Nebraska.

I’ve been trying to write a blog post for the last 10 days. I’ve been trying my very hardest to describe exactly how I’m feeling. I’ve sat in front of my laptop screen that many times and I haven’t been able to write. All the emotions are right there but nothing flowed like it normally would. I couldn’t understand why.

Last night I became very overwhelmed with all the emotions I was feeling and had been feeling over the last 12 days of being in beautiful Lincoln, Nebraska. I came to realise that I wasn’t able to express myself because I wasn’t sorting through all the things I was feeling. I started speaking to my mum, my roommate and one of my new best friends from America about what was going through my brain. I realised I feel torn. I feel torn because I knew that I would absolutely fall in love with Nebraska, I knew it but I didn’t know I would be blessed enough to experience the feelings I am feeling right now. I didn’t know that I was going to make friends with some of the most incredible human beings I’ve ever met, Ones that are kind and genuine, ones that lift you up everyday, constantly make you laugh and give you cuddles whenever you need it, friends that I now consider my family and I’ve know them for less than 2 weeks. I din’t know that I was going to be blessed to live in a host home with the most beautiful family! I didn’t know that Nebraska would be so damn beautiful, the city, the landscape, THE SUNSETS, the corn fields, the s’mores! I didn’t know that I was going to be blessed enough to work in a place where you instantly feel the presence of Jesus as soon as you drive into the driveway. I didn’t know how much I would feel like I belong at camp Sonshine. I didn’t know that my relationship with Jesus was going to go to the heights that it has because it’s just me and him on this crazy, incredible journey. I didn’t know that my heart was going to be filled with gratitude when I hear what my campers learnt through the day, when they pray to God or that they are just as thankful for me as I am for them. I feel torn because I feel like this is home and that in its self is conflicting because how can I feel more comfortable here than I do when I’m back in Australia? I feel stuck because I just don’t want to leave and I don’t know what’s next.

I was having some quiet time with the Lord just praying and seeking for answers.

He answered instantly with three things…

  1. Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.
  2. Isaiah 43:19 – See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.
  3. Genesis 12:1 – “Leave your native country, your relatives and your fathers family, and go to the land that I will show you”.

I’m forever on a journey of trusting the Lord, having patience and having faith. I know that he knows what’s best for me and he knows exactly how my future is going to play out.

I’m embracing this season of Nebraska with all of my heart because I am experiencing more than just happiness being here, I’m experiencing pure joy.

Try and imagine your favourite everything – The things that instantly make your heart bubble up with joy and bring you complete peace. Now times that by 10 and that’s about half of the happiness I’m experiencing.

I am so thankful for this journey so far and I am beyond excited to see what the next 9 weeks will bring if this is what I’ve gotten out of the first 12 days of being here.

By Bethany Calverley.

I AM FREE!!!

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This is hands down one of the most vulnerable blogs I have posted about myself and my experiences to date but there’s been a fire burning in my belly for a while now and I just really feel I need to write about this and hopefully help anyone who has or is going through a similar thing.

It’s hard to know where to actually begin because this has been such a long journey in the making.

I’ll go from the beginning. 2013. It was only a few months after my dad had passed away, I was coping reasonably well and I decided to move back to my childhood church. That was my first mistake. If I hadn’t of done that, the rest wouldn’t have followed, but it did.

He was a close friend growing up so naturally we clicked after many years of not seeing each other. We started to hang out more and more and eventually began to date. At the time he was everything I wanted and more, I thought I was going to marry this boy. He cared for me and showed me “love”. It was about 7 or 8 months into the relationship and I thought everything was going wonderful but looking back now I realise how unhealthily attached I became to this boy and how toxic our relationship really was. There was a certain experience that happened that I won’t go into but since then everything changed between him and I. I began to notice a huge shift in myself, I wasn’t Bethany anymore. He became very controlling and manipulative of me. He wanted all of my attention and at the time I thought I “loved” him so I dropped everything for him. I became more and more anxious around him and he knew it. A coping mechanism I sub consciously started doing was twirling my hair, he picked up on that and hated it. Every time he caught me doing it he would hit my hand away from my head and scream “STOP DOING THAT!”. He didn’t want me near my friends and it got to the point where he didn’t want me near my family either. We fought all the time. He used to man handle me and say awful, hurtful things to me. He always put down. I remember sitting down numerous times and just thinking.. How and when did this happen? He changed and I feel stuck.

I dealt with it because I was hopeful things would change.. but after this next experience I knew there was no going back.

It was a Sunday morning and at the time he was living with me. I was in my room and he was in his. I wanted space because we had just had a stupid fight, because that’s all we seemed to do. I remember as clear as day I was cuddled up in my bed looking at my phone and he came running up the hallway, grabbed my blanket, snatched my phone out of my hand and took them to his room and hid them. I was already worked up from the fight earlier so as calmly as I could I asked for my things back. “NO” he yelled. “Your not getting these back”. I continued to ask him and he wouldn’t budge. We bickered. Up until this It was no different to any other fight we would have but then what happened next was a complete shock to my system. He raised his hand and slapped me across the face. I held my left cheek and demanded him to give me back my phone. (I later worked out, he took my phone so I couldn’t contact anyone, he knew what he was going to do). I locked myself in my room and called my mum distressed saying “He hit me, he hit me!”. She told me 5 minutes before receiving my phone call God showed her a picture of me in hospital and he called her saying he had beaten me up.

It didn’t end there though, I stayed in that relationship for another few months. I stayed out of fear. I didn’t want him to hit me again, I didn’t know how he’d react if I left. I was scared to be alone with him so at every chance I got I made out hang outs public.

Those months went by and then one day it was over. We were over. I cried and cried. I cried tears of absolute joy because I WAS FREE. I AM FREE. I no longer had to be mis treated by this monster of a boy again. I call him a boy because he doesn’t deserve the respect of being called a man. A man doesn’t treat a woman the way he treated me.

As happy as I was that our relationship was over I was left very, very broken. I didn’t know who I was or what to do with myself. My anxiety was the worst it’s ever been. So I took a step. I went to a Phycologist. I didn’t realise how messed up my life had been for the past year and a half. It wasn’t until I was describing all of these fucked up experiences with him that my Phycologist looked at me and told me I was in a domestic violence relationship. It hit me. I had been abused – Physically, mentally and emotionally. This took a huge toll on me. I questioned my self worth, my beauty and my womanhood!! How dare another human being pick me at my lowest most vulnerable state of loosing my father then doing what he did to me? That’s not fair! That’s not okay with me!

Slowly but surely I began to find my healing! I found it through talking about it, through writing, through friends, though the ocean, through positivity, through my family, through exercise but mostly through my incredible Jesus. He gave me courage to find myself again. A new me. A better me.

I’ve come to realise though, this all comes back to him and his insecurities. NOT ME!!! I went through a stage of being so scared of boys and what they would do to me or have the potential to do to me but that’s not a way of living. It’s about 3 and a half years on now and I have met some of the most incredible, gentle, caring and humble men ever and every time I meet a good one my soul is refreshed because I know the good ones outweigh the bad.

I now know and have learnt exactly what I want and exactly what I deserve!!! I am content, I am courageous and I AM FREE!

By Bethany Calverley.

 

STOP COMPARING GIRL!

The last few days I have felt a strong pull on my heart to talk about the word Comparison and the completely toxic and negative things it does to our minds.

The definition of the word compare is: To estimate, measure, or note the similarity or dissimilarity between.

In some circumstances it’s okay to compare normal and practical things in life but when it comes to a females body I’m going to slap a big fat NO on that!

I will happily put my hand up and say I have been the first person to compare myself to others. Looking back I can clearly see that it is not a healthy nor is it a full way of living. So often I would reach this place of happiness and contentment within myself only to be crumbled by comparison because of the insecurities in my own mind. A perfect example of this really wasn’t that long ago. I was super happy, eating clean and exercising everyday for all the right reasons. I wanted to nourish my body and help it become strong and fit but somewhere along the way it became unhealthy and my motive changed. It turned into I NEED to go to the gym so I don’t get fat and I limited myself to the foods I would eat because I didn’t want to get fat. Anyone that knows me well knows how much I love sushi but I stopped eating it because of the rice, because I was scared that if I consumed too many carbs I would gain weight! My goodness, I am silly. It’s not okay that I made a conscious effort to stop eating something I loved, my treat, because of this stupid fear. This stemmed from a few years ago, I tried to go vegetarian and ended up gaining 8kg in 6 months. It wasn’t my smartest choice but it didn’t change who I was as a person. I was still the same Bethany. I realise that now. I haven’t been to the gym in a while and I’m sitting here with a completely thankful heart because my body has been lazy (who would have thought i’d ever be happy about that?) I’m thankful because I have now had time to reflect and sort things out in my mind so I can go back with the right attitude, mind frame and the right goals.

That brings me to the lessons I have learnt. A self love journey should start from the inside which then will naturally reflect on the outside. I still like to nourish my body with the right foods and the foods that work for me as an individual. Lately I have been asking myself “Will my body thank me for eating this?” A perfect example of this would be ice-cream. I flipping LOVE it but my body doesn’t, hands down every time I eat it I will feel sick and have a belly ache afterwards. That doesn’t mean I limit myself though. Once a month my best friend and I go to cold rock and share a massive chocolate filed cup. It’s all about finding your right balance.

Every woman has been sculpted differently, no one is the same, yet we are all equally fearfully and wonderfully made. The sooner you embrace the woman you are with all of YOUR strengths the happier life is going to be for you. Don’t scroll through social media wishing you looked like her or you had her hair or her abs because you never going to because thats not YOU! I’m all for empowering other woman, If you like something compliment her but don’t forget that there are amazing things about you too.

I’ve started a project for unveiling beauty and my beautiful, beautiful cousin has decided to be a part of it. Her answers are honest, raw and real, I really admire her for it, more than she will ever know. She talks a lot about “bouncing back” after pregnancy and in my opinion she is quite hard on herself but what she doesn’t realise is she is in her “bounce back”,  she’s tackling it head on every single day. She compares herself to others yet she doesn’t ever take time to sit and feel empowered by her own strengths or how far she’s come. She has had two babies in two years.. THAT IS INCREDIBLE. HER body has grown not one but two lives. She has bounced back, she is fierce and she is courageous.

If you are a woman reading this I urge you to start a journal or look at yourself in the mirror and write or speak out 3 positive things about yourself daily. The power of words are so strong. Speaking life into a negative situation is only going to bring positivity and happiness the more you do it. Take time to do the things you love, that might be getting your nails done, getting a facial, doing a hair mask or reading a book. What ever it is, do it, take half an hour out of your day to practice your idea of self love. Embrace your heart moment and be bold with your body, respect it, love it and nurture it. I promise you, your world will change once that switch in your mind is flicked.

By Bethany Calverley.

 

 

Unveiling Beauty.

I’m going to be starting a new photography project for my blog called unveiling beauty inspired by the book captivating!
My vision is to create a space where girls are able to feel comfortable to express themselves through their own individual self image, share their body image story and beauty back ground without fear of judgment! I’m all about being raw, real and authentic so it’s basically going to be the same series of questions to a different bunch of girls with how their self image journey has played out, along with some photos that highlight THEM in all their beauty. This is a project that’s been on my heart for a while now and to finally see it start to come to surface is beyond exciting for me!

It’s close to my heart because my entire teen years were filled with doubt, discouragement, hurt and emptiness in regards to my self image. I’m so damn passionate about this and I am going to try my very best to make a difference for the generations of women to come and also for the ones that have been! I want women to gain perspective of other girls body image journies. I want this space to be relatable, empowering and inspiring! I want them to know that they aren’t alone in their awful thoughts and that they can conquer feelings of doubt! Join me on this journey of self love and a movement of beauty!