“Don’t look back. You’ll turn into a pillar of shit!”…….

Don’t look back.  You can only look forward and look toward a place you do not know until you reach it.  Sometimes, as difficult as it seems, you must learn to leave what you have grown to love be it somewhere you have lived and where perhaps your yesterdays are all buried deep.  It is an odd feeling leaving.  You not only miss the existence of the life you have built for yourself but most of all, you miss the person you have been at that time in that place and you know you will never feel that same way again.

Perhaps there are times where the bottom is supposed to fall out of our lives.  We lose what we love, we lose our trust and faith and we lose the truth of what we thought we believed so very deeply in.  When this happens, you can find yourself in a very dark place and it is from here you have the choice whether to move on or not.

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So very Southern.  The glorious magnolia flower………

Our trip home, documented in the last 15 posts, was disconcerting at best.  Amazing yet heartbreakingly difficult all at the same time.  Our lives thrown into careless turmoil and all the while dearly missing our family Gus and Zoe.  How were we to know when we packed up our home and our lives in the beautiful state of South Australia (a wonderful posting, as every one of our postings have been) in November of 2013 to begin that remarkable journey, that it would end as it did.  That life would change in an instant!   A single very ordinary instant and that we would be made to forfeit all which we never believed we could forfeit.

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November 2013.  Our entire home and lives packed up in readiness for this wonderful adventure.  How could we have known it would end as it did………

Packed and ready to go………

Last moments in Sydney Australia.  Cheers to a wonderful adventure……….

There is the realisation that one grows from something like this, as well one should, and  you will learn much.  During the most harrowing of times, although I thought I had lost absolutely everything, I gained so very much more.  I only had to look for it.

I have learnt that I need not tie myself to the weight of other peoples’ worth for when they are not made of heart they hold no purpose in my life.  I have discovered the world has people in it who will want to destroy you at any cost however the dehumanising process they use will only make you stronger and your determined courage will see you take your rightful stand.

In times such as these you also come to know your worth and you learn not to allow it to be measured by anyone else.   That although overwhelmed by sorrow you won’t give up. You learn grief has no mercy but you endeavor to fight a good fair fight even against an opponent who will play the lowest and grubbiest of hands.  That something like this also shows you that different people will spurn you in different ways and this is especially true the sly and cowardly piss weak when they have backing and the promise of immunity.

I have learnt I needed to allow my hurt to leave as though casting a stone and that in the baptism of fire of how truly cruel and hateful some women can be, you just need to hold fast your grace.  Don’t ever allow those very disagreeable trolls who favor spite, unkindness, calumny and profound negativity to ruin your benevolence.  Believe me, they are not worthy of it………xx.

I have come to understand I will still struggle with moments of bleak resentment toward those who so brutally drove all that happened.  When my forgiveness wavers, I fret at my lack of compassion for them and this is only because it sees me momentarily lose sight to empathy and humility which I hold dear.

I am also able to recognise that although some have felt justified through misguided, outdated and restless social barriers they had the right to dislocate and make inconsolable, they in turn unwittingly unleashed the singular power of my self respect and this has driven me on.  Regardless of the heinous bitter and very nasty shit they have thrown my way, I am stronger and more resilient than ever.

Most importantly though, I now know when assaulted from all sides and unsupported by those whom I should have been able to turn to yet were exiled from, I learnt to rely only upon myself.  Big tip – Trust only yourself and believe in yourself always.

We met some wonderful people and their friendships will be with us life long.  We had the most amazing time in America, as we have done in all of our postings, and we are so deeply grateful of our time there.  We made the absolute most of every single opportunity to explore, to travel, to experience and to see and do……and believe me, we did 🙂   We took road trips of thousands of miles.  Driving through the golden forge of Americas’ heartland.  Through sleepy forgotten towns where a richness often lies in such brokenness yet these places become an awfully human place to exist.  To vibrant cities of architectural beauty.  Those magnificent steel and glass cities that sound of car and taxi horns and the thrum of a million people.  We rode trolley cars and trains.  Walked hundreds of miles on streets we could only have dreamt of walking.  We flew in American skies over patchwork pastures and smog settled cities.  In moments I remember the small things such as Dorothy’s ruby slippers, the dusting of snow Georgia received in our first weeks there, a terrace house in a neighborhood of Washington, glorious magnolia blossom, my first Georgia peach, blackened catfish and the very spot where Elvis fried up his peanut butter and banana sandwiches.

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Touch down in America saw us touring the incredibly beautiful city of San Francisco for a few days………..

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A wealthy neighborhood where the hand of a Buddha statue held a leather catcher’s mitt.  Where Martin Luther King died for his cause and where Presidents have been inaugurated.  Blue Ridge Mountains,  dear little chipmunks and ‘bandits’, diners and corner cafes, juke joints, those long long four lane concrete freeways, the slow drawl of the beautiful southern accent, water towers and the desolate painful trail of tears in Chattanooga.  Sugar dusted beignets at Café du Monde, Spanish moss and mocking birds.  Fresh home-made waffles and pancakes, fried chicken, pecan pie and corn bread.   Sometimes it was the America I had always imagined and often it wasn’t, but perhaps this is what it means to travel.

Our teeny tiny snowman made from a dusting of Georgian snow……….

I missed the hot clotted air and heat of the south which wrapped around me, tanned my skin and frizzed my hair.  The south has a heat which is indescribable yet it lets you discover your porch, friendships, lazy afternoons and a pitcher of anything icy cold.

Once back home in Australia, unsettled and with a sorrow I could not comprehend, I unpacked my bag and shook out a raging aching heart.  It may have been over but really, it was only the beginning…………

And here in Newcastle, as unforeseeable as it was at that time, my life is all I imagined it to be.  From the moment I arrived I knew I was home.  Nowhere I had ever lived before gave the warmth of knowing I was home and you know instantly where you belong and that is the true beauty of life .  At home and at one with that beautiful ocean and where optimism, one of humanities great traits, beguiles and where soul expanding moments continually happen.

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Don’t look back.  What matters is now.  Go only forward and go with courage and dignity and summon that great value of the human spirit which is to never ever give up……..xx

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Footnote:  “Don’t look back. You’ll turn into a pillar of shit”  is a line by Ellen Burstyn in the 1974 movie Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore.   

Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap…..

As difficult as the following post will be to write, it will neatly tie up all of the loose and very frayed edges for those following the blog.  In the post ‘One story ends….’, October 21st, I wrote that ‘an awful lot has happened and a lot of awful has happened too’ and that I was bringing the blog full circile so here we go…..

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It is always so much easier to see the beginnings of something new as wonderful and exciting however it is far more difficult to witness its ending.  And as we have found, not all endings contain grace for they can be overwhelming, soul destroying and calamitous to say the very least.

I will get straight to the point as there is no way to sugar coat what has happened.  We were forced to leave the USA!  This devastating and harrowing decision was taken entirely from our control and it has absolutely destroyed us and our lives.  We were to be in the US for three years however we were only able to spend 18 very wonderful and amazing months there.

The most heartbreaking of all has not just been that we were only afforded three weeks initially in which to pack up our entire lives but devastatingly, we were forced to leave both of our beautiful companions (our cats whom we transported from Australia to the US) behind for 6 months.  For us, this was akin to a parent being compelled against their will to leave their children behind and I cannot ever imagine that any parent would willingly do so.

I have always believed that for every problem there was a solution but life sometimes just goes and shows you otherwise.  My belief was also too that everyone is and should always be in a position to make choices and decisions for themselves and no one, regardless of who they are, should be compelled to make a decision with regards to you which ultimately sets a course to purposefully destroy your life.   To have some level of care and understanding is what it means to be human when you are perpetrating situations such as this on another being.

The decision placed us under the most extreme stress and pressure and no leniency was shown.   I truly begged for consideration for both Gus and Zoe.  Nothing else mattered to me but the welfare of these two most innocent and dearest of souls but any request or suggestion of another solution was flippantly and sniggeringly  dismissed by conceit and arrogance. The time frame, the decision itself and the devastation of leaving behind our cats sat on the surface of our very being like an ugly spreading bruise.  Jesus Christ!  Did not one of those involved ever consider for a single moment that we were human beings and that it was near impossible to deal with all which was being dumped upon us.

In a daze of attempting to comprehend and fight this unlawful decision, we were overtaken by sheer exhaustion from lack of sleep and worry and it was difficult to even begin to grasp the magnitude of what was occurring.  Days slipped relentlessly by and in those days I seriously questioned the morality and the reasoning of those who chose to involve themselves in it.   Confronted with the impending disaster I focused on how unremarkable the circumstances were which had led to all of this.  And as mediocre as those conditions were, the unthinkable was still happening and pushing us along at breakneck speed.  There were no tradeoffs and there were certainly no winners and there is no other way to describe dealing with this entire process other than to say it was like hitting soup up a hill with a fucking cricket bat!

Any fight in which you find yourself should be fair and righteous but in all faith, I will honestly state, that as much as you cry, rage, suffer and try your very best to battle on, your dealings with some is not unlike scrapping with the dirtiest, meanest, lowest and most underhanded coward you will ever encounter in your entire life.

We staggered under the weight of sorrow and frustration at the decision to return us to Australia.   It all began on Thursday 28th of May 2015 however the plotting started long before that, possibly around January 2015!   The 28th was the day the decision was handed down and the fall out and the impact of it unbelievably continues to this very day.  It has felt as though there has been no hope and no possibility when doors are slammed shut and people refuse and continue to refuse to answer most, if not all of the questions which have been posed to them.   They have completely wiped their hands of any wrong doing and accountably, as is their usual exoneration to anything they are involved in, just as one would flick lint from the sleeve of a very good suit jacket.

Most  shattering of all has been that our beautiful and gentle boy Gus died a painful and very distressing death and we were not able to be there with him.  Our other dear little cat Zoe almost died too and was required to be removed from the cattery where we were forced to abandon them.  She was placed under constant veterinary care, had a feeding tube inserted and although her prognosis was very poor originally, she received the best possible care therein allowing her to thankfully recover slowly.  Once again, those involved did not and do not care and will not answer questions posed to them regarding any of this.  They have chosen to completely dismiss this of all things as though it has not even happened.  We were forced to leave two very health, happy and beautiful companions behind and one has died and the other suffered terribly also.  I make no bones about it when I state that the suffering, pain and distress both Gus and Zoe were forced to endure is heinous beyond measure!

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This is my favorite photo of Gus.  I loved him very much and I still miss him terribly…..

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The sweetest and dearest of little souls, Zoe….

When something of this magnitude happens it will make you weep from a very private place which has been pushed so deep inside yourself you will begin to believe that you are unable move forward.  We are not placed on this earth to judge people, to interfere and nor are we here to change or alter the lives of others for the worse.  We are not here to demand and implement the persecution of others just as we are not here to set our sights to destroy the lives and reputations of another single being.

And during all of this, I could not help but wonder if what bought most of it on was the fact that some do not like to see others succeed at life, at great and rewarding friendships and at happiness and enjoyment!  Seeking boundaries in a friendship should never become a punishment to anyone who requests the simplicity of that.

I have also discovered something quite unique about this whole situation and that is – if you wrestle a pig in mud two things are guaranteed to happen:

  1. You are both going to get very, very dirty and
  2. Only the bow legged pig will gain any delight, satisfaction and glee from the encounter!!

In writing this blog post I have thought very deeply about forgiveness and I acknowledge that I may never manage the grace to forgive what happened to Gus and Zoe.  Rationally, we all know that bad things happen to people all of the time.  Perhaps then, should we look at it as acceptance.  Accept that something terrible has happened, accept the fact of hurt, accept that it cannot be changed and accept that sometimes you cannot make sense of why things happen or why people behave they way they do.  We all suffer varying degrees through out our lives but what your grand sense of humility will be in all of this is how you decide to forge ahead.

I am also back living in America.  My return is solely to care for Zoe as she cannot be returned to a cattery and nor can she just be given to someone until she can be returned home to Australia in January 2016.

My bachelorette fridge.  I do however believe, I covered the five food groups…

My return to Georgia was met with a thin whine of hysteria cautioned by one or two which they seeped throughout the community and this settled in as a witness to the very dark side of what I now refer to as ‘The Great Georgia Freeze’!    Originally most of our friends and supporters welcomed me back saying they were ‘thrilled’ at my return however ‘undermining’ caused the severance of some ties and support.  For a while I thought I would die from the harrowing rejection however, I did not!  This is because I know I am far far braver and far more resilient than any of those still hell bent on the continued destruction of our lives and of our reputations.  I can tell you that shit like this is very very hard but it would be far harder if you let them drag you down to their level.

I will also admit I have never been more hauntingly alone in my life than I have been by being back here but I am so grateful and very thankful for their silences, for the cold shouldering, for the lies they have spread (and continue to spread) about us to those witless enough to listen and for the very obvious slights on social media.   I knew that if I allowed a single one of those terrible disappointments to strip me down that I would be doomed, but I was not about to let small acts of ugliness dictate how I coped and that act alone my friends, is mighty liberating indeed!   The succinct expression of grace that we know we hold and want to continue to hold on to will always be your best moral compass in any situation. I have also had a handful of wonderful, true and beautiful friends who have stood by me regardless and their courage to be themselves, to hold dear their integrity and values speaks volumes of the people they are.

So how does one salvage ones dignity and be not coerced to live in quiet sadness when human endurance is pushed beyond all limits and the quotidian of life is not easy.  The answer.  Time!  The fact that time will heal and in that time will slowly come forgiveness.   My memory is vast and alive and it holds in it many beautiful thoughts and images and I will not allow what has happened to continually ooze forward and destroy any of that. For all of the frustrations and challenges, it still is a beautiful life.   We all suffer and we all deal with things in varying degrees but regardless of all that, we all will survive in the end.  For me, my heartache for all that has happened is immense but my ability for my heart to continue to hold kindness and goodness is far bigger and I will still jump into life with both feet and with the greatest of intent.

Sometimes, as difficult as it is, you just need to keep moving forward even when it hurts like hell to do so for you wonder where do you go and what awaits you there.  Life can be hard and sometimes you view it as unfair but somewhere along the way you find a balm of soothing comfort and for me, that was arriving in the beautiful city of Newcastle New South Wales.  This most  beautiful of blessing, I could not have imagined earlier.

So I throw caution to the wind now when there was a time that I actually believed it to be so very bad that even Jesus would have thrown in the towel and I am so thankful for my endurance, for my beautiful friends who have not cowered and for my recognition of my appreciation of the fragility of life as you come to know it.

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My beautiful Newcastle, New South Wales….

Dirty deeds and underhanded dealings will always be done by some but it is how we choose to rise above them and what they do that truly counts in the end.  Hold very dear your dignity for that honor which you display safeguards your beauty of courage, your compassion and your self worth always xx

 

Footnote:  There is nothing disparaging, defamatory nor harmful in my post or my former posts for that matter.  I, as do many people in this world believe in and fully support the freedom of speech and expression.  Please understand that this blog is my platform and I will write what I think, what compels me and what inspires me.  If for some reason, you do not like what I say then you have the choice to not log on to my site.  It is very, very simple!  Other than that, if you still have an issue then please refer to the previous blog post.