A tribute to the lady who changed my life

Warning: This is one of the most personal and moving pieces I have ever shared.

10400212_41193386586_5249_nToday I want to tell you about one of my best friends…

I have quite a few friends and a special circle of girls who I consider my best. But someone who sits outside the circle, and still remains one of my best, is Lara-Jane (Lara) and I wanted to talk about her today.

Lara and I met in school when we were 11 years old. I don’t remember the day we met but I remember the day we became friends. We were sitting on a bus – and no one would sit with her (I think because she was an only-child – we went to a posh all girl’s school with quite a few judgemental kids) and we were off to the Microsoft Expo for our computer class in Sydney’s Darling Harbour.

At the time there was a really popular game show and Tim Bailey was the host – I think he was working on Totally Wild or for some kids show. We became friends the moment we both agreed he was hot … and we’ve (thankfully) never agreed on the same man since.

At some point during the Expo, we became separated. But sure enough, Lara found her way back to me on the bus, sat next to me and pulled out a poster with a giant smile. I’ll never forget what it looked like, and I’ll never forget receiving it. “I have one,” I told her.

“Yeah but –” and she went on to explain how she pushed her way to the front of the line to have two posters signed – one for him and one for me. I’ll never forget the 11-year-old enthusiasm as she told me he journey to get to the top!

Needless to say, I have always known Lara to be very generous. And there’s been so many examples of that. No matter what Lara has been going through, she’s always been there for me. ALWAYS!

I’ve also always known Lara to be a massive over achiever.

When we became friends as kids, she lived in a country-style mansion, had her own dog – Larson (Lara’s son) and a gorgeous photo with Rebekah Elmaloglou. I was SO jealous!

She won a crown for the charity work she had done and had been a model contestant for something, she was on TV, she sung in the choir and she went to school – the same school as me.

I was lucky if I could just make it to netball practise!

And over the years nothing has changed. She has risen to the top of the finance industry, started two highly successful recruitment companies and every single day she inspires me and blows me away – in the same way she did when we were children.

I have never met someone who can do as much as Lara and keep it together.

We lost touch in school – eventually we both went to different schools, and Lara jumped through many battles without me. But she always made it through!

We became close friends more recently when we reunited through Facebook. And we quickly became the kind of friends who talk on the phone every single day without fail. I’m not going to lie to you – we’ve had our ups and downs – but at the end of the day, we agree on one thing: we’re sisters! We go through the ups together and we go through the downs together. We even fight like sisters. But we also laugh like sisters and feel like (twin) sisters. If one feels lousy – so does the other, but we always try to help the other out. If one is on the up, so is the other and we come together and celebrate … generally with sushi and red wine.

28807_101546953223453_1368194_nThroughout our friendship, Lara battled lymphoma. She did it in her usual over-achieving style in full dignity. You never would have known she was sick. She always kept her brave face. She always had time for you and time to go out and live life to the full. She was always positive.

In fact, really, the only way I could tell Lara was sick at the time was – like me – she would fall asleep on the couch by 8pm most nights. The difference is I’m completely healthy.

So we embraced being morning people together. And that’s carried on throughout our friendship … I’m not sure how many people I could call while stumbling my drunken butt home at 2am or 3am through the streets of Sydney, just “in case” something happened.

And she still never complained. She always welcomed my calls, no matter what hour I woke her or what she had on the next day.

The long-running joke is that Lara and I can’t talk for 10 or 20 minutes, our calls go for minimum of about an hour to two hours each call. We always have something to say!

If it wasn’t for my friendship with Lara, I would never have gone out and got my first puppy – Diesel Bean, who I love with all my heart and soul. She got her puppy at the same time: Basco Jackson. And together they were rascals.

Our favourite way to spend the day was always a trip to the dog beach with our little men. They were hands down the best men who have ever come into our lives.

So Lara really taught me how to be free – be an adult – embrace my independence. To not wait for permission, but to go and get what I want. And even when I had a puppy that howled every night for months, she taught me to stick with my decision and to look at the positive: I still had the dog I wanted – I chose him and I paid for him. And she became the puppy whisperer – Diesel Bean loves his aunty La, and she knew exactly what I was meant to do with him. I now own the best-trained, most loving animal I’ve ever had in my life. With a real soul connection.

There’s no doubt Lara has always been my greatest cheerleader.

And as you can see, she has always been there for me.

If these examples weren’t enough of where Lara really proved her friendship was above and beyond any friendship or bond I’ve ever made with another human being – there’s one more example.

It was when she was pregnant with her first child and I was in a dangerously abusive relationship. She never liked him and I never listened. In fact, Lara hadn’t even met him before! So what would she know? But she knew not from him but watching her friend fade and fade as he stole more of my spirit and crushed my soul.

Every day Lara would call to check in to see if I was ok and hear the latest update on my situation, if she didn’t hear from me, she would contact me until she did. Somehow, she knew my situation before I did.

And she loved me the whole time.

307612_256458147732332_570583788_n2When she was nine months pregnant (literally), my ex-partner decided to take me to court after months of abuse and in her true triumphant spirit, Lara called and told me she was thinking about flying interstate just to be with me.

I literally had visions of her having a baby in the courtroom…

She still tells me she was waiting for the call telling her that I had been murdered. And then, there she was, even the day she had her baby, helping me to rebuild. She gave me courage and hope when I was all out. She relentlessly and persistently mirrored me until I remembered who I was and found my strength again.

And when I lost it for six months and stopped talking to everyone (including my family) because I just wanted to heal on my own – she waited patiently for me.

When I called her … six months later, she acted as though we spoke just yesterday.

Needless to say, I’ve always known Lara to put others first. Well beyond herself. At all times.

And I’ve known Lara to be the most forgiving person – not just with a heart of gold but a spirit of gold.

So how do you repay someone that’s always there for you?

Maybe through ongoing friendship and loyalty … maybe just keeping the friendship as it is.

I don’t know if I’ve worked it out yet…

The thing is … I’m running out of time.

One day Lara called. This wasn’t any ordinary call.

She had mentioned health issues and I’d been well on her case to get them checked out – I felt like her mother – and she refused, just getting on with it.

Despite being aware of what this check up may mean – this was a phone call I didn’t expect.

She told me she’d been diagnosed with lymphoma again. That was a shock.

Then she called about a week later. Without telling me, she went and got a second opinion.

It was worse than they thought. It’s terminal. She was given three to six months.

Without doubt, that is the most devastating news I have ever received in my life.

Not long after I received her call, I was hit with a horrendous flu and I’ve been sick for the last four weeks solid, which is why I’ve not been posting as much and it has also stopped me from traveling interstate to see her immediately, particularly now that her treatment has started.

I don’t know what I would do if I was told that news about me. I don’t know how I’d cope.

I would probably fall into a deep depression – talk to Lara only – and barely surface from my room, except for treatment. This coming from the person who has kept a blog for the past three and half years about overcoming adversity and maintaining happiness throughout. Lara is the reason I know how to overcome adversity, and even with her by my side in this instance, I think I would fall into a heap.

But not Lara.

She’s got her treatment started in the best facility possible. She’s eating all the right things. She’s putting in every effort to beat this round. She even found a song to help her through. We have always loved our music and we’ve always loved the same music. Her choice this time was: Fight Song by Rachel Platten.

She’s the bravest person I know.

And – to be completely honest – I’m having a lot of trouble accepting Lara’s news. Although it’s only been a thing that started over the past couple of years, I can’t comprehend a single day without speaking to her anymore. I don’t know what that will look like.

Even when we don’t talk … I text – every day.

She’s always there.

10403337_890944194283721_6934708618358856233_n10945588_891165444261596_4271589955119501918_nDoes that mean I will just keep texting her every day right until the day I pass away?

I remember the last time she had treatment and we made a pact that we would be in a nursing home together – creating all hell – being non-conformists with dignity, as we are.

We were always going to be side by side.

Now that our plans may not work out – I don’t know what the future will look like and people ask me how it’ll be. And I just say – I know, if Lara was to cross over, that it just means we’ll be together all the time. And it’s something to be celebrated, not be sad about. Call me delusional, but I actually believe we have that kind of friendship that she could be me for a day, and I could be her for a day, and we’d still live the day, exactly as we usually would.

We make similar decisions.

We have similar mindsets.

We’re not afraid to take risks.

We’re not afraid to let go.

Sometimes … it just is what it is.

The hardest part for me at the moment is to know that while I’m in America, she’ll need me. And I may not be here for her. But she’s never told me not to go. Or that she’s afraid. She knows I’ve wanted to do this trip most of my life.

We even spoke about doing it together when she had her beautiful girl.

This is the girl I’ve come to know and love as one of my best friends and my only sister.

At the moment her ex-abusive-partner – who I never liked, and Lara wouldn’t listen – is doing exactly what my ex did to me: trying to take her for everything she’s got. Only she’s sick and only just started treatment, so he’s literally kicking her while she’s down.

It’s overwhelming how out of control I feel.

There’s nothing I can say that can comfort her.

There’s nothing I can do to make it better.

I can’t even join her so she’s not so alone.

553258_505121466199331_2012388966_nAnd I guess ultimately the entire friendship and this experience has made me realise that we all walk our paths alone. We’re all born alone and die alone (unless by some terrible tragedy, generally). It doesn’t matter how this story ends, because she will always be the one soul who I know I was meant to meet. She always showed up in my life and she never left.

Finally – I just wanted to say thank you, to the beautiful soul who has come into my life and shared these ridiculously awesome memories with me, given me strength whenever I was weak, shown me who I was at the times when I had forgotten, and made me feel secure when I was at my weakest.

Lara is one in a million.

And I don’t know what the future brings, but I know we’re going to be friends forever, through many more lifetimes to come.

I love you, my sister :) xx

Should you stay or should you go?

I Love YouWhen one person wants space in a relationship and the other one doesn’t it can create enormous tension in the relationship and raise the question for both people: should I stay or should I go? Should I put space between us or should I communicate more?

When the desire to love and be loved is biologically driven – how are you meant to know the right way to respond to this situation?

First, it is important to be aware of and understand the Love Addict/Love Avoidant scenario so you know where you sit and can understand your own actions. Although both titles may appear confronting, when you understand how they show up, you’ll also understand just how common these categories are and the essential need to make it right.

READ MORE

Speaking of self love…

How awesome is Laverne Cox right now?

We all love a celebrity who uses their status for good, but when Laverne turned up on the red carpet for the 2015 Billboard Music Awards and said “You’ve got to look in the mirror when you leave the house and go, ‘Damn, I look good,’” – we cheered!

Not only did this girl get it, she was feeling it in her Marc Bouwer dress and silver pumps – pictured.

And she didn’t then go on a mission to say she was great at it all the time – the girl kept it real:

“I try, but I’m very nitpicky, so I’m always finding the things that need to be improved,” she said, adding, “But also in that nitpickiness, I try to celebrate myself in any moment. Even if I find a flaw, I have to love that flaw today.”

READ MORE

Do you overshare on Social Media?

My friends know when I’m sick
They know when I’m seeing someone
They know when I have achieved something
They know when I’ve broken off with someone

In fact, they probably know the moment I reach for the bucket of ice cream…

Yep – I over-share on social media.

An article was released this week speaks about why people over-share on social media and why allegedly they shouldn’t.

And I disagree with most of it.

The article claims the person over-sharing wants people to know when they’re hurting – so they can be validated.

Let me make that myth defunct right now. READ MORE

Have you encountered a Tinder tease?

article-2570458-1BA6EE0500000578-82_634x484Up to 42% of people on popular dating application, Tinder, aren’t single according to new research released by GlobalWebIndex which found 30% were married and 12% were in a committed relationship. To break it down a little more this means about 1 in 4 people <br>using the Tinder app are spoken for.

I’m not sure if people will be shocked by this statistic or not because surely it’s not a new concept that people who are in a relationship will try their hand at online dating because they feel it could be more “discreet” and it provides the immediate ego boost they’re <br>seeking.

In a world where people can no longer work out how to love themselves, make themselves feel special and boost their own ego, it’s no surprise to me at all that they would turn to online dating – even if they’re in a relationship.

The survey was of 47,000 internet users worldwide and discovered 62% are male and 38% are female.

Based on this, I set out to do my own research to find out what men really think of Tinder.

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The chronicles of “shoulds”

10930093_945813365463470_713779547856255589_nI was going through my media monitors the other day and one word stood out to me as I browsed through the headlines:

Why you should be masturbating

Things you should do in your relationship

What you should do to make it work

When should it be over

Who should you really be dating

How should someone be treating you

The list went on and on and on…

And it got me thinking about our own little internal rule book. Many therapists are trying to silence it – that’s the voice within that says “you should” do this or that. Is anyone else wondering where this voice picks it up from?

Our media is constantly trying to write our internal rule books for us. And who is saying it? The person behind the screen, and what is their credibility? Why do we often read these should articles and apply it to our own lives before asking the right questions?

Each of us has an internal rule book and sometimes it exists for self preservation. Other times it shows us as a limiting belief, in which case: no we damn well shouldn’t, and let’s do the opposite!

Whether we should or shouldn’t is up to us, but in a world where we’re telling ourselves to say “should” and “but” less and words like “and” more – should journalists also take on this advice? I challenge all my friends to a 24-hour media freeze. For the next 24 hours no news … make your own decisions – not based on what’s happening in the world but based solely on what you want to happen.

Enjoy the freedom!

The closure question: why?

WhyI was talking to a beautiful client this morning who was very distressed about her relationship with a man who had been abusing her for years. “Why would he want to hurt me so badly?” she sobbed. That moment stuck with me and I wanted to share why.

Recently I was dating a respectable man. A 35-year-old lawyer, great family, passionate about his dreams, and he seemed to really care for me. Everything was going along well, he came out to Australia from his country to see me and he decided it wasn’t working out. So in true love-avoidant style, he tried to make my life really difficult so I would break up with him … because then he wouldn’t be responsible.

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How average is your dating history?

100712844_smlAccording to an eHarmony survey, the average woman will kiss 15 men, be heartbroken twice (which means she’s fallen in love twice), stood up once and have four disaster dates before they find the man of their dreams – or “the one”.

On a brighter note, during that dating history she will also generally enjoy two long-term relationships – so it’s not all disaster!

The detail continues as the study discovered she will go on seven dates, as well as two blind dates and…

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Media Release: Relationship Free announces Self Love September

Media Release

Tuesday, 5 May 2015
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA

Relationship Free announces Self Love September
(an awareness month dedicated to loving yourself)

It’s official – 1 September 2015 will mark the inaugural launch of Self Love September announced life coach and founder of Relationship Free, Sarah Webb in Sydney today.

“Most of us would agree that demonstrating love through a variety of ways is an important way to maintain a healthy
relationship and keep love alive – because it keeps it interesting– and self love should be no different,” Ms Webb said.

Self love September is a month where we acknowledge our personal achievements and successes. It’s a month where we thank our mind, body and spirit for working together to get us through our journey. It’s a month where we celebrate ourselves and demonstrate that self-appreciation with an act of love for each day of the month.

Most of us achieve something every day.

Most of us think remarkable things – every day.

And every single one of us has a story – and we’re all inspirational.

These three things demonstrate that we are deserving and worthy of a reward. And while we do deserve it every moment of every day, we will celebrate it every day for one month of the year as a reminder to ourselves: we matter.

“Even the most successful people regularly forget to reward themselves or don’t know how and this month brings everyone
together to share their experiences and to love yourself completely the way you want to be loved,” Ms Webb added.

Throughout September Relationship Free will talk about self love and how you can not only demonstrate self love and self care, but also help you realise it, even in the most painful situations you may find yourself in. The awareness month is designed to help people find ways to strengthen and enhance the relationship they have with themselves, whether it’s barely
existent or you have mastered it and are interested in some new tips to re-ignite the love or looking for some tricks to keep the self love alive.

“We’re very excited to be launching this awareness month for all ages to enable everyone to receive the unique love that only they can give and to do this we will be particularly active within the community to spread the word during September. More
information about Self Love September will be available via our blog on our website – http://www.relationshipfree.com – and on our
social media (Facebook and Twitter) in coming months,” said Ms Webb.

Can’t wait for it to begin? Relationship Free is releasing an e-book on Amazon 100% Self Love: the roadmap to the love and life you desire, which is available for pre-order now, and due for official release on 15 May 2015. Order yours today: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00WOAMG88

About/Bio

Relationship Free is a life coaching company based in Sydney, Australia that works with people all over the world to enhance their self love and understanding of themselves.

Our mission is to assist people to learn to love themselves holistically and understand their actions, words and thoughts in a way that develops self-compassion and self-trust while enhancing the person’s self esteem and self worth.

Relationship Free is forward thinking, forward focused and forward moving in all approaches. We help people to identify
positive steps forward and take actions to achieve the best outcome for them, with our main concern being what we can do now – because most people make mistakes and it’s just part of the journey.

Our support is vibrant and energetic to create a comfortable, positive space to resolve problems, transform them into
opportunities and thrive to your full potential. Because the world needs the special love only you can give!

Read the full release here

May is National Masturbation Month – say what?

masturbation-4574-2121National Masturbation Month has officially made it into the calendar year and if you haven’t started, now’s the time because we’re well into May now! The idea of this month is to celebrate and raise awareness of things such as female masturbation which some people allege carries stigma. However, some may argue having an entire month dedicated to female masturbation isn’t a feminist act but something that causes discomfort to many and perhaps it even makes some people feel pressure.

A lot of people think this is a great opportunity to bring up the “self love” conversation, and perhaps that’s true if love is defined as a physical act – but Sarah Webb, Director of Relationship Free, feels differently saying:

“I’m set to release my first eBook: 100% Self Love: the roadmap to the love and life you desire … it makes it a little awkward to announce that to my family and friends, when so many people believe that self love is masturbation. What do they really think they’ll see between the pages of my book? The best positions to do it when you’re by yourself? Where that spot really is?”

Ms Webb points out that masturbation is an act of self love but not a defining feature.

“My book is not about any of these things – it’s a lot more holistic and masturbation actually doesn’t factor in – that’s optional…

READ MORE

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