That woman; the mother of infants with their first steps and dirty nappies, school runs and teenage tears, no longer memories I can allow in. In one form or another, I was to be forever changed by those that once loved me as their Goddess. It is only now, all these years later, and I can see how much I have grown that I can now be grateful to them for the journey I have found myself on.
I guess the million-dollar question is, how did I, and still do in this day deal with my grief? And more importantly, how did I manage through all of that pain and distress become grateful? To be fair, I didn’t go lightly into this whole idea that from great grief comes great strength. When I was in the most pain I thought that was a load of crap and went in kicking and screaming.
After going thru my previous articles and blogs from the past four years, the common theme was always about letting go, leave the past behind and clearly a lot of hard feelings, screaming out to the reader that Lisa was in so much pain. I don’t even think that if I was to go back in time, that I could persuade myself to think that one day I would be grateful for all of that grief.
Yet that was exactly what happened and thru all of that, strength and power of self arouse. I say this with my hand on my heart, this wasn’t easy, and please note there are still days that aren’t. In fact, this ‘evolving’ me would scream out in rage and anger with rivers of tears constantly flowing over the ensuing years. There were days in my mind I would rehash and blame anyone and anything that had made me feel so cindered to the core. I was at rock bottom and this is where I started to heal.
‘When you take away everything from someone all you have left them with is POWER! ™
Power comes in two forms, good and evil, and during loss and sadness, some will turn to one or the other or both. I chose both. After all, the dust had settled and all I had left to show of my past life was in boxes in a storage unit, it dawned on my then fiancé that a huge life change had to take place.
He gave me two options - you can either:
- Either curl up in a ball and pray everything will be ok. (For the record I tried this and it didn’t work - I also lived on an 11th story building, and yes I did have those thoughts)
- Get up knowing that at rock bottom the world is your oyster.
That oyster came in the form of opening a live music/art bar on a remote island called Koh Tao in Thailand and we called it the Raw Art Moovement.
My husband and I soon discovered there were many challenges to building a bar in a foreign country. However, there was one great thing going for this project - and that was the distractions. The heat, the food, the language, the people and the creation of art every day kept me busy.
One can still be distracted while being distraught I found but distracted nonetheless. When I would feel that overwhelming emptiness coming back, I would immerse myself in the art of all forms. I painted, I ran art classes, we hosted comedy nights, and we had live music that saw some of the finest musicians from around the world perform. I would tend bar while my husband either sang, played guitar or both. In between all of this you could also find him handing out shots of Sambuca to loosen up nervous performers as he coached them before they went on stage.
Would I talk about the situation I was going through back in Australia? Hell yeah, I did!! I needed to talk, but I also wanted to hear other people’s views. Thru these people, I also learned about their lives and their losses. I learned that there are a lot of people out there that suffer from, Post Traumatic Stress (PTS), PTSD (Disorder), depression, anxiety, body issues, you name it… I heard about it. By being able to talk I realised I wasn’t alone in my healing; they needed to hear my story, just as much as I needed to hear theirs.
If you need to heal - you need to talk.
Try an experiment and write down on a piece of paper your biggest fear. Then ask your neighbours or close friends to do the same. Gather the papers and put them in a hat and ask each person to randomly pick one out of the hat. I can guarantee you will be frantically rushing back to get the piece of your problem back. Some people have dramas so big that it can make your own seem irrelevant. Don’t let that feeling diminish yours because when others hear your story, they will also think theirs is minuscule.
Our choice of talking and creating as well as surrounding ourselves with people from all walks of life was a huge part of our healing process. And when I mean our healing process, I am referring to my husband, who for years would deny that he suffered from PTSD. As a Royal Marine and serving in Iraq for five years, a lot has been seen thru those beautiful eyes. For years he, like many other of his brothers, wouldn’t talk or recognize that they were PTSD sufferers. Instead, Denny wrote a book called, Fighting Your Demons’. This was to be his outlet to letting go and moving on as well as the bridge to help other men and woman who didn’t feel comfortable exposing their depression.
We found that by immersing ourselves into a dream or an idea of what we wanted our life to now look like was our choice. By choosing to live a life less ordinary we could have a blank canvas. Indulging in ‘Good and Evil’, in the form of a bar, eventually had its drawbacks. I could and I will write some stories of those times one day. The day we said goodbye to the Raw Art Moovment Bar was cathartic. This had been our distraction, our passion, and my baby and it was time to say goodbye to it and Thailand for a while.
Life is big if you let it be. After saying goodbye to the RAW bar and hundreds of punters, my husband and I decided it was time to travel the world in search of our biggest dream. Yes, you are allowed to dream while in your pain, I encourage it wholeheartedly. Make sure your dream is so fucking big that it makes people think about pulling out the crazy suit and strapping you in.
How do I know this, we chased our dream all around the world to train in the best boxing gyms with the best people in their field. We were crazy? Very much so! Did we care? Not anymore. Were we finding our new selves? The answer was yes. Our heart was calling us back to Koh Toa and our passion has always been helping people. But instead of pouring Sambuca shots to help lost souls, you can now find us on the pads and inspiring our crew as we build the first stand-up, western style specific boxing gym in all of South East Thailand.
The RAW lives on!
On our mats, six days a week we are surrounded by larger than life legends that inspire us to keep following our dreams. We went from a movement of artists to a club of warriors and the transition was pure and natural.
So, in the end, it comes down to - Who AM I now?
On reflection, I AM different, I AM forever changed. I AM fearless - but only once I let go. It’s time for us all to let go, to free fall, release our demons, punch thru our pain or punch above our weight division. But first, we got to talk to each other about how we deal with fear and grief, or more importantly - how we are not.
I AM this woman and I AM in your corner.
I AM THIS WOMAN