Sometimes life cruises along for a few years, you have your ups & downs, but overall you have a good grip on reality AND everything feels comfortable.
Then “out of the blue” a series of events happen and you’re shaken to the core.
This story is about one of THOSE moments in time when your life changes at a rapid rate.
At the time it’s absolutely all encompassing and you truly begin to wonder if you’re ever going to “see the light at the end of a long dark tunnel.
Whilst gardening one sunny summer afternoon in my veggie patch a wheelbarrow full of rocks toppled over and landed on my left knee. The impact of the heavy wheelbarrow crushed and tore the cartilage and ligaments in my knee. This accident was the beginning of my demise.
A few months after the incident I had surgery to repair the damage in my knee. Unfortunately the surgeon used a contaminated screw when he put in the “hardware” to fix my knee, which in turn caused a “negative coagulase staph infection” in my knee. This infection began to eat away most of my tibia and caused septicemia of my blood. I was fighting for my life and was unable to walk.
I had to have 9 operations in 4 months, in each one a bit more bone would be scraped away, the infection site cleaned and stronger intravenous antibiotics were intravenously administered to save my leg. At the beginning of autumn the intravenous tube that went into my wrist, all the way up my arm and released the antibiotics into my chest area became blocked and an air bubble began to form around my heart. The pain was excruciating! I informed and my home care nurse who called an ambulance immediately. I was taken straight to the emergency department and was whisked into the operating theatre. I met with a surgeon who examined my records & we discussed possible solutions to my situation. After our meeting the surgeon decided to remove the I.V tube, clean out all disease in my knee and remove all the infected “hardware” in my knee. This was done to prevent any more infection
(I currently function without an ACL, intact cartilage & bone damage; so basically the only thing holding my knee in place in the power of my amazing mind!)
Oh and coinciding with this tumultuous experience I developed menopausal symptoms. After 6 months of lack of sleep due to intense knee pain, night sweats, debilitating daily hot flushes, mixed with wildly erratic mood swings I began to turn into a crazy crippled lady. The mood swings were so intense, and I felt so completely out of control (and frankly, I was). I was certain I was losing every last semblance of sanity I ever had.
I was always an active, healthy, curvaceous woman, bursting with a zest for life.
So for someone like me, who has spent her entire life enjoying the exploration, eating wholesome food and being mindful, this lack of control and feelings of absolute helplessness was emotionally and psychologically eviscerating.
I’m also certain that my emotional and mental duress over my inability to control or stop what was happening to me, made the mood swings even more debilitating.
In life I’ve observed that many situations come in THREES. Well the universe force of “BIG RANDOM EVENTS” obviously thought I should go for the trifecta.
At the end of winter I was sitting in my parked car at a local roadside apple stall when an old man came zooming around a bend at 100km per hour and ran into the drivers’ side of my car.
The intensity of the impact was so great that when my head smashed against the driver’s window it smashed all my teeth on that side. It took two years of dental surgery to rebuild them. I also sustained multiple back, neck and sternum injuries and had Physiotherapy, Chiropractic work, massage and cranio sacral treatment for those injuries over 2 years.
As you can imagine this was followed by inactivity due to constant pain. I also began fuelling my body with “emotional comfort food”.
I was in a very deep phase of depression. I didn’t have the peace of mind to sleep, nor did I have the energy to get out of bed. I felt miserable, was lonely and unable to cope with the world.
I was at my heaviest weight and feeling desperate. I weighed in at 113kg. I was only in my early 40’s and began to feel concerned about the long-term effects on my health
I felt very negative towards myself; I lacked motivation & inspiration I allowed myself to stay in this state of frustration and negative thought patterns for quite a long time. My self-esteem was at an all time low, my mental state was dreadful. Our local GP (doctor) prescribed me an anti-depressant and after a few weeks I felt like a zombie.
I allowed myself to stay in this state of frustration and negative thought patterns for 8 months.
I had been seeing the physiotherapist regularly as part of my rehabilitation process and she recommended that I as my leg had healed well that I would benefit from walking each day.
That night as I was falling asleep I thought about the walk I was going to have the following morning and just for a moment imagined myself as a fit healthy woman. When I visualised the healthy me I felt an overwhelming sense of happiness and a deep love for this version of me. I drifted off to sleep with this image in my mind and pure joy in my heart.
The following morning I began my daily walk. It was very early in the morning when I stepped out of my front door. We live in a little valley with a small hill to climb on the right and a big hill on the left. I turned right, switched on my head torch and slowly walked up to the top of the smaller hill.
When I reached the top the sky was changing to a spectacular shade of deep purple. I could just see the deep midnight blue & pinkie colours that come before dawn, I was in awe. It was as though I was transported to another place. I thought WOW “This is what it would feel like…TO BE HAPPY!!”
There and then I made a choice, I want to be happy, fit and healthy, and I want to feel good, play with my children, fit into my clothes, I want to feel this type of LOVE for myself all the time.
I was in awe; and in that moment I felt I was a different person I was in wonder of my potential.
Standing on the crest of the hill that morning I watched the first rays of gold and crimson appear over the horizon, the first rays of light were bursting through the gliding mist.
It was a gloriously superb sight, I fell in love, I fell in love with me, I fell in love with my healing body, and I fell in love with everything that had got me to this place.
I saw myself as the vibrant, fit and healthy woman I had imagined the night before.
In that moment I knew I had made a profound change in myself. I felt so blessed that I was actually walking; I was able to admire and give thanks for the majestic splendour of the kaleidoscope colours and life that burst into view before me.
My lungs were burning and my legs were rubbery but I was so happy to be outside and walking. Inspired & filled with awe I reached into my pocket, took out my little iPhone 4 and took my 1at sunrise photo. I was thankful to be able to see f the beauty this world has to offer and I am so deeply touched every time I see nature’s splendour. I was so happy with the way I had captured my environment. I forced myself to start walking again. Everyday I walked a little further, and each morning I was greeted with a glorious and unique colour scape to take photos of.
The day I reached the top of the mountain I lived on, about 20 minutes away, was my first major victory. I spent time photographing the eagles soaring in the sky, the mist rolling along the river and the leaves dancing on the trees. That moment profoundly affected me and I finally understood what it meant to capture an inspiring moment.
For the first time in many years, I was filled with HOPE. I found that during the healing from traumas, I had a greater need than before to document my new perspective on life. Photography became a healing therapy for my body and soul.
I began searching for and finding beauty in the area I live, the picturesque Huon Valley.
Most days in southern Tasmania are a photographers dream, the light is soft, the glorious reflections of the clouds on the water are exquisite and the sunrise colours that burst over the mountain range are truly captivating.
I photographed this luscious landscape & regularly uploaded my images with buoyant and inspirational messages to my personal Facebook page. I began to receive positive responses for my photos and was inspired to get up early and go seeking magnificent sunrises around Tasmania. I felt so much joy of sharing my images with other people and knowing – hoping – that perhaps one of my photos gave them a moment’s respite from their worries in the rush of the day.
Exploring my world through photography I gave me the opportunity to get into a “flow state, and connect with my subconscious mind which lead me to discover powerful personal insights about how I was truly feeling and coping and the direction of my healing journey. The magic of sitting by the ocean as the night fades into the morning fills my heart with a vibrant light and forces me out of the darkness of my past, that was plagued with injury and devastation.
A year later my sister recommended that I check out Instagram, as it was a great place to showcase my photos. So I signed up and began uploading the 100’s of images that I had taken of Tasmania. Within 12 months my images had won “IG Awards”, they had been featured in national and international Instagram galleries and Tourism Tasmania, Hobart & Beyond & Insta-Tassie began inviting me on exclusive all expenses paid photographic adventures around Tasmania with other photographers and “social media influencers”.
I very quickly learnt the art of tagging & hash tagging, when to post pics for the best response, and how to interact with people when they commented on my images. My following grew fast. Within 2 years I had 4000 followers, most of which I had interacted with when they commented on 1 of my photos. Each of those people had people who followed them, and these people could see that their friend had liked & commented on my gallery and my account suddenly became quite popular.
Every small step forward in my photography career felt like a huge victory against my injury.
I started to heal. I became stronger. I allowed myself to dream again.
During this time the smartphone technology & its photographic capabilities grew, I upgraded my iPhone and studied an iPhone photography & videography course and learnt how to make interesting videos and take great photos and how to use the many editing apps to create unique pieces of art.
As my health & fitness began to improve the excess weight I had put on began to slowly disappear. Feeling more confident in my health and photographic abilities I volunteered my photographic services to local community projects and music festivals and have been an official community photographer at the Marion Bay Falls Festival as well as an Emcee & photographer at several Cygnet Folk Festivals.
I have discovered that I have a wonderful knack for capturing the essence of the performance, and giving the viewer a real sense of what it was like being at a Tasmanian music festival.
By the start of this year I had reached 10000 followers on my Instagram account. By now I felt experienced enough & had a massive and beautiful gallery, great written descriptions and content and a solid follower count to feel ready to coach others on how use their smartphones and social media to enhance and promote their business.
Just as I was about to do my big leap of faith and launch into my new career, my Instagram and Facebook business accounts were hacked and stolen. I was completely locked out of both accounts. The hackers had changed the name of the accounts, the email address, and the password. EVERYTHING was gone. My Instagram account with all my photos etc. was still on Instagram but with another name & they were getting the credit for all my work.
To cut a long story short, I haven’t been able to retrieve my account, but I was able to retrieve my account name & I had to start again. So I was able to keep “my brand” which is important in business. – On a side note I did seek the service of a Cyber Investigator who discovered that a professional Russian cyber hacker had done the hack & the investigation continues.
I’ve learned a lot through this experience about how to overcome adversity and get back on track. In order to succeed in your vision for your life or business you have to be willing to make mistakes, get knocked down, pick yourself up, dust yourself off and keep trying new things. It’s important to discover new ways to live your life, new ways to master your message and create an impact with your life/message/product/service.
I’m actively teaching what I’ve learned to others. I’m more aware than ever that anyone, even me, can get out of shape when knocked off track by unexpected and difficult challenge. I’ve also learned, that you can rebuild yourself from the inside out even at age 40 and beyond
Over the past few months I have created Georgie Heart Media”
It’s a social media development & video visibility consultancy company. I provide corporate, community and location videos and photos and create original & engaging written content to enhance the online presence of my clients.
My aim is to help small businesses in Southern Tasmania develop an interesting and authentic social media presence. I am passionate about providing people with stunning and unique photography to showcase products, services etc. to utilise on their Instagram account & Facebook Business page, Pinterest & business websites.
I feel so happy and grateful; I am getting fitter and am learning to love my body. I keep pinching myself remembering that only a few years ago I was fat, unhappy, unhealthy and angry at life’s misfortunes, and now I’m sitting at my desk writing about how photography kept me motivated.
I am amazed and truly in awe of the love, joy & beauty I see, hear, feel and touch every single moment. I actually have energy, desire & passion to be a participant in my life!!!
When I take photos now, I think of those days when I didn’t know whether I’d live or die and I aim to take photos and write words that will help others through their darkest hours.
I’ve always known how incredibly powerful images were, but I never in my wildest dreams imagined that they would help me heal and move forward.
My road to recovery has been a long process and some days I still struggle with pain and the demons of my past. But I have learnt to make the most out of every moment and I’ve realised that the best photos anyone can take are the one that inspire you.
Image by Georgie