I made the mistake of not saying ‘No’…

A couple of years ago I decided that I was going to say ‘No’ more, stand by my decision and not feel as though I had to justify my response. It served me well, particularly in my personal life. Saying no to outings I did not want to go to, saying no to having people in my space, saying no to things that did not please me or make me feel happy.

Sounds tricky right? It isn’t, not really. Once you let go of the guilt or assumed expectation that you ‘better’ have a good excuse. Truth is, you do not owe anyone your time, or pieces of you aren’t willing to share.

A couple of weeks ago I was put in a position where I couldn’t say no. I wanted to, with every fibre of my being. I knew full well that I would come home feeling like absolute trash. I tried to trust the experience like maybe it was not going to be a complete and utter waste of time. That I would be left raw and exposed. Of course, it went exactly how I expected it to. I went in with the best intentions, tried to leave my suspicion at the door of the intention behind the entire thing. Within an hour I could feel the judgement being cast upon me. Which is always rich when it is coming from someone who would be better off minding their manner and attitude.

So I sit here a fortnight later, still annoyed. I still feel as though I was made to expose a part of me which I was fiercely protecting. I tried to go to this event with solidarity with my Partner and instead what I suspected came true. I was the commodity. I was not welcomed, I was judged and I left feeling as though I had put myself into a position of judgement.

I now feel like the life I have tried to hard to justify and protect was left wide open for the criticism of people who, quite frankly, mean absolutely nothing to me.

Sometimes we cannot put our foot down, we find ourselves in a position of compromise. When you are in a relationship and you love your partner, you can sometimes ignore your gut instinct. Just like I did. I tried to push aside my suspicions and that awful feeling in my stomach. I tried to embrace the potential for new connections and (heaven forbid) acceptance.

It would seem that even seven years on, I still let the opinions of nobodies and those who are so far removed from being important in my world, hurt me.

Next time I will say no, and I will be firm in my response. I did for so many years, was challenged and ridiculed for it. Yet, when I finally backed down, I ended up in a space of hurt and sadness.

So I ask you, what do you do to reclaim your space, your purpose and your self-love when there has been a speed-bump you have gone crashing into? How do you leave yourself open to your partner and new opportunities, yet closed to criticism or judgement from others?

Courtney x

Protecting your own Self-Peace & Energy

When do you stop farming out your own energy, at the cost of your own self-peace just to be hurt or to have it thrown in your face?

I spent my twenties spread too thin. Constantly trying to juggle the number of confusing friendships and competing priorities. Only to have most friendships dwindle away.

My thirties have always been about protecting those friendships which are precious to me. Regardless of where our lives take us. Marriages, travel, families, interstate moves, building houses. Whatever it was, it would never be enough to break these long term friendships up. However you long for your friends. You miss their cuddles and your heart just isn’t quite the same without their laughter.

Food for thought…

I watched my husbands younger family member Skype her friend and text her at the same time and I thought it was overkill. Then I realised how much I missed my friends. What I would have done to be with them and see their faces. It’s true that you can experiencing heartbreak away from those you love. I made a solid effort at growing my friendship group but mostly I just feel disappointed.

New friends rarely work out. Everyone wants something from you, some people like to keep you close especially if you’re life is complicated, or you’re a natural problem solver or in a position to help them. I’ve tried to fight those thoughts recently, but have ended up burned once again.

I’m sure it’s possible to develop new friendships as you age, but the screening process is so much more complicated. I find myself at the moment looking around at several people who a year ago I considered close and now I barely speak to them.

I can’t be everyone’s big sister. I can’t keep being the work mum.

My friendship is not one sided. I have needs as well. I’m consistently trying to help others. I end up a free and over utilised source of psychological counselling. Only to find myself turned inside out, feeling exposed and exhausted. Yet, because of the strong personality people are so prone to point out, I am very rarely asked if I am okay.

I am not okay. I am tired, I am worn and I am confused. I have stuff going on, my needs and wants are valid and I too need a listening ear.

As I approach my mid-thirties and race towards a massive change in my life, I’ve started thinking about how I can reclaim my space, my time and start putting me first. I still want to be a good friend, to those friendships that nourish me but I need to learn how to close the door on non-serving friends.

Any advice on how to do this effectively and kindly, while protecting my own space and peace is welcomed. Thank you x

Courtney

Extreme Engagement, and why #couplegoals is toxic.

I treated Extreme Engagement the way I treat a packet of Tim-Tam’s, greedily, by myself and with audible exclamations.

Filmmaker, multi-award winning cameraman, journalist & television presenter Tim Noonan and United Nations award-winning reporter, producer, writer and news anchor together are the brains and (phenomenal) skills behind Extreme Engagement.

This show, which if you haven’t watched yet, get on it (!), premiered on Netflix this week and it is incredible. At first, I was a little worried I would be sitting down to some fluffy Bachelorette-typed love story with a couple swanning around to different destinations.

Wrong. There is no swanning. This is travel at its rawest and this is a couple who spent two years apart following their engagement. My husband and I were long-distance for around 18 months and when we were together we had struggled over small things. I can only imagine the volcano it would have been if we were in the middle of nowhere, struggling with language and not sure how to communicate with one another.

I know that I get the shits if he takes me somewhere he has been before, my mind kicks into overdrive – who was he here with, what memories does he already have here, why does he want to come back.

Sidenote: I am a far more jealous human being than either Tim or PJ, as is my Husband and so this 12-month experiment would have lasted approximately one week and I would have packed my bag and bailed out to the comfort of my home.

I think it is important to travel with your significant other. Not just on some all-you-can-eat, booze-infused trip, but head somewhere together where you are both out of your depth. This will challenge you to work together or work against each other. Take a deep breath before you lose your shit in the underground because neither of you speaks French and you can’t read the signs (me).

When I finished this show (and desperately wanted more), I realised that there is no such thing as #couplegoals, and there really shouldn’t be. We all have our own journey’s and our own adventures, arguments, highs and lows.

Thank you for sharing your journey with us, it was raw and realistic and I have never empathised with a couple more through the t.v. It affords you that very rare opportunity to see both sides of the coin and it challenges your beliefs, stand-point and any pre-conceived stance you may have.

IMG_2892When I was watching this it reminded me that fighting with your significant other does not mean we are compatible. It’s how you approach disagreements and troubles in your relationship that matters. Screaming and losing your shit doesn’t mean you don’t belong together. Choosing to work through it, work out your problem-solving approach and how you come back together after a disagreement is what matters.

I wouldn’t change my relationship for anything in this world, and PJ and Tim sharing their lives in this binge-worthy show only reinforced this for me.

I won’t offer any spoilers, but honestly, this journey was amazing from start to finish – I binged it over a Thursday night and finished it on my Friday lunch-break. It left me wanting more, I have the utmost respect for both Tim and PJ and I wish them all the happiness and love in the world.

Also, pretty sure my next holiday needs to be to Yanaba, immediately.

To watch Extreme Engagement click here.

x Courtney x

Thank you for reading my post! I am a Brisbane based creative and blogger. I do not receive payment for my blogging, and in the event, I have been gifted any products and items, I will always mention this. I live with my Husband, make hand-crafted household and personal eco-friendly items, accessories, and provide photographic services when requested.

If you enjoyed my post, I would be so appreciative if you left me a review and liked this post.

You can find me on:

Instagram 

Facebook 

Pinterest 

For any wholesale, product sale, blogging or photographic requests – please email me at hello@courtneygayecreative.com.

Picture credits: MEAWW / Netflix / Courtney Gaye

 

Gratitude Journal Day 5 – I am grateful I can hear…

Gratitude Journal Day 5 – I am grateful I can hear…

Music

The sound of the Australian bush

The intro to my favourite tv shows

My little Niece and Nephew saying my name

The boarding announcements prior to an adventure

Campfires

The sound of an excited pet when you come home

The popping of champagne bottles

The perfectly executed high-five

The silence at the top of a mountain

The ‘I love you’s’

 

What are you thankful you can hear?

x Courtney x

 

 

Gratitude Journal – Day 5 -Financially

Gratitude Journal – Day 4 -Financially

It is said you should not talk about politics, sex or money in public settings or with people you do not trust. I have had people absolutely freak out in the past when I have asked them how much they earn. I suppose given I am Gen-Y, I really did not consider it to be a rude question, I was curious, I also never became jealous at someone else’s wage. We weren’t doing the same jobs, we had different industries and qualifications, why wouldn’t I just be happy for my friends?

In terms of gratitude, I might take a different route here.

money pink coins pig
Photo by Skitterphoto on Pexels.com

I am thankful for how my parents taught me too look at and deal with money.

We were not rich, my parents worked two jobs each at any one time and my Mum was back at work within two months of having her babies. They worked so hard. They did not complain about it, it was instilling in us that there are no hand-outs. If you want something, you need to work for it.

When I was 14 and 9 months I started working. Here in Australia and back in 2001, that was the age you needed to be to start working. My parents had pretty high expectations of me in terms of being accountable with money. My first pay week I was paid $64 (such a strange thing to remember eighteen years later).

I remember paying $40 for a Billabong school bag, I bought a coke and a couple of magazines and that was that, pay gone. Yes, I said school bag. I had an old bag from a proper bag shop but I was 14 and I too wanted a brand-name bag. It was sky blue and gorgeous. It was completely impractical, squashed all of my things and was not comfortable but I was so proud that I had paid for it.

The next pay Mum and Dad let me know I would need to pay board weekly, buy my own toiletries and anything else I wanted. I had so many people around me freak out about this. They thought my parents were being unfair. Which they weren’t.

I have had a budget since I was 15, I know what needs to go where and when. I had an ING account at 16, long before it was easy to do so. That’s not to say I have been super responsible with money, I have absolutely blown the budget, ended up in debt, paid interest rates which would make your eyes water and purchased a stack of sh*t I in no way needed.

person writing debt on paper
Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

I’ve also travelled around the world. I own my car. I have a few clothes, not from k-mart and I have a photography kit I am very proud of. My spreadsheet is still going strong, I manage my money well, and I have such a healthy appreciation for working for your money.

I work my butt off, I have my side business selling accessories for a very small profit which I donate to charity. I married a man who treats income and money the way I do. We have goals and plans and we know that we are the only ones who will achieve them.

The world owes you nothing. You are responsible for your own financial situation. Of course, I am not including anyone who has been the victim of fraud or who has been financially dependent on someone and had that taken away, but from two people who were raised by four people who still work their arses off to live the life they want, just know that you can do it.

adult background beach blue
Photo by Lukas on Pexels.com

My tips *not at all endorsed by any financial advisor or with any actual technical knowledge*

  • Short-term payday loans are a horrendous thing. Do NOT do them. You will absolutely screw your credit rating and if you are not diligent in your repayments you are looking at incredibly high-interest rates.
  • Afterpay is NOT responsible for your debt. You are. Afterpay has been set-up to provide a take-home lay-buy service. You read the T&C’s, signed on the dotted line and committed to your repayments. If you end up taking on more than you can repay, then I am sorry that’s on you. It is not a financial ‘trap’, there is absolutely no additional money you need to fork out if you make your repayments on time.
  • Do not avoid debt collector phone calls. They are legally obligated to strike a deal with you to repay your debt. Ignoring these calls does not make the issue go away. It becomes more expensive and you are seriously jeopardising your credit rating in doing so. Take the call, accept responsibility and come to an agreement.
  • Do NOT declare bankruptcy there are always steps before this. Declaring bankruptcy may seem ideal because in some circumstances they ‘wipe’ your debt. Do you know what else is wiped? Your right to travel internationally, work in any insurance or banking field or obtain any credit for who knows how long!

Ask for help, speak up – contact your bank. As for extensions, ask for help. Stop taking debt. Know that you have choices, always.

x Courtney x

 

 

Gratitude Journal – Day 4 -Today I am grateful for

Gratitude Journal – Day 4 -Today I am grateful for

Is there anything you could be more thankful for, aside from being given the day to be asked this question? Even though some days are so incredibly difficult and dark – we are still able to answer the question.

For me, today I am thankful for having peace. My mind is at ease, my anxiety and depression are controllable and I am currently listening to two of my favourite people laughing in the other room.

I am able to sit and write, to go through photos I love, to plan for the future. To respond to my friend’s messages with ease and with want.

This week has not been perfect, my emotions have not been perfect but today, today I am at peace.

My Husband and I are making plans for the future, plans which are far more attainable than they were only 6 months ago. Our lives are improving every day, our relationship goes from strength to strength and we are surrounded by people who love us, love for us and love with us.

x Courtney x

Gratitude Journal Day 3 – Hometown

Gratitude Journal Day 3 – Hometown

I actually don’t have one? I would say that Brisbane is home, but there certainly is not a suburb or town that I would equate with ‘hometown’.

By the time I was ten we had moved ten times and I was already up to my fifth school. To define a home ‘town’ is too tricky. So instead, I will write about home.

Home was always where Mum was. We had learned from a young age never to have too much attachment to a place, a room, a tree or a house. Our home was our family, wherever our roots were at any one time.

Home was where the sounds of music blasted when Mum was cleaning or cooking. Home was where the smell of Dad’s work shirts and Mum’s perfume was. Home was where the three kids fought tooth and nail for the first/last/longest shower. Home was where after dinner the three of us would battle over who was doing the washing up, the wiping up and the cleaning of the table and chairs and benches (washing up was the best because you were in and then OUT – I hated drying up).

Home is where our good mornings, goodnights, Happy Birthday and Merry Christmas’ were said. It is where our dogs, Lucy and Gina were. It is where the five of us built our lives, and more importantly, lived our lives.

Home is where we would steam our faces over Tupperware bowls with Eucalyptus oils when we were sick, or fight to the death over finishing the cake batter from these same bowls. Home is where the house phone cord would be dragged from one room to another, the curly curd under a closed door – teenage conversations ongoing throughout the night.

Home is where I dragged my suitcases of saved magazines from residence to residence throughout all of those years. It is where I would rearrange my bedroom as many times as possible. Where I would adorn every wall/ceiling and cupboard with posters. Where there was always a huntsman to find before it found you.

It was where the air conditioner was only used on Christmas Day. Where caramel sliced was sneaked from the fridge at all hours of the night. Where coffees were zapped in the microwave and corned beef was only made outside. It was where there was a mad dash to the spinach quiches

Home was where Chrismas carols were blasted from the TV and Christmas presents brought out to be placed under the tree. Where little hands would reach in the dark to Christmas sacks to try and work out if Santa had made it, and what had he left.

Where Sunday pikelet mix was made, Monopoly games were played and loud, happy and mental laughing occurred.

Home was and is where my family is. Always.

x Courtney x

Gratitude Day 2 – Health

Gratitude Day 2 – Health

I guess that ultimately, given it is meant to be an essay on gratitude, this should be positive things about my health, so here goes.

I am alive and for all intents and purposes, I am healthy. I am able to get around day to day, I have no physical diseases etc., I have overcome several health issues, have gone under the knife many times and struggle with shoulders and knees and my spine – but in your thirties, who isn’t struggling?

I am thankful for my hearing, music and conversation are my main loves.

I am thankful for my eyesight. Nature and all of the things around me I love to look at. Always. Photography, reading and looking at those I love, I have my eyes to thank for all of these.

I am thankful for my height. I wasn’t always, I was gangly and tall and weird, sort of just standing out like a long, white-limbed, red-headed weirdo. I love being tall it taught me to stand up for myself, my posture is strong, I don’t need a little set of stairs or a stool to reach anything. I see more people. I observe others. I do not get lost in a crowd.

I love that I have the physical ability and more importantly, I am thankful for my physical ability. To be able to explore, to feel the grass under my feet, to wrap my arms around those I love. To feel the sensation of rain on my skin, wind at my back and sun on my face. How could we not be thankful for these gifts?

I am thankful for having a sense of taste, for a multitude of reasons. The sense of smell, possibly more than the sense of taste for me. The sense of smell is so unique to each of us. Memories which come rushing to the surface when we smell something we love. The ability to smell danger is also so important.

I am thankful for my heart and my soul for always being strong. For being determined. For marching forward despite their setbacks.

I am thankful for my brain for although she brings me trouble daily, she is doing her best to improve. I overthink, but I have the ability to think. I am sensitive, I overthink things and I am intuitive beyond a fault, but at thirty-three, my ability to sense absolutely BS and run the other direction is a wonderful thing to have. I although distressed, am as equally thankful for my brain’s ability to recognise distress as it is and try to pry its own hands out of its own clutch. To fight for normality. To fight for peace. To always fight to be better. Oh, dear brain of mine, you bring me so much confusion and yet I know that after thirty-three years you are doing your absolute best to grow with me, to support me and to love me.

We aren’t there yet, but we will never stop trying.

x Courtney x

Thank you to everyone who read and responded to my essay yesterday! I had no idea that a little reflection on my awesome-foursome family would get such a strong reaction! To be honest, I also had no clue that my essay would automatically share to my Facebook page, so it was quite raw and honest!

 

Gratitude Journal Day 1 – Family

About my family – who they are and why I am grateful for them.

I have a very small immediate family, there are four of us and we are fiercely protective of one another. There used to be five of us, but things change and disease can get in the way. It was a phenomenally rocky time. If I am honest, we all still struggle with it in our own individual ways each and every day.

I am thankful for my four. I have two siblings who would set this world on fire for one another and a Mother who has no idea how incredibly strong and amazing she is.

My family taught me to work for what I wanted. To be aware of how lucky we are to live where we do. To appreciate time with those you love, and to never expect anything. A sense of entitlement was not something which was bestowed amongst us. We valued each and every treat we ever received, we never complained about our parents being out of sight, because we knew that they were working hard to provide for us.

We all went through something uniquely traumatic and devastating, we came out the other side and met each other there, though our journeys were all different – we may have all entered the abyss together, but we all emerged from separate tunnels. Kicking, screaming, shocked. I have to tell you, for anyone who ever mutters the sentence ‘touched by cancer’ – take yourself away, rethink your sentence and have another go. There is no light touching involved. It is a demolition derby, created by fear and doubt and terror, wrapped up in an all-consuming and suffocating blanket of sadness. Followed by years and years of grief.

My family is kick-arse and I am thankful for all of them.

My Brother is a rock at all times, he may have intentionally moved as far away as he possibly could, prefers animals to people and is the only 27-year old I know who has no social media, but he is absolutely everything any and all of us need.

My Sister is the chalk to my cheese. We could not be any more different, and yet our similarities define us. We know what is and what is not important. We don’t hide anything under any rug. We rip that rug from the ground and expose all of the hurts and annoyances. We all speak a different language, have our own standing point and our own battles to fight, but if the battle comes from outside of our circle – then you will get all four of us defending who we are.

We are funny. We are arseholes. Our sense of humour is unique. Our Mum has barely been able to follow a conversation between her three children for twenty years. Nobody can quote a movie the way we can. We all have our Mother’s chin, tenacity, humour and resilience. We have our father’s approach to life (go now, look later), his looks and his confidence where it is rarely deserved. We love like both of them loved each other. We are the product of our parents and their love for us – our Grandparents had nothing to do with it. Our Mum and Dad made the choice every day to mark their own path, create new roles and display how they felt love should be displayed.

My family is small, but there is more love that could possibly be understood. We may be less one, but together we are five. Our spirit is unique, we are at the end of our family name, we all have different goals and adventures, but our love is the same.

Always.

x Courtney x