Bagagge App

The Baggage App may allow you to ‘check’ your luggage and store it safely where you can access it at any point. The Baggage App won’t change your circumstances, but it can help carry your emotional load. It is a safe space for you to store your emotional baggage and process it. It is somewhere you can come back to and unpack what you are holding, sit with it and repack it for safe keeping.

Filtering by Tag: self-help


I have purposefully withdrawn from blogging for the last few months for a couple of reasons; 1) pure morbid, self-indulgent self-pity and 2) no, no other reason…. But with my melodrama now fading and a new ‘normal’ settling into place, I am ready to engage with the world again. Whilst in my self-imposed hiatus I have had time to reflect and in between the teeth gnashing and fist waving at the universe, I have done a LOT of journaling. It was during this time I also did a piece of art called ‘Identity’.

I started it when I first stopped working, when my pain was acute and before it became chronic and I still had a belief my life would carry on as it had done (with a few adjustments). The focus of the painting is a fingerprint and I originally wrote words or ‘labels’ in each groove. I was struggling with who I now was, now that I wasn’t working and how I saw myself in the world and how I presumed the world saw me. I used words like “loser”, “disabled”, “fat”, “short” (some were clearly just descriptive) - don’t worry, I also did put some positive words in those grooves too. It was basically an anthology of how I now saw myself; keeping in mind the past few months were spent in pure morbid, self-indulgent self-pity.

Then something changed, I can’t tell you why or how; but I looked at my painting and it wasn’t right. I had already hung it in my lounge room and was fairly happy with it, but for some reason I had to change it. So I painted over the words and was left with a ‘clean’ fingerprint. Importantly the words are still there and if you look really closely some still are visible, like shadows from the past.

I am not where I thought I would be at 47 years old, but I am here nonetheless. I have an opportunity to re-write my identity, to clear all my own labels, to press re-start. All my past is still there and I acknowledge, celebrate and occasionally swear at it; but I am free to add new words to those grooves (and again paint over them if I don’t like them).

Happy New Year and remember you can always paint over the labels and start again.






This week I have been practising mindfulness and using some ‘externalising tools’ to manage with my knees (and their apparent revolt!). The breathing and awareness techniques that are part of the mindfulness are helpful to a point and while I am doing it; it is almost a mini-meditation. I think it helps centre me back into my body, when my thoughts and anxiety about my future could easily become overwhelming.

This is okay up to a point and there is a side of me that wants to be totally Zen and accept what is happening as all part of a bigger plan. But then, there is another side that is more cynical and needs to whine and gnash my teeth at the world. This side is where the externalisation technique comes in handy for me and I have given my knees each a personality and named (externalised) them. From now on they are to be known as “Waldorf” and “Statler”; these were the 2 gentlemen from the Muppets who heckled from the balcony.

Now when my knees are painful I can imagine Waldorf and Statler ‘booing’ and complaining. This has a dual affect for me; 1) it gives me a little smile as they are my favourite characters from the show and 2) I can separate or externalise the pain from myself. This gives me the ability to insert humour into my day and distract me momentarily from the pain I am feeling.

Of course some days Waldorf and Statler are only mumbling discontent from the balcony and then on other days they are raucously heckling my life. Tomorrow I might try starting the day by ‘listening’ to them when they are just becoming discontent and not wait until are actively throwing rotten tomatoes at me and booing.


Next stage please....

I am heading into a time of uncertainty and I am not sure if my emotional numbness this week is a defence mechanism or a submission to ‘whatever will be, will be’. We all have ways of dealing with stress and seeing as I have already gone through my wallowing stage (last week’s blog) I must now be in the denial stage. This stage is actually quite pleasant and calm compared to the emotional chaos of the previous one. I just hope I have not swapped a sad wallowing for a delusional wallowing; although it is still a nice change none the less.

Of course it could be my new vitamins and meditation regime helping me cope, but I have doubts that they are having that big an effect so quickly; especially since my meditation can hardly be defined as a regime; having only attempted it twice. The only other thing could be that I have been taking my vitamins at a dangerously high dose and they are creating a euphoric effect – just went and checked (with my glasses on) and no; I am fine with my dosage.

So is it denial, am going through some sort of grieving process and then naturally going through the different stages? What’s next; anger, bargaining, depression and finally acceptance? So what am I grieving? Is it my identity through my employed work (still not at work yet) or is it deeper than that? Is it more about my perception of who I am? I am 47yrs old, and until a few weeks ago, felt pretty young. Now my body has me hobbling around my home looking like I have shit my pants; this new gait shouldn’t last forever, but it has me feeling (and looking) a lot older.

Okay, if I am grieving my youth, my identity and my body; the next stages should be very interesting! Right now, I will just enjoy the floaty feeling of denial and warm nothingness of today… for tomorrow I prepare to rage against the world (or a least write an angry journal entry). 


Okay, so after week of feeling sorry for myself and living in despair about my future I have emerged ready to take back my life; well the parts of my life I have control of. I found myself over the past few weeks (post injury) sinking into ‘dark’ places… not necessarily dangerous places, but places you wouldn’t want to go to after say, 7pm; like the Alexandra Hills corner store - which gets held up on a regular basis. In perspective I have lived through much harder times and I know I will always be fine (that is not a dare to the universe), but sometimes I enjoy a good wallow in self-pity as much as the next person.

I suppose one of my strengths in life has been my short attention span and the fact that I get bored very easily. Lying around the house in my pyjamas, eating comfort food was initially amazing, but what’s next? Sooner or later the self-pity I am wallowing in will harden like dry mud around me and I could end up stuck there. So here I am day 1 of my post wallowing and I have left the house (yes that meant I showered and changed out of my pyjamas) to acquire supplies for my next phase.

After purchasing the mandatory ‘green dream’ Boost drink to help keep me in the mood (or illusion) of a health kick, I ventured forth. Then after what seemed to be an eternity of walking (I was only gone from the house 1 hour); I came home with several items that will be crucial for my ‘take back my life’ phase. I now have a supply of vitamins which had been recommended by my extensive ‘Google’ research before I left this morning. I also stopped at the bookstore to pick up a meditation CD, a Tai Chi DVD and a book on mindfulness – clearly I want to cover my body, mind and spirit in this quest.

Of course by the time I got home, my still recovering knees were in desperate need of a slice of brownie and an afternoon nap. This health kick may need to be strategically rolled out over the next few days….

30 years ago

I had an interesting conversation with my daughter yesterday that left me reflective about where I have come from and who I am today.  We were talking about homeless people, drug addicts and people living with mental illness as she works in the city and comes across people living in a different world to her. I am so grateful she has not had experience of that world, but I have, and it made me think about my family and myself and how different my life is now compared to 30 years ago.

I work, have a driver’s license, I have a university degree and I have secure housing; all these things were not even conceivable to me 30 years ago (at 17yrs old).  At 14yrs old, I broke into a house in Sydney with my sister and brother-in-law, at 18yrs old I did heroin - along with many other poor lifestyle choices. Who am I to judge my sister’s path? I am no better a human being than her; there but for the grace of God go I. For whatever biological reason, heroin did not have the same physiological effect on me as it did my sister, because I certainly would have done anything to numb the pain of my life at that time. But luckily for me I didn’t experience the emotional euphoria and escape that so many do, or the physical addiction – but maybe with only ‘using’ a few times, I dodged that bullet too?

How easily I could have gone down the same harrowing life path as her; children taken into care, homelessness and occasionally prison. I am grateful and humbled. I often think of my sister, especially in winter and wonder if she has shelter and is safe. We both experienced abuse growing up and it is not that I have amazing human strength or a ‘higher’ path; I was just very lucky. Lucky I didn’t become addicted, lucky I have a different personality, lucky I had an older sister when I was a child, as she sometimes protected me.

In my conversation with my daughter, we talked about whether we would recognise either my sister or her eldest son now if we came across on them on the street or if they would recognise us. I believe they would recognise me, but probably would not be making eye contact with someone like my daughter; she is too ‘together’. I remember when I was younger I would never make eye contact with people from ‘that’ part of society. I would always smile and chat with other disenfranchised people, but ‘*normal’ people lived in a separate world to me and it was almost like I walked invisibly among them.

Who would have ever thought I would become a normal person – ha ha. Although back then, my brother-in-law often remarked that I thought I was better than them – but he was wrong; I didn’t think I was better than them; I just felt there was more. The difference is I now see that I am the same as everyone else. I would have loved to share this world with both him and my sister, but I all I can do is send love to him in spirit (he overdosed several years ago) and warm, loving thoughts to my sister and hope that she has ‘good’ moments in her life. 

*what I referenced as ‘normal’ people back then would have been; someone who works, someone who has savings, someone who plans holidays, someone who buys new clothes, someone who fits into the world.

My happiness

Another week comes and goes with nothing too exciting to report, so again I am going to just share my thoughts and feelings (lucky you). I have had the opportunity this week to reflect on what my expectations on happiness are. Now I know that we are all supposed to be all ‘Zen’ like and say happiness is something that is created within each of us and that no-one else or (the horror…) riches can make us happy.  But come on… I think either of those things becoming abundant in my life; could make me a little happier. And this is all self-inflicted too. I have worked very hard at honing my reclusive lifestyle and I think I have done an exceptional job at keeping people out of my life; but I have started to doubt the functionality of my plan in the past couple of weeks.

In the last week I have found myself fantasising about being part of a religious community; who upon hearing of my incapacities have rallied around me and showed up daily to clean my house, cook me meals and generally take care of me. Of course it would be unethical to engage a well-meaning group of people just to take care of me for free and realistically our different ideologies would end up being a problem. I also know that I would end up feeling intruded on and resentful. So what is it that I am hoping for? Do I want the human experience of nurturing and care or do I want free home help? 

Which is closer to my happiness? Now on the other hand I have no ethical dilemma about the riches part! Money wouldn’t have expectations of me; I wouldn’t even need to talk to it. But… and it is a big but; without any emotional connection am I growing as a human being? I know intellectually it comes back to my fear of being disappointed or hurt by others (a childhood trauma thing), and maybe this is an opportunity to challenge myself? OMG, I just had a thought, what if I am continually sabotaging all my efforts to acquire financial security, until I learn my life lesson about trusting people? I wonder which faith does the best casserole? 


As I am sitting here on a Sunday evening waiting for my pizza delivery (yes my inner child won again), I am left to think about the week ahead. I am going to be home from work for the week, due to an unforeseen work injury – this is where I should be able to say I was saving someone or something just as heroic. But alas, I am at home with bilateral knee injuries after plugging in my mobile phone at work – yes I am a hero! Last year I had similar time off work after I fell over a pot plant going out the back for lunch. I think there is a pattern here…. and clearly I need to avoid work.  Arghhh the joys of my body getting older; but it does have me realising that there are now things that are definitely out of my future; I will never be able to ski or mountain climb or tap dance. I don’t know if I wanted to seriously do any of those things, but not to have the choice now, well it just feels odd and humbling, in a weird sort of way.

I suppose my future always felt limitless, like if I wanted to; I could find a way to do something. Now I feel I have been imposed limits and I don’t like it. Realistically my body, even at 28yrs would NOT have done well at extreme sports (not that I am saying tap dancing is an extreme sport). I am short, roundish and as it is becoming more and more evident with each passing year; not built for speed. I did love to dance when I was younger though, not in a classically trained sort of way – more of an intoxicated, liberated, wild thing way. I am sad about the prospect that I won’t be able to let go of all my stresses, through my version of interpretive ‘free spirit’ dancing ever again.

How am I going to move forward with these newly imposed limits; and was I even using my knees to their full advantage before this? The wasted opportunities, the stairs I could have run up and down, the squats I could have completed…. Okay who am I kidding; my body probably sacrificed my knees due to redundancy.

My inner child is a spoilt brat

Today I am contemplating how my actions are contributing to my life. And I keep coming back to the same conclusion; I am not an enlightened, humbled spiritual being, calmly traversing through my life with the knowledge that everything happens the way it’s supposed to. I am closer to a narcissistic, impatient toddler-adult who wants what she wants, NOW! I try so hard to be grateful, but often I find my thoughts wandering into the dark and murky emotions of jealousy. Intellectually I know I am very lucky, I live in a society where I have choices and I am relatively healthy. So why is that not enough for me…. why is my inner toddler-adult having a tantrum? I have tried self-medicating with food, but it is never enough for her. I have tried tough love, but she is more stubborn than me (and I am not really consistent with my discipline). All that is left is a time out and while I would love to ground myself to my home, I don’t think my employer would accept my reasons for staying home as valid; “sorry Tuija can’t come in today, she had a tantrum on the weekend and now she has to stay home and think about her actions”.  

So how do I stop validating the actions of my inner child; especially knowing the trauma I went through when I was young? Am I over compensating, knowing I cannot bear to hear her cry? I once had a dream where I was being followed by what I initially thought was a feral animal that kept howling in the shadows. In the end of the dream I was confronted by the small, scared little girl who was screaming in pain and sadness; me. That was many years ago and I have done a lot of therapy and self-reflection since then; so why am I afraid to say no to my inner child still? I over indulge her with comfort food, I keep her safe from strangers and do not take her out. But isn’t this another form of abuse, by pandering to her every emotional whim? God, I wish I was more enlightened. If I was; I could practice good parenting skills on myself and learn to say “no”. But alas, I am an average person trying my best in this world, so I go forth with full knowledge of my self-abuse, through over-indulgences and pray I make it through my inner-teenage years….

Different views

I voted yesterday in our federal election and while I was standing in line a couple of things struck me; 1. I need to wax my chin hairs (I felt them gently blowing in the breeze) & 2. I wonder how we all have such different views. This second thought had me pondering further and I know we are influenced by our culture, personal history and life experiences, but in today’s world of instant information; can we still be so divided on so many things? If we have access to the same data and information, why are we not all coming to the same conclusions? I have strong views, as did a man standing behind me at the polling booth yesterday, yet had I voiced mine; I am sure an exchange of ideologies would have ensued; although from his remarks around conspiracy theories involving ‘bloody refugees’ I don’t believe it would have been a fair fight. I know I would not have made as much noise as him. It’s not that I don’t hold true to my beliefs, just that I believe he may not have accurate information to allow him to make an informed judgment about the subject matter. Because there are facts, but often the facts around many subjects are ‘massaged’ and manipulated for the benefit of winning an argument. I am not saying that what I believe is right and I am not saying what he believes is wrong (although clearly I am judging him as ignorant – and is that fair?).

So for the sake of this argument, let’s assume we each had the same non-refutable information; I dare say we would still be in disagreement; why? Why would we be able to look past the facts and still hold onto our own truths? Is it all about our own insecurities and internal dialogues, do we gravitate to messages that either stir our inner most fears or ignite our passions? If we have no compassion for ourselves, how can we feel compassion or empathy for other? If our passion for life has been extinguished by trauma or past hurt can we truly feel love for others? I don’t know or understand or pretend to be all enlightened; because I have my own prejudices and make judgment calls about people. For all I know the gentlemen behind was a social sciences professor, with a PHD in genocide and not the uneducated, intolerant, ‘wounded in childhood’ angry, privileged white man that I painted him as in my head.

So while I sit here stroking my chin hairs pondering on life, I do know one thing for certain; I am grateful to live in a society that allows us to have such different views and express them. 

Letting go

Feeling a little stagnant and a bit frustrated this week; I have never been patient if I have decided on something and then start moving toward it. I believe, I am by nature a pragmatic person (although have been known to procrastinate on uni assignments) and I am not afraid to roll up my proverbial sleeves and get on with whatever I need to do; to get whatever it is I need to do, done.  BUT what happens when the universe had an altogether different time frame to me….? Am I afraid that if I lose momentum my plans or goals can’t be achieved? Or am I afraid that I do not have control over my own destiny?

I am aware I live with anxiety if I feel I am not able to predict what is about to happen and this understandably is a result of a childhood filled with trauma. It is so difficult to let go and allow my future to happen. There is that little girl still inside of me that does not feel safe if she isn’t able to predict what is about to happen (because sometimes, really bad things did happen). For ‘f#cks’ sake, I am competent adult, navigating on most days, a productive adult life. I intellectually know I am safe and that if ‘life’ threw me a curve ball, I know I am pretty resilient and could probably cope. So why is it so hard still to let go. I want to. I believe I would be open to more opportunities or I would notice other options if I wasn’t so busy trying to ‘see’ what could happen. Because that ‘could’ is filtered through a belief that it will be difficult and or that no-one will help me. What if I am missing all the ‘maybes’ – someone willing to support me, a door I closed because I couldn’t see behind it? So, maybe this slowing down of my plans is an opportunity to stop and breathe, observe and just wait and see what happens tomorrow…. I just might be pleasantly surprised.

Are you my demographic

I participated in a small business marketing workshop this week – yep trying to get ideas for spreading the ‘word’ about my app and one of the exercises we did was to describe our customer demographic. And whilst I make assumptions about who may use my app, I am conscious they may not know the benefits of using it. I believe my customer is ‘me’; a middle aged woman, with children who have already left the family home or someone at a time in their life where they have the space to ‘unpack’ their emotional baggage. The difference between me and potentially the people using my app could be that I have engaged in a counselling process (several times in my life). I want people to be open to accessing therapy if they want to, but it can be an overwhelming prospect; especially if you don’t know where to begin. It could be an internal ‘itch’ that makes you aware that something isn’t quite right, that something needs to be unpacked and refolded so can move forward without it annoying you. Sometimes that ‘itch’ can be managed on your own, but if it needs to go through the rinse cycle with a good fabric softener (counsellor) before being packed away, this is a place to start.

So are you my demographic? I am sure we share many similarities, as people we are not that different from each other; I believe we are all doing the best we can, dealing with life. My hope is that you are able to carry your emotional baggage without burden or shame. Don’t let your baggage be carried in a plastic garbage bag, slung over your shoulder weighing heavy on your back. Unpack that shit and repack it into some designer ‘on wheels’ luggage and walk tall through your life.

Collateral Damage

I watched a movie about Amy Winehouse’s life last night and I was left with many mixed emotions. I am saddened by her death and in no way want to disrespect her life choices, but I found myself in the end, as I am sure was the film makers intent, feeling her downward spiral was pushed along by self-serving people in her life. The mixed emotion for me was; was she a complete victim in her life? At what point do we have ownership in our choices? The movie painted a picture of someone who grew up without boundaries and whilst this definitely would inform her expectations of the world around her; does it give up her accountability? But I cannot know how it felt to be her, or know what I would do living her life experiences. How do I know I would have a different life path, given the same pressures, self-worth or international exposure? All I do know is that we all do the best we can with the emotional tools we have.

I certainly have made bad decisions, good decisions and everything in between. Does that make me any better because I survived the journey so far? I have had people close to me who didn’t survive and I sometimes think of them as life’s collateral damage. They fought a good fight, but for whatever reason, a ‘happy’ life was beyond their reach and they became collateral damage. In the same sense then do I consider myself an emotional war veteran? And just like some combat veterans; I have a weariness with which I now travel in the world. Maybe I need to add a duffle bag to my pile of suitcases?


Out of the shadows

Out of the shadows

With the announcement of my story coming out in That’s Life Magazine next week; I thought it appropriate to talk about exposing truths and how much impact it can have on your life. As many people who have a lived experience of sexual abuse, I buried my true self alongside the secrets and shame of the details. It wasn’t until I started journaling and exposing the truth (even to myself) that there was a shift inside me about my role in the trauma. That is why I am so passionate about giving other people the tools to start the process, my website or the Baggage App isn’t about making me rich (… but happy to have that as a consequence; just saying universe). It is about sharing how this technique has made a difference in my life and how by taking the trauma out of the shadows; it became my abusers shame. It isn’t my shame; I did nothing wrong. I was abused. By exposing it, I removed from me and placed it outside of myself. This is the next level of exposure though isn’t it? My photo will be alongside a story about someone who lived through abuse as a child. Part of me still cringes at the idea that strangers may see me and identify me as that person; will they only see the trauma? Will I see pity in their eyes; is that scared little 5 year old inner child wanting to hide again? Big breath, I know this is healthy for me. Every time I expose it, more of the dark shadows are lifted. Ok, clearly I am a work still in progress, and maybe I will always be healing – it is not a cure all. I do believe that journaling is part of a process towards healing, but it is only a part of the process. There are no quick fixes, no magic transformations; there is no ‘snake elixir’ for sale here. I will just say though, it can bring up emotions that you may not have been expecting, so as always; keep yourself safe and reach out to a trusted friend or family member or use a 24hr counselling help line if you need to talk to someone.

Am I anti-social or just an introvert?

Am I anti-social; I have been contemplating that this week? I know my personality type is introverted and on the scale I am WAY over on the introverted side, but I believe my past has influenced the development of my personality.  If it has, does that mean I can adjust or ‘balance’ my introversion so I don’t come across as completely anti-social?  So, how has my personality helped or hindered my healing process from my childhood traumas? As an introvert I naturally ‘go within’ to restore my emotional batteries; this means I need alone time. I enjoy reflecting and being on my own. For me this has meant in my past I could slip into rumination (where I could dwell a little too long – being sad). That is a down side. It has also meant that because I need alone time, I do not seek out company of other people naturally and as I have gotten older I basically avoid other people all together.

But it’s not all bad, because of my unfortunate circumstances from childhood; I have had to rely on myself and still find happiness alone, which I believe I have. Ok, but now I am thinking; is this a convenient excuse not to go to the next level of my healing and trust others enough to let them into my inner circle. I only have one person in my life currently that I would call if I have any news (good, bad, exciting, boring…) and she is my adult daughter. Does she count though? Basically evolutionary biology means she has to love me (survival instinct), luckily I think we like each other too. Back to the question; is this behaviour anti-social or just my personality?  Hmmm, maybe there is no clear answer; but I think I need to venture out of my comfort zone and make sure I am not doing more to harm to myself. If it turns out I am perfectly emotionally healthy (….. ‘right?’), fine I can retreat back into the shadows. If on the other hand it is healthier for me to make meaningful connections with other people, isn’t it my duty to myself to do that? The words all introverts disdain ‘are you free this weekend?’ will have to become part of my new rhetoric to test this theory out…. (Anxious face!).

© copyright baggage app 2015-2019 | all rights reserved
website & app development by Roundhouse