Home is… where?

An absence of purpose.

If there are readers out there that have wondered at my absence these past few months, I was collecting new thoughts from new changes and new challenges.

It’s amazing how the concept of ‘home’ can surface in more than just as your dwelling of residence. Even then, the place you live is not necessarily ‘homely’. You don’t always feel at ease, safe and secure in your abode, or with your housemates. There are different places and people I feel at home with, even streets, parks and rivers. One thing I have struggled to find since the passing of my beloved mum is the place I reside to have that feeling of ‘home’. A sense of feeling safe, at ease, settled. Yes, this was a spiritual, emotional and mental residence I have been continuously working on within myself, but also of a literal sense. I required a residence that I felt ‘at home’ in. Retrospectively I realise that so much of this came down to my inner quest, I nevertheless spent a decade uneasy. I tried to dress up my surroundings but to no avail. I pretended to cook for myself and keep a domestic life, but I could see no point in doing so. I was constantly ready for the next event to necessitate another move to spring up from nowhere.

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Autumn in Coburg, Vic

I eventually found it, a little piece of paradise that was my own home, and moving from it after nearly three years was my own choice. I found it here, too, in the wonderful suburb of Coburg. I got to spend three months in an old, dingy house, constantly cold but feeling safe and at peace. I found a routine and also found joy in every moment I walked out into my neighbourhood. My soul has claimed Coburg, and the northern suburbs of Melbourne as a whole, as its spiritual home. It’s funny how, after spending a seemingly infinite amount of years altering and adapting yourself, the moment you feel you can finally take a leap forward and let out that long-held breath is the moment when the world decides to test your assurances. Yet, that doesn’t need to be a bad thing, nor does it need to send you reeling backwards. In fact, sometimes it is just that final bump in the road that is needed to jolt you into place.

The passing of my housemate in Coburg was sudden although, in retrospect, not really surprising. A friend I made earlier this year at ‘school’, we had a friendly and warm dynamic in the old stone house. After being notified of her death, I immediately reverted to fight or flight, and stayed that way for weeks, instantly in crisis over where to go and what to do. The decades of PTSD training my brain had undergone had made it a master of meltdown, yet I still somehow found myself a roof over my head.

And what a roof…

After my freefall of fear, I landed safely on my feet in shoes of cushions… no shockwaves or hard landing. My new home is two bedrooms, quite spacious, and has a cute little courtyard with luscious garden. Most importantly my housemate instantly felt like home. Two weeks felt like two months, two months like two decades. A kindred spirit, we spent my first night in the house laughing until it hurt. She is one more family member I never expected, particularly in such a short amount of time.

She has provided such solid friendship, love, support and laughter in such a short amount of time, and it is hard to believe I haven’t known her forever. In my anxieties about assignments, she has encouraged me without pressure. In my moments of self-doubt, she has pointed out my awesome without being condescending. My chemical imbalances and overall temperament have been more balanced in the four months I’ve lived here, and the calm has been almost surreal.

I may still be terrified of the path I have chosen for myself and may often feel like I’m too old to be single and childless, but I feel like I’m truly home for the first time in years. Whatever happens from here I can handle it from a safe and secure space.

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Choose (your) life

People can change, they just need to want to…

As these are meant to be about change in some way or other, I would like to first speak of making a choice. As I have mentioned in a past post, some changes can come about organically. Yet I understand this is still a choice; one must be open to that change, whether it is of an emotional, mental, physical or spiritual nature. I am grateful every day to now be in a place that, though I’m still human and in no way perfect, I am living in a state of fluidity. I allow myself those moments of stubborn resistance when they spring up, but I am self-aware and push myself to resist the urge to dwell in those moments. After all, familiarity is comfortable and easy, no matter how negative it may be. But I choose to live my life now, and no longer to make others happy, or keep the peace, or because it’s what I ‘should’ be doing. That means that the fluid nature of the way I feel now opens up a lot more options to change and for me to embrace them with open arms.

I was a carefully chosen recipient of an email this morning. Continue reading “Choose (your) life”

Return to Wonderland

It has taken a lot of overthinking and conquering of fear in order for me to return to studies as a mature(ish) aged student. True, I had returned in 2012 to begin my process, and if I hadn’t done that I would never have learned the important things that I did about myself. The fact I didn’t complete everything required does not speak of my character, I attended every class, I made friends and had great feedback and response from teachers. It rather speaks of the fact it was not the right time in my life and I needed to face some things and learn a lot about how I work as a human being in order to continue on that path. Continue reading “Return to Wonderland”

To infinity…

I have a fear of heights, well not so much the heights but the falling from them. I guess you get the best views from on high, and I love to walk up Mt Kos here in Australia, but the ride in the chairlift from Thredbo (if you go that way, I actually prefer the walk from Charlotte’s Pass) is another wonky, wobbly, story altogether. I have been trying to push myself out of my comfort zone as I get older, and am keen to embrace the inner child in me and try out some roller coasters as an adult. This goes for food too, yet my tolerance for spicy, hot and peppery is still a looong way off being beyond the mild-with-a-massive-tub-of-yoghurt stage. Then there are social factors, where I am trying to push much further beyond my comfort zone than anything else, and so far doing alright this year.

Continue reading “To infinity…”

Confidence is key

confidence-i-canIt’s incredible how much we transform as we get older. Not just physically (and boy, how THAT has changed) but emotionally and, dare I say it, spiritually too. Just last week I found myself answering the question of a peer fifteen years younger with “as you get older”…… Yuck! Who am I? Did I really say that? Someone call the tacky, cliché police. As scary as that realisation is, I find the truth in it scarier.

I remember vividly as a child the painful anxiety I would feel when among others. Even family and people I knew. I can still feel that solid tree trunk that would start growing from my gut and render me speechless and so painfully shy, taken over by a fear of nothing I could identify other than idle conversation. I admit it was not with everyone but was real and painful enough that I feel it conquered more interactions than it did not. There are still remnants of this debilitating condition today, but I have worked long and hard to be able to feel at ease, even around people I know.

I cannot pinpoint the moment I realised my issues had subsided. In fact, I know it was actually a pathway of stepping stones that led me to where I am now. Yes, oftentimes my exuberance and enthusiasm is still a cover, but I also make a deliberate choice to try and laugh and smile at the world. It’s much easier that way.

I now know there were specific environmental elements that contributed to my withdrawal and extreme shyness, and I may very well get to those in due course, but at the time (and for many years after), all I knew was the painful fear of having to speak or be spoken to.

Social anxiety occurs often with people who have experienced trauma, but it can happen to everyone, it’s natural to be shy and uncertain and feel judged when in social situations, particularly those new to us. Mine went so far as, even just a few years ago, I would arrive late to meet a friend so I would not have to look around for them or be at an event on my own. The inner turmoil would fog my head, and a panic attack would most likely be just around the corner.

Perhaps it’s a new city? Perhaps an internal recognition of the need to evolve. Whatever it is, I now am only shy like anyone else. No more heart palpitations, no anxieties. I have found I am more comfortable in pushing beyond my comfort zone and I am no longer afraid to speak.

Confidence is no longer a bad word.