Mirrors, Google Maps, and other agents of Satan

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Well hello there fellow air breathers. Yes, I am aware it’s been a while since I’ve shown this blog any love, but really who’s paying any attention. Essentially this blog is a place where I can process my internal dialogue, this is all well and good when said dialogue is focused on chocolate, Benedict Cumberbatch’s chin or whimsical artwork of narwhals. Don’t tell me narwhals aren’t freaking awesome, because they are. So is Benedict. I love you Benedict.

But what of my dialogue of late? It hasn’t been happy, whimsical or even diverted by a certain intellectually stimulating chin. It’s been dark, and sad, and angry, and quite frankly more than a little bit lost. This has been frightening, not because it’s not ok to be sad, but rather because I couldn’t climb out again, at some points I didn’t even want to.

There’s a certain duality that exists inside of me. There’s the part that hungers for rationality, for stability and rightness, for all things to simply be a balance of light and shade. Then there’s this other side that’s forced itself into a dominant position. This part of me that is destructive, impatient, selfish and with little compassion.

There’s a constant battle with a nameless anxiety that sits in the centre of my chest and steals my breath. I know what is inside. It is dark and it’s not worthy of love, praise or even acceptance. All of this exists together at the same time inside of me. a swirling vortex of desolation and hope both warring for real estate in my mind.

It’s exhausting.

I’m exhausted.

Now don’t get me wrong, I can still laugh. In fact this war inside me has made for some pretty hilarious circumstances. For example, just the other day I was getting ready for a road trip. I knew that I was in for a few hours in the car on my own so I thought I would use the time to try and reconnect with God. Well done me. So, I selected the Hillsong United playlist on Pandora and set off. I was super pleased when the first song that popped up was Oceans. Great song. Then, the Google Maps lady starts giving me directions on how to get out of my own driveway. My switch flipped, and I started swearing at the map lady. Now, just take a moment to consider the irony. I am full-rage swearing at a disembodied navigator because I want to sing to Jesus. It’s official, I am insane.

But am I? Am I really? Or am I simply exhibiting the symptoms of a deeper problem. There is darkness inside of me I know that it’s there and I know I can’t fix it. However, rather than fixing my eyes upon the ONLY one who can (Jesus – for those playing along at home).  I have been surrounded with mirrors, mirrors that reflect all the beauty and promise around me, yet the moment I try to go through them into what they portray, all I see is myself. My flaws, my failures, just me. And then I think that the real reason I can’t possibly do, or achieve, or have anything that is good is because of me. That by simply existing I disqualify myself from life.

But thats not right is it. Because Im not seeing truth, I’m seeing a reflection of the truth. A simulacra. A cheap souvenir shop reproduction of a priceless gift. A gift that I have already received. It is already mine through Jesus and the life he gave me.

And so onward I say, beyond the mirrors. Into the greatness of today, and the promise of tomorrow. Because that is what I choose. To see above. To see with a clarity that can only come from the One who made me. My friends, hope and peace are very grand companions, I encourage you to never take them for granted.

imagessigh…

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He Totally Gets Me.

I never really had a school leavers ‘yearbook’ experience. To be honest, I don’t even know if the high school I graduated from did the whole portrait/quote for posterity thing! All I know is, I was so glad to sit that last exam that I never even went back for final assembly.

But, what if I had had to choose a quote to put alongside my picture for all of time? What would I have chosen? Well, let’s be real here – this is me we are talking about after all. I probably would have left it till the absolute last minute – madly run to the library, (remembering that I graduated high school in 1996 so any available internet was just a black hole of  lame emails sent to the person on the other side of the computer lab) I would have selected a random work by The Bard or Tennesee Williams, picked a pretty line that I felt would make me appear artistic and intellectual – insert dramatic hair toss.  Yes, say hello to my 17 year old self, I was a frighteningly  vapid creature. I could have at least quoted Joey Tribbiani or Kramer like any other self respecting adolescent of the 90’s!

Thankfully none of the above happened. There is no picture. I have no quote.

What about now though? Now I have 18 years more life experience. I have studied (no seriously, I have) I have married, I’m a mother and a wife. I’ve travelled.  I have read and mostly understood great works of literature – I can reference Dante, Dostoevski, and Stephanie Meyer. I can single handedly circumnavigate Pinterest! My quotation options are truly epic.

So what will it be? What words will I choose? Will I lean toward the hipster or the Inspirational? I can feel you holding your breath with anticipation.

Oh The Places You’ll Go.”

Dr Suess.

Thats right folks I went right back to Kindergarten, but, not to be ironic. It just  makes a poetic kind of sense, a book that was read to me before I could even read, would come full circle to become a part of how I choose to define myself.

Dr Suess though… I mean, the Guy just gets me!

This quote isn’t about the 5 words it’s made up of, It’s about the book as a whole. It is not a book about travel or climbing the corporate ladder, nor is it about any external experience I have, might or will have in the future. This book represents my many internal journeys; the fearless invincible beginnings, the slow descents, the unexpected crashes. It charts the vast desolation of being lost within and the eventual triumph of clawing my way out once more.

This book is real.

And that bit about waiting! GENIUS!

If you have never read it, then today is a great day for you! In fact i will even attach an awesome reading of the book by the amazing John Lithgow.

Be inspired people! Congratulations! Today is your day!

xoxo Amelia

 

 

Day 9: A Letter to Someone I Wish I Could Meet

Dear Mr Heston Blumenthal,

I just have to put it out there right at the start. In my book you are sautéed  in superlatives, caramelized in compliments and flambéed in flattery – in short I think you’re just dandy!

As far as calling myself a die hard fan – well, if I’m honest I don’t think I’ve ever been ‘die hard’ over anything, except maybe Kevin Bacon in Flatliners, but that was when I was 10 so I don’t think it counts. I’m not the type to line up for hours to get a book signed (sorry), nor will I stake out your hotel so I can steal a toilet roll from your room (reassuring). What I am, is an avid admirer of Heston’s Feasts.

The first episode I saw was your Victorian Feast – Drink Me Potion = GENIUS! I was riveted, but it wasn’t just the concept of bringing history into the present, or  your outrageous use of ingredients – a cows head? Seriously? No, what captured me was you, it was your unbridled enthusiasm for your vision, it was the joy you exuded when your imagination and your vocation collided. I believe in that episode you stated “I cannot resist the challenge of turning a fictional drink into reality”; I get that, I get how it feels when an idea takes hold of you. Suddenly it’s like there’s a map inside your head and you know it’s going to lead you somewhere really cool. Only no one else can see it, they can’t feel the anticipation that bubbles inside of you, they don’t understand that compulsion to jump in head first and see where the adventure takes you. They can’t always understand the fact that it’s not about getting it right, it’s about discovering what will come out of the quest, to get it right!

That’s how I feel about writing. I get an idea, an imagination, or a  thought, it’s ethereal, a possibility; but once I begin to tell the story, thats when the lightning strikes! Pathways open up inside my brain – choices, hidden doorways, chance meetings, a man with a wooden leg! I don’t know what’s going to happen next until I write it, and if I don’t like it I erase, delete, cross it out!

I was in England recently, I studied at Oxford University’s Creative Writing Summer Program (awesome huh?). Knowing how much I loved your show, some very special people booked me a table at your Hinds Head Pub as a surprise farewell gift. I caught the train from London, and then a taxi to Bray (excellent directions on your website -thank you). The whole experience was like a story. I was alone so it was a little bit scary, but I savored each moment: the journey, meeting your lovely staff, feeling like a bit of a loser sitting all alone in a crowded pub. Oh but the food! It was un-be-lieve-able! I felt like I was in a dream, a part of something that happens to other people, but not to me!

I guess what I’m trying to tell you, is that you’ve helped me to search out a bigger life, to embrace the joy in everything I do, and to just get out there and do something! I like to think that just a little bit of ‘Heston’ has come back with me.

So, thanks for being super – and as is inscribed on just about everything in England “Keep Calm & Carry On”.

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Sincerely,

Your non-stalkerish fan xo

Day 8: A Letter to Someone Going Through The Worst of Times

To my Dear Friend,

I know it hurts right now. I know that it feels like every breath is hard work, but you’re strong, the spark inside you has not gone out – no one has the power to do that to you, you need to remember that. The hard part about what you are going through is that to look at you, no one would know that you are hurting. No one can see the wounds you are trying so hard to keep hidden, except those of us you trust enough to let behind the walls. I cannot tell you how proud I am that you let us in, that you have asked for help instead of trying to cope alone. No one should have to go through this alone.

I want you to know that there is a way through this, that God does have you in His hand and He will see you through. I can’t give you the answers I know you want, I don’t think anyone can, but those questions will cripple you if you let them. They will keep you tied to the past, they’ll keep your eyes upon all of the things you have no power to change.

Sometimes things happen to us, things we don’t have a say in, circumstances can blindside us and all of a sudden we find ourselves stripped to the core of who we are, raw and bleeding. In that moment, when you look around yourself and feel like there is nothing left, it’s then you need to remember that you always have the gift that God gave to every human being. Something that no one can ever take from you.

Choice.

Only you can choose where you let your thoughts go – upon the trauma and injustice or upon the possibilities in your future. Only you can choose who you surround yourself with – those who support and uplift you or those who feed your misery and keep you trapped. Only you have the choice to keep walking forward or to surrender to despair and drift away, lost in the void of your pain.

Think about it, sure the choice to move forward is difficult, but it’s yours. Think about how empowering that is! Let that power infuse you, let it pour liquid steel through your spine. You have got power, you can fight, you can win. 

It doesn’t mean that there wont be awful days, but what quest doesn’t have it’s challenges. There might be deserts (not desserts :p) but there will also be unexpected streams hidden in those barren places. They will sustain you, and see you through to the next resting place.

You can beat this. I know it, I see the warrior within you. You are a fighter.

Most of all, you are not alone.

All my love xxoo

*Thanks Zaldy for letting me use your amazing picture!

Day 4: A Letter to Someone I Hate

You know who you are.

You show up just when things have just settled down. We never actually invite you in but somehow you always seem to find an opening and then you set about destroying whatever peace we managed to find.

Even your voice sets my teeth on edge! I flex my fingers with the itching frustration of wanting to end you, wanting to see justice finally served against you and others of your ilk. Those who think they can waltz in anywhere at anytime and hurt whomever they want. Those who think it is their right, their God given purpose in this world to use their mouth to wound and stir up irritation.

I see you for what you are – a parasite. You feed off the life we work so hard to sustain. You wait for just the right moment, that second we unwittingly expose some tender and vulnerable part of ourselves, then you swoop in and do what seems to come naturally to you.

It’s funny, I can’t recall an exact moment when I realised I hated you, perhaps it’s been one of those things I’ve grown into with age. Perhaps it has come with the years of irritation and lost sleep, with the scars you have left behind, not only upon me but upon those I love the most. My feelings toward you have steadily grown from cool indifference to murderous rage. You are not welcome here.

I will not stand by and watch as you suck the life out of my family. I will not simply accept that you are a part of my world and I am powerless against you. No, I will fight! I will be prepared and I will be vigilant.

To all mosquitos who would dare enter my home.

You have been warned!

 

Day 3: A Letter to My Sister

Dear Amanda,

I could cheat, and get people to just click over to the last letter I wrote for you here; but I figure that’s not really in the spirit of the exercise.

I like letters that start with the word ‘Dear’. As opposed to other options such as:  ‘Attention’, or ‘Oi you!’, or ‘Listen up, I have something to say’. ‘Dear’ has such a embracing vibe, not to mention it rolls off the tongue more smoothly than any of the others.

So. Again…

Dear Amanda,

You’ve been my sister for 32 years and 10 months, give or take a few days. Somewhere along the way we’ve become grown-ups! You walked the path of childhood 4 years ahead of me and in some ways you made it easier for me when I came along behind. Thanks for that – I know at the time you would have preferred to make it as difficult as possible for me, but, well, sucks to your asthma!

Through my childhood eyes you were always so ‘ finished’, the antithesis of me. Your room was the clean to my mess. Your Barbie was always dressed down to her shoes, while I have a feeling mine was moonlighting as a topless barmaid somewhere in the seedy underbelly of our toy room. Your wardrobe was couture to my hillbilly ho-down. You were diligence to my disorganised. City to my country. I could probably go on but I know you get the picture.

The thing is, as a kid this used to drive me insane. I was forever measuring myself against your shadow and I never matched up. I hated always feeling like I was second best. When you think about it, that kind of sentiment could have spelled disaster for our future relationship. That, and the time you were in year 8 and I announced that you had blackheads in your ears  in front of the most popular girl in school 😉 (I took my shots when I could).

Instead we have somehow managed to not only escape the temptation of inflicting an  ‘accidental death’, but we have become two parts of a whole. It’s ironic just how close we are in adulthood. In fact, it’s downright weird

We have survived so much together, I don’t need to go into any of them because you know what they are! You are my confidante, my counsellor, my stylist and on occasion my padded cell. You are my Oprah, Dr Phil, Sloth and Lonestar. You are my industrial strength hairdryer and I can’t live without you!

You are gentleness and kindness personified. Sometimes it makes me cross the way people tread over your spirit, but I see you learning to find a deep well of strength that I always knew was in there. I look forward to seeing you ‘gently’ kick some butts when the opportunity presents itself! You have taught me about elegance, and poise and graciousness. You also taught me how to pick my nose when I was 3 – Thanks for that too.

They say you can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your family.  We chose to be far more than family, and far more than just friends. We are sisters, a relationship that has created an infinite circle, an alloy of family and friendship that no other person can understand or share. It combines history and future, joy and pain, strength and weakness. It is a language, a soundtrack, an obscure movie line. It’s ours.

It’s only been 32 years so far, you and I have a lifetime to laugh, cry and read regency romance novels together before we are through with this ‘sister’ gig.

You are Dear Amanda, you are my other 1/4 of the m&m.

 

I just have one last thing to say….

I love… I love… I love you 

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xxoo

30 Letters In 30 Days…

I call myself a writer, but really lets face it, my last post was in May… What does this mean? I guess it means that I have issues. Lots of them, but then again who doesn’t?

When my issues raise their ugly heads I go into hiding. Like the proverbial turtle, I tuck myself away in my tough little shell until I get cabin fever, until I run out of chocolate or until I am poked with a stick enough times to make me come out snapping. Usually my hibernation doesn’t last this long, perhaps I’m getting better at it (oh yay me!).  No, that’s not true, I’ve just had plenty of stuff to keep me distracted. You know what it’s like, your ‘life’ can be an awesome camouflage for your strife. That is where I have been living for the past while.

Don’t get me wrong life has been incredible, I have been places and done things in the past 5 months that I never EVER dreamed possible. However it’s the stuff underneath the surface that undermines anything happening on top. You know what I mean, those things we can all struggle with: doubt, depression, procrastination, guilt, frustration, fury. The sludge and tar and cesspit inhabiting parts of being alive. Yeah, I have that.

Now, I mentioned being poked with a stick earlier? Yep, that’s my friends and family. They just lurve to get all up in my grill (Yes, I am a part time gangsta) and needle me with questions:”What are you doing?”, “What have you written?”, “Why haven’t you written?” “What’s going on with you?”. They do it because they love me, know me and care enough about me to get me out of my shell, back in the sunlight. Even if I do come out snapping.

So here I am. Again. Disheveled, sun blinded, and a bit shaky. I am getting back out there. Again.  This time I have a bit of a plan though.

I was procrastinatingwasting timeavoiding reality, researching *read StumbleUpon-ing online the other day and came across an idea that snagged my anesthetised imagination.

30 Days.

30 Letters.

Over the next 30 days I will write 30 letters to different people past, present and future and I will post them here (no names though). I got my inspiration from here and I have to say I am relieved. An odd emotion I know, but I will be writing something each day over the next 30 days and that is a he-eck of a lot more than I have been.  So yes, I am relieved.

So stay tuned, read if you wanna and leave me a note to say hi. I have missed you all. I have missed me, I have missed words – and more than likely punctuation and grammar, but that is why God invented editors. I just don’t have one yet.

Love Love xxoo

 

 

 

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