1) You write the most beautiful poetry & your writing is like a decadent truffle. Needless to say, I love you. Tell us what made you start writing?
Thanks Elise! I’ve been writing stories since I was old enough to hold a pencil. They were always highly imaginative but as I got older, the topics got darker and darker. I stopped writing when I was about 20 because I hadn’t yet learned to embrace or accept the pain that came out in my words.
In January of this year, I knew it was time for me to start writing again, but I didn’t know where to start. One night as I was lying awake in bed, the title of my book came to me. As soon as I had the title, the rest of the book followed all at once. I had to dictate it into my phone. The funny thing is that the book involves the retelling and reframing of the stories I wrote when I was younger. It almost feels as though the book was already decided before I was born.
I think I feel compelled to write because it’s how I make sense of things. Having dyspraxia means I not only think in quite an obsessive, detailed way, but I’m also unable to grasp any of those thoughts. It’s kind of like a having a room filled with butterflies, and trying to count or group them into categories. I have to pin them down in word form, so I can create order.
The other reason is because I feel things so intensely. If I don’t write them down, I feel like I’ll combust. My poetry is like short bursts of steam – ideal for when I’m too fired up and impatient to write it all down in a lengthy way!
In summary, I do it because it’s the only thing I want to do. Because writing can fill my heart, and my heart can fill the page.
2) You’ve overcome such adversity in your life, what were some of the key turning points that made you decide to change?
If I really look back, I’ve had countless turning points. Despite my main struggle being with self-loathing, I’ve always fought for my own right to happiness. I was 12 when I first asked my parents to take me to a counsellor. Since then I have actively sought help through all means possible. I saw more than a dozen professionals and even completed a psychology degree.
The reason these interventions never “worked” was because recovery was not my lesson. Every time I became well I was struck down by another challenge – whether it was physical illness, mental illness or some kind of trauma. I was being given the same lesson over and over again because I wasn’t learning it; and that lesson was that recovery is not a permanent thing. Pain is as much a part of life as joy and when you can come to embrace and accept it, then and only then can you find peace.
3) What would be your biggest tip(s) for someone going through something similar?
Remember all the best things are born out of darkness. Every star starts out as a murky cloud of interstellar dust but when the heat is turned up and the pressure increases, it explodes into a massive, luminous sphere.
Have hope when things are at their worst – it’s a sign that something far better is to come. You’re not having a breakdown, you’re having a breakthrough. Just ride it out.
4) What are 5 habits you believe every woman in the world should learn to adapt?
- Learn to breathe out the pain: We women go through a lot of pain in our lives. Pain can bring with it trauma and suffering or healing and learning – but if you can use it instead of resist it, you can make it a more positive, transformative experience.
- Understand that love is always the answer: Learn to forgive others unconditionally. Respond to anger with love. Respond to hatred with love. By doing so you’re healing both yourself and others.
- Realise that loving someone unconditionally means you don’t need them to love you back.
- Know that you are a Lioness: Female energy is not a softness but a strength, and that strength is infinite.
- Help yourself, then others: You can’t take care of others unless you take care of yourself first. Self-nurturing is not a selfish act.
5) What is the best piece of wisdom you’ve ever heard?
I usually receive the right wisdom at the right time. I love when people give it to me straight; a good friend told me a few months back, “let go of the drama” and that was just what I needed to hear! But if I was going to stick to one piece of advice it would be to trust your own instinct and never hand over your power. Grace won’t take you where you can’t walk; if you’re faced with a challenge, you can handle it. Step up and stand up for yourself.
6) What’s your advice for someone who is ready to give up and revert back to their old habits?
Self-talk. We’ve got a number of guiding voices within ourselves and sometimes we just need to call upon the right one. What you need in this case is the compassionate but firm version of you. The one who says, “You’re better than this. Remember?” Have a conversation with them. Let them do the talking. Bring back that sense of your own empowerment.
7) What do you love to do on days you don’t feel so great?
I usually meditate and just ride it out because I’m probably going through some sort of necessary process. If the blues stick around for too long then I’ll call upon a few tricks like waking up to watch the sunrise, listening to music, dancing, singing or exercising.
8) Who and what inspires you every day?
I find my best inspiration in nature. If you sit outdoors and just watch the plants, bugs and animals for a while, you’ll learn a lot from them. Things don’t have to be as complicated as we like to make them!
Interview with Kayla Ramsay