When Your Anxiety Reacts Before You Do…

The below is an email I sent to a colleague (names edited). Long story short, a third colleague was new to the business and his role and was thrown in to a troubled store with no help, no support. With the help of five others, we helped him. Soon after, the colleague who received this email and one other had begun spreading rumours and lies and, well, I reacted.

Enjoy!

Dear John,

I apologise for the contents of this email but I’m not one to sit back and say nothing in the face of injustices. I mean no malice but please understand that I am, justifiably, unbelievably upset by this situation and I feel that it needs to be addressed directly before I escalate it. This is why I’ve chosen to do this via email rather than a phone call (I can at least edit an email, my mouth, unfortunately, does not provide me the same luxury) so I need you to understand that I am not addressing this with Beth because, after her blatant and deliberate disprespectful behaviour towards me during that meeting, I do not believe she should be given any opportunity to defend her behaviour before I escalate this. You do deserve that opportunity.
Since the last area meeting, I have been acutely aware that my project within Jake’s store had drawn criticism from both you and Beth. When I first heard what was being said and that it was the two of you driving the negativity, I will admit that I was both surprised at the two of you and seething. Not for me, but for everyone who had been involved with it and especially for Jake and Luke.
Now, I had been completely willing to ignore it and sit on my hands and not address the issue, but something you said to Jake yesterday brought all of my anger and sorrow and anxiety over the matter back to the surface.
Firstly, I know that Luke is now under the impression that we all criticised his management of the store during that meeting. I also know why he thinks that and who said what to him to lead him to believe such a thing. I do not recall one person saying anything negative about Luke at all during that meeting. Furthermore, not one person involved in helping Jake fix the store blames Luke. As I said to you yesterday, it is absolutely not his fault that he didn’t get the help and support he needed while he was there. He did the absolute best he could with what he had. He cared, he tried and he maintained a standard that not even some of the more experienced managers could have maintained if given the same circumstances. The area failed Luke. Those to whom he reached out for help failed him and, had I known he was struggling, I would have done the same for him as I did for Jake.
Second, neither one of you has contacted any of us to find out exactly what we did there or how it all came about or why we did what we did. And for you to trivialise the situation Jake found himself in by insinuating that the extent of the issues was LTO is both reckless and condescending when you don’t have all the facts. So for the two of you to be discussing a situation you have little knowledge of and imposing your opinions on others is at best immature and petulant and at worst manipulative, and ridiculously irresponsible. As senior leaders in our area, I have a great deal of concern surrounding the fact that those qualities are being associated with your behaviour.
The facts are that Jake walked into a store that had serious problems which could not possibly have been rectified in an acceptable timeframe by a new manager to our business. He asked me for help because I trained him and I had the connections within our area and between the two villages to pull in managers with different areas of expertise to assist.
Your village and Beth’s village didn’t get the call because it wasn’t needed. My and Jake’s village had it sorted and under control. Had there been a need, I would have come to you or Beth or both. But here’s the thing: projects like this are delicate and need to be handled as such. Involving 28 store managers when only 7 need to be involved can result in the team within the problem store being humiliated and feeling despondent. I understood that I had to be very careful and so I was. We now have a store which is fully set up, functioning and beginning to thrive and the team in it is happier, more knowledgable and more passionate. That is something which should be celebrated and looked to as a learning opportunity and an example of what our villages can achieve when we work together.
The managers who helped all believed we were doing something good and we felt like we had achieved something. We felt like helping other managers was something we could do and we felt safe knowing that we could ask for help without being harshly judged or criticised.
Then we started hearing what you and Beth had been saying and are still saying. Those uninformed, callous comments have deflated us all. Luke thinks we blame him, Jake thinks he was wrong to have asked for help in the first place while also worrying about what Jake thinks of him and the others are angry at the two of you for your words.
Me? You made me question whether helping a struggling manager was the right thing to do. You actually made me second guess my own intentions and my own ethics. And, honestly, you’ve both made me regret ever coming across to this business to the point where I genuinely don’t want to come to work anymore.
At the end of the day, all that has been achieved by this negativity is that you have damaged your own reputations and the levels of respect other leaders have for you. I’m angry at both of you for the damage this has caused for everyone. And the most frustrating thing for me is that you admitted to being the one who put Luke there in the first place. You admitted that he called you daily. You were in an incredible position to have done what I did but you chose not to for whatever reason and I don’t blame you for that. What I do blame you for is criticising me and the team I put together.
I know you gave as much as you could to Luke and maybe you’re frustrated because you should have thought to do what I did. The fact that you didn’t is also not your fault but you know what? It’s not mine either and I definitely don’t deserve to be spoken about the way I have been. On top of that, the other managers involved don’t deserve to feel the anger they feel. Worst of all, there is barely a manager in our area that hasn’t heard about this and felt the divide in the area.
The effect this has had on me has been pretty devastating but I choose to believe that your intentions were not vicious which is why I’m addressing this directly with you – to help you understand that no matter how harmless you thought those conversations and comments were, they have had serious repercussions and effects throughout the area.
So I’m handing back to you. You have the power to fix this, I don’t. I didn’t cause this. You’re a better leader and person than who you have chosen to be for the last couple of weeks and I know this because you have proven to me that this isn’t who you are. You’re getting this email because I care about how people view you. I will attempt to minimise any damage to you when I do go to the boss but he will be told the full story. I will not be protecting Beth.
If you want to have a talk about this, I’ll be in store tomorrow, but understand that this email is more of a courtesy to let you know that I am escalating it because far too many people are affected now. Again, I don’t believe that your actions were vicious but I do think you need to be more mindful of whom you form alliances with.
Frankie
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Phoenix Baby

Legend has it that the Phoenix rises from the ashes of its predecessor.

You know, people talk a lot about miscarriages and stillbirth – both incredibly painful and personal journeys of unimaginable grief and sorrow. It has become an accepted part of life as much as death can be in its most tragic of circumstances. We discuss it, we talk about it and we embrace it.

We even have a name for subsequent children: “Rainbow Babies”.

It’s so poignantly beautiful that we widely acknowledge the sadness and hope that is wrapped up within this new human we create after having endured such sadness.

Here’s something we don’t discuss and don’t acknowledge, though: the same sadness and hope that comes with having a baby after a termination. Is it because an illusion of choice is implied in the process? Is it because women who have had a termination don’t deserve sympathy? Is it because we feel that someone who has done something which we perceive as wrong does not deserve to have the memory of that trauma acknowledged?

I searched for the eqivalent term of “Rainbow Baby” for those who have had a termination but, surprise, surprise, I couldn’t find one. And when you look up the definition for “Rainbow Baby”, termination is not mentioned at all.

So, at the 18 week mark of my pregnancy with my very much loved – albeit massively surprising – baby girl, I have created my own term: Phoenix Baby.

Because my last pregnancy deserves to be acknowledged and recognised. My grief over that pregnancy deserves to be honoured and this baby deserves to know what her mother went through to get her precious little life into this wonderful world.

And perhaps other women who have had or are having their own Phoenix Baby can find their own strength in recognising and honouring what they’ve been through.

xxx

 

#phoenixbaby #termination #abortion #nojudgement #griefbecomesjoy #fromtheashes

The Year That Was

#art #brisbane #AspireGallery #PetitePieces2018

It’s almost February. This time last year, I was nervous about being in my very first exhibition. Now, I’m nervous again as my four artworks make their way from Sydney to Brisbane all on their own.

Every February, a beautiful little gallery in Brisbane’s inner western suburb of Paddington called Aspire Gallery puts on their “Petite Pieces” exhibition. It’s open for all with the only restriction being that artworks must measure 40cm cubed or less for 3D artworks and less than 40cm squared for wall art.

The curators and the team at Aspire Gallery are some of the best people you will find in the art world – their gallery is impeccably presented and feels like home. There is no space for pretention or egotism here. They are all refreshingly down to Earth and wonderfully kind and helpful.

The best part is that they love their local talent: both experienced and amateur, career artists and hobbyists and everything in between. So it doesn’t matter what your personal taste in art is, you will find something you love there.

The only thing that makes me sad about this beautiful gallery is that I didn’t know about it when I lived in Brisbane but it is a must see when you go.

My art isn’t for everyone, hell, some of my pieces aren’t even for me, but they represent a part of me, just as I have found pieces in this gallery that other artists have made which speak so purely to parts of my soul and imagination. That’s why I urge you to get along to see Petite Pieces if you can.

The Eye of the Storm

All of the information you need on how to find the exhibition is here.

Please go and see it and support this beautiful gallery.

xxx

If Dr Seuss Owned Cats

A cat!
A cat!
To be exact
Two felines are here in fact.

Fur is here
And fur is there
Feline fur
is everywhere.

I cleaned the house
And vacuumed too
I turn around
And there’s some poo!

The cat pee smell
Is strong it’s true
And every day
There’s furballs too.

They’re very cute,
Loving and sweet
When they purr
And rub your feet

They cuddle and snuggle
And curl up on the bed
And they miaow so softly
When they want to be fed

Having fur babies
Is definitely nice
But some days it feels
Like sucking dry ice

Lego hurts to step on,
It’s true
But I know of something
Worse for you

Crystal cat litter
Will draw blood
You’ll hit the floor
With a resounding thud

Let the cats outside
To frolick in the sun
But they think
Eating grass is fun

And though you cleaned
The rug just before
They’ll come back inside
To spew on the floor.

Yes living with cats
Is a constant stream
Of piss and shit
And all things to clean

They’ve scratched my flyscreens
My chairs and my bed
I swear these cats
Make me wrong in the head

But it has its rewards
Any cat owner can tell
That a cat who loves you
Puts you under their spell

They’re like furry humans
Unique, moody creatures
But they also have many
Loveable features.

Cats aren’t for all
And all aren’t for cats
But they’ll chase away moths
And spiders and rats

Although they’ve chewed cords
And more than just some
I can’t imagine not
Being a cat’s mum.

#cats #felines #shesthecatsmother

Ex-snore-sted

Midnight

My husband rolls out of bed gingerly to avoid waking me up.

My eyes spring open and my mouth says “Where are you going?” before my brain knows what just happened.

“I just can’t sleep with your snoring. I’m sorry.”

Did I mention my anxiety is hyperactive at the moment?

I’m now awake, and while I furiously google all the possible cures for snoring, my brain kicks into a dialogue.

“If you don’t do something, he’ll leave you.”

Me: “What? No. Don’t be ridiculous!”

Anxiety: “Wouldn’t you? Look at him! He’s exhausted. And he’s exhausted because of YOUR snoring. He’s exSnoreSted!”

Me: “But it’s not my fault! I’ve done everything I can!”

Anxiety: ” Have you?”

Me: “Yes. You know I have. And now I need an ENT specialist.”

Anxiety: “Ooh, sounds expensive. Hey, aren’t you about to take a pay cut? How will you afford that?”

Me: ” Don’t start this shit. It’ll be fine!”

Anxiety: “And what if they need to do surgery? You know they don’t like taking tonsils out of adults for a reason.”

Me: “Is it because the chances of bleeding out are higher?”

Anxiety: ” You DO listen to me! Oh, my little girl is growing up. I’m so proud!”

Me: “I’ve found an ENT, I’ll call them tomorrow. It’s 230am. Goodnight, arsehole.”

Anxiety: “Hey, you know what else can go wrong in hospitals?”

Me: “Screw you, I’m going to sleep.”

Anxiety: “You know he can hear you from the lounge room.”

Beauty Standards

I have had enough of the media. I have had enough of vapidity and shallowness. I’ve had enough of capitalist companies telling us how we should look and feel.

Here’s my very, very simple criterion for being beautiful:

Are you a good human being?

Yes?

Then you are beautiful.

The Pro

I’m an artist.
I’ve waited a damned long time to say that and every time I do, I feel excited about it. To you, you might read that and automatically have visions of me in loose fitting tops and maxi skirts, bare feet and in a house full of dream catchers and random pieces of art all over the place. Some might immediately think that I’m a bit of a social climber, impeccably groomed by my husband’s millions, attending all of the big art world events dripping in designer clothing and jewels.
Nope, neither. Sorry to disappoint you. I have an “adult job” (sort of), I’m about to start studying again, we’re comfortable but by no means rich except in the soul and I don’t socialise much thanks to my anxiety.
But I am an amazing procrastinator. If it were an Olympic sport, I would be the all time greatest gold medal winner and, to be honest, I don’t know where I find the time.
I was cleaning and organising my bedroom the other day when I decided the walls were too bare and I needed to make something for it. The above picture is the result. Did I finish cleaning and organising? Not on your life! But I now have one less bare wall – and that makes me feel much better.
I’m an artist. I make an art out of procrastination and I make art while procrastinating.
ProcrastinARTing.
Ha.
xxx

 

#lace #artist #procrastination #homebeautiful #pinteresteatyourheartout

How do you feel?


It’s a miniature version of the original. This piece measures exactly 8 inches by 10 inches. It’s made inside a pine box canvas which is not designed for this purpose. (I’m an artist, you can’t tell me what to do!)

I actually had bigger plans for that backing paper – it’s quite stunning in real life. Unfortunately, it doesn’t hold a fold very well which makes it completely and utterly useless for most origami. Not all, but most.
I found it perfect for this, though.
My 7 miniature black origami lillies sit lightly on top but I still feel that the focus is not on them. That’s the point.
This piece is a comment on how giving flowers for special occasions is the norm in our society but we do it without thinking. Personally, I dislike it. It’s like saying to someone: “Hey, I really love you and these awesomely gorgeous flowers which will die in a week remind me of you!”
Don’t hand me a bunch of beautiful death to show you love me.

It’s 1am

It’s 1am. 
I arrived home from work two hours ago. My body thinks it’s dinner time but it’s actually WAY past bed time.
It’s  1am.
I’m trying to change my life in one night – I’m searching for jobs and courses I could complete to make me love my career again.
It’s  1am.
My amazing husband is asleep beside me while my brain continues to move at a hundred miles an hour, refusing to let me sleep.
It’s  1am. 
I’m still wired from being at work, from the stimuli of the music, the people, the physicality of my job and the responsibilty of being in charge of something as huge as that. 
It’s 1am. 
And I’ve had enough. Enough energy drinks. Enough cigarettes. Enough wine. Exhaustion sneaked in somewhere around 4 pallets of wine ago and has been, very slyly, tightening it’s grip on my entire body.

It’s 1am. 
And I have to change something. 

I can’t keep living like this.

xxx

#1am #anxiety #insomnia

Life With Allergies

One thing that has been very hard for me to admit is that I have allergies. I grew up with none. I believed that allergies meant that you were somehow defective as a human.

 

Now, I am defective as a human, but it isn’t my allergies that make me so. That’s all me, baby.

 

When I first “became a woman” I discovered these allergies. I went to a doctor who prescribed me creams to apply (yeah, because that’ll get rid of it) and told me it was a fungal infection.

 

It wasn’t.

 

And, since then, every doctor I’ve been to has basically told me I’m crazy.

 

I’m allergic to nickel. And Latex. and Kiwi Fruit – or Gooseberries for any weirdos not living in Australia.

 

And they’re all connected.

 

The best part, is that they’re all so me. They’re all just one hundred percent weird.

Let’s start with the latex allergy: that one flared up because my sensitive areas don’t like contact with it. Did you know that most pads have latex in them? I didn’t. My lady bits apparently did. It makes condom shopping extra fun! Also bandaids. Anything from the waist down, I get a welt the exact same shape and size of the bandaid, after it’s removed, from the adhesive.

The nickel: only when I eat it. Yep, you read that right. No I do not make a habit of sucking on heavy metals. Nickel is present in high quantities in almost everything I love – grains, nuts, bananas (I know, right?), avocados (God, give me strength), spinach, leafy greens, tomatoes (as an Italian, that’s just offensive), tea, soy anything, garlic (again, Italian), licorice (oh my God I love bullets), onion, baking powder (what the actual?), red wine (just hell no) and chocolate. You try avoiding those. Not possible, nor do I want to. I’ll take dermatitis over eliminating those from my diet, thank you very much.

On to the Kiwi Fruit. Only since I had my child. Yep, pregnancy, as completely messed up as it is all by itself, decided to give me the eternal gift of never being able to consume Kiwi Fruit ever again. It’s as if mother nature greeted me herself and said “Hey, congratulations on what was one of the most awful experiences of your life! The only way I could make it any better for you was to make it so that now you can be actually killed by a small, brown furry fruit. Thanks for coming, and have a great life!”

Seriously. What is that? I grew up eating those things like they were lollies. They’re on every bloody fruit platter you order. They’re in fruit salads. Hell, us Aussies put them on pavlovas like we’ll never see them again! Every time I go to my mum’s for Christmas it’s like “Hey! Merry Christmas, don’t eat the pav unless you want to die and ruin everyone’s day!”.

To get to the age of 28 and suddenly realise your mortality could be decided by a dessert is just so depressing it’s almost hilarious.

So, in true “me” style, my body hates everything I love and would like me to know that it has other plans for me, and those plans are strange.

Sorry, body. I refuse to give up most of those things. You won the Kiwi Fruit war – mainly because I refuse to be removed from Earth by a testicle fruit – but I will not play your messed up game on the rest of that stuff. And I will punish you with red wine until you get the message.
xxx