I didn’t report it

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Photo by Sunyu on Unsplash

*TRIGGER WARNING: This piece contains details of a sexual assault that may be distressing to some readers*

There are stories we tell ourselves about who we are. Stories that we can build an identity around. These stories will shape and shift the reactions we have in our attempts to maintain a cohesive sense of ourselves.

I told myself I was an advocate. I was someone who would go into the fray for those unable to do it for themselves. I was going to address the injustices I saw. Push back against the inequality. …

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Photo by Rodrigo Pereira on Unsplash

I began wearing makeup consistently at the tender age of 15. A rather shocking 22 years ago. My mother held out until the acne erupted and she reluctantly gave in in the hope it would make cure me of some of my chronic insecurity.

I told myself the makeup helped. It really just confirmed the hatred I felt for my face was justified. I began to feed this hatred through the engagement in a new and complex daily routine. The make up that was readily available to me fed me the message that I should hide. …

Admitting you are unable to is the easy part

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Photo by Ales Nesetril on Unsplash

8:30pm. Hail from the brief spring storm is slowly melting from the window. Just off the nightly phone call my partner and I use to debrief and stay connected I am aware I am feeling mildly agitated. I said I was going to bed, but despite yawning and heavy limbs my mind will not rest. With a combination of awareness and dismissal I pick up my phone and click on the first of three news apps. At 9:30pm I turn my lights off. I am still awake at midnight.

The confronting thing for me about this anecdote is registering that…

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Photo by Fabrizio Verrecchia on Unsplash

It still takes me by surprise. The gradual build up is subtle, so broadly spread that it takes a while to feel it. When I do, the pressure is intense. It flattens me, exhausts me, belittles all I know of myself. So much noise.

Conforming to arbitrary standards was the realm of my 20s. All the shoulds. How I should look. What I should value. How my life should look as a functional adult. What I should strive to achieve. Now, deep into my 30s, I find myself increasingly aware of the negative impacts those shoulds have had on me…

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Photo by Ilnur Kalimullin on Unsplash

What if you didn’t learn a new language?

What if you didn’t conquer a new skill?

What if you didn’t perfect the bullet journal?

What if you didn’t complete an online course?

What if you didn’t read that book gathering dust on your bookshelf?

What if you didn’t master an instrument?

What if you used this time to do nothing?

We exist in a world obsessed with doing. To make this moment count we are supposed to come out of it with something to show the world. We are still expected to achieve.

What would happen if you chose to…

The Sales Pitch we are all falling for

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Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

Sometime in the last 10 years the idea of being comfortable in any aspect of your life became distasteful. It has come to represent a life poorly lived, one to be pitied for its pathetic nature.

Are you comfortable in your relationship? Quick! Book a romantic holiday, go out to dinner, invest in your appearance lest your relationship fall victim to this insidious beast we call ‘comfort’.

Are you comfortable with your life? You are clearly not growing and developing to become the most magnificent version of yourself. That comfort is restricting you, it’s reducing you, and it must be…

A story of cervical cancer

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Photo by K. Mitch Hodge on Unsplash

This morning my sister in law, Michelle, passed away in her mother’s arms. Next month she should have celebrated her 36th birthday.

Her story is one of silence and fear. It is a story of decisions made with irreversible consequences. It is the story of someone deeply loved whose absence leaves a gaping hole in many a life.

The dangerous game of denial began early on. When her periods became irregular at the age of 32 she told no one. When the bleeding became heavier and the fatigue increased she stayed silent.

She began bleeding after sex just after her…

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Photo by Mariana B. on Unsplash

Christmas comes with complex emotions for many. For the single folks, or those estranged from loved ones, the barrage of advertising and entertainment idolising having a significant other or family can be othering. Stories about togetherness, happiness and kindness can poke at the wounds of even the strongest ego.

My story is one of those that does not fit. My mind has strong links between pain, fear and Christmas cheer. Happy planning of Christmas parties causes my heart to race and my head to shut down. …

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Photo by Caleb Jones on Unsplash

In a time when claiming existential crisis is the latest accessory comes a strange new solution. Finding your ‘true path’. In the same vein as ‘find your passion’ this advice is intentionally ambiguous and, let’s be honest, yet more pseudo-spirituality for the religiously disinclined.

We are told that if choose to live intentionally and listen to our ‘authentic self’, we will find the path in this life that is right for us. Innate within this idea is the statement that up unto this point your path has been the wrong one. A path led and defined by others.

So much…

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Photo by Karim MANJRA on Unsplash

It’s almost 2 years since I became a widow. Since I went from Mrs to Ms.

In the same moment my children lost their father and their sense of security. Helping my 4-year-old daughter say her goodbyes to her beloved daddy on Christmas Eve marked my first true understanding of the word broken.

The next morning was Christmas. We were supposed to host, and my daughter needed this to still happen. It became the first of many lessons I would learn by her lead. …

Living Label Free

Taking the road less travelled.

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