There is nothing to fear except fear itself. “What a moronic phrase” Naomi Lambert says, and then quickly apologises for and clarifies. “There is so much to be afraid of. Fear of pain, being alone, unrequited love, injury, failure, sickness and so on. Most times, fears are deeply rooted in alternate realities. They are just things that could happen, not that they necessarily will. My imagination creates such fantastical tales, it is wonder I ever attempt to do anything” Naomi explains.
However, it was Naomi’s fear of not being able to find meaning in her life after having a hysterectomy at 33, which led her to venture outside the norm. After years of suffering from pelvic cysts, the only way Naomi and her husband would be able to enjoy life again, was by having a total hysterectomy. Although painful, they made this decision quickly. “We didn’t have a choice” Naomi says.
Following the operation, Naomi had to deal with early menopause, hormonereplacement, gaining 30kg, having no sex drive, wound break down, bowel obstruction, a Staph infection and many operations.
“I feared never being well again. I was not only grieving because I wouldn’t ever carry a baby; due to infection, my abdomen was left open I had to cope with having it packed every 3 hours, including at night. I was emotional, sick, exhausted and confined to a hospital bed for weeks at a time.
Naomi admits becoming angry and reclusive, with a fear she had lost her ability to care and help others. “It was this fear that motivated me to find things within my home that would help me cope”. I forced myself to step off my own precipice and create my own opportunities different from anything I had done before because if I went back to my old life I would never escape my pain”.
“I taught myself to create masterpieces in the kitchen. I would bake at 3am when the fear would cripple me the most. It didn’t matter if I was out of eggs, I’d find a substitute. I made bread so the smell permeated through the house ”. Naomi used this skill to help conquer her sadness, offering friends with children to bake their birthday cakes. “It not only meant I had to be around children but it forced me to see that it was my creation that made them so happy!“
Naomi started “Be More Mimi”, a group for such an emotional and painful rollercoaster “The response was humbling and showed me that I still have value and purpose”.
Beginning to go to church was a step Naomi needed to feel ‘normal’ again. “I’m not sure why my comfort lies there but that doesn’t matter. What I do know is the community is supportive, genuine, welcoming and non-judgemental” and that’s enough for me”.
Finally, Naomi didn’t expect the beginning of something incredibly rewarding and life altering .when she designed kindness cards she hid in her hometown of Perth, asking people to do a random act of kindness. It was the responses she received that changed the course of her life and lives for so many others. “I love to be the person who can give others the motivation to keep going, simply by saying that it is ok to fear. I haven’t been crippled by my fears yet”.Hiding 50 cards, Naomi was blown away when she received 32 responses, leading her to found The Cool To Be Kind Project, a global kindness movement.
Naomi no longer fears how much she can take before she breaks, and admits she is so much stronger than she thought. “Who would have thought that admitting my fears would lead to such a domino effect for so many people, not just amongst my family and friends, the local community and Perth, but nationwide and globally.
Naomi doesn’t fear the challenge and relishes the opportunity. My fear lies “in becoming a hope for others, creating a movement and then letting people down”.
“I am determined not to do that!”