On a scale of 1 to 100, how happy do you think I am about finally getting my dream car?
Now add 17 zeros to that number!
One day I'll transfer the story to here from Instagram so you can get a sense of what a big deal it is for me.
It's also the first time I've ever been relentless towards a goal and succeeded so it's having a profound effect on my future goals.
I can't wait to tell you the whole story but I'm knee deep in film work right now, post COVID, so don't have any spare brain space. I will though. It's too good not to tell...
My dad Eric - aka Tex, Curly, Father circa 76ish when I was about 10.
There are assumptions that could easily be made just by his appearance.
Alcohol. Drugs. Debauchery.
So I don't blame anyone for judging our family. But when I started getting counseling for depression, I was shocked when, upon sharing my father's interests, the next question was always, without exception, whether I'd been sexually abused.
And when I'd tell them I hadn't ever been abused in any way by anyone, they would purse their lips, insinuating denial.
The professionals weren't helpful so I became my own therapist.
Judgement has been by far the biggest challenge in my life. Both externally and internally. But as soon as I started accepting my self and all my perceived flaws, others perceptions of me ceased to matter.
So when I look at this photo, I remember playing pool with my Grandad and Mum at the clubrooms on Molesworth St, the barbecues, the practical jokes and the laughter but most importantly, the visceral sense, that I have to this day, of being protected...
As someone whose mental health issues earlier in my life started with others judging me and my whanau, that lead naturally into me judging myself mercilessly, so these stories are a real trigger and break my heart.
A few years ago I realised that we all seem to be addicted to finding fault. Monitor your conversations today and note if you find yourself doing this. Then just stop. Stop with the judgement and criticism and comparisons and one upping because we know that if you're saying negative things about someone, there's a high chance you're saying negative things about us too.
Please please become addicted instead to seeing and gossiping about the good and positive in others.
The changes you'll see are your valuable friendships deepening, the surface friendships dropping off, people sharing good words about you and encouraging you and, best of all, you'll start seeing and appreciating more of the good in yourself.
The only appropriate place for judgement is in competitions and life is not a competition. We're all just doing the best we can.
So, do everyone a favour and move past the external, do your homework, dig deeper, ask questions, get to know more about the person or situation.
My go-to response to anything is "That's interesting"
It's not a judgement one way or the other and opens a conversation or situation up for more information to be shared.
The first leg of Destination Home. I've been in Kaikoura, Mt Cook/Aoraki and Clyde & Cromwell for 4 weeks. It's been another thrilling film adventure with lots of highlights. I swear I'm the luckiest person I know!
I can still remember the first Mothers Day after I left these two with their dad so I could go off by myself to survive. I ran away to Brisbane to spend time with an old friend for a few days. That day he intuitively decided we were going on a motorbike ride. Can you imagine how uncomfortable it was to have tears pooling at the top of my squashed in cheeks then stream back towards my ears? Then everywhere we stopped, there were parents and children revelling in each other. My kids had got a happy, healthy new mum so I didn't know where I fit in anymore. Luckily they were still allowed to love their old, not-so-healthy one and made me endless cups of tea until I felt well enough to get up and make them for myself. I would not be here today if it wasn't for these two exceptionally compassionate and generous humans and now that we all live in the same city, we've been able to make up for lost time. We all know it's inevitable that our lives will lead us in other directions at some point but in the meantime, we've been able to revel in each other every week for the past year.
So it's days like today that I'm just so thankful I chose life...
OMG! I got to hang with Dr Jordan B Peterson. Remember the post where I shared how I ran away from Oprah on the hill and how determined I was to not be scared to talk to Jordan? Well, after everyone else had left, our VIP instructions were that there would be no selfies, no book signings and, ironically, no chit chat - which was understandable because there were around 100 of us to get through. So I calmly walked up to Jordan and as he took my hand I introduced my self then said You're the language I've been listening for all my life. He smiled warmly, nodded and said Thank you, then we turned toward the camera, snap snap snap, hand shake and I exited stage right and sat down with everyone else for the q&a. I have the attention span of a lamp post but I was riveted to every second of those precious three hours and all I could think was I wish he was my friend to roll around in these rich and meaningful and insightful observations and words with.
And, man he was funny!
I don't think I've told you this story before...
At the beginning of last year I had the privilege of hanging with Oprah. Not in any meaningful new BFF way but I was close enough to observe her interactions. Her driver and I were good friends and we were both fascinated to watch how our 'passengers' dealt with their high profiles so we'd stand around our cars while they were filming and swap (appropriate) notes.
One day I walked to the top of a hill they'd been filming on earlier but had moved away from. The scenery was so majestic that I became teary with its overwhelming beauty. I suddenly had a sense someone was behind me and when I turned around, there was Oprah! I became self conscious and mumbled an apology as I swiped away the tears. She said But you're from here aren't you? I said Yes, but from the North Island - we don't have scenery like this up there.
And then I ran away.
It was only recently that I realised Oprah had climbed that hill to spend some time with me but what do you say to someone with such depth and experience that she hasn't heard 16,000 times already? Of course I see now a simple How's your day going? would have been a good start to finding out. When I found out Jordan Peterson was coming to town I didn't think twice about getting a Meet and Greet ticket. I've learnt my lesson - I'm not going to miss another once in a lifetime chance to chat to this spectacularly insightful human who's language I've been rolling around in daily for almost a year.
One of my colleagues and I were housed in an old run down motel for a few days while on location in Lake Tekapo last year but we loved it because it was across the road from the lake and the owners were quirky characters. Knowing that the accommodation dept was finding it challenging to house everybody in places they were happy with, we asked if we could stay there the whole time and as much as they appreciated our request because that would have been two less places they would have to find, our rooms were booked out so they had to move us.
When we drove up to our new place, Lake Tekapo Lodge, we were both speechless. It couldn't have been more opposite from the previous one and the owners were instant friends.
Later we heard that the lodge had been booked for one of the stars but they didn't want it (it doesn't have gates). We'll never know if the Accommodation team had nowhere else for us to go or if this was their subtle reward for us not being difficult about our last place.
Either way, I was thanking God and The Universe for this fairytale dream dripping with art and beauty every single day we were there!
"Thousands of people have come through times of feeling suicidal and survived. We need to listen to what worked for them and why," Mr Robinson says.
This is what I've been wanting to do for years. Talk to those who've survived and thrived and work out the common denominators so they can be shared. I'm sorry if this is all you're hearing from me but not sorry. There's a sense of urgency and I'm feeling relentless...
When I tell people I had an Obsessive Compulsive Disorder from the age of 1, I know they find that hard to believe but almost every image of me from that age proves it. On top of that I didn't have an aesthetically pleasing face (which turned out to be helpful through my upbringing - but that's another story). I knew I wasn't pretty but one day at school, my world changed. On the day the middle image was taken 'Rebecca' came up to me and with genuine fascination and said "Jeez you're ugly Eleanor!!"
What I'd always suspected was confirmed and from that day I saw myself as an unlovable elephant woman so, inevitably, depression soon set in.
Mirrors fed the deep, dark, cloying depression, which quickly morphed into suicidal depression for over 30 years.
But here's the good news.
It took 10 years of hefty naval gazing but I got myself out of it.
Now I have butterflys of excitement every single day.
I wanted to share this story, that a few of you would have heard before, to say #Iamhope. I view mental health as no different from physical health or financial health or spiritual health and I've always been available to anyone who needs help with it. I've also overcome addictions, body dysmorphia and poverty so I know a thing or two about what you're battling with.
But here's the biggest lesson I learnt - after everything I ever went through, I never needed anyone to 'fix' me. All I ever needed was someone to talk to so I could hear myself say things out loud. That's all. To get the messy blackness that swirled endlessly around in my head, out.
And that's what I can offer you or anyone else you know who is suffering. I'm not scared of sadness or desperation or emotions.
I don't judge.
And I admire.
Because, for anyone to speak about their struggles show's me they're ready for more for themselves...
This selfless generosity moves me to tears. I have so much information to share about overcoming depression and addictions yet I'm frozen with fear and feel incapable of taking any steps towards helping anyone. I've only just identified the two reasons why. 1: Because I had sores all over me as a kid and my father was a patch member of a 'motorcycle club' so any attention I got was negative. I fear drawing attention to myself. 2: Because I'm really uneducated after leaving school at 15 and having no retention for facts. I fear offending the very people I'm obsessed with helping.
So, to see others who ignore their fears and do what's good and right by others is both inspiring and reassuring that even if those like me aren't able to be out there, there are so many who are.
With the deepest respect, I can't thank you enough, Vance and Jasmine McPhee], not from someone you've helped but from someone who wishes desperately they could...
My #tinyhouse or #tinywhare.
Most would see it as cluttered but every single thing around me either has a use or a memory. That's why I've been dragging it all around the country for the last 20 years. I just love my whare, mahi (work), waka (vehicle) and especially the people I'm surrounded by.
This morning in the shower I caught myself saying out loud "I could not be happier!" then realised how limiting that statement is when you break it down.
So I'll try out "I'm sososo happy and content that anything else from here on in is Icing" and see how that goes...
My time with Douglas is winding down and I've already started migrating my stuff to my new place.
A tiny home.
A backyard shed converted into a cottage.
Actually - just a bedsit.
I'm thrilled and if I could afford two rents, I would have moved in already.
Even though Douglas was small to anyone who's been bought up with more than four walls, having loved living in minimal spaces, Douglas felt indulgent. I remember living in the Big House at the top of the cable car in Wellington and suddenly realising we only used 10% of it daily and the other 90 once a year. I would say I've been using 50% of Douglas which left the other half gathering dust bunnies.
Below are Before and Afters.
I don't understand why people don't move more. Recreating yourself via your environment is so stimulating and you get to take out and really appreciate everything that means something to you as you place it in its new resting place.
This is another novella in three parts so you may want to stock up on food supplies before you start
Last week my bestbossever got all excited and said he had something for me. He ran downstairs to his car and came back with this wristband, the third of three he'd been given by his dear friend Mike. With a very rare, serious face, he then 'presented' it to me, telling me that a responsibility came with wearing it and that he would forward The Contract to me. When I read the text, I couldn't put it on fast enough.
It goes like this...
I AM HOPE "I Am Hope" is not a fashion accessory (although they are very fashionable 😂👍) "I Am Hope" is a commitment to Hope.
If you are wearing one you are telling the world that you are a safe person to talk to without fear of shame or reprisal. "I Am Hope" is a responsibility.
Not a responsibility to solve someone's problems nor a responsibility to take on that persons problems. "I Am Hope" is a responsibility to listen without judgement. To listen with empathy and perhaps guide them to find the help they may need - if you can.
The Key to Life is Hope! Be that HOPE
I AM HOPE MANTRA
I will not judge
I will not shame
I will not rant
I will not blame
I will not gossip
I AM HOPE
I've got your back"
Last night, at our factory opening, I got to meet #mikeking, Mr I Am Hope himself. I don't know if it was because Mike saw my wristband or because of the speech it took a lifetime of courage to make, but afterwards, with that same glint in his eye as my boss, said he had something for me and pulled out a bag of 100 I Am Hope wristbands! It took everything I had to contain the tsunami inside me as I clutched that bag to my heart. I immediately understood that this man, who is constantly travelling around our country with the @key2life Trust, giving Hope to thousands and thousands of people around mental health challenges and suicide, could see I-don't-know-what-yet but I've never felt so ready for whatever that ends up being.
Then in the next breath he said "And I'll send you another bag of the woman's size"...
Today I was having brunch with a friend who was at the event last night and who heard my speech. Out of the blue they started sharing the toughest time in their life and I swear I levitated with surrealness. I held back tears as I realised this was my first I Am Hope moment and I was there for them more than I've ever been anywhere for anyone before ❤
From the age of 1, the only attention I ever got was negative. First, from the age of 1, the looks of disgust at the sores all over me, then, from the age of 10, of distaste when they found out my father was a 'gang member'. Because of these mirrors, I had such a distorted view of myself that for many years all I could see was the Elephant Woman. It was icky and sticky but I waded through that #dismorphia as well as the inevitable #addictions and #suicidaldepression to transform into who I am today.
The night before the event my mind was able to see what I could look like and hear what I could say but the scars of my childhood begged me not to draw attention to myself.
Then came a revelation. I may be hope to others now but I Am also Hope to myself. With the Mantra in my mind I reminded myself that it's no longer about me. It was about being an example to my children, who would be watching me and who knew the courage it took for me to get on that stage. It was about anyone in the audience who had suffered or knew someone who was suffering. It was about planting seeds.
Ultimately, it wasn't about being me, it was about being Hope. And the response was overwhelming. My tender exposed self literally ran from that stage into the nearest empty room as the audience was clapping, what sounded to me, deafeningly. When attention was moved on and I slunk back out, the first smile I saw was the MCs as she quietly told me I'd done well but the look in her eyes was so purposeful. Like she was checking to see I really got it. It was that moment that I thought, if this is Hope, I want to be more of it.
So, if you think you can take on this responsibility, there's not a moment to lose. No matter where you are in the world, I want you to private message me your name and address and I'll send you a few wristbands and personalised copies of the contract in calligraphy so you and yours can be Hope too... #hopeisonitsway
I've written so much about overcoming difficulties but I never thought I'd be writing about overcoming dreams. I had a revelation once when a filter in my brain suddenly cleared and I could now see that all those Delusions of Grandeur that made me feel bad for wanting, anything, were actually Dreams of Greatness.
But in the past few days, after two years of believing and manifesting the shit out of owning a Disco, and for all the most meaningful reasons, I've had to let go of that dream.
Strangely, though I'm sad to let go of the Disco, I'm more sad to let go of the dream. Another one. And for the same reason as always. #Champagnedreamsontapwaterreality.
So the dilemma is, do I give up dreaming? Or am I being taught patience? I've only ever known #instantgrats. Is this what #thelonggame feels like?
Tonight, as I stream jumped my way home in torrential rain, I hesitated next to a gate and there was an immaculate Disco sneakily tucked in behind it. My heart lunged for it and maybe it was the shelter of rain that made me feel wtf or maybe it was the Disco itself but I turned to it, pointed dramatically and said out loud
I JUST CAN'T LET YOU GO!
GRATEFULNESS: At least I have this brush and shovel and these gorgeous floors to sweep.
FAITH: Knowing I won't always be this poor.
APPRECIATION: A broom, when I can afford it, will be a bonus. A vacuum cleaner, total luxury.
SATISFACTION: Of that last repayment next month back to my darling family who just happened to have the money to lend me at the time, but need it just as much as me.
ANTICIPATION: Paying back the generosity of all those who've insisted on, and paid for, treats.
EMPATHY: Having a visceral understanding of what No Money means.
SELF WORTH: Knowing this isn't who I am, that it's temporary and for all the right reasons.
HUMILITY: Finding out that all those who I thought cared about me, care about me more than I thought...
My old friend Nic once described me as the most 'innocent, switched on' person he knew. I didn't know how I should take that at the time but I knew what he meant. Some things I'm all over in seconds but man I can be slow sometimes!
Here's two examples. My son was able to explain humidity so I actually got it today and I've finally learnt the difference between carbs and protein!
So I wish I could say the change in my body since the last time you saw it was from working out because that would make it sound like I have discipline. But I don't. The change is purely from eating mostly protein for the past month. And the three revelations I've had about protein is that it's cheap, I can eat tonnes of it and I never feel peckish in between meals.
Where did I learn this? Here on Insta, obsessively following all the mind-blowing #weightloss pages. Not because I need to lose weight but because I'm so inspired by all the courageous people who DO have discipline. They're making me want to step up and put in some effort so I can feel some training at our apartments gym coming on (others may or may not call it the stairwell)...
One of the dilemmas that those of us who've overcome anything are inevitably faced with is relapse.
After this recent transition to my new apartment and the super human effort to move my furniture, I hit a wall. I expected to be physically drained but I wasn't prepared for the claustrophobic blanket of depression that engulfed me for almost two weeks.
Luckily I'd been through it three times before so I kept reminding myself that it wasn't normal, that it was an indicator only (that I was exhausted) and not a precursor (to getting depression again) and that it was my minds way of telling me I needed to chill the F.O!
Which I did.
Much like a physically driven person who sprains something when their body needs rest, I just rested up, ate well and didn't put any pressure on myself until I could feel it lifting.
Here's the thing though...do you tell people? You're supposed to be The Mighty Transformed. How's it going to sound and be interpreted if you admit to relapse or even just weakness?
What's always worked for me is honesty. I told my nearests and dearests and of course they were worried, but then they got to be part of the happy relief when I came out the other side, rewarding all of our faith in my ability to heal.
Even though I haven't thought of myself as a #depressionsufferer for around 10 years, I know I have a propensity towards it in extreme cases of stress and because of this, I deeply respect and appreciate it because if it comes over me, I know it's drawing attention to something important to do with my mental wellbeing and I will always, always take notice... #overcomingdepression
Pimp My Attitude
You need to know, right now, this is all about me. I'm not educated. I don't have any (non-driving related) qualifications therefore, I'm not about to tell you what you should do - I know my place.
And here you are.
At my place.
So - welcome.
If you're here for 10 seconds, I won't even know so I won't be offended that you left early.
If you're here for hours and keep coming back, I will consider you a friend because the only thing my diverse yet loyal friends have in common, and what I appreciate most about them, is that they just keep coming back..