M.I.A

 

Addressing the baby elephant in the room and no I am not referring to anyone’s behind,

 – deep breath – 

I have been MIA.

Yup. I know. I have.

And I owe you an apology for that.

Because you have been amazing in supporting me and encouraging me to keep going. To persist with Noctilucent. To give a voice to issues where I can.

And so I’m sorry.  Forgive me for being absent and for what looks like giving up because believe me, I haven’t.

Nocti isn’t a one hit wonder for me or a transient hobby. It is a passion of mine and a deeply felt need to promote change and support others in similar situations to me, you, us. To vent or muse (or both) on life in general.

Well, where have I been, I hear you ask?

Here. Just quiet.

Squirrelled away in the office (read: bedroom) working on another project Nocti related and that excites me no end. Hopefully, I can reveal all soon.

But then I have also been dividing my time working on the back end, the unsexy operational mechanics of the site. Critically important things that you can’t see yet, but hopefully will feel soon. The back end stuff FRIES MY BRAIN because it is of absolutely no interest to me and finding the right people to assist in getting the site to run flawlessly has been a monumental challenge. Groannnn…….

Anyway, today I lifted my head up to greet the world and rise above the trenches of life. And, WTF? It’s September. Nearly school holidays again. Where did all that time go? I’ve been “doing it-doing it’, like the faithful rat on the wheel, living the routine, supporting my family, bandaging scraped knees and suddenly bang! Here we are. SEP. TEM. BER!!  It really woke me up. In the sense that I have not been present. Not here. Not in my daily life. Not in respite.

I have been caught in the fog of routine and living in a schedule where I am ticking the things off each week that need to be done and then planing the logistics of the next tranche of activities. It woke me to the fact that I have been just existing or mindlessly living. No wonder months have past without my true awareness. And now I wonder how many precious moments I’ve missed by being physically in the room but mentally checking off or constructing new, to do lists?

I don’t want that anymore.

It’s a bad habit. I missing things and it’s time for a change.

Mindful living is where I’m positioning myself personally and that includes Nocti. Nocti is still very much a part of me and your support of it (and therefore me) has meant everything. What is means for Nocti is that I’ll now be posting monthly until next year.

Righto then – Going full circle:

Thank you again for your support and encouragement. Please accept my heartfelt apologies for falling off the radar.

Stay tuned for my next post where I hopefully, can reveal some exciting news for Nocti.

Thank you for still being here. I value, respect and love that you have chosen to be part of our Nocti tribe.

Should you have anything you would like me to chat about in upcoming posts, drop me a line. (See below). Or perhaps you may like to provide any feedback about what you want to see on Nocti or how it can work better, yeah? Let me know. Would mean the world to me if you did.

Ok then – Until next month, keep rocking it your own way.

Neve xx

Build It Up, Build It Up, Build Us Higher.

Did you know that I’m building a tribe? Yes. I am.

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A tribe that offers a safe place to normalise our life experiences, emotions and provides real, honest, supportive advice when we stumble.

In a time where globally women are subjected to more censure and restriction than ever before, our tribe is supported by a constitution that builds us up and celebrates the similarities and our differences that are invisibly woven throughout each of our lives, connecting us like a giant tapestry.

The ultimate in a virtual network of friends and brains trust.

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Why?

Because being a Mum, a Woman, a Carer, in this day and age can be challenging, isolating and exhausting.

We are all time poor and trying to co-ordinate a catch up with trusted friends can be like trying to round up all the G20 leaders for a quick dinner – nigh on impossible, especially at short notice.

When shit hits your fan, sure you have the phone.

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Even then, grabbing 2 minutes to call a friend to chat, vent and unpack whatever is going on is still bloody difficult.

From your end, kids scream in the background demanding your attention, dinner needs to be made, washing wont do it self and neither will school lunch preparation for the next day. That is of course, assuming you connect with the person you rang in the first place!

Adding to the challenge, your friend may be facing a similar situation at their end. It’s a battle can that requires MENSA level strategists’ and their modelling algorithms. You’ve got to get your intended target intercept perfectly calibrated to the exact minute for successful contact.

Sigh. Attempting to touch base sometimes can feel all too hard.

Life pulls at us. Do you feel that?

Its continuous demands pulls us away from each other, apart.

Then before you know, time disappears. It moves so quickly like smoke through a keyhole. Vapours visible one moment, gone and irretrievable the next.

Work, family, ageing parents, young children, teenagers, after school activities, domestics. Not sure how many balls you juggle at once but my arms are exhausted from keeping those spheres in the air.

There is almost no time for me.

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I want to create a place for us to plug into at any time. All the time. When you need it most and at the moment you need it. With ease.

A supportive place to laugh, vent and be nurtured in understanding.

At the very least, to know that you’re not alone. Someone has been through what you’re going through and the experience can be normalised, rationalised and solutions offered.

No Polly Anna Perfect here. Our tribe is defined by rejecting the stereotype of women whereby we compete with each other to our detriment.

Aren’t you fed up with women negatively competing, combatting each other? I’m over it. Tired of women tearing each other apart, dissecting the pieces, spitting venom on the differences in an attempt to feel better about themselves. Real Housewives of Wherever has a lot to answer for. Yes it’s entertaining to a point. A voyeuristic, train-wreck-but-can’t-look –away-esque, escape. BUT that gets old and nasty real quick.

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Why some women think they can act that way towards another and believe that it is ok, is lost on me. I don’t buy bullying, shredding an individuals’ dignity, putting someone down because of their outfit as healthy or normal.

Sadly I have seen this behaviour transferred from the TV screen and played out in the schoolyard. Who gives a crap if Kerry’s Mum is wearing Gucci or Country Road? Whose business is it if little Clara’s Mum’s dress is a tad short – especially with those stumpy legs? Who made you judge and jury of Sara’s Mum “too blonde” hair or Jessie’s Mum’s car?

Listen Chickas; there will always be someone who is richer, prettier, bigger boobed, smarter, healthier, younger, whatever-ier than you. Concentrate on your own patch; tend to your own garden before you start crapping on another. And babes, if you do shit on another, pick it up. Retract it. It’s fucking ugly behaviour and unbecoming to your intellect, not worthy of your soul.

I have been a victim of the vultures.

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One of the most significant experiences that has burnt itself into my memory happened in my late 20’s. As a newly minted mediator, I was invited to a national conference. It was only for those who had been granted special accreditation for a preferred industrial relations panel by our federal government. It was an honour and an achievement and I was thrilled to be rocking this. I was the youngest there by an average of 20 – 30 years. I was also one of very few females.

It was held in northern QLD where it was hot, sticky and humid. I dressed appropriately for a conference – didn’t have my boobs hanging out. Don’t have much to hang out anyway but I wore conservative clothing.

And you know what! I was still marginalised, ostracised and spoken down to.

The women were the worst.

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Clearly threatened by a younger individual. Discounted by others as fluff. I had plenty of male attention but not as a colleague, as eye candy. It was uncomfortable, sexist, demeaning and exclusionary.

Have you ever been to a gathering of people you thought you admired and excited to be a part of, walked up to introduce yourself only to have people turn their backs – Physically. Turn. Their. Backs…. On you?

Have you ever held out your hand as a welcome only to have it left there in the air hanging away like a useless, dead appendage? Have you ever been told you were too young to offer any experience or value? “Close your mouth darling. Open it after you come out of the cellar. Or when you’ve been around the block a few times.” Snide giggles.

It’s hideous. I have thick skin but shit this was really, really awkward and disheartening. Akin to being the new kid at school and no one operating on normal social conventions like RESPONDING WHEN SOMEONE ASKS YOU A FUCKING QUESTION! Bitchy. Confidence crushing.

How is it I was so offensive that my sheer physical presence was intolerable? I asked one of the males that deign to address me. The reply: Go away and don’t come back until I had “aged” as I was too “beautiful” to be taken seriously. VOMMMMMM.IT. And sheer bullshit.

The behaviour unconscionable. Women taking delight in openly vilifying me. No mercy afforded, I was being metaphorically dismembered because I was different. As the perceived easy target, the frenzied, soul thirsty mob excited by my demise.

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F you all and f off. I have a lot to offer and your miserable insecurity issues are just that – your issues. Get over them or not. At the most basic level surely your conscience requires you to operate with a modicum of human decency and stop acting like a _________________? [You can fill in the blank. I know which expletive works best for me here……!]

This – this tearing down, trying to ruin another, being threatened by some illusionary threat, is what I want to change.

I want to challenge the marginalisation and fracturing of our female collectiveness.

We have mentors in business. Therapists for personal issues. Life coaches for Life. Why can’t we be real with each other and stop walking on eggshells? Say what we mean, be direct knowing that it comes from a place of genuine respect and care? Let’s act as a mentor, therapist, the loyal friend when it’s needed rather than directing energy to isolating and targeting those we don’t understand or pussy footing around with our truth because we are fearful of being judged, unleashing the piranhas in response.

I want to lift us up. Together.

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There is so much more within us than we allow to develop. Imagine how incredible we could all be, the power of it all if we pooled our collective knowledge, experiences, emotional intellect. Our potential and the possibilities are endless. The benefits so numerous as to touch us at every level.

I believe we all have something to teach and something to learn.

So let’s start by celebrating strong, amazing women who kick arse daily in their chosen field.

Oprah, Gigi Hadid, Malala Yousafzai you are A.MAZE.ING! Beyonnce, Nicole Kidman, Michelle Obama love your work. Christine Lagarde, Arianna Huffington you are on my ultimate chicks dinner invite list. Mia Freedman, Georgie Gardner, I admire the hell out of you.

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To all the young female entrepreneurs, you rock. Mum’s, Grand Mothers’ everywhere you can be fierce role models to your children and community. My friends, you are inspirational women who battle each day and come home winners. Exhausted perhaps, but still killing it.

And so I say this:

It is time for all of us to learn to embrace our female uniqueness, harness and channel it.

All women are beautiful, regardless of age. All women have something to offer, REGARDLESS OF AGE. There is strength in emotion and I claim that too.

Together, lets redefine ‘Da Sista Hood.

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Actively participate in the tribe to build a new constitution, where difference is awesome, similarities’ are comforting, and being a resilient, intelligent woman confident in the shape of your skin, what ever that shape is, is as sexy as hell.

Taking back my power and pushing women forward and upwards everywhere.

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Let’s do this.

Tell me which woman inspires you and why.  

Neve xx

I Am Who I Am

One of my nearest and dearest, my “Sister from another Mister” (figuratively speaking and literally, j’adore her so she may as well be), planted the seed. “You need to share you. Get that stuff outta your head and share it with others,” she said after a particularly challenging time with some hideously toxic family dynamics. “Write a blog. Get it out there. You helped me. Fucken share babe.”

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Having never thought myself a writer, I laughed. Have never thought myself terribly wise, insightful or all together, I snorted. Dismissed it. Drank some more wine.

But….niggling in the most primitive part of my brain stem came the whisper. What if? Yessssss. It hisses quietly. Yessssssss. It breathed greedily, audible now and subconsciously it spawned. Yesssssss. Do it. DO it. Do IT. DO IT. It began to irritate and itch.

Being a very private and at times socially awkward with debilitating shyness, I quickly squashed that Yesssss to no fucking way. I’ve been judged so harshly in my life and left emotionally bloodied, dismembered and broken.

The itch. The hiss. Yessssssss. DO IT.

Being acutely hypersensitive, could I? Would I? A perfectionist bordering on the obsessive neurotic to excel, should I? Yessssss. DO IT.

Fuck it. To quell the itch, here we are. With procrastination and motivational paralysis based in a fear of failure, weighing heavily on one shoulder and the middle finger to my insecurities on the other, I begin to write.

Laying myself bare, article after article. For publishing at another time. The question at the centre of it all, am I good enough? More honestly, am I enough?

At 40, is it normal to still question our deepest selves like this? Shouldn’t we have it together by now? Isn’t it written or universally known that when you turn 40, suddenly you’re hot, sassy and got your shit worked out? I think I may have skived off that lesson.

I’m a woman. A Mum to an 8-year-old boy. A wife of 10 years. Both incredible male specimens that are part of the Autism spectrum. I have been an OT (Occupational Therapist), a successful business owner, a senior business executive. I have an MBA, a post graduate in Risk Management and countless other acreditations. I am a qualified mediator. Managed hundreds of people of various socio-economic and cultural backgrounds, helped others who have been most seriously and irretrievably injured from work reclaim their lives, sorted multiple large and small workplace conflicts, and managed “telephone book number” style operational budgets. On paper and impersonally, I am impressive.

But……but……still…Am “I” enough?

Intrinsically, I know.

Yes I am.

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The beauty of 40 is you become clear and accept that you are. I am sensitive, intuitive and smart. I know people and I value the individual differences that make you, you.

Not one person is the same and certainly not one person on the spectrum is the same.

We are all beautifully perfect and flawed to create the mosaic of our existence. Unlike my 20’s where my self doubt was masked by aggression and large shoulder pads, sharp tailoring and a French roll, today I mange it with quiet courage and measured resilience. I combat my fear of failure; need for perfectionism by embracing it as just a part of me.  Using and channeling it to help me achieve. It is one piece of the puzzle that makes me who I am.

And in the words of Gloria Gaynor, I am what I am and what I am needs no excuses.

Neither do you.

Has approaching or turning 40 changed your perspective? Do you still give much thought to other peoples opinions? How do you know that you are enough?

Neve xx