For longer than I care to admit, I have been focused on sharing and writing only what I think others want to hear. I have only penned the thoughts I assume will be well-received, instead of writing how I have done in the past - honestly, and from the heart.
But as I sit here on my lounge, incapable of moving due to the incredibly violent bacterial infection contracted in Phuket, watching my box-set of Sex and the City and rereading the copy of White Oleander I picked up from my favourite bookstore in Bondi, I am reminded of the long nights I spent at our old family home. Up until now, the long summer days and even longer nights I spent in the walls of that house were the happiest I have ever been, it was when I was most myself - or, the most myself I could have been at that time.
It wasn’t until I opened the cover of White Oleander and ran my finger along its yellowing pages, did I realise how lost I have become, all the while feeling completely happy and content and wonderful as well. It’s a rather confusing conundrum.
Even something as simple as how caught up I have become with the up and coming new release books shows me - in a way that maybe only I would understand - how removed I have become from all that makes me, me. Instead of taking myself off to one of the many second-hand bookstores around Sydney that I so deeply adore and perusing the shelves for old and obscure reads, I look up the latest releases and take myself to the nearest Big W to stock up. The last batch of books I bought, I couldn’t stomach. All the reviews were great and that is what I based my purchases off, when in reality, they were all terrible reads that I couldn't get through - barely a chapter in for each.
It’s like I have become so caught up in the increasingly hard-to-ignore hustle and bustle of Sydney, and have completely forgotten how to slow down.
And when I say completely forgotten, I mean it. Even after 72 hours with no sleep, including a nine hour, overnight flight home from Thailand, I still find myself unable to sleep. As soon as I lay my head on the pillow, flooded with exhaustion and tired well beyond my bones, all I can think of is bills and rent and the fact my lease is about to run out and how the hell one obtains freelance contact and contracts and how I feel completely and utterly overwhelmed with wanting to write. Same old shit, different sleepless night.
So instead of simply complaining about it in my head and to anyone else that will listen, I decided to channel it into a piece, just like I used to, and share it with you fine people.
I think that a part of the reason I have been censoring what I have been posting is because I am so scared of being honest about my life. This last year has been challenging and overwhelming, difficult and necessary. It has also been the most life-changing, wonderful and honest time. And so, I think that it is high-time I stopped hiding behind my silence and tell my story - the difference this time around though is that I am choosing to share this with you, rather than feeling the need to explain myself or justify any of my actions. I am writing this so that I can live with a clearer head, sleep through the night and write how I used to - without fear.
I am also making the choice not to go into details as, well, if you really want to know then you are more than welcome to reach out and email/call/smoke-signal me. But also because I have found that a big part of moving on is toot constantly dredge up the past - not to mean that I have forgotten it or am pretending it never happened, but simply to look forward.
Here it is though..
My marriage didn't work out. Very quickly, and as predicted and warned by many, it did not work out.
Even still, do I regret jumping in? Do I regret always giving love and relationships my all? Fuck no, and I never will. But there you have it - in writing, and straight from me - my marriage did not work out.
Not long after the demise of the relationship (very much not long after), I met the man I was never expecting to meet. The one that you have seen in my photos who always looks relaxed and calm and oh-so-handsome? Him. I met him. I am aware that judgement may have taken place from many who know me well, and others who only know me through my social media channels. I can’t help but think of a conversation that I had years ago with an old colleague of mine. She was telling me the story of how she met her partner, and the life events that preceded their relationship. We spoke at length about timing and that old cliche of how, when you least expect it, you will meet your person and everything around you - your entire world - will settle, and suddenly everything makes sense like it never did before.
Not only that, but very soon after we met and started dating, we fell pregnant. Neither of us felt scared or questioned it for a moment. We knew that this was our child and it has been the single greatest source of joy that either of us have even known. Nothing matters to us except how we feel about each other. Sure, it is incredibly soon into a relationship to have a child, but where I have held questions and doubt before instead I have found peace and contentment, a pure and honest love, and a happiness like I never thought possible. On the outside I am aware that my life reads in a less-than-perfect sequence, but for those who know me and who have taken the time to ask me questions and listen to me know how grounded I am and the strength of character that I have grown, developed and nourished over this past year.
And again, this year has taught me how to be completely at peace with the woman I am, the choices I make and life I live, regardless of what other people think. I have always known how important that is, we are told that constantly throughout our lives, but now I understand it and how powerful it is and how completely integral it is to leading a truly happy existence.
I make no apologies and I hold no shame.
I sound like my mother right now, but that doesn't make it any less true.
Although so many people in my life have dropped away, this is the most at peace and content that I have ever felt. I may have no idea what I want to do career-wise, and I may still have that insistent and completely overwhelming desire to make my writing financially viable, but personally I have never been happier.
This piece is a really important one for me - it may not be the most eloquent piece I have ever written, nor the most profound or grammatically correct. What it is though, is a piece that will allow me to write honestly and bluntly from hereon-in, and take a deep breath after I press ‘Post Now’. So like I said, life didn't work out as I thought it was going to. And these last six months have been so overly challenging that there were huge pockets of time when I thought I wasn’t going to see the next day.. but I have some truly beautiful souls around me now, and I have found the strength, the space and the self-love to be able to completely support myself. I have also found myself a love that is simple and honest, constant and overwhelming in its strength for which I am eternally dumbfounded by and grateful for.
This site may be called Don’t Ask Leah, but if you want to ask me anything just be a rebel, ignore the ‘Don’t’ and ask.
Also sidenote, if anyone out there has any freelance contacts or wants to pay me a handsome fee to do some writing for them, let a sister know. And by sister, I mean me. Let me know.