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 

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Day 17: A Letter to a Twi-Hard

Dearest Twi-Hard,

I am writing you this letter, because quite frankly I feel that you’re in need of a voice of reason before you watch the newest installment of the Twilight Saga. Now I like the movies too, although perhaps not as much as a certain English girl on YouTube (I won’t post the video here because she swears so much!), but I have to admit that some fans make me a little embarrassed to be a 30 year old woman at the movies…

It isn’t the screaming youngsters who disturb me, they’re entitled to their share of teen obsession just as every generation that’s gone before them. I’m thinking for my parents generation it was Elvis and The Beatles, while the faces that adorned the walls of my friends growing up were Christian Slater, NKOTB and for a brief meteoric moment Edward Furlong. So, as I was saying, todays teenage girls are welcome to swoon at the sight of a life-size Edward shaped cardboard cutout at the local shopping mall, this doesn’t disturb me in the least.

No, the demographic that has me cringing are the host of 30-somethings who, inspired by the angst-filled first-love drama in these stories, sigh and pine over the barely-past-puberty lead characters. Frankly it’s gross. I mean ladies, I sat in the theatre on opening night of New Moon and was horrified to see women older than me ogling Taylor Lautner when he took his shirt off! Taylor Lautner was 17 then people, that is just very very wrong.

You need to understand that you are a grown up now, your days of wanting to your life to resemble an episode of  Neighbours or Home and Away are long behind you. By now you should have figured out that real life simply doesn’t happen like this, if it did, you would have survived 2 fires, 3 explosions, 1 hurricane and 1 freak tidal wave, 4 fatal car accidents, 1 case of amnesia and 3 pregnancies 2 of which you were uncertain of the father. I say thank God for a mundane life!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t enjoy the movies, or even allow yourself to indulge in the nostalgia they evoke. I am simply asking you to control yourself, keep those feelings inside and instead smile indulgently at the teens whose turn it is to obsess. Your life is what you make it, don’t make it a sad and pitiful thing by mooning over children who were still in nappies while you were having your first kiss!

Please just bear it in mind okay?

Sincerely grateful

xo

 

Day 16: A Letter To My Afflictions

** Before I begin, I should take a moment to clarify just what I mean when addressing my  ‘afflictions’. I’m not referring to any chronic illness or devastating disability (for which I am truly grateful), I am simply referring to those parts of my make-up for which I am constantly making, apology, allowance or restitution.

Dear Afflictions,

You really outdo yourself at times. Honestly, I have no idea how it is I have managed to live as long and fruitful a life as I have. I am astounded (and reluctantly impressed) by the tactics you employ to hijack my body and hurl me into all manner of awkward and usually embarrassing situations. Thank you for your excellent tutelage in the subtle arts of the delicate backpedal, the nonchalant recovery and the barefaced confession. Whilst my education continues, I really feel those of you who work hardest in my life deserve some attention of your own.

I’ll begin with my old friend ‘Inappropriate Curiosity’. I honestly can’t remember when you first came into my life, I do know that the older I get, the more aware of you I become.
I love the way you blindside me with your arrival, you bypass every filter between my brain and mouth in your quest to suck details straight from the source. The concepts of boundaries, manners or even good taste earn little more from you than a scorn filled scoff. So far you have had me:

    • Ask strangers “So, why did you have to go to the doctor today?”
    • Interrupt friends who are clearly in the midst of a deep and meaningful conversations with “Oooh, what are you guys talking about?”
    • Ask off duty policemen to recount their horror stories
    • Exclaim over a newly coiffed male friend, “Oh, look! You got new hair, was it through Ashley and Martin?”
    • Upon noticing a couple who looked especially in love “Did you get lucky last night?”

Every one of these cases has been followed by a moment of awkward silence in which neither party can quite believe what has just occurred. It is solely because of your tireless persistence that I have the slap-hand-over-mouth-eyes-wide-in-horror move down to perfection. I am also great with the follow up, “I’msosorrythatwassowrongpleasejustignoreeverythingIjustsaid”.
I wonder if anyone else is as familiar with you as I am?

Another great teacher over the years has been ‘Spatial Dysfunction’.
When you came stumbling into my world is anyone’s guess, perhaps I was dropped one too many times as a child. Perhaps it was because I never learned how to do the monkey bars properly as a child. Perhaps it’s because I’m really a size 8, but I’m stuck in a size 22 body….
Regardless of your origins, due to your constant and untiring attentions I can lay the following achievements at your feet:

      • 16,784 items knocked from shelves, racks, tables and displays.
      • 9,827 feet stood upon.
      • 22,456 tripping incidents, of which 11,001 were in public and 8722 involved me landing on another person.
      • 4,366 missed steps.
      • 1,283 children knocked over 1,008 of whom ended up crying.

There are so many more credits I could give you, I haven’t even mentioned the instances involving food. Suffice it to say I am well schooled in the ‘find-a-corner-and-stay-there‘ method of dealing with crowded rooms. I am also good at the ‘bump-and-freeze‘ move, this is especially useful in avoiding the ‘domino-disaster‘. That cataclysm of clumsiness, where one bump leads to a trip, followed by several spilled drinks and crescendoing with a squashed child and underwear on public display. After the ‘Wedding-gate’ incident of 2007 I have never been able to look at a dance floor without breaking into a cold sweat.

Indeed, as far as afflictions go, you guys have been my constant companions ever present reminders of my propensity for disaster. I do want to thank you for (so far) avoiding all video recording devices, for the record, I would like to make it clear that I have no desire to become part of the next ‘overweight-woman-should-know-better’ montage on Australia’s Funny Home Videos.

So cheers for the memories, and here’s to the future!

Thanks for teaching me to laugh at myself.

Amelia

xo

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 12: A Letter to Someone who Procrastinates

Dear Procrastinator,

You wonder why you feel so frustrated some days. Seriously? Take a look at yourself and be honest, you waste time like a Die Hard movie wastes buildings, cars, helicopters and the F-word. At least you don’t use the F-word! You wander around with your eyes closed pretending that you aren’t avoiding doing all the things that need to be done. What you seem to forget, is that while you’re busy avoiding the little things you are also avoiding life. Life exists within the small things, it happens when you are doing something, whether it’s washing clothes, doing homework, or writing a letter a day for 30 days! It’s the little things that lead you to those amazing big moments in life. Those special, momentous, memory-worthy moments in life only happen when you’re actually living not just existing. There’s a big difference

There are two types of people in this world, the watchers and the do-ers. The do-ers live their lives engaged, active and switched on. Sure they aren’t always climbing mountains, building skyscrapers or saving lives, but they are moving. They’re getting the things done that enable them to achieve incredible things – when Sipderman’s Spidey-Sense tingled he didn’t spent 15 minutes turning his house upside down looking for his Super Suit! No! He didn’t spend his down time watching funny cat videos on You Tube, he did his laundry!

Then there are the watchers. The ones who always seem to be on the sidelines watching the do-ers do life. They content themselves with being up to date with everyones else’s lives, all the while bemoaning the fact that their own life is so severely lacking. They crave adventure – so rather than cleaning the kitchen and then going to a park they haven’t visited before, they sit on their couch and watch a new action movie (downloaded illegally). They crave connection and relationship, so instead of having a shower and meeting up with a friend they haven’t seen in a while, they spend their time in chat-rooms and web forums complaining about how genuine friendships no longer exist.  These are the people who sit on Facebook, forever commenting on the status’s of those who actually have a status, yet never have anything worthwhile to share themselves!

The irony of the division between the watchers and the do-ers is nothing more than a choice. There aren’t any excuses that can prevent a watcher from becoming a do-er! Not money, not transport, not time. The fact is the change happens in a split second. Some call it motvation, some call it inspiration, but really all it is is the choice to finally make something happen and get it done. It begins with the little things, but those little things are actually the foundation upon which the big things can happen. Begin to change the first and soon enough you become the one with a status people want to comment on!

So, what are you waiting for? quit reading this letter and go and get something done!

Love you lots, you are amazing and incredible – I can’t wait to read your new status!

xxoo

 

Day 10: A Letter to Someone who Pesters My Mind.

Dear Depression,

You like the dark, you like secrets and hiding places and whispering. You crawl through my skin and infect me like a virus.

You are clever, I’ll give you that much. You don’t just attack like George W. Bush went at Baghdad – all ‘shock and awe’ but no intelligence. No, you’re much more subtle than that, first you lead and coax and goad me away from the sunshine, you do it so gradually I don’t notice the dimness. Then at just the right moment you take pleasure in pointing out that I have wandered off the path again, “another failure” you sigh. You do it with just enough condescension to make me feel concerned, you’re careful though, concerned can quickly turn into action and that’s not what you want. Instead you show me how far I have gone, not so far that I can’t find my way back – but far enough that I should be tired, and so I am. Weary to my bones, my scalp feels too heavy upon my skull, my arms are filled with lead and my brain simply cannot follow a complete thought through. I’m just so tired. So you nurse me to the ground, “rest a while” you say, “it won’t hurt to take a small break, you’ve been doing so well”.  You stroke my brow and soothe my thoughts with hollow congratulations while the world slows down around me.

Then I awake in the dark, and all I hear is you. You know my pain and you torment me with it. You slice into me with my doubts and feed while I bleed, then you mock me as I struggle to fight, to cling to hope – you laugh. The worst part is the rage, it’s like wearing a coat of fire, it burns at the base of my skull and hooks into my gut. It’s violent, every hopeless thought, every agonised cry of self destruction  amplified, intensified and unleashed directly into the core of who I am. It is the void within. It is your home.

But.

That was then. I know you now.

You are a fraud, a thief and a liar. You are the cuckoo who forced me to do your bidding for far too long. I was never alone as you kept telling me I was. I was never without hope or love or a future – you just kept me from feeling it and seeing it. You’re strong but there is one who is stronger.

No, it isn’t me. I can’t take the credit for winning this battle, it would be so wrong of me to even pretend I had anything to do with it. God saved me, He saw me wretched and broken and dying. He loved me where you had nothing but hate and venom. I chose Him over you and now I am held by grace. My weakness to your voice is now covered by His strength. You must really hate that!

How did I choose Him? I asked Him in – simple as that. With that choice a door flung wide, shining light and hope into my darkness. Then I asked for help, the help of those who love me and the help of professionals. Every day I grew stronger until I was once again living and breathing – once again me.

I know there’s still times when you get me to wander into darkness again, but I’m anchored to Him – to love. That love shines in the darkness and you are so afraid of its power. You are such a coward.

Even if only one suffering  person reads this letter, I hope they’ll finally see you for what you are. I hope they recognise your presence the way I did, I hope they ask God to shine His light so they can find their way out. I hope they reach out to those who love them and ask them for help. I hope they seek medical advice and trust that God is holding them in His grace, as He promised He would to anyone who calls out to Him.

I hope you are afraid. The tables have turned. I am not ashamed of this weakness anymore, because I will use it to fight you on behalf of others.

Amelia.

**Thanks again Zaldy for the Photo!

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

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