Monday, November 26, 2012

The world is my oyster

Do you live life thinking that anything is possible? You can be whoever you want to be and do whatever you want to do? Do you grab opportunities with both hands and believe or even know that you will succeed? Are you the glass half full or glass half empty type?

I am happy to say that I am now definitely a glass half full type. I am not wary of the future, but rather I embrace it. Life can only get better as time goes on. I didn't used to believe this, but time and time again over the past two years it has been proven right. I never thought I would be where I am today. Everything is ok, in fact better than ok. It is probably only a fraction short of perfect. I am where I should be and in five years time I will be where I should be then.

I thought the secret to this new found happiness I have was simply because of T. And it is to an extent. Who wouldn't be happy if they had found their perfect match? But, I think there are also other factors at play. Positive thinking has certainly got a lot to do with it. The opposite of you create what you fear - I think you can also create what you want (if you shut out the fear). It certainly has worked for me. I didn't even really do it on purpose, its more so that I stopped being afraid of what could go wrong and embraced all the things that could go right. I used to think if I worried about the worst possible situation then I wouldn't be surprised when it happened. That I would be more equipt to deal with it. Now I realise why bother spending all that time and energy on something that might never happen. Its surprising how much extra time you have when your not worrying about the future and things that could go wrong.

Another big factor is living in the moment. The plans have gone out the window, I am no longer planing every single thing Im going to do down to the tiniest detail (except maybe what Im eating for dinner). Each day is a new opportunity to laugh, have fun and be happy. Every day is different, you will never get that day back. Each day we grow older a tiny bit at a time and you may not notice, but over time you might look back and wish you slowed down and lived in the present. After-all the past is already gone, the future hasn't happened yet, but the present is now. Now most definitely is a present and one that more people should enjoy.





So, with this in mind I make sure to do a few things every day. I always tell my babies (yes I mean the cats) that I love them everyday - weird I know. I tell T I love him everyday too, often numerous times. I always say good morning and good night (usually followed by the customary I love you). I soak up the sunshine when there is some. I sing along to the songs on the radio on the way to work. I look for small things that make me happy in the midst of the mundane everyday tasks of the day (if its a work day). I make time for friends. I remember to relax a little. Most of all I believe that everything will be fine (and if its not I believe I will have the strength to get through it). Anything is possible.


The world is my oyster (and I do love oysters!)



Do you live in the moment? Is your glass half full? I hope so.



Toni xx



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Monday, November 12, 2012

If only I could be a fairy princess again


There is nothing more magical and innocent than childhood. The time where anything is possible. Everything is good, because you have not yet learnt that there are 'bad' things. The world revolves around sleep, food, playtime, toys and cartoons (sounds very similar to how my cats live - minus the cartoons). You can be a princess, a unicorn, a ballerina or a fairy whenever you fancy (or a fireman or a policeman or whatever else boys want to be - I have no clue?). The world is full of whimsy, magic and imagination.

Imagine if we could carry this with us as we grow older, or better yet stay in this place forever. If we didn't ever have to get jobs and work, but instead could sit and play with playdough and lego all day. Or live in a castle made of cardboard. Do you know how much fun that would be? I do. It would be awesome.

The sad part about growing up is not losing our toys. I think the sad part is we lose our innocence and worse still we somehow along the way lose our imagination. Maybe we don't completely lose it, but we don't use it as often as we used to. Instead of spending many waking hours dreaming up a world where we are travelling across the ocean escaping pirates, our imaginary world is moved to the few hours when we are asleep. I for one only ever remember small parts of my dreams now and they have been replaced with much more practical scenarios rather than fantasy. I miss the fantasy. The world where everything is possible and there are no limitations.

One of the great things about being an Aunty and being at the age where all my friends are having kids is that you get to witness the fantasy land again. You can even be a part of it. I spent hours today hanging out (alright playing) with a 2 year old. This involved fairy wings, princess shoes (on her not me, that would just be weird), a wand, a doll house, a play kitchen, painting, books and a vegie garden. No wonder why kids need naps when they can fit that much into a few short hours. We read stories, had a ballerina show, drew lots of pictures and had a tea party. It was so much fun. Is it sad that I had fun?

I don't think our inner child ever goes away, it just gets suppressed. Mine is definitely still there. I watched Toy Story 3 the other night (by accident because it just came on the channel I was already watching) and I enjoyed it. I didn't make a conscious decision to watch it, but nonetheless I found myself sitting there watching for 2 hours. I was captivated by the fantasy and I think deep down we all believed our toys could actually talk.

Sometimes I think we need to escape to the imaginary world and find the joy in the simple, fun things again to remember what it used to be like when life was uncomplicated and magical.


Toni x

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Saturday, November 10, 2012

I am no longer the victim


I spent many years assuming the victim role in life. I didn't stand out and say poor me poor me feel sorry for me. Instead, I very quietly and internally decided that my place in life was to be the victim. The one who others got to treat badly for no reason. The one who was ignored, excluded, unloved and abused simply because others felt as though they had the right to do it. I did not assume this persona in order to get attention or stand out, but rather to make sense of why things were happening to me. The only reason I could come up with was that I was put on this earth to be treated like dirt, because that's what I felt was happening to me over and over again from numerous people. So, at a very young age I decided that this must be the purpose to my life (because I couldn't see any other one, especially not a positive one) and so I went along with it.

My downward spiral started when dad died. Everything bad happened after that point, or at least it seems that way. It might just be that I don't remember anything bad from before that or that because it was such a huge point in my life that I trace everything back to that. Who knows? Firstly I lost my dad. I never really thought I blamed him for that, I always thought he was brave for finding a way out of his problems and that if it was too hard to deal with them then at least he had peace now. Weird right? But, I think internally I did feel like well maybe I wasn't good enough. Not that he didn't love me enough to stay, but maybe I wasn't good enough to be loved or worthy of a dad or a normal family and that's why he left. Kind of like how children of divorce will somehow always think its their fault, even though it has nothing to do with them. On top of this I then dealt with my mums breakdown and so I pushed my feelings aside to look after her and make sure she was ok. Internally feeling that I was again not good enough to get help or to have my feelings heard and justified. Like my grief was not as valid or appropriate as hers. I covered everything up so I wasn't a burden on everyone else and instead I took on the burden of everyone else's problems.

During my teenage years I felt so unloved. Completely ignored and invisible. I think she subconsciously lashed out at me because on the surface I was the strong one and I didn't appear to be affected? At least that's the only way I can reconcile the way she treated me. Being told your a selfish bitch by your own mother when you've done everything you can to protect her and make sure she is ok cuts very deep. I took this on board on a very deep emotional level. In high school there were times I tried to talk to people about my own problems and feelings and I was always shutdown, told my feelings didn't matter or made to feel selfish for trying to get attention. Once again I was supposedly selfish, so I quashed my feelings and decided they didn't matter. There was also bullying and abuse from other people during these years so I finally shutdown. That's what the universe and everyone I tried to reach out to seemed to want me to do so that's what I did.




I never let any of these things be known to the outside world because I was ashamed. Only a small handful of my friends even knew dad died let alone that he committed suicide and they certainly didn't know about what was happening at home, or that I was depressed. Internally I gave up though. I allowed all the bad things in my life define who I thought I was. I was worthless.

It's probably the reason why I got into my first marriage, but definitely the reason why I stayed. I was there to be treated like crap. I was used to it so when it happened it made sense. The emotional abuse just compounded my already self destructive thoughts. Instead of just telling myself that I deserved to be treated that way, I now had someone else actually telling me out loud that I was worthless, useless and generally a waste of space. I would make excuses for the way he treated me because I thought I deserved it and I genuinely thought that was the way my life was meant to be.

Of course there has always been this tiny little part of me that despite all this always thought that I deserved better. There would one day be a reason for me to be here. That one day I would have my own life that was about me and what I wanted and what made me happy. This little voice was what eventually saved me. One day after being told yet again how useless I was etc etc something clicked inside my brain and instead of thinking this is the way my life is going to be so just deal with it, I finally thought screw this there has got to be something more. A more meaningful way of living. A way to change my way of thinking and feel like I was worthy of a life and more than that, that I was actually worthy of living and experiencing life to the fullest, not just going through the motions.

I got to the point where I realised I can't change other people's behaviour and I don't have to be responsible for it either. I took back control of my own life and realised that I can be responsible for the direction my life takes. I don't need to be defined by all the bad things that have happened to me because they are in the past and the past is gone. I spent years wondering why I was treated that way by so many people and the only solution I could come up with was it was my fault and I deserved it. You know the saying you create what you believe? I think that's what I did for years because I believed I deserved to be treated badly. It just prolonged the pain and ruined my life. I have stopped wondering why I was treated like that now because I realise there is no point worrying about it anymore. It'll never change what has happened and there will never be a reason that makes it ok. I am choosing to move on with my life. I don't entirely forgive the people who have wronged me or forget what has happened, but I wont let it define my future. I allowed it to control me for too long, but now I am in control - and I like it.



....
You cant change your past, but you can change your future.
.... 

My future is going to be full of love and happiness because I deserve it. From time to time bad things will happen, but you know what - sometimes shit happens and then you get over it.

Toni x

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Monday, November 5, 2012

Being a tourist in my own country

I was lucky enough to travel overseas a fair bit when I was younger, however for some reason I have not travelled much around Australia. Kind of odd really considering we are one of the big tourist destinations (or so I'm told) and it is a lot easier to travel your own country rather than go overseas. I guess I have just been lazy. Last week me and T went to Sydney for a week. It wasn't such a huge deal for T as he lived there when he was younger, but for me it was the first time I had ever been there.

It is quite weird being a tourist in your own country. You don't want to look too touristy (I think I just made that word up) and yet you still want to visit all the tourist destinations. How do you achieve this? Don't walk around with a big bulky camera, thankgod for smart phones, and don't go on any organised tours. I think we managed to blend in quite well. It helped that T knew exactly where he was going. I could ramble on for ages about all the places we went, but I thought it would be easier and better if I just showed you.

SYDNEY HARBOUR

Without a doubt the most famous part of Sydney has to be the harbour, including the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House. It is definitely worth the visit.


Sydney harbour bridge at night
Harbour bridge at night

Sydney harbour bridge with Opera house backdrop
Harbour bridge with Opera House behind

Sun shining through Sydney harbour bridge
Going under the bridge on a ferry

Sydney opera house with city backdrop
Opera House with city behind

Sydney opera house
Opera House up close

CENTREPOINT TOWER

Probably one of the lesser known tourist attractions is Centrepoint tower, and that's probably because its technically called Sydney Tower. It's actually built as part of Sydney Westfield shopping centre in the middle of the city. T and I are both scared of heights so this was slightly scary, but I love getting good pics so I sucked it up. Afterall its only 309m high...


View of tower from below

View of the city from tower

TARONGA ZOO

One of the main attractions that I was excited to see was Taronga Zoo. I haven't been to a zoo in years and I absolutely love animals so I couldn't wait to get there. I have about 50-70 photos from the zoo, but these are some of the coolest animals.

I had a lizard similar size to this one come in my house one day through my cat flap. I was glad this one was in an enclosure.

You can see these in the suburbs in the wild, but never this close.

Koala

Meerkat - these little guys are so dam cute!
I so wanted to take one home with me.

On the way back home from the zoo we took a ferry ride from Taronga to Darling Harbour. While we were on Darling Harbour T proposed to me!! 

Most amazing day ever.

Could not wipe the smile off my face

BONDI BEACH

We did a day trip to Bondi because everybody always goes on and on about it. Personally I don't think it was that great. I am spoilt for choice in Queensland though with many different beaches so I'm probably just being snobby by saying that. I'm still glad we went though.


Panorama view of bondi

Relaxing at Bondi

It was a really relaxing trip even though we were busy doing things every day. I have never walked so much in such a short amount of time, but its a good thing as we needed to work off all the takeaway we were eating each day. Its been an adjustment having to cook food again and I don't even want to imagine how horrible it will be going back to work (thankfully I have another week before I have to do that).


Toni x

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Friday, November 2, 2012

Facing my fear (that I didn't even know I had)

This week I went on a holiday. Only problem was that it required me to fly and I haven't done that in 14 years. I was never scared of flying when I was younger and I did it quite a fair bit and always on long flights too (England, Singapore, Dubai etc) . Fast forward a few years and I have no idea what happened, but it appears I now freak out at the thought of flying. My main fear is what if I die? Obviously. Then, what if T dies and I survive? I personally think that would be worse than dying. Then, what if we crash and I'm lost in the bush by myself? What if we crash in the ocean? What if the plane catches on fire when we crash? And so on and so on. So, basically, I'm scared of crashing and dying. Two things that never really crossed my mind much when I travelled before.

The beauty of travelling as a child is that you are innocent and sheltered so you don't worry about the million and one things that can go wrong because you don't even know that they can go wrong. The problem with getting older and gaining all that wisdom is that you are aware and try as I might I simply can not remove it all from my head. I think 9/11 has had a big impact on my fear of flying. Last time I flew I had no knowledge that terrorists even existed, let alone the fact that they might try to take over a plane to fly it into something just to make a point. Its probably more safer flying now though with all the extra security measures in place to stop that from happening, but again my mind still replays the scenario over and over in my head. Another thing that has probably shaped my fear of crashing is the fact that I always watch air crash investigation shows (I know, stupid right?). I love the analytical side of it and how they piece together what went wrong, of course this does mean that with each episode I watch I learn yet another thing that could go wrong (and it then gets added to the subconscious scenario playing over and over in my head). Despite the fact that there is a 600 000 000:1 chance of dying in an air crash, my mind still assumes that I will be that one.



So with all this floating around in my head, off I went to fly. It was only a one and a half hour flight, but that's not the point. I was so nervous, but still never thought about not getting on the plane. Besides, after checking in my baggage there was no way I was not getting on the plane, my clothes were not going to Sydney without me. I also wasn't letting T go without me, so I had no choice really.

Taking off was scary and exciting. It was like going up on a roller coaster just before the big drop, but without the drop after the climb (at least you hope it happens that way). Its exciting knowing you're going to be going so fast and lift off the ground and yet also petrifying knowing that in order to fly there will no longer be any ground. Once I got over the stress of taking off and T regained feeling in his hand (after I deemed it was safe enough to release my grip) I actually enjoyed it. Climbing through the clouds is so amazing. I have mentioned before I am fascinated by clouds, so to actually be passing through them was so totally awe inspiring. If they were storm clouds it probably would have been a different story, but thankfully they weren't. We couldn't take photos while we were ascending  but once we levelled out I made T take some photos for me (he got the window seat by chance, which in all honesty was probably a good thing).

Its so peaceful looking down at the clouds



They're so fluffy and perfect


After the relatively calm part of the flight came the dreaded words "please fasten your seatbelts and prepare for landing". What goes up must come down. Again, I was wanting to land and petrified of it at the same time. I really really wanted to be back on land (especially after having to circle the airport while being delayed in air), but I figured if anything was going to go wrong this was probably the time it would happen. T lost feeling in his hand again, I nearly threw up (from looking out the window and then in the cabin back and forth about ten times during descent), but in the end everything went fine. In fact landing turned out to be less traumatic than taking off. Best part about landing was that I was now in Sydney and ready to enjoy my holidays (and it was a whole week before I would have to fly back again - yay). I did it. I did not let my fears stop me from living life. I faced them head on, even though I was scared the whole time.



As you have probably guessed by now, the fact that I'm writing this post means we also didn't crash on the way home. We are not dead (kudos to the pilot's for that). We also had an amazing time in Sydney and it was pretty eventful (more on that in a later post).

Sometimes its best to face your fears rather than letting them stop you from doing things. Once you get past them the rewards are very much worth it. I wouldn't say I am entirely over my fear of flying, but I have successfully chipped away part of it (I was much calmer on the way home and didn't strangle T's hand), which can only be a good thing.

Toni xx






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