Authenticity

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A dear friend sent me this awkward/sad video of Mitt Romney‘s interaction with a gay war veteran last year:

Mitt Romney Meets Gay War Veteran

Two things struck me – the gay veteran is just beautiful and his emotional appeal for equal rights (no matter who you love) rings very true for me. The second is, look into Mitt’s eyes when he’s listening to the veteran. I genuinely believe he looks heart broken and so compassionate, it doesn’t feel like awkwardness to me. I think he really feels for the veteran and is heart broken by what he’s about to have to say to tow the party line. The awkwardness comes when he speaks.

From what I hear, Mitt was a very moderate governor who believed in gay and abortion rights and has now flip flopped to appease all the hard conservative right that seems to have become the base of his party. I felt heart broken for both of them.  And a little wistful.  For authentic leadership.

You see, to my way of thinking, any leader (no matter what their political orientation) MUST display authenticity thereby demonstrating his trusworthiness.  Take Chris Christie for example.  Now I’m a democrat but I would vote for this guy hands down for president (except if he was running against Hil-girl) because he is just so damn authentic and committed to making the politics of his state work (read: willing to compromise his own principles to achieve common goals).  I was completely sold on Christie after I saw him on the Oprah show, just out of who he was being.  There is something about his balls out, go with my gut manner that tells me he has nothing to hide and is not trying to manipulate anyone or anything.  Even thought I don’t agree with some of his principles and policies, I would vote for him because I can trust him.  Trust him to be his word and to make compromises for the common good.

Poor Mitt Romney, he looks so sad for the veteran.

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Depression

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I haven’t been writing in ages and, to be honest, it’s because I haven’t been happy.  Ever since Tim returned from his work trip of six weeks in July, I’ve felt like I’m in a “normal”, hum drum relationship – the magic has worn off and I don’t feel like I’m living my dream anymore.  Curious that this was somehow not all that it seemed and at the depth of my depression, I was very glad when my good friend Manal, who leads courses for breakthrough personal development company Landmark Education, came to town to lead the Forum.

I spent some time with her and in the course and, seemingly magically, I was suddenly seeing Tim the way I used to and so much love was present.  I can’t put my finger on exactly what it was that had the way I see him alter but I’m awfully grateful it happened – something, one of the barriers to who I really am was removed.

I actually would like to get to the source of my depression as I don’t want to stay medicated for the rest of my life.  I’ve started taking half a prozac daily again after coming off them because I had been feeling so good.  Is it chemical?  Well, probably not, given that I can alter it without taking the meds.  Is it genetic?  Like my father and his family were terribly negative, I actually couldn’t stand being around them when I was young.  It kind of feels like some kind of curse that got passed down.  Regardless, I am grateful for both my chemical and philosophical relief.

I haven’t been writing because I didn’t want to share how miserable I was with everyone but Tim says people would much rather hear what’s really going on than just my Polyanna fairytale version.  So, here goes…

 

Beauty

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When I was 23 and a model in Sydney, I had a boyfriend who was also a model and he used to say that some of the most beautiful people on the outside are the ugliest on the inside.

I know all about that.  Lately, as I transition into my late 30s, I’m obsessed with being the most desired woman in any situation.  I’m not sure if it’s because in Texas, I encounter so few women who are more attractive than me – as opposed to Perth where everyone is beautiful and 21 and I somehow managed to accept my ever-extending age gracefully.  But I can’t help but admit, it’s become a little sad.  I look at my wrinkles and I feel my power slipping away.  For ages, I’ve made beauty my one shining achievement – not like Liz Gilbert who is a standout author.  What do I do now that it’s fading?  Botox?  Resist and fight like hell against the current of life (as I have done with most everything else that I don’t like about this life).

As my beloved Tim told me this morning, “You can’t do that forever, you’re getting old.”  Why, after all these years of looking for a man who’ll love me for who I am, am I suddenly wanting him to pay attention to my attractiveness.  Why do I hate that he doesn’t care what I wear, prefers me in sweats with no makeup and that lingerie is completely lost on him.  I somehow desperately want to be validated for that part of me and him resisting it or doing whatever he’s doing is turning me off.  I find I’m not attracted to him sexually, he doesn’t turn me on with the things he does to me and I’m starting to be attracted to other men.

How does this all play out?  Which part is responsible for which?  Is it him?  Is it me?  No doubt it’s both of us and I’m sure he’s got something going on where he has suppressed his raw masculinity so resists the feminine power of beauty.  I feel really suppressed and shut down.  And starved, sexually.  And ignored.

I really don’t know how much longer I can keep this up, I’ve even started to entertain thoughts of somehow managing to have an affair while he’s away for six weeks.  And I NEVER condone or entertain the idea of cheating.

Is it just, after 8 months of being together and 6 months of living together, this is where all couples end up?  But right from the start I knew he wasn’t what I liked in bed.  And it’s only got worse the more familiar we get with each other.  I’ve had good lovers before and I knew they were good on the very first night.  Maybe that one in particular that I’m thinking about right now has spoiled me for life.  And what part does “complementary childhood wounding creating chemistry” play in all this?  I mean, Mr Sexual Superstar was also the one who completely eviscerated me, threw me into depression, anxiety, chronic and adrenal fatigue, from which I had to escape to another country (and another man) to recover.

BUT I’M STILL NOT SATISFIED.  Tim doesn’t meet me in that place somewhere between chemistry, ego, identity and childhood wounding.  The place that I didn’t think would or should matter when I finally found the man who knows how to fulfill me emotionally.  And yet, here I am, in an ego/sex quandary.  Does every woman want to be validated for her beauty and attractiveness or am I being an ego-maniac/love addict?

I’m an extremely sensual woman but also emotional and so very loving.  Tim gives me everything emotionally but he’s just not sensual or, dare I say it, classy.  Whoever would have thought that would be important to me?  He’s a big-hearted, balls out, heart on his sleeve kinda guy – kind of reminds me of those beautiful people I saw in the Special Olympics.  But I also want somebody who will get dressed up, take me to nice places and enjoy the finer things in life with me…. Am I asking too much?

Vaginas

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Logo of the 2006 Special Olympics USA National...

Logo of the 2006 Special Olympics USA National Games (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My vagina’s angry and I need to take myself to a time out. No Austin for me this weekend, no.
I’ve been crazy all week, starting with leaving the country music bar and yelling at Tim on Saturday night in an alley way while he withdrew money for me to go and spend elsewhere. I don’t know if it’s because I went off my cleanse, suddenly, in a big way with all sorts of booze and Mexican food (oh and yummy chocolate and cheese at Wholefoods) or because I’m tapering off my antidepressants that make me sleepy or because I just got a super early dose of PMT starting right in the middle of my cycle (Tim LOVES that) or all three. I don’t remember being this crazy before the meds – just sick, sad and really exhausted.
But I’ve been like really unhappy with EVERYTHING, unable to appreciate anything and with this huge, overwhelming, what feels almost psychotic drive to be famous, live in the limelight and get HEAPS of attention. Jesus Christ I’m not 21 anymore.
But it’s not just that. My appetite has returned, I have a voracious appetite for food and for my life which is a good thing.  Back in Australia, I didn’t care what I ate or even did most of the time – almost all of the sweetness of life seemed to have gone.  But it’s just hard now balancing my enjoyment of life with being healthy (and sane).  I’m having all these urges, appetites that perhaps in my former life I would’ve shut down as they weren’t healthy.  But the problem was, I shut down my spirit at the same time.
I do know one thing though, will all this newfound energy and passion I’m experiencing since recovering from cfs, I need to go back to dancing a couple times a week. I’m already at the gym every day and Tim and I joke about sending me twice a day.
The beautiful thing is that we can tell Tim’s friends why I’m not coming to Austin this weekend and, not only do they get it, they don’t make me wrong for it. Here in America, the feminine doesn’t seem to be suppressed, it seems more understood and in general people are given more space to express themselves authentically.  In Australia, we always have to pretend we’re just like men and aren’t allowed to have any emotional or hormonal issues publicly.

Special Olympics
Speaking of people expressing themselves authentically, I’m on the treadmill looking over the running track that looks down onto the basketball courts where the special Olympics are going on and I’m moved, almost to tears by the athletes. In ancient cultures, people with disabilities like down syndrome etc were viewed as special and valuable because they offered wonderful qualities and gifts that others didn’t.
Every time I look up from my screen my eyes fill with tears and I’m struck by an overwhelming urge to volunteer at the next SO. I cant look at them too much because I’m getting embarrassed crying at the gym and thinking this is further evidence of my craziness. There’s just such a “go get ’em” intensity on the faces of the athletes that is so balls out genuine. They don’t seem to be concerned with looking good or even achieving success as we know it. And seeing all their parents and friends cheering for them, they look like they experience a different kind of joy to other sports fans. Boys and girls play together and the boys have their last names on the back of their shirt but the beautiful girl playing in this game has her first name, “Samantha” on hers.
The happiness of the kids doing their stretches with their coach, we just never seem that joyfully happy.
Tim just came up and I told him I’m so moved and inspired that I’m crying. And he said “Oh it’s ok to cry at this. When I volunteered at the Special Olympics, a guy tripped in the 100m sprint and all the athletes stopped and waited for him to get up before they continued.” I’m now a weeping mess of moved inspiration and tears trying to stay on the treadmill. So much beauty and love ❤
This was the best workout ever, way better than reading my Vanity Fair magazine on the treadmill. I’m not so angry anymore…

Dancing in my Underwear

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I used to spend hours dancing alone in my living room, imagining my SAS boyfriend at the time (who was always away), was watching me.  What happened to her? Slightly crazy, zany, passionate woman with dreams.  I decided at some point the things I was feeling were not appropriate and that I needed to grow up.

Coming back from an awesome weekend of partying, indulgence and too much drinking in Austin, I find myself dancing in my underwear again.  I’m slowly tapering off my anti depressants, my energy is returning and so is my passion.  Only thing is, I don’t know what to do with that passion, an energy so powerful that if it’s not channeled, it becomes destructive.  I haven’t felt like this for so many years and I hope that nothing’s wrong with me.  For so long in Australia I’ve been told there is.  Hopefully in America people are granted permission to express their emotions.  When I was younger I always had my dancing as an outlet for passion.  Maybe I need to take a class again.

I’ve finally fallen in love with Austin in all its grunge and weirdness.  I’ve stopped looking for high class Dallas in Austin and begun surrendering to my own inner grunge and weirdness.  The only thing is, me weird involves me sometimes not being completely socially appropriate like on Saturday night when I was out with Captain America‘s beautiful friends (people whom we both love very much and, living a few hours from them, miss very much).  I decided, in a tired, drunken haze that I wasn’t getting enough attention so thought it would be an excellent idea to take it out on Mr Wonderful (>_<).  I really thought causing those sorts of drunken scenes had passed along with my twenties and a wrinkle-free face.  Apparently not.

So, being familiar with causing drunken social scenes amongst people important to my boyfriend, I awoke on Sunday morning with my old bed buddies, shame and guilt, and the fear that I had not only ruined my relationship but my and my beloved’s life.  We met up with two of our friends for brunch and, despite my inner awkwardness, all seemed to be well and us girls ended up going for wine and cheese at Wholefoods later.  What followed was something I had not experienced in Australia with women I hardly know – a conversation in which I got to share and be straight about all the ugly bits of my personality and ego and what had led to my drunken tears the previous night.  And I was not judged or encouraged to change any part of me to fit with social norms.  The opposite in fact, I was accepted, validated and even told I’m not as bad as I think I am.  And my beautiful friend shared with me her vulnerabilities and ugly bits.  That was some of the best wine and cheese I’ve ever drunk and eaten.

So now I’ve got my “me” playlist playing whilst dancing/writing in my underwear and I’m feeling a little uncorked.  I’m slowly letting that girl out from her inner bottle.  I’m wearing brighter colours, not the muted, soft tones I was taking on as dignified and “age appropriate” since I realized I wasn’t Jessica Alba anymore.  My old passion is flowing through me and I must admit to being a little afraid of this energy that moves me but I know that suppressing it led to my illness.  Hopefully now that I’m living in an environment that seems much more accepting of people’s inner lives, I can find the same sort of acceptance for myself.  And finally silence the ghostly voices of my family that I’ve been carrying around inside my head, playing over and over whenever I find a new “something’s wrong with me”.

 

Dishes

I’m just allowing myself to be free, the time to be me, allowing myself to unfold from the inside. And it’s scary. What if I dont have time to do everything that I planned for the morning? Can I trust that if I allow myself to experience what is unfolding, I’ll be ok? That the world won’t fall apart?
Sometimes it’s hard to trust that the universe has got it, to have faith that it will all unfold perfectly if I just follow my instincts, rather than controlling all the outcomes.
So I’m spending this time doing the dishes, listening to new age radio on Pandora and writing instead of completing my tasks for the morning. I wish I could let go of the fear completely but it does feel wonderful.

Bachelorettes

At the bar at Charlie Palmer at The Joule Hotel, Dallas, watching the bachelorette next to me unwrap her presents gleefully and I’m so wanting to participate in her joy. It reminds me of my girlfriends and their special moments but then, for so many of them – baby showers, hens nights, weddings – I just couldn’t participate in the joy. I was so unhappy and very cynical of the joy surrounding me.
Could it be that the measure of joy in my own life is now enough, not only to mirror that which I see around me but also to want to actively participate in it with them. With total strangers?
I’m so happy for her.

Mud

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This one’s for you, Hillary

Sitting here at the Fort Worth mud run, looking at the cute little two year old boy in front of me and eavesdropping on the hot army guys next to me, I’m struck, once again by just how lovely and gorgeous American men are. It’s like the reverse of Australia (especially Perth) where there are an abundance of gorgeous women and the men who treat them like shit are sadly lacking. Here there are droves of gorgeous men, all wanting to get married and the women are not so pretty and don’t treat them nicely. No wonder I get so much attention here. God bless America

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Hearts

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Eat, Pray, Love

Eat, Pray, Love (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m struggling with love.  I’ve been sick/weird/feeling awful again these last few days, with it being really bad yesterday, I went to bed feeling awful and slightly hopeless.  The voice of my brilliant doctor back in Perth in my head, “Your mind controls nothing, you can’t control life, you have to surrender.  This is God talking to you and you will be sick for as long as it takes to listen”.  This morning as I went about my duties in the kitchen, I realized I was doing everything without love.  This hard obsessiveness that my head was driving everything with – “You HAVE to do this for our health, we MUST do this for your health, we have to do this the RIGHT way”.  The problem was, they were all good actions and without them I would probably be really sick but doing them this way is making me sick.  The CONTEXT inside of which they were happening, my head telling me, ordering me like a drill sergeant was just wearing me out.  Exhausting me mentally, emotionally and physically.  No matter how hard I try and how fast I go, I just can’t keep up with my head.  And my nerves were a wreck.

So something inside of me this morning told me that love was missing – I’m eating and I’m praying, maybe I need to be loving.  It reminds me of a passage in Eat Pray Love:

“I call my friend Susan back in New York City one day, and listen as she confides to me, over the typical urban police sirens wailing in the background, the latest details of her latest broken heart.  My voice comes out in the cool, smooth tones of a late-nite, jazz-radio DJ, as I tell her she just has to let go, man, how she’s gotta learn that everything is just perfect as it is already, that the universe provides, baby, that it’s all peace and harmony out there…

I can almost hear her rolling her eyes as she says over the sirens, ‘spoken like a woman who already had four orgasms today’”.

I struggle just to LET GO, it seems my mind has the need to control EVERYTHING.  Not only that, but I seem to have no control over the thoughts that rush in and flood me and leave me feeling so terrible.

This morning I realize everything has to be imbued with love or it won’t work.  I somehow have to connect my heart to all that I do.  That was what was missing for me, my heart.  My head was running everything and making all of us sick.  How do I bring my heart into it?  How do I feel love for myself and life while I’m cleaning the kitchen or working on my immigration paper work.  I have to find a way because doing it all without it is killing me.

Love, feel love.  Let your heart speak and rule.

Caves

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I’d had it out with Tim this afternoon about an issue that has persistently been bothering us and he’d spent the afternoon sulking (or what I thought was sulking because he supposedly didn’t want to take responsibility for what he’d done). So I had it out with him tonight about that. You know, the cave thing men do. When they retreat into their caves after we’ve upset them.
It turns out he wasn’t sulking. Fortunately my man is an excellent communicator and, after some fumbling, managed to say that when he does that, he is feeling bad feelings toward me but he doesn’t think they warrant discussion so he just waits until they pass and he can reconnect again.
So my way of resolving my issues is to talk about them, his way is to wait until they pass so he can connect again. I think there must be some primal thing within men where they know the rage they feel and the damage it can cause so they retreat into their caves so as not to subject us to it.
There you go ladies. Your man is actually protecting you from his bad feelings when he retreats into his cave.
We were both quite teary when I finally got this. It was a very beautiful moment when I realised what he was doing for me.