To Live and not Just Exist

Choosing life, happiness, peace and joy. Oh and weight loss too


August 2015


Anyone who knows me probably needs to know that my sister and I (and I suspect my mother) have this weird holey / fluid / trans-dimensional annoying memory issue. We forget. We know we forget, but because the ‘thing’ is forgotten, we don’t miss it. Till someone says something like “Remember that time” and we really, really don’t.

This is a blog I wrote 363 days ago. Perhaps read if you want some context, but it is not necessary. I remember vowing to never age another day, but the actual writing of this piece has slipped into that other dimension filled with half bits of my memory. Reading it now I recognize the tone as me, and I can appreciate the idea behind it, but it is not quite right. Just a feeling of ‘offness’ and a vague disconnect.

It was written before the landscape changed so dramatically. And more water has flowed under my metaphorical bridges than I knew existed. Perhaps that is why it doesn’t sit well now. So here is version 4.0.

I turn 40 in a few days. Presents are still mandatory because I love getting them a whole bunch.

Thing is – I don’t feel 40. I don’t even feel 29 or 19. Apart from a whole lot more darkness in my heart and spirit, buffered by hope and knowledge, I don’t feel like time has passed.

So forgive me if I reflect.

I have loved. Or thought I loved. And lost very badly. I learnt along the way that it wasn’t love. It was the broken pieces of my nature that needed to fix / be loved / help. I have yet to love and be loved in the way Hollywood would have us believe is our life’s goal. Doesn’t matter though. For I have learnt to love myself for who I am. More so every day. The journey is ongoing.

I have cried for friends that have passed me by. But I have learnt that those that are meant to stay, do. And those that leave make space for better ones.

I have buried a father I barely knew. Barely remember. He died too young and because of it, I grew up alone with a broken mother. I have learnt to forgive him, and God, for the reality I found myself in. And I look forward to meeting him again one day. Perhaps he will even be proud of me.

I have learnt to accept a mother that is damaged. Still she manipulates and plays on my feelings and still my nature allows it. But I have come to realize that she is not doing it out of vindictiveness or malice. She is simply broken in her own way, and was perhaps never afforded the opportunity to heal herself. She is my mother, she is old, and I love her. I will not abandon her because of her faults. I have my own, and I hope they do not become the sum of me, as they have her.

I have made my own version of an immediate family. Friends, animals, my mother. A sister I never thought I would get along with, who carries me more than she should. A sister who has left to follow her own path. A hard path. One I do not know if I would be brave enough to chose. And for all the times that she has carried me, I will try to carry her this time. These people and these creatures care for me and I care for them. And in the dark moments – that is enough. Love is always enough. 

Forgive me if I look forward.

I will be who I am. That may seem to be a strange statement, but it has taken me an age to accept that I am me. And it has taken me even longer to just be me. Every day, who I am gets easier. I find that my God has of late placed me in places and with people who just enjoy me. I can see it in them and in their interactions with me. That joy means more to my self esteem than I can ever explain. Or perhaps, He has always surrounded me with these fine souls, it is only now that I can see them. 

I will keep dreaming of the day that I get to sit on a train as it slowly winds its way through to Alaska. Or Russia. Remembering another train and the sound of a carriage going over tracks and a father and a family. A time before it was all gone. Perhaps someone will join me. Perhaps I will be alone. Perhaps I will never make it there. Doesn’t matter. The art of dreaming is just as important as the dream. 

I will strive to be the healthiest I can be. Every day my lungs get a little better I think. And every day I hope to lose a tiny bit more weight. One day – I will walk into a shop and buy a small to medium pair of pants off the rack. I am not far from this. I have avoided hospital for an age now and am off most of the medicines that make me feel so terrible. Baby steps will get you there as well. 

I will try to write more. Because in the writing I find peace. Allot of tears, but also peace.

I will love my family as much as I can. No soul is meant to walk this world alone.

I will love my God as I always have. He has seen me through some serious darkness. With patience and love.

I will be who I am, love who I care for, dream big, diet more, exercise allot and write.

I will be who I was made to be.

Every day.


It’s gonna be Epic

For almost 40 years I have existed.

True to the ideals and standards that society, circumstance and family impose on us.

Forever striving for an unrealistic version of my best self.

For almost 40 years I have struggled and tried and cried and chafed against the restrictions I have put on my own self.

For almost 40 years I have not quite fully embraced my own path.

I have never found the way to my heart, my hope, my love and my joy, unequalled and without judgment, settling and doubt.

For many, I have come a long way. They see this version of me that is completely foreign to the version of me that they used to know.

For some, those who have circled my orbit for longer, is this version of me any different to the one they have always known?

Does it matter?

Or have I finally come to realize that I can be the version of me that I chose? That I decide? That I like? That I embrace? That I have found, after 40 years of struggling to be me?

The one me that loves so completely that any creature is welcome?

The one me that is loyal and true and kind and generous?

The one me that finds joy in the art of a lost art?

The one me that draws her perfection on her body?

The one me that finds faith in her version of a God?

The one me that is actually pretty damn fine?

We all have a need to be accepted and loved.

For too long I have not accepted and loved myself.

So I shall stand before this metaphorical mirror and look at my emergent self.

I am.

I was.

But now I am. And I am so much more than you thought I could be. Than I thought I could be.

I am true.

I am bold.

I am.

Watch me.

I have a feeling it’s gonna be epic.

Lessons at 40…

I turn 40 this month, here are 10 things that I have learnt:

  1. Tattoos are not as painful as you think they are. Except when they are. And when they are, it really is all in the mind.


  1. Sometimes, when your body is not perfect and you struggle to accept it, you put beautiful and meaningful things on it just because they are beautiful and meaningful. And because it is still my body. And I will find a way to accept it.


  1. Finances are freaking hard. They should teach it to you in school. Really. You are busy learning habits (good or bad) from your parents before you even have money. Then in your 20’s you start to implement those habits and then your 30’s hits you and whammo – OH CRAP central. So I decided that all is not lost. I still have a good 25 years left to fix stuff. Step one – henceforth, I shall be requesting cash donations, cash presents and cash contributions from all and sundry. Anyone?
  1. Cats are moody. Moody as hell. Except when they are not. Which is not often. More often than not, they will scope you out from a distance, evilly plotting all sorts of plotable stuff. But when they love you, there is little better than hearing a cat purr and watching them smurgle. Oh and cats on catnip. Best. Short Movie. Ever.


  1. Dogs are love. Absolute love. If you were to ask God to personify love, He would tell you that He already has. Also loyalty, acceptance, joy and happiness


  1. Family is not just blood. If you are lucky, they are introverts and extroverts from all over the globe and they get you. Even when they don’t.
  1. Living is not just what they tell you in the movies. Living is what you chose for yourself. As outside of the norm as it might seem to others.
  1. Accept who you are. You are not perfect. But you are perfectly you. Never let anyone tell you any different.
  1. I do not understand people. People are complex and mean and kind and honest and liars and evil and good and a pain in the ass. Animals are simple. They are what they are, within the boundaries of their species. Unless you set a human on them.
  1. Life at 40 is not over. It is not downhill. It is not the twilight of my whatever. It is much like any other year. It is learning and loving and finding and joy and acceptance.

I never followed the path society seems to dictate to us from the cradle. I never had the husband, station wagon, 2.5 children, white picket fence, and divorce. I did not fit that mold. I don’t think I ever will.

I follow my own path. It has been hard. Harder than I can maybe put into words.

I have failed so spectacularly on occasion that Hollywood could make a blockbuster movie of just the snippets. Melissa McCarthy would play me. Funny, sarcastic, deadpan as hell.

Other times I have let what others think of me interfere with who I am. Too often I put the ideas and opinions of others ahead of me. And sometimes I feel a concrete block of not being enough, like an actual weight on my shoulders, trying to press me into oblivion.

But I have learnt. I am beautiful. With beautiful things on a not so perfect body. And it is my own perfection.

I am unique. I am singular. As are you. In whichever form you chose for yourself.

The only person I need to be enough for, is me.

And I am enough.

For Paula

Almost a year ago I wrote this:

“I am glad animals don’t have souls. They have something better. Purer. Cleaner. There is no word for it I don’t think. But it is in their eyes.

I do not understand people who are intolerant of what others believe or how they live.

I do not understand people who view animals as something to be used and discarded, like last week’s rubbish.

I do not understand people.

I understand animals.

They are what they are, and they have no need to be more or less than that. They live. And they let live within the boundaries of their species.

We really should learn to do the same.”

I have added to my menagerie. It is more and bigger and truer and more precious than it ever was.

They give me joy and hope and love every day. Even old grumpy cat.

And I came to a realization, on hearing from a friend that her soul companion had crossed the rainbow bridge.

Animals, perhaps most especially dogs, reflect the truest part of all of us. Give a vicious soul a dog, and you will have a vicious dog.

Give a gentle soul a dog, and you will have the most profound connection you will ever experience in your life.

Perhaps they do not have souls because they do not need to earn the right to enter a better place. They do not need to prove themselves worthy.

And when they pass over, there is no question in my mind that they revert to the truest form of light and joy and wholeness and freedom that there is.

It does not make their passing any easier.

But they wait for us. Just out of sight. Just over the horizon. Whole and happy and at peace.

Run free Duchess. You are loved. You are adored. You are missed and you always will be. All of you are.

She waits for your Paula.

They all do. Happy and content to bide their time, till it is your time.

They wait for you. With love and patience.

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