Wednesday, December 28, 2016

I got married.

2016. Whatta year.

On the 5th of November, I got married. I really wanted to blog about it so I can properly account for the day - the emotions, the suspense, the excitement. I'm going to give it a good ol' crack now - 6 weeks later - because it really was an utterly special day for me. But I also want to say this here: It's not that much of a big deal. Please understand the distinction - for me, marriage itself and the lifelong commitment it entails is a big deal, and the decision to marry shouldn't be taken lightly. But the whole 'wedding' thing? Overrated.
I don't feel like a new woman. I don't feel extra special or superior to other unmarried couples. I quite like referring to Tim as 'my husband', because its a cute new name to call him and I do feel some small level of validation of our relationship for that. But I'm not thrilled about being married. I haven't practiced my new signature. I haven't been flashing my new surname around at all either. I feel, well, basically the same. Still completely happy, still completely in love, but also... the same.

I worry that women (young and older) place married life as the pinnacle of Life Goals. As much as we don't want to admit it, many of us are still idolising that ring, that dress, that magical day in our lives where we get to be treated like a princess. And like I said, it was an incredible day. Dare I say (gasp), one of the best days of my life. But it wasn't, and nor should it be treated as, the upmost achievement. We had a fun love party to celebrate our relationship. Why do so many of us get so crazy about it all?

Speaking of crazy.
Rewind to Friday the 4th of November, the night before the wedding, I was on the phone to Tim in a puddle of tears and panic. My skin was horrible. I wasn't going to be the radiant, glowing bride after all.
To many people who have never experienced acne, this could maybe seem like a total Diva moment. But I've had acne all through my adult life so far - from my late teens, until now at 28 years old. Until now, on my wedding day.
By the time the wedding rolled around, I had cut out gluten, dairy, sugar and a large amount of animal products from my diet. I was meditating and yoga-ing on the daily. I had spent hundreds, if not thousands, on facials and retinols and whatever other products I set my eyes on. I had spent so many years stressing about it all, but the last year was the worst. The year of being engaged - the wedding looming, the likelihood of being a pimply bride became much more of a reality.
And boy, was I a pimply bride. Probably the worst skin I'd had all year in fact. On my cheeks, my jawline - big, raised, painful cysts. I had lost the battle.
It kind of still breaks my heart thinking about it, because I definitely gave it a good go. But when my hormones, and course - stress, were running the show, I wasn't in for a chance.
I remember waking up on the morning of my wedding day, at 4:30am. I googled 'acne on my wedding day' and cried while reading stories of the brides who felt the same.
I cried while I did my morning yoga.
I felt low and flat and ugly. I was horrified that the day had arrived so quickly, and that I had to spend it in front of everyone, the centre of attention, when I felt like absolute crap.

It was a late ceremony, starting at 5pm, so waking up at 4:30am wasn't ideal. But, everyone was right - the day does bloody fly. After my morning meditation and yoga, I squeezed into bed with Mum and Dad, something I haven't done for about 18 years probably! I felt a little withdrawn and quiet, but they were there for me, and got me out of my head for a little bit. Before I knew it, Mel, Justyne and Julian had arrived. I dished out their gifts (satin dressing gowns, personalised candles, jewellery/cufflinks and a few other things) and then it was all about the hair and makeup. Luckily I had made up some healthy treats for us to snack on through the day. I was downing the peppermint and chamomile teas, feeling calmer and social, and happy to finally allow myself to let go and release the pain of the last night and morning.

I started to get a little stressed around 3ish - the photographers had arrived and hair was running a little over schedule, so it was a bit scary running behind, particularly when we had all day to be ready! But we got there. I had my quick snappy moment with Justyne ("Justyne! Stop drinking champagne and feed me!") but otherwise was fine. Propanolol, you are my hero.
In saying that, the drive there (in the last minute booked black Chrysler sedan) was a little slice of hell - that awful time before an event where you just want to get in there, because the suspense is the most painful part of all!

Pulling into Trofeo Estate, the building was as stunning as ever, contrasted against the snowy grey sky. I was disappointed to see the chairs weren't set up in the back - and had to quickly come to terms with having a indoor ceremony, our Plan B.
The weather was not bad - fresh and windy, but no rain. I am so glad that Tim chose to have the ceremony inside though - with nothing breaking the icy wind over the vineyards, it would have been a shivery and distracting ceremony.
And, inside was perfection. Our nearest and dearests huddled inside, the aisle carved out between the rows of black wooden chairs dotted with bouquets of rustic foliage. The high roof and exposed brick felt solid and nostalgic, a little taste of Nabilla on my wedding day. It was warm and cosy, with huge windows showing off the surrounding sky, land and vineyards.

The ceremony was exactly what we wanted. Relaxed, personal, interactive. Jacinta, Susan and Claire nailed their readings perfectly. Our celebrant, Felicity, constructed the entire ceremony just right - light hearted and meaningful with just the right amount of solemness required to serve as a reminder of the significance and importance of the day.
My parents - strong Catholics and not huge supporters of church-free weddings, adored her. Friends and family that probably just wanted to skip ahead to the food and drinks, adored her.
Then we kissed, signed some paper, and were married. You know the drill.

Photos were fun, and our photographers were so great at capturing candid, relaxed images. It didn't feel like a chore and we still fit all the desired shots in within our free time. We also snuck out a little bit later and grabbed some sunset shots too.

The reception was a hoot. Everyone was in a fantastic mood and were so keen to get up and have a good old dance. Even Jacinta, at 37 weeks pregnant, was up there doing the (longest ever) conga line with me. The band, despite our last minute doubts, we fantastic. A perfect mix of songs for the young and old. The speeches were perfect, of course Dad nailed his. Justyne opened up about me starting the process of egg donation, right before she fell pregnant with Maggie. That was a surprise - almost everyone there that night didn't know that about me, so that was so special for her to share that with everyone. The Best Men, Luke and Andy, did a fun combined speech, and Maureen (with Doug's antics on the side) was beautiful too.

We had so many compliments on the food, drink and service. Everyone seemed so happy with the venue, the band, the night in general. We had our best ever Family Jig (in my opinion) and the bouquet and garter toss was a lot of fun - particularly when Julian caught the garter. Take that, marriage inequality thugs. Love conquers.

And then it was all over. We hugged goodbye to everyone - most of us, by now, a little sweaty and worse for wear. We ran through the human archway built of our love ones, and we were on our way. Married, exhausted, and cheek-achingly happy. What a day.

I wanted to type all of this out, as something to reflect on in the years to follow. I love Tim so much, and I have for almost 9 years now. He is genuinely my rock and a solid, kind soul.
I didn't talk much about Bryan on the wedding day. Four years on, I still think of him every day. I could feel him everywhere on the day - in the smiles of everyone there, the captured sunset, the love that lifted the room. I learned to feel beauty - not in a tangible, superficial way. I felt beauty in the kindness of the souls in that room, the genuine authentic moments of true love expressed not only between husband and wife, but between friends, brothers and sisters. Bryan is everywhere now. He's in Maggie's twinkling bright eyes, Taylor's sense of humour and Noah's determination.

I celebrated our wedding day as a day of gaining, not a reflection of loss. I'm so grateful to able to share a truly heartfelt day with everyone.
I think that's the best thing about this wedding stuff - we dedicate the time to truly express our love and gratitude to all the main players in our lives. It's a celebration of life, of love, of the present moment.
We don't need to spend thousands of dollars to do this.
We can choose to do it any time - so lets.

I got married, and it was fantastic. Simultaneously, it's not a big deal.
That's just my thoughts. x

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Word Vomit.

Word vomit, thought vomit - that's all I'm here to do right now.
I feel like I have so many thoughts that are building up inside of me. Worries, stress, anxiety. Gratitude, appreciation, love. Fear, depression, apprehension.

I haven't been writing like I used to. Which is a shame, because I still consider writing to be an outlet, occasionally a glimpse into my Creative Self. But I've been avoiding. Even the act of putting pen to paper seems exhausting to me. I've gotten lazy.

So without my outlet, I have Tim. I have my friends and family every now and then. But most of all? I have avoidance. Suppression. I've gotten pretty great at bottling things up, and then exploding every now and then.

I never really considered myself to be someone that gets in bad moods. I kind of thought I was 'above' moodiness; I regarded myself as someone too reflective, or can I say - (gulp) - evolved, to ever act so irrationally and impulsively.
But I kind of have been.

I think the wedding has been weighing on me more than I care to admit. Or should I call it The Wedding? THE Wedding? THE WEDDING!!!? The time of day depends on the amount of emphasis those two words have on my system. Usually the capital letters pay me a visit just as my head hits the pillow at night.

I get married in a week! This time next week I will be a bride, and a wife for the rest of time. I will be legally bound to someone else, emotionally, financially. I love Tim so much, and I consider the last 8.5 years of our relationship to be something that's already set in stone... So why the fear? Why am I not excited to publicly declare our love to our closest friends and family?

Maybe it's because I've always been rather easily influenced. I've never smoked, or taken drugs, and I think I've been able to stick to my morals for the vast majority of my time so far. But I also think I've grown up incredibly influenced by media - like almost all of us today. I saw the beautiful Disney princesses with their perfect, delicate faces and porcelain skin. The evil witch is usually old, pimply or warty. The magazines, Pinterest images, the flawless, boho instagram beauties.. The Perfect Bride is what we've grown to strive for - calm, radiant and beautiful. Deliriously in love and ready for The Best Day of Her Life.

Call me a Debbie Downer, but I'm not walking into next week expecting the 'best day of my life'. I'm hoping that it'll be up there, but I don't want it to be the be all or end all. Is this the pinnacle? Is it all mortgage debt, work and shitty little children from here on out?

In saying that, I'm a little heartbroken that I won't be fulfilling the calm, radiant and beautiful bride philosophy. Where's the part in the movies with the frizzy, flustered and pimply bride? The bride that's probably a little underweight, a bit of a hormonal train wreck, that kind of hates her dress and not so sure about any of this? The bride that has been dreading the 'walk down the aisle' since, well, forever? People smiling, taking photos, all making a judgement on my appearance, even if they don't consciously realise it...

So maybe this word vomit is a good thing. Maybe I'm purging out all these fears and anxieties, just so I can release them. I think it's truly time for me to quit the fucking drama, and start loving myself. Because I don't think I can be a loving, patient and fun wife if I allow myself to get caught up in the murkiness and superficiality of it all. At a time that allows so much gratitude, here I am letting fear run the show. Do I really care if I have a bad breakout on the wedding day? To be honest, yes. But will other people care nearly as much? No. Will Tim still love me? I know he will. Remember, he's the guy that see's me without makeup on and with pimple cream all over my face every night. And he still looks me in the eyes and calls me beautiful, no matter what.

The best thing I can do is love myself. I think that depicts true calm, radiance and beauty. That's where I find the ingredients I need to nail this Bride Thing.

And the best part? It's one day. It's one day that symbolises a new beginning of everything. I may not have been counting down day by day. I may not have excited butterflies in my stomach (yet), but I also know that I am itching to get to our next page. Our fresh start in our new home, when we grab the keys 3 weeks after the wedding day. I acknowledge how lucky I truly am, to have found someone I want to spend the rest of my life with. I acknowledge how lucky I truly am, for being in the position to be able to work and save money, that has allowed us to go on a 2 month holiday last year, and then save for a house deposit AND a wedding, all in such a short amount of time.

I am eternally grateful for my blessings. I'm choosing to let go of these negative thought patterns, a moment at a time, minute by minute.
I'm so glad I came here for a word vomit.

It'd been a while.
Thanks. x

Monday, February 8, 2016

I've been talking to myself.

Over the last couple of days, I've started talking to myself. Exclusively. On camera.

Yesterday, I did it just on a whim. I had woken up that morning anxious and furious. I'd started getting ready for work, and then I snapped.
I threw my washing basket across the room, screamed out 'FUCK THIS', and stormed downstairs.

This isn't a usual thing for me.
I've struggled with anxiety for years now. Through the peaks and troughs of life, it has fluctuated. Unfortunately, lately it has returned.
So I've been consuming. Constantly. I'll read my spiritual text. I'll watch far more Youtube videos than I care to admit. I'll occasionally do my yoga and meditation, but often both of these will be guided.
I've been running my life with external resources. I've been respecting the experiences/thoughts/beliefs of others far more than my own.

Which of course can get bloody confusing. As everyone is different, with different backgrounds and genetics and opinions that have been moulded by their unique life experiences. So not only was I consuming far too much information, it was conflicting information, which has left me more anxious and overwhelmed than ever.

So yesterday I snapped. The thing that was different about yesterday was the anger. I'm not usually the type to throw things. I felt like I could punch something. I had so much built up fury, and I felt like I was seeing red.
Needless to say, I didn't end up working yesterday, or even today. I hate that this can still impact my ability to go to work, particularly after over a year of it being fine.

So last night, I turned on my camera and filmed myself talking.
I spoke about my relationship with myself. I spoke about my relationship with food and spirituality. I spoke about my upcoming wedding day, and my dreams.
And it was bloody nice.

So I did it again today. I'm calling it the 30 days of Self Talk project, or something, it doesn't even matter - because I'm only doing it for myself. It's not something I'll be posting, for a variety of reasons, the main one being - I don't want any feedback. I'm not looking for opinions, or even words of encouragement. I want nothing external from this. I only want my own perspective.

I was watching back the video this morning, and I really enjoyed what I had to say. When I was just talking, not caring or thinking about how things came across, but just talking from my heart... It was real. It was authentic. I felt strangely connected to myself on a new level. Here I was, re-watching this video of some freakin awesome wise chick - and it was me.
No longer was I wasting time scrolling through YouTube, watching various 'inspirational' videos and comparing my real life to someone else's edited one.

I'm not sure if this is a strange concept, but I guess I don't care if it is anyway? It's not a technique or an idea that I've found through reading someone's blog, it's just an idea that I've had, and so far I'm enjoying it.
So if you're constantly looking externally in the attempts of personal development, then stop.
If it's become a means of distraction to stop you from actually doing the work, then stop.
Deep down, beneath all this information that we are consistently bombarded with, lies you, and only you have the answers for your self.

Maybe consider having a chat with yourself?