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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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Almost Ready!

Almost ready to put the colouring in book together! Yay! Very, very excited!

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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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Love, Relationships and Catheters…

The blog post in which I hand out unsolicited relationship advice. Because, jeez, who doesn’t want that? But serio, I think this advice of mine rocks and I’ve loved my seventeen years of marriage so far, so maybe I know a little something? I dunno, here’s just what I think…

There’s a whole galaxy of articles and books over-brimming on this one.

And I think that’s neat.

Well done to anyone who wants improvement in their life and seeks advice on how to achieve that improvement. But please make sure you get it from the right source for you.

A lot of the advice I read about includes doing extra things with, or for, your partner outside of your daily life to ‘keep the spark alive.’

For Example:

Go food shopping together

Gaze into each others eyes for several minutes

Vagina weight lifting (to enhance the female sexual experience)

(I’ll be honest with you. My vag and I almost had heart attacks when we read about the weight lifting she and I will never. ever. be doing.)

But truly I have actually no problems at all with what anyone else does to improve their relationship.

Something I am uncomfortable with, however, is the idea that people might think that they HAVE TO do all these extra things in order to keep their relationship on trend.

I think it’s awful that there might be couples out there who think they have to be fitting in a certain number of date nights per month or else they’re destined for divorce.

I hate the idea of couples placing so much pressure on their relationship. Or feeling that they have to reach perfect couple level (like the status of their relationship is some kind of gaming app) or like they need to compete with perfect-looking couples in FaceBook land.

And here’s why I hate that…

1) Because it doesn’t exist. There is no perfect couple.

And…

2) Because I believe that true love lies in the little things.

I believe the little things are where the magic lives.

Love is in the moments when we fuck up but try again. It’s in forgiveness and acceptance of our flaws and acknowledgement of all the good we are trying to bring.

We’re all messing it up. Picking up the pieces. Trying to re-write the chapters of our relationships in which we fell short.

The important part of all that is the keep trying part.

Because — life happens.

At some point life is gonna come along and knock so hard on your door it’s gonna blow it right off its hinges. And it’s gonna bring with it a whole lot of happenings that you and your perfect other half never saw coming.

And that stuff you never saw coming is going to create ups and downs, arguments, hurt feelings, hurdles and an often difficult navigation to finding a middle ground. As well as all the wonderful stuff in between, of course!

That is the long-term relationship. They’re full of wonder and beauty and can be the best ride of your life. But they’re bumpy. Really bloody bumpy.

We all want our relationship to survive the bumps.

And I can’t help but feel the trick to surviving the bumps is yes, again… those little things.

Those little things, that in the beginning seem to hold no meaning at all, end up being the glue that holds the relationship together.

If you ever doubted that the little things matter, just think about that last part of your relationship.

When you’re 95 years old…

The guy who doesn’t mind scooching your catheter bag out of the way so you can sit closer while you both slurp down your liquid steak and vege dinner — THAT is your guy.

When you’re too old to both A) see, and B) give a fuck about, the full blown beard you’re now sporting and your man doesn’t care because he just loves the fact that you woke up again this morning — THAT is your man.

The little things.

Sometimes I wonder if perhaps all the bumps in our long-term relationships are just preparation for the end of our time together on earth — the part just this side of ‘until death’, when it’s all about adult nappies and reminding each other to put our teeth in? (In the same way that toddler tantrums prepare parents for the teenhood that is coming.)

But for real, as far as I’m concerned, you just need to know yourself. Be true to that. Know what you want and need. Ask for that. And allow your partner to do the same.

If you do that, then you are naturally creating an environment of trust and honesty. One where each others desires and needs can be known and met, if possible.

For some people (or many), being true to yourself may include doing the extra things to ‘keep your spark alive.’ If that’s you and your partner, then go ahead, jump in and have fun with it.

I’m not saying couples shouldn’t aim for passion. I’m not suggesting people shouldn’t try to satisfy their desires and needs in relationships.

I’m saying that you should do exactly that, but do it by knowing yourself.

Don’t live your relationship by someone else’s standard.

When you’re diving into the Grand Canyon of relationship advice, follow the advice that fits you.

That’s my advice on relationship advice. Take what you will.

Love on, friends. Love on.

xxx

P.S, photo courtesy of my husband and myself. 😊

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Your Beautiful Glorious Self

You may think you need to be better.

But you don’t.

You may think you need to be more like someone else. 

But you don’t.

You might feel inadequate in so many areas of your being that you feel you will never be enough for anyone.

But you aren’t. And you are.

You may feel like you’ll never measure up.

But you already do.

You might look around you and only see others doing it better.

But that’s not the truth.

You may feel like you’re falling short. Losing face. 

But you’re not.

You may feel like everyone around you, everywhere you look, are on incredible trajectories towards imminent success while you’re still trying to figure out whether you’re an over or under person when it comes to your toilet paper.

But they’re probably not. And it’s okay if you’re either or both! πŸ˜‰

Those who have seen my health issues know that things have been really tough for me. 

I could easily think of myself as having a harder time than others. I could easily choose to feel that others have been dealt fantastic hands while I’ve not even been  dealt one full hand. But firstly, thinking that way serves me no purpose. It doesn’t help me at all. And secondly, it’s all relative: there are others who are facing much harder challenges than I am.

You see, I have learnt that comparison is poison. It only creates anger, contempt, jealousy and a whole lot of other negative emotions. And it’s completely unnecessary. So we can opt out.

We can opt out.

I want to hug the world right now. I want to tell you all, whatever your battles, whatever your goals, to please stop believing that other people have it miraculously easier than others.

I want to especially tell the world that your self-worth does not lie in where you measure up against the people around you. 

Your self-worth is measured purely on the value you give yourself. 

The only person who gets to decide what you’re worth is you.

Do you hear me?

YOU GET TO CHOOSE!

You! No one else. Just you.

And the true beauty of it all is that no assessment is needed.

You’re worth the fucking world, because you were born. You deserve love, because you were born. You deserve respect, because you were born.

Don’t start assessing yourself. That’s being an arsehole to yourself. Don’t do that. 

Seriously, no assessment needed. You’re awesome. Just as you are. You’re doing what you do, aiming for goals, attempting this thing called life, in your way, how you see fit. 

You can do life, the way it feels right for you. 

Because living life by someone else’s rule book sucks a bag, and is completely unnecessary.

If you start doubting your ability to just be you, remember…

Your beauty lies in your flaws. 

Your true self can only shine in your vulnerability.

You are accessible through your mistakes.

Absolutely. Every. Single. Person. On. The. Fucking. Planet. Fucks. Up. All. The. Fucking. Time.

Most people are just scrambling hard to hide their mistakes.

But they’re making them. Oh, boy, are they making them!

It’s impossible to not make mistakes, to not have flaws, to not be imperfect.

So, world, take a breath. 

Give yourself permission to be you. 

No comparisons needed.

No comparisons wanted. 

Just be your beautiful, glorious, unique self. 

xxx

P.S: photo of me, being me…