I want to point out that being described as an "It Girl" is absolutely the last thing I ever imagined would happen to me - not just because I've always been part of the weird Art Crowd, or because of my birthmark, but because I'm actually fairly awkward, and a total dork most of the time - and these are part of what I love about who I am.Read More
Over the years, my Dad has often tried to suggest to me that I write an autobiography.
Over the years, I've always said, "No! Seriously, there's no way that anyone is going to believe that half of this is for real! Also, who'd want to read my story anyway? From the outside it probably just sounds like one big, long, depressing whinge-fest - and there's no way that I'd want to read that story! Hell, I don't even want to sit down an write it, and it's all happened to me!"
I think now that things seem to have stabilised a lot more, and knowing that people are taking something constructive out of what I'm sharing, I feel more comfortable about it. I think that sharing my story in snippets, across various media - including this blog, and through videos, with a hint of snark and humour, make things much easier to handle. Also, I get to mix topics up every week, which is super fun.
So without further ado, here are some of my experiences from the last week, and the adventures that have led me here.
If you're in Australia, and your anything like Jordan and me, then you'll have already signed up for Netflix, and there's a high chance that you've spent the Easter Long Weekend binge watching episodes of TV shows you had to download illegally until now - or you know, just wait until forever for them to be released here.
Between episodes of Vikings and Bojack Horseman, I've spent the weekend watching Tina Fey's new series 'Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt', and in spite of (or possibly because of) the many cringe-worthy moments, I'm really digging it so far. It's nice to watch a show which presents survivors as being more than their traumatic experiences, and smashes holes in the phenomenon of labelling women as "Victims" with cheesy comedy.
I think the thing I love most about the show - and definitely the thing which resonates most with me, is Kimmy's refusal to be reduced to her experiences, and her determination to create exactly the kind of life she wants for herself.
This whole conversation around "Victims" and "Survivors" has always been really interesting to me. I can remember the first time I introduced my eldest Kitteh, Felix the Guard Tiger to my ex. I talked the other week, about how Felix lives with some pretty intense anxiety, and is generally pretty timid - especially around men. As my ex walked into the apartment I was living in at the time, I explained that Felix probably wouldn't let him too close and that the RSPCA had rescued him as a stray from Kinglake after the Black Saturday Bushfires.
My ex spun around and said, "Oh, so he's a Victim??"
And in what was probably the most telling example of the extreme differences between us, I responded, "Nu-uh! He's a SUR-VIV-OR!"
Anyway, these ideas have been going through my mind a bit lately, not only thanks to Kimmy Schmidt, but also because of this awesome campaign called Red My Lips which seeks to combat rape culture and minimise survivors experiences of shame through speaking out, and because New South Wales now has a Minister for Women who's already come out far stronger than her Federal counterpart - after only a week in the job.
As you can see, a lot has been happening inside my head this weekend - behind all of the planning for tonight's Google Hang Out, and Easter Egg Hunting (I may be a 29 year old woman, but Jordan still hid chocolates all over The Kitteh Palace for me yesterday) - I definitely needed yesterday to just chill out and stream TV Shows.
The other super exciting thing which happened yesterday (Yes - even more exciting than an apartment filled with hidden chocolate!) was that I received the results for my final exam as part of my ICF Accredited, Coaching Certification - and I am beyond thrilled to share with you all that I scored 95.6%, meaning that I performed extremely well in ALL three of my exams!
Now, in all honesty, I've always been something of a "High Achiever". I always did extremely well at high school, and it often felt somewhat unfair because I never had to push myself out of my comfort zone, or really challenge myself to do well. I think I felt guilty about this when I had friends who really desperately wanted to do well - especially in Years 11 and 12, and they would work incredibly hard and give their absolute best.
This all got much worse when I finished high school, and went straight into studying to become a Primary School Teacher. While on the surface, I was happy to have gotten into the university course I wanted to attend, and while I genuinely enjoyed going out to schools and taking part in practicum, as well as studying ideas and theories at a deeper level, I honestly felt kind of shit for most of the time I was doing anything to do with my degree.
It wasn't that I found the work too hard, when I actually got work done, I always received great marks. But I REALLY struggled to get work done - and if I submitted assignments at all, they were always marked down for late submission.
For years, there was a lot of underlying fear and anxiety below the surface that I wasn't ready to deal with - and eventually, I ended up dropping out of uni. TWICE!
As silly as it sounds, I think I was so totally scared of actually standing out and succeeding, that I absolutely sabotaged myself. I didn't believe that I deserved to be successful or stand out through my studies - or in my career - and for years I've been hiding myself away and running around in circles in my own little world.
I don't talk about it much, but there was a whole lot of really intense shit happen between the end of Year 12 and heading off to Uni. For those of you who don't know, I was involved in a serious car accident, and then on the day before we received our final VCE results, one of our school mates disappeared under water, and drowned while swimming in the Yarra River.
For a long time, I think I felt guilty about going on to university. I felt guilty that the work seemed easy to me, and I resented the idea of regurgitating information out onto paper just to prove that I'd understood it when I'd already demonstrated a clear understanding of the theories through practice. I know, essays are a part of academic study, and writing is something I'm naturally good at, so logically I should have been able to just pump the work out, but I would sit down and jam up every time I attempted to write. It was pretty much like having a panic attack every time I tried to do an assignment.
I stuck with teachers college for three whole years - attempting to work my way through it and repeating subjects I knew like the back of my hand, until I finished my Visual Arts Major and got the hell out. I honestly think that I stuck with it for so long because it was always expected that I would do well at uni - and that I would make a great teacher. Honestly, I think I stuck with it because I had no idea what else to do - even though I was working 3 crappy jobs the thought of dropping out and getting bogged down in them - and feeling like a failure was terrifying. I think I felt obliged to try and figure it out and make it work - like I didn't deserve to have it easy anymore, so everyday life became inherently challenging.
The other week, I shared on Facebook that during that particular day, I'd published almost 4,000 words on this blog - and that since creating this blog roughly 6 months ago, I've written more words than I did during all of the 6 years I spent at university.
Granted, now I'm writing by choice, on topics I'm totally passionate about, which makes a big difference, but I've also spent years getting to know my fears and triggers, learning about what I'm truly fucking terrified of, so that I can try to work with those fears to create something better.
Another huge lesson - aside from working to accept the things that have happened in my life, has been that none of the time I spent dithering and working through the shit at university was wasted. I learned a whole lot during that time - not only in terms of academic knowledge - but also about myself and other people.
My biggest piece of advice to anyone considering going into study now - regardless of what field they're thinking about - or where they're contemplating going (whether it be a university, TAFE, or private college or online provider), is to seriously ask yourself WHY?
Are you choosing to enrol just because you think that you should?
Or because someone has told you that you'd be good at it?
Or because you have no idea what else to do?
I finished high school over ten years ago now, I don't have a university degree, I've only JUST figured out what my thing is, and I've gotten through life quite well thus far I'd say - but things didn't need to be a fucking hard as I made them for myself.
My advice to you, is to ask yourself, when going into anything, "Is this something I'm truly excited by, and passionate about?"
It doesn't need to excite you, or be the ONLY thing you're ever going to be passionate about - EVER.
But at this point in time, for me, I've absolutely loved studying with the International College of Wellness Coaches, and receiving my exam results yesterday made me feel as if I've genuinely accomplished something to be extremely proud of. Just completing my exams and feeling good about my studies has been a big accomplishment for me.
So, at this stage I'm inviting you all to really think about what it is that you truly want to achieve in this life - and to think deeply about what might really be holding you back.
Please feel free to share what you come up with in the comments below.
Until next time,
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It's been a funny old weekend here in Melbourne. Autumn is definitely in the air, and things are really starting to click. While we didn't really seem to get much of a Summer this year, I'm actually really looking forward to the cooler months and getting to retreat indoors, snuggle up in a blanket, and eat bowls full of creamy pumpkin soup.
In the meantime, Melbourne treated us with one more weekend of stunning sunshine, and what better way to make the most of this, than to head along to a picnic in The Royal Botanical Gardens for a spot of croquet? Well, in celebration of my friend Heidi's birthday, this is exactly how I spent my Saturday afternoon!
I had literally never played croquet before, and if you've ever seen the cult classic 'Heathers', and share my dark sense of humour, you'll understand why I enjoyed it so much - sadly my hair no longer accommodates a scrunchie.
Today's adventures, being Self Care Sunday, involved an early morning Coaching Practicum Session, followed by brunch with the parentals, some filming, as well as winding down for the night. I'm currently typing while wrapped up in my cosy pink slippers and pj's, having warmed my soul with a big mug of hot chocolate.
I'm starting to really enjoy filming and posting to You Tube. As much as I love writing, I have always had something of a mouth on me, so verbalising my thoughts has been a whole lot of fun - well - especially now that the content has lightened up a bit.
In this weeks two part video, I talked about reconnecting with my parents; the impulse to create and the importance of sharing. I also talk about realising that my parents are way cooler than me, and HOW influential they've been. You can check out Part One, below.
I still have to do a little more playing around with the editing suite before Part Two goes up, but it won't be far away!
Until then, have an amazing week ahead, and please click through to You Tube and check out the links to some of the other people, books, tumblr pages, and discussions I mention in the video.
PS: If you'd like to receive a free copy of my eBook, 'A Rad Bitch's How to Guide to Life', and receive doses of Kym Style Awesomeness, direct to your Inbox, you can sign up HERE
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Jordan and I have just returned home after spending Christmas together in one of my favourite parts of the world, Merimbula on the 'Sapphire Coast' in New South Wales. We stayed in this stunning apartment which had literally JUST been renovated. It was the perfect location to chill out, unwind and reflect on some of the amazing things that happened over the past twelve months. Of course we also spent plenty of time on the beach, swimming, paddle boarding, and enjoying the sunshine with family and friends.
I know 2014 was difficult and challenging for some of my friends and readers, and I know many people are looking forward to a fresh new year filled with new opportunities.
While I don't believe that anything happens for a reason, I do believe that everything we experience is an opportunity to learn and grow as a person.
With that said, I'd love to share some of my wins for 2014, and invite you all to share yours!
At the start of the year, I sat down with a fresh notebook and a copy of the Kikki.K edition of Shannah Kennedy's book, 'Simplify Structure Succeed' and wrote down pages of goals I hoped to achieve over the next few years.
I listed things like having a loving partner who complimented me as a person and would support me in my crazy, that I'd love to own a vintage bike and a Mini Cooper, to live in a cute functional apartment, to study, spend time at the beach, and to surround myself with positive and inspiring people who encourage me to be the best person I can.
I wanted to feel more relaxed, to be more organised, and to get more consistent sleep.
I wrote that I wanted to be financially secure and not living payday to payday.
I wanted to cook fresh healthy meals for myself each day, and cut down the amount of coffee I was drinking.
I wrote about cuddling up in front of the heater with a blanket, a mug of soup, a good book and The Kittehs during the cooler months, and time at the beach when it's hot.
In no way did I ever imagine that I would achieve even HALF of what I wrote down, let alone within the year.
As crazy as it sounds, I've not only achieved these goals, but I've achieved even MORE!
Jordan and I are about to share our 12 Month Anniversary, we moved into our Dream Apartment: "The Kitteh Palace" in June (after our first Broken Dream Apartment didn't work out as I'd hoped), I began studying Health and Wellness Coaching and have started building my new business, I've attended networking events and conferences AND I even spoke at one!
I started my blog, made new friends, travelled interstate and stayed in five star accommodation, I have a bright pink bike and a black MINI, I've enjoyed plenty of cuddles with Kittehs and cups of soup and so many interesting books!
Most of all, I've met amazing women and forged closer friendships with some very special people.
I'm working on my Money Story, but it's a lot more positive now than it has ever been. I have a budget now, and realistic plans for increasing my income into the new year.
I stick to a healthy sleep routine and I was introduced to Barre Body classes thanks to my friend Emma.
I'm so grateful for everything I've achieved, learned or experienced this year - the challenges which forced me to innovate and grow, the people who have offered me a safe space to learn to open up and to be vulnerable, the kindness of those who share their time, food, knowledge, friendship and support.
I am grateful that I pushed myself, that I have trusted my gut, taken risks and wholeheartedly believed that I am capable and deserving of better, then I set to work creating by reality.
I'm still learning to become a better communicator, and not to overcommit. I'm still striving to take consistent care of myself and eat healthy delicious food everyday.
2015 will bring some more exciting changes and challenges as I shift into the final stages of my course, and the next phases of building my Coaching business.
Thank you for being part of my year, and bringing your awesome into my life. xx
It's been a really interesting couple of weeks here at The Kitteh Palace, as always, I've been pretty busy, and to be completely honest with you, at times things have felt just a little hectic. There have been a couple of nights when I've crashed into my armchair after work, given up on the idea of cooking dinner. Having battled extreme fatigue levels, anxiety and depression at various times during my life, I'm now extremely aware of my needs, and the importance of incorporating self care in my day to day life, so I've been working at holding the ship steady, while zipping along.
The very night that I published my 'About' page on this blog, I received a phone call from a friend who I used to work with when I was about 20. Back when we worked together, I was pretty much at the messiest time in my life. I was working at three different, physically demanding jobs, being under-paid, attempting but failing my teaching degree, dealing with full-blown insomnia, and partying WAY too many nights a week. I had also gone from one ridiculous boy situation, to another, even MORE ridiculous boy situation - which went on for the next five-or-so years (Yes, I'm serious. Like I said, MESSY).
Now, the interesting thing here, is that even at that time, despite the mess I was creating around me - and despite of our age difference (she was in her 30's at the time), I often found myself supporting my friend in the very same way I do for clients now! Talking with my boyfriend after I hung up the phone, took me back to those days, and somehow in spite of the hangovers and sleep deprivation - the memories of our personal struggles, and the pain I was trying to numb were super vivid. I sat with them for a few minutes, before realising that memories like these are EXACTLY why I believe in the work I'm doing.
I honestly believe that we're given this decade known as our 20's to try shit out, fall down, destroy some stuff, and learn what works and what doesn't, (and even as I'm typing this, I'm worried it will come out sounding super dull and boring) so that by the time we hit our 30's, we have enough of an idea of what serves us (As well as what doesn't!) so we can seriously kick arse and really make the most of our time here.
And believe me, I know just how challenging this shit can be to sift through. But what happens if we get to the end of our 20's, or even to the end of our 30's, 40's or even the end of our 50's, not having learned these lessons? Do we just keep on repeating the same patterns, living out the same (in my case, destructive) behaviours? I truly get that sometimes, all you need is someone to hug you while you cry it out, and others you really need to hear is, "Harden the fuck up, and sort your shit out already!" from someone who genuinely gets you.
I want to tell you, that even though over the last two weeks, I've had moments where I've bordered on overwhelm with my workload, not only does it feel worthwhile when I know that I'm working with Rad Bitches and Girl Bosses so that they don't keep living out the same stories over and over. It feels worthwhile when I remember that I now know and understand my limits, and that the work I'm doing is challenging me in ways I genuinely enjoy. I'm growing, and I'm learning every day, and the challenges are nowhere near as overwhelming - let alone soul crushing, as the ones I used to go into battle against every day.
In light of all of this, I sat down and wrote an ebook, which you can download for FREE!
I've included some of my most favourite pieces of wisdom, which have helped me get through some of the most challenging times in my life!
I'm sharing this with you all, in the hope that if you’ve come across this little book at a time when you’re feeling stuck, or maybe even find yourself screaming, “LIFE, WHY YOU BE SO HARD FOR???” that you’ll be able to flip through it, and know that you’re not alone!
I'd love to know what you think of it!
In other news, Jess and I have been working hard behind the scenes to put my first coaching package together; I've been completing my course work; joining in on practical coaching sessions with my classmates; as well as participating in a new project with the amazing Elle Roberts (stay tuned, I'll be announcing the details of this in the coming weeks!).
I sat my Level 1 Health and Wellness Coaching certification exam yesterday, before Jordan and I headed into the city for an Art Gallery and Bagel Date to celebrate.
We visited ACCA, the NGV International, and Anna Schwartz, before walking down to the (still essentially abandoned) Docklands precinct for the exhibition opening at D11.
Thanks again for stopping by, and than you to everyone who has shared their support and words of encouragement over the last few weeks and months. I really appreciate your thoughts!
Until next time,
Last Friday, I had the opportunity to be on a live call between the founder of International College of Wellness Coaches, Sarah Liddle, and the one and only Gala Darling! I was very much looking forward to hearing Gala speak about Radical Self Love, business, and blogging.
I first learned of her blog a few years ago through friends who followed her from a fashion and style perspective, and then I happened upon her again during Mercury's retrograde phase in June this year. I'd always been sceptical about the influence of planetary movements on everyday life experiences, but it definitely helped explain some of the crazy things that were happening in my life at the time.
I remember watching the replay of her TED talk just after I first had this ridiculous notion that I could be a life coach. Learning more about where she's come from as a Teen Goth and her life experiences, really resonated with me as her story reflected many elements of my own.
Hearing her talk about the power of owning, and sharing your story with the world really reinforced a few things I'd been thinking through over during the week before. The conversation inspired me to feel confident that I'm on the right track with my plans, studies, and the choices I'm making.
I've also recently started working with business coach, Jessica Nazarali alongside my studies. Just after I committed to working with Jess, she invited me to join her as a guest at her live event, "Leaping From The Ladder" in Sydney, which coincided with the recent launch of her book of the same title.
The event was held last Saturday at the stunning Mosman Art Gallery.
I was so super excited about making the trip, as I've not been to Sydney since I was about 10 years old! Just like a kid before starting school, I was nervous about sleeping in and missing my flight, that I woke up at 4.30am to make my way to the airport. I was extra nervous, because during our call last Friday, Jess offered me the opportunity to speak to her audience - and of course I had said, "Yes"! It was a beautifully warm day in Sydney, so I'm totally blaming my sweaty palms during my talk in front of the room on the weather!
I spoke about having learned that it's totally cool for me to become a Life Coach, and be a Hard-Core Punk at heart, as well as giving myself permission to carve this path for myself - even if I don't feel as though I have all my shit sorted, yet.
Apparently, I spoke really well because nearly everybody in the room made a point of coming to speak to me! It was so inspiring to meet so many gorgeously talented women, all at various stages of their business journeys, all with unique stories and addressing many different needs of women everywhere. It was so cool to hear about their specialised skills, interests, backgrounds, and visions of what's to come!
I'm so grateful to have had the opportunity to speak to the room, and I can't tell you how much I appreciate receiving everyone's feedback and support - especially considering that I only decided to follow this path a few months ago!
I was on such a buzz when I left the event, that I didn't realise I was still wearing my name sticker until I was almost at the bus stop!
After a big day, and an evening swim, I tucked myself in in my hotel room, ordered room service, and got an early night so that I could make the most of my free day to explore the city and its beaches!
I used my flight home to catch up on a little reading, as well as adding notes to my 100 Day Business Goal journal.
It was amazing to break away from daily life, and even more amazing to feel that I am genuinely inspiring women to carve their own paths - just by carving my own!
Even so, I'm definitely happy to be home with Jordan and The Kittehs, working away at my goals.