I think what happened is, I got blue because life changed with the sudden death of a friend who is so entangled it my identity that every single childhood memory I have involves us laughing together. Every place I love from that time in my life I love because we had fun there together.
Who wants to read a sad blog? Who wants to see my shades of blue splattered messily all over this page? So I judged, and I stopped, and oh boy has it been building up.
On Tuesday the 26th of May it happened again. My darling Rel slipped away that morning after fighting so hard, and loving so hard, and laughing this incredible laugh that everyone is now talking about, all the time. So infectious and marvelous. Bless her. I can't stop watching this video that some took of her at Burning Man a few years ago, just jumping on a trampoline and smiling. It's so comforting to see her and hear her voice.
So after sweet Jordan died last year, Rel was my oldest friend. You know, the kind that you're still hanging out with and in regular contact with. My last text to her was "Omg old school Neighbours with Skye and Boyd is on ch 11". That kind of friend.
Well, forget hiding in a corner and disappearing just because I'm sad and don't want to piss people off. This time is different.
Hi everyone - how ya doin? I need my people around me. I've got that Life Is Short fire in my belly so let's collaborate and get excellent things happening. Rel was thirty years old and I am 32 and it's not good enough to get overwhelmed and fade into it.
This weekend just passed I had a life-changing time at the Abbotsford Convent. I know - so many people do! All that old nun energy is ripe and sparkly! Clare Bowditch started this pozible campaign to launch Big Hearted Business a little while back. They were offering tickets to a conference so I bought one with the last dollars I had in the world because hot dog, I believe in the magic that woman makes on this planet.
First time I knew about Clare was at Meredith Music Festival in 2002 (I think?), she was the first act on and it was raining and there were a few of us standing there with umbrellas while everyone was pitching tents and she spoke about an album that they'd made called Autumn Bone but hadn't had the money to release - so if anyone liked what they were doing could they please, pretty please, pre-order a copy after they'd finished on stage?
The rest is history. What a powerhouse of creative energy! Love love love her work. All of it. Remember when Clare was on Q&A and was probably the first person in history to actually be realistic and not talk a whole lot of crap on that show? Gold.
Anywho, bought a ticket to that conference and it was a hum dinger. You know when good things happen in your life and you find yourself standing up a whole lot straighter than you ever knew you could? It was one of those things. Everyone I met was completely ace and absolutely buzzing with that creative energy where you know they'll make the world better if they're supported and someone helps them with their marketing and bookwork childcare and stuff.
I won't go into too much detail of what happened there, I need to go through approximately 80 pages of scrawled notes to get that out on the Mac (project pending).
But what I will share now is the absolute maelstrom of ideas I have pac-manning around in my noggin, wanting to get out.
We spent a lot of time focusing on what our bigger story is. It's pretty simple for me. I need to feel proud of what I'm contributing. I need to know that lives have been improved and expanded and happiness has been unlocked. In particular that women have been empowered. Men too, but mostly women. Statistically men have oodles of power already so let's even the score a bit.
I'd like to share what I need to happen in my life.
So. At the moment this is what's going on:
- I'm a celebrant so I marry people and do commitment ceremonies and name babies. LOVE it. I love love, I'm a big goonie-eyed love nut.
- I'm a broadcaster at a community radio station. I focus on local and independent music. In my own small way, giving a voice and air time to the creative passionates. Love it.
- I'm a teacher. I deliver a few short courses a year at the same radio station, and by the end of the five weeks my little radio babies fly out of the nest and make their own radio (if they finish their demo. Why don't more of them do that? They all promise me they will?!)
- Other random things like DJing at events, doing broadcasting workshops in rural communities to empower minority groups to have a voice, being filmed for educational DVDs about podcasting and other aspects of broadcasting, whatever else pops up.
- And here's the big whammy. Large chunks of my life are spent dealing with illness. I am not a well lady. As much as I don't talk about it (see previous message about not wanting to piss people off). For the past nine years I've had chronic pain, and for the last three years chronic fatigue.
This did not come from doing things that I do not love. I was embarking on a brilliant and fulfilling career as an Auslan interpreter. I had never loved anything more in my life. Then illness came along and kapow, I have about 20% of the energy most people have.
How does it feel? It literally feels like jetlag and a hangover and like I have a cold and have been in a small car accident, every single day. Some days are better than others. I am really fricken tired. When I go to gigs and see music (all seated these days) it hurts to applaud. I get a lot of migraines. I have not accepted it. Rel was the one person I talked to about that stuff who had the capacity to understand it at a cellular level. I am grieving that loss as well.
I loved that about her - she was dealing with some incredibly challenging things daily (high pain levels, terminal diagnosis, keeping up that hope) and despite that she never caved into herself and forgot about the situations of others. If someone had stubbed their toe she would give them as much sympathy as a fellow friend with cancer. She understood what I understand - that pain is not a competition, and the fact that someone else is worse off does NOT make my suffering any better. Everyone has something they're dealing with. They may have an asshole for a boss who makes their life hell - there's no way I'm going to play the "well I'm a sick lady" card because their pain is every bit as valid and real as mine.
It's not all bad. It led me to change of career to the things mentioned above. I have been forced to ensure I have very flexible working hours. That's pretty cool - it means I can be energised at home by the love of my dogs and my cat and my chickens. It's a scientific fact that following free-range chickens around the garden makes people feel better. They're so funny.
My partner is amazing and she loves me because of every other aspect of me. She can see past the pain. I love her so much I could explode because of everything she is and everything we will become together.
I have literally L I T E R A L L Y tried everything money can buy to be well. That's a lot of money. I have a supportive family. I am so freaking lucky. I believe that one day I will be well. It's challenging to be patient about that as well as fiery and passionate and having faith and getting the oomph to keep turning those stones over.
I could list all the things I've tried but we'd be here all day. I've already dwelled too long.
Moving on - the ideas that I desperately want to put into place. Also I'm nervous that people won't like me if they know what's really going on. It feels very important to slap on a happy face and manufacture energy that isn't there, but bugger that.
Suddenly feeling really, really timid about putting all of these things down on the screen. When in doubt - do something! If I'm going to fail, I'll fail while daring greatly (thanks Catherine Deveny for the mega pep talk at BHB on the weekend).
Public speaking classes
We've all heard that statistic about public speaking being one of the most stressful things we can do in life, right? Man - I love it! I can't believe what power and energy it brings to communicate an idea effectively that opens doors in other people's heads.
I think a lot of women lack the confidence to stand up and be heard, so I'd like to create a safe space for The Ladies to work towards it. It would be fun and funny and exciting and scary and ultimately (the magic word) empowering.
I can see it branching off into public speaking for kids as well. Kids need to be heard just as much as adults - they have the most brilliant ideas, and sometimes the message gets a bit muddled on the way out.
Ceremony and ritual
I'm a big fan of these concepts, see celebrancy stuff above, but what about the healing power of ceremony and ritual to recover from horrific events in life? We have a big party when people get married. The reason we get together is as a community to pause and reflect on what that means to the group as a whole. Everyone is impacted by a marriage. What about divorce? What about sexual assault? What about abuse perpetrated on women and children in what is meant to be the safest spaces in their lives?
Those women and those children need to recover the parts of themselves after going through that trauma. Everyone in a community is impacted when violence occurs, or a marriage breaks apart. Spaces need to be reclaimed. Parts of their souls need to be returned to them.
I'd like to work on some sort of ceremony or ritual where a group can surround those people and help them to heal. That shame has no place in. So they can be tall again.
My partner and I want to have babies. We have a sperm donor, we have the turkey baster, we have no money, but we have a house and we want babies. I see this as a major creative project in itself. We are practically gagging for babies! I want to blog about that. I never knew it was possible until I asked two amazing women I know who have the same pain stuff as me, who both have two babies (duh, Jenny) and they said it had healed them like nothing else has. All that love. It's possible and I CAN do it even though my body is somewhat defective. I love love! As if I wouldn't want babies! If I blog about it then more people in my situation can get another perspective and maybe face their own fears and take that leap. Babies.
Ok well that's me. What are you burning to do, be, create? Love to hear from you.
Also love to hear from you if you're interested in collaborating in any of these ideas (except the babies, we pretty much have that covered thanks).
This is in my head today, thinking about all this. Just beautiful.