Okay, so when you start a blog or even just start writing, it’s actually so great to see people reading what you are sharing with the world. To me, its also important to let you know more about me. I really wanted to share in this blog some of my story. I don’t want to bore you with a memoir so I thought I’d start at the ripe old age of 15. We won’t be there for long but it’s a good start.
So grab a coffee or a herbal tea and find out a little of what has lead me from where I was as someone who relied on others for my happiness to someone who now knows that my everyday happiness comes from being me and from the inside.
I think we were introduced by friends. He was handsome, he did the same sport as me and he was confident. He became my first serious boyfriend. I trusted him with so much in fact probably too much because I realise now that I was codependant. I expected him to look after my happiness. I expected him, as only an immature teenager could, to make me happy. Rather than me learning what made me happy.
The catalyst for the implosion of our 5 year relationship was my sister dying by suicide. I was the last person who spoke to her and I don’t think I was capable of functioning like a decent human until after I met my now husband.
My boyfriend had to come to my best friends 21st and tell me she had died. I still remember the events of the day but the thing I remember most was my friends who crowded round me the afternoon after her funeral. They brought wine, they listened, they just said ‘okay’ when I said I was going for a walk. I don’t think I ever really thanked them. I appreciated it so much.
It left me in a bit of a state of existential crisis. What was it all for? Was I actually happy? I felt like everyone was looking at me and knew that my sister had died. I didn’t want people to feel sorry for me but I also wanted someone to understand me- anyone. A few months later my Mum got me into counselling which supported my need, but it was the rest of life that wasn’t congruent.
I was only working part time because I was so exhausted. The doctors thought I may have chronic fatigue syndrome which I held onto for a long time because at least it was something. Knowing what I know now though I was just so depressed and no one understood why, because in our family covering your emotions was the done thing rather than letting them out in a way so you could be helped not told to ‘get over it’.
I woke up in some crazy situations including the one where on a tramp I told my boyfriend I wanted a break. The reality was I didn’t want a break, I wanted freedom. I’d been in this relationship which had really developed as I was developing myself and I didn’t have any idea of who I was outside of drinking, rugby matches and work.
I went down the path of alcohol, sex and rock n roll. I partied- my god I partied!
After a while, I decided to check out a career in the fitness industry after working in the veterinary nursing industry for three years. It was a fantastic choice because of my love of sport and being active. I trained as a Personal Trainer and Group Exercise Instructor and worked at a women’s gym with some of the best work colleagues I’ve ever had- some of whom I’m still friends with today.
I learnt a lot from them and managed, as I said, to develop friendships with other people (I lost most of my friends when I broke up with my boyfriend or during our relationship). It was great to be out again and doing something that I really loved. I got another job working in a bar which was so much fun and let me let off steam by being a bit cheeky as poured the beer- I loved it.
I remember someone saying to me though- you do this for the attention you get! I realised he was probably right.
You see I still didn’t feel like me. I was 22 and still didn’t really feel clear about who I was. Being in the Personal Training industry, I had continued my love of reading personal development books and doing other courses for learning but it was hard to make the decision for myself to actually take the leap and do something outside of what I should be doing- ah, the comfort zone.
Side note: I always figured, because of what everyone else in my family did that I was supposed to get a good job, buy a house, get married, have a kid or two and finish working at 65. I wasn’t expecting to be a traveller, backpack Europe with a 9 month old, have three kids, get married on the Interislander, live in a different country and buy a house after the kids were born!
Back to it….. somewhere in all of that, the drinking, the shagging, the not knowing whether any decision I was making was the right one, I found the man I’d end up marrying.
He came back from a five month trip around Europe and a month later we moved in together.
Here was this man confident in who he was and what he wanted to do and be and, here was me, still immature but so happy to have finally met someone who would challenge me and support me and listen to me and I could do the same for him.
Over the early stages of our relationship I made mistakes. I was still learning how to process and deal with my own shit and how to navigate my emotions. It was hard and I probably was part of the cause for him not being rehired for a role he enjoyed.
Instead he applied and got a role in Melbourne. We moved over there, found a flat, jobs and got stuck into Melbourne life. It was nuts. I had never lived anywhere outside of New Zealand (I never did an OE) and I found it a struggle to settle. However, I met some great people through work and eventually ended up back in the veterinary nursing industry. I had a great time in those roles and I learnt more about myself and what I would tolerate in the workplace. It was becoming apparent that for me working for myself, coming back to having more freedom, was what I really wanted.
When we found out I was pregnant, we made the choice to have the baby in New Zealand. We weren’t planning on staying where we lived for 10 years though!
After our baby boy was born I suffered post-natal depression. I struggled with everyone telling me that my life ‘as I knew it would never be the same’. That I was so lucky and wasn’t I just so happy. The truth was – I wasn’t, well not all the time. That craving of freedom as well as now feeling worse about who I was compounded. But in true fashion, I just buried everything underneath and barely told anyone anything.
Baby number two came along 16 months later which again brought these feelings up and made it hard for me to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
I tried lots of things in that time to make me feel as if I was something more than just a Mum. I got a job doing a few hours a week within four months of my son being born. I was back at the gym within a month of him being born too. I did a course to begin a diploma in nutritional science(did not complete it) and another in Te Ao Maori.
I just couldn’t keep still. If I was doing multiple things I didn’t have to acknowledge how I felt.
I regret this. I can’t do anything about it though- do remember that. You don’t need regret in your life.
Side note: I love my kids to pieces. They’re amazing and I adore them, but I’m human. You’ve just got to do what works for you.
It turned out that the job I did have lead me to my teaching role in tertiary. I received a phone call asking if I would apply for the job. I had the interview and started two weeks later. I was thrown in the deep end of teaching and I loved it but I was hard-nosed. I showed very little emotion because I didn’t want to be seen as vulnerable- vulnerability was weakness (or so I thought).
We found out our third child was arriving not long after I had signed my new contract. I continued in my role, learning more and finding myself becoming more despondent with what was happening around me. In this job I didn’t have control, in fact I had very little and the less I felt I had, the more out of control I was becoming. When I left on maternity leave I was pleased to be heading home to do yoga, and look after the two kids.
After baby was born, I remember looking at her on about day three and saying to my husband “I can’t go back there”. The place was drowning my soul. I had lost the love for the subject I taught and I was worried about what was to come when I went back after maternity leave. About six months after she was born I enrolled in yoga teacher training, something I’d been wanting to do for a long, long time.
I felt calmer as a Mum this time around though and I didn’t feel the need to rush so much. I was starting to crack the shell of vulnerability and actually confront who I was and who I wanted to be.
When I went back to the job, it was quite blatantly awful. Many things had happened and from my perspective I was being made to feel as if I was not good enough for the role I previously held. I was dropped from various areas(even though I had the most experience), was given another role (which ended up actually being pretty good) and was bullied by members of the faculty. Our team who had once been close, was set against each other by senior management which left us all not knowing who to trust.
I made the decision to leave after managing to wait it out for a year. I didn’t know how I was going to, but it had to happen. I was the breadwinner and there was a lot of pressure on me. I had completed my yoga teacher training and had some grand epiphanies over that time which had opened me up to what could actually be possible. I myself had become more open, less judgemental and could see what I really wanted was to see others, helping and supporting themselves to get where they wanted to be.
I would cry most nights after work until finally I made the decision, after a conversation with a colleague, to hand in my resignation so that I could go to contract work. I’d completed my tertiary teaching qualifications, I already had a plan to teach yoga and do my Diploma in Professional Coaching and working from home would allow me the freedom I also wanted.
I’d made decisions on what was going to best for me, for my family, for the future and what was closer to who and what I wanted to do in the world. I was moving myself closer to my own internal happiness.
So there I was the beginning of 2018, resigning from my role, starting a new qualification, knowing intuitively that it was the right thing to do and just having to trust the universe.
And now two years on I’ve
- Worked from home ever since
- Completed my Diploma in Professional Coaching
- Run sold out Yoga and Well-being Retreats
- Invested in myself and my own development through courses and having my own coach
- continued to do work I love rather than sacrificing my mental health for someone elses dream
- Taken care of my children
- Enjoyed holidays
- Survived lockdown
And most importantly am living a life that feels amazing to me and is getting better all the time.
I can 100% tell you that if it wasn’t for me believing in myself, even if that belief was miniscule to start, believing that I had more to offer the world regardless of what anybody said to me, how they treated me or how I treated myself, I wouldn’t have done those things.
I wouldn’t have put in the blood, sweat and tears to understanding both what holds me back and what makes me stronger. I wouldn’t understand the work it takes, the sacrifice it takes to be a working Mum or a stay at home one. I wouldn’t be able to see the difference between a relationship that is healthy and one that is not. I wouldn’t trust myself or the universe to invest in myself, my life and my business. I wouldn’t have experienced the growth I have in terms of my attitude to money, to myself and to my life.
I would still be caring so much about what people think of me. I would be still worrying about where my money would come from even though I was blessed enough to have money in my bank account. I would still be hanging out with people who made me feel like I wasn’t worth being successful or that what I did was stupid or unbelievable.
I wouldn’t know what being successful actually meant for me. I wouldn’t know that it’s right up my alley to not live by societal norms, to rather live a life that feels true to me and my family.
So there….that’s my last 20 years in a nutshell. It’s my perspective. It’s how I’ve felt. I don’t apologise for that and you know what? I am still working on myself, on what I’m doing and how. I reflect all the time and I believe life will continue to change- it always does.
before you say- but it’s not that simple, I can’t just do what I want! Let me be clear:
You need to know though what you actually want first.
What do you want your life to look like?
If you want change, are you actually willing to make change? Are you actually willing to look at the parts of your life that you don’t like and do something about it?
Are you going to be the person who is going to look back and in 30 years say-
I wish I’d believed enough in myself to give it a go.
I wish I’d believed I could do what I wanted to.
I wish I’d had that hard conversation.
I wish I had the confidence in myself to go out of my comfort zone.
I wish I’d trusted my intuition.
Everyone has a story. Everyone has things that have thrown them off course and implored them to find their way again.
This is just some of my story. It is some of what I have gone through to get to where I am now. Regret is not something that any one wants to feel.
So maybe it’s not about the regret. Instead, maybe it’s actually about the circumstances we find ourselves in and the choices we have to make to move us toward our true north.