4X4 track epiphanies

So we’ve realised our parents aren’t perfect.

We’ve stepped back from them, their expectations and their timetable and rituals…

But how do we stop the habits that we’ve formed watching them?

How, when something breaks, do we not panic about how much it might cost to fix instead of laughing at the genuinely funny situation?
How do you realise your potential to be you and make your own judgements on situations?
How do you laugh more than you fret?
How do you remind yourself that having anxiety will always exacerbate this pattern of reacting rather than responding?

Sleeping helps; not having a migraine helps and having a super supportive and communicative partner definitely helps, and let’s be real- a couple of Midori Splice’s help too.

There’s a lot of clutter in my mind (and in my life, as I continue to cram a house-worth of existence into a bedroom with 2 cats and another giant human…), and I’m endlessly sorting through it and trying to organise it… Part of the reason I started this blog, to be honest…

One of my favourite things to tell people when they have major realisations about issues in their lives is that conscious awareness is key; a first step in changing behaviours, understanding our actions, ourselves and our relationships. My therapist told me this and I never believed her. I thought I was trapped and helpless in my situation and that my “conscious awareness” was like the consolation prize in my therapeutic journey… The “thanks for coming, we want to tell you you did good… but you’re actually really shit… Here’s a crappy ribbon” prize so that we don’t look like arseholes…

But it’s SO TRUE! Conscious awareness is like the first step! The actual KEY to moving forward and changing habits and creating new patterns!
Without being aware of these reactions and learned responses, how are you EVER going to change them!? How are you ever going to move forward in your own journey? You can’t possibly!

I welcomed the realisation that I had reacted by rote today. It means that I’m actually able to react differently next time in the same situation. It means that I don’t have to accept the habits I’ve learned from either of my parents as my own and it means that I’m on my way to really creating my own person.

My parents are amazing. Each of them, for their own strengths and their own beautiful idiosyncrasies and their own craziness. But I don’t want to be a replica of them. I don’t want to take on board all the things that, in my opinion, have held them back from their happiness.
I want to be on my own journey. I want to be my own person. Proud to be my parent’s daughter, but carving my own path through the jungle that is life: NOT following theirs. I don’t want to fall down the same ravines that they did and I don’t want to take the same ditch they did and wind up taking on water when there was a possible dry track a few metres to the left. I want to trust my gut on ever decision that I make. And maybe that decision finds me down a path towards a lesson I’d rather not have had to learn, but just past that little scrubby patch might be the most glorious view across a magnificent valley! A view I might never have seen had I just kept blindly following the path already forged by my parents.

So. We become aware. We step back. And then we practice. Practice and practice and practice until we’re making our own choices and responding to situations from they heart rather than from a habit. The tricky part is applying the same awareness across multiple situations, not waiting for the exact same moment to arise… But that, again, comes with practice.

I’m working out who I want to be. I’m developing a clear picture of her in my head. I’m beginning to be able to visualise what she will look like, how she might respond if presented with the same situation again and how she might feel to exist within. Visualising her will bring her into fruition. Believing in her will make her powerful. And BEING will … … I don’t know what that will do… But I’m excited about it!

I think I’m dying

What’s enough sleep?

No, I don’t want hours and minutes and statistics according to studies, I mean, WHAT IS enough sleep? I don’t even remember what it feels like.

I say that a lot. That I don’t remember what it feels like… But I don’t. I really really don’t. What I do remember the feeling of is feet like lead, knees like seized gears and a head that feels like silly putty that’s been dropped in sand – what a mess.

I like to think I’m getting better at looking after myself and saying no, and stopping when I need to rest… But after 2 nightmares and an almost comically appropriate tarot reading this weekend; maybe I’m not as good at self care as I thought…

I think my main issue is that I don’t take into account bad sleeps, short sleeps or big days. I continue to set my alarm for 6.00 or 6.30 even when I have nothing specific to get up for (Or could easily fit everything in with a 7.30 wakeup)… Now, when I’ve made it through a night without being woken by cats scratching in the litter tray or my partner giggling like a kid next to me at Top Gear episodes or crinkling chocolate wrappers in my ear (or on the other side of the king bed… but whatever, at 2 am everything sounds like it’s right in my ear); a 6am wakeup is splendid. But without enough sleep… They can be physically painful, and no amount of caffeine or berocca can numb that pain. The only cure is sleep…
I love mornings, I love feeding the horses while the birds are waking up, I love sitting on the verandah with a cuppa, watching them finish breakfast while I get licked on the face by any or all of the dogs. I love the shift in energy as the nocturnal animals retire and the rest of the world arises.

But I think I have become almost addicted to that feeling so that if I miss it – by sleeping in for an hour – I tell myself that I’ve wasted the best part of the day…

So where do I find balance between resting enough and having my favourite and most energising and soul-replenishing time of the day?

I just got disturbed from writing this and came back to my computer surprised to see a blog entry even open… So I’m sorry if this is not making sense… My brain is starting to melt a little.

I’ve posted about self-care before.

I know I have. It’s such a struggle for me. How do I look after myself and still get all my stuff done? Why do I eagerly take up more hours at work when I’m already too tired? Because working more earns me more, and earning more takes some pressure off me week to week in affording the things I need to live… And affording the things I need to live means that I can treat myself to massages or new nail polish or new riding gear and that makes me happy and etc.

But where’s the balance?! 

Why do I feel that I need to sacrifice something in order to sleep? That something needs to give? That I need to be awake as much as possible so I don’t miss anything or not get enough done?

I don’t have the answer to that one… Certainly not today. Perhaps (hopefully) a 7pm curfew for me tonight will help a little…

A panic attack in prose

Last week I had a pretty severe panic attack… One that made me question whether I had a hold on my anxiety or whether it had a hold on me, even though I knew logically and rationally that I’ve been doing awesome with it…

I was at placement… during a staff development/student free day and after pulling on a facade of calm, I sat quietly at the back and wrote…
I intended to share it immediately after, but lacked the courage to be that vulnerable… Now, as I prepare to transcribe it from pen and paper to interwebs, I’m left wondering if it will even seem half as dramatic as it felt at the time…
The point of me sharing it is that while it might not feel like it at the time, panic attacks, anxiety, ocd, depression etc are nothing to be ashamed of. They happen. Sometimes you can calm yourself through symptoms, sometimes you can’t. But they do not define you and they absolutely do not make you a less valuable human.


“I’m writing to try to take my mind off a panic attack.

I feel so watched.

This one has been long
3 hours
I’m already exhausted as if I’ve done a 16 hour day… In 3 hours…

Everyone is a familiar stranger.
I know everyone but no-one’s name…

I’m trying to pay attention.
Met with conflicting emotions about a Christian Sermon.

What we think about God shapes everything that we do”

Well that’s not untrue, I guess…

So contrived… A mask… A costume… A gang colour…

I moved my chair to a secluded place but now I’m surrounded.
I can feel everyone’s buzz pushing on me…

I’m just exhausted.

3 hours. “Good work will naturally serve others” 

I’m starting to blank out now.

I spent my drive here not hearing the radio.

I split myself in two but it wasn’t even.
7/8ths silently screaming for help, for peace, for stillness.
1/8th tiredly saying to breathe, to pull over and recite numbers, to recentre heart and mind, to clear chakras.

How far is a 7:1 fight? It’s not.
How am I ever supposed to believe that that is going to end favourably for the calm, rational side? The panic is so powerful. So relentless, so unforgiving. SO convincing.

When you’re in the throes of a panic you start to question whether you’re ever calm, whether you were ever on top of your anxiety or if you were just kidding yourself.
It’s always there.
But it’s always surprising when it hits you again.
And I’m not going to pretend it’s a gentle knock on the door and a polite request to enter your life again…
It’s a tank. Armed. Unstoppable. Unreadable and destructive.
Devastatingly destructive sometimes…

That moment- because it IS a moment, in the scheme of things- it feels like it’s all over, and you’ll never get a grip again…
And it’s tempting to throw hands in the air and give in to the dragon that is my anxiety
But in the calm wreckage that’s left after a panic attack- I realise that I’m ok…
I’m doing good.
They’re fewer and further between. I’m better at acknowledging them
And believe it or not, I’m getting better at managing them…”


Cleaning out my closet

How do we come to terms with the awareness of undesirable traits in our parents?
For many of us, growing up, our parents (or maybe parent, singular) is the knower of all and can do no wrong.

So what happens when we start to really see things from the adult perspective? See both sides of a marriage? and what happens when you give yourself permission to draw from your own life experiences without assuming you know less than the pair that gave you life.

I think we slowly start to work things out, but still want to believe that they’re superhuman or magical because they always knew the answers or always made us feel safe… But in the end, they’re just another set of perfectly flawed, learning, growing humans. Just like me. They’re not the same people they were at my age, and they’re not the same people they were yesterday… And they’re certainly not perfect.

Trying to keep the disappointment of this fish-slap of reality at bay is, no doubt, challenging… And the transition from rose coloured childhood glasses into clear, adult frames might cause some friction and hurt feelings… But it’s a crucial part of becoming your own human.

This bit is the hardest for me. We spend so much of our childhood trying to live up to our parents expectations that we feel like we’re throwing it back in their face when we say (verbally or otherwise): “thanks for the guidance and advice, but I’m gonna do it this way; because that’s what’s best for me right now”…

“I release myself from the expectations and limitations of my parents in order to become the truest version of myself”