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When the Repressed Rise

‘Why do gay people need to display their sexuality? Why can’t they just keep it quiet? Why do they need to make a big deal about it?’

I keep hearing this, and other versions of this, regarding other sections of society that have been repressed and are attempting to step forward and be accepted as equals.

I’ve heard it about the Black Lives Matter campaign, that some feel should be ‘all lives matter.’

I’ve heard it in relation to feminism as well.

‘Why do women have to rave on and on about how they were treated in the past? Or ‘pull the woman card?’

So, here’s my attempt at an explanation.

There’s a genie in a bottle story — I’m fuzzy on the details but my version goes like this…

If you take a genie and you put it in a bottle and leave it there for 2 weeks, then let it out, it’s going to be relieved to be out of the bottle, it’s going to be relieved to be able to move around and to feel free again. It may even thank you for letting it out.

If you leave the genie in the bottle for 6 months, then you let it out, it’s gonna be relieved to be out and to have its freedom, but it’s also gonna be a little pissed at you for squeezing it into the bottle in the first place and leaving it there for so long.

If you leave the genie in the bottle for 2 years, it’s gonna come out and primarily be pissed at you for leaving it in there so long. It’s gonna be angry, upset and hurt. Maybe even confused as to why you did this to it.

If you leave the genie in the bottle for 10 years, it’s gonna come out mad as hell. It just lost 10 years of its life. A decade of feeling like no one gives a shit about it. A decade of feeling like it isn’t important and of not being heard.

At this 10 year mark, before the genie decks you, it’s probably gonna scream every obscenity at you, and attempt to get you to understand how you’ve made it feel.

It will probably want you to acknowledge what you’ve done and maybe even want to get some kind of redemption or compensation for it.

Then it will never talk to you again. And it will only ever remember you as the arsehole who locked it in a bottle for ten years.

——–

Imagine, then, what the genie might feel and want to do if you left it in the bottle for thousands of years.

Thousands, of years.

The genie is not going to be mad as hell, it’s going to be explosive.

It’s going to be outraged.

It isn’t going to feel like the fight is over just because it’s out of the bottle. It’s going to want justice. It’s going to want you, the bottler, to be held accountable.

I can see, then, why some people might think it’d be easier not to let the genie out of the bottle now, after those thousands of years.

If you’ve left it in there for so long, and you know how outraged they may be if you let them out, then you know they may be so disruptive once let out.

Much less mess if we just keep the lid on it, right?

Well, for some, sure.

But when we shift our minds from the genie analogy to our very real social minorities, then it’s no longer just a story about a genie.

Now we are talking about humanity. And we should see it as a humanity — because we ARE talking about humans.

You cannot repress people for just being who they were born as — for just not being born, a man, or a heterosexual, or white. You can’t repress people for that, and then expect them to not fight back, get angry, want justice, make noise, and seek redemption and acknowledgement at some point.

At some point they’re going to rise. Come out of their metaphorical bottles.

And you can’t expect them to not dance in the streets and rejoice publicly when they make progress in their quest to be seen as equals.

So, the very act of wanting a once repressed person to repress their joy when they are no longer repressed, is ironic and nonsensical.

I hope, in moving forward, that I am witness to many more public displays of love and joy when the repressed rise, become seen, heard and accepted.

I look forward to seeing dancing, singing, hugging, kissing, confetti, and loads of loud and disruptive displays of celebration as each step of equality is taken.

With understanding and compassion to others, no matter how different they look from us, then we can change.

If we all do this, maybe anything is possible?

Zoe xxx

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Don’t House Sit Someone Else’s Life

I spent the first 12 years of my life living in Sydney. In the city. Glebe to be precise. We were all pretty independent kids, catching buses and trains from a pretty early age. Walking through city streets to get to corner shops, parks or friends houses. By the time we were leaving the city, I was a city person through and through.

I knew the sights, smells and sounds of the city like the back of my hand. I still do!We moved out of the city and since then I have lived in a few different places but have never been far from the hustle and bustle and always made time to come and get my city fix. When we had children, I wanted them to experience the city too. So we spent many weekends coming into the city soaking up its culture, sounds, sights, knowledge, people and vibrance. 

I know people who were raised in the city, who just loved getting away from it. But that wasn’t the case for me.

For me, those first 12 years imprinted city life onto my soul. My love for the city was hardwired. It was done. 

And there has never been an undoing.

The only reason I never moved back to the city was that living there permanently wasn’t good for my health — my asthma and allergies. 

Sooo life goes on. Things change. Decisions are made. People move. We move.

Our hearts are pulled toward the polar opposite of our previous city life. 

We have the epiphany. We want a country life!

We make a plan. A fabulous plan to make our tree change. 

We find a property. Consider employment. Think about the children. Plan, plan, plan.

And it all seems so perfect. The kids will get a country life, they’ll have treehouses and tree swings and animals to frolick with and they’ll run wild through the meadows in floral handsewn dresses and pick flowers and be merrier than we ever could have imagined.

We will have animals that are so full of personality that it makes it simply agonising to say goodbye. We will build our new earthhouse with spectacular views and live a peaceful, stress free, hippie-farming sort of life.

That’s how the story was supposed to be written.

But the story didn’t go exactly as planned. Our story is of us being blind sided by our tree change.

It has taken me a little longer to adjust to country living than I had hoped. 11-ish years, actually. 11-ish years to realise that I was never going to become a farm girl. I still try to learn the country ropes but I still see things through VERY city-girl eyes.

I suppose that’s part of why, during those desperate times a few years ago, I chose ballet as my relief. I was seeking something to find happiness in, as everything was so bleak at that time, but looking around me then, I couldn’t find anything that felt like home. It all still felt so foreign to me then, like I was house sitting someone else’s life.

Things have definitely changed since then and now, ballet is slipping its way back into my life.

The house sitting thing from above really got me. I realised how scary that is, the possibility that I was just house sitting in someone else’s life’s? Holy crap, how terrifying is that?!

Well it’s terrifying for me. I don’t want to reach the end of my life and look back only to realise that I didn’t own my life, that I just house sat someone else’s.

With this in mind I moved forward, and continue to move forward, always reminding myself that I own my life and asking “What do I want to do with it?”

So that’s my message today….

Don’t house sit someone else’s life. 

Your life. Your canvas. Paint it however you like.

P.S: The first animals we got on our property were six chickens. We adored those girls. Until we found out they were guys. 

We had six roosters. 

They weren’t peaceful or stress free. And we weren’t sad to see them go.

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Love Your Life

I find this quote both natural and confusing.

Having had pain as part of my life, for my whole life thus far, I adjusted to my pain. Adjusting to my pain doesn’t mean I got use to it and it no longer bothers me. 

Sometimes I am a moaning mess because of my pain.

Sometimes I go to sleep at night, tears rolling, because of the impossible amount of pain I’m in.

So when I say adjusted, that doesn’t mean my pain is gone gone, it means I have have managed to train myself to look passed it so that I can still see whatever I need to see/do to get my day done.

But when this quote popped up this morning on Instagram, it got me thinking.

Yes, I was well versed in adjusting to my pain. And yes, I excelled in not letting my pain stop my day from continuing. But there had been something missing, and this morning I was remembering how a couple of months ago I began to recognise that something was missing. I began to turn inward to my body to try and feel where the missing part might lie. I began to think about the theory behind this quote: 

Love your life more than you hate your pain.”

I knew I had been half doing it all my life, by default, but I wanted to feel better about myself, so I kept thinking. And then I realised…

The difference between sort of living the theory of this quote, and fully living the theory of this quote is overly simple: when you’re sort of living this quote, you’re managing your pain so that you get all your to-dos crossed off each day’s list. 

When you’re fully living what this quote is suggesting, you’re not just managing pain to feel as little of it as you can. You have a list of things you WANT to do and who you want to do them with. You give thought to how you want to feel emotionally, while/or after, you’ve done those things. You make a note of what memories you want to make for your family.

And you’re managing your pain … to actively seek those things. Those feelings, memories, thoughts you’ll have forever, and more importantly, if you have children — the feelings, memories and thoughts that they will have forever — rather than just managing your pain for the relief you might get.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not down playing what effective pain relief can do for a person. 

I’m just saying I think you can do both. Not all the time, sometimes pain sends you round the bend and it takes a lot of management — and that’s your day or night.

But a lot of times, you can think about your life, that day/week/year and what you want to get out of it. And then think about managing your pain levels so that you get those things done!

Before, I was thinking about my pain, how much of it I was in (how it was even possible to endure that much pain for such an extended period of time, and how I could manage my pain that day/week, whatever.

But these days, for instance, I might wake up in the morning, and instead of just allowing thoughts about my pain to begin my day, I will think to myself that I want to go to the beach with my family that day, and then I will think about what pain strategies I might need to employ, in order to make that day at the beach as successful as possible.

These days, I’ll start my day’s thoughts off with whatever it is that I’m wanting to get done, or experience, or whatever — and THEN I’m thinking about my pain and pain strategies from that angle.

My point is that before I was thinking more about my pain, than my life.

Now, I think more about what I want to do in life, than my pain.

These days things are much different for me. Allow me to be super clear. I do not feel less pain because of this. But I do think more about how much life I want to live, in spite of my pain.

And this shift in thinking has been life changing for me. I can’t achieve it all the time, but I will continue to try.

Hope this helps someone out there not feel so alone.

P.S: apologies in advance for the brain fogged moments that are bound to have snuck into this post. 😉 

P.P.S: the reason I also find this quote confusing is because I’m not sure you can’t love your life AND hate your pain at the same time?

Zoe xxx

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Coloring Book Update!

One of the draft pages from my adult coloring book. Coming together quite quickly now. Loving it!

Don’t mind the terrible photo quality — taken with my phone at night. The pages are soooooo pretty in real life!

SOOOO EXCITED!!!!!!!!! 😬

If anyone’s reading this, would you buy an adult coloring book for Christmas presents?


Zoe Inez xxx

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Moments That Change Your Life

A few days ago I was taken to hospital by ambulance. Not a particularly shocking event for me or my family anymore, (although upsetting for those who love me to see.)

Recently I had been feeling the symptoms of my disorders quite strongly: like cement is being poured into my legs (sometimes they go numb), I lose my sight for about 6-10 seconds everytime I stand up, I get really short of breath (feels like I can’t get enough oxygen into my lungs), my heart rate rises very high (like at least 130 – 160 bpm, I lose my hearing, my muscles become very weak and if I don’t lie down, I just pass out — which is basically my body doing what it needs to do to reset the pumping of blood to my heart and brain. Need to reset blood pressure = need to get horizontal = if you don’t lie yourself down we’re going to make ourselves pass out.

Another day went by and by this stage I couldn’t eat or hold fluids down and I had had a migraine for almost two days that was getting worse by the hour, so I reluctantly let the family call the ambulance. Usually Dave would just drive me in to hospital but I couldn’t stand up without passing out. I needed IV fluids STAT, and the paramedics out here know me and know my protocol.

We got set up in the ambo and got going. The paramedic assisting me, has taken me to hospital a few times, so we kind of sort of know each other a little bit, so we chatted now and then, and then he asked: “How’s Dave’s cafe going?” I replied: “The cafe is going great”. Then tears lightly formed as I added: “But it has to close … because of me.”

The paramedic was looking at his laptop at the time but immediately looked at me and said: “Well, not because of YOU. Because of your illnesses, you don’t control that.”

I’ve been trying to tell myself this for ages and my family tells me this, my husband tells me all the time. 

I’m lucky to have close, immediate family, and quite a few friends who are very supportive and never make me feel like I’m making illnesses up. 

But I’ve also had my fair share of people telling me I am making it all up, or I’m a hypochondriac. Despite tests proving these illnesses are real and happening to me.

Even some quite close relatives (who due to distance haven’t seen me or what my life is like) have told me, my children and my husband, that they believe I’m using my illness to control my husband and our children, among other ridiculous claims.

I get people (from the general population as well as the medical profession) thinking I’m faking my illness all the time. Until I pass out in front of them or something visual that they can then believe.

I can’t begin to accurately describe how awful it feels to know that someone thinks I would make this shit up. It is absolutely soul-suckingly awful, to feel like such a burden on other people. So to then hear people question your near death experience or whether you’re “really THAT sick”, just makes me feel a hundred times worse. 

So, when I was in that ambulance, and a third party, unbiased, person verified that it is my illnesses that make my situation what it is, it’s not ME choosing this situation, it was powerful beyond words.

Those words from that paramedic sank in over the next few days and they truly changed my life. I finally allowed myself to believe that I am not to blame for my illnesses, that this situation is happening to me and I am doing my best to work within it, and, as always, working on trying to get out of it.

And it also helped me to realise that when people don’t believe me about my illnesses, then that is their issue, not mine. And it says more about them than it does about me.

I’m always thankful for those in my life who support me, but I wanted to write this experience out as a reminder that you never know what small thing you might say to someone that might make a difference to how they’re viewing themselves and their life.

Cheers,

Zoe xxx

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A Ditty, Not A Titty

Here’s a little ditty I wrote to keep up with the trying to shed myself of the self-worth issues.

I’m starting to actually almost, I said ALMOST, have fun with this video stuff.

My songwriting is building up and I’m really enjoying the therapeutic effect of that. But I’m still so self-conscious it’s painful to get through a filming session.

You can see my latest video, ‘Ditty, Not Titty’, here:

In other, also exciting news, my mandala colouring in book is almost done. Should be ready for sale on Amazon within the next couple of weeks.

Ok. That’s me. Hope everyone’s having a great weekend and sharing their love around, heaven knows, we need it.

xxx Zoe Inez

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WTF Ed Sheeran and Niall Horan?

Staying true to my quest to get used to being on camera, so I can talk when my hands hurt too much to type, I made my first video today and loaded it to YouTube.

Here it is….

Share it if you like it.