motivation

The Shorty's Guide To Surviving The Gym

The Shorty's Guide To Surviving The Gym

Whenever I do my washing, the clothesline tells people that I’m always ready to dress for a funeral as long as it’s on casual Friday. It’s not like I have an aversion to colour, but my recent wardrobe choices seems to paint me in a deep shade of gothic. Two years ago, I started going to the gym because I couldn’t sleep past 5am, and it seemed like a logical use of my time. There’s a 24 hour gym ten minutes drive from my house, so while Whakatane slept, I was shaking my jiggle in the middle. 

Are you someone who signed up for the gym then went MIA? Here’s what I have learned about gym life...and how you can stay motivated and and actually use that membership.

Sometimes You Have To Suck It Up And Be Your Own Cheerleader

Sometimes You Have To Suck It Up And Be Your Own Cheerleader

I recently reactivated an old social media account, one that I hadn’t used for almost three years. It was like discovering an old childhood diary or photo album at your parents’ house - it triggers nostalgia and the memories, with each photo serving as a visual aid, were in fact, mostly junk. I obviously took a lot of photos of food (I still do), which makes you wonder how people ever knew what you ate during the day before Instagram, right? *Insert favourite sassy emoji here.*

The collection felt like a digital time capsuIe. I deleted almost 300 photos from this account, but not before I made time to look at each one. Some were more precious than others, like the ones of the puppies, or the first time I ventured to Singapore for a dance camp. There were forgotten snapshots of my marriage. I looked at each one, said goodbye and deleted them with love. Yes, with love.

Keep Your Fears. Share Your Courage.

Keep Your Fears. Share Your Courage.

I blinked twice, was I reading it right? The screen said 91% humidity. A fever can play mind tricks on you, particularly when it comes to convincing you that it’s a good idea to wear a sweatshirt, even when it’s almost 100% humidity. I look down at my gym shorts and realised I was embracing both winter and our tropical summer.

The beads of sweat that rolled down my face, back and legs was somehow soothing, yet gross at the same time (for obvious reasons!). I spent a few hours in bed in and out of the blanket, trying to find that sweet spot of sweating but not overheating from a blanket sauna.

Hey. You're Doing Great.

Hey. You're Doing Great.

On a lightpost in Whakatane is a black and white sticker which says:

Hey. You're Doing Great.

I walk my dog down this street a lot, and have probably walked past it a thousand times before I noticed it that morning. Someone must have taken the time to drag a ladder to the street corner because it’s high enough not to be just a spontaneous burst of optimism. Its message of motivation made me smile...a lot.

People have asked me if I miss having the dance studio (it’s been just under two months now). My reply is that I will miss the students, but the constant rushing, like going from my full time job to a class, not so much. Life’s been cruising lately - I’ve been doing lots of bush walks and I’m pretty sure I’ve finally made some decisions for South America. Sometimes when you see infinite choices before you, it becomes daunting to narrow it down to a simple yes or no. It looks like I may have to break down my travel plans into several trips if I truly want to explore the content. I can have that proverbial cake, but in smaller slices, with sweaty gym sessions in between.

Making My Someday Be Today - Lessons In Letting Go

Making My Someday Be Today - Lessons In Letting Go

It’s after 2am Thursday morning, I just got up to go to the bathroom. As I was heading back to bed, Alanis Morissette’s ‘You Learn’ pops into my head. I’m jolted awake and suddenly felt the need to write. Maybe it was because I hugged a lot of people last night - some people I’ve known for years, some just a few weeks. You usually only get to hug that many people on big occasions - like weddings, funerals or family reunions. I know because I’ve been to many of at two of those three.

Last night was our last show as a dance studio - and everything hereafter will just feel like a formality. The part of me who lived so much of my life as the teacher, mentor, friend, counsellor to those kids will begin to shift that energy into the next chapter of my life. Today it finally felt real, and the chain reaction of my decision to seek that energy is something that makes me both apprehensive and excited all in the same breathe.

My Life Is Mine

Whatever the life that you want looks like - make that someday be one day, and one day be a day you can wake up to. Number those days until you begin to live it. Taste it. Breathe it until you weave it into your DNA. Dreams are just words when we live with our eyes closed. Everything you’ve ever wanted is on the other side of fear - you just have to start walking.

I am grateful now for everything that was. My life is mine, through the shit and the glory, I am grateful.

Understanding The Value of Your Teachers

Understanding The Value of Your Teachers

I look so goofy in this photo - full teeth, all out, no holding back kind of smile. The kind of euphoria dancers feel when they know something life changing just happened. My body couldn’t handle both workshops - cramps creeped in on my arches, then my ankles, calves...yeah you get the picture. I was in a room full of teenagers and this was one of those nights where my bones really felt their age.

My Dog Doesn't Want To Eat You Or Your Dog

My Dog Doesn't Want To Eat You Or Your Dog

My dog JC is a three year old Lab from Waiotahi. When I walk her, she has a strut that means business and a grin the size of a decent sized burger. It’s not uncommon for other dog owners with smaller dogs to cross the street or watch her with a suspicious glare as we share the pavement. Because of her size, most assume she is also a male (she’s almost 40kg).

What Gets Me Up In The Morning

What Gets Me Up In The Morning

I’ve been searching for myself for awhile now - at least that’s what I tell people when they ask what this journey is about. What I write about. I guess the next logical question would be is how would I know that I’ve found what I’m looking for when I get there?

At first I was looking for hope, as we all do when life doesn’t feel like it makes sense anymore. Hope is what keeps you going, it’s what the soul craves in times of crisis and what helps to pick yourself up when giving up feels like the perfect place to lay your head. I found hope in many things - family, friends, strangers and lovers. Hope came in forgiveness. It came in asking questions. Sometimes it even came in sheer stubbornness and belief that this couldn’t be it for me - I couldn’t be on this Earth and for life to just stop...right here. Hope is the string in the bow that your fingers grip, and the more you hold on to that hope, that belief, the greater the momentum you will have when you let go and fly.

Crazy Is When Crazy Does

Crazy Is When Crazy Does

Finding yourself is really a journey about asking those questions - to do the work and peel back the layers to your core values and beliefs. Not everyone has to pack up their lives and move to South America (because you will probably save a hell of a lot of money in the process) but for me, it is. The changes in me doesn’t begin when I hop on that plane, it’s happening now. I’m already becoming the woman that I need to be in that next phase of my journey. Taking action creates the change, that forward motion, is saying fear can still walk beside me, but I won’t allow it to be a backseat driver either.

The Reality of Fear

The Reality of Fear

F-E-A-R, a thought-provoking, four letter F word that walks alongside us can either be a barrier or the motivator. It depends on your perspective. Whether in life, love, your job or your self-image - to feel fear is a natural human instinct of perceived self-preservation. You see danger is real, we learn to identify it from an early age - it’s what stops us from putting our hands over a flame too long in case we get burned. Fear on the other hand is the seed planted in a way of thinking that clings on to the worst case scenario of the spectrum.

It's OK Not To Have All
The Answers In Your 30s

It's OK Not To Have All <br>The Answers In Your 30s

If you want to be happy right now and in the future, stop reliving for your past mistakes. Try to work towards a healing resolution, just commit to living life in the present - not one that isn’t there anymore. When your collective energy is focussed on doing things and being with people that make you happy, there’s a pretty good chance you’ll be OK. Not just OK, you will probably be kick ass if you’re not already.

Why I Said Yes To Travel

Why I Said Yes To Travel

I have left and moved back home a total of four times in my adult life. The first time I was 18 and moved to Wellington to study, and this latest stint I’m now in my mid-thirties. My parents’ home has always been a place where I reset, and each time I leave I’ve been in a good headspace.

The Middle

The Middle

I don't think courage is something you have to go anywhere to find or do a specific act. It's already there, just waiting for your acknowledgement. There, in and around you, courage is the focus of forward motion. It’s actually just energy, for everything that exists is energy. It’s neither good or bad until it’s given context. Fear is not the opposite of courage, because they are one and the same - both are defined by action.

# 67 The Gap Years

# 67 The Gap Years

The ‘gap’ for me is like the void before life makes sense - where you give yourself the space and permission to learn, make mistakes, be frustrated, to almost give up, to start over and over again. That place where following your passion brings you to the brink of madness. Yet those of us who seek the other side and survive it understand that bridging the gap is no mean feat (because let’s face it, it takes as much stubbornness as hard work).

# 65 Start Where You Are Now, Not Where You Hope To Be

# 65 Start Where You Are Now, Not Where You Hope To Be

Sometimes we all get caught up in feeling hopelessly average - like being average is something to be feared and loathed. Neither being good nor bad. Just meh. That mindset where I would never be exceptional in ONE thing bothers me...A LOT. It shouldn’t because I am pretty good at many things. After all, if we were all meant to be great at everything, how do we measure true greatness? Maybe that’s why I do so much, because I’m still looking for that ONE thing I could say that I was really good at - my standout moment. Or am I hoping that my collective above averages can add up to satisfying my ego?

# 64 Be Greater Than The Fear

# 64 Be Greater Than The Fear

We are all mirrors, and what we see in others, good or bad is a reflection of ourselves. Let go of the judgement. Do what makes you happy. Love yourself a bit more each day. Share that happiness with someone, or cherish it in a moment of stillness.

# 63 Fried Chicken and Waffles

# 63 Fried Chicken and Waffles

Quirky is like this cute way to say that you’re weird. I know because I am weird. Not the stabby-stabby kind, but well you know, yolo.

I launched my book yesterday, which felt awesome. There was a pretty decent turn-out, at least 40 people, maybe more. Most were friends and family, and there were a few who came after they saw my article in Eastern Bay Life. When I started writing the book, I didn’t really think about what it would feel like when it was finally published - deep down did I think I wouldn’t finish it? Maybe.

# 46 When We Were Young

Moving house is different to moving things into storage - moving into a house is exciting and though it can be hard work, you see the rewards in the short-term. When you have a storage unit, it feels like you’ve been put on hold at a call centre, and they have the same some play over and over again. Two ways to look at what it feels like to move on, both is the process of change, but one certainly feels better than the other.

Back at the old house I found photos, yes printed photos! There were some funny ones, like my Year 12 high school ball photo, or my 17th birthday in Paris, getting my portrait drawn at the famous artist square down the hill from Sacre Couer at the Monmatre. These were the days before social media, which makes you think how long before a generation won’t know what it means to hold and flick through a photo album, let alone taking a roll of film to be developed.

As I sorted through which ones I wanted to keep, a familiar yellow envelope fell to the floor. I knew it was there, and I asked myself, as I did when I found it a few months ago, whether or not to keep it. I took the letter out from the worn yellow envelope, and studied his familiar scrawl. The letter was typed nine years ago, written by my ex-husband before I left New Zealand. I was 24 and set out on my Asian OE, travelling through Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Philippines and working in China for three months. It was an incredible time of my life, and during this time I was also very much in love. I was also newly engaged.

The language he used to describe how he felt about me was very different from our text conversations these days, which is mostly a necessity to get the house on the market. You’re probably wondering why I kept it, and if he was reading this, would also be asking the same question. Some people reminisce to feel, for my marriage at least, reminisce to learn.

When we were young, we were best friends and lovers. Now that I’m older, I look back on that love, not in pain or regret, but with honesty. Like that letter, we set out on our journey together with genuine intentions, and as the years rolled by, that love didn’t evolve with us.
— fivefootronna

I wanted to read it one more time, to remember what it was like when we were young. To see how different we were. We did do most of what he wrote about - move in together, get married, buy a house. The one we couldn’t tick off was to be ‘together forever’. I came home earlier than  planned, after five months I was back in his arms. At the time I thought the reason I came home was for him, but now, looking back I realised it wasn’t.

I came home because I knew that the longer I stayed, I would soon begin to find my feet, and living in a foreign land would no longer feel foreign. When was the tipping point before I could call China home, no matter how temporary? Would I soon give in to my natural wanderlust and not come back at all? He put a ring on it, but deep down, I knew this was a point of contention with our life together, even if he didn’t see it then. How long would he have waited for me to satisfy my craving to travel.

Back then there were so many places I wanted to see, and still do, and letting me go meant I no longer had to choose. I was never really going to be a stay at home wife, and I guess he saw that over the years, he just didn’t know how to tell me. He saw what I didn’t want to see in myself, and in a screwed-up way, helped me to recognise the woman I was supposed to be all along.

When we were young, we were best friends and lovers. Now that I’m older, I look back on that love, not in pain or regret, but with honesty. Like that letter, we set out on our journey together with genuine intentions, and as the years rolled by, that love didn’t evolve with us.

We didn’t quite make it to forever, but at least in our own way we’re both happy.

 

# 43 Scrambled Eggs

Scrambled eggs - seasoned with garlic salt, cracked pepper, parsley and a bit of buttermilk. A little under-seasoned with the salt, but it wasn’t overcooked and dry so I was happy with the effort. I promise I haven’t lost the plot, but I wanted to share something pretty significant that happened. Yesterday, I cooked for myself for the first time since April of this year.

Instant noodles don’t count, just saying.

For those who only know me through me writing, I LOVE food, I really do. Both cooking and eating. My mum and sister both tried to teach me to cook in my late teens, and much to their frustration, I didn’t really try very hard. When you have two amazing cooks at home, why would you want to ruin a good thing? It wasn’t until I was in my early twenties, when I met my ex-husband that I had a new-found motivation to learn how to cook. You could say I saw a life with him and didn’t want to spend the rest of our lives eating takeaways.

My pots and pans are currently in storage, as well as my spices. Cooking in my mum’s kitchen felt awkward, whereas in mine, even in the mess that it was, I knew where everything was. Memories of my teenage years came flashing back, and all I could do was giggle. No matter how old we get, and our relationships with our mothers shift, there’s always that little girl that is mortified if we scratch that non-stick pan.

JC sat in the conservatory, jealous of my bowl of food. She loves food too, but she is on a diet.

Change, no matter how small, still feels uncomfortable. That’s human nature isn’t it, to feel resistant to the unfamiliar? My scrambled eggs is only the beginning, how would a knife feel in my hands after so long? Clumsy probably. Until it becomes a part of me again. It takes me back to my teenage years, standing in the kitchen, instructions swirling. As a grown woman, I can look back and laugh.

My book is coming along, slowly but surely. I’m holding it back, I’m my own self filter. Even though I am an open book, there’s some things I still don’t know how to verbalise, maybe never will, or just don’t need to. Those are decisions I need to make as I continue to move on. My story is evolving, and I no longer feel stuck in the mud.

As I finished the plate of scrambled eggs, I began to feel excited. There are two portions of peacock fillets in the freezer, given to me by good friends. I’m going to cook them for our next potluck dinner, and my friends and I are going to create new food memories together. Mum will probably appreciate a break now and then too.

I will never be a domestic goddess, but at least you’ll never starve in my house.