The Blog

The Story Of A Fuck-Up

by Leonie Dawson on August 1, 2015


Saturday afternoon. 5pm.

Sky descending into indigo + gold, sun falling behind the white crested mountain.

I just had a thimble of dessert wine, and being the alco-lightweight I am, I feel it in the vines of my veins.

Dinner is had (we eat at Grandmother O’Clock).

And my nap-resisting toddler is down for bed. At last. At last.

For the last week she has been forgoing her usual 2-3 hour nap for feisty, snot-nosed, drunken-sailored mayhem.

I did not realise how important those few hours were for our mental health. All of ours.

The tornado has gone to bed. We usher about. The relief is palpable.

Ostara is listening to my recorded voice reading her a story on the Sacred iPad, wedged up against me.

Chris is running for the shower, washing away the salt encrusted from pulling apart beds + wrangling kids + arguing with his much loved but highly distracted wife who prefers hiding in the bedroom making Periscope shows than actually, you know, packing.

That would be me.

And I – at the slightest chance of freedom – I run for the words. The books, the journal, or this time, the laptop. Let the hum of life thrum through me, down into words. It will all make sense here. If I just cleave the thoughts down upon the page, it will weave its own tapestry of understanding.

It’s been a hard week:

For one, moving. For two, that sleep-recalcitrant toddler. For three, we have sick, snotty kids. My main job this week is Tissue Wielder, sent to gather the vast globs of green streaming from their noses.

But most of all, this week, I’ve come up against the hard parts of myself. The bits that still need healing.

Basically, I fucked up.

I didn’t know it at the time. I wasn’t intentionally being a dickhead, just inadvertently.

I thought I was TOTALLY! RIGHT! I was doing EXACTLY THE RIGHT THING! I was TAKING CHARGE! Being SOVEREIGN! I am Athena, hear me ROAR!

I somehow got in my head over the last month that to be a Good Manager, I needed to micro manage the FUCK out of my team. Insert long, annoying group emails sent willy-nilly. And in doing so, I made my whole team feel scared + overly controlled + worried. I was doing damage, where I thought I was doing good.

And I didn’t realise until this week. I got pulled up in my tracks, hard.

There was one point where it was almost delightfully hilarious: a group call with the all-seeing, all-knowing Mr Dawson (aka Hot Hunk of a Husbo + Knower of All My Shit) + our COO, Grant.

Both telling me:

No, Leonie. You fucked up. You need to adjust course, NOW.

I kicked up a fuss at first. I was CONVINCED, I was right, dammit! I bristled + cried.

And then I listened. I got quiet enough to actually… just… listen.

And realised, softly:

Oh. They are right. Oh shit. I’ve fucked up. I need to make this right.

And so I spent my week making amends.

Listening. Listening some more.

Asking more questions.

Trying to see where exactly I had fucked up, and WHY.

I had long talks with Mr D + Grant. I had kinesiology with Kerry + a lovely, loving, session with Hiro.

Unwrapping why I’d gotten into hyperactive micro-manager mode. Seeing in a moment, all of a sudden, that this had nothing to do with the outside world or my team – it had to do with ME. My fears. My panic, my anxiety, my worry that I am not good enough or big enough or smart enough or experienced enough to be a CEO.

A part of me thought:

If I can just control this… this piece of the puzzle… then I’ll get to ignore this great big gaping hole inside me.

Isn’t that the way? Isn’t that always the way?

Isn’t that the reason for all the atrocities in the world, all the pain we inflict upon others + ourselves?

I cried a lot. I joked that I was losing weight with all the tears I was shedding.

It wasn’t just about making one mistake. It wasn’t just about realising I had been a dickhead.

It never is just about one thing.

It was about that great big gaping, weepy sadness inside me that seemed eternal. The hole we all seek to fill in various ways. We ignore it, we act out from it, we dive into it. And wherever we go, there we are.

As Hiro would say… it’s the void when we are disconnected from our souls. The space we want to fill with everything but ourselves when our own selves are the ultimate cure. The God-shaped hole in us, branded deep.

And it wasn’t just about that thing either.

It was about all the times I’d been an unintentional dickhead. Where I’d caused harm because I’d acted out of my wounds. Where I’d lost friends that were dear to me because I didn’t know how to listen, when I was too young to even try to understand another, when I didn’t know myself enough to begin to know another.

The hole where all those friends used to live in my heart.

And this faith + certainty rising up:

I don’t want to do this again. I don’t want to make the same mistakes again. I don’t want to lose another relationship out of my life because I haven’t healed this thing.

I apologised. Whole heartedly.

Over + over.

I went off script. This was no place for “I’m sorry for this inconvenience” messages.

I said:

I’m really sorry. That was wrong. I acted out of my own fears + panic. I am so very sorry. This being human is frightfully messy. I will do better. I promise I will heal this thing.

Again + again.

And I was met with a lot of gentleness, and grace, and love, and forgiveness.

Enough to make me weepy.

It is a sacred, sacred gift, that. Grace + forgiveness.

I’ve never felt more awed or honoured than when someone bestows it on me, this frightfully human person.

My husband taught me it first. I only realised a couple of years ago just how much he has given me over the past 14 years. How many places I’d been wrong, and headstrong in that wrongness. And how he loved me enough to hold fast until I could do better.

I want to give those two gifts more. The gifts of grace + forgiveness. Big ones for a prickly, vulnerable, resentment-loving Scorpio like me. The perfect medicine for my totem spirit of “Let’s Burn All These Mother Fucking Bridges Down!”

So that’s been my week, loves.

Another wondrous, weepy, painful, perfect week of being human.

I always feel not-so-secretly pleased when I get to learn another lesson like this. Can you imagine how many more I’ll get to learn along the way? It thrills me!

This whole life thing is kicking my ass + making me exactly who I need to be all at once.

I’m sending you love, grace + forgiveness,

from one perfect fuckup to the next,


A Prayer For The Fuck-Ups

by Leonie Dawson on July 27, 2015


The older I get, the more I realise how infinitely, utterly, painfully, excruciatingly human I am.

The past couple of weeks have made me see this all the more clearly.

And sometimes I get scared. That if I keep finding places I need to heal… keep finding mistakes I’ve made + wounds I carry…

How on earth do I carry on with self-belief and courage?

How on earth do I both heartfully acknowledge mistakes I’ve made AND not make it an inner whipping post that stiffens me from ever doing anything again?

How do I see + accept the places where I have misstepped, and step again, knowing that I may do it again?

How do we let our failures not freeze us?

I don’t know.

These are the questions I am wrestling with today.

But when I wrestle with them, a certainty rises in me,

sure as grass sprouting from soil.

And the voice says:

You will grow anyway, Leonie.

You can no sooner turn your head from the sun, beckoning it closer, stretching up like a child raising its arm to its mother… than a sunflower can.

Each day, you get to love yourself. Whole-heartedly + unconditionally.

Not because you are the perfect person. Not because you’ve never made a mistake in your life. Not because you’ve ever hurt or injured others in your flailings as a human.

You get to do it anyway.

Because if we all waited… waited + waited until we were shiny + bright + new… not one of us on the planet could bear to love ourselves. And without that love… that deep centered source of life… without that love we are doomed to keep flailing, keep lashing out, keep damaging others with our wounds, keep on keeping on with being unconscious.

And so somehow… love must lead the way.

I am not perfect.
I am not perfect.
I am not perfect.

And that too is perfect.

I am healing.
I am healing.
I am healing.

And I am not whole yet.

I am grateful.
I am grateful.
I am grateful.

For every time the rough parts of me bump up against the rough parts of another.
We are rocks in the river, tumbling over each other,
softening each other smooth,
polishing each other true + whole.

May we each be a gift to each other.
Perfectly imperfect. Forgiving each other. Giving each other grace.
May we do the same for our own sweet souls too.


Dear Mamas

by Leonie Dawson on July 23, 2015


Dearest Mamas,

If you are struggling, please get some help.

It doesn’t have to be like this.
You don’t have to struggle so profoundly.
It doesn’t have to be so hard.

And I know it is. I know kids are hard. I know… this whole mothering gig is bullshit hard + way too much for just one person to carry on their shoulders.

We need help. We need support. We need to take care of ourselves.

Please go gentle on yourself. Please put your oxygen mask on.

A long time ago, I was too terrified to admit that I was suffering.

That every night when I went to bed as stiff as a board, my hands aching from clenching so hard. I hated the idea of sleep because I knew it would be mere moments before I would be awoken again. I hated the idea of waking up because I knew it meant another day of hard, hard, hard work of mothering. I would lay on the kitchen floor as I made dinner so I didn’t have a panic attack. I was touched out + empty + a shadow of my self. I was deeply ashamed, and so very afraid of being judged.

The day it all changed was the day I sobbed over my cereal, and finally, finally admitted to myself that this wasn’t okay. I wasn’t okay. And I told my husband, even though I was so deeply afraid that it would mean he would leave me + take my baby away from me.

And then once I voiced the truth, I decided I couldn’t continue on as I was. That I needed to find something – anything – that worked. That took the bag of rocks from my chest + let me breath.

For me, it was a combination of relationship counselling, personal counselling + anti-depressant medication that helped most of all.

I was so resistant to taking that medication. I thought it meant I had failed. I thought I was a no-good crap hippy/natural mother if I took anti-depressant medication.

And believe me, I really DID try all the other hippy stuff under the sun before I got a script. I gargled Bushflower Essences + popped homeopathic pills + did rebirthing rituals + smudged myself until the cows came home. And it only helped a little bit. Not enough. It put only an inch or so of water at the bottom of my desolate, dusty well. And my bucket kept hitting bottom.

It was the medication + counselling that made the most amount of difference.

And I feel like there is all this stigma attached to those. Attached to the idea that you aren’t a good person if you struggle. Aren’t a good mama. Fuck that. It’s all brain chemistry, baby. We are plenty good enough.

I just want you to know, dearest, that if you are suffering, please, please, please know it doesn’t have to keep being like this. Please book in to see a doctor or therapist (or both). If you’re in Australia, if you go to a doctor, they will help draw up a mental health plan, and you get counselling sessions free under Medicare. What a blessing, right?

I’m holding your hand. And whispering to you that it’s going to get better.

Please do what you need to do to tend to you, extraordinary you. Your family needs you thriving again. We all do. And most of all… you need you to thrive too.

Love you,

P.S. If you’re not a mama… and this still dings your bell… yes, this all applies to you too sweetpea. xoxo