Exactly a year ago I started documenting the last year of my thirties. 39 was ridiculous and boring so I decided to do something meaningful on the 11th of every month for a whole year.
I didn't realise it would turn out to be the biggest year of my life. (Click on each date for the link.)
March 11th 2011 Kicking it off with something small ... a video tribute to Eminem's Not Afraid in which I admitted to relapsing after ten years recovery. (Months later I watched Eminem sing that song live at his concert with my heart in turmoil. Glad I decided to believe his words even though I couldn't feel them.)
April 11th 2011 Owned up to something I'd never shared on my blog before ... I live in the Blue Mountains. It opened the door up to local people discovering this site. Awkward.
May 11th 2011 Biggest post ever. Me and my beautiful friend Vee snuck like ninja's into Nepean Hospital armed with her husbands artwork. We put them up and crept away. Our husbands had cancer at the same time. Mine is alive and hers is not. That day was hard and it sucked but I am fiercely proud of what we did. I read this post out at BlogHer 2011 San Diego, see HERE. One of the biggest honours of my life.
June 11th 2011 Did something outlandish and controversial .... WENT TO THE DENTIST. And finally got a crown put on my tooth. I can smile now.
July 11th 2011 My Meddlesome Do-Gooding post. I had a stack of children's books I wrote and sold them all to people who donated to Cate Bolt's Foundation 18 Project. Cate made a whole orphanage in Indonesia. You can donate if you want. Instead of a manicure or a meal out or something. But be careful - cynical people might accuse you of having alterior motives.
August 11th 2011 Is my nine-minute blog documentary - the Edenland Bloco. It documents what it felt like on my trip to America last year, reading out my blog post at BlogHer to all those Americanos. Looking back, I was on the way down again. I knew it but didn't want to face it.
September 11th 2011 "Unbreakable" was intended to be my last ever blog post. It details the reaction of my son watching 9/11 footage ... but the very last paragraph of that post has nothing at all to do with 9/11. And everything to do with my own horrible, spectacular, breakdown. I've never told anyone that until right now. I'll talk more about it in the coming months, I guess. It all seeps out eventually - may as well name it and own it.
October 11th 2011 A post I wrote about the heavy overcoat of shame I've been wearing my entire life. For someone with no shame, I sure do have a lot of it. I failed at finishing Brene Brown's (amazing) online workshop. I feel shame around it. HA! One day I hope to read the book and watch the DVD. Pesky life keeps getting in the way of me learning how to live life better.
November 11th 2011 I wrote about Madeline Spohr. I dreamt about her and her sister Annabel just last night, actually. They were playing together, and it was so beautiful.
December 11th 2011 Sometimes, on the 11th, I'd have a certain idea in my mind but then on the day I'd end up writing about something completely different. This month I wrote about Nathan.
January 11th 2012 You have the right to remain ridiculous. (Yes - you!) I took a ride down a hill with my son filming, then I fell off and skinned the hell out of my knees. Then my other son pissed on me.
February 11th 2011 I knew I had to do something Big - something drastic. I don't like team sports because I mostly don't like people but I joined a team anyway. Roller derby. I have much to say about it.
So that's it.
I got sad that all the other things I had planned now won't be part of my Year of Turning Forty series. Still have never seen a sunrise or been in a flash mob or visited Scotland as an adult. Today I had a Sydney Harbour Bridge climb planned but I cancelled it. Couldn't be bothered - so tired.
I realised that I can still do all of those things - and more - anytime, I want to. We all can. I think it's good to keep pushing ourselves out of the way, standing up to life and saying, "Ok arsehole ... what next?"
This morning all of my guys - ALL of them, even my biggest guy who is my husband - walked into my bedroom and sang happy birthday and gave me the gun picture I've had my eye on for a while.
I feel completely different but exactly the same. Before brekkie I blasted the country version of Gaga's Born This Way. Rocco walked over to dance with me but changed his mind. "Just cuddle, mum." He let me cuddle him, and I wept for everything I've ever been through, for my friends who won't make it to forty, for the sheer fucking gratitude of it all. Making it this far, after everything that happened.
I shaved my legs in the shower and set the table and made a coffee .. all extraordinary things because they are so ordinary. I don't need to climb a bridge to make a statement about Recovery and Redemption and Faith ... I'm living it every day. Along with thousands, millions of other people on this planet. Just because I have a blog doesn't make me more special than anybody else - I know that. A lot of you are aware that something deeper happened here over the past year. Some of you aren't, and pore over my words to use against me. You can't. Stop trying.
Thank you to my sisters and brother and especially my mother. For understanding and not getting cranky when I tear our family years apart out of rage and anger. And letting me put it back together again and trying to make sense of it all.
Mostly, thank you.
Last year my blog saved my life. I can repay you using the only way I know how ... little pieces of my Spirit, interspersed on the blog page. I am the strongest, most powerful I've ever felt in my life. I was powerful at eighteen using my looks and my body, but this is a completely different power all together. IT IS HUGE. And real, and intense.
Out of everything I have ever been through, the hardest to bear was the Nothing. I thought the inside of me was empty, and kind of worthless. Like the Nothing in Neverending Story, rampaging through everything and turning it dark. I want you to know that it's not real. That you are enough. You have value, you have something to say, you do revolutionary acts every day and you don't even know it.
Do you know how many hurdles we have to get through before we're even born on this planet? It's a wonder any of us are here at all. But we are, man. As bumbling and strong and weak and fucking AWESOME as each other.
This is what forty looks and feels like.
Computer, there's much work to be done. Can you imagine, what's going to happen next?
In the words of Eminem: "The world aint finished swallowing my wad, I ain't finished blowin' it."