Tag: a good cause

R U OK?

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Have you ever been in Struggletown (like really really trying to hold onto sanity) and not had the words to tell someone about it? Have you ever felt like talking to those close to you might make them feel burdened with your problems, so you hold onto them tight? Have you ever been scared that you might be considered to be whingey and mopey if you tell people what you’re really going through? Scared you’ll bring everyone down? Annoy them? Or have you held secrets about your well being close to your chest and not known how to express them or feel safe doing so? Have you ever felt that crushing fear of being vulnerable? Putting your heart out on your sleeve?

I have. Many a time. Let’s face it. I’m Kez and I am sh*t at asking for help. I am sh*t at telling people the deep, dark stuff. Truly. You wouldn’t think it. I’m such a bloody chatterbox and I am generally quite in touch with my feelings. I can talk about feelings quite well (mostly in writing or in counselling) but there’s only so far I can go when I am truly having a rough time. It’s not that I don’t trust anyone, far from it. I get scared that I’m going to be that high maintenance friend. That drama llama. Oh, yes. That Kez. She’s got *whispers* issues. All the time. Or sometimes I’m scared that if I say it out loud, I’ll be judged or worse, hurt even more.

I’ve often been known to use my smile to cover my vulnerabilities. Lots of positive talk. A bounce in my step. I wonder if anyone would even think I don’t have an awesome life? I mean, I do. It’s just that when it’s less than awesome, I wonder if anyone can see past my facade. Ironically, sometimes I even cover up my own feelings/struggles by helping others with theirs and neglecting my own…yeah, I know. I promise that’s not what I’m doing while writing this post. PROMISE 🙂

Sometimes in life, you just hope that someone will reach out and ask, “Are you OK?”

Just check in with you and take the fear away.

Well, they asked me if I’m OK so they must want the answer. Maybe it’s OK to tell them the truth. Maybe they don’t see my feelings as a burden after all.

It can feel like such a relief – like you’re able to breathe out again. It can be the start of a rewarding journey back to yourself (or the rest of the world) or it can resolve the horrible feeling of a problem eating away at you. Perhaps when the burden is shared, it lessens.

September 12 (that’s tomorrow) is R U OK Day. It’s something I really believe in and I am so glad it exists. Here’s the little blurb directly from the website:

What is the R U OK? Foundation?

The R U OK? Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to encouraging all people to regularly and meaningfully ask ‘are you ok?’ to support those struggling with life.

R U OK?Day is our national day of action on the second Thursday of September (12 September 2013), and dedicated to reminding people to regularly check in with family and friends. We also have Resources for You to use throughout the year to help you ask ‘are you ok?’ regularly of family, friends and colleagues.

You can visit the website here – you can find advice on how to ask someone if they’re OK as well as inspirational stories about people who dared to ask the question – and those who had the courage to answer them.

You just don’t know if you might be saving a life, by asking such a simple, compassionate question.

While R U OK Day might only be one day, it can inspire you to think about how to ask those you care about how they are throughout the year. I know that this campaign has given me the courage to ask the question many a time where in the past I might have chickened out. What if it’s none of my business? What if I’m intruding? What if I’ve imagined this person’s struggle in my head and I’m going to make a fool of myself? What if asking the question makes the other person run away from me? What if…I get a truly honest, heartbreaking answer and I don’t know what to do about it?

The R U OK Foundation says we just need to listen without judgement – we don’t need to fix everything or have all the answers. Starting the conversation in the first place can be very valuable.

I promise that the times I’ve had to dig deep to take the step of asking someone if they were OK, I have never regretted it. Just listen to your gut – if it’s telling you to ask because you truly care – and don’t ignore it. That person might have needed you to ask that very day. So, you get knocked back? That person still knows you care, even if they’re in too much pain (or even denial) to realise right away.

I have not been asked to promote R U OK Day (although would be very open to it in the future) and have nothing to gain by posting about it. It truly is something that I believe will make the world of difference to someone who is struggling. I’m sure we can all relate on some level as either the ‘asker’ or the ‘answerer’. While I have quoted the R U OK Day Foundation on this post (as clearly as possible), the opinions in it are mine only and I speak from personal experience.

I want my readers (regular or first time visitors) to know that I really do care about your well being.

So I’ll ask the question, which I mean from the bottom of my heart and truly care for the answer.

Are you OK? What’s happening for you right now? How are you feeling?

You can privately message me on Facebook, email me, DM me on Twitter or leave a comment on this post (you may use an anonymous username if you prefer – your email address is never published). Anything you tell me privately will not be shared and will not be judged. I just want you to know that I’m listening.

I hope that you will ask the question tomorrow too. It could be the start of a very important conversation.

x

Something close to my heart.

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I’ve always grown up watching the annual Perth Telethon. I spent weekends watching it with my friends during sleepovers, checking out all the Aussie celebrities doing silly things to raise money for Western Australian kids and calling up to make a pledge, in the hopes of speaking to a hot Home and Away hunk. I know…we were all young once, don’t judge!

I watched the stories of remarkable and inspiring young kids in the Princess Margaret Hospital who battled big illnesses that grown adults with life experience would struggle to get their heads around. I saw footage of the neo-natal ward with all the tiny, struggling babies who were fighting to get a chance at life – their tired, stressed but hopeful parents hardly leaving their sides. I always cared, but I didn’t really ever think that Princess Margaret would be a place my child would ever need to be.
That stuff doesn’t occur to you when you’re daydreaming about your future. Even in 2011 (the year of my pregnancy) I watched Telethon (the very week before the Little Mister was born), without really batting an eyelid. Those were other peoples’ kids. I was moved by it all, but that’s someone else. It won’t be me. It didn’t even enter my mind.

The staff at Princess Margaret’s neo-natal unit are complete strangers to me. I wouldn’t recognise a single one of them. I wouldn’t know who they were, what they look like or what all of their job titles or qualifications are. However, they were entrusted with the Little Mister’s life from day1 to day 3 (the earliest hours of 7 Nov to the afternoon of the 9th Nov 2011). They kept him alive, they checked on his health, they comforted him when he needed it and from a very long distance (OK so it was an hour’s drive away but it felt like a continent separated us) they, by proxy, supported me as his mother. All I could do was sign a form saying I gave consent for them to use a pacifier and to feed him formula, then he was gone. These people were my Little Mister’s primary carers for the first few days of his life. They kept him safe, they changed his nappies, they fed and dressed him, and they made sure he was comfortable (with drips and monitors hanging off his little body). They weren’t my relatives, they weren’t his parents and they weren’t people I had personally employed. Yet they had the most precious job in the world. Can you count on one hand the people you would trust to hand your first baby over to five minutes after he/she was born?

Pic: Only one day old – on drips and oxygen

My husband was lucky enough to witness their amazing work first hand as he spent his time ferrying between both my hospital and Princess Margaret. He saw the nurses in action, he carefully held the Little Mister as he wore kindly donated, tiny clothes (I would see photos each day and the Hello Kitty onesie amused me – how Asian haha). He saw the other parents keeping vigil over their tiny babies, who were struggling so much harder than the Little Mister ever would. They were in for a lot more challenges than we were and it was a sad sight for my husband to take in as they looked wistfully at him holding our 8 pound baby boy, who just needed some oxygen and a heavy course of antibiotics before he’d be right as rain.

It was really hard watching my newborn baby, only hours old, in a special neo-natal incubator thingy (I really wish I knew what it’s called) designed for transporting him in an ambulance to another hospital. Having to wave pathetically (all doped up on pethidine) and say goodbye to a little man I hadn’t even spent more than five minutes with, who already had all of my heart. Not being able to touch him during this exchange. I thought of him being all alone without his parents for a big roadtrip to another place and I think it was too much for me so I played it cool and tried to go to sleep.

This year Telethon means so much more to me. I have kept my personal vow and dropped gold coins in the tins at my local supermarket all year. If I had some change at the check out, it went in the tin. My Little Mister didn’t have anywhere near as difficult a challenge as a lot of babies and children who benefit from the funds raised by Telethon. His experience was only a tiny tip of an iceberg and in no way do we compare his experiences with the tough times that other families all over the state are facing. However, because this small experience was as powerful as it was, it made me realise the absolute depth of the strength those families must have and just how deep they have to dig inside themselves to keep positive. These families need every bit of help they can muster.
I will support Telethon much more religiously forever onwards. To help the families I just described, but to also express my gratitude to the Princess Margaret Hospital and the amazing work they do.

To find out more about Telethon and how to donate this weekend (or any time of year), please click here. Telethon will be broadcast on Channel 7 Perth and GWN all weekend from 10 – 11 November.

They can also be found on Facebook and for all those who cannot enjoy it locally, it also has a YouTube channel 🙂

Also, there’s Twitter. Have I covered all bases yet?!

If you really can’t muster up the enthusiasm for this cause (or live overseas and have no idea what I’m on about), then think about this:

Dan Ewing from Home and Away

Yeah. He’s going to be there.

You’re welcome, ladies (and gays).

xo

Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems…SOLVED!

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Today is the first day of November, or as it is now known, Movember. Why? Because every bloke who’s ever heard of it (and is able to grow facial hair into…shapes) loves the excuse to grow a moustache and tell their reluctant partners that it’s all for a good cause.

Here’s a little description of what it’s all about taken straight from the Movember website:

During November each year, Movember is responsible for the sprouting of moustaches on thousands of men’s faces in Australia and around the world. The aim of which is to raise vital funds and awareness for men’s health, specifically prostate cancer and male mental health.

My husband LOVES it. People who already sport questionable moustaches all year round probably hate it.

“OH MY GOSH! MOVEMBER!! LOVE IT! IT’S HIDEOUS! GOOD WORK!!!”
“Um…no. Not Movember. What is Movember?”
“…um…never mind…have a nice day, Mister…”
“Mister? But I’m a lady…”

At least that’s how I envision the awkward interchange…

Now, as I stated, my husband just adores Movember. I am one of those ladies who prefers a clean shaven face on a man. I’m sure he often wishes I was one of those hip, young things who think scruffy beards on a guy are all the rage, but tough luck, tiger. So his only opportunity to grow a hideous, spiky thing on his face is the month of November. To him, this is his big, shining moment to just be wildly hairy. He just loves to bathe in the warmth of his newly acquired facial hair and not be told off for it! I mean, he tries it on with me occasionally when he’s gotten a bit feral after working for a few days. He’ll just shave everything on his face except for a pencil thin creeper moustache and then try to get away with it…let’s just say he gets rid of it a few minutes later with a sad, sad look on his face. What? You really think you’re gonna get that past me, Mister?? Hmmph. Not likely. You don’t know who you’re messing with.

Last year he raised hundreds of dollars for the cause and this year I hope he can do the same. Especially as it is in memory of his brother who passed away from cancer in 2010. I also think that any time men are responsible for promoting men’s health and talking about mental health in particular, we should encourage it.
I mean, protect your bits and look after your mind…in some blokes it’s practically the same thing…boom! Bad sexist joke. I went there.

This year, my husband has been told that he cannot officially start his Mo’ growing until after the Little Mister’s first birthday. As we have a November baby, I have voiced my concern that every year his birthday photos from his childhood will feature my husband standing/sitting beside him sporting a furry upper lip like some crazy throwback to the 70s. I’m scared the Little Mister will turn 18 and look back on our photos of his birthday parties, believing that his dad had a dodgey caterpillar moustache above his top lip ALL YEAR ROUND. Eek.

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This will only put him a week back and he grows facial hair like there’s no tomorrow, so he’s gonna do fine. You know, in case you were really concerned for him. I know you were.

I think that this year I would like to encourage my hairy spouse to mix it up a bit and go international…

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I mean, I’ve seen him do this:

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And this:

And this:

Yeah…variety hasn’t really been his strong point…

If you would like to donate on behalf of my husband’s dodgey mo’ growing efforts, click here and leave a message to let him know you found out about his mission via my blog (just quote the words “Awesomely Unprepared”)! I might get major brownie points 🙂

You don’t have to give much. Every dollar counts.
If we get even one donation from a blog reader, I promise to post photographic updates (even if the husband doesn’t know it yet haha).

If you are participating (you can register at this link), then by all means send me your pics too!

Click here to like Awesomely Unprepared’s page on Facebook x