Jonelle is a Mom, Wife, Ostomate, Writer and Community Development Practitioner! She writes the blog Tyranny of Pink, a blog about intentional living, with a focus on living life positively, purposefully and authentically. In October 2014 she found herself unhappy with her life and the path it was leading her down.
She quit her full-time job and decided it was time to do things that make her happy! In September 2015 she had her first child, Oden. His journey into this world nearly killed her. She woke up post-surgery with an unexpected stoma and her whole life completely changed.
In that moment, she realised that she was finally living her authentic life and being exactly who she was meant to be. She made a promise to herself to never try to live up to anyone else’s expectations or try to be anyone she wasn’t.
Here are Jonelle’s own words:
Tell us a little bit about your life journey.
My journey has been an interesting one of constant changes and defining moments. I would say the moments that have defined me the most are firstly the death of my father which caused me to grow up quickly and take responsibility for my life and my actions. Secondly becoming a mother – that is perhaps the best part of my life journey. I didn’t think being a mother was suited to me but it has been a learning experience like no other. Being completely responsible for the happiness of one person really changes your perspective on what matters in life. Lastly, I’d say nearly dying having my son was one of those moments where everything becomes before and after. Being so close to death really made me appreciate life and realise just how lucky I am to be alive at all. I value time with loved ones more and my goals are less about things and more about feelings, emotions and love.
Three words that define you the best (or more if you feel compelled).
Warrior. I have discovered that I don’t give up easily and that I’m ready to face whatever challenge comes my way.
Sensitive. I am an extremely emotional person and in my younger days I thought that was a sign of weakness but as I get older I appreciate it more and more.
Passionate. I go head first into whatever challenge I’m faced with and I believe so strongly in the causes I support and the things I believe in.
What was the life event that triggered the beginning of your personal transformation?
When I lost my dad, I was 23 years old. He died unexpectedly in a car accident. I had been so used to him always being there to carry me through life and when he was gone, I had to change my perspective about the world. What I found changed me for the better though was that I had to start living for me after he died. Instead of my life being about “what would make him proud” it started being about what would make me happy and that changed everything for me. I learnt to live for myself and to do the things that made me happy. That was a huge factor in losing my dad. I discovered myself. I miss him terribly but I think he’d be proud of the way I have fully embraced life and made it my own.
What was the life event that made you start blogging/writing/sharing your experiences with the world?
I was working in a job that I hated, I felt unfulfilled in my life and I felt that I needed to do more that made me happy. I finally found the courage to quit my job and start my new adventure. I didn’t know what that was at the time but I started an online journal to help me figure it out and that journal led me to blogging and writing. It gave me something to focus on my energy on and I found that it ended up healing me.
What was your best “aha” moment during your healing journey?
I think it was discovering that there are people in the world just like me who need to feel like they aren’t alone. Suddenly I was getting inbox messages from people sharing their own stories and telling me how my writing had spoken to them or expressed their feelings in a way that they didn’t know how. I knew that this is what makes my heart happy – knowing that I was touching the lives of other people just by sharing my experiences.
What do you find most difficult to deal with on daily basis?
Finding the time to dedicate to being creative. It’s not always easy to close the door on the real world and escape into my bubble of writing. I have real responsibilities and my son will come knocking on the door expecting me to play with him and because he is my number one priority, I always try to choose him over “working” so I’ve started to neglect my blog a bit in favour of family but maybe that isn’t the worst thing ever. Life is about the people you love. I just think that we need to remember to love ourselves too sometimes and that means making time for things that we enjoy.
What are your best practices to get yourself back on track?
Hmmm – I’d say allocating a set time in the day just to work. My son goes to school in the morning so I try to be dedicated about getting my work done during those hours.
What is the definition of healed for you?
I think the healing never ends. The best we can hope for is acceptance. When you start to accept that healing is a constant journey and a work forever in progress, you stop being so hard on yourself and start letting your body and your mind feel what it needs to feel. It’s okay to be sad. Sadness isn’t a sign of weakness. It’s okay to feel hurt – what matters is that you’re able to say,
“Okay, I feel hurt or sad or whatever but that isn’t WHO I am – it’s just what I feel at the moment.”
I think that’s how you heal.
What keeps you writing and sharing your journey?
Writing is how I deal with the world, how I channel my emotions and how I’ve learnt to cope with the world. When I find myself struggling, I sit down and write and that helps to clear my head and it’s the way I deal with my emotions. Without writing I think I would feel really overwhelmed with the world.
What is your message to others who are going through adversity and pain?
Just keep going. It feels like this moment will last forever but I promise you it won’t. I promise you it gets easier and even though some struggles never end, you get much better at coping on a day to day basis. It feels like you will never be okay but I promise you, you will be.
Do you have a hero or somebody who inspires your actions?
I think anyone who has experienced grief and has gotten up and carried on living is inspirational to me. I’m inspired by people who face adversity and keep going. It’s so easy to check out of life. To sit back and say, “okay that happened and my life is over” that I really respect people who deal with their loss or challenges in a way that enables them to carry on living. That’s the true sign of strength, to keep going even when you feel like you can’t.
If you can change one thing about your life circumstances, what would that be?
I wish more than anything that I could have been fully present during the first year of my son’s life. I missed out on so much with him. I didn’t get to breast feed or bond in that time because I was either in hospital or recovering at home from various surgeries. More than anything I’d change that year but otherwise, I think my life has made me the person that I am today and I wouldn’t really change anything. I truly believe that things happen exactly the way they are supposed to. It’s easy for us to wish that people we had lost were still here and of course I do but life is about beginnings and endings and that’s just the way it goes.
Where do you see yourself in one year?
We are moving to New Zealand at the end of this year so life is about to become something completely unpredictable. I don’t know exactly what I will be doing but I hope that whatever it is it brings me happiness. Life is too short to be unhappy and that’s the thing that matters most to me.
Where can others find you/contact you?
I hope you enjoyed this interview and make sure you connect with Jonelle – her blog is a well of wisdom and inspiration.
Make sure you ask Jonelle any questions you may have in comment section below. And share this post if you think it may help someone else. Infinite thanks!