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Brave awkward and kind

Written by Penny Claridge

I feel as though I have been lying dormant for 10 years just living and raising children, and working… and since the first lockdown I’ve been on a journey to find my voice, reclaim my faith in life, making connections, flowing with the energies, trusting where the journey takes me and not fighting it or overthinking it to much because my fear of failure will kick in.

I’ve welcomed this outspoken, direct and convicted voice I have found and I love feeling like I’ve jus come out of hibernation and realised there’s a whole world of people out there. A silver lining perhaps to this phase of our lives… reconnecting on a human level with concern, compassion, empathy. Uniting with consciousnesses and creating a critical mass.


Below is a shared journey from Penny, a woman coming into her purpose, a mother seeking guidance on addressing the education system and I feel a new friend.

Enjoy the read, feel free, to send your stories through, and share your thoughts below in comments or click the link through to Penny’s blog page. ❤️🇳🇿✊

I realise I am risking plenty of friends by saying what I am about to say… but it has been burning inside me and so I had to get it out. It is what in my good conscience I feel I must say.

I respect your point of view and have listened to it and had it talked at me by plenty. Your body, your choice. I have a story to tell too, and if it helps even one person, it was worth me writing it.

I’ve seen a lot of posts celebrating going out and getting v*ccin*ted, being part of the team of 5 million, taking your kids. Like it’s a party and everyone is invited, and no one wants to get FOMO.

I’ve even seen those Facebook reposts that kick off with “I’m getting v*ccin*ted, and no, I don’t know what’s in it – neither this v*ccin*, the ones I had as a child, nor in the big Mac or in hot dogs…. Etc”.

It’s cool that you feel like you’re doing your part. But I guess, since everyone is being vocal about it, it means I can have a voice too. But my voice sounds different.

I’m sharing in the hope it gives someone hope, and courage if you too are swimming against the tidal wave, a lone voice in the cacophony. Or if you have an uneasy disquiet sitting in your belly. Maybe you are having arguments with your partner, or kids about the va**ine. It’s causing a real ruckus, dividing families and ruining friendships. Maybe you are being threatened with losing your job, or worse. If that's you, my heart goes out to you. It's not fun being the minority. Armour up, it's about to get really bumpy.

I’ll start with my back-story, because it's pretty important to me…

I have battled with my body image and had been overweight since I was about 6 years old. As an adult I tried exercise and following the healthy food pyramid guidelines and the weight didn’t shift.

I had my first wake-up call when my first son was born and I didn’t want to be in photos with him. I realised I was the only one responsible for my body and my health outcomes. So I worked hard to give myself a healthier life. I wanted to be able to run with my kids and be ok in photos.

When my second son was a baby, I found out that I had a genetic mutation called BRCA2. This gene predisposes me to a higher lifetime risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancer and melanoma.

I learnt when I was given this diagnosis is that KNOWLEDGE IS POWER. For years I had feared cancer. Especially breast cancer as it was in my family. And so, while this diagnosis could have devastated me, it did in fact set me free. Because, it wasn’t a death sentence. It was a heads-up.

It enabled me to know what my worst-case scenario was. From there I could do my research. I could ask the experts in their field. I was the only one who could make decisions about my body. Even though I heartily wished someone would just tell me the right thing to do, to remove all risks… I learnt that it was an epically lonely journey. My decision alone.

But that become my superpower. I arranged to meet with a plethora of medical professionals. I asked all the questions. I read the data. I looked at the stats. I sat with myself and worked through my worst-case scenarios. I talked about it with loved ones. I came to peace with my decision to remove my ovaries and keep my breasts. (Keeping my breasts isn’t the popular choice in my situation. Removing ovaries is common as ovarian cancer is very hard to pick up early).

Square peg, somewhat round hole. My body, my choice.

A paradigm shift

Then, a few years ago I came across the ketogenic way of eating. I had maintained my weight loss mostly, but still thought I could be healthier (and lighter – unresolved body image issues!).

Again, sceptical that a high fat low carb concept would work, (it went against Govt guidelines, the popular view, and, in all honesty, the socially acceptable way to eat in the western world). But I tried it out. I had nothing to lose (except hopefully weight).

And, it was amazing. Life-changing in fact. I read the research to understand what I was about to do with my body. I trusted my instinct, I learnt and learnt. And I got healthier. I got leaner, stronger, all my health markers improved, my blood results were perfect.

This was initially much to the annoyance (frequently teased about – I’m sure in good heart) of some work colleagues, and initially, some friends and family. I became THAT person when dining out. I was ‘harder’ to cater for at work functions and friends’ places (I’ll just BYO my food and drinks). I was even given a hat once at a conference that said ‘Sorry I’m Keto’. Funny. But really? Not funny. I actually suffered from anxiety when going out to dinner at the start, until I found my groove. It was totally worth it. I’ve never felt or looked healthier.

Square peg, round hole. My body, my choice.

Fast forward to 2020

Then, along came CV-1-9. Fear. Uncertainty. Isolation. Also, for me, some calm and quiet and a time to reset and not race about so much. During that first l*ckd#wn, and the subsequent many I have lived through as an Aucklander, I looked after myself with intention. I set my routine, ate healthy, didn’t drink much or at all, exercised regularly. I always knew what day it was.

I also chose not to tune into the media overly much. Mental health = health. I’d hear the updates on where we were at with the levels, but with the ‘overall case numbers’ being chanted constantly, it caused fear and anxiety to rise in me. I was doing everything I could to stay healthy physically and mentally, and I chose the frequency of media I allowed in.

My approach to the v*cc*ne

It’s August 2021 and suddenly I’m eligible for it. I’d heard the hushed rumours about it being a trial, rushed through and not properly trialled at all. I was sceptical they could get a properly approved and safe v out to the masses in such a short time, to such an epic degree, with low risk of harm. I looked it up… I’m not medically trained but I picked up (with help from medically trained friends) that the one we’re using currently in NZ is in a trial until May 2023, and that although it stated for use from 12 years old, that in the EU, it must not be given to those under 18.

I realise that you could argue the document is fake? Maybe… but.. if you don’t have evidence to say it isn’t either, you can’t discount it unless you find the one you’re after elsewhere.

Just a note on the clinical trial end date being 18 months away… The Govt has been given provisional approval to use it. Why? I haven’t done a full analysis on that but my hunch is because we’re in a state of emergency.

A p*ndem*c.

I looked up the p word. The definition is: “Occurring over a wide geographical area (such as multiple countries or continents) and typically affecting a significant proportion of the population”. That’s weird. We had one case just now. And we don’t even know if that person was in hospital.

Until I was eligible, I hadn’t spent a lot of time thinking about the v in terms of my own body. All I knew was that I would do my homework when the time came. Like the other times I have shared about, when it comes to my body, it’s always my choice.

Because of the heat, I thought I’d just check the Bill of Rights. Weird to feel the need to do so, but do so I did. It currently states that we all have the:

10: Right not to be subjected to medical or scientific experimentation

  • Every person has the right not to be subjected to medical or scientific experimentation without that person's consent.

11: Right to refuse to undergo medical treatment

  • Everyone has the right to refuse to undergo any medical treatment.

I’d seen the cv count and information in the media. It wasn’t hidden. Although the numbers seemed huge case-wise, patients with cv seemed mostly to recover at home, and the ones who ended up in hospital, it was widely reported globally, were most often elderly or had underlying or chronic health conditions (obesity, heart disease, cancer, T2 diabetes).

Also, from looking at the data (and not fully convinced on the accuracy of the testing to get exact the case number data – it’s not a crime to wonder, is it?) – surely they should be counting hospitalisations and deaths, not casesand deaths, because was it p*ndem*c-causing to know how many had a mild dose and recovered at home?

To me, it sounded like a bad flu (at worst) for most patients, with severe life-threatening complications for the high risk/elderly. From memory, in global media, cases in children were really low, and a very very low fatality rate – they had contributing factors too. The biggest unknown was the vir*s’s contagiousness.

I never lost-my-shit over the incessant news. I never have been much of a TV watcher so it suited me just fine. Rather go for an evening walk.

NZ had been ‘cv-free’ for a while which meant life was ‘normal-with-underlying-uncertainty’.

So I figured I had time. Time to wait it out and not have to go rushing in and getting jabbed. Time, once again, to do my own homework.

Doing the math

I looked at the figures relating to the death toll here. Here’s the data, in case you have forgotten…

According to the MOH, in 2020 New Zealand had a total of 22 cv related deaths. Of these deaths, 17 had tested positive. Of the remaining five, four had tested negative and one was not tested.

Now, I’m no math whizz, but I count 17 deaths? But apparently we had 22, if you look at the data on WHO’s database. Of the 17 cv related deaths: 7 were aged 60-79, 5 were 80-89 and 5 were aged 90+. We don’t seem to have any information or see any news of patients who had cv and recovered, to know how they are now doing, but no news, probably means there is no story. Which is pretty great news.

D@lta is now in NZ, and it is more severe – that’s what’s being reported overseas, but… to me, the figures above tell me that it simply wasn’t as dire as we were led to believe. Even if it was rather a lot worse… looking at the figures above, should the C-v outbreak in NZ really need to make up the majority of the evening news and half hourly radio updates? Common sense would say no, to me anyways. But, just to check I looked on the MOH website to see how many cases were in hospital.

At the date of writing this (29 August 2021) we have 551 cases in NZ, and 35 in hospital. Throughout the whole of NZ. Thankfully, no deaths have been recorded since our first outbreak in 2020.

It may sound like I am being flippant about the numbers. That's not my intent. Every number is actually a person. A member of our team of 5 million. In all the drama created in the media I'm just trying to peg the frantic back a notch. It's not big numbers, people.

Some other numbers

Meanwhile (and this is a popular rhetoric - with good reason)… what of suicide rates? Road fatalities? Chronic illness? Drownings? In the year to 30 June 2020, 654 people died by suicide ( Road fatalities were 191 (

If the suicide rate is 38 times higher than the number of CV deaths, surely JA could throw some coin to Gumboot Friday and the I Am Hope Foundation for a start, and lose a few of the CV ads on the radio. Or juggle the numbers somehow to help our team of 5 million with the state of our mental health (don't get me started on what the l*ckdo*ns are doing to perpetuate this dire situation).

So I’m comfortable that my own risk of death by cv is non-existent. I’m more likely to be hit by a car while crossing the road. And if our previous rates and current cases don’t at all imply we are in a p$@demic, being just 35 in hospital… (definition: significant proportion of the population), then, it is simply not even a consideration.

Adverse reactions to the v*cc*ne?

Here’s the absolute CRIME. Heard anything on the news about adverse events relating to v's? As the information on risks isn’t prevalent, and the follow-up post jab is apparently non-existent, my hunch is that the numbers are woefully under-reported. But… on Medsafe where the reports of adverse events following immunisation with cv v*cc*nes are stored for NZ, with the most updated data being August 7 (so, a month ago), it states:

  • “There were 848 non-serious and 31 serious reports this week. Sadly four of these serious reports reported on deaths”. (yep you read that right… that’s just for the first week of August).

  • Up to and including 7 August 2021, a total of 26 deaths were reported to CARM (the system for reporting that hardly anyone knows about – I posted it on Facebook last week just in case people needed it). YES YOU SAW THAT RIGHT. 26 deaths. In the midst of our p*ndem*c in 2020 we had 22 deaths that were cv related (which was actually 17). And so, from the Govt website themselves… the data is saying that more people in NZ have died from v*ccin*tions or unexpectedly just after their vaccination, than they ever did from cv.

Two deaths were reported on the TVNZ news website, on May 8 2021, although no direct link was confirmed. Huh? So last year you had 17 deaths with cv that you reported to WHO as 22. And now you have multiple v-related deaths but you can't confirm that they were. Are they paying monkeys to write their news updates? Or do they think we are thick? Not sure about you, but frankly it's an insult to my intelligence to think I'd believe that kind of reporting.

I have a very worrisome fear that our hospitals will be filling up soon. And not from D@lta. Overseas, many countries are actually struggling to cope with D@lta. But (from my research) it's not for the reasons you are led to believe.

I implore you to look at the report. If the number of deaths for our team of 5 million, is worth the cost of everyone else surviving, you might want to check the growing numbers of not only minor adverse events, but major ones too. Including Immune system disorders, heart attacks, Myocarditis, blood clots, stroke, Bells palsy, Herpes.

And, if it makes you angry, remember you have a voice. We all do. We are the people. Our Govt is meant to be working for us. After-all, we elected them. We might call our Govt to account and ask why they are not telling their people this information. Is it not their job to care? Is it not their job to work for the good of the people? Is that what you see here? Because it is NOT what I see.

Show me what you got

If you’ve done some of your own research and would like to show me, I’d love to check it out and compare notes. I am 100% open to hearing your point of view. Especially as you’ve taken the time to read mine. If you're still with me at this point, I applaud you. I haven't talked to many people lately, being stuck in iso and all, so I do tend to go on...