Don’t Break… Bend For Days, and in all kinds of ways, but keep going

It’s 7:14pm on a Monday.  I am halfway through an impossible and seemingly insurmountable mountain of overdue assignments.

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In two days of actual attentive effort, I am three assignments through and have four more to go.  For the first time since starting this journey, I feel as though I may actually be capable of delivering the prescribed projects.  I deferred the obligations so I could affirm my many fears, of being inadequate and unfit to enjoy this kind of win in the fucked-up life we are all wading through on our own trajectory.

When I applied to study I made clear my ongoing mental illness struggles including ADHD, so I have been granted more than reasonable extensions across the course of my studies, while my classmates have actively and successfully met their deadlines. The guilt attached to this is crippling.

The whole time I could have and should have been enjoying the satisfaction of learning and sharing knowledge gained, I have been tackling numerous personal and professional struggles and falling prey to the self-loathing and imposter syndrome for days and days.

Even at my darkest hours recently, I’ve turned up to work and contributed.  Even at my lowest point I stood on a stage and presented with grace and enthusiasm to a variety of audiences. I’ve asked for help, and been shit on by smiling assassins, and I’ve also been supported by angels disguised as people, who believe in me and the causes we champion with no thought for their own profit or benefit.

I have a few observations worth sharing about all of this, and that’s why I am blogging instead of addressing my looming deadlines.

I hate that anyone may look at the charmed and chaotic life I lead and think that their beautiful and broken journey is in any way lacking.  I am not as comfortable being admired as I am knowing I serve as a warning to others.

Someone recently said something invaluably important to me: “Show me your trauma”

These words stuck in my busy brain and hurt and helped my heavy heart.  We are all fighting a hard battle.  We are all struggling and most people do not and will never know what another person is burdened with.

Whatever you do to earn a crust, wherever you live, whatever your dreams or ambitions may be, you’re going to shovel some shit.

I live in New Zealand.  This is an island nation filled with the mystery and magic of Polynesian influence, cultural diversity and rich and varied communities. It is also a place where success is only encouraged if you keep it under your hat and don’t share it openly.

So I am burdened with the kiss of death that is success.  I live in paradise. I am heavily invested in the future of this place, with all possible aspects of my being.  Any success or failure that my team and I experience here, is often only quietly mumbled about, while overseas they roll out the proverbial red carpet. I still find this all a bit strange, but it is what it is.

My husband and I are able to do what we do because people either like us, or understand our vision for a better New Zealand through electrification of transport.

For those of you reading this who are unfamiliar with our journey: We are, with the help of an incredible support network (internal and external) building the largest family-owned charging infrastructure on the planet, all with the aim of encouraging the uptake of electric vehicles, and helping New Zealand to become energy independent and thrive commercially through these changes.

We are putting stations in the ground across New Zealand in the hope we can divest from carbon and encourage a thriving green tech and innovative economy that will not only keep our best and brightest here, but invite others from around the globe to choose this paradise and contribute to our strengths.

While attempting to offer my specialist skills to expedite this audacious endeavour, I somehow convinced myself that I needed a master’s degree. In order to prove to myself and the world I was worthy of the opportunities I have been blessed with.

Fuck. That.

But we all make our beds, and we all must lay ourselves and our baggage down.

I’ve lost count of the truly soul-destroying slings and arrows that have smarted since the giddy days before we decided, as a couple, as a team (my husband and me) to actively remove one of the biggest excuses to delay or decide against carbon divestment.

We had relatively simple plans, to kick-start something we saw as a sure thing, the electrification of transport.  And we kicked this off before any major corporate was even out of the proverbial gate.

I suspect we are farther along than anyone could have imagined.  We got to this point with honesty, integrity, intelligence, and purpose, and many would agree, a bit of crazy and eccentricity as well.  The better we do, the more barriers are thrown up in our path.  Kindness and resilience is often met with opportunistic ploys, ill-informed hubris, unfounded fear, and general douche-baggery.

Yet, we keep going.  In the same spirit we began.  Plucky brilliance and sustained kindness and goodwill will win over greed and ignorance.  When will it prevail?  Every. Single. Time.

Love for each other feeds our desire to do better.  When we were young, and thought we’d never find a home, we found each other, and through any trial or struggle… we both know we can face anything together, as long as we bend and do not break.

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The higher ground will be found if given enough time, and if the purveyors of hope and innovation are both tenacious, and supported in their efforts.

What I am saying, in my cringe-worthy and unfiltered way is simple:

We’re all fucked.  We are all searching for purpose.  We are all struggling.  We are all scared.  We are all failing and flourishing in ways we can never, and will never have the time or capacity to accurately reveal to anyone.

Keep going.  Take a break if and when you need.  Be you.  Ask for help.  Seek praise.  GIVE encouragement and strength to everyone, even people who don’t necessarily earn it.  Perhaps they need it most of all.  But please, hear me when I tell you, that you’re a fucking genuine miracle.

You’ve taken ten minutes out of your life, and I suspect your life is peppered with all kinds of shit you’re not feeling equipped to shovel.  You’ve read my unmitigated rant and I hope you can take away two things:

1) You’re not alone and we all feel like we are often, in a bullshit sea of “connectedness” so reach out in a real sense and take the good with the bad and keep going.  Life is real AF right now while we all watch the planet go down the drain, so let’s get on the same page and go down scratching and biting.  Better yet.  Let’s get real about changing things.
2) You may actually be your own worst enemy, and you are also your own strongest and most sincere cheerleader.  Keep going.  Bend with the breeze and the tempest, but please, do not break. I won’t if you don’t.

Thank you for reading.

Back to study.