Tuesday 1 May 2012

Stepping back to step forward

Hi, you may (or may not) have noticed I took a little break for a few days. Sometimes this blogging caper and online life can be a little overwhelming and you need to take a step back and think: "What am I doing here?!" But I'm back, baby, I'm back.

So we returned from Byron Bay. There is so much about Byron Bay I shouldn't like. So much that I don't want to like. The try-hards, the backpackers, that a small town can be so crowded all year round. The truth is, I love it. There is a certain magic about that place (and the area around it). Every time I go there, I feel at peace, calm, I can't-explain-what.

The first time I went there, and actually stayed longer than a few hours, was when I was 18. I'd just finished school and a friend I'd known most of my life was headed there with some school friends. My own school friends weren't doing anything too appealing so I tagged along. Twelve hours on the train. The first time away from home with zero responsibilities, full freedom and independence. It was intoxicating. Byron Bay 17 years ago was a little more innocent. Hippies, their dogs and their drums filled the parks. There weren't any chain stores. Patchouli and pot filled the air. The beach sparkled like diamonds under the headland as the lighthouse beamed out.

My friends and I had the most fun. It was completely innocent, but fun. The most reckless thing I did was drink too much kahula and milk and get my nose pierced (though not at the same time). We laughed and felt free, not having to be home at a certain time. No one watching over your shoulder. Just doing what we wanted, when we wanted. I felt really alive.

That trip changed me. I felt different afterwards. I went back to Byron every December for a few years after, dragging along whoever I could to get them drunk on the Byron love.

I stopped going and occasionally would stop off for a day or a night every year or so. Seeing the place change. Seeing the hippies slowly go (or start up a chain store). Slowly the place got less innocent and more jaded, just like I was.

Skip and I have stayed around Byron on holidays for the past few years and just love the area. The beaches, the hills, the light. It's special.

Arriving on that Saturday, a week and a bit ago, and standing on the beach. The surf licking my toes, the golden light making everything glow as it set. I felt a sense of calm and peace.

It's been a tiring start to the year. Ridiculous sleep deprivation. Getting used to the busy life as a mum of three. School, preschool, baby life. I've struggled to adjust. Things just haven't felt right. I haven't been right. I've felt like I've been dog-paddling to nowhere. I've felt tired and, truthfully, I've felt a little crazy and even a little paranoid.

This last minute trip was needed to break the cycle. Change directions. Take a breath.

I kept thinking of my 18-year-old self walking through the same streets and then I'd glimpse myself in the mirror and not recognise the person looking back. It's a weird feeling, not recognising yourself. I looked old, worn out and tired. Empty. Blank. The spark was gone (or maybe just missing).

I want that spark back. I want to look after myself better. Eat better. Exercise more. Dress better. Take time for myself. Read. Listen to music. Dance. Laugh. Be inspired. Be a better person all round. For me. For Skip. For the kids. Because I think we all need a better version of me. I think the kids and Skip deserve a better version of me. After all, the only thing I can really change is me. I write all this here so I remember it and be accountable for it.

I think Byron has changed me once again, or at least is the turning point.

Maybe one day I'll live there, in the hills or on the beach, and drink up that magic potion every day.

For now, it's the first step forward to finding that spark.


  1. beautiful writing rin... so lovely to hear someone talk about epiphanies and wanting to walk into a new phase of their lives...
    And I agree... byron is the place to experience that epiphany!

  2. Welcome back. I love Byron too - for the same reasons as you. I ignore the bits I don't like, and embrace those I do. Good luck with igniting that spark - you'll find it - a flicker at a time x

  3. Beautifully written! I grew up with a mother who never looked after herself (and still doesn't) all in the name of her family first. Surprisingly (or not) she is not always the happiest person in the world.
    I decided many years ago that I would not be that woman. While I love my family and would do anything under the sun for them, feeling good about myself and confident in my looks (sometimes) makes all the difference in how I approach the world.
    So good for you love, but remember....CORINNE deserves the best version of you too.

    p.s. When can you take me to get drunk on Byron love?

  4. Sounds like the break was just what you needed, especially to a place that means so much. I definitely know what you mean about not recognizing yourself, I've been doing a bit of that lately.
    Sometimes it hard to remember to put ourselves first to make sure it doesn't all fall apart.
    I have no doubt you'll find that spark.

  5. Beautiful. It's SO good to have you back. I hope you can hold onto that feeling for a while yet. It's been a FULL ON year or more for you guys...you deserve a break. Let's hope the change of headspace brings some real changes in life too. Starting with a baby that sleeps!

  6. I've always loved Byron, but anywhere that gets you out of your own head and into others' creative spaces is a good thing.

    That 'spark' I think you are missing is 'promise'. When we're younger we have the promise of our whole life ahead of us, unburdened by the weight of our own expectations. If we let ourselves 'be anything' again, then I think the spark is still right there. Endless possibilities. x

  7. Good luck on your new journey, sounds like Byran was the perfect place to go... you do need to take care of yourself before you can take care of anyone else... take the next step!

  8. Yep, totally get what you're saying about not recognising your own reflection, I often look at myself in the mirror and wonder where the time went. I miss those younger days and I look at my nieces and nephews in their late teens/early twenties and think to myself "I hope they enjoy every moment", because it does go so fast.
    Sounds like a great break and a bit of soul searching to boot. You're doing so well Corinne, you have a beautiful family and they adore you and NEED you. Take care of yourself lovely.
    And I did notice your absence for the past few days, so glad you're back, Baby! xoxo

  9. I really like this post. We all get in a rut every now and then, and having 3 smalls certainly does that. You sound like that break was exactly what was required.

    Looking forward to hear about how it all goes ... and if you have shitty days, Revlon eye illuminator. A haggard lady's best friend, man! xx


  10. That was so beautifully written. I agree about not recognising your own reflection. Often over the last few years, I wouldn't even know the person in the shop window fronts that I walked pasted.. And looking at photos of a younger me, with so much life and enjoyment and not jaded by mortages, work, bills and being "busy" - I would love to escape back to that person.. But once we decide we are making the change, then we are back! And really to be a better person for ourselves firstly..And that others can enjoy that more shiny person as well..


Thank you so much for your comments! I'm always thrilled to hear from you.

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