I was at a brunch the other day and we took the time to sit down and write what we were all grateful for. There was about 10 women sitting around and I put my hand to go first, to share my grateful list! What I was grateful for in 2017 was the ability and time to learn the lessons that I have this year, these were hard lessons with many tears, happy coach, challenges, out of my comfort zone, meeting new people and lucky to add the experience of travel to a new country with my biggest love, that amazing daughter and all the new friends that I have made this year…. Some amazing women that have made me leap! I loved my list, I was so so grateful this year, I came to a stop sign (why a stop sign… well this amazing lady told me why did it have to be hard.. so instead of saying I hit a brick wall in a Mack truck.. I now like to say that I came to a stop sign) and I got off the highway for awhile and took time out to learn about me! (Might of needed an ambulance and some CPR but I got the fuck off the highway for awhile) So damn grateful, so damn lucky that I did…. Hello universe.. wait what you want to teach me a lesson! OK.. back to my brunch….. I started listening to all the other stories of the other women there and there seemed to be this big common factor that stood out! That not one women has stood alone, nor had it been an easy path.. every single woman in that circle got to that point through hardships, falls and trips but got up again with the help of a tribe. So lets discuss tribe and what that means for me.
Listening to these women, the common tribe was family, the parents that assisted with the grandchildren but also the mum’s that pushed their daughters along the way! I love hearing that, what family can do, how important it is and a lot of women have said they could not of gotten this far, believed in themselves, had that sounding board, cheer squad and even financial help without their family. I can’t tell you the love I felt listening to these women.. because one day I hoped that is what I would be for my daughter.
But I never had that, and I had a tonne of emotional baggage from not having that loving supporting family. I didn’t get the husband that supported either, or even be the Dad that I needed for my daughter. I was listening to the stories and nothing, nothing was like mine. Don’t think for one second I thought they had happy perfect families.. I’m not that naïve, I am sure there was blended families, hard times, many arguments and loads of imperfections but they had a tribe! So many movies of families come to mind! I smile, but in all honesty I did not have that movie, I wish I had the Mum I could talk to, I wish I had a Dad that I could ask for help. I wish I had the sisters, the aunties that help, the love or anything… I longed for that, I craved that, I watched many other women have that and I did not…. Ok this is not a sad story so I want to get to my point.
What I created was that which I did not have! I made a family, I can sit back now and I created a tribe to help me through! This tribe changes, just like seasons it changes.. some have stayed for the long haul, some I have argued with and we did not talk for awhile and then after some time we made up.. shit… sounds just like a family but that is what it is.
I joined the Navy at 17 and ended up in Darwin… I remember one Christmas we had an Orphans Christmas and we invite everyone that was staying in Darwin that time of year to have Christmas with us as I felt it was important to be around like minded people.. Along the way I even adopted parents.. yep older people that I would go to their house every Sunday for Breaky as you would family because I needed a tribe. I needed to belong and I wanted to be happy just like those women at the brunch telling amazing stories about their Mum and their family and their tribe.
It really hit home when I had Alicia and how much I needed love, help and support. Her Dad and I lived in Darwin, at this stage we had built a house, he worked for Qantas and took 5 weeks off when I had her. It was hell, I didn’t feel equipped to be a mum. So all the issues were with me, being a mum, breastfeeding, how to survive, being alone, not working, and just the day to day not being around adults! Her Dad went back to work and I was left alone with her, I needed support and love. My mum at this stage lived across the other side of Australia.. yes she was around but not really around and I missed important years I needed with her. In the end her Dad and I moved to Queensland to be near his parents.. their philosophy was they did not look after kids until they could wipe their own butt! Ok well that was a long way off at that stage… many arguments with my Mother In Law on how to raise my beautiful girl and many “hits” (the emotional kind) of how I was no longer attractive or looking after myself from her Dad. I felt fucking alone! So so alone… I gained 20kgs I struggled with my day to day… I felt like a failure as a mum, daughter in law, wife and as a friend to the very few friends I had. I did not have family support, I was alone! God.. this is shitty remembering this on all the hard things, on how I felt, I remember all the ways I tried to numb these feelings. To give you an idea after Alicia was born I gained 20 kgs and I lost that 3 times over due to emotional struggles and the pure determination that I was a god damn winner.
So I got there, I met one woman and then the next and then the next but in the end I created a tribe. I created my sisters, my family, my girlfriends, my support, my foundations and I god damn survived. Alicia was 3 and half when her Dad and I separated. So you know, you honestly can’t do this shit alone.
I have so many stories of the amazing women that I have met! But in the end they are the women that have lived with me, become my sisters, my additional daughters, the god mums of Alicia.
I have had serious moments of single parenting and without these amazing tribe of women I would not of deployed to Afghanistan! I would not of jointed the Army for that matter! I would not have found love again! I would not of believed in myself! Honestly they have picked me up where I have failed…. there has been so many times.. I cant even explain the love that I have had for them… Let’s talk about one.. she became god mum of Alicia, I became god mum of her son.. We found common goals and competed against each other, we taught each other endurance, compassion and love.. I swear she listened to me cry every day for a year after my second husband.. she just listened.. no boundaries.. just pure love… Does your family do that?
So my love for my tribe changes constantly.. whether it is Brene Brown from a book that I have a new girl crush on or all the amazing women that I have recently met that makes me believe in my future. I have the women that bunkered down with me during heart breaks and I have helped adopted daughters with their own path.
What I do know is is that you need a tribe! If you don’t have a family then you make one! I know that it was the kick up the bum by a happy coach, a meeting with another great lady who made me leap and sitting next to a wine maker at a Luncheon that I was scared about attending that helped me to this point for this blog.. this point of being here on Maggie Island sipping a gorgeous Rose from SA or even writing these feelings. I honestly have felt the love and support of a TRIBE!
I am so grateful for my tribe, you can come in, stay, argue, leave, come back but you are all still very loved, treasured and adored!
To the women of my life, I salute you…. I hope you all find your tribe!
OK… side note… Alicia may need therapy from all the strong crazy women who have helped raise her but hey! She has women that are there by her side, by my side and ready to kick ass any time she needs to call that shit in!
I want you to be happy in your career; with my workshops we can tackle any issues that stop you from reaching that. You won't need a sea change but love who you are and what you do.