Day 26: A Letter To Bear Grylls

Dear Mr Grylls,

I’d like to take this opportunity to say thank you.
Now, don’t get too excited, because I’m sorry to say this isn’t the kind of ‘thank you’ that credits you with my miraculous survival. No, I just wanted to acknowledge your stellar ability to trigger my gag  reflex, and for changing the way I see sleeping bags (and sheep, for that matter) forever.
I have spent countless nights curled up on the couch surrounded by the 3 males I live with; my husband Shaun, my eldest son Jarrod (10 years) and my little man Sam (2 years). We have watched you jump, fall, dive, drop or swim your way into places the rest of us quite frankly prefer to avoid. But, in the name of entertainment, ultimate preparedness, I have never balked watching you eat and drink the most unpalatable forms of ‘nutrition’ (okay?) known to man – family bonding at it’s finest!
Although that one episode where you gave yourself an enema…Yeah, I could have done without the questions (and uncomfortable wiggles) that one bought up!

It’s my honest opinion that you’ve created a new yardstick for ‘disgusting’,  because let’s face it, if it makes you gag, then I’m fairly certain that 98%  of the rest of us would seriously consider starvation as a preferable alternative to ingesting it!

All that aside though, I seriously do want to thank you for some very real and very important things.

Thanks for being a good guy. I know you aren’t perfect, and I know that your show is edited to create a story, so don’t think I have you up on a big shiny pedestal, because I don’t. I do however know, that no amount of editing could ever hide a corrupt character, that’s why it’s been such a pleasant relief to have you come into our home, week after week. You entertain and teach my impressionable boys (okay mostly Jarrod, but Sam really likes it when you light fires and jump off cliffs) in a way that captivates and engages them. Even when you are shivering with cold and suspended 10 feet above a bear infested forest you talk about faith, family and friendship. You are a role model I am very proud that they have chosen to look to. Just maybe not on the food front!

You demonstrate that almost anything is possible (and edible) for someone willing to give more than their 100%. You’ve shown that sometimes things go wrong, bad situations can always get infinitely worse, but it’s the way we allow ourselves to think and feel in those times that will play a huge role in how we traverse them. You have made it easier for me to explain why I won’t be buying anymore electronic gaming devices!
“If Bear Grylls can make do with a backpack, a knife and a piece of rope then you do not need an xBox 360! No, I will not buy you a knife, Bear Grylls uses his to cut out fish eyeballs and eat them, are you going to eat fish eyeballs?”

Indeed, you are a great part of this family, you and every, bee, snake, worm, fish, spider and goat testicle you have ever eaten!

*gag

So, thank you for  doing what you love, for doing it with your whole heart and for doing it with integrity. Just please, no more enemas!

Amelia xo

Day 25: A Letter To Christmas Shoppers

Attention Shoppers!

Since this is my 25th letter, and it’s the 1st of December I felt there was a nice sense of symmetry in addressing this letter to you. As you are no doubt aware there are only 23 full days of shopping remaining until all bets are off and the focus shifts from purchasing to cooking. The good news of course, is that shortly after the ‘cooking’ comes the ‘eating’ followed inevitably by the ‘sleeping’ for anyone over the age of 40 and all parents who were awake till all hours ‘preparing’ only to woken up pre-dawn by over zealous children for whom sleep was no longer an option.

So

Before you can get to all of thatyou have to make it through the next 23 days. I would like to share some friendly advice in the hopes that it will make these final frenetic days easier on us all.

  1. Carparks are not battlefields.
    Every year I am astounded by the collapse of civilsation that occurs in shopping centre parking lots. Generally speaking,  when we choose to go shopping in the month of December, it should come as no surprise that at least 80% of the population will have had the same idea. Why then, is it such an outrage to people that they will have to spend longer than their accustomed 5 minutes looking for a carpark? This is when you begin to see ‘competitive parkers’ at their worst, most psychotic, finest – they feel that speed and cutting corners will win them the prize. Then there are the ‘creative parkers’, they meander through the stipulated aisles for a time, then simply create a spot for their vehicle, regardless of nature, road markings or intended use. The list could go on forever, I could discuss the ‘irate parker’, the ‘greedy parker’ or the ‘hot-and-bothered parker’ (Christmas Down Under is in summer remember – much of our shopping is done in 40°C (104°F) weather!). Let me just ask that you take a moment before you even leave home to accept that parking is going to be a challenge, instead of succumbing to one of the above, choose to take deep breaths and relax until you find a space.
  2. $$$ Does not = ♥!!!
    Unfortunately we live in a world that is dominated by a commercially driven media. Said media has spent the last 30 years becoming masters at turning ‘wants’ into ‘needs’. Daily, we are bombarded by messages that manipulate and distort the way we see the world, ourselves and each other. At no other time is this more prevalent than during the holidays – “If you really, genuinely, deeply love her, then you must to buy her these amazing diamond earrings!”.
    “Parents, the only way that your kids will ever know how much they mean to you, is if you purchase them another, newer, more realistic (and way more expensive) video game console!”.
    This is so far from reality that it borders on the insane. For most of us, money is tight at the moment, yet millions of families will go further into debt this festive season in the vain attempt to prove that their love measures up to a bar that is designed to always be out of reach. Spend some time (not money – did you see what I did there? :)) and think about what really matters to your true love, is it time, adventure, or romance? Get creative and think outside of the retail grease trap. One  simple gift, filled with thought and love is worth so much more than a generic, expensive and mass produced ‘something’, which – more likely than not also contributes to the subjugation of workers in the third world! Don’t you agree? Spend less, but give more of yourself. 
  3. Christmas is NOT about gifts – It is about THE Gift.
    Don’t worry I’m not going to get preachy, but I feel we need a gentle reminder of what this holiday is all about. I mentioned earlier, the consumer culture we live in dominates the way we celebrate Christmas, the sad thing is it’s only getting worse. It’s sad because the more it becomes about spending and purchasing and gifts and stuff, the emptier we feel at the end. Every year people become more and more disillusioned with the entire celebration. Why? Because it has become a franchise. It has moved so far away from it’s actual meaning that it has lost all meaning.
    Christmas is the celebration of God’s gift to the world – Jesus, not Justin Bieber. People want to celebrate His birthday, yet can get downright defensive and insistent that Jesus has nothing to do with it! Sorry folks, He is Christmas. You can ignore what I’m saying, that’s completely up to you, but them’s the facts and ignoring them wont change them.

So, as you embark upon what is in reality a wonderful and joyous, sometimes insanely busy time of the year, I hope that you take a moment to really examine the things you’re doing. Be it battling in a parking lot, parting with your hard earned (or borrowed) cash or figuring out what it is you believe. I want to encourage you to make room for Jesus in your celebrations, because it is after all His birthday you are celebrating.

I hope you have a safe and happy Christmas.

Love Always

Amelia xo

Day 24: A Letter To Someone Who Is On The Path

Dear Traveller,

You know there are some places that are just filled with profound treasures? The Matrix is one of them! This is a quote that just smashes through your thought processes and dumps the truth right at your feet.

“There’s a difference between knowing the path, and walking the path”.

I wonder though, if you realise how much this applies to where you are right now? In case you don’t I am going to try to break it down for you real quick okay? Okay.

So the world is filled with billions of people, but let’s just look at the general population you’re familiar with for now. Every person has within them the potential to be, achieve, attain, anything they set their minds to. Yet for some reason, most of them achieve very little. They finish school, enter the workforce, start a family and tend not to wander too far outside of this pattern for the rest of their lives. Now, I’m not saying that this is wrong, far from it. This is in itself a ‘path’, but what my question is, is this the path they always knew for their life?

What I notice happens within the framework of ‘growing up’ is that responsibility and reality evict dreams and aspiration. They simply crowd out the space where vibrance and adventure used to live. Replacing them with an anesthetized landscape that has all the personality and potential of an elevator. Sure, you think your moving, but in reality you’re just visiting the same floors over and over again.

Now I am not saying that those who live with responsibility and reality are creatively castrated, remember I’m both a mum and a wife and I have more than my fair share of both! I am just saying that it has taken me a long and often very bleak journey to rediscover some of those dreams and to recapture that vibrance that I allowed to be choked so many years ago. Those destinations that I knew existed and were integral to the landscape of my path.

‘Knowing your path’ doesn’t mean you’re going to know every step, every pebble and pot-hole. What it means is that you should know the landmarks, those things that you have a passion for: writing, aircraft, caring for the sick, tapestry! It really doesn’t matter what the landmarks are, you just have to make sure that they feature upon your path. Today it’s too easy to know your path, know what you love, know what you dream and then allow yourself to be detoured by doubt, insecurity and sometimes, open opposition. Walking your path will take courage, it will take conviction and it will certainly take choice.

Look at the choices you have made so far, celebrate those which have led you further along the path you know, and perhaps look at road-blocking some of the choices that you can see aren’t really getting you anywhere. Choosing to go after your dreams might be hard, it might mean hours of study late into the night, it may mean ignoring the mocking of those who are close to you, it might mean years of financial sacrifice, but those are your steps to take. You have to remember it’s your path, no one else’s.

I look forward to watching your path unfold. Remember, always choose the red pill! While ignorance might be blissful for a while, eventually you will see that you’re simply wasting away in a bubble of frustration. At least with your eyes wide open, you can see where you are going!

 

 

 

 

 

xxoo

 

 

 

 

 

Day 23: A Letter To Someone Who Has Changed My Life

Dear Dr Paul,

I guess it’s about time I told you all of these things, it’s certainly been a long time coming. You see when I began this blog, my first post was dedicated to one of the two people who had a huge influence upon me taking steps toward becoming a ‘writer’. In that post I hinted that I would eventually tell the story of the first person that nudged me onto this path of words. The person who quite literally changed my life.

That person was you.

It’s better than fiction really. A depressed, overweight housewife goes to visit the local GP at a sleepy country medical practice. She wants to lose weight, expecting to be glanced over and handed a prescription for diet pills (again) she has no idea that her life is about to change.

I don’t know what you saw that day, or if you even remember me, but I will always remember you. I remember leaving your office with an assignment instead of a prescription, you asked me to write the story of my life and bring it back to you in a week.
So I wrote, and wrote, and wrote! I remember my husband asking me one night as I scratched away in my notebook, if I was going to have to pay you extra for how long it would take you to read it! Eventually, satisfied that I had captured how I saw my life I gave you the missive and waited for your evaluation. I also suspected that as well as diet pills you may also add a couple of extra prescriptions!

I will never forget your face as you sat before me the following week. You held my chronicle in your hands and looked me in the eye.

“I want you to make me a promise. I want you to faithfully promise me something”.

My heart was in my throat by this stage, I think I murmured a strained “okay”.

“I want you to promise me that you will go to university”.

I’m fairly certain I stopped processing most everything else after that, university was the last thing I expected you to say! Yet, with that one word a light switched on inside my soul. To this day that light hasn’t dimmed, it continues to burn brighter with every step I take on this path of words and tales.

I know I left your office that day filled to overflowing with encouragement. Filled with vision as I hadn’t been before, you looked beyond the frumpy and lost person who wandered into your office, and deposited hope and possibility. I could write for decades and never come close to explaining the profound and pivotal role you have played in my life, I will be glad if this letter provides you with even the slightest glimpse of the changes your influence has wrought.

It may seem strange to others reading this, that from that point my contact with you was very little. I think the last time I saw you was to show you my acceptance letter into university. So let me take this opportunity to give you a quick ‘highlights reel’ of the last 4 years…

  • 2008-2009 Achieved a HD average across all subjects.
  • 2009 Gave birth to Samuel Shaun.
  • 2010 Began this blog and continued with study maintaining my HD average.
  • 2011 Was accepted into Oxford University’s Creative Writing Summer Program and spent 5 weeks studying and exploring England and Scotland.

Obviously I could expand each of those points a million times over, but I really just wanted to give you a glimpse of how my life has changed. Because of you.

Because as a doctor, you chose to see me as a story instead of a case study. You unlocked something that allowed me to make choices I didn’t even know were available to me. You opened my eyes to a new future, if I was brave enough to jump into it. I am so glad I was!

I don’t know how many other people you’ve influenced or empowered as you have me, and though I’m only one I hope that you understand how thankful I am for you. My life has forever been made infinitely more wonderful, adventurous, imaginative and colourful because you dared to be more than every other doctor I have known.

I now understand that we can never know just how much our words, our encouragement, our belief can transform a persons life.

Thank you from the depths of my heart.

Amelia xo

P.S. I’m still chunky 😉

Day 22: A Letter To Make You Smile

Hi,

My last couple of letters have been fairly deep,  perhaps not my letter to Santa but still, Christmas gifts are nothing to laugh about, so I decided to write you a letter that would make you smile. The problem with this concept has been that so many of the letters I’ve begun tonight have had to be abandoned due to content concerns.

For example, my first idea was to discuss what my life would be like if I were a man. I know, in theory it’s a great idea right? The problem was, that about a third of the way through I became so frustrated with my perception of how a man would see my life that I wanted to throw the computer through the window. It wasn’t funny, it was sarcastic and small minded and cliched – it also focused far too heavily on breasts.  So I took a break and started watching Criminal Minds instead. For anyone out there who may also be trying to create something humorous or uplifting, Criminal Minds probably isn’t the best ‘mood setter’ for your creative juices.
Next I tried something similar to my previous attempt and simply examined the differences between men and women. No, not physically, but rather looking at how they experience the world. I was actually really enjoying writing about this, until I realised that once again I had written nearly 200 words about breasts. Not appropriate at all and at this stage I was beginning to suspect that I may have issues.

So by this time I wasn’t just struggling with the frustration of writers block, but I was also considering my possible need for counseling – due to my disturbing preoccupation with breasts (I’m doing it again aren’t I?). I hadn’t achieved anything more than  350 inappropriate and therefore deleted words.
I was fuming, I needed chocolate. Turns out we didn’t have any! Why was there no chocolate in my house?

What on earth could I possibly write about that would make you smile. There was clearly nothing left in the entire world that was funny. All humour had been sucked from the universe (along with all the chocolate in my house), leaving nothing for me to write about tonight that would elicit even a smirk from the most lighthearted reader.

So I’m sorry to inform you that this letter contains nothing hilarious, funny or even mildly amusing. I misled you with my affable and enticing title, instead I have spent the last 400 words telling you exactly how I have tried and failed to deliver on that very promise. I have learned nothing, I did not grow as a human being, there was no journey, arc or epiphany.

Wait a minute.

I did learn one thing.

Did you know that there are over 138 slang words for breasts?!

Ha! Made you smile!

See Ya! xo

Day 21: A Letter To Someone Who Is Broken

Image

Another Beautiful Zaldy Infante Image

Hello Friend,

Is today a good day or a bad day?

I’m sure you’ve had, and will continue to have both. I’m not going to pretend to have all of the answers for you, I won’t even pretend to have any, I’ll just come and sit by you for a while, if that’s okay with you.
I don’t mind if you don’t want to talk, I’m fine with silence, I know that sometimes in the silence we hear the clearest. I just don’t want you to be alone, not even for a moment. No one should walk this path alone, even though thats exactly how it feels. That you’re detached, that the same ground you were conquering yesterday has crumbled around you, leaving you stranded and abandoned on an escarpment built for one. You are facing sharp rocks of grief that tear away at your heart, you are bewildered and disorientated in a blinding fog of powerlessness, and you are battered by storms filled with unanswered questions. Yes, I know what it feels like.

People may try to make you feel better by explaining that you are simply one of many, One of a countless number who have experienced this. They will tell you that endings are simply a part of life. Ignore them. They have no idea what you are feeling.
No one has ever felt this kind of pain, this kind of grief, this kind of loss, because this is your unique torture. This belongs to you.

I don’t mind if you want to cry. Crying isn’t a bad thing. I think that sometimes crying is like bathing a wound that no one else can see, the salt in our tears soothes, and begins the process of healing. It keeps the area clean and free of any bitterness or anger that can get stuck in there if we try to hold everything inside. Crying is the way we acknowledge that something hurts, and I know this is hurting.

I want you to rest. fold yourself into loving arms. I know that you have those around you. Let them carry you for a little while. Anything that is broken must have a time of rest, a time of stillness to let the trauma settle. Don’t worry, the world will keep turning even if you aren’t busy doing all of the things you normally do, and those things will still be there waiting for you when you are ready for them.

You will heal, but yes there will be a scar, however that scar can become something beautiful. You can find the promise within the pain, and you can break through into the sunshine once more. I know it.

So for now my broken friend, I will just sit here beside you and hold your hand. I will keep my breathing steady, so that you have a rhythm to follow. I will be here through it all, in any way you need me.

That is what friendship is all about.

Now close your eyes and rest, the sun will come out again in the morning.

Love Always

Amelia xo

Day 20: A Letter To Someone Who Is Working Too Hard

Dear Overextended,

I have been watching you lately – not in a creepy voyeuristic way or anything, just in the way a person watches out for someone they care about. I have to say, I’m a little concerned. Some people bite off more than they can chew, you seem to jump right to the chewing and don’t even look at the size of your portion! Believe me I’m the last person to lecture anybody about portion control, so it’s just as well I’m not pursuing the food analogy any further, but seriously I am worried that you’ll make yourself sick one way or another if you keep going the way you are.

The thing about gifted people is, they often have infinite possibilities available to them at any given moment. There are so many things that are within the realm of their ‘Possible’,  that they often mistake their opportunities for obligation.

For example: I have a car – therefore it is within the scope of my ‘Possible’ to offer a lift to every single person I see walking along the side of the road.  Being the kind hearted and good willed person I am, I know that my offer of transport could have a positive and uplifting effect upon the recipient. I could mean the difference between them arriving at their destination late or on time, wet or dry, even dead or alive (although if they were dead they probably wouldn’t actually arrive, but you get what I mean).

So, knowing all of the above, acknowledging that my assistance could have such a huge impact upon someone else’s life, knowing the fact that I have a car when they do not; am I therefore obligated to offer them assistance? Don’t look at me like I’m being stupid, I’m making a point!

Just because you can do something, doesn’t always mean that you should.

That’s why God invented busses, trains, taxis, horses and bikes, heck he even invented feet! That’s what I’m saying, while yes, you are a possible answer to a need, there are also many other answers available as well – even if you aren’t aware of them.

You know when they give the safety announcement on a plane? One of the things that always makes me uncomfortable is the part when they talk about the oxygen masks. They calmly tell parents to fit their own mask before they attend to their children. The mother inside of me is screaming “Are you insane!?” because in everything, my kids lives will always come before mine. But the fact is, the pretty lady with the yellow life jacket over her perfectly made up head is right – unless I have enough oxygen to keep my brain functioning, the chance of me being any kind of help to my kids is greatly reduced. You have to take the time to make sure that you’re okay, before you can be confident that you can help someone else.

I’m not saying that you need to stop everything that you’re doing, I’m not even saying that what you have been doing is too much. I’m just saying take a breath, check your oxygen levels, check those around you. If you need a break, take one. There are other hands, feet, taxis and busses all around you who will do whatever you need them to, all you need to do is ask.

Waiting for you to exhale.

Amelia x

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