A Letter to my Daughter on Love

To my dear angel heart,

At this moment, you are light years away from any meaningful walk down an isle that is not the local grocery shop, better described as chaotic zigzagging to touch anything you can reach.

You are miles away from a heartbreak that may shape your idea on life and love and you are enjoying the blissful age of showing love with few words and through your innocent affections but at this moment, I choose to pen the ideas of marriage in hope you too come to learn.

So my dear daughter…

Fall in love.

Be not afraid of any future heartache for any guarding of the heart may lose you the opportunity to find the greatest love story of your soul.

Age does not determine the ‘rightness’ of your love. Your daddy and I feel in love as young and spirited teens. We grew together-we navigated life together-made mistakes together and learned but we knew, we always knew that we are a commitment and two souls living our life’s path in compliment to one another and not in consumption of the other and we continue to love each other madly.

Embrace the fear accompanying love. Giving your heart to anyone is one of the greatest acts of taking a leap of faith. You cannot control the response of another but be not afraid for those three words to leave your lips to land on another’s heart. The greatest regrets come from the times we have not more than the times we have.

Throw out the idea of a perfect love. Love takes work, it takes faith and it takes courage.

Settle not for stable. No stability in life is worth the sacrifice of true, awesome, heart pounding love.

Be cautious of distractions by glamour and promise. Be not dazzled by promise of lavish gifts and exotic escapes-love can flourish merely between the souls of each other-minus the fireworks, the roses and any grand gestures.

Marry the person you can laugh at life with… Because when life throws you lightening bolts of chaos sometimes the only option open is to laugh!

Marry the one who holds you tightly when you cry, swooping your hair back caught in your tears and still manages to make a little smile appear… But be cautious if your tears are forever falling over them.

Marry the one who you find yourself caught up admiring.

Marry the one who’s compassion shines especially when they stop to pat a puppy.

Marry the one who dreams your dreams and encourages you to dream to greater scales.

Marry not merely because you were proposed to but because your soul sung the song of a hundred angels rejoicing over the path of fate.

Marry when the time is right by your souls clock and not by the expectation.

Your daddy and I waited until the universe aligned with our souls and life schedules which was not always the accepted situation of those who questioned our motives for delay.

I will tell you a secret – there was no ‘perfect’ time for a wedding.

There was no perfect time for our wedding…we had already well and truly committed our love and that did not need the approval of others as you won’t either because in every love story, you write the rules.

Or marry not at all.

You choose the path of your heart and above all-be genuine and navigated by love.

~ F.P

Happy International Women’s Day

Today I pay my respects of love and gratitude for the women who came before me to pave through a challenging road to grant me the rights I have today…

…The right to vote;
…The right to own land;
…The right to be educated;
…The right to work;
… The right to become a mother ~ or not; and
…The choices I make over the life I choose to live.

I also express my respect and gratitude to the woman who has shown me what it means to practice real, unconditional love; to develop the patience of a monk and to dream as grand as your imagination can stretch, then be so determined, confident and strong willed where the only option is to have your dreams and goals realised. That woman is my mum.

An important lesson my mother taught me is that whilst I shall embrace my life as a woman and as a mother… above all else, I am a human part of the global community who chooses equality of all. I do not define myself as a feminist, a female or woman but I am defined as someone striving for fairness and equality for all of us and not because of my gender or the colour of my skin or things such as my sexual preference but based on what I believe to align with my moral and ethical compass.

Today I show my gratitude to the women of our past and the women of my past and my present and also of my future.

And to my daughter…

To my dear, strong willed, determined and spirited daughter ~ be strong enough to fight for your beliefs, yet humble enough to listen to the opinions of another and have an open soul, willing to welcome a change in your perception, should you be inclined… but dear daughter, strive for greatness not because you are a woman but because the world deserves the brightest future possible ~ as does you.

~ F.P

Dear Graduate – You are not defined by your score

Dear VCE Graduate,

“Opportunities don’t happen. You create them.”

– Chris Grosser

The end of the academic year for you has arrived. For other students, the anticipation of completing the year is just that – the conclusion of another round of academic combat to start again after the summer break and yet for you this time signifies having completed your VCE studies and the release of your long awaited ATAR result.

Welcome to life on the other side!

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The rainbow of emotions are shining all of the colours in your mind and racing through your body like electricity. You may be celebrating achieving the desired result; or you may be feeling confusion as to where you had fallen over; you may just be relieved to see a result as a conclusion or you may be feeling guttered, thrashed and your brain stomped which may only start to scratch the surface of your emotions.

I graduated from high school in 2002… and yet the emotions of the days aftermath of the release of that number still causes a dull ache in my heart. I didn’t achieve my desired number… and yet I stand before you as a qualified and practicing lawyer and writer.

I made the choice not to be defined by my number.

The time after my score was released was a┬áblur of emotion and reaction, so here are some of the things I wish I knew then…

 

1. The score does not define you

As a VCE graduate, you have completed seven years of primary education and six years of secondary education. Your parents will fondly (and no doubt emotionally) recall the first day of grade prep. You started school without knowing the alphabet or what 2 + 2 equalled, realistically you couldn’t really coordinate yourself enough to throw a ball aiming where you needed to or how to tie your shoe lace!

You were young, bright eyed and maybe a little scared being away from your parents and thrown into a new, excited and structured life… but importantly you were a blank canvass. Now take a moment to appreciate all of the information you now know.

That number does not reflect how far you have come and what kind of member of our global community you will be. Life experience isn’t measured by any high school score.

 

2. No one will ask you for your number

After the fog had cleared, I enrolled into a ‘training / TAFE’ course to try something. I dreaded repeating my score to others. I dreaded having to see the look of judgement and disappointment on another’s face and try to justify that I swear I am intelligent especially when it felt my score didn’t reflect it. I felt I would have to justify that I did work hard during VCE, maybe the scores were brought down because of the bell curve average adjustments.

After filing in those initial forms stating what my score was (and aside from the competitive sibling banter with my older brother that he did better than me) not much has ever been said about the score.

I haven’t had to declare my score on any travel documents as I come and go from holidays; my employers haven’t asked for it; it wasn’t included in my admission to becoming a lawyer and I didn’t have to include it in my marriage documents or declare it when I had a baby. Lots of life experiences have happened and not once has it revolved around that score.

 

3. You have options

“If you really look closely, most overnight successes took a long time.”
— Steve Jobs

Admittedly when I left VCE, I had lost my career compass.

I never set out to be a lawyer and I had cycled through so many different career options from being a performer in a circus, a nurse, an actor.. the list was endless. By the years end, my VTAC guide was beyond well worn out – tabbed and highlighted. I was clueless before finally settling on Journalism. I booked in to set the entrance exam and by gosh my heart fell out of my chest as I realised this was not for me. Leaving the exam early and incomplete I felt like I was back to square one.

Over those early years I tried… I was flexible in my approach and open to the possibilities of my career revealing itself. My faith was rewarded with a tumbling pathway. Life and my experiences have taught me that there is nothing impossible so long as your determination is backed up by hard work and flexibility. There are options… there are always options! It’s most important to take the time to step back to evaluate particularly when you feel like you are backed into a corner.

 

4. Life and success will always be determined by your attitude

We live in a society that thrives on complaints. We complain about the weather; having to go to work; having to study; having to pay taxes; having to do a whole range of expected things to be part of the community – I am included in most of these complaints but we need to acknowledge that circumstances play out with the tainted glasses you are wearing.

You can accomplish anything you desire! You set your goals and dreams and you have to navigate through any road block to get there. You are the only thing common denominator that you have control of that makes the world of difference… time to start wearing your ‘can do attitude!’.

 

5. There is more than one pathway to success

It almost sounds cliche to point out but people such as Bill Gates, Lin Fox and Sir Richard Branson, didn’t complete their secondary studies, yet they are some of the most successful people in business today. Equally there are huge numbers of people who are wildly successful that did not obtain their desired score… but what all successful people have in common is a great work ethic and the right attitude.
There are ways to get to where you need to go, it may just take doing your homework to find out other ways to achieve it. There are apprenticeships, TAFE courses, on the job training, volunteer work, transferring into a course – the options are limitless! When we are young we worry about something taking a long time to get there, however I don’t believe that changes as adults but one thing that is for certain is that the time runs regardless. It may have taken me longer to become a lawyer but I am here now and it was definitely worth the time and the patience to follow the path through.

Congratulations to you for graduating!

And for those embarking on the journey of VCE, be kind to yourself.
Keep the process in perspective – learn for life and not for an exam… and work on strategies to keep your stress levels in check. Remember that your ATAR will not define you, it’s how you move forward, planning for the future and dreaming big that is important… and there are options… there are always options…

 

“The difference between who you are and who you want to be is what you do.”
— Unknown

 

~ F.P

Tonight I surrendered…

Tonight, my daughter fell asleep holding my hand. It was in this moment that I truly felt surrender.

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Last week when my daughter sought my comfort to sleep, my mind raced between the clothes that needed to be washed, the shopping list that needed to be written, the emails I needed to check, the life list that needed to be ticked off for tomorrow and the general tidying I was distracted by. I was physically present – this is what she needed. She wanted to hold my hand and be there with her. I was there. I held her hand; I stroked her hair; I whispered her a lullaby as I willed her into a restful slumber.

I waited until her growing fingers loosened their grip around mine and continued to wait until they completely fell away to rest lightly upon her chest. I listened as her breath slowed and settled into a deep humming as she nestled into her dreams. All the while I was physically there but I was mentally absent.

But tonight was different. Tonight, I caught myself thinking forward to the time that would inevitably come where my hand would no longer be needed – when my presence will not be required to will her into a restful slumber. There will be a time when bedtimes stories, a million good night kisses and a lullaby will no longer be needed.

So tonight I let the thoughts of the washing and the shopping lists and the house duties fall away.

Tonight I listened eagerly to her breathing almost in a meditative trance at the soothing sounds to my ears.

Tonight I watched as her chest rose and fell in her breath – remembering back to the first nights of her earthly life as I watched her breathing eagerly and with the instincts of a lioness I hadn’t yet truly come to appreciate the depth of.

Tonight I watched attentively as her fingers re curled around mine before they fell away, not ready yet to let go ~ and neither was I.

Tonight I surrendered to the beauty of my baby girls basic need – the simple need to just to be together and comforted and surrendered to being mentally present … for me and I look forward to all the nights where life pauses ~ because these are the moments that count…

~ F.P

The rise of Trump and the Wall…

Millions of kilometres away in Australia, I felt the vibrations of the emotions erupting from the hearts and souls of the world – both in America and abroad.

Last night, as the coverage of the U.S election ran around the clock I chose to turn the t.v off. As social media filled with heated debates, commentary and memes I resisted checking.

This is all I felt I had the power to control in a time where chaos has erupted.

In this moment, I feel heavy and worn down.

I am not one for politics but I am a global citizen who on a very base level feels as though an election should not breed such hate and segregation. Supporters of either party are fiercely defending their vote and in the wake, are creating an unsettled world. We as a global community are vulnerable. There is much to heal from and yet the suffering continues to be inflicted.

This morning I watched the innocence of my daughter as she played happily and unaware of the pain of many people around the world – because regardless of the outcome, either way there was going to be extreme disharmony. As I watched her, I thought of this wall – this promised wall – promised to be built to keep a group of people out because of one factor – of where they originated from and nothing to do with who they are. In the heaviness of my soul I thought – how do I explain to my daughter that in the 1940’s in Berlin an historical wall was built because one man had a view and a vision and this caused suffering that still vibrates the world more than 70 years later and then in 2016, one man was elected who promised to build a wall just like that one…

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How long will it take to heal this time?

~ F.P

Today I urge connections…especially when all seems calm

In this connected world, the loneliness is deafening.

We are privy to the snippets of another’s world but how often do we touch deeper than surface? How often to we check in in a meaningful way? How often do we give people the space to breathe out their pain. How often do we feel as though we are heard and hear others?

Just moments ago I called a friend. Not text, not Facebook messenger, not liking a social media pic but actually picked up the phone, it dialled and I waited for her to answer. The moments of silence on the other end were unmistakable. She was not okay – but we connected.

We are able to hide and do so well. Sometimes we pretend that we are chugging along well because if no one asks, we don’t need to confront the question in fear of the truths surfacing. And if we are not faced with the question then we can continue to lie to ourselves that we are coping when perhaps the greatest release is falling into the familiar non judgmental comfort of another and cry it out that in this moment of time, life is kicking our butt. Sometimes our reality tricks us into feeling we just don’t know how to reach out.

It is not a shameful position to feel we are floundering. Often it’s merely a moment in time and fleeting while other times it lasts a little while longer… But in all circumstances connections can be the saving grace when we feel broken.

We should never feel as though we have come to a point when it is such a mess that we feel we now need to reach out for survival. We are all part of a connected society. Connect!

Don’t be afraid to connect! Don’t be afraid to feel as though you are leaning on another – that is humanity. We should not feel afraid of judgment because needing help is not a weakness.

So today I urge you to connect.
Ask how another is.
Be open to listening to the genuine answer.
Allow them to answer free of judgment in return.
Don’t be afraid to ask what they need.

Today when I asked my friend what I could do for her, her response caused my heart to ache in guilt and in gratitude.

“You called”… That was all she needed. I called…

I called was something simple I could have done moons ago and something I will remind myself to do more… And in this moment I will take the time to reach out and connect, even when the surface mimics and calm and serene ocean because connecting is the very least I can do as being a citizen of humanity.
~ F.Pimage

When grief teaches patience

Grief teaches us many things. One of which is patience.

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Im tired.
My body aches all over.
My head is thumping.
But my soul is grateful.

I am a mother. One of the only titles that holds a million emotions in a single noun.

My 16 month old is unwell. Its 2.30am as I sit here with her, night two of a restless, uncomfortable and tiring night waiting desperately for the antibiotics to start their job to take over fighting for my tired toddler.

My own bug ripping through like a tornado in my body…yet my heart is overflowing in gratitude.

Its easy to lose sight of perspective in the haze of exhaustion. It is easy to feel as though life is a series of never ending unfortunate events, but grief has taught me to count my blessings – in that moment.

Grief has taught me that the toughest moments are where the best blessings arise from.

Grief has taught me that there are life events that just are. The universe is not conspiring to break me. Life happens.

So tonight I count my blessings because grief reminds me that tomorrows are never guaranteed and the me of tonight will always look different from the me of tomorrow… with or without a night full of sleep.

~ F.P