In the grip of fear

A piece I wrote for International Women’s Day to help bring focus to a growing epidemic around the world. I thought I would share with you.

‘In The Grip of Fear’

She sleeps peacefully, only stirring when the dog barks at the neighborhood cats that continuously taunt it.


She stirs as she senses that something is wrong.


Her slumber is broken by a sound coming from the other room.


There is a sudden shatter of glass, and the yelling begins.

She is jolted awake, thoughts shooting immediately to her younger brother in the other room, and whether he had been woken – or if he had somehow managed to cling to sleep. She pulls her sheets up around her ears in a hopeless attempt to block out the noise.

The yelling is now dominated by the loud, booming tones of a man’s voice, accompanied by the seemingly endless thudding.


That is all she feels now.

Fear for her brother. Please let him stay asleep.

Fear for the dog. Please let it stay out of the way.

Fear for her mother – who hopefully wont get hurt badly this time.

Fear for herself. She wants so badly to do something to stop it, but she can’t, as the fear has pinned her to her bed and she is only 7 – what can she do?

And fear of the father, whom she loves so much, but whom she is also so utterly afraid of.

It will be the fear that she will carry with her for the rest of her life, as will her brother, and her mother. Her father will harbor a different type of fear – the fear of what he is capable of, and of not being able to stop himself.


Monday Photo-day: Experimenting with Free Apps

This is one of my favourite photos of my Nan. Now, I can’t take the credit for taking the photo – I believe that belongs to my Mum. She captured my Nan’s life, joy and beauty perfectly.

I thought this photo would make a beautiful pencil sketch, so I tried converting it to a pencil sketch using a free App I had downloaded onto my iPhone called PhotoFunia. It was that easy!



Lily Tolcher

The stress of starting a new job

I recently started a new job. Time has blurred as the days have been long, the work has been ‘different’ and the people have been interesting. I compute that I have been there just on 5 weeks. I’ve read somewhere before that the first 6 months in a new job is one of the most stressful times in people’s lives. I can back up that by saying it’s certainly been a bumpy ride so far.

That’s why I thought I would – with all of my strength – try to come up with a list of what I am appreciative of in this new endeavour.

  • They have coffee machines on every floor that froth milk and automatically make your desired style of coffee (limited to a choice of about 4).

I’ve never had this luxury. Working in the city for 10 years I’d become one of the masses and developed the expensive habit of buying a coffee every day – it was my comfort thing. It used to make my day – I loved going to the coffee shop every day, and when getting to the front of the line, being asked how my day was and being handed my coffee before everyone else. They knew me and they knew just how I liked my coffee. They were also so god damn efficient! I miss that and the smiles.

Now I have a different type of efficiency – a machine that spits out my coffee – almost the way I like it. Plus I now don’t have to pay $4 per cup for it. I actually can’t pay $4 a day unless I stop by a drive-through coffee joint on the way to work (I no longer work in the city). The coffee machines are turning out to be GREAT for my purse strings but bad for my developing reliance on coffee.

  • I no longer work within walking distance of shops that sell clothes, make-up, shoes, dvd’s, cd’s, books, groceries…the list goes on.

There is a corner deli. That’s about it. No temptations. No ‘just ducking out to pick up some toilet paper and soap for home’ and coming back with a new suit. Nothing like that. I can drive about 7 minutes and end up at an old shopping mall – but the choice is just not there, nor is the quality. I may have become a snob? No. I just finally started investing in some decent quality clothes before I left my previous job – so going back to clothes that fall apart after a couple of washes is hard to do. Once again, it’s turning out to be GREAT for my purse strings!

  • I get to drive to and from work by myself.

For something like 5 years Denis and I drove to and from work together. Towards the end, Denis was stressing me out every day as he would get stressed out on the road, and he had developed a bit of a road rage problem – along with everyone else.

I now drive myself to and from work – which is weird! I can listen to whatever I like on the stereo, I can have the air con on as high or low as I want, and I get to work on time, arriving pretty stress free. The unforeseen bonus of this has been that Denis tells me he has been arriving at work less stressed. Hmmmm. One could read many things into that.

For years I avoided it like the plague, and when you work in project management, that is an awesome feat. Don’t get me wrong – I have used it. Its just that I find it annoying, cumbersome and ugly, and I see no point to it other than as another reporting tool that – in more cases than one – is used to display incorrect information in the name of adhering to ‘governance’ requirements.

So, I now need to deal with my nemesis. And really – it’s nowhere near as bad as I had thought.

  • I am also being forced to deal with numbers and finances.

I loathe numbers more than I loathe Microsoft Project and mushrooms. I truly struggle with them. I AM a words person. Its like there is something in my brain that forms a roadblocks every time it is confronted with a spreadsheet full of numbers and formulas.

I now have to deal with the hatred – or I could go as far as calling it a fear, for I have felt sick and stressed out all week due to the thought of having to deal with financial models involving millions of dollars.

I’m now trying to not become so anxious every time I open up a god damn spreadsheet. I actually felt relieved this morning when some concerns I had were validated. I was actually on the right track! So, on Monday morning I will tackle my fear in an attempt to overcome my issues with numbers once and for all.


Image via Wikipedia

  • I learnt this week that I have become stronger.

I had a confrontation with a colleague this week – yes, in week 5, of which I could have just sat there and took, being the new employee, passive and reluctant to get involved and speak up, wanting everyone to like me and to make a name for myself. But I opened my mouth and challenged what my colleague and I were being told to do.

I did succeed in making a name for myself. A few of my work colleagues have now started referring to me – ‘lovingly’ – as the troll who lives under the bridge. I sit just outside their office, so I take it I’m now their guardian who scares people away and prevents them from entering their office? Once upon a time I would have been upset at being called a troll. I now quite like it and joke that I’m going to start doing my hair in the style of those little troll dolls that used to be so popular!

You’re a leader. Really?

If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.

John Quincy Adams

The word ‘leader’ is bandied about a lot these days, at times blurred by the muddied waters of labels, titles and job descriptions – ‘manager’, ‘supervisor’, ‘director’, ‘chief’, ‘head’, ‘guru’, ‘prime minister’, the list goes on. But just because you have worked yourself into a position to be called one of these, it does not mean that you are automatically deserving of being called a ‘leader’.

A leader earns their label, and they get it because of the work they do, the humility and integrity they continue to hold, and the people they help and take along with them on the way.

What are your thoughts?