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.

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Picture credits: MEAWW / Netflix / Courtney Gaye

 

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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!

 

30 Day Gratitude Challenge

Life happens. Life gets in the way.

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Work.

Family.

Friends.

Bills.

Relationships.

Mental Health.

Physical Health.

Self-Worth.

The world.

Life happens, and life gets in the way.

How blessed we are to live it, to wake up each day and know that we get another chance, another 24 hours.

I have been having some pretty shocking struggles in the last six or so months. So rather than sitting here struggling to think of topics to write about, working out what rabbit hole to send my mind down instead of circling the drain – where to go intellectually, emotionally and spiritually. Instead of uncertainty, confusion and the back and forth nonsense, I am going to focus on a 30 Day Gratitude Challenge.

Wish me luck, and please tag me in your comments or share my posts and let me know what you think.

x Courtney Gaye x

Why I love being a Bonus (Step) Mum

The expectation when you are growing up is to meet the guy/girl of your dreams, and build your life together. For some people (not all), that dream extends to having children. To building a family, and loving that family, hard.

While I was growing up, I never had those marriage fantasies. I dreamt of far away places, of travel, of writing or creating movies. There was a small period of time where I actually tried to change my name to something horribly embarrassing. Most people laughed at me, my best friend Meagan backed me and immediately started rolling with it. Because she is amazing.

The thing is, I didn’t dream of my wedding. I didn’t dream of the family. The white-picket fence. Being pregnant. They all seemed like great things but they just weren’t on my ‘list’.

I had boyfriends. I had love stories. I had break ups. I did the thing. I have a lot of wonderful memories. The love of my life was always travel. I would work myself into the ground, saving every $ I had. Creating travel plans. Dreaming of my escape and throttling those holidays by the neck when I was on leave.

When I started to head towards thirty, something changed. I wanted that special someone. I wanted the text messages and the calls. The cuddles and the kisses. Holding hands. Being nauseatingly in-love in public, pissing-off all who saw.

I made a list. My now-Husband doesn’t know about the list. Because let’s face it, the list is something all of us girls keep hidden. Whether it’s in your diary, on your blog, in your notes, on your phone or just in your head. We ALL have the list. If you say you don’t, then you’re lying.

For me, my list looked something like this.

Taller than me. Has a job. Brown hair. Kind eyes. Great sense of humour. Likes to travel. Is honest. Is respectful. Hasn’t been married. Doesn’t have kids.

Your list might look like mine, or it may not. No judgement, #womensupportingwomen.

On my 27th birthday, I was out with my girlfriends, far from home. I met a man. He was the perfect man for me. We hit it off straight away. To say it was love at first sight, is an understatement. I KNEW this was the man I was going to marry.

The list wasn’t so much as a role-call as it was a guide. Find a man who doesn’t treat you like shit and wants to hang out with you and only you. The rest, was completely negotiable.

Fast-forward five years and I’m a Step-Mum. My dream man has two kids. Two gorgeous, intelligent, funny and loving kids. It was an adjustment. It wasn’t easy. For any of us. There are many extenuating factors when it comes to being a step-parent.

As much as you love them, you haven’t been a part of their firsts. You haven’t watched them grow. They aren’t yours. Now before you read that as a negative, I need for you to know that it isn’t. It’s anything but. Being a step parent is hard. It’s challenging, heart breaking and rewarding. All at the same time.

Do you know why this love feels insanely pure? It feels pure because there is no biological link. Your steppies are not a part of you. You are not biologically wired to love one another. The maternal instinct cannot be compared to that of a mother. That would not be fair. Unfortunately we have Cinderella to thank for the awful banshee portrayal of a step-mum. Step-dads are painted as self-serving, violent or cruel. Step-mums are painted as jealous, baron, nasty bitches.

We aren’t. When you choose to love children that aren’t yours- it shows dedication, commitment and intentional love. They are an extension of the person you love. When you look closely, you see the physical similarities, you also see the biological traits which do not match your partner. A reminder of where and from whom they were created.

You know what though? Children are innocent. Children do not choose where they come from. They don’t choose their future and they certainly cannot be expected to navigate the complexities that blended families bring.

So, in a painfully long-winded post, let me tell you this. Never shy away from a challenge. Never think that someone with children has “baggage”. You are only doing yourself a disservice. It means you have someone who can love others more than they love themselves. They are raising, loving and protecting kids and that is noble and attractive as HELL.

So….

To my two bonus-kids. I love you. I am proud of you and I thank you for allowing me to be a part of your life. Consider me part of your cheerleading team. We all want the best for you both. I love your Dad and I love you. I could not be prouder to call you my bonus-kids xxxx

Are you a step-parent, are you a step-kid? I want to know!

Thank you so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed this post. If you did, please ‘like’ or share the post so I can see! 

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The clouds have cleared and the sun is shining.

Today marks one month since I changed my medication. I started Lovan on 17 August 2017, after a five day break of no medication between coming off of Mirtazapine cold-turkey.

When I first started Lovan, I caught a cold and was a little worried as I initially thought I was having some reaction (itchy throat and eyes) to the new medication. It turns out it was just a common cold though.

I took the pills for a week and a bit and had my next GP follow up on 25 August 2017. I was feeling more positive, more in control, less clouded by anger, anxiety, rage and paranoia. I understand this is not all medication, as it takes longer than that to kick in – I DO however believe there was an evidenced change from stopping the Mirtazapine, starting the Lovan and generally feeling as though I was in charge of my mental health.

For the two first weeks, whenever I would lose my concentration or feel out of sorts (forgetful or teary), I would remind myself that I was doing the best I could and that I was ‘taking charge of my mental health’, it became my little mantra.

By the third week I was really feeling better. I was less paranoid, I wasn’t suspicious, I was not crying as much. Not finding fault in the actions of others. I was looking at my Husband with clarity and love which I used to look at him with.

I knew the biggest test of all was coming, the anniversary of my Father passing, it was always a tough time of the year for me. Which I have now written extensively about in my previous few posts. Surprisingly, when the anniversary rolled around – I took the day off of work, looked through some old photos and cherished positive and nice memories of Dad. I did have a little cry in the morning but I was not distraught like I normally am.

We then headed off on a ten day holiday, which we returned from yesterday, Our holiday was so relaxing, I read books, ate good food, went swimming and re-connected with my Husband. It felt truly wonderful.

I head back to work tomorrow, which is always sad but I have to be honest – I have only cried once or twice in the past week and a half and it was once when I was thinking about our wedding anniversary coming up (happy tears) and once when we were listening to our wedding playlist whilst getting ready to go out on our holiday.

I have really decided to pay attention to my mental health, to listen to my feelings and to lend my ears to those who need help. The journey is not over, it will never be over, however I do feel as though the fog is clearing & I am going to do my very best to be more in tune with my loved ones.

I am forever grateful to those who have read along here and supported me along the way. Much love to you all x

And after the past 18 months of torment, it was truly magical to shed happy tears.

Lucy

x

It’s the little things in life…10 things that always make my heart happy <3

  1. Cuddles with my Mum. Possibly my favourite thing as a little girl, something I resisted as a teenager (I was a shit of a teenager, honestly) and cherish and crave as a grown woman.
  2. When I am completely relaxed, anxiety-free and depression is under control. Oh my goodness, best feeling in the world. Normalcy, control and happiness.
  3. Taking. Off. My. Bra. Hello freedom! Oh and scratching along where the bra line was on my back – is this not the best feeling in the world?
  4. That first sniff/sip of coffee in the morning. Not a dodgy Moccona from the tin + hot water, coffee. A decent coffee.
  5. Ham + Cheese croissants. Worth the 400 plus calories and 51% fat content. Every damned time.
  6. Cake. Oh my god, cake. Chocolate, mud, red velvet, orange + poppyseed. I don’t even care, just make it moist and make it delicious.
  7. The smell of jasmine. Will follow the smell and inhale for dear life. Oh my goodness, that smell. Heaven.
  8. Crawling into bed on a Sunday evening when I have laid fresh sheets which have been in the sunshine all day after having been washed. It is important to note that this step can only be as deliciously satisfying if I have shaved my legs and washed my hair.
  9. That beautiful change of season which is palpable. The air is thicker, you need a cardigan – I cannot tell you how much I love that feeling when summer in Queensland has broken, and autumn is on its way.
  10. Laughing with my Husband. I mean REALLY laughing. Losing our sh*t, struggling to breathe, snorting – the lot of it. Laughing with your best mate – you cannot get better than that.

Lucy

x