Being exactly where I need to be.

From a first glance this week was kind of a wreck but things are okay and I’m feeling lucky and grateful above all else.

Wednesday was tough due to things not going how I had planned or hoped for. In addition, lately everything has felt so overwhelming. I think part of it all is due to the constant, underlying feeling that everything is about to change in the most massive way really soon (baby is getting biiigggg), but it’s impossible to know exactly how and what it will feel like until it happens. It’s like we are waiting on the edge of this chapter, knowing that it’s going to happen and that it will be the most wonderful, incredible, and difficult adventure we will ever have, but we don’t know when it will happen or what it will involve.

On Wednesday I kept thinking about how it was such a bad day, the worst day in a long time, and just everything stemming from it was so all-encompassing and negative. But in the evening, I was so lucky. I was driving down a very pretty stretch of highway to pick Cameron up from the train and a beautiful song came on the radio and the surrounding farmland and evening light was gorgeous. It hit me that this could be one of the best days. That all of the unplanned things happening that seemed so unbearable and unfair and wrong, could actually be exactly what I need. To teach me to be more assertive, to stand up for myself, and to trust in the process of brighter things heading our way. To keep going and to keep doing all the difficult things – that this is exactly where I’m meant to be. Perhaps, this is exactly what needs to happen to make room for something better.

And this small, little understanding was such a blessing. Because although it doesn’t change the situation, it definitely makes it into something much brighter. And that’s something that is much easier to cope with.

So all in all, this week has been a good one. Feeling so very lucky.

+ Getting such sweet, thoughtful, and kind words and calls from friends and family. Little messages that make my day and make me smile so big.

+ Stumbling across Tony Anderson’s music and feeling like it’s exactly what I needed. It’s lovely to have in the background while I work.

+ Having a beaut of a Valentine’s Day with the apple of my eye! Because it’s so close to our wedding anniversary, we just wanted to celebrate in a low key way. So this looked like a good movie and cute chocolates and just simply being together. The best, most easy thing.

+ Saturday saw our beautiful dog Ruby arriving down to live with us permanently! My family got her for me when I was 16 and going through a rough patch. She was a lifesaver, truly. She stayed living with my family once I moved out because we were never in a rental situation that allowed pets. But we are finally able to have her live with us and we are so over the moon! Our little family is slowly arriving in all the ways and we are so thankful. Pets are so good for the soul.

+ Board games, always.

+ More work on our home. Painting and gardening and priming things. So very gradually things are coming together and it’s a great feeling.

+ Beautiful words to ruminate on. It’s crazy how exactly what we need to hear can appear at the right time. Morgan Harper Nichols – a legend. Her words have a funny way of always helping. Of always spreading hope.

Lots of love and hugs,

Kaitlyn.

A sweet, ordinary weekend.

A sweet, ordinary weekend that was so, so good. A perfect example to teach me that not everything needs to be going perfectly (it never will, and learning to live well in that discomfort is good), but there are certainly still beautiful things if I just open myself to seeing them.

+ A ruthless game of game of thrones themed monopoly that was the fastest we have ever played because everyone apart from Cameron (he is the monopoly king, somehow – I’ve never seen him lose) lost miserably and very quickly. It made me so thankful for old friends and new because board games are one of our favorite things to do and it makes us so happy to play. We love board games with our friends and family down here, but we also miss our board game nights with our dear friends and family back where we used to live. But that’s okay, we have plans for board games with them in a few months time!

+ The most beautiful plums! They are deep red and bright yellow, and they taste exactly like summer.

+ Calm, unwinding evenings with Fleetwood Mac, a good game of gin, and the soft, summer air.

+ Finding out that our baby is “long and lanky”, just like her Dad, and that she is positioned head down and facing the right way, so everything is looking like it’s heading towards going smoothly.

+ Beginning our very long list of house renovations! We began priming and painting some exterior parts and so far it’s going well. Despite me accidentally painting the driveway and Cameron the carpet, all things are good! The colour we chose for outside is called Tricky so we are really hoping that the name isn’t a prophecy of the renovation process, though if it is, I guess that’s all just part of it!

+ Feeling so, so loved and cared for. Pregnancy has really been taking its toll on me lately and this doesn’t really mix well with my must-do-everything nature. Cameron has been I. N. C. R. E. D. I. B. L. E. to put it lightly. He takes care of me so well and makes me take care of myself, despite how awful and useless I feel because of it. Thinking about how amazing he is makes me get all goosebumpy and want to cry all the happy tears all at once. To put it very lightly, I am so thankful for him and I can’t find the words to describe how much so (but my rambles can certainly try)!

To anyone reading this, I hope that there have been plenty of beautiful, little sparks that have been glistening in your days!

Lots of love and hugs,

Kaitlyn.

Good days are made.

Lately, I had been feeling so frustrated and exhausted. Just due to general life things, really. The waiting games, the normal discomfort of growing a little human, the tiresome everyday things weighing me down.

On an ordinary Tuesday, the phrase “good days are made,” popped into my head.

I don’t know where it came from or how it arrived, but wow. I am grateful. It changed my week, truly, as cliche as that is.

I’m learning is that big joys and little joys are all the same really.

The big joys are marrying your best friend, finding out you’ve got the sweetest little human coming along, graduating, new jobs, homes, and love, and love, and love again. Big joys are beautiful. How could they be anything but?

We can’t wait around for the big joys, though, because their very nature makes them big and rare.

But we can find the small joys in every day. These minute, insignificant moments every day that actually become something special because they are every day. The moments we can choose to notice or not. The moments that linger and exist and are so very ordinary. But who said that ordinary can’t be special?

They are cooking dinner and laughing with your soulmate. Looking for the brightest flower hanging over the fence and spotting a tiny spider inside. Getting the washing off the line and it’s all warm and sun-kissed. Having dinner with friends or family. Board games, movies, walks. Eating the sweetest nectarine. Having a planner and a routine that makes you feel good. A hilarious, silly, sweet dog. The color of the leaves out the window. The way the light hits the kitchen at 7am.

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At the very foundation, it’s gratitude. Again and again.

Because things will change in all the ways.

But today, I am exactly where I need to be.

I have my soulmate by my side. He calls me from his work and we talk about things. Boring things, happy things, exciting things, sad things. Ordinary conversations that make me realize it’s so dang wonderful that I get to be his human.

I feel our baby move and squirm all day long. Soon all the morning sickness and discomfort will be a distant memory and nothing compared to the immense feeling of holding her in our arms.

These past few days have been so, so wonderful. Nothing extraordinary happened, but I feel productive, joyful, and content. And so, so very blessed.

Good days are made. This life isn’t perfect but I’m sure as hell fighting to make it a good one.

The last first day back.

At the moment, I’m sitting in the beautiful sunshine rays on the bus, on my way to my first day back at university. It’s also my final year, making it my last first day, in a way!

The first day jitters are all too real, but I’m excited too. I love learning, seeing friends all the time, and the environment at university too. However, I’m also looking forward to this year being over, and for being able to move on in a way, and begin a career.

These past couple of days have been blissful, and I wanted to write about some small joys that I have found in them. 

We have been visiting family who live down on the other end of the island, and where we are planning to move to in the near future.

The anticipation of visiting them, which we do at least a couple of times a year, fills me with anxiety each and every time. But the strange thing is that upon every return back to our home city, I feel a sense of peace, confidence and contentment that I don’t get elsewhere. It makes me never want to leave, and all the more excited to move there.

I didn’t have data on my phone meaning no internet or social media, which is such a good thing to do every now and then! It really helped me be more engaged in the moment, and to compare myself to others less.

We met and played with a bunch of beautiful, gorgeous dogs, one of them being the biggest I have ever seen. Her paws were huge, and she was definitely a gentle giant! There is something about dogs that fills me with hope. They see the best in people, and are so light-hearted. I reckon we could all learn a thing or two from them.


We also sorted out a lot of big decisions regarding our house for when we move down. It has taken a big chunk of pressure off us, which can only be a good thing right? I love all the planning and inspiration involved, and the feel you can get from each place about whether it’s right for you or not. And the prospect of having a veggie garden in the near future! So exciting!

We spent a lot of time with our family, which was beautiful. We are so thankful to have such supportive, encouraging and kind people surrounding us. They make us laugh so much too, which is a great bonus!

And all the little things add up too. Seeing the rushing blue rivers, the purple alpine flowers, all the alpacas, horses, bumblebees. Drinking fresh orange juice, singing along in the car, burgers, seeing friends unexpectedly.

All these little things make life so beautifully rich and sweet.

They make life worth living.

Perfectionism and it’s shadow.

Perfectionism is something that is sought within, an ever-increasing height that we strive to leap over. It is impossible to reach, but the attempt is forever. Perfectionism is cruel, unhealthy; a dark shadow that clouds.

Everything I find most beautiful in nature, isn’t perfect. In fact, it’s wonderfully flawed. Each element is different and intricate and vast. I adore rugged landscapes, coastlines carved by the sea and the rich spectrum of species that each ecosystem is uniquely blessed with. It is within these environments that I feel most free, and most safe to be myself.

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The people around me, like nature, are also not held to my impossible, perfectionistic standards either. I don’t criticise their grades; I feel proud of them. I don’t measure their bodies against the ideal; I treasure how real and how human the flow of their home is. They each have their flaws. This is what makes them, them. And I love them dearly for it.

But when it comes to me, my brain switches from relishing these differences between us, to the fear of never being good enough. I am suddenly exempt from from this freedom to appreciate what makes everyone, and everything else, special and unique. The pressure to be this impossibly perfect person that has been conjured up in the darkest corner of my anxiety, is terrifying, because I can never be that person. I feel as though this fear of failure restrains me from living at all. With every task I have to strive higher and higher each time, and each accomplishment is never good enough. I find it hard to complete things unless I know that they are absolutely the best I can do, otherwise I struggle to do them at all. And even then, the apparent flaws become ever large, clouding out anything worthy that is actually there.

My eating disorder grew on the constant, inner, bombardment of never being good enough, and fed on my striving for perfection. Although it manifested initially in my physical self, the perfectionism is not limited to just my body. It criticised my every social interaction, my grades and exactly who I was at all times. I would (and sometimes still do) lay in bed at night, trying to sleep, with my brain obsessing for hours over my tone in an earlier conversation, or if I possibly hadn’t come across exactly how I had intended. I could feel okay getting an A grade, but this little voice still pipes up with “it isn’t as good as it could be though.” Even writing this piece, I feel like a fraud, because how could I be a perfectionist when there is so much wrong with my writing?

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In saying this, I have gotten better with my perfectionism over the years. To be honest, failing all of my exams at my worst (an academic perfectionist’s most horrific nightmare) actually did wonders for challenging my perfectionism. When I failed all of my exams, and became the exact opposite to my perfectionist self, my brain was a war zone. However, beyond my own head? The sky didn’t fall in, my friends and family still loved me, and I learnt I was no less of a person. Life moved on. It kept going. Experiencing a complete failure of who perfectionism told me I had to be, was life changing. I survived without it. I grew beyond it.

Recovery from the eating disorder, and generalised anxiety disorder, have allowed me to challenge this suffocating voice in my head. Anxiety and perfectionism are strongly linked, and perfectionism is a risk factor for many mental illnesses. The typical low self esteem and high levels of self critique that perfectionism supports, are kerosene for igniting many unhealthy thinking patterns and behaviours. Throughout my recovery, I have gotten far better at challenging the notion of never being good enough. Little things, like continuing to write or run when it’s messy and not going how I had envisioned, have gone a long way. Just simply starting, or trying things out, have helped me to become more comfortable with not being good at things, and instead just enjoying them for what they really are.

backlit, beach, beautiful

Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life, and it is the main obstacle between you and a shitty first draft. I think perfectionism is based on the obsessive belief that if you run carefully enough, hitting each stepping-stone just right, you won’t have to die. The truth is that you will die anyway and that a lot of people who aren’t even looking at their feet are going to do a whole lot better than you, and have a lot more fun while they’re doing it.

Anne Lamott’s wise words acknowledge the alternative to perfectionism – not necessarily failure, but rather fun, play and joy.  Experiencing life as it is meant to be lived; messily and with the curiosity of a child.

Have you heard that quote about comparison being the thief of joy? It’s safe to say that this thief has a partner in crime. Perfectionism. Robbing you of joy since yesterday.