I Am The Echelon….and Proud

Two years ago on this date I made a dream of mine come true.
I met Jared Leto and Thirty Seconds To Mars.

I don’t think much can compare to the experience of that whole day that started with watching Artifact, followed by a Q&A with Jared then meeting him, then making my way to the concert venue to meet the band and then watch one of the best concerts I’ve ever had the pleasure to be a part of.
It was magical, real, honest, genuine and most of all, it was having a place to belong.
This experience and talking to others the world over prompted my being asked to contribute to a blog and share my story of what being a part of this bands family (The Echelon) means.
So in celebration of my Thirty Seconds To Mars-aversary 🙂 I’m going to post my contrbution here.
I hope you enjoy….

Posted May 18 2014

Over the years I’ve had the pleasure and sometimes unfortunate displeasure of being a part of different fan bases music wise as my taste in music spans many genres. One thing though has stood out to me over the years and that is The Echelon. There is nothing like it.

So what sets The Echelon apart?

Is it the sense of family and community and having a place to belong?
Is it that we are all dreamers and believers and support each other?
Is it that we have this amazing platform at VyRT.com where we come together to celebrate this sense of constant connection and have a dialogue directly with the band where our voices can be heard?
Or is it because we’re all just a little bit inappropriate and pervy? I mean who doesn’t love a bit of Hurricane uncensored ;o)
I believe we, The Echelon, are all that and more. We can appreciate that we are all different and unique and that’s what makes us one. We come to this with no judgment and we celebrate each other. We celebrate our achievements, our moments with Thirty Seconds To Mars and our belief that this is more than just a band. We live loud, we make mistakes and sometimes we fail, but we pick ourselves up and reach for whatever is our personal success.

The best example I can give as to why I am The Echelon and proud is the reaction a friend of mine had when I took her with me to a Meet & Greet and show. She wasn’t a Thirty Seconds To Mars fan before this and didn’t know any song so was going into the experience blind. She looked at me at one point and said “I’ve never seen anything like this. It’s like a religious experience.” Part of me giggled because we all know ‘This is a cult’ but part of me also stood there and thought, this is what sets us apart. The core of it all is that my friend felt welcomed. There was no cattiness, no jealousy and no person taking away from any others experience during the Q&A and Meet & Greet because it was about all of us. We all mattered. This value stems directly from Jared, Shannon and Tomo and this is why I think we come together as one.

We connect the world over. One of the sweetest people I’ve met lives on the other side of the world in Russia but what brought us together was Thirty Seconds To Mars. And I’m grateful. I’ve met and had comments on my posts on different social media from creative and positive people and the messages are always sent with love.

So thank you Echelon.
Thank you for 12 years of a place to belong.
Thank you for 12 years of positivity.
Thank you for 12 years of making something that is set apart from the rest.

Jared put it best when he said “We have something special. It’s not for everyone. Not everybody will understand it and that’s fine with us. It’s just for the people that do.”

I am the Echelon and proud.

Original post found here

xoxo Natalie

Unapologetic B*tch

On Sunday night I had the privilege to see Madonna in concert.
It was the last show of her Rebel Heart world tour and I can honestly say I have never experienced anything like it.

From her not starting till 11:25pm (B*tch I’m Madonna), to her stretching out the show and finishing at 2:10am (Yasss Kween Yasss!), to having such amazing seats that she was literally within arms reach, to seeing such a diverse group of people at one event having fun and loving the celebration that this show was, it was for me, a once in a lifetime experience to tick off my bucket list.

Love her or hate her, you can’t deny that her career spanning three decades still sees her selling out world tours and she is killing it on stage!

Standing there against the barrier during her rendition of Like A Virgin (excuse my bad camera work because I may have been having a minor stroke at the time), she was standing above me and looked right at me and I had a
“Holy f*ck Madonna is looking at me”
Now it wasn’t a
“Holy f*ck she’s hella famous”
kind of moment.
It was a
“Holy f*ck this strong independent outspoken boss of a lady is looking right at me and I’m in awe”
kind of moment.

Madonna is an unapologetic b*tch who built her own empire and I admire that.

Now before anyone thinks that me using the term b*tch is super negative and I mean it in a bad way, I promise you I don’t.

When I say unapologetic b*tch, I’m not only quoting one of her song titles but I’m saying that she has always been brave and bold enough to tell it like it is, has never given a toss what anyone thinks of her or what she does and has always been true to herself even if it isn’t to everyone’s liking. She has been controversial but she has always sparked conversation and that is powerful.

Now don’t get me wrong, I haven’t always agreed with certain things she’s done but at the same time I can’t deny the fact that she has worked hard and achieved things most people only ever dream of and to have the outlook and attitude that she has at 57 years of age, that is commendable.

All of this got me thinking about how much I have grown over the years.
There is so much I no longer tolerate and I find I stand up for myself more than I used to and I won’t hesitate to call a spade a spade and I know this has caused certain people I’ve encountered to dislike me and call me a b*tch but sorry I’m not sorry.

These types don’t dislike me and call me a b*tch because I’ve been mean or because I’ve done something negative to them.
These types dislike me and call me a b*tch because I’m not accepting or submitting myself to being a pushover.
I’m not quiet enough, I’m not submissive enough and I’m too ambitious for their liking.
They dislike the fact I don’t fit into the mould they believe I should be in.

Lucky for me I don’t believe in conforming to suit others.
I believe you should be taking the time to find yourself….the self that you are most comfortable with….the self that you will be proud of.

And for those who don’t understand and choose to place labels….

Assumptions are unopened windows that foolish birds fly into

So don’t be discouraged and feel you have to tamp out your light.

Be you.
Be brave.
Be bold.
Be true.

Be an unapologetic b*tch!

Take the bricks others have thrown at you and build a firm foundation.
People will test you.
So will life.
Just remember the hurdles you climb only make you stronger and b*tch is only a dirty word if you let it be one.

xoxo Natalie

Wellbeing Stocktake

We all get caught up in the whirlwind of our daily lives that sometimes we forget to stop and check in on ourselves. We overlook our own wellbeing for the sake of our jobs, our families and others.
It isn’t bad practise to put others before yourself, but it is bad practise to forget yourself completely.

Never forget that you count too!

I realised that I spend a lot of time looking out for others, both family, colleague and friend alike, and in some areas I have ignored my needs.

It was time to do a stocktake of the things I am neglecting.

  1. It’s Ok To Say No

    You’re allowed to say no and you don’t have to explain yourself when you do.
    So many times I have agreed to things and in doing so have sacrificed my own needs or wants. Just because it may be easier to say yes doesn’t mean it is right.
    Learn to say no if it isn’t in your best interest.

  2. Be Generous With Yourself

    Countless times I have paid for dinners, getaways or concert tickets and been promised “I’ll pay you tonight/tomorrow/next week”…in some instances I’m still waiting.
    Not to mention gifts purchased for special occasions or to just do something nice for someone and my generosity has been taken for granted.
    I don’t work hard for the little money I earn to have it wasted and neither does anyone else who finds themselves in the same situation.
    Be generous with yourself first.
    Then those who are deserving can follow.
    But your generosity should not be expected. It should be earned.

  3. Put Your Heart First

    If someone says something insensitive or awful, don’t bow your head and cop it on the chin. That condones the behaviour. Your feelings count too.
    You can only be the good thing that happens to people for so long before it takes its toll.
    There will always be someone who is too selfish to think before they speak or too ignorant to consider another persons situation/feelings – that’s just human nature. The difference however will lie with you and whether you condone the actions or not.
    Don’t let anyone dull your light.

As a little exercise, take a moment and give yourself a chance to see where you need to take stock. Make your own list and assess what you can do to make a difference for yourself. Think of the moments where you thought “Hang on a minute!” and take note of the situation. Your own checklist of the things that were negative choices or impacts can help determine which positive choices you need to make to improve your own wellbeing.


xoxo Natalie


Guilty Pleasures Is A Go!

A new section has gone live on Ponderlust!

Link –> Guilty Pleasures <– Link

Still in the early stages, this section will be a fun little place where I share some of my favourite things that give me good vibes. There is a permanent link to this page via the left hand menu on the Ponderlist banner. Just look to the top left on the main page and you will see three vertical bars, click on that and it brings up a menu where you can navigate to this new section.

You too can contribute to the Guilty Pleasures list!
Drop by my Facebook page Ponderlust, like the page and comment on the Guilty Pleasures Is A Go post or leave me a message and yours may be featured in future on the list 🙂

xoxo Natalie


Today I Got Roses…

I don’t have a husband. I don’t have a boyfriend. I don’t have a secret admirer.
What I do have are friends who are like family.
I have people who care and love me and take the time to reach out with gestures like these to remind me they are there, that even though things may not always go right, that there is always light and there is always love.

Today I got roses….

I don’t have all the answers right now for everything I am going through, but what I do have is a new day, a new perspective and a new outlook.
I may not be able to fix everything overnight or make it go away, but what I can do is persist and not give up because I can and I will.

Today I got roses….

I don’t know where tomorrow will lead or whether the things I want to achieve are going to take a week, a month or years. What I do know is if I don’t keep myself in mind, who will?
Nobody will reach your goals for you and nobody else will make your dreams come true.
So I will do what I can to get to where I want to be. I will do this without placing unrealistic expectations or pressure on myself and I will do it with the mind set that every time line is different.
Every journey is unique and that is okay.

Today I got roses….

Grand gestures are nice but it’s the little things like receiving flowers with a heartfelt note that mean the most. I never have flowers sent to me. I never receive them unexpectedly.

Today I got roses….

xoxo Natalie

When The Going Gets Tough

When you have to sacrifice the one thing you were working towards, everything seems without. I have never been more at a loss to make my feelings appear what they are not.

All the things I put into place to reach my goals have fallen apart and all those things I was aiming for are once again a pipe dream. I guess a lot wasn’t meant to be this year, next year, or at all.

2016 is only three months in & already there have been three hard hits. This wasn’t my vision of how things would be. I had a plan. But sometimes plans fail.

The glass is no longer half full nor half empty.

The glass is broken.

It is said sometimes not getting what you want is a blessing. It is said you just need to breathe and trust and let go and see what happens. I am struggling with that today.

Maybe I’m not supposed to fix this.
Maybe I’m supposed to start over.

What I know I’ll do is stop, put on my favourite Bob Marley song and just listen.
Because sometimes the lessons learnt the hard way are the most important.
Even if I don’t see the lesson straight away.


xoxo Natalie