My psychiatrist keeps asking me the same questions each week, “Who am I?” and “What do I need?” Every week I answer with the same answer of “I don’t know.” I also say “What if I don’t like me?” She assures me that this won’t be the case, it just might be that I need to find a way to be me and my life today to work together. She also asks me what holds me back from asking for what I need. 

Those around me would tell you that I am very good at asking for what I want and what I need. I would argue that they are right but that these wants and needs are in fact physical or material not emotional needs.. I think honestly that most of us can do this. It is easy to say I need food, shelter, clothing etc and even in an emotional sense to say that we need unconditional love, support etc. 

If I talk about who am I, I would describe myself as a daughter, sister, cousin, wife, sister in law, mother and friend. These are all physical descriptions of what I am to others. They aren’t however, who I am, what makes me tick, the qualities that make me tick. These are the much harder things to answer. Even harder to answer is what do I need? If I don’t know who I am then how can I possibly know what I need. 

I know that I need food, shelter, warmth, love, I like nice things around me and I would love a new kitchen, a new wardrobe of clothes and a pair of pretty shoes that I have my eye on. Most of these things of course are wants and not needs and they are all material. Getting to the core of me is much harder. 

I think like everyone my emotional needs are to be liked, unconditionally loved and supported and then other attributes like kind, helpful, compassionate, authentic, genuine, honest, passionate, to have a purpose (other than raising my kids that is!), friendship, integrity, generous and wise in my choices and advice. When I write it out like this many of these needs are met to varying degrees. 

Unconditional Love – this is a big tick. Seriously I have this in spades from my family, friends, strangers even. Though in my head I have convinced myself, that  because I have made BIG mistakes in my life I don’t deserve this unconditional love and support.

Success – this is a strange need because it is really external validation and what I have come to learn more than anything is that “I’ll be happy when…” never comes. How do I measure success, is it when I have a best seller, or is it having 100s of page views on the blog, or is it as a mother raising good and kind humans? All of these are external and all of these I can easily sabotage which means I can fail before I even start. Also, linked to my mistakes I don’t believe that I deserve success either. 

I could go through more but what is very clear to me is that I need to learn to give myself a break. Everyone makes mistakes and that is their story. No-one is perfect, not that this is something I want to be but I do need to stop defining myself by what I have done and start looking to define myself by what I will do. I need to learn to show myself the same levels of kindness that I extend to everyone else. 

Part of coming to me is also thinking about my hopes and dreams for the future. It is really scary though thinking about re-inventing yourself. I am more than half way through my life and I still feel like I haven’t really grown up and certainly feel like I have been very lost for the last 16yrs. Though those years are not lost years, I just lost me in the midst of being a wife and mother. It is now my time to find me again. My mum is a huge inspiration in this area. She was in her mid 40’s, raised her children and then she wondered what now for me. She re-invented herself, she took on study, she undertook and was awarded a university degree and then more study. Mum went on to have a very successful career in Aged Care. So re-invention is completely possible and can be absolutely amazing, for all of us.  

I have some big dreams these include writing books. I have a few in me. I think there is a fiction story about my life, because honestly if I hadn’t lived it I truly think that I would think it was fiction in many places. I have the title of another book that I am going to write about a dear little boy who’s total life was less than an hour but his impact was so much greater than that His Name is Ben will tell the story of his life, the love and incredible friendships that will last a lifetime because of a dear little boy. 

The story that I have burning inside my is around Addiction most importantly Women and Addiction. This is something that I think isn’t spoken about enough and also really misunderstood. 

In addition to my books I want to work with other women to achieve their dreams. I am honestly quite happy to sit in the background and support, promote, build and empower others. I truly believe that when we support others this also helps us to find ourselves. I have my dreams and I have written them down and putting this out there means that I will have many people holding me accountable to them now. My next step with my big dreams is to break them down to bite size chunks that are manageable and to find the support and mentors that I need to help me with my goals. 

I have been afforded many wonderful things and loves throughout my life. However, I am finding that I’ve been to Paradise but I have never been to me. 

That all changes now. Time for it to change for you too. If you are not sure what to do or how to start, do what I did a few weeks ago at a Team Women Australia event, write down all your dreams, your perfect life, the life you want, in that perfect place where you have no responsibilities and see what that looks like. From there look at your life now, you may find that they aren’t all that different. Maybe your dreams are vastly different to how your life looks today. That is perfectly ok you don’t need to make it all happen overnight. There is a saying ‘how do you eat an elephant one bite at a time’. In turn reaching your dreams and re-inventing yourself can be a slow and steady process, that is perfectly ok. For now I am off to tackle my elephant and work out my next step. In the meantime I will leave you with Charlene, I’ve Never Been To Me.

Much love 


25 Replies to “I’ve never been to me”

  1. It is clear you’ve been working your way towards this in many guises and now you are ready to fly! This is such a good news post Cathy! Dropping the shoulds & the not good enoughs & not deserving is a BIG leap! Looking forward to reading more! Denyse x

  2. I don’t honestly know who I am, though I do know what I want. I feel I lost myself along the journey of having kids and getting divorced. Now although happily married again, I still struggle to know who I am. I also think everyone has the same basic need to be liked, loved and appreciated just as they are. I am fortunate to have this in my kids, husband friends, now I need to work on finding it in myself. I’d love to hear more about women and addiction xx

    1. Thanks Nicole … I think it is a very common thing for women that we get a bit lost along the way. Some are very lucky in that they manage to hold on to who they are when they marry and have children. I think for me I really don’t know that I knew who I was before I married and sometimes I worry that I fell into marriage and kids because that was kind of the done thing for women in their late 20’s. Don’t get me wrong I love my husband with all my heart and would die for my children but there is that little question that was this what I was meant to do. Then I think that all the life experiences I have had are all part of that greater plan. I wouldn’t have the richness of life without my husband and children if that makes sense.

      I think that addiction is really misunderstood and that women particularly use lots of different things to “cope” with life, to make ourselves feel better after a tough day with the kids or we might be feeling rubbish about something else and we will turn to the bottle for a drink or we will go shopping or eat etc. I think when we think of addiction we think of the murkiness of drinking all the pay packet or gambling the house away etc, whereas addiction doesn’t have to be all of that but it is (well in my case) a way to cope with life, many people can be incredibly functional and still have addictions, again for me I was very functional but it did nearly destroy my life. Addiction is so much more than that and can happen without noticing and generally it is quite socially acceptable in Australia to have a drink or two, or go shopping with our girlfriends etc. Anyway, there is a lot of research I need to do into it, I need to find an addiction specialist to talk to and see if my thoughts actually match the research. I am hoping that some high profile women who have very publicly given up drinking like Talitha Cummins and Yumi Stynes might get on board with me. I have also thought about talking with Eden Riley to see if she would be interested in collaborating. So it wouldn’t be a book about being a wowser or saying that everyone has to give up doing everything but more looking at behaviours why we do them and being conscious of them and then with personal stories of addiction. I don’t even know if that would make an interesting book or if there is any interest in something like that. I also don’t even know how to write a synopsis, put it to an agent or publisher or any of that lol. Lots to learn but I am determined to see if I can do it.

      Cathy xoxo

  3. I know that things are incredibly challenging when someone asks that question ” who are you” etc but I learned a long time ago that we often DO KNOW what we want to say but are afraid to say it. Saying it will be freeing. I hope you can find that freedom. I am glad you linked up. I have a prompt each week and if you wanted to add another post, on or off prompt that would be awesome. I link up posts of mine on Tuesdays to IBOT via Kylie Purtell’s blog open only for 24hrs) and Thursdays on Leanne’s Lovin Life Linky at
    Bloggers need to read more of your work!! Go, you!! Denyse x

  4. Oh, I so have that song in my head now. I think many of us aren’t good at asking for what our heart or our soul needs & as for external validation, I’m in awe of those who define success in such a way where that comes from within. I have a better idea of who rather than what I am now than I ever have – but it’s an evolving process & one that began the year I turned 40 – 10 years ago. I’m a completely different person now to who I was then. Re your writing – just do it. Nanowrimo is coming up next month & I’ll be blogging a how to guide on my author site in the next day or so. Once you get that 1st one out of your head, it will free room for the other ideas which are in there to find their space. Thanks for linking up today #TeamLovinLife

    1. Thanks for the encouragement Jo and I will need to find your author site! I have lots of questions lol … I think most of us require some sort of external validation and that is what makes us human. I also think that the need for external validation also holds us back from doing amazing things because of fear and we are afraid of what others will say or might think it is a silly idea etc. Strangely enough my fear of success probably holds me back far more than the fear of failure, I actually expect to fail but that fear that I might succeed I actually self sabotage so I can’t succeed. But I am really working on that. Thank you for your kind reply! xox

    1. Mine are pretty constant I know I want to write and publish at least one of my three books. Though in my head I tell myself if I am not going to have a bestseller what is the point in starting lol. I have a super big dream of one day having a tea shoppe and chocolate shop (in one) – these are a combination of two of Josephine Moon’s books, overlooking the water with big lounges and lots of books, drinking from bone china, and there are a few little writing stations around the room to encourage aspiring writers.
      Good luck with your dreams Janet. xo

  5. Ugh, I’m going to have that song stuck in my head now….

    I love this post and can really relate. I’ve struggled to work out who the real ‘me’ is as often I just see myself reflected in / from others. And I’m definitely very hard on myself.

    I’ve made some huge life changes and think it’s probably easier because I’m single etc… (Of course that’s also the reason I’ve wanted to make some changes.)

    I’m keen to write as well but struggle with the commitment and I’m not sure what that’s about.

    Look forward to more posts like this.

    Deb #teamlovinlife

    1. I love the song lol … it is constantly stuck in my head. I am fortunate that I have the luxury of time. Now I need to sit my butt down and do something with that time. I also need to work out a process I don’t even really know where to start with writing a book!

      Thanks for the encouragement Deb I need to get back into the swing of writing. xo

  6. I loved reading this Cathy! It’s basically the same ‘journey’ (can’t think of any other word to use) I’ve been on. I lost myself too – in amongst being everything to everyone else and trying to always do the right thing and what was expected to me. I am still trying to work out who Min is. I still don’t know what I should be doing. I thought it was photography at one point but I don’t think so now. Never mind, I’m enjoying the process anyway and loving my blog as a vessel that very much helps me learn to rediscover myself. Good luck with your writing. You can do it. Just start and chip away! Also – you DO deserve unconditional love and support. My goodness – you’re one of the kindest and giving people I’ve come across. Happy days ahead Cathy! 🙂 #TeamLovinLife

    1. Lol … I try to avoid the word journey so much because to me journey feels like something enjoyable something that has an end point and unless the end point of life’s journey is death which is pretty morbid, I am not on a journey. But you know what I mean.
      For what it’s worth I love your photography I can barely take a photo that is in focus! I managed to take a selfie last night where I wasn’t even looking at the camera now that is a skill!
      Thank you Min for your kind words, I really do need to learn to be as kind to me as I am to others.
      Happy days ahead for both of us.
      Cathy xoxo

  7. I feel like now I’ve got more stability in work (and therefore income), I’m asking more questions about what I really want. And do I even want to work towards anything right now? Or do I just want to enjoy where I’m at? Can I enjoy where I’m at?!

    1. They are all very big questions Vanessa I hope you can find your answers. I am certainly still looking for mine xox

    1. So very true Maria. Self acceptance is a really huge thing! I am a long way from there but I will make it one day. xox

  8. Great post! Thanks so much for sharing. Although not so thankful that I can’t get that song out of my head now. LOL.

    I identified with so much you wrote. I’m also one of those people that is happy cheering and encouraging others to achieve their dreams. I love helping to empower others. I find it easier than empowering myself. Belief perhaps?

    PS Do you have new bloggy clothes? I feel like your blog has a new sense of calm and peace about it. Not that it wasn’t peaceful before … it just feels more zen or something today.


    1. Thanks Leanne I am not sure about new clothes but maybe I am finding a sense of peace, or maybe that is coming through slowly finding me, and being super excited about my addiction project I just need to work out how to make it happen!

  9. How liberating for you to have come to this point Cathy! As women, and particularly when you’re a Mum, many of us lose our sense of self because we spend all our time pleasing others and not thinking about what we truly want. You’ve made me think about who I am again …. more pondering ahead 🙂 #TeamLovinLife

  10. Thank you for sharing your inner thoughts here. It’s a difficult question isn’t it – and difficult to be honest with ourselves and love ourselves as we are. I am sure they will resonate with many who read your pages, and they will know they are not the only ones, and you will too. Take care and have a lovely week. And thank you for visiting my blog last week. I’ve enjoyed “meeting” you.

  11. Ahh.. Love that song! Even if I learned the lyrics at an inappropriate age and I love this piece! It’s hard, isn’t it?! Not sure if I’ve been to me either!!

  12. I love this – a bit of a self evaluation and reflection is always a good idea. I’ve just finished reading “Everything That Remains” by The Minimalists. It’s a memoir and it’s all about finding yourself and adding as much value to your life as you can. I think you’d find it a cracking read 🙂

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