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

Step aside Half-Pint

Were you a Little House on the Prarie fan? I was. I loved that TV show. 

Half-Pint was the super sweet nickname that Pa gave to Laura, which is the perfect segue into today’s blog post. 


What’s yours? 

Capacity is not a one size fits all deal, yet I’d venture that hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people try to live as though it were. 

And the funny/strange/sad thing about that it is people tend to relentlessly push themselves to match the capacity of whoever they perceive is the equivalent of their Sydney Harbour. BIG capacity. Huge. And for 99.8% of us, utterly impossible to match. 

Why do we do this to ourselves? 

Why the relentless sense that we MUST compete? And win. 

Are we born with an internal soundtrack? “Anything you can do, I can do better. I can do anything better than you.”

No you can’t. 


And that’s perfectly okay. 

I am about to fly in the face of a great deal of popular thought here, brace yourselves. 

Life is not a competitive sport. 

It’s just not. 

Not to me, and when I look around at the people I know who are grounded, happy, creative, giving, it doesn’t seem to be to them either. 

Capacity, or more precisely knowning your capacity, is where it’s at. 

Me, I’m a Quarter Cup. 

That’s me, bottom left!


I know my limits, and I live within them. 

Becoming aware of my capacity, then changing my lifestyle to reflect that knowledge, was a completely life-changing realisation. 

I have no desire to push myself to keep up with the 2.4 litre people out there. That’s their capacity, not mine. 

Quarter of a cup. That’s me. The smallest cup in the stack under my sink. 

“Capacity for what?” I hear you wondering. Let me explain the metaphor. 

I’m sure we’ve all heard the stories about the college professor and his jar of rocks – he puts a jar in front of his class then fills it with various sized rocks and asks if it’s full. Some say yes, some see room for smaller pebbles, so pebbles are added and the once “full” jar becomes fuller. This continues until no more rocks or pebbles will fit in the jar. Professor Clever Nuts then adds water, showing the class that the jar wasn’t actually at capacity, but it is now. 

I think this story is usually used to communicate the exact opposite of what I mean when I talk about capacity. It’s about pushing, finding every available crevice and filling it to the point of bursting. 

Who wants to live like that? On the brink of breaching, like the Hoover Dam? 


I didn’t think so. 

Capacity is physical, mental, emotional, and social. Capacity is what you need and what you can manage, not what you imagine you should be able to manage, or what your boss/parents/friends/partner/inner critic expects from you. 

How much socialising keeps you feeling connected to others? 

How much time alone helps you to feel ready to jump back into the fray? 

How much sleep do you need? This one is huge. Huge! 

What is your most productive time of day/night? 

Are you a morning person or a night owl? 

How do you know when you’re running on empty? 

What do you do to refuel? 

These, and many more, are the kind of questions that will help you to recognise and honour your capacity. 

There are no prizes for living according to someone else’s expectations or capacity. 

Unless exhaustion and a nagging sense that you’re never doing enough are considered prizes. 

I wonder if thinking about capacity, rather than thinking competitively, might be a lightbulb moment for you. 

Could it be that reflecting on your unique needs and make-up could help you understand your capacity? 

I wonder. 

For those of you scoffing at this idea, running through the long list of responsibilities of your life and rolling your eyes, I want to say this; I don’t believe capacity is fixed and finite, we each have seasons where we can stretch and hold more, or where our capacity is diminished. Trouble comes when we attempt to do and hold more for too long, when we push and push and push without considering our capacity.  

There’s wiggle room, that’s the good news. On the flip side, capacity doesn’t simply yield to our to-do lists forever. We can’t blithely operate outside of our capacity year after year and think there won’t be natural consequences to that. 

This isn’t a one blog post idea. Clearly! 

All I can tell you for sure is that knowing my capacity frees me to spend zero time fretting about whether I’m doing enough, being enough, whatever-ing enough. I am not required to live life comparing myself to the 44 gallon drum folks. 

Can you imagine anything more ridiculous?

A teensy quarter of a cup trying to pretend they can hold gallons and gallons of liquid! 

All that would result in is a mighty flood, and most likely a drowning. How tragic that would be. 

I know when I’m able to stretch, and when I need to fill my near-empty cup. I know when the water line is too high, and it’s time to put my hand up and call in reinforcements. I can only give from what I’ve got. 

Do you know your capacity? I’d love to hear about how you came to that understanding.

Whether you’re like me, a Quarter Cup, or you’re 2.4 litres or a 44 gallon drum person, I urge you to honour your capacity and ditch the comparisons. 

With love, 

Annette x 


PS Have you noticed that I haven’t been posting daily like I said I would? Capacity strikes. I am working loads of extra hours at the moment, and I know I can’t do it all. That’s what knowing your capacity is all about. You’ll also notice that I haven’t apologised or berated myself for the change in plans. Capacity breeds confidence. 


Retreat! Retreat!

Hello weekend! 

I posted this on Instagram last night. 

By the time I got home, I felt entirely peopled out. I may only have a chain on my front door, not an actual drawbridge, but closing that door on the world, particularly on a Friday night, and hearing that metallic slide… it’s one of my favourite sounds.   

The past few weeks have included shouting, doors being slammed, and seemingly endless defences rather than fixes… it’s exhausting. 

After a scramble to fix a last minute oversight, it was just more of the same. I’m so worn out by it. Worn out. 

Yesterday there were tears in the afternoon (mine), and today I’m left feeling depleted and a little trapped in my current situation at work. Ugh. 

So, this weekend is all about retreat, replenishing my emotional tanks and enjoying the simple things. 

Things like the sounds of morning birdsong and turning over to snooze for another hour or two, the comfort of pjs, downloading new books from Amazon (thank you 99 cent sale!) and fossicking in my kitchen for simple snacks. 

The news coming out of Paris today is just horrible, and after watching a little of the coverage, which in the early hours of an attack like this quickly becomes looped replays of politicians and police at barricades, I switched back to easier-on-the-heart design shows. 

My beautful friend Sarah was in Paris just a matter of days ago, and her social media feed showed the power and beauty of that city. I am thrilled that she is safely back in the arms of her family today. Thrilled and relieved. 

We are so fragile, whether we consider ourselves safe and secure or not, we are ultimately not in control of our lives. 

We go to Bali and get stuck there by ash clouds, we go to a concert and find ourselves in the midst of a massacre, we go for a drive and get in an accident, we get bad news from the doctor. And we sometimes feel fear and lack of control in our homes, workplaces and hearts.  

We need to look after ourselves, and each other. 

We need to look after ourselves, and each other. (It’s worth saying twice, don’t you think?)

In that spirit, this weekend I’m in retreat, staying put at home, looking after myself. 

I’m heartened by the words of love and solidarity with the people of Paris that I’ve seen on Twitter and Instagram, and relieved that I can retreat, knowing others can’t put up the drawbridge on the issues they’re battling with. 

The thought of being out of control in life can be daunting, and while I think it’s something we need to acknowledge, I don’t think it’s healthy to dwell on it. 

The best thing any of us can do is get up and get on with being kind, putting good energy into our relationships, doing our bit in times of trouble, keeping an eye out for our sisters, neighbours, colleagues, Instapeeps and blog buddies. You can add the guys at your school, soccer club, craft crew or Trekkie hangout to the list. 

Keep an eye on those people. They need you, and you need them. Keep an eye on yourself too. You matter. 

I’ll be getting up and getting on with it too, but not for a few days yet. 

Big love to you and yours, 


Annette xx



Have to believe we are magic…

That buzzy feeling when you finish a great book is upon me. The feeling that there’s magic in the air. That anything’s possible.

I want to run instantly to a book club meeting where I can discuss all the nuances and share the ‘me too!’ light bulb moments with other readers.

I’m not in a book club at the moment, so I’ve run here to my blog to share my thoughts, not only on this particularly fabulous book, but on some of the themes I see in it as they relate to being creative, and more broadly, as they relate to living a full, satisfying life.

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert is the book I’ve just closed, and it’s left me with plenty to ponder. I laughed out loud, agreed out loud, and I was surprised and delighted by what I read. I recognised myself in Liz’s words and that gives me such hope. I am living a creative life. And I even stopped myself from writing ‘perhaps’ at the start of that sentence. Victory is mine!

Liz writes about creativity in such a refreshingly down to earth way, while acknowledging the mysteriously otherworldly aspect of being a creative person. She acknowledges that creating is a task that requires work; it’s not like finished paintings, books, songs, sculptures just fall out of the sky. Creating is a cooperative process.

This got me thinking about the internal forces that are at work when we try to create, or even just get through the day; not leaving ourselves last on the list, or worse still, not even putting ourselves on the list of people, things and tasks that require our attention and love.

Why is it so ingrained in us, that self-care is selfish?

Seriously, I want you to think about that for a minute. It’s something I think about often.

What a ridiculous, not to mention debilitating double standard, especially for women, and especially it seems, for mothers, that the job description can seem nothing more than loving slave to the needs of others. I’m not denigrating the acts of service that mothers, and women generally perform, but I think it’s high time to question this notion that everybody else in your immediate reach is more deserving of your time, love and many skills and gifts than you are.

This discussion could go in a million different directions right now, but the one that seems to be waving its arms at me most is the notion of needing permission.

We seem to have become trapped by the idea that we require permission from someone else, whether that’s from society, or our husbands, or something we read, or our best friend, or a book or a blog post, or a pithy meme on Instagram, just somewhere, anywhere, other than within our own minds and hearts, to proclaim: Hear ye, hear ye, I grant thee permission not to think more lowly of thyself than any other living creature.

That permission might relate to making taking time to catch up with a friend for coffee regularly, or take a painting class, or go to the gym, or simply say no to doing every single thing that needs doing around the house, as if nobody else has any capacity to pick up a towel or unpack a dishwasher or help with dinner, or even, dare I even suggest it, just to do NOTHING AT ALL for a few hours on a weekend.

Why is that?

Why do we struggle to give ourselves permission to simply be or to do something that feeds our souls rather than our schedules?

It may not be something I can sum up with four bullet points at the end of a blog post, in fact, I know it isn’t, but it is a topic that I really want to start a conversation around. This pervasive, false idea that we have to wait for someone else, someone out there, someone that isn’t us, to grant us permission to do, well heck, anything… it’s poisonous.

Any of this ringing any bells with anyone?

I could be off on a loopy solo expedition here, and that’s okay, but I don’t think I am. I see and hear people struggling with this, all too often.

To mangle a well known saying, who died and made someone else the captain of your soul?

It’s YOUR soul, and it’s a treasure you should protect and nurture with equal, if not surpassing ferocity, to the ways you nurture those around you.

If this were a four bullet point kind of post, which isn’t my thing, I’d be listing some points right now.

The first would be that I know, from my own experience that turning off the messages that tell us that self-care is selfish isn’t a simple thing. Not at all.

What permissions am I alluding to here? All of them.

Permission to challenge ideas you’ve held on to since childhood about who you are, what you’re worth and how you allow people to treat you, they’ve got to face the music.

Permission not to question your choices or downplay your smarts. Who does that serve? Certainly not you.

Permission to define yourself as more than who you are in relation to others – whether that’s as someone’s partner, mother, sister, friend, daughter, even as a great {insert career choice here}. And before you send any angry emails, I am not denigrating any of those roles. They are all important and worthwhile, but they are not who you are.

You are YOU.

Can you describe yourself without those relational ties? (Again, it’s not that those ties aren’t important, I’m absolutely not saying that here.)

Try it. Go on, you know you want to! Or maybe you don’t and it feels icky.  To me, that’s even more reason to give it a go.

I am…. now think of a few things about yourself and rattle them off in your head. Were they about who you are, on the inside, or were they about functions you perform? It’s okay, it takes practice.

I am…

Here’s what comes to my mind:

I am creative.

I am fiercely anti-authoritarian.

I am making my own way in the world.

I am smart.

I am funny.

I am stubborn.

I am listing too many things!

Did I always have a list like this on the tip of my tongue? No, I did not.

But somewhere along the way, in increments so small you could hardly measure them, I began to give myself permission to explore things I believed were set in stone, things I believed about myself, about my place in the world, things I had told myself and felt had been reinforced about who I was, at the very core of my personhood… and then shazam, just like that, I fell deeply in love with myself, all my problems disappeared and I got swept up by a dashing prince and lived happily ever after.

Um. No, not quite. Let’s try that again.

… and then I cried so hard, from such a deep well within myself, that I thought I might break in two.

I can still feel that moment in time. It is beyond description. I know some of you know that place too.

And then I ran away from it. Over and over and over again.

But the idea that I could be wrong, about things I believed were as certain as gravity, lured me back. That curiosity began what I believe will be a lifelong practice of thinking, pondering, wrestling, changing, creating new boundaries, speaking up instead of staying silent, and of appreciating, liking and yes, loving, who I am. Just me. As I am, right now.

Not when I lose 5 (or *cough* 30) kilos, not when I find a man, or have a cushy bank balance, not once I have the ‘dream job’ or ferret out and rid myself of the dark places in my soul, not when someone else tells me I’m ‘there’… just as I am, right now. Typing this in my pjs.

This is my Big Magic. This is the magic that I wish, above all other things that I could actually, literally sprinkle on your soul.

But I can’t, because if I did I’d be just another external voice granting ‘permission’, so I bash out words on this laptop and I put my trust in forces greater than myself, that someone, maybe just a handful of you, maybe only YOU, are the person who needs to read these incomplete thoughts today, or when you find this blog post a week from now, or five years from now.

And even though I want this for you so, so, so, so much, I don’t (I can’t) write with the hope of changing or saving anyone, I write for my own heart, to celebrate the freedom I have now, that I once didn’t have. It’s the most precious thing in my life.

This is unfurling itself as my life’s passion I think… more and more I see it in my conversations with people, in my interactions when I’m out here online, we are people whose hearts are maybe a little bruised, or smooshed, or boarded up in an attempt to protect them, and we are people who are on the road to freedom, hearts filling up, shining and sharing our light with others.

And that’s why I chose to title this post a line from a cheesy ONJ song, because I do believe we are magic. I am, and you are.

So, sister-traveller, grant yourself permission. You’ve had the power within you all along.

Big, big love,

Annette xxx


I’d love to hear from you on this topic… please keep the conversation going in the comments, or send me an email.

Peace Talks, For One

Not being an international diplomat of any ranking, I’ve never attended a round table peace summit. I’ve watched President Bartlet broker a peace deal on The West Wing, and over the years I’ve tried to talk a few friends down from dissolving a friendship over a misunderstanding, but peace talks aren’t really in my skill set. Or so I thought.

A while ago, I think it was in a conversation on Facebook, I was chatting with some people about self-esteem and I was saying that I’m not a slave to negative self-talk. Someone in the conversation said they’d like to hear more about how I got from where I was – fearful, full of angst, and struggling against crushing negativity and diatribes of worthlessness reverberating around my skull – to where I am today – no longer really bothered by a negative internal narrator.

Could I explain the way things changed? Do I even know how or when it happened?

It’s been the subject of much reflection, not because I think there’s a six-step e-book on overcoming negativity in my future, but because I believe it is absolutely VITAL for our well-being, individually and collectively, that we shake off the crippling doubts and self-loathing a lot of us seem to battle with.

Here’s the one thing I know for sure about it – it is a long process. For me, the road has been winding and often arduous. I didn’t go to bed one night berating myself and wake up the next day an entirely different creature. Anyone who promises you that is bullshitting you. And themselves.

As I’ve reflected on getting from there to here, I have been genuinely surprised by remembering some of the signposts and milestones along the way. It seems so strange to really have to dig around to unearth things that seemed so epic and life changing when I was going through them. There’s good news there – things that feel huge and insurmountable in your life now may one day be all but forgotten.

So, how did I change?





peace talks

I held peace talks, for one.

This was no well-catered weekend at Camp David – my peace talks were ongoing, undignified, dehydrating, and scary as hell.

Honestly, I cannot articulate the sheer terror I felt as my greatest fears demanded my attention. It was primal, guttural and something I couldn’t speak about at the time, or for a long time afterwards.

The key thing that I believe allowed me to come through this season, which lasted for several years (there go my quick fix six-step e-book sales down the toilet), was that I gave myself permission to bring the dark unspeakable “truths” I’d been tormented by into the light. I wouldn’t say I rolled out the red carpet for them, because there was still a shitload of resistance as I came undone, but somehow I was ready to question things I’d always believed.

I was prepared, tremblingly, to entertain the idea that perhaps I’d been wrong about the life sentence I’d convinced myself I was under – a sentence which I believed I “deserved”.

I guess in the simplest terms, I allowed myself to ask “what if?”.

What if I was wrong about the harsh, demanding expectations I had of myself?

What if I was someone who wasn’t broken beyond repair?

What if I could think differently about my experience? Could I redeem any of it?

What if I didn’t need to get over it, but to embrace it?

What if I could stop feeling lost, or like damaged goods?

What would that look like?

What might that feel like?


My name tag for the peace talks says Annette/Sara, Adoptee.

I was born to an unmarried teenager in the late 1960s. I was put up for adoption under circumstances I know little about. Strike that, I know nothing about them. Not a thing.

Until I was in my late 20s I didn’t even know my mother’s name. I still don’t know my father’s.

Being an adoptee isn’t rare; thousands upon thousands of other people share that fate, especially in the era I was born in. Being an adoptee isn’t something I have ever been ashamed of, though I know it feels shameful to others. I have always known, it’s not a secret in my family.

I grew up in easy breezy 70s suburbia, so I have no complaints there. Actually having to write “no complaints there” is the kind of thing that pisses me off most about writing about adoption. Saying anything other than that I’m grateful or that adoption is such a selfless gift or any of the myriad of ‘always look on the bright side’ clichés people espouse, often isn’t well received. I feel like I need to defend my position from the get go. I don’t, I know. But I want to be understood.

Adoption is the Ground Zero of my wounds.


We all have our own obstacles to overcome. The things I have faced (and continue to face) may not be the same as the things you’re facing, but I believe the root of most of our struggles are variations on some common themes. We feel damaged. Broken. Stained. Unworthy.

People we love and trust may tell us these things are true of us.

We may tell ourselves they’re true.

More insidiously, we may receive these messages without anyone ever saying a word.

Some of us can’t recall ever feeling anything but a sense of not measuring up, or the pressure of nagging perfectionism, which can never be satisfied, no matter what we do.

For some, there’s a moment in time where things shifted, and the battle began.

We can’t become what we imagine is acceptable. We try. We fail. We berate ourselves. We try again. We fall down. It’s a vicious, exhausting, demoralising hamster wheel.

When that struggle begins with questions about who you are, and whether you deserve to be here at all, well, you’d be forgiven for thinking you’re fucked.


By the time I was willing to pin on my name tag and sit down to ongoing peace talks with myself, I had been keeping company of people who were showing me what an examined life looked like, and I didn’t even realise it.

Until that Facebook conversation I mentioned earlier started me thinking about how I got from there to here, I had completely forgotten that my initial and excruciatingly painful forays into examining my wounds happened in the same building where I’d been shown what living a radically honest life looked like – in AA/recovery meetings.

Funnily enough, those meetings were held in the church I attended at the time, but they had a totally different candour about them than anything I’d ever known. I loved them.

I can count the number of times I have felt truly at home with a group of people on one hand, and those meetings were one of those times.

Something about that ethos of recovery, of fearless and frank self-examination, must have sunk in, because what I do remember is a shockingly seismic shift in my thinking about how adoption had marked my life.

Looking back, I can see now that the pain of that season was as much about reframing my mindset, as it was about dealing with the tentacles of adoption. I was lost and overwhelmed by the conflict I was in. I oscillated between feeling grateful, broken, chosen, and rejected. I was in hell.

I had been absolutely, steadfastly determined to “get over it”. I mean, I was an adult, adoption was something that happened to me so long ago – there was no way I should still feel all the things I felt about it. It was kind of pathetic wasn’t it? At the same time, I felt broken in half by it, and totally incapable of recovering. My mantra was: suck it up, get over yourself, move on. Don’t cause (more) trouble. I was horrendously insensitive, even cruel, to myself.

I slowly, slowly came to understand that I didn’t have to “get over it”, I didn’t need to move on or suck it up. I needed to embrace that adoption had marked me, but it couldn’t  define or destroy me without my permission. It happened to me. It is a fact of my life that I cannot change, that I didn’t choose or cause and which I don’t have to shy away from or sugar coat the impact of.

So how did I overcome my obstacles?

I started by giving myself permission to feel whatever came up.

Slowly.       So very slowly.




Then I started responding to my feelings. Out loud.

Whenever I would berate myself, or demand something ridiculous of myself, I got into the habit of rebutting whatever accusation or insult was being hurled. Out loud.

I would say something like “I am allowed to feel sad/angry/bruised by this. I am allowed to express that. I choose to show myself kindness. That’s okay.”

Whether I felt angry, sad, misunderstood, or heartbroken – I told myself that was permissible. I didn’t believe myself for a while, but I just kept saying it.

Sometimes that felt utterly ridiculous, and it was two steps forward, two steps back in the early days. Reprogramming a critical narrator takes a lot of time and energy.

So I practiced – I practiced compassion and kindness towards myself. It’s sad that it took me so long to discover that compassion can be directed internally as well as outwardly, but what a gift that discovery has been.

Life changing, perhaps even life saving.

I also realised I was grieving. That one took a while to swallow. Quite a while.

I would (and still) often tell myself “You’re alright. You’ll be okay Nettie. Be kind to yourself.”

And I will. I am.


I don’t know what obstacles you are facing, what burdens you’re carrying, or how they got there.

I do know they are heavy and exhausting.

Your lot in life is not to spend your days apologising for the space you take up, or trying to make yourself invisible. There’s no external, standardised measure of being “good enough” for the inner critic, and there’s certainly no such thing as perfection.

What there is, for all of us, is compassion.

You’re probably already someone who practices compassion for others. That’s a generous choice.

The truly radical choice is to offer that same compassion to yourself.





Can you see your name tag?

Are you ready to attend your own peace talks, for one?

I hope so.

Good luck, friend.


Annette xx

I’m no expert in any of this, I’m just telling my story. If this post raises difficult issues for you, please, talk to a trusted friend, your GP or call one of the many services that exists to help people through difficult circumstances. LifeLine 13 11 14. 


Self Care Sunday, & Monday


Just typing that feels a bit odd.

I know beyond a shadow of doubt that looking after myself is important, but there’s still a whiff of self-indulgence around talking about it. 

Maybe it’s the hyphen. Hyphenated things can be like that. 

This just gone weekend I had a lot of options for being out and about. Each opportunity was undeniably good – getting a haircut, seeing a close friend, celebrating a sweet boy’s first birthday, the chance to meet people I’ve come to value (and go from URL to IRL with bonus creativity built into the meet-up), and an invitation to attend an event about a deeply personal issue, all loomed large in my calendar. 

Before I began the weekend, I had a sinking feeling that if I tried to do ALL THE THINGS I wouldn’t cope. Being newly back to work, and finding that incredibly stressful, means that my predilection for recharging downtime has become almost insatiable. 

So I had some decisions to make, and it was not an easy process. 

On Saturday I’d hoped for a nice sleep in before my midday haircut, which I planned to follow with a leisurely lunch with my friend Suzanne. 

I was wide awake at 7am. 

I got my hair cut (yay!) and then drove up into the hills to have a long lunch with my friend (quadruple yay!). It was so nice to catch up, exchange news, eat fantastic food and to order another coffee and some cake because there was so much for us to talk about. After lunch, we wandered around a sweet vintage-y shop and I stopped on the way down the hillside to snap some photos. 

It was wonderful. 

And tiring. I’m not sure if I’m alone in this, but when I got home, I do what I normally do after a day of gallivanting – I tallied up the hours I’d been on the go. It was about six hours. 

I set my alarm, but when Sunday morning rolled around I decided not to go to the meet-up. I had been particularly looking forward to meeting the people I knew were going, but I had to balance that against the fact that I’d had a full-on week, I’d been out on Saturday, and my downtime tank was running mighty close to empty. 

I found myself feeling a bit on edge, more than a bit, and so I ended up staying on the couch in my pjs until very late in the day. I needed to be at home, by myself. Even though that meant missing fun stuff, the meet-up, and then my gorgeous and courageous friends’ son’s birthday party. 

Could I have pushed myself and at least gone to the birthday party for an hour? Yes, I suppose I could have. But I didn’t. It doesn’t mean I don’t celebrate my friends and their beautiful children. I do, I love them. 

I’m still working out how to balance things – I won’t get it right every time, and I may disappoint or hurt people in the process. The thought of that makes my stomach churn. 

This may sound like a really whiney post, but something came into my mind across the weekend, and I’m trying to process it. I wondered if I have a little social anxiety. I’ve never wondered that before. 

I have come to accept, and embrace, that I’m an introvert. I enjoy hanging out with people,  and it is so important to maintain my friendships, but I need to pull up the drawbridge and spend large chunks of time by myself. It’s how I regroup. 

I sleep in when I can, I usually watch TV, blog, or cook. I sometimes paint, or just lay on the couch looking at the ceiling or out the window. I may read a book, or spend a whole day doing “nothing”. It is these things that fill my tank and keep me from allowing the stresses of this season to overwhelm me. 

There’s no need for me to justify any of these things, that’s not the purpose of this post. This is my life, and as someone without family responsibilities, my time outside of work is my own. What I guess I’ve been pondering this weekend is whether there is an element of social anxiety in the mix, or if this is simply my expression of introversion. 

Right now I could be at the opening of an exhibition called Without Consent, which has come about following the national apology for forced adoption practices. I attended the apology in Canberra two years ago. It was a momentous day for me, as an adoptee.  

Last night I had yucky dreams about rejection and exclusion (which happens very rarely), so I’ve decided that today is better spent at home, doing laundry, writing this post, and perhaps I’ll make a quick trip to the library later on. 

What’s important is that I remember that these days dedicated to self-care are not days of self-indulgence, even if they look that way to some. If I say yes to everything, even the ace and special things with a bit of FOMO attached, I’ll effectively be saying no to my own self-care, and that’s just asking for trouble. 

How do you take care of yourself? 

Ever struggled with social anxiety? 

I’d love to open up the comments and chat about these things. 

Yours, still in my pjs, 

Annette x