The trials of Mothers with Daughters

Being a Mum is hard. I know we hear that a lot, but it is true, we worry, fuss, argue and manage the lives of a person that has no idea of the enormity of the job at hand.

I have been criticized by my daughter lately for being too involved in her life and on reflection she is right. Not only am I on the edge of empty nest syndrome, I have no actual life of my own other than work and study and her life is so much more appealing and makes me feel involved and young again.

It is hard to stay quiet when comments are made, it is hard not to question, a look or a smile that is a result of a text or snap.

More over it is hard to watch the mistakes be made, and not interject with advice, as she has told me before, she has to make the mistakes herself to learn. This week has been especially hard as my beautiful girl started out in tears, a boy ofcourse has broken her trust and they are now no longer talking. This boy was very important to her, the one person she could trust and confide in, only to end in lies and pain. I want so badly to fix it, I want to make her world right, but she is her fathers daughter, tough, brutal and unwavering in her decision. Once she makes a decision, she is firm on its delivery.

Lately I have watched the saga that is teenage life, I have had boys turn up and just as quickly leave, I have heard names in hushed conversation and I have asked too many probing questions. I don’t know if I am alone in this, but I want my daughter to be loved, I want her to have someone in her life that she can rely on and know with abject certainty will be there regardless of what life throws at her. I want her to experience that type of relationship, but first I want her to know that she doesn’t need that person, she can be on her own and happy, she can be a success without someone else, she can be amazing without a partner but when she is ready traveling this life with someone is far better than doing it alone.

December 2017 – Home and Benny

Have you ever met a child that is so passionate about something, that they simply blow you away with their knowledge and enthusiasm? I am lucky enough to have a young boy in my life that has this passion with livestock. I have known him from birth and he has always been the animal enthusiast, from kittens, lizards, bugs, chooks, sheep, horses and cattle, not to mention fisherman extraordinaire. Ben is perhaps one of the most learned children at the ripe old age of 9. He took me for a ride on his side by side quad and told me all about the quality of the pasture, the use for the cattle and sheep we looked at and the need for further improvements to become successful breeders. He comes alive with the details of these animals, he knows exactly what he wants. He knows the routines, the future plans and the needs for these animals, and I was in pure awe of this passionate boy.

It made me grateful for all the time I have known him, for his Mum and Dad that I love as though they were blood related and for the opportunity to see him become such a confident and assured boy.

I had a terrific time on the weekend, I had been filled with much anxiety at the thought of returning to Moree, Pally and more over the farm and family home I had driven away from over 18 months ago, with only 1 brief visit in that time, I was very worried about returning, you see it is no longer my home, it was once the place I put my heart and soul into, the home that I decorated, renovated and landscaped to a beautiful oasis. We have had parties and even a wedding on the farm, but now it felt like a stranger to me, there are gaps on the walls where the pictures I took once hung. There are piles of items in dusty corners and there seems to be a lack of love, I feel this desolation very deeply, my home was always a warm and friendly place, it was clean and tidy and stocked with food and drinks. This re-union of soughts left me gutted, I wanted to stay and get it back to its former glory, but to what end ? I honestly thought I would never want to return, I never wanted to go back to those dark days and the feelings they bring to the surface. But my home was not the problem. I can see that now, and it made me want to be back there, back making it the family home again.

So it was a lesson, it was showing me that you should never say never, there is always room for reconciliation and rehabilitation. There is always a chance that you will change your mind, your feelings will change, I was thinking in black and white, I think we all do that when we are in a fragile state, when we are at a low point or when we have reached break point.

It’s OK to change your mind, its OK to admit you were wrong and its OK to start over and do it better the next time, life is about falls and getting back up to go on.

Being a Mum and Moving forward !!!

Am sitting and waiting for my son to arrive at emergency so that I can have his shoulder checked. It’s broken but at this stage we are not sure how badly. A night with mates that turns into a tackle fest and snap…then ofcourse surrounded by experts in the field, they attempt to pop in a definite dislocation…Ummm Wrong! Needless to say I am a typical mother who only wants the best for her boy and is worried sick about the long term prognosis…I mean ofcourse my son is the best mechanic in his field and will be a literal genius in his trade so we simply cannot risk the injury not being seen by the best for the very best outcome…hehehehe

You all may have noticed that I haven’t really been blogging since I sent out the query about what I should study…so the blog silence has actually been a great thing because I have enrolled and been accepted into university …officially a Griffith university student, studying a Bachelor of Social Work. I am aiming to get into Youth work and specifically in our schools. So it’s been a great exciting, scary time for me as I make the mental commitment and now am on my path without fear of failure..I know I can do this and what’s more I really am enjoying the work..although Georgia now says all we do is work or study it’s all for the best!

With the added work load of actual mental work I have managed to also attract to me a lot more work at Woolworths. Lucky for me the wonderful Natasha has taken me onboard in Online and I am now one of the happy, friendly, personal shoppers for online delivery and click and collect. they say that we attract what we hope for and I have literally attracted work 6 days a week and lots of mind expansion in my study. To think that not that long ago I was looking out of my kitchen window and wondering if I was ever going to be able to find a job and whether I would form any type of friendship group in this new town and place I want to call home.

I am so so pleased to have been given the opportunity with Woolworths, you can simply not imagine the amazing people I get to work and joke with and share the journey of their lives. It really is a place of many crazy people….

I have become a part of the Woolworths family and find that I enjoy the time I work, which means it doesn’t feel like I am going to work so much, it is now a 6 day a week position and I couldn’t be happier.

I know that it is not what I want to do for the rest of my life obviously because I really want to do the social working with children, but to come to a new town and know nobody really and then join such a wonderful company has made my transition amazing.

While I have had a lot of ups and downs I find that I am now in the best place possible for mental recovery and inclusion.

And isn’t that the aim, aren’t we all just looking to fit in, aren’t we all just wanting that social group that make us feel accepted and safe? To walk into a store and have a smile received from each staff member, like a club of people that know a secret ..

I am finally home.

We can be fined for J-Walking but bullying causing death is fine….????

In light of one of the biggest campaigns I can remember, the Dollys Dream Foundation has grown in support and love since its inception under the very worst circumstances.

I have had nothing but love and support for Tic, Kate and Meg during a time that is hard enough without the organizational responsibility of a charity to get on its feet.

I have personally been bombarded with questions and in some instances I have had less than positive comments made about this amazing achievement with the anti-bullying campaigning.

Bullying is an epidemic, I have said it before, and now more than ever we are seeing so many more incidents in the media, because the lid has been blown open, it is not an acceptable norm, it is in fact a terrible degrading, leeching disease in the core of us as humans.

Bullying eclipses the generations, no one is free from its touch, it has become a social norm that is no longer questioned, just accepted in a social set. I have talked to generations of family that all suffered varying forms of bullying throughout their life and still to this day we have those that simply cannot leave others alone, it is a simplistic form of tall poppy syndrome in Australia, lets pull down those that have more, want more and could be more because we are lost and shallow ourselves.

It truly is time for accountability. It truly is time for change in our acceptance levels

It truly is time to keep the light on in regards to Bullying in any form and put in place serious laws that will impact those that are at fault. We can get a ticket for speeding in the street under the guise of public safety, but we have no repercussions for an act that is so degrading it can can, will, has caused death. Come on people!!

2018…Maybe now I can be something amazing!

Now its time to breath deeply and look to the future, actually that is everyday, we need to look to the future every moment because we aren’t going back, we can’t change the past, but all our power and success and satisfaction lies in the future and what we can make of it.

I have tried to do so many courses over the course of my adult life and to date I can honestly say I have not successfully finished one, I have passed units and gained credits for subjects and not strung them together to become an actual degree. No, I take that back, I am a qualified Remedial Masseuse with a piece of paper to prove it. Other than that however I have completed no course stream…and that is definitely my goal.

I mean really, I have now jumped from 15000 feet out of a plane and not stuck with study…I have to do it, I will do it, I am going to complete something before my last breath……Now…what do I want to be when I grow up ? Damn it, how do I complete something when I don’t know what I want to really do?

Adulting is hard.

HELP ME

Live your truth Guys !!!

From Bullied to Bully to Parent…

My first memory of bullying was my first day of kindergarten. I remember the moment all so vividly, almost at the top of the stairs to my classroom I accidentally trod on the little girls foot beside me and she turned on me saying…Watch out fatso you could break my foot. That was the beginning of the tormenting from everyone who heard, fatso became the name and the taunting about not going near my big feet lasted years.

I was already the kid with the uniform not like everyone else’s, I was a larger girl, I had the bad haircut and the block fringe and I was the perfect target for bullies because all I wanted to do was fit in, I would do or say anything for attention and I didn’t learn that my behaviour made me a bigger target until Year 6 when I really wanted boys attention and the girls were mercilous at making sure I never got it.

Another local Public School had small numbers but we were far from the landowners children, I was still the large girl and still bullied by the other girls.

Then changing schools briefly to Forbes In NSW was another battle to survive amongst a set of children that were close knit and didn’t want a new girl in their midst, my brother and I were both taunted and we actually both found solace in the library at lunch times.

I feel like I have spent a lifetime walking a tightrope, watching from afar to learn the language of my peer group. learn what the right thing to say might be, copy and mimic to fit in, make up stories to sound better then I was. I got in trouble for my antics, I made up outrageous stories of wealth and privilege because I thought that was what was expected to fit in…I even did a period of time saying I was older then I infact was.

Finally I ended up in Moree at the high school and the true bullies came out, I had my hair pulled, my bag filled with trash and rotten food, I had people sneer and talk about me as I walked past, the library was my safe place at different periods and I continued to try and simulate into the group so that I felt like I fit in. This took a long time’ years to find myself, to realize I didn’t have to impress anyone, I didn’t have to be anyone but me, from there however it is a lot harder to come back from all the lies and attempts to fit in. Girls are so cruel they will like you one day and hate you the next. The competition for boys is great and the need to brag about exploits is greater. All our different upbringings and the different roles our parents played in our lives and the community all affect how we conducted ourselves.

I did nearly 6 months traveling an hour long into and out of town on a bus where everyone barked when I got on and when I got off. I wasn’t perhaps likeable, I must have been obnoxious and needy and that created the hatred. I could be a bully to others as well, if I saw an opening to feel important and better I took it and I’m ashamed to say it. With my own children I have told them these stories and I have explained that people that bully are struggling in some way and those that get bullied are fighting a huge battle as well.

Take your shoes off, what if…they have a hard time at home, bad family circumstances, a disability, an impederment. Just try and remember that people who bully are usually that way because the only time their strong and tough is when they treat others badly, because they perhaps are treated badly at home. They weren’t bought up with the same moral compass we are. Just try and remember we all have a battle we are fighting that no one else can see.

We try and tell our children to stand up against bullies, stop them If we see them. For me I had a guardian angel, her name is Rebecca and forever I will remember her telling the girls to stop pulling my hair and wake up to themselves. She told them that if they touched me again they would deal with her. She was in Year 11 I think at the time and me in Year 8 and forever I am grateful, still today we are friends and I speak of her to my kids at every opportunity. You see the power we have individually. We have the power to change the life of someone being bullied, we can be the reason someone has a lasting beautiful strong memory of goodnesss amongst the darkness and cruelty of taunting children.

All of my experience though is pre-social media. It stopped once I was home. It was always the foreboding in the morning, but my nights were mine.

Now our children are navigating 24 hours a day through the bully minefield.

They are accessible targets always and we are allowing this to happen, we are giving them phones, we are accepting the social norms and expecting our uneducated children to be strong enough to ignore the comments, taunts and threats.

Should we be making a curfew for devices, should we be taking back control of their access because to my thinking it would then stop the consistency of the downward spiral.

Are we to blame for being blasé about their use of these devices. Are we checking what they are doing and saying ? We need to police the behaviour and guide our children until they are able to do it on their own.

So many laws and rules and yet children are dying because we aren’t protecting them from this epidemic.

Live your Truth

Protect your children x

IF NOTHING CHANGES…THEN NOTHING WILL CHANGE

I have been silent since Dollys funeral because, I myself took the day quite hard, so hard in fact that I deactivated my social media. All of it for the day so that I could Breath.

What an emotional time for the teams of Australians that have gotten onboard with the Dollys Dream Campaign to shine a light on Bullying and eradicate suicide in our youth.

I have been absolutely flawed by the response to the Dolly posts and the comments and inboxes I have received in regards to people suffering under the strain and grief of suicide.

There are so many heart wrenching stories, real, brave Australians taking their own lives because the mountains seem too high, the challenges too great. What is going on?

As one friend said, This is not a problem that begun yesterday, this is human nature.

Human nature, survival of the fittest. It is a endemic problem that has been happening since the dawn of time. It is in us to want to be the best, it is in us to break the weak and follow the strong.

So changing the face of human nature is almost a hurdle too great. What we look to achieve is changing the mindset of our children, one at a time so that instead of growing the behaviour, we recognise it, we stamp on it and we change the stigma. When the bully becomes the shunned then we will have won, when the bully is looked down on by all around and made feel small then we have won because there will always be bully’s in our world, but our individual and group reactions to them can be changed, we can stand against the behaviour and we can make them feel bad for their actions.

To all the wonderful people who have reached out and shared their story with me, Thankyou for inviting me into your world, my heart goes out to each and every one of you and I hope that you find peace. The journey of loss is long but the daily walk through the memories can be uplifting.

To the people who have voiced their issues with this campaign, the negative and the concerned, I have not put your words out to the world because causing grief on top of grief benefits no one. There are 3 sides to a story and I understand that there is always more to a story than what we hear, but the end result for everyone is a life lost, a trauma so great that we cannot possibly understand the effects. Parents losing children, Wives losing husbands, siblings gone, the end result is the same, the burden was too much to bear and the life was ended. So you can stand up yourselves, put your own names out there and question the details, but the cause is far greater, the good that can be done is huge and so in the end the loss of life was not for nothing, something amazing grew from it.

LIVE YOUR TRUTH

No one person is to blame, and what good is blame anyway? It wont bring Dolly back..

Dolly Everett took her life on the 3rd of January, she made that decision in part due to the bullying she was subject to.

From this point with the encouragement of Kate and Tick Everett Dolly’s parents and Meg her sister the #stopbullyingnow banner has been sent around on Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat, on my blog it has been read in over 30 countries and been reposted thousands of times, we have seen Matt the Outback Wrangler backing the cause, personal messages from strangers and Akubra Australia showing us the face of little Dolly some 8 years earlier when she was the poster child of their Christmas advertising.

I personally have fielded hundreds of messages and comments. Along with the good there is also the bad, there are extreme reactions to a beautiful child taking her own life. Some have directed their comments like that of a witch hunt for the bullies to be named and shamed. Some feel the government needs to do more, the schools need to be more vigilant and more accountable. Parents need to do more to educate their own children.

Dollys death is a tragedy, a plain and simple tragedy. Could it have been avoided? That is a question no one can answer, a person who commits suicide with 100% intent does not plan to let you know of their choice. I need everyone to understand that there is no blame to be leveled at any 1 person, no good can come from making another child or adult feel like they caused Dollys death. You cannot blame yourself for not seeing the warning signs, you cannot second guess your part in Dollys life choices. Unfortunately Dolly and Dolly alone made this terrible decision and in its wake we all need to recognise why and try and eradicate it from happening to someone else. That is the point of putting Dollys face on this Anti-bullying campaign. She is no longer here to speak out, she wasn’t strong enough in life to stand up so in her death we will stand for her.

So please, be kind to each other, be understanding and tolerant and most of all do not look to blame individuals, that wont bring Dolly back, but instead lets make a stand against the erosion that is Bullying, not only in our schools but also our workplaces and homes.

Smile, Breath Deep and be Grateful

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