What happened in my life at just 17 years of age is nothing I could have even imagined. My mum took her own life and mine was turned upside down and inside out.

Suicide impacts the lives of those left behind in profound ways

It was early in September 2012 and already having lived through my parent’s divorce as an only child & a rocky relationship with my dad, I was not prepared.

I felt like an orphan who had no choice but to fend for myself after my mum died.

My childhood memories weren’t exactly what you’d call perfect. Although I had friends & extended family surrounding me I never felt more alone in this huge world that once I used to take on head first; now scared the living hell out of me!

My journey has not been easy but I have learnt that by sharing my story I help not only myself, but also others.

Mental Health and Suicide in Rural Australia must be talked about

Suicide wasn’t a word heard much before. Yet once my mum died it was bought to my attention that two other distance relatives in my family had also suicided years previously.

What I have learnt from my experience is everyone has tough days and the important thing is to know that’s ok. By sharing my story I want to help others.

Your past does not dictate your future

I always had a love & passion for horses & for as long as I can remember was always in the saddle after school or on weekends; horses for me was my outlet on the every day stresses & pressures in life.

Prior to my mum’s death that passion lead me to attend the Agriculture College for a couple of my high school years.  This is where my love for the rural industry really blossomed.

I was never much of an intellectual student and ended up dropping out in year ten. I pursued a career in riding & training horses which took me overseas to the United Kingdom.

Life throws us curves balls

I worked and rode for some incredible and very talent show jump riders. Unfortunately, a nasty horse crash ended me back up in Australia where I then was working an office 9-5 job.

Shortly after my return to Perth, Western Australia (where I grew up) my mum took her own life.

Yeah! My life is nothing short of boring!

I love my job but I wasn’t born into this industry & my parents weren’t involved in Agriculture during my upbringing. It was a tough industry to crack into.

“So Zoe, how on earth did you end up working on cattle stations when you had no connection to the land & not a clue on how to be a “Jillaroo”?” You may ask.

Life is what happens while we are making other plans

Well ladies & gentleman like the ironic movie ‘The Longest Ride’ featuring the very sexy Scott Eastwood; I too fell in love with a Cowboy!

He pushed me outside of my comfort zone & insisted I give working in a stock camp a go because of my background with horses & my brief knowledge from Ag College & honestly the rest is history.

Since then I have travelled all over remote Australia seeing some incredible sites, making life long friends & adding more life experiences & skills to my belt.

Life is our greatest teacher

In saying that it hasn’t been without its challenges.

I worked on three different cattle stations in three different states before I found a job that was 110% suitable for me & where my skills are used to the best of their ability.

Initially I found this industry / community really hard to crack into. I experienced being bullied because of the brand of jeans I wore, the color of my hat, that I didn’t grow up in this industry and because I was female.

There was many times I was made to feel “I wasn’t enough” for this job & that I simply wasn’t capable. I spent hours crying comparing myself to others in stock camps I worked in & allowed for other’s comments to make me feel worthless.

Follow your dreams

It wasn’t until I had a break from stations & hit my rock bottom that something within me dug deep to give my dream of being a Jillaroo another crack.

All I wanted for myself was to wake up & feel confident enough in my self that whatever the day in front of me threw at me I would be able to tackle head on.

With a lot of determination I’m finally at that stage; there’s still an unlimited amount of things I’m to learn about our cattle industry but that now excites me more than intimidating me. Because I am enough!

No matter what your up bringing, your sex, skin color, religious beliefs, what music you listen to or what your past is know that no matter where life takes you there will always be people who want to bring you down.

I know now their comments are merely a reflection of them, their own insecurities or the jealously they hold against you.

Focus on your number one priority-YOU!
Go chase them cows! Go get them dreams!

I’ll leave you with my quick ‘pick me ups’ that still help me get through those tough days:

  1. Find something to be grateful for in each day no matter how insignificant it may seem
  2. Always have a dream or goal to work towards – one of my all time favourite quotes “if your dreams don’t scare you they’re not big enough!”
  3. Surround yourself with happy, radiant, exciting people – “your vibe attracts your tribe” you want people to inspire you, motivate & support you!
  4. Enjoy an 80/20 life style – work, social life, eating habits, hobbies etc.. life is all about balance. Enjoy your guilty pleasures now & then don’t beat yourself up with guilt over them.
  5. Lastly find something you love about yourself, something you truly love about you, weather it be something physical, emotional, intellectual what ever that quality is love it; flaunt it!