My Country Is A Woman (**New Spoken Word**)

“And I think of the ways my country and I are the same
how I too have been founded upon invasion
my body occupied and colonised without consent
innocence stolen, the rape of childhood
woven through my narrative; a past not forgotten
“always carried, never healed”

This poem came from the prompt, “My Country.” I wanted to weave together the trauma of our First Nations people with my own personal trauma as a way of acknowledging the way this beautiful land holds and heals us all in our collective grief. Though our stories and pain are different our tears are borne of the same ocean we are forever drawn back to.

Much love x

Courage To Fly

Precious one, you gaze with longing at forget-me-not skies while you remain grounded on the earth below, so deeply rooted in your fear.

Fear of rejection, fear of failure, fear of others. Afraid to fall, yet even more afraid to fly. You fear success as much as you fear defeat, and so you tell yourself you are content here on familiar land where it is comfortable and safe. Yet your spirit is a restless wind, a fervent ocean, like a force of nature your heart is wild, free, uncontained.

Beloved, you have been held down for so long now. The weight of all you have carried corrupted your wings until you no longer tried to fly. Worse yet, until you no longer wanted to. And even now, even as you heal, even as you are healed, you are too afraid to once again lift your wings toward skies that long to set you free.

But look at all you have become. See your strength, resilience, power, beauty, determination, fortitude. Now is your time to take flight beloved. The universe is quiet and hushed as it waits with eager anticipation to see you rise, to stand in awe of your creation, just as it did the day you were born.

Everything you need is contained within your valiant spirit. You are light to the darkest of places, salt to the corners of the earth, healing to the wounded, love to the broken-hearted.

Your faith wavers, so fragile in your chest, so unsure, so filled with doubt. Breathe, for you no longer have spirit of fear, but a spirit of power. Your heart can no longer be contained in your chest, your spirit no longer caged in your body, your wings no longer cast down by your side.

All you need now, beloved, is the courage to fly.

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The Unravelled Heart – a journey of breaking to mending, surviving to loving, and the courage to rise from our darkest places, undefeated – available https://kathyparker.com.au/the-unravelled-heart/

The Journey Of Deconstruction

Deconstruction: The act of breaking something down into its separate parts in order to understand its meaning, especially when this is different from how it was previously understood.

It’s been said the average deconstruction takes twelve years.

Twelve years, from the moment we begin to question our programming, our conditioning, our beliefs.

Twelve years, from the moment we realise the life we are living is not the truest version of ourselves.

Twelve years, from the moment the ground gives way beneath us and all we have been clinging to – our survival mechanisms, our pretences, our addictions, our perfectionism, our relationships – come crashing down and we find ourselves surrounded by only the rubble of the lives we can no longer hide behind.

Here, we experience loss. Pain. Grief. Confusion. Fear. Uncertainty.

But here is where the journey back to ourselves begins.

The reconstruction is the hardest thing we will ever do. There is so much sifting through wreckage to be done. Trying to decide what beliefs we will hold onto. What relationships. What still serves us; what has held us back. It is long, and slow, but we cannot avoid the work.

It may seem like you aren’t moving forward. That you aren’t where you want to be on this journey of becoming. That you aren’t where you think you should be. But dear heart, keep rebuilding. We are so used to instant gratification. We are so programmed for immediate results.

But maybe this is the point.

Twelve years.

“Transformation isn’t sweet and bright. It’s a dark and murky, painful pushing. An unravelling of the untruths you’ve carried in your body. A practice in facing your own created demons. A complete uprooting before becoming.” ~ Victoria Erickson

This feels hard, I know. I know you have been here for years restoring all that you have lost. Healing upon healing upon healing. I know the work is hard, and unyielding. I know you long to arrive. I promise you will arrive. But for now, you are exactly where you need to be.

Keep going, dear heart. The arrival will be glorious.

But in the meantime, oh, the journey.

Oh, the journey.

Mental Health Week 10-17th October 2020

As we approach Mental Health Week (10-17 October) I have been working on some spoken word pieces to perform for a local community open mic event this weekend which aims to break the silence of mental health.

I have always been inclined to struggle through mental health issues on my own; less from shame and more from existing within an avoidant-attachment style where my upbringing led to not feeling important, loved or worthy enough to share my struggles or needs, knowing they would be ignored or dismissed anyway.

This has resulted in being an adult who is often too self-reliant – to the point I have a great need for independence and freedom and become fearful and resentful of people/places/situations which threaten this safe, autonomous existence I have built for myself.

But the thing with keeping people out is it becomes hard to let them in, even when you need them. Especially when you need them. And living with depression/anxiety/PTSD is a lonely enough world anyway without always trying to do it on your own.

These days I am working harder to seek help when I need it, to talk about my struggles, and to share them publicly that others may feel less alone, but also to know I am not alone in this either.

This is a small part of a poem written about depression; how insidiously it creeps into our lives, so underhanded yet with devastating effects on us and those who try to love us through our dark days. Thankfully those days have become so much less for me, but I’ve written this poem as a reflection upon some of my most desolate moments, and I know many of you will relate.

I’ll record and post the entire poem when I can grab some moments (like, when we’re not having the coldest and wettest Oct school holidays EVER with everyone under my feet 🙄), but until then I hope to see some local people at the Lions Park in Kingston this Saturday 10th Oct, 3pm-8.30pm to support this wonderful event.

The Art Of Self-Betrayal

Self-betrayal is found the moment we lose connection with the truest version of ourselves.

When we live according to how others would like us to live in order to keep peace.
When we sacrifice our own needs to maintain relationship with others.
When we do not voice our opinions for fear of rejection.
When we remain in unhealthy relationships to avoid feelings of abandonment.
When we do not live aligned with our true selves because we fear the opinions of others.
When we do not honour our boundaries.
When we stay in situations that cause us to abandon ourselves.
When we remain trapped in our addictions, our busyness, our perfectionism.
When we play small to avoid criticism from others.

I have lived much of my life in betrayal of self. Knowing deep in my core how I am living is not aligned with who I really am, what I stand for, and who I want to be. Because of this, I have lived much of my life disconnected, unsettled, unclear in my boundaries, fragmented, lonely and without peace.

When we live a life of dismissiveness towards our own wants and needs and desires we abandon ourselves; we sacrifice and compromise who we are and allow others to determine the trajectory of our lives. We lose touch with our own inner voice, our intuition, our authenticity. Instead we become indecisive, unsure, lose self-confidence and self-worth, become resentful, and often wake one day and find ourselves in an existential crisis – not even knowing anymore who we are or what we want for our lives.

Much of our self-betrayal stems from feeling inadequate and unworthy. We hide our true selves and seek to please others because we fear criticism, rejection, abandonment. We fear not being loved and accepted for who we really are; that our true selves aren’t ENOUGH as we are. So we become the people we think we need to be. But every small choice we make that does not align with our true selves is another drop in the river that slowly erodes the outline of the person we were created to be until there is nothing left of that person. Until we are found completely abandoned, lost and homesick for who we really are.

Healing of self-betrayal happens when we find a way to come home to ourselves; to change the relationship we have with ourselves where self-betrayal is exchanged for self-compassion. We must believe we are adequate. We must believe we are worthy. We must learn to honour the truest versions of ourselves, and live fearlessly within that. We must forgive ourselves for the ways we have rejected, abandoned and betrayed our own hearts. We must choose kindness and love for ourselves. We must come to know our worth, draw our boundaries, not fear the sound of our voices and live connected to ourselves – authentic, complete, true, honest, real.

We must live a life where we no longer abandon ourselves for the acceptance of others but live in the truth of who we are.

Unbroken. Unafraid. Unapologetic.

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.
 
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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/
 
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Image: Katherine Dalton