let them water your soul....

I guess everyone has heard about what happened in Orlando this week.
I can't actually bear to read all the details.
I can't bear to think about those people who went out to have fun
and never came back.

I can't bear to think of all of their friends and lovers, 
their family and associates
who never got to say good bye.
Who woke up in the morning and found out that their friend was gone.
There were no second chances.

Those people are going to walk around for the rest of their lives
missing someone who should be here.
The pain never goes away, friends are irreplaceable,
the pain just becomes part of who you are.

You learn to live with it.
You learn to carry on. At first it hurts so bad,
you can't believe your body keeps functioning,
but after a while you learn to adjust.

Until you remember.

I hope we never forget the precious lives that were lost in Orlando.
They were lost because of hate,
it was not an accident, it was a deliberate act of malice.
A hate crime fuelled by homophobia.

I cannot make it better for them,
I cannot bring them back.
I cannot physically put our arms around them
or cook them a dinner or bake them a cake.

 All I can do, here at the bottom of the globe,
is to continue teach my children that love is love,
that loving unconditionally is the only important thing
and that hate will never change anything.

I don't think there is anything else I can do.
The whole thing is heartbreaking.