It’s Okay To Change Our Mind

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It’s okay to change our mind.

It’s okay to decide the direction we thought we were going is no longer the right way for us anymore.

To stop and ask ourselves:

Is this really what I want? Does this bring joy, and purpose, and meaning to my life? Does this continue to serve me? Am I doing this because I still want to or because I feel like I have to?

Accepting we are no longer happy with a particular aspect of our life can be difficult. It can feel like failure. Like, maybe if we just try harder. Put in more effort. Do this differently, or that better, or whatever. But if what we’re doing continues to make us unhappy, it’s time to ask ourselves why we’re still holding onto it, and if the outcome is worth it.

We are never more out of alignment with ourselves than when we choose to not live in our truth. When we try and make something work for us that just, isn’t. For fear of failure. For fear of losing status. For fear of losing identity. For fear of the uncomfortable. For fear of the unknown.

It’s okay to change our mind. When we are burned out and frustrated and unhappy and find no joy and struggle to face another day. When we feel stagnant and defeated and like we’re going around in circles. We need not ask permission. We need not explain, or apologise, or justify our choices to anyone.

It isn’t defeat. It isn’t failure. It’s a surrendering to that which we are already called to. We were never meant to stay the same; change is growth and transformation and how we become the person we were created to be.

When we resist change and stand outside of our own truth, it will always lead to suffering. Changing our mind and choosing a new direction will often be unsettling and terrifying. But sometimes we have to feel the fear and do it anyway, remembering one of the most rebellious things we will ever do is choose to not just exist, but live.

~ K x

The Three Words Our Children Need To Hear Most (Hint: It’s Not ‘I Love You’)

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There was a time not long ago when my thirteen year-old HSP (Highly Sensitive Person) daughter was feeling particularly sensitive to anything on television that unsettled her in the slightest – the news, high-action movies, television dramas with any kind of depiction of violence or trauma.

With two older brothers in the house — both partial to action-packed thrillers of any kind — it became increasingly difficult to find something suitable for everyone to watch. The traditional Friday movie night would see us spending hours scrolling through Netflix, arguing back and forth over what to watch until eventually my daughter insisted she was happy to just read a book in her bedroom so others could watch what they wanted.

There were a few times this happened; each time I would go to her room and tell her she didn’t need to read in her bedroom alone and we would find something everyone could watch together. She continued to insist she was fine with this arrangement. But I knew her better than that — this tender-hearted peacemaker daughter of mine who often sacrificed her own desires for that of others; so much like her mother.

I knew what she really wanted was to be with the rest of the family; to know she was important enough to have her needs considered. To know she was wanted enough for others to make sacrifices and compromises that would allow her to be included, even if they didn’t necessarily understand how her sensitivity made it difficult for her to watch movies they saw no issue with.

I knew this, because this had once been me — except, I’d had no one to advocate for my needs, and had instead grown up with a sense of isolation and exclusion from the rest of my family; left feeling unvalued and unseen. And it wasn’t until I said this to her one night as she read alone in her room: “It’s okay, I see you,” that her pretence of fine collapsed and she was able to tearfully admit that which I already knew.

I realised that day the importance of those three words. I see you. That to be seen is something we all crave; perhaps even more than to be loved. To be understood. For our true selves to be known by those who love us. That when we exist inside this place of being fully seen, here we find our safety; our greatest place of acceptance and belonging.

I recently read The Good People by Hannah Kent, and was reminded again of this with these words, “How frightened we are of being known, and yet how desperately we long for it.” There is something transformative in being seen — both in our weaknesses and strengths, our struggles and triumphs. To be seen in the whole person; the entirety of our flawed yet perfect humanity.

As parents, we tend to focus on the I love you; to remind our children of this as often as we can, which is, of course, vital and necessary to their lives and development. However, being loved and seen aren’t necessarily synonymous and while our children may know they are loved by us, if they don’t have a sense of also being seen, they may never feel completely understood, accepted and safe to flourish into their truest selves.

This is especially important for this generation of children whose identities are being developed inside such an virtual world — where they may have hundreds of friends online and yet still have a fundamental sense of loneliness and isolation in feeling as though they aren’t seen or understood by those around them.

We know this of ourselves; the innate need for human embrace; to be heard, to be accepted as we are, to be understood, to feel we are worthy enough to have someone show interest in our lives; more so, in who we are. There is a connection felt in those moments our own hearts crave — how much more the hearts of our children as they seek to find their identity and sense of worth in this hectic world.

As school holidays come to a close, I find myself journeying through the usual emotions – relief to once again return to some semblance of routine and work, coupled with guilt that I did not do enough with my children over summer — that I did not give them enough experiences and memories, that I had all this time with them, yet unsure whether anything valuable was gained from that, or not.

However, I don’t believe the measure for being a good parent is found in how many hours we spend with our children, but more in the ways we show up for them in the time we do have with them. We aren’t always going to get it right or be the perfect parent; we too have our own shortcomings and limitations. Likewise, we aren’t always going to have the amount time with them we often desire; life all too easily gets in the way.

But showing up and being aware, present and engaged is where it matters. Taking the time to see – really see – our children, knowing if we cannot fully see another person, we can never fully love them; only ever our own version of who we believe them to be. And in doing so, fail to give our children what they so desperately need from us the most.

Article originally published at 10 Daily   as The Three Most Important Words To Tell Your Kids (And They’re Not ‘I Love You’)

Let Them Throw Stones

Then there are the ones that like to hold you to the mistakes of your past.

Who will try and drag you back through your own shame and make you believe you don’t deserve the dream you have fought so hard to achieve.

Their words will be calculated – targeted missiles they will aim at the places they know will be the weakest; the places they know have been wounded before.

This is what they will tell you:

That the person you once were is who you will always be.

That the person you were at your worst is the most you will ever amount to.

That you will never be anything more than the mistakes you once made.

That you are worthless, hopeless, useless.

Don’t listen to them.

Because here’s the thing:

Nobody has the right to judge you.

Nobody has the right to hold you prisoner to your mistakes when they don’t know a damn thing about the choices you had to choose from and how hard you fought just to survive.

Nobody has the right to shame you for your humanity.

To deny you the right to be human.

To deny you the grace of the human condition that sees us all fuck up at times and learn from that and do better.

Nobody has the right to take away your redemption.

To take every drop of blood poured for your healing, your growth, your change, your becoming, and make it worth nothing.

We are not held captive to our yesterday’s, to the person we once were when we knew no better.

We are not bound by our mistakes, to the ways we hurt others when our hearts were hurting so much inside our broken chests.

We are not defined by our rock bottom, when nobody knows what it has taken us to claw our way out to become the person we are today.

We are not our past.

We are not our shame.

Nobody has the right to judge the heart they do not see.

Your heart is beautiful; made new with each day you have woken and determined to do better.

You are worthy. You are deserving. You are everything they will never be.

Forgiveness, grace, second chances:

These are the things we offer other humans when we understand the frailty of our own humanity.

When we understand that mercy always triumphs over judgement, and that is how we bring healing and offer love.

There will always be those who throw stones.

Let them.

For their feet will forever be bound by the shore, destined to watch as you, my darling, become the ocean.

Art Matters.

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It’s hard to write today.

It’s hard to not feel like my work is pointless. That anything I write at this time is futile. That I have nothing significant or relevant to add to the already overcrowded media sphere.

I am struggling to find meaning in what I write; instead I sit here finding ways to both avoid and appease my inadequacy.

Not wanting to read headlines yet not being able to look away.

With all that is transpiring in the world I feel heavy and burdened; and anxious. It is hard to focus, to find creativity and any kind of joy or satisfaction in my work.

It’s hard to believe it matters.

But it does.

And I think this is what we need to remember in the midst of such volatile and unsettling times. The best art comes from authentic truth-telling. People who can create from the depths of turmoil; who can both preserve the moment and make us see the beauty that still exists within in.

More than ever during these hard times, creatives need to create. We need to bear witness to the human spirit which radiates through these seemingly impossible times. It’s often difficult; we are the empaths who carry the suffering of the world too close to our hearts. We find it hard to confront such suffering; to not be affected to such a degree we can no longer function ourselves.

But if we can find a way to hold these moments; to feel them, to carry them, to create beauty from destruction, then we leave not just a memory, but a legacy that generations who follow will hold even closer.

It matters.

The Audacity of Authenticity

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Let’s talk about authenticity.

So much of what I write is to challenge, and empower, and push against the system of both religion and patriarchy which women have been forced to live under; to speak words that those who have upheld this system may find uncomfortable, or unacceptable.

I don’t believe there’s any need to shock, or be shocking. But I do believe in the importance of challenging perceptions which have led to repression and injustice. If my words offend people, I couldn’t care less. I’m not here to play small to enable those around me to feel more at ease with their narrow-minded thinking.

But here’s the thing when we push against the system. Sometimes, it pushes back: Can you believe what she wrote? Did you see what she posted? What gives her the right to think she can say those things? What will her family think?

How dare she be so honest, raw, real, unapologetic?

HOW DARE SHE NOT CONFORM.

This is essentially what authenticity is. The act of not conforming. Refusing to forfeit your personal power for the approval of others. Brené Brown says this on authenticity: that it’s not so much the act of authenticity that challenges the status quo, but the audacity of authenticity.

Authenticity is threatening to those who live in conformity. Who live in fear of what others will think of them. It’s far easier to gossip about those who live in authenticity than to risk being the one who is gossiped about. It’s far easier to slander those who challenge our insecurities than dare to question why it makes us feel uncomfortable. People will rarely tolerate the freedom in others they choose to deny for themselves.

But to live authentically is to live in freedom. To live our truth, to speak our truth, free from the fear of what others will think, or say about us. It requires us to be vulnerable, courageous and resilient. It requires us to step beyond our comfort zone and no longer play it safe. But it’s only here, when we live in this freedom, will we be unafraid to challenge and dismantle the systems of conformity and repression that have controlled us for long enough, and empower others to do the same.

No. Means. Motherfucking. No.

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Here’s the thing.

No. Means. Motherfucking. No.

When someone claims to love you, but continues to violate your boundaries, they do not love you.

When someone says you are safe with them, but continues to violate your boundaries, you are not safe with them.

When someone tells you they would never seek to control or manipulate you, but continues to violate your boundaries, they are seeking to control and manipulate you.

It doesn’t matter whether it’s family, a friend or a lover. If you have drawn a line around yourself and someone continues to disregard that line to gratify their own needs, that person does not belong in your life.

It doesn’t matter how nice that person may seem. Or how well-intentioned they say they are. Or how much they tell you they love you. There is no excuse or justification for intentionally and wilfully disrespecting the boundaries another person has put in place to feel safe. Even if they don’t understand. Even if they don’t agree.

Too often, abuse survivors who have had their boundaries violated from a young age struggle to put necessary, appropriate and healthy boundaries in place as adults. We grow up feeling powerless, voiceless, and not worthy of being protected. We also grow up as chronic people-pleasers, seeking the affirmation and validation we lacked as a child, making it easy to disregard our own needs for the needs of others in order to be accepted.

We believe being NICE and KIND means people will love us. We believe being NICE and KIND means having to be okay with people violating our boundaries. We believe being NICE and KIND means having to tolerate people in our life who are toxic. We believe being NICE and KIND means never being able to say no, or speak up about how we feel, or have our needs met.

It doesn’t.

We can be NICE and KIND and still be worthy to be seen and heard, and still be worthy of respect, and still be worthy of standing up for ourselves, and still be worthy of saying no, and still be worthy of putting boundaries in place, and still be worthy of having those boundaries honoured.

And when we’re done being NICE and KIND and people in our lives still refuse to accept or respect the boundaries we’ve put in place, we can in turn be NICE and KIND to ourselves by telling those people to fuck off, and doing what we need to ensure they are no longer part of our lives.

We are never responsible for the reactions of those who have chosen not to respect us.

We never need to apologise for choosing to love, honour, respect and put ourselves first.

We never need to believe we aren’t worthy to determine how we deserve to be treated, and demand nothing less from those around us.

“No is a necessary magic. No draws a circle around you with chalk and says, I have given enough” – Boundaries

There Is Nothing Easy About Breaking Generational Cycles

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There is nothing easy about breaking generational cycles. The responsibility of change carried in your often-weary arms. The battle to not only heal your own wounds, but also to not inflict those same wounds upon others. The overcoming of all that has come before you, the defeating of all that still tries to find its way back in.

It is heavy work. Back-breaking work. Thankless work. Exhausting work. It is scraped knees and blistered hands. Faces marred with sweat and tears. It is lost sleep and unheard prayers and always wondering if it is enough. If WE are enough. To do this. To be this catalyst for change.

But, dear woman, see? See the work you have already done. See the dirt under your fingernails; the way your hands have worked callous earth that fresh seeds could be planted; these fields now swollen with new birth, the promise of abundant harvest whispered to you beneath the warmth of this early summer sun.

See all you have already accomplished with the empty hands you were given. See how much stronger you are for the hard work; the straightness of your spine, the way your chin does not yield. How sure and tall you stand upon this land once covered in weeds.

You have been given the work because it is you who has what it takes to complete it. It is you who has the fire of determination in your stomach, the strength in your bones, the persistence and will to keep going pulsing inside every fibre of your being.

It is you who forged your way through unholy ground where others have feared to tread. It is you who remains unflinching and courageous; the heart of a lion and the spirit of a warrior burning inside you. It is you; headstrong and uncompromising, who will not rest until the work is finished.

I know these days of planting have been long, and hard. But see the way the light has shifted; the way the shadows have become less, days stretching out beneath beams of warmth and hope.

Dear woman, I know there is nothing easy about breaking generational cycles.

But see?

The harvest is near. The harvest is near.

First, The Breaking. Then The Becoming.

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“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 demons. A complete uprooting, before becoming.” ~ Victoria Erickson

Here’s the thing about breaking.

You never heal the same.

You can never go back to the person you used to be, nor fit in the spaces you once thought you belonged. There will always be resistance. A defiance in your spirit. A sense of being out of place. A pulling back to your true north.

The breaking can be a lonely time; the healing, even more so. Islands of isolation and seclusion during times you feel too vulnerable to face the world. Feeling lost and homesick; no longer the person you once were, yet not knowing which road will lead you to the person you’re still becoming.

But this I have come to know:

I would rather the loneliness than living a life I no longer align with. I would rather move forward on my own than force myself to fit into places that have become too small for me. I would rather exist as an island living true to my authentic self than compromise who I am becoming just so another can hold me in the spaces they desire me to stay inside of.

The path back to ourselves is not an easy one. It is an unlearning of the people we have been taught to be. A falling away of the lives we have sought to live. It is a letting go. A surrender. A grieving. It is the breaking apart of all we once thought to be true, and real.

But with the breaking comes the healing; eventually the transformation.

And then, the becoming.

Dear Mother Who is Struggling

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Dear Mother Who is Struggling,

I know you haven’t been yourself lately.

I see it in the way your eyes no longer carry the light the way they used to, their colour faded. Your frown lines have deepened, outnumbering the lines of laughter that once etched the sides of your face, back when your joyful smile would reach that far, back when your shoulders were straight and the weight of your tiredness didn’t pull you down.

You love your babies, I know you do.

But this is hard. And you are tired. So damn tired.

And maybe this is what adds to the tiredness; the guilt that you shouldn’t feel this way. You wonder if you’re the only mother out there who feels so isolated, so alone, so exhausted. Or do they all have these villages you hear of – support networks of family and friends who share the burden of raising a family, while you wake up each morning and wonder how you will get through another day on your own?

There was a world you used to belong to, and you grieve it. It’s there in front of you, every day, on social media – there, in the radiant faces of other women as they go about their lives, their holidays, gym classes, dates, promotions. You wonder how, in a world so connected, you are left feeling so goddamn disconnected from it all.

Surrounded by little people, noise, clutter, you find yourself lonelier than ever. But it’s not a loneliness from being alone. It’s a loneliness that comes from being so far from yourself, so far from who you once were. You don’t even know who that is anymore. You feel as though you’ve traded your whole identity to be a mother. Sacrificed your entire life to care for those around you. This is all you know now. This is all your life has become.

You miss the woman you once were, and the life you once had.

You long for independence, spontaneity, to be carefree. For road trips and dinner dates and live music and nights out in the city. For beach days and lazy Sundays in bed and to read a book, uninterrupted. Drained, you yearn for the things that bring nurture to your tired body and soul as you force yourself through another day on the remnants of what you have left to give.

I know this is hard. But take heart, dear one.

It won’t always be this way. It won’t always be so hard. Days will get easier. There will be more moments to be still, to breathe, more moments to laugh again. There will be more moments where you can reach inside and find the misplaced pieces of the woman you used to be, and the days will begin to feel less lonely as you journey back to your own heart.

I know you think the way you struggle makes you a failure. That because of this, you fall short and aren’t enough. Don’t believe these lies. Be gentle on your heart, for every day you face the hardest job, alone, and you make it through. No matter how impossible it seems, you don’t give up. You show up, and continue to do the best with what you have.

And some days that may not seem like enough. But every day, you continue to love. And that will always be more than enough. I know this is hard. But for now, this is all you need to know.

This too shall pass.

And when you close your eyes tonight, write those words on the back of your eyelids, and let them fall away toward your heart and kiss it with the hope that will get you through your tomorrows.

You may not feel it today, but I promise you, my love – you’ve got this.

Let Them Throw Stones

Nobody has the right to judge you.

Nobody has the right to hold you prisoner to your mistakes when they don’t know a damn thing about the choices you had to choose from and how hard you fought just to survive.

Nobody has the right to shame you for your humanity. To deny you the right to be human. To deny you the grace of the human condition that sees us all fuck up at times and learn from that and do better.

Nobody has the right to take away your redemption. To take every damn drop of blood poured for your healing, your growth, your change, your becoming, and make it worth nothing.

We are not held captive to our yesterdays, to the person we once were when we knew no better. We are not bound by our mistakes, to the ways we hurt others when our hearts were hurting so damn much inside our fragile chests. We are not defined by our rock bottom, when nobody knows what it has taken us to claw our way out to become the person we are today.

We are not our past.

We are not our shame.

Nobody has the right to judge the heart they do not know.

Your heart is beautiful; made new with each day you have woken and determined to do better. You are worthy. You are deserving. You are everything they will never be.

Forgiveness, grace, second chances: these are the things we offer other humans when we understand the frailty of our own humanity. When we understand that mercy always triumphs over judgement. This is how we offer love.

There will always be those who throw stones.

Let them.

For their feet will forever be bound by the shore, destined to watch as you, my darling, become the ocean.