My Hopes, Memories and Dreams

Posts tagged “life

Beginnings

A slate wiped clean

Like crisp white cotton

Beckons the Now

To rest upon its’ welcoming folds

A virginal awakening

Giving birth to realisation

Such liberation to behold

In escapement of the soul


Riding Rainbows

Little girls
My growing girls
Your sweet giggles of innocence
Still tippy-toe
Across my heart

Hear my whispers
Kissed gently upon you
Listen for their song
That only silence knows

Keep riding rainbows
My Little Girls
For loves, thrills and adventures
Lie eagerly in wait

Stretch yourselves with courage
(And delight !)
Through the clouds that will float by
‘Til your finger tips come to rest
Upon your horizons

And when your dreams and ambitions
Land momentarily
To catch their breath
Toss me a star
And I’ll join you there…


The Well Within

I always knew

the well ran deep

A seemingly bottomless pit

So dark and hollow

That for such a long time

I dared not look into…

For the vastness scared me

When I peered inside

Having never learnt

There were walls

Called boundaries

With special nooks

That lay within

To tuck away

Little reserves

of love

Just

…for

Me


Ebb and Flow

Like a line in the sand                          

You draw me to you…

Each grain of tender energy

Leaves trails

Along the valleys

of breath intertwined

then, exhaled

To settle

Between the ebb and flow

of the gentle, knowing tide

that binds us


Pierced through the Heart

Your absence strikes

Like a needle

Pierced straight through the heart

Desire

        Loss

Craving

…the inaccessible…

Patterns that bleed

Through each year

Each month

    Week

        Day

            Moment

Of the tapestry

That is

My Childhood Story

Those knots

in my stomach

…Stitched so tight

Leave gaping holes

In my core

My sense of love

for myself

So intrinsically linked

        With

                You


A Birthday Surprise

EMW9WJYNBAKN The moment I alighted the family station wagon that sunny morning of the 6th of October 1982, I had no choice but to succumb to the senses of hearing and touch in order to access clues to my environment. I allowed my feet to take my body in the direction I was being lead and became conscious of the stony gravel crunching under the soles of my sandals. Some even managed to slip through the gaps in the leather between my toes where dusty sand began to gather. A warm sea breeze played cheekily with my hair, which flipped about in a pony tail tied loosely at the back of my neck. Excited tones of children’s voices lapped at my ears and my heart rose in my chest with the anticipation of all that was to come.

My inner voice was particularly audible in this moment, perhaps due to the loss of one particular all-consuming sense that otherwise took centre stage. The presence of the blindfold, a thick woolen scarf that was successfully meeting its obligation of blackening out the scenery before me, suddenly gave permission to that inner voice to leap forth in my consciousness.

“Just be prepared, alright…that’s all I’m saying”.

I swallowed hard. I knew it. I knew this was too good to be true.  There was always a catch….always a let down. Where there was enjoyment, the claws of disappointment lay waiting for it’s prey. Me. My stomach was in knots by now. The ride was over. Metaphorical kicks landed in my gut…pound, pound, pound.

“Why did you allow yourself to feel it?”, the inner critic scowled at me like I was a silly child.

Well…I was a child…a child excited at the prospect of a surprise birthday party organized by her parents.

“Gee, sorry for wanting some well-intentioned excitement to materialize in my life!”, I retorted despondently.

After all, I hadn’t been completely naive. Nagging thoughts had plagued me that something was not right with this scenario unfolding before me, ever since it was first suggested by my mother a couple of weeks earlier. I had simply shoved them to the back corner of my mind and dumped a few piles of hopefulness on top to keep their muffled screams stifled for a while. A kid’s allowed to have some fun surely!

Even whilst I meticulously addressed each hand written invitation to the eight or so children I had mustered up the courage to invite to my seventh birthday party, I had watched my hand become uncharacteristically shaky as it swapped between rainbow colored scented pens. Reality was never really far from the surface despite my longing to slip into a world of Brady Bunch like contentment. I could not help but ask myself the questions.

Why was she doing this, I pondered with bewilderment and awe. Why would my mother be acting with such sickly sweet generosity ? I gave up long ago on any attempts to decipher her motivation behind such uncharacteristic behaviour. This time she had suggested that she would arrange a birthday party at a surprise location and that I may invite eight of my friends. The laughter filled hub of activity that now surrounded me was materializing as the unidentifiable location, and I was terrified. It felt as if one more step forward on my behalf would be all that was needed to smash though the trip wire that I knew was an inevitable obstacle in my path.

It was time. I felt hands maneuvering behind my head as the tightly bound scarf was given reprieve from its task. I chimed in on the tail end of its’ own sigh of relief, however once my eyes focused on the scene before me, my breath escalated to a high-pitched gasp. I covered my mouth with my hands in shock as my eyes darted over to my mother in disbelief and then back again to make sense of what lay before me. All the other seven-year-old children who were gathered around squealed in delight and giggled in response to my reaction. I could not share their enthusiasm.

Before me stood the tallest, most ominous looking slippery slide I had ever seen. Standing at the base it towered above me, its’ rainbow coloured paint-work shining rapturously in the bright morning sun. But I knew, just like the colourful costume that clowns wear, this was simply a façade that served as an entrapment to an unsuspecting child as they raced up the stairs clutching their heshen sack. I however, saw straight through to the harsh metal base, the perfect conductor for the brutal Australian heat. It glared down at me, causing a chill to run down my legs that were now wobbling beneath me like jelly.

My eyes darted back to my mother and I stared at her intently in disbelief. Then I promptly burst into tears. They knew I was terrified of slides. She knew I was terrified of slides. All slides…any slides…anything to do with slides. Even the local park variety of slide installed within me the greatest terror. I’m not sure how the fear originated but I do recall even as young as four years of age, crying and attempting to resist the coaxing of my older brothers to join them on a water slide at a water park we were visiting during a family holiday. At the time, the thought of the combination of height, speed and rushing water was just too much to contemplate, and in hindsight, understandably so. However, my participation appeared to be a mandatory clause I had somehow overlooked when signing on for this family, and so my father forcibly sat me on his lap and down I went. Once was enough. Apparently this was all that was needed to ingrain the terror in me a little deeper.

And here I found myself once more, with the same urge to run and nowhere to go. Backing out was not an option, despite the copious tears that drenched my party dress. I looked up at my parents in disbelief. Why would they plan this knowing full well of my fear? How could this plan ever be envisaged as the perfect celebration to brighten my birthday and fill me with joy and delight? Oh, that’s right…ofcourse…This was the catch. Again I stared intently into my mother’s eyes and recognized the signs of satisfaction…almost glee, that she seemed to obtain from orchestrating another’s heart-ache. Forgive me if I am sounding melodramatic, but this terror was real and demonstrated previously on countless occasions that made it impossible for anyone who knew me closely, particularly my parents…to deny. And here I stood in a dusty suburban theme park, having been lead specifically to the Magic Mountain of Slides. To me, this was no “Fun Park”.

And then I also had to contend with being confronted by the shame and embarrassment I felt in this moment as my peers and their parents stared at me in confusion. This was a scenario that would haunt me in similar social situations throughout my childhood as I found myself caught in the predicament of rationalizing my responses as my parents stood perfectly composed, presenting their well-rehearsed middle-class niceties, seemingly bewildered by my behaviour. Unable to explain my distress through muffled sobs, I was left looking like a spoilt little brat who was not pleased with her birthday surprise. As my mother tightened the grip on my arm whilst still smiling through her red lipstick, she lowered her mouth to my ear and in inaudible tones to the rest of the gathering, she ordered me to join the other children on the climb to the top of the stairs.


Regression Therapy ~ Uncovering my spiritual quest

One of my favourite Buddhist Proverbs, “When the student is ready, the teacher will come” materialized in my life with great clarity towards the end of 2009. Grappling still with a sense of bewilderment at the repetitive nature of the cyclical patterns of hurt and disappointment that were occuring in my life, I sought refuge one afternoon in the soothing hub of my local “Well-Being” Centre intending to seek relief from my anguish through a deep tissue massage. I walked out three hours later without the massage, but with a completely new, somewhat bewildering… but definitely invigorating outlook on the evolving journey that is my life.

During my initial consultation with Paul, the owner of the Centre, I poured out my desire to better understand the purpose behind my presence in this world in order to put an end to the patterns of grief and longing which consumed me. Paul unexpectedly yet gently proposed the idea of embarking upon regression therapy. Having previously explored other forms of transpersonal therapies I understood the concept that the subconscious, memories and ego are interconnected in a mutually influencing web of experience of the Self. I therefore felt comfortable with the objective of regression therapy. Paul’s offer was free of any financial cost but purely a gesture to help me on my course of healing. I accepted his offer with no request for further explanation regarding the process itself, as I did not want to taint my experience in any way. Yet, an element of wariness still waved its’ red flag in the corner of my mind. This is the story of how the session unfolded.

After a period of “settling in” as I lay on the massage table in a candle-lit therapy room, Paul reassuringly guided me towards the following memories:

Paul: I want you to take yourself to your earliest child hood memory

  • I am standing in a cot. I am maybe 10 months of age. I am gripping the bars of the cot as I stand looking towards the closed bedroom door. It is painted a dull, eggshell shade of white. My feet are bare and I wear flannelette pants. I stare at the door. Why aren’t they coming ? I am not distressed. Just alone. (The voice of cynicism said as it watched from above “Yeah well, you’ve seem photos of yourself at this age so you have a rough idea what you looked like”.)

Paul: Now I want you to go back even further

  • I am looking up into my mother’s face. I see dark brown waves of hair framing her face. I feel her arms supporting me. I am an infant…a newborn infant. I experience a sense of knowing that she is my mother. The surrounds feel clinical.(Again the skeptic piped up “How many images of a newborn child in it’s mother’s arms have you seen over the years ? You know, like in that kleenex commercial..?”)

Paul: From here I want you to return to the womb. Sense how it feels and what it looks like if you can

  • I feel myself in a cramped, darkened cocoon. Dark red and blackened walls are throbbing around me. A steady pulsating drone echoes in my ears. (“Yeah, yeah…here you are imagining the inside of a womb as pictured in those pre-natal documentaries”..said Ms.You-Can’t-Fool-Me !)

Paul: Now I want you to move to the moment of conception…

  • KA-ZING ! A surge I can only describe like an electrical charge pulsates through my consciousness. This is not a physical, bodily sensation and I continue to lay still in a state of complete relaxation. It is powerful. Awesome. Like nothing I have ever encountered. (The voice of doubt is silent on this one !)

Paul: And from this point, if you can, I want you to go back to before conception…if you can…

  • With little effort I am there. I am floaty, formless….I possess no end and no beginning. I am pure energy. A bright shining light engulfs me. Oh the Bliss ! I am riding a wave of blissful Joy and Peace. A warm gentle breeze swirls around me.  Suddenly a knowing washes over me that it is time to go forward…into Life. Why must I go ? Why would I want to leave here where all is pure and divine and harmonious ? I am not yet human, not yet a child, but I possess an adult-like knowledge that is warning me of a tumultuous journey ahead. I must have courage. I must accept my path. (By this time the sceptic within had left the building.)

Paul: Now I want you to return to your birth

  • I feel myself struggle. Confined and constricted. I feel pain. Cramped and Twisted. A bright white light hits my eyes violently causing me to cringe and flinch and squint. This is not a pleasant arrival at all. No wonder, I didn’t want to be here. But here I was. Here I am. A heavy weight fell upon me.

When we were finished and I had some time to try and configure my now quite scattered thoughts, Paul asked me if there were any themes or messages that struck me from the experience. The first words that broke through the fuzziness still floating in my head, were Courage and Acceptance.

It took some time to come down off the thrill and wonderment of the experience itself but once my feet hit the ground, I began to ponder those two big words and their meanings. Courage….to create the life I do want to live…I choose to live , distinct from the shackles of my childhood. Yes, I can emphatically say I am on that path. And Acceptance…perhaps the acceptance that this is my journey of learning through this life time and there is no point rallying against it by asking Why Why Why ?

I also instantly made sense of an inner thought pattern that has plagued me ever since I was a very, very young child as I looked around at my parents and siblings….Who are these people ? What am I doing here ? Why was I born into this family ? I do not want to be here with them ! I do not belong here ! I do not want THIS life ! Oh yes, now it all makes so much sense !!!


Hope

Hope shimmers

Rays of golden thread

Cleverly interwoven

Between bleak greys and browns

Providing enlightenment

To the fabric of life


Disquiet

 

 

 

Your silence is deafening

Not even ear-plugs of disdain

Can quieten the echo

                                                That richochets through my heart

                                                                                        Still…

 

 

 

 


Sweetest Thing

Unraveling  inner  purpose

Requires exquisite execution

Bravely we must grasp

At

the corners

of those shiny layers

shrouding the Self

And in one delicate

motion

With a twist of Faith

Release the pull of opposites

To reveal the sweetness within


I am not a pin cushion

pincushion01I am not a pin cushion

Though I’m soft

and pretty

Yes

A malleable pacifist

I may be…

My core is not filled

with stuffing

For you to sink 

your blunt end

  Into

      

Thanks to   Sara Fryd  for the inspiration from her poem,

An Only Daughter, published in What if…only one child remained ?


This Heaven That I’m Making ~ My Visions, My Dreams

Join me on my journey towards creating the life I was born to lead !

1. Click on Menu (in the bottom left hand corner of the screen above) and then click  Autoplay Presentation.

2.Next click the Play button on the bar below to hear Sarah McLachlan ~ One Dream.


Birth of the Soul

A formless puddle puddle
Of energy
Rippling, softly
Here I float

Surrounded by Light
I swell
In rapturous harmony
Existential delight !

Must I go ?
Must I choose
The trauma
And heartache
Of this Life ?

Darkness descends
A bloodied womb
My cradle
The beating heart
My only constancy

Oh the pain !
I wince
My face distorted
Squinting
at the brightness

Reluctantly
I emerge
Into the cold


Soul Purpose

Cane fire plumeOh Soul so tender

How you flinch at my touch !

A purplish glow

Replaces the Light

Revealing the bruises

Inflicted by

                                             Life

 

Why choose this suffering?

Divine creator

of chaos

I cry…

And I plead

Take me back to the beginning !

Oh how I yearn to know!

 

I am willing

Heart wide open

Listening

Waiting

For enlightenment

 to unfold…


My Friends – My Spiritual Kin !

This morning I woke with an overwhelming sense of gratitude for the support of my friends which doubled when I read some beautiful comments on my blog. I’ve been inspired to re-post this piece on friendship that I wrote a while back.

To all my new Blog Land friends – Thank you ! You will never know the impact you are having on my journey towards greater self-awareness and self-love.

BestFriendsAnimals

My friends are my spiritual-kin. This is not a new revelation but after spending recent days communicating with some of my most treasured friends, I have been awakened to the sum of their influence upon who I see when I look inside myself. For although true friends are often described as mirrors, reflective of our hopes and dreams about who we really desire to be, who emphatically applaud and encourage us on our way, they must also bear witness to who we really are. It is because we cherish the uniqueness of their experiences and their learnings so profoundly, that we can accept their gentle critique of the sometimes flawed nature of our thinking. A friendship that stimulates self-knowing by not always supporting our ego-centricity but that challenges our self-concepts and identifies our insecurities, can be an arousing breath of fresh air to the soul.

In this world we are often consumed by the roles we play, whether as someone’s mother or partner, in our professional life, or in fulfilment of our cultural identity or status. True and honest friendships ignite greater awareness of our inner identity. These friendships provide a sense of freedom…a release from the role-playing and a peeling back of the layers that mask the essence of who we are.

Distinct from family relationships which can stifle us by promoting conformity to the group, obedience and expectation, true friendships act like a loving injection of unflappable courage. They promote individuality and self-love, and always will encourage us to leap towards the most fulfilling path. For just as we want to achieve our best for ourselves, our true friends…our spiritual kin, desire the same for us without competitive zeal or secret condemnation.

Thank you my friends !


Lost at Sea

P3140036Sailing through this sea of life, I continue to find myself in choppy waters. My fellow voyagers are quick to reassure me I have the right equipment, my reputation is renowned; and that my thorough experience as the master of many varying vessels and explorer of bays near and far, is well documented by all.

Given the wondrous praise bestowed upon me by both my crew and fellow voyagers I cannot help but ponder why I keep heading for tumultuous waters ? Caught in the rip, I do see the calm, still pools ahead…oh so inviting…oh so enticing…yet they allude me. Are my navigation skills truly so poor ? How can that be for a seafaring woman of such high regard ?

Here I sit perched atop my cabin, scanning the horizon for calmer seas.  Here I sit alone…a solo traveller on this voyage. Other ships pass me often, bidding me good fortune on my travels but never stopping long enough to share a tale or two over a pitcher of rum. When a lull approaches, inviting space and time for exploration at foreign ports, I courageously disembark my vessel, tossing my trusty life-jacket aside to expose the vulnerability otherwise shrouded beneath. Yet too often my hopes and expectation give way to disappointment at the sinking realisation that the Captains that stop in my waters do not share my fervour for future endeavours, or are just plain simpletons in disguise.

Am I destined to be a solo voyager through distant oceans  ?  Wary of pirates lurking to overthrow my vessel, I tighten the lock on my wares as each stranger in the dark approaches. Yet the tiniest flicker of light burns still within, in anticipation of the discovery of unchartered waters that may be revealed with the turning of each fresh page of my cruiser’s log. Wiping the fog of disillusionment from my binoculars, I raise them once more in the hope of spotting that illusive sea-mate with the qualifications to join me on this journey,  providing the inspiration to fill out my sails and steer me towards more peaceful waters.


Monday afternoon musings

P1020224

This afternoon my daughter and I went for a walk and contemplated our five key ingredients to leading a satisfied life.

This is what we came up with:

  1. A roof over our heads
  2. Clothes on our back
  3. A full belly (We are true foodies !)
  4. Love in our hearts
  5. Friends in our circle


Intentions for my Sister-Friend

Woman-Mother-Sister-Friend         4goddesses

Listen intently

To

Mystic musings

Do not dispel

The inner rumblings

Of primal knowing

And of self-

preservation

Revved up by Mars

And its astro-wielding

Drag yourself out

From the merde-ridden nest

…where mad men dwell

Access peaceful resolve

And with gilded grace

Refuse to endorse

The slog of self-reliance

Demand all those who desire

A share

Of your domestic landscape

Honour your virtues

Or be flushed out in style


Tainted Palette

Black thoughts stain

Like inkBlack-Ink-Splatters

On the silk of the soul

 

Rinse
               Soak
                            Spin
Wring

 

Laundered by the Light

Fade

Infuse with Pain

Remain.


A Glimpse into Another World

agirlandkingcharlesEver since I was a young child I have enjoyed taking myself for long walks. Typically I would leash up the cocker-spaniel Sophie and walk in the direction of the ocean that fringed the beach-side suburb of Melbourne where we lived.

Sometimes I would challenge myself by traveling routes that weren’t so familiar to me, weaving through the backstreets as I went. Although my path may have varied, my aim always remained the same – to stay away…far away from the family home as long as I could. Poor Sophie would often look up at me, tongue dripping, panting furiously as she pulled in the direction of home, only to be ignored and told to ‘walk on’. Even though my late return would earn the wrath of my mother when she heard the side gate latch click sometime just after dark, it was worth it. The chance to escape into my own thoughts and transport myself into a land of happy families was too precious to be limited by the turning hands of a clock.

We lived in a fairly comfortable middle class suburb in the South Eastern suburbs of Melbourne. It was the 1980’s… a time of financial prosperity, for “keeping up with the Jones”. This was reflected by the number of fancy Volvos and shiny Fords housed in the double garages attached to architecturally designed homes that became more abstract and ostentatious as I made my way closer to the beach. I recall one home I actually nick-named “The Castle” because it’s façade was fashioned to represent a miniature castle, complete with turrets and all!

However, it was not the silver badges standing up proudly on the bonnets of the cars that pulled into drive-ways around me, nor the obligatory BMX bikes that dropped on the pavement before me as children ran to greet them, that caught my attention. It was the emotion that permeated the air as families regrouped after their day apart. Strong enough to filter through the otherwise constructed symbols of contentment, when those remote controlled electric gates opened, it hit me like a rush of warm breath on my skin…Happiness, Unity and Tranquillity. I inhaled, allowing it to soak through every pore on my skin until my heart swelled with a painful longing that jolted me into moving on.

I was around eleven years of age when my older sister married and I discovered that her new brother-in-law and his wife lived with their two young sons in my suburb. I had met them maybe once or twice…he was tall, robust in stature and handsome; she was young, blonde and fashionable. Their street name was instantly recognisable to me due to the scoping of the area that I had accomplished over several years worth of long walks. I remember spending one evening walking up and down in front of their home, ecstatic to discover that they had not yet closed their gates thus allowing me a viewing section a metre or so wide between the walls of their high blue-stone fence. Slowly I would stroll across their drive-way trying to inconspicuously snatch a glimpse into their world. Dusk had just fallen so the light of the living room lamp illuminated my view of two tall glass vases filled with oranges, strategically placed on each end of the mantle to frame the collection of family photos above the fireplace. Crossing the road for another viewing, I thought I saw movements deeper in the home as children were prepared for baths before dinner. I imagined their mother lovingly combing back their hair and wrapping them in their dressing gowns to protect them from the cold night air.

I must have made a strange sight, pacing up and down like a burglar’s apprentice casing the premises in preparation for a midnight break-in. On reflection, I’m surprised no-one approached me to inquire what I was doing, considering I was a young girl alone in the street with only a confused dog by her side, whilst every other child was safely ensconced in the pre-dinner rituals of suburban family life.

Suddenly from across the street I heard the clanging of a rubbish bin being dragged up a gravel drive-way and I recognised the form of my sister’s brother in-law approaching the nature-strip. I felt an urgent longing to bolt across the road and throw myself at him, pleading him to allow me to come inside. I imagined pouring out my story of desperation to escape the bizarre and lonely world I inhabited to his beautiful wife. I envisaged her wrap her warm Country-Road clad arms around me, assuring me she would provide the maternal care and protection I craved.

I put my head down and walked on.


This is NOT my Fairy Tale !

Where are you Prince Charming?
princessWhere did you go?
Once so gallant and true…
You slayed the dragon
You rescued the damsel
She handed you the power
to conquer your kingdom

Together you basked in the glow
of new beginnings
Great expectations…
Adorned in your armour,
You brandished your sword

For a time the Princess’ ambition
Outshone her reality
But as the pages turned
The castle walls began to crumble

No compromise, realistically possible
Loss, inevitable.
The Princess’ trust was severely tested
Sweet realisation…
This Urban Cinderalla would not have her ending

As she struggles to re-write the remaining chapters
Facing up to her life …
One like nothing she’d dreamt of
Now both Queen and King to her children
Never, ever did she imagine
Prince Charming would morph into the Beast.


Fessing Up

This morning I found a hand written note under the wiper on the windscreen of my car. It read:

“Hi, My name is A. in Apartment 111. I have accidentally left a white paint mark on your rear left door while opening my door. I apologise for this.

Please let me know if there is anything I can do.

A.
Hopefully it can be buffed out. “

Actually, I was hosing down my car at the time and didn’t notice the small piece of note paper until it was soggy and torn through the middle…the blurred ink resulting in a meshing of words that represented an almost indiscernible blue blob.

When I eventually made sense of it, A’s confession did take me by surprise. Firstly because I hadn’t noticed the white spot of paint the size of a felt tip pen nib somewhere in the middle of the rear left door; but more notably, it was the honesty displayed by A in owning up to the incident that held my attention. With a little pang of guilt I must still have buried somewhere in my cellular memory (I think I felt it near my left kidney), it got me thinking of the many little misdemeanours, the “white spots” I have committed over the years that I have not owned up to. These include: receiving $2.50 more than I should have in a handful of change that time at Woolies, not registering my dogs during 2007, and telling the DVD store it wasn’t me who hired Bride Wars in an attempt to get out of paying the fine.

Ok, well I’m no large scale criminal but the temptation not to “fess up” when things happen that we’re not super proud of is an interesting trait of the human condition. The temptation to cheat, to tell a white lie or not disclose culpability can invoke a little thrill, if only momentarily. Perhaps it’s a reaction to the rigidity of the social controls to which we are conditioned that create the wish to cheat a little, to break rules just a little, to not “fess up” if after checking that no-one’s looking we realise we can get away with leaving a “white spot” on our neighbour’s car.

Anyway, I think I can forgive myself considering that despite being raised a “good girl” indoctrinated by a conservative Catholic, patriarchal upbringing, I have resisted the urge to turn to a life of delinquency and commit even more outrageously deviant acts.

And I’m grateful for the integrity displayed by A in Apartment.111. I think I’ll leave him a note too, perhaps saying,

“Hi, It’s C in Apartment 405. The sum of the numerous self-inflicted scratches and dents far out-number your single little white one…so don’t worry about it ! ,

But thanks anyway,

C.“


The morning after.

girl in mirror

Looking at the sixteen year-old girl who stared back at me from the mirror atop the old white dresser, I felt a tremendous sense of compassion. She was alright after all…fairly pretty really, with a curvaceous figure and long auburn hair. The corners of her mouth turned ever so slightly upwards and her shoulders dropped as she let out a long deep sigh. It was a sigh of relief. Freedom. Sure, she looked pretty daggy this morning in fleecy tracksuit pants two sizes too big and an old faded white t-shirt, with a pattern across the front which was now undiscernible. But that was forgivable. After all, packing clothes when she left had not been a priority. So the clothes she now wore had been delivered by the police on behalf of her older sister, who had thrown together a bag for her that night she left her parents home forever. “Your not so bad after all” I told her. It was important to let her know this. She needed to hear it. And I felt satisfied as I saw a glimmer of hope shine through her eyes.

It was at this point that my ever-evolving journey towards self-love and acceptance began.