Thursday, May 28, 2009


Im currently reading a fantastic book called "Better Off" by Eric Brende. Its about an American bloke who after doing the usual tertiary study on the effects of electricity on humans (or technology in general), decides to embark on a wee experimental adventure (without funding) on living without electricity for 18 months.

So after randomly meeting an Amish bloke at a intercity bus depot and enquiring how might a non Amish person do the non technology sort of thing, Brende and his new wife moved to live in a community dubbed by Brende as the Minimites. A small community made up of people mainly from other Amish communities but also astonishingly enough, a few past city slickers so sick of the side effects of pollution, television and mcdonalds that they've full heartedly entered themselves into this lifestyle. The author pretty much created the word Minimites with the words Mennomites (what some Amish call themselves) and Minimalists = people who believe communal hardwork and fellowship is in fact a cool thing (I tend to agree).

One point to make is that Brende is not saying technology is awful, only his message is about doses and levels of technology in moderacy. His experiences and thoughtful insight will make you question whether or not that brand new state of the art washing machine you just bought really is time saving or is it just another machine that your family culture circulates around with a manual that gives you double the stress compared to the more"old fashioned" simple machines.

Reading this book was inspirational and made me want to go outside in the dreary Dunedin cold to create a mini farm in my backyard it also made me want to chuck my television out the window but after a while I thought - better just turn it off at the wall.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Crazy Dreams

Theres something thats been on my mind for quite a while and only recently, have I actively decided I wanted to do this:
Write a book.

My logical self screams "Why should I even bother??!!"
My gut tells me its a fantastic idea.

I want to write a book that is part memoir part self help. As a Christian and a survivor of domestic abuse, I feel like I've got a story to tell and an urge to assist those out there who are trapped in abusive relationships and/or marriages. It has also come to my attention how much of a controversial topic this is in the church.
The man who abused my family and myself claimed to be a "God fearing man." He didnt go to church but boy did he use christian doctrine to condone what he did. And everyone outside of my family fell for it especially my own church family. When I bravely asked for my pastor for a place to stay he said no and said he didnt want to cause trouble with the man in question by "butting in on family matters." To this day I am appalled at the lack of support for my family which was all fuelled by fear.
I have a strong feeling that there are others out there who are experiencing this. I also want to aim this book at those who have commited their lives to Christ, but find that they are being persecuted by their spouses for their new choices. I want this book to help people identify abuse especially emotional abuse tactics that most of the time only victims recognise. I want in the book to have resources available to people who want help but dont know hwere to go.

And lastly, I am sick to death of the stigma that is attached to divorced women who want to go to church. People need to wake up to this and bring this discussion upfront. Im am sick of the ignorant and stupid ideas by people who have no experience whatsoever in the matter of abuse who say

"why dont they get out?", "why would any self respecting woman stay with a man like that?" "abuse only happens in poor neighborhoods.." blah blah blah.

Right now, my heart absolutely cries out for that lone beaten woman and for all those children in the past have been abused by family members but where the doctors were too late to save them.

And most of all, my heart cries out to all communities and its members who think "Its not my problem" or "I dont want to cause trouble" or "even though her husband beat her up for over 10 years shes commiting a big sin by divorcing him..."

I feel like this angry passion for this topic is boiling up within myself and I want to explode.

In order for this book to be a decent piece of work, I predict it will take me years to do this. Plus it wouldnt be too bad to have a few years as an occupational therapist under my belt. See the real effects of abuse first hand etc. But, by that stage my memory will be a bit fuzzy, so Im writing my memories of those painful events even now as I write this. I'll do some research in my next holidays though as Im currently quite busy with study.

Is this a crazy dream? Has anyone ever bought up this topic before? (abuse, divorce & church)

Monday, May 25, 2009


Lately, Ive been noticing a change in my habit of listening to music/radio in my bedroom or car.

In the past, Ive set my stereo as an alarm clock so that it automatically turns on at 7am every weekday. It has been playing the same radio station since my first year in highschool (Im now 20 years old). My reasons for keeping it on this particular radio (which shall remain nameless) have been because its Breakfast Show gives me a few good ol laughs and also the fact that I've won 500 dollars off this show and other prizes are why I've kept reasonably loyal to it.

However, since the start of the year and probably due to my lack of having to wake up early for 8am lectures anymore, I've had it off quite a lot of time off. When I do wakeup, Im often too busy (dealing with the freezing Dunedin cold) to listen to it or I wake up after the breakfast show is finished.
Ive also come to the realisation that I really despise music from this decade. Not all of it - but most of it. Ive been spending more and more of my huge free time reading my bible and learning lots. Its a bit lonely sometimes as I live on the other side of town from campus but I have been thoroughly enjoying the benefits. I havent particularly prayed for this out loud or anything but to me it seems as if God has extended my gift of discernment over to music as well. So when Im driving to and from campus I like to have a bit of background noise in my car (as you do sometimes). My car radio is permanently tuned to a station that plays popular pop music with themes like dress up like a chicken to win freebies. One of the things I like about this radio station is that it randomly plays songs from the 80's and 90's. And when a song comes on with lurid lyrics or themes etc its like I get an instant migraine. For example "The Fear" by Lily Allen. I dont know her, I dont know her personality, but seriously where in that brain of hers does she come up with lyrics like that?!

"I want to be rich and I want lots of money. I dont care about clever I dont care about funny. I want loads of clothes and f***loads of diamonds. I heard people die while they are trying to find them. I`ll take my clothes off and it will be shameless. Cos everyone knows thats how you get famous. I`ll look at the sun and I`ll look in the mirror. Im on the right track yeah Im on to a winner.
I dont know whats right and whats real anymore. I dont know how Im meant to feel anymore. When we think it will all become clear, Cos Im being taken over by The Fear. Lifes about film stars and less about mothers. Its all about fast cars and cussing each other. But it doesnt matter cause Im packing plastic, and thats what makes my life so f***ing fantastic..."

You know, lots of people I'm sure will say its all innocent lalala. But I'll tell you what, young kids who dont understand the message of this song will still memorise the lyrics which will be soaked in like a sponge, til it can be used later on (I would know, I can still remember those embarressing Spice Girl lyrics from my girlhood).

The fact is, is that I still turn the radio on in the hopes that they might play a U2 classic or a nice song by the Fugees or something.
I said out loud in the car the other day "The next time I hear that/those stupid song/s Im gonna turn it off for about 3 mins and pray about stuff that Im grateful for."

Tell you what, my little trick is working. Its also helping my to tone my language down, though Im not perfect in that little area.


Whatever happened to REAL Rhythm and Blues aye? Not this downgrading too fast trash their playing these days. Man... I sound like my grandfather lol.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

I miss OT *sigh

The sad thing about doing only two papers this year is that I feel Im getting rusty with my passion for Occupational therapy. To think I fought the biggest fight of my life (so far) which had physical, emotional and spiritual repercussions in order to even get provisional entry in the degree course down here in Otago Polytechnic then to be accepted was the greatest accomplishment Ive ever done after the hellhole of 2006. Like the Shawshank Redemption - I had to go through a dark and terrifying tunnel of shit before I could come out clean.
First year in Dunedin was wonderful - no wait, it was the most beautiful liberation ever. Although I moved away from my mother and boyfriend, I had to do it for my own growth. The papers were interesting. Some extraodinarily difficult ie kinesiology paper and a few others but most were facinating and I got good marks.

Second year was another growth period. I started flatting for the first time. Good and bad times came out of that. But it was fast paced at polytech. The third years and lecturers warned us that it was going to be our toughest year. two one month placements in the middle of each semester as well as the workload that comes with doing 7 papers no one person could not handle without at least one emotional breakdown. Quite obviously this happened to me, while becoming a social recluse and doing too many frequent allnighters which resulted in me developing insomnia at night and hysteria during the day. Not a pretty sight...
So many people dropped out that year.

Amazingly I passed all of my papers save for one which I did so bad, the marker told me it was the worst mark she'd ever given in that one paper. Pretty shameful I know, though at the time I was more concerned about my emotional state and I allowed that remark to go over me like water off a ducks back - which incidently was thrown back at me at new years.
The second semester of last year was a mixed bonfire of warmth and hell as well. I was redoing a 1st year reflections paper that I failed only by 2% then later misread the reassessment requirements (the word "doh!" is appropriate here). So all in all I was working full time at a neuro rehab clinic in auckland while doing 8 full time papers. But I organised my time much better this time and by the time I got back to dunedin my refection paper was half way done and I was much more prepared for my practical exams.

Weird thing is is that my grades did not correlate with the work I put in. My 1st paper (or so I thought) was bloody good. After all I'd read the reading material and two qualified OTs helped me with ideas and such. I handed that paper in actually believing it was A- material.
By the time was over and the summer holidays began I started to worry about that paper. I got my marks back from all but that one paper and passed. Weird thing is is that I got all A's for the papers I did only an average amount of study to and got C- for the papers I put my blood sweat and tears into. Weird..

On the day of my birthday dinner with my boyfriend, after recieving no news whatsoever about the paper I had redone, I recieved a very abrupt letter from one of my lecterers stating my expulsion from the degree course because of my second failure in that paper. Later on that evening, my boyfriend was cheated over 500 dollars for a bottle of wine he did not intend to buy and out of grief over the letter and our hard earnt holiday money being forcefully spent on a 12 year old bottle of red - I drank only half a glass of the stuff and later on had a five day hangover as well as food poisoning. My mum rechons that my stress reaction to the letter then drinking a glass of good quality blackmailed wine would definitely have propelled anyone the urge to cry and vomit continuously for five days.

A week after that, I became angry. VERY angry. Being a christian I believed with all my heart from the age of 14 that God had chosen my career as an occupational therapist. I wasnt as intellectually brilliant at OT compared my teachers at highschool choice for me of doing a Masters degree in History (which I still happily study as a hobby), but I was passionate about OT. I love how I've grown professionally over the past two years - I love studying the theory and then going out into practice with real clients and actually seeing the results of my study in others. I have loved the feeling of servitude and going home after work and feeling happy and content and feeling as if I was a part of making the world a better place. Not to mention the more I learnt about the profession of OT the more glad I was that I chose to do it instead of doing History. As my mum told me this year - In this day and age of recession, there is always a need for OTs to be employed and I would never have any trouble finding a job compared to having a Phd in History and not knowing what to do with it after graduation.

I fought tooth and nail to be let back in and after finding out I'd only be allowed to do the two papers I previously failed this year I drove all the way to Moeraki Boulders to cry my eyes out (I was still just a tad angry).

Well now its May '09. And truth be told Im glad to have had the chance to have a break. Im sleeping like Ive never slept before, I have the energy to actually exercise and am actually earning money for my last placements next year so I dont have to add more to my debt. Im socialising more and enjoying church and spiritual growth much more than I ever hoped. And now that the second half of the semester is up and running again, Im looking forward to learning OT again. I miss the bulk learning, but Im also certainly enjoying my flexible timetable and am relishing in it. By February next year I will be refreshed and ready to finish my last year of study. Goodness knows how much Ive put into it.

I love OT !!