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My story: What is normal?

Hello virtual friend!

Let me begin, for a very long time I hated myself, I hated that I was a round peg in a square hole and that I never seemed to fit in. I tried to do what I thought was expected of me, what I thought would help me fit in, so I worked hard, I dated, I travelled, I bought a house, I got married. I kept pushing myself, believing that there was something inherently wrong with me as to why I didn’t feel normal.

I managed this for many years until it all got too much and I spent 13 months from December 2015 through to January 2017 trying to work out what was going on with my life.

 Then 2017 came along and I had a massive wake up call.

I don’t want you to feel sorry for me. This isn’t a pity post but rather a post to share how I’ve felt in the past and how making changes to my life has helped me get onto the right path. Every day is not easy. I can tell you now I have not found the meaning of life. To be frank, the week I wrote this post was one of those weeks where I’ve been stuck in my head and struggled to stop the negative thoughts from coming in. But you know what? I got there in the end, and you can too.

Although I didn’t know it at the time, 2017 was the year I needed to have. It allowed me to develop an #ironwill that I didn’t know I had within me.

I was born into a loving family in Melbourne’s Outer East. I have a wonderful relationship with my parents and I have an older brother who I know loves me. I grew up with parents who are very much in love with one another (and still are). Of course with any family there are ups and downs, but overall I’m fortunate to have a family that I can count on.

My parents from a young age taught me about the importance of working hard, and that I could do anything I set my mind to. It was and still is a very empowering family unit.

I was always the cheeky, outgoing extroverted kid. At a young age, I learnt the importance of conversing with others and easily wormed my way into the lives of my neighbours (this was pre stranger danger times). I was a tom boy and had a wonderful childhood. In later years of primary school I experienced bullying like most kids do at some time or another.

High School had its up and downs, year 9 was particularly awful but the majority of the time I enjoyed it. I was good at school, had good friends and on the surface seemed to fit in reasonably well.

But even back then, I always felt like something inside me was missing.

I don’t know where my competitive nature began, I’ve always strived to be the best, the best I possibly can be. I constantly compared myself to others who I deemed were prettier, smarter and more successful than me. I still remember how in year 12, my main aim was to beat my brother’s VCE score despite the fact he didn’t care if I did. I remember how hollow and empty I felt when I did beat it and that it wasn’t as satisfying as I thought it would be.

I was lucky that I always knew what type of industry I wanted to work in, it was always going to be in business and communications as I love to talk, love to argue and love to debate. I contemplated studying law for a while but too many episodes of Law and Order turned me off that career path.

I chose a career in marketing and communications, because it allowed me to be creative or so I thought.

Marketing like most industries suffers from people who think they know what they are talking about without having any formal training. It took me a while to figure this out, but once I did I found my place. I worked for some horrific bosses, bullies, who didn’t want you to think differently or outside the box. I realised through these bullies that I wanted to educate and mentor. I soon found myself as the youngest sessional teacher ever hired to teach marketing related subjects at one of Victoria’s largest dual sector tertiary providers.

I love teaching, I love inspiring others and I love sharing my story, hence why I started this website.

For a long time I was able to cover up how I felt

And I was successful and good at it. I had seen many parts of the world, I had a house, I was married and I combined teaching with running a digital marketing agency. On the surface I was kicking ass. I kept pushing the feelings of inadequacy and of self loathing deeper and deeper until I felt like I was going to explode. I tried to be the best wife I could. After all, that’s what one did, you dated for a while, you bought a house together and then you got married.

I know in his own way my husband loved me and I did love him

But after eight years together and two years married, things just didn’t feel right. I talked about it, but things didn’t improve. I was miserable and I ended up resenting him.  Leaving him in January 2017 was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I didn’t want to hurt him, but I knew sooner or later I was going to leave, so I set a date aside in my head and decided that either on that date I stay and fully commit or I leave.

I walked away from my old life and it was tough

I underestimated the range of emotions I felt. Managing his emotions, my emotions and the shock from friends and family was hard. On the surface we seemed like that couple that were perfect for one another and for a time we were.

Thankfully, I had the support of old and new friends who helped me through this period. Without them, it would have been much harder.

Everything was on the improve, until October 2017 when I was hit by a car when cycling, that was so hard for me, I was no longer able to play basketball (and still can’t just yet) and do the things I loved to do and had to find new loves. It sucked and to date it was hardest period of my life.

But from the dark came some light

I knew I had to do something because I was becoming really angry at the world, so I started meditating. Meditation at times, can make you feel more broken than you did before you started, but I knew I had to get thoughts, feelings and beliefs to the surface that I had long buried deep inside. Meditation has helped me a lot. I threw myself into postive affirmations, sound bath healings, floats, yoga, you name it, I tried it.

The positive affirmations helped me get up in the morning and out of the door, but they kept me stuck on a constant mental loop  Now I’m working hard on learning how to let go of the thoughts that do surface, I’m now moving into mindfulness to help with this step.

I never expected my life would turn out like this, but I’m glad it did. I still have much to learn but I’m okay with that.

There is no such thing as normal

What might be normal for you, might be strange for me and vice versa. As long as it isn’t illegal and that you don’t go out of your way hurting others, you should never feel like there is something wrong with you. It has taken me many years to realise this. It is something I constantly have to remind myself about, but it is truth.

Wishing you success in this crazy word,

Julia
The girl with the iron will

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