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 28: A Letter To A Friend I Haven’t Met Yet

Hi,

Image by Christopher Spiewak

I know we haven’t met yet, but I’m just going to write this to you as if I had known you forever. I hope you don’t mind but I have so many things I want to share with you, and to be perfectly honest if I had to stick within the traditional lines of friendship – well, it would take forever and there is no way I can wait that long! So, I guess that’s the first thing you have learned about me, I lack patience.

Another thing you will discover pretty fast is that I tend to jump right into the deep end, I love chocolate and I often have a highly inappropriate sense of humor, there’s probably lot’s of other stuff, but that’s what’s popped into my mind just now.

So, here’s where I  do that whole jumping into the deep end thing.

I hear that things haven’t exactly been going according to plan in your life, you know those plans we make when we are 8 years old and  playing with our Barbies or Cabbage Patch Kids? Did you have a Cabbage Patch Kid? Personally I preferred my My Child but that’s not important right now. What I was saying about ‘the plan’ is, that we only ever saw good things: a wonderful man, a beautiful wedding, noisily pushing out babies like they did on TV… It never enters into our mind that ‘the plan’ can make a major left turn and lead us along a path we never imagined. Yet here you are, in a place that you never pictured yourself, dealing with issues you really have no clue how to address. Perhaps have never felt so alone in your life, please don’t read that the wrong way, I know that you are surrounded by people who love you, people who care and are devoted to you in the closest way possible. But I figure, if I were in your shoes, there would be so many things floating (or bashing – which is more likely the case) around in my head – things that I couldn’t talk to any of those people about, so what do I do with them?

I don’t know the answer to that, but heres some stuff I have been thinking about lately instead.
Have you ever noticed how many people refer to hard times in life as storms? Heaps right? I think greeting card companies have made a fortune off that analogy! So, here are some of my own thoughts about storms:

  • Storms aren’t all bad – Sure they whip things around, they make a bit of a mess, but they always serve a purpose, even if we don’t know what that purpose is.
    I was in Beijing in 2007 and the smog got so bad at one point you couldn’t see more than 500m down the road, then there was this huge thunder storm, the kind that flash and rumble all night, while a steady deluge just buckets from the sky. Eventually it did end though and for the first time since arriving in China, I saw the blue sky. Yes, I know this is dangerously close to cliché but just bear with me. The storm cleansed a city, I’m sure it made life hard for many people while it rained, but that same rain cleaned the air that everyone breathes. It accomplished something that was completely beyond our ability to do for ourselves.
  • There’s an awful lot of space between raindrops – People don’t drown in the rain! I suppose this is a ‘glass half full/empty senario’. I mean, sure – yes it’s raining and there is no doubt that you are stuck in the middle of the downpour. You are dripping wet and surrounded by muddy puddles. But you aren’t swimming, so you aren’t even close to drowning, the reason you can feel where every drip hits is because of all the places they aren’t hitting! I have to admit, this thought made me want to go and dance in the muddy puddles and feel all the places the rain was missing me!!
  • Storms are a contrast, not a conclusion. They are a shadow that passes over a landscape, they are not the landscape itself. They are transient, no matter how fierce – they may impact, they may make a mess but they do not last forever.
  • There’s no point yelling at the storm, it can’t hear you.
    Imagine when Hurricane Katrina came rolling in, what person would waste their time on the shore, raging at the thunderheads? What would that achieve? So, when ‘storms’ strike in our lives why is it that we stand there impotently shaking our fist at circumstances we can’t change anyway? Yeah, I don’t know either.

I can get carried away, so I will stop there. I guess what I’m trying to say is, that I know you are having an awful time at the moment and I don’t know why. I don’t think anyone ever knows why bad things happen. I do want you to know that even though we haven’t met, and even though you might think this is really weird and strange – this letter is completely for you. 100% because I want you to know that I am thinking about you, praying for you and supporting you. I am a bit quirky, and I can ramble on, but I hope I have said some things that you needed to hear.

If you ever need to talk – especially about those things you feel you can’t share with anyone else, or if you just want to rage at the storm – you can talk to me. I am close enough to care but distant enough that you needn’t worry about upsetting me or hurting my feelings, most of all I want to be there for you. Because that’s what friends are for, and we are friends (great friends) even though we haven’t met….Yet

Love Always

Amelia xo

amelia@ameliahunter.com (just in case ;))

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 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 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 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

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