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“I do not yet know what I carry in my heart, but I trust it will emerge as I write.”

-Henri Nouwen

“God would not craft our minds and hands to make beautiful things and then shame us for wanting to do so.”

-Jen Hatmaker, ‘Fierce, Free and Full of Fire’

I thought I’d try to jump back into writing with a little stream-of-consciousness piece that has no real direction but, as Henri Nouwen puts it, something “might emerge as I write.”

One disconcerting thing as I attempt this is the Grammarly little icon in the corner of my text box here. It is an emoji of a little woman with her arms crossed across her body. Like my words are causing her to call a ‘foul’ signal. Is even Grammarly judging me? See, that’s my main issue. I get hung up on what other people might think about what I write. A little bit of early “success” also frightened me off a little. My writing got picked up by a few distributors and now even this bit of fluff is in danger of appearing on the blog of a country radio station on the other side of Australia. They’re not particularly discerning about which of my posts they share. Once I saw that they’d reposted a blog of mine about how bad my dandruff has been lately.

So I tried to start writing things that matter. But honestly, I don’t think enough thoughts that matter. Yesterday, I spend almost the entire day watching ‘Schitt’s Creek.’ How can a woman who couch potatoes out like that all day have a proliferation of things worth saying?

In fairness to me though, Aunt Flo did arrive a whole week early, completely unannounced, with many, many more suitcases than usual, if you get my drift. I had to ask Leigh to come home and take care of me because I was worried about freaking out the kids.

Speaking of, has anyone else noticed that their kids are even weirder than usual? Or is it just mine? My little two are fine, but the older ones seem to have developed all kinds of anxieties in the last month or so. We’ve never had a problem with them at night. Both of them slept 12 hours a night from about 9 weeks old and we hadn’t really seen them in the middle of the night since then. But lately, they are afraid of the dark. Like, really afraid. They appear in our room at two am looking like zombies and crawl into bed with us, shaking like leaves in the wind. They are afraid of every sound in the house, even when we stroke their heads and pray and tell them that our house is the safest place in the world. It is sad and weird. I hope they feel better soon.

I turned 40 last week. Friends will know that this was kind of a big deal for me. I started talking about it the day after I turned 39. Before I turned 30 I lost 18 kilos and got really fit. I looked and felt better than I had in years. The big motivation had been to feel healthier at 30 than I had at 20 and it worked.

I thought I could do the same for 40 and began a #fitby40 campaign that involved a couch to 5km app and a gym membership. I started off well with the exercise and I thought I’d get serious about the weight loss by February. No point in starting the run on that too soon. I was supremely confident I’d lose the weight seeing as I’d done it before. But then COVID happened, and all the COVID snacks, and by the time my birthday rolled around, I am 7 kilos heavier than I’d been in February. Not great.

But, I’ll try again, because honestly, I’m pretty uncomfortable in my skin right now and none of my favourite clothes fit. I  genuinely do like my body and I want to treat her well.

Turning 40 felt important to me because I have always felt older than my age. But 40- that sits well. I feel like great things happen in your 40’s. I feel like it’s going to be a decade filled with great joy and many wow moments where I pinch myself and say, “um, how did I get here?”

All my greatest anxieties focus around using my voice. People telling me to stop talking, to be quiet, to take down what I wrote, to reconsider what I put out into the world- those conversations make me feel terrible. Worse than they should. “Opportunity” also scares me and sometimes Leigh has to talk me out of my instinct to just say no. It’s a self-preservation thing that isn’t actually serving me well.

I find Jen Hatmaker’s words quite encouraging:

If you have a secret dream, a private desire, and you are refusing to bring it into the light of day, we actually need you. Have you considered that? Have you thought about what wonderfulness you are meant to bring to bear on this earth? There is an empty void right there where your talent belongs. Literally nobody else can do what you do in the way you do it.

Jen Hatmaker, ‘Fierce, Free and Full of Fire: The Guide to Being Gloriously You’

As I get to the end of this post, the Grammarly icon has changed. It is now a two-handed high five. Phew.

I started this blog so I could practice writing. And the thing about practicing something is that you don’t have to be perfect at it when you start. So less pressure here- you don’t have to stick with me if you don’t want, but I’m going to use this space to keep finding my voice.

Love to you all,