I’ve been home now a few weeks now and it’s given me time to see how much Australia has changed me.
Before I left for Australia I was someone who struggled to leave the house without looking like someone who had just had an all day sesh in town, spent the night passed out by the toilet and woke up the following 12 hours after but that’s how I look sometimes. The lead up to packing for Australia (about 6 months before I actually left) was a challenge. How was I going to fit all these false eyelashes, bottles of foundation, nail polishes and shitloads of lipsticks in my suitcase with everything else. It just wasn’t going to be possible. I’d say this was the point where I started to reduce the amount of make up I wore and I began to give less of a fuck about what others might say/think.
When I got to Australia I started work straight away. Working with horses isn’t glamorous and I knew that before I left. I went with the mindset of ‘No one will know me so I can just be me’. My first few weeks in and I was working with no mascara on, only wore my eyelashes twice and used liquid foundation about 4/5 times. It was a proud moment. I started going out more in public with no make up. My fucks were gone. Not a care in the world.
Summer was the real challenge though. As someone who has always been a red hot mess, knowing I’d be working in temperatures that I didn’t believe existed was worrying. During the lead up to summer I tried to make my fellow colleagues aware of the fact that I’m not good with heat. I kept imaging myself passing out or getting severe heat stroke.
It got to November and the heat was rising. Before this I had coped quite well. Anything below 25-27 degrees was a bit chilly sometimes. I had acclimatized well! In November we were going through yearling prep, which was mentally, physically and sometimes emotionally challenging. The days got to around 30-35 degrees (but Australia can do better than that) and sweating was just something that happened to me as soon as I stepped out of the house. I had absolutely no control over it and I had accepted that. As someone who was always embarrassed and insecure about how sweaty I get, I have just 100% accepted it. In January I had moved to a separate yard from Widden which was out of the valley and in more of a flat land area. By January it was anything from 38-45 degrees and yes we had to work in it.
Look at that shine!! I had a hand held fan that I used to use at work. It helped a little but at the end of the day every single person in Australia was sweating. We were all in the same boat. Back home I would always be the first to break out in a sweat, my face would be as red as a tomato and my clothes would be covered in sweat patches. That was probably in temperatures ranging anything from 15-30 degrees. Talking to people whilst I had obvious sweat beads on my face used to always set off my anxiety. My hair would go greasy from all the sweat and heat radiating from it. My make up would smudge from me wiping all the sweat away and then my red cheeks would become more obvious. It wasn’t pretty but when you’re doing yearling prep in 45 degrees the whole team is sweating. Wherever you go, everyone there will be sweating. You’ll all leave a bum sweat print on the chair and you can get away from it. The cold water becomes luke warm and suddenly sitting down in the shower just to try and cool down is acceptable. There was no point in being insecure about it because everyone at some point will sweat. Some more than others but sweat is a natural bodily function and I didn’t pass out once.
I like to think my independence has improved. I have always been pretty independent but when ever I would get anxious about doing something, I’d rely on them to do it instead. Sometimes going up to the bar and ordering drinks would set off my anxiety so I would get someone else to do. But I had to do a lot of things by myself and I pushed myself to do them and eventually the situations that used to scare me weren’t so scary anymore. Then when my mum came out for a month I had more responsibility to take on. I had been in Australia for 6 months, I had gotten used to the Australian way of life and all their lingo. I had an idea of what things meant, where to go/stay. I knew what the roads were like and driving the campervan wasn’t too daunting for me. Australia was all new to her. I became more confident in myself that I can do things and it’s okay not to know how to do everything. I can still learn.
Body confidence has been the biggest improvement for me. The fear of being in swimwear out in public used to absolutely terrify me but how can you go to Australia and not get into the turquoise sea or sunbathe on golden sand?! It’s not possible! So I just accepted my fear and got on with it. The more I wore my swimwear the less fucks I began to give about the thoughts of others.
Australia has really helped me face my fears and insecurities. Since being home I have started at the gym (all ladies gym…still got some fears to face) which I usually walk there and back looking like a greasy, sweaty mess and I don’t care. That is me and it feels so good to finally be 100% comfortable with myself. Now I know I will go through phases where I will get paranoid about how I look and what others are thinking but this is the start of some new life lessons I have learnt and combining them all together fills me with gratitude and appreciation for who I am.
I believe you can face your fears wherever you are and whatever your fear is but for me, I don’t think I would have reached this milestone if I had stayed at home.
Sending my love and positivity to you all,