Dani’s journey begins!!!

It’s been a long time since I wrote biggie girl problems.  I went back to read that story just the other day, and the urgency of the matter has been increased by ten-fold as big school for my girl looms ominously closer.  If you didn’t read it, then here it is here. This post is a jump off from that, a to-be-continued, I guess you could say.  I have finally got my shit together after piss-arsing around for almost a year, and have kicked my babies journey towards better health into first gear.

It’s been hard, pushing her into physical activity.  But we have no-one to blame but ourselves for the fact that she is not only as slow as a snail, but also hates exercise or any physical activity with a passion.  In the future, I’m going to have to use my imagination, because there’s going to come a time where running around a field with mum and dad is going to get boring as hell.  But this is how it has to be, at least for these first couple of weeks as I attempt to get her out of her rut, and out of the house more often.  My girls problem is not food, as she doesn’t eat much to begin with.  Her problem is lack of activity, and a penchant for video games and sitting in front of the TV for hours on end.  This is not her fault.  It is both mine and her dad’s, for we have allowed this to go on for far too long, and her health, and weight, has raged out of control because of it.

I owned up to that.  Her father, not so much.  His mum, whom I love to bits, is one of those types who believe that, if a child is happy doing something, just leave her there.  That’s how her dad is with her.  If she’s happy, leave her alone, that’s his motto. Even if she’s been sitting on the game ALL DAY LONG, she’s happy, so what harm does it do?  I’ve never felt comfortable with the idea of TV, computers and video games being used as sole entertainment for kids.  We only had one way to entertain ourselves as children, and that was by playing outside.  Why we haven’t attempted to bring our girl up this way is beyond me.  And now, I’m beginning to wish I had forced this issue sooner rather than later.  Especially when I look at my girl and realize just how big she has become in the last year of so.

I am not blaming Dad.  But I do wish he could see things from my perspective, and made more of an effort with me to keep her health on track.  Two days out of the week Dad had her, while Mum was at work from eight in the morning to four-thirty in the afternoon.  More often than not, I would come home, and find her sitting on that bloody game.  What’s more, I could tell by her paleness, or by the way her eyes strained in the light when we stepped outside, that she’d been on it all day.  A majority of the other time, it was the fact she was still in her Pyjama’s and her hair was all disarray that would give it away.  Her dad was normally jamming it out on the xbox with her, too, which made me even wilder.

Nearly two years, I have watched this unfold.  And just about every weekend.  No amount of discussion or moaning or nagging on my behalf has helped the situation.  I do all I can to give her chubby legs a run around on the week, but that seems to come undone when she stays home with her father.  And now, that has well and truly got to STOP.

I guess I’m feeling a bit frustrated.  The breaking point was coming, and it finally has.  I made two choices so that I could basically step in and concentrate fully on getting my babies weight under control before she heads off to big school.  One, I gave in my notice at work and am now officially unemployed.  And two, I spent a majority of my last pay on an array of things that are meant to spur us back into physical activity,  Roller skates.  Scooters.  Balls and bats.  Cricket sets.  Boxing pads.  All of which we are going to be doing down at the field, a hop, skip and jump away.

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My biggie girl.  2015.

I don’t think Dark was happy that I gave up my job. I wasn’t exactly ecstatic about it.  But I need, need, need to get her health in order.  I need to stop talking and do.  This is the number one priority of the year for me, as the last thing I want is for her to have a bad start in school because of her weight.  Her happiness is paramount.  And if it means sacrificing a payslip to help her until she happily settles in, then that’s what I’m more than willing to do.

Dark doesn’t have my fears and qualms about being a big girl in an environment where kids can sometimes be cruel.  He doesn’t know just how much it can affect a child’s mentality, even though you would think that living with someone as complicated as me, he would have had some idea by now.  Sometimes, while we are having this debate, I ask him, “Mubs, think about it.  Do you want our baby to turn out like how I was?”

Him:  “What do you mean, like how you were?  There’s nothing wrong with you.”

Me: “Maybe not now.  But do you remember what I was like when I first met you?”

Him: (Silent.)

Me: “Exactly.  Our babies got a good foundation with me and you.  But it can change when she gets to school.  And if we don’t do something about her weight, its gonna change, alright!  And not for the better!!”

Darks: “We’ll just get her into boxing or teach her to knock kids out.  That’ll teach them.”

Me: “So we are going to teach her that violence solves shit?  Wow.  That’s just awesome.”

Him: (Glaring at me.)

It’s a never-ending cycle, our arguments.  Always about the same old shit, and never about a viable solution.

This time, I have found one.  I gave up my job and, while that may have seemed a tad drastic, to me, it was absolutely necessary.  I have put an end to her all-day-long game escapades, and at times, she absolutely hates me for it.  Too bad.  It’s been two weeks so far, and every single day I am pushing my girl (and myself) out the door, complaints and all, rain, hail and snow. That’s us, my little family of three, down at that field in the cooler hours of the evening with keen fitness enthusiasts and neighborhood kids who are also out and about, running around after balls, frisbees or each other.

And my girl, she loves it, man.  It’s a mission, getting her out at first, but once she’s out, she joins in the fun willingly, and is normally on a high when we get home.  When dinner and showers are over, her chubby little face comes alive and I can tell, by the way she jumps around the house, that she is feeling good about herself.  Its awesome.  In my mind, I am coming up with a thousand ways to improve my girls fitness levels without making it seem as if I am a Personal Trainer, forcing her to lose weight.  Shes only a child.  But I know, better than anyone, just how impressionable those first years at school can be, how they can mold you, and even how they can set you up for either future success – or failure.

A couple of times, my girl has thrown herself on the floor, and refused to budge when I sing out that it’s ‘field time.’  You should hear me as I order her up.  Dad doesn’t like the way I sound, and even I don’t like the way I sound, but I harden my heart and keep at her until she reluctantly moves.  She glares those big eyes at me now and then because I’ll admit, I tend to get pushy, demanding and even overbearing at times.  She gravitates towards her father more because, let’s face it, he lets her get away with murder, basically.  But in the end, I know she’ll see that all I do, is always done with her in mind.  One day, she might even turn around and thank me for it.  And not just for helping her lose weight, but for always managing to see the bigger picture, and putting her and her needs first.  That’s how it should be.  That’s how it is, and that’s how its always going to be.

New year, and new Dani girl!  Lets do this, my darling!

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My biggie girl, four years old

 

 

 

 

 

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Hold On Pain Ends

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I was eleven the very first time I tried to take myself out of this world.  It was winter, and the year was 1991.  Opposite our home was a vast rugby field, our childhood playground, where me and my cousins, in younger days, would often frolic and run a muck, playing rugby and tiggy, but mostly bull rush.   Splayed beyond this field were lush green hills that rolled on endlessly.  Over these hills was a river which had these magnificently huge willow trees jutting over the water.  One day, I found myself down there, sitting under one of those willow trees, hugging my knees as I looked out at the water, and wanting nothing more than end it all.  I held a long rope in my hand that I’d found in our shed, and I remember, so clearly, that feeling of utter hopelessness – like a tonne of lead weighing down heavily on my mind, my heart and my soul.

I was only eleven at the time, but had the mind and maturity of an adult.  Life, circumstances and events had made me that way.  You may think that, being only eleven years old, there was possibly no reason for me to want to knock myself off.  After all, I was at an age where life hadn’t even begun to mess with me yet, right?  Maybe so, maybe not.  There’s no way I can pinpoint exactly why it was that I no longer wanted to exist, except, perhaps to say that I had always had a very strong, heightened sense of awareness, which opened my eyes to seeing things that no child should ever have to see until they have matured enough to handle it.  The other thing would have been having this in-built sense of sadness, even from a young age.  A melancholy, which was seemingly as much a part of me as my arms and legs.  Later on, I came to realize this melancholy was, in fact depression.  And it has visited me often throughout my life, like a faithful dog that always comes back, and never really forgets its Master.

You may think that someone intent, and on the verge of knocking themselves off, to be an intense, overwhelming experience.  Where maybe thoughts are racing through your head like cars on an expressway, the heart is beating away madly, like a bongo drum in your chest, and your convulsing and on the verge of an epileptic fit or something.  That was definitely not the case with me.  When I stood up and forced myself out onto one of those thick branches, intending to tie a rope around the branch, then around my neck, all was just black, and quiet, and oh so very still.  Like the world was on pause, waiting, with breathless anticipation, for me to make the move.  I lowered myself carefully so I could saddle the branch, then set to work tying a knot as tightly as I possibly could.  Dark, dark thoughts in my head.  Tears falling freely down my face.  Wrapped in a blanket of hopelessness so tight, that death seemed a relief from it all.  Ironically, you don’t even think about pain of the rope squeezing the life out of you, because the pain within simply just overpowers it all.

The universe decided to intervene that day.  As it has intervened many times since.  Being as overweight as I was, the branch suddenly snapped before I even had the chance to get the noose around my neck, and I went tumbling into the water with an almighty splash.  I remember trying to let myself drift under, spreading my arms and legs like a starfish, eyes upward to the grey sky, teeth chattering as I begged the river to claim me as its own, surrendering myself, even as my body was going all spastic from the freezing cold.  But it isn’t as simple to drown yourself as it is to hang yourself.  I’m sure I wouldn’t be here today if that were the case.

I remember reading this article not so long ago.  It outlined the statistics of suicide in my homeland, New Zealand, and it’s been popping up randomly in my mind ever since.   It hurts whenever I think about it.  It hurts because I know exactly what it’s like to be in that mind frame.  And it hurts because there are far, far too many people out there, going through the motions, wanting to die, wanting to give up on a life that can be so beautiful, if you just hang on to it.

Perceptions and attitudes towards those contemplating suicide are disturbing.  Although I understand how difficult it must be for family members to deal with someone who can’t see the point in anything anymore, some of the judgements out there are quite outrageous and even angers me.  It is attention-seeking.  It is a coward way out.  Those who succeed are selfish, and never think of the pain and discord they leave in their wake.  In a way, this is all true, to an extent.  But you can never hope to understand, let alone prevent the inevitable from happening, if you don’t open your mind to the struggle that goes on inside the head of a loved one contemplating suicide.  It is all inner conflict.  Wanting to cease existing, is like being in a sort of state.  Like how one gets into a state of ecstasy when making love, or a state of equilibrium when meditating, so wanting to kill yourself off I will describe as being in a state of despair.  You cannot see a way out.  You cannot feel anything but the deep-seated pain that is causing you to want to shut your own lights out.  You feel worthless, and feel your loved ones will be better off without you anyway.  It hurts to smile, and it hurts to pretend.  It hurts more than you will ever know.  Most times, this state takes you to a place where you are so far gone that nobody can reach you.

Nobody wants to kill themselves.  I honestly believe that, with one hundred percent certainty.  They just want whatever is causing the inner pain to stop.

If you are struggling to bring someone you love out of their state of despair, I really don’t know how you’re supposed to do that.  I myself have dealt with a few teens who have come to me, crying that they just don’t want to live anymore.  And even as a fellow suicidal sufferer myself, with the shoe on the other foot, I had no advice to give because, as I have mentioned before in some of my other posts, saying the wrong thing seems to be my forte, and when dealing with a suicidal loved one, that’s the worst thing you can do.  So I just sat there – and listened.  Because words, no matter how good the intentions, can be quite useless and have zero effect whatsoever.  When I swallowed a whole bottle of pills at age fourteen, and ended up in hospital because of it, my mum spoke with me about it for the first time, I suppose, and asked me why I done it.  And I couldn’t tell her.  Even though she cried and said she loved me, and wanted more than anything for me to just be happy, and even did her best thereafter to help me, her words basically rebounded off me and disappeared somewhere into the air.  That’s how out of reach people get.  Yes, it is selfish.  But more than anything, it is a nightmare, and one where you really just want to wake up and start living, but just don’t know how to.

To those with a loved one who is contemplating suicide, all I ask is that you please, be kind. Open your mind to their struggle, without judgement, without prejudice, and maybe they will open their mouths and spill their guts about what is wrong.  Because it is always something.  It is never just nothing.  Most often, it is deep-seated pain and even mental illnesses that take people to that dark place of not wanting to exist anymore, and this is what I feel needs to be addressed.  A majority of people, they don’t like to go there, you know, because that is where all the ugliness and the heavy issues dwell, and facing them can be too much for some to handle.  Sometimes, I feel that, if only someone had come to me while I was down there, and they had stayed, and talked, and wrestled with me about what was causing the pain, I would have come out of that suicidal buzz sooner, rather than later.  If you’re loved ones are dwelling in these realms, then maybe that’s where you need to go, too?   Actually, now that I am thinking along those lines, I am absolutely certain, that that is where your best shot at saving them lies.

Struggling with suicide is a heavy business, and one that’s going to be a long, arduous journey, for those suffering from it as well as for those who are trying to help a friend or loved one through it.  There are days I feel so proud, you know, because I have survived so many attempts, and yet have finally emerged out the other side, stronger, with a heart and eyes that now see the best in life rather than the worst.   I always try not to judge people by their surface actions, you know, because going through so much inner conflict has allowed me to be keyed, almost automatically, into other people’s pain, pain that I can see as clear as day, even if it’s not so obvious to others.

So to my fellow friends and readers, wherever you are in the world, if you are reading this, and it hits some kind of nerve, I just want to say this.  You are worth it.  You are.  You, reading this, are worthy of life.  Of living.  Of enjoyment, laughter and mostly of giving and receiving love.  You are a bad-ass survivor.  A fighter.  And somebody who is going to, one day, be able to see that this gift of life that you have been given is so worth holding onto.   Next time life tells you that you ain’t worth shit, turn around and give it a big, fat karate chop, and say ‘YES I AM.’  And say it like you mean it, because you are.  And when you truly, truly start believing that, I promise you, everything will fall into place.

There’s going to come a day where you’re going to rise up.  You will find your feet, and you will find your niche, and when the storm is over, and you have evolved and grown, just as I have, you will look back on that part of your life and laugh, just as I laugh now when I think about the day I went tumbling into the freezing cold water during my first suicide attempt.

Hold onto HOPE.  Hope will get you through it, and eventually, it will set you free.  It will.  You know what HOPE stands for?  It stands for Hold On, Pain Ends.  And it will.  Maybe not tomorrow, or next week, but one day.

 

HOPE

 

 

I am Maori. What does this even mean?

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I am Maori.  What that even means, I’m not entirely sure.  And I think it’s only because I was whangai (adopted) why I have never really been certain about what being a Maori is all about.

It is a common Maori practice for children to be brought up by various members of the family besides mum and dad.  The policy was it takes a community to raise a child, and this is evident in a lot of Maori families, even today.  I personally know of quite few people who were brought up with their grandparents. Otherwise aunties, uncles and even sisters bore the responsibility of raising ilk too.  Me.  I was put through the system, and this is how I ended up with my whangai family.  An unfortunate incident saw me placed into welfare after I ended up in hospital.  My whangai mum and dad cycled a fair bit of us out of the system, and living with kids from all walks of life was the norm for me.

I guess this is why I don’t feel as in touch with who I am as I should.  Being adopted does this to anybody, I think.  Each circumstances are different, and all I can confirm is that the way I was brought up didn’t really stand me in good stead for when it came to mixing and mingling with my own people.   Which is odd, because from childhood, right up to when my mother got the boot from her Ringatu faith (I would have been 13 or fourteen at the time) my mother was hardcore into the Maori culture and fully immersed in the traditions of her iwi (tribe).  I was always there with her, and so was immersed in it too.

She was brought up in the true Maori world, 0f the 1930’s – 40’s, where Maori and Pakeha were still learning to co-exist with each other.  During my young days, I remember spending more time at the Marae (a meeting house) being surrounded by kuia (eldery women) in black than I did anywhere else.  My mother spoke the Maori language fluently.  The elders could speak to us in our basic native tongue, and we could understand what they were saying.  During worship, us kids were taught to memorize Maori Karakia (prayers), and then stand up and recite them in front of everybody in the Marae.  Tapu (sacred practices) were something we were always and forever reminded of.  Take your shoes off when you go into someone’s house.  If you’ve got your monthly, no going into the cemetery.   No walking upon the graves of the deceased, and no sitting on the table.  Basic things like that.

I suppose when I look back on it, you could say I was brought up within the true Maori world, too.  To an extent, that is.  Yet, none of this has clarified anything for me in terms of where I stand, in terms of being Maori.  Over the years, I slowly lost what basic language I knew when I was a kid, and I lost sight of all that my mother had taught me when growing up with the Ringatu faith.  Mum and dad divorced.  Then the Ringatu church turned their backs on my mother when she started experimenting with some spiritual path that the Indians in the Himalayan’s practiced.  That was the last faith she religiously practiced, right up to the day she died.

Things are not like how they use to be.  Maybe we’ve been urbanized.  Maybe we’ve crossed over into the white man’s land and have learnt to accept it.  Our culture has one basic core principle that stands today, as it did many, many years ago, when the Maori first set foot in Aotearoa (NZ).  It is all about ‘tangata whenua’ which is basically saying that it’s all about the people of the land.  Now this, I truly believe. And not just in our culture, but for any culture.  People should come first above anything else, yet the reality is, people come last – after money, power and greed, that is.

I know a lot of our people who announce, loudly and with all the staunchness that can somewhat be our trademark, that they are proud to be Maori.  Ta Moko (traditional maori tattoo) are rampant, especially here in Australia, where Maori are more likely to represent their culture in the form of tattoos than they are in their principles and their behaviors.  And that’s all good and well.  But sometimes I believe this pride can be a bit overboard, because half the time, it is pride without any justifiable means to back it up.  I am not pointing at every single person in our culture, but it seems to be becoming more evident and more forthright as time goes by.  Ego and pride are fast becoming dominant traits in our culture.  Scroll any Maori page on Facebook, read any article written by a Maori, and you’ll see that ego flying proudly like the NZ flag in the wind.  Ego and pride.  It’s not the one.  Its not what we are about, is it?  Not only is it a gross misrepresentation of our people, but it also makes us look like a bunch of savages.  Maybe that Maori blood is more feisty than I thought it was, aye?

This is why I find it hard to relate to my people sometimes.  Ego and pride. In general,  I cannot STAND these two ‘traits’.  In anything, and in anybody, even in myself.  They are the shadows that dwell in any culture, and its whats keeping NZ in the state it is in now, what with John Key wanting to change the flag and selling off our assets like nobody’s business.  Which is an entirely different story for somebody else to rant about.

While there are so many out there who represent us and our culture in a beautiful way, the majority that feel the need to do the exact opposite is quite staggering to be honest.  I, for one, have found myself distancing myself from the chaos because, from where I’m standing, our people are getting lost somewhere in the fracas, and they are not even realizing this.   The more I pull back and look at things, the more I realize that times have changed.  Dramatically.  And I’d even go so far as to say not in a great way.

Maybe it’s all in my head, but when I mix with my own people, whanau (family) and friends, I always get the feeling that I’m not as ‘Maori’ as I should be.  I don’t indulge in the slang, I don’t have that ‘staunchness, and the ways of our Maori people as they are TODAY seem lost on me.   I think it’s got more to do with my own disconnection, though.  From my ancestors, and from not knowing where I’m from.

I am Maori.  So what does this mean?  Well, after this rant which I’m not even sure makes sense, I still don’t know.  But I’m on it.  I have alot to learn, and alot to research.  Thirty five years old, and finally a thirst to find out more about my genealogy and blood lines.  Maybe if I go back, and look deep into my heritage – the heritage of my biological parents – I might be able to go forward, head high, and truly be able to state just what it means to be Maori.

 

Waking up

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If so, this might be the last thing you want to hear, but congratulations!  Whats happening is you may possibly be going through an Awakening.  You have now entered treacherous terrain, and this experience is possibly going to lift you higher than you could ever imagine.  But first, it’s going to break you.

An awakening, to me, is a blessing in disguise.  You may not be feeling particularly joyous at this ‘awakening’ that is meant to be exhilarating, yet is causing you so much discord. You have reached a point in your life where something is happening to you, and you don’t know what it is.  You just know something is wrong, and you know it is something that needs dealing to. You may be in great emotional pain.  Torment, even.  Never-ending questions are flooding your mind.  Your world and existence, as you’ve always known it, has been flipped upside down and landed, bang-smack, right on its head.

It might not seem like it, but please trust me when I say this.  This ‘awakening’ could be the best thing that ever happened to you.

It was a deep and profound connection with another person that shook the living daylights out of me.  The awakening was so powerful, it felt as if I had been roused out of a deep, long, thirty-five year sleep.  Like Snow White, minus the handsome prince. Even to this day, I still can’t find the words to describe it.  One day, I met somebody who was so similar to me on every level, it was like looking into a mirror and seeing myself as I truly was.  I did not like the person staring back at me.  This awakening began three years ago although, at the time, I had no idea that’s what it was.

It was fate that we were meant to meet.  And it was also fate that we were meant to part.

This connection brought me to my knees like nothing else ever did.  It was confronting, it was deeply troubling, and it changed something in me forever.  It is something which I have attempted to describe to others, only to be met with scoffs and scornful comments of “what are you even on about?”  I, myself, have attempted to deny it, because the whole idea that someone has shifted something deep in your psyche, without even doing anything extraordinary, sounds insane.  But the heart knows better.  Despite the opposition, despite the self-denials, the heart knows that, whatever it was, it was real.  It was something deep and profound.

Contrary to what others may believe, and judging from my own experience, I believe that a real spiritual awakening is something not to be taken lightly.  It’s not all about finding a magical world filled with rainbows, nor is it something where you just wake up one day and suddenly think ‘oh, I want to be more in touch with my inner-self.’   No. There is more to it, so much more. Actually, it is probably one of the most beautiful, as well as one of the most hideous experiences you will ever have to encounter in your life.  When you are waking up from this deep sleep, you are waking up to, and facing yourself and who you are at your core.  You see things about yourself that you would just rather not.  Your demons, the emotional hurts of your past, the negative energies that keep you stuck in a rut, the false beliefs and attitudes that prevent you from rising up – all of it comes rushing to the surface, forcing you to confront it, head-on.

I have been undergoing this deep, intense awakening for the last three years.  And anybody that has been through it can tell you that it’s not easy.  The only reason I know it’s an awakening is because 1) I was literally on my knees, praying to God to help me understand what was happening to me.  And 2) every single one of my belief systems that I had carefully created to keep my world just as I wanted it were crumbling down around me.  The blinkers were being lifted from my eyes, and I was seeing a reality so far removed from what I had always seen.  Not just about myself, but also the world around me.

It’s no wonder so many people would rather stay asleep all their lives, rather than wake up and smell the cappuccino and see the world for what it really is.  And, from what I have discovered, it is the world we live in that is false.  Love is the only truth, and everything else – hate, fear, racism, war, ego, pride, etc etc – is the illusion.  But…this is mankind today, as created by mankind.  We are fully immersed in these illusions, living them out like nobody’s business, because it is easier living the lie than it is facing our truth.

Call me crazy, but that’s how I see it.  This is what I have learnt, and am still learning to this day.

Going through an awakening is some heavy shit.  It’s not a light, breezy journey filled with butterflies and rainbows.  I like to think of it as a spring-clean – kind of like how you would spring-clean and de-clutter your home.  Except your spring-cleaning your mind, body and soul by removing and releasing all that is toxic, and keeping you stuck in limbo.

I am still trying to spring-clean myself out.  It’s been an amazing three years.  The journey one of pain, anguish, joy, exhilaration and even adrenaline all rolled into one! With each day that goes by, I’m coming more and more into my own, and discovering the true power of what it means to be me, and what it means to be alive.  Below are just some of the things I believe are signs that you are going through an awakening of your own.  How we get to this point differs from person to person.  It could be anything that brings us to our knees and makes us seek a more purposeful meaning in life.  Death.  Love.  An extraordinary event.

How you cope with it, though, is what really matters.  The outcome of the journey is entirely up to you.

 

SIGNS YOU MAY BE EXPERIENCING AN AWAKENING

 

You are questioning everything that you’ve ever believed in

I have been a lone soldier all my life.  And my way has always been to shut people out because I believed they prevented me from attaining the things I wanted – power, money and status.  This was something I believed in with rigid stubbornness, and I was proud to be this way.  I had an over-inflated ego to accompany this pride, and was arrogant about it to boot.  I can say, now, that I am ashamed of the things I have done to get to where I am today. Because these things I wanted, they were just illusions.  They have brought temporary satisfaction, but if I were to be honest, they have never brought me true happiness.

Material things mean nothing to you anymore

Material things and possessions held utmost importance to me.  Flash cars, big screen TV’S, money ka-chinging in the bank, the whole she-bang.  I wanted it all, and sought these things with an over-zealous drive, as if I had to have it or die.  Nowadays, I feel eternally grateful for what I have, and am learning to feel content rather than always wanting the next big thing.  I no longer yearn for material things.  The yearning I have now is for rich life experiences that I know will enhance my quality of living rather than my bank account.  Because as long as me and my family have a roof over our heads, food in the cupboards, and aroha (love) in our home, we will always be rich regardless.

You feel out of place, and feel like you no longer fit with people you were once very close too

This may very well be one of the hardest things to come to grips with when the blinkers have been well and truly lifted from your eyes.  Especially if your family, your loved ones, and your friends are deeply immersed in the ways of the world.  You find yourself stepping away from everybody, because you know, deep down, that you have discovered a reality that is so very different from the one the people around you are living.  I personally believe that there is nothing wrong with distancing yourself from the chaos, as long as you let them know that you still love them.  If family truly cared for you, they will understand and respect your wishes for space.

You start praying more to God

This is the pain in you speaking.  Whatever it is you are confronting is hurting you so badly, that you find yourself on your knees, praying and crying out to God for answers, because you don’t know what else to do.  Keep talking to him.  In your heart, you will know when He answers you.

You start looking for the good in people

Ask anybody who knows me.  I had the highest walls, and a suspicion for people as large as the Pacific Ocean.  I have always been able to see the dark side in people, and this ability has prevented me from truly connecting with others.  I did this because I have a ridiculously large fear of being hurt.  The walls are coming down, slowly, but surely.  The load on my shoulders is lifting, and at times I feel like I’m even floating.  Crazy, right?  The truth is – it is just plain tiring,  a colossal effort, and a waste of energy, always trying to keep people at bay, just because you’re scared.

I’m trying to teach myself a different way of thinking now.  That it is OK to let people in.  We are all human, and we all hurt somebody at some stage.  It’s life.  My paranoia (yes, I admit, that’s all it was) is fading out of my psyche, and being replaced with empathy and understanding of human nature, as a whole.  Everyone has good in them.  And if you find yourself seeing the good points in people, rather than focusing on the bad, chances are, you are definitely on your way to reconnecting with your higher, spiritual self!

You feel an overwhelming need to serve and help those in need

I think this is the true, ultimate purpose of the awakening.  I think that this what it all boils down too.  If you find yourself feeling a deep sense of sadness about all the ugliness in the world, and wanting to do your bit to make it a better place, then you have found your true calling in life.  Whether it’s helping the homeless, inspiring someone to do better, donating to charity, or just being there for someone in their hour of need – giving – no matter how big or small, is bound to add a quality to your life that is immeasurable.  It fills you with purpose like nothing else can.  Seeing true suffering, and opening your heart to doing something about it helps you put things into perspective. Practicing small, random acts of kindness is not only filling me with a strong sense of purpose, it is also helping me feel utmost gratitude – for my family, my health – for my life, and all that I have been blessed with.

***

So there it is.  My personal experience.  To those of you who are in the same waka (boat) as I am, I wish you all the best on your own journey towards self-discovery and fulfilment.  It’s going to be a roller coaster ride, but one that I totally believe is going to be worth it in the end.  Persevere and stick it out and remind yourself that it’s going to get easier. Once your soul awakens, the search begins, and you can never truly go back.  And when you start seeing the true rewards that lie within your reach, just as I’m seeing them now, you’ll never want to go back, anyway…

SOURCES:

IMAGE: binggallery.com

 

 

 

 

 

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From what I’ve seen in movies and read in books, it’s usually a powerful, moving, unforgettable or defining moment in your life, like a near-death experience, that motivates you to wake up and smell the coffee and make the most of your life before you cark it. So I’m not entirely sure a screaming match with my man (which could have ended in a boxing match) counts as a ‘defining moment, seeing this has only taken place like a zillion times.

Guy gets drunk, and suddenly the ‘feelings’ come out. Starts ranting about how much I don’t ‘respect’ him, and tells me, yet again, to fuck off. Girl reacts by throwing butter at his head, which conveniently misses its target and ends up splattered all over the wall. Guy picks up what’s left over of the butter and flings it back at girl, and what do you know, girl gets remaining butter splattered all over arm. Guy wakes up the next morning, apologetic, sorry, remorseful – and says the words that girl has heard about, oh, only a thousand times – ‘I didn’t mean it.’ Girl doesn’t talk to him, and three days later, guy is probably beginning to feel like Casper the ghost.

Edited PG version of the events, by the way. Girl still can’t believe that, after all these years, she is still putting up with this shit. She just can’t seem to leave this fella alone, even though it’s pretty obvious to kingdom come and beyond that the dude brings out the worst in her. And that it is never going to change.

This is typically us.  The other morning, still hurting from the nasty words that spill from the man’s mouth after he’s gotta few in him, I caught myself in the mirror as I was getting dressed for work, and automatically started singing the tin man’s song – ‘if I only had a braaaaain.’ Because for real life, where is my brain at?? Why do I believe after thirteen long years that this will ‘never happen again?’ Why do I get lulled back into a false sense of security, only to be let down yet again. Dez isn’t a bad guy. Let me just state that as fact. He’s an awesome dad and a good provider. But like every other tom dick and harry, and contrary to what others believe, he DOES have a bad side. And that bad side coaxes the evil out of me easily…too easily!

I don’t like the person I become when I’m angry. Not many people have seen it, and those that have want nothing more to do with me these days.  If there just so happened to be a spanner in my hand, rather than butter, I still would have thrown at his head.  Hard.  As for my mouth…oh boy.  Karma has probably got something in store for me in that regard. Words have always had the potential to hurt me worse than a punch to the dome. But even worse is my mouth because, when it gets going, it can be just as bad as a punch to the dome too. At times I think it’s a miracle that me and Dez are still together after all the nasty shit that we have said to each other. But I guess that’s just how relationships roll.

Following these bust ups, I become the ultimate evil personified.  I purposely become nit-picky, snarky, bitchy, and downright difficult because that has always been my way of punishing Dez after he goes off on a drunken rant.  But it was different this time.  Three days passed and even though you could have sworn it was just me and baby in the house, and Dez really was Casper the ghost, I just…well, simply put, I just didn’t care.  On the third day, I found I’d gone totally blank. I approached Dez when he got home from work the other day and was all ‘how was your day’ as if I didn’t throw butter at his head or treated him as if he didn’t exist for three whole days in a row. He responded with a ‘good, mubs, how was yours and babies day?’ and that was that. Over with. Life carried on as per usual. I was waiting for the ‘we should talk about this’ topic to come up…but it didn’t. Deep down in my heart of hearts, I already knew, and probably have known for a long time – that there was nothing to talk about. There was nothing that we would have said or discussed or compromised that we hadn’t of already said, discussed or compromised a thousand times before. It would have been like playing a scratched record. I felt so blank it was weird. Not entirely sure what’s up with that?

It’s like I’m not worried about fixing us anymore, and if that isn’t a defining moment, I dunno what it is.

Gone blank. Completely blank. Honest…there’s just….nothing…???

Anxiety…imma karate kick your ass!!!

Every once in a blue moon, I go against my loner/weirdo status and brainwash myself into thinking I totally rock in social situations. Recently I found out the hard way (and probably for the kazillionth time) that this is, unfortunately, not true. Social awkwardness is one of my most undesirable assets, and is as much a part of my being as my useless hearing ability. I know this. I’ve known this since forever, and yet I still go through the motions where I deny it.  The result being that I put myself in the firing line for all and sundry to be witness to the bumbling mess that is me sometimes.

Like I did on Sunday. It was cockiness that done it. One entire week without a single puff of a cigarette had me convinced that I was invincible. Giving up the smokes had me drawing on every ounce of discipline and sheer determination I possessed. It was far from easy. The whole time, it was like a storm was going off inside of me and I couldn’t stop it. I kept myself locked up. I hyperventilated and got the shakes just about every day. I cried over spilled milk. I wrote endlessly. I even scared the shit out of myself by thinking unthinkable, murderous thoughts about Dez.

Drama queen.

Side effects, you see. But after seven long days, and by the time Sunday rolled around, the nasty storm inside of me had abated, the sun had come out, and the worst was seemingly over

I awoke on Sunday brimming with success and armed with an “I AM” attitude. Fuck, if I could give cigs the flick, I could do ANYTHING. I felt on top of the world! Like nothing could stop me, and I could do whatever the hell I wanted to do and be whoever the hell I wanted to be!

It was Fathers Day, and going anywhere wasn’t part of the agenda. At first. The original plan was to just stay home, drink some beers with our nephew and let baby run a muck around the house. In the oven, I had pork, potatoes and pumpkins roasting. Stuffing and pasta and vegies on the side. A coffee cake for later on. Smirnoff going down nicely, and a few more chilling in the fridge. And the best thing of all, my nicotine cravings were very low. I was a week smokefree for the first time ever since I took up the disgusting habit, fifteen odd years ago.

It was the perfect Sunday!

And then Dez waltzes into the kitchen while I am poking potatoes, “Mubs, is it alright if we go to Ben’s for a beer?”

I’m sure my face fell ten feet. “But…I’ve made you’s a dinner?”

“I know, mubs. I’m sorry. We can still have dinner…when we get back?”

I shrug. I’m no good at pretending when I’m displeased about something, but that’s just me.

A while later, Barb (Ben’s wife) arrives to pick up the passengers. Ben and Barb are friends of our cousins, and they have been around for a coffee once or twice. They hail from New Zealand too, and have been in Australia for eight years. Just another Maori couple trying to get ahead for their family, and wise enough to know that it’s just not going to happen in New Zealand.

My nephew and Dez are out the door and in the car in a shot. Sullenly, I trod back into the house. I resign myself to drinking all by lonesome, staring at the walls and listening to Beyonce songs. Not to mention the Fathers Day memories of my own two dads, floating around in my house and in my brain. One father dead, and the other I havent talked to in years.

Tragic.

I’m about to take a long swig of my Smirnoff when Barb pops her head back in and is all “Why don’t you come?”

That doesn’t sound too bad, actually. But…”Um…I would. But the roast is on in the oven.”

“I can come back and pick you up in an hour if you like?”

Soooo…approximately an hour later, I am sitting amongst a group of people I just barely know, getting pleasantly drunk and playing the role of a social butterfly to perfection. Guitars and trumpets and harmonicas are being skilfully played. Rowdiness, loud drunken banter and cigarette smoke is in the air. And the roast, pasta, stuffing, vegies and coffee cake, which I spent all morning lovingly preparing, has been deserted at home.

“Awwww. Your baby is so cute,” Barb comments. She is downing Tooheys. I wonder if I could ever warm to her. She is very friendly, and has the smiliest pair of eyes I’ve ever looked into.

“Shes a cutie, aye.” I agree, keeping my eyes on my baby pottering around and wondering what kind of havoc she was gonna cause here. I could see potential for her to cause destruction everywhere. Guitars and trumpets sat on the outdoor seats. She was eating chips out of a glass bowl. Any second, she could just drop that. She could pull the blinds down? She could, in one swift movement, knock all those bottles off the table, send some smashing to the ground even…

“How old is she again?” Barb butts in to my thoughts.

“Two and a half. Shes gonna be three in December.”

“Awwww.”

“How many kids do you have?” I ask.

“Just the one, Julie.”

“Oh, so the boys belong to him?”

She nods. “Julie was three when I met him.”

Now its my turn to be all “Awwwww. Do you guys plan on having anymore?”

“Absolutely not!” she says, and we both laugh. “What about you?”

“Yup. When babies five and when I’m thirty-five. Thats when she’s getting her brother.”

“Awwww. You’ve got it all sussed out then?”

“I hope so.” I say.

To be honest, I’m having a marvellous time. It feels good being out of the confines of my claustrophobic house and just mingling with people. I sing. I smile. I drink. And when baby drops the glass bowl, as I predicted she would, and glass shatters everywhere, Barb shoo’s away my frantic apologies and forces me to sit down while she cleans it up.

“Hold the baby,” she orders. “And don’t look so guttered. It was only from the two dollar shop.”

I smile gratefully. And then Barbs husband is calling out to me from across the table. “I think I know someone your dad might know,” Ben yells out. Ben hails from Te Teko, New Zealand, which has got to be some kind of coincidence, as that is where my biological family come from. I wonder if he’s yelling because he knows I’m deaf, or if hes just had one too many. Either way, I’m just glad I don’t have to ask him to repeat himself.

“Whose that?”

“A Douglas? He was this big dude,” he puffs his arms out. “And black. And scary.”

“That sounds like my Dads brother, Douglas.”

“He’s about…sixteen, seventeen?”

“Oh nah, that’s too young.” I say.

“I think his name was Douglas. Did your Dad have much brothers?”

“Shes adopted, bro,” Dez butts in. Unnecessarily. “She was brought up with another family.”

“Oh true.” Ben nods and everyone looks at me as if I am from Mars. Except for Dez, whose looking at me with…pride? But I could have got that wrong.

I wanna kick him in the toe. But he’s sitting way across the other side. I smile in a way that’s meant to appear benign to everyone else, but threatening to him. “Fostered, actually. My real mother dropped me on my head. Thats why I’m fucked. Ha ha ha.”

And no-one laughed. Well, they laughed, but it wasnt genuine laughter. It was the kind of laughter that is meant to humour somebody else, in this case me. Not because it was funny but because it was, well, the opposite of funny. It was unfunny. But what of it. I’m use to that. I let out another mirthless laugh, and tug at babies clothes as if to straighten them. Trying to detract the attention away from myself before I make things worse.

And then it happened. Things did get worse. It swooped down on me so suddenly, I literally gasp out loud. Luckily Barb was too busy sweeping up broken glass to notice, and everybody else was fully immersed in singing a rendition of The Eagles ‘Hotel California.’

I smile at the sea of faces. I mime the words to Hotel California, and clink my bottle against Becks when she returns to her seat. I engage in conversation automatically. Meanwhile, my insides are slowly, but surely, turning to shit. My vision blurs. My pulse quickens. My heart begins to thump away like a bongo drum in my chest. After a few minutes, the rowdiness becomes faint, and the only sound I can hear is the trombone-like sound going off in my ears.

Actually, it’s the worst anxiety attack I’ve had in years. Many years.

I turn to Barb and, without thinking, I say, “Can I have a smoke please?”

She raises an eyebrow. “I thought you’d given up?”

“I have. But…one won’t hurt.”

And she gives me a lecture about how I’ve done so well, and how I don’t really want a smoke, and is all encouraging and telling me to be strong. She can’t see that I am gasping for a breath and near ready to tell her to shove her lecture and just give me a fucking smoke before I kill her. But that would be unfair. And so out of line.

I just manage an exasperated, “Ohhh…alright then.” Then I add, “Is it ok if I feed baby? She must be hungry now.” We look over at my girl, who is staring with fascination at one of the Koro’s.  He is strumming the guitar, singing, and playing the harmonica all at the same time. She is jacked up on chips and chocolate and looks anything but hungry.

Barb looks at me oddly. “She’s ok, doll. Here. Have another beer.”

“Umm I think I’ll feed baby first. Is that ok?” I squeak. I sound desperate and out of breath.

She just nods. Its begun. Shes looking at me sideways. “Ok, doll. Help yourself.”

“Thanks!”

In the kitchen, I dish baby some food into a plate, all the while trying to catch my breath. I wipe at my forehead, and realise that I’m dripping sweat. My heart is racing at a hundred kilometers an hour, and it feels like an invisible hand is squeezing at my throat. I have to fight back the urge to burst into tears. I dump baby at the table, dump her plate in front of her, then make a big show of feeding her, even though she’s perfectly capable of feeding herself.

I cant believe this is happening to me. I don’t know why this happening to me. It must have been the lack of nicotine in my body that brought it on. All I know is that I havent felt it this badly in years. My throat is dry as paper, and aches. Tears are bursting out of my eyelids disobediently, and rolling down my cheeks. I angrily wipe them away. I take my time feeding my girl because I cannot fathom going back out again. I cannot face anybody. I just want to go home. Back to my four walls. Back to my claustrophobic house. Back to being a loner/weirdo with bugger all friends.

Back to the only place I feel safe.  I gaze down at my girl who is chewing her food silently, staring up at me, wisdom in her big brown eyes, as if she knows. And so she should. She is pretty much the only one besides God who ever witnesses me in these sorry states.

In the end, I ditch Dez, who is away with the fairies anyway and doesn’t even notice me leave. My cousin takes me and my baby home. On the way, I blabber on nonsensical to her just to keep myself from falling apart. Cant even remember what I talked about, to be honest. All I remember was wanting to get the hell home so this grip on my throat could loosen, and this ridiculousness could come to an end.

Which it did. Eventually. And later on, when it was over and my breathing had returned to normal, I jumped on the internet and began looking it up.

Anxiety.

Been a sufferer of that shit for years.  And its something that you will never understand unless you go through it yourself.

It was the look in my babies eyes that did it.  That was a defining moment for me. I want her to be a strong, confident woman, and its pretty obvious she’s not going to be one if I continue to let her see me in all my anxiety-ridden glory.

Knowledge is key – that’s how I gave up smoking. I’ve come to a few conclusions about my anxiety attacks, but nothing definite yet.

I’ll get there.  Anxiety attacks, I’m gonna fucking get youuuuu!!!

the mind fuck strikes…again…

 

Sometimes, I get too cocky for my own good. I convince myself that I am this invincible force to be reckoned with, and nothing or nobody is going to fuck me over. I have moments where I zealously live my life according to my own rules, on my own terms, and charge like a raging bull, towards what I feel is rightfully mine – success and happiness. I reach out and grab hold of it, like how my girl reaches out to a piece of chocolate, and throw a humongous tantrum if anyone tries to intervene. That’s how life has been for me of late. Don’t mess with me.   Stay outta my way. Proceed with CAUTION because this bitch is on a mission!

And then, the dark forces in my mind come out to play. It never fails to shake me back to reality, and it seems to do it effortlessly, too. I have haters, whom do not know that they have been categorized as haters, but I know better. They will try, subtly, to bring me down a notch, but most times they fail. I have issues with the world being in the fucked up state that it is in, and even that is merely just a fly to be shooed off my shoulder. Even horror movies don’t scare me much.

But my mind is something else, man.  Nothing in this world scares the living be-jesus outta me, more than my own mind does.  It seems to operate on a two-way system.  Either I’m all the way UP there.  Or I’m all the way DOWN there.  There is no in between.

So, here I am again, lying in bed, hyperventilating, in the throes of a panic attack, trying to find the point in it all. Dez, who is dodging work, is all in my face and snapping at me to get over myself. He has never understood my crazy moods in the whole fifteen years he has known me, so I am not even going to go there with the ‘you just don’t get it’ buzz now. Then he mentions something about getting up and feeding baby, and I bark unceremoniously, that it’s not hard to make a Weetbix, and does he need me to hold his hand while he does it? I fling a book at his head when he tells me that I’m a drama queen. He responds by slamming the door shut with an almighty bang.

And now I am sitting here, wallowing in the trenches of my own guilt.

Not a good start to a Monday. My gratitude routine has flown out the window for the day. I feel that old philosophy ‘fuck the world, and everyone in it’ trying to work its way into the deep recesses of my mind. Considering I have (over) committed to a shitload of things this week and beyond, this mind fuck is the last thing I need right now. Cancer fundraiser on Saturday to help pull off, but all I want to do is run off to a secluded beach and hide from civilization. A band to audition for as a drummer, something I’ve dreamed of doing most of my life, yet just thinking about the noise is giving me mass headache. I have work do’s, and birthdays and celebrations galore coming up, but I want to rip my 2015 calendar off the wall, and set it alight. Because I cannot fathom doing anything right now. I cannot fathom seeing anyone. I just cant do it.

I just need to be.

A good couple of hours later, there’s a little tapping on the door. I don’t answer, just stare at it blankly, too wrapped up in my own self-absorbed thoughts to even a muster a ‘what.’ The door opens a crack and I glimpse my girls puppy-looking eyes, peeking in at me forlornly. I wipe away my idiotic tears, and force myself to stretch my arms out to her, and she comes charging in, wrapping me in a hug with those chubby arms of hers. She places her palms on my cheeks, and peers closely into my face. “You alright, my mum?” And my heart bleeds. I feel like total and utter shit.  In the back of my mind is a voice saying ‘what did you ever do to deserve a highly-strung mother like me?’ and attempts to shut that voice up is failing miserably.

Still, I manage to nod and smile brightly, ‘You wanna go to the park my darling?’  She jumps up and down, then proceeds to sprint out of the room to tell daddy,  while I try, with all my might, heart and soul to get myself together.

I trudge out of the room. Staring at the ground and shuffling my feet, I manage to get out a gruff ‘sorry, mubs.’ Dez just nods, says ‘its allgood mubs,’ and that’s that.  He’s so accustomed to it, that it probably holds little relevance for him anymore.  And I totally understand. We pile into our Ford Boss and venture out, and the incident is forgotten. For me its still there, even as me and dad run a muck around the park with our daughter, looking for all the world like we is a happy family. But there’s always tomorrow. That’s what I keep telling myself. The mind fuck never lasts.  And there’s always tomorrow.