Isn’t it amazing how things just happen as they are supposed to, despite your best efforts?
Over the last three weeks I have been doing a summer intensive and one of the subjects I was doing was Writing for Performance. I learned about speechwriting, radio, screenwriting, poetry and more. It was great.
Until I was asked to ‘perform’ something I had written. Eek.
Now, I’d had a really challenging week at this point. Some massive family stuff was happening and I was feeling a bit anxious about a number of things. So, I decided to choose something easy. I read out a letter I’d written a week or so earlier, A Letter to Fear.
I walked into the room feeling really tense, but I got in the zone and read out my piece as if I was performing it on a stage. It took maybe a few minutes, but I was amazed at how different I felt afterwards.
Writing those words, those promises to myself, was one thing. But standing up and saying them out aloud was a whole other experience. I felt the shift, both emotionally and physically, within myself. I felt positive and powerful.
It reminded me why affirmations are so, well… affirming. Internet memes can get a pretty bad wrap, and I agree that they can get a bit overdone. But there is truly something powerful about great words, when used as an emotional anchor.
In the lead up to the birth of my second child, I am beginning to collect the positive affirmations that I will be focussing on to get me though the very intense process of bringing my baby out into the world. I remember how overwhelming the sensations can be, and I know that my mindset will be such an important factor in achieving my the experience I hope for.
I can’t help but wonder if the universe gave me the week that it did, to remind me that I am one resilient little chickadee, and that inside there somewhere I have everything that I need.
Much love, Carlie.
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Three weeks of uni, 8 hours a day, an hour from home, in the middle of January, at 35 weeks pregnant.
What was I thinking? Ha!
Well, I suppose I was thinking ‘this will be a challenge but it’s a great opportunity and surely I can manage it.’
And I did… just.
The hardest part was being away from my girl. To the full time working parents, hats off to you. No one should have to be away from their babies that much, all the time. (I also share my baby with her dad on weekends). I missed her like crazy.
Then there was the exhaustion. I’d come home from a 10 hour day, waddle around the backyard with my girl, playing pet shops and trying to soak up every minute of quality time with her. Then after I’d tuck her into bed, I’d pack customer orders, do the pays etc for my partner’s business, then log on and work on my assignments – all while growing a tiny human in my belly.
Crazy? Maybe. Challenging? Certainly.
Was there anything I loved about it? Absolutely. I got to write, heaps. I wrote some things I’m really proud of. I had an intense learning experience and I’m now closer to achieving my degree, something I never thought I’d be doing as a mother of one (and a bit).
So, besides how to write a killer short story, what did I learn?
1. I’m not superwoman. I’m capable of a shit tonne of things, but there is a limit and I found it. At times I’ve felt mentally, emotionally and physically exhausted all at once. Thank god for mums cooking and Darren’s massages.
2. My kid is a legend. She came with me a few of the days and was pretty amazing. Having her beside me did not hold me back in the slightest. And she totally got a kick out of going to uni with mum.
3. I’ve got some sensational people in my life who are happy to step up and help out. Aria had some amazing adventures with people who love her. Thanks legends.
4. It’s now time for some self imposed maternity leave. Me and my girl, hitting the beach and prepping for our new little family member’s arrival. Bliss.
Much love, Carlie.
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I know why you’re here.
You seem to be around quite a lot lately.
In fact, looking back, I can’t remember a time when you weren’t close by, ready to pop up at any moment and remind me of all the dark things hiding around corners.
You began as the voice of my father. Warning of me of monsters in the hallway, of people who would take me away if I went walking by myself, of being abandoned if I wasn’t a good little girl.
Now you come in different ways. Often in the form of headlines – inescapable, everywhere I look. ‘Woman murdered in the street. Child taken from own backyard. Intruders break into house and assault family. Terror plot in Melbourne streets.’
You stepped it up when Jakey was gone. You said, ‘See, look what happens when you’re not vigilant. When you’re not looking for all the things that can go wrong and making sure they don’t. Look what happens! You lose the people you love! They get taken away from you because you didn’t listen to me enough. So listen up woman, tune in loud and clear, every single day and don’t stop, ever.’
I made sure I took you seriously when I knew I had a life growing inside me. I obsessively read all the books and followed all the rules and thought of nothing but how to keep her safe in my belly. I was so busy following your instructions that I almost forgot to stop and enjoy the beauty of it all, or to embrace those around me into the magic.
You stepped it up again a few years ago when my life took an unexpected turn. My little life blueprint I’d built had been torn to pieces. You sneered, ‘See, you’re not good enough for that life. That’s not for you. You’re too silly and scatty and different and you definitely don’t do enough squats.’
Luckily Hope stepped in and whispered in my ear, ‘Check out this path over here. There are a few rocks and branches to climb over but your legs are sturdy and stronger than you think. And the beauty you’ll discover along the way just may be worth the scramble. Come on, I’ll be with you all the way.’ Love and Adventure came along too, and kept me going.
Sometimes though you are still quite loud. You block my vision and get in my way. I keep tripping over you and you get stuck in my throat, crushing my voice. I have things to say you know. I suppose sometimes they may be the wrong things. As my Dad would say, ‘That’s a stupid question. Don’t talk like that. You’re wrong.’ Funny though, looking back, I’m sure there are times that he was the one that was wrong.
(Guess what Dad, girls can and do play football now.)
I do know that you’re here to keep me safe and truly, I thank you for that. I am certain that there are times that you have saved me from pain, heartache or trouble. But there are also times when I think you may have kept me from adventure, excitement and achievement.
You see, this isn’t just about me anymore. I’ve noticed that you’ve also become quite attached to my daughter. I see you in her eyes, wrestling with her dear friends Curiosity and Fun. I want you to always keep her safe and at times I will certainly rely on you for that. But also, I want you ask you to let her be young and feel safe and explore the world around her.
I’m inviting Adventure, Love and Joy to help me pave the way for my little Wildling. She has a fire in her belly and a sparkle in her eyes and I won’t let it be dulled. I am sure that she will get herself into trouble at times, however I hope that it’s Intelligence, Empathy and Logic that guide her in those moments.
Fear, I ask you to be there only as her safety net. As that niggle in the pit of her stomach that says, ‘This isn’t right, this isn’t for me, it’s time to go.’ I’ll make sure she knows that in those moments, she has a tribe to call on who will be there in a moment, without Judgement or Shame. They’re not invited. It will be harder for me to do that, to allow her to make her own mistakes, with you constantly shadowing over me.
All I ask is that we establish some healthy boundaries, you and I. I do want you along for the ride. I’d like you to be tucked in there next to my Moral Compass and my Sense of Reason. However, I’m not going to let you lead. I’d like to allow Creativity, Love and Play a little more space to stretch their legs.
And so, Fear, these are our new rules, our boundaries. These are going to help us figure out where your role in my life begins and ends.
Firstly, each time I say something, I am not going to continually replay it in my mind afterwards, sifting through to check if there’s something in there that was somehow not ok. I will assume that if it was not the right thing for that person in that moment, then it will become apparent as it needs to. And I’ll grow as a person.
Each time I get dressed rather than asking myself, ‘What will the people I see today think of how I look?’, I will instead ask, ‘How do I feel right now?’ If I feel sexy, fun, comfy or most importantly if I feel like me, then I’ll get on with my day and think nothing more of it.
Each time I get stuck in dark thoughts of what it would feel like to lose the people I love, I will be reminded to treasure them. To hold them tight and love them with every part of me. Ensuring they know they are special and unique and cherished. I will focus on ways that I can bring joy and happiness into their lives, rather than keeping them from leaving me.
Each time I think of exploring a new place, I will research and do all I can to ensure a safe and happy journey for me and my family. However I will not allow your presence to stop me from going anywhere at all. Adventure is tugging at my sleeve and I want to hear what it has to say, without you slapping it away.
Fear, I will allow you to do your job and protect me, but I am tougher than you think and I need a little more room to move, to live. Thank you for all that you’ve done, but our arrangement will be changing from here. You can come along but grab a seat in the back as I won’t allow you to take anything from me, not anymore.
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Yesterday I attended a session, facilitated by one my lecturers, around how to charge for your services. The services referred to were copy writing, graphic design and other aspects of publishing, however what I learned from this session can in fact be applied universally.
Throughout this session, which covered invoicing, getting clients, appropriate rates for a newbie, payment terms, what to do if you don’t get paid – that kind of thing – I really felt that the message my lecturer was instilling in us was – value yourself.
Whatever it is that you do, whether in a creative field or not, you have a valuable set of abilities and attributes that many do not have. That’s really special. No one else would create exactly what you create.
No one else has your story, your set of experiences, your quirks, your exact taste. You are unique and you have value, what you have to offer has value. The way you treat yourself shows others how they should treat you. If you value yourself, others will see your value. Strive to be your best, and show the world what that looks like. Be proud of it.
I’m reminded of a quote by David Carson, world famous and highly sought after graphic designer who was once sacked because his designs were ‘too radical’. He says “you have to utilize who you are in your work. Nobody else can do that: nobody else can pull from your background, from your parents, your upbringing, your whole life experience.”
Or in other words, as I am sometimes known to say… you do you, babe.
Much love, Carlie xx
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I was lucky enough to attend a Q&A with writer Gerard Elson yesterday. Gerard is an Interviews Editor, has won a bunch of awards, is friends with Nick Cave and has recently been commissioned to write a biography.
And – what stood out to me the most in his interview, was when he said that every time he’s been given a great opportunity his first instinct has been to say “Here’s ten people who would probably do a better job than me”.
When quizzed further about this, he said “You always feel like you have no idea what you’re doing. But it gets done, and it’s usually ok.”
That really stuck with me. So even when you’ve achieved some pretty impressive goals and people seem to think that you knowing what you’re doing, it’s quite normal to still question everything and whether what you’re creating it is in fact utter crap.
I suppose that’s part of being in a creative field. What you create is always imperfect – it could always have been better, or different in some way.
It made me wonder whether anyone really feels like they’ve ‘made it’ in their field. I suppose that’s how we grow. We keep striving for new goals. How refreshing if we can refrain from comparing ourselves to others and instead strive to be better than we were yesterday.
It’s nice to sit and reflect on how far I personally have come. I never would have imagined that anyone would be interested in reading my little ramblings, let alone being published on sites like Huffpost and getting emails from readers all over the world. I am so glad that I have been able to push past that self-doubt and, like Gerard, have a crack at creating something decent. As they say, a pretty good something is much better than a perfect nothing.
Much love, Carlie xx
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As a career coach working with women, I make it my business to stay across what’s happening in the ‘network marketing’ or ‘MLM’ world.
Every day in my newsfeed I see those familiar posts, usually full of emoticons, promising huge financial rewards, freedom of time, making heaps of friends, even all expenses paid overseas trips.
I can see how enticing this all might be for say a mother who is perhaps feeling a bit isolated at home with bubs, needing both stimulation and some extra income. Or anyone who is feeling a bit lost, unable to find a job that really fulfills them.
And to those women, I have one thing to say…
There is nothing wrong with choosing that option.
Just please, please, please… go in with eyes wide open. Ask questions. What will it cost you to get started? Will you need to recruit other reps to earn a worthwhile income? What is the success rate of other reps? Is it a genuine financial opportunity, or is it just going to be a potentially expensive hobby?
Lots of people do really well in some of these programs, but plenty also end up disappointed and out of pocket. I’ve seen it many times and it can be heartbreaking.
If you are going to sell a product successfully you HAVE to feel desperately passionate about it. You also need to be comfortable putting yourself out there and selling to people. It takes lots of courage and persistence and you may find that there are a tonne of other people out there selling that exact same product as you. You have to be innovative and tenacious. That style of doing business is not for everyone.
Now here’s a thought for you…
IF IT IS – if you ARE a kick-ass sales person and feel passionately about a certain type of product – then why not go out on your own?
You’ll often find that with a little research you could find a decent wholesaler, create your own brand and have full control over your own business. With ALL profits going to you, rather than the bulk of it going to some huge multinational company.
If you have what it takes to really succeed and go far within an MLM company, then you may very well find that you can go even further in your own business.
Again, running a stand-alone business also takes work and investment to set up, but there is plenty of support out there and you might find that it’s not as hard as you think. Every big business had to start somewhere, quite often as one person operating from their lounge room at home.
I am not trying to talk you out of the MLM thing. For some people it’s the perfect option, but I just wanted to remind you of something first.
You are powerful, and capable and smarter than you think.
When you’ve been home with a baby for some time, or floating around the job market, it can be very easy to forget that.
There are lots of women out there paving the way, setting amazing examples of what we can achieve when we have passion and support each other. I’m in a networking group for mums in business and I am constantly floored by the incredible products and services they are putting out there to the world.
If there’s one thing I want you to take from this, its that you have full permission to do whatever it is that you want to do.
Do not let your own inner critic get in the way. Don’t stay small because you’re afraid to grow or stand out. Do a little digging and see where it leads you. You just might surprise yourself.
Much love, Carlie.
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People often ask me how it is that I can be quite so ok, how it is that since the sudden and very painful break down of my marriage, my ex and I are still friends. They wonder why I don’t seem to harbour any hatred or anger about what happened.
Well here are my reasons;
Anger stops you from healing.
People often build a big thick layer of anger on top of their sadness. It works as a shield to stop you from having to feel the pain and the sorrow underneath it. Instead we just hate and blame and project it all onto those around us. Something I have learnt is that you cannot heal unless you access the emotions and process the pain. Anger stops us from doing that. It’s easier to feel anger, and so we get stuck there. You can’t heal when you’re stuck there. It’s part of the process and it’s definitely ok to feel angry but it’s not healthy to STAY angry. I have had my moments when I have just been so mad and said really hurtful things, but then when it passes and I’m back in my sadness I just feel worse, because I know that I have acted outside of my values. It’s a cycle that I don’t want to get stuck in.
Anger becomes toxic.
I believe that when we hold on to too much anger for too long, it makes us sick. The unprocessed emotions underneath it just get toxic and eat us alive. We feel sadness for a reason. It enables us to release. But so often we distract ourselves with surface level bullshit (drugs, gambling, revenge plots, whatever) and we become really reliant on that to protect us. It delays us having to actually see the lessons and look at ourselves and make changes that may lead to us being more well and more whole. I would much rather focus on trying to make my own life better than to spew hatred all over others. Hatred is an emotion that brings no good to anybody. You never, ever, ever make your own life better by making someone else’s worse.
Anger cannot exist within harmony.
Anger can easily become rage, and rage is destructive. Harmony is something I value, and things in my life cannot be harmonious when there is anger and conflict in it. I have been learning of late that there are people who are a bit hooked on drama and conflict, and though I have been personally affected by their behaviour I also feel bad for them, because I know that the anger is just an extraordinarily thick protective layer stopping them from feeling their sadness. Which means they have some way to go before they’ll be able to release it and heal. I am able to bring harmony into my life because I am choosing not to allow anger in to a point where it’s destructive.
No one deserves hatred.
Anger generally means that your boundaries have been broken. It’s a sign that something needs to change to re-establish and fortify your boundaries. That might mean that a relationship ends, or you have a renewed awareness of where a person fits in your life. It does not mean that a person deserves to be hated. I truly believe this – everyone is just doing the best they can with what they’ve got. Some people are not equipped to be in a particular situation, even though they might have committed to be in it. That doesn’t mean they are a bad person, it just means that something needs to happen or change so that your boundaries are safe.
My ex partner and I have new boundaries now. I no longer entrust him with my heart and my emotional wellbeing, even though he will always have some level of affect on both. What hasn’t changed is that I care about him. Nothing he can ever do would warrant me withdrawing my care for him. You don’t care for someone because they deserve it, you just care because you care. He is still the man I loved, he’s just not the man I choose to be married to anymore. And that’s ok. It hurts but it’s ok.
We had a beautiful near-decade together and seeing it all through a screen of anger would diminish the beauty of what we had. The space between him and me is the space that our daughter lives in. I am choosing not to pollute that space with anger.
If you are stuck in a place of anger then please know that you have the power to get past it and heal. Reach out to the right people, look for the lessons, focus on yourself and seek out what it is that you need in order to move in a positive direction. Radical self-care is a must. And if you need to, get in touch with me. I’m here.
Much love, Carlie xx
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