Day 30: A Letter to Myself

Well Hi There Good Looking!

Wow, the temptation to hide this whole letter behind a thick curtain of irony is frighteningly strong right now. However, I’m going to try really hard not to do that, because to be perfectly honest, I’m so sick of hiding. I’m tired of finding the corner in a crowded room, I’m tired of trying to make myself small and un-noticeable (yes that is ironic, since there is nothing small about me!) and I’m just plain tired of hiding who I am behind who I think I should be.

A good friend of mine recently picked me up on the whole hiding thing. She said that my willingness to share my deepest and most personal life stories with every man and his neighbour is just another way of hiding. I shield myself with these stories like a careful camouflage, using them as a distraction. Much like the tail of a peacock. It dazzles the eye, distracting you from noticing that the bird is actually a dude, and that he’s dressed like the love-child of Elton John and Dame Edna (ironic). If you do happen to notice these things? Well, hopefully you’re still too captivated by the intricacies of that tail to care. Apparently I do that with my dazzling stories of depression, and being overweight. Who knew!?

So, what does all of this mean? Will I start wearing magenta spandex wherever I go now? Will I now announce my arrival into a room with a hearty rendition of ‘Don’t you wish your girlfriend was hot like me’? No, I don’t think that’s the point of all this revelation. It’s not about me being noticed or unnoticed, it’s about coming to a place where I finally see the person I am and just accept her.

These letters have been a revelation. They have been a chrysalis, a journey and a birthing. They have revealed so much of what is within me, and they have opened my eyes anew to the extraordinary and miraculous people around me. I have been hugged, thanked, encouraged and embraced by people in a way I could never have imagined. I have reflected, and explored and articulated my life and self and I have been changed because of it. These things just don’t happen in a corner, they don’t happen when you are burying yourself in the sand, they don’t happen when you are trying so hard to be what you think is acceptable to everyone else. They’ve happened here, in this piece of cyberspace where I am front and centre. Where I have poured out my self and discovered a person I kinda like! she is caring, and insightful. She is witty and naughty. She is flawed and in some places a bit broken. But she is emerging, and she is brave, and I have a sneaking suspicion that she is also going to be a bit fierce!

I don’t know what the future holds, but I know it is big, I know it is good and I know I will play the main character! There are no limits, there are only possibilities and opportunities waiting for me to seize them. My life is immense and it’s about time I started to explore it!

And this will be my theme song!!

Now, chin up, shoulders back, and move away from the corner…

Love you xo

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Day 29: A Letter To My Son

Hello There Boy,

This is your letter. It’s a special one. I’ve been baking it, pondering it and at times wrestling with it for a few weeks now. I knew I would get it here eventually, it’s just been a process. One day you will understand what a process is, for now don’t you worry about it.

A decade, that’s how long you’ve been around, and from the moment you entered our lives you have been loved, treasured and cherished, that won’t ever change, no matter what the future holds, your place in our hearts is secure and safe and growing daily.

Some days I catch myself looking at you and just shaking my head because I cannot believe how fast time has flown! My memories are so fresh that I can still smell the powder and wipes scent of your nursery.

I love it that you remember special things too! Like the time I imprinted you with the scent of lavender!! I guess it was a form of brainwashing – making you smell the crushed flowers as I smothered you with kisses and hugs, telling you to remember how much I love you every time you smell lavender – but I don’t regret it, not when you still bring it up every now and then when you find a lavender bush!

You also remember some of my less stellar parenting moments… For all of the times I have let you down, or not done the right thing by you I am so sorry. I promise you I am trying to do the best I can, I am learning and growing every day just like you.

I love how complex you are, and you have been since the day you were born! One of my most vivid memories is of pushing you through the hospital corridors in one of those plastic tubs they put all new babies in. I had just given you a bath, and I looked down at you and there you were; this little bundle with black  spiky hair and dark blue eyes, peering up at me as if questioning my ability to pull this whole mothering caper off! Well, you’re still breathing, so I guess for the most part I’ve done okay.

You’ve walked alongside me through some of the darkest and most traumatic days of my life, and they have  revealed in you a tenderness that takes my breath away. I will never forget that morning when you awoke to me crying, you climbed up into my lap  as I explained that the baby in my tummy had died, you looked into my eyes with an understanding I would have found surprising in a grown man. The feel of your little hand in mine through that long day of hospitals and despair was an anchor that I may never be able to fully explain, but if I suddenly lost every memory I ever had, I am sure that the feel of your hand within mine would anchor me once more.

I love that you have a beautiful respect for life, all life. Especially those without a voice, those who cannot defend themselves, you are a brave defender. There is no cruelty in you, no viciousness or darkness that I see in so many other boys your age. You are an example of what real strength can look like. Kind, genuine, caring, brave and strong, don’t be afraid to be different from those around you, often they are just waiting for the right person to follow. That person is you, be the leader I know is inside of you. Anyone can pick up a weapon and bring death – but it takes a very special person to inspire people to live. It is all within you – keep letting it come out.

You are growing into a wonderful young man, I want you to know just how proud I am to be your mother. While there will be many things that will change over then next few years I want you to know that there are some things that will never change – no matter how much time goes past:

  • I will always be your mum
  • I will always try to kiss, hug, touch, pinch (in a teasing and loving way) and generally show affection at every opportunity
  • I will always see the best version of you
  • I will always try to help you
  • I will always want to talk with you
  • I will ALWAYS know best
  • I will always love you
  • I will always have other things to add to this list!

You are one of a kind. I am so glad that you are mine. Grow big and strong, follow your dreams and know that I believe in you, in everything you can be and will be.

I love you a million hippopotamus yawns.

Always and forever

Your Mum xxoo

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Day 27: A Letter To A True Friend

Hi,

Have you noticed that whenever we talk or write to each other it feels like we are just picking up our conversation wherever we left it last? I guess that lot’s of people feel that way, but it’s one of the things I like best about our friendship – that, and Matt Damon movies, and Zoolander, and iPhones, and Apple products.

You were a bit of a surprise really, certainly not what I expected when I first met you. To be perfectly honest I don’t know that I had any expectations at all.  You just showed up and promptly turned my world on it’s head, kicked me out of my rut, and pushed me back into the traffic flow of life (thanks for that!). You did all of this, and I’m still not sure that you even realised you were doing it at the time! But that’s just the person you are, you activate people, you flip their switches and push their buttons, you get them onto the path they need to be walking in order to reach their goals – or find their goals – or think about finding some goals to reach. You’re good at it too, don’t ever doubt that.

I love it that our friendship hasn’t been all rainbows and unicorns , or beer and skittles, or paddle pops and milky ways either (I made that last one up). We have weathered a few storms, and believe me when I tell you, I thought a couple of them were the end of us. Yet, somehow we managed to navigate our way through them. I like to think that Matt Damon would be proud, in a Jason Bourne kind of way – you know, we triumphed in the face of insurmountable odds and all that. Seriously though, I’m glad we did make it through, because those trials – those times when instead of communication it felt like we were hacking at each other with samurai swords – yep, those trials somehow managed to transform into something beautiful and strong. A friendship that goes beyond the pop-culture brand of friendship and becomes something closer to family.

Not many people can honestly say they have a friend who has seen them at their worst. Now, I’m not talking about 6am bed hair, morning breath and panda eyes worst, no I’m talking about full meltdown, tantrum throwing, I want to scoop eyeballs out with a spoon worst  – just raw unadulterated ‘ugly-you’. Well I believe congratulations are in order, we have both been there – and survived! (can I have my spoons back now please?). There are lots of warm and fuzzy inspirational quotes which are applicable to this sentiment, but since you spend even more time on the internet than I do, I won’t bother repeating them here. I know you understand where I’m going with this.

Essentially, at some point you went past the parameters of friend and you became family. I don’t know how you did it, I’m impressed you survived to be honest, but now that you are family there’s some things you need to know.

  • You can never escape – I will hunt you down and bug you till you come back again, because that’s what a family is meant to do – stick together.
  • You never have to go far to ask for help – with anything (except body disposal, you know how I feel about your  homicidal tendencies) I will always be there to give you my best, even if my best is completely useless, it’s yours!
  • You will never be alone, you will always have someone alongside you – now read that carefully because it doesn’t say I will always be on your side –  what happens if I have to play against you in Monopoly or Scrabble?

In short I guess what I’m trying to say is that alone we are awesome, but together… WE ARE FIERCE!!!

I love you

xxoo

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 18: A Letter To Someone Who Wants To Give Up

Dear Weary One,

I don’t know who this letter is for, I just know that it’s has been rattling around inside of me for the last 2 days. I know you must be out there somewhere, so if you’re reading this and it’s hitting home, then please take it to heart. I would tell you these things in person if I could, but for now letter form will have to suffice.

I get the feeling that you are just so tired. You’re tired of fighting through the same rubbish every day. You’re tired of the act, the monotony and the endlessness of it all. You’re just plain tired, in fact no one in the history of the universe has ever been as tired as you are right now. That’s right, no one. Ever. Ever.

You don’t want to keep reading because you think I’m going to get all pep-talkey on you, well I’m not making any promises but I will try to keep the sunshiny rainbow stuff to a minimum, I would like to draw your attention to the fact that things can always get worse. You could be forced to spend the next 3 minutes with a rainbow pooping space traveling pixel-cat with the worlds most irritating soundtrack! Observe.

Now that I’ve shown you that life can in fact always get worse, let’s get back to discussing you. I have no idea what’s bought you to the place where you no longer posess the vision, the desire or even the energy to face your future, all I know is that for some reason todays letter is for you. The least you can do is read it, it can’t be as bad as another 3 minutes of Nyan Cat up there!

So here’s what I want to say to you.

If you’re still breathing, then there’s still hope! – In the words of the uberwise Kung Fu Panda “Yesterday’s history, tomorrow’s a mystery, but today is a gift. That’s why it’s called the present”. Now, you can’t get cross at me for how corny that is, it was uttered by a panda. No one can be mad at pandas, they’re way too cute!

Seriously though, you need to understand that if there’s still life left in your body, then no matter how bad you feel right now your purpose in this world is not complete. There is an incredible plan for you, you’ve just wandered away from the path a little bit! I get it I have been there so many times I’ve lost count, but I have also taken my own and other very smart and loving people’s advice and just kept on breathing. Eventually you will find your way through! Dory had it right all along!

 

Yes, I am quoting cartoons an awful lot in this post, but you know what? When my 2 year old falls down, even when he has really hurt himself you want to know what he does? He picks himself up, runs over to either myself or his daddy and presents us with his injury. He expects us to press a gentle kiss upon the ‘owie’ so that it can be made all better and he can continue on his way.

Yes, life is really that simple! It really does come down to a few very simple points.

  1. Stuff Happens – It can really suck sometimes, it can make you cry, it can even make you bleed, but if it doesn’t kill you, then I guess that means you’re not out of the game yet. Awesome!
  2. Take your ‘owie’ to the right people – Can you imagine what would happen if my child took his injury to another injured and crying child instead of coming to his parents? It would turn into the loudest, saddest, most unhappy place in the playground! A hurting child will not have sympathy and tenderness required to care for another hurting and crying child. Instead they will feel the need to cry even louder to ensure that the real caregivers can hear them and help. Don’t try to get the help you need from someone who is in the same place as you are! Take yourself to the people who have what you need to get yourself through this time!
  3. Once you have what you need, don’t just sit there afraid of getting hurt again – get back out there and laugh and play! Simply enjoy the feeling of the wind in your hair as you go down the slide, or the giddiness of the merry-go-round. Life happens in the simple pleasures. If you have forgotten that, then you will forever   feel that you lack what you need to live a happy and joy filled life.
  4. A smile changes everything and everything can change with a smile. Start there and the rest will follow.

Don’t give up. The best is yet to come!

Love you

xo 

Day 11: A Letter to My Dreams

Dear Dreams,

Actually, you know what? Just forget the whole ‘Dear Dreams’ thing. As far as I’m concerned, that’s like starting a letter with ‘Dear People’, it’s dumb! I mean, to which dreams am I referring? My sleep dreams? My daydreams? Dreams, as in my aspirations, or do I mean the dreams I had as a child? The ones swept away on the tides of time – I never did become the Cabbage Patch Kid Spokesperson.

Let’s start with my sleeping dreams, I dream vividly. Every night. I don’t always remember them, but usually I’ll hold onto at least a few frames of memory, enough so I know that my mind was wild and active while I slept. I love to dream, I’ve dreamt of the most wonderful things and places.

I’ve walked through a mansion created out of a living rainforest. Ceilings that vaulted into the sky, where the light was soft and green and the air smelled of a waterfall. The massive trunks would merge and divide to form rooms, doorways and windows. Nothing was cut or manufactured, it was all a part of a peaceful majestic whole.
I have flown through the halls of my primary school, felt the exhilaration as I burst out of the doors and into the sky; free, high above everything I ever experienced there.
I have been presented before medieval royalty, wearing an amazing gown of deep silver. I bowed before a throne and solved a mystery hidden within a tapestry.
I have woken myself up with my laughter, and I have woken my husband up with my swearing (sorry!).
I love to sleep, because when I dream, there my imagination is free and unconstrained. I learn about myself, I am told stories, I am brave and adventurous.

Do you dream?

Then there are aspirational dreams, these are trickier. I think their trickier-ness is tied up in the whole childhood part of our dreaming. How many times in your life were you told that for one reason or another, the dreams you had conceived for your life were at best, unlikely, at worst, downright stupid? Yeah, me too – we’ve all had ‘well meaning’ adults kill a dream in it’s infancy with a good dose of reality. Well I think it’s about time we kick reality up the bum (yes, Mummy said bum – she’s sorry).

I lost all my dreams for a really long time. It was awful. Life was so grey, so boring! Then as I began to seize some crazy ideas, some not so crazy and very do-able opportunities opened up! I announced one day that I wanted to be a writer – people looked at me with polite surprise, eyebrows raised and awkward murmurs. But while the dream seemed crazy at the time – the steps I took eventually led me to university. Since then I’ve grown into that dream a little bit at a time. Reality would have scoffed at the notion of me studying at Oxford University, but I did that too!

I have other dreams: I want to live in America – San Francisco has a special place in my heart. I want to walk through Scotland and Ireland and watch my husbands face as he inspects the ancient stone walls. I want to inspire people on a global scale – I want to share hope and life. I’m sick of watching people shrink and decay in lives without vision. I want to write books, lots of books – stories that shatter the walls people have built to contain their imaginations.

Dreams are amazing things, but unless they are coupled with belief and action. They are nothing more than wisps of smoke in the space between waking and sleeping. A dream is a seed, within it is the potential for that final destination. Unless you plant it, and surrender to the processes that must happen for it to grow it will always remain simply words on your wall, a line in your journal or a secret in your heart.

I guess this wasn’t really a letter to my dreams after all, it was really a letter to dreamers.

So My Dear Dreamers,

Dream Big, Be Brave, Be Strong, Be Extraordinary!

xxoo

 

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