Saturday, October 5, 2013

3 Months On...

3 months after one of the most momentous changes in my life - I'm doing well. Fabulously, fantastically well. 

There is bliss in the after too. From the gorgeous, dream house I find myself in, to the new and old friends welcoming me, Brisbane has proven to be just right...

There are new dreams and opportunities beginning to bloom - and I wonder how I got so incredibly, incredibly lucky. 

There are still days when the darkness and panic overwhelms me. But I know now, that is always darkest before the dawn, and I am getting better at letting go. Embracing the the happiness instead of fearing it. 

I wander aimlessly around this new city, exploring, learning, growing. There is always some new spot to discover, a new experience right around the corner. 

But most of all, I'm forgiving myself for past mistakes, and trying to loose the ties of guilt. And I'm finally discovering me. And I like her. A lot. 


There will be a time when you believe everything is finished.  
That will be the beginning.  
~Louis L'Amour~

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Yesterday

Yesterday was the last time that I saw my husband, in our home.
Yesterday, I laughed, I cried with the man whom has both destroyed me and built me.
Yesterday, I mourned all that I had lost.
Yesterday, I celebrated all that I had gained.

Yesterday, I let go of my marriage and the battle scars that weave themselves through my days and nights beating a rhythm that I do not yet understand.

Today, is the day that I move on.
Today, I create a future for myself.
Today, I have never been more alone.
Today, I have so much hope.

Today, I pluck new dreams out of the universe and spin myself new stars to follow, and renovate old ones.

I am no longer a wife, but instead am just Jo.
Just Jo, with all the potential those two words contain.
What will I become?

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Weighty Issues

I recently came across this article which explains the damage that the Biggest Loser and shows like it do, not only to the contestants, but also the absolutely idealistic and unrealistic image it portrays to the wider community. My mother (who is very petite), loves the show much to my bewilderment - I just think it is appalling, and completely unrealistic. She has always been obsessed with her weight, I just think... hmm.

I remember being in high school, terrified of becoming one of the 'fat girls'. Terrified that if I gained weight, that I would be considered less than - lazy - weak. I remember being told "Oh you have to be especially careful, Jo - your body will gain weight quickly, like your cousins" - regardless of the fact that at the time, I was barely 45kg.  I would play a game with myself, with everyone actually - taking the bare minimum to school (a muesli bar and fruit juice), and then eat as little as possible at home, but not to the degree that I would have been called out on. Control, Control, Control. The only thing that at the time, I could do.

Now I am the 'fat girl'? I really don't care. I love my body, it is been through hell and back, and it is still here. I am not weak, lazy, or worth less. Frankly, there are many other things to worry about in life. When I read this article (which is BRILLIANT, btw), it was my 'aha' moment. The author writes-

Now I understand what it’s like to grow up in a society that tells women that their beauty matters most, and at the same time defines a standard of beauty that is perpetually out of our reach. I also know the pain of internalising these messages. We have become our own jailors and we inflict our own punishments for failing to measure up. No one is crueller to us than we are to ourselves.
But this madness has to stop, Mum. It stops with you, it stops with me and it stops now. We deserve better – better than to have our days brought to ruin by bad body thoughts, wishing we were otherwise.

If you want to lose weight, that is your choice. But don't make it your daughter's choice. And her daughter' choice and so on. Live a healthy life by all means, but don't try and fit yourself, and your daughters into an impossible box.

It's simple - don't criticise your body in front of your daughter. Or criticise her body. Even little things like 'oh I have put on weight this week - ugh' can be locked in your daughter's head, becoming a beating chant that never leaves it. Don't be ashamed of the stretch marks, the scars, the round, undulating curves. Every woman deserves to be loved just the way she is. This isn't about burying your head in the sand - being healthy matters. But aiming for a ridiculous ideal that doesn't suit every body is not healthy.

I don't want my daughter to grow up with that chant in her head. I want her to feel that her mother loves her own body , and that of hers as well. That she is empowered to make healthy choices not governed by a ridiculous ideal. I want to change the conversation. I know that my mum never wanted me to starve, or become anorexic, but indirectly, her words did very nearly push me in that direction. I love my Mum don't judge her for this - no doubt, she grew up with the same dialogue - and I can see that she is trying to change the way she talks about her body and mine. But I CAN recognise my own struggles in this area, and not continue the cycle. I CAN change the dialogue.

Jo














Friday, May 24, 2013

A Plan for Me, Not We

Now that everything has changed, suddenly, I have to come up with a new life plan - or something I can plan for, hope for. A plan for me, not we.

But right now, I have a rough (very rough) 5 year plan. Goals that I can set myself, and hopefully achieve before my 30th birthday.


  1. Finish my move to Brisbane, into a share house. 
  2. Find a job in childcare industry, and get my Cert 3, or possibly my diploma. I have already partially completed my Cert 3 in high school, I just never got an opportunity to finish it. 
  3. Begin looking for nannying positions overseas - Europe, UK, USA, or Canada. 
  4. Go nannying overseas for 6 months/1 year. Maybe go for 6 months, home for 6 months, and go again for 6 months. 
  5. Come home. Get reestablished, find a home of my own. Get a job in the childcare industry. 
  6. And finally... have a baby. On my own. Yes, on my own, but ideally, in a co-parent situation. Or, look at fostering.

I know, I know, I don't know what is going to happen in the future. I might find an excellent man and get remarried. But I might not, and I need a plan if that doesn't happen. And to be brutally honest, I don't know if I want a long term relationship with a guy again, at right now, and possibly forever. I don't see myself ever not having men in my life (that is just my personality!), but not in a long term relationship type of way. Growing up, I always wanted a child more than a husband - it is just the way I am. Perhaps instead of forcing myself into a box, I need to look at options outside of it. And one of those options is (for all intents and purposes), to do it on my own. And if I think, and plan for it now, it means I have 5 years to plan, organise, think it through and financially stabilize myself so that my child/ren come into a world where they were not only desperately wanted, but planned and provided for.

I recognise that this plan is hard - and that being a single mother is hard. I recognise that it will bring its own challenges, prejudices and judgements. But nothing in life is guaranteed. I can't wait for that perfect (and frankly, unattainable) man, or postpone my plans, for possibly forever, just so I do it the way others think it should be done. Thankfully, I live in an era where I have the freedom to make another choice. That that choice even exists.

If one dream should fall and break into a thousand pieces, 
never be afraid to pick one of those pieces up and begin again.  
~Flavia Weedn~

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Desperate

Lately, I have just been a big ball of anxiety, stress, worry and desperation. I feel that moving out date creeping closer, and I feel so far behind, and out of control. I worry if I am doing the right thing, even though the rational part of me knows that it is a healthy step forward.

 Anxiety tends to be the most difficult, and debilitating demon in my mind. I am always on edge, and nearly always fake otherwise. I have a deep love of organisation - and ultimately, of perfection, but find the process to achieve that organisation and perfection stressful and at times, overwhelming - because after all, perfection is impossible.

For me, as long as it 'looked' pretty from the outside (particularly my marriage), I was ok. I could cope. When cracks appeared, I tried to fix them. But the reality, was so very different. The cracks just got bigger or lingered and grew under the surface, until I was drowning in them.  Until we were drowning in them. Lies and truth became indistinguishable - and one of us thought that lies were preferable to the truth, while the other thought that the lie of the image was more important than the truth that one partner was always lying to them.

With the benefit of hindsight, of course, things become clearer.

But doubt brings desperation, worry, anxiety. The only one I can control is myself.


Jo

Monday, May 13, 2013

The Devil in the Details

I know I can't take one more step towards you
Cause all that's waiting is regret
And don't you know I'm not your ghost anymore?
~ Jar of Hearts, Christina Perri~

Letting go has been a complicated, ever twisting, ever moving milestone. Everytime I think that finally, I am on the right track, it just pops up again - as with anything, the devil is in the details. 

I have been through the process before - of letting go of the person that hurts you - particularly someone that is supposed to love you. It's different this time round, but no less difficult, and no less complicated.  And above all, still equal parts heartbreak and peace. 

Last time, it was not a person I chose to have in my life to begin with, but rather had always been there. This time, it was someone I had chosen, and sometimes it feels like I share a little more of the responsibility for it falling apart the way it did. Regardless of whatever terrible decisions he made, I also made bad ones. Some would say I should have stayed, some say I should have left a long time ago, but I left when the timing was right for us both. We had come to the end of our journey - we weren't moving forward, but were, instead, just stuck. 

And to a degree, it feels like we are still stuck - by our home. Well, my home now, because he does not technically live here anymore. It feels like like he has just gone away on a holiday, even though I know that is not the case, and in fact, just desperately want to feel the opposite. I want things to be ordered, settled, and what is mine to feel like mine, instead of 'ours'. It is no longer we, our, us. It is now just me. 

But the devil is in the details. 

Jo

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The Complications of Becoming Fertile

Hi all, 

I was thinking how suddenly - I am not a part of an infertile couple. No longer is my dream so impossible or hard to achieve. It is now possible for me to have a baby the 'old-fashioned' way - perhaps with a little tiny bit of help because of my mild PCOS, but nothing extreme or highly intrusive.

It is strangely both incredibly freeing and saddening, because my former husband won't ever get that opportunity. Others in the infertility world also will never get the second chance that I do. I am just so, so incredibly lucky.

Some part of me will always be thankful for these years facing infertility - it has taught me so much. It has taught me what an amazing gift fertility is and to never, never take it for granted. It has taught me empathy - I can now relate to a whole other world that I, for one, would have never gotten to experience the same way otherwise. It has taught me patience, love, endurance. It made me realise how desperately I want to be a mother, and also, how painful that desperation can be, and just how misunderstood it can be . 

I must admit however, that sometimes, I feel like I am betraying the others that are in the trenches -  while they battle on, I get to walk away. Scarred, certainly, and I will never be the same, but still, walking away. I am sorry for that. Eternally sorry. 

In a strange way - I spent 7 years mourning the children that I could never have with my husband. I can now, finally, lay their ghosts to rest. I can stop wondering what our children would look like, be like. I can just be. 

Jo

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Breathing.

When I can't breathe, I tell myself to get through today - just today. And then, when I fear that I won't survive today, I get a phonecall from just the right person, or read just the right sentence. Sometimes, I think surviving life is more about luck - and that little tiny voice of hope... but ultimately, nobody gets out unscathed.

Recently, I read  Eden's most recent post about her experiences in the mental health system. I have been admitted once into a mental health unit  - overnight, after a suicide attempt. I was young, terrified, and very, very out of it. When the next morning came for my 'interview' with the psychologists etc,  I calmly, quietly, talked my way out. Thankfully, I had the arms of my family to run into, but I shudder to think what would have happened if I did not.  Thankfully, now I listen to myself more, and don't let it get to that point - I talk it out, or go for a very long walk with very loud music. It doesn't mean that the idea of suicide has ever left me, or that it ever will, but I have learnt how to manage it better for me...There are awful days, and amazing days and everything in between, but as long as I am alive at the end of them, I have already won. It has taken time, and a lot of hard work, but it is a process. One step at a time, one day a time, and some days, one hour at a time. 

It does get better - cliched, but true. You can find peace with whatever demons are chasing you - but it is a constant process and negotiation. And some days, it is ok to feel that you can't negotiate,   but make sure that you get right back it tomorrow. 


I'm quirky, silly, blunt, and broken. 
My days are sometimes too dark, and my nights are sometimes too long. 
I often trip over my own insecurities. 
I require attention, long for passion, and wish to be desired. 
I use music to speak when words fail me, even though words are as important to me as the air that I breathe. 
I love hard and with all I have... 
And even with all my faults, I am worth loving.
- Danu Grayson -



Thursday, April 25, 2013

Good Days, Bad days and In-Between Days

Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come.  
~Anne Lamott~



I have been having good days, bad days and in-between days. Days where I am just ready for it all to be over, and days where I wouldn't change my life for the world.

I feel incredibly lucky. Life has prepared me for this. I am no longer believe that the bad days will never end. I know now, if I just survive this day, the next one will come along. I know that every problem is surmountable, no matter how much I doubt myself.

It doesn't make the dark days any less dark, but it does make them a little easier to bear. That little word 'hope' encourages me to push on, and never give up. It sings a song in my heart, tells me that I have done this before, and I can, and will do it again. It reassures me that I have learnt enough so that this time, it will be easier. I know now that walking away can be a good thing, no matter how much pain you experience in the meantime. The very act of walking away can heal your heart like nothing else. Yes, it creates a new pain - but it will end - whereas staying means it will continue on.

One day at a time. One breath at a time. In, out.

Jo

Friday, April 12, 2013

Surprise!

It's a great thing when you realize you still have the ability to surprise yourself.  Makes you wonder what else you can do that you've forgotten about. 
 ~Alan Ball~


My new life never ceases to surprise me. It is like I am finding myself again after a deep sleep - and I just cannot believe it still. 

It has surprised me whom has been 'present' in my life through the process, and it hasn't been the people that I think would be there. That is not to say that the rest of my friends haven't been there as well, but it has surprised me who has stayed. Whom still rings me and checks in, after that initial "what is going on" phone call.  

I am surprised at how well (at least, right now), I am coping with all of the changes, and the added responsibility. Also, how in so many ways, it is just easier. The only one I am responsible for is myself, and so there is no one else to blame or, in some cases, no one else to  destroy my hard work. Maybe it is because, in the back of my mind somewhere, there was always a quiet voice warning me that this could happen, it isn't a big shock. Well it is, but it isn't completely unexpected.  

It has been a month since we split and the time is just flying. A lot of decisions to be made, and changes to come, so that I can move on. Priceless.

Jo

Monday, April 8, 2013

Voices

"I am the voice of your history.
Be not afraid, come follow me.
Answer my call and I will set you free."
~ Voice ~

Freedom is bliss. 

When I told a friend that Justin and I had separated, she refused to believe it - couldn't believe that our relationship had such problems. 

It reminded me that often from the outside, people can seem to have it mostly all together - but internally, the opposite is quite true. However even I freely admit that I am still stunned that our relationship came to the end that it did. That it seemingly had so little foundation that all it took was the slightest of touches to blow it away. Ironically, it came at a time when I was finally feeling confident in my relationship and it's stability - that the world had stopped spinning and I was finally able to function a little better both in a relationship, and as myself. 

 That evening, when it all fell apart, we had just gone out to dinner with a group of friends. Life was good, well, seemed good. I look back with a deep sense of irony - I was so intent on having it all together, that I neglected to see the cracks, where all the lies were pouring in. 

I wasn't perfect in our marriage. This I know. I come with a lot of baggage, and a forceful personality. But I am unendingly, brutally honest. He was not. That I know, and in fact, knew.   

It wasn't until I put into action what I had already learnt - that some people cannot change. That hope alone does not work - it takes action and hard work. The truth, should be given as much as possible, particularly when you have made a mistake. They say that you only accept the things that you think you deserve, and for me, I realised that I deserved more. 

25 years is a long time to live with lies. I need to change my expectations - I need to remember that the truth can be, and is, a good thing. That I deserve the truth and the freedoms that brings. To not be afraid. 

Walking in the light, 
Jo

  

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Changes.

Hi world,

4 weeks ago my carefully crafted world came down with crash. Or maybe it was a sigh. It is hard to tell.

Letting go of a marriage is hard work. Often we fight the inevitable, just to prove everyone else wrong. We hope that we are reading the signs wrong, that we are loved as much as we hope to be. That we are valued, even when in our hearts of hearts, we know that we are not.

Even now, I feel like I should protect him. Even though, at a certain point, he no longer did the same for me. Even though we both failed at our marriage in parts, I was the one whom had to walk away. Because ultimately, learning, growing and change are a good thing in your own life, and should happen in your marriage as well. If they don't, you have to work out why, and create healthy changes yourself. I have never been one to remain silent, and waiting for him to grow up wasn't something I was willing to wait for. Maybe that makes me a failure. But guess what? Unhealthy patterns continue, and I was worth more.

If a person cannot change, because they don't want to, then sometimes, it is better to let them go and wish them luck on their journey.

It has been 7 years full of every human emotion possible - and so, I now have to process it all, and yes, move on. Mourn for what I have lost, and laugh for what I have gained. Freedom is precious. I appreciate it in a new way. My marriage taught me a lot, but above all it taught me empathy - and to appreciate the gift of life and growth, in a way that I never could before.

My future is full of beautiful possibilities, and I am so thankful for the life that led me here. Right where I should be.

Jo