Self Esteem

I’ve come to realise that over the past two or more years, almost three really, I have had a huge blow to my self-esteem. There have been highs of course and a lot of really incredibly rich experiences, none of which I would take back. However, the blows to my self-esteem have been a lot actually. Not being able to find a job, even a menial job after graduating was really challenging, and it seemed mostly to revolve around me not having Permanent Residency, but it was hard. There was a constant struggle with some renters at the farm which caused so much stress and a feeling of frustration and not being able to just get other people to do the right thing like take care of the animals. We had a lovely celebration for our wedding amidst it all, but were dealing with this other stuff before the wedding, during the honeymoon and afterwards. The there was the not-so-easy pregnancy. I shouldnt’ even sugar coat it, it was a very complicated pregnancy. It was like my body wasn’t cooperating with me. Then there was the crazy flatmates that totally lied to us and then left without ever paying the money they owed and finding out that they had betrayed us by speaking so poorly about us to our other flatmates who we are actually still friends with these years later. That was hard to deal with especially while pregnant. Then the craziness of being in the hospital for  the weeks leading up to my son’s birth, having to take pain killers, having to some how accept whatever outcomes because my body wasn’t coping and the baby was in jeopardy. Then the actual emergency delivery which was so very traumatic. Followed by the five weeks of hell in the NICU going back and forth not knowing what to do all the while having to leave my new son at the hospital. Not being able to take care of him, or myself at that stage. Then the constant looming feeling of death due to a dislodged blood clot and the twice daily self harm I had to do by way of injections of blood thinners. This was al wearing me down something fierce. Then having a baby, a new baby at home and not knowing what to do and having hardly any support with my husband working big 12 hour shifts, and having zero family support here in the city, and not knowing anyone. I felt so alone and helpless and incapable. Even now still not knowing about if I have permanent residency, waiting for over two years after being told that it would go right through in six months by the immigration department, and it clearly not happening that way. Every once in a while I still look through jobs and am always hung up on the lack of having PR. It sucks. Then all the time wasted with the banks and talking about buying the other part of the farm land for years now and still not being in a position to actually do it and feeling like I just can’t get it together to make it happen.  Also the huge amount of money wasted with the program that I signed up for to build my own business as a way to get around having PR, and feeling like they didn’t have the right support in place to help me and me not knowing how to help myself all amidst the craziness of everything going on at the farm and in my body and then as a new mum. And as of late some unknown illness that was pointing to a cyst on my ovary that may or may not have burst and who the hell knows why the ovarian tumour marker really is elevated, it’s all so unknown. and somehow I need to be okay with this. And all the while knowing that my own dad died last year within a month of being diagnosed with cancer, jesus, it’s been a rough last couple of years. It’s been so crazy. I need a win.

Sometimes, I feel like I can only express myself so much, like I’ve just been beaten down and I don’t like that feeling. I play nicely, I am in an area of Sydney where I feel like I need to and it’s in part for companionship but mostly because I need them or I have needed them to help me and support me through this phase of becoming a parent.

I need a win in a major way. I keep having this strong desire to have my own place, our own house that we own so that I can have a sense of permanency, a sense of ownership, and a sense of pride almost. It’s like I need to grab onto the part of making a home so that I can fulfil this sense of feeling incapable, or helpless, or just not able to do what I need to do.

I am not always so blue about this and about what I’ve struggled with, but I really have struggled in the past stretch of time, more than I readily like to admit. I also got a degree in a field that I am both fascinated and horrified by, and don’t want to actually work in it. I feel like my plans are always changing yet nothing really changes. That’s not actually true though, things have been changing, but not at a pace that I want, and I need to be okay with this.

Sometimes I feel like maybe I need to try some antidepressants, and I know that isn’t really the answer, the answer is adjusting my life so that I don’t feel like this. I am not sure exactly how to do that right now, as a mum, as a wife, where I am. I just know how to make the smaller changes, so I do. My biological clock is still ticking and I’m so overtly aware of it it makes me question like every choice right now as well. Do we make another baby, do I go back to school, what do I do? I feel like there are so many choices, so many options, and at the same time, I feel a bit stuck, a big weighted down, a big heavy in it all.

Overwhelming Sense of Love

It can be and usually is in the most mundane and ordinary of moments when I feel this overwhelming sense of love for my child. This feeling of love and warmth and sparkle just sweeps right over and through me in a big wave. It’s amazing when that feeling happens, and it happens regularly. It can happen when I’m giving him a hug, or picking him up out of his crib from his nap, or when he’s eating in his high chair, or as today, doing imaginary play. I never expect it and am always so happy when it comes. What a beautiful gift to experience.

It’s a different kind of love than I have for my husband, which is also a love I have never known before. It’s a special pure love that permeates my being. I love my child. I am very happy to have this role as his mum. Really what a gift he has been in my life.

Imaginary Play

Today I witnessed my darling toddler who is now two years and a couple of months old doing some imaginary play! Over the weekend I bought him a second hand IKEA kitchen and he has been playing with it every single day this week. Today, he stirred the mini ladel in the mini pan and poured it in the cup and drank it. It was the cutest thing!

He was also wearing a Santa romper which just added a whole heap of adorableness to the scene. When it happened, and even now, i just felt this sense of wonder and awe. How incredible to witness his first imaginary play, one that hopefully will be a part of his life in some way forever. How incredible. I feel honoured to have the opportunity to experience this beauty. How special it is to be a mum. How special my little son is.

Discipling Someone Else’s Child

I just disciplined someone else’s child. I sat back down a bit shaken from the event after I checked on my own child and ensured that he was okay. He didn’t even cry this time and surely he would have wailed if it had happened at any other time. There’s even a huge purple mark with clearly defined teeth indentations in a round circle on his wrist. How did it even escalate that quickly? Those two weren’t even the ones who had the toy in the first place. My head is spinning.

One toddler boy had the toy shopping cart, and the other two wanted to play with it. It’s something that always happens, naturally but usually isn’t a big deal, everyone wants the fun toy. Within a minute it all changed. All of a sudden I see the little toddler girl bending over with her mouth clamped down pulling upward on the skin of my toddler son’s wrist. I was very nearby less than a meter and I intervened by urgently telling her to stop and by smacking her right on her jaw and neck which caused her to release her teeth grip from my son. I proceeded to discipline her as I would my son. I told her “do not bite” along with a series of similar statements that we do not bite people and that it wasn’t okay. I put my hand on her shoulder gently and told her she had to sit down with me for two minutes and I kept repeating that it was not okay for her to do what she did. She was crying and shocked that I had disciplined her and was still doing so for the next couple of minutes. At the end of the two minutes I asked if she needed some water and offered her a cup of water. She remained sitting there and I tended to my son. We had only been there for a short time and in that visit she had already made him cry and he was noticeably fearful of her coming to stay with me when she was coming near him. She has been pretty full on for a while now but I wasn’t expecting that to happen, nor for me to be the parent to discipline. If her mum had been there, she had quickly went to pick up some pizza less than 5 minutes away, I wouldn’t have disciplined her daughter myself, I would have just tended to my son.

I was really shaken up by it, I still am. When her mum returned and saw her daughter still sitting down she knew something was up and asked “what did she do?” and we told her. Another mum was right next to me during the entire thing and witnessed every moment of it, and she was in full support of what had happened. I was still a bit shocked. I told her I did the exact thing that I would do to my own son if he was harming himself or others. Under normal circumstances I wouldn’t discipline in that way, under normal circumstances I don’t smack my child, we have a time in and that usually does the job. The only times when I do something physical is if it is something he is doing that will physically harm himself or someone else, and it pretty much works because it isn’t something that happens often.

I can only project at this stage, but I think my son wasn’t visibly upset because he was witnessing me in that very focused disciplined mode and it wasn’t aimed at him, so he kind of went on quietly playing nearby while I was with the girl.

We had a conversation about it as mums and the mum of the daughter said she was fine with what had happened and the main point of why, other than trusting me as we’ve known each other for nearly two years, so almost the lifespan of our children, and we have met up on regular basis sometimes twice a week, and she knows how I am, but specifically because we are a community and because of that part she said that it was okay. A community in the respect that we are all in it together and we look out for one another. I really appreciated this view.

Also noticeably the girl was not as aggressive after that incident and she very clearly stayed away from my son, which was just fine by me and I would think just fine by him. She did avoid me for a little bit but then seemed to move on.

What an evening!

Discipling other people’s children is not something that I would have thought I would do, I guess I hadn’t thought about it at all in general, but now that I have, it’s the only action I can think of that would have worked. She didn’t stop when I told her to stop, and if I would have pulled her off of him, with the grip she had of his skin in her teeth, it may have actually broken skin off, and what I did and how I did seemed like the only way I could have. I still feel weird about it though. I sure hope she doesn’t bite anyone else in the future, how great would it be if she just never bit anyone else again after this incident. I can only hope.

Somewhere Along the Way

Somewhere along the way I grew jaded. I mean that has to be the reason right? The reason I am questioning so much after spending so much of my time in this way of thinking. That I would devote so much time and energy into the thought and lifestyle of “following my bliss”. I curated the thoughts in my head, I used mantras, I cut out people from my life, and even would steer away from friends who had gotten sick because they must not have been aligned for something to go wrong, right?

I’ve always been an optimistic person and I’ve always been one to dive right in, and this stage of my life was no different. I had been living in Brazil and was totally lost, I knew I wasn’t where I needed to be and was searching for clarity. I was trying anything and everything and even fasted for about a month on just water with alternating days where I would drink some coconut water or some sugar cane juiced with lime. I taught myself to meditate and would create art for arts sake to see what was going on. This was all back in 2007-2008 and the internet was really just starting to kick off there weren’t a lot of resources like you can find now about all of these topics, so I just kinda figured it out as I went along. A sort of friend of mine said that he had been reading Joseph Campbell and in a short email exchanged mentioned the term “follow your bliss” and I grabbed ahold of it with all of my might.

I made posters with that wonderful phrase and hung them on my dingy apartment wall overlooking one of the busiest street intersections in Sao Paolo. I scribbled in my journals, and I meditated with it in mind, hoping to figure out what that actually meant and how I could use it to help my situation. One day at a friends ranch in the countryside, we ate some “Hawaiian babies” which were seeds from one of the plants in the yard. I had broken my fast by taking them and drinking watermelon blended up, a strange way of ending it, but I got the clarity I needed. I wasn’t a very good guest that weekend, I scribbled in my journal, I drew the fabulous magical plants around me and I came to realise that for me to follow my bliss meant that at any given time I needed to do what felt best to me, even if that meant being anti-social and completely doing my own thing, which I did. I had so many realisations that weekend while I was off my head and it certainly was an awakening of sorts.

Eventually after I was back in the US after my escape from Brazil, yes it was like an escape, but I’ll write more about that later, but after I was back in my home country I was even more lost than before. Familiar people, familiar places, familiar smells, but none of it felt fully like home. Yes I snuggled and cried and danced and swam and stomped through the snow in my beloved Yosemite, and did think about returning for another round, but I just couldn’t. I wasn’t the same, I was a different persona and I needed more than I knew how to get there. I continued to listen to the writing on the wall or take tips from people to heart, and one gave me a tip about a meditation centre nearby, one that had been there the entire time I lived in Yosemite but never knew about.

I spent time at this meditation centre and there’s more to this story too, but I’ll share more about that later. I will say that it was another one of those times where I met the right people at the right time, and forged friendships that would definitely support that stage of my life. I had learned about the power of manifesting along the way by writing down what I wanted and watching it unfold. I noticed this happen again and again and again. I also felt like it was contrived and I came to the point where I actually wanted to be surprised and let go of trying to be the master of my universe. I have still used that over the years though because I know the power of my words and the strength of my mind can cause tremendous change in my life and those around me. It sounds like a god complex kind of thing but it wasn’t, or maybe it was? Is this the heaven on earth scenario just a bit manufactured? Who knows. There are always questions.

So fast forward and I got into head on collision and I was fully into that mode of thought of Law of Attraction where what I think becomes, and was certain that I had created this crazy accident in some far-fetched way because I wasn’t on the path I needed to be on, so the Universe not so gently helped me correct course. Okay, I accepted that and it made sense. Maybe that’s the biggest part of all of this line of thinking, we always want everything to make sense, I always want to put everything into some neat little informational package so that all the pieces fit together, to tie up loose ends and ensure that it all flows so I can continue moving on to the next thing.

When my very complicated pregnancy came around, I did try to change my thoughts, I did try to manage my vibration but sure enough I couldn’t do it well enough, if looking through that lens, and had extended hospital stays, prescribed pain killers, and an emergency cesarean of my baby two months too soon, followed by an intense section of life of the emotional hell that is the NICU. I felt embarrassed that I wasn’t strong enough to handle the way it happened. I felt that I had failed in my own way of thinking and had surmised to this weaker state of mind which allowed all of the heartache and pain to happen. I didn’t want to share pictures of my child that would normally be joyous of his first days because to me he looked like an alien in a clear box with all kinds of tubes and wires hanging off of him, I had failed to create this birth for both of us, for all of us. Whoa it’s hard to confront this truth and I’m getting emotional typing it. I really felt like I had failed and let myself, my new son, my husband, and every other person I have every talked to about the power of thoughts, down. Like going through seeing your child like that and dealing with my own pain wasn’t enough, that feeling of failure was absolutely soul crushing. How could I have not been able to practice what I have preached and been able to do again and again in my own personal life before then? Oh boy it was a hard time.

I see how “thought leaders” in this industry of selling the thought that you have control over everything in your life attribute being poor with not being spiritual. I see them also attribute not being healthy or having an illness as not being spiritual, that you can just turn it around with your thoughts. I think it’s all a big pile of bullshit these days. I believe in optimism and I believe in setting goals and doing your best every moment and really finding the goodness in life, but everyone has the path they need to walk and to justify it one way or another is just making a huge pile of excuses and it may sell books or speaking gigs or classes, but I don’t subscribe to this thought any more and it feels like I am breaking up with it.

I do however still believe that my thoughts influence my life, absolutely. I absolutely believe that being optimistic can bring sunshine into the gloomiest of areas and help a person get out of situations to where they really do have more sun in the sky than rain, metaphorically speaking. I’m just dropping the judgemental part of it. We all get a starting point where we are, and sure enough we can do whatever we can with it, and that’s great, that is fine, that is enough, and things happen in life, it is our attitude that helps guide us through the process but that still doesn’t justify why there are kids who starve to death, or young people who get cancer or other atrocities like this, it’s not because they aren’t spiritual enough, it’s just the hand they have been dealt and that’s it.

I’m still holding onto the need for joy and laughter and fun and time off in my life. I am still holding onto the need for beauty and smiles and healthy living. I am still holding onto the fact that loving someone else and feeling that love back is one of the most precious gifts in human existence. I am still holding onto my way of being that likes to see the bright side. I am still holding onto my understanding that we aren’t really all created equally and that we all don’t have equal ways to get ahead or to progress and I have compassion for this. I am holding onto my belief that I still get to choose in every moment who I get to be and can be that person and allowing change to happen this way in my life now. I still believe that if you surround yourself with things/people/environment that make you feel inspired to be your best self, then its a hell of a lot easier to do so. I am still in total belief that I am here to make a positive impact upon the world and will continue to do so, even if with only my smile as I pass a stranger. I will continue to share love and be love because I can.

A Pivotal Moment

The last time I had a scare in the feminine area, I had some precancerous cells taken off of my cervix. This was enough to scare the hell out of me and enough to light a major fire under my bum to change my life. I had been working for a corporation for about nine years at the time and at that stage I was the Accounting Manager for our operation at the Grand Canyon, and wasn’t really enjoying it all that much. I found that just because you are relatively good at something doesn’t mean that’s what you are meant to be doing. I had also recently left a long term relationship with a person who I should have stopped dating six months into it, but I was young, naive, and really he was emotionally abusive, specifically with mind games and I had a hard time navigating out of it, until right before I got the call about my very abnormal pap smear.

I was twenty six just made the cut-off age for the Gardasil vaccine to prevent anything else like that happening down there for me, I was living on my own, dating various guys one after another in a very short time frame, and was really lost. Eventually came this over the top very passionate Brazilian man into my life and I just needed everything about that at the time. I ended up resigning from my job and gave away everything I owned and moved to Brazil.

This crazy time prompted a total life change. A complete jumping of timelines into a complete different path and universe. I am so thankful that it happened and I did what I did because I am here now with this beautiful son and husband that I have.

So my mind goes into thoughts about what is going on in my life, and what needs to change because something major needs to shift externally as well. I am unwell in my body for some reason, yes it can just be a random event that is happening in my body, but I do strongly believe that my mind and personal well being really does have an impact on my health. It will be essential for me to create an environment that is more aligned with my values and life. I know this. I know this means not being in the suburbs even though I have a great group of friends from my mum and bub group.

I am open to change. I am specifically open to positive change that is beneficial for myself and my loved ones.

Thoughts on being unwell

Lately I’ve been having some issues that seem to be pointing to the large cyst that is on one of my ovaries. The combination of major bloating, loss of appetite, tiredness, abdominal pain, and general fear and stress about this has been a lot to handle. It’s been two and a half weeks straight of this and honestly it’s really wearing me down. I’m tired.

It’s so strange that my mind automatically goes to worst case scenario. In the Emergency Department they thought it was appendicitis at first, then another doctor on call there happened to be a gynaecologist and was tipped by the symptoms thinking it could be an ovarian cyst. It makes me cry thinking about it, but I’m lucky she was on duty that day and the week after when she called me to talk to me about the results of my ultrasound and what I needed to do next. I’m also lucky that I have a GP in our rural town who gives a damn and has helped me follow up with this. I have seen a GP here and they are so blase about everything and all the gynos here are booked out, with a possibility to be squeezed in a few months from now. Again that good rural GP has come through and secured me an appointment with the best gyno around in just a few days. I am so thankful and scared.

I am thankful because I can finally get some answers and not keep living with this pain and discomfort. It’s really challenging to be an energetic mum to a two year old when I feel like this. It’s really challenging emotionally as well, and I’ve been struggling with it. Sometimes I think I may need to get some antidepressants or something because my mind really does go to worst case scenario so quickly and I seem to get drowned in that feeling pretty easily. I’m not sure if it’s somehow still all triggered and tied in with my undiagnosed PTSD after having my son, or the fact that my father was diagnosed with cancer and died within one month, just last year, but it’s intense. So if physically I am having it hard, emotionally I am having it really hard.

I have such a fear of dying. I recently heard the thought that death gives life meaning, and although that can bring some comfort, overall, it still makes me question to myself “have I done enough” and this makes me sad. It makes me sad to think about all of the life I have not lived yet. It makes me sad to think about all of the experiences I have not shared with my husband and child yet. It makes me feel like I am going to miss out so much. This is a slippery slope to go on and seriously my mind just slides right in. I have to be careful.

So how do I overcome this? How do I overcome this feeling of helplessness while feeling so worn down? Usually I would say to a friend if they sought my help, I would tell them the following: Take time to feel your feelings. Then find every way possible to laugh. Find the positives that way. Eat really well. Groom really well. Wear nice clothes, wear makeup and perfume or whatever makes you feel good when you look at yourself in the mirror. Be good to yourself. Be easy on yourself, and trust that everything is happening as it ought to. Surround yourself with people you love and who love you. Do what makes you feel the best. Do what brings you joy. Create, create, create. Focus on the love, the joy, the goodness happening right now.