I am honoured to be featured in Anastasia Amour’s Blogger Spotlight for February. If you haven’t checked out her blog as yet, you are missing something special. This young woman is highlighting what it means to have self-esteem, and encourages her readers to stop listening to the negative voices in their heads. She has become a dear friend, and I love her dearly.
Anastasia Amour (pseudonym Stardust), sent me a little package of affirmative stickers. My daughter was very excited when I said Stardust had sent us a gift. Her little face fell when she searched the empty envelope. “Where is the stardust?” she pouted. I told her it was invisible, imbued on the stickers.
Words have such power. You know, these days its cool to be disaffected and sarcastic, caustic and negative. Its easy to cut the groove in the rotating vinyl record inside your head. Doing Anastasia’s ProjectPositive changed my world. I felt connected to a vibrant group of people doing life, endeavouring to work out the snags. I learnt that I am worthy of love just as I am. I examined what beauty and self-love actually is, and what it isn’t. I was humbled and my self-talk was certainly transformed. Not only are her sticker’s embedded with Stardust, but Anastasia is as well. www.anastasiaamour.com
#ProjectPositive, September 29th. Life Goals.
My Life goals haven’t changed all that much throughout the years. I guess the bar has been lifted higher, so the goals have expanded and become buoyant. I wanted so much to have a happy home, without screaming and friction. Oh, and I wanted to live, to see what it would be like to make it to say, sixteen. How terribly old! To have this little girl in my life, whom I had dreamt of for many years, that was the biggest goal accomplished. To have my book published was also a major goal ticked off. My goal’s now? The things I want to see come to fruition are many and varied. I want more life. I have more than doubled my goal of sixteen years. I am hungry for more. I want to travel with my daughter, to see New York, London and Paris. I want to travel around Australia, and see it all. Our country is stunning. I want to be able to purchase a quant and enchanted cottage for us. To have a bountiful garden and tree house, gnomes and fairy dells. I want to write more books. My little girl and I are almost through with book number four of a series of children’s books. Her ideas are amazing! I want to see her grow into a confident woman, happy and content. I accept that I may have physical challenges as time catches up with my scaffolding. I ask for the temerity to deal with whatever befalls, and that I may keep my body as strong and healthy as possible. I want to speak to people, and spark their inner rebel. I want to write and love and be thankful all my days. These are my goals.
#ProjectPositive, September 28th. Never Again.
Never again to put up with cruelty masked as sarcasm or humour. Never again enduring cruelty, the sort taking low blows and lifting up the other whilst grinding me into the dirt. No more shame or feeling ashamed. I have been on a twenty year odyssey to reclaim the life they tried to take away. No more. I will not have it and it will not do. Never again to find myself within a game I didn’t want to join, and haven’t been told the rules to. Never again to do too much and exhaust myself, leaving my body reeling in agony. I have put up with a lot, too much. Never again.
Never again to doubt myself, and ignore my gut instincts. I know what to do, and how to do it. Never again to hurt this body with diets and starvation. When I have a treat, such as my beloved cinnamon rolls, I will enjoy it, and refuse to feel guilty. Never again to put up with deceit, and people who don’t have my best interests at heart. I work hard and try my very best, and that is enough. I am one person, standing alone. Never again will I feel that it is not enough; that I am not enough. Never again to have my wings clipped, my voice muffled, my body broken, my mind assaulted, and my integrity questioned. I am free and the list above shall not recur. Never again.
#ProjectPositive, September 27th. Personality.
The lady who helped reconstruct my life was an elderly Welsh doctor. She was a child therapist, who had been awarded an Order of Australia for her work with abused children. Over three years, she watched me grow, and shake off my demons. Looking at me intently, she remarked, “I thought you were irretrievably broken when I first encountered you. You have proved me wrong.” In my medical notes, a letter she had written to my orthopaedic surgeon was wedged between the pages. ‘I cannot say thankyou for referring this young woman to me, for managing her will be an overwhelming task.’ It wasn’t just this wonderful lady who had her misgivings. How often do we hear that when a tragedy befalls a person that they shall never get over it? At times I was afraid that I was irretrievably broken. Being a rebel, it became another tag to defy. I was not damaged beyond repair. We have a doll factory in Sydney, where even the most delicate porcelain dolls who have had faces fractured and limbs ripped off, can be put back together. If an inanimate object can be repaired, surely flesh and blood and heart can be too?
I firmly believe that your personality is gifted to you, and has nothing to do with your upbringing. You are a part of a tribe, but you are also an individual, here to shine in your own way. I look at my daughter, who has always been full of energy, stubbornness and humour. She has a pixie flitting around her soul, and it holds her in good stead. She has had her challenges and has seen me go through mine. She is made of strong stuff. I believe you grow into your personality. At first it can seem an odd fit for a little body, but as you grow, your essence makes more sense. If anyone-including an esteemed expert-ever dares to profess that you are irretrievably broken, don’t you believe it. Prove them wrong. Your personality is beyond what cruelty can damage. They can’t take it from you, nor reduce it long-term.
#ProjectPositive, September 26th. Fantastic!
Fantastic is a great word! It conjures up joy and excitement. What is fantastic about your life right now? I have fantastic people in my life. My life is crazy-busy, and I just wish I had more time to see everyone. One-on-one time is special, as are chance meetings and impromptu gatherings. I have friends who have major health issues. It is fantastic that they have the tenacity to leave their beds and take on the world. I am left in awe.
Fantastic is a child with learning challenges, persisting and fighting and never giving in. Fantastic is seeing the pride when something clicks. Fantastic is watching my child’s singing teacher, instruct my daughter as to how to use sign language, and having my child learn the whole alphabet in fifteen minutes. Witnessing the birth of a new talent, that is fantastic.
Fantastic is a work of art, that just pops up on a city street, organic and thought-provoking. Fantastic is having friends to share it with and the art becoming interactive. Fantastic is love and colour and beauty, found in the most pedestrian of places.
Fantastic is running away for a day at the beach with friend’s.
Fantastic is the feeling of hearing my little bird’s sing, holding our guinea pigs, and stroking my child’s hair. Isnt it interesting that when you think of fantastic, it rarely involves money or grandiosity? Available to everyone, at anytime. Music, libraries, art, love, hope. Fantastic!
#ProjectPositive, September 25th. Celebrate.
For someone who loves parties, I am unsure of having them for myself. When I left home, imprinted in my soul was a dread of celebratory occasions such as birthdays and Christmas. They would be spoiled, a combination of family tension building up, alcohol and drugs, expectations not met and complete exhaustion. My last big party was when I was thirteen, and in some ways, it has felt as though time stopped there. I forgot how to celebrate. I didn’t dare expect hurrah’s. My sixteenth birthday was spent down the coast, after the police advised their fear that the man who threw me off the building would come and get me. He had said he would. So I bought myself a book, and made myself a banana sandwich for my 16th birthday. My seventeenth birthday was spent alone, in my little room. I recall I studied. I felt unloved and as though I were a phantom, touching the perimeter of the living, though never quite making contact. There was no school formal, no 18th or 21st birthdays. I felt as though I wasn’t worth the effort. Grand celebrations happened to other people, not me. My birthdays were always low-key. You know what? I am tired of playing down my life. The biggest celebration I had was my book launch. I was so nervous, though when I saw the familiar, precious faces assembled, the nerves went away. I was safe amongst this crowd. They were here for me.
Next birthday, I may organize a dinner. I may organize to celebrate this wild and precious life in style. I may celebrate with a heart full of thankfulness for the life I have been given, the life left to live. No longer content to play small and hide occasions which should be celebrated. It will no longer do.
#ProjectPositive, September 24th. Hidden Talent.
This one is hard! Why do we find it difficult to uncover our hidden talents? I have been shortlisted for awards, such as in the Bobby Goldsmith greeting card competition. I love art! Correspondence School was situated in William St, Kings Cross, and I visited several times during the year to meet up with my teachers and attend mini-schools. Some of the kids were from the country or had health issues, and others were teenage mums. The teachers were offbeat, kind and loving. There was actually a battle over whether I would become an artist or writer amongst the English and Art departments! To a kid who had previously been told she was stupid, that was quite a coup! My art teacher would meet me at the NSW Art Gallery, and send me charcoal and pastels whilst I recovered from surgeries, and my English teacher would come out and visit me, complete with the classics. I have dabbled in art ever since, producing individualized booklets for people, creating and painting ceramics, and selling my paintings. Writing has taken over. It is a ravenous angel, saving me, though taking up the lion’s share of my time. I feel art beckoning, and I have a cluster of artists in my life, ready to assist me in continuing my journey when the time is right.
I am sensitive. Both a talent and curse. I can feel the energy in a room, the subtle pulses and zaps. People say they feel safe with me. If you tell me something in confidence, it will be taken to my grave. It hurts, to put yourself in other’s places… To feel what they endure. The rewards of sensitivity are worth the pain.
I love cooking feasts! There aren’t many in my household, so having people over is a treat. I used to cook quite a bit, and realize it’s time I started again. There is something delightful about cleaning your home, and making it fresh, setting the table and preparing food for those you love. It is a gift of thankfulness.
Another hidden talent is I believe in magic. I believe in fairies and wonder and beauty. I believe that people are mostly not only good, but kind and loving. I have been scalded by nasty women with vicious tongues, men with violence in their minds and hearts, and people who treat others as fodder. They have left their marks, but they can’t take my unadulterated knowing that most people are good, kind and loving. I have had strangers hold my hand, hug me as I cried, give me gifts and assist me.
I look forward to the future, knowing many other talents shall come to the fore.
#ProjectPositive, September 23rd. Best Things.
Some of the best things in my life:
The best days happen when you aren’t expecting them, so keep your eyes open. I have often been on high-alert for bad stuff, the adrenaline corroding my soul like battery acid. I am tired of it. Wonderful things are happening right now, ready to make contact with me. The best things.
#ProjectPositive, September 20th. Love Myself.
It’s rather interesting when a lady who has had eating disorders-and been abused in every way possible-becomes a mother. I had to have strategies in place for when this child came into the world. From a very young age, she was watching me. She adored me, and wanted to be just like mummy; say and do the things I did. Hmmm… I had to make it worth this kid’s while! After having her, I was hopping on the scales quite a bit. They had to go. I judged my weight on how my clothes fitted me, not on numbers. We go on nature walks, and work out our bones. Exercise and weight loss is never mentioned. We don’t comment on other people’s weight, nor our own. I found the terminology I used would have a direct impact on her. I jokingly remarked after finishing off a dessert, that I would get a pudgy tummy. The next thing I knew, she had a pincer grip on her stomach, evaluating if she was getting the same. Such responsibility lay on my shoulders. She asks why I wear makeup, and once again, I have to give a thoughtful response. “It’s not because mummy feels like she’s not good enough without it sweetheart,” I say. “I wear it because I love colour, and I see my face as a canvas.” Intent is everything. I affirm my worth in the mirror, and now she does the same. When you have a reinforced sense of self, society will find it hard to puncture you.
I can be a fashion disaster, and well, a disaster on many fronts. I love that about me too! I know that I am trying my best in every aspect of my life. What more can I expect? My purple hair is fading out, and I am going back to my natural colour. I felt a bit daggy regarding the tone of my hair, when a lady shrieked, “I love your hair! Who did it?” I smiled and relayed an $8 tube from the chemist. It’s all about perception isn’t it? I love the parts of me that get angry and self-destructive. I love the “flaws” in my body that make it unique. I have to convey this every single day so that by the time she is a teenager, my daughter will have it ingrained. If she wants to wear heels, dye her hair, put makeup on, I will always ask why. If it is to please herself, good. If it is to feel good enough for this world, I will whisper in her ear, “it’s unnecessary. You have already surpassed good enough.” As have you.