Updated: Mar 26, 2021
Wow! 2018 - what a roller coaster you were and what an incredible year we have had! We’ve travelled approximately 70,000 k’s, launched 3 books, finished my forth and ready for it to be printed, celebrated our daughter’s engagement, been to many conferences and spoken at some. It’s been a year of growth and personal freedom. This year has been a defining year for me. Establishing a scared author being courageous to face fears, face challenges and determined to enjoy it along the way.
As I reflect on 2018 I realise how different I’m feeling at the beginning of this year than I felt at the beginning of 2019. You never know what is around the corner until you turn into it. The beginning of 2018 I never thought it would have been such a positive year. I actually felt a little lost in the January. I was blaming myself for things that definitely wasn’t my fault, and I felt myself falling into a sadness pit with the darkness growing all around me. Anxiousness was overwhelming me. I knew things needed to change before habits formed and I grew accustomed to feeling this way. But the beginning of 2019, I have an excitement raising in my spirit. This year is going to be just as confronting as the last, maybe even more but in different ways. There will be growth and I know that I am going to see some good fruit for all my hard work I have put in last year. I am still scared but I know that I am even more courageous!
Facing fears and issues aren’t easy but essential in changing attitudes, along with making choices that will enhance life and not diminish it. My choices were to say ‘no’ more often, take some ‘me’ time, and decide to focus on being thankful. I have heard it said that happiness is an emotion that changes with circumstances but joy is an attitude that doesn’t take any notice of the circumstance but laughs in the face of anything knowing that the situation will change... eventually! I needed some joy.
Despite my anxiety and the feeling of being out of my depth, we travelled a lot last year with our charity starting with Indonesia - which was a fantastic experience. I’m not very good at being out of my comfort zones. I like to know what I’m doing and when. I also like to have the comfort of hot water and decent toilets - this is the reason I don’t do camping (along with human eating bugs and animals) neither of these happened in Indonesia. But instead, I was out of control of everything and the toilets - well they were something else.
Tasmania was awesome, even though it was freezing and I lost my voice, which of course when you’re going there to speak, was inconvenient, but I managed to do what I needed to do.
Then we went to the UK to see my family. It was a time of fun and making special memories.
We got back to Australia in August and I had organised the launch of my three Brave Little Bear books. I had decided that I wasn’t going to launch them individually as I was going to write three books so I waited until they were all published. I knew that once I launched the books then something else would happen and it would propel me into working on a new venture. I just wasn’t expecting what actually did happen.
For years I had been working on my autobiography, six years to be exact. I just couldn’t finish it. It was too hard. I had to deal with so much ‘stuff’ every time I looked at it and I needed my headspace to be clear to work affectively. People would keep asking me when my book was going to be finished and it became a bit of an irritant for me. However, during the launch the MC and my publisher brought it up again, I was really annoyed and a little frustrated that no one would let it go. I decided that it would happen when it happens and I wasn’t going to force it. I had the title ‘Broken To Be Beautiful’ and half the book done but the rest, just wasn’t happening for me. That night I had a bad dream so I put on some worship music to help me go back to sleep. The first song that came on was a song called ‘Write your story’. Instead of being even more annoyed I thought this was beyond a joke and maybe it was time. Maybe God was saying that now is the perfect time. So I picked up my computer to have a look and see what was needed to finish it. Astonishingly two weeks later it was complete so I sent it off for an appraisal. I couldn’t believe how it all came together. It took six years for the first half of the book and two weeks for the second half. It’s all about timing. The time is now right!
I felt things were coming together as we headed of for our 3 week ‘Australian tour’ Sydney, Newcastle and Melbourne. We were preaching and running child protection workshops. I know with the completion of my book ‘Broken To Be Beautiful’ my life is going to push me more into confrontational situations. I don’t like to be centre of attention but here I am. Am I scared? Yes! Actually terrified! But it will not control me. Because I know my story will help people. I have to be brave enough to take this story and allow it to be used.
So, welcome 2019 to my life - I know you will be good to me - I know you will be scary at times - I know I will want to hide at times but I will not. I will face everything you throw at me and I will have a deep sense of joy as I travel through you. I will put God first. I will love more and I will serve more. If you feel that you are in an abusive relationship, please feel free to contact me or find someone you trust to help you. Some organisations will support you, so google organisations near you.
Read my 'Great Safe Escape blog for more information on leaving an abusive relationship safely.
If you have found this helpful to understand trauma bonding, then please share and link this blog. If you would like to know more about my own personal story, you can buy my book 'Broken To Be Beautiful' here.
Author information: Xenia Schembri
Along with her husband, Simon, are the founders of the charity At the Ark based on the Gold Coast Queensland Australia. Since 2010 At The Ark have supported families whose children have been abused and families impacted by domestic violence.
Previously, Xenia was in a 15-year domestic violent marriage. Xenia has become a voice for the voiceless and has a passion to prove that the past does not have to negatively impact the future, but positively propel anyone to change to their future.
Xenia was Woman of the Year 2020 on the Gold Coast Australia and one of the Westfield's Local Heroes in 2020. She is an international speaker and author of 4 published books. The Brave Little Bear series that equips families with self-protective behaviours and her own story Broken To Be Beautiful.
Here are links to some of her other blogs that you may find interesting.
You are so welcome to join me in my 2019 journey. It will be a diary of a scared author being courageous.