Category Archives: Fear

Who’s that girl? No idea, I’ve never met her.

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Have you ever thought about what super power you would have?

Well when I was at school my friends used to call me ‘The Invisible Girl’. It was a funny little joke about how teachers would regularly overlook me or miss when I answered a question. Many times in my life I have had the unwanted super power of invisibility.

Growing up in church you meet a lot of different people. There have been a lot of times when I would met someone and we would have ourselves a lovely conversation. Then the very next week they would ask if it was my first time there.

The Invisible Girl strikes again!

Until the last year or so being invisible felt like part of who I was, I often felt forgotten or un-noticed. That I was only known and remembered for the people I was around – the “oh your so-and-so’s friend” was a regular comment for me. I am not the loudest or most boisterous of people so tend to get lost in the crowd. I’m definitely more of a small group kind of gal!

Feeling invisible or being overlooked can really hurt. You feel less important than those who are louder than you. You feel like your input doesn’t matter. You feel like your personality isn’t as fun and outgoing as those who are the life of the party.

But I have come to realise that God sees me. I’m not The Invisible Girl to him. He notices and values me. Always. When I am sitting on my own at church. When I am studying. When I am having a bad day. When I am driving or cooking or crying. He sees it all!

And no matter what my personality is or where I am or what I am doing, He knows and understands what is going on for me. He doesn’t want me to change. He loves that I am awkward and a little shy, He loves that you have no fear and can talk to anyone and everyone or that you can sing to a bunch of people or that you would prefer to be at home with family.

So be an introvert, be an extravert, be shy, be loud, be creative, be logical, be strong, be kind, be thoughtful, BE YOURSELF.

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What was old is new again.

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Does anyone else love Op shopping? I love the searching. I love the bargains. I love giving something a new home. I do always wonder what purpose it served before it ended up at Vinnies though…

Did it sit in someone’s cupboard gathering dust? Did it have pride of place in someone’s pool room? Was it passed down through generations of a family? Was it made in another country? Did it survive a house fire? Was it just being a paperweight? What was its purpose?

Over the last 10 months or so I have often wondered what my purpose was. What am I supposed to do with my life? What is my next step? Where should I work? Who should I be? Am I a teacher? Should I study? Am I just the unemployed pyjama wearing Jess that has popped up so regularly (I do love my pjs but there is definitely more to me than that!)?

Recently I started working in a new job, a job in a cafe. I haven’t worked in hospitality since I was a uni and it was a really hard decision to start looking for work there. I ummed and ahhed about it for several months because I felt like I was talking a step backwards in my life. I felt like I would be a beautiful handmade statue being a doorstop, serving little purpose.

It was hard for me to put childcare behind me (at least for now) and go back in an industry I didn’t have the same passion for. But this job has turned out to be exactly what I need at the moment – giving me a new purpose. Just like turning an old fence into a brand new picture frame or a table getting a new lick of paint and looking snazzy again.

I always saw hospitality as a means to an end, it was the job I had to get me through uni the first time. I guess it still serves that purpose for me as I am currently studying again but it means more to me this time. It has brought stability back into my life after a long time of feeling like I was drowning. Stability in my finances, in my routine, in my happiness. I am feeling less anxious, I am feeling less overwhelmed and I’m excited to go to work again (which is nice after well over a year of not!).

So for any other How I Met Your Mother fans, it’s not like Barney says…new is not always better!

Scars and all.

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Personally, I am a fan of the Facebook ‘On This Day’ feature. Looking through each days’ memories is normally one of the first things I do in the morning, I really enjoy being reminded of things that happened 2 or 3 or even 9 years ago (side note: I cannot believe I have had Facebook for 9 years!). I just love the nostalgia of seeing a photo of something fun I did with a friend or reading a conversation that has zero context and makes no sense to me years on or re-reading the cringe worthy updates from back then.

The past is important, I’ve said it before – we shouldn’t forget it. A couple of days ago I had a memory pop up on Facebook about attending my graduation ceremony 3 years ago! I remember feeling so accomplished and so excited to be starting (actually having already started) work in a job I had dreamed about.

On that day 3 years ago I didn’t know the skills I would learn, the friends I would make, the hurts I would have or the scars I would gain from that job. 3 years on, life has changed and I spent most of the day working – in a restaurant – getting prune hands from doing dishes, spilling some sort of sauce on my shoe and being at the start of another journey.

Not really where I thought I would be 3 years on from the day of my graduation! A special day where I got to get my hair done, wear a nice dress and doff my cap at some old guy I had never seen before! But, that is something I am slowly coming to terms with, I may not be where I thought I was heading but that doesn’t mean it’s not where I am supposed be going. Who knows where I’ll end up? But I am trying to enjoy the journey that is getting me there!

The adventure of life is like a train trip – bit of a cliche, I know! But as we travel along, we pick up passengers and their baggage. We collect a range of different experiences and we learn different lessons from them all. Some of them leave their bags behind or create some damage to how well we function. There are some that depart without us even really noticing but there are others that cover us in graffiti and really make a mess in our carriages.

I know that I am lucky to not have many scratched up windows from my trip so far. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t have scars, they’re just not ones that you can see. It also doesn’t mean that if you don’t have scabby, pussy wounds to show off that you aren’t going through something that hurts! We all need to show empathy and patience because we don’t know what someone else is going through.

A person who looks all put together, always smiling, never seeming to have anything going wrong might be covering up some real pain. Their scars might be much more than skin deep, but heart deep. Their family might be in a crisis, they might be dealing with the loss of a friend or a relationship breakup. They may be sleep deprived from working 3 jobs or scared because they don’t feel safe at home. You just don’t know!

Each one of us has our own scars, inside or the outside, and we all have stuff to deal with. Why not use it to help someone else? We might be able to understand because we have scars from our own similar experiences. We know the way not to handle that situation and we have some strategies that helped us to get through it.

So, on this day in 2017 – look back on all the passengers that have jumped on to your train, leaving a mark and think of how you can embrace them and help others with what you have gone through.

What to do when your dreams don’t come true…

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So a week or so ago I wrote about following your dreams and how you should just listen to your heart and give it a go. It seemed so simple and straightforward. I was feeling excited about going after my dreams and studying my Masters in Child Play Therapy. I thought that was going to be my purpose for the year and it would open doors that I could only hope for. I was excited. I was pursuing what I thought was my dream.

And then…a couple of days ago I received an email to say I had not been accepted into the Masters course. I was devastated. I truly thought that this was the ‘thing’ I was supposed to be doing with my life. But it wasn’t going happen, at least not the way I had planned. I felt lost. I felt heartbroken.

What am I supposed to do this year then? How will I ‘change the world’? Why didn’t my dream become reality? What is my purpose? So many questions! So many emotions! For about 2 days after finding out, I felt truly broken. I was convinced that this was going to be the next step in my life, there were a lot of future dreams tied into this happening.

But then an Early Childhood job popped up and I realised I might have been using studying to avoid committing fully back into childcare. After being hurt (not physically) doing something I love so much, I’ve been avoiding it a little. I’ve been looking for alternatives – all of which have been linked to children in some way – and trying to not let my heart be broken again. But it’s in my blood (thanks Mum!), I can’t avoid it!

When you take that leap of faith and follow your dreams, there is definitely the chance of it not coming to fruition. But you know what? I would never have known what I wanted if I hadn’t tried. Sure, I am really sad because it had felt right and seemed to be such an obvious path to choose. There are other ways to study play therapy if that is really what my dream is.

All I know is that I have to keep following my heart, which means it occasionally might get broken. I won’t know exactly which way my life goes if I don’t try – if I stay where I am, I’ll be safe but I will miss out on a lot of opportunities, some of which might be life-changing.

There is no greater gift you give or receive than to honour your calling. It’s why you were born, and how you become most truly alive – Oprah

Follow your dreams, even if you have to make a detour to find out exactly what they are! It will all be worthwhile when you find what you were called to do.

 

Dream vs. reality

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The start of a new year always inspires me and motivates me, gets me thinking about all the possibilities to come. It’s weird how I can be so completely exhausted and drained from the year before, but somehow the new year rejuvenates me. Anyone else feel the same?

This year of all years my possibilities are endless. Not being tied down to a job at the moment allows me look into a lot of different options; studying, opening my own business of some kind, trying new things and having the time to be certain that the choices I make are the right ones for my future. The future that God has in store for me.

I have been having lots or conversations with different people who all ask the same question…so what are you going to do this year? And it gets me to thinking of all the dreams I have. The dreams I have career-wise, the dreams I have that are entrenched in Early Childhood and the dreams I have personally.

My dreams change from day to day but it can be a struggle when I sit down and really think about something I want to happen. How can this dream become a reality? What can I do to make it happen? Am I too poor to start my own business? Am I too shy to talk with people I don’t know? Am I too young to make a change? Will I fail?

Whatever your insecurities are, don’t let them stop you from pursuing your dreams. Sure, some of them won’t happen but you will never know until you give it a go! I mean, when I was younger I wanted to have musical stairs in my house. You know the ones that look like a piano and make a sound when you step on them? Let’s be honest, this is probably not going to happen – I’ve moved on a little since I was 10 – but I should never give up hope! Because you just never know, one day I might be playing Chopsticks on my front steps!

I think being practical is a really good idea when trying to pursue your dreams. If you really, really want to fly you probably aren’t going to be able to grow feathers. That’s not to say you won’t fly, you might just need to look into alternatives for flight. Don’t become discouraged if it doesn’t happen the way you expected. I think the key is to not give up, to try other avenues and ask others for help.

So from today I am going to start writing down all my dreams (not the one I always have while I’m asleep where my teeth fall out), writing down all the things I wish to accomplish in my life so that when an opportunity presents itself for me to open my own childcare centre or become an early childhood & family consultant in play or be a Mum or paint for a living or create dolls house furniture or get married or whatever it is God has planned. I’ll be ready and I’ll be prepared.

Don’t give up on your dreams! Make them into your own reality!

Oh what a year!

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Generally New Years Eve is spent creating resolutions for the coming year. For me, today meant having a little freak out because I have no idea what next year brings. Literally no idea!

I am absolutely stoked to be saying goodbye to 2016. Worst year of my life! A year that saw me mentally, emotionally and financially at my lowest. A year that was filled with tears and heartbreak and mistreatment from others. A year full of change. A year full of downright horrible-ness!!

This year was also a year of personal triumph, resilience, perseverance, and of survival. A year that I leant fully on God and he got me through. That is one thing about tough times, you tend to discover who you really are. When everything else is stripped back and you have only God to depend on, you realise that is all you really need.

2016 also brought support from others, especially my parents. Some new friendships and some old ones rekindled. Friendship and support that helped me through, beautiful words of kindness and hugs when I needed them. I am so grateful to all those who were there for me this year.

As I sit here wanting for 2017 to be one where I can make a difference, I am also worried about making the wrong choices for my future. I’m worried about experiencing another horrid year and about not living up to expectations I have put on myself or that I think others might have for me. But I think I’ll have to take each day as it comes, be myself and see what the wind blows my way.

I’m not one for making New Years resolutions because I reckon they put too much pressure on you if you muck up. But this coming year I’m going to make some New Years goals instead I think! I plan on putting God first and trying my hardest to follow his plans (whatever they are and however scary they might be). I plan on being a person who others can count on. I plan on completing some more study, my Masters to be precise. Which is the part of next year I am finding the scariest! I hated uni the first time round, but it feels like the only thing that has really presented itself – so here goes!

Hopefully this time next year I will be writing about the things I have achieved and not about how gosh darn hard it has been to have gotten through this year! 2016 was the year of survival but I am hoping 2017 will be the year of prospering.

Even though this year has sucked big time, I am still blown away by how blessed I am! I have a fabulous family & caring friends, I live in a great country and have so many things available to me with such ease. And most of all I have a God who has everything sorted.

Bring on the scary, exciting-ness of 2017!

But I’m scared!

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Picture this…

It’s past midnight and I’m well and truly asleep. A noice wakes me and my heart starts beating a million miles an hour. I’m on my own, so there shouldn’t be any noise. There it is again! It’s a rustling sound and it’s coming from the kitchen. I grab my hockey stick and head towards it, but the floor outside my room creaks and my legs stop. They’re glued to the carpet. I try to slow my breathing so I can hear over my heartbeat. Adrenaline is coursing through by whole body and I’m ready to start crying. I’m thinking ‘what am I going to do? Clobber someone over the head with my hockey stick? I can’t do that!’. What do I do? I am so scared…

I don’t know if you’ve heard of the Fight, Flight, Freeze response? It’s what our brain does when it thinks we are in danger. It will either attack to protect us or those around us, flee from the danger or freeze you in place.

Now I know my story above sounds pretty scary and how lucky am I to have survived a burglar!? How brave was I to confront the source of the sound? Turns out the sound I heard was just a bunch of cockroaches having a party in my kitchen. Not really scary hey? Boy, did I feel silly! Especially after turning on every single light in my house just to double check (even after I discovered it was just roaches). The thing is my brain didn’t know that it was just some gross bugs but it tried to protect me anyway.

Sometimes in life we get scared, though not always of something tangible. It might be the unknown or a memory of something or being worried something similar to a scary time will happen again. And here’s what I have learnt, our brain protects us whenever it perceives that we are in danger. So a loud noise might reignite the reaction in our brain or a smell similar to something from when we were scared in the past might trigger that same feeling of fear.

I am in a bit of a limbo stage in my life at the moment and I am scared of what next step to make. Now my brain is not trying to protect me from danger by giving me super human strength or super fast running legs. It is however making me think A LOT! It is mulling over every possibility of what my future could possibly look like to ensure I am ready for whatever comes at me. Isn’t our brain amazing?!

I am scared none-the-less though. I am scared of making the wrong choice. I am scared of sucking at whichever path I choose and I am scared of putting myself back out there and being treated like crap again. But here’s the thing, if I just stay here in this limbo stage I think I might lose my mind from boredom! And sitting around in my house, being too scared to make that next step is not what God wants for me. He wants me to be brave, like I was that night when I went to discover what the noise was.

He wants me to step out in faith. As Nike says to Just Do It. He will show me if that wasn’t the right step by closing that door. And then I go to the next door, and the next and the next until I find that ‘thing’ that God has in store for me. Being scared shouldn’t stop me from trying! It might make me pause but it’s up to me to push past the many possibilities my brain has conjured up and have a go.

Now I could say ‘don’t be scared’ but I won’t because we will all feel scared at some point and it’s all part of our super clever brain trying to keep us safe. I will say though,  listen to your brain when it gives you that little niggle that something doesn’t feel quite right. But be brave and try not to let fear stop you from living your life!