They Who Know The Storm

They Who Know The Storm

Today is my 44th birthday. As stated by the woman I dearly wish I could have had the opportunity to drink under the table at the Algonquin, Ms Dorothy Parker herself:

“Time doth flit; oh shit.” 

Sound a bit dismal and non-fizzy for a girl who loves shoes, champagne, rugby and books on her FORTY SECOND (remember this, people) birthday?


But it's my birthday, and I'll chastise myself if I want to. 

To anyone celebrating a birthday today, or anytime soon, I have some things to say to you, imbued with my heartfelt love, appreciation, gratitude, and infinite wonder at the people who continue to love me, not least of all the Man Who Vaguely Resembles David Tennant.

Question And Answer

“Every man has his secret sorrows which the world knows not; and often times we call a man cold when he is only sad.”

— Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Today is R U OK? Day - and already on social media this morning I have seen criticism of the day, ranging from 'people should be asking others if they're alright every day' to 'at least use proper letters - dumb name'.  

Yes, it would be amazing if people asked others if they were alright every day. But let's face facts. We are selfish, greedy beasts, we humans - and if a day such as R U OK? Day can get us to stop and think about others - for even a moment - then it's alright in my book. As for the name - we live in the Age of Textarius. Much to my secret sorrow, what grabs the attention more - Are You Okay or R U OK? And anything that can bring attention to suicide prevention - well, that gets a free pass from the Grammar Goddess. 

The number of people who struggle with depression in Australia is growing. People are scared to talk about how they feel - we are expected to achieve so much, to keep achieving, to keep up the pace, to go the distance, to succeed, to provide, to be happy, to race for the finish line. And all whilst pegging back the darker emotions or feeling tired, or sick, or drained of energy.  

Or perhaps coping with grief and sorrow - and finding it all too hard, and just quietly slipping away because nobody has noticed the stress-lines beneath the surface. 

We are all guilty of two things - and often it's not out of any lack of care or compassion. One, we DON'T ask our loved ones often enough if they are OK; and two - we don't ask ourselves.  

So today, don't only check on those you care about. 

Do a self-check too. 

Make sure you are, if not happy, then at least in a mental place where you feel you are capable of reaching out for help. Look inside. Say to yourself 'Am I coping? Am I waking up of a morning wishing it would all just go away?'

Sometimes it is harder to ask yourself that question and give an honest answer that it is to look someone else in the eye and say 'no, I am not OK'. 

But if you expect that honesty from them - give it to yourself too.  

And yes, it would be great if every day we asked 'are you OK?' of friends, family and co-workers. Maybe start with today - and a simple text, or message, or phone call. I will even be relaxing my rules.

R U OK?  


Love The One You're With

“He leans over and takes her hand. With the other he touches her face. ‘You your best thing, Sethe. You are.’ His holding fingers are holding hers.

‘Me? Me?”

— Toni Morrison, Beloved

It has been yet another rough week in the world of grumps and glum a.k.a. KateLand. I hate admitting this; I hate saying out loud 'yup, things are currently craptacular'. But allowing oneself to be vulnerable is something which we all need to do. If we don't, that internal balloon gets to popping point… and what is the result? Stress, anger and an awful lot of tears, and not the 'I needed to have a cry' tears, but great big 'I can't stop' sobs which are not healthy.

Being vulnerable and letting people in is important. It's something that I have to work on very hard. I am extremely bad at letting people help me. I am not sure whether it's because I see asking for help as some kind of defeat, or whether I am just a stubborn cow, but putting my hand up and saying 'I am not coping' is vastly difficult. 

I know I am not alone in this.

I also think that a part of it is perhaps thinking I am not worthy of being helped.

Again, I know I am not alone in this.

To some degree, most of us dislike ourselves. There are some happy go lucky souls out there who saunter through life without any kind of self-doubt - always secure in themselves and their place in society and the world. They have a confidence in their own ability which borders almost on arrogance; but it isn't, and it isn't ego either. They simply don't have any kind of 'I'm no good' feelings running through their veins. 

At times, I envy them. To have that kind of blasé bliss - wow. For a week, a month or two - yay. It would be great. But if I really stop and nut it out, I come to a different conclusion.

Whilst I don't want to doubt my likeability on a daily basis, I do want to question whether my actions affect the wellbeing of others. I want to make sure that the way I behave is of good consequence. I want to make sure that what I am doing means I can sleep well at night.

While I want to love other people - the most important person in my world to love, I have figured out, is the person I spend twenty four hours a day with.


And part of loving yourself is being loveable. That means being loveable in your own head. If you can't go to sleeps with yourself - how can you go to sleeps with someone else?

This week has been an eye opener in many ways. I have found out that I can reach out for help, and that people are there to answer that call. That it doesn't make me weak. And more importantly, I have found out something else about myself.

I heart me.

And I am prepared to do whatever it takes to make sure I keep doing so. This means being strong, and self-assured, and independent - but it also means letting down the walls occasionally. It means allowing people to help you. It also means taking responsibility for yourself - and part of that responsibility is saying 'no that isn't acceptable to me' or 'yes, that is acceptable, and I am going to run with this and seize happiness with both hands'.

Even if the path to happiness - and responsibility, and most of all, self love - involves breaking out a box of tissues and having a weep every now and then.

Love yourself.

At the end of the day, you're stuck with you.

For life.