Interview and Photography by Natalie Grono
Lives: Byron Bay and Melbourne
Age: 30 years old
Star Sign: Aries, born on a full moon in the year of the tiger
Tell me about yourself:
I am an identical twin from a family of 9 siblings, I was raised in the hills of Byron Bay before heading to the city lights and world travels, I am now back in Byron to reconnect and revitalise. I am wild, sensitive and free. I run my own business and yearn to do all the things.
Your Passions and Inspirations:
I am passionate and inspired by beauty; raw honest natural beauty, in women and in nature. There is something so inspiring about beauty that shines from within. I am passionate about creating beauty through art, photoshoots, dress-ups, drawings. I am also passionate about learning something new, sharing knowledge, discovering, achieving, working hard; theres nothing quite like that excited satisfied and exhausted feeling that only comes from hard work.
Who is your Muse?
Anyone, especially women, who have the courage to live in freedom; free from judgement, free from the 9-5, free to travel the globe, to learn a new skill, to be different, to be exactly free inside who they are.
What are your fears?
To be alone, I am a twin so I was born into the world with somebody and it wasn’t until my late teens that I then had to learn for the first time what it was to be on my own, I moved to London straight out of school at 18 and it was a lonely, dark and un-safe experience. I am only now, at 30, really understanding, valuing and listening to what my needs are and learning the art of self soothing. I fear that the harshness of the world will engulf me into a place of darkness and deafening silence.
What are your dreams?
To create, to adventure, to travel a road less travelled, to be a mother and break the cycle that was passed to me by my mother and hers; of self sabotaging conflict and the addiction to constant drama.
To build a strong honourable business and income to sustain a life of creative freedom, travel, to be able to make a difference in the world, leave a minimal footprint and own a piece of land to build a veggie patch.
To be surrounded by light filled intelligent good people, to add value to friendships, to always keep my child-like nature and humour.
I dream to stay passionately in love and in friendship with my husband, to learn with him and explore what it is to grow old and build a life and family together.
What are you most proud of?
I am really proud of what I have achieved in my business GLO TATTS, how much it has allowed me to be creative, taught me so much, connected me with so many amazing souls and how much fun i get to have with it, while earning a living. I am also really proud how far I have come with my internal work, that I am shaping into the ‘whole’ person I always wanted to be.
What are you grateful for?
So many things, i think gratitude itself is the single most important thing to practice daily, I am grateful I have learnt this, I am grateful for my amazing husband, my generous and inspiring best friend, my incredible kind friends, my business that I get to play dress ups and attend festivals ‘for work’, for my twin who is my mirror and my ultimate teacher and counselor.
What makes you smile?
So much! A witty joke, or any joke for that matter, children that are consumed in their own pure nature, animals playing, the way my mind creates a little scenario for almost any situation, you will find me often laughing at myself.
Your most inspirational book is?
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
How old would you be if you didn’t know your age?
12 years old.
What would you tell your 16 year old self?
There is an end to the internal darkness, to stop resisting and second guessing, to take more risks and be bold.
Where is your local sacred space?
The grassy hill on the Three Sisters walk at Broken Head, the wild ocean soothes me, there is something about standing at the headland at Broken Head that connects me to the universe, anything is possible and I am free. When i die i would like my ashes to be planted under a tree looking out at that ocean.
Where is your dream destination?
It is ever changing as I achieve the dream, it is now Morocco, getting lost in the colourful and chaotic souks and being out in the desert with no technology.
What do you do for yourself?
I write in a gratitude journal every morning and evening, i practice stillness in meditation that helps keep me in check from my somewhat traumatic childhood that creeps in at times of confrontation or conflict. And i break a sweat, i think it’s really important to get the heart pumping.
What was your childlike like?
Tumultuous, grandeur, hard to unearth in all its complexities. We were born into Hare Krishna religion, as a child, the temple was a place of excitement, awe and wonder. The stories we were told, allowed the imagination to run free and our Sunday dress of sari’s, bindis, face paint, henna, ankle bells that twinkled as you walked, and the music of indian flutes has always stayed with me and shaped what I find beautiful in this world. Our home life was wild, the 9 kids ran free with no boundaries. Our mum worked full time as a nurse, so when she was home we fought and yearned for her attention, that we did not often get due to her tiring work hours and that we also shared her attention with our step father who was dark, jealous, debilitated and engrossed inside himself; he entered our lives when we (we, meaning my twin and I) were about 5 or 6. It took me many many years to understand why and how my mother allowed an abusive man to live off of her while she worked and tried to raise all of her children. It came from the loss of my eldest brother brother who died when we were 3, he was 14, the series of events that led to his death are a story of their own, but in short, it was the April Fools day 1990 floods, he was standing on a bridge with two families when the bridge collapsed into the overflowing river, he was a strong swimmer and managed to save 3 people from the flood waters and get himself to safety, at the time he was the youngest person in Australia to be awarded the Bravery Medal by Queen Elizabeth II, a few months following the storm (and the media attention) he took his best friend to a paddock near our house to inspect a fruit bat that was attached to a power line that had fallen down from the storms and picked it up, he was electrocuted and died, his last words were “Hare Krishna” (which is the same as saying “God”), the media storm began again and we left the Hare Krishnas …and eventually my father left too.
When was the last time you tried something new and what was it?
I try to do new things all the time, like finding a hidden beach i’ve never been to, walking a different path or driving a different way. I have an irrational fear of heights and a few months ago i went sky diving, it was exhilarating, scary and completely unnatural. I am glad I did it, but will never do it again!
What breaks your heart?
That we as a human race continue to consume animals and to farm them in such horrific conditions. I believe that future generations will look back with shame on us, as we do on our ancestors and how they treated humans of a different race in the slave trade.
What mends your Heart?
Nature. The boundless kind heart of my husband who sees the world from such an optimistic and beautifully excited perspective.
My mother was in a mania with 7 kids, including a 4 month old, these particular years I have blocked out, kept inside a bubble with my twin sister, the next memory I have is around 6 when my step father entered our lives. I know now that she needed another adult, it did not matter who it was, she put up with the physical and verbal abuse for 10 years while we watched on, the abuse was not confined to her often being taken out on older siblings if they tried to step in.
Through all of this darkness we certainly had moments of light, being exposed to different cultures and countries, mum would pack us up, the younger kids who still lived at home, into a van and take us on trips for months out into the Australian outback, north into the tropics and to the islands of Vanuatu. We had a Combi van that she would cart us around in and you would often see us driving along the highway to a school fair or a friends house, seven kids packed into the back of the van with our Shetland Pony, Roy-Boy, packed in between us. The looks we’d get from fellow drivers was one of surprise, astonishment and slightly horrified! She always had a child like nature, she did not know routine or chores or how to set boundaries, so we ran wild, often riding off for days on our horses, disappearing to friends houses to parents that had boundaries that we so craved.
What have been the defining moments of your life?
Moving to London as soon as I graduated high school, I was determined to find out what life was like without my twin and the safety of ‘home’ I was inexperienced and naive and those two years were plagued with darkness, bordering poverty, insecurity and trying to find solace in intimate encounters. This time, gave me fast tracked learning in what it was like to work hard, find light in the despair and gave me the determination to fight for a better life for myself.
I stumbled around for a few years making so many mistakes in jobs and men until I was forced to face my biggest fear of being alone, I made a pact to focus one year on learning to love myself. I met Frank (my now husband) towards the end of that year.
It was the first time I’d allowed myself to attract a ‘whole’ man, that needed nothing but wanted everything, and that made all the difference. I was finally able to let my guard down and love fully and be loved.
We got married last year after 7 years together, we have come so far, the relationship often treacherous, navigating through our age difference, our childhood and past insecurities rearing their heads creating conflicts that felt like Wold War III. But we always found the light in each other and our good times are the thing of great love stories.
2015 was the most challenging year of our lives, both together and separately; 4 weeks before we got married, Franks sister and best friend, Donna, died from cancer, I tried to balance his grief and the wedding preparation as much as I could and while we had such a special day surrounded by love, the deep loss was present. 5 weeks after our wedding my father died unexpectedly and suddenly, I had spent the last 3 years really getting to know and reconnect with him, having him missing for most parts of our life. He had moved from the Byron area down to the Mornington Peninsula to be closer to us, my twin sister with her husband and 1 year old lived with him. Shortly after his death my twin went through an abusive separation while in the early stages of being pregnant with her second child, I stepped in to take care of my 1 year old niece and take the role as her ‘partner’ through her pregnancy. It was a high-risk pregnancy that ended in post natal depression and a stint in a mother baby psychiatric unit. During this time Franks second sister also passed away which was a massive blow to the family and the cracks started to show in our relationship. We are only just on the outskirts of working through the year that was and we are learning so much about each other and ourselves and putting in positive steps towards our future.
Through all of this personal tragedy my business has thrived and continued to surprise me with hitting goals and connecting me with amazing people and allowing me to have a creative outlet. It has been a great source of light, solace, distraction and helped me to push through the grief and keep moving forward
Through most tragedies you are forced to go inside of yourself and this year really made me take a close look at the very fabric of who I am and how I operate and where those actions come from, I now have a great understanding of myself, of my childhood and the practices I need to cement in my daily life to ensure I do not continue living with inner demons and insecurities. Through meditation, yoga, breathing, single and couples counselling and reading, these moments have made me more compassionate, patient, non-judgemental and to get to really know my boundaries, for this I am grateful.
What questions do you dream of answering?
What is motherhood really like?
what does it feel like to have accomplished all your dreams?
How have you managed to stay so in love and excitement after 30 years of marriage?
Wisdom to share?
‘All that you are is the results of your thoughts’. It starts from a single thought and grows, be aware of your mind. Be aware of the words that you speak. The universe always delivers what you are most in thought and word of, so make it positive and always with love.