Perspective [An Update of Sorts]

© Renae Smith
© Renae Smith
© Renae Smith

Well hello! I hope you have been well? This post has been sitting with me for some time now. What to write, what not to write, and if you know me well, you'll know that I tend to be more of a private person by nature, especially when part of this isn't my story to share. But it just didn't feel right to come back and not acknowledge the absence from here in some way, to share a little bit of what shaped my year and why I needed the time, so here goes...

Not long after the last post on here, rightly or wrongly I logged out and just stopped sharing in this space along with my social media accounts. I knew the moment was coming, as I had been feeling more disconnected with myself and my work for awhile and wondered how I had ended up where I was.

Then, my dad fell seriously ill and fought for his life for what seemed like an eternity. So the decision to step away from everything was an easy one, all that mattered was getting back to Australia as soon as possible and being there for my dad and family.

My world as I knew it, as it was for everyone in my family, was turned upside down. Every day, of those first two weeks, existed around visiting times and access limited to just two or three of us at a time. Gowns and masks were compulsory, and machines beeped continuously. It all felt horribly surreal; I had never been through anything like that before. I struggled to hold back tears when my thoughts would often return to my mum, who was still on her way back from travelling overseas, not willing to fully contemplate the possible outcomes that may lay ahead for all of us.

I now know that until you go through it, nothing prepares you for seeing a family member sick, let alone your dad. I felt helpless as I held his hand and looked into his tired eyes as he courageously fought for his life.

I also know that I am incredibly lucky that Dad has a second chance at life. I knew, but to witness just how unbelievably strong of a woman my mum is, makes me admire her even more. I see my role in my family differently. I am a stronger person because of it. I was able to be with my family and relatives during one of the most challenging of times. I was given the gift of perspective, however cruel of an experience, especially for my dad to endure.

Once I returned to London, I was exhausted, the full force of what had happened, I had only just begun to process in its entirety. Along with it I struggled to face the disconnection I had been feeling from my life and work. Everything unravelled. My emotions, and then sickness rattled through my body and would continue for months until I had no other option than to give in, and in January I finally sought rest. I was a complete mess.

It's taken me some time to get here, but slowly, first through activity, and then signing off altogether from the online space; I detoxed everything that I was feeding my body and mind. To make real long lasting changes, I had to create better habits, realign with my values, beliefs, and me. I've often felt like I've struggled to find my place in social media/online as it's never been my aim to keep up with any one thing or anyone, in particular, just for the sake of it, it's just not who I am. I realise now, I was looking at it the wrong way and I've simply had to let a lot of that go. It's just not important. To continue to connect with like-minded people online and importantly, offline, to learn, be inspired, supported, and offer the same in return is what is important.

By allowing things back into my life, on my terms, and letting go of things, relationships, expectations on other people and myself, I have started to feel back in control of my time. It's a work in progress, but my mind isn't busy before sitting down to create meaningful work. I am living more consciously. No notifications, less time spent online. In what will continue to be at times, a noisy digital world, I have to choose to approach it in a way that serves me, personally and professionally.

I know I am not the only one who has faced something like this or is facing something significantly harder, a more challenging time in their life. Especially given the times we live in. But I say all this because aren't we all just trying to navigate life the best we can? I think it can be an easy reaction to judge when we share so much of our lives online; however, we are all going through something at any given time, so a little kindness never goes astray. Along with my husband, I have been fortunate to have some very supportive people around me throughout this past last year, some who haven't been in my life for very long, but thankfully without judgement, while seeing me at my worst, have helped me through.

This was a long one and a long time coming, thank you for taking the time to read it.

I've got a lot of updating to do around here! I've moved the Friday Links posts to burrow.28's site, a move I had wanted to make for awhile while I'll be featuring more travel from past trips and upcoming work. I hope you have been well and I wish you a wonderful weekend ahead! Xx R