When I hear stories about cancer or domestic abuse, my automatic response is to sweep my own struggles under the mat. Suddenly it feels like my problems are nothing in comparison. However, recently I have realised that we all deal with things differently. No persons story is insignificant. I want to share my story with you, more for my sake, so that I can let go of it.
I grew up in a Christian family, Mum and Dad were missionaries in PNG. When my Mum was pregnant with me, my family had to come back to Australia, so that I could be born in a healthy environment. When I was 6 months old, we moved to Tari- PNG, which is where we would live for 3 years before returning to Australia permanently. Although I have very little memories of PNG, I still remember coming home to Australia, and feeling out of place. I guess it was culture shock of some sort. I became very shy of my surroundings and of anyone that I didn't know. I had a few friends, but I still felt a sense of emptiness.
My uncle commited suicide when I was only 5 years old, and I didn't/couldn't understand why anyone would want to kill themselves. It wasn't until later in my life that I could relate. Unfortunately, this was just the beginning of bigger issues.
I always felt like I didn't really belong anywhere. Of course I loved my friends and family, but I never felt completely connected to them. I was in a few special ed classes at school, and was always treated like I was the dumb kid. From my experience, the more you are treated dumb and useless, the more likely you are to believe it and act the way you are treated. I was slow to learn, and I didnt bother trying hard because I couldn't see the point in trying to do something that I clearly couldn't do.
When 9/11 happened, I was only 10 years old. A terrorist attack is strange thing for a 10 year old to have to watch, as it was plastered all over media. I remember everything clearly, about that day. This was the first time I had heard of terrorists. Why would people purposely crash into buildings?! From that moment on, I was terrified of airplanes to the point where I would duck every time a plane flew over head. As I watched the news more and more, I realised that our world isn't such a nice place to live in. From then on, I grew very afraid of anything and everything.
There were two boys in my class who liked to tease me. However it went too far when one of them told me that they were planning on holding the class up at gunpoint, and that they were going to strip everyone naked and tie us to the chairs, then take all our money. Of course, they were just tying to scare me, and it worked! I didn't want to go to school, as I was forced to sit with them every day. I would fake sick from school often, and in turn, I missed out on a lot of class work. I look back on all of this now, and wish I had the confidence to speak up. Thankfully, that's where my prayer life began. I had learnt in Sunday school that I could tell Jesus anything, and so I began to pray to him every night. My prayers were mainly made up of me begging God not to let harm come to my family. However, I wouldn't say that my life at home was exactly easy either. My brothers bullied me, and my Dad never really understood me. They didn't know that their lack of respect for me, would amount to me not respecting myself.
Then of course, high school happened! To cut a VERY long story short, I had a huge group of friends, which I slowly watched getting smaller and smaller, as one of my more dominant friends, decided who could stay and who could go. She was jealous of any friendship I had that wasn't her. I knew if I didn't agree with her, I would loose her, along with our long term friendship. We had known eachother since we were four years old, and I wasn't about to let that go. Along the way, I hurt a lot of people, including myself, and my relationship with Jesus. I had wonderful things like youth group and Smash camp, in which Jesus used to guide me in the right direction, but I constantly found myself going off track, tying to do my own thing. I'd like to say that after my Baptism in 2006 (I was 14), that Jesus and I were closer, but that didn't last long at all. A few years later I met Rob. I fell in love with him, and pursued him. He and I were by no means a perfect match, but we were good together. It was a chance for me to run away from the things that were making life hard. I knew he was the one for me. I would no longer have to worry about choosing the wrong boys to date. Before Rob, I had gone through eight boyfriends. Sexual abuse from other boys was no longer something to worry about. Rob became my best friend, and confidant. He knew everything about me, the good, the bad and the ugly, yet he still loved me.
After high school, I studied childcare, looked forward to a career and had plans to eventually marry Rob. Unfortunately it took a while to get there. This part of my life would be the hardest it has ever been. Everything became so unclear to me, and in turn, I messed up. I won't go into huge detail here (trust me, you don't want to know). I will tell you though, that for a long time I didn't want to live, I could barely breathe, and I wanted to die. I self harmed by cutting my thighs. Even though I was in love with Rob, I found myself very confused, and I started having feelings for other guys too, some who were older than me, and some who were younger. I craved attention. Rob still stayed with me, despite all the trouble I had caused. I would also freak out over my childcare assignments, and break down to the point where I couldn't stop crying for hours. For a while I was able to see a counsellor, and things started looking up in some respect, but I knew I needed to see a doctor about it. My doctor prescribed me with a small dose of anti-depressants. I was feeling a lot better once the meds kicked in, but I decided to talk to an online psychiatrist, for extra help. He diagnosed me with Borderline Personality Dissorder. BPD, is a Dissorder most common in teenagehood - young adulthood. This caused impulsive behaviour, self harming tendencies, and sudden uncontrollable anger. I had always known that there was something wrong with me, but no one except this psychiatrist believed me. I started to double my daily intake of pills, and then I eventually went back to my doctor to ask for a bigger dosage. I can't imagine my life without my Anti's now. There are some things that anti's will never do, I.e make me feel confident and pretty.... But they have certainly helped to put my mind In a more controllable state. I haven't self harmed for 4 years now.
I eventually graduated with my Diploma, and started looking for jobs in childcare. Rob and I got engaged during that time. I briefly worked as a relief worker at a childcare centre, but realised how much I hated working there, and eventually moved to another local childcare, who would employ me to work lunch relief hours (2 hours a day). I enjoyed working at the centre, but of course it had its ups and downs. Two years later, Rob and I finally got married, in hope that Rob would be able to get a full time job soon, as he was nearly finished his university degree. It has been a struggle to get by at times. Rob has graduated, but he has only currently got a casual job. I no longer work in childcare, as it has reeked havoc on my health. We still don't have our own house, we share a rental house with my parents.
I have many health problems, which I constantly wish would just disappear. I've had a sore throat for 5 years, Generalised Anxiety disorder, Sinus Tarsi syndrome, Tachycardia, Cystic ovarian syndrome, high cholesterol (passed down to me from my Dad), and I've had asthma since I was 5 years old. I've been overweight for 7 years now, which certainly hasn't helped in my health, however I have recently decided to do something about it.
As for my relationship with Jesus, it still needs work. I have found myself a bit closer to him lately, but I struggle to speak with him on a day to day basis.
I guess what I've learnt from all of my struggles is to keep going anyway. Sometimes my only ability is to live, and if that's how it has to be, then so be it.
Rant time.... I'm sorry if it doesn't make much sense, but I need to get some things out in the open:
I'm getting sick and tired of being judged. I'll admit, I've done some things in the past that were dumb. But haven't we all? I have had enough of being accused, of being categorised, and of having people expect certain things from me.
Do you think I don't notice when I'm being bitched about? Do you think I don't know how to tell the difference between a best friend and a fake? Do you actually believe that I'm not smart enough to see right through your lies? Guess what? I'm not who you think I am, and you will never be able to figure me out! I could let you in on all of my darkest secrets, and you still wouldn't really know me. Why? Because I don't even really know me. Only God can say that he knows me, because apparently he has a plan for my life that I don't see.
Here are some examples of how I've been judged:
- I've had people tell me that I'm a great musician. No offence to them, and thanks for the nice compliments, but I'm NOT a great musician. I failed year 12 music, I can't read music, I can't write my own songs, all I do is cover songs. The best I am is average. There are other things I can do better. I'm not meant to be a musician.
- It took me a while to realise it, but I'm not meant to be a childcare worker either. I love children, I love taking care of them, I completed my qualification, but I don't entirely agree with the childcare system. Loving children doesn't make me a Childcare worker. When I worked in Childcare I knew I couldn't do certain things, and for lacking in certain skills, I copped staff members talking about me, saying I'm not good enough. No one wanted to be my friend, and they judged me on my childcare skills, not on my personality.
- I have been called ugly by some, beautiful by others, so what am I? I can't figure that out entirely, because I've been told two different things.
I guess what I'm saying is stop! Stop judging me, stop judging everyone. Don't expect the best, don't expect the worse, just let life happen. The more we judge, the more we expect more or less of people, and that's not fair. I'm guilty, you're guilty. At the end of the day God is the only being to have the right to judge.
Please comment if you have a different view. I'd like to know.
Those who know me,understand that I'm a deep thinker. I think a lot about world issues, like abuse, Christianity, abortion, un-ethical lifestyles, child upbringings. Mainly things that can have a huge impact, that lots of people ignore. I'm not an activist as such, but I can certainly get fired up when thinking or talking about any of these topics. I am quick to join in to any conversation, if it means that I can have my say.
I also think about my life. These are my more private thoughts. I'm not always as ready and able to tell people how I'm feeling. Writing it down like this is a lot easier, but it's not a walk in the park either. If someone asked me how I am, depending on who they were, I might tell them a bit about the struggles I go through. However I will always leave out some things, because I need that barrier between me and the person. Everyone has a limit to how much they feel like saying. Admittedly, I can be a bit annoying when I'm in the opposite situation, asking someone else how they are. I have the need to dig deeper and to know more. I guess that's when I need to remind myself of my own secrets.
Lately I have been thinking a LOT about my life. Mainly thoughts about which direction my life is heading. There are a bunch of people around me that just know what they are doing with their life, and admittedly I'm envious of them. It's definately a trait in most women to compare themselves to other people. I am very guilty of this! I compare everything, good and bad. It's been said many times, that we should focus on what we do have, not on what we don't have. True, but I'm going to put everything out there and see where it leads.
I'm married to a wonderful hubby
I have a roof over my head
Clothes to wear
I have food to eat
Clean water to drink
A loving family
Freedom to be a Christian
I live in half a house, with only a kitchenette
My clothes are getting old and tatty
I don't know how to cook healthy foods
I don't have many good friends
I don't have a job= I have no money to do the things I want to do.
My health is horrid.
The latter list is definately not how I imagined my life would be at this stage. I want so badly to be positive, but when the con's are big con's, it's hard to focus on the good.
So where am I heading? To be 100% truthful, I have a vague idea, but I'm dead scared.
Rob has just recently gained an extra day of work, with the promise of going full time. That leaves us with more money, and we will no longer have to be on Centrelink wages. This is good news, but it also means that I have a lot to think about regarding what I need to do. I'm unemployed, partly because of sickness, partly because I don't have my license to drive anywhere. My dream, is to become a professional freelance photographer. I'd be able to do engagement shoots, weddings, baby shoots you name it! Unfortunately part of me doubts my ability, even with a photography course, to live my dream. For a very long time, I have doubted that I have any talent at all. I will readily admit that I am average at photography, maybe even good at it for a beginner. However I can not know if I'm going to be good enough until I have forked out Rob's money, to pay for a course. Then there is a matter of passing the course. When I did my Childcare diploma, I never imagined studying again. Alas, God has made other plans for me. Am I taking the right path, in pursuing photography? I have no idea! One thing I've learnt is, I'm not so great at listening to God's advice!
How does one relax, when all this is going through my brain? I have to try very hard to distract myself. If I don't try, then I don't get any sleep.
I'd say that in a way, everyone has the ability to be a deep thinker. My advice to you is, don't bother trying to gain my super powers, you might regret It!
I've spent most of my life listening way too intently to the opinions of other people.
I'm not saying that opinions don't matter, but you really have to be careful to pick and choose which ones to take on board. I think we're all guilty of taking other people's opinions to heart, and most of the time, they are quite damaging.
According to society, we need to be skinny, blemish free, and wear the most fashion forward clothes money can buy. When I was a teenager, a boy walked past me at school and straight out said "You're ugly". At the time of course I was a petite and lanky with an acne ridden face. I naturally agreed with the boy. I was convinced that if a complete stranger could call me ugly, then I must be. It didn't matter what anyone else said, it was a strangers opinion that I trusted. Strangely enough though, I didn't go out and buy makeup. In fact for a long time I believed that makeup was too much effort. I didn't start wearing makeup until I went to TAFE, to do my Childcare diploma. Most of the girls there were my age or slightly older. They all wore gorgeous outfits, had their hair done beautifully, and wore really thick makeup. This time it wasn't a direct opinion of another person, this time I was simply assuming that I was ugly because everyone else looked like the worlds definition of beautiful. I made my own opinion, about myself. It was wrong. In all honesty I still can not go out without makeup on, because I've let myself believe that I look ugly without makeup.
Opinions can be plain annoying, and sometimes heartbreaking,
When I got engaged, I had so many people ask me, "When's the big day?". For a long time I didn't have an answer to that. We took about 3 years to get married, simply because of finances. I craved to marry Rob, and it was so frustrating trying to explain to people that we hadn't set a date.
After we got married, the question is of course "When are you having a baby", because babies have to come next right? I want a baby more than anything, but we can not afford to have children, as we are barely affording life. I think it's really incensitive to ask people about having children, just assuming it will have to happen sooner or later. What if a woman has had miscarriages, or has been trying so hard to have a baby for years, without success? It's not easy for any women to come right out and admit that not all is well.
You see not only is it really important not to always take to heart other people's opinions, but you have to be really careful about the opinions you have of others. You can't just say eveything you think out loud. Social media has a big issue with this. Often I will read a post from one of the pages I'm following on Facebook, e.g a news page. No matter what the article or story is about, there will always be someone who takes it too seriously, or tells you the story is wrong. When it comes to decisions like gay rights, or abortion laws, things can get super heated in the comments section. Why? Because everyone thinks their opinion is fact. That's where the problem lies. An opinion is a perspective, a belief, a judgement. To you it will be as real as it can be, but when you start pushing your opinions too far, or outright blurt things out, it can have huge ramifications.