I am a Fish

Before you think I have completely lost my marbles like Rimmer in Red Dwarf…I saw a quote today on the divine & hilarious Vicki’s Blog HERE….and I had this really amazing light bulb moment that I almost can’t wait to tell my therapist as it is pretty much what we have been working on.

Albert Einstein


“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

― Albert Einstein

I have some absolutely fascinating people in my family. Brilliant people. People with crazy high IQ’s. Artistic people. Work with their hands people. My gran was a contortionist/comedienne/jazz singer/dancer/award winning actress. My dad left school in year 8…and yet he is the most intelligent and well read person I ever met. My uncle is a genius who worked for years on the idea of a perpetual motion wheel. My aunty can not only sculpt, paint and draw – she is also a crazy talented photographer. My nan is a beautiful water colour artist. My mum has never used a cook book and writes poetry and can iron anything. The eldest of my three brothers is another genius and has managed to not only be the first person in our family to get a degree in something, but he also has a respectable job. The next of my three brothers, while being an absolutely hyper ADHD kid – retains knowledge like my dad (and they aren’t related).

My family are “Monkeys” and I am a Fish.

Stay with me here (I mean it could be dehydration from the tummy bug I have…or it could be my new meds messing with my brain…but I think it makes sense). No matter how hard I try, I will never be able to climb that tree…after all, I am a fish. As a fish I can do some kick assed stuff, but I can’t climb a tree. Unfortunately for me a lot of people in my family kept telling me if I wanted it badly enough, or tried hard enough I could one day climb the tree and live happily ever after. But if I am a fish…then that is completely false. Even if I get to the top of the tree I would then suffocate and die….after all I need water to live, right?

I will pick on my gran here as she has passed, and therefore is unlikely to stumble across this blog and become massively offended (though if she is still out there I expect a blow so hard it knocks the gills out of me…get it? gills…fish…). My nan had her heart set on me becoming a performer. It didn’t matter that I have trouble talking to a group of more than 1 person at a time, can’t dance or sing. It didn’t matter that I couldn’t act. It was even irrelevant that I had no desire at all to perform…she was sure if she beat me over the head with enough dance classes and “you sucks” I would eventually learn how to be a monkey just like her. Instead I felt stupid. I felt stupid even though I won various academic awards at school. It was irrelevant that in a school of almost 2000 kids I came 3rd in my whole grade for every single subject in year eight. It was irrelevant that I was terribly good at organising and managing and at 16 did most of the management and organisation for an Australian wide tour she put on. I was stupid because I couldn’t dance.

I was stupid because I couldn’t dance. I was stupid because I couldn’t spell. I was stupid because I couldn’t draw. I was stupid because I couldn’t be a size 6. I was stupid for having kids so young and not being “financially secure”. I was stupid because I didn’t work hard enough. I was stupid because I wasn’t a millionaire. I was stupid because I couldn’t answer the phone.

Stupid, Stupid, STUPID.

Three years ago I had a complete mental and physical breakdown. I spent 10 days in a psych ward followed by three months in a psychiatric facility. I lost my business and had to step down from a charity I had founded when I was just 23 (and had 4 kids under 6). In my desperation to be a monkey I worked myself to near death. I spent most of the last year I was in business very sick. But I kept ignoring it because I had to succeed. I had to prove to my family that I wasn’t a fish at all. That I could make something of myself. That I wasn’t “stupid”.

A few weeks ago I started seeing a new psychiatrist to try different treatments as I am still more unwell than I would expect three years later. One of her first comments was “wow – you have achieved so much in your life.” I sat there staring at her in shock. What planet was she on…couldn’t she see I completely failed at life? I told her that and it was her turn to look shocked. I walked away from the whole thing feeling odd. Then a few weeks later I was talking about it with my therapist. She actually stopped me talking at one point and said “I can hear your family talking”. I thought maybe she was hearing voices and it was time to find a new psych…but then she explained she could literally hear when I was quoting my family…and I wasn’t even aware of it. Again I walked away feeling weird. Surely everyone feels that way and they don’t need extra strength medication and a full time carer? It must just be me as I’m “stupid”. Now if you read my post HERE called “Artistic Pursuits” you will notice I go a bit beyond the “self depreciative humour”. Honestly, I have never noticed until my therapist bought it up.

Then today I saw this quote on Vicki’s blog and was OH MY GOD….I’m a fish!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am not stupid at all…I am a fish. I AM A FISH!

Now my goal is to put this quote up everywhere and anywhere I can. To remind myself twenty thousand times a day if necessary that I am a fish!

So in my effort to remind myself of my awesome fishy-ness here is a list of things this fish can kick ass at…

  • The best brownies or ANZAC biscuits you could imagine
  • Organising kids birthday parties with amazing themes and party bags
  • Looking beyond a persons looks
  • Asking questions/being curious about EVERYTHING!!!
  • Writing Thank you cards
  • Encouraging my kids to be fish…no matter what someone else wants them to be
  • Running
  • Talking to homeless people
  • Quoting “Friends” and “The Office” (us version)
  • Photography
  • Noticing and remembering little things
  • Wearing Hats
  • Wearing Glasses
  • Riding and wrangling Horses
  • Keeping up with current events
  • Wrapping Presents
  • Talking to and being with families who have just lost (or are about  to loose) their children
  • Talking about sex and other things “monkeys” get embarrassed about
  • Telling my kids I love them…and finding ways to say it without using the words to My 11yo who hates displays of affection at all
  • Cleaning (though I rarely do that…it’s a special skill I like to keep for the occasions when the queen comes to visit)
  • List writing
  • Making inappropriate jokes to break the tension

Now lovelies….tell me what fishy things you are awesome at.

Miss Fairchild (who is very sick and currently drugged to the eyeballs…)

ps – After talking about mental illness here I wanted to ask anyone who sells vintage to consider contacting the lovely Nora at Nora Finds (website HERE ) and offering their support as she is hosting a giveaway in March to support mental health. Thanks Nora – you know it means the world to me. 

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12 Responses to I am a Fish

  1. That is a beautiful post. And honey, can I identify? Oh yeah. Aside from being able to talk to people about sad things (I cry…hard…at the drop of a hat) your list could just about be mine. I also feel like I’ve failed at so much, but you’ve reminded me I haven’t. I really haven’t. I hope you feel healthy again soon and can get back to doing those things you are so good at!

    • I used to cry quite a bit…turns out people who are going through horrible things are generally ok with you being sad with them and for them. At least that was what I found. ((((hugs)))) sounds like we have lots in common. You haven’t failed…you tried. I tell my girls all the time that it is fine to try something and to decide it’s not for you (or to have the universe decide for you), and yet I don’t give myself that same leeway. We all need to learn to go easy on ourselves and remind ourselves we are fish.

  2. You bar so much of your heart and mind in your wonderful posts, dear lady, thank you very much for taking us along through your thoughts on monkeys vs fishes and some of the many (awesome!) fish skills that you posses. You’re an inspiration and amazing individual, my dear fishie friend!

    ♥ Jessica

    *PS* Thank you very much for your wonderfully nice comment on my vintage outfit post today, sweet gal.

  3. Lau says:

    This is so inspirational. You truly sound like an awesome person – pardon, an awesome fish! 🙂 thank you so much for writing this beautiful and heartfelt post: we should all be reminded more often of how important it is to think of all the things we can do well, instead than the ones we can’t!

  4. Teresa says:

    The world needs more fish. Especially beautifully honest fishy ladies like you!

  5. This is fantastic. I’m so happy you finally had that realization! I also have mental health issues I’ve sought help for and have always been a huge perfectionist. The fact that I couldn’t keep myself a size 0 meant I was an undisciplined failure – it took me so long to realize that I was validating every piece of evidence that I was a piece of shit and none of the evidence that I was pretty fantastic. It’s a long road but you’re awesome and I’m glad you’re starting to know it.

  6. I only just read this! I love the idea of being a fish! I can very much relate to it. I just made my own fish list and feel super proud. You can add inspiring people to your list as well. Xxx

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