My peaceful place, the beautiful Mt Nebo, QLD
I didn't want to leave Queensland. It's my happy place; my healing place.
I hadn't been there long enough to feel confident leaving yet.
I was moving through all this needless crap and shedding skin, growing peace in my heart and emanating happy vibes.
That's what I do in my healing place, surrounded by my beautiful and wise and funny cousins, and their amazing kids; I find peace in their madness
But the doctors down here in Cowra wanted to check up on me, and I am always excited about hearing the Wolf Cub's heart beat.
So I succumbed to mum's marching orders and spent my final night on the mountain reflecting on how amazing my transformation has been thus far. I fiddled around with the old camera phone, taking snaps of my Aunty's amazing organic mountain garden and experimenting (albeit unsuccessfully) with the glowing light of the warm open fire.
There is no television in my Aunty's living room. Some people apparently find that strange, or hard to understand. For me, it's a relief. I much prefer sitting in a big warm family room without the demand for submissive attention to a screen and the constant waves of invasive advertising distracting me from peace and reflection.
Of course, it's a lot nicer to sit in the quiet when you're high up on the mountain surrounded by green life and bird sounds and the night sky is a vast canopy of bright stars. I didn't feel like I was missing out on anything.
The next morning we said our farewells, teary for some, but just plain defiant for me, forever staunch in the idea that nothing is permanent and that Queensland is bound to fall under my feet again.
As we made our slow descent down Mt Glorious, I received a text message from my Dad in Tasmania, telling me that my dear Grandma had passed away from pneumonia or heart failure...
It was not surprising, she had been sick with Parkinson's disease for years - ever since I could remember. But regardless of that, it was still sad to know that she had left us, before my little Wolf Cub had even ventured into the world.
I welled up a little and looked out at the view; valleys of beautiful Queensland forest, bell-birds chirping, creeks...just peaceful. A suitable place to reflect on a wonderful woman who spent the most part of her able-bodied life exploring the mountains of New Zealand, hiking and tramping through the wilderness for days, even weeks at a time, taking thousands of photos of whatever she saw in nature that so inspired her. What an awesome woman she was!!
We stopped to refresh, and reassert ourselves from the depressed lull we were falling into. Death does not have to be so sad, it's a beautiful and natural part of life, and its usually better to celebrate a life than mourn a death.
While we have it, life is a spectacular thing. Nothing is eternal
Sunset at Moree, NSW
Photo courtesy of National Geographic
Free from all the shit. Free to be myself.
Free to do what I want, to say what I want, to speak when I want.
I'm free to love, free to give, free to have.
I'm free to feel.
I'm free to go and I'm free to stay.
I am free to live!
I am free to be every inch of who I am and never let an opportunity pass me by.
I am free to learn and I am free to teach.
I am free to do my very best with what I have.
I am free to be wild and beautiful, to let the path unravel beneath my feet.
I am free to experience the magic of life and to roam to wherever it is I am supposed to be.
We are all free when we open our hearts to it.
Life is beautiful.
Sorry, no pictures on this one - learning to drive and pulling over constantly to take photos of roads and trees and all the awesome scenery along the way just didn't float my boat.
Maybe for the trip home, I'll teach mum how to use my camera phone...photography skills in exchange for driving skills sounds like an awesome exchange to me!
I jumped in the driver’s seat just outside Moree. The night before had been another one of my emotional roller-coasters, induced by the emotional exhaustion I was feeling from finally escaping the overwhelming changes I’ve been going through in the last 3 months.
Mum and I stuck the L plates to the car, jamming one under the rear number plate and squashing it into the bumper groove tightly enough so that it wouldn't fly off at some point on the highway, and piss off the cars behind me because they have no idea why I’m only doing 80kms on straight flat roads that clearly state 110kmph.
I indicated and took to the road, immediately empowered by my confidence. The absence of fear and second-guessing was obvious. So obvious, I couldn’t wipe the self-satisfied smirk off my face for hours.
It wasn’t smugness though, like the kind of satisfaction I used to feel when I achieved something I had constantly told myself was impossible - getting a hole-in-two on my first ever game of mini golf for instance.
What I was experiencing was what I like to call a mild sense of Zen. I felt nothing other than calm excitement about this new achievement, knowing that I was capable without having to convince myself and knowing that I was safe, that what was happening was significant but inevitable.
I drove north over the NSW border into Queensland, not shaken by the abysmal road manners I received from a truck driver right up my ass, or from the sudden buckets of rain trying to wash us out as we drove through Toowoomba in peak hour traffic, unsure of where the hell I was going.
I didn’t freak out when I nearly got run off the road at Lake Clarendon, when we lost our spot on the map around Coominya, or when the fog thickened and I had to slow down to 30km an hour to take the impossibly sharp corners of a slimy wet road on Mt Glorious.
With the Wolf Cub cheering me on the whole way from the womb - an elbow nudge here, a knee adjustment there - I knew I was going somewhere awesome, in that car AND in this life. Fuck, I thought, I forgot that life was this good!
So many times I felt the moments that would usually have me spiralling into negative reinforcement, just slip by. I kept on driving, loving the journey, not caring if it never ended (which of course, it never does).
The landscape rambled on; flat plains stretching as far as the eye could see and cotton fields I never knew existed. I ceased the opportunity to get behind the wheel, and while I was there I discovered an entirely new dimension to road tripping.
I saw the world around me with a renewed sense of direction and I felt the affirmation ring true to my soul:
I am no longer a passenger in life. I am in control: I take myself wherever it is I need to go, whenever I need to go there. The possibilities are endless; the opportunities are everywhere. Not a single day can pass me by without something being gained, something being discovered or something being learnt.
Life is just too incredible for words right now.
Near Coonabarabran NSW
I once had the brilliant epiphany so common among the restless: travel the country, wild and free.
I dreamed of nomadic adventures, a life free of itineraries and time restraints; of picking fruit and living with travelers; of going where convenience and the calls of my heart led me.
That was over a year ago, before I got side tracked with falling in love, getting absorbed in someone else’s life, making some chaotic decisions, throwing all my dreams to the side, and finally taking the time to heal from a broken heart.
Today, I hear so many people tell me that I have to give up on those dreams now; that you can’t travel when you have a baby, it’s just not practical – or is it just not conventional?
They tell me that babies, children, they need stability, an environment grounded in routine. Who am I to argue? I have no defensive argument, no experience with parenthood.
There’s still an estimated 12 weeks until this kid really changes everything, so until then, I guess I can trek on as per the usual, aside from the fact that I'm hopelessly tired most of the time, and I can't celebrate a day's worth of travel by getting drunk.
Near Narrabri NSW
I don’t plan to give up on my dreams just because I’m becoming a mum.
I plan to travel the hell out of the world before the Wolf Cub is ready for school. My feet are too itchy to give up on my travel dreams.
I’ve seen a fair whack of Australia already. I did manage to get from A to B last year, and I visited some beautiful places.
But those experiences are tainted by false memories and unhealthy lifestyle choices that are achingly hard to relive.
So I’ve decided to start again.
I've recently become a blank canvas, and my world is a world of reclaiming my independence and redefining my identity. Whether it be with a pregnant belly or a bundle of baby fun, I’m still committed to my dreams, and that includes a lot of traveling!
Objects in mirror...
After my hospital appointment this beautiful Thursday morning, I got in the car with my dear mum.
We began our two day journey from Cowra, NSW, where she lives (and incidentally where I’ve hung my hat until the Wolf Cub is a few months old) to Mt Nebo, QLD, with an evening stopover in Moree, NSW.
There were 3 generations of our family’s women in the car: my mum in the driver’s seat, me in the passenger seat, and baby in utero.
The sun was beating down on us, and I embraced the warmth, letting myself forget that tomorrow is the first day of winter. The landscape evolved; rolling hills became endless flats, wheat farms became cotton farms, and the black ribbon, with its' white trimmings beckoned us forward, while the enormous Jellybean inside me wriggled and rolled to the sound of The Rolling Stones and Jimi Hendrix.
I forgot how much I loved the tiring journeys, the endless days of driving through changing countryside, of contemplating history and life. And I realised: I could never give it up, its in my blood.
P.S: An explanation for the below average pics - I took them with my phone...at 110kmph.
I've been waiting for a sign to tell me that I'm out of the woods. Some watershed moment or crystallising awakening of happiness that wrenches me from the clasps of unhappiness and catapults me into awesomeness, so that I somehow forget all the things that have been weighing down my heart.
This is my first blog post, and I've been procrastinating over it. I knew it would be personal, I knew it would be honest, but I didn't know how to write it, and I didn't really want to.
Then last night, after an uneventful phone call to my dad, I found myself alone. Friday night, pregnant, single, lonely and sad. I started to cry. At first, it was just a few tears, but they soon graduated into a huge outburst of grief, and it lasted until I ran out of energy. I nestled down on my friends' couch with her cat, and drifted to sleep, still broken but somewhat relieved of the fear of constantly reliving my memories.
Depression is so unbelievably common in our society, that I can't believe how isolating it is; how lonely it is to be trapped in that dark place, surrounded by people feeling the same way, yet somehow painfully removed from them and the rest of the 'normal' people altogether.
After three months of grieving and negotiating with my broken heart for a man who could never return the love I had for him, I still wait for the morning when I wake up and accept that I'm pregnant and anticipating the best thing in my life, while the person I thought I'd be sharing that with is now sharing his life with someone else 5000kms away.
I stand strong in my positive thoughts that a new day will bring with it a new appreciation of a new life; that all my affirmations and creative distractions are dissolving the sadness and rejection and disappointment that has plagued my heart. Most of the time, while it's challenging, it's relatively easy to uphold that hope. At other times, it creeps up on me with a sack brimming with memories, a lot of desperate sobbing and an endless pile of soggy tissues.
And then I feel a little kick from within.
A nudge from my little jellybean ^_^
It's as though she's reminding me that now there are two of us; of how far we've come together, that a few months ago six out of seven days were blitzed by memories, sobbing and soggy tissues. Back then, I could hardly pull myself up off the floor or think a thought that wasn't ex-related. I didn't believe there could possibly be happiness and fulfillment ahead of me, and that my future offered little more than a lifetime of discontent.
As of today, I am officially in my third trimester. There are only 90 days until my due date. Morning and night I can lie down and watch my belly wriggle. I can dream about the first time I see her eyes, or the first time I hear her laugh. I have a little collection of tiny clothes that I fold, unfold and fold again, imagine her little body filling the grow-suits. I have a rainbow collection of cloth nappies under my bed, and the ingredients for my mum's tried and tested home recipe for nappy soak.
There are some shitty parts to this equation, granted. But all that is pretty meaningless when I consider the realities. If I've come this far in three months, how far can I go in another three months? Six months? A year?
My future is so unknown and unpredictable, and that's just the way I like it. I have a lifetime of creating, traveling, learning, teaching, writing and music ahead of me, and I get to share it all with my baby girl.
Even though it's too late for 'what ifs', they still linger, and they will for a while. There will still be times when the soggy tissues pile up uncontrollably and I wake up feeling sad and at a loss. But accepting that reality, well, the sooner the better. Those days will only decrease in frequency; I can only go further forward. There's no room for me to go backwards.
I'm on an adventure. Life is awesome.