Posted in Book Reviews, Happiness, Health and fitness, Women's issues, Writers, Year of Gratitude

A motivational read Turia Pitt ‘Unmasked’ review


A motivational read Turia Pitt ‘Unmasked’ review

I finished ‘Unmasked’ by Turia Pitt and Bryce Corbett (336 pages), between writing and other jobs. I couldn’t put it down (but of course I had to or I wouldn’t have met my own deadlines).

Turia Pitt Unmasked, writing computer.
Turia Pitt’s Unmasked, just finished. Next to writing laptop and the essential morning coffee.

From the first chapter, I shed tears. They stayed throughout, but mixed with smiles, chuckles and ‘wow’ moments.

My husband commented, “Are you still crying?” I was up to chapter twelve and had a box of tissues next to me, my head in the book.

This is an inspirational read; not only because of what happened to Turia, but what she did about it. It’s not just about Turia. The people around her show wonderful human spirit and love, particularly her fiancé Michael. Inspiring love flow through the pages.

Have a sense of humour

Turia has a wicked sense of humour and undeniable courage. She probably would have been a motivator, even if the fire didn’t happen to her. Her voice is loud but her physical achievements are thunderous. How many people take on Ironman events, the Kokoda Track, support charities (she did this before the fire), empower other people and live a humble (if not selfie-filled, ha ha) life? See her Instagram account.

Turia is spurred on by those who say she can’t do something. Doctors told her she’d struggle to walk; now she runs, swims, rides and climbs (and not slowly either). It made me realise how insignificant my own struggles were. I have no excuse not to exercise. I cannot complain when I feel pain (arthritis perhaps) in my knees, elbows, shoulders and neck. I will soldier on because I’m very grateful to still be fit and healthy. If I don’t keep moving I may not stay that way. I will stick it out because Turia’s voice is in my ear.

It’s not just a physical lesson

I didn’t just learn a physical lesson. I think the main thing is about our mind and how we use it. Turia breaks things up until she achieves them, be it physical or mental. I’ve always fragmented my writing projects into, words, scenes, chapters, then they become full manuscripts.

With multiple projects on the go it was getting to a point, I thought completing them was pushing my limits. Then I read Turia’s book and I had a light-bulb moment. Keep doing what you originally did; break it up. Finish the first bit, then the second and so on. I’m back to a flow of 3,000 words a day. I’m back on track. Mentally I’m in the writing zone. It’s not the same as an athlete’s zone but it works for me.

We can all be better people.

Turia is proof. She chose not to be bitter and angry; instead to live a full and meaningful life. We would forgive her for the first (considering what she’s been through) but that wouldn’t have been Turia, the person.

As an individual, I choose to be the best I can be. That’s all we need to be. We compete with ourselves. We run our own race. Be proud of what you are doing. If you’re not proud of what you are doing change it. It’s also advisable to keep supporters by your side. The people who love you will cheer you on like no one else. Just like Michael is always the first to greet Turia at her finish lines.

I’d also like to say what an excellent job John Corbett, Turia’s ghost writer, has done to pull the story together. I loved the chapters from the viewpoint of each of Turia’s loved ones. To say I had my heart in my throat, is an understatement. He brought the personal emotions to the surface and made Turia’s tale captivating, engaging and un-put-downable. (Lots of applause going off in the background).

Best advice: Take just one step.

Posted in Happiness, Women's issues

What is beauty anyway? You’ll probably won’t find it social media.


What is beauty anyway? You’ll probably won’t find it on social media.

What is beauty? Is it truly in the eyes of the beholder or is there more to it? Have we been conditioned to believe certain aspects of beauty exist when perhaps they don’t? Is our perception of beauty distorted by watching excessive news and social media?

Beauty in the eyes of the beholder - Graphic Stock
Picture from Graphic Stock.

I sat in the hairdressers the other day. They had hairstyle magazines or Harpers Bazaar. I don’t buy such glossy publications, so thought it was a treat to have a peek (I’m more the fitness or home beautiful kinda girl). Not only were the fashions only suitable for the runway (or perhaps the streets of Milan, but not Coolangatta), but they didn’t make the models look pretty (let alone beautiful – only my opinion). Seriously, the models were so thin that in one of the photo shoots it’s a wonder the camera could even capture them.

What happened to the fashion industry taking body image seriously? I know there are naturally thin women, but there was no depiction of a mix of women. No curvy women, except for Elle McPherson featured on the cover (and let’s face it she’s a freak by any standard of beauty). No depiction of normality at all.

Okay, I know Harpers Bazaar and other fashion magazines are about the fashion ‘art’ and I appreciate that. Somehow I felt annoyed. I know for fans of Harpers, I don’t have to read it. I’m just pointing out how I felt, and even if I were rich one day I’d still prefer comfortable, beach Aussie clothing (even a bit of feminine floaty boho) to runway artwork (you know the kind where the neckline is so high and flamboyant you can’t even see the model’s pretty face. Do the people who read these magazines actually think that inside the pages are beautiful? Did they always think that way or did it happen the longer they looked at those images? Is the media influencing how we see things?

To me, beauty isn’t size, what you wear, or how you wear it, It’s not someone taking a selfie and photoshopping it beyond recognition (no really, your lips aren’t that pouty and your cheeks aren’t that hollow, but if they are good for you). Beauty by definition is a mix of qualities, such as shape, colour, or form, that pleases the aesthetic senses, especially the sight. Beauty is something that makes you feel good when you see it. We need to see things not only visually but also with our heart and mind and we’ll find what’s really beautiful.

I believe in observing the beauty outside the media influencers. I love a heartfelt smile on any shape, age or size face. I love twinkling eyes and mischievous grins of any colour, culture or religion. I see beauty in any size woman (or man for that matter) that loves their own body and embraces what they have, from tiny Linda Hunt to fun-time Rebel Wilson.

I see and an old man with watery eyes as he looks adoringly at his wife, as beautiful. I see the tiny down’s syndrome girl playing with other kids, as just another cute child. So is the redhead with freckles or not with the fiery temperament to match. A Digger in a wheelchair with a big smile on his face because he’s playing  basketball at the Invictus Games; that’s beautiful. Three children walking hand-in-hand; one Christian, one Asian, one Muslim; black, cream, white – beautiful! A baby cuddling a puppy and giggling as it licks his face (do I even have to say, “That’s beautiful”?).

It’s not just people either. While I’m smiling at a sunny day, someone out west, waiting for a drought to break, is grinning at a bunch of rain clouds greying the day. My gorgeous white sandy beach with turquoise blue water isn’t as beautiful to the person who loves snow, ski slopes and winter. To an overworked uni student a pile of books is an ugly chore; to the bookworm all books are beautiful.

There’s enough ugly in the world at the moment (terrorism, domestic violence, racism, sexism, ice; to name a few), so let’s find the beauty all around us, not the stuff on social media, news or magazines, but the real stuff in our lives.