** Foreword, this is an article I published on LinkedIn on 3rd Oct 2017. And as it happens, I’m sharing it again whilst sat in Kuala Lumpur airport, this time connecting on my way to Thailand.

 

I’m writing this article as I sit on a 12 hour flight to Kuala Lumpur from London Heathrow. Part 1 of 2 flights which will get me to Bali. 8 hours in to this flight, 2 movies down, lunch and snack box through, fidgetting to get comfy yet still unable to sleep, I had an overwhelming urge to write.

And what is it that I wanted to write? Well, I’m not entirely sure. There are so many thoughts running through my head right now, but I thought I’d start with this one. I don’t have a clue what I’m doing.

I have so little idea about what I’m doing, that I’m not even sure how this article is going to evolve.

First things first. Why am I flying to Bali? Other than the above statement of not really knowing, it stems back from my trip I took there last year, where I did my Yoga Teacher Training course. It was while I was there, that I had this moment of realisation that I just wasn’t very happy. I had nothing to complain about, a well paid job, a home which makes me feel safe, friends and family who support me through everything. Yet, when I removed all of those things, I suddenly felt content. I was learning things that were interesting to me, which ignited a passion inside of me, a desire to keep learning. I found that whilst nervous to start, I had a voice for teaching, a voice which used to wobble when I had to speak up in meetings on a construction site. I was able to be authentic and be myself, I finally took off the steely mask which had been so firmly secured that I had forgotten that I was even wearing one.

This mask somehow made most of the people around me believe that I had my shit together. Ha.

“Bulshy, opinionated and strong.”

I was wearing this mask to protect myself, to shield myself from the cruel reality, that in my experience is still far too prevalent, of being a woman in construction. Bulshy, opinionated and strong. I had meant to emanate confidence, but I fear I just became a mirror of the traits which I disliked so much. It stopped being a mask and just became my face.

It became my strength and my weakness. My blessing and my curse. Initially people are fascinated by someone who is strong and knows what they want in life. But when you are strong all the time, people think you don’t need their support, that you don’t need someone to lean on, to guide you when you’re tired. People think that you have an unlimited capacity to give without ever needing anything back. You are the person who they can rely on to fix their problems, no problem. You have a plan, you know what you want and how to get it and nothing ever bothers you.

I love having the strength to know that I will always be OK because I have the tenacity to do whatever it takes to get what I want. But don’t for a second think that I have an elegant, steamlined plan on how I will achieve it. I’m just stubborn.

I love having an opinion and beliefs that I feel are important enough to be said. But if you listen carefully you might hear the undertone of doubt because I’m scared you might just tell me I’m wrong and make me feel stupid.

I love having the confidence to know that I’m worthy of achieving the dreams I have and the life I want. But don’t get it in your head that your comments or actions don’t have any impact on me.

And now, here I am, travelling back to the place where almost a year ago, I started to feel the edges of this mask peel away. And since then, I have continued to remove more of the war paint and try to remember what my face looks like when I use my vulnerability as my strength. I had been offered a position doing a work exchange, teaching yoga at a hotel in return for accomodation and meals. On Sunday, 3 days before I left, I recieved a message saying that it wasn’t going to be possible for me to take this position anymore. They’d had some issues with the previous live-in teacher and so were withdrawing. I was at a Christening, where I was honoured as Godmother, so the “faaaaaaaaaack” that I exhaled was barely audible.

“The “faaaaaaaaaack” that I exhaled was barely audible.”

I’m sat on a plane to Bali with ZERO idea about what the hell I’m doing. I have no accommodation booked. My budget is now blown before I’ve begun. But the island is all mine to explore. And after a month in Bali, then what – well more of not knowing. I fly on to the Sunshine Coast, where the loosely held plan is to volunteer at Wanderlust and then travel down to Byron Bay. Then over to Thailand for a training course. And finally back to Australia, probably Sydney, for some more ‘I have no ideas’ other than hopefully finding some work teaching yoga.

I spent so much of my time working in construction, with a sense of impending doom that evenutally someone might work out that I was just winging it. That was, until I realised everyone else is just a blagger too. This has been reconfirmed for me since spending time with other yoga teachers. Whilst passionate about what we teach, sometimes the sequence we pull together is a complete fluke. The classes we are offered happen by complete chance. The people who turn up to practice, completely random.

“One of those loud bangs might just be a firework filling the darkness with colour and wonder.”

But through it all, the one thing I know for sure, is that if you want these flukes, chances and random opportunities to come your way, then you have to put yourself out there. You have to walk the firing line with the faith that one of those loud bangs might just be a firework filling the darkness with colour and wonder. When you feel like your swimming upstream, kicking frantically under the water or maybe just sinking, remember I don’t have a clue what I’m doing either. And that’s ok. And if I’m honest, I don’t believe that anyone else really does either. So I’m putting it out there into the universe. Go dance, sing and laugh along a path that’s all yours for the taking, if only you stop thinking so much and start believing a little more.

 

Disclaimer: if this article makes no sense, is badly written or you found any other flaw – firstly thanks for making all the way down to the disclaimer, and secondly, I’m blaming the altitude and lack of sleep.