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Monday, 3 June 2013

Be kind.

It's been a really big month and more and more I've been turning inward, preparing for my winter of peace (as peaceful as it gets with a 3 and a half year old around!) and quiet. To be honest I haven't picked up an instrument unless I've had to and I've only written words that are meant for me. 'My eyes only' as I might have said fifteen years ago. I am getting a bit old. But that's good. I'm thankful for the opportunity and happen to think I'll make a lovely old lady someday.

I've been battling a chest infection and really sore muscles in my chest and my back from coughing so much. That's actually a slight understatement but this isn't something I wish to complain about in depth. I am in pain, simply. This pain has been humbling and forced me to sit still, even when there's much to do. I've had to teach Jude to do a few more things for himself which I know is a wonderful silver lining, but I would rather teach him by choice rather than necessity. Even though he's nearly four, I still carry him a lot so this has been the biggest adjustment as my pain has forced me to stop carrying him. Today I haven't picked him up once, and I'd say it's the first time that has ever happened. Even the most independent of children probably still get carried from time to time throughout a regular day! He has actually had to ask for cuddles, something that's never been asked for before as we are usually so physically close just from the habit of carrying instead of hand-holding.

Noticing my little one blossom into a little boy from a baby has been incredible. It's also been hard. He is intelligent, funny and oh-so-handsome but he is also so little for his age. Emotional and sensitive, the slightest thing ('It's too bright!') can send him into a whirlwind of sad. He still has that side but his cheekiness and love of life is starting to push him further and further into this beautiful and big world. I've never had to watch him in public before because he is never more than a metre away. I've never had to tell him 'gentle hands!' or 'please don't call me that!' (Poo) and have only had to give the odd time out here or there as it's been his natural state to be cautious and kind. A much bigger boy was pulling faces at Jude at 'the little trains' the other day and Jude walked right into him and tried to knock him over. No fear. It's situations like this I can honestly say we've NEVER BEEN IN and it's hilarious and embarrassing and requires a whole new skill set. My eyes go wide and a smile starts curling my lips up when I see the results of another crazy decision he's made. I've been stuck on 'baby' mode for the last three years so this, this is all so new. Still I must protect and nurture but I must allow my mind and my heart to grow bigger and be more for him. I must run beside him and try to keep up and sometimes know when to just let him go... And you know. Sit and drink a coffee or something.

To say that my partner Paul and I have been through a rough patch would also be a complete understatement. Our relationship has been about a priority nine for the last year. I've had some beautiful friends and acquaintances try to help, talk and offer encouragement and support but the truth is all I've wanted was some space. Some space to ask myself some big questions and understand the big answers and accept all the unknowns. It's the unknowns that drive me bat-shit-crazy. I've needed time to be still, to read, to write, to sit and drink tea. It's been a difficult yet illuminating month of nightly solitude and I'm grateful for it and always will be. I have remembered who I am. I found her. She was patiently waiting for me underneath the shows and the emails and the chatter and the nonsense of 'busy.' Of trying to keep up with a fast world, when I know that isn't me. It never was, it never will be. I like to do things slowly and well. And if I can't do them well, then slowly will have to do.

I think Paul might have been happy to see his lady re-emerge too. I think he thought she was lost for good. And after all of the craziness of the past few months, here we stand together again. Properly together. On we go, with decisions made and time spent finding out the important stuff. It's not always easy but it's always worth it. That's what I've decided anyway.

I've also shed ten kilos from eating well. Who'd have thought it? I'm feeling lighter in body and in my heart. Ready for my best life. Reading the beautiful 'The Way of the Happy Woman' by Sara Avant Stover has been a wonderful companion on my little journey into myself. But the central message is to slow down, listen and heal, amongst other things.

You weren't made for keeping up, you weren't built to rush. You were made a human being with beautiful thoughts, ideas and love in your heart. You are flawed and you are perfect at the same time. You have something to teach and you have something to learn. Every single day.

Go gently.


Tuesday, 7 May 2013


I hear a lot of complaining around the place. It's everywhere around me and it's in me too. Honesty is beautiful but sometimes you really can get in your own way.

I often get the working mama balancing act wrong but you know, I often get it right too. There have been times where it would have been easier to not have Jude with me at a show but it wouldn't have been as much fun. I love that he sees, hears and understands what I do. There are other times I've pushed him too far and he would have been happier at his dad's house watching movies and snuggling or being doted on by his beloved Nanna. 

The truth is, it doesn't matter which way we go. He is loved, he is love. I am loved, I am love. We walk, love and learn all this stuff together. And then we forget and remember again and again.

One day I will be an old lady, a master of my emotions and thoughts with a hundred records to her name. But the boy who made me a mother, who will one day be a man, if he knows he was, is and will always be loved then that will make my heart smile most of all.  

Never before and never again will I know such a love. 

Be great. Be good. Be mediocre. Be fearless. Be cautious. Be kind. Be firm. Be sure. Guess. Be funny. Be honest. Be gentle. Smile. Walk. Hold. Eat. Drink. Sleep. Love. Love. Love. Do what you love and be love while you're doing it. Be Sarah.

In tiredness, in confusion, in fear and in frustration - let me remember my everlasting love. My unending loveliness. My Sarah-ness.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Boy Wonder, you're my one and only.

So my beautiful partner and I made this film clip. He did all the hard bits and I did all the easy bits. His name is Paul Melnyk and he's going to be making a lot more films and taking a lot more pictures from now on. I'm going to make sure of it.

Here is Boy Wonder... It kind of speaks for itself. My boy, how I love him so.

He is at Montessori for the morning. After an incredible first week it went downhill. The past two weeks he has cried for his Mummy as I leave and it's broken me in two. I went to parent/teacher meet and greet and cried. I cried at the shops. I cried whenever I spoke of Jude being at this magical, beautiful place - a place that I didn't get to go to as well. Today he didn't cry, he took his teacher by the hand and asked him for his muesli bar. It filled me with joy and with hope that we can do this, my boy wonder and I.


Monday, 3 December 2012

The story behind Winterman

About a 1/4 of women experience post natal depression. I knew I was at risk because I have experienced depression and anxiety in my past and mental illness runs in my family. Something not spoken about very much is ante-natal depression which joined me on and off throughout my wanted, planned and wonderful pregnancy. It didn't cloud every moment, I was just on edge and unable to cope with very much at all. I stopped working mostly, the odd gig and recording/writing day but nothing like I have done in the past. I went to counselling. I stopped looking after my Dad two nights a week (he has dementia and is now in full time care) and I pottered. Went to yoga. Breathed. Walked. Waited.

When Jude was born I was instantly in love. I loved him while he was in my tummy but I literally found it hard to let him go when he came out of me, one beautiful spring morning. We felt safe together, he and I. We liked it when it was quiet. I tried to go out but quickly retreated back to the safety of home. I was obsessed with his every move, I cried when he threw up his milk, I cried when he cried, I cried when I had to make dinner and I sat there looking at my massive washing pile and cried some more. 'It just never ends!' I sobbed to my Mum.

I knew I had post natal depression when Jude was about six weeks old. There comes a point when you pass 'stressed' and cross over into it. I felt unworthy to be his Mother. I felt so sorry that he had to put up with me. I felt useless. Hopeless. I felt worried and anxious a lot of the time about something happening to him.

One of the traits that I believe makes my songwriting come to life is my vivid imagination. I used to spend a lot of time playing on my own when I was a little girl in my own special world. It was safe there, I wasn't judged and I fit in perfectly. I have often in my teenage and adult life spent lots of time daydreaming, which I believe is where my songs come from. I am very connected to that space which is why when I do sit down to write it often flows very easily.

It's hard when you're not in a good place to switch that imagination off. It can get stuck on horrible thoughts and fears. Usually it was picturing terrible things happening, horrible thoughts creeping in before I went to sleep or just going about my day. I kept my eyes open a lot, watching the rise and fall of Jude's chest. Trying to breathe myself. Knowing that if anything were to happen to him, it would be the end of me.

Now as I have healed and we have grown together when I feel those fears (not as strongly I might add) I go to a place of gratitude. I switch off from the fears and remember to be grateful. Gratitude for all that he is and all that I have. My darling almost-three-year-old. The most beautiful person I have ever and will ever know, the love of my life.

So here I am, working again. Singing again. Sleeping again. Being a Mum, a great one mostly. Accepting of my mistakes and being gentle on myself. I am still recovering from post-natal depression. But i am definitely not in it's depths anymore. More like I am sitting on the sand, wondering how I ever got so very lost in that sea and knowing all the things I need to do to stay on the shore.

That was really hard to write but I hope it helps somebody out there feel a little tiny bit less alone.


Sunday, 19 August 2012


Hey Jude,

So we got pretty sick last week hey? It wasn't much fun and I hated seeing you so sad. All you wanted was Mummy and Mummy was only half yours, the other half belonging to my album and all of the little things that needed to get done to get it over the line. Then I got sick too and we just had to stop everything. Stop it all and watch movies. So many movies, so much rest and so much sleep. Nanna and Paul and Dadda helped so much while i rested even more.

Photo by Paul Melnyk

I'm going to make a few changes and a few promises. Not big ones, just little things. Little gaps for us to let more love in.

I promise...

To work on my computer/iPhone during designated times unless there is something TRULY important looming. 90% of stuff can wait. I know that now. I can get so much more done when I am focused.

To do a load of washing each and every day. I get so sad when i feel overwhelmed and when i've let our home be neglected to such an extent. So back to the old 'one step at a time'  saying says Mum.

To try and turn my face away from reality television BRILLIANT AS IT MAY BE and turn my face to my beautiful and patient partner, Mr Floss.

To make a herb garden together.

To play. Lots. Even more than we do now.

Go gently. Be organised. I am a mumma now. It's time. Looking after us is all that will ever matter.

To remember that we are all doing excellent, important and truly wonderful things in our own special way. 

To be as gentle as a calm breeze with you. You are precious and wise and usually need no more than a stern word or a look. And that will be all you are given. No raised voices. No punishments. And the rest of the world will just have to deal with that and raise their children in their own way. 

We are closer than we were last week. All of us. We are bigger and more full of love. I can feel it.

Monday, 30 July 2012

Meeting Tim & Kesh on their hill.

Tim and Kesh Coulson are very much in love. I have felt a strong connection to them in this funny old land i like to call 'blogland' - brilliant i know - and cried tears of joy watching their journey to meet their little Roo.

When Tim asked me to play for Kesh for her birthday i said yes without hesitation. And it truly was my pleasure to be around them.

Jude was awesome. And funny. And he is most definitely definitely definitely two.

Tim took these incredible pictures and wrote some beautiful words on his blog.




x Sarah

Friday, 27 July 2012

Making music, making memories.

Hello music loving friends...

My album is finished! Okay well it's not completely finished. There are no boxes of CDs sitting in my hallway, it isn't even mixed or mastered yet but those things will be completed so so so very soon. I recorded my last ELECTRIC GUITAR part on a beautiful old hofner belonging to Matt Fell (my incredible producer) this morning, then Jude and Paul and I went to the aquarium and celebrated.

Then we went back to our hotel and ordered room service and champagne and celebrated some more. I just sang Jude to sleep with his favourite, Silent Night and he is snoring away in the corner...

Are you feeling left out? I'm sorry! Don't be! I have two extra special BIG shows coming up in August that i'd love to see you at. They are band shows and we'll be playing songs from the new album. Songs that have never been played live before. I rarely do BIG shows, i usually just do little thingies here and there and everywhere but these are big rooms and i'd love your help to fill them slightly. I don't mind a touch of reverb but a lonely echoing voice in a empty room could be a little sad...

So here are the details, you can pre-purchase tickets and they end up being cheaper.

Sarah Humphreys & The Volunteers
& The Lucky Wonders
Lizottes Newcastle
Thursday 16th August
Tickets are $19

Sarah Humphreys & The Volunteers
& The Lucky Wonders
Notes @ Newtown
Saturday 18th August
Tickets are $19.50

xx Sarah