Challenging The Narrative Of Internalised Capitalism

Lately as I’ve been seeking to prioritise my mental and physical health – which has meant less writing and more time away from social media – I’ve been delving into some of the more uncomfortable places within myself to challenge the conditioning I have been unconsciously living by in order to rewrite the narratives of my existence.

I always thought perfectionism was the biggest issue for me to work through and remain mindful of, however, when I saw this post on internalised capitalism it was such a moment of clarity for me in realising THIS HERE has been my biggest blind spot.

As I read through each of these points I realised they have been the core beliefs I have built my life upon. That these things are what society has conditioned us to believe is good work ethic. That I have been existing in a state of burnout for longer than I can remember because in my mind, rest equals laziness. Lack of productivity equals poor work ethic. Being busy equals living a meaningful life. Self-worth equals accomplishment.

Here now, I find myself in a place of physical and mental exhaustion. I literally have NOTHING left in me, because for the last number of decades I have executed these erroneous core beliefs in my life and not allowed myself to rest. Even in the midst of chronic health conditions. Even in the midst of working through past trauma and all that has brought up for me. Even at the times I have reached breakdown point.

I haven’t let myself rest because I have been so afraid of being labelled as lazy, good-for-nothing, worthless, hopeless. Because I have been so afraid of the shame attached to those labels. And because I have believed the busier I am, the less chance shame has of attaching itself to me. I have always felt the need to prove that my past does not and will not define me; no matter what it takes. No matter how exhausted. To stop means defeat, and defeat has simply never been an option for me.

But I’m learning.

I am worthy, no matter what gets done, or what doesn’t get done.

The thing I find hardest in doing less, is believing that doesn’t make ME less. That just because I’m not writing or posting or publishing as much at the moment doesn’t make me irrelevant. Doesn’t mean I’m wasting space on this earth. Doesn’t make me a FAILURE because I can’t keep up with other writing peers, or be seen to be as productive as them. Learning not to compare is one of the first steps to freedom and joy; that we may run the race alongside others but know the benefit of remaining in our lane and continue looking ahead to our own goals and not anybody else’s.

The great thing about blind spots is when we see them we can no longer UN-see them. However, it’s up to us to then decide if we will look away, or choose to gaze upon that which can be questioned and challenged in our lives and implement action that will result in change, growth and liberation from the roots of capitalism entrenched in our society so we may create space for rest, peace, joy and wellness.

Much love x    

You Are Allowed To Take Up Space

You are allowed to take up space with your emotions.

You do not need to shut them down or push them down to be loved and accepted.

You are allowed to feel everything; to own your darkness, to revel in your joy, to experience the entire spectrum of your humanity – loudly, boldly, expansively.

You do not have to become small to fit within the expectations of others.

To keep them comfortable.

You are never too much.

You never need to apologise for all that you are.

You never need to believe your emotions are not valid.

You never need to become less.

You are here to feel.

You are here to take up space.

To live with freedom and wild abandon.

You are here to break down the structures that have kept you small.

You are here to expose the lies that have kept you held down.

You are here to pave the way for revolution.

No longer silenced. No longer sorry.

#todaysreminder

Eve Ate The Apple

I’ve not been around much lately; writing less, posting less, engaging less, doing less externally as I take some time to focus internally on areas of my life I feel have been both blocking me creatively and also holding me back from where I want to be in my life at this time: anxiety, fear, inadequacy, perfectionism.

I am spending more time in stillness and silence, teaching myself to be less distracted with the noise of the world and sink deeper into the parts of myself I have avoided for so long. Learning to hear my own wisdom, to trust my own knowing. Breaking down a lifetime of conditioning to find my truth; to own my power. To walk in these things unapologetically. Letting go of the need to outwardly perform; to have to post words on social media regularly to justify my existence as a writer. To prove I am worthy to occupy this space.

Like everyone, I have been shaken by the events of the year; left unsettled and dazed and uncertain of the future. Whilst I adore this community – both my fellow writers, and wonderful readers – in the wake of 2020 I am left feeling the futility of social media; all too aware of the distraction that it can be at times, the way it takes us away from ourselves and into places like comparison, inadequacy, anxiety, hindrance to our goals and ability to accomplish them. The pressure to post on social media, to engage, to be seen as actively writing, can often be a huge block for me at times such as these when I’m needing to focus more on myself, so I am mindful of this as I look toward my goals for the next while.

I’ve found writing difficult in the last few months, struggled to stay focused and undistracted, and whilst I’m still undecided on whether I’ll compete in the Australian Poetry Slam competition this year, the only goal I’ve given myself for the next while is to have new pieces written for that – if I decide to compete, great. If not, I’ll have some new pieces written anyway. So for the next couple of months I’ll be continuing to lay low and work both on myself and on new pieces; after that, I hope to be around more again, and will also actually record my newer pieces and put up on my sadly neglected YouTube channel.

For now, this snippet of words is from a poem I’m currently working on titled, Eve Ate The Apple, which has come from exploring times in my life where I have been shamed for simply being a woman.

May we be women who come to know we do not need to live as good, but free.

Much love x

I’ve Never Been One To Play It Safe

I’ve never been one to play it safe; strike your fingers across the heat of my skin and tell me you don’t like to dance too close to the flames; that the same desire flickering in my eyes is not found inside the nights that render you cold. Lend me your mind and let me unfold the ache you shroud in woollen attire, pretending the itch doesn’t exist, like you don’t long to tear away the prickled stitches and expose the rawness beneath; the thoughts you have scratched until they bleed, pleading for relief. The rush of the unknown supersedes the need for clean hands and I read the words you do not speak in the sound of every heartbeat leaping from your chest; unleashed like coins tossed into fountain. Wishes heaved to the bottom of murky water. Altars of the mortal. Portal to that which we utter to the skies with the rise and fall of each breath. You tell me you are falling for the wildness behind my eyes, so come closer to the fire. I’ve never been one to play it safe.

#confessionsofher

How To Love The Woman Who Has Been To Hell And Back

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The woman who has been to hell and back is not easy to love.
 
Many have tried. Most have failed.
 
The weak need not attempt, for it will take more strength than you even know you possess; more patience, more resilience, more tenacity, more resolve. It requires a relentless love, one that is determined and not easily defeated.
 
For the woman who has been to hell and back will push you away. She will test you in her desire to know what you are made of, whether you have what it takes to weather her storm. Because she is unpredictable—at times a hurricane, a force of nature that rides on the fury of her suffering; other times a gentle rain, calm, still and quiet.
 
When she is the gentle rain that falls in time to her silent tears, love her.
 
When she is the thunder and lightning and ferocious winds that wreak havoc, love her harder.
 
She is a contradiction, a pendulum that will forever swing between fear of suffocation and fear of abandonment, and even she will not know how to find the balance between the two. Because today, although she will never tell you, she will feel insecure. She will want you to stay close, to tuck her hair behind her ear and kiss her on her forehead and hold her in the strength of your arms. But tomorrow she will crave her independence, her space, her solitude.
 
For while you have slept, she has been awake, unable to slow her thoughts, watching clocks and chasing time, trying to make the broken pieces fit, to make sense of it all—of where and how she fits. She fights her demons and slays her dragons, afraid if she goes to sleep they will gain the upper hand, afraid if she goes to sleep she will no longer be in control. Tomorrow she will be tired, and your presence will smother her. She will need only herself.
 
When she reaches out to you, love her.
 
When she pushes you away, lover her harder.
 
New situations and places and people and experiences will make her anxious. She will be fiercely independent and long to overcome her fears, all the while as terrified as a small child alone in the big world. Sometimes she will need to be courageous, to prove to herself she has what it takes. Other times she will need you to take her hand and hold it firmly in yours. Sometimes she may not know what she needs, and you will need to read her like a book with worn pages and a tattered spine and be what she needs when she does not know herself.
 
When she is brave and steps into the world on her own, love her.
 
When she is scared, but refuses to take your hand, love her harder.
 
She will live in fear of not being enough and always being too much—an endless battle to find the middle ground. Ashamed if the scale falls one way or the other, ashamed to be herself for no one has ever loved her both when she is small and also when she is tremendous.
 
When she feels too much, love her.
 
When she feels not enough, love her harder.
 
Sometimes she won’t hurt and the light will shine from her eyes and her laughter will be a rare and precious melody. But sometimes she will hurt so much from the trauma still in her body; she will ache, she will feel pain and anguish. The light will grow dim and the music will fade.
 
When she is the light, love her.
 
When she is the darkness, love her harder.
 
She will always love you with caution, with one foot out the door. For she does not understand a love with no conditions, one that is powerful enough to withstand hard times. She cannot allow herself to fully trust in your love, and she will keep parts of her heart hidden—the parts that have been hurt the most, the parts she can’t risk being hurt again when she has worked so hard to stitch them together.
 
She will always watch, wait and expect you to leave first. And when you don’t, she has a truth written upon her heart that says you will—it’s only a matter of time, for everyone who loves her leaves her. And so she will seek to sabotage the relationship; she will seek to destroy it, she will seek to leave first, she will seek to hurt you before you can hurt her. This is how she stays in control, this is how she survives, how she will ensure she will not get hurt again.
 
When she wants to love you, love her.
 
When she wants to hurt you, love her harder.
 
Being out of control terrifies her. Don’t ever make her feel powerless, trapped or without her freedom. She needs to dance barefoot under enormous blue skies, to feel sand between her toes, to run with wolves as the wind weaves magic through her hair, for here is where her healing is found. Never clip her wings, for if she has the freedom to fly, she will always come back to you.
 
Love her when it’s easy, and love her harder when it’s not.
 
Love her in a way that will defy all she has ever known love to be.
 
Love her because you understand with every fibre of your soul the gift of her love, what it has cost her to offer you her fragile heart.
 
She does not need you. She has chosen you.
 
Because you have what it takes to survive the storm.
 
Because even when she doesn’t know how to love, you know how to love harder.
 
* * * * *
 
The Unravelled Heart, a journey of breaking to mending, surviving to loving, and the courage to rise from our darkest places, undefeated – available http://www.kathyparker.com.au/the-unravelled-heart/
 
* * * * *
 
Image: Katherine Dalton

Mothering While Podcast – Mothering While Having PTSD

This week I was honoured to be asked by the beautiful Najia Walker if I would be a guest on her podcast series, MotheringWhile, to speak on the topic of trauma, abuse, healing and mothering while living with PTSD.

There is so much unpacked in our conversation but what I love most is what Najia spoke at the end – of me being a white Australian woman, and her being a black African-American woman – and the way trauma does not discriminate. We spoke as two women, two mothers, two survivors. There is so much profound beauty and healing inside of that, and I’m thankful to have had the opportunity to meet with such a beautiful soul and share our hearts.

The link below is Spotify, but you can also find the MotheringWhile podcast on Apple Podcast, IHeartRadio, Buzzsprout and Google Podcast x

Trusting In The Process Of Healing

There are seasons of my life still hidden; memories repressed beneath layers of trauma.

I exist unaware, until a moment resurfaces – often fleeting, pried awake in the night by a memory. I grasp to hold it, to add this piece of information to the puzzle in my mind I am forever trying to make complete but it is gone as quickly as it came and I am left with only the emotions surrounding it; the fear, the panic, the isolation.

The grief. The grief. The grief. The grief.

It is always the grief that captures me the most. The split second of reliving that which I could almost now – so many years later – pretend never happened. But these moments arrive and with them I am reminded of all I try and forget. I am reminded of all that was taken from me. I am reminded of the childhood I never had. Of the suffering that was not mine to carry yet it is there still, buried in my mind; land mines I have spent my life treading around with such care until the gradual years of erosion bring them to the surface; exposed.

Healing is never a straight line. There are moments of grief; yet also moments of awakening as we are broken open with such harsh beauty. We must learn to trust the voyage. To trust our memories surface at this time for a reason. Often when we are safe and able to work through them. Often when there is something we need to make sense of. Often when we are ready to heal that moment in our lives to forge ahead and make space for new moments.

We must learn to trust the process; to lean into our uncomfortable emotions. To not avoid the pain, but no longer be afraid of it either. To allow our wounds to become scars; our bodies laced with the legacy of a warrior who not only lived, but survived.

This Is 40

Choosing me. No longer apologising. Standing in my power. Speaking my truth. Owning my worth. Taking up space. Compromising my values for no-one. Respecting myself before others. Honouring my boundaries. Not allowing anyone in my life who chooses not to. No longer giving away precious time and energy to those who have not earned these things. Keeping my circle small, and close. Walking in grace and mercy. Living in authenticity. Accepting my flawed, messy self. Refusing to turn back. Allowing those who want to leave, to do so. Having nothing to prove. Learning, always. Growing. Making mistakes. Rebelling against fear. Leaning into courage. No longer being who I think I should be. Unafraid of who I really am. Still healing. No more hiding. Taking risks. Burning expectations to the ground. Dancing in their ashes. Forgiving myself. Calling the word NO a complete sentence. Falling asleep drowning. Waking with poetry in my lungs. Finding joy. Laughing more. Breathing in grief. Breathing out hope. Becoming stronger, yet softer.

Learning to love the darkest places within this winter solstice woman; this complex, conflicted, complicated contradiction existing inside the cusp, ruled by the moon and pulled by the tides, forever drawn to the ocean, ever-changing, never still, living somewhere between victory and loss, loving the only way I know how; with reckless abandon.

This is 40. This is me

We Can’t Choose Trust But Here’s How We Can Cultivate It

Here’s the thing about trust.

We can’t just say we’re going to trust someone and expect it to happen that easily.

It doesn’t work like that.

Contrary to what we’ve been told, trust isn’t something we can just choose to do, or feel. Trust is the product of relationship. We cannot trust someone more than our relationship with them at this time allows us to. It is something that grows the more time we spend in a loving, growing relationship with someone. It is something that grows the more we come to understand and believe we are loved, and valued, and safe in relationship.

This is even more true for those of us who suffered betrayal as a child, especially from a parent or someone we sought to protect us. That kind of betrayal influences how we see the world and whether we can depend or rely on others. It often creates an unhealthy striving for autonomy and independence that can be hard to let go of; we have only known trust to be a dangerous thing and entering into relationship with the expectation that trust should be immediately present is not only unrealistic, but setting ourselves up for failure.

It isn’t so much about someone earning our trust or trying to prove they are worthy of our trust through an impossible list of expectations, but more about the gentle wooing of our hearts to trust the more we allow ourselves to become secure in the love of another. Trust is cultivated with time and patience and the willingness to accept and believe we are worthy of love. When we are able to believe we are loved without condition or agenda or strings, we are able to allow ourselves to surrender to trust within that love.

There is no such thing as trust outside relationship; you can only trust someone to the degree you know you are loved by them. We can’t just choose to trust but must enter into a slow dance where we will find the courage to step closer to another and allow ourselves to be drawn into the safety of their love; only there can our hearts be won over to the fullness of trust.

An Elegy To All The Things I Once Believed Were Love

I’ve been posting less here in the last while but have been busy behind the scenes writing new spoken word poems – many of which I’ve had the privilege to perform at online events all over the country – but thought it was time I dropped a new piece on my YouTube channel.

Here’s my latest, An Elegy To All The Things I Once Believed Were Love.

Props to Sylvia Plath for the use of her words, “Dying is an art, like everything else, I do it exceptionally well.”

Enjoy x