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…

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

The Elevator of Friendship.

I want to share my most recent epiphany with you! I am a little bit excited by it, simply because it was one of those “hah!” moments you know will change your life forever.

I love having friends. Seriously, it’s in my DNA I am hardwired to meet as many people as possible from EVERYWHERE! Regardless of language, socio-economic position, religion or colour, if you have a face and opposable thumbs I want to hear your story, you could be my newest BFF!!

The problem with this driving need for connection and friendship, was my assumption that everyone else craved it and valued it as much as I did. Time and time again I would put my whole heart out there, only to have it trampled, laughed at, manipulated, used and abused. Were I a student in the School of Hard Knocks, I would have been in the remedial class! Instead of realising that some people just weren’t worthy of the gift I was offering; I concluded instead, that it was my gift that was unworthy…

Skip forward about 15 years and I finally, completely ‘get’ the beauty of relationships and my responsibility in their creation and maintenance. Get ready! This. Is. Awesome!

THE ELEVATOR.

Imagine you are a skyscraper, and within you there is an elevator which runs from the lobby all the way up to the penthouse.

My mistake was granting FAR too much access to people who simply did not deserve it or had not proven themselves trustworthy! You see, the higher I allowed them to go,  the deeper they were able to wound me.  There are some people who should never be allowed off the ground floor!

When I looked at my life and the people in it through this senario; I really did laugh out loud! I have never felt so empowered! Suddenly I was issuing virtual security passes and turfing interlopers out on their ear! I had visions of several people being escorted from the premises by big burly security guards and metaphorically washing my hands of them. For all the rest; I decided how much access they would have from that point on, I decided how much their opinions and advice mattered to me. It was so freeing! Some people will permanently remain in the lobby, I have ordered some nice couches and installed a coffee machine for them but they ain’t going any higher! My heart = my responsibility.  You can only hurt me to the depth that your opinion matters to me.

So if you – like me, struggle with enforcing boundaries when it comes to maintaining healthy relationships I hope this helps you. I hope that you will also remember to view those around you in the same way; from the smallest child to the oldest crone. They too have a heart to protect, and the heart of a person deserves our utmost respect and care.

You have arrived at your floor, you may now exit the elevator. Thank you for visiting. Please call again!

Dear Sister…

Dear Sister,

I don’t know if anyone has told you today that you are exceptional, probably not. It’s not the kind of thing one throws into casual conversation; but you are. Exceptional.

You care more deeply than anyone I know, you hear the gentle whispering cries of other hearts and seek to answer; where others simply ignore and trample asunder. You are funny, many people don’t know just how funny you are. I do. I hear the little remarks which are clever and witty and sometimes a bit rude. That just makes me laugh even more, no one ever expects that from you.

You’re clever, you solve problems big and small every day. I don’t think you even realise when you’re doing it. People come to you burdened and go away empowered; it’s just a gift you have and it’s gentle and encouraging. You’re brave; in a scared sort of way. You don’t like to face the Big Bad Wolves of this world, but you will. Because you’re strong. You forget that sometimes; but you are.

You are kind. Too kind I think. People don’t always recognise when they have a treasure in their hands. They don’t see you; and they tread carelessly on you. Not deliberately, not cruelly, but I know it hurts you. That makes me mad. You deserve better.

Your mirror tells you lies too. It tells you that your bum is too big and your clothes don’t always look nice. You need the mirror I see you in. It says that you are elegant, and classic. That you are unique and sophisticated. It loves your shoes and thinks you have done a beautiful job on your eye-makeup.

Where are you going today? Will you be alone, or with others? Will you take a sidelong glance at yourself in windows as you walk by? Smile at you for me, okay? And don’t get lost in everyone else. Let your own sail fill with the breeze and once again feel the exhilaration of your life. Adventure is yours, grasp it, run with it.

Know who you are, remember how far you have come.

You are loved

Dear Sister.

Busy Bee

Well, I wasn’t a weeping puddle of tears over Target. Nor did I win; I really don’t think I could have won given that I hadn’t entered week two of the competition. This had to do with my inability to correctly type my email address, and not realising I could have just entered as a guest member. Oh well never mind, as I said before, to be short listed was really a win in itself! Mind you, the worst part was I had already spent that first $100 voucher about 15 times over in my head. I guess I will have to tell Jarrod to suffer in his jocks a little longer. I mean that literally; the kid seriously needs new jocks!

As to the other things happening in my oh so exciting life (insert cricket chirp here) Sam is absolutely gorgeous! He isn’t 100% the poor bub, but that just makes him cuter! He has a croaky throat at the moment and he tries to cry but it comes out more like a squeek. I think I should appear more maternal and concerned, but the fact is that the poor little muppet just needs lots of cuddles, a little bit of panadol and as many smiles as he can get. I will be a happier mummy when this bout of teething is over for all of our sakes. On top of his croaky throat, sore gums,and a less than serious mummy, Sam had his fist day at childcare this morning. I won’t write anymore about that here. Trust me it’s a blog in itself! I love my little munchkanoo sooo much it hurts.

Jarrod is still both a champion and a good looking rooster, and I shall continue to tell him so untill my opinion on the matter changes (never). He is presently interested in something called ‘Mighty Beans’ or as I call them collectable choking hazards! It never ceases to amaze me the plastic landfill the market to our kids as entertainment. Half the time Jarrod will passionately proclaim that his 8 year old life cannot be complete without the addition of some new brain numbing video game. Then should we relent and gift him with said game it is usually forgotten about within days. Sigh, if only he would realise that he is actually far far happier outside in the garden or on his ripstick than inside in front of what my father calls the ‘idiot box’!

It is nice to be back at Uni, childcare guilt and all. I may sing a different tune in wk 9 but for the moment it is nice to be reassured that there is still a brain left in there after this pregnancy. I just have to keep my bag under lock and key, apparently a love of all things stationery is hereditary and Jarrod has inherited the gene from me. The child has about 173 pencil cases around the house, and he is always on the lookout for new additions. He reminds me of a squirrel storing away nuts for the winter! Don’t even get me started on his Smiggle addiction. I guess I can’t really point the finger; we can only ever go to Smiggle after we have gone to Kikki.K for my fix!

So to another day with a wonderful family. Now go hug someone you love! (preferrably someone who is aware you love them and reciprocates some measure of like feelings toward you)

xox

4 Things I Am Loving Right Now.

1. Words

I try so hard not to use so many of them but alas it is a skill I am yet to master! I love words! I love to craft them so that they say exactly what I want them to. I love that I don’t have to be satisfied with a mediocre sentence, when with a little effort and my trusty thesaurus I can turn it into something wonderful, emotive and tangible.

I guess I feel that language is my art. Like a sculptor; I feel the words, weigh them and shape them. Like a chef I season what I write with sweet, sour, salt and spice. The pen is my brush, the page my canvas and my imagination the only limitation to what I can create.

2. Our Dog Winnie

We got Winnie the year we got married 1999. We were young, just 20 & 21 and the idea of starting a fur family was really exciting to us. So one December evening we saw a notice advertising free puppies and that is how Miss Winnie came to be a Hunter…

She is a Samoyed cross Kelpie who has run away more times than I can remember, but thankfully we have always got her back! When Jarrod arrived in 2001, she accepted him as the litter mate she had always wanted; the two have been fast friends and partners in crime ever since! I was very disturbed to find out that she is now classified as a canine senior citizen, to us she will always be the weird looking little black ball of fluff we fell in love with nearly 11 years ago!

3.  Brotherly Love

Yes these are my boys. Sigh… For 8 years it was just Shaun, Myself and Jarrod, we were The Three Amigos and we did everything together as a very tight unit. We even travelled to China and walked on the Great Wall.

Yet noting comes even remotely close to the wonderful privilege of watching Jarrod finally become a big brother. You see, while we have shared mostly great times as a family of three; one thing we also shared was a miscarriage in 2006. The very morning after we told Jarrod that there was a baby on it’s way, the worst happened. My special little man was there with me holding my hand while I cried, with wide eyed understanding of the profound loss . He still speaks of ‘our baby that died’.

So knowing all of that, you can see how full our joy has been at Sammy’s arrival. To describe the boys bond is impossible. They share a world of love to which I am not privy, and yet from my spectators seat on the outside my heart bursts with joy at the relationship so long awaited by one, and so wholly adored by the other.

4. The Rain.

I know it sounds cliched but I love the rain! I am a girl who grew up in Central Victoria under a corrugated tin roof.  So to me there is nothing quite like the sound of those first few drops thwacking on the roof, harbingers of the myriad drops to come. I no longer live under a tin roof, but after these drought plagued years, there is something decadently delicious about muddy puddles. There is something infinitely magical about the new cover of green over the land. There is something desperately romantic about the city streets and their rainbow reflections on a rainy night. I love the rain; it crystalizes my attention in the moment, yet gently coaxes the delicate flowers of childhood memories back into the light.


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