Person in the Mirror

Reflections on the life of Weejars


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Kicking my monkey to the curb

That’s it. Enough is enough. I am determined to rid myself of this monkey on my back. I have spent the better part of this year suffering from a deep depression as a result of my second miscarriage. Saturday 24 November would have been my due date and though it was a horrible day, it has offered me some closure and much needed motivation to get on with my life again.

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See ya later monkey. You’re done giving me hell

I realised that I owe it to my little one to do this. My cathartic poem ‘You Never‘ that I wrote on that day has somehow spurred me into action. It made me realise that, yes, I have lost my baby and that was terrible. But why am I still punishing myself for this six months on? It was not my fault – I know I did everything right and was the best mum I could be. Even if that was only for twelve weeks. I am not honouring my baby’s short life by wallowing and being miserable and bitter. I am robbing myself of any happiness to enjoy the time I did spend being pregnant. My baby may not have got to live and experience all the things life brings, so it is my duty to make sure I do.

I have vowed to honour the memory of my baby by preparing myself as best I can for the next one. I have gained a lot of weight from my comfort eating and lack of self-care so that is number one mission – Operation eat healthy and exercise. Three days in and I’m doing great.
Once I have lost at least fifteen kilos (ok, maybe ten is actually more achievable) I will then start taking my prenatal vitamins and undertake acupuncture before TTC to help me make the next one stick.

A psychic told me when I was pregnant in March that she didn’t think this little soul was ready to be with me yet, but that it would be eventually. Maybe that’s next time.
I hope and pray it is next time…

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Faceless

You know the markers you pass on the road? The ones sheathed in flowers, trinkets, notes and heartbreak? The all too familiar indicators of another fatality that has occurred on our roads.

I often drive past wondering about these faceless people. They were someone’s mother, father, daughter, son. Beloved. Now gone.

These roadside shrines seem to appear by magic. Always with fresh flowers and obviously well attended and maintained. By more faceless people. The mother, father, daughter, son. Beloved. Now sorrowful and grieving.

Today I was heading home along the highway and, not out of the ordinary, observed a car pulled over by the side of the road. Usually it’s a mother tending to a sick child, a business man or woman talking self-importantly on their mobile phone, or more humorously, a person who couldn’t make it to the next bathroom making good use of the roadside shrubbery.

But not on this occasion. I was confronted by a young woman cocooned in her misery, lovingly tending to her lost one’s memorial. She was crying uncontrollably as she removed the flowers wilted from the hot sun and tied a fresh bouquet to the makeshift cross, on the tree.

I only caught a glimpse as I hurtled past at 110km/hr but the scene is etched in my mind as if a photo. I saw in her a mirror of all the faces of those who have lost. Traumatised, grief-stricken and haunted. This now sacred space, the last known link to their loved one. A place to cling to.

They are not faceless. It could easily be any one of us.
Take care on the roads one and all. Nobody should live or die this way.

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You never

Today would have been my due date. This is one of the hardest days in this journey of miscarriage. It marks the end of nine months that have had a far different outcome to the one I had planned for, for the one I had dreamed of.

Instead of holding my precious little one in my arms today, they are empty. Instead of my heart being filled to bursting with love and happiness, there is a dull ache that will never go away. Instead of being able to celebrate with my family and friends, I have sought solitude to sit with my grief. The pain never fades, you just learn to live life with a cushion around it.
You may be gone, but you are never forgotten my precious little one.

You never got to fully develop your little body,
But I can picture every detail of your perfectly formed features
As clearly as if you were before me.

You never got to wriggle and squirm in my belly,
But I can still feel you.
A hollowness inside that cannot be filled.

You never got to know my touch or arms holding you tight,
But I caress the memory of you with love
Hugging my pillow at night, wishing it was you.

You never got to breathe and fill your tiny lungs.
But I take deep breaths to soothe the ache in my heart.
Sighing, for what should have been.

You never got to hear my voice or know me as your mother.
But I speak to you often and the person in the mirror
Wears traces of you, etched in the lines of her face and on the curve of her lips.

You never got to experience happiness, joy or excitement.
But I lived these during the twelve weeks you were with me
A brief interlude that was over before it could truly begin.

You never got to experience sadness, loss or fear
But I know that if you had, I would have always
Picked you up, held you near and comforted you.

You never got to see your potential fulfilled,
But I dream of the ‘what ifs’ and alternate realities
All the endless possibilities, never realised.

You never got to cry out loud or shed any tears,
But I have shed enough for two lifetimes,
Maybe more.

The scar upon my soul
Is the only proof I have
That you ever even existed.

You will forever be my baby,
Never a toddler, child, teenager or adult.
The scales of injustice tip me over the edge sometimes.

But in the end, the balance is always maintained.
For everything you never did, I have done for you.
You are gone little one, but never, ever forgotten.

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An Angel in the book of life wrote down my baby’s birth. And whispered as she closed the book “too beautiful for earth.”


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Pieces of me

Lately, it feels like everybody wants a piece of me. Not in the ‘come-on-let’s-fight’ sense, but literally. A pound of flesh and all that. There just isn’t enough of me to go around.

My work, my friends, my family, my service club, my drumming group, my dogs…myself!

My head is starting to swim from the pressure of so many competing demands. Just thinking about all I have to do makes me feel overwhelmed, anxious and panicked. There just aren’t enough hours in the day!

I constantly have deadlines looming. I chase my tail trying to get on top of things again. I just want to secure some semblance of control. I seem to be the ‘can-do gal’ in everyone’s eyes but it’s exhausting feeling like you’re the only one who ever tackles the things that need doing and/or solves the world’s problems (*exaggeration I know but sometimes it feels like it!*)

The problem inherently lies in the fact that I can’t say ‘no‘. We all know the saying,
If you need something done, ask a busy person

Well, I’ve worked it out.
The reason they are busy is not because they are an
exceptionally organised, energetic, motivated, disciplined,
efficient super-breed of human

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….but, in fact it is because they are like me.

Simply put, saying no makes us feel bad. Even more than that, it instils a fear that we have let others down and they won’t like us. And so we continue to say yes, meekly taking it all on with a smile that is really a grimace, because inside we are screaming ‘ARRRRRRGGGGGGGGHHHHHH!’

I am trying desperately to get another job. But I don’t even have the time or energy to put into any job applications because I have too much on my plate. Crazy! This is an absolute priority yet I can’t even make time for my own needs?! This girl needs a lesson in ‘Assertiveness 101‘. And pronto!

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But in the meantime, something’s gonna give. I’m like an elastic band wound tight and ready to snap.

You wanna piece of me? You got it!!!!


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The little girl me

I had a ‘light bulb moment‘ session with my psychologist yesterday. I turned up for my 9am appointment, almost smug in the knowledge that I was doing well in terms of my anxiety, panic and depression. I know I have turned a corner recently and couldn’t wait to share this with her and be suitably praised.

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Not so much as enlightening but a ‘bowl me over’ kinda moment

To my surprise, she did not wish to speak about my current ‘happenings’ but instead, wanted to focus on a significant childhood memory. What?! Childhood memory? Hold the phones. How was this relevant? I didn’t sign up for a Sigmund Freud psychoanalysis! And certainly not on a Monday!

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Not today Doctor. I have a headache

To my surprise, within a couple of minutes, I was a blubbering mess. Dr Mac prompted me to remember an incident from my childhood, so seemingly simple I had completely dismissed the profound effect it has had on my entire life. The little girl me suffered such a personality smothering, courtesy of the infamous Australian tall poppy syndrome, that it has consequently contributed to the range of ‘schemas’ by which I now perceive all things in my life.

I am still processing this stunning revelation and I really hope I can somehow rediscover that part of the little girl me, that still is…

A man should not strive to eliminate his complexes but to get into accord with them: they are legitimately what directs his conduct in the world.
Sigmund Freud


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Three things – Wednesday 14 November

Three things I did that were brave today:
– I rang and declined a job offer despite the fact I am desperate to leave my very unhappy current work situation. The ‘new’ job would have been a step backwards and only provide a bandaid fix to the long term problem. I felt bad though for letting them down 😦
– I hand delivered a job application to a school! Rather than post or email, I put my personal mark on the method of letting them know I was interested.
– It’s been proven over and over again that when it comes to securing teaching positions it’s who you know. So I shamelessly rang a contact about the application I dropped in to the school so that they can put in a ‘good word’ for me. Fingers crossed!

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These may not seem like much, but for a meek and mild people-pleaser like me, all these things were a BiG deal! I must have put my big girl panties on today as I feel a strange sense of pride that I was able to go for it, conquer my fears and take some positive steps to my return to a career in teaching…

Click here if you need some big girl panties too


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The Dodgy Pub

After a five and a half hour drive, I pulled my vehicle up out the front of the dodgy pub. As I parked in the Main Street, I thought to myself, ‘Is this safe?’. I noted the street light next to my space and decided it would do. I was too tired for it to be otherwise. As I pushed myself through the ‘billy-the-kid-style’ swinging doors, I entered the hotel. A swarm of locals, perched upon barstools seemingly moulded to their butts, gazed at me in unison. Ten pairs of enquiring eyes, asking the unspoken question: Who are you and what are you doing in our town?’

I awkwardly informed the bartender of my purpose ie. a place to crash on my way home on the long road from Adelaide.

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The long road from Adelaide SA to Wangaratta VIC

Silently, he fetched my key. The Bates Motel would have given me a warmer welcome. After filling in the mandatory paperwork I meekly sequestered myself to the bistro and ordered myself some dinner, all the while thinking, ‘Jesus, it’s gonna take me some serious wine to get through this night’.

I ate my Caesar salad. A hideously overpriced meal that was surprisingly ok. I was approached by no less than five ‘randoms’ during this time. One smelling distinctly of cheap bourbon and his missus of cheap perfume. Not much difference between the two, truth be told. Bleary eyed locals are not really my scene so I hastily finished my food and dashed outside to collect my bag.

Entering again through the swinging cowboy doors, I retreated to my ‘digs’ for the evening (bottle of wine safely stowed). I am only one of two ‘guests’ for this lonely Saturday night (my co-lodger left me a lovely fragrant hint of her presence when I visited the bathroom just now, so I definitely know I’m not alone!)

Ensuring I have locked my door I indulge in some texting and correspondence with the ‘real world’ (ie. anywhere other than Donald, VIC). My friends do little to allay my fears of being a single white female in this vast, art-deco dodgy pub and encourage me to be careful. Um, duh?!

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The Lounge area of my lodgings

I have ventured to the loo a couple of times and each time the disembodied strains of drunken locals from the bar below, belting out Metallica, ACDC and Smashing Pumpkin lyrics does little to abate my nerves. I endeavour to compete with my own dance house tunes on my iPod.

I’m bullet proof, nothing to lose
Fire away, fire away.
Ricochet, you take your aim
Fire away, fire away
I am titanium

What the hell was that?
Creaking floorboards outside my door.
A latching door from across the way.
Oh gosh! $40 a night is not looking so good right now.
Who are these people whose voices and laughter
Are filtering through my window
What is that crashing, banging, clanging
Above my head?
Is this place haunted?!
Turn up the iPod and bring on the morning.

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The corridor at the Bullock’s Head Tavern

I find the namesake of this pub is literally, a local legend. The ‘bullock’s head’is a seriously creepy natural phenomenon that the town is really proud of. Apparently an area prone to flooding, the gauge of a big flood is Will the bullock take a drink?

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The infamous Donald Bullock Head

I can tell you, after one night here, it doesn’t take a flood to make me want to take a drink. And I would hazard a guess that I am far more reliable than any bullock…

See you on the flip side (I hope!)