Lessons from Mum- a poem

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Hold my hand when crossing the road

Hold on to the swing

Hold the door open for everyone.

Unless they’re too far away— it gets awkward

Don’t spend longer than 10 minutes on hold

Don’t hold onto your pee too long. It’s bad for you

Maximum hold hairspray is only for special occasions

Hold your breath when using maximum hold hairspray

Hold on, I’m a coming

Hold your head up high

Don’t hold onto people who aren’t trying to hold onto you

Hold faith

Hold yourself in high regard

Hold the people in your life to high standards

Hold yourself to higher ones

Hold your bag across your body

Hold the line

Hold dinner parties

Hold up those who can’t hold up themselves

But make sure someone is holding you*

*I will always be holding you

Hold on tight

Especially when you think you can’t hold on anymore

Hold fast

Hold out for the right man

Don’t hold back

If someone promises you something, hold them to it

Don’t hold back your tears, emotions or thoughts. They all have value.

Hold that plank a little longer

Hold everything in perspective

Hold my hand when crossing the road… and the path… and the raging river and the slow stream and when you’ve gone ahead across the ocean and when we’re only a metre apart and when you don’t want to and when you don’t need to and when you do and when you try and when you’re not sure and especially when you just don’t know.

Hold my hand and don’t ever let go.

~

Thank you for holding me in your womb, your arms, your respect, your esteem and in high regard. I hold you dearer than you will ever know.

Love, Amy

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Boot Camp for Burma!

One of the reasons I started this blog was to get me into the habit of writing regularly. Why did I want to write regularly, you might ask? Well, beyond the obvious benefits of improving my writing flow, fluency and depth, improving my vocabulary, strengthening my voice and developing my online presence; I wanted to start writing on the reg so that I continue this habit when I go to Thailand later this year.

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And later this year is rapidly approaching. Last Friday was the 3 months to go point. That’s less than 90 days. Writing that made my heart skip all sorts of beats. It’s been such a long process and now that departure is getting closer and closer to being here, everything is starting to feel extremely real. I’ve paid for the majority of my trip (the only thing I have to pay for is food, activities and accommodation in the places I choose to “hop off” at during the travel portion of my journey, and my flights home), I know when I’m applying for my visa, I have my cards and phone sorted, my gym membership is set to finish on the day I leave (last minute bootcamp, yes please!) and I’ve started figuring out the points of my journey which I linger over and those which I’ll breeze through. That said, I want this plan to remain flexible enough for unplanned excursions to take place and to allow for locations I never knew about to capture my heart and never let it go.

While all the travel planning is desperately exciting, what I am most looking forward to is my time at Thai Freedom House which will make up the bulk of my trip. The Thai Freedom House is a “non-government, not-for-profit, language and arts community learning center in Northern Thailand dedicated to assisting families and individuals who are refugees from Burma and members of minority groups of Thailand.” They work specifically with these people to ensure that they don’t become victims of exploitation, trafficking, harassment, gang violence, or the poverty cycle. There are plenty of complex reasons behind the mistreatment of Burmese refugees in Thailand and I encourage you to pay the Thai Freedom House website a visit to learn some info about the issues inherent in the refugee/immigration situation.

I have always had a heart for refugees and asylum seekers and the way our own (Australian) government treats these marginalised and often highly damaged people disgusts me. I refuse to sit back and watch and am hoping to one day work more closely with community groups to raise awareness, advocate and educate. My decision to work with such a grassroots group instead of a more well known, “voluntourism” organisation is a part of that process. I want to learn from the people I’m working with, not just provide a few English lessons a week.

I also went with the Thai Freedom House because of their volunteer program and the fact that all the money I spend on said program will go straight to those I’m teaching, not on shiny brochures. It’s transparent and it’s real. It’s also got real needs. Receiving no government funding and only earning money from donations and their on site café and op shop, Thai Freedom House struggles at times to pay rent and ensure the minimal staff receive payment.

This is also the reason I held my “Bootcamp for Burma” earlier this month! I knew I wanted to raise money for TFH and I love fitness so I decided to combine my two passions and run a charity “pay what you feel” boot camp on Labour Day!

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I had about 15 people come along to get their sweat on while simultaneously doing a good deed, as well as multiple other people donate money even though they couldn’t attend due to being away (or not willing to workout- which is FINE!)

It was an incredible session and everyone gave it their all, spurring each other on and encouraging their friends and team mates to push just a bit harder.

Not counting the donations people made directly to TFH online (which I have no way of tracking so THANKYOU if you did!), I raised about $500, all of which is to be donated directly to the organisation.

Thank you so much if you came along and donated, or if you just donated! It was such a great morning and I hope the sore muscles were an acceptable price to pay in exchange for knowing you’ve improved the lives of vulnerable children and families in Thailand.

I’m hoping to do another boot camp session before I go to raise more money for the program so please stay tuned and stay awesome.

Amy xx

she stands- a poem for IWD.

I stand-

Bold, posed, tense with all the
best of intents
in front of her- the girl who knows-

who has seen, she who is me, I-

build and grind
and work-
I fought
and sweat
and stunk and sunk
and pushed and climbed and fell
and clawed my way back to some semblance of her- the other girl in the room

the warrior//

until-

a noise snaps against the locked out world and breaks-

loaded with unheard and unsaid and unintended?

Pinpricks

Glass shatters in all the wrong ways

 

she who is me who is I is pierced

deflates

shrinks

to

smiling sweet soft simple shapes
of smallness all cheeks

no cheek//

-am I in your way- sotto voce statements not questions because by being here I am

Or at least that’s what I’ve been told

I glance- the warrior in shattered states stares in disdain and the shoulders upon which I stumble slump in disappointment

Shards of eyes flash as sliding shame overcomes the corner I’ve relegated my self to and banishes the legacies of those who came before from existence.

Discarded because-words not said by him who invaded-

No, who I let invade-

No, who I was told would-

No, who may have inv-

No- I don’t know whose fault this is but now it is mine and that is not what she taught me but is what I’ve been taught and now I don’t, cant, wont but want to

Stop.

The shattered warrior with scars mirrors my twisting, enchained limbs
sighing

Why do I let- accept- fault blame shame overtake when
warriors who came before

Did not

Would not

And they:

My muscled footholds
my petite proforma
my mouthy platforms
my softly silent soap boxes
They flew
into the glass I stare

At now and didn’t care who saw

Their strength

Or bruises

Or cuts

Or tears

Or weakness

Or fears because it was all

Theirs to own

//

The Sound that Shattered
continues in a buzz- unaware of power and shame-

Metal against iron

Clamping down
measured breaths of purpose and precision

Planning and decision

The soundtrack doesn’t bother the shattered warrior and

i-

she who is me-

have turned it up for long enough

 

untwisting- she who is me- I stand

 

and own the action and the feat and the fact that

I owe my ownership to those who heard the noise when it was meant to pierce drums but kept beating

To those who read warnings on packets and pickets and strode deeper, thicker
to those who played the game

And forged the ways I walk

in

on

through

with

no shame- shattered or not-

paths taken and rocked-

words spoken and mocked-

legs shaking and locked…

they walked.

 

so it’s the least I can do to

stand.