On Exhaustion, Friendship and Brave Conversations.

Last Tuesday at 8am, as I sat at my desk hunched over my keyboard, a wave of exhaustion hit me.

It was a cumulative exhaustion, one that had crept up on me over the past six months due to many big life changes. A new life with my partner Ric who comes with three kids, three grandkids, a dog and a cat. Moving in to live with him. Then buying a farm together. Then selling his city home. And then DIY renovations on the farm. And now packing, cleaning and moving.

To be sure, these are all very happy changes but they are huge.

My exhaustion turned into a melt-down as I retired to the couch and shed a few tears.

After a while, I grabbed my phone and sent an SOS text to my friend Angela Raspass.

‘Hey love, how are you going? Time for a call today?’ I asked.

‘Hey, happily. How’s midday?’ she responded.

Relief took over. I now had time to rest, walk by the stunning Birrarung (Yarra river) and reflect on the cause of my exhaustion before our call.

It was more than a feeling of being physically tired. There were other feelings coming through too.

There was resentment that I’d not devoted enough time to my writing, my business and marketing Brave Women Write which had affected my income.

And there was a longing to return to the things that sustain me that had fallen by the wayside. River swimming. Nature immersions. Reading. Friendships. Community.

Finally the time to Zoom with Angela came. She barely had time to say hello before I let it all out. No filtering. No apologies. I hardly took a breath as I vented and cried a little more.

Angela just held the space for me and became my compassionate witness. When I had nothing left to say, she began to offer me a powerful combination of coaching and mentoring.

She helped me realise that I’d unconsciously latched onto an old story from previous relationships. I’d unwittingly adapted my life to fit in with Ric’s even though he had never asked for it, or expected it.

This is common for many women in their partnerships with men. With nary a thought we give ourselves over while the man carries on oblivious. This is not man-bashing, just my own experience and that of many other women I know.

Because of this, I’d become grouchy at times and say things to Ric that I’d later regret. This is what happens when we are unconscious of what’s really going for us and we don’t have a wise woman like Angela to unpack it with. (If you like the sound of how she helped me, do reach out to her. She’s the best!).

While Ric and I share a wonderful vision for the farm and are very excited about it, I see clearly now that I had dropped my work and my passions to put our joint vision first and to support Ric.

I also observed that Ric and I have very different energy levels and propensities for chaos. He’s a get-shit-done, just-in-time guy who’s comfortable with ambiguity and disorder, while I’m a creator, planner and dreamer who craves calm and order.

The irony is that we love each other because of our differences. Being aware of this means that we can complement each other and become a formidable team.

Ten days on, I now see how wonderful, and even necessary, the last six months has been. Sometimes, we need to get lost in order to find ourselves again, right? I have returned to the things that sustain me and had a brave conversation with Ric from a place of empowerment rather than victimhood.

So, by now you might be thinking, ‘Well you can’t have it all! Something’s gotta give.’

Nah! Women can have it all. An amazing partnership. A sustainable farm. A purpose-driven business. A writers’ life.

We bloody well can have it all.

But only if we do the deep work to shed our old stories so we can write new ones for ourselves.

Talking with Angela and then writing this blog, has been the best way to let the exhaustion pass through me so I could hit the reset button.

If it’s time to find your voice and write a new story for yourself, reach out. There are three places left for the Brave Women Writers’ Circle which kicks off on Friday 28 July.

If you’re committed to developing a writing practice with the support of other women, there’s no better place to be.

With love

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Are you a woman who yearns to share your story with the world? Do you often find yourself suppressing your inner voice and waiting for that perfect day to start writing? Or perhaps you’ve begun writing and are feeling stuck? If so, the Brave Women Writers’ Circle is the right place for you.

As an experienced author, writer and educator, the Brave Women Writers’ Circle will be led and facilitated by Carolyn Tate. With only 12 places available, the 12-week program is designed to guide you in bringing your writing project to life while connecting you to a courageous community of other women writers.