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Connection and Inspiration

2017 felt like an inordinately difficult year. Not your usual a-bit-of-bad-but-mostly-good year, but a truly, outrageously, you’ve-got-to-be-kidding-me sort of year. One where you look back and think, “I’m not even going to attempt describing what happened this year, because nobody would believe it.”

Except, to be honest, I think they would.

Nearly everyone I’ve spoken to had a ghastly year. Tragedies, financial catastrophes, health traumas, personal crises, the works. Nearly every heart-to-heart conversation is peppered with, “Me too! Same here! So did we!”

And I think that’s the loveliest thing about heart-to-heart conversations, they remind us we’re not alone. There are other people who don’t know how they’re going to pay their power bill or if they’ll ever have real friends before they die or when they’re going to wake up without wanting to go straight back to bed again. There is inestimable comfort in feeling understood and loved, especially when circumstances make us feel thoroughly unlovable.

I’ve been smiling a lot this week, not because life is magically easy and perfect and all the hard of 2017 disappeared, but because I’m not alone in the hard.

When the hard comes, the easiest thing for me is to withdraw from people. I don’t want to be a burden or a bother, I don’t want to be the one needing help and extra attention, I don’t want to make anyone else’s life more difficult. It drives Bear crazy. “How can I help if I don’t know?” is his earnest refrain.

So I practice. I practice being vulnerable and real and honest. I practice sending a text message or making a phone call or tapping someone on the shoulder and asking that oh-so-scary question fraught with the possibility of rejection, “Can I talk to you?”

So, back to the whole smiling a lot this week. I’m smiling because over the holidays I reached out again, and people reached out to me, and through that brave reaching out, we comforted each other, we laughed through our tears, we found renewed courage to try again, and we felt understood and accepted as the beautiful messes that we are.

We reached out in our backyard, sitting under shade trees and trying not to melt in the sweltering, pre-storm summer heat as we talked about job changes and crazy kids and bugs devouring our gardens.

We reached out at the picnic table, clinking glasses of icy cold ginger wine as we discussed mothers in rest homes and lack of thigh gaps and fatigue from endless late nights and early mornings.

We talked at the kitchen table, crying together as we figured out how to navigate the depression of a family member, grieve the loss of a loved one, and make time for ourselves in the hurly-burly of life. Cherry-infused port wine calmed ruffled spirits and turned our sorrows into laughter as, once our burdens were shared, they became lighter and we could see the funny side again.

We shared our stories via email and text message, over cups of coffee and around the camp fire, and somehow, even though nothing had changed, everything had changed because we’d connected with people who care. And knowing that we matter to someone, well, that brings light to the darkest places.

I’m smiling too because connection not only brings comfort and light, it also brings inspiration.

All those talks gave me new ideas for food to make and books to read and art to make. I have lists of great movies and good music, day trips to take and cafes to try, new blogs to visit and seeds to plant.

All those ideas sent me on a mission of inspiration this week.

I’ve been spending so many happy hours down in the granny flat, parked in front of the fan, surrounded by books and magazines, markers and notepads.

It’s not a time for doing, it’s a time for filling up my imagination with good things: gorgeous pictures, creative blog posts, recipes and gardening tips and historical narratives.

I’m loving it so much, and feel deeply thankful for my loves who so wholeheartedly share their lives with me, and would be miffed if I didn’t share mine right back. xo

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Emma - Happy New Year! I am glad 2017 is behind us too. Here’s to having great support networks too! xx

Liz (Good Things) - Hello darling one, happy new year to you. Apologies that I haven’t been stopping by so frequently. I do catch you on Instagram, but life has taken over. Much love xx

Dina - Nice photos!

Happy 2018 🙂

https://dinamighty.com/

Tandy | Lavender and Lime - It is so good to connect with people. Hopefully this year your connections will be all positive xx

Cris - First of all Happy New Year to you and I hope 2018 fulfil all your dreams and your heart with happiness and your soul with peace and love. Yes 2017 was a year of changes, I decided to love myself, made some very hard decisions and at the same time the world opened up to me. I isolated myself for 10 years, and in 2017 with my blog and Instagram I was connecting again with people and by sending them my love I got love and amazing support from people that I did not even know. They brought so much hope to my life and I started letting people back in my life and important friendship was made and I met the most wonderful human beings. For all of this I am so grateful for 2017. Tough but at the same time so important and life changing. I met people like you who touch other’s hearts through stories and images. Thank you for your support and your amazing blog. I can’t wait to read all your posts in 2018. xoxo Cris

Jackie Smith - It is heartwarming to know you ‘aren’t alone’ and to be able to say, ‘it was rather tough to do. . . ‘ and get feedback and support. I am learning though in this ex pat life that those friends from the ‘other world’ really can’t or don’t want to hear about difficulties in the new life. . .it has been important to cultivate new friends who do understand . . . Happy New Year!

Karen (Back Road Journal) - Wishing you a much better year…hopefully, it will be a great one.

Becky Butler - Only real conversations are worth our time. But I try to remember those less honest may become honest some day… when they are free to be real. Thanks for your words.

Cathy - This is an utterly special post Krista. I totally identify with what you mean. I have a couple of friends who withdraw when things get hard. Your hours spent in the granny flat make me smile, that’s my kind of favourite activity 🙂

Ruth Miranda - So true, I always do the same: whenever the bads hit me, I draw myself into my shell and no one ever knows I’m even going through something. I can see how that leads to unfair assumptions from others, and frankly it is my fault – if I do not share my burdens, how are people to understand I cannot be fully there for them because I am dealing with personal problems too? But that’s the way I am, and I can’t change. Whenever I opened up all I got was advice I did not ask for, whenever I needed an ear, I got words. See, sometimes we only want to be heard, not told what to do so it gets better. But because people around me have always had a hard time listening, I withdraw and never share my burdens. Good to see you’re connecting with the right people and being comforted and inspired, I hope 2018 is a much better year for you!

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