The Next Day

Yesterday was Mother’s Day, which has to be one of my least liked days of every year.

I posted a 10 slide mini-essay on Instagram, sharing my feelings about the day and how being an adopted person impacts the pinkest day of dotage on on the calendar. You can find my Instagram account here.

The first thing I did after posting was send a message to my sisters, assuring them of my love and telling them I’d posted something about MD and that the post was not about our family.
Thank everything good in the world, they get it, to the degree that than can. They both sent back messages of love and support, which meant so, so much to me. Their words of affirmation made me cry.

I was a little concerned about backlash, so I didn’t tweet the mini-essay, as Twitter can turn nasty fast. I was glad that the people I know on Instagram were supportive of me; I received lovely comments, and a few people shared their own familial connections to relinquishment and adoption.
To each of you, I send my heartfelt thanks.

Speaking or writing about adoption isn’t easy, especially on social media where things can be so easily misconstrued. I did pause before I hit OK, and then I hit it. They were my words, my thoughts and I wanted to share them.

After feeling relieved and buoyed by the response to my post, especially the words from my sisters, I watched MasterChef then binged more of my latest fave series, Power, which is on Stan. (Get on to that, FYI.)

Yesterday wasn’t an awful day, it was a (mildly) difficult day, as it is for lots of people.

Took myself off to bed and fell asleep without any issues. My brain clearly wasn’t finished pondering mothers and adoption though, as I had an incredibly vivid dream in which my family moved out of our family home of over four decades, without telling me. They just left.

In the dream, I was somehow at their new house, which had none of the family’s furniture or belongings, and literally no room for me, even though it was a big house. I couldn’t get a straight answer from anyone on why they left without telling me. It was horrible. Horrible. Absolutely real, and gutting.

I woke up, sprang out of bed and had a brilliant day.


Actually, I woke up feeling literally wrenched out of the dream. I felt the emotions of the dream, abandonment and fear, coursing through me, like liquid neon.

I sat on my bed for more than an hour, trying to will myself to get going, get in the shower, get ready for work. I couldn’t do it.

Finally, I sent a text to my boss and let him know that I was having a difficult mental health day. I don’t sugar coat why I can’t function. No ‘I’m feeling a bit sick’ excuses. Just because pain is mental not physical, doesn’t make it any less real or valid. I was not capable of concentrating enough to work. I now know myself well enough to stay within my limits.

So, straight to the yoga mat, followed by 45 minutes of silent meditation? Sorry, no. Straight into my fluffy pink dressy-gown and then to the coffee machine. I ordered fresh bread on UberEats, thinking eggs on toast would be good, then popped myself on the couch. I finished watching Power (wow!) and just vegged out for a good few hours. No eggs on toast. Shrug.

A couple of people checked in after I posted on Facey and Insta, which was brilliant. I’m glad nobody called, I didn’t want to expend my limited energy on big emotions. I just let myself be in my vulnerable state, and didn’t give a second thought to missing work. I am more important than my productivity, so I chose myself today.

One of the main reasons I find it easy to choose myself is because I have broken the tape that loops in most of our heads shouting ‘compare yourself to others and find yourself lacking’. I don’t play that rigged game anymore.

I needed space and quiet time to let the after affects of that awful dream dissipate. It worked. I even managed a reviving shower by 5pm.

That’s how I got through the next day.

(Re-watching Taylor Swift’s Miss Americana helped too. Thanks TayTay.)

I guess I type all of that, to say this: Choose yourself.
The more often you choose yourself, the easier it gets.
It is within your power.

Annette xx

Valley Girl

I had a dream this morning that I was walking into a valley, initially spacious and green, dotted with wildflowers. 

As I walk, the terrain changes around me. 

Less vegetation, less colour, less of what’s familiar. 

The air is thicker, sometimes it’s harder to breathe easily. 

The sky is, as always, above me, sure and true. 

I am still in the valley. 

I see some of the path ahead, but not all. It curves away from me. 

Just keep walking. 

The sky changes. 

I hear only the wind, my heart beating in my ears and my breath. 

Where am I headed? 

Just follow the path. 

I walk. 

I am in a valley. 

Somehow, as you can on dreams, I become the valley. 


When I wake up, and see a valley indented into my forearm, where the sheets have left their mark, I wonder for a few moments about my dream. Can a person become a valley? 


I get up, I paint my valley. Purple hued hills in the distance, the path, the changing terrain. 

My valley. 

My path. 


Keep on dreamin’

Today while I was sprinkling Italian herbs over my baked beans on toast, I had this thought: 

It wasn’t that having baked beans on toast for lunch was bumming me out, I quite like them. 

They’re filling, but they’re not my dream! 

I was in unconscious meme creation mode because I was reflecting on a blog post I’d just read. You can read it here

In the post, Sonia spoke about how chasing her dreams had left her feeling wrung out recently, and how she wisely took some time out to simply enjoy a day without the pressure to fulfil the dream bearing down on her. That’s my interpretation of what she wrote anyway. 

Sonia, I totally believe in you!! Dream on, girlfriend xx

Then, not for the first time, I read a question online from someone asking how long it took others to reach a certain level of engagement in their blogging, and with no disrespect to the questioner today, as I’ve read the question multiple times before, I wanted to shout at my iPad screen. 

I might be spectacularly out of touch, but every single time I see or hear this question, from someone who is clearly an adult, I’m genuinely astounded. 

This question, whether it’s framed around blogging, or career advancement, or success in your chosen creative field seems so strange to me, and my response is usually in the form of my own question:

What is it that has some of us believing in the false notion of overnight success? 

That’s not a thing. It sometimes looks like a thing, but it isn’t. 

Let me say that again, overnight success isn’t a thing. It’s not real. It won’t happen. (Just call me the dream crusher!)

Like perfection, it’s a false god that too many people seem ready to fall down before. 

These false gods aren’t benign though, chasing the idea of perfection or of instantaneously arriving (whatever that means!), can drive a person loco. 

Dreams are great. I’m pro-dreams. If you’ve got, you know, actual talent in your dream field, you’re well on your way to making your dream a reality. 

You will need some other stuff in your dream realisation kit; like patience, skill, perseverance, resilience, and perhaps controversially, I believe you also need time away from dream chasing. 

Let’s say your dream is to be an Olympian. (#Rio2016, I’m so on trend!)

To fulfil that dream, you will need to train hard, for YEARS and YEARS! 

You’ll need to sacrifice and persevere, you’ll need to be mentally strong, you’ll likely have to come back from injury, you’ll probably have to hold down a day job while maintaining your training schedule. 

I hear Olympians have family and partners and friends, so you’ll need some time away from training to remain connected to those people. 

You may put in 100% to achieving your dream, for years on end, then get a virus or something just before the selection trials. You may not make it. 

Back to the drawing board, or gym, running track or pool, you can always try again in four years. 

Dreaming takes commitment, and courage. 

I am contemplating opening an Etsy shop to sell my art, and having someone place an order seems like a pipe dream right now. Even so, it’s something I want to pursue. 

Before that first order comes in, there’s a lot of practical stuff to do, like source card stock, fight off imposter syndrome, set up the shop, fight off imposter syndrome, stock the shop with art that takes time to create, put a price on my art, fight off imposter syndrome, and so on. 

I’m scared to do it, but I want to do it anyway. 

I might fail, it might be crickets once the shop opens, but I am going to try. 

Dream on dreamers! 

But dream with your eyes open. 

Dream with great people around you, who support your dreams, while keeping you connected to the real world. 

Dream BIG, armed with the knowledge that all good things take time. 

Remember, overnight success, like perfection, is not a thing. 

My advice for all you dream chasers, be like my favourite character in Pretty Woman (not Vivian!), strut down the streets of your life, head held high, sharing this wisdom with the world… 


Sweet dreams, 


Annette x 




On work, and hope, and disappointment

Exactly one month ago, I started a new job, to many huzzahs from supportive friends and family, which I heartily concurred with. The industry is new to me, the travel torments me, but the stand-out thing I’m experiencing is the unmistakable feeling of being a square peg in a round hole.

Has that ever happened to you?

If my job was a new boyfriend, and I’d spent this many hours with him over the past month, that would a) reek ever so slightly of desperation/infatuation, and b) would absolutely be enough time for me to know if there was a future with him or not. There’s not, so I would have walked away by now. People would most likely be supportive of that choice, because it would be ‘settling’ at worst, and just plain sad at best, to continue to try and make something from nothing. It’s nobody’s fault, it just isn’t meant to be. No biggie, right?

Work isn’t like that though. People have all kinds of opinions about work and what we should endure to get a wage. I have opinions on that subject, and they don’t include bowing to abusive, ill-mannered turds who think because they pay the wages, they can treat people like shit. Those days are long gone. Nobody should have to sacrifice their dignity or mental health to an employer.

You are more important than your earning capacity.

While we’re on the subject, you should click here and read about my friend Sarah’s current experience with the stress that comes when unemployment lingers. She raises some great questions about the taboos around talking about this issue. We must talk about it, I’m glad she’s talking about it. Perhaps reading her post will get you talking about it too.

Back to my square peg, round hole situation, this week I spoke with my manager about where I’m at, about how I feel ill-equipped to do the job, and how I’m finding myself despondent and blue each weekend, how there have been tears and worries. She was very responsive to me, as we have a good rapport.

I’m not quitting, but I have no intention of staying in a place where I simply don’t have the gifts to flourish and contribute meaningfully to a company, just to take their money. That’s not okay with me, never has been, never will be. And I think they’d notice my sub-par performance.

I have great skills, and I have gaps in my skill set, as everyone does. This job is almost entirely made up of the things that fall outside my strengths. Almost entirely! What they do see in me is someone experienced, someone who can mentor their younger staff, someone moderately sensible and mature and I agree with them on those counts. What they failed to consider, and failed to ask me much about, was my strengths in numeracy and in using accounting software. I’m here to tell you, I suck at those things. I have made fantastic mistakes that I can’t even begin to trace back; it’s just a black hole to me.

The school of thought that I’ll pick it up seems reasonable, but I sincerely doubt that’ll happen. I wouldn’t take a job as a translator at the Latvian Embassy, as I don’t speak Latvian. Could I learn it? Sure, technically a person can learn anything, but would it be profitable for the Latvians to hire me, not so much. I’m sure I’d look fetching in their national costume, but there are other people out there with Latvian verb conjugation skills who would be perfect for that job.

What’s a girl to do in such a situation? I don’t have a game plan or an exit strategy. All I can do is be straightforward and up front with them about where I’m at, continue attempting to learn an utterly foreign language and hope that I don’t do too much damage in the process. I may pick it up, I doubt it, but it may happen. If it does, that’s great. If not, that’s okay too.

It’s okay not to fit someone else’s expectations for you.

That goes way beyond work and out into life, don’t you think?

Non-conformism is a perfectly acceptable state of being. Not simply to be an arsehole, but there’s no merit in trying to look just like the next person. In fact, to me, it’s kind of horrifying to strive for such conformity.

Vanilla is a nice flavour, but it’s not the only thing I want to taste.

Square pegs and round pegs both have their place. The world needs both.

We need our individuality and our different points of view.


We need people who see the world just a bit differently to us, so we can think, ‘huh, maybe they have a point’ like I did yesterday, when my friend Sue was making some excellent points about the potential someone standing for the godforsaken election has to be of service to their constituents. (By the way, how effing annoying are the true believers who are milling about the shops on Saturdays handing out flyers and poorly made totes?)

These things I’m facing have me thinking again about a topic that I delve into semi-regularly, and that’s how we cope with disappointments.

What happens when we put all our eggs in one basket, whether that basket is labelled career, or a long term romantic relationship, or parenthood, or success in an artistic endeavour, and in spite of all our efforts and desire and determination, it doesn’t happen? What then?

Who are we beyond the things we strive for and want with all our hearts?

When is it time to lay a dream down?

Can we still find meaning with a broken heart?

It’s something I think about often, how deeply primal, yet potentially crushing it is to long for some thing or someone to make us okay, to fill us up, to sate all our soul’s shadowy whispers about who we are and where our worth stems from.

Happy blog post land this is!

Really, I don’t find this kind of thing Debbie Downer-ish, I just like to think about stuff.

I’m not my job; I’ve learned that lesson well. I will do my best where I am and if it doesn’t work out, that’s okay. I will be fine. In fact, I’ll be better off in a place where I can offer my strengths and smarts to people that need them.

And if you’re nursing an unfulfilled dream, a hope that seems inextricably tied to your soul’s survival, I just want to say to you, with no intention to sound pessimistic or insensitively shitty, I believe you can be okay too, with or without that thing.

We aren’t just the things we pursue, no matter how pure they are, or how deep the desire is.

Life has taught me that redirection and detour can be the best, most fulfilling paths, even if they are paths we would never, ever choose for ourselves.

We humans are a resilient bunch, even when we don’t feel like it.

Gosh, how am I going to tie this post up in a neat bow? I’m not sure I can.

Perhaps I’ll just leave you with this: thoughtful reflection never killed anyone, as far as I’m aware. If you’ve been pushing down a niggle or an eruption of questioning where you’re at, of feeling dissatisfaction or hurt, of feeling trapped or defeated by delays in the things you want from life, you’re not alone.

We have all been there, or will all be there, more than once.

Reach out to someone. Talk to someone. Talk to yourself, honestly, about what’s on your heart.

I believe we are strengthened by being vulnerable and honest with ourselves.

I believe we can find new paths when the paths we’re on fall out from under our feet, or get covered by brambles. Do I believe this is easy? Fuck no.

Most of all, I believe in you. In your soul’s beauty, in your worth as you are, at this very moment.

You make me hopeful and I write for you.

I write for you and I cheer for you.




Annette xx

PS. I really value our conversation. Drop me a line, how are you? What’s good? What’s challenging? What are you proud of? Braggers welcome!


Double PS. Don’t forget to do this, okay?