Personal Prompt: Name five things you are proud of, and five things you are not so proud of.

This is a very difficult challenge for me… As pride is one of the seven deadly sins and it was drummed into me as a child not to be “prideful” or “boastful”. But it was also drummed into me that I must be obedient. So I’ll give it a red hot try…

I am proud of:

1. My children – all of them, despite the times they get it wrong. Even when they’re not lovable. They are smart and diligent and creative and loyal and loving and I adore them. I am proud to be their mother – no matter what.

2. My teaching career – I may have left it behind me now, but I became extremely good at teaching. [It is very hard to say that “out loud”…] I received outstanding feedback from students, parents and colleagues about my success as a teacher, and it was something I gave my heart and soul to – so I think I did a good job. I certainly did the very best job I possibly could.

3. My friendships – I consider the quality of one’s friends to be a reflection of one’s self. So when I see the quality of people that have become my steadfast, loyal, dedicated and long-term friends, I think I must be doing something right.

4. My persistence – I may not be making headway right now, but I’m not giving up. Or perhaps I’m making headway but that perfectionist trait is determined to whisper, “It’s just not good enough.” But either way, I am still floundering around making a valiant effort to improve myself. To seek recovery for all that needs repair.

5. My compassion – I feel I have a very strong ability to see people. To really see them. And to offer them what they need at that point in time – be it a helping hand, kindness, firmness, advice, tough love, the shirt off my back – I will always try to do the best by other people.

I am not so proud of:

1. My eating disorder – It is a shameful way for a grown woman to be managing her life.

2. My fear of conflict – While I frequently claim to have “excellent oral and written communication skills” when I am completing job applications, I fail to mention that I have a major fear of conflict. Which can lead to communication breakdowns in my closest personal relationships. I have an overwhelming fear of conflict – not of disagreement… I can voice my opinion no problem. I can have difficult conversations if it is the right thing for the person I’m talking to. But when it comes to conflict and criticism in my personal relationships, I fail on a regular basis.

3. My body – It is a pretty hideous looking beast. And I’m not proud of the fact that I am vain enough to care… But I always wanted to be skinny and beautiful and it shames me that I am not.

4. My house – Although this is an area that is improving immensely.  I have had enormous shame regarding our house and it’s state of unfinishedness and the general mess around. I wish our children could have grown up in a lovely home. However, the past 12 months have also been a period of great progress in the house and one day I hope to move it into the list of things I am proud of.

5. My unemployment – I feel deeply ashamed to not only have walked out on my job last year, but to have been unable to find another one in the past three months. It leads me to a feel I am not contributing to my family and to society and to be justifying my place here on earth.

Creative Prompt: Plan your dream vacation. (Where are you going? Who is coming with you? What are you doing?)

As for my dream vacation? Not only is that an easy one to work out, it is already half planned and the money has been set aside for it!

In 2018 my closest friends and I plan to spend a month in France and/or Italy and/or Spain, renting a nice little villa somewhere and cycling around the countryside and sampling lovely local produce and wines and doing all sorts of wonderful relaxing, inspiring, congenial things.

It is a trip we have all been planning for years – to collectively celebrate our 50th birthdays (two years late for me…)

The month with my girlfriends will be followed up with two or three months of travel around Europe and the UK with my husband.

We want to see Paris and go back to Italy and visit Spain and definitely must see Ireland.

We are saving frequent flyer points to go Business Class in at least one direction, if not both.

I intend to be away from Australia for a minimum of 12 weeks – it is to be the trip of a lifetime.

Minimum five nights in every location we stay – none of this packing up everything into a suitcase every two days and wasting half the trip on trains and planes.

We want to enjoy each place we visit and get to know the local cafes and little local customs etc.

So – I will be 52 when I go on my trip of a lifetime. Fingers crossed!

And I hope to be well and truly travelling my road to recovery before then.