The Break Up

Sometimes I race through life, trying to do it all at once. I think it’s because I don’t look after myself, so the fear of morality is a clear and present danger.

It is fascinating how easily I can avoid feelings if I keep busy enough.

Until I stop because life stopped me. A slippery driveway and a large bin undid me, and now I type this with a broken wrist and one hand

Forced rest.

Up to this point, I have been working 14-16 hour days. By choice because I live in an alternative reality of having to do everything all at once because you never know what will happen and my inner scarcity panic merchant tells me I must do it all now, just in case.

The morning of the fall, I had been at the gym where I am attempting to become fitter. I was under the guidance of a trainer who looks at me like I am already a failure.

This was our second session.

I had asked for a trainer who wouldn’t shame me. Who would work with me gently. Who could hold my hand as I started to gain muscle and work myself out, and ground my body.

I have a self-care deficit from having to care for others since childhood, so this was vitally important. Perhaps what I needed doesn’t exist, but I digress in this plus-sized dress.

That morning the trainer told me to get onto a machine that I am sure was used in Seville in the 1400s, and looked about as doable as me winning the Nobel Prize for Physics.

I suggested I wasn’t okay with this, but she ignored me. Asked me my weight, then asked me again to repeat it, as though she didn’t hear me correctly, so she could put in the correct weight stacks and then told me to get on it. Shame was rising. I climbed onto the machine and then went down for the first time that morning.

I failed to lift my own weight as I am a planet, and I went slamming down onto the floor where she proceeded to call out my name as though I had done something wrong while the clatter of the weight stacks reminded everyone there was an interloper in the room.

I was then banished to look in the mirror and do repeated arm curls where I felt tears fall as I hid them from her. This was why I didn’t want to go to the gym. This is why fat people don’t go to gyms.

Thirty minutes later, I broke my wrist. Talk about not wanting to go back there!

My friend who does reiki asked me what was I trying to take a break from? Myself, I thought. The ridiculous workload that I put on myself. Saying yes to everything just in case. Eating everything, just in case. Doing everything, just in case. Huge goals and short time limes and the feeling of responsibility I have to do it all, just in case.

I drove myself to the hospital with my broken wrist. I drove home from the hospital with my wrist in plaster. I went back to work. I still wasn’t getting it.

I worked the next day in the office. I went to the doctor who told me to stop working.

I worked the next day.

Today I stopped.

My friend Dora, one of the smartest women in HR in Melbourne, asked me why I was working so hard when no one cared about my thoughts or opinions. They don’t care she reminded me. She is right. Nobody cares.

My husband’s work sent me flowers, so that’s nice. Pale pink, dusky roses. I love roses.

I was working to avoid the deepest feelings of pain at not being loved and trying to win everyone’s approval all the time.

I worked so hard because it meant I didn’t have to look in the mirror while I did arm curls. I worked so hard so I could avoid the pain of loneliness.

I worked so hard because I wanted to be valuable to others.

I worked because I don’t know what else to do.

I worked to avoid the feelings of being with myself.

Today, I have drawn up my letter, and I have stopped.

I am taking the break seriously. Enough.

Onwards.

My 22nd Letter To You

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Hello my friend,

How are you? I was thinking about you the other night because I watched that film About Time. You know I love it, and there is a line that I thought you might like.

“I'd only give one piece of advice to anyone marrying. We're all quite similar in the end. We all get old and tell the same tales too many times. But try and marry someone kind.”

Kindness is under rated when you’re young but gosh it matters when you get older, doesn’t it?

I have seen people marry for money, for beauty, for lust and for a need to have babies, but none of them lasted because they didn’t marry kind people.

Kindness becomes more important as you get older because you begin to understand there are limited years left and who wants to spend them with people who are selfish. You know you will make mistakes and responding kindly is a choice and one you want to make. You know that kindness is all there is because nothing matters enough to be a total, nasty prick.

Also, Kindness lengthens your lifespan and improves heart health, which makes assholes less attractive to be around.

As a teenager, I remember the kind boys weren’t the one the girls wanted, they wanted the angry, difficult boys, the ones who spoke back to teachers and smoked in the laneways near the train station. The boys wanted the girls with snarls on their faces and those who played with their hearts for sport and who would tease and say cruel things.

Now, it seems kindness is all anyone our age wants. We can see why it matters, and we can see how it helps. We know what the deep cut of unkindness feels like.

We can be kind to others.

We can be kind to the environment and kind to animals.

And we can be kind to ourselves.

I wonder if you have been kind to yourself lately. I know you have had a lot going on, and I know you’re working super hard. It’s intense and I respect that but please be good to yourself. Good sleep, good food, being around good people, that sort of thing.

Kind people are the best people.

Choosing kindness isn’t always easy, especially when faced with the choice to be right, but sometimes it is the best answer. Kindness doesn’t cost anything but for some, the loss of ego is everything, so they choose to be selfish or cruel or nasty. Proving your own intelligence to make yourself feel better and others feel bad isn’t kind.

I remember once someone said to be, ‘nice means nothing and kindness means everything’ and I think they are right. I can be nice, but I would rather be kind.

Kindness, like positivity, is contagious and this is the only way we can help ourselves and the world around us.

Choose kindness every time.

Be kind to yourself, my friend.

I love you.

Kate

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August has been a total...

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Hello!

I haven’t forgotten about you but to say I have over committed in August would be an understatement and I am just coming out of the pointy end now.

August has kicked my arse like a mother fucker.

But I think anything is bearable if there is an end date, so as I limp through August, I can see the light becoming brighter with every day that I cross-off the calendar.

I delivered my book to my publisher very late last night. It was healing and beautiful to write. I hope it is seen that way when it is out in the world in 2020. I have dedicated it to my Grandmothers’, as it’s a Grandmother sort of a book and they were both so special and kind to me. I was lucky to have them in my life for as long as I did. And I am so grateful my daughter had special memories of one of them in particular.

This is really the first book I have written since my Father died nearly five years ago. It feels right and it feels where I am supposed to be. I think I forgot who I was for a long time. I cared for so many other people in the last five years that I forgot to care for myself, which I chose to do, so don’t feel sorry for me please. But today I started with a personal trainer because I am in my 40’s and I need to get my shit together.

It was awful and good at the same time and now my stomach hurts and I have a sweaty hairstyle but I feel better for doing it. I think I need to approach exercise like cleaning my teeth. You just have to do it. It’s okay not to like doing it but you still have to do it. I sit in a chair all day as a job, so this will be good to release the hunch I am currently growing, and I do not mean a wise insight!

I saw my daughter for the first time in seven months. She was back for a whirlwind time and then back to uni and her boyfriend and her very busy life over the seas. We talk all the time but it’s not the same as seeing her in person. I realised how much our relationship has shifted and it was nice. I think parenting goes a bit sour when you forget that you have adult children, and treat them like they’re still naive and unaware. She’s doing her thing and doing it well and all I can do is support and cheer from the sidelines. She’s playing her own game now and it’s amazing to watch.

I have had some lovely chats with friends lately. My dear friend Fiona calls friends your logical family as opposed to your biological family. I love my friends so much. I was talking to my friend Anna last night whose Mum was like a Mum to me and we were laughing about her Mum’s antics and I felt such love for her. We call each other our soul sisters as lost our sisters, in difference circumstances but still, we are biologically sister-less together but logically sisters by choice. There is a sense of understanding and patience with friends you have had for a long time. We get why some things are hard because we know the history and the loss, the arguments and the pain. We know where the wounds are and we respect that.

Tonight I am off to see my son play lots of music for a competition and I am taking his best friend who lived with us for a while and who is also a talented DJ who just won a big competition so it will be fun and I can’t wait to see all the music. My son’s sweet girlfriend is so excited to see him play also, that support is always so lovely and important from the ones who love you.

That’s it for me. I hope you are well and being good to yourself and others.

I missed you.

Kate

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