I often neatly wrap my words up into perfectly, curated bundles before I hand them to you. I cater and tailor them just for your hands to grasp them, for out of your mouth the Oooh's and Aaah's - at my life. There comes a point where this is dangerous. This is when I try and judge the situation and do everything I can to make sure that all is in place, shiny and sparkling before I give it to you.
Life is not neat, its not tidy. Often our stories, feelings and perspectives are flawed. They have pieces missing and scratches here and there. They are imperfect - because you are not perfect. (And side-note: no-one asked you to be.)
You are already worthy - you do not have to twist your words to fit the situation, to just emphasise this, or to tweak that to sound like you have it together. Trembling under your breath, telling yourself again and again "It's under control...I'm fine." with some "Don't worry about it - I got it." Only to later be in the shower, beating yourself up for not having it together and also wondering why you re-packaged your story yet again.
Living in relationships with others is messy. It is up to you, up to me, up to us to tell the imperfect, messy truth. Not to air out all our dirty, tired, broken pieces that we haven't yet sifted through and looked at. But rather to offer up a piece of ourselves simply trying to say "I'm doing what I can, but I'm not perfect - I am not everything you want me to be".
Honesty is hard - yes. But it will bind us up, broken pieces and all. We all need to take a breath or two. Be honest. Be true to your stories. You don't long to be impressive, you long to be loved. And you can only be loved as much as you're known.
And being known for all the shiny stuff - that isn't true belonging.
Thats where the difficulty is in our culture, it is so much about being impressive but not about being known. On many occasions I have been envious of friends, of people on the internet and what they're accomplishing and where they're traveling to - only later to have one of them fall into my arms feeling alone and not cared for or to hear about a hard, hard time in a well-known person's life.
Here's a piece of my heart friend, I went to New Zealand for a year last year. And I've found myself bringing it up whenever I felt I needed to sound a bit more impressive and it always works. I loved New Zealand, it was an incredible experience. However what I didn't add was the part about the buckets of tears I cried and the uncertainties I went through that my people prayed, thought of and stayed on the phone with me through.
You do not need to go tell everyone - everything.
Find your people, your safe group, those that you can call anytime night or day and let them sift through the broken pieces with you.
The next time you see someone on Instagram or in person and it looks like they have the perfect everything and neatly wrapped up bundles of "I've got this" - just know that that's not the whole story.
I've been away from home since I was 7. From home school to daygirl, weekly boarder to full time boarder to a year across the world in NZ. And I still struggle, I still miss the dogs constant need for attention and walks. My mum sauntering in for breakfast and asking if I want tea. To my brother and his excitement to watch a new NCIS episode with me.
The ordinary, everyday moments are those I most hold close to my heart these days. When I miss my dad, its not me wanting to be swimming with a dolphin with him (although that was AHHH-MAZING). It's rather wanting to hear the sound of his motorbike coming in for a meal, a nap or to 'puzza' some tea outside.
The memories and photos I love more than anything are the ones where my dad is holding me upside down for the dog to lick my face or when I was little and every night I would climb onto him on the couch and get a kiss and a hug before bed (or the few times when I forgot to say goodnight and he would wake me up for that everyday, ordinary but beautiful ritual).
It's times when I would hop on the kitchen freezer and talk to my mum while she cooked dinner or when dad would push my brother and I on the tyre swing with giggles and urging 'Higher dad, higher' and that feeling of childlike joy as we were swung high into the sky and down back into the safety of dads grip.
The reason this has been coming up for me is because I get wrapped up in other things, I get pulled and swayed and go along with the crowd. I spend too much time comparing and looking at the lifes of others rather than living my own life. Rather than being present in the HERE and NOW. Of putting my phone down and looking into the eyes of those around me. Words like hurry and hustle, words like chaos and control are not ones I want coming out of my life. But ones like grace, simplicity, beauty, connection and presence are the ones I want to define what others feel in my company.
I will not look back and regret having put away my phone, turning off the TV and shutting down constant noise of the internet. I will not regret going out of my way for a stranger or a friend as well as paying attention to what my body and heart needs. I will not regret caring for people and caring for myself. I will not regret working hard, resting hard, loving hard and fighting for people and things I believe in. I will not regret doing things that light me up and encouraging others to become the best versions of themselves.
I will not regret being fully alive, feeling my emotions without letting them drive me and breathing in and out; surrendering beautifully and waking up and going to sleep with intention and peace.
Pitter patter. Pitter patter.
Its pouring now.
Onto the pavement.
Whoosh, the wind is howling.
It is mighty.
You hear the rain on days like these.. and a gentle peace settles over your soul. It is welcome. You take a breath in..and out. I think to myself why are there days that rain feels so needed? Maybe its because the ground is parched and has been waiting for some drops of water to bring it back to life. Maybe its because when it really pours down, you feel that it is letting go, it is letting it all out. Much like us, it needs to release its angst, its weariness, its tiredness, its enoughness.
It reminds us that life can be really hard and that sometimes a release is just what is needed.
Because sometimes the sun feels obnoxious when the whole world is hurting. The sun can feel somewhat like putting a bandaid on a gunshot saying "You're fine, don't draw too much attention to yourself."
I sometimes feel a struggle in my soul. Somedays I feel as light as a feather, other days I feel shame setting in. I feel it taunting me, I get moody, I withdraw. It makes the shame worse. I want to sleep the day away.
It feels exhausting putting a face on when your soul is hurting. It feels fake to be so weary but answering "I'm good, how are you?" ..so as to not burden the person asking the question. It gets tiring. This mentality of "pull yourself up by your bootstraps, get on with it".
I'm not sure where we get this mentality that God flinches when we talk about uncomfortable things. Jesus sees it all. He sees whats on our heart before we even consciously perceive it. Every thought. Every intention. I've found such freedom in bringing every thought, every emotion, every intention to Abba. He sees it all & loves us despite of all of the muck, all the yucky stuff we don't want anyone else to see. Our father sees. And He wants us to bring it to Him. Processing with Him is the most beautiful thing we can do. He wants all of us. Not just the tidy parts.
I feel lighter these days. I feel like I'm seeing the world with more colour. I notice and thank Jesus for the love notes in form of friends, 'coincidences', answered prayers, memories, songs & seeing long ago friends. The cloud feels like its lifting. For the first time in a few months, years even. I feel like I'm returning to myself, I feel like a kid again. Laughing, finding delight, my heart is so happy. And I feel grateful for the rain & I'm beginning to welcome the sun, in its glory. It breathes hope these days.
There are times. Last night even. That it feels like the cloud has come back. I have nightmares & it feels like I've lost myself. I've lost my dad all over again.
I ask friends for prayer. I breathe. I thank Jesus that He is always so close. I whisper 'help' to Abba. He holds me close. I feel loved. I feel adored. And when I feel so shaken, He comforts. It doesn't always go fully away. But I see his fingerprints and His love everywhere these days. And when I don't I seek it out. I seek beauty. I look over journals and see how He has his hands all over my life. And that even when I falter, even when I stuff up, even when I feel the cloud coming back, even when I miss my dad with everything I am, even when I can't get out of bed... -
He whispers to my soul "You don't ever have to do this alone, I'm right here. I never left' And I smile because loving Jesus is the best adventure I've ever had and He sees it all and loves me still. Delights in me even. I feel seen. I feel heard. I feel close to my Abba. I feel Holy Spirit all around. I stop in awe at how good Jesus is. He keeps getting better and better. Or maybe I'm just learning to see Him better and He was this amazing the whole time?
At first I was numb, dazed, confused
Three seconds later it was like a knife down my throat
Cutting me from the inside and out
Will I? Will we be able to withstand this?
Oh the pain of losing someone; you cannot fathom
They tell me it was an accident
Cups of tea to soothe the pain
Tissues all around us, just dry up all your tears
But you see I haven’t stopped crying since
Your whole world changes,
Waking up day after day in agony
While the rest of the planet moves on to day to day life
Flinging “You’re so strong” comments into the air; missing my broken, bleeding heart
P.S this is the about the day of my dads accident. I have my down days like any of us but I don't feel the way I did years ago. :) I am however very familiar with pain and still working through things. I struggle with my bit of anxiety & depression. More on that to come.
I enjoy writing and I'm also a big fan of editing. (I was the kid who loved spelling tests and correcting wrong sentences.) I often have people (friends, family and acquaintances) sending me in an essay/poem/short story and anything to that effect to edit it for them. I read over it and I refine: taking your beautiful peace of work and sharpening it. I cut out the spelling and grammar errors as well as making it coherent and suggesting different ways of saying something. So please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for editing, for questions about it or just to say hi! You can also jump over to the contacts page to fill in the form. (Just to make it easier.)
Looking forward to hearing from you.
Lets talk about health. Specifically eating but our mental state and body image as well. I hope you glean something from a snippet of my story.
I lost my dad in a car accident a few years ago but this started in my mind before but this monster became came increasingly more gripping and controlling. It started out as turning to food as a comfort, it numbed and helped the pain. But as with all ’numbers’ it was always temporary and it jumped back and forth from eating too much to not eating much.
The unhealthy relationship with food grew stronger. I gained a significant amount of weight & the monster had my mind wrapped around its ugly finger.
There are a few things that come to mind particularly when I was around girls (and some guys) who were constantly obsessing over body image and who was going to like them, how much skin to show and on.
And so I began cutting out things in my eating & then got into healthy food and exercise. I went on to lose nearly 15kg. I got comments about my weight, how good I looked. I felt good, lighter & happier in clothes and my own skin. I could pick out the smallest item in a shop and it would fit me.
This sounds great doesn’t it?
Well? Not quite..
My worth was in if someone had complimented me that day, it was in how I looked in photos. I was obsessing about what was for lunch, and if I could have a tiny piece of dark chocolate. I was constantly looking up ways to lose weight and health hacks.
..I knew every food you not to eat later in the day because I wouldn’t be able to burn it off, I knew what sped up your metabolism. I stopped eating certain fruit because it had more natural sugars than others. I spent a lot of time looking in the mirror still not completely satisfied. I woke up in the morning feeling like a whale by 8am if I hadn’t gone to the gym that morning.
Now it wasn’t all bad. I learnt so much about what foods made me feel good and how incredible and strong I felt when I exercised but it was affecting my mind so much. I was eating very healthily at this point but my portions increased because I was hungry for cutting so much out and so I began to gain weight - slowly but surely putting weight back on.
I was in New Zealand working at a school in 2016, and to my surprise on the menu sugar and carbs were in abundance and fruit/veg was not to be seen.
I did my best to exercise in my crazy schedule and eat as well as I could but by the end of the year I was the heaviest I’d ever been. I went through a time where I couldn’t look in the mirror without crying. Even just my face because I could see it on my face as well.
I knew what I didn’t want to do. I didn’t want to lose it all quickly and then put it all back on again. I did not want to yoyo diet and obsess as I did previously.
Let me be clear.. I want to lose weight.
I want to feel amazing in a bikini or a dress.
I want to be and feel strong and incredible doing physical activity.
A few days ago I wore a bikini for the first time in months, self-conscious? yes quite. BUT I also felt a little more free, and a little more beautiful. I felt feminine and thankful to have a body that can swim and run, that can dance. There was SO much harm on my body and so much I fed my mind. I felt like I was kicking satan in the teeth that afternoon.
AND AS CHEESY AS THIS SOUNDS, AS CLICHE AS THIS MIGHT BE:
I want to be thought of as beautiful person because of me, my kindness and my love. My courage and determination. My sensitive, introverted dreamer self to shine the way God always intended. Because I believe the most beautiful people are those who have gone through the hell of hard things and come back with their heart softer and more vulnerable. Braver and stronger than ever before.
I find the more I accept myself with all my stuff the more I can love others in theirs. the more i can be truly comfortable in myself, the more I reflect to others that they’re safe in my presence.
So this means sitting with myself and my neediness and desire to do what I know how, but I’m unveiling whats really behind it all. - SO I can get to the roots and heal from the inside out.
Your inner world produces you outer world. Out of the heart flows your life.
The more I sit with myself and accept who I am the more I find it has more to do with something within that needs to change.
That no circumstance, or I if I drop all that weight again will ever be able to make me completely content.
And so dear friend what can you take out of this?
I want you to know that what you need to eat, how you exercise, how you keep your mind sane and take care of YOU is going to look different than mine or anyone else’s.
The keyword in this journey is this: /listen/ to your body, to your heart.
* discover what works best for you. explore.
* sitting in your stuff.
* thank God for your body.
* Eating what your body needs and feels good about.
* learn to be OK with saying No and Yes when the time calls for it.
* incorporate movement in your day and work out what that looks like in each season.
Specifically what helps me is silence for 10 or so min, prayer and writing.
Its your journey friend, I hope you find joy in the chaos and know that beauty comes from ashes.
This year subconciously or maybe conciously I decided that it would be the year to get my act together. Of course I didn’t phrase like that - but thats what deep down I was beating myself with the bat - “Get it together.”
Being a sentimental person I thought it was a brilliant. I was born on the 17th, 7 is my favourite number and 7 is often the number used for the number where God does something no human can do, 6 is where we get to but 7 is where God breathes & extraordinary things unfold.
Recently I had a revelation - I was trying to do this in my own strength. I was pridefully thinking 'It's okay God, just watch this." "You can help out with the radical things but I can handle this okay?" To moments of "God why?" "Why did this happen?" "Why can’t I get it together?" "Why am I not perfect?" (We don’t say that - but we often put that standard on ourselves.)
I’ve noticed a lot lately when people talk about how its okay if someone does something to them but not okay if its done to family or a friend. And I found myself thinking why do we do this? Why is it okay to let others talk/ do something they shouldn’t to us. Why do we beat ourselves with our perfectionistic standards.
It's been hard on social media for a while now. The flawless lives & beautiful images that only capture a fraction of whats really going on. I love it when I feel inspired by beautiful artwork, inspiring quotes or genuinely feel happy for someone about what happened in their lives. But again I say its not the full picture.
I don’t think our minds quite get that. Whatever you feed your mind matters! When you’re scrolling down and you see amazing photo after amazing photo perfectly curated - it affects you.
R has an amazing work ethic, J is so good with people, A is beautiful, smart, kind & so talented. I mean come on! Yes those could be true. I’m not saying to take pleasure in thinking how others might have it bad in other areas. But in reality.. we all have our stuff, we all have things we don’t enjoy or struggle with or dark thoughts that we shouldn’t be entertaining.
I’ve just recently started trying to have a new mindset about this all. I don’t need to get it all together - I never will be able to.
SO this is how I've tried to shift perspective -
Not we have to but we get to; move our bodies because endorphins are amazing, being strong is beautiful & it incredible to do something that benefits your mind, your health and your attitude about life.
You get to eat well because you love food & learn about what food groups affect what organ etc. How our amazing Creator crafted such incredible, colourful things to experiment with and nourish our bodies. Carrots for your eyes, almonds for your headaches, sweet potatoes for…you get the picture.
You get to go on social media to be inspired OR log out for a while to give yourself a breather, to remember whats right in front of you- to appreciate what God is doing, what is happening & what could happen if you set your mind to it. To listen to that still small voice & call to God for help, wisdom & joy for the journey ahead.
You get to be a better friend, you get to write notes of encouragement to brighten their day. You get to listen to how they are doing, feeling, thinking, excited about & terrified for.
You get to pursue your dreams, work hard on your goals and run hard after what God has for you. Remembering grace & new mercy everyday. But not leaving holiness behind. Learning to be obedient to what God has called you to because His way is always best.
You get a fresh start today. That's why its amazing. Because we get to. We get to choose to embrace this one insane, beautiful, messy life.
We get to choose gratitude, to choose to do what fills up our souls & unplug from things that don’t. We get to run, we get to eat that amazing bowl of fruit, we get to make another cup of coffee or tea & write down what todays going to be about, how we’re going to love people & how we’re going to react when things go off course.
We get to, lets partner with Jesus. Lets run and dance, lets cry & hug, lets sleep and read, lets have adventures and work hard. Lets also remember to leave room for God to surprise us.