Less is MORE!

Since quitting my job a few months ago I have had such a strong realisation that less is actually more. I was having a discussion with a few of my close mates over the weekend about values and different experiences and I was explaining that I don’t think I ever want to be someone with a lot of money. I don’t want a lifestyle of spending hundreds and hundreds of dollars on superficial and materialistic items because money doesn’t bring you happiness, things don’t bring you happiness. I’ve watched money ruin people and destroy families. I’m aware that we need it to live but since not having a constant weekly income I am so much more thankful and appreciative for the little things. Whether that be someone shouting me a meal or putting petrol in my car or buying me a chocolate. I’ve learnt to have fun without spending money and I have explored and experienced some of the most beautiful places ever as a result of “not having much”. This is the fullest and happiest I have ever been in my whole entire life. I feel like I’m actually living.

After explaining this to my mates, one of them suggested we watch a documentary called the minimalist.

This documentary is essentially about people who have been in high roles/ positions with work, earning big money, living in huge houses and having a life of “luxury” but found they were so ridiculously unhappy. There are 2 main men who created this concept of minimal living – Living with the bare essentials. A few shirts, shorts, one jacket, underwear, a few items of furniture etc. They go around telling everyone their story and how much their lives have changed since living life this way.

This got me thinking and inspired to make a change in my own personal life. I went home and cleared out my whole wardrobe, all my drawers, everything I owned and I got rid of 3 bags full of clothes because I just don’t wear them. I also got rid of 2 whole bags of “stuff” that has been sitting in my cupboard for years. As I was clearing the clutter of my personal belongings, I was clearing the clutter in my mind.

Everyone’s idea of minimal living is different. I still have a wardrobe full of clothes, the difference is these are clothes that I will actually wear. Does this mean I’m not going to go shopping and buy new stuff? No. It just means that I want to be more conscious in what I buy and question if this is going to serve a purpose in my life?

These are clothes I’m throwing away.

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This is my wardrobe after throwing out my clothes.

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Another thing this documentary made me realise was the fact that I was giving way too much of my time to social media. In a negative way.

For the last few days I have turned off my notifications to Facebook, Instagram and snapchat. I check throughout the day occasionally but I’m not sitting and scrolling for hours. I’m choosing to be more present and invested in the people I’m spending time with.

Every morning when I wake up, instead of scrolling pointlessly through my phone I grab my journal and write down a few things I am thankful for. This has had such a positive impact on me and how the rest of my day plays out. We should always start our day off thankful.

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I was so impacted by this documentary and by blogging about it I’m wanting to challenge you in ways you can prioritise. How can you minimise things that aren’t important and maximise the things that are?

Every single person in the world deserves happiness – Your happiness is in your hands.

I’ll close with the quote they closed with off the documentary.

“Love people and use things, the opposite never works”.

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.

 

Courtney Watson!

My Beautiful Courtney! I met Court about a year and a half ago studying the same course at Tafe. I didn’t ever think that we would be as close as we are and I am beyond thankful that we share the friendship we do today. Courtney is a forever friend and a soul sister. She has done nothing but blossom into this beautiful, wonderful and crazy confident woman! Her beauty Journey is amazing. Thank you for letting me capture you and thank you for your honest words my incredible, fearless, courageous friend xxx

Written by Courtney Watson.

Age 21.

1. What is your idea of beauty? Beauty is you. Beauty is all of us. Beauty is the world that we live in and what and who we surround ourselves with each and every day. Our minds. How different each of us are and how we all look and experience all things so differently. Our minds, our bodies and our spirit. Beauty truly is endless. Beauty is feeling, feeling joy, feeling pain, feeling sadness, giving love and being loved. Our mental capabilities are incredible and it is these things that make us who we are and individual with our own spark of magic to share in this world.

2. Where do you place your worth?My worth is up to me, it sits in my hands and my heart. I struggled when I was younger with my self worth but I think that all just comes with time and truly understanding and learning about who you are and once I came to peace with who I am and had the ability to love me, I was proud. Proud of who I am and all that I’ve been through to become me. Just like we all have and will.

3. What has been your biggest obstacle in your self worth journey? If you asked me this a few years ago I would have said how I saw myself. But ask me this today, and that would not even enter my mind. Through all experiences there was always a struggle but each obstacle made me who I am and gave me the outlook I have on life and everything that is thrown in my direction. As much as I sometimes wish that I didn’t have the body image struggles that I did in my school years I am also grateful because it gave me the strength and love that I do today! There is always a positive in every negative.”Change your thoughts and you change your world”

4. What has been your greatest achievement in your self worth journey? My mental and physical abilities and strength. A lot has stemmed from finding what I love to do and what/who makes me happiest. I would always push my own feelings and needs to the side and always take care of others before me. I have finally found my balance between loving others and myself all in one and eliminating all negativity from my world. I have never been more content with all of the people that play such a big part in my life today. So yes, my biggest achievement is me.

5. How do you view yourself today? Strong, loved, empathetic, positive, healthy, wise and incredibly blessed.

6. What are the three things you do to practice self love? My exercise time is me time. I forget everything and focus on me with my headphones in and music playing as loud as I want it too. I’m constantly surprised of what my body is capable of and is definitely a self-love favourite of mine that I am able to do for me. It is something that I have learnt to push myself mentally and physically more and more and has certainly helped mould me into who I am today and how I see myself.

Writing and reading is an important part of self love for me. Writing especially gives me the outlet to write down whatever it is that is in my head in that moment is such a beautiful outlet that can also give me the opportunity to reflect back on later but to also know that there is never any judgment. My words are for me.

 I also find self love when I am around people. The ones who know me best and that I appreciate more then words could ever describe. I constantly feel loved and beyond lucky when I am around my closest friends and family that always make me feel supported and over all happy and loved. When you are blessed to meet someone who makes your life flow easier and makes you laugh a lot, keep them, thats all you need.
7. If you could give advice to your younger self in regard to self worth and body image, what would it be? You are beautiful, even if you don’t see it. Your going to go through lots and lots of great times and your going to have to conquer hard times that will test you and how you see yourself but your going to make it, make it all on your own and when you truly know you and the women you become your going to appreciate all these things that now seem like big deals but will later be looked at as little pebbles in your road to finding you. Love you baby and who you are today, your one of a kind and keep on doing you! Embrace everything and everyone in your journey and love, you wear your heart on your sleeve and don’t let anyone or anything take that away from you.

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Jessica McDermott!

My Cousin, my Best friend and my soul sister. This is my Jessie, my forever friend. I’ve known her my whole life and absolutely adore her more than anything. I am beyond proud of her and am so thankful for her honesty with this project. Photographing her wasn’t hard at all, her beauty shines, you’ll be able to see it in her photos. She’s natural, wonderful and completely captivating.  I hope you can see that Jessie.
Written at age 22.
Jessica McDermott:
1. What is your idea of beauty?
My idea of beauty is probably totally warped and influenced by what I’m sold by the media but I am on a journey to fix my view of true beauty. In my head I know beauty as ones strength, kindness and courage! Beauty is more a personality trait rather than appearance. Although this information is yet to drop inches from my brain to my heart!
 2. Where do you place your worth?
Every day is a battle for me to place my worth in God rather than in my insecurities.
Unfortunately I haven’t yet got this concept and I find myself placing my worth in what others think and in other peoples success. I’m slowly learning that other peoples success is not my failure.
 3. What has been the biggest obstacle in your self worth journey? 
The biggest obstacle for me on this very long self worth journey is probably how others look.
As a mum I expected to ‘bounce back’ {as I was told I would hundreds of times}  but when I didn’t after 6 months I found myself hating myself and the way I looked, then I fell pregnant again! After the birth of my second I was even more harsh on myself and still am now. I find myself looking at other mums who did ‘bounce back’ and wanting to cry because I didn’t. It almost sounds stupid as I type it but for me it is a real obstacle that stops me from being happy and feeling beautiful or of any worth. How sad that so many of us feel this way? is our worth really measured by size?
 4. What has been your biggest achievement in your self worth journey? 
Not a huge achievement nor does it happen regularly but sometimes I get up put clothes on that aren’t PJ’s, do my hair and makeup and I feel good! To me that is an achievement! My goal is for that to be more common 🙂
 5. How do you view yourself today?
Today in this very moment I feel powerful! I am proud of myself and how far I have come. I am on my way to the woman I want to be! I feel beautiful as I sit here typing eating a cookies and cream magnum {YUM!!} at this very moment I couldn’t care what anyone thought of me! This is not always though….. some days I struggle to look in the mirror.
 6. What are 3 things you do to practise self love?
1. I do a facial! I always feel great after I pamper myself!! Y’all should try it 😉
 2. I sit and stare at the ocean! It makes me think and it calms me, when I’m calm I put things into perspective and I become empowered! I am inspired by the strength and beauty of the ocean.
 3. I write down all negative thoughts I’m having or anything I’m worrying about and put it in a box. To me writing it down is a release and putting it away is like putting it out of my mind. I then think of something I like about myself for every bad thing I put in the box.
 7. If you could give advice to your younger self in regards to self worth and body image, what would it be?
It doesn’t matter! At the end of the day no matter what number is on the back of your dress, YOU ARE BEAUTUFUL!!!! Happiness and health is what counts. Be happy, nourish your body and live for yourself!

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Do what makes you happy!

It’s currently 10:37 on a Wednesday morning and I’m sitting in a small little country town called Grafton while writing this.

I’m having the BIGGEST pinch me moment I’ve ever experienced.

At the very start of this year God has been talking to me all about change and speaking to me through anything, everything and everyone. It didn’t matter how or what form he spoke, it was as clear as day that change was in the making, it was coming. I waited with an eager and expectant heart to what it could be.

I guess I could say that since receiving all this exciting news about change I suddenly became very unsettled in my life as it was. I can’t really explain to you how this happened but there was a shift in my heart and from that moment everything in my life turned… I was coming into an AWFUL tradition period. From my Job, to my home life, to my friends… You name it and everything suddenly became different. I became so overwhelmed and didn’t know how to cope.

Normally, I am all for change. I’m the first person to embrace it with open arms. It’s easier said than done when your actually experiencing it for yourself though. These transition stages of life are crucial for our individual growth, they bring happiness, excitement and trust. I kind of like to view this as a life cycle of a butterfly.

We start out as a caterpillar, a cute little creature but pretty helpless in the nicest way possible. We then move onto the eating stage, when something is about to happen I know that I usually try to do anything possible just to help myself feel full and content again but a lot of the time we fill ourselves with the wrong things and it makes us feel even more lost than we already did. We then go into the most crucial stage of our journey – The cocoon. This IS the transition stage, this is where it all happens. We go through a season of dry, still and stuck – Literally. It’s a place of all things uncomfy and when your in it, it’s not enjoyable in the slightest. Suddenly, one day, it happens… You burst forth with wings into your new beginning, your new adventure. You are soaring to new heights and you are gaining a whole new perspective on your journey.

I knew this next step was going to be life changing, It was going to be my turning point. As the weeks went on I became less passionate about my job and more interested in other avenues. My faith was being strengthened. Throughout this period I have fallen more and more in love with my beautiful saviour and my relationship with him has gone to a whole new level. The only way I can try and explain how my love and faith has grown is that it does not matter what is going on around me, when I trust God my heart feels full. The good kind of full, when it’s a freezing cold winter night and you’ve just finished a mammoth baked dinner with your family and you’re belly is satisfied, it’s at resting stage because you’ve just nourished it in the best way possible. When I think of my relationship with Jesus I feel warm. My heart also feels excited. Think of those little party poppers you get out for birthdays. You sit with anticipation waiting to pull the string, you then pull it and theres an explosion but the joy keeps on coming because your graced with beautiful colours flying everywhere. Jesus is my baked dinner and my party popper.

My change has unfolded, not slowly though. It’s all happened quick, quick like a southerly on a boiling hot summers day. One moment everything is still the next a strong, uncontrollable wind comes. My southerly is taking me all the way to Nebraska to do an American summer camp as well as some solo travel afterwards. This journey has been so ridiculously God-led. There are so many little things that have happened along the way to make this journey of a life time fall into place at ease.

I planned to work up until I was going to leave for the States but God had other plans. He was telling me to move. I wasn’t happy in my job. I was unmotivated and became anxious to go to work. I’m a big believer of if you aren’t happy where you are or you aren’t happy what your doing, change it. The ball is in your court and your happiness is up to you.

After a lot of conversations, reading my bible, writing and praying I took a big leap of faith. God was telling me to quit my job, so I did. I QUIT MY JOB!!! I’ve never felt more empowered, scared, excited and liberated in my life. I had a shower thought and Matthew 6:25-34 came to my mind. This talks all about God providing for our every need. I was worried about my finances prior to receiving this verse. I kid you not 5 minutes after reading this I got a phone call from someone super close to my heart saying that God had been on their case for the last few weeks to give me a big chunk of money for my trip. I didn’t have time to worry about money because God already had it waiting for me.

Since quitting I’ve been travelling up the north coast of Australia visiting INCREDIBLE places, experiencing all things wonderful, meeting new friends, growing my relationship with Jesus even more and having the time of my life! This is what I want to be doing. I have received nothing but blessing after blessing since stepping out in faith and being obedient to him and what he wants for my life.

I really can’t stress how important it is to just do what makes you happy!!!!!!! Life is so short and in my opinion it needs to be experienced to the fullest.

Courtney Cook!

This is One of my most treasured friends Courtney. I’ve known her since our early high school years. We met at youth and small group and from there our friendship grew. Courtney is incredible, humble and so loving. Our friendship is unique and I am SO proud of her and her journey of self love and self acceptance. Read her words of courage and embrace the beautiful girl she is.

Written at age 20.

Courtney Cook:

  1. What is your idea of Beauty?
    I think beauty is something that is all around us, found in places and people we would not expect or we don’t see in ourselves. I think beauty is shown differently through each human, thanks to God’s crazy, good imagination.
  2. Where do you place your worth?
    From past experiences I often struggled with worth. I’m not quite sure when it changed but it had something to do with my relationship with God, He mended my heart and I found a love that was everlasting, embracing and whole.
    Through my spiritual journey I found my worth along the way.
  3. What has been your biggest obstacle in your self worth journey?
    Feeling unloved, unwanted or unneeded.
    Under appreciating myself and who & how I’ve been made to be.
  4. What has been your greatest achievement in your self worth journey?
    Pushing past the feeling of being unloved, unwanted and not needed. It took a while because for years I had something, someone pushing against it but once I was able to accept that it wasn’t my fault, that I was not these things because of something one person had done to me, it really have me a sense of freedom, self worth and self love.
  5. How do you view yourself today?
    Stronger,
    Wiser,
    Healthy,
    Loved,
    Lucky & able.
  6. What are 3 things you do to practice self love?
    Exercising daily is one of my main ways of practicing self-love, it’s not something I do for others but purely for myself.Nourishing my body with foods I believe do so, despite what others say about it.I also spend time with myself; I journal, read, walk or listen to music. Spending time with myself allows me to a better me for whatever is ahead.
  7. If you could give advice to your younger self in regard to self worth and body image, what would it be?
    You are who you are, and those things you dislike about yourself right now you will learn to love.
    You’ll love the colour of your hair despite the torment,
    You will appreciate your size no matter what the person standing next to you looks like and all the things running through you head you will overcome and be stronger for it.

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Sydney Wanderer!

Earlier this year I wrote out a whole bunch of solo adventures I wanted to do within the year of 2017 or in following years to come.

On Sunday the 12th of February I got myself up, out of bed, ready for a full day of adventuring on my own.

I normally HATE Sydney because of the rush and all the people, I feel like I can’t really breathe, But not this time. I set the pace and did exactly what I wanted. I didn’t really plan anything, I just explored where my eyes and heart were drawn. I’m all for spontaneous moments in life, It’s actually what I live for. I ventured firstly to The Art Gallery Of New south Wales. I walked in and felt instantly comfortable. I was taken back by the grand entrance and the calming, delicate atmosphere. I then caught a train to Circular Quay where the iconic Harbour Bridge and Opera House were, I felt liberated being a tourist in my own city! I then walked a bit further and found myself at the Museum of Contemporary art. My mind was blown, there were so many incredibly, beautiful creations and forms of expression. I took my moments to let it all sink in.

A lot of people may be reading this thinking who cares, you just went to Sydney by yourself for a day, people do that all the time. True, they do. But I don’t. This was a massive leap of faith and step outside of my comfort zone. For the longest time I found myself constantly relying on people, I wasn’t able to do things on my own because I was scared something would go wrong or I would get lost or hurt. It’s not a way to live. I walked away from Sydney different. My mind was different, my heart was different and there was shift within myself because I grew that day. Last year I made friends with someone who taught me that spending time with yourself is okay. When he explained that he preferred to do things on his own rather than with people it honestly shocked me to my core, I couldn’t understand the concept of wanting to do anything by myself but now after experiencing it, I know exactly what he means. I will be forever grateful and thankful for this little life lesson.

Here are some of my pictures from my day.

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