Reality bites

So the dire situation we find ourselves in in Cape Town at the moment is severe drought conditions. Consequently the municipality has imposed very strict water restrictions, meaning each person should use no more than 87 litres on average per day. That is intended for personal hygiene, drinking, cooking, washing clothes and any other household cleaning. 87 litres is not much.

An average shower uses 22 litres of water per minute. Thus a 2 minute shower is 44 liters which is slightly more than half my daily water ration. A toilet flush is 9 litres, so add 2 flushes and I’ve already used 62 litres! Then there all those seemingly small amounts that all add up. Let’s say 4 cups of coffee, washing the dishes, cooking rice or pasta, washing my hands two or three times a day. My 87 litres is used up in no time.

For the most part Capetonians have started realizing the severity and seriousness of the situation. Fortunately we’re a pretty resourceful bunch too. In my household, we reuse the water from washing dishes to water the plants. We shower with buckets in the shower, and then use that water to flush the toilet. Besides this, we subscribe to the commonly heard phrase, “If it’s yellow let it mellow, if it’s brown flush it down”, and we ask all our visitors to do the same. Similarly, when I visit my friends’ houses too – this is a common understanding – we’ve all adopted this water saving habit.

It surprises me that more people don’t subscribe to the same philosophy in the public restrooms that I’ve been to. The things is, we are all impacted by this drought – so in my opinion there is nothing embarrassing about not flushing the toilet in a public place if you’ve only wee’ed. It baffles me how selfish some people still are – so aware of themselves, that they would risk us all reaching Day Zero, as opposed to letting other people see their urine! Craziness. Thankfully, it’s only a handful of people who continue to be selfish and ignorant. I hope they’ll catch a wake up soon, stop being so proud and selfish and the hopefully with all our collective efforts we can avoid Day Zero.

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Day Zero is term that we more and more commonly hear being referred to. That’s the calculated day when our dams run completely dry. When that happens, every Capetonian will have to stand in a security guarded queue for a daily ration of 25 litres of water! To give you an idea of how much that is, see picture below of a 25 litre jerry can (or aspirator is the term used to refer to this container in a laboratory) positioned next to an ordinary sized coffee mug. Not much water uh… But that’s all we going to get per day for cleaning ourselves and homes, drinking, cooking and even flushing the toilet! That sounds insane but that is indeed our reality. Reality bites.

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So currently no potable water may be used for cleaning anything outdoors such as a vehicle or even watering plants. A while ago I realised that I can collect the most water when it rains from my downpipes (from the gutters) because of the large surface area of the house’s roof. It’s much more effective that just leaving a container in the middle of the garden, hoping to catch some rain. Those containers are never filled to capacity with rain water – despite me trying that numerous times.

So until now I have been using two 25 litre buckets to catch the water from my downpipes when it rains. There’s three problems with that though. Problem one is each bucket just contains enough water to water all my pot plants once. So in a week without any rainfall then my plants suffer. Problem two is those buckets don’t have lids so if it’s a really hot day after the day it rained, the contents of one of those buckets evaporates before the water is even used. Problem three, on the day it rains, the 25 litre buckets overflow – meaning I could of actually harvested more water if the container was bigger….. hmmmmnnnn think think think.

Auspiciously, I’ve now come to a decision which is hopefully is going to be the solution. Today (with the help of my Dad…. Thank you Daddy), I purchased two 240 litre wheelie bins (the type usually used for household refuse). I opted for the unusual colours red and yellow to avoid my neighbours mistaking either of my new bins as their own! Anyway, these bright bins are now strategically placed to catch any rain water that falls on my roof.

Keeping my fingers tightly crossed for rain sometime soon. My plants are feeling it – looking terribly sad. I believe a little rain has been forecast for Wednesday so I’m holding my breath hoping this new idea works. Who knows, with some luck I might catch enough water to top up my Jacuzzi! That’s another thing we not allowed to do…..top up pools and Jacuzzis. If my plan is successful however, take a guess where our Din Din club’s Christmas (Jacuzzi) party is going to be…..

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Remembering the Legend

We all need people to look up to.

Chris Barnard is one of my role models – has been since the day the minions and I visited the Heart Transplant Museum at Groote Schuur Hospital. A life changing experience for me. See the previous blog post: Chris Barnard #Legend . Significantly, he defined what being alive is for me. He said “Life is the joy of living – it’s the celebration of being alive” (from the YouTube clip featured in my previous post).

I believe he worked really hard for all that he achieved. His studies (and thereby essentially what he was able to give to humankind), didn’t come without significant personal sacrifice. Amid his trials and his failures but also his great success, his plain human nature was very apparent. His temperamental side, his sense of humour, his humility, his daring nature and his mischievous streak. That’s living damnit! Through the life that he lived, he made a difference.

Today is the 50th anniversary of “that difference” – the first heart transplant that took place in the world. Whenever I think about events around the day, it STILL completely inspires me. Prof Barnard, a Son of South African soil – a child from the Karoo, without an especially extraordinary or privileged upbringing considering the community he was born into, gave us all something to aspire to. A story of hope, a story of courage and a story that effort yields reward. Testimony of the human spirit.

Not disregarding that there were a number of people who made this part of history possible – I truly applaud them all. Chris Barnard was the leader though, that person who demonstrated the courage and led the way.

Today I pay tribute to you again Prof….. May you Rest in Peace

Scent of a woman

K so I absolutely LOVE perfume. Strangely enough I don’t really do cosmetics in general. I’m pretty sure that I’d injure myself if I tried to apply mascara or eyeliner. Just the thought of lipstick puts me off. It’s difficult for me to find a colour to suit my dark skin in the first place, and the idea of periodically reapplying it is terribly off-putting and tiresome in my opinion. So I go completely natural 99% of the time – the only thing I bother with, is some sunscreen in summer. I do have one cosmetic weakness though, and that is perfume. Fragrances actually, not only perfume = my kryptonite.

So I’m feeling kinda goofy now and came up with this idea to do a review of sorts on my favourite fragrances. Now I’m useless at identifying ‘top notes’ and ‘middle notes’, ‘base notes’ etc. … all that fancy terminology one hears when perfume boffins do a review. Similar to red wine reviews… I never taste the ‘cinnamon’ or ‘cherry’ or ‘liquorice’ flavour that the reviews describe – but I know what I like, and what I don’t like. So I’m just gonna wing it and tell you what perfume in my opinion one should wear for different occasions, or rather different moods.

Since I know it’s not everyone’s ‘thing’, I’ll number them and present them in order so it’s easier for someone to just read the ones they’re interested in:

1. Yardley Serendipity body spray

2. Lentheric Hoity Toity body spray

3. Elizabeth Arden 5th Avenue eau de toilette

4. Elizabeth Arden Red Door Aura eau de toilette

5. Elizabeth Arden Provocative Woman eau de toilette

6. Revlon Unforgettable eau de toilette

7. Issey Miyake Pleats Please (eau de toilette and parfum)

8. Issey Miyake ‘L Eau d’Issey eau de toilette

9. Issey Miyake Absolue eau de parfum

10. Versace Crystal Noir eau de toilette

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So I rely on a couple of different fragrances to keep my world in rotation, ranging from nice smelling antiperspirants (body spray or ‘blikkie spray’ is what my local friends would refer to it as) to eau de toilette to the really good stuff eau de parfum. Let’s start with blikkie spray.

1. Yardley Serendipity 

There are three brands of body spray that I simply love. Yardley Serendipity is the first one – it’s young fresh, very feminine but light, whimsical and almost magical. I keep a few cans of these around the house, one in my car and in most of my assorted hand bags, gym bag and surf bag for just in case. The smell is that feeling of ‘going away for a weekend to the beach house’ or even for those ‘biker chic’ times. Not overly feminine but just enough to make you feel like a girl even when you off on an adventure. Have a can in my biking jacket too!

2. Lentheric Hoity Toity

Then Lentheric Hoity Toity. There are five variants in a range of Hoity Toity, but I only like two. Hoity Toity Cherie and Hoity Toity Miss Priss – both of these are very feminine. I prefer Miss Priss over Cherie only slightly because it’s a little softer. It smells like pink fluff – if that makes any sense. It’s great for a day in the office when you don’t have important meetings lined up, but you do want people to compliment you by stopping and saying you smell good. Cherie is slightly bolder, it’s more of a ‘I am here’ smell but it’s also reserved for unimportant meetings…. parent-teacher school meetings (I’m so gonna get busted for saying that!) It’s super for when you go on a short course, and you not particularly fazed by anyone else (not really in the mood to chat to new friends), but you do want your presence acknowledged.

Then we move on to the better stuff.

3. Elizabeth Arden 5th Avenue

The next four are relatively inexpensive fragrances but they’re really nice and definitely perfect for certain occasions in my opinion. The first one, Elizabeth Arden 5th Avenue is a classic scent. It’s flowery but not overwhelmingly so. It has a familiar clean/new smell to it – like springtime. Smells like lilies or magnolias and the scent lingers moderately well. I associate it with early morning class. To me, it’s like a friendly and sophisticated school teacher smell. So it’s my preference for when I have to teach an undergrad stats class. Although definitely  a daytime fragrance, will actually also do ok if you out for an early casual dinner with good friends or family members. Not for clubbing and also not really a date night perfume in my opinion.

4. Elizabeth Arden Red Door Aura

Also from Elizabeth Arden is Red Door Aura. (Not the original Red Door). This too is a sophisticated fresh smell, but not a soft florally smell like 5th Avenue. It’s more spunky and youthful floral. This one is perfect for those days when you feel like you want to blaze through work. Getting up and getting dressed to impress. There is just a hint of seduction in this smell and lots of vibrance. Something in-between citrus, rose and jasmine is the guess that I would venture with underlying scent of musk, wood and amber. I realise all my favourite eau de toilettes and eau de purfumes have musk, wood and amber as their lingering base notes.

5. Elizabeth Arden Provocative Woman

The next one from Elizabeth Arden is one that I definitely will not wear to work. It’s name suits it… Provocative Woman. It’s fruity and gingery. This is perfect for a night of clubbing, to the pub or a smart casual outing… movies, theatre or even a dinner party at someone’s home. It’s friendly and feminine, initially a bit overwhelming but it settles down soon and doesn’t smell so sweet shortly after application. I imagine the sweetness is off-putting for some people during that initial application, but I especially like it for the club because the fragrance clings to me. Thus even after dancing up a storm (and we know I love to dance) I get to smell the fragrance on me and not so much body odour.

6. Revlon Unforgettable

Now this one, is my ultimate favourite fragrance to put on when I go clubbing. Similar to Provocative Woman, initially it’s rather potent. Because of the potency, I think people will either love it or hate it. It’s sweet smelling, but not a yucky sweet smell in my opinion (Chloe Narcisse and Kenzo Flower both have a yucky overwhelming too sweet smell to me. They both honestly smell amazing on other women. But I had a bottle of each and I have to give them away because I just could not handle the smell on myself). Unforgettable is not the same for me – it has some jasmine in it initially and then when it settles down, the very sultry amber, musk and wood that I love so much comes through and it stays! The whole night, even when I’ve danced until 5am. What impressed me the most is people still notice it on me at that time in the club. I kid you not, on more than one occasion a fella has told me that I smell amazing even though we’d been partying and dancing for hours before that. So this one is really good. An excellent buy and really relatively inexpensive. A 50ml of this is costs a quarter or even a fifth of the price of many of the others on this list. This is a definite nighttime fragrance – I would not wear it to work or even during the day.

7. Issey Miyake Pleats Please

Now I have to admit that I am an incurable Issey Miyake fanatic. Thus, I have rather an impressive assorted selection of Issey Miyake. My signature smell is Issey Miyake Pleats Please eau de toilette. And for an eau de toilette I think it’s pretty darn impressive. It’s moderately long lasting and it has a fresh flowery almost fruity smell but it’s not too sweet. It smells of exuberance and optimism. It’s just enough to make me feel serious but playful at the same time. It’s a lady’s fragrance, definitely not a girly fragrance. I think it’s more suited as a daytime fragrance but it is rather audacious, so you could wear it to go out for a fun time, drinks or dinner with friends at night.

There are two other variants of Pleats Please, namely Pleats Please L’eau (also an eau de toilette) and then Pleats Please eau de parfum. Pleats Please L’eau is very light and flowery, it smells rosy (literally). I’ll only wear that in the daytime, maybe when I have a dentist or psychologist visit. It says ‘I’m pretty, but I don’t really want to be seen right now – even though I smell like a rose garden’. (Cheeky side note: I don’t think anyone can take you serious if you smell like this – but I have a bottle in my collection).

The Pleats Please eau de parfum smells almost identical to the eau de toilette except it is just a degree sweeter. It surprises me that they smell so similar since the composition is reportedly very different. The floweriness is the same, the parfum just doesn’t end with a woody or musky note and it’s not quite as upbeat, rather it’s more feminine – although both are distinctively Pleats Please. In plain language, the eau de toilette says ‘I am hot’ and the eau de parfum says ‘I am beautiful’ – but they both say Issey Miyake Pleats Please! I think the parfum is absolutely perfect to wear to a summer wedding.

8. Issey Miyake L’Eau d’Issey

This I reserve for important work (e.g. very important business meeting – because it’s a confidence booster) or otherwise just for any time when I want to feel special. For a long time Issey Miyake L’Eau d’Issey eau de toilette was my signature – till I discovered Pleats Please which is slightly more playful but still bold enough to be taken seriously. Issey Miyake L’Eau d’Issey is a confident trailing jasmine scent. Not too sweet, not too playful but not too serious either. A classic smell. Definitely a smell that says ‘I am here, I am gorgeous and you are not going to pretend that you don’t notice me’. When I consult I tend to wear Issey Miyake L’Eau d’Issey. It lingers around. By the end of the day I’m still smelling devine, but more woody and musky, just a little bit of white floral that it started so strong with. Thus it’s a daytime scent but can easily pass as a nighttime scent, whenever you want to feel confident, or just special or for a fancy-dinner-kinda special occasion.

9. Issey Miyake Absolue 

Very similar to the Issey Miyake L’Eau d’Issey but not as crisp. Very jasmine, bolder jasmine but not too sweet. It’s rounder, more sultry. The scent of seduction. Catsuit or sexy black number and stilettos kinda feeling. Simply a gorgeous beautiful scent. This scent is reserved for a special date night. I don’t think I’ll ever wear it to go clubbing or to a work conference banquet even. It’s just too very sensuous. This is a definite nighttime fragrance – or if you must a daytime outing, road trip etc. with someone really special.

10. Versace Crystal Noir

Although I absolutely love all the above-mentioned, my favourite perfume is Versace Crystal Noir. I came upon this one by accident and what a find! It was a gift I bought for someone else but I never got to give it to her. So one night ended up opening it and trying some on. Oh My Word. It’s warm and spicy. It’s different. Rounded and exotic smelling but not overwhelming. And somewhat florally too. Then when it settles, the amber, wood and musk scent stays on you like a luxurious cloak. It’s undeniably feminine. In my opinion it smells very similar to Thierry Mugler’s Alien (on me at least). It’s the smell of a Goddess. Funny I don’t have a specific occasion that I would recommend someone wearing this on. I guess it’s for days you feel like being a Goddess. Every day if you wish. For me it’s any day that I remember that I am one.

 

Sometimes…

Sometimes I get scared.

This scared that I’m referring to is a unique kind of scared. Not unique to me but certainly not the same kinda scared as that kind when you eat seafood at an unknown restaurant, or the scared you feel just before you jump off Lion’s Head to start paragliding.

It’s the kinda scared when you feel excited but extremely fearful at the same time. Because it’s the “I’m growing” kinda scared. I can equate this scared to the feeling when I discovered I was going to be a mother the first time, or the time I left my permanent job and decided to be my own boss. With both those experiences I was frightened so badly that it felt as if my sphincter muscles went into spasm, causing the bowels to release with the result of me soiling my pants (that’s euphemism for a word we all know). I was scared shishless.

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So that’s how I sometimes feel now when I think about where I am on my journey. Not regretful, not remorseful. Feeling a little brave, sometimes a bit worn, tired and lonely but still strong enough. Feeling a bit small, but not insignificant. I need to grow.

These thoughts came about because of the work I’m doing on my PhD – this blog is mainly about my PhD journey after all. But a PhD doesn’t happen in isolation from the rest of one’s life. Besides the PhD, Life is a christmas trifle of events, experiences and feelings. And this is where things get muddy and confusicating in my head.

Fact – the PhD is merely a tool for me to serve a purpose. Like the work I have and do, also only a tool for me to serve a purpose. Or the friendships and relationships that I have – a tool. Even my role as a mother – simply just a tool. I get confused between these tools and my true purpose. My true purpose is to love.

When I give myself enough space, then I remember it’s all about balance. My purpose is my foundation and as I go along building my castle, I sometimes forget about my purpose. I build walls and structures that I either knock down some time later, or they were so structurally unsound that they collapse by themselves some time later anyway.

If I am too focused on the PhD, then I forget about my journey. My splendid beautiful journey, this adventure I am on, called Life. And then there are the times I forget about my purpose – because I am too taken in by Life and the wonderous distractions it has to offer. That’s when this “scared” has an important function. It serves as a reminder for me balance it out. Stop, breath, reconnect the dots and realign.

When I’m feeling that kind of scared, if I go quiet then I hear the little voice inside of me telling me that I can do it. Urging me on. I was created for my purpose – so I have everything that I need, no matter how high or daunting the mountain before me seems.

My mountain at this moment is this model I’m creating for the South African pharmaceutical industry – like for the country. Yah it’s all relative, so to some people that’s like meh whatever, it’s only big in Bronwyn’s mind. We all have our own perspective. To me it’s responsibility, and it is potential. It can be huge. It can be brilliant. And I’m the one in charge.

So I’m scared. I know what I must do. I feel it, but fear grips at my heart. But I’m embracing this scared. I am embracing the uncertainty of what I see and what logic based on facts and probabilities dictates to me. It’s time for me to ignore that. It’s time for me to trust my internal GPS again. True story, it never lets me down.

 

Could this be?…

So I couldn’t sleep earlier. Had a couple of things on my mind. I’ve just managed to get two tickets for the HSBC Rugby Sevens finals in Cape Town on the 10th… and good tickets at that, but I can’t go because I already have tickets for Majozi at Kirstenbosch. Also I’ve been to Sevens twice before so I’m feeling kinda meh about it anyway. While tossing and turning I decided to rather go to Majozi and donate the rugby tickets to my kids’ school to raffle off at their Food Fair happening on the 1st December.

Then I grappled with thoughts regarding one of my M students who is rather battling at the moment. She is making progress but very slowly. Her writing isn’t always coherent. I think the thoughts and ideas are in her head, but she battles to articulate them academically. That’s something I think all postgrad students – including myself, can relate to. So typically after reviewing just a few paragraphs, I’ll often send her work back to her to rewrite, after having made some changes myself but then eventually deciding it’s actually is her job – since she’s going to get awarded with the Masters Degree afterall.

I feel for her though. It’s an uncomfortable struggle because it’s been almost three years now and she still hasn’t hit the sweet spot. I think there is still hope. I firmly believe just a few more steps and it will come together for her, however I also think she is losing faith. The truth is, there is nothing I can do about that. It’s a fact of life, a philosophical stance I just started adopting but should have a long time ago actually…. sometimes things are just out of one’s control. It’s better to let it go. She has to decide to motivate herself. This is not my monkey to carry, so I am not going to try to hold on or control it.

So then I just tossed and turned thinking about nothing in particular for another few minutes before deciding bugger this, I might as well just get up and work for a bit. My own work has also been progressing – also slowly – but steadily. The end goal has increasingly been coming into focus. The past few weeks I’ve had really solid ideas, and this week it felt to me as if I made ‘first contact’ with what the final product of my work should look like.

I’ve been collecting all the bits and pieces, so tonight just before I attempted to go to bed the first time I printed a process flow of the pharmaceutical manfacturing process so that I could map my thoughts directly onto that printed page later. I’m glad I did, because as I sat down earlier I literally scribbled all the bits and pieces of information I had onto this page, and then used coloured pens to connect my thoughts. It was then that I started seeing what my model is going to look like 😍.

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My supervisor will more than likely want to string me from my toes for openly blogging about my research findings, let alone posting this picture – but I’ll take my chances because I’m feeling rather stoked. And I’m pretty darn sure this makes very little sense to anyone but me in this very rudimentary format. I’m just so proud and happy it actually finally seems like ‘something’ that can work! Loads of work still ahead but let’s take this moment and say ‘Three cheers to perseverance’ Hip Hip hurray. Hip hip hurray ….and the last one Hurray! ☯️👏🏾🥂🍾

A case for child protection services?

I’d like to tell you the story of our exciting adventure tonight…. the culinary kind🍴🍽🥗🥄

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It started when I announced we’d be going vegan 🌱 for the evening. This announcement was greeted with a barrage of protests, accusations of child neglect, and a threat to report me to child protection services 😃. Gotta love my minions – I guess the saying is true, “the apple(s) don’t fall far from the tree”. Absolutely true viz Attitude^2!

Anyway, despite the protests we prepared dinner, and guess what…. Not too shabby hey. Heck, I think it looked quite amazing 😉

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And wait wait what?…. what is that?…. could it be? ….yes it might be – A smile detected 😁

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Indeed! It was tasty too. We might just do it again me thinks.

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Crafting

Ok peeps – so this post is heavy. If you not in the mood for heavy then I strongly recommend you rather skip reading this one. I have a couple of hopefully interesting posts coming up shortly, besides the Bespoke vlog. Gonna write something on tattoo removal (yikes I’m getting that done!… again) and other cool summer vibes. PS_1096_SOMETHING_STUPID

 

I’m sure you’ll enjoy those blog posts. Have a few awesome plans for summer – another murder mystery dinner, more on the Galileo open air cinema I went to last night, an archery lesson coming up etc etc etc. Bring on summer! (Yeah yeah Ok – Some work too :))

 

8 November 2017Crafting … that’s what it feels like. I love the word ‘crafting’, because in my mind there is a connotation between crafting and creating something good and beautiful.

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Two nights ago, Monday 6 November was particularly significant to me. That the day that I decided to surrender and separate the anxiety derived as a consequence of my past from my current identity. That is not the same as surrendering pain, Nope. Forgiveness is surrendering pain – surrendering the past – well that is something different.

Few months ago I surrendered pain. I forgave. That was good for healing. So the start of healing took place – and yet on Monday I realised there is still something holding me back from fully embracing my future. I was holding on to my ‘history’ as an integral part of my present-time identity. Through nothing other than grace, I started realising that for me, this can no longer work. Certainly not in light of the aspirations of the future that I have for myself. 150848-crafting-quotes-and-sayings

Thus, I am mentally excising my (what I regard as painful) history from my present and my future. In a nutshell – whatever events has happened to me previously from as early as childhood, and whatever I have thought, said or even did in the past is not part of my identity any longer. I am crafting a new me. The ‘new me’ is based on all the lessons I have picked up along the way in the past, but without giving that past any credit (memory) or importance in my life, and who I am today. All the negatives that happened in my life before this particular moment shall have no share of my current identity.

See I forgave people who I felt wronged me – some deliberate and some of it sincerely unintentional. But that was not enough though. I know some people did not mean to hurt me – what happened was more about them than about me. And in 2017, I also discovered I had deep seated self-esteem issues related to my relationship with my mother. This sort of shaped my personality and is partly the reason I have been so rebellious my whole life. It’s partly the reason why I have sought approval in places and from people (including previous partners) that I did not need to do. #WorkInProgress.imagesN1N27V3U

After I identified this, I worked through other issues – seemingly failed moments in my life. Then I did the next  important thing, – I forgave myself and I started truly loving myself and working toward filling my own needs. This feels really really good. Owning my own sense of worth.

2017 has been a struggle. But I guess a good struggle?…, I had to deal with painful situations, some related to my studies – but most of it related to myself. About 50% related to relationship stuff and 50% related to discovering myself. True story – the 50% related to relationship stuff would never have come about or transpired the way they did if I had investing more time in me in the first place. Dumb ass girl –  But no regrets. I think we only ready to do what we do when ready. 

During the above-mentioned time, I picked up skills such as identifying emotions and using my feelings to guide my thoughts, listening to my inner voice and gaining strength from that. On Monday, by doing this, it dawned on me, that all the forgiveness (of others and of myself), the letting go of the pain and the exercise of loving myself and others regardless, is completely useless if I don’t surrender the association between that that happened (and the ‘healed me’) from my current ‘identity’. Whatever is done is done – thinking about, remembering it, or using it to direct decisions in my future is rubbish. Tired of it so I’m tossing my history. All of it. Serves me no longer.untitled.png

Happiness Everyone. Seven more weeks before the end of the year, and I feel like rocking it. Let’s have ourselves a kick ass glorious summer!