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 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

Day 2: A Letter to my Parents

Dear Mum & Dad,

I guess I have to start at the beginning and say thanks for having sex 32 years ago. It was a defining moment for me. And also, thank you for never doing it again – except for that one time when you forgot to turn off the intercom system in the house. My sister and I have finished counseling and we are now reasonably nightmare free.

These letters really make me stop and sift through my memories, it’s a bit like gold panning. I scoop up a big bunch of stuff from my mind and swish it around to get rid of the boring bits like school, cleaning my room, homework, housework, nappies, chocolate. Then I spend snatches of time exploring the memories and emotions left over; every now and then a sparkle of gold catches me.

Some memories make me laugh. Like the time I threw that fake spider at Dad while he was driving on the freeway. Or when Mum would phone from some distant country town because she had slept through her train stop. Again.

Other memories make me shake my head and wonder what on earth you were thinking! Like the time my sister had to do an assignment in primary school about the dangers of smoking. Mum you thought it would be funny to parade us up to Dad’s butcher shop with real lit cigarettes in our hands (purchased for the authenticity of the poster) just to freak him out! Yeah, that didn’t have any lasting affects!

Then I think about our pets: ducks, dogs, cats, horses, sheep, a turtle, fish, cows, guinea pigs, rabbits and tadpoles; have I missed any? If there was an animal that needed a home and I found out about it, I was headed straight to you Dad – because I would feed it, and I would look after it! Anyone who visits the hometown lake can still see the descendants of Mr & Mrs Rubberface swimming merrily upon it’s water! I am so glad that my boys have inherited that same love and respect for animals that you nurtured and encouraged in me.

I think I can attribute my love of big words to you Mum. You once furiously admonished (big words 😉 ) me for ‘contradicting you’. From that point on I figured, “hey, if I’m going to get into trouble for it, I should at least understand what I did!”.

I also remember being homesick whenever I was away from you. School camp, horse riding camp, school holidays with Granny, a sleepover at a friends’ house. I longed to be home, where I was harboured and anchored. You sheltered me and accepted me, creating a world  for me that was safe.

I think more than anything, the abiding truth of your parenting is that you worked so hard for us to be happy. For us to have the things we needed, as well as some of the things we wanted so we could thrive and follow our dreams. I wonder if sometimes you doubt that you really gave that to us. But you did, and both of your daughters are now in their own way finding and following their dreams. We will always be held in the knowledge that you are proud of us, proud of the people we are as mothers, wives, sisters, daughters and friends.

This letter feels weird, suspended somewhere between funny and emotional, like it isn’t complete. There are so many things I would love to write but this just isn’t the place for it. The good thing is that I know I can say those things to you in person. I can tell you how much I love you and hug you. You will always be ‘home’ to the little girl inside of me and there is something very special about just being with you. Anytime and  every time. I know I have been gifted with strong, loving, encouraging, loyal and supportive parents. I hope that I reflect the wonderful example you have always been to me.

I also hope Mum, that I never contradict you again.

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I Love you both.

xxoo

Day 1: A Letter to my Best Friend


Dear Shaun,

I know I said I wouldn’t use names, but I changed my mind. Everyone should know that this letter is about you, you deserve that recognition. You are my best friend. The best of the best.

I know I have more than I deserve, somehow the most incredible people are a part of my life. There are several people I can call ‘closest friends’; but when I have to write a letter to my best friend, well there is only one choice. It’s you.

You have known me since I was 11, you came to my 12th birthday party and ate more of Mum’s lasagne than we thought possible! You frowned at me through my rebellious years, and flirted (using a dictionary) with me on the bus when you were 17. The word ‘brushed’ will always make me think of you.

You have taught me so much. How to argue – because out loud is always better than inside my head. You have taught me how to laugh at myself, how to use the whipper snipper, and how to play with our beautiful boys. You have taught me to believe in myself the way you believe in me, in a way that makes all dreams a possibility. You showed me how to be slow to speak and quick to forgive. Because of you I’ve learned how to let go of the small stuff and fight for what matters.

You make me laugh as no one else can. A gift that comes from a lifetime of shared experiences, some more bizarre than others. Like that time you were digging a grave for my guinea pig while our neighbour looked on making all kids of ‘witty remarks’ about the small dead creature in my hands – not realising it was dead of course. I will never forget the look on his face when you told him why you were digging the hole!

You were the first one to call me Milla, and now everyone does. Although no one else calls it out across the shopping centre in the style of a baby crocodile – only you do that.

Yours was the only face I saw as I walked down the aisle, Yours was the hand I held  while I delivered both our boys (sunroof style). You are strong. You are kind. You are faithful. You have picked me up when I fall down – both figuratively and literally. You are my fearless leader, my muse and my greatest gift. I thank God for you.

I am smart, I chose a best friend that will always be in my life. The last person I see before sleep and the first person I see when I wake – unless Sam gets in first! I chose the one who knows the worst of me – wobbly bits and all – and loves me regardless. One who challenges me to be better than I am and isn’t put off by my complaining. I chose you. The one I will grow old with, the one who’s socks I wash (sometimes). The one who has my heart.

You are my best friend.

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I Love you – Milla xo

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

 

 

 

In Every Acorn…

Isn’t it amazing when things happen and there was no way you could ever have foreseen or anticipated them? That’s how I feel about the past couple of months. Two months ago I was plodding my way through the ‘everyday’. You know the drill: the school routine, avoiding the washing, coming up with witty status updates, all the important things that make life what it is.

Then I went to a conference and the speaker; Bill Johnson made a statement that just made me stop.

He said: “In every acorn there is a mighty oak”.

I know that for some of you, this won’t be profound at all. You will read it and be all “pfft what’s the big deal with that?”. If that is you; then you should probably leave now and go watch talking animals on YouTube or something.

For those of you still with me; the reason this statement rocked my world was that it made me view EVERYTHING as an acorn! Okay, not everything; like, not my car or a Snickers bar (mmm Snickers), or the coffee table. But every decision, every conversation and every opportunity I realised, has the potential to become something substantial, something big and huge! I wonder how many acorns I have let slip through my fingers? I wonder how many I have recognised and just kept in my pocket cos I’m too scared lazy busy self-obsessed pre-occupied to find a place to plant it.

Next came the inevitable motherguilt maternal perspective as I got to thinking about my boys. They are two of the most amazing acorns ever! It’s my job to see them planted and cultivated and all that other horticultural stuff! But I wonder am I doing a good job? Are they sprouting, are their roots going deep?  Will they be amazing, strong and mighty specimens of their kind? I truly and deeply hope so.

Then I thought about the fact that some things can grow into might oaks that should never have been planted in the first place! Things like offense, and doubt and self-hatred. How many times has one of these little tough nuts been planted in my life? Then how much time and energy and *cough* manure have I invested in it’s growth? If I am honest there are a few healthy looking trees I need to ring-bark!

So there you have it; I encourage you to consider your own gardens, check out the trees that give your life structure. Do they spring from a good acorn or are they just nuts, draining you of precious energy? Also check your pockets, you might be surprised just how many precious little acorns you have floating around in there. Take a risk and plant them they could change your life!!

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