self love

A Christmas postcard from Huaraz

A Christmas postcard from Huaraz

It’s my first Christmas away from New Zealand in almost ten years, maybe more, I can’t remember. This time of year has often been a time to recharge more than being about the “festive” season, and because my family has been scattered around the world over the years, gift giving has mostly been more about making the time to catch up or sending each other pictures of the food we had that day. You know, the simple things in life.

December has been a full on month, teaching four classes including Saturdays. I know some teachers do more, and they even study at university after their classes. It’s something I often joke about with one of the teachers, like, when does he actually sleep?

The Not So Typical Like Letter

The Not So Typical Like Letter

I actually told someone I liked them today, oh wait, does it count when you also tell them that you “used” to like them? You know, like in the past tense. Not really sure on that one.

It’s been a weird few days for me, my energy has been really up and down. My mornings, when I would normally go to the market and then make time to cook lunch, has been swallowed up by extra commitments. Falling back into those old patterns of being in the business of being busy, not eating as healthy and definitely not sleeping enough.

As I sat there watching my students frown at their exam papers, on impulse, I tore a piece of paper from my notebook. It made that satisfactory tearing sound that made you feel productive in a sea of silent tension. I picked up the pen and began to write. My hands had the usual onset of cramping that anyone who ceased to write essays in their high school years knew too well. No matter how neat your penmanship was back then, as an adult, it just looks like chicken scratches.

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.

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.

Words from a girl you know

Words from a girl you know

Conversations with tween-aged girls never really turn out like you think they would. I won’t tell you everything that they told me, but that line, about feeling ugly, it really stuck with me. Maybe because I know that feeling ugly is ageless - that insecurity can seep into your bones and even lay dormant for years.

# 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.

# 62 When The Ego Speaks

# 62 When The Ego Speaks

I cried...because I was tired, emotionally vulnerable and fear got the better of me. Not because he said anything mean or hurtful. He was right though, I got scared because whatever I thought I was looking for in him wasn’t there. I missed being in a relationship, and I was tired of waiting for ours to mould itself into the void my last one had left.

# 54 Where Cupid May Roam

With Valentine’s Day this week, love has been on the brain. Even when I was in a relationship, I never really bought into the idea of Valentine’s Day - well at least not the consumerism of it all.

As love is in the air and all that, it seems only fitting that I would write about my first Valentine’s Day as a single woman. They say we can only receive as much love as we feel for ourselves. How many of us seek affection for our validity of worthiness? I certainly have.

I have a habit of ignoring what is in front of me, and hoping for something greater than what it actually is. That subconscious conditioning that if only I could convince this date that I’m relationship worthy, then I would feel desirable. This is even before I have decided if I liked him in the first place.
— fivefootronna

 

There are many reasons for having, or lacking self-love. Life throws curve balls, though what it comes down to is how much we respect our vessel. Not just the physical one, but also the mental and spiritual part of ourselves. It means valuing rest or choosing our internal monologue. It’s a lot harder to switch off from the chatter in our heads, so may as well make it a good one.

At one of my meditation evenings, I asked how I can learn to trust my decisions when it came to men. The answer has always been there - to acknowledge that I’m still healing and that I’m afraid of getting hurt. I have a habit of ignoring what is in front of me, and hoping for something greater than what it actually is. That subconscious conditioning that if only I could convince this date that I’m relationship worthy, then I would feel desirable. This is even before I have decided if I liked him in the first place.

Do I love myself? Most of the time, yes.

I don’t think I can ever truly love all of me. There will always be parts of me that I wish were better. Like when you’ve just had a full on workout but you can still feel that layer of cuddliness in your middle. That’s human nature - we make it so easy to be critical of ourselves.

OK, so I didn’t spend Valentine’s Day alone this year - it was actually my second date with a guy I had met the week before. We saw a movie and grabbed a bite to eat. Of course our date involved food. I’m glad it wasn’t our first date though - I can’t think of anything more awkward than sitting next to a stranger in the dark, in silence.

My date was Greek and he’s teaching me that it’s never too late to learn a new way to love. To have love for myself. To value time with my family and family. To be a better lover. By loving myself first, it allows me to give more love to those I truly care about in my life.

He’s a tourist, so I’m realistic about how long he would stick around and that’s been playing on my mind. Can I give myself permission to develop feelings for someone that is highly likely to be only a temporary part of my life? Isn’t that a natural reaction though? To close ourselves off when there is a high chance that we might get hurt? Maybe he’s the one before I meet the one or he might be the third or fourth along. All I know is that the more I learn about him, the more I learn about myself and what I want to give and receive in my next relationship.

When we choose to live and love in the moment, it lightens the burden of expectations. It’s such early days yet, and there’s plenty still to discover about one another. Isn’t that what dating is all about? To be genuinely curious about each other, to explore and to see if two lives can merge as one?

Oh Cupid, want to do coffee sometime?

# 36 Poem: Emotions

Emotions

There it is, the half moon rising
The hungry moon is silent
Street light flickering, masks its beauty
Speak I say
But it doesn't hear me.

I see it at the end of my finger tips
Yet still so far away
The silences frustrate me
I just want someone to think of me
Like my shadow clings to my back
I try not to feel lonely, but moon is so pretty
And no one thinks of me that way.

No one closes their eyes at night and wish they would wake up
next to me
I wish I wasn't lonely, but the moon is so pretty
And no one thinks of me that way.

 

Image credit: Moon


Ronna Funtelar Thacker is a writer, foodie and dance studio owner.
A self-confessed eternal optimist and lover of crispy M&Ms, she shares her adventures and life learnings to connect, inspire and nurture self-love.

# 32 Thinking Out Loud

It's always 3am somewhere in the world, right? It seems I'm a woman of the world, because my body loves to wake up at 3am.

Last night I went to a political campaign launch for our upcoming local elections. I felt rather adult turning up to such an event, and even wore heels. Then I saw the eclairs and turned into a nine year old drooling over chocolate cake at a birthday party.

I struck up a conversation with a woman in her 60s - she had chosen to leave a loveless marriage, yet she feels like she's the one being ‘punished’ for wanting to be happy. That one choice took away the family home, the holidays, financial security and to some extent, even though she didn't miss him, the warped version of companionship.

She meditated, extensively. The theory of ‘letting go’ is ingrained in her thinking, but admitted it was a struggle to see her friends enjoying, living, the life she so desperately craved. In her pursuit of happiness, she found loneliness and fear. Where to from here, how much more does she need to learn before it felt like she would get a break? Perhaps it wasn't about letting go, it was more seeing that the ideology of ‘fairness’ is self serving.

Self serving, yes I said it. I just think trying to qualify what is ‘fair’ is subjective, and biased based on how it affects each party. That's just how I see it, doesn't mean it's right.

She had to take a phone call and our conversation was interrupted. By the time she returned, she had to leave the campaign launch and I didn't even get her name. I would have loved to hear more of her story, if she asked, I would have offered this advice.

Yes, you deserve to be happy, and you shouldn't feel guilty for wanting that

I heard her say, “Deep down I don't feel I deserve to be happy.” There it was, her stumbling block. Why did she feel like she had to settle for a lesser version of true happiness? Her husband may have also been unhappy, but he didn't leave. That's her gift to him, it may seem like a cruel twist of fate, but by no longer being together, opened up the doors to their own versions of a more fulfilled existence. Right now she sees the reality of her material existence, and it’s sh*t, but that's her ego talking. Who I saw was a woman that was so close to being free. All it takes is self-love, forgiveness and time.

Forgiveness, or the act of forgiveness takes persistent action

Her world was her family, more so her children. She did feel a lot of guilt for leaving, and held on to the marriage a lot longer than she should have. Maybe she needs to start by forgiving herself.

Forgiveness, or the act of forgiveness takes persistent action. I started by realising that this ‘moment’ in my life, and the emotions I felt, were temporary - a mini-chapter in my story. The labels that come with it, the stigma, they will fall away, and it's up to me how long they stick, if they do at all. Persistent action.

By making the decision to forgive, we choose happiness over ego. It no longer matters who is right or wrong, but simply that you are moving on. Trying to lay blame just keep you swimming in that toxic thinking, we make those choices everyday.

Most days I am excited about how my life has the potential of a blank canvas. Some days it's daunting, the starting over part. Then I get tired and get too much in my head. I know the hardest part has already passed, so after I get through that episode, I smile.

The best advice given to me by a friend was this: Forgive, release, let go.

Forgive the person, situation, even yourself. Accept that the past is only a constant heartache if you try to change it. Life lessons can harden you, or it can make you better.

Release the emotions, ALL of it, if you're sad, let the tears come. Angry? Go run it off.

Let go, don't let it define YOU. You are not a situation, or the emotions you feel. However, you can allow it to CHANGE you into a better version of yourself.

A better version of myself, yes indeed. Today may feel like growing pains, but each day gets easier and the ‘not so good days’ visit less and less.

I am like the arrow, shoot me forth and I will go.


Ronna Funtelar Thacker is a writer, foodie and dance studio owner.
A self-confessed eternal optimist and lover of crispy M&Ms, she shares her adventures and life learnings to connect, inspire and nurture self-love.

# 26 An Open Letter To The Woman I Will Become

Today I am writing this at Otawairere Bay, wanting to take my writing to somewhere more exciting than my room. As I admire the view, it is bittersweet to be here again. The last time I saw this view, I was with someone who is no longer in my life. But I'm ok with that. Most days are good, even great. Some days more than others, but I am human, and every now and then I still catch myself missing my old life.

I'm a really good listener, and naturally people come to me, and I listen. But it's rare I can talk to anyone, and you know, just talk. Maybe I just feel my problems are insignificant to the issues society are yet to face. Day by day, I wished for help, and I waited, not so patiently, frustrated and feeling alone. Then, as I walked over the hill to this bay, I realised I was never alone. People just never knew I needed help. I was always surrounded by love, unconditional love, I was just afraid to receive it.

They say to have something you have never had, you have to do something you have never done. Face the fear and all that. For those just starting this journey of self-discovery, even acknowledging fear is beyond them. And that's the first step, admit to yourself that you're afraid, that you have limitations, that in this moment you don't have all the answers. Fear is many things, but I now understand that the root of all my frustrations, unrealised dreams and lack of self-love is fear.

...and I don’t know what made me trust him enough to about my life these past few weeks. He listened. And I talked.

 

I had brunch with a friend on the weekend, and he shared his life story. Well the short version of it, and I said someday, I would like to learn the rest of it. We don't know each other that well, and I don't know what made me trust him enough to talk about my life these last few weeks. He listened. And I talked. The more I talked I realised that I had changed and grew so much that I will never go back to my old life. I'm learning to ask for what I want in my life, and right now, that's self-love.

 

To the Woman I Will Become

Hello, it’s me. Or you.

We had a great walk today, you finally bought a pair of decent walking shoes, so that you stop slipping at the bottom steps leading to Otarawairere Bay. Ok, you're credit card paid for it, so promise me that you will pay for it at next pay day. Sort out that credit card woman, please. Then you can go discover the world again. But first that credit card.

That wardrobe is looking better, glad to see you're taking pride in yourself again. I lost you for a bit there. Keep it up girlfriend, and get rid of the clothes that you don’t love. Sell it or gift them, just don't hold on to clothes that don't make you feel beautiful. Promise me. You’re body will be changing too, so dress it well.

The view here is incredible, and you’ll look back at this place, not with sadness, but a place of peace and writing inspiration.

Do you still recognise yourself in those old photos? Most of them were incredible memories, so don't be sad. They were you too. Just smile, and let go.

It's getting chilly now, a few more people have walked over the hill. I think it's time for lunch. Will put my shoes on again and start heading back.

I'm almost ready to let go of the old me, but not yet. So maybe we can meet up soon, just be patient. I'm worth it, I promise.

Love you.


Ronna Funtelar Thacker is a writer, foodie and dance studio owner.
A self-confessed eternal optimist and lover of crispy M&Ms, she shares her adventures and life learnings to connect, inspire and nurture self-love.

# 24 Emotional Chaos

Image credit: upwardspiraltherapy.com

Image credit: upwardspiraltherapy.com

It feel like I haven't been writing, I have, well I just haven't published them. Right now, I can't publish them, to help protect myself and my loved ones from being caught up in the drama. But this morning, and for the last few days I've been compelled to write this because emotional chaos isn't just something specific to my situation, it can take form in many ways, and the biggest lesson I learned is that we need to own our choices in the aftermath, and healing can only begin when we let go of the anger, grief, bitterness, self-loathing etc. You can only change yourself.

It's only been a week, and it feels like a life time. I'm tired, and right now the best thing for me is rest, do my best to live my life, and surround myself with people that listen, but don't allow me to wallow in self-pity and destructive anger. That will only hurt me more, and those who truly love me.

Last night came the answer

It was the resolution I needed to gain clarity. Doesn't mean to say I've got it all figured out, but it helps me move forward.

Through all this, people have been telling me how ‘strong’ I am, and I will get through this. In my times of anger and self-loathing it's the one thing that really pisses me off. Because you know, as well meaning as it is, it puts one hell of a pressure on me. But when my mind is clear, I just tell myself, you're not ok, but one day soon you will be. Strong women aren't ok all the time, but they are resillient, and can suffer temporary pain for long term gain. That's what real strength is.

When it all comes out in the open, there will be those in shock, those who gossip and feed the drama, and those who will cross the street just so they don't have to talk to that ‘broken’ woman. I'm not broken, actually. My mind is chaotic right now, but I look forward to the day I look in the mirror and see a stranger looking back at me. She will resemble the best fragments of me and from my old life. She will be different, and better.

By the way, if you do choose to gossip and talk behind my back, just remember that's a reflection of you, not me. No one can know for sure what they would do when it happens to them, but I know I will do my best not to be a bitch and keep my dignity. I haven't got it all figured out, but I can take it one day at a time.

Be you. do you.

Through all this has been some of the best writing I've done, maybe because it's so personal and no one can write my story for me. Some day it will help many people, to heal and learn to laugh at that moment in their lives. It's early days, but if you know of any publishers that can wait six months to a year, hit me up. Universe, I'm speaking to you!

When you hit emotional chaos and you get to the stage just beyond the numb, emptiness, and anger and grief slaps you in the face, breathe. Love yourself. I mean it. It's not selfish to protect yourself, and by fast tracking your recovery, will help lessen the damage to those around you. Bad things happen to good people, so don't play the victim. Staying in that space gives away your power to change the situation, and is only a band-aid to your pain.

People don't realise how spiritual I am. Spirituality comes in different forms - some get it from a book, some from nature, some from within themselves, or maybe all of those. I no longer go to church for personal reasons, but I've never lost my faith. My goal in life is to give as much good and light to this world and that's enough for me. So, if you're still angry, bitter or self-loathing by this paragraph, it's ok. Breathe.

I will sign off now so I can start ticking off my list. It's Monday after all. I will try not to be a stranger, but my optimism is back, man I missed her. If you need to cry, then cry. But don't stay in that space thinking you deserve it. No one deserves to live an unhappy life, not even those who hurt you.


Ronna Grace Funtelar is a writer, foodie and dance studio owner.
A self-confessed eternal optimist and lover of crispy M&Ms, she shares her adventures and life learnings to connect, inspire and nurture self-love.

# 23 Kayaking at Ohiwa Harbour

# 23 Kayaking at Ohiwa Harbour

Do you feel guilty taking time out for yourself when the house is a mess, or you haven't done the washing? I do. It's been a busy few months, and even when I'm home, there's always something else on the task list that I thought was more important than me. Then I started to feel tired all the time, and I knew if I didn't take some time out, I would be burnt out by the middle of the year.

# 22 Dear Universe

How do you get what you want in life if you don’t ask for it?
— Shortyisms by fivefootronna

 

Dear Universe,

It's your home-girl, Ronna. I have been preaching to so many people about asking you specifically for what we want in life, and here I am scared to ask you for mine. I don’t know if angels have an unwritten rule about granting vague wishes, and I bet sometimes you wish you could use your mind-reading powers just to speed things along. Humans are finicky creatures, aren’t we?

By the way, this morning, I sensed there was that a meeting of sorts in my room? I hope so. Maybe I was just dreaming, but my gut tells me it was angels, hanging out waiting for me to wake up. What was I dreaming about? Thanks for letting me know I wasn’t alone in my thoughts.

What do I want from my life?

I keep having this dream about speaking to a big theatre full of people, but not just anyone. People who may feel lost, insecure, uninspired, and want that kickstart to finding themselves, and loving life. I’m wearing my clothing label, five foot ronna, which is a highly sought after label. I’m wearing a headset because I also talk with my hands, and it’s hard to be animated with a mic in one hand. We share laughs and tears, memories from my childhood, love lessons, life lessons, my food journey - it’s amazing how much I have packed into 33 years aye? By the way, I’m totally rocking my bob with that straight cut fringe.

My speeches change to cater for my audience. Speaking in front of small or big audiences is no problem, I love connecting with people and this is something I do best. I have plenty of life experiences to share and each will take what they need from it. We teach each other that we are perfect in our imperfection.

I see this happening by the end of this year, starting locally and branching out nationally. Speeches are part of the same message from The Inside Out Project - Five Shortyisms To A Life of Awesomeness. Dance is still my passion, and I will use this alongside The Project. No, it is part of The Project. It will be my tool to help carry my message.

As for love, I want Morgan and I to be happy.

I just need to have faith. And faith is more complex than just trusting the Universe. A bit like rafting down the river - yes the current will take you and you can wait it out to see where it leads. But if you paddle, you can paddle away from the rapids, and maybe even stay dry,

The question is, are you ready to paddle?


Ronna Funtelar Thacker is a writer, foodie and dance studio owner.
She lives in New Zealand with her husband, Morgan and three dogs, JC, Hulk and Twitch. 
A self-confessed eternal optimist and lover of crispy M&Ms, she shares her adventures
and life learnings to connect, inspire and nurture self-love.