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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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Uncomfortable Truths. Part 2.

(This is a slightly rehashed post of an older post. Just had some extra thoughts I wanted to add.)

Pictures speak a thousand words but sometimes they hide a thousand more.

All the social media platforms we all use are so great in connecting us with other people travelling a similar journey or following someone who inspires you or being able to inspire others yourself.But with these social media platforms can come  the temptation to create a facade of your life because all the snap shots you post from small moments in your days combine to create a big picture that looks like you’ve got it all together.

Social comparison is not a new thing. But it’s a growing epidemic because there are so many more ways we can socially compare ourselves to others now. And I think sometimes we can use it to hide the uncomfortable truths about ourselves that either we are afraid to share, or we think others are afraid to see.

Unfortunately, there is so much shaming from society about so many parts of our lives, that it can become impossible to feel okay about ourselves.

So I’d like to start sharing my uncomfortable truths more. And here is my first…

One of my chronic health conditions causes muscle tremors. They’re always there but vary in severity. Sometimes I wake up like this and can barely hold a cup of tea, and sometimes they are milder. 
They affect my whole body. 

They are always this severe or worse about 10minutes into any physical exertion. Imagine the shaky legs you feel after an intense workout, except your muscles are actually spasming. All over your body, and rather than being a feeling but not something visible, your limbs are visibly tremoring/shaking/wobbling around. So people in your real life can see and they’re staring and wondering what’s wrong with you.

But in just a photo (that you can use on social media – that you can use to portray yourself a certain way), you can, to satisfy that extremely self conscious part of yourself, make it look like that isn’t a true part of your life — another uncomfortable truth.
That’s my first uncomfortable truth.

I was mindful about posting this. 

But fuck it. I don’t want to be seen as perfect because I’m not perfect. 

I’m far from perfect, and so is life.

Just because Mother Nature can cause intense damage, doesn’t mean you would deny that she is also overwhelmingly beautiful! 
As are we. Flawed and fabulous. πŸ˜‰ 

I may struggle and fall and fail, but I will keep trying. And it is in the trying that lay my success.  I hope I have the courage to keep posting more of these uncomfortable truths. Because I want them to become comfortable truths. 

Because it is okay that I am who I am and my body does what it does. This should not be something I feel ashamed of.
I’m going to hashtag these posts #uncomfortabletruth and #loveyourtruth

If anyone else feels like they want to share one of their uncomfortable truths, that would be awesome. I’d love to hear it, so please tag me in your post. You will not be shamed by me. 

I will support you and love you regardless, because your struggle is part of what makes you who you are, the whole you, and the whole you deserves love. Not just the social media presented you.

This post, and any future Ines like it, are not to generate pity, they are to generate solidarity among each other, that we will not be defined by social comparison any longer. And that we are strong, amazing individuals, who are living our journeys and respect the challenges that each of us face.

And if I lose followers from all this then so be it. I’d rather promote self-love and acceptance with two followers, than self-abuse with thousands.

Love (and a soft place to land) to all.
Z. Inez xxx
P.S, I leave you with one of my recent mandalas…

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I Wish Support For You

Someone asked me today, ‘Do you have support?’ 

I’m lucky that I could say yes. An absolute, unequivocal YES!

My family and friends who support me are angels. 

It’s not easy to support a chronically ill person. I get that. It’s hard to see someone you love hurt, weak etc. And it can be physically and emotionally hard to help or even just watch someone you love be chronically ill.

My support family make my life bareable. That sometimes we can laugh about some pretty serious issues, and at other times come together and find a solution to a problem we never thought we’d solve, as if pulling a solution out of a magicians hat, is remarkable to me.

My support team are my soft place to land. They are my reminders that there are good times ahead. 

They are my ‘I can’ when every part of me is screaming ‘I can’t’.
Thank you, support team. I love you now. I will love you forever. And even though sometimes it’s hard to see, I am appreciative of every second that you make me feel worthwhile of care and love.

My wish for everyone with a chronic illness is that you either have your support family already, or you find one, because you deserve one — and you can add me to it if you wish!

Here’s to our support saviours. Our earth angels!

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

(Tag someone who is a support angel for you.)

Photo: me with some of my support angels.

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Your Dreams. Your Life.

A lot of people have, hidden somewhere in their homes, a treasure box in which they collect mementos from their favourite experiences. From things that happened. From things that they did.

All over the world, there must be millions of stashes of these physical representatives of great moments that people have experienced and not wanted to ever forget.

What I have been wondering about recently, though, is how many equally important boxes there are in the world, that are full of dreams people stashed away for later, for when they had more time, better health or less responsibilities.

How many people left their dreams in a box under their bed?

I did it.  I remember the day I left my dreams in a box.

Took me more than 30 years, and a deep pit of desperation, to open the box up again.

And boy am I glad I did.

I’m not glad my daughter was sick. I would never wish that on anyone.

But I am glad that I allowed myself to acknowledge the desperation I was feeling in my heart and soul. Because it did open me up to NEEDING to reach into my box of dreams, because I needed something outside of my 24/7 to give me hope.

And that’s what our boxes of dreams are. They are hope. They are love, passion, creation, colour, happiness and joy. And by opening our boxes again, we are letting those things back into our lives.

They are us, exploding into a million pieces of our best selves and then bringing all those pieces back together again in a new, more sparkly, more alive, more fantastic person than we ever thought possible. 

Even if we don’t end up being masters of any of our dreams. Even if we suck at them all. The point is that they were things we wanted to try — and try is all we need to do.

If we keep our dreams in boxes, tucked under our beds or at the back of our closets, we are not only denying ourselves but we are denying the world.

We usually have reasons for not dragging our dreams out into the light: ‘we don’t deserve to shine’, ‘we can’t do it’, ‘we’re a loser’, we’re scared of what people will think of us, we feel too old, or not talented enough.

Most of those reasons manifest in either denial that your dreams exist at all, or fear of the dream itself.

Denial will lead to anger, resentment, depression and more…. Fear will lead to anger, resentment, depression and more….

So, denial will not serve you well in the long run.

But it’s not easy. It’s really not. Coming out of the dream closet can be fucking terrifying. People may well think you’re crazy. And they may feel they have the right to tell you that. They may look at you like you’re alien or speaking a different language — one they don’t want to even try to understand. And that’s because you are speaking a language a lot of people don’t understand.

Most people don’t track down their dreams and take a journey with them. So a lot of people won’t understand you. At first. But after a while, everything becomes normalized. And so too will your dream following.

In any case, of course, you can’t do it for anyone else anyway. 

This is your dream: Your deal. Your box. Your life.
The only right thing to do for yourself is to drag that box of dreams out of the closet, take a deep breath, open the lid, and see what’s been sitting there waiting for you to return to it.

It’s never going to feel like it’s the right time to find your dreams, but the truth us that it’s always the right time.

Happy dream finding…

zoe xxx

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Ch ch ch ch changes

🎢 turn to face the strange ch ch changes! 🎢

Wowsers, just realised how old I feel, knowing that heaps of young readers probably won’t get the reference to those lyrics. Oh wells…

Just popped a new page link up in the “pages” area, that goes to another blog I am writing on.

As many of you know, my dance journey is full of stops and starts. And the stops just never seem to end. It feels like a decent flow of productive ballet practice, or just any practice, is hard to find.

That’s okay. I will continue to flow with whatever my body is capable of.

I am making my peace with that. It used to be torturous to not know what tomorrow would be like or next week. To not know if I would reach my goals.

So I’ve changed them. I’m shifting them now, to suit me better. And I’m learning to accept that that is okay.

Actually I don’t really have any ballet goal now other than to exercise and enjoy myself. So, I suppose those are sort-of goals!

My proper goals are about being kind to myself. Finding joyful and peaceful moments in amongst the chaos of reality.

I love blogging. I love the writing and connecting of it. I love that it encourages reflection. I love reflection.

I will be writing more ballet posts this year, despite thinking I would close it down last year. But I don’t want to write everything over here. There is so much more transpiring in my life and a much bigger conversation that I want to have about finding happiness and contentment in spite of our circumstances. Even if it is just in the little moments.

So I’ve created a space where I can write about what most of my life focus is on at the moment (and moving forward from here.). Called it ZoΓ« Simms, which felt completely dicky, but I didn’t want to name after a particular topic because I just don’t want to be pegged in like that. I’ve done that during the past year and it hasn’t turned out great for that reason. The pegging in thing. I want freedom for it to take whatever shape it wants to take.

Anyway, I just wanted to let you know. Since I have started writing over of the new blog I have remembered how much I loved writing to all my fellow ballet peeps and friends. I loved knowing, for the large part, who I was writing to. Always felt like writing a letter to family and loved ones.

I love that.

I also wanted to say that in a blinding flash of cognitive function, my memory kicked back in and I was like “OMG! I have some amazing, gorgeous interviews left that I was supposed to upload already!”

I apologise sincerely to those beautiful people who participated but didn’t see their interview online yet. I will be getting them up here shortly. I will email you when they are going up.

Okie dokes for realz now. That’s it. That’s all. I’m off. If you wanna check out my new pad you can by clicking on the “My Other Blog” page above.

πŸ™‚

xxx
Zoe/Bush

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BB's Day Four, New Bloch Gear and a Pre-Lesson Psych Up

A quick post with the ballet goodies I bought from Bloch yesterday. If I get the opportunity to get a photo of me in the gear later today, I will post that, too.

Okay, so I got the all-in-one underwear thingy. This is really neat and so comfy! …

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Then there is this nice leotard. It’s kind of a light charcoal colour. I have no idea why I didn’t go with a traditional colour, I just liked this one. I love the shape and it is so soft and comfy! I have a long body, and most of the Bloch leo’s aren’t a perfect fit for my body, so I had to get a slightly larger size to fit my length, which does mean it’s not as tight as I would have liked (to really hold everything in place!) but it is still super comfy and the underwear piece holds everything pretty well, too…

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Here are some shorts I bought to go over the leotard. I’m not sure if I have ever mentioned this before, but I have two scars from hernia repairs I had as a child, right across either side of my bikini line. One of them is pretty significant because after the operation the stitches burst and I had a nasty infected wound there for a while, so that scar is not something you want to flash about. This is why I like to cover my bikini line. So these shorts were a delight to see! Again, very soft, very comfy. Is anything at Bloch not comfy? …

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And last but definitely not least, are my beautiful ballet flats and tights. I bought the convertible tights and they are lovely and thick and secure. They feel great on.

I bought the PROLITE II leather, split sole, ballet flats. I also loved the canvas version of the PROLITE II and will be buying a pair of those online when I get the chance.

Here are my tights and shoes…

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About to get ready for my private lesson. Psyching myself up to not let myself down. Trying to stay calm and focused on the big picture. Something that is helping me in this is thinking about all my support. I’m really lucky to have had such a huge amount of support from my family and friends regarding my ballet and this lesson in particular. It has helped me to push forward through my feelings of intimidation to have beautiful people so enthusiastically rallying for me. To my mother, my father, my sister, my daughters, my husband and all my blogging friends, I say a huge thank you. This would have been a much harder journey without your kind and motivating words. I love you all. Thanks.

Now, here’s hoping this lesson goes well, I learn something and I walk away feeling good about my journey. πŸ˜€

BB