Born like a Bug…

There’s nothing quite like the first autumn rains in the Antipodes to get you in the mood for cosy.  Lying in bed with a book and a blanket, and reigniting one’s love affair with words.

It reminds me of a book I bought for my niece.

It’s the kind of book that you can pick up and feel the scratchiness of wool, smell its musky dampness and be taken back to those cosy afternoons around the pot belly, when Grandma taught you to crotchet.

But that’s beside the point.

One of the karmic traits passed down through my family is a trademark shyness.  Even my niece, little G, who is the talkative one of the bunch, sometimes forgets to speak.

Like the day we visited the Frankston Creepy Crawlies Sand Sculpture Exhibition.

The kids were busy, making art of multi-coloured sand, and I spotted G, eyes boring holes into a group of girls.

“Sweetheart, say hello to the girls,” I say.  They look at her expectantly, then frown, affronted, as she gives them another once over and runs away.

It’s that moment you remember your own discomfort around strangers, growing up.  How do you break the curse?

BugsinablanketBugs in a Blanket, written and illustrated by Beatrice Alemagna, is an endearing, original book about a community of bugs who live in a mouldy blanket at the bottom of the garden.

They have an opportunity to meet for the first time when they are invited to Fat Bug’s birthday party.

From the moment Fat Bug opens his burrow to welcome his guests, he is confronted by the fact that not one of his guests looks at all like him.

Tongue tied and exasperated, he triggers a line of questions passed from bug to bug, each accusing the other of being weird and ugly.

When the circle is complete, all bug eyes are boring into him.  Why is he fat like a hippopotamus?

It’s a comical moment, when Fat Bug realises what a stupid question he has asked.

His answer reverberates with a domino effect around the burrow.

“I don’t know, I was born this way,” they all begin to say.  And with that, the bugs get on their freak and start to dance…

Actually, the book was published before the song, so maybe that’s where Mother Monster got her inspiration from – a few wee little bugs boogieing in a blanket 😉

The message is as simple as a smile.  At least, if we’re going to share this musty old blanket, we might as well accept each other’s differences.  Starting with ourselves.

Do you have a trademark freakishness?  When was the last time you let it loose?

Being Positively Youthful

This blog seems to have temporarily turned into a confessional.  I’m not sure why.  Something about that persistent cough, and a need to get things off my chest?

In her comment a couple of weeks ago, Karen McFarland told me that a cough, in Chinese medicine, indicates grief.  Her question, “Are you grieving about something?” touched a nerve.

But what am I grieving?  A small dog?

Well, yes, but the cough began before that.   A few months before my 35th birthday when, looking in the mirror, I saw lines I hadn’t seen before.

Lines that sneered… Whatever did you do with your youth?

Luckily, right now, there’s no time to dwell on that question, because Ms and I have an appointment to interview a woman 40 years my senior…

Margaret welcomes us to her home and introduces the dancing Pomeranian, Beau, and more elderly Shih Tzu, Pugsley.

We exchange small talk, and she blithely dismisses the question of marriage.

“Oh, no…I was much too busy for all that.”  As the interview proceeds, we start to understand why.

In the 1970s and 80s, Margaret worked as an ambulance driver for the local animal hospital.  In that time, she saw more death, disease and neglect of animals than most of us will ever see.  Over the years, she has personally given 38 stray cats and dogs a home and a second chance at life.

MargAmbo

She travelled.  And worked three jobs to pay off a house since, back then, the banks refused single women loans.

She has the hearty laugh of a woman half her age, and more energy than I do, judging by her exercise regime.

A walk and a swim every morning down at the beach, aqua aerobics at least twice a week – and she cooks!

“I’m always trying new recipes,” she says, and as soon as the interview is over, the table is laden with cheese, crackers and a delicious avocado dip.

“Wine?” she offers, a little cheekily, when the most we might have expected was a cup of tea.

As the wine flows, and afternoon tea becomes dinner at the pub, she reveals another side.

She speaks about her close ‘friend’, with whom she’s shared her life and home for 38 years.

A woman whom she has nursed through Alzheimer’s, and only recently moved into a nursing home.

She proceeds to tell stories of life in Melbourne when it was illegal to be gay…

Slowly, in one afternoon, Margaret manages to blow my mind of every preconceived idea of age.

I realise, I am not only sitting with an elderly woman who is positively youthful.  I am sitting with a role model.

Margaret

One of a generation of people, my elders, caught between periods of social change, and invisible to those of us now walking in their shoes.

Invisible, that is, until this moment.

We ask her if she worries, being alone at her age, no family…

“You know, I don’t believe in worrying about
things you can’t control.
You just have to live your life, and enjoy each day.
I have no regrets.”

Driving home, I’m quiet.  If there’s one thing I’ve learned from my new friend it is this: age is no barrier.  And to grieve the loss of youth at 35 is more than just a little premature.

Do you worry about getting older? What do you do to stay young?

It Ain’t Over, Baby

Ever tried to break up with your past, and it just keeps coming back to stalk you?

A few weeks ago, I was announcing my availability on the employment market.  Here I was thinking I would find a nice, straightforward, job with fixed hours and low responsibility…

Yeah, really, who was I kidding?

When I think of prospective employers glancing at my resume, I realise there’s no emoticon for the look I can see on their face.

My employment history reads like my life.

It's complicated

It could explain why I haven’t had so much as a call back.

But the fact is – I haven’t been trying very hard because there was another job that had my name on it.  A job I was meaning to avoid…

I started out making videos in the days of standard definition (ie. before HD).

Back then (if you don’t listen to the professionals) it was possible to whack a video camera on auto and get some reasonably decent shots.

Buoyed by the success of my first family video, I fell in love, in more ways then one, and so commenced a long and complicated affair with community video.

It brought me in touch with a quaint little eco-museum, and next thing I knew I was applying for grants, filming cockatoos and standing in front of classes of school kids pretending to have a clue about clay animation.

Three years and not much money later, a 15 minute educational DVD was complete.

Puddlehush

It had a little bit of everything – history and wildlife, animation, indigenous storytelling.  Funded in part by the Environment Protection Authority, it was designed to inspire kids to look after their waterways.

For me, the measure of its success was seeing the kids lining up for copies to take home to mum and dad.  And hearing afterwards that some of them had dragged their parents to a creek tree-planting event.

I could have walked away happy from video then.  But, somehow, word spread and despite its technical flaws, the DVD was successful enough to land me my first ‘professional’ gig with the local university.

Freaking at the thought of what that meant, I figured I should at least look the part and upgrade to a ‘real’ camera.

Camera

Enter the nightmare that is HD.

My guess is they invented HD to get rid of self-taught amateurs like me.  Auto, if it ever really was an option, most definitely died with HD.

Mastering manual settings on the fly is bad enough.  But then comes the question of formats and codecs and frame rates and compression settings and by the time you read all the conflicting information on all the forums ever written…

Let’s just say that there was a certain irony in making videos about Positive Education while on the inside I was channelling The Scream.

Seven videos later, I decided video making was definitely not for me.  I was about to put the camera on eBay when…

…through a complex network of ‘who you know’, a local animal hospital offered a commission to record interviews for a historical memoir.

The thing is, it’s not just any animal hospital.  It’s Pepi’s hospital.

Pepi

I never could say no to him.

So, I guess the moral of the story is…“it ain’t over til it’s over”! 

In the coming weeks, I hope to entertain you all with some fur raising stories of the video making adventure.  And I know, somewhere, that Pepi will be smug at how it all goes back to him 🙂

When was the last time you tried to break up with your past? Did it end well?

______________________________________________________________

If you’d like to know more about Pepi, check out these posts:

The Best Man in My Life
Dear Pepi

But if you’d prefer the shorter, heart-warming version, go here.

The Power to Change (Part 2)

Change is a process.  Like waves, a wise old friend once told me – a constant backward-forward motion bringing in the changing of the tide.

The Wave

The Wave, by Albert Bierstadt c. 1880

Last week, I explained how a university’s Positive Education Program revealed my surprising lack of pep when it comes to life change. Being in need of a major attitude overhaul, I decided to try out the idea of a gratitude journal.

It can feel kind of sucky sitting in bed at night writing a list of all the good things that happened in your day.  When I started, three was an achievement.

But slowly it became more natural, and the lists began to get longer.  My breathing eased.  Smiles came more regularly.  Yoga returned.

Then winter came, and everything stalled.

Tellingly, the final journal entry for 2012 was written on 19 June…

Freezing windy day. Got nowhere much…Survived the day.

IMG_2006

Fast forward to 2013, and it’s the cyber community who I really have to thank for snapping me out of my winter induced inertia.

It began with a reminder from Bent People’s Adriana, of the power of yoga in dissolving psychic blocks.  Have you ever had a dream in the night that came true the next day?

That’s right, I said to self, I really need to take up yoga again.

But then the excuses started rolling in…

I can’t stand on my head before coffee.
Or after coffee.
After breakfast, ewww…no.
And by that time…

A few weeks later, still trying to combat my excuses, I read a post by Legionwriter’s Lucas, whose own gentle journey towards calm confirmed, again, the power of breath in rescuing our “beleaguered hypothalamus”.

The whole problem is Revenge, I told myself.
If I didn’t need that to put me to sleep,
I’d at least have time to meditate.

Girl in the Hat, aka Anna Fonté turned up the heat with Lies My Body Tells Me, forcing me acknowledge how much I let ‘pain’ tell me that ‘I can’t’.

It’s my lower back again, I whined.
No use starting ‘til I see the chiropractor.

Valerie then added her wisdom on meditation.  Apparently, it’s normal to fidget when you meditate.  And pain, like a child, will actually stop crying when it’s given some attention.

Interesting, I thought.  There goes that excuse…

But it was the question posed by Anna’s Wonder Woman post that finally got my attention.

What if, for two minutes a day,
instead of struggling with the concept of mind over matter,
we gave our bodies power to control our weak willed minds?

In that moment, my resistance faltered.  All the voices, pushing me forward, urging me on, rushed through, finally propelling me to act.

I struck a pose, and kicked the nightly Revenge habit in preference for yoga and meditation.

Water and Fire

Water and Fire, by Franz Stuck

Suddenly, it was no more The Prodigy’s “inhale, inhale, you’re the victim”.  I was exhaling, and it was like all that extra oxygen needed somewhere to go.

Afterburn’s guest post about jogging (of all things) gave me a radical idea.  Daniela Martinez talked about losing herself in the flow of the run, the importance (again) of breath – and of exercising to a playlist.

Honestly.  I’d never imagined jogging before, let alone to a playlist.  But the universe had just delivered a new album from Andrea, a loyal Twitter friend.

It was just the push I needed to finally break a sweat.

I swallowed yet another lame excuse – I don’t have an iP – and uploaded it to my old Nokia 6120.  Dusted off the old bicycle.

And I’ve been pedalling ever since.

Okay.  Winter’s still to come.  And the new tune is not exactly pumping.

But as I pedal, all I can hear is the rhythm of the breath, and the voices urging me to “make your desire’s reality”.

Sometimes, for forward momentum, all we need is persistent, gentle push.  So to all of you who got me there, thank you for giving me the power to change.

Ever had a moment that broke through your resistance?  What gets you There?

The Power to Change (Part 1)

Fourteen months ago I developed this terribly anti-social dry cough.

Thanks to digital media, you’re lucky enough not to hear it.  But for those in close proximity, it’s not exactly the most endearing habit on earth.

After much nagging, I eventually paid a visit to the specialist (paid being the operative word) – only to be told what I already knew.

There’s nothing wrong with me!

So I guess that makes me psychosomatically insane…

In search of answers, I did a little googling this morning.  And if what they say about Louise L. Hay’s theories is correct, I am apparently resisting change.  Either that, or it’s a blatant “world, look at me!” grab for attention.

My fear is that she’s right – on both counts.   At least, it seems like an effective strategy for continued unemployment…

From my childhood, I have far too many fond memories of being doted on when sick.  Mum, tending to me in the middle of the night, with alternate hot and cold compresses, vapour rubs and lemon ginger teas.

In my memory, I was never more loved than when I was unwell.

Fast forward a few years, and suddenly you realise there’s no Mum anymore.  What was once Mum’s love is now a matter of self-love.

And that’s where it gets tricky.

A couple of years ago, I was commissioned by a local university to develop some videos on Positive Education.

It’s strange, how the universe sends you subtle messages.  During the research phase, I filled out the online survey of character strengths developed by the Authentic Happiness Testing Centre at University of Pennsylvania.

The survey creates a rank of 24 core character strengths, highlighting your top five.  But what is most revealing are the strengths that fall at the bottom.

Among my bottom five were “Capacity to love and be loved” and “Zest, enthusiasm and energy”.

Put those two things together, and what you have is someone who doesn’t love you or themselves enough to get off their lazy ass and Exercise!!

Me. The last time I had Zest, Enthusiasm and Energy.

Me. The last time I had
Zest, Enthusiasm and Energy.

But now I have this pesky cough screaming at me.  A little tell tale hack drawing the world’s attention to my self neglect.

How to change?

If, like me, you suffer from “vague and general feelings of powerlessness”, then you need to read Girl in the Hat’s “Body Talk” series, starting with this post.  Now.

There’s a video as well.  You need to watch it.

In it, the science behind a simple posture is explained, made all the more compelling by the fact that it requires no real effort at all.

Basically, anyone who can sit still for two minutes and breathe can do it, so you can see why it appealed to yours truly.

The odd thing is, the day I read Anna Fonté’s post, something clicked.

Since then, I’ve reignited my stop-start relationship with yoga. I’ve started meditating again.  And as of today, I’ve broken through a personal record by cycling for the sixth day in a row!

It’s early days, of course.  I’m almost scared to say it in case I jinx the flow.  But that’s the old me talking.

The new me celebrates achievements as they happen.  And understands that change is a process.

Sometimes it happens imperceptibly.  Like staring at an optical illusion until, suddenly, you see it and you wonder why you never did before.

Next week, I’ll explore this theme more fully.  But in the meantime, I’m curious.

Does anybody out there struggle as I do with the power to change?

Love. Unconventional.

Love is a hot topic, this week.  But, if you’re anything like me, mention of Valentine’s Day tends to bring on that sweaty-palmed feeling – for all the wrong reasons.

How are you supposed to distil what someone means to you in one day, or one gift, or a few scribbled words on a card?

Any other day I could spontaneously cook a fine meal, or buy some special music or write a piece of poetry.  But when I’m expected to say ‘This is how I feel?’

It’s times like these I turn to the allegorical tale for answers.

Following through on my promise last week, my Valentine’s share is a story on Love. Unconventional.

the-lion-who-wanted-to-loveThe Lion Who Wanted to Love, by Giles Andreae and David Woitowycz, is a rhyming tale about Leo – a cub expelled from his pride on account of his tendency to hug, instead of hunt, other animals.

I am a vegetarian, so of course the story appealed to me.  But the true magic has nothing to do with that at all!

In the wild jungle, Leo finds himself rescuing young antelopes, injured giraffes and thirsty hippos.  He wins them over with his love – and in return, they feed him.

We won’t analyse what it is they feed him – wild berries, I presume.  But the power of the story is demonstrated by one simple principle.

It is in giving freely of himself, without expectation of return, that Leo wins the loyalty and support of his friends.

When Leo gets into trouble, they are there to rescue him, and his family finally see the value of his loving ways.  In the end, he is crowned king of the pride!

Accompanied by colourful and endearing illustrations, the verse slips off the tongue – and if you prefer to listen than read, there is also a CD.

The book has been a big hit with my nephews for some years now.  The eldest must have taken the message to heart, because one birthday he started giving away his gifts to thank his friends for coming to his party!

Luckily, he doesn’t yet know what really happens when a lion befriends an antelope in the wild… 😦

Personally, I’m going with the make believe version – but not just because it’s warm and fuzzy.

Sometimes, Love – well, it’s bigger than we are.  No matter how we try, it won’t be boxed into a neat little package with a bow on it.

And that’s okay.

I don’t know about you, but I feel better already.

How important is Valentine’s Day to you? Any tips for those of us who struggle to express ourselves?

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If you haven’t already, pick up a copy of the first three e-books of the Hello Pepi Series – available on Amazon.  It’s all about the love

Hello PepiPepi's First ThingsPepi Goes Parkies

Once Upon a Child…

Until I was about twenty one, I spent most of my life without television.  Growing up, I was convinced this was a form of child abuse.

Though we did have a black and white TV for a few years when I was a kid, it sat in the corner with a cloth over it – a mostly forbidden delight.

My entertainment came in the form of records and books, and even then, the repertoire was limited to a revolving loop of favourites.

There were Uncle Arthur’s Bedtime and Bible stories and the Little Golden Books.

Songs, like This Old Man and The Old Lady who Swallowed a Fly, that are still burned in my brain.

As I grew older, I practically learned by heart The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.  Devoured my way through Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys and the Famous Five.  Read, on repeat, a few classics, like Jane Eyre.

On the odd occasion, when the folks weren’t home, I’d sneak a peak at Disney’s cartoons.  Though my favourite forbidden pleasure was those little possessed puppets down at Fraggle Rock.

Instead of wide, I learned to read deep – and, perhaps because my influences were so few, their impact stands out vividly.

As an adult, I’m clearly not over it.  Ever since I became an aunt, I’ve found myself indulging my inner deprived child with things meant for much younger minds.

I spend hours in the kids’ section of bookstores, utterly breath taken and unable to choose.

Wall-E and Fraggle Rock  have somehow made it into my private DVD collection.

Then there are those CDs I meant to give my nephews and niece – Pure Imagination, by Michael Feinstein and, ahem, Schnappi und Seine Freunde.

People think I’m strange.  Adults aren’t supposed to like this stuff.  Right?

As we get older, we learn to put things in their place.  Categorise and label our lives into neat unrelated boxes.  Kids.  Grownups.  Play.  Work.  Fantasy.  Reality.

There’s this prevailing view that to understand children, you must be a parent.  As though adulthood automatically divorces us from our past.

When Maurice Sendak died, I read an article about his life and work.  Of course, I can’t find the exact one now, but the part that struck me was the motivation behind his writing.

He never forgot what it was like to be a child.

Pop psychology is always urging us to get in touch with our inner child.  So if you ask me, reading children’s books is the perfect self-help therapy.

Allegorical tales cut through all the outer complications and connect with the inner emotional reality of our lives.  They give form to demons that haunt our dreams.  Help us to imagine ways to deal with them.

Pepi's First Things

Mona and Pepi – from Book 2 in the Hello Pepi Series

If in any doubt, do a Google search on ‘Inner Child’.  There’s even an IMDb list made for “people whose inner child still exists”.

This is opposed to a search for ‘Adult Fairy Tales’ that will take the whole topic way beyond PG.  But that’s beside the point.

Since I like to read them, and I also like to write them, in the coming weeks, I’ll be introducing you to some of the children’s stories that captivate my imagination.

I’m calling it self-help.  You can call it research, and use your kids as an excuse if you prefer 😉

Do you like kids’ stories and fairy tales?  What were your favourites as a child?

_________________________________________________________________

If you haven’t already, check out the first three e-books of the Hello Pepi Series – available at Amazon:

Hello PepiPepi's First ThingsPepi Goes Parkies

The Stories that We Tell

On Monday, I went to see Life of Pi, the film.  As I haven’t yet read the book, I didn’t know what to expect.

But from the opening scene to the end, I was drawn in to a beautiful, magical tale about the art of storytelling itself.  About our place within a grander narrative – that space where the line between fiction and reality is blurred.

Following on from last week’s theme, I can’t seem to let it go.

In 2003, I had my first attempt at visual storytelling.  My mother and her twin were turning sixty.  And along with organising a weekend getaway for both our families, I decided I would make a video.

The timing was terrible.  I’d just handed in the final assessment for the Bachelor of Arts I took too seriously.  Negotiating with my long lost cousins had turned into a circus.  And my personal relationships were a mess.

On the drive down, my mind was anywhere but on the drive.  Somehow I had turned off the main highway on a road to who-knows-where and was collected by a car through a roundabout.

It could have been fatal.  But apart from a bit of whiplash, luckily neither of us were hurt.

The weekend was a train wreck, as far as I was concerned.

While the family carried on as though nothing had happened, the best I could manage was to tremble absentmindedly behind camera.

Back home, as I trawled through hours of shaky footage, a story started to take shape.

Twins

Mum (right) and her twin sister

Two sisters, separated by a stretch of sea between Melbourne and Tasmania, reunited with their families for the first time in years.

Slowly the sequence of events started to be rearranged.  Hours reduced to moments, obscuring memory.

Awkward empty laughter became witty repartee.

The disgruntled old fellas turned kindly and ineffectual.

Some things were left out.

The part where no one prepared their speeches.

The pained expression on my mother’s face upon hearing how her sister is the “Mum away from Mum.”

Activities and chores that in reality dragged now speed by to the “Flight of the Bumblebee“.

Rare moments of affection, old photos and a child’s lopsided grin slow to the sound of a collective heartfelt tune.

“My island home, my island home
My island home, is waiting for me…”

Neil Murray
covered by Christine Anu

Somehow, a melange of a family reunion is turned into a nostalgic longing for our place of origin – for home and belonging.

By the end of the edit, even I am moved!

What I didn’t expect was that ten years on, the video would become the stuff of family legend.  Apparently, my little cousins (even the new ones) still watch it every time they visit their gran.

Little surprise, then, that they want to do it all over again for the impending 70th.

I’m a little worried about their expectations.  I feel like I made a propaganda film.  Will they be disappointed when they see our family for what it truly is?

But what is that, exactly?

At the end of Life of Pi, we are presented with two possibilities for the story that was told – a realist version, and the magical tale.  In either case, the essential elements of the story remain the same.  So we are left with a choice.

Reality, or the story that elevates reality to a place of understanding?

Surely this is the point – to understand each other from the stories that we tell…

“The world isn’t just the way it is. It is how we understand it, no? And in understanding something, we bring something to it, no?

Doesn’t that make life a story?”

– Pi Patel, Life of Pi by Yann Martel

What do you prefer? Fact or fiction? Should we write grand narratives, or are they all a lie?

Faking It for Real

My favourite thing about going to the hairdresser is reading my stars.  I usually try to act cool, and flick through the rest of the magazine first, but really all I want to do is navel gaze a while.

Mirror of Venus

The Mirror of Venus (Edward Burne-Jones)

So when a post promises to ‘Type’ my blog personality at the click of a button, it’s hard to resist.

If you haven’t heard of it already, check out Susie Lindau’s post, where she explains all about the research, the creator, and where you go to find out your ‘Type’.

When I first keyed in my web address and pressed ‘Typealyze’, it came out with ‘Inspirer’.

I’ll admit, that sounded nice.  Not that I set out on my blog to be an Inspirer – I had no idea what my purpose should be when I started blogging.

But as I read through the profile, I started having this uneasy feeling it was describing someone else.

In real life, I have to tell you, I’m not all that inspiring.  I’m mostly quiet and dishevelled and roaming about the house wondering, “Why do I ask why?”.

Until recently, my whole reason for being was “Expect the worst, and you’re never disappointed…”

Yeah.  That’s inspiring.

So a couple of days later I went back to Typealyze myself again.  Incidentally, it was after last week’s performance anxiety post.

For some reason, it decided I’m now a ‘Performer’!

Wow.  That was easy.

The thing is, the last time I did anything close to perform was when I was about five years old.

My sister had this bright idea to dress me up in an angel costume and make me perform at the local Christmas carols.

For extra cuteness, I would sing “Away in a Manger“, accompanied by big sis on the piano.

All I remember is a sea of faces.  Missing the cue to the start of the song.  Twice.  And then somehow quivering my way through the rest of it until I could run away off stage – a perfectly fine carol now dead to me.

Nope.  I’m definitely not a performer.

cupid-at-the-masked-ball

Cupid at The Masked Ball (Franz Stuck)

But the whole exercise reminds me of an issue raised in Coleen Patrick’s recent post on blog optimism.

As bloggers, we have the privilege of controlling what people do and don’t see about us.  We project an image of ourselves – is it really us, or are we just a bunch of posers spouting empty words?

Sometimes I feel like I’m faking it.  I strive to inspire when I feel anything but inspired myself.  And that’s when I realise something.

From the start of each week to the end when I put out my next post, I’m just a little bit different than I was the week before.

Maybe we have to fake it a little bit, to make it real.

Maybe it’s not even about what’s real or what isn’t.

Maybe this is just us – on the way to being who we want to be.

How much of you is in your Avatar?  Do you sometimes feel you’re faking it?  Does it even matter?

Just Breathe

Here I am, one week out chanting my ‘Change is good’ mantra, and you ask – how’s that working for you?

Suddenly there’s a sound like a record needle scratching out my flow…

Okay.  So this is what change is really like.

I decided to start my weekend off with my first ever three day detox diet, in the hope of a good energy kick for the impending job hunt.

Lettuce

The inspiration came from fellow Aussie blogger, Melly Williams, herself a shining example of good health and fitness.  The recipes in themselves were great – especially the chia seed dessert – so simple, filling and yum.

But after a day of no carbs (except the few I added for necessity), as my stomach lining started turning on itself and I started feeling all lightheaded – I realised something.

If you already look like a borderline famine victim – maybe detox is not the thing you need?

Maybe – here’s a thought – maybe what you really need is to Eat. More. Food!

So, one failed detox later, I’m sitting at my computer clicking job ads.

Search

I’m not sure if the slightly sick feeling is from the detox or the job hunt.  But as I click on one job after another, I feel my determined ‘can do’ face slide into a familiar queasy mope.

There are certain key words that keep repeating themselves…

“Vibrant, outgoing personality.”

“Ability to multitask.”

No.  I’ve been down that road before.  It never ends well.

I quit searching the Administration section and decide maybe Customer Service is the way to go after all.

I manage to find two jobs that require “listening skills” and “attention to detail”, wade through the lengthy online application form, multiple choice questionnaire and the resume upload.  Oh, that’s right. Cover Letter.

How many ways can you say you’re eager, keen, delighted…goddamn desperate for a job?

The letter ends with something about being an asset to the team.  I finally upload and submit.  Phew.  A good day’s work in there already.

Several days later, and I’m at it again – I notice the two jobs I applied for have already readvertised.  Hmmm.  Guess I need to work on my pitch.

Sunflowers

This is usually the part where I curse the day I ever enrolled in that Bachelor of Arts.  Why didn’t I choose law?  Or counselling?  Or teaching, even – I could have been a good teacher.

At least I thought so, until I read fellow job hunter Anna Fonté’s post about the realities of teaching.  No.  I definitely could not have done that.

But why did I always choose meaningful over skilled?

There’s no answer to that question.  Except that was what I needed to do.  And now, here I am.  I’m exactly where I need to be.  Right now.

If you’ve ever doubted that, or need some reassurance about the direction that you’re heading in, read Nina Badzin’s post, on her journey towards the right path.

There’s something so very practical, and encouraging about her story of becoming a blogger and freelance writer.  She reminds me when I need to hear it most – that nothing is ever wasted.

Change is not going to be easy.  It never is.  And so I tell myself.

Just believe.  Just breathe.

Is there any change you’re finding challenging this year?  What gets you through?