Just My Opinion

No idea how it happened, but very pleased to notice today that the algorithms on my social media feeds (twitter, FB, Insta, AND LinkedIn) have completely given up showing me any, if not all political content.

I still get a lot of feminist memes and a fair whack of spiritual (mostly Buddhist) content which is cool and I enjoy and engage with that stuff. That’s how these algorithms work right? They give us more of what we engage with? So, I don’t see much of anything from any political parties, here or overseas lately. WAIT! I get content about and from AOC regularly, but I don’t even see them as a political figure anymore, more just like a fierce, fabulous spirit animal fighting for justice and the planet.

Aside from that, the tap has literally been turned off. It’s fantastic!

So, how do I know that I don’t get political content anymore? This morning, I had to have a conversation with my cousin Ryan in Canada, who is just one of five cousins in Canada I have had conversations with this week, to know that today is election day there. Not sure how to feel about that. Good? Bad? Lighter? Heavier? Isolated? Out of touch? Content? Ensconced in my new tiny little life which clearly is not in Canada?

Like I said… I really don’t know how I feel.

I am actually an avid participant in the democratic process in Aotearoa. I hold my cards close to my chest as the few times I have said anything online I get stopped in the street by someone or other who takes exception or is overly supportive of my political leanings. Because of this, I now have a blanket policy to keep my political ramblings to real-world interactions only.

It’s nice. Maybe more people could and should try turning off the political activist or opinions tap for little bit and see how they feel and how it reshapes the content they are fed? Haven’t thought too much about it before today.

The one thing that really got the gears turning in my tired little mind today was, I wonder what people are seeing me broadcast? Have I successfully taught the entire Internet to leave me alone because I simply do not get involved in political debates anymore? The personal brand that’s been built around me has strong views and opinions about, well, just about everything. That brand, however, generally keeps those things to herself and saves her expletive laden rants for her nearest and dearest and most trusted friends.

I know that nobody sees these blogs unless I copy and paste them as native content as along form update on FB.  The link to my WordPress page simply seems to not make it to anyone’s eyeballs except for a teeny little number of my tribe who are very selective of their friends list and that content squeaks through because we have each-other mutually favourited on our settings.  Aside from those handful of people, nobody seems to stumble across my blog these days.  People have to want to see what I am up to and what I have to say, nobody new is roped into my content or opinion, that is kinda cool.  Best I can tell, my extended sabbatical has seen me all but disappear and that’s actually a really comforting and uplifting thought.  We can fight our way onto the stage and into some spotlight and when it gets too bright we can retreat into a bubble and somehow the crazy singularity that swirls around us even helps us to be more anonymous.

So what was I saying?

Oh yeah.  I know everyone has opinions.  I don’t really have anything deep or useful or overly meta to share about politics, algorithms, or opinions today.  All I am here to say is that my heart and my brain feel better not being bombarded with political content.  I still have opinions.  Lots of them.  But today feels like a win because those opinions feel like they are safely guarded here in my head, my heart and only shared if and when I feel like it.  It is not my job to change your mind or tell you what to think or shape your opinions.  Wait, not my job, but I feel I do have a purpose pleading constantly and consistently to anyone that will listen: “be kind whenever possible”.  

So here’s my opinion about both of our opinions.  It is not your job to make everyone else agree with you about any single issue or number of issues.  It is our job to seek and find information from accurate and rigorously scrutinized sources and allow our political, spiritual and general opinions to evolve in their course.  Provided we are not hurting anyone or ourselves or the planet with extreme or violent actions or activities… That ought not be a big caveat as it ought to be pretty clear in the “try to be kind” schtick you have been hearing me bleet on about for decades now.

So.  

That’s just my opinion.

Have a great day!

Toning Down to Avoid Being Tone Deaf

While this lockdown has been tough, it has provided the opportunity (wanted or not!) to hunker down, prioritise, and plan.  So there’s plenty we could discuss, but today I am going to fill you all in on the changes to our wedding plans.

Bridesmaid Krissy’s gift 💝 on our engagement party 🎉

We were imagining a gathering of 400+ truly magnificent human beings at a zero-waste festival-like event at the top of the hill on the Matakana farm in March next year.  Budgets, entertainment, tents, catering, and magic were all set to be unleashed as we showed off the epic changes and fantastic plans we are progressing on our experimental farm.  I even tried to arrange an upcycled dress to be designed and made here in NZ to follow on with my passion for supporting local and ethical business and creative industries.  But after this latest lockdown, sadly we’ve decided that none of that is happening.

While many of us could probably really use a good hit out about now, we have come to the conclusion that in the face of so much uncertainty, and with so many people struggling, the timing just feels wrong. Bringing a large group of people together just now feels somewhat ostentatious and flies in the face of the evolution we’ve embraced as a couple where we have invested time, energy, and resources into simplifying our lives.  The high-flying rampant champion of change and one of the most visible leaders of the EV revolution is currently parked up. I feel like I’m resting in a safe little cave readying myself for the battle ahead because the world is hurting and we are going to need to be brave.  I’ll be ready.  And steadied by the anchor of the aloof goof I can’t wait to marry.

So while going ahead with a larger event would be the perfect opportunity for us to thank the many people who have supported us over the years, we just feel that the timing is too hard with all the other forces we are currently contending with. We have every intention of hosting a large, safe and celebratory event at the right time – maybe to herald the official opening of the experimental farm and accommodation.

Creating some content (when we were level one) capturing the progress on our experimental farm. This is the exact spot where the wedding will be held. Top of the beautiful hill. Still lots of landscaping to do before the day!

We’re now planning a much smaller more intimate wedding as it feels more appropriate.  I will either have a dress made by my beautiful bridesmaid Steph, or I will rent something, or I will buy something vintage.  The dress thing has done my head in a little bit.  My bridesmaids have been brilliant and supportive and will get me down the aisle (which is actually a meadow) on the day.

What I am certain of, is that I thrive being a part of a Loving, committed, dedicated and supportive partnership. I teetered for a long time between extremes of co-dependence and self-destructiveness. The battle between craving intimacy and seeking all sorts of empty and occasionally even destructive validation raged on within me.

We all have to figure out what works for us and eventually invest energy and effort into the path we choose to tread.  None of the paths is simple or perfect, but I do suggest you pick one to walk and don’t try to dilute or mix your choices too much.  Some people are complete, content and happy single.  Some people sparkle offering support and being buoyed by a spouse.  Polyamory is the path for others.  And then there’s everything in between. All have their advantages and challenges.  All will leave you feeling vulnerable at times.  Any choice and action will mean someone somewhere will judge or disagree with you.  But none of that matters as far as I can tell.  What does matter is you living your most authentic life with kindness, purpose, and conviction. 

One of the most heartfelt bits of advice I’d like to finish with is this: “We are all broken and damaged and can be difficult or even quite crazy at times.  Don’t seek perfection, better to just find a crazy that fits.”  

Damon has patiently allowed me the time and tenderness to meet him where we dwell now, which is the perfect place to embark on the rest of our lives together.  

That’s enough words for this Monday.

Thanks for reading.

XXOO

Plans

Today we were meant to be at an SDG (Sustainable Development Goals) conference alongside some of our most trusted and cherished friends and colleagues. Instead, we are in level 4 lockdown in Tamaki Makaurau.

Snuggled safe in our big comfy bed, my fiancé and I are today determined to apply some discipline to our daily schedule. We are both writers and observers with time on our hands to write and observe. This is time that we have been squandering. Rather than writing or reading we have been sleeping and snuggling and spending time in the kitchen creating comfort for the kids who have been returned to us after our attempt at a romantic holiday ended abruptly when the Delta variant of Covid arriving in Aotearoa.

Vaccinations 💉 booked and received without any drama 🎭

So today we begin something we have spoken about nearly daily for most of our time together. Today we are settled in and determined to stop talking about plans to be creative and act upon them instead. Today we start small, with steady resolve, and we commit to taking time to reflect and record our thoughts and feelings while chaos and confusion seem to swirl around while we enjoy safety and serenity in our beautiful and delicate bubble.

I’ve become quite quiet recently, retreating into the safety of the chrysalis of comfort and recovery that’s been built for me.  Sharing my personal struggles in visceral and confronting detail seems far away now.  Life took an abrupt and absolute turn away from the swampy chaos of thinking I was destined to be some hot mess messiah or self-destructive diva.  High flying attention seeking tendencies have been turned upside down, and now I really just want to be left alone, aside from meaningful interactions with the trusted few people I do not fear.  What was once blind bravery and a warrior spirit has been beaten out of me and replaced with cautious optimism and an omnipresent sense of duty.  This is the planning and resting part of the rest of my extraordinary little life.  And part of that planning is just spending a few moments next to the former monk I am going to marry, writing free-form and sharing it with him, and maybe you, whoever you are… I don’t actually know.

I know that our plans to pursue a simpler life focusing on soil and spending more time listening and less time frenetically interrupting everyone feels like it fits.  40 odd years of frenzied grasping for a feeling of belonging and meaning led me down some incredible roads and alleys.  Somehow, I ended up sitting next to the sensitive silver haired sweetheart listening to dulcet chords from his meditation music playlist, with spring birdsong wafting in through an open window.

We have planned to write every day.  That’s not to say every entry will be brilliant or insightful, it is just a commitment to do something and see where it takes us and what we glean from the efforts.  A form of meditation.

So that’s my 20 minutes up.  Pretty proud of us for starting and putting this little plan we have been discussing at length for ages now into some kind of action.  He is still tapping away and it seems like his work is far more formed and accessible than my meanderings, and that’s okay.

At least I started. Plans are good. Action is even better.

Thanks for reading.

Dee and Damon Lockdown Game Plan

How we plan to meander safely home.

We are in the South Island.  So far safe and sound.  No symptoms and we both have tested our temperatures countless times with our trusty thermometer gun thing.  Last check I am 36.4 and Damon is 36.1.  He’s always cooler than me… True story.   

So yes.  Healthy as horses and totally isolated since we grabbed our last hot meal for a minimum of three days at taco Tuesday yesterday evening.  Juggling our plans in a way that guarantees we do not get within ten metres of any other humans until the lockdown level changes is now our priority.  We are confident we’re doing the right thing for ourselves; our family, and Aotearoa and I am going to be brave and walk you through the plan and our rationale, knowing that someone somewhere will certainly disagree with us or find our decision to stay put to be the wrong one.  Someone somewhere will always think a decision is the wrong one.  This is life.

First, let me say I am totally on board and if honest, still undeniably, and probably selfishly and unreasonably annoyed at another lockdown.  We want to be skiing today, and then heading home at a leisurely pace toward our kids as we’d planned to do for months and months.  We have no idea what is next.  We aren’t booked to ferry back to the North Island until Monday next week, and have no idea if that will happen now.  My daughter is not speaking to me as we opted to stay put and found an apartment with a kitchen to settle in for the three-day lock down here in the South, rather than rush home and further clog up the already stretched travel networks across the country.  I’ll walk through our decision-making process as the blog evolves.

Agree whole heartedly with short and sharp as we have witnessed what happened offshore when faffing is allowed.  I get so boiling mad thinking about the spread in Australia as I have beloved friends stranded or trapped there, and it feels like they’d be enjoying far more freedom if there had been similar measures imposed.  I am not an epidemiologist or any sort of health expert, but it does seem probable that the huge unmasked crowds protesting the lockdowns in Sydney were likely superspreading events that will keep my BFFs more than arms reach away for who knows for how much longer.

Okay, so here’s the lay of the land for myself and my silver fox fiancé.  We set off on Thursday the 12th on a working holiday toward the South Island to check out eco-tourism and biodiversity.  We have been drawn to the South Island as a couple since the very start of our romance, as we “outed” ourselves as a “shipped” couple at an EVent (that’s an Electric Vehicle event, typically hosted and attended by EVangelists or Electric Vehicle evangelists) in Dunedin in October 2019.  We also took a week-long road trip in Te Waipounamu in December that year.  We’ve been back quite a few times now and never run out of new things to do and see here.  

I digress.

We are currently in a motel room without a kitchen or microwave in Wanaka.  The staff here have been AMAZING and helpful and as soon as the news came in they kicked into full level four planning and managing gear.  Most guests have cleared out and are heading home or to longer term lockdown arrangements.  Given that we have 48 hours to relocate and get “home” we have an apartment with a full kitchen booked and will move in and settle there for as long as the lockdown lasts on the South Island.  Best case scenario is we can make the ferry crossing we have booked for Monday.  

Really this blog isn’t even that interesting.  We have arranged a “home” to hunker down in our bubble and will be traveling first thing tomorrow morning and not having to see a single person as we will charge the car across the road and we have cheese, crackers, carrots, coffee and cold drinks.  We hope that we won’t even need to go to the supermarket while in Level 4.  Our diet won’t exactly be balanced for the next 72 hours, but it’s a small price to pay to do our bit to ensure we can all return to the freedoms we have enjoyed.

We want to thank the many close friends and family who have offered us shelter here in the South, we’d have loved to see you but felt keeping to ourselves and keeping our bubble to just us two and moving into a place to plan our next steps was the most reasonable response in keeping to the spirit of caution and care.  Really, we didn’t want to make a nuisance of ourselves if this is extended beyond the three days or even into weeks, so settling into our next place without needing to see another human seems the best possible solution for ourselves and everyone.  

In conclusion.  Feels like we are gamifying this lockdown and here’s the rules of engagement:

  1. Stay absolutely isolated and at least five metres distance from all other humans while Level 4 is in effect
  2. Make our way home safely and as soon as the levels allow
  3. Be as little a nuisance as possible by staying put and keeping calm and assessing the situation as it progresses
  4. Do safe and fun stuff while paying absolute heed to all the other rules
  5. Document and share our experiences
  6. Stay cheerful and joyful and hopeful throughout

So that’s that.  The story of us on a sunny day in the South Island.  Hope you are safe and well and where you need/want to be.

Lots of Love from us to you at a safe social distance.

Thanks for reading!

Dee and Damon (Deemon)

Reflecting on Power

Back in the time before time (the late 1990s) which my cheeky children oft refer to as “the olden days” I was an enthusiastic undergrad comms student.  Study was a mixed bag for a neurologically diverse freakish and awkward geek such as I was and still am.  It seems lifetimes ago as I have changed career trajectory several times and have recently relinquished my position of referent power at the right hand of the maker, my inventive and entrepreneurial ex-husband Steve West.  

Thinking back on how much has happened in the past couple of decades, and how priorities, people, and power dynamics have changed has had me feeling reflective about a first-year comms paper that introduced me to the fascinating concept of power types.

Early articles by French and Raven (1959) proposed that there were five bases of power:

  1. Legitimate – Hierarchical organisations that allocate and communicate/amplify positions and pecking orders create the foundation for this type of power. If you “report” to someone because they are your “boss” then that dynamic/base is allowed to exist. This only works if both and/or most parties agree that one person is legitimately and recognisably in a position of power over their subordinates. So. Yeah. Not my favourite. And generally I don’t know if I like the word legitimate for this base as there are good bosses and mediocre bosses and quite frankly there are terrible and reprehensible people in these positions of power across the globe.
  2. Coercive – Gossips. This is the power that is harnessed by your office gossip. Again, not my fave. Coercive power is wielded by those who prefer the stick to the carrot and create a sense of being able to punish others in some way. This could include blackmail, bullying, taking away social or professional rewards including a sense of inclusion or any other variation of remuneration or reward.
  3. Referent – I hate this one less than the first two bases. This is a somewhat fickle form of power as it hinges on the goodwill that exists in others accounts of you. This is the power that comes from “personal brand” strength and consistency. It is a lovely, warm, socially fortifying power base. However (isn’t there always a however) you can be front page hero one day and cringey has-been the next, so this power is fleeting for many or most.
  4. Charisma – Simply is what it says it is. If you are the kinda human that makes other people feel better in your presence, or can own a stage or work a room, then the chances are you have power that comes from charisma. Politicians tend to flex this one. This is the power of likeability and we all have days where we are bursting with charisma and days when are insufferable grumps, so don’t put all your eggs into this one basket, as mastering a few of the other bases through trial, error and authenticity might indeed be a much better strategy.
  5. Expert – This one I actually quite like. One of my favourite eccentrics and thought leaders the amateur mycologist rockstar Paul Stamets totally embodies this. Paul is a GOAT in Mycology and naturalism, despite not having the ivy league education of two of his brothers and having a severe stutter for most of his life. That guy adores his work, worships and respects old growth forest and lives his truth and his passion through his work and his epic story telling. There are experts all around us, learn from them. Respect them. And the coolest among them are generally pretty keen to keep learning and share what they know.

And then some years later they added a sixth:

6. Information – This is the classic “I know something you don’t know” dynamic. This power comes from knowing something, or arguably someone that gives an advantage. The thing with this power base is, as soon as the information becomes common knowledge or is shared and grasped it means the person originally holding the information has lost this advantage. HOWEVER (there I go!) sharing and exchanging knowledge can also increase informational power, particularly for “big picture” or “strategy” minded or incredibly detailed people as well. This power base belongs to people who hold the key to helping other people achieve. Keeping that to yourself or bartering with it seems a bit basic and I don’t think people should play that card.

Today we acknowledge four more bases:

7. Reward – This one is kinda the flip side of coercive power. If coercive power is team stick, reward power is team carrot. Reward power is wielded by people in a position to offer something you want. That’s a lot to think about, so I will leave it there and you can digest it however you’d like.

8. Moral – I LOVE this one. There are a few sweary, rough around the edges, brilliant misfits I have had the honour of knowing over the years and their moral compass and penchant for stirring the pot and poking the bear to keep those around them on their toes and honest is a huge source of respect and admiration. Morality is such a fluid and personal construct and concept. I guess we are all drawn to and impressed by different forms of morality. Some people are impressed with Brian Tamaki… I find his morality and activity really upsetting and offensive. Some people are offended or annoyed by the curiosity and confrontational nature of activists such as Gil Scott Heron or Russell Brand while I am genuinely impressed by both of them and so many other confronting and curios souls who have worn their damage on their sleeves and shared their passion though it made them so vulnerable. Moral power is serious power, but it is of course dependant on the perception of those who are judging that morality.

9. Connection – Networkers! Some people are just legendary at this (like my partner Damon and my Bestie Emily). They are insufferably likeable and authentic and they clearly and undeniably care about people they know. Community, connection and care and concern for our networks are cornerstones of the human condition. Social poaching and social climbing and general networking shenanigans will happen so just let it roll and be your very best self and kind to your peers and friends this power will shine.

10. Founder – This one is kind of interesting. It is the power that comes from being brave enough to be on the ground floor of things. It isn’t just for founders of organisations, it is also for people who start movements or kick off events or activities on a local or global level. This power remains long after people’s daily interactions with the company or phenomenon they kicked off or championed is severed. It is a real thing, and you’ll hear it as you pass through life: “Oh, Fred he’s the guy that started that zero waste movement out in Massey back in the 90’s… We dig Fred he’s a good sort”. So yeah, founder power is okay I reckon. It is recognition of bravery long after the fact. That’s pretty cool.

So power eh.  It is a thing.  Having personally made a massive personal, social, professional and spiritual shift, I have had to acknowledge changes in my own power and influence.  Once upon a time I wanted to be at the forefront of change and revolution at any cost.  Now, I pretty much want to be left alone.  Aside from authentic and meaningful meetings of minds and souls who I Love and respect.  These days I am disinterested in leading the charge and keen on finding opportunities to assuage my extreme guilt for years of polluting and creating chaos.  Strangely, I have never felt so whole or content or quite frankly powerful.  People have had years to get to know me and I have always carried too much trauma to mind my p’s and q’s.  So these days, those brave enough to be around are powerful creatures indeed.  The strength of connection and the power of having purpose is impossible to overstate. 

Reflecting on these power bases, something incredible and undeniable has become quite clear.  Through all of these dynamics and complexities an ingredient that distinctly impacts power is authenticity.  Being sure footed and clear with your expectations and agendas is incredibly powerful indeed, and that seems to ring true if you are plotting pure or perverse pathways.  If you are a self-righteous table thumping bully, best make that clear from the outset as people will treat you accordingly and watch themselves as you clearly back yourself as wielding coercive, referent and probably legitimate power.  People will fear you but not trust you, and that’s probably what you want so you do you boo.  Conversely, some of the most intensely powerful beings I have ever met are those who humble themselves and live a life of servitude and grace.  They lead from behind and their batteries are charged up through seeing other people learn, succeed and feel joy.  You can’t fake this stuff.  You can’t pretend to be this moral, connected, expert founder type if you are a wheeling and dealing table thumping bully.  Nope.  That simply would not work at all.

So there you are.  My Monday meanderings.

Have a great week and be kind to yourself out there in this crazy and fast changing world.  

Thanks for reading.

Easy on Sunday Morning

Dee-Light-Full Divorce

Entry Two

Easy on Sunday Morning

Sunday Morning.  Blue skies, crisp winter day.  The kids are all being handed over to our former partners before FOUR FANTASTIC DAYS of FREEDOM when we will be settling in on the Farm exploring and documenting progress on our Deemon Creative project.

View from our bedroom… pretty rough eh.

Later today Damon and I are on our way back to Mr. Morris (Arguably New Zealand’s best, warmest, most welcoming fine-dining experience) to crash a dear friend’s girl’s weekend. We were invited of course, so I guess we aren’t really crashing it. Louise and I did our Master’s in international Public Relations together and travelled the world on a whirlwind field trip. She’s one of the brave goddesses who have stood by without judgement and in solidarity and Love, albeit from a distance, and watched me fall down and get back up again. She’s a talented and authentic communicator, a beautiful and optimistic soul, and her fierceness must never be underestimated despite her gentle and elegant veneer. She’s one tough mamma. Our paths will definitely continue to intersect and I suspect the world needs to ready itself for this pocket rocket friend of mine to choose her path and slay. I am so excited to see her for our long lunch this afternoon.

So excited 😆 about lunch!!!

Steve stopped in with Stephanie who has been staying with her dad as she’s livid with her mother.  Parents of teenage girls will understand the volatile ride these years can be.  So a wee break and time to miss the kids and be missed is exactly the magic needed to maintain balance and fertile ground to grow healthy humans.  Balance.  Calm… and a break once in a while.  This is the joyful and generous side of separation.  Our kids have options and freedom and encouragement to speak their needs and live between our worlds, mostly on their terms.

Steve was off at the Amanda Palmer stage show last night which he thoroughly enjoyed and it was a joy to hear his review of the show as he sipped coffee at what was once our kitchen table.

So. That’s it. Handover day today and the kids are going to be tucked in by team Dad while I have four nights with my fiancé on the farm. Our new project is rolling along at a steady pace and this is the first official week of my beloved being able to focus entirely on himself and our plans. He’s taken the plunge and is moving to a consulting role and project managing our farm dream, after nearly 7 years as a beloved CEO in the community sector here in Auckland.

Damon left his role as CEO at ecomatters and we still arrived to the Saturday community planting. A lovely team and we will still be seeing a lot of them I’m certain!

So… tomorrow is kinda the first day of our new life.  A Monday without meetings or mayhem, and we will wake up on our hill and ready ourselves for an epic journey we are both incredibly excited to share with you all.

Dee-Light-Full four days ahoy!

Hope you are well, thanks for reading.

Dee-Light-Full Divorce – Entry One

To celebrate our official separation Steve and I went on a Star Trek cruise 🚢and the next year my brave and patient boyfriend joined us (seperate rooms obviously 🙄). That’s pretty civilised imho.
Dinners with the ex in attendance are common and always fun!

A series of seemingly small but not small at all stories from our amicable separation

First Entry:

Tuesday Baby!

Last night, after engaging in the roughly choreographed tag-team effort of preparing dinner alongside Damon in our tired but terrific kitchen, I had a brief but beautiful moment of joy and clarity. It wasn’t a big deal, but took so much respect, effort, time and tenderness to arrive at this moment I thought I would share.

Let me set the stage briefly.

If I Love you (and I do genuinely Love most people. I am so blessed to see magic in, and vehemently cherish a vast tribe of new friends and old) there is a pretty good chance I call you baby.  Or baby cakes.  Or sweetheart. Or darling… Baby is far and away the most likely though and it’s how I address all the kids, my ex-husband and Damon (my fiancé for those of you who have not heard from me in a while).

The result of my peppering this term of endearment across everyone in ear shot can be confusing, but generally Dee-lightful.  

During busy family outings, or gatherings at the “big house”, I can be fumbling around and need a hand or a question answered so I will pipe up from wherever I am to bellow: 

“Baby…..!?!”

And a barrage of “What? Yup? Yes?  Huh? ‘Sup?” and these and other varied responses will echo from various directions into ear shot.

Last night my beloved BFF and former husband Phteven was losing to me at cribbage while sitting across from me next to his mother at the kitchen table.  Meanwhile, my future husband was characteristically busying himself in the kitchen cooking and cleaning, I checked my phone and realised I had an important question for one of them.

“Baby?”  I exclaimed, and they both responded simultaneously and in stereo

with half their attention on the other things they were engaged in.  

I belly laughed out loud, and totally forgot my question.  Damon laughed at me and said “Oh, you love it…” while Steve also laughed and rolled his eyes and said: “Force of habit” and we carried on with our genuinely glorious evening. 

DO NOT for a moment think this comfort and ease is the norm or was handed to any of us.  It has been hard fought and needed consistent communication, a lot of humble pie, compromise, conflict, tears, laughter, tantrums… It has never been simple and my heart (and Steve’s) have been irreparably damaged by the realisation that we were both better off as friends.  When we said forever it was what we meant.  Things changed.  We built some stuff and we broke some stuff and our journey has been harrowing and horrific at times.

This series is really just personal challenge for me to get back into writing regularly after a long and much needed sabbatical.

This series will just be a few stories from my heart and head to your eyes and destined to settle wherever they land once you’ve absorbed them.

I will not rant or rave or swear or complain about my situation or the sometimes crippling journey we have all been on.  This is a series I promised several strangers I would pen as I tell so many people how on balance our divorce has been incredibly… Loving, brave, empowered and empowering.

This is not the norm of Western society, and we all carry scars.  I would like to place the gauntlet down and commit to a true and uplifting series of stories about mine or other people’s separations at least once a month.  Happy to do much more if there’s an appetite for it.

In the meantime please consider following the Instagramming Page heartache and Cheesecake or getting in touch as myself and a few of my fabulous friends are working behind the scenes to try to cobble together a new social enterprise to empower women through change. We have called the movement Heartache and Cheesecake because hurt and comfort food are a part of grief and healing. You are very welcome to reach out and I apologise in advance if I am inconsistent in my response and activity, however, it is an exciting and inspiring concept that will evolve and I’d love to have you join the journey.

Thanks for reading.

XXOO

Dee

Deemon Playlist – this is interactive please contribute 🤗

Playlist

Damon and I were perhaps a little surprised by the intensity of cosmic messages clearly encouraging us to become and stay a happily loved up coupled. We’ve been serendipitously reminded we are on exactly the right track, continuing our individual work but together as ageing activists in the social and environmental justice space. It’s like our lives have led up to where we are, and we are both a little gobsmacked daily at how much better we feel together. People notice. Damon gets told regularly that I am the happiest anyone can ever remember seeing me, and I am reminded regularly by someone in his vast and varied fan club that I better treat him well, or suffer the karmic, cosmic and probably rather concrete consequences. Kidding/not kidding. He has some seriously protective Wahine Toa keeping an eye on the situation. One actually looked me straight in the eye at a book launch and told me I better be good enough for him, as she hadn’t had the time to scope me out and approve. This kind of rhetoric is not uncommon. I like it. He has a tribe and I like and respect all those I’ve met who belong to it.

So, the whole of space and time feels like it has colluded to ensure a former hot mess (me) and famously aloof goof (him) had almost no choice but to settle in and start planning a life and a fresh new project together. Damon bravely agreed to join me on my geekfest Star Trek convention March 2020 aboard a big boat through the Caribbean and that absolutely sealed our fates. From the decks of that cruise to the emptying out of Miami, NYC, then LA, to a solid and blissful seven weeks of being locked down together, we’re both clearly ready to take the plunge in more ways than one.

I can’t recall when he first asked me to marry him, but I know I have Loved that his inquiry had been resolute, and since that first time his questioning has been frequent and unfaltering. We chose an heirloom ring in Wellington which we both loved because a) it had already been in circulation, and b) because it was a Tiffany ring and Breakfast at Tiffany’s was a favourite film throughout my teens and twenties. He couldn’t wait to get those shiny stones on my hand and I would feel decidedly naked without the traditional signal explaining to all that I am spoken for.

The stars just kinda keep on aligning for us. Most days are easy. We argue less and talk more. We drink less wine and more tea. We stress less and nap more. We worry less and plan more. Seems that the hours we spend together fly by and those we are apart drag on endlessly. The honeymoon phase is pretty fucking great tbh. I suspect it will be replaced in time with the mellow groove of two doddery has-beens and we are both pretty happy with the prospect of that progression. We have a project to complete that ought to take us 3-7 years depending on how far we take it, and that’s been an incredible source of creative energy for us since we spent our first few weeks together at the farm self-isolating.

So. This weekend we are hosting a high tea at the “Big House” where we live with the kids. And if you are unable to make it along to this event we will hope to see you at the farm in March 2022 for the wedding itself. If you are feeling in any way mentally or physically under the weather please do not push yourself to join us. There will be plenty of time to catch up as our plans unfold and we are able to collaborate and share with more people.

NOW! The fun bit.

This is for all our friends near and far. I have added a link to a playlist and would LOVE to have our friends and family from around the world contribute with a song. Our official song is the ever cheesy (not unlike us) but undeniably accurate Anne Murray classic “You Needed Me”. We definitely needed each other, more than either of us knew. The song you choose could be your song as a couple, or something that reminds you of Damon or Dee, or something that reminds you of our friendship or time we spent together. You can add to the playlist directly as we have made it publicly collaborative, or you can leave a suggestion and quick explanation in the comments section. Either way, it would be lovely to have you with us, even if it is just on the playlist as most of the world remains locked down but is slowly waking up.

THANK YOU!

Look forward to seeing some of you on Saturday!

XXOO

Reflection and Protection

I’ve just been reading a few of the harrowing and heart breaking real-life mental health crises the activist and advocate Mike King has been sharing on social and traditional media. It highlights that we are a nation faced with a genuine epidemic, and I have so much respect for all those who share their stories.

At the same time however, I know for myself, that I need to protect my own wellbeing, and that may mean I need to manage how many of these stories I engage with. Heaven knows I have been very open with my own mental health happenings, hoping it might help someone somewhere. But I’m still in recovery from a disastrously inaccurate diagnosis, the wrong medication, and a domino effect including a plethora of self-destructive behaviours.

I write this today happy, healthy, calm and unmedicated. My own recovery leaves me hopeful that we can get through the tough times and experience a brighter more hopeful present. I would love to see some earnest changes in our society and mental health system to support others to feel unashamed and have access to the help they richly deserve.

The best place for some of us to offer support, advice and advocacy is simply by taking our own mental health needs seriously so we are well enough to be a part of this conversation as it evolves in our homes, workplaces and wider society.

I am not saying you should ignore the weight of the accounts that are being published. If you are of sound, mind and body, and touched by these incredibly real and important conversations, I hope they will spur you into actions that could have wonderful knock-on effects for healing yourself or someone in your circle. I’m also not saying turn a blind eye. I’m suggesting it might be a good time to implore some of my more sensitive readers to consider putting your own mask on so you are in a better position to help those around you.

Channeling the sadness and anger you may justly feel when faced with the reality of the mental health crisis here in Aotearoa will be different for everyone. If you are hurting in any way and you stumble across this little blog, I want to remind you that YOU are a worthy, beautiful, miraculous being. And that whatever state you are in as you read this, you are incredibly important, and there is the possibility of comfort and joy on the other side of the types of pain that are being discussed online. But also, you are not responsible for every person, crisis, or event that makes you feel something. AND… You must take care of you before you can help anyone else.

That’s all I wanted to say. Reach out if you read this and need a virtual hug. As you know, I am really bad at getting back to people in a timely manner but it would be an honour to talk to you as I have the bandwidth to tell you honestly that you are wonderful.