With Belinda Heit – 

When I left school in 1992, I had no idea what I was going to do with myself – all I knew was at the time university was not an option for me due to finances – also it was never a big aspiration of mine to attend uni. I always had the idea that there was no greater teacher than the world around us.

At some point in 1994 a penny dropped, and I decided I wanted to try out the travel industry and enrolled myself in a Diploma of Travel and Tourism course by correspondence. To my surprise, I aced it with flying colours, then the hard part came – trying to find a job with no experience, but with the qualifications. I sat day after day hand writing job applications and kept a tally and status of how they were all going until I reached 100.

As time went on my frustration grew –I was putting myself out there day after day and nobody wanted to take a chance on me. It became a pretty dark time for me back then and if I didn’t make change soon, the spiral would deepen. I started to think ok – time to diversify – maybe try something else – I saw a course in the paper for a Pharmacy Assistant’s Course –sounded like fun –sign me up! It taught all the aspects of working in a pharmacy including makeup, manicures, personal development – the whole 9 yards. I developed a rapport with the Director of the training company and we became good friends. She shared many personal development books with me over time, which I absorbed like a sponge – I discovered the greats like Tony Robbins, the late Dr Wayne Dyer – who we had the pleasure of meeting – I still remember the big warm hug he gave me. I soon learned that change requires action and so Awaken the Giant Within by Tony Robbins became my life’s bible, which I followed to the letter.

My life transformed from night to day – I lost 25kg, I quit the alcohol that was holding me back – I was fit, healthy, happy, I got the job I wanted, a car and ultimate independence –ah life was grand! In my parent’s home in January 1997 I was getting my funk on to Janet Jackson’s Design of a Decade on a mini-tramp when the worst thing you could imagine happened…

Janet was belting out ‘What have you done for me lately” and I was jogging to the beat – in the zone – and then it happened – the nauseating feeling I still get thinking about it is like it was on that day. My right foot didn’t quite land the bounce properly, rolled on the outer side and SNAP! – oh lord what did I do? I went to work as a Travel Consultant in an agency, tried to drive my manual car, pushing through the pain until a week later, my foot started to go numb and I thought I should probably seek medical attention. Sure enough, x-rays showed I had fractured my ankle, and chipped the tip off my fibula and I ended up in plaster and fibreglass from toe to knee.

The long-sought independence I gained quickly vanished as it meant I could no longer drive, the exercise I was used to was gone and I was really dirty with myself for putting not only myself through this but also others. It was hard to reset and get back to where I was, no matter how hard I tried

My career started to take off and my own health and wellness took a back seat, the travel party lifestyle had me hooked and before long the good I did was gone. Then relationships started to cloud the water and life became an outright mess for me.

I experienced some very abusive, controlling and opportunistic relationships – one of the worst landed me in bankruptcy and eviction – where I had no other choice but to turn to my family for help. Just before this, my Grandmother who I loved so dearly – she was my best friend in the entire world – passed away and I felt the world slipped out from under me.

At the time I was in a relationship with a man who was dishonest, abusive, unfaithful and had caused me so much pain – it culminated into a standoff where he threatened to use his martial arts skills on my face and I decided I liked my face better.

It was probably the lowest point of my life that I can remember – I decided it was time to lock myself away for a while and spend some time on me and nd out who I really was. I spent time on my small business, trying to pick myself up again, getting over the hurdles and letting go of all the destruction.

It was during this time when I focused on me and wasn’t indulging in partying and chasing guysthat I came to the very clear realisation I was gay. Everything started to make sense –it was like the penny had nally dropped. I had nally found where I belonged in at least one sense.

From there things started to gradually improve all round, I continued to be unsuccessful in relationships, despite how great some of them were – I was still used and abused and I came to realise it was me – I needed to have greater self-respect for me and stop putting myself last for others happiness otherwise this cycle would continue and it did for many years.

In the last year I have realised the greatest relationship I have is the one I have with me – I always listen, I am always there, and I always care. I try hard not to hurt you but sometimes I fail, and I am sorry, I know your faults and weaknesses like no other, I know your secrets and you can’t hide them from me. Above all I know you mean well, and you are doing your best and you are on the right path – where you are meant to be.

Through the challenges of heartbreak, pain, bankruptcy, redundancy, abuse, injury – the moral of the story is it’s ok to fall, because without the fall you won’t understand the growth in getting back up.

Just never give up –focus on the pleasure of reaching that goal and knowing there is no other option other than to drive you away from the pain you experience.

As we evolve, our focus may change –but just like that damn mini-tramp –there is no up if there is no down and often, we have to get down to get back up again. So get back up, dust yourself off and see the lessons for what they are –pain is temporary. Just keep going!

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