Kai Chronicles

Eating, exploring and enjoying life


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Conquering fear: step 1

turtle

Yesterday, I did something I had never done before. It was something I dread, ALWAYS.

I drove on the highway  in Western Australia – long distance. 392 km to be exact.

ROADtrain

Road trains – a reality of highway driving in WA.

I have an intense fear of driving and it’s something that holds me back from doing things and going places.

I never learned to drive as a teenager. I didn’t get my licence until I was well past 30. This is inherited I reckon.

My father has never had a driver’s licence.

My eldest sister was well into her 40s before she learned to drive. Other sisters were older too before obtaining a license. I’m not alone in my fretful mentalness when it comes to being behind the wheel of a car.

It’s not all driving though. I can drive around town or  to neighbouring towns with no issues. But ask me to drive to a city or for a 100km plus jaunt along the highway and I start to panic.

Until I do it.

I was perfectly fine when I set out yesterday morning. The sun was shining. I had petrol in the car. The GPS was set. The CD player was filled with 80s classics.

I think I can thank Prince for getting me to Geraldton and back.

We belted out all of his top tunes together. It was fun.

I actually enjoyed the trip.

Any anxiety I had beforehand was gone once I started driving. And really, I didn’t think much about it. I just knew it had to be done so I did it.

Simple as that.

Although I did this and I am really happy with myself, I know my fear of driving is not beat.

Ask me to drive to Perth and I will flat out refuse.

perth traffic

My idea of Hell is to be a driver of one of these cars.

Driving in a city is a GIANT leap that I am not ready to take. Baby steps. Baby steps.

My next mission will be to Joondalup, just on the outskirts of Perth.

Dreading something because of fear?

Just DO IT. It’s really the only way to get over it. 

When was the last time you did something really scary? 

 

 

 


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Caught up in the hoopla

Long-Live-Life-featured

I recently had a piece published on the prestigious Australian website, The Hoopla. This is a main target amongst many budding and established writers because it discusses topics of the NOW and offers a place for everyone to have a say. Read the article here.

When I submitted to their My Story segment (way back in March – before I had decided to be tested), I never considered (silly of me) that my personal little article would generate any comment, let alone 19 of them when I saw it for the first time.  I was shocked and a bit scared to read them especially when I scanned and saw words like ANNOYED, ANGRY and SCREAM. Uh-oh.

Then I actually read the comments and they were full of concern and heartbreak from people who were going through a similar experience, or had in the past. There were many, “GO HAVE THE TESTS” kind of suggestions. I tried to reply to every post but it got to the point where I felt I had to stop. I realised that I couldn’t say anything to these strangers that would make everything ok, for them or me. Some lost mothers to cancer, some had cancer themselves. Some needed to book an appointment and did so after reading my post – I’m grateful for that.

Even though the comments were tame I still felt like an idiot; like a stupid, selfish woman who couldn’t get her priorities in order. And I put myself there. I put myself out there for scrutiny. This is what we writers do.

I thank each and every one of those strangers who commented. I have taken their words in; allowed them to seep into my soul. Fear holds us back from so many things and life is one the the biggest things we miss out on because of it.

Do you have a health concern that needs to be checked? 


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High and Low in Toronto

The only reason I am in Toronto is to visit my nephew and his family. Beyond that, I have very little use for the city.

The only thing on my to do list, besides the family visit, was to go up the CN Tower.

Did you know that the tower was opened to the public on June 26, 1976 and the glass floor was opened on June 26th, 1994. And when I did visit: June 27th…..not a historical day…or was it? Keep reading to find out.

The 553.33m (1815 ft) tall tower acts as a Canadian national icon and for 32 years it held the title as the World’s Tallest Tower.

Toronto’s CN Tower and Roy Thompson Hall

It certainly is a tourist attraction; it’s like a sky-high thriller up there. Besides the nerve-wracking glass panelled door and floor elevator that speeds you to the observation level (342m) in 58 seconds, the tower boosts the Skypod (the smaller lookout at 447m), the Edgewalk (where you are harnessed and get to lean backwards off the outside while keeping your feet on the tower….no thanks), 2 restaurants, 3D theatre, motion theatre ride and a coffee stand. Of course, all of the components cost.

I chose the lookout only and paid $27.11. Not a bad price for a low-level adrenalin rush.

Walking on glass

It’s been 25 years since I’ve been in Toronto and although my last stay was not pleasant, it was colorful.

I was newly 16 and had run away from my hometown with my ” boyfriend”. The word will be used loosely as he was not a friend nor was he a boy. He was a grown man taking advantage of a young, meek child.

My main memories of the city is of having no food and nowhere to sleep for the first few nights. At the time, I was a vegetarian but was forced to eat 99 cent hamburgers or only 49 cent french fries; those were my choices. After he sold my belongings, I was pushed into panhandling. I was so shy back then and remember being embarrassed to ask strangers for money.

When he got in touch with an old friend, we arrived to his 1 bedroom apartment and offered a place to “crash”. The kitchen floor was our sleeping space as the couch and living area floor was already taken by other homeless wanderers and prostitutes.

The next 3 weeks were  scary times and I had to grow up fast. I was a child living amongst drug-addicted adults and I was  being groomed to become like them. I was eager to be grown-up and I wanted to experiment with drugs, which were readily available. The 2 prostitutes would go out for a few hours in the late evening and come back ready to party. And, NO, I never got forced into the sex industry. To the credit of the “boyfriend”, he moved us to Montreal not long after nearly overdosing in front of me. It was a wise move but life did not get easier, just more challenging, but that’s another story.

High and Happy

Now, my memories of Toronto will be happy and joyful. They will be of reconnecting with a nephew and meeting his lovely girls, of getting high but in a safe and legal (and profitable way to the CN Tower) way, being treated to a delicious dinner at Canteen and of frozen yogurt.

Yes, it seems that Menchie’s frozen yogurt is all the craze here in North America! It is pretty tasty stuff and I do like how you can have a wee bit of every flavour and load it up with as many topping as you like….it’s basically a frozen yogurt buffet! Did I mention the free sampling?? Oh yes, it is true folks. After my fourth sample I really didn’t need anymore but it’s not my style to sample and run so I purchased $3.97 worth of the seemingly healthy but not really cold dessert.

Sweet options

I only needed half a cup after the many free samples I enjoyed!!

Until next time Toronto……..


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Freaky Fly Day

It’s Friday, May 25, 2012 and for a split second I think it may be my last day on earth……or above earth as is the situation. The seat belt sign dings and flashes as the turbulence starts. Then a pleasant sounding voice comes over the intercom, “The captain has turned on the seat belt sign. Please return to your seat and refrain from using the toilet”.

I am sitting in seat 18F and the responsiblity of the exit door overwhelms me as I grip the seat arms in fear.

The Air Canada airbus 321 rocks and shakes high above the prairies as we head east to Toronto sending my body into shock.

First, blood quickens through my veins and my heart beats faster and faster causing a tightening in my stomach.

A tingling sensation runs down the back of my neck and slowly down my arms to the white knuckles of my frozen hands.

I put Fifty Shades of Grey in the seat pocket, no longer able to find happiness in my  make-believe affair with Christian Grey.

‘Am I going to die today?’  As fast as the thought invades my mind, I know I  must take control of the situation.

I do not like how my body is reacting and I am not going to tolerate my mind adding to the misery.

I take a deep breath. Then another. And again until my body starts to relax. It’s working. I feel better but I know it’s not enough so I chant silently to myself:

 ‘All is well. I am safe. I trust in the divine.’

The more I say this in my head, the more I relax. I continue this mantra until I succumb to the fact that whatever happens is meant to be and I am safe no matter what.

I fall in and out of sleep for the next half hour or so but return the my inner chant whenever coherent. The seat belt light stays on for the remainder of the soul-shaking flight.

I fly often and I am not an anxious flyer but I do not like turbulence, I mean really, who does? Fear is an emotion that sometimes cannot be stifled but it can be overcome. I may feel fear the next time I fly in rocky skies but I know that I can relieve myself of the effects by calming my mind and my body will follow. Only I can do that, for myself.

Jeez, at least I didn’t have to deal with a mistaken intercom message like the British Airways passengers flying from Miami to London!!

I don’t want to leave this post having you all afraid of your next flight so here are some funnier, less threatening intercom messages from the many entertaining and amusing flight crews from around the world.

On landing the stewardess said, “Please be sure to take all your belongings. If you’re going to leave anything, please make sure it’s something we’d like to have.”

“There may be 50 ways to leave your lover, but there are only 4 ways out of this airplane.”

“Thank you for flying Delta Business Express. We hope you enjoyed giving us the business as much as we enjoyed taking you for a ride.”

“Should the cabin lose pressure, oxygen masks will drop from the overhead area. Please place the bag over your own mouth and nose before assisting children… or other adults acting like children.”

Happy Flying!!!!


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The Fear Factor

We are all afraid of something.

Flying

Driving

Darkness

Being alone

Heights

Enclosed spaces

Spiders

Snakes

Food

Rodents

The sea

People

Change

Failure

Rejection

The list could go on and on and on and on………..

It’s natural to feel fear, but it’s a shame if you let it take over your life. If your fear of something or things are preventing you from living a full life or living your dream, then maybe it’s time to face it. Stare it straight in the eyes and say FU#K YOU.

This is why I am loving The Voice right now.

The contestants are so inspirational and courageous!  Imagine getting up there, in front of all those people and knowing that Seal, Delta Goodrem, Joel Madden and that spunk Keith Urban are listening to you…..judging you.

It’s so exciting when someone gets through; their dream is about to become a reality. But what about the ones who don’t turn a seat? It must be soul crushing…..it IS crushing to be rejected. It’s why some people never take that step towards greatness.

That’s why I’d like to share Juddy Mac’s audition on The Voice. He may not have made it through but he gave it his best shot. He chased a dream not only for himself, but to set an example for his kids. What a legend. It broke my heart to see his young boy cry at his father’s loss.

It’s far more admirable to ‘give it a go’ and fail then to never even try.

I don’t consider myself a fearful person. Of course, I do let fear get in the way of “winning” some days but I have faced some fairly large demons in my life and continue to do so. I am on this earth to learn and the only way to do that is by doing.

It’s easy to fall into a hole of despair when life gets tough and if you don’t have the strength to climb out you may get buried in all of life’s issues.

My life could have gone down so many different, negative paths if I wasn’t a strong climber. I may not be at the top (yet) but I’m willing to press on.

Is fear a factor in your daily life? Is it holding you back from living your dream?

Need some inspiration? Check out CHRIS SEBASTIAN on The Voice. I cannot get enough of this performance. Yes, he’s super talented but this is an exciting video.