Categories
Ramblings

One Word Wednesday {Home}

Have a wonderful evening,

Much love,

SHW Signature

Categories
Tell Your Story 101

Tell Your Story Tuesday {1} – Project Life + a place to call home

 

You know the best thing about telling your story?  How easy it is.

Most people are put off by it because, well, it just seems too hard.   You start to think of all the life experiences you have had, all the photographs either sitting in boxes or on computer hard drives and it all just seems so overwhelming.  Don’t you agree?

But I’m here to tell you it isn’t that hard.

The hardest bit is starting.   But the best bit is you can start ANYWHERE.  It doesn’t have to be the beginning.  It is okay, even fun, to mix it up a bit.

Take today for instance.  I knew that today was Tell Your Story Tuesday.  I knew that I had to do a layout of some description (since that is how I like to tell my story – through the photographs that I have taken).  But I had also agreed to go to with a friend to Costco.  Costco in Australia is a big deal.  They are not plentiful and it requires some planning to get there.  You go laden with cash, because, you know, there are bargains to be had.  I had been complaining that I needed new glasses, but was hating how damn expensive they are.  She told me that Costco offer a fabulous optical service at a very reasonable price and that I should try them.  Today was that day.

I figured we would be in and out in no time.  Oh, how I can laugh at my naiveté.

We were there all day.

But I made a promise.  That for five days of the week I would post something.  And today was Tell Your Story Tuesday (I may have mentioned this before).  I was under the gun.  How could I produce a layout and get it published in time, starting at 4pm when dinner needed to be done as well.  I had roast pork planned for dinner (not a normal Tuesday school night dinner, I grant you, but it kind of called to me when I opened the freezer this morning).  So I popped in the roast, and got down to business.

And this is what I mean by how easy it can be.

Have you heard of Project Life?  If you are a scrapbooker, you will of course heard of them, but if you are new to the “Tell Your Own Story” thing, then let me introduce them for you.

In this day and age of digital photography where it is estimated a billion photos a day are liked on instagram alone, it stands to reason that we are all suffering from photography overwhelm.  Where on earth were we ever going to find the time to print these photos and then scrapbook them as well?  It just didn’t seem possible.  More often than not our photos just remained on our hard drives never to be seen again.

Enter Becky Higgins, the founder of Project Life.

Becky realised that this overwhelm was preventing people from getting their story out of their hard drives (and their heads) and legacies were being lost forever.  So she developed a system that made it easy to print off the photos, store them, be creative and get the story told.

Take a look at the video below – it gives a really good and funky explanation of the system.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6RE-BwTy3I0?list=PLyLqNG84WoSr04ulKELsB7Zjb7p9fyhcw]

And let me tell you, Project Life has exploded.  It is so easy to use that people have taken to it in droves.  There are Facebook pages dedicated to it, and people meet just so they can Project Life together.  It truly is as easy and 1,2,3.

So when I crashed into the house running late, with no dinner on the go, with a promise to create something, Project Life came to my rescue.

I have a box of photos that were taken long before digital photography even existed (yes, I know, I’m old!).  I have been slowly working my way through them.  I sorted them out a few months ago (and I will do a post on this), but they now need to be put in albums for the family to enjoy (my kids have left home, but you know better late than never – grandkids will enjoy them I am sure!)

I have been thinking of home a lot lately and what it means to me.  I have moved a lot in my time as my parents did before me.  We always seem to have been pretty nomadic.  I have a lot of photos of the houses my parents lived in and so I decided that they needed their own space in my album, since they tell their own story really.  Even houses need to have their stories told.

Places mom and dad have lived DSC_0005  DSC_0004

 

I am pretty happy with how it turned out.  It really was so simple and is one more story that my family will enjoy.  What can be better than that?

I really do encourage you to give this a try.  I know it is scary at first, but honestly, it is so simple.  A few photos, a couple of page protectors and your writing and you are done.

I would love to see your photos of your projects.  Please do show me in the comments below or head on over to my Facebook page.

Until next time,

SHW Signature

 

Categories
Make a Card Monday

Make a Card Monday {1} – Merry Christmas

 

Depression is something that fills my world like something that clouds crystal clear water.  It obscures a beautiful view.

But I don’t want it to define me and I don’t want it to define my little piece of cyberspace.  It is with me, always, but although at times it doesn’t feel like it, I do have power over it.  I know I have power over it.  Those good-thought inducing neurones exist, I just need to find ways to cause them to fire off more often than the bad-thought ones.

Enter my paper craft passion.

Paper craft is something that I adore.  I just love to scrapbook and make cards.  I haven’t done quilling yet, but I am sure that once I give it a go, I will love that too.

And so I have decided to change up the format of my blog a little bit.  As you know, I blog with great irregularity, and I blog with abandon about whatever grips my heart on any given day.  That is unlikely to change but I realise it can be relentlessly dark-filled and I don’t necessarily want to leave you with that darkness.  Thus, I am going to trial a new routine to balance the darkness and it will look like this:

MondayMake a Card Monday

TuesdayTell Your Story Tuesday

Wednesday One Word Wednesday (it is highly unlikely this will involve just one word on the page).

Thursday – To be decided (any ideas anyone?)

Friday Favourite Five Friday

I’m setting Saturday and Sunday aside for my family, but there is a great chance you will find me here as well, because, you know, I do love the sound of my own voice.  HA!

For this Make a Card Monday I just had to do a Christmas Card and in the run up to christmas there may be a few more.   Are you aware that there are only 58 days until Christmas – I nearly had a heart attack when I found out!

What does Christmas mean to you?

For me, it is filled with so much meaning.  In my childhood, with my dad’s alcoholism, our year was pretty much a continuous unpredictable form of chaos.  But come Christmas Day my parents would pull out all the stops to make it as special as possible.  My parents could have had the most awful flaming row on Christmas Eve, but come Christmas Day we would wake up to presents and love and laughter.  For one day in the year at least, we were like a normal family.

As I grew up this day represented more and more to me of what family time should mean and when I got married and had my own family, it was the one day of the year where I pulled out all the stops.  I wasn’t a great cook, but I loved cooking the turkey, the ham, the vegetables and the dessert.  I loved the family coming together and the warmth that glowed inside my heart as we all fed until we were stuffed, and laughed.  Oh my, how I loved the laughing.  And I didn’t care about the mess at the end of the day (which I never cleaned up until the next day because, you know, I’m lazy like that – and I didn’t want anything to tear me away from my beautiful glowing family), I just cared that we were together.

Christmas cards are a penny a piece, but I still love to make mine to send out.  There is a certain joy to be found in creating a card at this time of year and know that someone will receive it and put it on their mantlepiece, or sideboard, or wherever people store their cards these days.  A piece of you that they get to enjoy – I like that.

Today I have for you a classic card.

It should probably be noted that I use whatever I have in stock at the time.  I’ve been paper crafting for around 3 years now and I have quite a collection (one day I’ll give you a tour of my office).  I really do encourage you to do the same – just use whatever you have on hand.  These cards are easy to make and are very adaptable.

For my card base I had some black 15cm x 15cm cards that I bought at Kmart.  They are around $3 for 5 cards and are really quite good quality.

I then used my silhouette cameo to cut cream card stock to 14,5cm x 14,5cm.  (I will do a post on this machine in the future, so watch out for that)

I then embossed the cream card using a dot embossing folder I had using my big shot embossing/cutting machine.  I had the idea that I would emboss the entire card, but the embossing folder was only an A6 size, so it left a portion unembossed.  As it happened, I really liked it like that – this happens in card making a lot.  You have one idea and then it turns out an entirely different way that you prefer.  Just go with the flow.

embossed cream card with big shot machine

Then I printed Merry Christmas onto card and cut a banner shape using my Silhouette Cameo.  Please note, you do not need a Silhouette Cameo – just a stanley/craft knife and a ruler will suffice.

Silhouett cameo merry christmas

I then cut out the wreath shape which I found on the silhouette online store.  Again, if you don’t have a silhouette cameo, no problem.  Just find a wreath image on the internet, print it out on green card stock and cut it out.  {The picture below shows the wreath still stuck to my cutting mat which is why it doesn’t look that great}

DSC_0003

I decided the green was a little flat, so I glittered it up using a Wink of Stella glitter brush pen.  These pens are seriously amazing little things – glitter without the mess cannot be a bad thing!

Wreath with wink of stella glitter pen

I then assembled the whole thing by gluing the cream card stock to the base card, popping the wreath onto the cream card and attaching the sentiment using double sided foam tape to give it a bit of dimension.  It still needed a pop of colour, so I added a red bow.

I then created a sentiment to go inside the card so I can write on it when it comes ready to send it.

DSC_0012

And there you have it.  One very easy to do, but quite lovely Christmas Card.

DSC_0014

I hope you give it a go and if you do, please do let me know.

Much love,

SHW Signature

Categories
Ramblings

Creativity – the cure-all for feeling crap

Hello my friends,

How has your week been?

I want to tell you that mine has been awful.

I want to tell you that poor Mr C has really struggled with his spinal surgery, that things just have not been going right for him lately.  I want to tell you how Master J has struggled this week with hay fever, and stress of school, and has been all over the place emotionally.  I want to tell you that all this stress has been playing havoc with my depression despite my best efforts to give up sugar and take better control of my health.  I want to tell you that I have thought so much about drinking this week that for a moment I forgot why the hell I became sober in the first place.  I want to tell you that I nearly, very nearly, crumpled in a heap on the floor and just gave up.

Instead, I’m going to show you stuff I made.  Because creativity helps me when I’m under stress.  Because I need to do something with my hands that isn’t housework when I am living so badly inside of my head that it feels like it is going to explode.  Because, I just need to feel like I have some control over something in my life.

They aren’t perfect, but someone somewhere in this world is going to get them anyway.  And who knows, they might inspire you to get on your bike and do your own creations.

 

PicMonkey CollageIMG_0436

Kaiser Craft christmas calendar

Kaiser craft christmas calendar 2Kaiser craft christmas calendar 3Until next time,

SHW Signature

 

Categories
Uncategorized

Oscar Pistorius is going to jail because he is an Olympian

Last night I went to bed with the news that Oscar Pistorius had received 5 years for his killing of Reeva Steenkamp.

This morning, I woke up to the news that there was outrage.

Hell, I was outraged.

He had killed someone – he should be jailed and the key should have been thrown away.

People said that it is because he is an olympian that he got away with murder.

Here’s the thing.

It is because he is an olympian that he is doing time for Reeva’s killing.

In South Africa the legal system is so corrupt, so badly managed, so awfully controlled that people get away with murder.  Every.  Single.  Day.

How do I know?  I grew up there.

I have family and friends who have been held up at gun point, their lives almost snuffed out with a twitchy finger.  I have friends who have been killed for nothing more than their mobile phone.  None of their attackers have been brought to justice.

There is not a South African around the world who hasn’t been touched by crime and violence, and the majority of them will tell you that there was no justice metred out.

In 1995, I was robbed.  I was in the house at the time, and my then 3 year old daughter slept in her bed.  I was a single mum.  I woke up at 6am to find my room had been ransacked, my house had been pillaged.   Clothes and furniture were strewn everywhere.

I called the police and the insurance company.

The police came out and the insurance company refused to acknowledge the claim because I had not put on my alarm.  The police kept telling me how lucky I was to be alive.  The claim didn’t matter, I had my life, I was told.  I was lucky that I hadn’t woken as it is almost certain I would have been killed if I had.

A few months later, I was called to appear in court.  The police had found some of my belongings in a man’s house.  The finger prints on those belongings matched the ones taken at my house.

The reason I was to appear in court was that in the South African legal system, the accused gets the opportunity to cross examine the victim.

On the day of the court case, I was a nervous wreck.  The prosecutor, whom I had never met before, came out to me whilst I was waiting on the bench.

“Only answer the questions I ask you,” she said, “And try not to give too much information to the accused.”

What the fuck did that mean?

I got up onto the pulpit.  The man, the one who had ransacked my house whilst my child and I slept, stared at me.  He was Zulu and needed an interpreter.

“How do you know it was me that robbed your house.”

In reality, I didn’t know it was him.  I had been told it was him, that his finger prints were everywhere and that he had been found with items that belonged to me.  I felt sick.  Why was I even there?  Why was I being forced to face a man who knew where I lived?

It transpires that the finger prints in my house were not conclusive enough evidence to categorically prove that he was the one who had stolen my belongings.  Apparently he hadn’t been finger printed properly.  He was released.  And I lived in fear until I moved towns.

Such is the legal system in South Africa.

There is a program called Carte Blanche in South Africa.  It is a sort of expose program.  They broke the news of how workers in the postal system were stealing thousands of items that came into the sorting plant.  Someone went under cover and filmed people just helping themselves to whatever they wanted.  We all sat glued to our screens as postal workers tore open item after item, pocketing whatever they found.  Some even wore items of clothing they stole, not even hiding what they had done.  It came off the back of people complaining that goods were not being received by recipients, that you were more likely to not receive something than you were to actually get it.

The footage was given to the authorities.  The postal workers union stepped in and said that it was entrapment.  Every single worker caught stealing on camera got off scot free.  Not only that, not one of them lost their job.

Such is the legal system in South Africa.

It is because Oscar Pistorius was an olympian, an extremely high profile celebrity that some sort of justice was proffered.  Because of his super star status there was no way the laissez faire legal system could turn a blind eye.

Getting to court, the prosecution was unable to prove without a shadow of a doubt that he had intended to do it.

My personal belief is that he is a violent man that got into a rage which resulted him in shooting his girlfriend.  A classic story of domestic violence.  But the reality is that it couldn’t be proven.  It was, in fact, the prosecution that had let Reeva and her family down.  Throughout the LA Law-esque court case unreliable witnesses and a showman prosecutor failed to prove a thing.

And Pistorius’ defence team knew that crime and violence is so rife in South Africa that everyone lives on high alert all the time.  That he suspected an intruder, one that wouldn’t think twice about killing him first, was totally plausible.

The only alternative was to give a verdict of culpable homicide – acknowledging the fact that someone had died, but also acknowledging that Pistorius may not have meant to kill her.

I applaud the judge, Thokozile Masipa, for her courage to hand down the maximum sentence she was able to give for this crime.  I applaud her for standing up to the defence team social worker who tried to imply that Pistorius would be in danger in jail because he was not ‘normal’.  It was a ludicrous argument considering he had fought so hard for the right to compete with able-bodied people in the olympics.  Why should he not join able-bodied criminals in jail serving time for the same crime?

And so it he is going to jail for five years.  And believe me when I say that it is because he is an olympian that the Steenkamp’s have seen some justice today.

Until next time,

SHW Signature

 

 

Categories
Mental Illness

Don’t judge the depressive person – be their seratonin buddy

A friend of mine and I were talking the other day.

We were talking about depression.  She hates that I can reach such deep lows.  She hates that I can even have a dalliance with the idea of suicide.  She sees the beauty in me as a person, the value in what I am and what I bring to the table of the world and cannot understand how I can’t see it myself.

In reality, most days I do see glimpses of it.

I know that I am very much loved by my family and the increasing amount of friends I am making.  I know that my craziness, as evidenced by my bald lip-syncing decision, is brave and courageous and that every day I try to live my truth as best as I can.  I know that my daughter adores my creativity, that my husband cannot possibly imagine a life without me in it, that my son does love me even if he can’t express it,  that my grandchild adores sitting with me on my settee whilst we chomp our way through a mountain of grapes.  I have much to love, to be grateful for, to be positive about.

But the dark days exist.  Despite knowing how devastated my family would be at losing me to suicide, those thoughts do cross my mind.

I wish they didn’t, but they do.

And the most awful thing anyone can say to a person in those times is to tell them to buck up, to think positively, to be grateful for what they have.  It is terrible because, for the depressed person, it is an impossible thing to do.

And let me tell you why.

A person who is depressed has a fundamental chemical imbalance {at its most basic, a lack of seratonin}.  This chemical imbalance causes negative thoughts to predominate in the brain.   Asking a depressed person to “think positively” and to “buck up” or “chin up” is like asking a blind man to see.

Of course, depression is {largely} treatable.  There are a few things that have been proven to address the chemical imbalance.  By embarking on these things, seratonin levels rise and it is this that helps treat the depression, not just “thinking positively”.

In a nutshell they are eating correctly, exercising, sleeping well, doing something for someone else being altruistic and feeling connected (yes, this actually raises seratonin levels in the brain), getting outside into the sunshine (low vitamin D levels cause a decrease in seratonin), meditation and putting all of this into ACTION.

The problem with the depressive is that to actually act, especially when you are in the grip of a crippling episode, is really difficult.

Facing life on life’s terms is really challenging.  Us depressives tend to get caught in a loop of self talk, driven by that pesky low seratonin level, that immobilises us.  Rather than face a world we have convinced ourselves don’t want us, we remain indoors, we stay online (as this give us the illusion of being connected) and we get caught in a feedback loop of what alcoholics anonymous calls “stinking thinking”.  And so the cycle continues.  To the point where it can become so severe that the pain of that existence, the pain of living a life in so much pain becomes unbearable and suicide can feel like the only option.

Of course, we are all responsible for our own destinies.  We have choice.  But we need to be very careful about how we bandy that concept about.  As I mentioned, a biological chemical imbalance is at play here and those around the depressive must remember that.

A more helpful strategy would be to help the depressive address those things outlined above.  Phone them and offer to take them outside, to go for a walk, to ask them to come along to something you are doing.  Work with them to help them set up a routine with them that will get them exercising and sleeping well.  Become their “seratonin buddy“.

They will baulk at the idea, but gentle perseverance is the key here.  Choose moments where they are having a better day, and just sit with them when they are having a bad one.  Eventually better days will shine through.

Whatever you do, please please please don’t tell them to “just think positively”, to “stop with the pity party”, to “stop being a victim”, to “buck up”, to “put their best step forward”, to “just cheer up”.  I can tell you from personal experience that these comments do not help at all.  They are judgemental and end up making the depressive feel even worse than they did before.  They victimise the victim, assuming that being so depressed that they consider taking their own life is a choice.  Because that is what we do as humans, we wilfully choose to devastate those around us, we wilfully choose to end our life and with it all of our possible potential.

When Robin Williams committed suicide, a number of articles emerged as a counter measure to the amount of empathy he received for the tortured life he seemed to have lived.  These articles placed the blame for his suicide firmly at his feet.  “He had a choice,” they said.  They were ill informed.  They were judgements written by the authors, not one of which mentioned any of the research that proves that low seratonin levels (and others) drives negative thinking.

And there is another problem too.  Chemically dealing with this chemical imbalance is tenuous at best.  I have tried, believe me.  I have been on prozac, cymbalta as well as others, all of which represent different ways to deal with the same problem.  There are a myriad of drugs available, all attempting to increase seratonin uptake.  For some, they find the drug that works for them.  For a lot of people, however, they really struggle to find that chemically induced sweet spot.  I fell into the latter ground and eventually the side effects far outweighed any small benefit I might have been getting.  So I stopped taking them.

That decision brought with it issues of its own kind.  Some people saw it as an act of finally taking control of my own mind (because to them that is a choice I have), some saw it as being irresponsible.  None, it seemed, saw it as me making a conscious decision for the quality of my own life.  It is difficult I know for people to understand.  I live day by day without knowing from one day to the next how my seratonin levels are going to impact my thinking.

In this day and age of ra-ra positive thinking it is easy to assume that is all we need to get over the depressive hump.  It isn’t.  This movement has been the death knoll for many a depressive.  It has sparked a litany of guilt, which drives even further the stinking thinking I spoke of earlier.  Despite all the positive-talk rhetoric, suicide rates are on the increase.  Positive thinking on its own just does not work.

I urge you to please be that “seratonin buddy”.  Just be with your depressive friend/family member.  That alone will help them feel more connected, which we know helps raise seratonin levels, which we know helps to drive more positive thoughts.  You see, just being with them can have such an amazing impact.

Here at Sarah’s Heart Writes, I encourage you to come and just be.  Us depressives need to stick together, we need to know we are not alone, and more information needs to be disseminated about the ins and outs of depression and I can promise you, you will never ever be urged to think more positively, to stop playing the victim card or to stop being a martyr.

Much love from your fellow depressive,

SHW Signature

 

 

 

If you are feeling suicidal, please please talk to someone.

Lifeline 13 11 14

Beyond Blue 

Black Dog Institute

 

 

Categories
Mental Illness

Introducing my entry to #Edenland – the International Lip Syncing Awards

Before I started blogging, I didn’t really follow blogs.  I would read them, but not really follow them as such.

When I started my blogging journey that changed.

I now follow a number of blogs – That Summer Feeling, Zinc Moon, Rare Pear Studio, Make Plus Do to name a few.

But one I follow avidly is Edenland.  I first came across Eden earlier this year.  Her blog is dark, melancholic, with flashes of hope and light.  Just what I need to read in my moments of extreme depression.

She has been struggling of late.  Her brother took his own life in October last year. It has been an unequivocal year of hell for her.

To honour his memory, Eden decided to launch the International Lip Syncing Awards.  You can read about that here.

I saw the post late last night.

I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it.

Her journey has touched me so much.  I have felt a lot less alone and in those times when sometimes I have wanted to die, when life has seemed so hard, I have read something she has written and the thought leaves me for another day.  Thankfully, those times are not frequent and I am finding through my blogging journey that they are becoming even less.

And so I wanted to honour her.  I wanted to honour Cameron, her brother.  I wanted to honour all of those people who think that life isn’t worth continuing, who find life such a struggle, for whom life has let them down.  And I also wanted to honour those who have experienced the loss of a loved one.

And so I did this:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UjhYYethoOs]

I chose this song because it was our anthem growing up.  My mom and her sister would sing this song and us girls would sing along with them.  It became our mantra and it is now the anthem for our daughter.  I pray she passes it on.

I chose to lip sync the song without hair because my baldness does not define me.  I am bald.  This is a fact.  I am also a woman and I am strong.  I own that.  Very much.

Eden, sweetheart, this one is for you.  I hope my mom gets to meet Cameron wherever souls may go and I hope they are looking down at us saying “There’s our girls, living their shit, making their mark.”

Much love,

SHW Signature

 

Categories
Mental Illness To You

An ode to the rainbow and the uniqueness of its colours

I’m going to struggle to find the words.  I know I am.  The words to describe the warmth I feel right now.  The words to describe that despite still feeling dark in places, the light is beginning to find its way through.  The words to describe what it feels like to find a group of women who have enveloped me, hugged me so hard that indeed it seems my broken bits are being mended back together.  The words to describe having hope, and the strength to work toward, a future full of life, love and living.

But I am going to try.

After 8 or so years of being clinically depressed and having gone through a number of psychologists, I had given up hope of ever finding light with any regularity in my life.  I had simply resigned myself to a life of existence.  No living.

My sister, God bless her, suggested I try an art therapist.  I baulked at the idea.  I am no artist.  But she encouraged me, saying it wasn’t about the art, it was about being creative and the toxicity that gets released through that creative process.  I took her advice.

After a few sessions it became evident that I love, well live, to write but fear with a capital F had stopped me from ever letting anyone see my work, bar a couple of blogs that I never told anyone about.

She suggested a blogging course, where I would be ‘published’ through a guided, supportive environment, with very little risk to my self esteem.  I chose the Blog with Pip course at her suggestion.

I enrolled on this course with trepidation.  I had no niche, no craft, no particular skill.  Immediately I didn’t feel like I fit in.  But I persevered.  I started off with this blog, realised it didn’t fit me and so started Sarah’s Heart Writes.  Without realising it at the time, I just kept showing up.  I re-evaluated and adjusted, and I just kept going.

However, my lack of belonging dogged me.  I wanted to belong so much, to be part of a tribe.  All across cyberland, you will find tribes.  It is the beauty of it.  No matter what you are into there will be someone out there who is into the same thing too.  And no doubt a few others too.

You know that here I write about my life mostly battling depression, recovering from alcoholism, being bald, being a grandmother, parenting a child on the autistic spectrum.  I couldn’t narrow it down.  I am a whole person and so I write about the whole of me {and please, dear friend, you do the same}.  My tribe seemed impossible to find.

But without realising it, I was looking in the wrong places.  Without realising it, I didn’t need to look at all.  Without realising it, I needed to be found.

You see, I met a group of women who just seem to get me.  They accept me for who I am.  They don’t care that I am melancholic, prone to more bad days than good, am extremely overweight, live a pretty boring existence, struggle to see my own value in a world that seems to have no place for me.  What they care about is that I show up as their friend as much as they are mine.  This is because they value what I have to offer and they remind me constantly what it is that I do have to offer.  This is such an incredible gift.

A gift that is in itself a lesson.

I was looking for someone just like me.  Someone whom I could hold up to the light to say “Look, they are just like me and they made it, so can I.”  What I didn’t consider is my uniqueness.  By virtue of everything about me – my upbringing, my life experiences, my genetic make up – I am unique.  As are you.  I had never really come to grips with that.  My uniqueness felt so isolating somehow.  I needed a tribe.

But then I found this group of women, and they found me, and together, we expect nothing more of each other than to show up with our uniqueness.  We celebrate our uniqueness with zest and love.  We champion it like knights on steeds carrying banners for all the world to see.  We are each individual colours of a rainbow, coming together to encourage each other to shine.  Yes, I have found my tribe, but it is based on something completely different than I ever imagined my tribe would be.  It is based on acceptance and love.  Nothing more, nothing less.  They don’t expect me to be something different.  They expect me to be, well, me.

We need more of this in the world.  We need more women championing each other, not tearing each other down. We need more women encouraging the uniqueness of others, celebrating them for it, not trying to pigeonhole them into something they are not.  Mass media makes its living out of trying to get us to do just that, and we conform, doing their job for them, tearing others down.

Albert Einstein apparently once famously said that if you try to get a fish to climb a tree, it will always feel stupid.

Don’t be a tree climbing fish.  Be a unique colour of the rainbow.  Own your truth and I promise you, your tribe will find you.  I will find you.

Much love,

SHW Signature

Categories
Ramblings

Conquering the addiction of sugar takes planning

I had a really terrible night last night.

The heartburn was excruciating.

Surgery was meant to have fixed all that, despite reservations that the success rate would in fact be 100%.

Who am I kidding.  I ate like a sugar-crazed demon yesterday.  Not one shrapnel of goodness passed my lips.  It was all danishes, tim tams (I love those suckers) and shit.

My body revolted.

It literally yelled, ENOUGH!!

And so I lay in the spare room bed, with Mr C blissfully unaware on the other side of the house, writhing in agony.

Why is it that when you don’t need them there is an abundance of antacids but when you need them like an addict needs their next fix, they are nowhere to be found?

I retreated back to bed sans medication, propped myself into bed and drank heaps of water, riding out the searing burns that were convulsing across my chest.

It took hours before I finally drifted off.

I woke up this morning with a dull ache in my chest.  It has been with me all day.

I need to lose weight, I thought, I need to take better care of myself. 

Care takes planning.  We rush from one thing to the next, day to day, with little time for self care.  We need to plan.

I had no plan today.

Result: a muffin, 4 rice cakes with cheese slathered in branston pickle (oh how I love thee branston pickle) and an apple and walnut slice.

My body is not happy.

I am not happy.

Self-loathing.

It takes planning to take the first step on the journey away from self-loathing.

I am in the triple digit weight range {do you like how I minimised my affliction?}.  I need to be in the double digit range, like way down the double digit range.

Shit, losing weight is hard.

Well, it’s meant to be easy if you have the determination and the willpower.  Clearly those two items have escaped my capacity.

I read a while ago that sugar is an addiction.  That the same feeling a smoker gets when they are trying to give up smoking is the same feeling a sugar addict gets when they are trying to give up sugar.  I am SO addicted to sugar.

I am actually a drug

Around about 3pm, I get a hankering.  A gnawing for something sweet.  At times, it can drive me demented.  So much so that if there is nothing in the house, I will get in the car, drive to the shop, and purchase a shed load of chocolate to eat.  I don’t even taste the chocolate.  I just shove it in my face to quieten that hankering.

And then I loathe myself.

Not enough to prevent me from starting the cycle again the following day though, apparently.

My car is a shrine to the chocolate wrapper.  Not content with stuffing my body full of the sweet sugary nectar of sugar, I also then leave reminders to myself of just how little willpower I have.

I recently cleared out my pantry of all the crap.  Literally, all the crappy non-nutritious food was binned.  I have a pantry full of stuff that would make a Paleo guru weak at the knees.  I kid you not – you name it, I have it – chia seeds, almonds, coconut oil, coconut flower, cacao nibs, cacao powder, goji berries and the like.

Yet, rather than make myself something yummy and sugar free {is there such a thing}, I make the trip to the shop.

Is it me?  Is it the addiction?  The addiction isn’t me. I know that.  And I have conquered addictions before.  I just have to PLAN to conquer this one as well.

I hope you will join me.  I’ll let you know how it goes.

Until next time,

SHW Signature

Categories
Ramblings

HALT – you need to take care of yourself

 

When I became sober, one of the things I learned at AA was an acronym called HALT.  It stands for Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired.  These are the things that can be the death knoll for the recovering alcoholic.  Those things that put our sobriety at risk.

I have learned that the same applies to depression.

I haven’t been sleeping well.  Mr C had his spinal operation and there are other things going on in the background, and I have been feeling very out of sorts and this has had the knock on effect of me not being able to get to sleep, and then, once finally asleep, remaining asleep.

After three or four nights like this, I have woken up this morning extremely tearful.  Poor Mr C thinks it is him.  I feel guilty that I am not being the strong one, taking proper care of him.  Depression is like that, it robs you of the ability to look after yourself, never mind someone else.

I have been ploughing through though, doing what I can, but come the night time, when my body desperately needs to wind down, I find my mind goes into overdrive.  It has been almost 2am before I can get myself off to sleep.

I have been trying to meditate, but it isn’t working.

I am exhausted.

I had plans to keep going with the decluttering, to do something creative, to create some purpose.

I have had to let them go.

I have to rest.  There is nothing for it other than to rest.

There are times when you just have to listen to your body and take care of it.

The dishes can wait, the housework can wait, everything will just have to wait.

My body needs time to recuperate.  It needs me to take care of it, so that it can find energy which will feed my mental state of being.

I need to let the tears flow.  I know what it causing them, so that helps.

I need to just be.  Just for today {another AA saying}.  Just for today I will give in to my exhaustion, and let myself rest.  Just for today I will take care of myself.

By investing in myself today, tomorrow hopefully will be better.

Remember if you are hungry, angry, lonely or tired it can have a terribly adverse affect on your mental state of being.  Remember to take care of yourself.  You are so worth the investment.

Much love,

SHW Signature