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).
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.
There’s a lot I’m questioning about myself and I’m not totally sure where it’s going yet. I’m convinced though that it’s long overdue and definitely a good thing. Losing my voice was a blessing in disguise - it allowed me to call a truce with myself. To be grateful that I’m still here. To start over.
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).
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?
It’s been almost a year of retrospective reflection, and I’m sort of over it.
Emotional release can manifest itself in weird ways - on the day the house settled, instead of celebrating, I was flat out on the floor with stomach pains. It felt like a combination of aching muscles and def con five period cramps. If you’re a male and obviously have no idea what period cramps feel like - just think bad food poisoning queasiness, someone trying to pump you up like an air mattress and an MMA fighter trying to perform a submission on your reproductive bits. Yes all at the same time, because you know, women love to multi-task.
It took me four days to fully recover.
Where am I at these days? This weekend I went to a family friend’s wedding out of town. Strictly formal. Ironically it’s also the day before what would have been my sixth wedding anniversary - well if I was still married of course! A few weeks ago I was feeling apprehensive about it, but then I also realised it’s a good way for me to create happier memories instead of being sad around that time of year.
As I sat down at my table for the reception, my apprehension soon faded as we began to introduce ourselves. The table was from the bride’s family - an aunt, cousins and her brother. Great banter soon flowed as we talked about life in New Zealand, my accent and what we were going to have for each course.
When it came to the traditional garter and bouquet toss - well it wasn’t at all traditional. The bachelors had to dance and the groom even did a cameo Gangnam Style lesson for the rhythmically-shy men. The single women however, yes including me, danced around the eligible bachelor and fight for a banana between his knees. That poor banana. It seems single women are quite savage when it comes to fruit! I didn’t win, putting it down to my lack of experience having to compete for a guy’s banana.
Did I meet anyone? Actually I met lots of people - but you’re asking romantically, right? Sure, I met someone cute and we got on really well. Nothing really came from it, but it was just nice to meet new people.
I’m currently at a cross-roads and ask myself where I want to be a year from now. What can I do today that takes me closer to designing the life I love? How do I change my thinking to discard my limiting beliefs that measure my success based on such narrow terms? Many of us are already leading incredible lives, yet we force, yes force, maybe even torture ourselves, because we have been conditioned to think that winning has finite possibilities.
If I didn’t apply my limiting beliefs today - what can I do? The Universe listens, you just have to be clear when you ask. In the past I’ve felt like I was building up my karma savings plan or something, then BOOM, use it in one magical moment. Yet we all know karma doesn’t work like that. We don’t measure the good we do in the world like it’s a commodity - not being a jerk should be on everyone’s CV.
I have been guilty of measuring my wins based on what I have experienced before. Trying to walk one path because it’s safe, or it’s what we think works, takes away the magic of discovering a better way of winning.
The wedding was beautiful, and the company was great. I had a wonderful time just being myself, and not having to explain my backstory kept my spirits up. We choose our experiences based on our attitudes, and being single in your thirties doesn’t have to be this depressing phase in your life.
Both the bride and groom were married previously, and they didn’t let it shy away from love. In fact, they have learned from their past and it has made them appreciate each other even more. Love, the second time around can be just as fulfilling, eloquent, and soul-enriching.
I’m now quite happily single, and have learned to value myself and what I bring to this world. To give my love to a man in the future isn’t to fill a part of me that is missing, but simply to enhance what is already whole. I’m not looking for a knight in shining armour - I don’t need saving, and neither will he. Oh but I do hope he’s tall enough to reach the top shelf at the supermarket.
Another milestone ticked off - I’ve survived my first wedding as a single woman in my thirties. I reckon I rocked it as my parents’ plus one! My life has changed so much from a year ago and that’s OK because change means growth. Growth means I’m not stuck, it’s my impatience that makes me feel like I am!
P.S. My March Comfort Zone challenge is to meet men the old fashioned way! That means that for at least this month I can't set up dates - I will leave that to my friends, workmates and family. I trust that I have a great circle and they wouldn't set me up with horrible people! All are blind dates too. Haha. Scary I know, but hey, I haven't had much luck on my own, so why not try something different? It's almost part way through the month and still haven't been on any dates, so will keep you posted if I do.
On Monday nights I go to a meditation evening, which is usually a mixed bag depending on how my weekend went. Sometimes I fall asleep, and some days my mind is full of noise. With time, it gets easier to trust what is the divine and what is my ego trying to take over.
In my meditation, I was running alone through an empty field - acres and acres of soil ready to be sown. The dirt was wet, yet there were swirls of dust in the air. As the edge of the field drew near, I sensed I was not alone. There stood a grey wolf, waiting for me. We walked side by side into the forest, and as night fell, the wolf felt more human than animal. I wasn’t afraid.
To my left I saw the embers from a fire built by my imagination. Suddenly I could hear a faint drumbeat, which grew louder as we began to dance. The higher we jumped, the louder the music became. There in the forest, the wolf and I danced under the full moon. The dancing felt primal, and with each breath, I felt free for the first time in a long time.
They say that the wolf symbolises an appetite for freedom and living life powerfully, guided by instincts. Certainly there have been days I have felt shackled. Wolves as spirit guides is often a call to live more freely and to increase the intensity of what we are passionate about in our day-to-day. The role of the alpha wolf is as a leader, not a dictator. Their decisions is for the greater good of the pack, its survival.
Freedom, as the saying goes, is when you have nothing left to lose. In a society where we are conditioned to want, to consume, sometimes in excess - this phase is compelling me to rebel. To live with less. In my vision, there were embers of a fire, but no food, no shelter. There in the forest I had nothing except the clothes I wore. Put simply, I have too many things in my basket. The basket is overflowing and the only way forward is to empty it and only keep the essentials. Purge the trimmings. To focus on what is truly important.
I have been guilty of a gluttonous consumption of life. Put simply, I have too many things in my basket. The basket is overflowing and the only way forward is to empty it and only keep the essentials. Purge the trimmings. To focus on what is truly important. Even if I can’t act on it in the physical straight away, it’s already begun in my head. Isn’t that why I have been such a hermit these last few weeks? To help remedy the fear of missing out is to see the real value in what we do, in what we have.
Often we are afraid to feel powerful, and seek outside of ourselves for the answers. In meditation, I have learned that questions are answered in clarity. It’s only my ego that muddles the waters. Trusting your instincts is not to listen harder, it’s simply to quieten the noise.
Which brings me to the point about trust.
Journeys are never linear, and it has taken me many wrong turns to get here. I believe in the bigger picture, my life path, and in free will. I knew from the start, even before I met my ex-husband that I would do something that will take me away from this town. It scared me because I had only just discovered my love of dance, and many more years before I began to share my writing. Did I stay with him because it anchored me? Maybe. Many people didn’t understand my need to wait to have children, and he didn’t at the beginning either. I think he accepted it in the end, he had to. Did I force that on him?
Guilt is a circumstance we have yet to forgive. Maybe that’s why I didn’t feel angry when I heard he was having a baby with her. I felt guilty for not being able to give him that when he wanted it. Is this my penance for choosing not to have children in my twenties? In reality, he too has free will. To think I had that much power over him is my ego talking.
To forgive all that happened is to first forgive myself.
A wolf can survive alone, but it thrives in a pack. Like the wolf in the forest, I’m not afraid to dance to my own drumbeat. The embers are just waiting for me to breathe life back into them, but for now I will wait. And dance. Yes, we shall dance!
As I was sweating it out this morning at the gym, listening to my laboured breathing, and feeling gross at the beads of sweat inching its way down my chest, I was happy. 5.30am seems like an unnatural hour to be awake and active, yet here I am, again.
Coffee gets me through it. Every morning is a daily struggle, yet once I’m out of bed, the rest is a blur until I start my workout.
I’m not alone in my early morning session - there’s usually about five people already partway through their workout. Yes, there are people who are even crazier than me. I would say they do it to avoid the afternoon madness. It probably smells better at this time of the morning too. A 24-hour gym sure has its perks.
Feathers have been a big obsession this past year - I see them everywhere. By the beach or near the lagoon by my house. I picked up a few and will make them into earrings. I held a small one in the palm of my hand and smiled - this beautiful tiny feather was once from a bird that soared to great heights. Here it was in my palm - how can something so delicate and fragile looking be so strong at the same time?
I have been emotionally bloated this week, and even came close to a panic attack. I stopped, focussed on my breathing until the room stopping spinning and my chest didn’t feel like I was about explode. I had been having money issues, and my worries got the best of me. There I was in my room, unsteady on my feet, feeling unsteady in life.
We all go through these moments, I’ve been through a few. I am fortunate that I am sheltered, and if not paying my bills on time is my biggest worry in life, then I count myself lucky. For the most part I have my health and my mind. Yes I’m stressed, but it would a lot for me to want to give up. Not by a long shot!
I think what gets me is when I try to do it alone. Faith is often a word associated with religious beliefs, which I guess for me, exists in the spiritual realm. To let go, to have faith in the Universe, something greater than ourselves, gives us comfort in our times of need and feeling week. What I believe is what I believe, I don’t sweat the details. I know because I feel it, and somewhere down the road, I know I will be fine.
To live this life only relying on yourself is a great burden. A burden shared is a burden halved, or so they say. Sometimes it feels like I walk alone in my dreams and aspirations, or maybe I just haven’t opened up enough of myself to let people in.
Last year I wrote about being an extroverted introverted. A person who is comfortable in a social setting, and is just as ok in their own company. I read a new term that suited me better, it’s called an ambivert. It’s used to describe many of us who fall in the grey region, where we can be social yet tire of people when we spend too much time with them, yet also don’t mind being alone, as long as it’s not too long, or we get bored.
We humans love to label things don’t we?
Still, it’s a Monday. A good day as any to write down some thoughts. I’m up to Chapter 13 in the book. I think I need more adventures to write about, yes, let’s do that!
Happy New Year! My first blog for 2017...yes, this one is about nuts.
Waffle cones, whipped cream and nuts in the sunshine. According to my friend Lana, the nuts do it for her, and I tend to agree. We must have been quite the sight - she in her blue ‘Stepford’ wife dress (from her lunch with her Mum), and me in my black staple of jeans and singlet. Only in New Zealand is it totally normal to see someone wearing all black in summer.
We walked back towards the park where we knew there was shade under the trees, eating our ice creams quickly, hoping not to make a sticky mess.
Lana and I met at a mix and mingle a few months back. When I walked into the bar, I knew there weren’t any men there that interested me. I decided to make the most of the trip over (it was an hour’s drive), and began talking to two women there. In the end we found plenty in common and I made two friends that night.
It was her 36th birthday, and I made the trip over to see her. This was the first time we had seen each other since the mix and mingle, even though we kept in touch through texts. She has travelled extensively, owns a camper van, and recently moved back in with her mother last year. Like I said, we had plenty in common.
Physically, we are polar opposites. She is fair, blonde, blue eyed with great legs. I’m Asian, well-done on the toast scale and legs built for doing squats at the gym. Friends don’t let friends skip leg day. Sometimes I feel the donkey is a kindred spirit animal - strong legs and a big ass. Lana may seem reserved, but she has a quick wit and a dry sense of humour.
We made sure to sit away from the playground in the park. Families with young children were making the most of the sunshine, perhaps trying to use up the last of the beach-day enthusiasm before heading home for dinner. We sat under a nearby tree and found the shade a nice escape from the searing heat.
Professionally, Lana has worked in various industries. She had been in the Air Force, marketing, a teacher and now, well she builds bus panels. Or at least that’s what I think she does. An ideal day out for her would be a trip to Bunnings, as she’s helping her Mum to renovate her kitchen. If a guy bought her tools for Valentine’s Day instead of flowers, she would be in heaven. I like that she’s happy in her own skin and unapologetically out of the norm.
I told her my story from the beginning - I guess it can be overwhelming for someone who is coming in a few chapters along. So much emotion has already been chewed up and spat out. I don’t often go back there anymore, that woman only exists in name. I don’t want new people in my life to define me by that story - pretty soon I’m sure it will be just be a passing memory.
“Do you regret the last ten years?” She asked. No, how could I? So many amazing people came into my life because of that relationship. I wouldn’t want to let go of those memories just because it ended. On the flip side, it purged people I wanted to get rid of a long time ago - so that’s a bonus.
As the sun began to set we decided to escape the chill and grab a drink. Which meant putting our shoes back on. And putting on some make up. Could more ice cream be part of this scenario? I was hopeful.
I got home about midnight - my face hurting from laughing too much. It’s good to laugh and make time for friends. I spent so much time alone last year that this year is my year for connections. Genuine connections.
Here’s to a new story, a more loving heart and living my truth...unapologetically.
Let's be honest, a lot of my writing has been pretty f@#**ing depressing lately. Even I was getting worried about it. Optimism, and the burden of it can be hard to carry, even with my donkey legs (I take my squats at the gym seriously.) That wave of melancholy has passed somewhat, this last episode caught me off guard, but I'm well on the way to recovery.
Waves of sadness, self-pity and frustration, it never really leaves me. Most of the time, with the energy I have, it's manageable. When it happens I have two options: Fight it with all my might, or accept it, allow the current to take me until I reach the bottom and slowly make my way back. The swim upwards gives me plenty of time for reflection, and I bounce back stronger. It's usually on the way down that I make stupid decisions based on fear, being impatient and doubting myself. Each episode passes quicker and adds to my library of lessons that can only be learned when life pisses you off.
Growing up, and even in my twenties, I could count my close friends on one hand. I'm grateful I still have friends from high school that I know have my back. These days I still don't have many friends, but I like it that way. We share a group chat on Facebook that when any one of us have issues, becomes a marathon of advice, love and hard truths. Great friends are hard to come by, honest ones, those are keepers.
Living with my parents again, I try my best to have breakfast with my Mum (my Dad works out of town during the week). As we sit eating a bowl of porridge, or a fried egg, we would talk about the studio, work, or just life in general. This morning she was recounting a Facebook post she read that she was particularly excited about. Even though we have lived in New Zealand for over 25 years, sometimes her English still gets mixed up, and today was one of those times.
The post she talked about is about two mothers and their daughters, sitting nearby in a park. One family was black, the other white. One of the girls asked why her skin colour was different to the other girl's sitting across the playground. "When God created humans, he used clay and it was black, that's why she has dark skin. Then God saw white dust on those first hands and smiled, and that's why you are white." (Ok, I haven't been able to find this post, so I have to take her word for it. Either way, I like how my Mum closed by, "No matter what the colour of our skin, we are all made from the same clay. You are beautiful...and black."
For those who may not know, I have dark brown skin, taking after my Dad. My Mum is fair skinned, as we have a strong Spanish / Chinese ancestry. My sister takes after her, and my brother I refer to as a caramel-mocha! Growing up, my older sister would tell me that the reason I had darker skin was because I was born at night. Sisterly love!
There are days I just want to know where I'm supposed to be, to take the express route instead of the scenic tour. For now I have a ticket for the long way round, and that's ok with me. In the words of Walk The Moon, "It's not a matter of if, it's just a matter of when..." Here's to more adventures, laughs and self-love.
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.
Rain is beautiful. Except when it soaks your favourite suede shoes.
Today I want to write about happiness, more so about understanding the state of being happy and opening your mind to experiencing it without limitations. I’ve been thinking about what I don’t want, now I’m ready to ask and receive what I do want. That’s a really choice place to be!
Two days ago I wrote this in my diary…
That was the only entry. Looking back on it, it made me sad, but it also gave me hope. Being sad, is ok, there are days I do feel lonely and that no one understands. Or I don’t have the energy to explain and I want to be left alone. Then I get over it. I look forward to those days the most. Days when I give myself permission for some down time, eat Doritos and write.
How To Be Happy
I would love to tell you that there’s a magic formula to being happy - the idealist in me would want to bottle it and pour it into the public drinking waterways. Would that still count as medicating the masses? I don’t know, but it would certainly make morning commute in cities less stressful.
So, how do you enjoy a state of happiness most of the time? What I’ve learned is to do things that DO MAKE YOU HAPPY, then take away the expectation and pressure that it should make you happy or to fill the void loneliness creates. When we take away that expectation, it opens up our mind to experience different ways to receive love.
Ask yourself this… “What makes me happy?”
I used to have a LONG list of things I have and do. In a span of two weeks my life became condensed into one room, and EVERYTHING I needed was there. Well, except for my dog, I’m working on that though. You see, it’s human nature to always want more, to have more. Now I see that it was clutter that distracted me from being me. What makes me happy? LIFE. And its endless potential. I wake up and know I am exactly where I’m supposed to be. I wake up feeling unconditional love. I am happy because I am living. That is my state of happiness.
I was talking to a guy about how he felt ‘lost’ in life. After two years, he felt stuck and unable to let go of his old life, even though he knew he had to. He missed his ‘soul mate’ and desperately wished there as a magic eraser to take him back before it all changed. There was still plenty of guilt, isolation and loneliness. There was no moving on, no hope.
As he shared a condensed version of what lead up to this ‘defining’ moment in his life, in two years there was no closure, no forgiveness, no letting go. That burden of heavy baggage clung onto him like a life raft. It was his crutch. And it made me sad.
Every time I suggested ways he could try to improve his situation, his answer always started with “Yeah, but…” which told me immediately that he wasn’t ready. There was no forgiveness, and without that there is no healing. Letting go is hard, but it will eat you up if you don’t.
All My Bags Are Packed
I’m off on a mini-getaway to Auckland for three nights. I am notorious for getting lost, all my dance students know it. But you just never know where being lost takes you, that could be the start of a great adventure! I can’t wait to see friends, dance and eat incredibly tasty food.
Best of all, I am finally moving on.
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.