There’s a discrepancy between who I was and who I am. A cavern, it feels like some days. Me twelve months ago was partway through a 550 kilometre month-long ride for the Stroke Foundation. Me today jogged through 3km and rode another 5km, then came home and had to recover from not the physical activity but the exhaustion of interacting and leaving the house and tackling the roads and car park and wondering how much I have to talk to the person at the desk in the gym and if I said enough words in the correct order.

It’s funny, this next one:

Me twelve months ago was on the precipice of what would be a year long battle against my mind; me today is on the precipice of coming out the other side. In my head it almost looks like one of the skate bowl things that are at parks and usually surrounded by garbage and lads in caps but not helmets. But it’s a deeper dive down than a skate bowl. It is called a bowl or a ramp? I’m not sure but I think you know what I’m writing about.

I guess the positive thing is that I came out the other side of the dive.

It was touch and go, though. Some days it still is, but as my doctor said a couple of weeks ago, we’re out of the catastrophic period now.

Bush fires are catastrophic. Natural disaster things like flood and famine and drought. How could someone call my mind catastrophic? And then I remember and have to quickly steer myself away from remembering. It’s too soon. Too raw. Too close. An injury that isn’t quite healed enough to start picking at the scab.

A beautiful friend told me this weekend to stop chasing the old me. And she’s right, damn her. It’s off topic, but the first thing I remember about this woman is that when I first met her she talked about her love of shoes, but I really only think I’ve seen her in thongs. Love you, SM.

I thought about the chasing of an old version of yourself, and whether it would be possible, given that “old” suggests that there is an end to I guess phases in our lives. I’ve always thought of life as a cyclical thing, rather than a building block path of growth and change and phases. Maybe both are correct.

My friend is right. I do need to stop comparing everything I do to what the old me did.

But I need to thank her, the old me.

She showed me that I have grit and courage.

And that is what I rely on now, every day.

So I’m not chasing her.

But I’m thankful for the fight she put up in the old phases. Because I needed to know that I have what she had, and I can still use it. And every step is a milestone and every achievement is a victory and yes there are bad days and bad weeks and sleepless nights.

But I remember. I remember lacing up my joggers every morning. And I remember still working out when I was frustrated by the amount of time it was taking. And I remember her courage. And I remember the way she yearned for a better life, a healthier life. And she got it.

So this isn’t a standard throwback photo.


On the left is me. Strong. Brave. Grit. Determination. Stubbornness. Drive. Focus.

On the right is me. Tired. Overwhelmed. Recovering.

I need who I was to help me with who I am. On today’s terms. Not comparatively.



What I know


And life keeps saying, “Be brave”.

Some things about me:

I drink coffee, but I’m trying to cut down. I used to be terrified of dogs but now I love them and most of my data is used by looking at dog videos on Facebook. I play the guitar. I love music and I know I am a bit of a snob about music. I can’t stand country music and I am not fond of blues. I spend most of my time trying to make up for a deep-seated feeling of uselessness. I’m terrified of frogs and I don’t like the dark. True story: I once got my nipple bar stuck in a pedestal fan. True story: I once got my arm stuck in a couch and I genuinely thought I was going to be stuck for the rest of my life. I pretend to like kale, I have an unhealthy love of peanut butter, my favourite drink is water, and I don’t like the taste of alcohol. When I was young I had dreams of working with children in Africa; of being one of the famous minds of my generation; of being a teacher; of being a nun; of being a lawyer. Now my only dream is to one day get my life back again.

I don’t like loud noises, but I play the drums and I drive with my music up loud. In my car I am an amazing singer. I don’t like crowds, confrontation, or Fridays. I have an innate sense that everything is my fault therefore I apologise a lot and I try to fix this by apologising for apologising. I am scared of enclosed shopping centres, I don’t like consumerism or chaos, I love it when my dogs snore, I love it when people do ridiculous things because it makes me laugh and think that maybe the human race is going to be OK. I’m a protector. I snorkel in the spa. I have big feet, but they’re not as wide as they used to be. My eyesight is terrible. I’m hard work. If I care about you, I will care deeply, always have your back, and make myself as available as possible to help you if you need it. I feel like I’m a horrible tyrant. I like gardening and mowing.

And life keeps saying, “Be brave”.

And life keeps stripping things away, and adding more. It keeps ticking along, even when I don’t want it to. We age, we grow, we experience, we change. We’re all on earth but not all of us are in this together.

Which is why when you find your people, hold them close. Love them. Be present. Don’t live your relationships through your phone. Collect memories, collect experiences, collect laughter and love and hope.

Because life will keep saying, “Be brave”.

Sometimes when I look at my life all I see are the leftovers of bush fires. But in the midst is regeneration.  Hold on to this line. There’s regeneration.


It’s been a difficult week. I’ve done more than I thought I could, and in hindsight maybe I did too much, but I have to, don’t I? If I want to get my life back and complete this recovery then I have to push myself and try harder and not give up and not give up and not fucking give up and not fucking give up.

So I keep turning up when life says, “Be brave”.

I drink coffee, but I’m trying to cut down. I used to be terrified of dogs but now I love them and most of my data is used by looking at dog videos on Facebook. I play the guitar.

There is comfort in holding on to what you know.

The Broken


I’ve done it for years, I don’t know when it started, but it started. If I go to stores, and I see a mark-down table, I go to it. I go to it, and look to see if there’s anything broken.

Because I want to save it from the bin. I want to make sure that the item knows it still has worth, even though it’s broken. It’s ridiculous, assigning feelings to inanimate objects that are sitting on a table with a yellow sticker indicating it’s value. I know this. But it’s just something I do.

As a result, there are broken or incomplete things in my world. Like this bird.


Did you see it? The wing is incomplete, there’s a bit chipped off on the right. I think that birdy cost $2, and it sits on a shelf in the dining room.

I had to save it.

I have an affinity for the broken, the incomplete. I wonder what I would look like if I was a ceramic bird. What bits would be missing, or not quite right. I wonder what my yellow sticker would value me at. I wonder if anyone, ever, will save me from becoming landfill.

I’ve spent around 18 months trying to piece myself back together. Piece myself. Peace myself. Kind of the same thing. Some days the goal is close, other days it still feels so far away. Some days I smash through barriers. Other days I snorkel in the spa and wait for bedtime.

As I said last week, recovery isn’t linear.

Mental health is not glamorous. Mental health is not a trend. Mental health is not something you self-diagnose then splash all over social media, without seeking any form of professional help for what you’ve diagnosed yourself with. Because if you believe it enough to put it on social media, surely the logical step is to get help.

There’s nothing glamorous about sitting in your own urine. There’s nothing trendy about self-created isolation. It’s not glamorous to fight against your mind from the moment you wake up til the second your eyes close at night – if you’re lucky enough to be able to sleep. Mental health isn’t a selfy and a status update. It’s something you have to manage every second of your life for the entirety of your life.

I think this is why it shits me so much when I see mental health being misrepresented. Butterflies in your tummy when you’re going out does not equal social anxiety. Having a bad day does not equal depression. But for some reason we’ve decided it’s OK to self-diagnose mental illness. We don’t do this with cancer or with MS or Parkinsons or dementia. So why is mental illness so frivolously self-diagnosed and thrown around on social media?

I don’t know.

But I do know it’s disrespectful for the people who actually live this struggle every single fucking day. It makes things so much harder for people who are too scared or overwhelmed to get help. And it’s a slap in the face if you are posting this bullshit knowing full well that there are people in your world who are going to read it, who fight the demons in their mind with the same regularity as breathing.

Our heart beat is survival. Not likes or hearts. Not social media attention. Survival.

When I’m in the midst of the shit in my head, the last thing I am thinking about is taking a selfy.

I can’t speak for everyone who suffers from mental illness though. Only myself.

If there weren’t people who looked beyond that yellow sticker that indicated my value, I’d be fucked. I have an excellent, excellent professional team and an army of friends and family who have not wavered in their love and support. And on the days when I feel so worthless, my head tells me I don’t deserve it. And on the days when I’m not feeling as worthless, it still makes me uncomfortable, but I’m a little better at just going with it.

There are people – professional people, like psychiatrists, psychologists, GPs – who are trained to see beyond the yellow sticker of your brokenness and incompleteness, and help you find the tools you need to support you as you try to piece things together.

I don’t think, by the way, that mental ill-health means that you’re broken or incomplete. But it’s how it makes me feel. And I can only represent myself.

I feel broken. I feel incomplete.

But I’m fighting.



13 Months


That’s how long it’s been since I’ve posted here. Almost to the day. One of the goals I’ve set myself is to write once a week. Welcome to week 1.

I just googled what you can do in 13 months and instead of different achievements it just told me about the developmental milestones of a 13 month old child. The first thing I came up with was that you could complete a Diploma in 12 months, but then some Diplomas you can complete in 6 months. So you could complete a 12 month Diploma or two 6 month Diplomas, I guess.

What can you learn in 13 months?

You can learn that you can’t fight an organisation’s strapped budget, even with the greatest logic. You can learn that blindingly obviously misused funding is really nobody’s fault, but there are people who have to take the hits. You can learn that the human spirit is able to descend into the darkest of pits. That in the darkest of pits, sometimes the only things that can entice you to keep wading through the mire are hands: sticky toddler hands, work toughened hands, the hands of the people who love you. You can learn that when there’s absolutely nothing left within you, these hands can keep you alive.

You can learn that love isn’t just for good times. That a toddler can be the perfect Patronus, chasing away the Harry Potter Dementors, who represent depression. That the brown pools which are the eyes of your fur babies will show you how much you are needed. That when that pit of darkness gets just too dark, there are places that exist purely to help. That there are people who will staunchly stand by you. That there are other people in darkness, but who still retain that heartbeat of humanity and become friends. That there are pits so dark that you will try literally anything to find a torch that will enable you get out. That even when you find that torch, it can still flicker and fade.


Recovery isn’t linear.

And, I’m realising, it isn’t a choice.

There are so many variables for each individual when it comes to recovery. It’s not just waking up one day and saying, “Right, that’s enough of that”. I think there is an element of human spirit involved, but so many things have to align. Psychiatrists, psychologists, medication, GPs.

Recovery isn’t linear.

And it sucks. If it was almost any other part of health, mental health would just follow the fucking rules and respond to the first line of treatment and then you’d be better, everything would be just fine. But it doesn’t work like that.

It’s more than just sharing crap on Facebook that asks other people to share it to prove your enlightenment and understanding. For the record not one of those shared posts have been worth a damn for me. They’ve done absolute jack shit.

In 13 months I’ve learned that the world is full of clutter. Thoughts, words, happenings. Social media. Opinions. And sometimes it just feels like drowning, seeing it all.

I’ve learned that washing your hair regularly can be the hardest thing in the world. That floating in a spa with a snorkel can be the best thing in the world. That life changes. It just does. In an instant; in a day; in a slow, drawn out circle.

But I’ve also learned that the people who stand by you are pure gold. That every step, every movement, every blink is evidence of a will to keep fighting.

What am I hoping to learn in the next 13 months?

I’m hoping I’m going to learn that what has been taken can be reclaimed. That with the right supports in place, forwards movement can become more confident and steadfast. That love will be enough. I’m hoping to learn that I can forgive myself, forgive my chemical make up, forgive my experiences, forgive my fear, forgive my will to isolate.

In 13 months, I want to learn that I will be able to look you in the eye and say, “I made it”.



Today is R U OK day. It’s a day where we can put borders on our profile pictures that say “R U OK?” and share statuses to prove that we’re always listening. Somewhere in that, is an attempt to dispel stigma associated with not being OK.

Most of my friends on Facebook aren’t psychologists or counsellors, so I don’t tend to write about it on social media when I’m not travelling well. I absolutely have friends that I know I can shoot a message to if I need support, and vice versa. I absolutely have friends that I know without a doubt would walk with me every step of the way to seek out help. First stop for me is generally my GP.

My GP is pretty good at helping me out when I’m not able to say that I’m OK. She’s equipped to manage that messy side of my head. And she’s able to help me get the help I need when R U OK profile pictures don’t really cut it.

I know this sounds pretty jaded. And to be honest, I’m feeling pretty jaded. I know that a lot of the LGBTQI community in Australia can’t say yes, I am OK at the moment. But who is equipped to actually help us? Not just do the whole “Sending hugs” or “Inbox me, babe” stuff, but to actually help?

Reach Out has published a resource regarding self care, and where to go for support if you need it. You’ll find it here.

It makes me very angry that already, those postal surveys have started arriving in mailboxes across Australia. You can tick yes or no. Then you post it back. And just like that, you get to make a decision regarding the lives of the community I am a part of.

Just like when I got to vote about your relationshi- oh hang on, that didn’t happen.

Just like when Howard asked us if we’d like him to change the marriage act – oh, wait, that didn’t happen either.

I’ve read lots of posts about the Church wanting to protect marriage because the Bible. They’re concerned about religious freedoms. I don’t think religious freedoms include being able to serve in a church if you’re gay, or being made to feel welcome and equal, but they do extend to being able to put money in the collection plate.

Look, I don’t agree with their argument, but I do understand how they’ve arrived at it. But I’d hoped that the overarching themes of love, grace, mercy and compassion would be resulting in a different slant on social media comment sections. Ultimately, it’s really unlikely churches are going to be forced to conduct weddings when both parties are of the same sex. It’s not like churches have a track record of respecting and accepting gay couples as equals, so why on earth would we want to celebrate our love there? I’ve particularly been impressed by the logic that drives them to say that children need a mother and father, which is helpful for single parent families; and that marriage is for creating children, which is helpful for couples who have found themselves unable to have children.

I have Christian friends who are some of the boldest supporters we have.

The No side are absolutely allowed to have their opinion and not be labelled homophobic bigots.

The Yes side are absolutely allowed to have their opinion and not be equated to paedophiles.

We’ve been put into a position where suddenly, the extreme opinions and voices have come out to play. There have been no protections on this debate up until yesterday. But it’s worth keeping in mind that every single thing you have said in this debate, you actually have to be proud that you said it when this is all over. Every comment you have made regarding another human being – you have to be OK with yourself when the dust settles.

Therefore maybe it is helpful that today is R U OK day. People die from this kind of stigma. People die because they feel alone or because they feel like there’s just no point. We have a mental health crisis in Australia – a crisis that could use all kinds of funding. In the past I’ve written about my own experience with mental health; I’ve shared how I’ve gotten through. And each time, it’s come back to the first step of going to my GP and getting help.

Because help is out there.

To Australia’s LGBTQI community, I’m sorry this is happening to us. None of us wanted this – to be made public property and to be at the heart of a huge amount of wasted funding. And in honesty, there are churches out there that really do live out the Bible, so if you are that way inclined, seek them out. If you’re not, head to your GP. Or check out the resources in the link above.

We’re a strong community.

We’re resilient.

We’ve fought when we shouldn’t have had to.

We’ve risen up with love.

We’ve stood up for love.

We have many allies.

We have people for us.

It may not be what we want, but eventually, somehow, it’ll be OK.






When we were kids the ultimate trump card was the birthday party. My birthday was, and still is, in December. If any of my friends or classmates in primary school wronged me in the months leading up to my birthday party, the simple threat of “You’re not invited to my party anymore” soon corrected the situation.

Deprivation of access to something that was going to be good. Refusal of entry, and power to make the decision that would deem someone invited, or not invited.

I am not invited.

In 2017, the common and socially acceptable (and expected) thing is to create a Facebook event for any gathering. We don’t tend to bother with sending invitations, and we certainly don’t stand in the playground with a circle of friends around us as we shuffle through a pile of envelopes, calling out the names of ones chosen to attend said social event.

The reason for this? Well, Australia Post has lost the ability to deliver postal items in a timely manner. Just last week we sent a parcel via Express Post, which has still not arrived at the destination it was sent to. Express Post is, as the name suggests, express. Essentially, the approach I (and many others I know) tend to take is, if it’s important, email it or message it via social media, or courier it. If it’s kind of not really important, or there’s no other option? Then post it.

This morning, our Senate rejected a plebiscite regarding same sex marriage, or as some call it, marriage equality. Or, as I call it? Marriage.

This means that a postal vote will occur. It was cost an estimated $122 million. It is not compulsory to vote, and the result may not be binding.


I could make a list here of things in Australia that could benefit from a $122 million injection of funds. Health, aged care, education. But the thing is, I don’t know enough about politics to actually talk about those things in an educated way.

But what I do know about is what it feels like to be not invited to something. And to rely on the postal service when it comes to important deliveries.

As a gay woman in 2017, I feel a bit like the government has a pile of invitations at the moment, that they are shuffling while they clear their collective throats before calling out the names of people who are invited to partake in marriage. And I know my name is not on one of those invitations.

You see, the very moment I uttered the words that confirmed my sexuality, I lost my right to marry the person I would eventually fall in love with. In Australia, marriage is deemed to be between one man and one woman. Not two men. Not two women. One man. One woman.

So when you don’t have one woman in your relationship, or when you don’t have one man in your relationship, you are not allowed to be legally married in Australia.


We’re about to enter into what is already a pretty nasty period of parliamentary debate. Already, the Australian Christian Lobby has referred to the children of same sex couples as “the stolen generation”. There are going to be words flung around and opinions shrieked. Name calling and finger pointing. And outside of parliament, I anticipate that things will be worse.

The people I see at Tafe will be able to vote on my right to marry. And they won’t all be thinking that I should have that right. The people I see at work will have a vote. The people I stand in line with at the checkout, the people who have just moved in next door. Strangers and friends and acquaintances. They’re all going to have a say on whether or not I should be allowed to be legally married.

And to be honest, it scares me. And I’m out, I’m OK with who I am. Imagine if you were not OK? Imagine if you were still in the closet, waiting to find out if you were safe or not to come out?

My gut reaction, I’m ashamed to say, has been to act out of fear. To try to look less obviously gay. To think twice before holding hands in public.

But then I remembered the ones who are struggling with who they are. Who are still keeping quiet about their truth.

And I remember that at the heart of this, is, quite simply, wanting my love to be recognised as equal.

And so, the answer is not to hide it away.

The answer is to keep loving.

With the postal vote, yes or no, I don’t know what’s going to happen. And I don’t know how vehement people will be in voicing and acting out their disapproval. Am I going to be yelled at? Called names? Physically hurt? Because of who I love?

can’t know. But I have the assurance that I am loved. And that’s what I will rely upon.

And hopefully, as those invitations are shuffled and reshuffled, and voices cleared and names read out, I will one day hear my name on the Invited list.






I’ve been a bit absent, mainly because I had another endometriosis clean out which resulted in a couple of post-op issues. One of them, somewhat ironically given the tale I am about to tell you, was the large bruise I grew on my tummy. The problem with the excess skin I have hanging on my tummy is that, well, it’s heavy. The weight of it resulted in a pooling of blood that created a bruise that resembled the poo emoji.


Right there, the poo emoji.

A week later, the bruising is starting to subside.

However, I wasn’t enjoying being sat on my bottom. I needed to return to some form of normal. So this week, I returned to the gym. No weights, nothing strenuous, just some walking on the treadmill. Restarting normal routines and that kind of thing. It went fine on Monday.

On Wednesday, on the way to the gym, my tummy was feeling a bit sore and crampy. I didn’t say anything in case it resulted in beloved turning the car around, but I should have spoken up, I should have I should have I should have.

But alas, I did not.

I got on my treadmill and after 10 minutes, I realised that the cramping was a signal that there was an issue that needed to be dealt with. I told beloved I’d be back in a tick. I left my phone and everything on the treadmill, and wandered across the gym to the bathrooms. And as I walked in, I was thinking about other things, more important things, more essential things, instead of checking to make sure that the stall I was about to plonk myself down in had toilet paper.

And it did not.

I will spare you the details of my bathroom activities, but the lack of toilet paper presented a significant and serious issue.

I was perched upon a porcelain throne. I was surrounded by silence. My thoughts were racing through my head. What do I do?

I poked at the toilet paper dispenser, praying for a square or a scrap or a whisper of hope.


I should have brought my phone and I should have said something when my tummy was sore in the car, I should have I should have I should have.

But I did not.

I considered my options.

They were not particularly generous.

I needed to keep my tights on, for the sake of decency. Same with my shirt. And the two bras. I considered my remaining options.

While things were already quite dire, I felt it would be indecent to use my undies as toilet paper. What if I decided to do squats and my tights were not squat proof?

This left me with two options.

Left sock, or right sock.

I wear Bonds socks. They come up high enough to prevent blisters, they have a soft sole, and when I mop the floors I can leave BONDS prints all over the floor.

In around 1985, there was an ad on TV for Bonds. It went like this:

As I sat there on the loo, left with a terrible decision to make, I found myself humming the ad. I sighed, resigned to the reality I was faced with. And slowly, I removed my right sock.

When I left the bathroom, I must have had guilt and shame written all over my face. As I walked out, I bumped into a friend who asked me what I was doing. I told her I’d gone to the loo, and mentioned that there was no toilet paper.

She asked me how I had gotten myself out of that particular pickle.

Again, I signed. And I looked down at my feet, sadly. Left foot snug in a Bonds sock. Right foot, naked inside my shoe.


She laughed and told me I had to blog about this.

And so I have.

Have you ever had this happen to you? What would you have done in my situation?



I mentioned last post about how I’ve been trying to not use my phone when I’m doing social stuff, because I want to be a part of things. It’s harder than you’d think, because we’re so conditioned now to document every meal and moment, and to take and re-take photos to prove our spontaneity. There’s a place for this, yes, but for me? I’m trying to be more in the moment.

But sometimes, I really do not like the moment.

This morning was the icing on a particularly nasty cake I’ve been baking for a while now. I was running late for a cycle class, and I do not cope with being late. So I took what I thought was a shortcut, and found myself going straight past the gym. I turned around and promptly repeated the exact same sequence of turns, and again… going straight past the gym.

As I sat at the lights waiting to do a third u-turn, I heard myself say something. Actually, it was pretty loud. Chances are the person waiting at the lights next to me also heard it.

One thing I am good at doing is talking to myself in ways that I wouldn’t dare or even dream of talking to other people. And to prove a point, I have turned what I said into a beautiful meme:


And looking at those words, I feel ashamed of myself. I would unleash total fury at anyone who dared to use those words towards someone I love. Even towards someone I don’t know. You don’t talk to people like that, not in my world.

Except… I do. To myself.

And I’m sitting here, writing this, and I just want to cry. Because I know I meant it, at the time.


When I eventually got to the gym, I pushed myself through a big cardio workout, because I’d totally and utterly missed the class I wanted to go to. I was stretching afterwards, and a woman who’s become a good friend plopped herself down opposite me to chat.

We talked about time. About how moments are so important, and without investing in the importance of time – instant, immediate, now time – life kind of loses meaning.

It reminded me of a conversation I had last night, where again time was the topic. Don’t rush time, don’t force yourself forwards into things you can’t possibly predict the best outcome. Don’t worry about things that you don’t have the information about yet. Just be now. Time.

Which reminded me of a conversation I had on Sunday. Time. Time doesn’t exist, you just have now as your guarantee. Don’t let anxiety mess with now.


I need to remember those words I said to myself. Not because they’re true. But because of the horrific cruelty behind them, that I directed to myself. And I need to remember how I spent that moment, that time. Because life is so fleeting. I cannot put more time into talking that way to myself. Because fuck.

I might hear me.

I thought about things that I have heard other people say about me.



photo by @kimmi_joy


There comes a point where you can make a choice.

And I choose moments. I choose now.

And as hard as it’s going to be to change the thought patterns of a lifetime, I choose to remember that I have done something amazing. That I am strong.

And that I am about to help other people set themselves free.



Just fkn do it


I went and checked out a new local gym that opened recently. I was shown around the “women’s” area (cardio, creche and cafe) and the “men’s” area (bigger weights, squat racks and so on). My instant reaction was no way. You don’t gender fitness, you don’t tell people what they can and cannot do based on whether they’re male or female, and you certainly don’t make assumptions about what people – living, breathing human beings – want out of a gym solely on traditional values assigned to gender.

But really, it’s not this new gym owner’s fault. They’re setting this facility up to cater to what has worked for years and years. And I honestly wish them every success.

I don’t want to be told that, though. I am not the weaker sex. I am not ever going to be confined to prancing daintily on a treadmill while sipping some soy latte shit and waving at my children engrossed with their screens in some creche set up. I want to lift weights, I want to increase my strength, I want to do whatever I want to do.

One lone brain thinking this changes nothing.

Fortunately, there’s an army.

The Grrrl Army.

I had the opportunity to meet the leader of this army on the weekend. She’s a woman who has inspired me for the last 12 months. She’s physically and mentally strong, she lifts heavy shit and spirits, she crushes watermelons and barriers.

This is Kortney Olson.


The first time I became aware of Kortney was when I spotted a pair of gym tights that had a brick pattern on them. They made me smirk because I’ve often been told I’m built like a brick shithouse (which is actually a positive thing). So I checked out the page, then found the Army.

Imagine if a group of women decided to dedicate themselves to cheering each other on. Imagine if that number on your clothing tag didn’t sum you up. Imagine most of all, that liberation and courage found in discovering that who you are is actually OK. More than that, it’s pretty fucking awesome. And the second you start to waver in this, there’s a crowd pulling you back up.

So when the opportunity arose to meet Kortney and some of the other grrrls, initially I jumped at the chance.

However, fuelled not only by stubbornness and caffeine but also by a hefty dose of anxiety and self doubt, as the day drew closer I began to panic. Eventually I shot Kortney a message and told her that I didn’t think I could go, and explained why. Her response?

It’s ok to be scared. Just fkn do it.

So, I did.

And as I walked towards the place we were meeting up for a workout, that self doubt rose again. These women were surely going to be stronger than me and fitter than me and better than me.

But it wasn’t a competition.

And I learned very quickly that as long as you held your own and did your best, then you smashed it.

And we cheered each other on and there was laughter and admiration and praise and in a word, community.

We were not each other’s competition.

We were there together.

I didn’t take any other photos, aside from that selfy with Kortney. I’ve been trying more and more to be a part of the moment rather than hide behind a screen. It’s hard because screens are like a small blockade between life and self, which is kind of nice. But I don’t want blockades all the time. Sometimes I want to be part of the moment and part of life.

Because it can end pretty abruptly.

But while I’m in the alive part of it, of life, I want to tell people that they’re heroes. I want to lift other people as well as heavy weights. I want to see exactly what this body of mine with all it’s floppy skin and stubbornness and anxiety can actually do.

And being a part of something bigger makes me believe that it can be done.


The Climb


Yesterday was exactly one year since I couldn’t finish a fun run. I was doing the Maitland River Run and a surprise asthma attack had me sidelined at around the halfway point, waiting for a medical chap to come with Ventolin to my rescue. I had to make a decision: Do I do the run again this year to prove I can, or do I do something else?

I did something else.

Not because of fear or anything like that. But because, quite simply, I knew if anything went wrong again, that there wasn’t any real first aid stations along the course. It took ages to get medical help, and I was totally unimpressed that one of the official photographers told me he couldn’t help me and that I should walk up to the drink station, which was around 500 metres away. This isn’t an event I want to support.

So, the something else.

Mount Tomaree is a very big mountain. It’s near Nelson Bay. The gradient of the hike is Level 5 – very steep and difficult. But it promised stunning views, and I am generally up for a physical challenge. And so, off we went.

Within the first 5 minutes, I was panicking internally. This was steep, and we were nowhere near the summit. In my head I was trying to come up with the words to say that I couldn’t do it, and trying to justify to myself the reasons for not finishing this attempt. But while I was thinking all these things, my legs were pumping away and my feet were happily doing their ‘one in front of the other’ thing. It’s like they were not aware that I couldn’t do this, and they just kept right on going.

Something I see often, and have experienced particularly when it comes to running, is that your brain will give out long before your body does. You’re mind will challenge what you’re doing and tell you NOOO but if you don’t listen to it, your body can and will just keep going. It’s funny because it’s my mind that makes the decisions to do this stuff, but it’s my body that does it and it’s my mind that tends to be the first to back out.

But I digress.

The walk starts on paved ground. Then it changes to mega steep metal stairs and walkways. Then it changes to steps cut into the rocks. There are more metal stairs and more metal walkways, then more rock steps. And the whole thing just keeps going and going. But it goes somewhere. Directly up. Up and up and up.

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As the ups became steeper, I realised that I was doing it.

And as we got nearer to the top, the views got better.

One more step of steps. One more metal walkway. One more twisting path. And then!


Amazing. Totally worth the climb.

But to be honest, we didn’t spend a huge amount of time at the top.

Because that’s not what the joy was.

The joy? Getting there.

Setting a challenge and completing it.

When we were at the top, I wasn’t really thinking about the views. I was thinking about these feet of mine. That have been to hell and back, rebuilt, relearning, and now doing the best they can to keep up with the goals and ideas I come up with. I was thinking about the way I was ready to pack it in before I’d even started. I was grinning because despite my brain and my feet, and a killer leg day on Friday, I’d done it. We’d done it. And I hadn’t struggled anywhere near as much as I had assumed I would.


One of the reasons why?


There she is, right next to me.

And so, Maitland River Run, you didn’t defeat me last year. And instead of coming back to prove it, I took on something harder, something more challenging, something that has brought me undone in ways you never will:

I took on myself.