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This is the first in a series of posts by K.M Harris who is an aspiring Writer from New Zealand with connections to the Ngapuhi tribe, and tribes in the Bay of Plenty and East Coast regions. ‘Real experiences from real people’ is the kind of writing she enjoys producing and ‘reality reads’ is what she calls it. I am delighted to have her on board as a guest blogger.
Before the start line.
‘Chasing your dreams or running from demons?’ is a quote I read off the back of an old man’s t-shirt at the start line of the 2013 Sydney Blackmores Half Marathon. Hundreds of people gathered at Milsons Point that crisp, early September spring morning for the start of what would be another leg-killing race, but nothing could’ve frozen me more than the words scribbled on that mans t-shirt.
‘Chasing your dreams or running from demons?’
The words spoke to me.
The words spoke to me loud and clear.
The words spoke to me loud and clear as if the Devil wanted to screw with my head right before the race like he’d kinda already done in the previous 3 years – and didn’t want me to forget it. To have a reality confront me in such a strong but subtle way, made me think how I’d not prepared myself for such a mental curveball, because the truth was, in that very moment, I was doing both; chasing my dreams in Sydney to pursue my creative writing, whilst secretly running from the demons that plagued me from my DIVORCE.
And #divorce and #running is why you – the reader – and I – the writer are here today. I’m here to share my journey of divorce paralleling my running adventures, in the hope that my story reaches out to HELP women (and men if it resonates with them) going through a separation or divorce, or even a major relationship break up. I can’t say my posts will have all the answers, but through my own lived experience, they will provide an insight to hopefully encourage and uplift you through your situation.
Doing a time-jump from 2013 to 2011 will take us both to the outdoor dining area of a home in Titrangi, New Zealand owned by a very good Army Sister of mine and her (now ex) husband. In mine and Julzi’s company was another dear Army Sister of ours who I hadn’t seen since I left the New Zealand Army in 2007.
Side note: yes, I am ex military. I joined the New Zealand Army in 2002 and after serving and working for them as a soldier and civilian at Linton Military Camp, decided to leave and move to Australia with my ex-husband to pursue the riches of the MINES.
Back to Titirangi to the glowing fire that flickered before Julzi, Aroha and I and our glasses of Muscato wine that we sipped….
I’m not sure if it were ‘liquid courage’ that prompted us to talk deeply about mine and Aroha’s separations, or if the depth of our hearts crying out was why we opened up, but we touched on our heartache situations that night and it really hit me hard. Months beforehand, I had searched the internet tirelessly for stories on women who had been through divorce because I wanted to HELP myself going through the lead up to mine…but found nothing!
So the conversation I had with Julzi and Aroha that night provoked me to say ‘I want to write stories on women going through divorce to help other women going through it too’ because I knew I wasn’t the only woman in the world searching for such stories.
Fast forward to May 2012 where in the dining room of the place I was living at the time in Henderson, Auckland, I stood opening an envelope containing my divorce papers. My marriage was officially dissolved as per the court document in my hand from Western Australia where it was filed, and at 28 years old, one other thing became official too; I was BROKEN.
Yes, I broke down and wept on the spot almost as perfectly as what Hollywood would portray in a drama movie and yes, I didn’t go to work for a few days afterwards because I physically, mentally and emotionally couldn’t. The onset of depression at 28 years old was on its way to becoming RIFE in my LIFE.
But as much as I held the papers to the end of my life in my hands (at that point in time) little did I know that I actually cradled a golden ticket that in time, would show it’s real beauty to me. A week after I received my divorce papers, I began applying for work overseas so I could help myself through it away from my family and friends and everything that reminded me of my marriage. To be honest, I didn’t know what else to do because I’d tried counselling and had done the whole ‘apologising and owning my wrongs’ thing, but nothing seemed to help. On top of that, I really did want to write the stories I had mentioned to Julzi and Aroha, but knew New Zealand wasn’t the place to make that happen.
So in June 2012, after 3 weeks of doing medical tests and successfully gaining my maritime ticket to work on cruise ships, I left New Zealand permanently to work out of Sydney on P&O Cruises as Youth Security and eventually, a Ship Security Specialist. This incredible journey of connecting with international people whilst concurrently gaining some healing from the security team I became close to, eventually led me to setting up residence in Sydney, Australia where I have been since.
And that is why I say the quote I saw that September morning back in 2013, confronted me and resonated with me hugely, because after all I had been through, I truly was chasing my dreams and running from my demons.
Running and divorce (or long-term relationship break ups) are – in my opinion – very similar; both are painful, but depending on how you deal with them, both are extremely rewarding too. Like anything, it’s up to you as to how YOU look at it, and how you go through the process of getting through it.
A run – whether it be a few kilometres or an ultra marathon race – takes effort when trying to get to something as simple as the start line. The mind has to be in #starplayer mode, and you have to know that as much as it’s not going to be easy to run the distance, it’s going to be ‘ok’. The same is with a permanent relationship disconnection, it takes effort to get up everyday knowing your new journey is going to be WITHOUT that significant other person. Life won’t be the same anymore, and you will go through hills of heartache, plateaus of monotony, and slopes of the soul and spirit tumbling downhill. But you must know in your heart and mind, that everything will be ‘ok’ and the journey has it’s purpose and higher reason in your life.
So over the next few months, I want to share how my divorce parallels my actual love for running, and the physical, nutritional and recovery training I’ve already done, and am yet to do. As of this morning, I have a goal time of 1 hour, 45 minutes and 12 seconds to beat in a half marathon, and with every ounce of MANA I have in me, I am determined to CRUSH it. In the process, I hope my posts encourage you the reader, to work through your relationship break-up and hopefully get yourself outside in the fresh air to help find yourself in that way too. Put your technology on pause for an hour or two and GIVE yourself some selfish goodness by getting your heart rate up with a bit of exercise.
Lastly, please watch Simon Sineick’s TED talk on ‘How great leaders inspire action.’ He touches on doing things from a ‘WHY’ purpose instead of a ‘WHAT’ reason which when you watch it, will make total sense. I constantly go back to my ‘WHY’ all the time to make sure I’m doing right by me first and foremost, so with writing these posts for you, please know my ‘why’ purpose for doing so, is to genuinely help you through your situation.
On my business card, a quote by Norman B. Rice reads: ‘Dare to reach out your hand into the Darkness, to pull another hand into the Light’ which I found on the internet in 2011 when I was searching for ‘reality reads’ on divorce. As I mentioned earlier, I didn’t find any stories, but I did find that quote that’s resonated with me ever since.
So having pulled myself out of my Darkness into the Light, I hope to genuinely help you through yours. Now that I’ve overcome my demons, I think it’s fair to say 100%, that I’m on my way to chasing my DREAMS, so join me on my ‘race’ if you will…
As they say in the NZSAS – who dares, WINS!
With love and kindness always,