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To Live and not Just Exist

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

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family

Me

Hello.
You don’t know me. Not yet anyway. I am you, 27 years on.

You turned 40 the other day. It came and it went much like any other day. There was some celebration, there was some sadness. But it passed. Much like any other day.

You worry so much about not fitting in. About not having friends. About what people think of you. About whether your mom and your dad value you. About whether your brother and your sister love you.

Stop worrying. All those nights of tears and fretting get you absolutely nowhere. Not one bit of the energy you expended ever changed anything anyone ever thought of you, did for you or meant to you.

Stop worrying Jessie. You will be ok.

I have to tell you that your dad dies soon. A massive heart attack. Norine comes, and Stephen eventually. And then they leave and it is just you and mom.

In time, you forget what he looked like. You forget what he sounded like. You forget who he was. Because you barely knew him. All that becomes important is whether or not he was or is proud of you. And it doesn’t matter one way or the other. The only person who has to be proud of you, is you. Learn this now. Learn it well. Because you will fight this demon all your life. And it will win. Every time someone doesn’t measure up to the ideals you have set for them. Every time someone leaves. Every time someone disappoints you. Somehow, you manage to turn it into something you did wrong.

Stop. Learn the lesson. Don’t take other people’s shit on as your own. And try to remember your dad as best you can, for as long as you can. Because you will miss who you think he was, who you hoped he was, who you believed him to be every day for the rest of your life.

Over time, your mother develops an unhealthy attachment to you. Your nature, and her nature, clash and crash and nothing good comes of it. It will shape you and affect you in ways that no one will ever understand. Don’t let it. So much of the heartbreak you face, comes from this one simple fact. Your mother, however unintentionally, will mould you into a soul that is very damaged. Stop. Learn the lesson. Don’t let another person’s weakness become your own. But remember always, she did her best. It may not have been good enough for you, but it was her best. Don’t turn away from her. Love her as best you can. Because she is your mom. And one day, she will be all the family you have close to you.

When you get a bit older you are going to fuck up monumentally. You will think your life has ended. You will think you will never recover. You will believe that you are done. Don’t. Stop. It makes you strong in ways that no other person will ever be strong. Although the fear of it will haunt you forever. You will recover. You will get better. You will be okay. I promise. Just keep breathing. One breath at a time. This one moment does not define who you are. You fucked up. You are not a fuck up.

Even older still and you will get sick. Some weird mystery illness that they still argue about. Stop. Don’t let any doctor who you think knows better, tell you who you are. Don’t let them pump you full of the meds that will balloon you to 170kg’s. Don’t let them. Question everything. Make sure it makes sense.

Older still, and you will realise that you are ok alone. But that being alone all the time is hard. It is hard to never have anyone to rely on. It is hard to do everything alone. But you will find a few souls that hang out in the periphery of a life. Always there. They love you. Find them. Keep them close. You will need them.

One day, you will realise that your family is made up of so many animals. People will laugh at you when you call a dog your closest. Don’t care what they say. Every single life in this life, is worth love. Love them completely. Time will come when they will become your reason for waking. Your reason for going home. Your reason to be.

So much doom and gloom. So much to face in a short life.

And I haven’t even really started.

So let me tell you this.

You are beautiful Jessie. You are compassionate and kind and generous and smart and funny. You are loyal and true.

You are beautiful.

I am proud of you.

Every little bit of you.

Every big bit of you.

Every broken bit of you.

Every whole bit of you.

Learn your lesson Jessie. You matter to the only person that matters.

Yourself.

You are exactly who you are meant to be.

And you are awesome.

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For all things, there is a time…

This is by far one of the most beautiful verses in the Bible.

At various times in my life I have gone back to it and reflected on the pain, loss, joy, hope that is inherent in it.

Today is one such day. A time for goodbyes. A time to leave. A time of loss. A time of hope. A time for new things and new beginnings.

A time to let go.

A Time for Everything

There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:

    a time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot,
    a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,
    a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,
    a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
    a time to search and a time to give up,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away,
    a time to tear and a time to mend,
    a time to be silent and a time to speak,
    a time to love and a time to hate,
    a time for war and a time for peace.

Ecclesiastes 3

 

So I shall let go. Look up. Look to the light. Wipe the tears. And find my new way of being. A new way of strong. A new kind of family. A new place to be me.

I shall look up. And look to the Light.

Because the Light has ever carried me.

The Lesson

This year has been a time of lessons. Hard lessons. Lessons in leaving. Lessons in what it means to be a family. Lessons in loss. Lessons in strength.

And a lesson in anger and mourning and heartbreak, again.

One more down,  one more to go.

As the clock ticks ever onward to another loss, another leaving – my heart breaks all over again. I don’t know how to bear this.

I don’t know how to forgive this. This being the one left behind. This loss of an entirety. This complete responsibility for another.

I don’t know how to be this.

And I don’t think I can ever forgive this.

Not that it matters. Life goes on. Life moves on. Stuck here in this pain, or there, in that joy.

I do not wish this on my worst enemy.

This loss. This profound emptiness. This raw hurt.

This abandonment.

I don’t know how to heal from this.

And I really hope I can forgive this. Not for them. They are gone. Whether I can bear that or not. They are all gone, or going.

For me. Because this hurts more than I can ever tell anyone. Because of who I am. And what they are to me.

Another one down, one more to go.

And then we will see.

Goodbye

Today is hard.

Today is another step closer to gone.

Today is tears.

Today is my mind messing with the bits of me that are strong.

Today is another brick in a wall of finality, between here and there.

Today is a mother and grandmother in a mess and children and grandchildren who can’t yet see value in time spent.

Today is an old and weary soul that misses what she never had.

Tomorrow is telling her that the time has come for leaving.

We will stay behind. Her and I. And then eventually just I.

But it will pass. I have found a few souls that love me. A few that tolerate me. A few that left me. They fill up the space left behind.

And maybe some of them will become family.

Today is about choices. A door always swings both ways.

Today is, for my very own sanity, good luck and goodbye.

Today is so unbelievably  hard.

I hope you never know just how hard.

I hope you never see this kind of loss in the face of someone you love.

I hope you never cry these tears.

Today is hard.

I love you.

All of you.

Good luck.

I hope your new world treats you well.

Goodbye.

The Leaving

For the longest time, part of my psychosis has been never being able to accept that I have value. My belief structure has always revolved around the fact that family have to love. They have to help. The have to accept you. So it doesn’t matter how broken you are. They are there and it is a given.

But what happens when they are not?

What do you do when you are the one left behind?

When you are faced with a place that has no family and the ties of blood?

What do you do when you are the one left holding the buck?

When a parent gets old and frail and ill and you alone must carry that emotional weight? A weight you are ill equipped to carry. Most of the time I cannot even carry my own emotions. Most of the time the fake it fools everyone into thinking I have made it. Sometimes it even fools me.

Last night the very carefully constructed walls that keep me functioning came down for a moment and my nephew and I engaged in a shouting, door slamming, swearing, remote throwing argument. I have never argued with my nephew before. Not to this degree.

He is as lost as I am, in a different way, and last night 7 months of trying too hard, being more than I am, stress and responsibility collided with his pain and anger and Mount Vesuvius was revisited.

For a moment the loss of stability, the loss of love, the loss of someone to talk to, the responsibly that is my nature to take on, the difficulty in living with people, the just plain emptiness of no blood ties shattered me. Shattered my nephew. Luckily we managed to calm the seas, and hopefully there is an understanding now.

What saves my nephew is that he is moving towards a family I no longer have. Towards a life I really do not begrudge him. I want him to be as happy as he can be, in whatever he chooses for himself. As long as it is his choice.

What saves me? Fledgling relationships and Hope. Hope for something better. Hope that it will get better. Hope that when the day comes and I need someone – I won’t stand alone. Hope that when my mom goes – someone will hold my hand.

She is almost permanently ill now, with one bug or another, one flu or the other. She forgets things. She loses things. She cries allot. She lost her family too. And her loss is harder to bear.

Or – in her loss and in her psychosis, am I allowing her to manipulate my feelings once again? Is she truly as ill as she thinks she is? Or is depression and a lifetime of chosen sorrow reality now? A mantle she can no longer take off? One which blurs my vision? My objectivity? My emotions?

I hope … I hope for something better. Whatever it may be. For me, for her, for my family.

But what do you do when all you can do is watch?

Watch the leaving.

All the while, standing still.

Glue

We are not born with a good life or a bad life. We are born with a life. And it is up to us to make it good or bad.

We are not the sum of who we are born to. We are every moment we chose to do good or bad. To help or hinder. To love or hurt.

We are not constrained to the family who share our blood. Sometimes, they leave. Sometimes, they hurt you. Sometimes, they are not anything in your life.

We are not alone. Never truly. Whichever God we believe in watches over us. Even when it doesn’t feel like it.

We are not destiny. We are what we make for ourselves. We are what we fill our lives with. The people, the creatures, the environment.

We are as unique or as uniform as we chose to be.

I have a generated family. A family of crazy rat loving, healthy food eating, boot camp addicted, introverted, child rearing, fabulous, stupendous, random people I have met and assimilated.

I have a traditional family. I try very, very hard to be something in this family. Probably because I have always been the black sheep. More probably because I have always thought I am loved and part of it just because they have to.

My traditional family is slowly leaving me. And the fear of being truly alone is just terrifying. The sad part is I am probably already alone.

My generated family – I don’t quite know why they love me. Why they have chosen me.

I just know that to surround yourself with the people who actually want you around – that is a life worth living.

So I thank them.

Every last crazy one of them.

They are what fill the little gaps left in my soul. The little gaps that self-doubt, fear, harsh judgement, self-hatred leave behind. The little gaps that will sink you if you let them.

They are the glue that holds my Self together.

Even if they don’t know it.

Memories of Family.

Today, I thought about family. About how they are born, and how they are chosen. And I remembered my dad.

I don’t REALLY remember him. He died so long ago, before my memory was strong enough to hold onto him.

I think, over time, loss becomes allot like a freckle. I don’t see my freckles every day. I don’t notice them. But they are with me and part of me.

Anyway. I remembered my dad. The only really clear thing that my mind held. His laughter and his smile.

So I found the dance of joy. Because he loved it so much, and laughed so hard, I’ve managed to remember the sound of his laugh.

Age

So I turn 39 tomorrow. I have resolved that it will be the last progressive birthday I will be having. Presents still mandatory into the future though.

Thing is – I don’t feel 39. I don’t even feel 29 or 19. Apart from a whole lot more darkness in my heart and spirit, 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. Doesn’t matter though. For I have learnt to love myself for who I am. Mostly. 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 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. Who gets me through sometimes. They care for me and I care for them. And in the dark moments – that is enough. Love is always enough.

And 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.

I will keep dreaming of the day that I get to sit on a train as it slowly winds its way through to Alaska. Perhaps someone will join me. Perhaps I will be alone. But it will always be my 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 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.

Being different

My sister and I come from the same womb. Same father. Brought up the same way. Granted she is 9 years older than I am, but surely the people doing the bringing up won’t have changed their methods in any fundamental way in that time.

Yes people are born different. Yes our experiences shape and mould us into who we ultimately become. However, surely genes and upbringing play a large part of the becoming of an individual?

So why does my sister so often look at me like I am from another planet? We are different in almost every discernible way, and that is how it should be I guess. We are each our own person. However, I find it odd that she finds fundamental parts of my nature to be so woo hoo and out there.

What I consider family for example.

Living alone and having no significant others, I pour my love and affection into my animals. I don’t think my sister has ever lived alone for significant periods and perhaps that is why she does not understand. She also has 2 kids to nurture, in her way of nurturing.

I’m not saying I dress them up and pretend they are human. I fully allow them to be the doggies that they are. I just rotate my world around them.

My sister finds this woo hoo.

I find her finding it woo hoo, woo hoo.

So maybe what we have is a woo hoo cuddling up to a riddle, that is wrapped in a mystery, inside of an enigma?

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