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Love Stories – Chapter 6: Philautia

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Cover art by Katrina Nash of Yours Truly. Check out her work on Facebook and Instagram!

This is the seventh post of the Love Stories series. The pilot is here, Chapter 1 here, 2 here, 3 here,  4 here, and 5 here.

TIH and I have also partnered up for a cool competition that closes on Friday! Details are here. We look forward to hearing your stories too!


Philautia

Philautia means love of self. The Greeks broke it down into a positive and negative type of self-love. And for all you dirty minded folk who are laughing at “self-love”, relax lol. It’s not about that.

In its negative form, philautia is selfish, narcissistic, arrogant, and looks down on others. Did you know the word narcissism is derived from Narcissus who was a hunter in Greek mythology (the Greeks are just on fire with this kind of stuff) who was apparently very beautiful, but was a bit of a prick (my boss’ favourite insult). A Greek goddess named Nemisis was against evil deeds and dudes and wanted him to chill out, so she lured him to a pool. Back then they didn’t have mirrors, let alone selfies. Narcissus saw his reflection for the first time in the pool of water, then fell in love with his own reflection. He couldn’t bring himself to leave his beloved (his reflection) and so he stared at his reflection until he died. No embellishment or heightening for the story’s elegance. I wonder how many people are the same today but with selfies and snapchat filters.

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It’s also seen when people just want to get ahead and bulldoze anyone in their way, Or only see their own needs. A lot of the time when people are depressed they actually can’t see beyond their own needs. But there’s another breed who have the ability to see, but choose only to see their own need. What is the point of wealth if you’re only building your own kingdom?

In its positive form, philautia is healthy self-love, self-esteem and self-worth. The Greek philautia is in line with Buddhist philosophy of “self-compassion”, an understanding that if you love yourself, you will be able to love others. In the words of Aristotle, “Όλα τα φιλικά αισθήματα για τους άλλους είναι μια επέκταση τα συναισθήματα ενός ανθρώπου για τον εαυτό του.” Looks like elvish, but the English translation is, “All friendly feelings for others are an extension of a man’s feelings for himself.” i.e. the love you have for others is an extension of your self-love. You can’t love other well if you don’t love yourself first. When you can see your worth, it is easier for you to see the worth in everyone else. The opposite is if you are self-loathing, you will be world-loathing. In a minor sense, this is perfectly illustrated by internet trolls. I really cannot comprehend people on twitter who create whole new twitter accounts just to troll people. Get another hobby.

Hurt people hurt people.

There are a lot of studies that show the effect that parents have on their child’s ability to love – generally, parents that treat their children with love and respect will produce children who have healthy levels of self-esteem, self-compassion and confidence. Nature also has a part too – the never-ending nature vs nurture discussion arguing whether a person’s development is caused by DNA or experiences and environment. But generally, people who experience unhealthy environments growing up will have to work harder to have self-love because they were not shown this as children by those that are meant to love them.

I’m very passionate about this topic just because of what I said earlier: hurt people hurt people. Including themselves. I hate hearing stories of people who stay in toxic relationships because they don’t think they deserve anything better. The bruises of abusive relationships rarely stay between the abuser and the victim, the children see it too and it can often start a cycle of violence.

It’s awesome that we are getting a better understanding of mental health, but it’s still really incomplete, even among those suffering it. I saw a post on social media this morning that went along the lines of: A depressed person constantly questions whether they’re depressed or just lazy on a daily basis.

Be kind to yourself and to others. xo


Sick of Myself

I was 16 years old when I first started showing symptoms. Mornings were the worst. Every joint creaked, every muscle hurt. It felt as though I hadn’t slept at all. The hardest thing was keeping up with everyone ; friends and family. I wanted to be ‘normal’ – have a normal school day, hang out on weekends with friends, do what any normal teenager would do. Occasionally, I would be able to, maybe have a few hours here or there. But usually that meant days of recovery.

A doctor told me I’d be better after 3 months. Another told me I was not eating well enough. Another, that it was all in my head. People didn’t believe I was sick – because I had no outward signs of illness. It was mentally draining having people think it’s not real, your suffering.

I felt alone. Nobody understood. Nobody could see it. Nobody could feel it. I dropped out of school because I couldn’t keep up with school work, quit my job, stopped seeing friends. I felt like I had no future.

Illness broke me down. As well as my body aching, my mind ached. I slept. A lot. Whether it was from the fatigue or depression – who knows.

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If you’ve never suffered from a mental illness, whether it be anxiety or depression, you never realise how physically exhausting it can be. Everything is hard. Crawling out of the hole is too hard, too tiring. So you don’t. You stop caring. You stop wanting to try. You have no interest. Everything is bloody hard.

It was 5 years of loneliness – I was alone in my pain.

Then something changed in me. I just got sick of myself. I got sick of being the ‘sick’ one. I wanted to be known for more than my illness. Sitting around, watching life pass me, started to bother me more and more.

I found support groups – these saved me. I met some beautiful people, and listening to people in the same boat as you is an eye opener. I met one of my best friends at one of these groups, who I speak to daily, especially during the worst days. Having someone who understands is the best thing.

I started to study. It was hard at first, especially because of fatigue, but I got there and completed a few small Tafe courses.

Next, I started working. After a few hiccups, I finally found something I love and am super passionate about. I had to start working one day a week, and only just recently, started working full time.

I love my life now. It’s not easy – it took years to work up to this. Years of pain, tears and laughter. But I’m in a good spot mentally. I’m always looking out for the positives each day.


Rollercoaster

I was a rape victim at 13 years old, and it was then that I started to experience depression more noticeably. 25 years later, the effects of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) still haunt me.  I am still dealing with the initial hurts that shaped some wrong views of how I see myself and others.

Sometimes the anxiety can be so debilitating that I sit and stare and don’t want to do anything at all.  Crying. Anger. Confusion and frustration. Crying takes a lot out of me, so I’m usually so ‘flat’ for a day or two. The ‘flat’ exhausted and emotionally stretched thin stage, easily turns into a ‘depressive low state’.

My depression and anxiety went undiagnosed for a number of years as I was navigating teenage years riding an emotional rollercoaster with thoughts of suicide, mood swings and confusion. I survived by putting a smile on to mask my pain, desperate to show my friends that I was ok. I had a desperate need to be loved.

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Sometimes, I can put on a happy face like a pretty bird just to survive the day. – A F Jess, 2016

I was bullied after a Year 12 Retreat because I was suspected and targeted as ‘dobbing’ on some girls doing drugs during camp. I just happened to move out of their cabin because I didn’t want to be involved and hated the smell. It was common knowledge these girls did this and someone told their mum, who told the school and subsequently the police.  I was threatened that I should watch my back, picked on in the classroom if the teacher stepped out. A friend had to escort me to and from classes. These ‘scary’ girls threatened anyone who was seen talking to me. Finally the truth was let out, they stopped and pretended to be my friend. I put a smile on my face and couldn’t wait to leave the school.

My anxiety/ depression was diagnosed by my GP when I was about 20 years old. It was no surprise. When I was diagnosed, it felt like such a relief that we could put a name to it, but I had mixed feelings. Growing up I felt that I was never good enough and this diagnosis felt like confirmation saying, “See, I told you she was broken, not good enough, not normal.” Without proper help, the diagnosis on its own tempted me to feel worse… you have to wait weeks, even 4-6 weeks for antidepressants to kick in sometimes.

I got married in 2005 at 27, had my first child, Nathan the following year in 2006, then fell pregnant 3-4 months after he was born! I experienced the first real stages of postnatal depression whilst pregnant with my second son, David. I had a wonderful Maternal and Child Health Nurse who I’ve had for 5 of 6 babies. I went back on antidepressants in 2007 and stayed on them for over 4 years, meanwhile having baby 3 (Angelica), 4 (Sammy) and 5 (Anastasia)!  

When Anastasia was 9 months old, I started a fitness journey to keep active and to channel my energy into something good for me. I started to wean myself off of my meds. Then went back on again when I was about 6 months pregnant with Alana (baby 6).  That felt like a relief but I also felt like a failure because I felt that I was somehow being selfish and that medication would hurt my baby (no Doctor would put me on meds if the benefit didn’t outweigh the risk). While I was pregnant with Alana, I had increased blood pressure, the baby scanned at a smaller weight, I was developing pregnancy induced hypertension / pre-eclampsia after 20weeks. Depression/anxiety kicked in because I had to slow down and also stop boxing and some exercises.

I was in tears one night and just couldn’t stop. The kids were asleep and we rang for an ambulance. I remember being in the ambulance, feeling so guilty, sad, confused, relieved, happy, alone, scared, brave, clinging to God’s plan for me.

Going into emergency for the first time and heavily pregnant for a long-standing battle with depression/anxiety, I don’t know why I didn’t go into hospital years earlier. It was the best experience! I thought it would be like how it was in the movies – dark and isolated. But it felt more like a shared ‘home’ with communal dining, my own room with a TV, and space to do my art every day.

Alana was born 10 weeks early on 17 December 2015 at a public hospital. This mumma had to set aside luxuries of the private hospital because the Neonatal ICU was top quality there for very premature babies. This stay was very different. Bigger hospital, busier, louder, more levels, lifts, walking around after my 6th major abdominal surgery – Caesarean section. I should have spoken up about my needs but I didn’t. It was more for this new baby. Alana was in hospital for the 10 weeks she would’ve been in my tummy.

The fight for survival, which lasted 2 -3 months after birth, were the toughest on my body both physically and mentally. I felt like it was my fault she came out early. It didn’t help when people asked if it is because I’m doing too much. I felt so helpless that I couldn’t hold tiny, tiny Alana close to me, only look at her through a glass box.  I desperately wanted to give her my own milk but I thought it might hurt her because I was taking anti-depressants.  I felt guilty because nurses wondered why wasn’t I at her bedside for long periods.

My family and friends have had all different reactions to my struggles, but all with the same intention of love and care. However, depending on how much you know about mental illness, reactions were sometimes more hurtful than helpful. Sometimes I had to weigh up whether or not I should explain myself for the hundredth time, do they really want to know how I’m feeling?

Comments were confusing and ‘advice’ drove me nuts at times:

  • Maybe you’re not praying hard enough?
  • Maybe you just need to relax
  • Don’t worry, just be positive!
  • You’re exercising too much
  • I just don’t want you to be addicted to medication…. that pi***d me off. I asked this person, if someone had an illness like cancer or asthma, would you tell them the same thing? Give wrong and judgmental advice about medication.  It might have some truth but I think it was because they’re not qualified and haven’t really asked, “How are you really?”

The best ways and reactions to my illness have been simple but profound. When people offer to cook a meal, babysit a kid, hubby telling the kids to let Mummy have a good rest, hubby asking if I’d like a cup of tea, hubby also gently prompting me with reminders to practise mindfulness and to talk me through more helpful thinking.

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I have the support of my husband and children. I have got an excellent team of professionals around me – really good psychologist and psychiatrist, mental health nurses, maternal and child health nurses, help lines like PANDA, Post and Antenatal Depression Association, my sister Laura and maybe one or two close friends.

Over 2 years later, I am now finally in the last leg of weaning off the medication!!! Woo hoo! I’m now 4 weeks off medication, but fully immersed in 3 times a week hospital visits – all day CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy), all day Art Therapy and Counselling with someone at NCASA – Northern Centre Against Sexual Assault.  I exercise 4 – 5 times a week which includes teaching one Funk Dance Fitness class and seeing a Personal Trainer. I’m about to start a new Art group – dance and art, my great loves.

In CBT I’m starting to reverse the negative core beliefs that I have of “Not Being Good enough” and that people that love me will betray me or are not as they seem. I’m working on myself, with God’s gentle grace and compassion.

If you or someone you know if going through depression / anxiety, my advice would be:

  • Seek help if your gut feeling is that something’s not right.
  • Mental illness doesn’t discriminate. It takes and it takes and it takes. Any age, race, gender, lifestyle or situation.
  • Know that mental illnesses are just that, an illness. A sickness that can be managed.
  • See a trusted GP, Counsellor, someone else who’s been through similar, go to websites like Beyond Blue or call someone a helpline like Lifeline.
  • Be patient with medications to work, I see them as lifting you out of the dark, to a better place to actually be more clearer in mind to start changes to get better.
  • Be patient with finding the right health professionals too, it’s like shopping around.  These guys will need to be trusted with your life & feelings.
  • Medications are not a sign of failing.
  • Mind, body, heart and soul all work together. Check things are in balance.
  • Find something you love to do, protect it with your life. It will be a source of happiness out from dark places.
  • Make decisions, even tough ones with confidence especially if it will help you get better and if others (like children) are relying on you to be better.
  • Practise mindfulness, being still, deep breathing, praying, meditating and seeking quality time out regularly.
  • Celebrate even the smallest of changes or smallest of victories!  Today I told myself, people coping with mental illness CAN live a full and meaningful life.
  • We are blessed in this country that mental illness awareness is growing. Bear in mind that not everyone is on the same page. This what I have to tell myself every time someone tells me to pray harder or just ‘think positive.’  It’s a little more than just that.

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‘The King hugged His daughter and said, “This will pass,”‘ – A.F. Jess, 2015.

I had mental illness before kids, during and after kids. Experiences of mental health issues are always heavy and can make life more unstable. In my younger years, suicide felt like a card to play. As a Mum, it feels like there is just more incentive, go deep in my heart to try harder, to keep going, to get better for my hubby and kids. Mental illness is a big part of my story, but it doesn’t define me. It is only a part of my story, and I’m grateful that I have found ways to express my story and make it into something beautiful.


The takeaway from these two Love Stories is that it can get better. Usually when you’re in the pits, it feels like you’ll be there forever. You don’t have to be. If you recognise something going on in yourself or those around you, you don’t have to face it alone.


As cliche as it sounds, I knew she was the one when I first saw her in 2009. That rare feeling you get about a person that one day they will have a great impact in your life. The rest was Gods work.


PreviewShe went to her final scan on a Tuesday, getting ready for the C-section on Wednesday. I got a phone call at 2 o’clock, she goes. “I lost him.”

Check out the next instalment of Love Stories, “Storge”, on Wednesday 14 June at 3pm AEST

Don’t forget to enter our competition with TIH! Entries close 9 June

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Written by Candice

June 7, 2017 at 2:55 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Love Stories Chapter 1: Eros The 1st

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Love Stories

Cover art by Katrina Nash of Yours Truly. Check out her stuff on Facebook and Instagram

This blog is the second post of the Love Stories series. The Pilot is here.


We might as well get the romantic love aspect out of the way. This type of love is often the most talked about, most dramatic, most desired type of love. It makes sense then that the exploration of this love type love is in two instalments.

Romanic love is usually attributed to EROS, the physical, sensual intimacy, attraction or love. Let’s have a quick linguistics class with old mate Gus Portokalos.

Give me a word, any word, and I show you that the root of that word is Greek. Erotic? You know, the root of the word erotic is a Greek word. Erotic come from the Greek word “eros,” which is mean love or desire. You see? So there you go.

Eros is also the Greek God of sexual attraction, which is pretty much the Roman Cupid. Sadly, eros is often mistaken for lust, because they are very similar. One big point of difference is the relationship – lovers and not friends? Keeping the attraction at a fantasy level instead of commitment. No conversations, just sex?

Like many good things, love and in particular, eros can be distorted. Sexual desire is actually really good (I have a long draft all about this, but I don’t think you’re ready :p) However, it’s so distorted that people manipulate it, use it, and abuse it to get what they want. And usually, someone will get hurt.

Isn’t it fantastic that the method in which we are designed to procreate feels good? How burdensome would it be if it was painful? We probably wouldn’t have survived as a species. Besides the physical aspect, the emotional or spiritual level is that the lovers become actually become one. Did you know that a marriage isn’t technically valid (according to the Catholic Church) until you’ve sealed the deal in the bedroom?

Eros love is good. But if a relationship is based solely on this type of love, it is lacking.

Plato reckons that although eros is initially felt for a person, with contemplation it becomes an appreciation of the beauty within that person, or even becomes an appreciation of beauty itself, rather than than the physical attributes. Plato doesn’t think physical attraction is a necessary part of love, hence the idea of platonic love i.e without physical attraction, which contrasts with eros i.e. with physical attraction.

Humans tend to go to extremes, completely refraining from sexual love or unrestrained sexual passion to be indulged. As with many things, the good is in the balance between these two extremes.



Language warning

Her  ‘sorry’ meant more than her ‘I love you’.

My first real love cheated on me with a guy I considered a mate. After hearing they got married and had a child together, I went on a bender! Talking to every girl I could, not caring about if they were already in a relationship, no thought about their personality, work ethic, perspective on life – as long as she was decent, had a sex drive and was just down to fuck – nothing more.

Every single girl I ‘had a thing’ with had no clue I thought this way. I played every single one of them. I had all this resentment, I saw every girl the exact same and wanted to use them only for their sexual favours. It got to a point where one of them would call crying saying “Why don’t you call me gorgeous anymore?” I almost felt bad after having sex with one girl, with a tear running down her eye, turn to me and say, “My future now looks more bright with you here.” I mean, come on man! I didn’t have any intention of hurting any of them emotionally, but how do you tell a girl, “You’re just one of a few”?

Then there was one girl.

She also just got out of a rough relationship and was also just down to fuck.  She was a friend of a friend and I randomly hit her up on Facebook and she asked me to come to a dinner with her with her friends. I had known her for about 3 years but never considered her at any point. There was about 2 days of messaging and random calls and we agreed that we didn’t want commitment and just wanted to have sex. And so it was, when we needed it, it was just one phone call away. Even after coming back from a date, it was one phone call away. 4 in the morning after a huge bender in the city, I would drive to her house, wasted, sneak into her house and leave by sunrise.

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After 3 months of this, despite the verbal contract of sex only, I noticed we were kissing more and something more passionate during sex. There was no way I was bringing it up. What if it was just me thinking that? Out of nowhere, she asks, “Where is this going?” I played a poker face, knowing full well what she was talking about and asked her, “What do you mean?” We started talking about how we had met each other’s friends, some family and knowing that what we were doing wasn’t going to last forever. So it was decided, we’d give it a go and try move forward as boyfriend and girlfriend.

This ended up being one of the best mistakes in my whole life. 3 years of disagreements and constant fighting about petty, little shit. Get this… She LOVED chicken nuggets from McDonald’s. So, I thought it would be nice, after work one day, I’d go to her house and deliver some chicken nuggets. I didn’t check the bag after going through the drive-thru, but when she opened the bag, there was no sweet and sour sauce inside and she went off her head!! All I could think about in my head was “You ungrateful fuck!” It got to a point where hearing her say ‘sorry’ would mean more to me than hearing her say ‘I love you’.

It was rare for her to apologise for her mistakes let alone know when she was in the wrong and almost there was almost no emotion behind her ‘I love you’s”. I almost hated hearing her say ‘I love you’ because I saw it as a cop out of actually apologising for her mistakes and admit to her faults. I thought that maybe she’s just saying that because she thought it would shut me up and it would be all good again. I would have to take it on the chin, so to speak, but it was taking its toll on who I was as a person.

I wasn’t perfect either but I knew that if I was wrong, I’d have the onus to say sorry and understand where my mistakes were made. Our fights were never ending and we weren’t able to come to an agreement, she decided she didn’t want to be together anymore. She broke up with me and the day after asked to get back together again. I actually laughed out loud! It’s hard to be with someone who won’t say ‘sorry’ for her mistakes, or when they do, there’s a lack of understanding behind the meaning of the word. I stopped replying to her messages, stopped answering her calls until one day I woke up and saw her in tears standing at the foot of my bed.  I told her to leave my house and never step foot on my street again. It’s been 2 years and I haven’t seen or heard from her since.

Being with her was the greatest mistake for me growing up as a young adult. Understanding simple things like the difference between wants and needs, the importance of communication in a relationship, understanding different elements of love (not just through passionate sex), financial stability and management, priorities and setting goals.

The biggest thing for me was learning that ‘sorry’ or ‘I love you’ can have sound repercussions if said with whole-hearted meaning.


I initially only planned on having “Sorry” as the only story for this post, but after reading the toxic story, I was happy because it’s a crazy and relatable story. But I felt sad and dirty (sorry, author!) So I got in touch with another friend to give a more wholesome picture of eros love. Enjoy.


Everyday Love

One day when I was just shy of 19, a young man called my house looking for me. We had never met before but he was the brother of my cousin’s friend. His name was Erwin. He didn’t want anything in particular, just to talk, and we ended up talking for a long time. I remember thinking it was strange that we could talk so easily for two people who didn’t know each other.

We met face to face a little while later when I was hanging out with my cousin and his friend and Erwin came to pick up his brother. I felt very shy because he was “pogi” (Handsome). I said yes to be his girlfriend on his 24th birthday, about 3 months after our first date. He was my first boyfriend, my only and my last.

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During most of our relationship, I was a leader in a youth group called YFC and Erwin was very supportive, even driving me to meetings on weeknights, and often waiting for the meeting to finish to drive me home again. He further supported me when, after 5 years together, I made the decision to become a YFC missionary, which meant 2 years apart while I went to New Zealand. The long distance relationship was hard but it was something I really wanted (and needed) to do. Erwin didn’t make a fuss or give me cause for worry, which enabled me to focus on NZ. I really appreciated that and it solidified our relationship built on mutual trust and respect for each other – our relationship strengthened and matured, as did we individually.

When I returned from NZ, we were ready and the time was right for us to get married. We have been blessed with two loving sons and a beautiful home. We have been together for 15 years now, and coming up to our 8 year wedding anniversary.

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It used to bother me that Erwin was not “public” about our relationship. His best man even joked at our wedding about how his group of friends did not know Erwin had a girlfriend until we got engaged. But I’ve learned that love doesn’t need to be grand or “showy”. Erwin may not be “romantic” – he doesn’t buy me gifts or flowers or make public declarations – but he shows his love for me in everyday gestures. He supports and respects me, provides and protects for our family, and and I’ve come to appreciate and rely on his simple consistency.


I called my best friend after one week of dating and said, “He’s the man I’m going to marry.” We are polar opposites, but we see eye to eye on all the big things and I’ve never had that before.


Preview: One day he gave me the ultimatum. Choose, he said. Friends or relationship. Excuse me… What? I’m not ready? I’m not sure? Is this a joke? How can anyone force someone to choose?!

Check out the next instalment of Love Stories based on Eros on Wednesday 10 May at 3pm AEST

Written by Candice

May 3, 2017 at 1:38 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Love Stories Series: Pilot

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The English language only has one word for it – love, derived from Germanic forms of the Sanskrit lubh, which means desire. The Greeks think a lot about philosophy and all the big life questions, so they are a bit more specific, having at least 6 words for love – eros, philia, ludus, agape, pragma and philautia, each representing different types of love.

The next few weeks we will be delving into each type of love and sharing stories and insights into each type, through some love stories shared by real people.

A recurring theme in the love stories is that love is a choice. Not just the choice to be with someone or choosing to have someone in your life. In the small everyday choices too, like walking a kilometre to get someone chicken wings because they’re craving it, washing the dishes for someone, offering someone a seat on the train. As our modern day poet, John Mayer says, Love is a verb. You can say you love someone all you want, but if you don’t show them that, it weakens that statement. I’ve always thought that if a boy likes you, they don’t have to tell you because you’d already know. Funny side note, when my boyfriend told me he liked me for the first time, he never actually said the words ‘I like you’ and literally said, “I know you know.” What if he meant that I knew something else? Now we’ll never know.

Enjoy the first story from a real person about a real love.


Magic

My hopes and dreams for my newly found career came to this final moment. I was handing my last assessment ever for my Masters. It took 2.5 grueling years. But it was all worth it. I had sacrificed so much for it, including time for any relationships. Especially romantic ones. 

So I went to the shops to celebrate with my family. That’s when I bumped into him.

It was something straight out of a romantic comedy. First, the eye contact, clear and locked. Then the smile, like the smile you have when you’re at a restaurant and you see that your food is about to come. Then the body language, a genuine hug that says “hello friend, it’s been a while.”.

It had been a while. Ten years to be exact. The conversation was everything you could ever wish any conversation would go. There was laughter, sincere concern, and that feeling in your stomach that made you wish it could go for longer. Were they butterflies? 

Then reality kicks in. I was actually on my way to withdraw money from the bank to pay for something at the shop I left 30 minutes ago because their eftpos machine wasn’t working. Guess who worked at that bank? He did. Was it fate? Or just a coincidence? Knowing we had to part ways, I was a little saddened at the thought that I may never see him again. But like I said, this conversation was perfect. So we parted with him saying, “Hey, I hope to see you around more.” I smiled back. Me too, I thought. Me too. 

I couldn’t help but laugh at the timing. The day I had officially finished my Masters was the day I may have met “the one”. Was it really that magical? 

Failing to keep him off my mind, I tried to take matters in my own hand. Thank God for Facebook, I did some light stalking. We all do it right? But before I got in too deep, a message notification comes up on my laptop. Oh my gosh.

Oh.

My.

Gosh.

It was him. Blood rushed straight to my face, and my heart raced as I try to keep it cool and casual. He said, “Hey! It was nice bumping into you the other day.”. I said “Oh hey, I totally forgot we were Facebook friends! Dude, it was good seeing you too!”. Well played, well played. 

And so it began. Our short messages turned into long ones. I looked forward to his essay-like replies to mine. Then we started sending good morning/good night messages. It was becoming your typical online relationship. 

I was genuinely happy to get to know him again. Ten years was a long time and a lot had changed. I met him as a good friend’s boyfriend. Although they’ve broken up since, he was one of the first guy friends I had that I really got along with. So I was really thrilled to have this friendship back. But of course, I was open to having something more. 

One night, he was attending a friend’s wedding. He started messaging me saying he thought of me. Was this really it?  I started getting butterflies in my stomach.  The same ones I had that time I bumped into him. Could it really be destiny? 

After some photos of the wedding food, and flirty messages coming back and forth, I asked him how he knew the newly wedded couple. And he says, “My girlfriend is friends with the bride.”

His girlfriend. 

Heart aches are real because you can literally feel your heart breaking inside. You can literally feel it pulling apart slowly and excruciatingly. And no amount tears, words of comfort could stop it from tearing. 

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After a while, I became disillusioned with the idea that I was better than her. That the reason why he talked to me, especially in that way, was that I could give him something she obviously couldn’t. So, with a lot of shame, I still tried. I thought that what we have is so much better. That his reason to lie was because he was unhappy. So I sought for the truth but he couldn’t answer me. Eventually, I realised that he couldn’t give me what I wanted, even though I was willing to give him anything he needed. 

No, it wasn’t fate, or destiny. It was a lesson, one I had to learn before I met the real one.


When I stopped being interested in other girls

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Preview: With a tear running down her eye, turn to me and say, “My future now looks more bright with you here.” I mean, come on man! I didn’t have any intention of hurting any of them emotionally, but how do you tell a girl, “You’re just one of a few”?

Check out the next 2 Love Stories on Wednesday 3 May at 3pm AEST

Written by Candice

April 26, 2017 at 2:55 pm

Love Stories: Trailer

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The first post of my first series Love Stories will be released on Wednesday, April 26 and run every Wednesday for a few months on the topic of LOVE.

Some of my favourite questions to ask couples is “How did you get together? How did you know the other was the “one””. But there are a lot of love stories untold – stories of parents loving their kids, of trying to love yourself, of the loved and lost, of the one-sided love.

It is undeniable that love plays a huge role in the world, being the muse for song, film, and novels. Although we sing, act and write about it so much, love is hard to describe. It can feel like a warm hug. A tug on your heart. Butterflies in your stomach. An all-consuming grief. Peace. You can only feel it for yourself. And then tell stories about it.

Here’s one I (and a friend of mine) prepared earlier. Ok this one isn’t really a story, it’s just a mate talking about love.


There wasn’t a single moment, it was little subtle realisations over time. We were constantly pushing each other to be stronger, more out of our comfort zones and closer to our goals. We’ve both grown together in maturity and life experiences and I think that’s when you know.

Your partner shouldn’t complete you. You can stand on your own two feet, but I feel it’s more of a “together you can both collectively achieve more and find happiness together” mindset. Everyone has a different personality type based on so many criteria, but over time you know who you align with, understand their love language, etc. Certain personality dynamics bring out the best in each other. 


Preview: I couldn’t help but laugh at the timing. The day I had officially finished my Masters was the day I may have met “the one”. Was it really that magical? 

Written by Candice

April 13, 2017 at 3:18 pm

March Madness

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The photo above was taken at my cousin and good mate’s wedding last year. They just sent Thank You cards and photos last week, including this one 🙂 It was such a fun wedding. And also Justin’s black eye. He got it playing basketball, when his mate head butted him. Dammit Jude. Jude is also his physio, I thought they were meant to heal?! Also Jus says I never post about him

  1. Trevor Noah’s book Born a Crime is so good. When I read, it’s in Trevor Noah’s voice recounting stories of growing up coloured (half black, half white) during the Apartheid in South Africa
  2. Arctic Monkey’s cover of Tame Impala’s It Feels Like We Only Move Backwards
  3. Speaking of Arctic Monkey’s Miley Cyrus’ cover of Why’d you Only Call me When You’re High
  4. Another music fav, I would just make this all music if it wasn’t for Trevor Noah. John Mayer’s The Edge of Desire. Justin only showed me this a few weeks ago. Apparently the speech inspired him to go after me when we were fighting in the early stages of our relationship lol
  5. Uncle Ming’s whisky and apple juice goes alright!
  6. My to-do list at work from my boss
  7. Recreating photos
  8. The song and the video for Tilted are amaze
  9. This is a bit lame, but I also really like my job. So much so that I came to visit on my day off. Because it was bring your puppy to work day.
  10. March Madness is basketball right? Last night in semi’s Jus scored a buzzer beater in over time. All his team ran to him and one even carried him. Great game
  11. The soul in River

Written by Candice

March 28, 2017 at 3:38 pm

Be a Man

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Last week my company made an announcement to the market that made our share price drop dramatically. We had a few tough meetings about cutting costs (although I know all the managers had more than a few), leaving a sombre tone in a normally cheerful office.

Our CEO, Ted, led the difficult discussion of the hard agenda. I was  impressed by the way he spoke and carried himself. I am not even brown nosing – I don’t think he’d ever read this, it was my (and a few other people in the office’s) observation that he presented the hard truth well.

The way he carried himself was “like a man”. So I reflected a bit on how he presented and what aspects of masculinity he was personifying. I’m not sure why I enjoy writing about this topic, I should really be writing more posts directed to women, but maybe because I see the effect that men have on women.

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Ownership

Ted only joined the ranks in January, so he has inherited all the decisions of the past management. While the poor decisions were not his to apologise for, he owned up to them anyway, because he inherited it in his position. This is a stark contrast to a lot of people (men aren’t exclusive to this) who don’t own up to their mistakes. So, be accountable for your decisions.

The Truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth

Six weeks into the job, Ted was already making hard but necessary changes. He didn’t sugar coat, evade or charm. He unashamedly laid everything out, warts and all. I think this is a sign of maturity and self-esteem to be able to be honest.

Decisive

Making tough decisions, especially ones that others don’t want to make because they’re difficult, even though they’re the right decision. These decisions will probably mean that the company will be viable for a lot longer.

Servant heart

Ted offered support in his power and puts hard yards in. there are no empty promises and whispered sweet words. A man sticks by his word and lends a hand when he can.

It ain’t easy

After the tough meeting, Ted walked out hurriedly, looking stressed and sad. I think this is the biggest lesson. It isn’t easy doing the right thing. It isn’t easy being a man. He said that he knows he won’t wake up and change his mind about the right thing to do.

If you think there is a massive disparity between a CEO making tough decisions and you, there isn’t. The only difference is one little decision.

Let’s get down to business. To defeat. The huns. 

Written by Candice

March 8, 2017 at 12:00 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Drudgery

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This is really contrary to a few posts ago, talking about shining days. Let’s chat about the drudgery of the everyday grey days. You are probably in it now – the same day as yesterday, which won’t change tomorrow, counting down until the weekend or your holiday or your birthday.

Maybe these are the days that will make us holy or happy or fulfilled. It’s not a life to just always be looking forward to the highs. Maybe a better way to live is to see the beauty and the love in the drudgery and our experience of that moment will be heightened and made beautiful.

Have a beautiful, ordinary day.

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Written by Candice

February 28, 2017 at 12:35 pm