Fighting Fear

Living in Awe: Placing your Hopes on a Pedestal.

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Placing things on a pedestal

All my life I have been in awe of things I admired. If I wanted something badly, the want made it unattainable. The more I wanted something the further away it seemed and the harder or more impossible it became to acquire. This became the basis of my life: The things that you really want you cannot have. By either self-sabotaging or creating an awe-struck anxiety around the things I wanted, they became unattainable.

When I was younger it was easier to get what I wanted. I could simply put it on my Christmas list, write a polite letter to Santa and SHAZAM! If it was realistically priced it would pretty much always end up under the tree on the big day. But some things, the things that really mattered to me, could not be wrapped in pretty paper and tied up with ribbons.

Choose Gratitude over Guilt

In Awe of the Crush

As I reached adolescence it was boys. If I liked a guy for whatever reason, found them handsome or funny, I’d clam up. My throat would fill with sand and my lips would glue themselves together. I’d be so in awe of them that I’d ignore them or even act like a bitchy little snob if they spoke to me. I couldn’t even manage to make friends with them. Are you kidding? How can you even talk to someone you are in awe of! 

This behaviour continued into my late teens and early 20’s where it was pretty much impossible for me to talk to any guy I found attractive or interesting. Eventually I turned to alcohol. The thing with drinking is that knocking back a few can help you pluck up the courage to come out of your shell. Known as social lubricant, alcohol can help you open up and release that awesome personality you keep locked inside. However, relying on alcohol to help you be yourself is never a good idea. And, as the mighty Lorde sings ‘But what will we do when we’re sober?’ Because, you can’t be drunk all time.

In Awe of my Own People

I’ve always had a thing for musicians. I used to have huge mega-crushes on minstrels and troubadours alike, who would not only make sweet sounds but also pen romantic verses to match. How many musicians have I dated? Zero! Why? Because I was so freaking busy being in a state of awe of them that I placed them on a huge pedestal. I made them into Gods in my head because I really liked what they did.  Instead of just waltzing on up to them and saying “hey, that’s a really cool song” and talking to like a normal human, I stood back in awe and wished I had more nerve.

To make it even more ridiculous I too was a musician and a poet so I would have had plenty to talk about with these guys. But the awe made me feel less than. I loved music so much. I felt every note and every key change in the sediment of my soul. Music was my passion. Music was cool; far too cool for me. So eventually the awe around creating music became too great and I stopped all together.

full time unicorn

Awe Sabotaging Friendships

As a teenager awe made it impossible for me to make friends with people I genuinely thought were cool. When I was 14 I moved from Hamilton – a small farming city – to Wellington – city imbued with art and culture. Everything was so different. For starters the kids at my new school wore mufti where I’d always worn a uniform. But these kids didn’t just slip on a pair of jeans and head to school. Oh no! They had a distinct individual style.

I desperately wanted to compliment some of them on their awesome sneakers or sweater, or mention that I really liked the bands that they had scrawled across their pencil case. But I couldn’t. It was as if the moment my mind decided I liked them, or had anything in common with them, they were off limits. They were too cool for me.

Inevitably this lead me to either make friends with people who were younger than me – and therefore for some reason less intimidating – or people who didn’t treat me very well. I also felt more comfortable around people that didn’t register as ‘cool’ in my mind. At one point in high school, I remember purposely sitting next to people I thought were nerds, just because I felt no pressure around them. I could be myself. So not only was I letting my Ego judge myself and others, I was then letting it decide who I was allowed to make friends with. And, seeing as I didn’t think I was worthy of being friends with like-minded people I found interesting, I allowed myself to create friendships that didn’t support or fulfil me.

Awe Stole my Tongue

At 14 I fell into a lonely depression. I had friends, but be honest I didn’t enjoy their company. I was not brought up in a religious family but still I prayed. I prayed that somehow I would manage to make friends with the group of girls whom I thought were cool -one of them wore the most awesome fur-trimmed coat I’d ever seen. I willed it in my mind each night. I imagined talking to them about music and art and hanging out at lunch times. I didn’t know it yet but what I was doing was manifesting my reality.

Towards the middle of the year a new girl arrived in our class. The teacher sat her down next to me. “Hi!” she said, “I’m Ella.” She plonked her bag down next to me and then said “Hey we have the same shoes!” I looked down. So we did. The exact same purple Doc Boots.

Ella and I chatted throughout the whole class. We liked the same music and both liked to draw. As the bell rang she said “Hey, do you want to come and meet my other friends? I kinda moved schools to be with them. I hated my old school.”

“Sure,” I said with a shrug. As we neared the canteen I saw them. It was the girls I had hoped to befriend. I couldn’t believe it. But as Ella introduced me I felt my throat seize up and my chest grow tight. I managed a stifled hello and that was it.

They invited me to join them for lunch. We sat on the field and made daisy chains. I listened to them speak but I could not join in. My lips were sealed together. I had what I wanted – I had been invited to hang out with people I actually thought were interesting – but it didn’t matter. They were still up on that pedestal and I was wallowing on the ground beneath them. What was the point of being around like minded people if I wasn’t able to open up around them?

Now that I knew Ella was friends with the ‘cool girls’ I could no longer relax around her either. I couldn’t talk to her like I had before. She was too cool for me.

I learnt a valuable lesson from that experience. Firstly, the universe is always listening, trying to meet your needs and your requests. Secondly, be careful what you ask for – you may get it but it might not be exactly what you need. I had asked for an opportunity to make friends with people I thought were cool. But what I really needed was to learn that I was worthy of quality friendships and true connection. I needed to learn that I was cool too. That what I had to offer another person was of merit. I’d forgotten that I was a unicorn, full of awesomeness. My mind was full of the belief that I wasn’t good enough to be friends with interesting people that I rated highly.

I remember seeing an interview with Jack White on Conan O’Brien. He was talking about how he’d bought a new house in Nashville and it needed a bit of work and that Bob Dylan, who now works as a welder, was fixing his gate. I could not believe it! Not about the welding part, that didn’t surprise me. It was the fact that Jack White was relaxed enough around Bob Dylan for him to fix his gate. I mean he’s Bob freaking Dylan! How can you ever get past that fact and move on to a cup of tea and “Hey Jack, I’ll fix your gate”?  I don’t know if I could ever talk casually with someone I admire. Which is sad. After all, the people we admire are just people like you and me. What’s to say someone doesn’t admire you like that too?

Putting my Goals on a Pedestal

Awe also affected my goals. If I discovered something that I wanted to achieve, something that I thought would be fun or cool or enjoyable, I’d amp it up so much in my head that it became too over inflated to conquer. Or I’d over think it: I’d nit-pick at the idea or question my ability to complete the project and then ultimately fall victim to analysis paralysis. Basically, I’d let the Awe freeze me out until I gave up, feeling worthless.

If I did develop the nerve to strive for something I was in awe of, the anxiety created by the Awe would usually sabotage my attempt.

After I attended Performing Arts School I auditioned for a prestigious Drama School – twice. Both times I freaked out because I had spent years placing the school in question inside a big bubble of awe.

My first audition wasn’t too bad – I was told I needed more life experience – but my second was just appalling. I performed my monologue multiple times but failed to follow the tutor’s direction. Every time he spoke my mind filled with Awe filled waffle. I was too busy being completely awestruck by the head tutor to even listen to what he was saying. The fact that I was even allowed inside this prestigious drama school was enough to make my head explode!

Awe and the Ego

In her book The Universe Has Your Back, Gabrielle Bernstein writes about placing people on a pedestal or making them ‘special’. In her experience, it was a High School boyfriend whom she’d placed on the pedestal, ultimately making him into an idol. So not surprisingly when the relationship ended she was left heart broken. Bernstein that the Ego is responsible for the creation of Idols. The Ego, thinking only in good or bad, better or worse, likes to pull rank. It wants us to judge ourselves against others and determine our worth. The Ego is what makes us believe we are either above others or beneath them.

Believe it or not, most of us feel the effects of the Ego telling us we are either better or worse than others. Even the most successful, beautiful organised people feel at times that they are not quite good enough compared to someone else.

Sofia Amoruso shared in her battles with feeling inferior in her book #GIRLBOSS. Despite being the CEO of multi-million dollar fashion empire NastyGal, Amoruso admitted to feeling like “an interloper in a Black Sabbath T-shirt” when sitting in the board room next to Harvard graduates. She’d worked hard to get to where she was but still she felt inferior amongst these big-wig investors. “Finally though, I arrived at a point where I decided this was bullshit. I stopped feeling as if I didn’t belong anywhere, and realised that I belonged anywhere I wanted to be.”

When we place things up on that pedestal we can strain our necks looking up. When we make idols out of every people we are wasting value time worshipping them that could be used on investing in ourselves.

“I don’t want to be put on a pedestal. Anyway, I’m way to ADD to stay up there. I’d rather be making messes, and making history while I’m at it. I don’t want you to look up #GIRLBOSS, because all that looking up can keep you down. The energy you’ll expend focusing on someone else’s life is better spent working on your own. Just be your own idol. “ – Sofia Amoruso.

We are all Unicorns

The thing is dear Unicorn, we are neither better nor worse than anyone else. We just simply are. We are no better or worse than the janitor at the mall. We are no better or worse than the lawyer in the BMW. We are all equals and we are all God Damn Magical Unicorns.

To believe you are awesome is not to believe that other people are not. A true unicorn knows that being their best self and loving themselves down to their marrow, has no bearing on others. There is enough awesome to go around for everyone.

“Loving yourself does not mean hating on others.” – Lisette Prendé

There are no Pedestals

I’d don’t know about you but I’ve never actually seen anyone stand on a pedestal. They are for cakes and contestants on Gladiator. The pedestals in our minds simply are not real. They are part of an imagined ranking system that only exists because we let it.  What if we were to lower those pedestals to the ground where we are all equal? How would that feel?

full time unicorn

How Awe Blocks Abundance

The number one thing to remember when it comes to manifesting what you want is surrender. When we obsess over things we’re more likely to block the flow of abundance than to welcome it.

The ability to submit to the will of the Universe is fundamental to manifesting your desires. Have you ever noticed that it’s the little things that randomly pop into your head throughout the day, that you manage to manifest, yet the big things that you plead for, you do not? That right there is an example of how begging for abundance blocks its flow. Because when we beg it comes from a place of lack, scarcity and doubt. When we beg we are not using gratitude, faith or trust.

Similarly, when we place the things we want way up high on a mountain top and think to ourselves, I wish was good enough to play music/learn fluent French/find a spouse, all The Universe is hearing is what you are feeling and the vibration you are creating. And when we are in awe it is a vibration of Not Good Enough. Which, in Universe speak means I Don’t Deserve Good Things.

Calling out the Awe

A while back I realised that my awe issues ran deeper than shyness. They ran deeper than thinking someone was cool and wishing I had the guts to say so. My issues with placing things up high on a metaphoric pedestal stemmed from that fact that I did not place myself on one.

One of the most effective ways of breaking the awe is to call it out pretty quickly. If you think someone is beautiful, tell them. If you love someone’s art/music/books et al, tell them! The truth is most people don’t know they are awesome, so it’s nice to tell them you think so!

Meditation for Removing Awe

Another way I remove awe is to focus my meditations on lowering them pedestals. Once I have completed a body scan and have moved into deep relaxation, I visualise a large vast field. In that field is a very tall pedestal. Whatever awe issue is erking me at that moment is what I place up on the pedestal. In most cases it will be a person you put up there.

I see the pedestal slowly lowering until it has reached the ground. The person on it is now the same height as me. I walk up to them and take note of how they look up close. I take in their humaness. I give them a hug and thank them for the things they have done, created or achieved. I tell them that I admire them for their work. I watch as they blush from the compliment. I tell them that I have struggled from being in awe of them and I watch as they react, surprised. I explain that now I understand that we are all equals. We are all one. We are all connected in the Universe. Their gifts are mine. Mine, theirs.

Placing things on a pedestal

No woman is an island. I want to surround myself with people I think are awesome. I don’t want to push them away or fear them. I want to work with them, support them and collaborate with them.  I want to strive for the things I want to achieve. I don’t want to psyche myself out or subconsciously will myself to fail! I want to win.

Life is too short to spend it lurking in the shadows. Get out of your own way. Go after what you want. Befriend people you admire. You’re worth it.

Full Time Unicorn

Body Image

The Body Image Battle: How Low Self-Esteem Impacts our Lives

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Self esteem, body image

I was seven years old when I realised that I didn’t look like the girls on T.V. I vividly recall standing in front of a mirror in the changing rooms of a kids’ clothing store and staring at my reflection with disappointment.

Michelle Williams and The Disappointing Bikini Incident

I’d wanted a bikini. I’d seen them on T.V. To be fair I’d seen them on Baywatch. A pre-Dawson’s Creek Michelle Williams had starred as a love interest to Mitch’s son Hobie. She wore a cute bikini and jogged along the beach – as most people in Baywatch tend to do.

Seeing as I (and most girls my age at the time) had a huge crush on Hobie, I decided that I wanted to look just like Michelle. First thing’s first, I would get myself a bikini and then ta-da! I would practically be her.

So off I went one Saturday with my Mum on a girlie shopping trip. I picked out the most Michelle-Williams-esque bikini I could find and then headed to the changing rooms. As I stood there looking in the mirror a strange realisation washed over me: I did not look like Michelle Williams. In fact, I didn’t look like any of the girls on T.V. Unlike theirs, my stomach was not flat and defined. Instead it was soft, rounded pot belly. Where they had newly budding breasts, I had a flat childlike chest adorned with a pair of puffy nipples. I also did not have a bronzed California tan. I had, what can only be described as The New Zealand Summer Tan. Meaning, hardly any tan at all. My skin was pale all over except for a strip of freckles across my nose and a rosy red flush to my cheeks.

For the first time in my life I had made a direct comparison of myself against another person. It was a strange feeling of blatant self-directed judgement. Why didn’t I look like Michelle Williams? I just couldn’t understand it. “Do you like it?” my Mum asked, smiling at me.  I did not reply.

It was then that the sales assistant burst into the changing room. She looked me up and down and then said “How about I bring you in a one-piece instead?” That’s when it dawned on me: It wasn’t just that I didn’t look like Michelle Williams in the bikini, it was that I didn’t look good in the bikini.

Low Self-Esteem in Girls

Frighteningly, a study carried out by the AAUW, found that self-esteem levels in girls begins to drop from the age of nine. The survey, which studied 3000 children, revealed that a large proportion of girls, who claimed to feel confident in themselves and their abilities at the age of nine, were less likely to do by the time they reached high school.

The study in question was conducted back in the 90s, when self-esteem was still a buzzword. Since then ‘self-love; and ‘self-development’ have come along, with countless resources around to target adults who missed the focus back when it peaked. But what about children and teens? When these kids were surveyed their exposure to media was much more limited that it is today. Back in good old 91, we had T.V., the newspaper and the (very) occasional Billboard (this was Hamilton). Today, with the influx of digital media and social media, there are too many forms of media to count! It is everywhere.

Self esteem, body image

Self Esteem and Exposure to Media

The problem with media is that it’s ultimately a platform for marketing, and when you’re marketing things you want them to appear as perfect as possible. It’s not enough to sell clothes by using a beautiful model – whose body type is in the genetic 5% per cent – you also have to retouch the images, so they look even more perfect. Sadly every single image we see online or in print (even in film!) has been modified to look even more flawless. And this is what us, and our children are exposed to for around eight hours a day – the estimated media exposure time for young people today. Over the course of a year, kids between the ages of 2 – 11 will see on average 25,600 ads.

Young girls are struggling with their self-esteem more and more. In a study conducted by the Dove Self Esteem Project it was found that 72% of girls felt a huge pressure to be beautiful but only 11% of girls felt comfortable calling themselves beautiful. Frighteningly 6 out of 10 girls questioned said that they are so self-conscious of how they look that it is holding them back from trying new things, sharing their opinion and even going to school.

Low Self Esteem in Women

It’s not surprising then that only 4% of adult women could describe themselves as beautiful. Perhaps that explains why, in a study shared in Naomi Wolf’s The Beauty Myth, 33,000 women admitted they would rather lose 5kg than achieve any other goal. Isn’t that sad? Think of all the things you could do instead: Learn a new language, play an instrument or write a book! But instead the idea of looking better seems to pique our interest more than anything else.

Beauty-Brainwashed to Forget all Other Goals

When we are bombarded with unrealistic images all day long it is not hard to become influenced by them. It’s not only that the women in the images look thin and flawless, they also look happy, have a handsome man on their arm and appear to be where the party’s at. Subliminally be are being taught that ‘only thin beautiful girls have fun’. Which is exactly what the marketing companies want you to think. This constant barrage of brainwashing never ceases.

While it is highly unlikely that we will ever look like the model on a magazine cover, we can but try. We try so hard and then fail at this impossible goal. But the goal never leaves our head. In fact, this desire to look perfect, and the self-loathing that comes from failing to, is a downward spiral. We become so obsessed with how we look that it fills our minds, making it hard for us to focus on anything else. All of our other goals go out the window while we obsess over not being good enough. But alas, when we feel like we are not good enough, we are less likely to succeed in other areas of our life. As the late and great Louise Hay once said “Every thought we think is creating our future”.

Self esteem, body image


After the Disappointing Bikini Incident

From as young as the age of seven I began to assess myself far more critically. Whereas in the past I’d been more concerned with dancing, painting and writing, after the episode with the bikini I became far more caught up in how I looked and I how I could improve how I looked. I hated my hair. I hated my skin. I hated my boobs (or my lack thereof). I even recall going to the gym with my mum to try and “lose weight”.

At 11 I stared reading Dolly magazines, which only further fuelled my obsession with how I looked. Instead of studying I was using a deep treatment conditioner to tame my frizzy hair. Instead of after school sports, I was exfoliating my rough skin. Instead of playing the drums I was bleaching my moustache and by the time I was 13, throwing my up food.

Low Self Esteem in Adolescence

For the next ten years I let my appearance dominate my mind and my life. I became socially anxious and hyper self-conscious. I was afraid to try new things, speak in class, talk to boys and even make friends. It didn’t matter that my self perception was only how I saw myself. When people complimented my blond ringlets, long lashes or white teeth it fell on deaf ears.

I spent so much time focusing on my flaws that I failed to learn the value of my strengths. The sad and interesting part is that our flaws never go away. Sure we may amend some of them but ultimately, unless we learn to accept ourselves, another flaw with rear up in its place, begging us to focus our energy on it. As women we must learn to ignore them. If we are going to live our lives to our true potential we must learn to love ourselves. If we don’t then we are not just letting ourselves down, we are letting all women down.

In the Beauty Myth Naomi Wolf writes: “A consequence of female self-love is that the woman grows convinced of social worth. Her love for her body will be unqualified, which is the basis of female identification. If a woman loves her own body, she doesn’t grudge what other women do with theirs; if she loves femaleness, she champions its rights.”

Self esteem, body image

Changing your thinking

When we refuse to play a part in the game of self-loathing and lack, we free ourselves up to allow room love, joy, gratitude and abundance. Why not try it. For just one day I want you to note down every time you give yourself a negative thought. It doesn’t matter if it’s about your appearance or your performance, simply note it down. You can write down the thought or you could put a penny in a jar every time you hear a nasty niggle pop into your mind. At the end of the day have a look and see how many cruel thoughts you have had about yourself. Warning: This part could surprise you.

The following day I want to you try something else. Every time you hear a negative thought, stop it in its tracks. Tell it to piss off – you can say it aloud if you want, though you might get a few strange looks! Then, to change your vibration, jump up and down five times or take five deep breaths. Then finally, consciously replace that negative thought with a positive affirmation: I love and accept myself completely and utterly.

When we are constantly judging and slagging ourselves off we are sending the message to the Universe that we are not good enough and therefore not worthy of receiving abundance. When we tell ourselves ‘I’ll be happy when I’ve lost 10 kilos’ or ‘I’ll love myself when my skin is better’ we are telling the Universe we don’t want anything good in our lives until we’ve achieved that goal. But, not many goals are achieved out of self-loathing.

Full Time Unicorn


Life as an Intuitive, Introverted, Highly Sensitive Person

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Highly Sensitive Person

As a child I was always overwhelmed. Except of course when I was in my bedroom by myself; painting and crafting or dressing up and devising solo performances for my dolls. Being alone was blissful. I was never once lonely or bored. Occasionally I’d get into one of those funky moods often confused as boredom – you know, when you just don’t know what to do with yourself because nothing appeals whatsoever. But lonely I was not. How could I be lonely when my mind was so full of ideas, images and creatures?

The problems occurred not when I was alone but when I had to be around people. Oooph! That was a real doozy. People were complicated. They said one thing but their heart said another. People had feelings oozing from their pores, permeating the energy around them. People spoke. A lot. They yammered away, making noise and getting far too close to me. I could feel the sun on my back, the wind in my hair and the clothes against my skin. I could feel it all.

Luckily, being an only child meant that at the end of every day I could come home and recharge. I could sit all by myself and decompress after the chaos that I’d been amongst all day long.

Being a Highly Sensitive Person

I was, and am still, a Highly Sensitive Person. In public places I hear the music, the scrape of chairs, the laughter from across the room, the tone in the waitresses speech.  I smell all the smells, and I feel all of the subtext behind every word spoken. Not surprisingly this is exhausting.

As well as being sensitive to my surroundings, I am also very sensitive to food. I didn’t become aware of this until my teenage years, when after drinking an energy drink I had a massive panic attack. It was a normal Saturday at work at my local supermarket. When it came to lunch time I decided to try the new nifty looking drink we had in store called Red Bull. So I chugged it back with my sandwich and then headed back to the check-out.

Like most Saturdays it was busy. Lines of people snaked out from eat check out area. I could sense immediately that the customers in line were getting shirty. I logged in and started serving. It didn’t matter how fast I went, I could still feel the impatient energy wafting through the air. I could hear people in my line sighing. Sweat began to drip down my back and bead on my upper lip. I tried to scan faster but then I started making mistakes. My heart was racing. A kid in the line next to me started to cry. A man in my queue made a comment about choosing the wrong line. The cacophony of check out beeps filled my ears. My till whipped open, smacking me in the hip and revealing that I didn’t have enough cash to give the correct change. I rung my bell but the floor manager was nowhere to be seen.

“It shouldn’t be too long,” I said to the impatient face of the woman at the counter. But the words would not come out. She looked at me, puzzled. It was then that I realized I was hyperventilating. I tried to say it again but not only could I not speak, I now couldn’t breathe. My vision went blurry and I fell backwards against my till.

The next thing I knew I was in the manager’s office, sitting on the sofa, drinking a glass of water. “Your Dad’s on his way to get you,” the manager said, offering me an Anzac biscuit.

I stopped drinking caffeine after that.

It wasn’t just caffeine that I was sensitive to though. It was pretty much everything. Friends would tease me for being “fussy” because I couldn’t handle strong smelling perfumes, loud bars, curtains that let in light, clothes made from itchy fabric, eating too much sugar, eating wheat, having to make polite conversation, wind, artificial sweetener, medications and getting hangry. Considering all these special requirements, it’s not surprising that I was dubbed ‘High Maintenance’.

Highly Sensitive Person

Being Identified as Highly Sensitive

It wasn’t until a friend discovered Elaine N. Aron’s book, The Highly Sensitive Person, and called me with her diagnosis, that I realised being “sensitive” was a thing.

When we are offered the term “highly sensitive” it’s easy to assume it means that we are “fragile” “over-emotional” or “weak.” By definition the word sensitive means:

1: quick to detect or respond to slight changes, signals, or influences.

2: having or displaying a quick and delicate appreciation of others’ feelings.

Neither of these definitions imply weakness or vulnerability. Sensitivity is actually a matter of awareness. It is being so in tuned with your senses – sight, sound, smell, taste and touch – that you are consciously processing all of this information.

A lot of people go about their life without their brains actively processing all of the information that is being fed in via the senses. They are blissfully ignorant about the amount of activity that is going on around them and able to simply hone in on one or two senses – perhaps sight and sound if they are listening to someone speak.

Whereas an HSP is not only listening to someone speak, they are also listening to the background music playing in the elevator and trying to ignore the very strong perfume of the woman in the back – she’s nearing 60 so perhaps wearing perfume to cover up the hot flashes she’s currently experiencing due to menopause – whilst also trying to ignore that the shoes they are wearing are a little tight on the left pinky toe. Like I said. Exhausting!

So while HSPs may be branded “soft” or “fragile” their brains are actually working double time, so no wonder they get tired and flustered.

Officially being dubbed an HSP is determined by a checklist. Personally, I answered ‘yes’ to every single question on the list. Turns out I am a Very Highly Sensitive Person!

How to manage being Highly Sensitive

So what do you do when you have this information? For me it was just great to know that I wasn’t simply fussy. That I wasn’t being a trouble maker or trying to be hard work. The best way to manage having a highly sensitive nature is to accept that is how you are. Highly Sensitive People should ensure they get enough sleep, eat (healthy, non-stimulating food) regularly and plan down time into their day when they know they will be busy or forced to spend time in highly stimulating environments.

After reading Aron’s book I felt vindicated. I was just an HSP and that was that. No more did I have to feel bad that I struggled with office life or that I found it taxing being in busy places all day long.


Being a Highly Sensitive, Intuitive, Introvert

Of course being an HSP was only half of the challenge. I have also always been introverted and highly intuitive.  Not all HSPs are introverted though. Of the 20% of the population who are Highly Sensitive, 70% are introverted. So while us introverts are the HSP majority it is not a prerequisite.

In her book Quiet Power, Susan Cain defines introversion as the following: “Being an introvert is about having a deep inner life, and considering that inner life to be important.” Personally I have always been an obvious introvert. As a kid I loved being alone and still do. That’s not to say that when I am out I can’t string a sentence together – quite the contrary – when I go to parties I am quite happy to chat but it’s preferably one-on-one about things that really matter. I’d rather eat my wine glass than make small talk.

Highly Sensitive Person

Managing Intuition

Being highly intuitive is harder to manage. Where an HSP uses acutely uses their senses, an intuitive feels things easily, empathising with the emotions of those around them.

A while back I took my kids to a playgroup. I could feel something off in the ether. It was a heavy, miserable emotion that hung in the air. For a while I thought I was making it up. That was until I asked another mother if she could also feel the vibe. She couldn’t but she told me that the head teacher had very recently lost her husband to a short illness. As soon as she told me that it made sense. Not only could I feel the grief in the air but I could feel the sympathy that others were feeling for this grieving woman. A few weeks later the head teacher resigned so she could move closer to family and the heaviness lifted from the space.

When it comes to being highly intuitive and Highly Sensitive, there is a slight cross over. HSPs pick up so much information around them that, to the untrained, they may seem to be highly intuitive. But in reality they are simply processing all of the information their senses are feeding them.

A highly intuitive person can be highly sensitive too, but as well as picking up cues from their senses, they are actually feeling the shifts in energy around them. Highly intuitive people experience strong physical symptoms – or a gut feeling – from their subconscious mind, to help them make decisions. For example, the U.S navy has started working to develop the intuitive skills of their soldiers, after troops in Afghanistan spoke of feeling an unexplained sense of danger just before an attack hit.

It’s not completely crazy. According to the law of attraction, our thoughts and feelings are all just energy. Seeing as everything in the universe is made up of energy which connects us all together, it makes sense that we should be able to pick up the emotions of those around us.

Growing up as a Highly Sensitive, intuitive, introvert was exhausting. But now that I am aware of my needs it is manageable. For starters I have stopped trying to force myself to be extroverted. I plan down time into my day and I never over commit myself.

Creative Industries

The Truth About Fashion Week

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Fashion Week

Fashion Week: It seems so glamorous. Zipping away to Auckland for a week for “work”. Sipping champagne and attending fashion shows whilst rubbing shoulders with celebrities and influencers. But truth be told Fashion Week isn’t all glam and selfies. It’s a strange Wonderland that leaves me feeling a lot Alice chasing that damn rabbit.

I first started attending New Zealand Fashion Week with Mariana for The Madisons. To be fair it was just as much an excuse for us to stay in Auckland for a week shopping and eating in all the best restaurants as it was an opportunity to provide some awesome content for our site. We had fun. So much fun. We both have other things going – the fashion industry isn’t our main focus – so it was pretty cool to take a sojourn in this strange and exotic land where tall thin creatures with shining white teeth dwelt. It was also cool to not care what any of these people thought of us. I mean at the end of the week we were heading back home to our slippers, novels-in-progress and mum-life.

Going Solo

This year was different. My wing-woman, Mariana, would not be accompanying me this year. I had to decide whether to opt out, or to be a big brave unicorn and go it alone. I chose the latter. After all I have special unicorn business to attend to! I need to spread the message of the Full Time Unicorn (embracing your inner awesome and living your best life) far and wide!

Of course I wasn’t really going it alone! Over the past four years I’ve met heaps of bad-ass babes at fashion week, so the universe conspired and I ended up sharing an apartment with my fashion designer friend Desiree. We were two minutes from the viaduct and the complex had a spa and a pool! Bliss!

The Fashion Week Lurgy

Sadly however, I was not able to avoid the dreaded Fashion Week lurgy that threatened to strike down many models and delegates alike. The Fashion Week lurgy does not discriminate. I offered Codrol, while my girl Jess had a stash of Strepsils and even a jar of honey in her hand bag!

So by day one I was already tired. I was there to network and meet some awesome writers, designers, stylists et at, but all I wanted was a hot lemon drink and a fluffy cat to cuddle. Networking at Fashion Week is hard at it is. Try networking with a gravely throat and a case of the sneezes!

Backstage Fashion Week

The Designers are too busy to Chat

I quickly learnt that my intentions of interviewing designers backstage was not a viable option. For one, all of the designers showing at Fashion Week are flat out and frazzled, as is everyone in their team. They are so busy trying to put on an amazing show that reveals all their hard work, adds to their brand and creates a buzz for their new collection, that they don’t even have a second to spare. So my interviews with designers living their dreams would have to wait.

As would I…

Hurry Up and Wait

Waiting is part of the game at NZFW. Ever heard of the term fashionably late? Well turns out it actually stems from the fashion industry. Waiting. Waiting. Waiting. I spent more time at Fashion Week waiting for shows that I did actually watching shows.

Normally waiting isn’t an issue. That is if you have a firm squad who are at every show you are. But seeing as not all 2000 delegates can fit into every venue there are times where you will ultimately be going it alone. That means waiting alone. In a line, nursing a glass of wine that is slowing getting warmer as the room fills with people.

Networking at Fashion Week as a Highly Sensitive Introvert

If I were not a highly sensitive introvert, perhaps this part would be easier. If I were a fiery extrovert who commandeered the room perhaps people would flock to my side to strike up a convo. Or perhaps I wouldn’t find it so hard to do the same. Truth is I suck at making the first move. Though once I have I am fine! I can chat to anyone about anything and somehow get down to ‘the real shit’ pretty quickly.

But it’s making that first move that’s the hardest. More often than not, I found myself chugging back my third glass of bubbles before I dared to approach another lone wolf. This made me realise just how crazy an environment it is that all of us fashion peeps need to be a bit boozed to say hello. We already know we are like minded – we’re at the same show – but still we struggle to mix and mingle unless we’ve mixed and mingled before. We rely on the steady supply of free booze to get us chatting and depending on how much of it we’ve had, chatting may or may not be a good idea!

And sadly, not all attempts to make a new buddy are reciprocated. Sometimes all you get is a one word response and an awkward silence. Not all fashion peeps are friendly! Some are waaay cooler than you.

Being Highly Sensitive, I also find the fashion week environment hard work. There’s the lights, the music, the tight clothes and the shoes that rub. There’s people. So many people. (Some wearing very strong perfume!) It’s all a bit much. Thankfully this year I was so close to our apartment, that I could nip back for a cup of tea when it all got too much.

The Fashion: Genuinely the Highlight of Fashion Week

The fashion, textile art displayed on walking canvases, is the best part of Fashion Week. It is amazing what people can do with fabric. I personally gave up on sewing in high school when I realised I did not like pins or working with flappy materials. These geniuses did not. They worked through the trials and now they create amazing pieces of art.

Every year there are so many shows I am dying to see. But the sad thing about a week full of fashion is that eventually it all starts to blur into one. At the first show, you’re inspired, you’re mesmerised. By the last show, the music is a bit too loud and you’re dreaming about dating one of the models.

The Perils of Social Media at Fashion Week

One major distraction from the fashion is social media. That modern beast. I was so busy vlogging, snapping, tweeting and instagraming, that I genuinely forgot to watch the shows. Yep. Much like everyone else I was there to cover fashion week, so much so that I forgot to actually experience fashion week. When people asked me after the show if I saw the boobs, bums or crushed velvet, I mostly hadn’t. How would the shows be if we actually watched in the moment?

Fashion Week: The Blatant Paradox

Another big distraction from the art is the paradoxical nature of the whole ordeal. I am watching 16 year old girls walk down the runway, wearing clothes their tiny frames look great in, but even these bright young things, who are in the industry, cannot afford to buy them. They are showing them to us; an audience full of writers, photographers, fellow designers and social media influencers who also are unlikely to have a grand to throw down on a designer dress. The women in the crowd (or sitting at work in their lunch break reading a blog about the show) who could perhaps afford these items, are over 50 at least and look nothing like the young twiglets showing off the garments.

And the designers, having spent A LOT of money to be part of NZFW are hoping and praying the publicity created by all these bloggers, photographers and influencers, is enough to get said 50 plus woman to head down to her local store and give the clothes a try on. Let’s just hope she’s okay with how they sit on her 50 plus figure.

The Truth About Fashion Week


The Fashion Week Revelation

There was a moment at Fashion Week between shows, where I sat outside in the beautiful Auckland sun feeling strangely underwhelmed. I watched people take multiple Outfit of the Day pics and chat in groups. I watched people point out cool clothes on other people and covertly photograph them. But mostly I watched people who were conscious of being watched. Primed for it. Waiting. Hopeful that someone would care enough to strike up a conversation or even ask them for a photo that would enhance their social media lives.

It didn’t feel real. Just like Jim Carey said on the New York Fashion Week red carpet recently “None of this is real.” I concur. It isn’t real. That used to be the appeal of Fashion Week; it’s ethereal anti-reality quality. But the more time I spend digging deeper into myself, into my spiritual side, the more I crave realness. I’d rather sit down with just one person and talk challenges, hopes and fears, pull tarot cards and drink tea, than attempt to mingle with over 1000 people that are living in a matrix of image and perfection.

What my Fashion Week experience lacked was connection. Genuine honest connection. Not talk-to you-until-I-see-someone-with-more-followers connection. It was there, sitting on that concrete bollard that I realised that this was not the place where I would find that connection, and perhaps not the kind of event for me to focus my intentions on at this time.

My Last Fashion Week?

I’m not saying that I will never attend another Fashion Week. Indeed with Mariana, covering our lifestyle blog The Madisons, I may. But as far as Full Time Unicorn goes the event in itself doesn’t foster the kind of energy I am seeking.

Where to from here?

The great thing about finding out that something no longer serves you is that it frees up space in your heart and soul. It makes room for those things that truly do fulfil you. Looking forward, I will be sending out my intentions to manifest new opportunities where I can share my message. I’m hoping for more speaking engagements and workshops. I’m putting it up to the Universe for now and we’ll see how she responds.

The Loot

As usual I managed to procure a whole lot of fashion week swag. We’re talking bags and bags of cosmetics and the like. But, seeing as I am a giving kind of person, I am giving THE LOT away! Check out my Facebook and Instagram for a chance to snag my swag.


Fashion Week Swag giveaway is to be drawn on the 13th of October. Half given away on Instagram the other half on Facebook. The giveaway is open to New Zealand residents only and prizes will be sent out via NZ post once winners announced and postal info provided. Prize drawn at random. Good luck!

Full Time Unicorn

Choose Gratitude Over Guilt

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Choose Gratitude Over Guilt

Guilt is an interesting emotion. It is a useful tool to prevent us from being total assholes, but most of us feel guilty at times when we’re doing nothing wrong at all. Women tend to feel guilty a lot of the time. And when/if you have kids that feeling of guilt becomes pretty much the norm.

Guilt and Motherhood

When my kids were super little it was damn near impossible for me to do anything without them dissolving into tears. I swear if I even so much as left the room to take a wee they’d act as if I’d left them at the train station with a note pinned to their shirts which read ‘FREE TO A GOOD HOME’.

All I wanted was a shower and a sandwich and it felt like I was asking for a goose that laid golden eggs. In the weekends I even felt guilty asking my partner for just a small amount of timeout to do the basics. Instead of being grateful for the free time he was happy to give me, I felt guilty taking it, guilty for putting him out.

When my kids got older and started going to kindy and school I had a bit more free time! It was so good to be able to do all those simple things I’d gone without. Now I could have a shower in peace! I could eat lunch in one sitting without sharing my food or holding a baby whilst chewing. I could go for a swim! I could sit in the sunshine. But of course as soon as I had that spare time I felt guilty using it for myself. I felt like I should use it to clean my house or even try to get a job. I couldn’t possibly just be grateful for my new found breathing room. Oh no. Instead I chose guilt.

Guilt: A Negative Message to the Universe

The guilt wasn’t just exclusive to parenting either. I started to feel guilty about everything. I felt guilty if someone gave me a gift. I felt guilty if someone in a store or café gave me extra special service. I felt guilty if I had to cancel on someone due to issues outside my control – even if the other person was completely understanding. Instead of choosing to be grateful for all of these things – thanking those who were kind to me and thanking the universe for these gifts of abundance – I chose to feel guilty.

I chose to feel as if I didn’t deserve anything good in my life. But when we choose to feel this way we are telling the universe that we don’t deserve good things, that we don’t want them. And, dear unicorn, if that’s the message projecting then that is what we manifest.

Choose Gratitude over Guilt

Guilt and the Inner Critic

Deep down I knew that this voice of guilt was not doing me any favours. I knew it was my inner critic, the one that embodies an old fashioned martyr woman, a woman born in a time when idle hands were for the devils work and cleanliness was next to godliness. But this woman inside my head was not me. She is a bitter, judgy apparition, that for some reason I wanted to please but did not want to become.

I didn’t want to be the boring woman who self flagellates, who sighs as she toddles off to work claiming not to have a choice. I didn’t want to be the woman moaning about how tired she is because she rushes from school drop off to work to house work, ad nauseam. And most of all I didn’t want to become that old and bitter woman inside my head that never allowed herself the room to find her life purpose. I didn’t want to be that woman that never let herself have fun and experience pleasure.

Choosing Gratitude Over Guilt

When my youngest started school I knew guilt would be a huge challenge for me. My partner and I had always agreed that I would stay at home while the kids were young. Seeing as I hated my pre-children job and that it also didn’t pay well enough to put the kids into to daycare, going back was never on the table.

I started writing when my eldest was a baby and I started working on my novel when number two was about three. I knew that I wanted to finish it and then start working on another. But what I didn’t know was just how hard it would be to quiet those feelings of guilt and simply write. It was as if every word I typed that wasn’t perfect, was another notch on the tally for that evil old inner critic of mine. See! She would rasp. I was right! You’re not a writer! Now go and get a job that pays a little bit of money so you can pay off the mortgage a few years earlier! It was a daily battle to tell her to shut up and choose gratitude over guilt.

Choose Gratitude over Guilt

Guilt and the Sacral Chakra

Interestingly, the feeling of guilt is associated with an unbalanced sacral chakra, known as Svadhisthana. The sacral chakra is located in the abdomen, below the navel.  When Svadhisthana is balanced all is good in the world! You know what you want in life and you are not afraid to ask for it.  You’re grateful for your talents and you know where your strengths lie. You feel good in your own skin and allow yourself to experience joy and pleasure. You live life to the full and are grateful for everything the universe delivers to you.

Guilt: Svadhisthana Unbalanced

However, when we allow ourselves to feel too much guilt, Svadhisthana can become blocked. This can cause us to deny ourselves pleasure, fun, intimacy and joy.

You might feel creatively blocked – as if for some reason you just can’t let your creative energy thrive. Your libido will likely be low and you may feel lazy or fatigued. Instead of spending time alone, you’ll want to be around others to boost your energy levels vicariously. Your train of thought may tend towards the negative which is likely to block you from attracting abundance. Physical symptoms include; lower back pain, menstrual cramps and abdominal pain, heavy or irregular periods and urinary tract and kidney infections.

Re-balancing your Sacral Chakra

If you think your Svadhisthana chakra may be blocked fear not! You can rebalance it through food therapy, crystal therapy and nature. Svadhisthana is associated to the colour orange and the element of water.

Foods: mandarins, oranges, melon, kumara, carrots, mangoes.

Crystals: Citrine, orange calcite, amber, tiger eye, garnet and carnelian.

Aromatherapy: As the element of Svadhisthana is water, adding these oils to a hot bath will be even better: Orange, neroli, grapefruit, bergamot, geranium, tangerine and clary sage.

Nature: Go for walks near natural water sources. Think beaches, waterfalls, lakes, and streams. Or go outside just after a downpour to soak up all those negative ions produced by the rain.

Choose Gratitude over Guilt

Developing a System to Choose Gratitude over Guilt

Over the course of that first year I developed a system that worked for me. Every morning before I started working, I would pour a cup of tea and light a beeswax candle, then I would thank the universe for this opportunity to explore my passion. I would give thanks that things had worked out in a way that allowed me to do this thing that I love so much.

A Daily Ritual to Beat Guilt

I still practise this ritual every day. I thank the universe for everything it has given me. A safe neighbourhood to live in, a wonderful family, a chance to spend my life amongst great people and the opportunity to do what I love whilst receiving all the abundance I need.

“I thank the universe for allowing me this time to become a creative, spiritual, Full Time Unicorn!”

When we choose gratitude over guilt we are changing our vibration to a higher one that makes room for even more abundance and gratitude. Give it a go next time you feel those pangs of guilt!

Full Time Unicorn

House Work Versus You Work: Making Time for Self-Care

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Self Care, House Work Versus You Work, full Time Unicorn

Your body is like a house. Our house needs to be looked after or things will start to break down. The paint starts to flake. The carpet becomes threadbare. Eventually the roof may start to leak and we’ll get wet and cold. If we don’t tend to our homes they can become damp and musty. Instead of nurturing us and keeping us safe and snug they can begin to make us sick.

I am by no means a domestic goddess but I do what I must to keep my home healthy and inviting for me and my family. I do a little bit each day to ensure that things don’t get out of hand. I air out the whole house by cracking a window upstairs and down and letting Mother Nature send a breath throughout.

These things take time. But it’s time we somehow manage to find. As women (and women with families) we always seem to make time for housework. We fold the washing for our family so that they are kept warm. We cook for them then clean the dishes. We wipe the benches and retrieve old bits of food from the kitchen floor and the beneath couch cushions. Even those of us that are not housework superheroes (raising my hand!) still take time to do simple things to make us feel happy in our surroundings. Perhaps we fluff our couch cushions, recharge our crystals or smudge our house with sage. We may not enjoy doing these things but we do them. House work is a necessary evil and an inevitability of life.

Much like our home, our body needs work too. We may spend over an hour doing simple house hold chores each day, but struggle to spend even an hour doing something that nurtures our body, mind or soul. We may spend a fortune on cleaning supplies, bed linen, or new curtains, but struggle to spare the cash to go to the doctor for a pap smear, go to a yoga class or buy a new (much needed) bra.

The thing is our body is a house. Our very own house. But unlike a house, we only get one body to live in for the rest of our lives. We don’t have the choice to up sticks and move when it gets run down. All we can hope to do is fix it with medications that may do more harm than good. Doesn’t make sense to put in the hard work before we get to that stage?

Society has a big part to play. As soon as I became a mother it was as if I served my children and my house. I had to keep my kids alive and also attempt to conquer the ever expanding mountain of washing. It was as if I had officially signed up for the housework Olympics and a gold medal was to be awarded to whomever could manage to have children and a clean house.

Even my closest friends were not exempt from these beliefs. Even My BFF (who means only goodness) told me that my dirty windows were probably what was stressing me out. I’d wager it had more to do with the fact I had two children under three who neither slept, ate, nor let me leave their side. I share this not shame anyone, but just to show how deeply ingrained in us it is that women (and mothers) should keep an immaculate house and not doing so means we are failing in some way. Why is there this ancient belief that to win at womaning we must cook and clean and raise perfect children?

Full Time Unicorn, Self Care, House Work

Why doesn’t society care whether women and mothers are looking after themselves? Their bodies? Their minds? What if instead of telling mothers they need to scrub the floor we told them they needed to meditate, do some yoga or go for a walk. But you can’t do that with a young child about. I hear you say. Well, guess what. It’s damn near impossible to clean with a young child about too.

Do me a favour. Right now. Calculate how many hours you spend cleaning each week. I want you to aim to spend the same amount of hours per week looking after you. Go for a walk. Meditate. Paint your toe nails.  Can’t afford that may hours on just yourself? Why not? Aren’t you worth it? Isn’t your mental, spiritual, physical health worth that time? If so, consider cutting your cleaning time in half. Donate half your cleaning time to self-care time.

But cleaning is important! Yes. Cleaning is important. It’s one of those jobs we don’t want to do but because of that it almost makes it even more rewarding when we tackle it. When we get into the spare room and clean out the closet. When we scrub out the oven or clean out the fridge. Well guess what; exercise is not often something we want to do either. But it is something we must do. Why is that any different from house work? Because it’s just for you? Because doing things just for you is selfish? I beg to differ. If you don’t put yourself first you won’t have the strength to be really present for anyone else.

Go on. Take time for you. You’re worth it baby!


The Pineal Gland – The Actual Third-Eye Inside Your Brain

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The Pineal Gland – The Actual Third Eye Inside your Brain

When I was 14, and inspired by Gwen Stefani, I bleached my hair blond, applied bright red lipstick, and wore a bindi on my forehead. Now days that would be considered cultural appropriation but back then it was simply considered fashion.

In Hinduism, the bindi is worn to identify a married woman. It also represents bindu; the point at which creation begins, and the centre of the mandala, which symbolises the universe. The bindi, worn in the centre of the forehead, just above the brow line, also represents anja, the third eye chakra, A.K.A the pineal gland.

For years I knew about the third eye. Or I thought I did. I simply thought the third eye was about attaining a heightened level of spiritual awareness; a higher state of consciousness. I wasn’t wrong, but what I didn’t know was that the third eye is actually a real eye, inside the brain, known as the pineal gland.

What is the Pineal Gland?

The pineal gland is located in the centre of the brain inside the epithalamus, nestled in the groove where the two sides of the thalamus meet. It is bumpy, lined with ridges, resembling a pinecone – hence the name.

The pineal gland’s function is to produce the sleep hormone melatonin. Through the optic nerve, light is transmitted into the pineal gland stimulating the production of melatonin. This process helps us establish our circadian rhythms; becoming tired at night and alert during the day.

What’s really interesting about the pineal gland is that just like our eyes, it contains retinal tissue. Yes, that’s right, as in the very tissue inside our two seeing eyes. The tissue inside the pineal gland has the same rod and cone structure found inside the retina. And according to neurologist Dr David Klein: “The photoreceptors of the retina strongly resemble the cells of the pineal gland. It even has vitreous fluid in it like the eye does.”

So there you have it. Our third eye is not simply a spiritual notion nor a metaphor for higher consciousness. It’s an actual eye, inside our skulls. But what does it see?

The True Function of the Pineal Gland

The philosopher René Descartes spent his life studying the pineal gland. His book The Treatise of Man, published posthumously back in 1664, detailed his beliefs that the pineal gland was “the principal seat of the soul and the place in which all our thoughts are formed.” He also believed that the gland is what links our physical body to our soul.

Interestingly, the pineal also produces N,N-dimethyltryptamine, also known as DMT, the naturally occurring hallucinogen found in plants and animals. When taken recreationally DMT brings on hallucinations of passing through a spiralling portal into the afterlife or other dimensions.

The Pineal Gland and DMT Research Trials

In his book and subsequent documentary titled DMT: The Spirit Molecule, Dr Rick Strassman, undertook a government sanctioned DMT research trial, in which fellow scientists took DMT in a controlled environment in an attempt to study the hallucinogenic effects.

Half of the test patients reported entering higher realms of existence and interacting with intelligent beings of higher consciousness, described as aliens, guides or helpers. Visions like this are regularly reported by users of DMT, including those who partake in the Amazonian ayahuasca ceremonies; a tea containing high levels of DMT. These visions seem to be uniquely linked to DMT trips.

While more research still needs to be done, it’s believed that the pineal gland is the part of the brain that produces DMT. It is also theorised that just before we die, DMT is released by the pineal, which may explain the visions witnessed during near-death experiences.

The Pineal in Ancient Spiritual Text

While in modern times the true gifts of the pineal gland have been almost forgotten, through out history there were many mentions of the pineal in ancient texts and art work. The Eye of Horus bears a very strong resemblance to the pineal and ancient Buddhist statues often depict a pinecone shaped object on the head. Pinecones themselves seem to feature very heavily in many ancient artworks.

Unlocking the Pineal

Another intriguing thing about the pineal gland is that in children, the pineal is more active. During childhood we produce more melatonin; as we require it to ensure that we sleep deeply in order to grow. As we reach adolescence our production of melatonin starts to slow. This is interesting, as children are generally more connected to the spiritual realm than adults. Ever heard stories of kids “seeing things” or commenting on the colours around people’s heads? Children and babies are much more likely to see aura and spirits, but as we get older these abilities can peter out. This could in part be due to the calcification of the pineal gland.

Some children however, if taught early enough, are able to completely activate their pineal gland, allowing them to see perfectly, while blind folded. Take Nine-Year-Old Yogamaatha, of India who appears to be able to read and draw whilst blindfolded, a skill that she learnt after attending a course to unlock her third eye.

Calcification of the Pineal Gland

French philosophical writer, Georges Bataille, referred to the pineal-eye as “the blind spot in western rationality.” Bataille, who lived from 1897 – 1962, may well have been commenting on the effects modern society was having on human spiritual awareness. When the pineal gland becomes calcified, it does so due to excess amounts of environmental chemicals, such as fluoride, which is added to many municipal drinking water sources.

Fluoride accumulates in the pineal gland and overtime forms phosphate crystals, thus hardening the pineal gland. Once this hardening has occurred, the pineal produces much less melatonin. This is problematic when the calcification begins at a young age, as reduced melatonin production cues the onset of puberty, causing girls develop and an earlier age.

As well as being associated with migraines and cluster headaches, calcification of the pineal has also been shown to be more prominent in patients with Alzheimer’s.

What bothers me the most about pineal calcification, is that not only does it affect our physical health, but it could also be inhibiting our spiritual growth and awareness! Fluoride is in our New Zealand water supply. I used to approve of it as it supposedly helps prevent tooth decay (though I challenge you to find any neutral studies to support this), however reportedly Hitler added fluoride into the water supply in the concentration camps to make the prisoners more compliant.

How to De-Calcify your Pineal Gland

While we inevitably come into contact with heavy metals and free radicals every day, there are still things that we can do to de-calcify or prevent the calcification of our pineal gland.

Stop Drinking Fluoridated Water

This is a rather controversial issue, but personally I do not believe fluoride prevents tooth decay at all. But, don’t take my word for it, do your own research. Aside from dental health, there is evidence that fluoride calcifies the pineal, so the first step is to stop drinking fluoridated water.

This can be easily done if fluoride is not in your water source, but if it is there are still options. We are lucky enough to live near an aquifer, giving us access to pure natural spring water for free. We go and fill our large (BPA free) drinking containers once a week, giving us around 60 litres of spring water, filled with natural minerals and microbes.

Eat Organic Where Possible

Pesticides contain a myriad of harmful chemicals, including fluoride, benzene and chlorine. Ideally we’d all be able to eat a diet comprised entirely of organic food. However, that is not always an affordable option. Get to know the Clean 15 and the Dirty Dozen, that way you’ll know which fruits and vegetables to buy organic and those of which you can buy from your regular store.

Sleep in Total Darkness

I used to get given shit by my bestie for complaining when it came to sleeping in a room without blackout curtains. I swear, unless I am in a pitchblack room I cannot fall asleep. Perhaps the pineal has something to do with this! In order for the pineal gland to produce melatonin, it requires zero light to be transmitted in through the eyes. This is also why it’s best not to look at your phone too close to bedtime, as the blue light tricks your brain (and pineal) into thinking it’s day time.

Pineal Gland Sun Gazing

Sun Gazing

No. I am not telling you to go and stare down the sun for hours on end, permanently destroying your retina! But sun-gazing is said to help boost the function of the pineal by jump starting those circadian rhythms back into action. The method is to stare at the rising or setting sun, for a one to two seconds at a time.


Ensure you are getting enough iodine in your diet. Low levels of iodine can cause the body to hold on to chemicals like fluoride, so ensuring you are getting enough iodine will help you to pee out any fluoride you come into contact with. I like adding sea vegetables to my daily smoothie. You can’t even taste them! Honest!


While we’re on the subject of peeing out fluoride let’s talk about tamarind. Tamarind is an African tree fruit that helps the body flush out toxins through urine. If teamed with iodine just think how many toxins you’ll be wazzing out.


Last but possibly the most important is meditation. While you can physically prevent your pineal from calcifying, the true function of the pineal is spiritual. The best way to keep any part of the body from atrophying is to use it regularly. To activate the pineal during meditation simply send your awareness to the point in the middle of your forehead, just above the brow line. Imagine a glowing light emanating from this point. It may start to tingle after a while but don’t panic. Much like going for our first run in months, the muscles can feel fatigued when we first start using them again. The pineal is no different. The more you practice this the easier it will become.

I hope you enjoyed this post dear unicorns! Let me know your thoughts on Facebook or Instagram

Fighting Fear

Understanding The Ego: Are You High Level, Low Level or Somewhere in Between?

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Understanding The Ego: Are You High Level, Low Level or Somewhere in Between?

We’ve all heard the term egotistical. You know, when a person thinks they’re hot shit on toast. They waltz around the place looking down their noses at people because they are just awesome. They think they deserve just a little more than everyone else and everything they get handed must be the best. They think they’re of a better calibre of people; not simply common folk.

I find that while this trope of Egotist is by far the most commonly known, the detriments of the Ego are more frequently found in people who judge themselves harshly and believe they are less important than others.

The Voice of The Ego

The Ego can be a nasty piece of work. It is the part of our mind that judges everything we do, sizing us up, shaking its head. It is the mother of comparison; squinting its eyes to decide if we are better or worse than those around us. This can lead to outwardly judgemental thoughts like ‘Oh wow she has bad skin and she’s eating a snickers, what an idiot! I’d never do that!’ or internal judgemental thoughts like ‘Oh wow, she’s way thinner than me. Actually everyone here at this yoga class is thinner than me! Oh my god. I don’t belong here! I’m not good enough!’

The High Level Ego

The Ego can tell us we are awesome, which can make us feel great. But you’ll know it’s the Ego talking if your awesomeness is at the detriment of someone else. Your Ego will tell you you’re not just awesome but better and more worthwhile than anyone else. You deserve the best seat in the house! You deserve to be served first! This is known as a High Level Ego and it can lead you to act outwardly cruel, assuming and entitled. It’s as if the High Level Ego seeps from your pores, but really it’s much simpler than that. If you are familiar with the Law of Attraction you’ll already understand that thoughts become things. If you walk around all day with the idea that everyone is beneath you, that’s how you will make people feel; like they are worthless and minuscule. Do you really want to be that person? The person who has great self-esteem, but at the expense of everyone around her?


The High Level Ego: Feeling Awesome at the Expense of Others

I’m sure we all know that girl. You know the one who grew up beautiful and had plenty of attention from boys, she may have been a teen model or a cheerleader. There’s no denying that they’re beautiful but perhaps not as beautiful as they think they are? They either have admirers or enemies.

I too knew a girl like this. She was a good dancer and actress and she was relatively beautiful. But she saw herself as far more talented and beautiful than everyone around her. She seemed to attract a lot of admirers but every time I spoke to her I ended up feeling bad about myself. There was just something about her energy than left me feeling “less than”. Because I am highly sensitive and highly intuitive, I was picking up on her High Level Ego energy. While it may have convinced some people of her worth, it actually had the reverse effect on me. It made me feel bad about myself and not as “good” as her. And let’s face it. It’s just no fun being around people than make you feel bad about yourself.


The Low Level Ego

On the flip side of The High Level Ego we have The Low Level Ego. I find this type of Ego to be far more common, especially amongst women. It may present as social anxiety; a sense that whenever we go out into the world that we are undeserving of decent treatment. We feel the need to apologise for asking for a glass of water at a café or we feel bad for getting a seat on the bus when someone else may have to stand. At an event we may feel guilty for even being invited and taking up the space – because we’re not important enough to be there.

The Low Level Ego: We Are Not Worthy

When we allow the Low Level Ego to rule us, we may talk ourselves down, sell our selves short and play small. Basically, it tells us that we are less important than everyone else; our family members, our work colleagues and other people in our industries doing the same work as us. The Low Level Ego is responsible for those unfinished novels, unfulfilled dreams and great ideas we gave away. It is the spotless house and the empty heart. It is the self-care you did not practice.

The Ego and Your True Self

The Ego can offer us approval and disapproval but both of these can be detrimental. If we’re constantly seeking the approval of others or we berate ourselves when others criticise us, we’re not being our authentic selves. We’re being a version of ourselves that pleases other people or appeases our Ego.

The thing about the Ego is that often it is laced with limiting beliefs imposed on us by our parents, grandparents and even childhood teachers. For example if we’re raised to believe that it’s “bad” and “sloppy” to stay in your pyjamas all day, that could be hugely detrimental if you’re a writer like me, who loves nothing more than staying in my jammies all day writing. I see it as a day well spent. But if your Ego chants this belief in your head, you may force yourself to get up and get dressed and leave the house which actually deters you from writing. This can inevitably lead you to feel unfulfilled. Like you’re living your life for someone else.

If you were raised to value money and possessions, your Ego may force you into a career that brings you money but no joy. This essentially can deter you from living the life the Universe intended for you. Yes, it may sound “woo-woo” but this is the home of woo-woo and I firmly believe that each and every one of us has an intended life path. As Picasso said; “The meaning of live is to find your gift, the purpose of life is to give it away.”

Whenever we let other people’s opinions and beliefs shape who we are, we’re not being our true selves. There are plenty of people in the world. Why be just like them? Be you. You only get one shot. Like ridiculously bright shades of pink? Wear the fuck out of ‘em. Love childish clothing covered in unicorns? Ditto!

The Ego and Creativity

Creatively, the Ego can really wreak havoc on your work. If you have a High Level Ego you can fall victim to thinking everything you do is a freaking masterpiece. Even when it’s not. This can cause you to do things half-assed, expecting applause, then getting angry at the world when they don’t come. It can also make receiving feedback very hard because if you’re ‘the best at everything’ then what would anyone else know? As a writer going down the publishing path you may be prone to giving up when you get your first round of rejections, because ‘if they won’t publish my work then the whole industry is just stupid!’

When it comes to the Low Level Ego, you may have trouble even getting started on your work for fear of making a mistake. This means you are less likely to even have a go or embrace the learning process. When you do make mistakes oh boy! You berate yourself for hours after the event and may even get so upset you can’t continue with the project. You may blow things so out of proportion that it’s not the work that went wrong, it’s you than is wrong. And instead of it being simply one small hurtle that you need to climb, it’s all over. You were never meant to write/paint/dance anyway!

Living with an Ego imbalance

Personally I lived with a Low Level Ego for years. My Low Level Ego not only made me feel like I didn’t belong anywhere or deserve anything good in my life, but it also made me put everything I longed for up on a pedestal. It stole my tongue when I tried to make friends with people I admired, it made me psyche myself out when I attended auditions. It even made it impossible for me to get an after-school job in a record store – because that was just so cool, way too cool for me.

Restoring Ego Balance

Now, my Ego is (normally) in balance. I neither believe myself to be better or worse than others around me. I don’t cut lines in the supermarket, nor do did I let others cut in front of me. I don’t idolise people in highly educated positions – like doctors and lawyers and people from Ivy League colleges – and let them intimidate me. I treat them as my equals. Because they are. I don’t treat watrons as my personal servants; I am polite and respectful and I am worthy of the same in return.

How to Re-balance Your Ego

The first step in re-balancing your Ego is to simply identify the Ego driven thoughts in your mind. When you hear that voice in your head telling you that you are either better or worse than those around you, stop and identify the Ego at work. Take a moment here to acknowledge how well you’ve done by identifying the Ego, congratulate yourself and immediately forgive yourself.

If you tend to take on a High Level Ego, take a moment to change those High Level thoughts. Instead of thinking negatively of the people around you, take a moment to change that energy. Mentally give them all a compliment. Wish them love.

If you are in a Low Level Ego state, in the midst of berating yourself and telling yourself you are less important than everyone in the room, take a moment to wish yourself love. Look around the room at these amazing people. Send them love too. Your paths have crossed for a reason. The universe has a plan for you. Give yourself a compliment such as “you are here because you are a professional in your field and you have gifts to offer that others value.”

In her book Never Not a Lovely Moon, Caroline McHugh talks about the concept of Interiority. This is the balance between Superiority and Inferiority. You are nether better or worse than others. You are simply you. Interestingly, both Superiority and Inferiority require other people in order to exist. Not so with Interiority. It is the epitome of embracing your true self and moving through the world with a smile in your heart.

Don’t let your Ego rule your life. You only get one chance to be you. Own it.

Self Sabotage

You’re a God Damn Magical Unicorn!

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You're a God Damn Magical Unicorn, Full Time Unicorn

You’re a God Damn Magical Unicorn!

I was in the car, driving to my first audition in five years, when it happened. My fingers were white, wrapped tightly around the steering wheel and sweat beaded on my upper lip. I was nervous. As usual. I always got nervous before an audition, but little did I know that this would be the last time I’d let it sabotage me.

As I fought through traffic, my inner critic began to murmur in my head, filling me with self-doubt, telling me I was too old, too fat, blah-blah-blah! I took a deep breathe, quieting the negative voices. Stopped at the lights, I caught my own gaze in the rear view mirror and without warning I said to myself “YOU ARE A GOD DAMN MAGICAL UNICORN!” As I heard the words I felt my mind calm. “You are perfect, right here, right now, as you are,” I said. “You are going to go in there and do your best. And your best will be amazing because you are a god damn magical unicorn.”

I felt a sense of peace and power come over me. I’m a unicorn, I said again. There is no one out there quite like me. I am an endangered species. I need to protect myself. Not change myself.

A Passion for Playing Pretend

I was in high school when I discovered my passion for acting. It was an accidental love affair bought about by the fact that most of the subjects I wanted to do clashed with others. I was in a position of choosing either maths or drama. Seeing as I am allergic to maths and my best friend was in that very drama class, it was a no brainer.

My next concern however became how I would hide in the backrow and never actually have to get up and do any acting. I was shy. Very shy. I was still in the midst of my gothic phase and hadn’t yet recovered from a spat of high school bulling the previous year. I was used to keeping my head down and sticking to my very tight group of friends. I hardly spoke to anyone else.

I soon learned that keeping my head down in drama class was not really an option. At the end of every class we’d do a group performance, so like it or not, I was up on that stage in front of people. But to my surprise I didn’t hate it. Not one bit.

You're a God Damn Magical Unicorn, Full Time Unicorn

Saved by a Coven of Witches

For the very first class we were asked to put together a short theatre piece. It could be anything at all but had to fit with the theme ceremony. While the other groups worked pieces about marriage or birth, my group created a piece about a coven of witches, joined in a circle, wearing black robes. We chanted about the living sacrifice we would offer up to the night – the sacrifice turned out to be plants not people.

As I stood there amongst my peers, my face smeared with white face paint, a large staff in my hand, something came over me. It was a tingle of adrenalin and the thrill of creating a piece of art. I was stepping out of myself for a moment. While I was on that stage I wasn’t playing the part of Lisette – the shy goth who got beat up last year – I was a witch surrounded by sisters who worshipped the earth. It felt amazing.

I’m a firm believer that when you love something you can’t help but do well at it. So not surprisingly, drama became a subject I excelled at. I got top marks for every assignment. I could not get enough of it.

The Voices of Self Doubt

After high school I went on to drama school. But I soon realised something was different. These were all people who loved acting just as much as me, but unlike my supportive class mates at high school, the tone felt much more competitive. Every time I got up in front of the group to perform, I felt 30 pairs of eyes judging me, willing me to fail. They think you’re shit, I’d tell myself. So do the tutors. You’re not good enough to be here. Try as I might to silence those negative thoughts, I could not. They just got louder and louder.

I tried to find ways of convincing myself I was good enough. I started working-out a lot and eating a lot less. Due to basic physiology I lost weight. Soon people were complimenting me, telling me I looked great. “Like a movie star!” someone said. That sounded pretty good to me, so I ate a little less and worked-out a little more.

You’re a God Damn Magical Unicorn
There’s no Such Thing as Perfect

The problem was that the thinner I got the less I liked myself. It never seemed like enough. Every time I got a call from my agent about a big audition I’d start psyching myself out. Nah, you’re not thin enough for this part. They don’t want you. They want someone prettier. Someone with smaller thighs. I’d convince myself I couldn’t handle the part, that I wasn’t good enough. With all these voices in my head I’d end up so frazzled by the time I got into the audition room that I’m sure I never gave my best performance. I was too shaken to simply listen to direction and change in an instant – which, when it comes down to it is what you need to do to nail an audition.


Self-Sabotage became my life. If I had a big audition on, I’d get drunk the night before. That way I had an excuse for not doing my best. It’s because you were hungover, I’d tell myself. But you were completely wrong for the part anyway!

After performing on stage I’d judge my own performance harshly. Even though other people enjoyed watching my work, it was never good enough for me. I’d even tell myself that people were laughing at me behind my back.  Eventually it all got too much and I had threw it in. I let my agent go and I got a “real job” that destroyed me from the inside out.

Getting Back on the Horse – Or Unicorn

It wasn’t until a few years ago that I decided I was ready to try again. First I got back into theatre. I loved it. I loved working with the script and playing with the other characters. I worked hard and I went easy on myself, telling myself that whatever the character became was who she was meant to be. Previously I’d got the idea that the actor shouldn’t be present at all in the character they perform. But, I now I approach it differently, working from my “self”, then building on that until it clicks.

In the car that day, on the way to my first film audition in five years, I heard those negative thoughts return, if just for a moment. In that second I remembered all of it; the years of self-doubt and self-loathing. The hours spent in the gym working out from a place of sadness, not empowerment. All that time wasted feeling not enough. Fuck that, I thought. I am done with that shit. From now on I am owning my power. From now on I will honour the awesome unicorn that I am.

You are a Miracle!

We are all Unicorns!

We are all miraculous. In her 2011 Ted talk, self-help author Mel Robbins shared that according to scientists, the chances of you being born the person you are is about one in 400 trillion! Gee Whiz! So basically the person you are, the way you look, the way you think, is a one in 400 trillion miracle. You are one of a kind. A fucking mythical creature. You are a unicorn. Don’t waste your gifts.

Embrace Learning

So I guess you’re wondering, did I get the job?

Well funnily enough I did not. And I share that with no shame because what I gained was so much more valuable than a one day job for a web ad. I walked out of that audition with a spring in my step. I nailed it. I felt so good about my performance that I didn’t feel the need to beat myself up afterwards. I knew that whatever happened, I’d done my best and for once my best was good enough. The casting director told me she hoped to see me again and I got great feedback from my agent.

Sometimes enjoying the process and allowing yourself to learn from it is more important. What I learnt that day was that regardless of getting a job, not getting a job, getting published, not getting published, I am still awesome. And so are you.


Bummed-Out or Depressed? What’s the Difference?

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What’s the Difference Between Being Bummed Out and Depressed?

When I was 20 my boyfriend broke up with me. It wasn’t a long term thing; we’d only been together for three months (!) but I was a romantic, a lover of epic proportions – though I’d never actually been in love. When Aaron pursued me, I was shocked. This cute boy, likes me? Really?

Up until this point I’d never really had a boyfriend I felt attracted to. I’d had one relationship with a boy who I soon realised I liked more as a friend. I never felt the desire to jump his bones and my heart never yearned for him. When we broke up it was unanimous. We both agreed to go our separate ways and I was sad only because it meant we probably wouldn’t hang out in a group with our friends anymore. The only pang I felt was one of: He was a nice guy, I wish I could have liked him more.


The Break-up that Bummed Me Out

So when I started dating Aaron it was different. I liked him. He was tall and handsome. He had bright green eyes, a cheeky grin and dimple in his left cheek. He made my heart flutter. On top of this he seemed to like me too. Like really like me. He’d surprise me at work – waltzing into the video store a managed – with a coffee and a pastry. Or he’d pick me up and take me out to dinner. He called me and if he missed my call he’d call me back.

That was until we slept together. As soon as things became intimate he got a bit weird. He started talking about his ex-girlfriend – she was his first love – and stopped calling as much. I know, red flag!

I didn’t read him right and instead of pulling back and giving him space I became more besotted, I wrote him poems – yes, poems. I even hid one in a seashell and snuck it into his overnight-bag for him to discover when he returned home. Like I said I was a hopeless romantic. And I was awesome. Who wouldn’t love to find a poem hidden in a seashell???

When he broke up with me over the phone late one night, I really didn’t see it coming. It hit my like a punch in the gut and I literally ran to the bathroom and threw up.

The next day at drama school I was a mess. I was a snivelling heartbroken maiden, venting my hurt to all who would listen. I couldn’t eat for days. I cried myself to sleep. I was bummed out and miserable. I was mad I’d wasted my fearless heart on him. Would I ever have the nerve to hide a poem in a seashell for someone again? But I was not depressed. I didn’t want to die. I didn’t want the earth to swallow me, neither did I ponder at how other people enjoyed life. No. That black dog was yet to come.


Bummed out or Depressed?

Life can be cruel and unpredictable. It doesn’t always give us warning before it deals a nasty blow. We can be pottering through our day when suddenly we are knocked off our feet by terrible news. Sometimes, these blows can be the straw that broke the camel’s back; if we’re already fighting the slow burn of depression, it can poor petrol on the fire, igniting a full on blaze. But usually, there’s a distinct difference between being bummed out and depressed.

Being bummed out – like I was when stupid Aaron broke my heart – is a very different feeling to depression. Depression is a funny fish. It’s funny because it sneaks up on you, like an invisible cat that climbs onto your shoulder one day. You don’t notice it at first, but the cat gets fatter and fatter, until it’s practically a 250kg Bengal tiger grinding you into the dirt, growling in your ear.


A Lifelong Battle with Depression

I suffered from depression from an early age. At 10 years old, I recall a feeling of pointlessness. A bleakness about life. My parents would announce a trip to the pools and I’d smile and nod, but my heart felt heavy. What’s the point? I would think with a sigh in my heart. It’s all boring. Who even finds life fun?

As I got older, the depression was combined with one cup of obsessive thoughts and two cups of anxiety. After a session of overthinking I’d usually plummet into a pit of darkness, struggling to get out of bed in the morning in a way that’s more about hopelessness than tiredness.

Thankfully, in my case, depression came in waves. I would sink into it for a few weeks, feeling the burden of that cat become heavier and heavier, then I’d wake up one morning and the tiger would be gone. Poof. Of to chase pigeons.

When I felt better, it was as if the dark times had never been there. But over the years the dark times got more and more frequent, and that fat tiger became harder to shake off. For years I lived with depression, thinking it was just normal, that everyone had it or that it was my fault; a personality flaw.


Having a Breakdown

When I finally had a break down, there was no straw that broke the camel’s back in my case. No break up. No getting fired from a dream job or losing a loved one. For me it was as if I’d finally reached my quota of coping. As if I were a mason jar and my depression allotment had reached the brim and began to spill out.

One day I just snapped. I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t sleep. The tiger was back but this time it wasn’t on my shoulders weighing me down, it was on my chest, compressing my lungs and I could not breathe. My palms dripped sweat and my muscles contracted. I had an acute panic attack that lasted six weeks. It took three weeks, meeting with my GP and my psychologist, to be prescribed medication. Then another three weeks for that medication to kick in. But once it did, my mind started to ease.


Implementing Boring Self Care

Once I was well enough, I started to do some soul searching with the help of my psychologist. What had caused my attack? Where did it come from? Before I lost my shit, I was sure that I was happy with my life. But it turned out I was far from it. I worked in a job that killed my soul; an office job, that neither paid well, made use of my talents, nor made me feel good about myself. It was simply what I thought I deserved so I’d forced myself to suck it up and get on with it.

But when I started to dig below the surface, I realised I’d been sick for a very long time. I’d been living with the tiger for so long that I’d started to think it was part of me. In those brief times the tiger climbed off me, he just been at my feet, waiting. I hadn’t been practicing self-care and I‘d forced myself to live without the things that make my heart sing – like writing, singing, acting, creating and moving my body.

Now, after having two kids and fighting Post Natal Depression with both of them, I have learnt to keep a pretty strict Boring Self-Care regime. I try to get as much sleep as my kids allow; eight hours being ideal. I exercise at least four days a week and do my best not to leave it more than three or I start to feel down. I eat as well as I can, listening to my body, and noticing that sugar, while good at the time, makes me feel irritable and depressed. I sing as often as I can – which is known to release oxytocin – and I write daily.


Making Sure Bummed Out Doesn’t Turn into Depression

Keeping a few simple things in check helps me. It means that when life throws me a curly one – and inevitably life does – I can cope. While I may stomp and cry and throw my toys, feeling totally bummed out, I can feel in my heart that I am not depressed. I can feel that I don’t want to die; on the contrary, I want to live and this damn roadblock (whatever it may be) is getting in the way of that!

When the blows come I give myself a pep talk. I hold myself tight and say: This is really shit, but as shit as it is, we can get through this. There is no tiger on our shoulders. Life is amazing! So let’s find a way through this challenge and get back to living!

Struggling with Depression?

If you’re not sure whether you’re bummed out or depressed but just feel generally meh all day every day, I’d say it’s time to head to your GP for a chat. There’s also a checklist here that can help.

Being a woman/mother/lover/maid/CEO, can be hard dear unicorns, but life is too short to tolerate feeling less than awesome. If you are struggling, seek help. You are worth it. You are a God Damn Magical Unicorn and you deserve to be happy.

Need Help? Please speak out:


LifeLine: 0800 543 354

Suicide Prevention Helpline: 0508 828 865

Youthline: 0800 376 633

Crisis Assessment and Treatment Team: 0800 745 477