Who Am I?

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Living according to my truth is a challenging endeavour! I would like to adopt a more androgynous style, but not even sure where to begin. I look at men and I think, “Damn! I love what he is wearing!”. I realised I have a crush on Jonathan Van Ness from the Fab 5 in Queer Eye – I don’t mean a romantic crush, I mean, I love the way he looks! That lushes, lovely, long hair – he is just a beautiful man!

I am a lesbian woman, who loved wearing boys clothing growing up, but then quickly adopted a heterosexual woman wardrobe to fend off the lesbian accusations when I was younger – because in my family, “nothing would be worse than one of us coming home with a woman”.

Ahhhh… so my internalised homophobia blossomed!

13 years after coming out of the closet and 3 years after rebuilding my self in a sober sense, after 15 years of drug and alcohol addiction. I am finally experimenting with my look again. Hips make it hard! I am still not entirely comfortable shopping in the men’s section and androgynous stores are hard to come by in Melbourne (or I’m not entirely sure where to look yet). Another thing… I cut my hair off, to play around with the more masculine look, but I got a heterosexual female to do it, which ended me up with a cut that looks more like my mother’s hairstyle than I do a lesbian. So now I am totally confused.

Physically it’s challenging, because I don’t even know what exactly I want to look like and shame often keeps me from even experimenting. The truth is, I need help! For me it is very easy to flaunt the long blonde hair and fit into a heterosexual world by dressing a certain way and not correcting people when they assume that when I am talking about my partner, that I am referring to a man. That is not my truth and I am hiding the most important part of myself. I don’t think I would like to fit into a stereotypical lesbian look either, because deep down inside I would rather look like a beautiful gay man – so where does that make me fit into the LGBTIQ initialism?

On the spiritual and emotional front 12 step fellowships are helping me address that shame and the low self worth that I used to use drugs and alcohol to forget about. Working through this stuff layer by layer. Each year I get closer to the feelings and closer to the core of why I used to drink. In addition to discovering what I like to wear and how I want to look, I am discovering what I like to do, what I need from friends and what I am willing to accept. The friendships I have built in the last 3 years are not always the best for me, they were built on the foundation of: “I will be ok with things that aren’t ok, so long as you will love me and wont reject me.”

Letting go of these friendships is hard and sometimes very lonely. Living my truth is not easy! I have to spend lots of time working out how not to do things, before I find out how to do things, in a way that truly resinates with my soul. This is posses to be quite difficult for my inner perfectionist, who growing up was beaten for making mistakes.

I’ve become vegan, because I am really against breeding animals just to kill them. If it is not ok for millions of people to be loaded onto cattle trains to be transported to their death, then why is it ok to do that to animals?!? I am against global warming, consumerism and destroying our planet, though Soy crop agriculture is just as damaging, so does that mean that drinking soy milk is ok? Or have I just bought into another fad? I know soy uses less energy than cow’s milk, so good for global warming, but what about the decline in forest conservation, herbicides and nitrogen rich fertiliser they use to expand soy bean plantations?

The truth is I would really like to know where my food is coming from, but I don’t have the time to grow it myself, nor source local farmers and produce, because I am thoroughly enmeshed in the very system that I am trying to stand up against – And I have to face facts, we don’t have a big enough garden for a goat!

It has been a journey! One which leads to so much confusion and uncertainty. Who am I and what do I stand for? But most importantly, do I really have enough courage to be different?

“Home”

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I am at the airport again and thank God for that! I am so grateful that had two visits with my mom’s ex husband before I left. He is the closest thing I have had to a father figure. I feel like I retrieved a portion of sanity in those visits. I went ‘home’ for Christmas, back to South Africa after almost 3 years in Melbourne. I felt like I swam into a different world, where I was was in a completely different book to everyone in my family, let alone a different page. It was a place where understanding was a mere myth – something that you might’ve heard about in a  fairytale, but never experienced.

My heart broke in the same place it has broken so many times before. When I realised my sister – my supposed ‘team mate’ – will bat against me even against non-blood related relatives. I felt defeated and completely thrown under the bus. My innocent heart made the mistake of hoping I would go ‘home’ to find my sister there, the one I have been searching to connect with for my whole life. Instead I found a lonely truth, which triggered an overwhelming loss and sadness, that the connection I craved is impossible and the ‘home’ I was looking for, wasn’t there.

I read a saying in a meeting, “An expectation is just a premeditated resentment.” – Boy, is that the truth! All wasn’t lost though. There were a few times last year where things got really tough in recovery and the wound I dug into for the purpose of self discovery, started to hurt so badly that I just wanted to go home – I had this fictitious idea that I would get some kind of love and nurture in South Africa and that sense of family that I couldn’t get in Australia. This ideal only exists in story books – I realised the cold hard truth, that I am not part of the family, but nor did I want to be. That the place where I felt safest, was the very place I left, in the pursuit of safety – ironically. My ‘Home’ resides in me and the love that I want is never going to come from the family that never gave it, because the only person who has changed is me.

Flying back to Australia, I felt empty, but relieved and strangely enough I felt quite a lot of hope, I felt like letting go of my expectations was a hugely freeing process. I was left with an empty space, which felt to me more like a blank canvas – It was something quite spectacular, because all of a sudden I could let go of the “should be’s” and what I thought life “should” look like, because it was the first time ever that I wasn’t desperately trying to fit into a box – where wearing a dress, being a racist and drinking 3 bottles of wine a night is absolutely normal – I can now paint my own picture and be surrounded by people who share my values – For me this is a beautiful place to be.

One good thing that came from the whole trip, is that I got into that desperate place, where I’ll take on any suggestion to help me recover, The result: I read a book by Mara Gleason – “One Thought Changes Everything”. All I can say is – PROFOUND! Initially the book got recommended, I ‘thought’, “I’m an addict, my thinking is the problem, why would I read a book about thinking?” – The first two parts I was judgemental of the writing style and actually resenting every second of it… Now that I have finished it, I am thanking God for giving me the perseverance. I now know my thoughts, just like my feelings, have a lifespan and just like a flame, they will eventually burn out. I had the HALT’s on board when I got home with jet lag and my head was racing (catastrophe thinking) and somehow I was able to detach and not become all consumed… It wasn’t a perfect experience, nor was it a tidy one… It was different and the changes have just kept on coming. I feel more present than I have ever been.

Today I am grateful.

 

Recovering My True Self

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The journey to self discovery is fascinating to say the least. I embarked on mine a year ago, but I do believe I have spent a lifetime searching. What I have come to realise is that self examination is very painful from a place of judgement and shame. They have a saying in the rooms of 12 step and that is, “God only gives you what you can handle”. This is apparent, based on the trauma, which has only, just surfaced. Before connecting to it, I got to a place of complete self-acceptance and gentleness.

I had an experience with my best friend, which broke me. She is my greatest mirror! She came to me with a scenario, which I went straight into judgment over. My judgement was rooted in fear of what I didn’t know. Naturally I took her inventory for her and judged her the same way I would have judged myself if I had been in the same situation. Her reaction, though painful, is exactly what I needed to see. I hurt the person, who I love the most and it was as painful for me to see myself doing that as I think it was for her to be on the receiving end. It was from that moment, that I realised exactly how harmful I can be, to myself… She just allowed me to witness it. I felt regret and deeply feared abandonment.

She didn’t leave, she like me, stuck around and thank God for that! I made a mistake and I was forgiven and it is from that I started to believe I was forgivable. I let go of trying to be this perfect specimen, who will never slip or make a mistake and I connected with my humanness. I found self-forgiveness and in turn learnt self-acceptance. The shame has left me, because for the first time I can love me for who I am and that is enough. To know that nothing I do is wrong OR right. That I am like a little girl learning to run. I may fall and I may hurt myself, but that is ok, because there is nothing wrong with learning through doing. And if I am constantly fearing doing things, I will do nothing at all. I will merely escape into the fantasy of doing things, which lives in my head. Then I end up disappointed that I don’t do them.

When I am afraid, I ask God, “Please come in and hold my hand”. I was a frightened little girl with no freedom to express myself without punishment. This is no longer the case, but that little girl is not going to come out with harsh words and judgement. Love, open arms and encouragement on the other hand, are the antidote. “A spiritual awakening is the antidote for fear”, from one of the questions on step twelve – Yes it is. My spiritual awakening was unconditional love and acceptance of self. If I love myself no matter what. There is nothing to be ashamed of.

I went to Sydney last weekend. The trip was something special. I did a meeting for adult children of dysfunctional families and for the first time in my life I cried in front of people who weren’t my mother or my therapist – not to mention in front of an entire group! I hobbled out of the meeting and I realised I had literally forgotten everything people had said. Bessel Van Der Kolk explained it best, when he said that when people get scared, frightened or upset we loose our frontal lobe and the limbic system takes over (which is the primitive part of the brain that was created when you were a kid to help you survive) – so the question he poses is how do we build up our frontal lobe so that it can still operate when the limbic system takes over. – Anyway, he explains it much better than I do. I watched the video in February for the first time and on Sunday, I had my first lived awareness of this actually happening to me. People would say their names and no sooner had they said it, would I forget their name completely. It was really weird and confronting. We went for a ridiculously over priced massage afterwards and ate ice cream and then passed out early. My experience is that you can have all the stamina in the world, but it means nothing to keep you standing in the midst of this emotional work… It is there on my knees that I can comprehend humility.

Another thing that happened on the trip and the day before I left. I went into a clothing store to buy a pair of shorts. This was really difficult for me, because when the shop assistant asked me what I was looking for I had NO idea! She brought out the full range of women’s shorts, which were all high wasted and inappropriately short. These are the kind of shorts I have worn for the past 12 years and have sat in meetings completely uncomfortable. My codependency was starting to kick in and I started feeling really bad that I wasn’t going to buy anything – maybe this was a little bit of a blessing! What it inspired me to do was ask her about the boys shorts I had seen when I walked in. She was a bit shocked, but brought me a full range of guys shorts in different sizes and I was able to try them on and find the size that fit me. I had my first happy shopping experience EVER!!! It was great, because when we got to Sydney, I went into another clothing store and walked around with my friend feeling totally uneasy and overwhelmed. Disheartened, I sat and waited to give my friend the thumbs up while she tried on her outfits. I got up and shuffled over to the guys section. I started to get quite excited when I found 2 pairs of shorts I liked and knew the size I was looking for. 1 didn’t look great, but the other did and I was over the moon… this was a second INCREDIBLE shopping experience for me.

Months ago I would have had too much shame to come out of hiding to publicly start to try to look for who I am. I would have been too ashamed of the fact that I wanted to wear guys clothing and I most certainly would have done everyone’s thinking for them and done the worst judgement of me through your eyes – let alone actually asking for help! Seeing the joy and excitement being myself brought to me over the weekend, I am not sure I can ever go back to suppressing that part of me. I heard some famous Bollywood director once say, “It takes an awful lot of energy trying to be something you’re not and absolutely no energy at all just being who you are.”

Recovering My True Self

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Whoo hoo! I’m back!!! 🙂

I have been on quite a journey in the last month. It has been a real period of self discovery! I had been going flat out with recovery, since about April last year. I was in a desperate amount of pain after breaking up with my ex, the woman who I moved to Australia for. Since the break up, I did a step one on her and a step four on her in the drug program, but that really didn’t work. 6 months later, I fell into the love fellowship on my knees and desperate to fill the empty space that was so dark and lonely, it made death the more palatable option. I was scared. I didn’t want to die. It took every last bit of strength and God, to stop me from giving up entirely.

I started the steps in the love fellowship and in the process realised my codependent tendencies, so I started the first 14 days of questions in that too. I was acting out with workaholism and at the beginning my sex addiction was running rampage. I acquired a little self worth in the codependent program and managed to walk away from my job and a boss who was gas lighting me. I also managed to get more than 30 day abstinence with the sex and love stuff too. What I was left with, was the beginning of a life worth holding on to and that darn empty space!!! Somebody suggested therapy. I took the woman’s number, but with the ‘glamorous’ childhood I had, I really didn’t see how I could possibly need therapy (completely overlooking the fact that I had been to therapist after therapist since I was 14).

One day I was at home and I was completely overwhelmed with shame after receiving a message from my former boss. I was ready to throw in the towel and it was then and there that God gave me the strength to reach out to this woman. She called me and it was an instant connection. I had no idea how I was going to pay for these sessions, considering I had just walked away from my job, but I was desperate and I would have done anything at that point. What followed was a gruelling commitment to self recovery – Recovery from addiction, is in actual fact, recovery of my true authentic self (you know the one that was there before the dysfunctional family systems and societal jading).

Since February I have worked through books. Before then I didn’t even read. Books like: Claudia Black – Changing Course; Jerrold Mundis – Earn What You Deserve (Turns out I had a money addiction too); Julia Cameron & Mark Bryan – Money Drunk Money Sober. Charlotte Kasl – Women, Sex & Addiction; Brennan Manning – The Ragamuffin Gospel; Patrick Carnes – Facing the Shadows. I have finished the 12 steps in the love fellowship. I started in the money fellowship, got up to step 3, put it down and picked it up again. I did an improv comedy course. Have just started listening to a guide to stand up and writing jokes – this was all while working and studying. Every time I put my program down, I would get into a heap load of pain, so I was afraid to stop. I was even frantic around doing heavy therapy sessions fortnightly and writing this blog.

Now I don’t know if I had a spiritual awakening, but it sure feels like one (Many actually! Every time I turn my head one whacks me in the face – it’s like a profound realisation!). One month ago, I threw in the towel on therapy. I went into the session and just said I just cant do anymore. I wanted to live the life I had worked so hard to recover. My therapist supported me in a way so gentle, I have really just tried to carry it to everyone I deal with – it is a love and a gentleness that I had never experienced before.

After making that decision, which for me was the first step toward empowerment and independence, everything started to change. I booked a trip to Sydney. Reconnected with a love interest. Had a near fall out with my best friend, which pulled out my deepest abandonment wound and put me into the most vulnerable place I have ever been – I was naked and frail and so aware of my humanness AND I didn’t die! (I was able to self soothe and even though I had ‘lost’ my best friend, I was ok!) – It was there I let go of the self judgement and shame. I could see my defects and was able to make amends for the behaviour (taking people’s inventory). Seeing my humanness, helped me see it in other people and it is there I found true love for self.

I put my program down for that month, but I didn’t beat myself up about it. I have been able to start dating and start breaking the sober dating guidelines, but I go easy on myself. I am an addict, I am not always going to get it right! I got into pain around the money stuff, so I recommitted. As a result opportunities are falling out of the sky and God is actually giving me the courage to follow up on business and feel worthy of that business and feel good about the work I do. “Gentle judgement free approach to self” – I wrote that down as one of my top/bottom lines a year ago and I finally get to practice it.

Tomorrow I will do 5 rhythms, then go and ride a horse that somebody wants me to compete. I’ll go and watch a comedy shoe in the evening (Nadine Sparks) – an inspiration in my pursuit of my comedy career. And then ending off on a night out dancing in the LGBTIQ community. All four of these things are on my list of esteemable acts. I am blessed. I am working a program, but not like my life depends on it and I am living that life I have always dreamed of. This stuff works and the moments of stillness in my mind, make the work totally worth it!

Feeling love today and feeling SO grateful!

Giving it a red hot Go!

Just got to do the Melbourne convention. It was absolutely amazing! I was there the whole day and did loads of service, which is great, because I have never really been involved in service at a convention. I hadn’t discovered my primary fellowship until I found a home in these rooms and it was a beautiful experience for me that went full circle.

The first topic was healthy relationships, followed by healing the guilt and the shame and it finished off with “do you really want to have casual sex?” – For some reason the topics in that order left me with a well rounded perspective. First I got to hear what a healthy relationship looks like, just listening affirmed that I am really on the right track, firstly with the relationship to self, followed by the relationship I have been building with my Higher Power. It was followed by healing the guilt and shame and I got really vulnerable. My experience with this topic, was looking at the core belief systems, which make me feel like I don’t deserve that loving relationship. It got to the root of why I just give myself up so easily. The childhood tape of “I’m not good enough!” and “It’s not ok to get things wrong/make mistakes”. Once that was addressed, it moved up to the surface, to grapple with whether I really want casual sex or not… And the answer is yes, but the realisation is that I can’t have it. And it’s through becoming aware of it and noticing my misconception that Sex = Love = Sex = Intimacy… That I am able to let go of my desperate need for sex and simply have it as a byproduct of a loving relationship – as the program promises.

So after the big bonanza 😉 I have decided to go on a date tomorrow. We are planning to go on a beach walk, but typical Melbourne weather forecast 13 and rain… Hahaha Joys!!! I am busy frantically reading sober dating guidelines, in an attempt not to loose myself in the situation. The truth is a really like the girl. We have been speaking for 3 or 4 months now and I am quite excited.

To answer the questions in the outline: I have spent 9 months sober from acting on bottom line behaviours and I see my addictive patterns as clear as day. I have used withdrawal a number of times and may need to use a pause every now and again, but my pattern is avoidance, so I will need to start to learn to sit with the uncomfortable feelings. I can date soberly, by not having sex or physical contact for 90 days (This is going to be the hard one for me – one thing I have learnt, is that if things turn sexual, I run for the hills and considering I am trying to break that pattern, it motivates me to keep my hands off this time) – I have a sponsor, I’ve worked the 12 steps, I don’t have a dating plan… yet! (Tonight that is what I am working on) – My intention is to get to know her better, do things we both enjoy and see if we can just hang out in one another’s company. I would like companionship and socialisation. My dating history is the same as the stereotypical lesbian with the u-haul story… Sex on the first night, move in after 2 weeks, have a toxic relationship for 2 years and end up in another country hahaha! <—– Hahaha, no wonder I am scared to date!

My biggest character defect is my avoidance (FEAR) – especially by the overwhelm of sexual attraction. The fear is of loosing (CONTROL), which is funny, because if I surrender and practice the third step, I shouldn’t be trying to control anything, so no need for the fear of loosing control… I am powerless. I have a good support network. I have my people – those who don’t judge and support me no matter what. My sponsor knows who I am dating.

My bottom line behaviour – I need to avoid, avoiding 🙂 Running is not an option in this one. If I choose to exit, I strive to do so as an adult (Please God help with this)… My life needs to come first while dating and no relationships for another 6 months… Just because I am prone to falling into them so darn easily.  My top line behaviours are the same as always. Maintain friendships; Do comedy classes; Take walks on the beach; Exercise; Meetings; Step work; Outreach; call my sponsor.

My addictive pattern is to always choose unavailable partners and having sex too early – So one down, one left to tackle. What do I mean by ‘available’? Hahaha, well a good start is for her to be lesbian… I always overlook that one 😉 – Secondly, her not being in a relationship with another person is a pretty good start for me too. She likes me back, which is another huge plus. Being sexual to me?… Kissing counts as sexual. Holding hands could even be dangerous, so that probably needs to be added in there too. Things are not going well, if we end up having sex before the 90 days is over and if we start living in one another’s pockets. The red flags I tend to ignore are the moving too fast flags. Once I get caught in that current, my whole outlook changes to anything goes. “Ah well we’ve broken those boundaries, might as well break em all!”. I don’t normally stay in unhealthy relationship, I normally run. I did become financially insecure with my last partner a bit and moved country and had nowhere to run to, so I stuck around until I got my independence.

I got 3 more pages of questions to answer on the sober dating guideline. The next question talks about balance and, well… I actually need to get some uni work done tonight, so I think that enough time spent focussed on relationships. Glad I have this outlet as a point of expression. Am I going to get it right? – Who knows! At least I will learn a lesson in the process.

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The Spirit of the Twelfth

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I’ve been rather busy lately doing all sorts of wonderful things. It’s feels like the moment I complained a little that my life felt empty… God was like, “Oh yeah? You think so?… Well, how do you feel about this? and this? and this?…” – I am busy running around like a spring chicken now, busy, but so happy.

My trip is booked to Sydney… SO stoked! Another member mentioned there is a convention coming up soon there, that I should check it out – It turns out that it is on the exact date that I am there (so thank you God!) – And it’s my home fellowship. At least the one, which I resonate most with. I am pretty excited! The decision, alone, has inspired two friends to come with me and I know another woman who is going to be there, who asked if I could get involved in helping her represent the Victorian fellowship. What a privilege! The whole point of the trip was to expose myself to the fellowship in different places and can’t get more exposure than a convention & a regional service centre meeting, really!

This weekend had been great! I have been devoted to some service, which has really helped get me out of myself. (I’m also totally reflecting the step that I’m on, because service just keeps popping up – “Having ha a Spiritual Awakening as a result of these steps, we tried to carry the message to addicts, and to practice these principles in all our affairs”)  We walked around Melbourne yesterday, asking shop owners to support the Marriage Equality vote, by putting up “yes” posters in their shop windows. It is an absolutely beautiful thing to see so many rainbow flags painting the streets of Melbourne’s display windows. Later, a sponsee shared her fourth step with me, in the most magnificent Bonsai garden  and then, I got to attend a committee meeting for our convention. Just to top it off, which is my favourite part – My client had a rice dish cooked for her, which she doesn’t like, because it has too much spice. She asked me to take it, but considering I don’t do starch. Rice doesn’t really work with me. I told her I am not going to eat it, but that I could definitely give it to some homeless people, who might be interested in a meal. So she’s packaged it up into four containers, each with its own fork and well… lets hope it’s well received. I tasted it and its pretty good! Service keeps me sober. I feel energised after a weekend, which was jam packed. I am so grateful for the program!

I had to laugh though, when I added yet another app for recording things. My first was the “Sober Time” app, which I downloaded to start recording my sex & love sobriety. I then got the “iExpensit” app to start recording my spending. This app is golden and really gave me so much clarity on my numbers. It helped with what I could and couldn’t afford to get paid, just based on how much I was spending each month. Also I saw that I was spending so much money on fuel, that moving to the sitting and dropping my second job cost me the same amount as staying in the country and continuing to work and travel for 10 hours a week. This brings me to the “Eternity” app – how to overcome time drunkeness 101 hahaha – I was initially split: 43% work, 9% uni, 4% service and 32% sleep. So sleep has always been great for me. I am an 8 hour a night girl, but to be spending 52% of my time on work and uni, it leaves very little time for anything else. (I am not a stats freak – the app works it out for me) – After using it for a few months I  am at 33% sleep, 30% self care, 30% work/uni and 6% service. So freaking balanced! And I’m exercising everyday. I feel great. Also earning the same amount doing 40% less work.

My last app is not exactly program related. I think it’s for women who want to get pregnant and gauge when they are ovulating… For me I just need something to tell me why I am shovelling gallons of chocolate down and taking everything so freaking PERSONALLY!!! After years and years, it still catches me off guard. Hahahaha! So now I have an app for that too. I don’t have to think anymore or work anything out. Technology has got me at the laziest and the most efficient I have ever been in my life. I love it!!!

Loving my life. Grateful to my Higher Power. Feeling full and rich with experiences. ❤

 

Changing Course

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After writing last night’s post, I felt totally uninspired. It was another recovery post and I just felt it lacked so much inspiration. I was feeling flat and my program had hit this point of inertia, which left me feeling totally bored even writing about it. I went to sleep feeling disappointed and empty. My life felt hollow and meaningless. (The sound of a concerto played on the world’s smallest violin – haha)

I started thinking loads before I went to sleep and what came up was that my life is very small at the moment. Yes, I have huge insights and revelations around recovery and that gives me a lot to write about, but it just seemed so narrow and one tracked. All I really have in my life at the moment is recovery and work, which both are extremely fulfilling, but 2 things on a plate is not a very interesting meal if you ask me. This brings me to my next point, I wanted to blog about cooking or rather my creations. I don’t think I put it as an esteemable act, but it ought to be. I am at my most grounded when I am making a meal. Not only to have the opportunity to make a meal, but to be able to nurture and give love to my housemates – and have it appreciated… This is one of the biggest gifts for me.

The truth is, I have been so inspired in the kitchen lately I even considered changing professions. The moment that thought popped up, I heard the childhood tape in my mom’s voice, “you have to choose one thing Nicole and stick to it, you are burning the candle from both ends.” – This left me totally deflated and I felt shame for even beginning to dream a little. Looking at the photo of my recipe. I wanted to post it, but my narrow mind said to me, “This is a recovery blog Nicole, you can’t write about food.” – Then a shift – It is like my inner child came bursting through, adamant to be heard. I am nothing like my mother, though I admire and respect her hugely, we really are cut from a different crop (we are on opposite sides of the spectrum in numerology) – The diversity in my life and my passions is what makes me thrive. It is what makes me, me. I am passionate about a lot of things and if I do any of those things individually for a prolonged period of time. The flame will burn out, because it is a very little fire.

I watched a great interview of Joni Mitchell. She simply refuses to be put in a box and is admired for being able to stretch over so many different genres. Music comes second to her painting and she is celebrated for her durability and her diversity.  For me, I see this in all great artists and it inspires me to my core.

Though I am technically not an artist, I most certainly am a creative soul. I love to draw and to paint, I love writing. Creating delicious meals and presenting them to look like something that has come out of a restaurant kitchen is my favourite thing to do. Becoming a comedian is something I have dreamt about since I was very young. I am a good showjump rider and I absolutely love working with people and helping people, so it’s no wonder I have a job in the community sector and instruct pilates. The diversity keeps the momentum rolling for me. On my vision board it’s funny, I have stand up comedy. Sustainable living and a kibbutz community type thing (it’s actually the San Patrignano rehabilitation farm in Italy). I have a food truck, showjumping, equine assisted therapy, writing, leaders, children, multi-culture and road tripping – hahaha I most certainly don’t have one direction. The shift that happened in me the other night, was that instead of feeling shame around it, I got to celebrate it. I don’t have to hide who I am for fear of not being normal. What is normal anyway?

I thought about my therapy sessions and how far I had come. I thought about my recovery and all the work I had put in and there was a voice in my head saying, slow down and enjoy life! I went into the session and I just got honest. I have so much fear being in a country so far away from home. That I am recovering, but that I feel my life is so empty and that I have dreamt about going to Sydney, since I got here. I just want to see it! Oh, and I really want to dress like a boy. These may seem like simple things for most people, but for me, the ability to want something for myself is HUGE! I have internalised homophobia, so expressing that I want to change the way I look to be who I am, rather to fit into what is deemed “normal” is one of the biggest steps for me. Then expressing to my therapist that I want to cut my sessions in half and use that money to go away every second month, is even bigger… I am a poverty addict and I am used to living on nothing, so to spend money on something nice for myself that can be considered a luxury and not a necessity is monumental and something I have never done.

I left the session feeling on top of the world. My therapist, being the incredible woman she is, asked me, “what can I do to support you Nicole?” – I felt empowered and loved. I don’t even know how to express the gratitude I feel – I got home and started cooking hahaha! It was really well received and appreciated by both my housemates. A friend of mine is going to Sydney into an incredible treatment centre there and threw out randomly, when I mentioned my dream of going to Sydney, that I should come visit while she is in there. She totally planted the seed. And she is my best friend. I continued cooking and then got a reach out call from another member, who is a good friend of us both. She said she had the dream of going to Sydney to check out the fellowship and I said, “well I’m going on the 21st to go and visit….”, she immediately jumped on the bandwagon and asked to join. She said she was bad at organising so if I could do that she’d book her flight.

This was God’s will. If it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t have been motivated to do anything. If it wasn’t for the money program, I would have tried to do the booking all in hiding. Instead I voiced it and openly spoke about budget with my housemate. She put me onto the best car rental place, which cut the car hire costs in half – Vehicle Rent – you’re welcome 😉 hahaha – Anyway, the end result is I booked a holiday that was $100 under my budget and it will become even cheaper, because when I spoke to this other member this morning, she has booked her flights, so accommodation and car gets halved again! WINNING!!! The best part is the friend I am going to see, thinks that only I am coming… The look on her face when she sees both of us arriving is the type of thing that I live for.

It’s the simple things in life. Always through the most amount of pain, do I gain the greatest learning. Today I am beyond grateful. I am so lucky! My life is changing course and there is some beautiful scenery ahead AND I am walking hand in hand with God… Suddenly my life doesn’t feel empty or lonely anymore.

C’mon Australia, Catch up!!!

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If a multicultural college can get behind gay marriage, with students from countries whose core beliefs are relatively homophobic, to say the least. Why can’t the Australian government?

On Saturday (26 August 2017) we will all march in Melbourne for Marriage Equality. Gay People, Lesbian People, Transgender People, Straight People, Intersex People, Bisexual People… We are all just People!!! Why be the breeding ground for discrimination? I can’t help who I am, nor can I help who I love, why should I be punished for it?

Love is Love and People are People… It doesn’t matter what your preference is!

Spiritual Sulk

 

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I’ve had a bit of a full on 3 days. I found myself in bed by 8:30pm last night, totally exhausted. I have been experiencing some pretty amazing intrigue. I was in a huge amount of obsession about it, until I threw in the towel and agreed to go on a sober date with her. I calmed down and accepted that it was going to happen and I was going with the intention of discovering the truth. Either I would have gone and bursted the fantasy bubble, or I would have found myself really liking her.

Both options sounded pretty good to me, until I had my therapy session and we spoke about those darn red flags and the fact that I haven’t even come off my training wheels yet in the love department. My therapist suggested I go and that it was simply a date and it was really either going to be all or nothing… We spoke about the fact that this woman only got out of a relationship 4 months ago, which was actually a big red flag for me and secondly she shares a very small 12 step fellowship with me, so if it doesn’t work, there may be some consequences and limitations around which meetings I can go to etc.

I sat through the entire session, convinced I was going to meet her on Saturday to burst the bubble. When I got home I didn’t do much, because the rest of the session was quite confronting and I had been smacked emotionally. I spoke to the girl before going to bed and the conversation was heavenly. She played me a song and I fell asleep totally peaceful. The last part of my dream before I woke up was of me kissing her… It was incredible! It was at that moment (or at least the moment when I woke up) that I realised that if the bubble got burst it would be ideal, but what if it didn’t? I would be in some major trouble!!! If I went out and had a really meaningful date and developed even more feelings there would be absolutely NO way of backing out of it. So despairingly and reluctantly, I called it off. I am angry with myself for doing it and I have to talk myself back into the decision every hour or so, but I know it’s the right thing… The timing is off.

It’s short term pain for long term gain. My therapist has got more of an issue than I do about dating someone in 12 step, what I do have an issue with is the fact that after 4 months, I am probably just the rebound and thats not going to change without some accumulation of time. So I have to hit the pause button. I think I will probably need to date a few people out of fellowship first so I can loose the training wheels before I go stuffing up so close to home.

I say all of this with my arms folded across my chest, like a kid whose just had their toys taken away from them. I was feeling sulky and very sorry for myself. I was doing loads of step work for some relief, but the obsession first thing is really hard to beat. It slips in the door before any program can and I find myself loosing time stuck in the fantasy of what I think will be (which is probably the furtherest thing from the truth). I had to hammer out my step work, pray, write about it and listen for God’s answer. I took my computer out into the kitchen sitting area, I started doing even more step work – Then God decided to come in.

I got a phone call from my team leader. He called to offer me the job that I have been dreaming about, just out of the blue like that. I honestly expressed my excitement and this coming Monday the big boss is going to call me to discuss further. The job is as a case manager. I only started working in the industry 6 months ago and have only just started studying. I got the job I was hoping to get at the end of my diploma now and I didn’t have to do anything to get it. I just had to keep showing up and putting one foot in front of the other. The universe rewards good actions and God is looking after me when I am sad. I am grateful and lucky and so freaking blessed! A dream life is unfolding in front of my eyes. Sometimes I have to make some really tough decisions, but thats ok, because if I just keep putting myself first God gives me a life beyond my wildest dreams. God gives me a life worth staying sober for.

Sober Dating Hey?

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So I have had an interesting day to say the least. When I asked for God’s will this morning as per my 10th step and listened out for it, the only thing that came up was sleep. So I went back to sleep for an hour and when I woke up, I saw that the volunteering I do was cancelled due to bad weather. This was such a blessing as I went straight back to sleep and woke up at 8:30am, which was heavenly.

I got myself into a spin, because after 2 hours of solid program work, I picked up the phone to an intrigue. I spoke to her for an hour and the conversation was funny and cool and something I ended up judging myself on, because “I’m not ready!”. I started having “it’s the end of the world” kind of thinking, as I have wasted my whole day just talking to this woman and obsessing about her, I shouldn’t be doing this and I am in so much trouble! My head was firing thoughts like a machine gun and I felt frantic and a bit ashamed.

Instead of doing what I’ve always done and kept these feelings to myself. I shared it with other members, then my action buddy called me. After listing the actions I had accomplished, despite my intrigue, I was actually quite proud of myself. I kept feeling like I was putting my life on hold, when in actual fact my uni work, program, admin and business card design were all going off… Hell I even typed up the minutes for a new 12 step relationship meeting I have the pleasure of being part of opening. I settled after I had the opportunity to acknowledge my work. Then, as if God was watching, just waiting for the opportune moment. My sponsor called me out of the blue. She wanted to share some of her stuff and because we were a mutual support source for each other, before we commenced with the whole sponsor/sponsee relationship… I was able to hear her out and be her support, while sharing my story and gaining some great insight and guidance.

So the result?… Sober dating! Hahaha!!! I never thought I’d see the day I could say that and actually be happy with the words I am putting down. But what a relief!!! All that frantic energy is gone. It’s like I stopped feeling like I was failing this whole thing and just accepted that this was the end goal anyway. I am not going off to marry this girl. I am just going to meet up every now and again and get to know her. That 8 months of abstinence will give me a good enough perspective on what I want and what I don’t. It’s ok to trust that! And if it gets too much, as per my housemate’s suggestion, I can take a time out. A few days or a week, just to reflect, find myself and reassess.

We’ll go to the park on Saturday and just spend time getting to know each other. Hahaha, feels healthy. I am happy. I was frazzled, I applied program and… Voila! Serenity 😉