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

 

 

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Day 13: A Letter to a New Mum

Dear Mumma,

I’m going to attempt to write you the letter I wish I’d been given when I first found out I was pregnant. It will probably fall well short of being what you need, but even if one thing I say makes your journey a little easier, then at least I made a difference.

Motherhood will never be what you expect it to be. It will be so much more. The love you feel will be deeper, more profound than anything you’ve experienced before. However, so will a whole host of other emotions, there is no such thing as a normal mother so don’t even try to be one! The fact is that no one knows how they are going to travel upon the road of motherhood, but I have learned one thing – you don’t have to do it alone.

These days we are surrounded with false and misleading representations of what it means to be a mother. Television advertisements tell us that our children should be happy smiling angels, our washing should smell like a summer breeze, our kitchen benches should be so clean you can see your reflection in them and that we should look like the next character on Desperate Housewives. However, most of the time – especially for the first year or so you may in fact look like this:

 

And this is at 2pm in the afternoon. In fact if you did have curlers in your hair I would call it a win for you!

What this letter is not going to be, is one of those heavy-on-the-irony jobs filled with anecdotes of dirty nappies (daipers for all non-nappy speaking countries), vomit adorned clothing and a doom of sleepless nights. The fact is: poo, vomit, crying, fear, sleep deprivation, dismay, goofy joy, frustration, pride and a million other things are simply a part of the package. When it comes to babies, unless you have a host of servants assigned to all the messy bits, then you’re going to experience both the good and the bad. It’s a fact – moving on.

What this letter is going to beis a friendly note to say that you’re doing great. I don’t care if you are tucking a calm and peaceful little bundle into bed where they will sleep through the night, or if you are a sobbing puddle crouched outside your screaming infants door feeling like your world is collapsing. You. Are. Doing. Great.

Babies are like Ikea furniture with Japanese instructions. They look so basic in the showroom: eat, feed, sleep.  However when you get them home… Trying to figure them out on your own is just plain bewildering. So here are some things you really need to know:

Mother really does know best: If your gut is telling you there is something wrong with the health of your child, don’t be afraid to seek a second opinion. You know your baby better than anyone else. With babies it is always better to be over cautious and every doctor worth their salt will tell you the same thing.

Crying won’t hurt your baby:
So if you are in the shower and they start to cry, don’t panic. As long as they are safe, a little bit of crying wont do any lasting damage.

Don’t compare your child with anyone else’s: Every single one is different, they have different needs, bodies, temperaments, and abilities. Your child is exactly who they are meant to be.

Ignore all stares when your child cries in public – most of the time other mums will either glance at you in sympathy, or they will be thanking God that it isn’t their child crying today. We have ALL been there, take a deep breath and simply do whatever it is you need to do.

Baby wipes are little slices of miracle never ever be without them.

Choose your advisors wisely. When it comes to children and how to raise them everyone is an expert. Unfortunately many of these experts are actually secret nazi’s who would judge your every move. You just don’t need people like that in your life. Surround yourself with people who encourage and uplift you. If your baby is healthy and happy then you are doing a great job.

Hint: Look at other parents you know who, in your opinion are doing a good job raising their kids. These are the people who will probably be your best source of advice and help because they more than likely share common family ideals to you.

Take a deep breath, it’s a roller-coaster. Anyone who tells you different is lying or heavily medicated. The journey is different for everyone, you look at that little plastic strip and think you know what you are in for, but then every day from that point on is a learning curve. You aren’t alone. Just ask.

Love you xxoo

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 7: A Letter to a Stranger

Dear Devastated Family From Iran,

I was driving in my car tonight when I heard the news. Your child was one of at least 8 people who drowned in a failed attempt to reach Australia from Indonesia. I heard you trying to tell us about him, about how he was special and wonderful and treasured, but your voice kept breaking under the weight of your grief. It was as if each word that left you wasn’t clear, or accurate or enough to tell us who he was. He was your everything, he was your history and your future. He was your reason to keep fighting, keep walking and keep hoping that your life could be better – had to be better. He deserved that much at least, you gave everything to try and give him that chance.

As I was driving I couldn’t help but wonder if you’d had second thoughts before you got on that tiny unseaworthy boat. If you saw the other 65 passengers and had a moment of doubt about your choice. Perhaps you had been forced to take similar risks on your journey to  even get that far, or was where you were running from so terrifying that the danger of the sea voyage paled in comparison? Was there no risk too great to take in your quest for freedom? Now instead you are held prisoner by grief.

I don’t know why I was chosen to be born in this great country, in a place where  voicing an opinion contrary to those who rule will not involve risking death. I can’t explain to you why I am sitting here in my comfortable, safe home, while you are in a hospital across the ocean nursing a wound no parent should have to bear. Our media often tries to make us feel angry about people trying to gain illegal entry onto our shores. As if you are cheating, or trying to steal something that belongs to us. Yet as I write this letter to you, I don’t feel angry or cheated because you tried to come here through the back door. I feel conflicted. I understand why we have the legal processes in place to control the population blah blah blah… However I cannot say that if I were in your shoes – if I were so desperate to escape persecution and bondage, I can’t say that I wouldn’t risk everything to give my boys the chance to live in freedom.

So tonight I am praying for you, I am praying that in the depths of your despair you will be comforted. I will pray for those like you, those trapped in a life without freedom or escape. I will not allow my heart to become hardened against the humanity of your situation, anesthetised by physical, geographical and political distance. I will not let the media sanitise the reality of your tragedy. To do so, would be to allow yet another crime be exercised against you.

As you cry tonight for your child, know that you do not cry alone. Know that your cries do not go unheard. Know that someone else cries with you.

xo