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Where Stuff’s At …

Wow, I love the memory of being such an active blogger.

Unfortunately my health has continued to decline and writing has become very difficult for me. I’m learning the speak to text strategy but it’s not the same. I seem to think while I’m typing, so trying to think while speaking feels much more like being put on the spot.

Anyway, I’ve also been extremely unwell over the warmer months, with my health just seeming to get worse and worse. So I just haven’t had the energy to write OR speak a post during this difficult time.

I hate to sound soppy and self-pitying, but I’m not sure this post can come across as anything but?

I really got a bit sad that I wasn’t getting any of my thoughts out there or discussing things with the interesting people I know follow this blog. And I wanted to firstly, start my blogging back up again, and secondly, fill you all in with where I’m at.

So … let the soppy begin …

As I said above, my health has deteriorated. But to be clear, it has deteriorated intensely.

I now have paramedics out every few days, sometimes every second day. I do this when I am extremely syncopal (passing out) and need IV fluids to fill my blood volume again, to prevent the syncopes.

I’ve also had a lot of hospital trips when the paramedics couldn’t stabilise me at home.

And there’s been the occasional admission to hospital for migraines and severe pressure headaches that are un manageable with my medications and also go on for several days.

At the same time, we’ve had a billion other things we’ve been trying to tend to.

One of the things we’ve done that has proven pretty fruitful, is to keep researching the conditions I have. We realised that one of the conditions I have, that has to do with mast cells, is linked, or mirrors (if that makes more sense) someone who is allergic to a huge amount of stuff and whose allergic threshold lowers to the point that they begin having allergic reactions to things they have never reacted to before. So this particular allergic threshold spirals further and further down, creating more and more restrictions in foods, household items like soaps etc., medicines or medical equipment (like the tape they use on cannulas etc.) and environmental factors such as pollens, chemicals, grasses, trees, weeds — all of which I am surrounded by.

From the outside, it basically looks like my body is shutting down on itself.

No. Not a very nice thing for the witnesses to watch or me to be experiencing.

But at least we figured out, through a variety of methods, that a better climate, where the environmental allergens are much less impactful on my body, is what I need — quite urgently.

Every doctor that we speak to urges us to move to a high, dry and cold environment — every. single. doctor.

I have to admit, that was a bit of a shock at first, but the more we researched and talked with doctors and the more we looked back on my life and remembered the times I have been very sick while living in an environment full of things I was allergic or sensitive to, and then we moved to a better environment for me and my health improved dramatically — the more everything began to make more sense.

When you’re trying to explain it to people for the first time it’s really difficult, so hopefully I haven’t just confused the crap out of y’all. 😉😂

But now that that’s done, I feel like it might be easier to just get on with blogging or vlogging without quite so much confusion around why my body is as unwell as it is.

I have had so many posts I’ve wanted to write or videos I’ve wanted to record, about things like the silver linings to being so disablingly unwell, our amazing paramedics, watching how families can bond tighter in these situations as well as all my ballet stuff … which, to be honest, isn’t very much but it’s still my favourite passion and I still want to talk about it.

I’m proud of myself for continuing my exercise regime and my ballet-physio every day (most days.) Even though I only do a tiny amount now, I am holding hope in my heart and determination in my mind, that one day I will be able to do so much more.

Boy, do I have plans, for when I get my health back.

Anyway, we have started a fundraiser for us to hopefully be able to afford to buy a caravan and then we’ll just move into the caravan, in the better environment that we know my body responds well to.

So the fundraiser is at the link: Zoe’s Fundraiser

If you feel you’re in a position to donate to our fundraiser then that’s fantastic. If you can’t donate, you can help just by sharing the fundraising page.

Alternatively you can also like our Facebook page at: www.facebook.com/helpzoegetherlifeback and share the page or posts you like.

Ok. That’s it for now, guys. If you read to the bottom, thank you. You’re a gem. If you didn’t, I just hope you read enough to understand where I’m at, because I won’t be explaining it over and over again.

Much love to you all. I hope you have a wonderful day/night/moment today.

Love,

Zoe xxx

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Dear Dream Seekers

Dear Dream Seekers,

You are wonderful. You are inspiration. You are life being lived.

I love seeing so many adult ballerinas emerging currently. Particularly on Instagram, it’s like watching these beautiful buds of hidden desires start opening their dare-to-dream petals and blossom into the most beautiful, soulful dancers.

Something I have noticed is that there seems to be an ever persistent pressure flowing from within many of the adult ballet students I see.

Inner pressure to be good at something we love is not a new thing. It is natural to want to progress.

And I am no stranger to that inner pressure. I felt it. I breathed it in and out, day and night. And it happily went and killed my love of ballet (for a while.)

And so I feel a little sad when I see people putting huge amounts of pressure on themselves to be better at something they love.

I mean, if you love it, then you should be doing it for love.

Let’s repeat that: If you love it, you should be doing it for love.

I know that you want progress. And I know that the ballet studio is a pretty intense place regarding your progress — indeed, it can sometimes feel like a comparison festival is happening in each class.

Everything you want is a valid desire. Improvement, enjoyment, strength, musicality, memories, flexibilities. It’s up to you what you want to aim for. It’s your life. Your choice. No-one else can, or has the right to, choose them for you.

But please be sure to think about it first. Think about you and what you really want because of how those things make YOU feel.

Don’t look at what someone else is doing and just follow along. God knows, you might wake up ten years from now able to do the splits but not able to dance in the centre. You might then shake your fists in the air and scream at yourself for following the splits trend only because it was what others were doing — and you missed getting your teacher to help you learn some amazing mini-solo piece that feels like heaven to dance.

Don’t set yourself up to one day wreak of regret.

So, with that in mind, what I do hope you do is sit with yourself a while. Ask yourself what you feel in this moment you want to do — like actually do right now — because you never know what amazing idea might have been waiting to flow through you but just hasn’t had the window opened to it before.

Then, ask yourself what you think you might regret NOT doing in twenty years time. I usually get my deepest inspirations flowing from this one.

Then lovingly think about all the things you, your body and mind, are good at doing. Really appreciate those things. If ballet is your thing, maybe you’re really musical and your body just naturally flows with the music, maybe you have lovely hand expressions, maybe you have a sparkly passion, maybe you have strong muscles, maybe you can smile during class (harder for some than others!), maybe you understand combinations, maybe you are flexible, or have lovely feet, or maybe you feel your soul fill up during ballet class.

These are all wonderful elements of what you do and of how you feel. I feel it’s important to fully embrace them. Soak yourself in the things about you and your passion, that you love.

When thinking about what goals to set yourself, or what path to set off on, I think it’s really important to take stock first, of all the wonderful parts of yourself that already exist within your passion.

I would look at what you love doing now, look at what you would regret not doing, and set your path accordingly.

If achieving the splits for ballet is part of that path then set your goals and go for it. If it’s smiling more during class, or learning a combination, or performing — then set your goals and go for them.

But be sure to start your intentional path with the full acceptance of how incredible you already are.

Be sure that you don’t discount all of your gloriousness and just focus on what you cannot yet do. If you do that you will be starting your journey with a destructive cycle of focusing on your downfalls. You should be real about yourself. But leave the negativity at the door. If negative self-worth is already an issue for you then I would suggest adding that to your goals — “Learn to love myself for all that I am.” That, and if neccesary, see a therapist, because honestly, that bullshit will become a serious obstacle to you fully realising your dreams.

So, in summary…

1) Align your goals with what YOU enjoy doing and what you feel you will regret not doing.

2) Make sure to begin your path to your goals/dreams/passions swimming in self-appreciation for all the wonder you already are.

Always remember why you’re doing it.

Always respect yourself for doing it.

Always hold your head high.

Remember,

You deserve to be in the room.

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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A Date Gone Wrong

Decided to share a little something different today. I love thinking back over outrageously funny moments in my life — or even just outrageous moment. 

(This is a post I pulled from an old blog of mine, because I can’t currently draw, or do much of anything actually, due to overdoing it d creating a pain flare.) So if you’ve read it before, you should read it again for the giggles! Ha 🙂 

I once went on a date with a guy called Bob, who decided to surprise me at the end of the night by telling me that he would be rowing me home in a rowboat, rather than driving in a car.

Backstory: he was my boyfriend and was a sweet boy who I think was trying desperately to be romantic. 

We lived next door to each other, and also lived in beachfront houses, not too far across the wide open ocean, once you got out of this bay. So theoretically the whole rowing home thing could have worked. Bob could have literally rowed us up onto the shore in front of our houses. Apparently people had done this successfully before but I wasn’t really a boat person, and was mildly terrified of being attacked by a shark, so I had my reservations.

After coming to terms with the fact that this wasn’t a joke and that the only way home was across the ocean in a rowboat. I convinced myself that there was some kind of speckled patterned romance in this scenario. I got my spontaneous on. And I rolled with it.

It was about 11pm by the time we got going.

At first it was indeed almost romantic, with the quiet night surrounding us, the sound of soft water lapping at the sides of the boat and our conversation ebbing and flowing with ease.

Most of that ease was, of course, due to the fact that we were only moving through the still waters of the bay between the two headlands. We weren’t yet in the open ocean, you know, with waves and stuff.

I remember it taking a lot longer than Bob had anticipated, to row to the end of the bay. I remember watching the houses as we passed them, some with lights still on, some with lights off. Bob and I creating stories about what was happening in each house.

And then, I remember, as I became colder and colder and the rocking of the rowboat became rougher as we neared the end of the bay, looking at the houses with more of a longing for the warmth and soft beds I was imagining.

Did I mention that I’m not much of a boat person?

Anyway…

As nature would have it, the wind really picked up that night. By the time we reached the end of the bay and were trying to push our way out into the ocean, we were not even at a stand still, we were actually floating backwards, back into the bay.

It took Bob a fair while longer than I, to realise that his heroic efforts to row harder into the incoming ocean swell were beyond futile. 

At one point, I remember being so cold, with the waves now washing into the boat, and disorientated by the pitch blackness, that I wasn’t even that concerned about sharks anymore. It seemed it would be easy enough for a small shark to just float right in on the back of one of the waves, but it didn’t really bother me now.

I figured we were going down anyway. What did it matter if it were by drowning or bleeding to death from shark bite?

In hindsight, that was probably the disorientation talking.

By the time Bob finally admitted defeat, I was soaked through, exhausted, freezing cold, had absolutely no idea where we were and wasn’t sure whether I had a migraine or an aneurism coming on, but was starting to favour the aneurism as I felt I just needed this night to end and if it had to be by death then, at this point, so be it.

We managed to get the boat to some rocks in front of a waterfront property.

Where we BOTH had to drag the boat up over the rocks and carry it to a safe place for the night.

I felt like I was in some kind of bizarre b grade noir/horror movie. The two of us, soaking wet, hoisting the rowboat above our heads and carrying it to safety. I was just waiting for some monster to jump out of the bushes. Which was making the shark attack and/or aneurism look more and more appealing.

Not to mention the moderate case of what-the-fuck’s I had going on in my head as we hauled the bloody boat to a safer place.

A safer place? For the fucking BOAT? 

Oh yeah, sure, we’ll get that bleed in my brain sorted out in a minute but first let’s make sure the fucking boat – which, let’s face it, should have been a car – has a safe place for the night. 

Apparently we were hoping the boat wouldn’t get damaged overnight. Well, I can say with certainty that not all of us were hoping for the same thing.

The night ended with us calling Bob’s mother to come and get us. Me getting a migraine rather than an aneurism (thankfully) but it being one of those glamorous migraine with vomiting — so the 45 minute drive home was a hoot.

That night was one of the worst ends to a date I’ve ever had. But I do remember watching, with fondness, the ambition of Bob as he tried so desperately to make something unique and special happen. 

His desire to create a wonderful memory for us both, whilst a tremendous failure, was also incredibly endearing. There’s a certain kind of romance in this type of epic failure that makes my memory of that date a happy memory. 

That quality of optimism despite all the odds being stacked against us, that is very romantic.

Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t relive it even if my life depended on it, but it was romantic all the same.

Thanks, Bob. Thanks for trying. And for a date gone so terribly wrong that in the world of my memory, twenty-ish years later, I actually see the romance in it. Sorry I couldn’t see it on the night 😉

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Say Yes to Dinner

Dear gorgeous people,

I wanted to tell you a story about myself that has rarely been told.

Not sure if it has ever been mentioned on here before or not, but I used to write screenplays as a hobby. 

One year I decided to enter a screenplay competition in one of the top competitions in the U.S — the Austin Film Festival Screenwriting Competition. I really just wanted to go through the process of entering a competition, and those who got to the second round of the comp also got feedback on their writing, which I thought would be great as I was teaching myself from books and videos.

A few weeks after I sent my screenplay off, I received a letter saying that it had made it through to the second round. That was the top 10% of 4000 screenplays and it was my first screenplay, so I was pretty stoked. Even though, to be honest, that screenplay was in extreme infancy, very rough and really looked a lot like a first screenplay — so I’m not sure why it ever got through!

Anywayyyyyy…

Getting into the second round meant I could get a discount off a pass to the Austin Film Festival and screenwriting conference where loads of insanely talented and interesting screenwriters and others like producers and directors would gather to share info on the craft. I would also get the special opportunity of meeting some amazing writers in meetings only set for second rounders. 

I had heard from some wonderful people, how great this experience is, so I was feeling tempted to go.

At the same time as this was all happening, I had a producer asking me to option my screenplay to him in Australia. I knew how helpful this conference would be to helping make the best decisions for my screenplays, so I decided to go to Austin and see what happens.

I didn’t expect to sell a screenplay, I didn’t expect to meet and become friends with amazing people, I just thought I’d go and see. 

[SPOILER ALERT: There’s no special ending here, I DIDN’T sell a screenplay.]

Anyway, I bought my tickets to everything. I got on a plane. I flew to LA and then Austin Texas. 

I was led through the Austin streets and conference by a wonderful guy and I met many other wonderful folks during my stay.

It was amazing. I listened to wonderful creatives talk about their work in entertaining and moving ways. 

I watched as Randall Wallace was brought to tears as he relived how it felt to write the last scene in Braveheart. 

I felt connected to a tribe. It was beautiful, intense, and gone in a second.

The whole experience was an amazing one, and one I wish I could repeat — even though I don’t write screenplays now!

I learned a lot about writing, yes, but my biggest lessons were actually not about writing, and it is those lessons that I wanted to tell you about today.

Twice during the conference, I was given an opportunity that I didn’t take up. It was total chaos from morning til night and I wasn’t sleeping much at all thanks to a radical case of jet lag. I was meeting loads of people, listening to talks, trying to process all this information and I didn’t know anyone very well. Like I met some people who I knew online, but I wasn’t at super comfortable with you level yet, so I just wasn’t as relaxed as I normally am socially.

So I had these two incredibly talented and successful people ask me to come and hang with them at seperate times but through the chaos, information overload and a touch of nerves, I just didn’t get myself to a yes place. One was a request for dinner and the other breakfast, and no, it was totally NOT the same person!

But it never happened.

I didn’t say yes to dinner (or breakfast). 

I’m not a huge believer of holding onto regrets, so I don’t regret much, but I would have loved to be able to look back and know what happened at that dinner and breakfast. 

After that experience, “Say yes to dinner” became an ingrained philosophy in my family as a fabulous metaphor for taking opportunities when they present themselves.

I want to say yes to as many dinners as I possibly can …

and I want you all to say yes to dinner too.