On Relationships, Self Care and Role Models

IMG_3501_2Last Saturday morning, Jordan and I loaded up the MINI and drove out to Seville, which sits in the Warburton Valley, just beyond the urban fringe of Melbourne. While everything about the weekend could very easily have set the scene for a sneaky romantic weekend away, we actually went away to celebrate my Lil Sis's Wedding Day. Every part of the weekend was beautiful, relaxed and joyful for all involved. Jordan and I arrived in Seville nice and early and ate a lunch of pasties from the local bakery. We then met up with my Dad, checked into our accommodation at Dalblair Bed & Breakfast (Jordan and I stayed in the beautiful apartment @ Waters Edge), and enjoyed a lazy swim in the pool, before getting ready for the main event of the afternoon.

The view from the window of our accommodation at Dalblair.

The wedding was held at Killara Estate, which provided the perfect backdrop for the Lil Sis and her new husband, to celebrate their marriage - with all three of their beloved staffies in attendance. I don't want to spend too much of this post describing the wedding, as I feel that it's a story the newlyweds to share should they wish to - aside from saying that it was such an honour to share in their day, and to celebrate with them.

What I really want to share with you all, are a few thoughts I've had brewing over the last fortnight since posting about Self Care Sunday - and what even is the point of practicing Self Care?

Last weekend was actually the first time that some of our family and friends had really gotten to hang out with and get to know Jordan properly - and definitely the first time they'd gotten to see us really messing around and having fun together as I kicked off my shoes and we started dancing around, giggling and pretending as if we knew how to lindy-hop. I have it on good authority that a few happy tears were shed by those who've known the Lil Sis and I since we were born, at seeing us both so puke-worthily happy.

IMG_3440Now, the reason I'm sharing all of this, is not to be all, "OMG we had this amazing weekend away! Look how perfect my life is!" After we got home on Sunday, and I'd allowed the events to really sink in, I couldn't help but reflect on how much has changed - and funnily enough, I happened to have a photo which totally highlights that.

Partying on our last night of Art School - Back when we both smoked, and were still just mates who shared a studio space.

This rather unflattering photo of me and Jordan was taken at a time when neither of us were particularly healthy, nor very healthy. To be fair, we'd just pulled an epic couple of weeks at Art School, getting our folios together for submission and assessment at the end of our Third Year of our Painting Major Studies towards the Bachelor of Fine Art, so delirium and sleep deprivation, combined with alcohol, and regular job responsibilities had pretty well hit their peak.

At the time, I was in one of the "On Again" stages of the toxic On-Again-Off-Again, non relationship I had with my ex, I had spent three and a half years dealing with ongoing and complex health issues, and I drank too much too frequently. Shit was very much about to hit the fan, and the next year was to be one of the toughest I've ever experienced.

It strikes me now that so many people (and I know that they're saying this out of love - and partly because they may not have seen me for a while) comment on how happy Jordan makes me. This kind of bothers me a little.

The reason being that while I'm totally happy with Jordan, and I love that he challenges, encourages and supports me, I've worked my freakin' arse off to create a life which supports my own happiness - and I was happy as a Single Crazy Cat Lady.

This, I guess brings me to my thoughts on WHY Self Care Sundays (and self care in general) is so important. For me, self care isn't just about doing one small thing, once a week to make yourself happy. It's about accepting everything about yourself - including the stuff you kind of suck at, and building from there. It's about being the kind of person you love spending all of your time with.

While the purpose of self care is NOT attracting a partner - nor is it about creating the space and opportunity for a partner to come into your life, I have to admit that had I not put the time, effort and consideration into learning to really love the person I am, then I wouldn't have the kind of relationship that I do with Jordan now.

 

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Thus, bringing me to the other big event I attended this week. On Wednesday evening, I headed straight from work to Circa @ The Deck in St. Kilda, for 'An Evening with Lisa Messenger' presented by Suzanne Chadwick of The Connection Exchange.

I actually had the good fortune of seeing Lisa Messenger speak at The Artful Business Conference last year, but missed the opportunity to speak with her one on one.

At that stage (early September), I had literally just started studying Health and Wellness Coaching, and hadn't even set up a blog or Facebook page yet. Lisa was so generous with her time, and her words, and was keen to hear about my journey while she signed my fresh new copies of both of her books. I had already read Daring and Disruptive, but I spent this morning getting stuck into Love and Life, and I've already found myself nodding along with Lisa's story, and feeling as if it reiterates so perfectly what I'm trying to say here.

While I'm not the CEO of a publishing group, nor am I the Editor in Chief of a magazine which is currently sold in 37 countries around the world, one of my favourite things about reading Lisa's work, and especially about having met her in person, is how open she is - and how strongly she believes that anything is possible for any one to achieve - but most of all - how honest and true it feels to hear her say these things.

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When rich white dudes in suits with private school educations speak about achieving success, my eyes honestly glaze over and I feel like poking myself in the eye with a fork. When Lisa speaks about possibility, it FEELS genuinely accessible, and those rich white dudes in suits seem less intimidating - she is an Entrepreneur FOR Entrepreneurs after all!

The reason I wanted to share about meeting Lisa, and reading her books, is that she talks quite openly and honestly about establishing and practicing self care as a non negotiable, as it has formed the foundations for her success within relationships, life, and in her businesses. While I have very different goal and aspirations, it's genuinely inspiring to be able to look towards someone like Lisa Messenger and know that her past experiences are not THAT far removed from mine, and that she's just further along in her journey than I am.

Having Rad Bitches to look towards as Role Models, is something we talk about quite a bit within The Girl Gang, and I'd love to know - who are the women who inspire you to live at your biggest and at your best?

xx

Kym.

PS: I highly recommend checking out The (Renegade) Collective, as well as Lisa's books. They're fun, empowering, and easy to read - even if entrepreneurship isn't something you're interested in.

PPS: I haven't even had a chance to talk about the other amazing people I got to meet and learn about over the last few weeks, but I'm well over a thousand words now! Suffice to say, I've spoken with some incredible women who are up to big things!

PPPS: I've been getting back into hosting coaching sessions, and I'm totally loving it! Speaking with everyone I've held calls with has been so inspiring, and knowing that coaching is totally my jam has really empowered me to get myself out of that icky-funk I'd been in!

 

On Boundaries as Self Respect

IMG_3299 Whether or not it's because of Mercury Retrograde, a cold and grey summer, or just the "Back to Work" Blues, I have noticed a definite energetic slump across the internet - and within my friendship circles over the last month. Being someone who's particularly sensitive to these things - and someone who has experienced both depression and anxiety at different times through my life - I haven't been immune to this funky little period that many of us seem to be coming out on the other side of.

First of all, let's take a moment for a collective deep breath, a sigh of relief and appreciation for any lessons or gains since the start of the year.

I think it's really important for us to acknowledge and learn to recognise that sometimes we do all need some time out, to step back, reflect, recover, recoup or do whatever it is that you actually need right now.

The Sassy Ms. Honey B and I snuggled up with a cup of Hot 'Buttered' Rum on a cool evening

Obviously, as much as we may love to be able to hit the pause button on life occasionally, and take a break where we just don't need to adult for a while, the world keeps turning and we still have certain responsibilities to take care of, and expectations which need to be met.

Sometimes that might mean that we strip everything back to the absolute bare minimum, and only do the things which are truly essential (like eating) before crawling back into a quilt cocoon and cuddling up with the cats. I have definitely had my share of days like this over the last month. I have been making a point of spending my days off reading and writing in my pyjamas, and trying to allow space.

All of this said, January and early February have still been quite big months for me in terms of social events, with Baby Showers, 30th Birthday Parties, Reunions and Catch Up's out the wazoo - the biggest of which being my Lil Sis's Bridal Shower.

So, how does a sensitive introvert like me not only show up and deal with, but actually enjoy getting put and being social during a time when I'd really love to be tucked up at home?

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To start with, I ask myself, "Why am I going to this event (or doing this thing)?" If I'm thinking about going along, purely out of obligation and the world isn't going to stop turning if I'm not there, then I scrap my plans.

Another way of looking at this, is to check in with your gut reaction to how you feel about being at an event? Then in the words of Mark Manson, if your response isn't "Fuck yes!", then it's a, "No."

For me, the event's I've been to over recent weeks - especially my Lil Sis's Bridal Shower, have been ones which I know that I'll enjoy, and that I'll be truly shitty at myself if I miss out on them. I've also gotten to a point now, where people really only invite me to events if they genuinely want me to be there, and that my attendance will be appreciated, which makes showing up way more fun.

Something else that I've been practicing over the past month, has been to take time out DURING events. Back in the day, I used to just punch through and hop from party, to party, back to back, and stay out until the first train home in the morning, or just end up crashing on a couch somewhere I didn't want to be - either because the cab fare home was too high - or because cab drivers wouldn't go as far out into the bush as the parties I went to, or I had just had way too much to drink to be going anywhere.

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For my Lil Sis's Bridal Shower, her Bridesmaids had planned a MASSIVE day, starting with a champagne breakfast, followed by barefoot Lawn Bowls then a few hours of shenanigans, before dinner with cocktails, THEN dancing and drinking late into the night.

Considering that my sister lives interstate, and that many of her friends live in the outer suburbs, I definitely got lucky with the venues being within a ten minute drive from the Kitteh Palace. This meant that I was able to come home and take some time out after we'd finished with lawn bowls, and then go back out and meet the party again for dinner.

When he realised that I'd come home, Jordan assumed that it was because I wasn't having fun, however this wasn't the case. I had actually been having a great time, but I know myself well enough now to know where my limits are. By taking a break (and having a snack before going back out), I was able to really enjoy the rest of the night without feeling tired or getting cranky that the food took ages to come out.

Another thing I've learned over the years, is to leave while the party is still fun! While there's a lot to be said for those times when time gets away from you because you've found yourself engrossed in a conversation with someone you can truly relate to, then suddenly realising that you've been talking for four hours, when it comes to nights out I've become a big fan of recognising - and paying attention to when it's time to leave.

These days, I'm all for embracing the latter part of the saying, "GO HARD, OR GO HOME".